Your Best Year 2017 Book Review

This week I’m stepping out from my normal crochet book review and doing a different kind of book review. Your Best Year 2017 is a workbook & creative planner, but it is also SO much more. If you struggle with being productive, staying on track, not getting discouraged, etc. this book is exactly what you need.


Your Best Year 2017 is a productivity workbook & creative business planner. Stay on track, boost your sales, be more productive, and so much more with this workbook. Best investment I make with my business (and personal life) every year.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliate links.


I found Marketing Creativity about 3 years ago when I was very close to giving up on my business. I was burnt out and wasn’t sure I had any more to give. The very first post I read from Lisa made me feel like she was an old friend. And the more I read her blog, the more it was obvious that she speaks to you in a down to earth tone, gives practical advice, and doesn’t make promises of getting you millions of sales or customers that just won’t happen.

With that being said, her workbook has put my business back on track. The first year I used it (Your Best Year 2015) I honestly didn’t use it to its fullest potential and I’m kicking myself now! This year (Your Best Year 2016) was my 2nd year using it and I’m already seeing a great return from the work I did put in. One of my main goals was to double my community of crochet readers and go from 10k readers (over all social media accounts) to 20k in one year. As of right now I’m on target to actually hit that goal! My tech editing income will come close to doubling what it was in 2015 also.

What seemed impossible back in January will now be a reality come December. Lisa’s workbook guides you through your biggest goals and dreams in order to make them a reality. My only regret….I should have made bigger goals, and reached for bigger stars – but they just seemed too big, audacious, and unrealistic at the time.


Your Best Year 2017


Planning for a successful year with the Your Best Year 2017 creative planner and workbook.


The new and updated yby2017 is full of new prompts to help you review 2016, get you thinking about your goals for 2017, and activities to make sure you accomplish those goals and stay on task. Lisa’s also added a time management worksheet (I need this one most!), a “getting your goals” section, as well as sections to work through about being vulnerable, building trust, and breaking through limitations – to name just a few. There are also action steps you can take, progress logs to show you how far you’ve come, and my favorite – the abundance tracker. I started using the abundance tracker when Lisa first mentioned it a few months ago. It’s truly amazing to see where my income comes from daily and for me I’ve learned to set smaller daily income goals as well as a yearly overall income goal.


Creatives aren’t all Business


But honestly, I think the best part of this business planner is that it isn’t all business. As a creative entrepreneur our home life and our business end up blending together. Without us even realizing it the lines can get fuzzy and the two become one entity sometimes. So, instead of fighting it, Lisa’s workbook has us consider both together. Genius! This book is 138 pages of strategies and actionable steps to help you meet every business and personal goal you have.


To be fully honest in my review…


I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I first opened the planner and realized the monthly overview calendars are gone this year. I had started using my yby2016 as my monthly blog planner in addition to everything else it had to offer. But the more I dug into this new version, the more I realized it is fully worth going back to a separate monthly calendar. This year’s version is pure business building strategies that have left me feeling like anything is possible. 


Do What Scares You…..


Never again will I sell myself short by not believing in myself. I worked through the exercise of writing down how much I wanted to make, how to get there, etc. When I saw the numbers I doubted myself. It seemed too out of reach. I saw the goals I did stick with come true, so I won’t make the same mistake twice.

This year I’m reaching for the moon! Even if I don’t hit it, I’ll land among the stars. 

I guarantee if you purchase this planner, and use it to it’s fullest potential, you will not be disappointed. It will be the best $20 you spend, as you will reap long term investments.


Happy Planning!

*Disclaimer* – This book was provided to me for a review, but all opinions are strictly my own.
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Celtic Cable Crochet Book Review

If I had to pick one look, one technique, a favorite crochet stitch, I would easily choose cable crochet. There are so many options that you can easily change the entire look of a project with just a few tweaks of the cable. Whether you’re new to cable crochet or you have experience and are looking for some fresh, new patterns you’ll want to check out this book.


Cable Crochet book review by Ambassador Crochet

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliate links.


Publisher: Interweave

Author: Bonnie Barker

Number of Pages: 127 pages

Number of Projects: 18 patterns

Types of Projects: Garments and accessories.

Difficulty Ratings: Confident Beginner, Intermediate

Yarn Used: #1, #3, #4, #5, and #6

First Impression: I love cables! They’re gorgeous, versatile, and add so much depth and personality to a project.

My Favorite Patterns: This was such a hard decision, so I narrowed it down to two…. I chose the Lavena poncho (cover photo) as my favorite cable pattern. The variety of cable stitches Bonnie used go perfect together. Then I chose the Emerald Celtic Weave Infinity Scarf as my favorite project because it’s just perfect. From the color of the yarn to the stitches used, it’s something I would wear every day.


Celtic Cable Crochet


Emerald Celtic Weave Infinity Scarf - Cable Crochet book review by Ambassador Crochet
Emerald Celtic Weave Infinity Scarf


Review: After Bonnie came out with Contemporary Celtic Crochet I didn’t think I would ever find another crochet book I loved as much and then, along came Celtic Cable Crochet. Bonnie has brought those visual celtic cables to life through crochet, and now they’re no longer just for knitters. My favorite, overall reaction is that I love these projects because they are all practical things you would wear everyday – mixed with cables of course.


Aranmore Sweater Wrap - Cable Crochet book review by Ambassador Crochet
Aranmore Sweater Wrap


Tech Review:

While almost all these patterns are rated intermediate, don’t let that scare you away. The patterns are well written and thorough. Each pattern has notes and lists which cable stitches are used so you can look in the back reference to see if it’s something you’d like to tackle. There are 8 pages of basic stitches (including post stitches) with full color photos to help you get started. There are also 22 pages of special stitches that all include step by step photos. The help section just goes above and beyond to make sure your project will be successful. There is also general information such as gauge, terms, and abbreviations.


Blue Moon Shawl - Cable Crochet book review by Ambassador Crochet
Blue Moon Shawl

From boot cuffs and wrist warmers, to scarves and sweaters, there is something in this book for anyone and everyone. I’ve only shown you a few of my favorites. You can head over to Interweave’s website and see the rest of the projects. I would love for you to come back and tell me which project is your favorite.


Happy Crocheting!

*Disclaimer* – This book was provided to me for a review, but all opinions are strictly my own.
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17 Before 2017 – Plan Ahead, Finish Strong!

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about how fast this year flew by and realizing how many things we didn’t finish. After creating a 16 Before 2016 last year, I decided this is a great practice to get into for the 4th quarter of the year. So, I’ve spent the past week thinking and contemplating on what is important enough to be added to my 17 Before 2017 list, and what can just be deleted or forgotten about.


17 Before 2017 - Plan Ahead, Finish Strong -List 17 Things to accomplish before 2017 *This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.

17 Before 2017


As the end of each year approaches, most people make an decision to finish strong. You start running around like crazy to get things done, you reflect on your resolutions that you never followed through with, and you vow that 2017 will be different. Am I close? I know, because I used to be one of those people.

Then I decided to start planning and be more intentional with my time and my hours. People ask me all the time how I do it, and my response is usually, “I don’t think about it.” But the reality of it is actually the opposite, I think about it all the time. That’s why I always having a running to do list, and I never seem to be able to get caught up. And if I leave home without my planner I freak out!

17 Before 2017 - Plan Ahead, Finish Strong -List 17 Things to accomplish before 2017


Making a Plan

My days are crazy, even with a routine. I homeschool 5 of our children, we are at the dance studio 5 days a week, and I own my own business. Because all the aspects of my life fit together I made a list with both personal and business goals for the end of the year. I’m sure you can relate. We all have crazy schedules. It’s time to make a plan and finish strong! That’s where the 17 before 2017 list comes into play.




1. Lose 15 lbs  This might sound like a lot, but it should be doable. Last summer I had just gotten down to the weight I was after my 4th child (I have 6). It took me 3 years to get to that point, but I felt so good. Then I had knee surgery and gained 18 lbs in 7 months. That was 13 months ago. Long story but I’m back in a leg brace (broken ankle) so I’m going back to my no-impact workout that helped me lose the first 20 lbs I had lost. I’m determined not to stay stuck at this weight. I want to feel good again! I was going to aim for 4 lbs a month, but decided to work for 5 lbs each month, for the rest of the year.

2. Exude Confidence (in a totally healthy, good way)…. It’s my word of the year for 2016, so I thought now we be the perfect time to go back and reflect on the post I wrote in January. While I feel like I’ve made progress, I know I still have a long way to go.

3. Read 3 books – I try to do some personal development reading every day. For the remainder of the year I want these books to focus on confidence (see #2).

4. Finances – Track income and expenses daily. I’ve always had a feeling/fear of not having enough. I’m hoping by tracking income and expenses daily it will help me see the abundance that I do have.

5. Finish schoolroom – When we moved in here all our unpacked boxes went in our schoolroom. It was out of the way while I was recovering from my knee surgery. Well, the boxes are still sitting there. It’s time to finish once and for all.

6. Clean/Destash girl’s room – I’m embarrassed to admit that my younger girl’s room is a mess. When I couldn’t really do stairs for 3 months after my surgery it was one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things. Now it’s in a condition I can’t stand. It’s time to get rid of the extra clothes, etc. and make it a happy, resting place again.

7. Block schedule my time. This is for both work and personal, but I feel like I’ll get more done if I can implement some kind of schedule.





8. Finish all unpublished patterns – Seriously! I have about 6 patterns I made, and even started to write, but never finished when we moved last year. It’s time to get them published!

9. Yarn Destash – Sell approx. 50% of my yarn stash. This is a twofold goal: it will make my stash reasonable so my kids will stop telling people I own a small yarn store, and it help pay for some of my girls’ dance competition fees.

10. Double My Crochet Community: One of my goals for 2016 was to grow my followers over all of my social media platforms to 20K. At some point I just decided to reach for the stars and add that extra couple thousand and double it. Rather than focus on the monthly increase I am hoping for, I’m just going to focus on the year-end numbers.  Some of my accounts won’t even come close to doubling and others are picking up that slack. This has been an interesting process for me to watch and see which platforms work better for me. The total is listed at the bottom because this is not all of my social media accounts, just the bigger ones.

Growth Goals:
Blog Newsletter – 1,110 to 2,220 – 1,269 
Facebook – 6,433 – 12,866 – 6,929
Pinterest – 1,352 to 2,704 – 6,717 
Twitter – 486 – 972 – 651
Instagram – 0 – 500 – 301
Total – 10,941 – 21,882 – 17,675 

Mathematically that’s a little over 60% growth so far which means I still have quite a ways to go.

11. Organize bookkeeping for taxes – I want to be prepared ahead of time – before tax season gets here. Getting this done before the end of the year will be a huge relief off my shoulders.

12. Work through YBY2017 – Absolutely the best planner for goal setting. If I had to attribute only one thing to keeping me on track this year it would be Lisa’s workbook. (Be on the lookout next week for my review of her 2017 workbook!)

13. Batch my work tasks – I’ve heard of this before and as I’ve been tweaking my schedule to try to accomplish more I’m thinking this might be a huge help. Now it’s a matter of sitting down and working tasks into my schedule where they’ll fit best.

14. Create an editorial calendar – I did this for my Design Your Own Pattern Series. Plan everything in advance. It makes a HUGE difference in your stress level – and it feels good!

15. Treat my business like a real job – I love my job. Designing and tech editing give me passion. But I don’t have hours and I just wing it. It’s time I started treating my business like a real job instead of a hobby that I only do when I feel like it. I will create and implement work hours, and stick to them!

16. Create a marketing plan – I’m terrible about emails, social media, etc. and I go through phases. I will go weeks and be diligent, then fizzle. A simple marketing plan will be key to keeping me on track.

17. 24 response rate – I used to have a 24 hour response rate, most of the time it was just a few hours. As I had more kids and got busier my response rate started to slip, as well as my inbox. My goal: start with inbox 0 and return to the excellent customer service I was always told I had.



To keep in line with my promise to track my goals for the entire year, here is my Sept. review.


  1. Personal/Business Development
  2. Review my monthly goal list daily
  3. Track my business income daily
  4. Track my personal expenses daily
  5. Workout (limited while my ankle is still in a brace)


  1. Track income and expenses daily.
    I tracked my income but wasn’t as diligent about tracking my expenses.
  2. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
    Started this.
  3. Make my holiday t0-make list.
  4. Create holiday budget checklist.
  5. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
    Baby Heartbeat Reversible Afghan set
    Climbing Ivy Super Scarf
  6. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
    Moved to 17 before 2017.
  7. Publish 8 blog posts.
  8. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,258 to 1,300 – 1,269
    Facebook – 6,929 – 7k – 6,929
    Pinterest – 6,474 to 7k – 6,717
    Twitter – 651 – 700 – 651
    Instagram – 272 – 300 – 301
  9. Stay on track with the goals that I made in YBY planner.
  10. Create block schedule for work/family/homeschool.


17 Before 2017

To sum it up in one phrase; we’re all just a work in progress. Take one baby step, then another – this will give you momentum towards getting your list done. Be productive and you’ll start to see progress which will push you forward into 2017.

If you’ve made a 17 Before 2017 list I would love to read it. You can either link in the comments or tag me on social media.


Happy Crocheting!

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Climbing Ivy Super Scarf Crochet Pattern

Charity has always been a big part of where my crochet heart is at, so I’m excited to be a part of this year’s scarf drive. Sonya from Blackstone Designs has done all the legwork and gotten a great group of designers together to create scarf patterns. The intent is for the crochet community to reach out and donate to help those in need. There are so many places that these scarves can be donated to.  Think about schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, or even wrap them around a park bench with a note for someone who may be spending the night on that bench.


Climbing Ivy Super Scarf by Ambassador Crochet


I decided for my scarf I wanted to do a super scarf for two reasons. First of all, they’re all the rage this year. But secondly, I have a heart for the homeless and a super scarf would be just a bit of extra warmth for someone out there that may need it.


Climbing Ivy Super Scarf


Climbing Ivy Super Scarf by Ambassador Crochet

 *This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.



Finished Size: Scarf – approx. 11½” wide x 105” long.

Yarn: #5 bulky weight yarn – 15 oz.

  • Sample made with Charisma Big! by Loops & Threads in colorway “Forest”

Hook: Size – L/11 (8.00 mm)

Notions: Yarn Needle


Scarf Pattern

Ch 28.

Row 1: (dc, sc) in 4th ch from hook, sk next 3 chs, *(dc, sc) in next ch, sk next 3 chs, rep from * across, turn. (7 dc, sc combos)

Row 2: Ch 2, *(dc, sc) in 1st dc, *ch 3, (dc, sc) in next dc, rep from * across, turn.

Rows 3 – 140: Rep Row 2.

Fasten off.

If you’re not familiar with the super scarf, Yarnspirations has a great video.



If you haven’t already, join us over at the Charity Drive FB group! I’d love to hear where you’re donating your scarves to.

If you need ideas for places you can donate to, check out my Crochet from the Heart post.


Happy Crocheting!


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Washcloth, Tawashi & Dishcloth Patterns Roundup

We’re coming up on craft fair season, which means it’s time to make and restock your crochet projects. This year I’m going with some smaller items, so I thought I’d do a roundup of crochet patterns that would make perfect craft fair projects to sell. As I started to gather some patterns I realized there are a ton, so I decided to make it into a 2 part series. This week features washcloth, tawashi, & dishcloth patterns.


Craft Fair Projects - Part 1 - Tawashi & Dishcloth Roundup


Washcloth, Tawashi, & Dishcloth Patterns


  1. Gift Labels Printable
  2. Tawashi
  3. Washcloth Pattern
  4. Dish Scrubbie by Cuddle Me Beanies
  5. Waffle Washcloth
  6. Fun & Fabulous Dishcloths Set of 5 (paid)
  7. Happy Nature Dishcloths (paid)
  8. Bubble Towel Top by Crafting Friends Design
  9. Spa Washcloth Set by Crochet by Sia


I also have quite a few dishcloth patterns available, but my most popular dishcloth pattern is the Ball Stitch Dishcloth that has little nubs crocheted right in so you can scrub with them.


crochet dishcloth patterns - free ball stitch pattern by Ambassador Crochet



If you want to have a successful craft fair, check out Totally Snappy’s post. She’s got some great tips on what you can make, how to set up your craft booth, and more. Even if you’re a seasoned craft fair vendor this is a great refresher article.

I personally don’t do a lot of craft fairs – mostly because of time – so I’d love any additional advice or tips you have to give me.


Happy Crocheting!

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Baby Heartbeat Reversible Afghan Crochet Pattern

Everyone loves babies, and if you’ve ever heard a baby heartbeat through the fetal doppler it’s one of the most amazing sounds ever. After this baby afghan was designed a customer said they looked like the heartbeat symbols on a heart rate monitor, and so it’s name was born.


Baby Heartbeat

Reversible Baby Afghan Crochet Pattern


*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.


Baby Heartbeat - Reversible Blanket Crochet Pattern - $3.50 pattern by Ambassador Crochet

Pattern Rating: Beginner – You will need to know basic stitches, but I do offer pattern support for any questions that you may have.

Yarn Used: #4 worsted weight (such as Red Heart Super Saver or Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn!)

Hook: I/9 (5.50 mm) hook

The following sizes included with the pattern:
Blanket – approx. 30″ square
Hat fits 0-3 months

The pattern link will be emailed to you as soon as payment clears.


Happy Crocheting!

Legal Notes: Due to the nature of patterns, this crochet pattern may not be exchanged or returned for a refund. All sales are final. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. 

You are free to make any of my patterns to sell for profit, but please do not copy and/or redistribute the pattern itself.

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How to Budget for Yarn Purchases

Do you budget for yarn – or does your yarn spending feel out of control at times? Have you put yourself on a yarn diet only to break it after a month? Whether you’re on a limited income, or you’re just ready to cut back on your yarn spending, this post will guide you through some helpful tips so you can get that yarn spending under control.


Budget for yarn - Tips on how to stop spending and get spending and get that yarn stash under control.


Budget for Yarn Purchases



If you budget for yarn, kudos to you! But if you’re an impulse yarn shopper (like me) you can end up with a small yarn shop in your basement (like me!) Here are some examples and how they can be avoided.

Scenario 1


It’s getting close to Christmas. You “run” to the craft store and buy a ton of yarn because one trip will save you time. You rationalize this by saying you’ll just return whatever you don’t use. Here’s the problem with this scenario. Chances are you’re not going to return the unused yarn….trust me, I know!

Once you’ve spent some time getting prepared for your holiday gift making and you have your to-make list created, then you can start to work on the budgeting process. If you can plan what you’re making ahead of time then you’ll be able to save more than if you just wing it with each gift. Here’s an example: If you’re know you’re going to make scarves for 4 people on your list, consider the following.

Ways to Save

  • Same pattern – Only buy one scarf pattern and use different colors for each recipient. Different color(s) can give something a completely different look.
  • Same yarn – If you are making a scarf for one person and a pair of mittens for the next you may be able to share skeins. If the hat needs 1.5 skeins and and the mittens need half a skein you could use the same yarn and only buy 2 skeins instead of 3.



Scenario 2


You’re working on a project and you run out of the yarn you’re using. Again, you “run” to the craft store for another one. While you’re there you just have to wander the yarn aisles to look at what else they may have (because it’s changed so much in the past week! LOL). While perusing you notice there’s a yarn you’ve never used on sale. You decide to buy 5 skeins because it’s pretty and you’ll find a use for it. Or maybe you just buy one skein so you can test it out and see if you like it. Either way, the majority of the time it ends up sitting in a bucket for a very long time before you find a use for it.

Ways to Save

  • Make a shopping list – Before you leave your house make a list – both brand and color – of the yarn you will be purchasing.
  • Don’t look around – As tempting as it is to browse, don’t do it. It’s temptation and you will ultimately find yourself making a purchase you weren’t planning on making.
  • Purchase online – Don’t even go into the stores. Wait for free shipping coupons and buy your yarn online. You’re less likely to make unplanned purchases.



Budget for Yarn – Just do it!


Either scenario is ultimately a battle of your willpower, but you can do it! With a bit of intentional planning you will end up with far less yarn laying around at the end of the year.

If you have that small yarn store in your basement, and just buy new yarn for projects instead of using what you already have, here are 4 Easy Steps to help you organize your yarn stash.


Happy Crocheting!

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