Friday, February 3, 2017

Sweetest Gift

Since the world is going a bit crazy I thought I'd share something that has cheered me up a lot lately. For my birthday, my kids made me this:

It was full of notes from both of them. I did start crying when they gave it to me. I don't know where Khloe got the idea, but I'm so glad she did. Here's a few of the notes so you can see how my kids think - Kerry's are blue, Khloe's are purple.
Yes, they're both goofy but I'll keep them!

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Bit Of Crochet

My grandma taught me to crochet when I was young, but I didn't do anything with it. Many years later a woman at work was working on an afghan and everything came back to me. I began getting magazines at the store when they were available - back in the early 90s the magazine sections were seriously lacking in the creative arts area. Fast forward a bit to 2005. The winter issue of a magazine called Crochet Fantasy had an article called Modular Madness.

The pictures really got my attention - the models looked so cool and 70s. The article was interesting and really got me when the author said that the book, Modular Crochet, was available sometimes on ebay for over a hundred dollars. I had to see it. My library got it for me through an inter-library loan and, well, I fell in love with much so that I photocopied every page and put it in a binder to look at all the time. I made five sweaters from the instructions in the book and eventually found a copy on Amazon for thirty dollars. Now I have my binder copy and an actual hardcover copy that both get pored over regularly. Where am I going with this? Well, last summer I got a kit with a pattern for an oversized pullover and yarn from an online shop. I started to work on it and wasn't feeling it. The yarn was nice and the stitch pattern was cool, but the top wasn't working for me. It clicked in my brain to open my book and make a modular vest. Perfect! It worked up fast was fun to make. The yarn is a blend of alpaca and acrylic, so it's very light but warm and keeps my middle warm.

I still have some of the yarn left. It may become a hat or scarf or something...or it may rest in my stash until the perfect project comes along. Kezzie asked to see the boot cuffs. I've worn them all several times, so they're a bit stretched.

I somehow managed to make one of the cabled ones longer than the other. It doesn't show when it's in my boot, though, so I'm not going to remake it. The blue yarn is from New Zealand. Several years ago I sent some Easter egg dye to a woman who wanted to use it to dye yarn with her daughter. She sent the yarn as a thank-you gift. It's beautiful. I have a bit left that I had to hide from a certain kitten who thinks it's a toy. I have plans to make more, but right now I'm struggling through a pair of socks for Khloe to give to a friend. I did make some hats for the march last weekend. The yarn store in Peoria was collecting them to hand out, so I took them in. I saw a picture of someone wearing one of my hats. It made me really happy. I'm not going to get any more political than that. Well, I'd better get back to that sock. It was supposed to be for Christmas. Oops.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

That Was Quite a Month

So, wow, November was a mess, wasn't it? I won't start talking about that fiasco of an election. On the 16th, there was a gas explosion in the business center of my town. It was pretty big - we live fifteen blocks away and it shook our windows. Two buildings collapsed and three more have to be torn down from damage. Almost all of the businesses and shops have broken windows and other damage. It took just over two weeks of constant work for everything to get up and running again. My hotel had a couple of windows get knocked loose but nothing more since it's a new structure - one of the buildings that has to come down is the old opera house that held a lot of the town's history. Work got super busy because we had contractors, construction workers, and displaced apartment renters staying with us. I'm glad that we had space for those who needed it. I finished November by wasting six hours watching the revival of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I'd watched the series based on friends' recommendations. It's okay. The main characters annoy the heck out of me, though. The peripheral characters are fun and interesting. Unfortunately, they aren't in the revival episodes for more than a few minutes each. I know a lot of people love the show and love the new episodes. They obviously see more in the characters than I do. Now we're two-thirds of the way through December. I've only made a couple of pairs of boot cuffs and a hat. The cold has made my hands more achy than they used to be. I'm also dealing with an annoying cold that won't just go away. Most of the Christmas shopping is done. I suppose we should put the tree up soon. I'd forgotten that more planning is required for holiday stuff when you work since it's been so long. That's the update for now. When my brain isn't so foggy with medications I'll take some pictures to share. Until then, stay warm, my dears!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Here's Looking At You

In September, there was a sign-up sheet in the break room at work for a pumpkin decorating contest. I signed up even though I'd not done any kind of pumpkin carving or anything in years. I had no ideas at first and originally had decided to paint my pumpkin as Spock to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek - but my skills with a paint brush are rather basic. So I spent some time browsing Pinterest until our pumpkins ere delivered. Then it all came together! I saw one painted as a big eyeball and figured it wouldn't be too difficult. Then I really looked at Khloe's eyes when we were outside and wanted to try to replicate her color. After that, I dug out my paints and got to work.

I had to work slowly, over a couple of days, to make sure the layers got dry...although I'm sure their are some cat hairs from a certain nosy kitty stuck in spots. The front turned out almost exactly how I'd imagined. The back is a bit messed up, but time ran out and it had to be turned in. And guess what! I won! One of the judges owns the local candy shop so the prizes were little bags of candy. I didn't get a picture, though, before I started tasting it all. Right now the eye is on the porch, watching for trouble and creeping out little kids as they walk to school. Sadly, though, its life will be short. Pumpkins don't last too long, so its destined for the garbage can. Then I can start gathering ideas for next year!

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Addition to the Family

Wow, it's been a while! September was a busy month, ending with Khloe's sixteenth birthday. My baby girl is driving now! One of her friends gave her an early gift:
a little kitten. I was not happy - the friend hadn't asked if she could give Khloe a living animal as a gift. We kept Joshua and this new baby separated for a week or so and gradually introduced them to each other. She, the new baby kitty, loves having a family and big brother. But don't let this face -
fool you - she's a little stinker. She's, of course, full of the energy all kittens have. She eats like a little pig and goes for Joshua's bowl first. I have to move her, several times, to the bowl of kitten food, but she usually ends up eating both. She drives her big brother crazy
by chasing his tail around while he's resting or pouncing on his head and chewing on his ear when he tries to nap. Then, when he decides to play back, she squawks and whines like he's being mean to her, like we all don't know that she started it. He's getting plenty of exercise chasing her through the house, which he needed. After a few hours of running around the house and being crazy they both settle to nap in the afternoon. It's really cute. She's a bit of a thief, stealing my chair
(yes, I need a new computer chair) and anything I may have on my lap, like my bookmark
to play with. She's much more interested in my knitting than Joshua ever was and tries to play with whatever I'm working on. She's got a sweet side, though, and Eric seems to enjoy having a bouncy kitten to play with now that Joshua has grown more to being big and lazy. So, that's been my month. I have a new baby to chase around now that my baby is all big and driving. What's new with you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Glitter and Lace

Hi, guys! I didn't mean to not post in so long, but the new job is more than I expected. I'm now doing housekeeping in a small hotel, mostly second shift. It's very physical - I can feel lots of new muscle tone in my back and legs. It's kind of fun, though, too, in a way. I spend most of my shift doing laundry and listening to my ipod and dancing around because no one can see me. Well, no people, anyway. There's a shadow that everyone has seen and most of my coworkers think it's the man who built the hotel but died before it opened. It freaked me out the first time I saw it. He's probably laughing at me dancing around the laundry room. While I haven't finished any big projects, I have done some small things. I glittered some sneakers

because I needed more purple sparkle in my life. I've also been embellishing my book bag, inspired by so many ideas I've seen on pinterest and around on blogs:

My button skull is still a bit wonky, but I really like how it's all looking so far. I have a few more ideas, too. It's amazing how many things are in my big stash of stuff that lead to inspiring my imagination. I wish I had a Spirograph, though. A few years ago I saw where someone had used one to make an embroidery design. Wouldn't that be great on a bag? Maybe with some zentangles! That's all for today. Try to stay cool outside.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

For The Well-Read Sex Symbol

As I mentioned last time, I planned to make something to celebrate Marilyn's birthday. I've read lots of biographies and they all say the same thing - Marilyn loved to read. She didn't finish high school and read to make up for the lack of education. The Marilyn Encyclopedia called her the "best-read dumb blonde" in Hollywood. I decided to make a bag inspired by another famous book lover-the Grainger Bag inspired by Hermione in the Harry Potter series. As for fabrics, I wanted to use stash. I decided to use some jeans that Eric had worn out and was going to toss. (In fact, the only thing I had to buy was a pack of denim needles for my machine. I had everything else.) You may know that Marilyn really rocked jeans. She was an early wearer in Hollywood and wore them in her movies, as well:

The bag turned out great -

It's big - almost 20" long and, well, let me show you a scale picture:

Inside the bag is the Encyclopedia, and the squares are an inch long. This bag will hold plenty! It has four pockets inside:

The lining fabric is quilting cotton that I bought a few years ago. I had made a dress that didn't turn out, so it's been added to the recycle box. I like how the pattern looks like the marbled pages inside older books. (I've seen tutorials for making marbled paper. It's been hard to resist trying it!) Because I used what I had, I had to make some modifications to the pattern. The strap is fixed in length, not adjustable. It hits me at my hip, which is just right. I didn't have a magnetic closure, so the top is open. Maybe, eventually, I'll make a buttonhole or add some other closure. Since the denim is old and worn I don't have to worry about it getting dirty - it can handle a trip through the washer. I can decorate the outside with some patches or get crazy with paint like Melanie did with her jeans, although she's much more artistic than I. Tomorrow I start a new job. I've been nervous and antsy for the past couple of days. Thank goodness my little shadow has been around -

He's always making sure I know that, well, he needs me and appreciates me - even if it is as the one who feeds him and plays with him. He was sleeping on the couch when I went outside to take pictures. I turned around and there he was, watching through the door. If anyone is looking for me, they can just follow the cat. It's crazy. Last week I planted four pepper plants. The bunnies have eaten three of them. But, look! A little pepper!

I love seeing little tiny vegetables. They're so cute. I saw a tiny baby bat when I was out, too, but didn't think to take a picture. I hope he made it back to his nest. I think bats are cool. We have a group of them that live in the roof of our porch. I like that they eat the bugs that bother me. That's all for today. I need to go be busy to burn off some of this pre-job stress or I'll explode. Then who would feed Joshua? Enjoy your day!