17 April 2014

Book review and a prize for you!

It is my honor to introduce you to one of my favorite designers.  She makes the most creative and whimsical items, her instructions are super easy to follow, and the end results are always perfect.  Say hi to Kristi Simpson from RAKJpatterns.

Kristi recently asked if I would be willing to review her book on my little space in the crafting world and naturally, I said yes!  I knew I would be getting a book that had some cute patterns in it but I had no idea that every pattern would have me reaching for my hook.  They are seriously that amazing.  Here, it's easier for me to show you exactly what I'm talking about...

You don't have to know how to do a single stitch - the photo tutorials will walk you through every single step of each stitch she uses in her hats.
Look at how stinking cute these creations are - how can you not want to make every single one offered?!?
30 hats means 30 different hats - not 15 hats sized for adult and children.  And the sizing, holy wow... no nogging is too big or too small for one of these.
I had to grab my hook the minute I saw this one because my niece is having her first baby in May.. she needed this hat.

So I made one for little Ruby and one for my niece who is a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan.  I chose that green so the hat wasn't too girly but still stylish and feminine.
These hats whip up like a dream.  The directions are super simple to follow - no complicated or fancy terminology.  Kristi explains the pattern just as if she were sitting on the sofa next to you, hooking along.  These patterns are for anyone who has a desire to pick up a hook and make a hat... be it your first or your four hundred and forty first.  You will absolutely love them all.

So, would you like your own copy of this fabulous new pattern book?  It's simple - share your favorite memory of you and your mother, or of you and your kids, in the comments below.  You know you have some crazy tales to tell and we'd love to hear them.  I'll collect all the entries and draw a winner from them on Saturday, April 26th.  All entries must be made by 11:59 pm ET on Friday, April 25th.  Be sure to leave a way for me to get in contact with you - email address or Ravelry ID preferred.  Shipping is limited to the US.

Good luck!!

16 April 2014

Ugh, have mercy...

I know, I've been quiet for a while and I'm so sorry!  I have been sick as a dog and today is the first day where being vertical doesn't make me physically ill.  It's funny how getting dressed and making a cup of tea is now considered a major accomplishment.  My next milestone, eating something and staying awake for more than 30 minutes at a shot.

I have spent the better part of the past 72 hours asleep.  If I wasn't crashed out on the sofa, I was fumbling to the potty... at one point, I just crashed on the potty floor because it saved me the trouble of running.  Pokey was worried about me but I'm starting to see the light on the other side.

Today's residual ickiness is my throat is so sore and icky thick right now.  I have my tea so hopefully that will sooth it a bit.  Just now, a hankering for dry toast hit me so I think I'll pop a piece of bread in the toaster.

Tomorrow, I've got something super special coming your way... thankfully, I wrote it up last week because I would hate to be late posting about a fabulous giveaway...

Oh wait... did I say that out loud? 

Off to make toast and curl back into my blanket cocoon on the sofa.  I'm thinking a West Wing or Scandal marathon is what is needed today... plus lots and lots of tea.

See you tomorrow.

10 April 2014

Totally chuffed!

Remember the bag I had to finish yesterday... welp, it's all done!  I absolutely love how it came out.
I am so chuffed over how this bag came out.  It was just a whim, a random idea of something I wanted to have and then three days later it physically exists and ticks all the boxes.

I wanted something light, pretty, 'just big enough but not too big', soft, sturdy, and original.  I had a rough idea about how I wanted it to look too so I sat down and got to work.  The hardest part of it all was the lining because I have a fear of my sewing machine - not a 'fear' fear but just worry about flubbing up kind of fear.  I'm happy to report that nothing catastrophic happened, mostly because my mama walked me through the hardest part over a very confusing phone conversation... those of us who talk with our hands can't be seen to explain the stuff that confuses us which makes for a trying conversation.

Now, less than 72 hours later, what was just an idea is now a reality.  Being crafty really is a fabulous thing... and now I have this song running through my head...

09 April 2014

Winding up

Lots of fun things going on around here... and all of them are just about done which is exciting!
I have a really hard time crafting when there aren't imaginary points involved.  Joining the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup (aka HPKCHC) almost two and half years ago was the best thing for my productivity.  I love making things for imaginary points so that I can help my house win an imaginary cup - both the House and Quidditch varieties.  Nothing is better than being a part of this group - where they cheer you on, encourage you to try new things, and support you when things don't work out just right.

We are currently in a break month and generally I try to rest my hands during that time since I go full force for three months straight.  Just to give you an idea, this past Winter Term (which ran from January 1 - March 31), I vanished over 6,772 yards of fabulous yarn... and that's just the projects where I kept track of the yardage.  I have several items in there without final numbers on them.  24 projects in 3 months.  That's 6 classes each month, plus Quidditch all term, plus my Order of the Phoenix Mission that I completed.  I'm not counting my failed OWL because I truly believed that, for me, Herbology is jinxed.

So these two things that I have been working on, while may not seem like much, they are a huge deal.  We're in break month right now so there are no classes.  We are just about ready to participate in our End of Term Feast, where we see who brings home the House and Quidditch cups.  My money's on Slytherin... then again, my money is always on my own house!

The purse is about done.  I need to sew the strap to the sides, add the embroidery idea that I have been mulling over, and then go through my fabric stash to see what kind of lining I want.  It's my new park hopping bag for when we go to Walt Disney World.  The less I have to carry, the cooler I will feel.  If we opt to bring lunches then Pokey will carry the back pack full of supplies but if it's just a pop over for some fun, my new little purse should be perfect.

The other item is something that I can't wait to share with you... in another 12 days.  Yep, 12 days.  Can you handle it?  Can you wait that long?  I know, I'm a stinker for teasing you but I've got to cracking if it's going to be of value - which I know it will be because it is so fully awesome I'm busting at the seams to tell you about it.

Okay, off to go finish up these things and perhaps play catch up with my DVR... something was recording last night but I can't remember what it might have been so it's a surprise for me at least.  Have a wonderful day - and if you have a second, come check our fabulous game... even Ravelry has it on the front page this week because we are that magically delicious... wait... what...

08 April 2014

Just jammin'

It is a gross day here today - I love it!  Well, I could do without the thunderstorm aspect of it and just have the rain but we can't have it all.  Pokey took a vacation day today and another on Thursday so it's going to be a random but short week for him.

We're going to brave the weather after Hobbit gets on the bus for school and head over to the store so I can get a few things.  Starbucks is naturally on order since I don't get to pop in whenever I wish now, which makes it real treat when we do go... and it's been nice on my wallet.

Here's a tune to get your day going right.  You can thank Peanut for this one, she introduced me to them the other day.  I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!

07 April 2014

Balancing act

Working from home sounds like it is a dream job, doesn't it.  It's got a lot of perks and a lot of pluses to it but don't be fooled, like any job out there, it has a few set backs.  My biggest one, life balance.

It's a constant juggle to keep things separated.  I have the personality type where I can get lost in my work.  It happened at Disney and my family suffered because of it.  I would go in to work early and stay at work late.  Not because I didn't want to be at home - I did, I love my family to no end - but I also loved my job to no end.  I had a difficult time striking a healthy balance.

I love working on cases at my current job.  If I could do nothing but research all day, I would be one happy camper.  It's not that I don't like talking to people, it's just that I enjoy getting lost in the research that much more.  The problem comes in when there is overtime available.  An hour here, two hours there, and before I know it, I've worked half a shift before my shift even starts.
My work space, in all it's 'natural' glory.. except my tablet which normally sits on the big square and plays music or shows while I work so I don't get whackadoodle in a quiet room.
When that happens, my house suffers.  Sure, I've not physically left my house but I've not attended to it either.  Supper duty gets left on my husband's shoulders after he's worked a long day.  My daughter ends up eating super late because of either my break schedule or his work schedule getting him home after 7 pm.  There are Buddy Bunnies plotting a house-wide coup.  Mt. Dontwannawashit becomes a daunting thing and the kitchen, though technically a chore that my husband volunteered to acquire when I went back to work, just gets too icky for me to function.

It doesn't happen overnight.  It just slowly creeps up on me so then I take a day and reign it all back in.  I don't like those days - because it means I've lost my balance again.  Tomorrow will be one of those days for me, though I've gotten a head start on it yesterday so it won't be so bad.

Once you find your balance, do your best to keep it up.  Everyone in your life will be happier for it - including yourself.  I love the book of Proverbs so whenever I get out of balance, Chapter 11, Verse 1 always pops into my head... "A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight."

It's time for me to get a just weight again.

05 April 2014

The preciousness of it all

The last half of this week has been a rough one but it looks like things have evened out.  Enough time has past to where I can write about it without raw emotion taking over, which is always a good thing.

Wednesday night at 11 pm, our phone rang.  Now let me preface this by saying that our family, both nuclear and extended, have a universal rule about calling hours being 9 to 9 unless something is wrong.  It doesn't matter what member of my family you call, the phone will be answered with a very concerned "What's wrong" instead the joyful "Hello" if it's outside these hours.  This was clearly past hours and I answered accordingly.

The tiniest of voices responded to my inquiry with a question of her own - did I get her Skype message.  I had to tell her no because I wasn't working that night so I wasn't in the office at my computer.  That's when she told me the news that would break my heart for several reason... that is when she told me that her roommate's mother was found dead a few hours ago.

I won't go into the details because they point in a direction that I'm not sure this poor child has followed to yet.  I doubt she reads her roommate's mother's blog but you never know and it's best to just not go there.  I'll simply say it was a selfish act and that if I could, I would bring her back and scream at her for it even though we were not friends.  I would scream at her for the state she has left my child in, not to mention her own children.  I would scream at her to remind her that nothing lasts forever and things will always get better if you just give it time.

My poor baby, who is on the other side of the state and I can't wrap my arms around, dissolved into a puddle.  Partly for her friend that she's known since they were sophomores in high school and partly because the horrify thought that your parents honestly might not live forever has now become a garish reality.  Through heavy waves of tears, my darling girl confessed that she never wanted me to leave her.  She made me promise that her father and I were healthy and would be around as long as we could, no matter what... which I did, repeatedly and with as much conviction as I could so she knew that regardless of anything that happens in this world, we will always be here for her.

We were on the phone until well past midnight that night.  The conversation wandered around and back again as she worked her way through processing the events of the day.  We talked about school and art and dreams of the future.  We talked about the past and the harsh reality of the day.  She wanted to know that I will always be there and I wanted to show her that I would.  She has always known it but some days, it just helps to exercise it out once and a while.  I was going to be on that phone for as long as she needed me to be, even if it was to just sit and be quiet with her. 

That night I told her that if she wanted to come home, her father and I would make it happen but she refused because she had classes the next day.  She had a world and life that required her to be a part of it.  I was so proud of her decision too.  I slept with the phone so that in case she had a rough night, she could call and I would be able to get to the phone quickly.  I walked around all day the next day with the phone with me, and she did call me.  She called me about five times that day, just to know I was there.  Once was to give me an update on events regarding her roommate and what she was able to do for her at the school.  Once to debate the pros and cons of walking all the way to the craft store, once to walk with her to get lunch, and once to actually walk to the craft store.  She even called later on that night to talk to her daddy and give him the latest update on events, both of the sad and cheerful variety.

I know that my daughter is built of some strong stuff but this week, even during the moments that still bring to me to tears when I think about them, she has shown me what a kind, compassionate, and precious woman she has become.  Though my heart breaks every time I think of her being so sad, scared, and alone, I can't help but be a little proud at how she pulled herself up, squared her shoulders, and soldiered on.  Facing her first encounter with the passing of someone, she handled it with grace and I now know that there is nothing in this world that she won't be able to overcome.

Life is precious.... it's fragile... it's scary... but it is also wonderful, if you simply allow it to be.  Nothing is so terrible that it will last forever.  You can overcome any obstacle if you simply believe in yourself, in others, and in a higher power to help you through.  He would not lead you to it if He wasn't also going to lead you through it.  Hug your loved ones today and remind them that you will always be there for them, no matter what.  They may giggle and say "I know" and that's fine but dollar to donut, they'll feel better just hearing it out loud.

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