I’ve known how to knit for quite a while but have always been fascinated with the amazing things you can make with Crochet. There are the classic and well known Granny Squares turned into amazing blankets and afghans, intricate lace, the wonderful world of Amigurumi and everything else in-between.

Ergonomic Handles are more comfortable to hold
Ergonomic Handles are more comfortable to hold

You can’t start to learn something without the right tools. Recently, I ordered some crochet hooks and a pouch to store them in. There are many different types of crochet hook you can buy, but after some research I decided to buy the Clover Ergonomic Hooks as they looked sturdy with lots of reviews about how great they are compared to their thinner counterparts.

This set features a soft easy grip that is warm to the touch and gives the user the most comfortable finger placement as well as tireless functionality.

The polished Aluminum hook is the perfect shape for smooth crocheting.

Each of the 10 sizes features a different bright and fun colored handle. The sizes are B-2.25mm, C-2.75mm, D-3.25mm, E-3.50mm, F-3.75mm, G-4.00mm, 7-4.50mm, H-5.00mm, I-5.50mm, and J-6.00mm.

Holds 8 crochet hooks safely and securely
Holds 8 crochet hooks safely and securely

Interestingly, the case matched the one I have to store my Knitting Needles (you can find out more about them here), so I was really pleased about that. Obviously a much smaller version to accommodate the size of the hooks and perfect to throw in your bag for crochet-on-the-go.

It’s called the Clover Getaway Case for Soft Touch Crochet Hooks

Lots of room and well made
Lots of room and well made

There is only space for 8 hooks but I have managed to pop the other two on top and fold down the inside flap. Once the pouch is rolled up it holds them all securely, so I haven’t found this to be a problem.

Considering you’ll most likely have a couple of projects on the go anyway, will help solve the storage problem.

The timing of my order was perfect as my Mother-in-Law was visiting and set me up and running on the basics – starting chain and practicing the single crochet stitch (sc) back and forth. I even managed to change color.

However, she couldn’t stay forever so I had to practice on my own and also find some more help. Thank goodness for the wonderful world wide web. You can pretty much find anything you want especially videos to help you learn many things – crochet, luckily for me, being one of them.

I’m part of a knitting/crochet community on Ravelry and someone suggested the best beginner crochet tutorials she had found with really clear instructions were with help from the Crochet Geek. She really explains the stitches well, has slow motion segments in her videos, so you can really following along, and before you know it I’d made my first crochet hat. Considering I’d only been doing crochet three weeks up to that point, I astounded myself. Give it a try…if I can do it you can too!

Read more

Social Media Links

After successfully adding a logo to my header, I’ve decided to continue tweaking the Travelling Banana site. Today I added a few Social Media links. You can find them just under the Travelling Banana logo or if you’re visiting on a mobile device, drop down the menu (the three lines often referred to as the hamburger) and you’ll see them pop up.

In case you’ve been living on Pluto or you’ve actually been busy doing more important things, you may not know what some of those hieroglyphics mean.

Here’s a quick guide on the Social Media icons I have added to my site.

TumblrTumblr – pronounced “tumbler” is a microblogging platform and social networking website. Often contains a mixture of art, design, photos and videos. It has been around since Feb 2007

TwitterTwitter – Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.  It’s been around since Mar 2006.

FlickrFlickr – pronounced “flicker” is an image and video hosting website owned by Yahoo. It’s a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs since Feb 2004.

PinterestPinterest – Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all your projects and interests. It has been around since Mar 2010.

Google+Google+ – pronounced and sometimes written as “Google Plus” is an interest-based social network that is owned and operated by Google Inc. It has been around since Jun 2011.

Have you noticed how a lot of these social media sites launched in February or March apart from Google – I wonder why?

This is only a small selection of a vast amount of social media sites that are popping up all over the place.

Here are a few of my doodles that you can find on Tumblr


Coral Castle Museum

If you are ever traveling down this way, you have to make time to visit the Coral Castle Museum.

Coral Castle was built by one man, Edward Leedskalnin. From 1923 to 1951, Ed single-handedly and secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock, and his unknown process has created one of the world’s most mysterious accomplishments.

The castle was originally located in Florida City in the 1920’s but was moved single-handedly to it’s present location by Ed in the 1930’s.

It was a fascinating tour. When you arrive you are greeted by one of the tour guides who will direct you to join one of the on-going tours – don’t worry you won’t miss anything as it’s a circular tour and you can join and re-join as many times as you wish if you missed any part of it.

Ed was only 100 pounds and 5 feet tall but as you wander around you will be amazed at how this sleight man could maneuver large heavy and rough coral slabs to construct a selection of beds, tables, walls, his workshop and sleeping quarters.

The gate is perfectly balanced and is able to move by the slightest touch or by the wind - it has baffled engineers and the like.
The gate is perfectly balanced and is able to move by the slightest touch or by the wind – it has baffled engineers and the like.

Some of the features at the Coral Castle include a 9-ton gate that moves with just a touch of a finger, a Polaris telescope pin-pointing precisely where the north star is located and functioning rocking chairs – all made entirely of stone.

There is also the world’s largest and heaviest Valentine. The table is a perfect heart shape and weighs 5000 pounds!

The 9 ton gate is perfectly balanced and moves extremely easily. It is Ed’s amazing engineering skills that continue to baffle experts and visitors.

The gate is perfectly balanced and is able to move by the slightest touch or by the wind - it has baffled engineers and the like.
The gate is perfectly balanced and is able to move by the slightest touch or by the wind – it has baffled engineers and the like.

Ed accomplished this by drilling an eight foot longitudinal hole that precisely aligns with stone’s centre of gravity for perfect balance. The door fits within a quarter of an inch of the walls on either side. The door is so perfectly balanced that it can be easily pushed open using only a finger. How he did this remains a mystery, as even the most advanced electronic analysis equipment we have today would find it difficult to reproduce it.

Read more

Wisdom Wednesday – No Failures

Wisdom Wednesday – where the posts speak for themselves


Look at what you are doing a different way and success will follow
Look at what you are doing a different way and success will follow

Today’s Wisdom Wednesday quote is inspired by a comment I read on a blog I follow.

Why not check out Kathie Gregory’s blog at


Miami Street Names

A Brief Guide to Miami’s Street Names

Collins Avenue
John Collins was a farmer and land developer who built the first wooden bridge from Miami to Miami Beach in 1913

Flagler Street

Miami Beach Celebrated 100 years this year (2015)
Miami Beach Celebrated its 100th Birthday this year (2015)

Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway made connections to Miami a reality. Before 1896 there was no easy way to move goods or people out of Miami. The railroad arrived in April of that year. Henry Flagler is known as the “father” of Miami and his name pops up in many places in South Florida.

Biscayne Blvd
This street takes it name from the Biscayne Bay

No longer connected - a section of the old railway bridge going to Key West, FL
No longer connected – a section of the old railway bridge going to Key West, FL. Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway made connections possible. It’s a shame it has long since disappeared.

Brickell Avenue

William and Mary Brickell owned a trading post on the south side of the Miami River. In the late 1800’s everything south of the river was called Brickell for many years.

Julia Tuttle Causeway
If Henry Flager is considered the “father” of Miami then Julia Tuttle is the “mother” of Miami. She gave Henry Flagler a hard time and persuaded him to extend his rail line 65 miles south from Palm Beach to Miami.

Rickenbacker Causeway

If you're feeling fit you an cycle across and visit Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs State Florida Park
If you’re feeling fit you can cycle across the Rickenbacker Causeway and visit Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs State Florida Park

This name comes from the WW1 ace pilot, Eddie Rickenbacker who then became the president of Eastern Airlines which had its base in Miami.

Killian Drive
Dan Killian had a country store south of what is now called Coral Gables and was responsible for the first schools, streetlights and churches in the area

Don Shula Expressway
Don Shula was the Miami Dolphins coach. He retired in 1997 and holds the coaching record for the most wins in the NFL (347). He coached the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in the NFL history to play a perfect 16-0 season and win the Super Bowl.

Ives Dairy Road and Milam Dairy Road

Ives Dairy Road - no longer the home of the dairy!
Ives Dairy Road – no longer the home of the dairy!

Once upon time these roads went to actual Dairy Farms. Now Ives Dairy Road leads to the Sun Life Stadium where the Miami Dolphins play. Milam Dairy Road goes to the city of Miami Lakes. The Milam family chain of grocery stores can still be found in the area.

I think it is a shame that the Dairy Farms are no longer there and have been replaced by a stadium – what do you think?

Do you know any other origins of Miami street names?


Dictionary Corner – Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology – The search for and study of animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the Loch Ness monster and the yeti.

In fact did you know there’s a Cryptozoological Museum?

The mission of the museum is to share items cryptozoologically collected, since 1960, by Loren Coleman and gathered from other donators to his collection.

They even have a cryptozoological map of the Monsters in America. Check out the monsters living in your state.

Watch out, watch out...there be monsters about...
Watch out, watch out…there be monsters about…

Loren Coleman, author/co-author/contributor of over 100 books, is someone you’ve seen in Bigfoot and cryptozoology documentaries and reality television programs, since 1969. This museum is his legacy, and was founded in 2003. For more on the history of the Museum, click here.

Here in Florida we have the Skunk Ape. It’s also known as the swamp ape, stink ape, Florida Bigfoot, myakka ape, swampsquatch, and myakka skunk ape. It is a hominid cryptid said to inhabit the U.S. states of Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas, although reports from Florida are more common.

Let me know if you spot any of these monsters. In the meantime, I’ll keep a lookout for the Skunk Ape…

Did you miss last week’s Dictionary Corner – Hump Day – why not check it out here