Reflecting on a Great Semester.

Writing this last post has been a challenge for me. I was so excited to be finished this class and gear into the  holiday season mode. However, something was not sitting well with me. The whole idea of this class was to connect with others via Social media and learn from one another. Learning as we all know is never ending . I want to highlight and reflect on my journey throughout the semester and how I plan to use this class as a life long learning journey.

EC&I 831 Journey

Beginning -Social media was just a place of entertainment for me.

  • Created a new blog using WordPress (I created one over 8 years ago but didn’t stick with it). I have never heard of the terms pingback, widgets or didn’t have a clue how to inset media into a post.
  • Accessed my Twitter account again

    Look I successfully used a hashtag almost 5 years later!

    Look I successfully used a hashtag almost 5 years later!

  • Joined a Google+ Community which I didn’t know existed before this class.
  • Chose to complete a Digital Project on Crocheting

 

 

Middle -Social media is becoming a place of learning

  • Learned how to properly set up my blog and blog pages (See my Blog Post on the makeover it received before and after results)
  • Visit fellow classmates blogs and tried to comment and ask questions to continue a conversation
  • Realized I was stealing images for years! Not to worry I now know how to properly use images and site them from popular sites like Compfight
  • More visits and followers on my blog post thanks to advice from Sue Waters and Classmates- Catchy titles really do bring in readers, followers and multiple shares.
  • Finding my voice in the class by sharing some articles and videos in the Google+ Community
  • Trying to wrap my head around Twitter
  • Using Youtube and Youtube channels to teach me how to crochet.

End- Social media is place where I can learn and others can learn from me!

  • Learned that using Tags in my blog helped organized my work and helped me to get more followers
  • Participated in #Saskedchats which I absolutely loved. I met some great teachers that I am now following on Twitter and they are following me too!
  • Google+ community became an outlet for me to vent and I even tried to help other classmates as well with their questions and concerns.
  • I expanded my social media base on learning how to crochet by joining a Google+ Community, Crochet Geek, followed crochet experts on Twitter, and started to visit many more blogs on crochet. Check out my Crochet Blog Post on the multiple avenues you can take when learning how to crochet.
  • Developed strong relationship with a few classmates that I would visit their blogs, Twitter pages on a very regular basis. We had a lot in common career and personal life wise! Thank you Andrea and Danielle!
  • Summarized my learning using digital story telling –Summary of learning in this class and in my Digital Project.
  • Viewed my numbers and Stats using wordpress and was excited to see what the numbers were showing.
  • My blog has reached different parts of the world.

    My blog has reached different parts of the world.

    wp top

    Popular blog posts Visitors on my blogVisitors on my blog

    I went from one tweet to 258! With many more followers as well.

    I went from one tweet to 258! With many more followers as well.

    New Beginning -Social media is a tool to continue to use in my professional practice

    The numbers may be impressive (or not). But it is the learning that took place that is the most important. I have always been a strong advocate for collaboration as a professional. I came to the realization that it shouldn’t just be in a building. Collaboration can take part online. I have gained so many ideas and new tools that I can’t wait to try in my classroom. Using social media as a tool instead of a source of entertainment will be my new practice.

    If I make my learning, questions and reflections online /public I can have conversations with others. There always seems to be someone in the classroom or the online world that can give a new tool to try or just be there for support.

I plan to continue to use Social media in my professional practice but also try this it with my students. There is so much learning that can take place through technology and online it can be endless. I would love for my students to collaborate and connect with others around the world. Learning by doing is going to be my new motto when I return to a classroom. I don’t want to be that teacher that only gives worksheets I want to be the teacher that gives experiences.

I can honestly say that this class has been an experience and a journey. At times it has been frustrating but for the most part it has been exciting and adventurous. I loved completing all of my homework. I have never talked so positively about this class to my friends and family (I usually talk about my frustrations). I also plan to continue to use my blog and Twitter where as many other projects in class I have not thought twice about.

Thank you everyone and see you online and I hope one day in person! I was sad I could not meet everyone on the last day of class. What was your favorite part of this class?

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Summary of Learning

I was excited to tackle on my summary of learning project! I knew after the assignment was presented to the class I wanted to make sure I incorporated my daughter some how. She is a big part of my life (of course) and I wanted to thank her for putting up with me over the past few months. I hope she doesn’t think I abandoned her! Baby Adalee enjoyed having her pictures taken and was very cooperative.

As the class flew by the theme of learning something “new” was presented weekly. I would always think how did teachers do their jobs before technology was around? What did they use before?

These thoughts are what gave me the idea of comparing technology from when I was growing up to what we learned this semester. I am showcasing my learning using a digital story. I originally thought I would use Windows Movie Maker, but after searching the web I found WeVideo. Which I highly recommend! It was extremely easy to use and there is a wide variety of options, transitions, themes and free music to use. My only complaint is that when you compress your video the transitions are a lot faster then expected. So I apologize if you feel like you are reading to fast.

Thank you to Alec and Katia for facilitating my learning! And a big thanks to all my classmates it was a pleasure to collaborate and learn from everyone.

Now the moment you have been waiting for……………………..

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Reflecting on my Crochet Journey

I can’t believe it has been four months since I first started to learn how to crochet. I will give full credit to ECI 831 and the Major Digital project that was assigned to me. This project has started my initial push to learn something that is creative, crafty and allows me to work with my hands.

I have always wanted to learn something that I can do as a hobby, and have something physical to show for my learning . Not often do you get to choose something that you want to learn in a University course. I wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity.

This project taught me a few lessons other then learning how to crochet. I mean this was  a huge eye opener to me as an educator.

  • I took learning into my own hands and I did in fact learn how to do something worth while.
  •  I found many online communities to help motivate me and learn from.
  • Biggest lesson that I learned was that I should create opportunities like this for my own students.

I looked forward to my digital project every week. It did not feel like homework. I never felt “stressed” the way I do when I write a test or major essay. I reflected each week and the learning was my responsibility. I want to create this same experience for my students.

I use to have the excuse of “not enough time in the day to learn something new”. I would spend my time relaxing in front of the TV. This experience has taught me that crochet is relaxing and something that I am very proud of and will continue to do.

I hope I have inspired you to learn something new. It doesn’t have to be crocheting! It isn’t hard and there are so many avenues to assist your learning. Here is a summary of my learning how to crochet over the semester.

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I have reached the end of the internet?

My ECI831 adventure is coming  to a close. But this is not the end. I have not reached the end of  the internet as the  title of my blog may suggest.  Instead I have opened many more doors in the online world and learned new ways to collaborate with other individuals in the field of education. I would like to thank my professors Alec CourosKatia Hildebrandt and my fellow classmates for providing me with many learning opportunities that I can use in my personal/professional life.

I first heard of Alec Couros when he gave a presentation to hundreds of teachers in Regina at a teacher convention. I was very excited that we would actually be having a presenter from our home town! Needless to say I loved his talk and jumped at the chance to be able to take a class from him.

Technology is full of open opportunities.

Technology is full of open opportunities.Photo Credit: birdfarm via Compfight cc

Dr. Alec Couros

Dr. Alec Couros

Photo Credit: courosa via Compfight cc

Alec was the guest presenter this week and he again shared his knowledge of social media and the online world. My favorite part is that Alec is always positive and passionate  when he speaks about this subject. I am going to try and stay positive this blog post instead of writing about the potential of negative and dangerous aspects of living in a world that is always connected. There is fear that we should be aware of what others say about us and how we need to make sure we are perceived a specific way on the internet and social media. In  this blog post I want to highlight some of my learning throughout this semester. (Also stay tuned for my summary of learning project).

1. Before this class I have never been active on Twitter. My first and only Tweet was in 2009 and then my next Tweet wasn’t until this September of this year.

Look I successfully used a hashtag almost 5 years later!

Look! I successfully used a hashtag almost 5 years later!

Twitter has been a challenge for me as I tend to be “wordy”. But, my favorite aspect of Twitter was #saskedchat. Teachers in Saskatchewan would meet in the Twitter world on Thursdays at 8:00 pm and chat about a specific topic. My fellow classmate Kelly Christopherson is a moderator and I had many fantastic conversations with him and other teachers in Saskatchewan. Through this chat I  gained more followers on my Twitter account, and I feel like a rock star when someone retweets my thoughts or likes my Tweets.

2.You do not have to spend hours on the internet searching for what you are looking for. The best way to find something is being a part of an online community. I have had times where I would spend hours looking for that perfect lesson or that tool that would help me or my students. In the Google plus community my classmates would answer any questions that I would post, and they would also share some cool things that I could use. Thank you to Andrew Foreman who posted a vlog using Screencast-o-matic. I gave it a try by using it a few times on my blog.

Cheesy stock photo that shows professional working together. Alec made me laugh when he talked about the stock photos of eating salads!

Cheesy stock photo that shows professional working together. Alec made me laugh when he talked about the stock photos of eating salads!

I collaborate all the time with the people in the same building as me. This class has made it easier for me to collaborate with other professionals that I hope to continue to do after this class has finished.

 

3. The biggest lesson that learned in this class is that I can change my way of teaching. During this four month class there were many presentations that gave me ideas for lessons, projects and units that I can incorporate into my classroom. I have always had success when letting students use computers. Now I have more tools and knowledge with technology that I can try with my students. The one project that I am the most excited about is digital storytelling. There are so many different apps and programs out there that would help engage the reluctant writer. Andrea Needer just recently posted her summary of learning using the program Powtoon. The options are endless.

I could go on for a while about all of the things that I learned in this class, but you will need to check out my next posts on my summary of learning to get a more in depth look into what you can learn too! I highly recommend taking this class. You can ask all of my friends; they always here about me talking about this class and how it has been my favorite learning experience in my university career. (No I am not trying to get extra marks I am being very honest). I think what makes it so memorable is that I am taking away so many tools that I can use in my personal and professional world. I took learning into my own hands and hope that I can provide my students with the same experience!

What was your favorite part of ECI831? What is the most memorable project you have completed in your school/teaching career? I would love to hear everyone’s stories. I look forward to hearing my fellow classmates summary of learning this week!

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Women + opinion + internet= abuse?

I have heard, watched, listened, read and experienced forms of oppression because I am women. I never realized or took time to think that harassment and abuse lives on the internet also. Aubrey Watters shed light on this situation and shared her experiences /thoughts on gender technology and education. She spoke about how the Internet was designed by privileged men and is geared towards this audience  as well.  The cyber world has put a big target on women and other groups that are marginalized; an easy target for abuse, criticism, harassment and threats.

There were parts of the presentation that didn’t surprise me at all. Hearing the facts that women are not equally represented in the technology/scientific/mathematics world and how Aubrey has been treated via internet are just a few examples. Is this a “bad” thing that I am not shocked or surprised. Maybe it is the fact that I am a women or is it because I feel that I relate to Aubrey’s story?

It has been  a few days from the presentation but I am still finding it difficult to write a post for my blog and what direction I want to go with this topic that has been around for ages.

Here is some inspiration from my fellow classmates blog:

Clayton Murray, spoke about the about the work force. There are a large number of men working in the fields of science, mathematics, big internet cooperation and low numbers in the education work force. However, both fields have very few women in high level of power positions. He poses the question of why is this? Maybe it is because of the stereotypes that women take care of the children and men wear business suits and play with numbers and computers. Or maybe it is the glass ceiling still in full force.

Jeremy Black posted a Youtube video on celebrities reading mean tweets. Which indicates how easy it is for people to send harassing, threatening and disgusting messages with ease and hide behind the walls of the internet.

Carmen Holota spoke about the side chat that was going on as Aubrey spoke.

“The aspect that really jumped out to me was that the female voices really shut down for quite a while, while the male voices cried out about the inequity. Girls – where did we go??  Boys – why did you feel the need to interject?  I’m not saying anyone was right or wrong, but the dynamic just needed noting, in my opinion.”

I was one of those women who did not interject or take part in the side conversation as like many other times I tend not speak up or offer my opinion when it comes to a topic like this.  Maybe I am afraid of the back lash. I don’t want to be labeled as “Feminist” “man hater” or “B*tch”.

Writing your opinnion can result in name calling and back lash as Aubrey Watters pointed out.

Writing your opinion can result in name calling and back lash as Aubrey Watters pointed out.

Photo Credit: hellomeghunt via Compfight cc

I think I now know which direction I want my post to go. It is time for me to speak out, give my opinion and be brave like Aubrey and Carmen. I hate the idea that just because someone who is marginalized silences their voice.

Boys are expected to play with computers are girls also?

Boys are expected to play with computers are girls also?

I read a fantastic blog titled When Women Stop Coding. It suggested that maybe the reason why women are not represented in the computer science field. When the personal computer was introduced into the home all of the games were geared towards men and boys. It was then thought that video games and computers should only be played by boys. Even movie’s with a science or technology feel always has a leading male character after a young lady in distress. Typical!

Photo Credit: Birmingham Public Library (AL) via Compfight cc

After reading the entire blog I did the worse thing possible. Read the comments below. Wow there are some terrible people who feel like they can say something on the internet. It seemed if a women spoke out on her opinion their were twice as many comments to disregard their opinion. I was going to post one gentleman comments on my blog to show how ignorant someone can be, but then I thought why give him the power?

I would love for my daughter to live in a world where she can choose any job she would like and have equal and fair opportunities. She would be able to express her opinion to others and the online world and not get a negative back lash.

My question that I kept asking myself is what can I do to make sure of this? As an educator I feel that it is my job to teach girls that they can be what every they want but also equally as important I need to teach boys  that they can also. I need to show boys and girls how they should treat each other with respect and as equals.  My students need to be taught how they should use the internet for learning, communication and collaboration instead of using it as a playground for bullies and tormentors.

This was the hardest post I had to write to date. I think that my biggest issue is that women have come a far way in society and have gained many rights in this world. However, it almost feels like we have taken a step back in the technology world. Why is this? It bothers me that so many individuals can give their opinion and put others down for having one. My question to you is do you speak out and stand up to these online bullies? Or do you just shake your head in disgust? How do we control these issues?

I am hoping hat new curriculum will to be developed around technology and safety on the internet, as it seems to be an issue that is growing instead of shrinking.

 

 

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Football + Beer = Crochet?

I was getting very excited to watch some play off football on Sunday. I had all intentions to cheer my little heart out.  However, cheering in my jersey with family, friends, drinks and snacks didn’t seem to get my beloved Saskatchewan Rough Riders to play any better. Don’t get me wrong it was a very exciting game but I thought I would bring out my crocheting while I sat and watched the game. My plan was to start on some cute little baby booties for my daughter. During all the cheering I had what I thought was a strange request. My friend wanted me to crochet him a beer cozy for his beer Growler. If you don’t know what that is take a look at my pictures. I said to him “I don’t think there is a crochet pattern for a beer cozy.” He looked at me and had no idea what I was talking about. He just told me that I should make one for him. He said he would use this cozy to help him carry his growlers and prevent them from “clanking” together.

The beer Growler had a round bottom so I thought that since I had practiced crocheting in the round a few times that is how I would start.

Crocheting in the round will be the start for the beer Groweler

Crocheting in the round will be the start for the beer Growler

Glenn and I with the beer growler. Looks like my crocheting expertise are coming along.

Glenn and I with the beer growler. Looks like my crocheting expertise are coming along.

After I completed a round bottom I then continued to crochet the double stitch pattern all the way up until the project was complete.

Glenn is very satisfied with his new  Beer cozy. He wants me to crochet a matching one with a handle so he can carry his beer Growlers with ease.

Glenn is very satisfied with his new Beer cozy. He wants me to crochet a matching one with a handle so he can carry his beer Growlers with ease.

Although I am pretty impressed with my skill,  I am still not sure how I would create a handle and connect the two cozy’s together. I decided to post my question and problem to the Google plus community for crocheters I hope I hear a response soon! Maybe I will even try Twitter. Maybe someone can help me there! I had some success earlier with connecting with others. I asked for a pattern for baby boots and I had contact with someone through personal email.

Receiving help from an online community

Receiving help from an online community

Asking the Twitter world for assistance.

Asking the Twitter world for assistance.

Google community

 

I had a great idea that I should share this pattern with others so that maybe someone out there will want to have their very own Beer cozy for their Growler.

My weekly Vlog of my experience. Please stay tuned for next weeks entry when I summarize my learning. Has anyone else decided to take up some crocheting? I would love to give some lessons!

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Bearded lady!

After taking some time off from actually crocheting. I picked up my hook and yarn and went to town. My husband was very jealous of the projects I was creating because he wasn’t getting any attention or a gift out of this deal. I asked him what he wanted and he told me about these cool beanie beard hats. I looked for patterns and ask some advice in my online communities and felt that it would be a challenge. But I was up for it since it has been a while since I had created something and I wanted to put my skills to the test.

I started off with creating a beanie toque for an adult. I was a little bit worried about doing this because a month ago I tried to create a little beanie hat for my daughter and had some difficulties. When crocheting in the round you need count your stitches so it will eventually take the shape of a hat. I had take a look at the online Google plus community I joined to learn from others. I searched for a beanie hat and there were over a thousand posts/pictures that I could choose from to create a hat. I really didn’t know that there was that many ways to make a beanie hat! I was a little bit over whelmed because some of these ladies that belong to this community have some serious talent. You should check it out.

What I liked best about this community was that I asked a question about where I could find or if someone had a free pattern on making the beard part for the toque. One lady responded to me and sent me a link to a YouTube video that she had used. The beard was very tricky to make. I had to make some of the pattern up myself to make sure that the beard would fit my husbands face. It was not to hard to improvise at all.

This is my video Blog about this weeks journey.

Here are my end results. I spent approximately 8 hours on this project! I really hope my husband wears it!

Logan wearing my beanie beard toque. I hope he wears it curling this week!

Logan wearing my beanie beard toque. I hope he wears it curling this week!

Or maybe I will wear it?

Do I look good wearing a beard?

Do I look good wearing a beard?

 

photo 3 (1)

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My Blog Page received a makeover!

It has been over a week since I made over my blog. I didn’t realize the amount of new followers, comments and feedback I have received. Sue Waters is a wonderful women and she gave me tips on my title and what widgets I should keep and discard. It did take some time for me to actually sit down and figure things out, but it is totally worth it. I made sure that I made my blog personal, easy to use and I always had in mind the type of blog I like to visit.

I have even had a few followers from the UK. I have found a huge community of crocheters in the blogging world and they are now following me and posting on my site! I will give a shout out to my new follower Soulshine Creations by Susan check out her crochet work!

Take a look at my before video and my after video on my blog.

 

I feel that I am confident enough to help some people with their wordpress questions so please ask away!

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Report Cards, Assessment, Rubrics, Standerized Tests YUCK!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Said no teacher ever. That’s right I am talking about Report Card season. Don’t get me wrong I know that it is part of our job as a teacher but it is one of my least favorite task. I usually sit under a blanket with mountains of paper surrounding me, computer in my lap and maybe my favorite junk food within reach. Does this sound like your November?  I am currently on leave and will not be spending my November writing comments and I am not going to lie I do not miss it! There must be something out there that can help with this part of this job?

Report Cards oh my!

Report Cards oh my!

Photo Credit: elysejones via Compfight cc

Where does everyone find their motivation to get through this part of the job? I find it very helpful to sit down with colleagues to collaborate. I am even seeing some teachers from Regina taking to Twitter and doing the same thing that I like to do during Report Card Time! I also mentioned in a previous post on Google Docs and collaboration.that my staff uses Google Docs to post our report card comments and we use it to help edit and share ideas with one another.

As I write each comment for my students I want to make sure that they are personal. I try to avoid the copy and paste function at all costs. With that being said it is very time consuming. I found that this website helped me with some great starters Report Card Comments Starters. I also found this advice from a

when I was a first year teacher. The best advice that I was given is that students and parents should not be surprised when they read their report card. I believe in constant communication with students and with home. I am now finding it easier with GradeBook going live with my school division. This allows parents and students to  see their assignments and comments online!

As I do report cards three times a year I am finding that I am getting better at the comments and keeping up with my assessment throughout the year. I have been evolving my ways to asses students on a regular basis. Our staff has been using outcome based reporting for numeracy and literacy. I hope when I return to work I will continue to develop outcome reports for all subjects. I showed an example of an Outcome based reports on a previous post as well! Check it out. Has your school developed a school wide initiative to start assessing a certain way to be consistent? I think that assessing can be very difficult but if we as teachers can be consistent it would make it easier for students and parents to understand how students can  reach the outcomes in the curriculum.

A HOT TOPIC always seems to be Standardized tests. Recently in my Ed 800 class we discussed this issue. It seems like this issue is always on the minds of educators and in the news. Dr. Marc Spooner posted on his Twitter a great comic:

Cartoon on standardized testing.

Cartoon on standardized testing.

What are your thoughts on Standardized testing?I agree that you need to test students to help lead your teaching. It is also important to see the growth that students have achieved throughout the year. But if the testing is just used for the government to see data that compare schools or provinces it is not useful.  I think that this topic will be up for debate for years to come. Even though teachers in Saskatchewan have overwhelmingly said that they did not want standardized testing to be implemented it looks like we will have a few more being put into place. Article on Standardized testing in Saskatchewan.

Good luck to all the teachers out there as they work on report cards this week and up coming weekend! I would love to hear your tips and tricks when you get the chance. What is the best way you survive through this season?

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Mid- term Crochet Block :(

AHH!! I was doing so well with my digital project but I hit a little bit of a road block. I kept running out of the precious thing that we call time. It was a busy week of celebrating and preparing for Halloween. I saw such cute costumes out and about and I really wish I took some time to make a cute little hat for Adalee to wear. Even though I was unable to get some quality crochet work done, I will share with you some helpful hints and communities that can help you with your own crocheting project. Then I promise to to sit down as the cold weather settles in and start on some new projects! I can’t wait to give away some homemade Christmas gifts this year.

I stated in my other videos that I joined a few Google Plus community to assist with my journey of learning how to crochet. I have been reading what others have posted but I haven’t been very active in the community until recently. I decided that I should ask some questions and try to even answer some to expand my knowledge and skills. I joined

1. Video tutorials on crochet (My favorite way of learning how to crochet)

2.Crochet by Crochet Geek This community is very organized and has over 16,00 members and everything from videos, discussion, and project assistance.

A picture of the Google community I joined to help with my crochet progress. I even posted a discussion question!

A picture of the Google community I joined to help with my crochet progress. I even posted a discussion question!

After this weeks Facelift to my blog I have been receiving a lot more likes and followers to my blog! I am excited about this because some of my new followers are not from my ECI831 class! Thanks for following me!

I will leave some comments on their blog and hope to start a conversation with them.

Twitter has also been a great source of inspiration and resource for my digital projects. I also have a few hobby and crochet enthusiasts following me as well!

@crochetme

@CrochetToday

@InsideCrochet

As I mentioned before I love to learn from videos. I have visited many YouTube tutorials and that is how I have created some of my projects. I have started to regularly visit the following websites and YouTube channels after watching their videos.

Crochet Guru has many step by step videos for beginners

Iheartstitching. Melanie is a new mom who likes to create things on her own. Her videos and channel are easy to follow. She is really great at answering any questions that you post on her videos. I asked a questions about using a different size hook for a project and she said that it would work just fine!

Then there is always Pinterest. I try to Pin anything that I find useful along the way or I sometimes search Pinterst for ideas!

I want to thank my friends and cheerleaders! All of you are very supportive and I think that it is pretty cool that you are taking the time to watch my vlogs or read about my progress. Just the other day I had a conversation with someone in person that I have not seen in awhile. She asked me all about how my crochet was going. I stopped and thought to myself, I don’t think I told her I was learning how to crochet. Well then I remembered! I have shared my posts on Facebook, uploaded pictures on Instagram and Tweeted about it. I thought that was pretty cool and a real indication that some people area taking an interest into what I am doing. I hope that others are learning from me too!

Here is where I get my motivation to keep going from! Thank you! Can anyone suggest crochet blogs, websites, channels or communities that are helpful to learn from?

This is the power of Social Media. I have some fantastic friends that are taking the time to view my blog and comment on my work. Thank you, Thank you!

This is the power of Social Media. I have some fantastic friends that are taking the time to view my blog and comment on my work. Thank you, Thank you!

startting out stitches

inspiration

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