31 December 2013

First planned project of 2014

This is the sample swatch for my upcoming OWL but I fell backwards into another project based off of the colors!
So I have gotten all my calculations in order for Our Bedspread and once I broke it down far enough, I realized it was totally doable!! Check it out -

107” x 120” for the size bedspread on my queen size bed.
6” for each African Flower Square with #4 yarn on 7.0mm hook
107” = 18 squares across
120” = 20 squares down
Total squares needed 360

6 months until anniversary
360/6 = 60 squares a month
30 days/60 squares = 2 squares a day

I am figuring that it might be best to make it 3 squares a day so I can cover short months and add an edging if I want. All yarn ordered should be in house by the 9th but I can totally get started on it with what I have here currently. I am going to alternate between the flower being blue and being purple - still debating on adding a white into the mix though the longer I sit on it, the less likely I am to do it since it might throw off my palette being that it’s such a bright white. Yeah, no white - just talked myself right out of it.

Pokey always fusses that I have never made him a sweater - take that Mister… you’re getting a queen sized blanket in all your favorite colors instead!!  What better way to bid farewell to a great crafting year than by ringing it in with a new epic project!

Enjoy ringing in the new year with one of my old favorites.

30 December 2013

2014 - Promises to Try

It's that time of year again and I'm rather excited too.  I started writing these Promises to Try back in the winter of 2010 and each year I have set the bar a little higher than the last... and each year I do my best to rise to the challenge.  This year will be no different.  So without further ado, let's see what I've got planned for 2014!
  1. With the exception of the car, pay off all outstanding debts.  I want to pay off everything we have financed.  I'd love to pay off the car too but it's just too big right now to consider.  I totally believe that if I budget things correctly, the furniture and the computer can be totally paid off this year.
  2. Figure out how to do charted color work in crochet.  I attempted it a few weeks ago and my snowflake looked more like an ink blot test than anything else.  There is a trick to it that I have yet to master but I will figure it out this year and use the new skill to make myself something awesome.
  3. Save at least 5% of our paychecks each pay period.  I know we can do it since we came so close to our goal last year.  Plus, our bills have gone down with our family downsizing to one car back in November and I've managed to lower our electric bill this past year by 60% so I think we can move up to the percentage plan for savings now.
  4. Read 6 books this year.  I had a goal this past year of reading 12 books but it was unobtainable because I think it was slightly unrealistic, plus I went to back to work, but I did managed to complete 5 books so I'm going to push myself to make a little more time to read.
  5. Find a work/chore/play balance in my life.  It's hard to do chores all morning, each lunch, and then go to work until midnight each night.  It feels as though I have no time to 'play' so I then got into a bad habit of tipping the scales in the opposite direction until I couldn't stand it and felt like no one was helping to pitch in which is just toxic in and of itself.  I will find a way to bring a better balance to things this year.  It will take a bit of trial and error, I'm sure, but the end result will be harmony.
I think those are some pretty awesome goals to strive for in 2014.  They give me just enough of a challenge that I will have to work for them but they aren't so outrageous that I will feel like a failure by March... and isn't that the key to making Promises to Try anyway?  This year, I'm going to do my best to keep a running tab of sorts to chart my progress.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do it weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly yet.  I like the idea of keeping myself accountable more often to help keep me focused and on track.

What about you - what promises are you going to make this year?

29 December 2013

A year in projects

I thought it would be fun to see what all I have created this year so I have gone through each month and created a photo montage of all my FOs for the month.  I don't think I did too shabby this year...

January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
There are a few projects missing - like the blanket I was almost done with when two full glasses of sweet tea toppled over into my craft bag, or the Easter bunny I made my mama, and even the tablet cover I made for Hobbit... but over all, they're all present and accounted for - my year in projects.

Here's to a very crafty 2013 and an even craftier 2014!

28 December 2013

Oooo... a year long project!

Picture from Mummy_Stacey's instagram feed
I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Crochet Time, and she was talking about doing a 'mood blanket'.  Y'all know me, I had to find out what this critter was and see about joining in... oh my word!

Mummy_Stacey came up with this awesomeness and I think I'll hop on the wagon as well.  I think it is brilliant and I'm going to go with the square a day program, working it at five rounds a square and 7 squares across.  This will give me a blanket is 7 x 52 and perfect for the sofa.

The color aspect is going to be a bit tricky but I think I have it down.  I'm not a very difficult person and my moods aren't that wild.  I'm generally happy, blessed, content, upset or frustrated.  Those are it... now to associate colors with them is the tricky part.  They have to look good together, regardless of order.  I'm thinking happy will be rose color, blessed will be a mossy green, content will be white, upset will be greyish blue, and frustrated will be a chocolatey brown.  I think that will good - don't you?

If you want to join in, take a look at the links above and join in.  This is going to be an awesome way to look back at 2014... now, to find the yarn!

26 December 2013

My "haul"

That's what my daddy said the other day when addressing all the presents.  He proclaimed that we all got "a nice haul" and I think he was right.  Yesterday I shared what all I gave but today, I wanted to share what all I received.

Look at all the lovely yarny goodness - and no, I did not saturate the color.  It's that bright!
Isn't it glorious!  Peanut gave me those Homespun skeins, the patterns and that awesome bag that is big enough to hold a blanket project. My mama made me the sweater and gave me the neon rainbow of yarn.  I am thinking that they need to be turned into a blanket but I'm not 100% certain yet.  All of the yarn is so very soft and my sweater is done in DK weight so it's perfect for any time of the year around here.

From my fabulous Pokey, I received some colored pencils to use with my charting graph paper based off a random comment I made when I couldn't find any the other week when I was making the Rorschach bag and a wonderful tablet that I can do everything I wished my eReader would do for the past three years.  It's absolutely perfect and I was glued to it all day yesterday.  Hobbit gave me season 3 of Downton Abbey so now I can have a marathon the weekend before season 4 starts airing!!  Lots of tearing up on my end over the thoughtful gifts that were given to me.

My Christmas was everything I could have ever dreamed of and more.  I hope that y'all had a blessed day with your loved ones too.  Did you get anything that made you cry tears of joy?

25 December 2013

All those things I couldn't share before...

I can share now!  All homemade presents have been opened so I can share what all I've been working on these past few months.

My daddy knows... bow ties are cool!  I'm sure this is now a headband for Peanut or Mama but still, he got it.

He didn't put them on because had shoes on but I made him these slippers. He seemed happy to get them.

Mama and Peanut in their bows - and Mama with her hotpads that I made for her.  She loved them.
These are what they looked like - she thought the colors were wonderful and I know they'll get a lot of use.

Peanut in the lacy edged headband that I made for her.  It was just super lucky that she had on the this dress.

Because it went perfectly with Victorian Cape I made - pattern from 1904!
I told her about weaving the ribbon through that first row of white stitches and making a bow instead of using the broach.

Then we came home and waited for Santa to come visit us at our house.

Pokey loved his new Nook case - you can get the pattern here.

Hobbit got a smaller version for her new tablet that Santa brought for her.

She also got a new headband and a pretty snuggly purple capelet that she loved.

I even managed to get a 'non-squishy' shot of it so you can see.
Oh and don't worry about me - I got some awesome yarny goodness tossed my way as well...

1018 yards of awesome neon goodness... and 3 skeins of accidentally coordinating Homespun!
I hope that everyone has a very happy Christmas, full of love and laughter and yarny goodness.

May you be blessed today and all year through.

24 December 2013

So close...

So I wanted to make this awesome bag with a round bottom for strength but square sides for structure...
I finally got it all worked out just perfectly but this was after several false starts over several days...
I might not get it done for tomorrow but at least I will have a killer new pattern to give to y'all in the new year!

23 December 2013

A new friend and a thank you

I wasn't going to publish her but she was too cute not to share all y'all.
I was sitting here the other day, pleased as punch that all my Christmas crafting was completed. Then it hit me - a most wonderful idea of something that just was screaming to be made… so I did what any crafter does, I shopped my stash and sat down to work.

Four hours, three colors, two buttons and one idea… the end result was Owlivia, the Christmas Owl. There are plans for an entire parliament now but I will always remember that it all started with the sweetest one of all.  I am giving her to y'all as a Christmas 'thank you' this year.  It's available as a free download on Ravelry. 

We have had a lot of new friends join us over the past few months and that can only be due to you.  I don't market my blog because I am still amazed when others pop over to join me.  I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to my tiny space in the internet - but I do love having company and I get such a giggle when y'all bring friends.  So thank you, so very much, for coming to spend a bit of time me.

This pattern is untested, though I have worked it several times. If you notice an error or have any questions, please let me know. I’ll be happy to help you work through it, step by step. When I first started my journey into crochet, I had the help of some lovely strangers so I make it a point to pay it forward to any new crafter I meet.

Merry Christmas, poppets... and thank you... for everything.

22 December 2013

Sunday Snaps

Started the week by celebrating my birthday with my 4/5 of my family members - cake and all...

Finished what was originally the last Christmas present to be made and was excited about it...

When I had an idea and ran with it... pattern coming soon.  Needs one more test run.
That's my week - celebrations and crafting.  I think that should be my week every time... find something to celebrate and have enough time to craft.  That would make for a fabulous year, wouldn't it!

Today, we're heading to see Santa and then go out looking at all the Christmas lights in one of my most favorite neighborhoods.  It should be a lot of fun.  We normally do it on Christmas Eve but we're headed up to my folks' house this year so we opted to go tonight since we're all off - no work tonight and no school tomorrow.  Although, my parents are coming to take Hobbit out to the movies and have a sleepover.  They're going to see "Saving Mr. Banks" and I'm a bit more than a tad jealous.  I really want to see it too but I have to work so hopefully she won't give me too many spoilers.

I hope you had a wonderful week full of celebrations and crafty goodness too!

21 December 2013

Did I keep my promises?

Y'all know that I don't make resolutions but instead, every year I make promises to try.  This is what works best for me because as long as I give it an honest go, I totally succeed.  Why set myself up for failure at the start of the year by making a resolution when I can do something more positive and simply make a promise to try.

Now that the year is winding down, I wanted to take a look back at my promises for 2013 and see how I did.  I kept things relatively simple this year but they were huge for me.  These promises are never about putting on airs or keeping with anyone named Jones, they are simply things that I want to do to make me a better version of me.  So here goes, the moment of truth...
  1. I promised to read one book a month.  Welp, I didn't make the quota but I did complete 5 books this year so that just a tad more than one book a quarter.  I can live with that because it means I made time to read more which ultimately was my goal.  To bring reading back into my life and make it important again - given my reentry to the working world this past year, I think knocking out five books (there were three I just didn't like and quit reading but I'm not counting those) is pretty awesome.
  2. I promised to make my first sweater.  I so totally did this!  I don't personally own it any more because Peanut became it's new owner on Thanksgiving, but I still made it and it came out pretty okay... I might even attempt another!
  3. I promised to save $1,000 this past year.  Hang on, let me crunch some numbers... up to today, we have saved $960 this year.  That's the good news.  The honest flip side is, we had to use $890 of it over the course of the year.  There are two ways to look at this, one is positive and one is negative.  The negative says that we flat out didn't reach our goal because we only have $26 in our savings account.  The positive side says that because of our constant and vigilant attempts at saving money, we were covered when those unexpected life emergencies cropped up this year AND we even have $26 left over to start off our savings plan for next year.  Guess which way I'm choosing to look at it...
  4. I promised to visit my folks at least once a month.  I have totally lived up to this one.  Yes, the drive is expensive and tiring but the time spent with my family is well worth it.  Sure, it will get harder now with just one car but Pokey is totally on board and this month, we're going up twice!!  What makes it even better is that my folks make the same effort to come down here if we can't make it up there which makes me very happy.
There you have it - all of my Promises to Try for 2013 and their end results.  I must say, I did better than I thought so I'm rather pleased with the how well I did this year.  It's nice to take stock in our accomplishments, regardless of size, and take a second to say "good on you" for a job well done.

Now, what will I challenge myself with for 2014...

18 December 2013

The finale

Doesn't it just scream "Hobbit"!
I am down to my last crafted Christmas present.  I am so chuffed right now.  I never finish all my wish list crafting for the holidays before the actual holidays.  I seriously could run around like Julie Andrews in the Alps, I feel that fabulous over it all.

I think my secret this year was that I cut back on who I crafted for honestly.  I used to make something for everyone and anyone, but not this year.  This year I made something for each member of my immediate family.  That means a grand total of 5 people - my parents, Pokey, Peanut, and Hobbit.  If I get to see you on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I made you a present.

The other thing is that I kept my presents realistic.  Sure, I want to make my husband a sweater, but I didn't.  I'd love to make my mama an afghan, but I didn't.  I made things that I noticed they needed - smaller things but necessary things.  You know, those things you never think about until you need it.  I can't elaborate any further until after the holidays when I share what all they got but I know you know what I'm talking about... don't you.

The final bit that helped me out a lot was using my time in The Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup on Ravelry productively.  Fall term ran from September through November so that was three months that I was crafting for the glory of Slytherin (and Christmas).  The final push came when I used the prompts from the Disney Adventures group to get those last little things completed this month - all those ornaments, yep... they went directly to the challenges.  Crafting challenge groups have helped me stay on track and given me lots of inspiration over the years.  A lot of people worry that they won't be good enough or fast enough but honestly, it's not about all that.  You should check them out, you just might find your crafting taking off too.
Seriously - don't you just love the colors... I sure do!

I best get going on that last present while Hobbit is at school.  It's for her and I don't want her to see it, or figure it out!  There are only two people in our house who really like pink and considering the other one is me, my chances of getting away without being noticed are pretty slim.

 She knows Santa and I talk but if she knew how much... let's just say there wouldn't be a moment of peace in this house until Christmas morning!!

17 December 2013

It's time!

The perfect song for today - it's not Christmas until this is played. Happy Christmas everyone!!

16 December 2013


See the ones I made!
Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a wonderful day really.  I was woken up at 9 a.m. with coffee and kisses.  I spent an hour or so on the computer while enjoying my coffee, then I set myself up at the kitchen table and proceeded to wrap all the presents we had purchased the day prior.  I didn't have to worry about prying eyes and nosey roseys.

Once all of that was complete, Pokey and I headed up to my parents' house.  On the way, I got my free Starbucks birthday drink (Peppermint Mocha, naturally) along with something for Pokey and a hot chocolate for Hobbit.  As soon as I opened my car door, my parents and Hobbit were singing "Happy Birthday" to me.

We sat around and talked for a while and then we had some pizza for my birthday supper.  Peanut and Hobbit both decorated my parents' house with homemade flair.  There was "Happy Birthday" cut out of construction paper with construction paper streamers and 'confetti' taped to the kitchen island overhead area, along with some wonderful and bright bead garland hanging from the dining room light fixture.  The dry erase board that lives on their refrigerator had a birthday message on it for me from both of my girls as well.  It was nice to have bits of Peanut around because she wasn't able to be there in person - her first weekend home for Christmas break and she had to go in to work.  That's what we get for raising a responsible human-bean.

Clockwise from left: My family + decorations, my cake, my plates, and my festive homemade decorations.

Once our pizza had settled, we dove into the beautiful spice cake that my mama made and Hobbit helped decorate.  I think it was funny that they used the leftover plates from my daddy's recent retirement party with the excuse of 'they were pretty and we thought we could get the cake on there before you read it'... seriously, my family is that funny.  Overall, it was a wonderful day full of what is most important to me ~ quiet times and family... oh yeah, and I made out like a bandit too!
Clockwise from top right: Blake Shelton CD, owl watch necklace, shirt, and Hobbit crafted necklace. Hello Kitty purse from Pokey. Me, the birthday girl. Ornament crafted by Peanut. Creation by Hobbit - honestly unsure what it is but she made it all by herself so it will be tucked safely away for as long as it holds together!  A cross-stitch that my mother made for me of a print Pokey and I saw years ago on our honeymoon.  We couldn't afford it but we talk about it all the time so she found the kit and made it for us.  Way better than a silly old print!
I have people that I know who go all out - so far in debt that they can't see straight but have to keep up appearances for whatever reason - but I have to say, I'd rather have a homemade celebration like this than anything else on Earth.  This has been a wonderful birthday because it was full of the most important thing to me... love.  I have a friend who once said the most amazing thing a few years back and I've never forgotten it.  She said "we may be poor in the pockets but we're rich in love" and I have to say, that's the only kind of wealth that matters.

15 December 2013

Sunday Snaps

We started the week by making cookies... they were gone by Wednesday!  Making more tomorrow.

All presents have been made, or bought, and all are wrapped.  Just waiting for Christmas Eve to place them under the tree.

All of these were given to my parents, who promptly placed them all on their new huge tree.

I attempted my first ever charted color work in crochet.. and failed... but will try again soon.

Went to my husband's company Christmas party last night - it was... interesting...

Spent today celebrating my 41st birthday with my wonderful family - sans Peanut who had to work.

13 December 2013


Wowzers, that a lot of posts.  I can't believe that I've had that much to say since July of 2010 but apparently I did.  Lots of history in this little blog - some good, some bad but all of it is honest.

This weekend is going to be crazy.  Hobbit just left to go spend it with my folks because I have to work tonight and Pokey is going out to get my birthday present.  Then on Saturday we are going Christmas shopping in the morning and we have his company Christmas party that evening - neither of us is looking forward to either event.  We're both such homebodies that it isn't even funny... which is good in a way because if one of us was not, the other would probably get frustrated.  Last, but not least, on Sunday it's my birthday!  We will be headed up to my folks to collect Hobbit and have a little celebration with my parents.  Peanut has to work, which made my heart sink, but I understand.

So that is my weekend in a nutshell... a small, and slightly cracked nutshell.  I will be so exhausted by the end of it, I just know it.  Actually, I think I'll go take a nap before work since the house is quiet.  Yeah, that'll be good... naps make everything better.

12 December 2013

Not always

I had a sweet letter the other day from a fellow crafter who was praising me for "always making such beautiful things".  I had to giggle because obviously she was not privy to this currently creation that was sitting on my counter.

You see, I wanted to learn something new so I decided to attempt charted color work.  I have never done it - knit or crochet - so this was an adventure.  I grabbed my graph paper notebook that I purchased several months for exactly this and sat down.  Disappointed that I totally forgot to pick up colored pencils, I grabbed a pen and simply shaded in the squares where I thought the color would go.  Pleased with my new graph, I grabbed two colors from my stash and set to work.

The inside looked good, the outside was almost recognizable as snowflake...
I was thinking I was doing okay... then it dawned on me how wonky it was getting the further along I went.  I stuck with it because I figured it would be best to go on, using my limited skills, and figure what I did wrong at the end.  It was just scrap yarn and that is what scrap yarn is there for - practicing.  I also knew that this was going to my mama and she would love it regardless if looked like a snowflake bag or a Rorschach test.  Here is the end result...

Definite Rorschach test result but now it can be a game AND a bag that holds ornaments.
I get a giggle out of it but in a way, I'm also kind of proud of it.  I graphed it.  I overcame my fear of trying it.  I can kind of see where it wanted to be a snowflake and I'm sure with a bit more practice and research, the next one will be closer to being identifiable as what I intended.  So you see, it's not a true statement to say that everything I make comes out so beautiful - obviously, not always.

On the plus side, I am attempting the chart again but this time I am knitting it up as a gift card holder.  There are a few issues here as well but I'm not going to beat myself up over them.  I'm learning and when you're learning, everything is positive... even the creatively rogue moments.  See, I don't make mistakes when I'm creating... I simply go rogue... a lot.

Bet y'all forgot I knew how to knit... yeah, for a few minutes there, I did too!
The best part will happen next year or the year after, when these things are pulled out again and I can look at them, giggling over the silliness of the mistakes I made and the fear I had in creating them.  I can also be proud - that I had the courage to try and that I have learned so much since this first time.

Celebrate the efforts - regardless of the outcome.  Things will not always turn out as you envision them but as long as you continue to try, they have a better chance of success than if you don't even start.
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