30 April 2012

Spring cleaning, virtually spotless

Oh my goodness - it is amazing what you feel like you can accomplish once you finish a huge project.  Since my blanket has been done, I have been bitten  by the cleaning bug... and my first term of the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup starts tomorrow so it's best to have my things in order.

I went through, being the good Hufflepuff that I am, and cleaned out my queue. It had reached such astronomical proportions that there was no way I could have knit all the things in there before I died. That realization alone was enough to make me thin out the patterns. I decided that if I really liked it, I would either favorite it so I could go back later or I simply placed the pattern in my library for future reference.  I am proud to say, there are only 11 items in my queue.  There are 319 things in my library and I have 262 favorites but that's a completely different story since I use those for other things as well, like tracking NerdWars submissions and such.

Now that my queue is all set for Spring Term, I figured that my crochet eye was keen enough to dissect a pattern. There is a really cute owl purse that I stumbled upon and I wanted to make it.  Y'all have heard me go on and on about my issue with paying for a single pattern but I was willing to go as much as $3 for this particular one because of the cuteness factor - unfortunately, the creator wanted more so I am left to my own devices. I printed off one of the photos and I am going to do my best to recreate off of what little I know. I am even toying with sewing a lining inside - jump back y'all!

This is going to be a most creative 4 months - what with Spring Term for HPKCHC and then Tournament 5 for NerdWars, should Club 33 members stick around for another go at the goofiness with me. Yeah, there will be some cross posting and multi-game projects but on the whole, I have a feeling that they will each be unique.

Now, I'm going to try and channel all this 'cleaning' mojo into my real life and finish up the chores that I let sit this past weekend because what's the point in having something so fabulous if the rest of my house gives me the heebie-jeebies.

29 April 2012

Sunday Snaps

This week has been a crazy - Blog Week, the end of NerdWars T4 & the start of term at HPKCHC

Plus, we took a much needed Family Fun Day

There have been Militant Badger Baking badges to be won...

I even enlisted the help of Hobbit, which wasn't difficult once she learned she could eat the prop

With all the cans of crazy opened, I still was able to finish my dissertation.
I know that a lot of people are sad to see the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (hosted by the amazing Eskimimi Makes) end but I must admit, I'm not one of them.  Don't get me wrong, I love participating every year and I have a blast - but I'm a creature of habit.  It's like when you have your most beloved relative come stay... after a few days, you kind of want your routine back. I have loved every minute of this annual event but I will admit that I'm happy to have "my house" back, as it were.

Most join in the festivities as a push to write every day - I join to break out of my routines and write about something different. It's funny, you will see a lot of people "taking a break" this next week and I'm just tickled to be back to my regularly scheduled blogging.  Oh well, such is life, right?

This has been one crazy set of seven days filled with Blog Week, the end of Tournament 4 for NerdWars and the gearing up of Spring Term for Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup (go HUFFLEPUFF!!)... add to that the fact that Hobbit only has a little less than 5 weeks of school left and things are going to be amazingly crazy around here - just the way I like it.

How was your week? Anything exciting coming up this week?

Shaken, not stirred (3KCBWDAY7)

I went back through my Ravelry queue to see how things have panned out since I learned to crochet... which will be 1 year ago in a few days. In this past year, things have certainly been shaken up a bit.

I have completed 28 knitted items, 12 crocheted items and 3 that were a combination of the two. Okay, first off - can I say "Holy Wow" over the fact that I have completed 43 projects in a year!!  Secondly, I think it's only fair to note that one of those 12 projects was this ~

Rapunzel's New Dream - finally finished!
and it took me three months to make all 89 squares, seam it all together and do a border that was 3 complete rounds... it was a LOT of work but I think it came out really great, don't you?

My crafting world has definitely be shaken up but I must say, it gives it such a great flavor!


28 April 2012

Crazy, mad skills (3KCBWDAY6)

The first hat I ever made
I confessed earlier this week that I have been knitting for almost 20 years.  It's true, shocking but true. I enjoyed it in the early onset of my knitting adventure but I didn't fall head-over-heels, would-die-without-a-project-working in love with it until about eight years ago.  I know that sounds odd but it's the truth.

My first original design
When I was younger and attempting to learn how to knit, I had a newborn baby at home and a crafty mother to look to for inspiration and education. All I wanted to do was make cute things that my own daughter could look back at and gush with pride because her mother made it... after all, it's what I still do to this day.  Alas, knitting and I didn't hit it off like I had hoped. It was fiddly and awkward and amazingly ugly when it came off of my needles.  Nothing at all like the Smithsonian quality pieces produced by my mother... knitting wasn't a genetic thing and I was gutted.

My first fingerless gloves
My needles and I didn't speak for several years but then one day, I sat down and we had a heart to heart.  I realized that I was my own knitter, not my mother.  Yes, she's still the one whom I hold all my projects in comparison to but in the end, I am unique just like my finished objects. I studied on my own, gathering all the knitting reference material I could find from the library and set out on this journey once again. I learned how to cast on... then I ripped it all out and cast on again - repeating this process a million times over until I had it down.  Then I made what most new knitters make, a garter stitch scarf.  I had a friend who was moving away and I wanted to make something for her so I sat down with some beautiful yarn that reminded me of a Florida sunset and got to work.  I sat and knit during every free moment I had that week.  I even took my knitting to work - when knitting in public was not cool like it is today - and knit on my breaks.  By the end of the week, I had produced a simple scarf. I'm sure that if I saw it today, I would be horrified but at the time, it was gorgeous... and that is when I became an actual knitter.
My only socks

From that point on, nothing seemed impossible. I have approached every new technique with confidence that I could do it and if I couldn't, I could visit my mama and she could show me. I was, and still am, fearless. It might take me some time to gear up and do it - we all remember The Great Sock Journey of 2011 - but I will ultimately do it... like learning to crochet - I have been wanting to learn how to do it for years so when it was time, I sat down and learned.  Now I can make a granny square like it's nobody's business - I even have ventured into amigurumi and it's not been a year since I first picked up a hook.

I think I will always consider myself a simple knitter. Yes, I can do all the advanced techniques but a simple knitter, to me, is one who makes things for the joy of it all... for the one word response when your project is first seen - that "wow" factor. The difference, as far as I'm concerned, between an intricate lace scarf and that simple garter stitch number that I first made is nothing but time - because once that final stitch is bound off and the ends are weaved in, I look at both with the same amount of pride and wonderment... all the while thinking one simple thought ~

Just sampling of my many adventures from simply making some knots in some beautiful string.

I can't believe I just made that... wow.


26 April 2012

Love knows no season (3KCBWDAY4)

I love to knit. I've done it for going on 20 years if you can believe it - I know I just did a triple check but it's true. I can't imagine a day without some time to sit down and work on my projects. Crochet has wormed it's way into my heart as well - a craft I attempted to master in my teenage years but didn't and only just picked it back up last year when my folks were in town for Peanut's graduation. I plopped down at my mama's feet one afternoon and learned how to make a granny square... and I haven't stopped.

I live in Florida - or as I call it, The Surface of the Sun. There are no seasons. We have "hot", "dang hot", "gates of hell hot" and "Christmas". If I were to craft for my "seasons" all I could make would be hot pads and bookmarks. So what's a crafter to do - I'll tell you!

For any crafter who lives in a climate like mine, there are three simple rules to make your creative life amazing. These have been my little secret for years so please, prepare yourself for the wonderment ~
  1. Marry a man who is constantly cold. It's true, if it gets below 78 around here you will find Pokey bundled up like Nanook of the North.
  2. Send your beloved child off to university as close to the Arctic Tundra as possible. In our case, that would be South Dakota.
  3. Donate all your beautiful things. I ran a charity for years that was devoted to making and sending hats to our troops. We branched out to making items for wounded soldiers at prestigious medical hospitals. The economy shut down our operation but I still create and donate to others who survived the turn.
I love to make things out of all kinds of woolly goodness. I live on The Surface of the Sun. Typically this wouldn't work but I can confirm that honest love truly knows no season.


25 April 2012

Apparently cheaters DO win

It's just sad what some people will do & allow
Whomever said that "cheaters never win and winners never cheat" was wrong.

I'm going to take a moment to rant and you are more than welcome to skip this post and come visit me again tomorrow but I really wanted to get this off my chest.  I'll wait...

Y'all know that I entered a fun little creative contest and the winner was announced today. The company hosting it, one that I used to have a ton of respect for but has since obviously lost all of it, gave the award to the person who cheated.  Blatantly cheated and even though it was documented and brought to the company's attention, they did nothing about it - simply stating that the person still managed to have the most "unique" pins. 

Excuse me? You acknowledge that they cheated and yet you reward them for it?  It doesn't matter how you package it or spin it, you allowed someone with an unethical position and practice be rewarded.  What does that say about you, your image and your company?  If you will turn a blind eye to a silly little contest what will you do when it matters - in life and in business?

The loss is greater than the silly contest, I lost respect for a woman and an organization that I used to think so highly of in the knitting world... and that is the greatest loss of all.

You're my inspiration (3KCBWDAY3)

My mama (with Hobbit last year) - the most amazingly creative person I know
Click, click, click... wwwwwhhhhhrrrrrrrr... whisk, whisk, whisk...

These were the sounds I heard growing up - my mother knitting, sewing or baking. I would wonder, rather loudly and impatiently, if the object she was knitting/sewing/baking was for me.  Actually, I automatically thought that all items that were either knit, sewn or baked were for me so when they weren't I was rather shocked.

My mama claims that I am the one who taught her two things - how to curse and how to have patience. While I may have been given credit for those, and her beautiful silver hair, she gets all the glory for my creative endeavors... because if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have the knowledge, courage or conviction to even try.


24 April 2012

Harder than I thought... (3KCBWDAY2)

My photography brain just froze... could be too full of dissertation stuff to move.
I love photography. I don't think I'm half bad at it either. I've got a few that I'm pretty proud of out of the bazillion photos I take a year... but today, my brain just froze. We were supposed to be creative and I just couldn't get my vision to come through the lens.  This is what I have, and while I think it's cute, it just didn't translate well - I'm under a time crunch for my dissertation and so I'm exhausted and all I have on my brain right now is my current work in progress.. my WIP.

It's a cute shot but I'm guessing that I'm not going to getting a blue ribbon any time soon... at least, not until I finish this blanket and free up some neurons.

By the way, if you enjoyed this shot, you could nominate it for one of  Eskimimimakes' awards here ~ thank you!


23 April 2012

Colour me happy (3KCBWDAY1)

A small snapshot of my yarny history
I took a look through my yarn stash and my Ravelry notebook, to see if I had a theme to my color palette and the only link I could find was that the colors I used made me happy.  It's true. I don't have a bunch of any one color family because I enjoy all colors.  I love how a simple green can change the color of someone's eyes or a gentle pink can add a natural blush to another's cheeks.

Do I have a favorite color - sure, I think most people do.  Do I only purchase things in that color or color family, shoot no because then I would miss out on all the other amazing shades in the universe.  As you can see, my yarn stash has everything from white to rust, green to grey and cream to crimson.  It's all beautiful and it all has a place in my crafting world.

Yes, colors can enhance a look, mood or feeling. Yes, colors also have very interesting meanings.  I like to play with both because sometimes, the irony is my little inside joke to myself.  I have been known to make items that 'clash' with their color meaning... the end result is still a gorgeous item.

Color is a beautiful thing and I am happy to use every single one I can find.


22 April 2012

Sunday Snaps

Hobbit got her own Molly doll for her birthday - she named it Sissy.

I can't believe she's 7 already!

These beauties are soon going to have a new home all their own.

I made some serious progress on this Saturday - so much so that I might finish today!
It has been a relatively quiet week.  Not a lot going on - except for Hobbit's birthday.  That was a good day.  I can't wrap my head around the fact that she's already 7... she'll be grown and off at college if I blink!  I know it's true because that's what happened with Peanut.  It's like they're all cute and snuggly one minute and the next, you're waving goodbye with tears streaming down your face as they drive off to start their own life.

My blanket is due at the end of the week.  I wasn't enjoying it for a while and then I put it down for almost a month... and Saturday I sat down, put on the first of my Harry Potter movies and worked, then the second Harry Potter and worked some more and finally the third and worked until the final note of the credits played.  Today, I will finish up Harry's education and my blanket... at least that is the plan.

How was your week - anything neat happen?

21 April 2012

This is coming too...

Did I ever mention that I have a fear of thunderstorms?  Yeah, today is going to be fanbloodytastic.

It's coming!

Do you see that little badge link over there with the precious little girl?  On the right, right there... see?  That starts up on Monday and I'm so tickled.  I participated last year and loved it.  It pushed me creatively and I found a few new treasures out the in blogging world.  If you would like to participate, I know everyone would love to have you join in!  All you have to do is sign up, follow the topics and use the codes ~

Eskimimi makes the cutest graphics, I swear
It's time to get ready for some serious fun next week - it all begins on Monday, 23 April!  Are you ready?

20 April 2012


Yes, the first thing I do with my hooks is make a rainbow flower... don't you?
My new set of Addi Swing Hooks has arrived!  I am so tickled.  I just had to share... back to the blanket now... but aren't they the prettiest things ever!!

Weekend Wonderment ~ 4/20 - 4/22

I've got to finish this blanket - 33 various sized blocks, seaming and 3 round edge to go!
Yep, that is my weekend right there. I will be parked in my living room working on Rapunzel's New Dream the entire time. A few breaks for laundry flipping and coffee sipping but mostly I will be buried underneath this beautiful creation in progress, willing it to be finished with every fiber of my being!

What about you - what does your weekend look like?

19 April 2012

Less than six weeks

That is all the time we have left in this school year.  Can you believe it?  Want to see a real kicker - all the moms in the world will get this one ~

She's gotten so big in such a short period of time - where has my little baby girl gone?!?!
I am looking forward to our lazy days of summer.  No more running all over to simply wait in line.  Waking up without an alarm. No real agendas that need to be followed. Delicious days full of knitting, crochet, sewing, baking and photography or whatever else we can dream up.

There are downsides to this summer as well but I refuse to dwell on them. They are factors that I can't change or control so why waste energy on them when all it will do is make me sad, you know? I decided that it is a lot more fun to simply look at the positive side of it all.

I know these six weeks are going to simultaneously fly by and crawl slower than Christmas Eve night but I am going to do my best to enjoy every minute of it - regardless of speed.

Are you looking forward to summer break? Any big plans?

18 April 2012

Busy Birthday Business

I tried and that's what counts
I have blue fingers.  I do.  I'm not kidding.  Have you ever walked up to a baker and asked them if they can make a TARDIS cake?  No?  You really should - the looks you receive are priceless.  Like I'm the whackadoodle for asking... maybe they're the whackadoodles for not knowing!

I did my best to make one for Hobbit.  She was tickled with it - or perhaps it was the ability to lick the beater last night, one will never know for sure.  It took almost a full bottle of blue coloring to make the icing the right shade of Doctor Who blue.  You know what is even better - it tastes like oranges.  Oh yeah, way to monkey with your mind!  The inside is polka dot so if we're going to get all wibbly wobbly, timey whimey on you then we're going to go all the way!

Happy Hobbit Timelord
You may have guessed that around here, your birthday doesn't start until the hour you were born.  Poor Peanut was born at 4:45 a.m. so every year from the first celebration until a few weeks ago, I wake her up and wish her "Happy Birthday".  I don't know why or how it came about, it's just something that happened and it stuck - plus, as she got older it was fun to pounce on her before she was awake just to say "Happy Birthday" and then run away giggling like mad.  Evil payback for the entire year.  This year, she stayed up just so she wouldn't miss my calling her in her dorm to wish her her first "Happy Birthday" of the day and make it officially her birthday.

Hobbit got off a lot easier.  She wasn't born until 10 a.m. so there is no pouncing or waking at odd hours of the morning.  She will also have a rotten time frame when she gets older because it has traditionally fallen on the state standardized testing period.  Thank goodness that won't happen until 3rd grade... so we took full advantage of it this year and let her stay home.  We're also doing things a bit differently - a present every few hours during the day, starting with her biggest first.

Very serious time traveling happening around her today - she's The Doctor

Now, we'll be spending the day protecting the universe, hanging out in the TARDIS and going on adventures all day long... wonder if I can get any squares done while we 'travel'?

16 April 2012

Crazy, crazy week

The day it all started...
Holy wow, last week was crazy.  I missed two postings this month and didn't even do a Weekend Wonderment - what's up with that?! Has the statute of limitations run out on blaming Spring Break week... no? Oh good, well then, that has to be what it was then.

I know where I fell off track, it was April 4th. I also know why, we were up early and playing at Disney's Hollywood Studios with one of my best friends that day... which just so happened to be on Hobbit's Spring Break.  So we'll partially blame that, okay?

Pokey is to blame for the other. He has been needing a new car for years and I have managed to put it off because I just couldn't get the budget to hold a second car payment. Sooner or later though, cars get to the point where it was going to start costing more to keep them both than to simply bite the bullet and get new ones.  I loved my Tuscan and had no intention of trading it... until I did the math.
He's so happy he could bust!
Pokey's car was paid off and mine was almost paid off, so the future of no payments was in sight. I can't remember being an adult and not having a car payment, this was going to be exciting. Sure, Rocket (Hobbit named it that... I used to make her do the whole routine before I would 'take off' when she was little) was a bit of gasoholic but he was reliable.

Initially, I found Minnie (yep, Hobbit named her too) for Pokey because we were looking just for pricing information to build off of in the budget crunching. We searched for 'dream cars', both new and used, to see where they feel so our expectations matched our wallets.  I worked the numbers and figured that if we traded my car and were able to get two cars for close to the same amount of my current payment and they were not gasoholics, between the savings there and in insurance, we could honestly break even.  There would be no change to our financial standing at all and that was a number I could live with without breaking out in hives.

This would be Mickey (again, named by Hobbit)
So I gave Pokey his target payment price and set him off hunting.  He was totally discouraged because I admit, the number I gave him was low but it had a bit of wiggle room, not much so I gave him the desired number and prayed that fees and such wouldn't kill it because the 'top end' wasn't too far off. Certain that he would never be able to get something for the number I capped him at, he left like a teenager who was told to be home by 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. He honestly had no faith but he also hadn't honestly gotten a car in forever.  The end result - he is now a proud owner of a 2009 Chevy Aveo and he was within budget. He's so proud of his car, he cleaned out the garage!  He claims it was to keep my new 2009 Volkswagen Beetle safe, and I let him think I believe him, but the reality is - he's never owned a car this new... just as I've never owned a used car in my adult life.  Sure my first one was almost as old as I was at the time but once I started purchasing my own cars, I always bought new... but isn't this what marriage is about anyway?

Moment prior: "Okay, now I want to get their hiney's in the garage" - this is what I got.

You do things simply to see your spouse deliriously happy.  Sometimes, I think he's way better at that than I am - but I do try. My gestures usually are constant little things while he is known for the grandiose moments. It was nice to trade them this time.

15 April 2012

Sunday Snaps

I only got one of these projects completed and very little headway on the others...

She's had a bit of a rough week but I think we're coming round again... I hope...

It's gone everywhere with me and it always gets compliments.. love my bag!

This was the one project I finished.  It was my 6 of 6 submission for NerdWars... cute, huh.

This is my pretty new baby's nose. This is a large part of the reason why very little crafting was done.
It's been a very wild week.  Hobbit is so super excited about her birthday this Wednesday that she's having trouble focusing at school.  Pokey got a new car Saturday and I got a new car Saturday... but we spent the better part of the week making Saturday happen so it's been kind of crazy.  I have a timeline set up for completing my dissertation by the end of the month (in just 2 weeks) - we'll see if it's doable though I think it is if I do one crucial step - get up from here! 

Oh, and I found another place to feed my crafting competition craziness - a group on Ravelry called Harry Potter's Knitting and Crochet House Cup (often times referred to as HPKCHC for obvious reasons).  I'm hoping the Sorting Hat places me in Hufflepuff... fingers crossed!

How was your week?

14 April 2012

Look what Pokey bought me!

This is Minnie.  She's safely tucked in the newly cleaned garage.  Mickey will join her later today.

13 April 2012

But Jezza loved it!

2009 VW Beetle... yeah, I love it too.
I've got Beetle on the brain today. Lately, my husband and I have been trying to figure out where in our budget we can shave things so that we can look into getting new cars. I admit, I've come up with the greatest bit of creative calculations and rationalization train of thought. EVER.

Being the Top Gear petrol-head that I am, I know a thing or two about cars. I had my husband go and trade in his 2003 Lanser for a used 2009 Aero that only had 11,000 miles on it (compared to his Lanser with over 100k) and I'm waiting to hear what type of payment arrangements the VW dealership can do by trading in my 2006 Tuscan for a 2009 Beetle that only has 32k miles on it compared to my 100k (lots of driving back and forth to Disney for work can eat up your car, trust me).

Where's the creative bit you ask... our combined car payment would only be a bit more than my current car payment AND our gas budget would be cut in half because instead of us getting 30 and 20 miles per gallon respectively, he'll be getting 40 and I'll be getting 30... PLUS, they're both manual transmissions so it will be even better than that! At the very least, this vehicular upgrade will be a wash financially speaking and I'm good with that.  To have the piece of mind that my husband's car won't die on his 75 mile daily trek to and from work without a cell phone, well that's just priceless.

 So fingers crossed, they call back tonight and say "come get your Bug" because I would love nothing more than to pop out my door every day and holler "Red"!

12 April 2012

Morning Latte

Cheree made me this gorgeous project bag
Look at the fabulous details!
It's like a perky colored TARDIS, I swear!
And her version of "a little something extra" is to toss in another little bag!
If you don't know my friend Cheree over at The Morning Latte, you really should.  She is a very talented woman - green thumb guru, quilting queen, sewing sensation and knitting knock-out.  Take a look at her real estate in the blogiverse - her blog and her shoppe.

I promise, you will be overjoyed to have such a person in your circle of friends.  I know I am.  Thank you, Cheree - I absolutely love my bags.  You have done a wonderful job and I still haven't stopped giggling over them yet!

11 April 2012

It'll be here soon

Ravelympics.  Can you believe it's that time again already?  Me neither but I must admit it, I love the Olympics and this year, they're in my favorite city - London, UK.  Every year I sit my fluffy self down and watch them, dreaming about how wonderful it would be to have one ounce of their athletic prowess.  Ravelympics is the perfect outlet.

Do you think that while the little gymnasts are tumbling across the floor they are curious how to get the right amount of negative ease on their sweater? Pondering gauge and yardage don't seem to be a top issue when the divers are making tiny little splashes.

Having the dedication and nimble finger prowess to create 1500+ yards of beautiful lace is just as tough as competing in the decathlon. My Olympic dreams may have never come true, for obvious reasons, but my Ravelympic ones most certainly will because this year, I'm a co-captain for the NerdWars team!!

Crafting, geekery and physical prowess combined - oh yeah, that'll get your face on a Wheaties box.

10 April 2012

Tuesday Tunes

This is because on The Voice last night, these two were both sub-par and people should know how fabulous these songs truly are... therefore, please enjoy these classics and have a Twofer Tuesday Tunes on me.

09 April 2012

Out of focus

The infamous comfy blue chair
Normally on Monday I write something that will hopefully motivate others and today, welp I just can't seem to focus. I'm blaming my allergies - they are seriously off the charts this year since we didn't have a proper winter to kill anything leftover. Oh well, ce la vie.

There are just days where you aren't meant to be going ninetytonothing all day long. It's like the world's way of making you slow down and take care of yourself - because if you don't care of yourself, you certainly can't take care of others. Today is one of those days for me so my agenda is going to be simple... a load of dark clothes (possibly two) and then I'm going to spend the day in my comfy blue chair watching movies and crafting.

Sure, we were just on Spring Break and this is the first day I have the house all to myself. I cleaned up a lot over the weekend and the laundry is back to manageable status. I believe the constant running of the past 10 days has just worn me out and I need a day to reboot - a vacation after our vacation as it were.

Disclaimer: Those of you who know me know that I have the most difficult time with this... already today I have done the dishes, scrubbed the kitchen, tidied the living room and started the laundry. I even stopped in the middle of writing this to clean up so while my intentions are good - my actual follow through on having a day off totally stinks... but I try, and that has to count for something, right?
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