Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Life and Other Stories

Wow, March sure went fast. I think it's because the weather was insane and gave me a near-constant headache. So far, April isn't much better. I know it's been crazy everywhere, not just here. Eventually we'll all be wearing our fab warm weather duds...I hope! I've only finished two projects lately, a request from Kerry and a mesh shopping bag. Kerry texted me in February with a picture of a headband and asked if I could make one. The original was $230. Seriously. I found one on ebay for $30 and suggested it, but he said the magic words - "it wouldn't be a special as if you made it." So I charted it out, ordered the yarn, and got busy. It's super small gauge so the knitting took longer than I planned. I lined it with some fleece for extra warmth. It's not bad:
I did order the ebay one, too, so he has two headbands to keep his ears warm next winter. When he came over to get them, he put it on, slid it over his eyes, and slept for about four hours - he'd been out all night with his girlfriend and then worked all morning. He turned nineteen two weeks ago. Nineteen. He's still growing, too. I think he's about 6'3" or so and works out nearly every day. My big boy is a big boy. The grocery bag was a quick something to turn in for the House Cup:
It took a small amount of sock yarn, so I think I'll make a few more since I have plenty of leftover yarn. (Want one? Let me know!) I keep a bag in my purse and several in my car because I hate plastic ones. Today, though, I went to get a few things and gave the cashier my bag with the store loyalty card as usual. He rang up my things and I noticed that the sacker was putting my stuff in plastic. I asked about my bag and she said "no one told her to use it." Ugh. I said to put everything in it, which held up the people behind me which I hate doing. It wasn't my usual store, eigher, so I was already out of sorts. The kids at my store know to fill my fabric bags to the top. In girl child news, Khloe finally signed up for soccer. She's wanted to play for years and finally just did it. She's having a good time with it, but we discovered that she has exercise-induced asthma and carries an inhaler with her now. Some of her games have been cancelled because of the rain and snow and crappy conditions, but she's gotten some playing time in and, honestly, has been sleeping and eating a lot from the exercise. She also signed up as a contestant in the local Queen of Friendship pageant. My baby is a beauty queen! She knows she won't win (? you never know!) but wants the experience of speaking in front of people and facing her fears. For her talent, she's going to sing and is learning to play the ukulele. The pageant itself isn't until July, but the contestants have a bunch of activities around town that they help with. She's made some new friends already, too. I know I'll be a crying mess when she's onstage. Maybe I should stock up on xanax... That's about all for now. Have a great week, everyone. I'll be back soon!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Seasonally Inappropriate Knitting

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of winter and it's cold, cold wind. I hate being cold in my house because the furnace can't compete with the draft coming in the window. I hate having to wear layers and layers of clothes. I don't mind having Buffy snuggle up in my lap, though - she's such a sweetie and is warm and fuzzy and loving. I decided to make a couple of tops for spring, if it ever comes, while still procrastinating on the cables cardigan that would be better for the weather now. First is a top called Paloma from the book French Girl Knits. I've made this before, but it's rather quick and doesn't take much yarn. I had three skeins of sock yarn from a friend and it was just about enough - I had to use a bit of coordinating yarn for the bind-off and sleeve edges.
The other top was inspired by the yarn. I found this at Wal-mart when Khloe and I were finishing our holiday shopping. It was so pretty in the ball - all striped and calling to me. It's called Mandala by Lion Brand. This top took just one ball. I really like how it turned out.
I have found out that they make this in purples. Yay! I want to get maybe three balls to make a dress after I finish the couple projects going right now. I've wanted to knit a dress for a long time. It may even be this pattern. It was fairly easy to knit and would look nice with some length, I think. It has short sleeves, but I couldn't knit them and make the stripes work out, so my top is sleeveless, but maybe with more yarn the sleeves would work. I couldn't get a good picture of what the cats got for Christmas (after Christmas, but they don't mind). Last year we looked at cat trees at Pet Smart and they were so expensive! I love these kitties, but I can't really justify spending over two hundred dollars for a tree. One of my friends at work found one on Chewy.com for 40 dollars and showed me a picture. It was just what I wanted. I ordered one and Eric put it together while I was working. The cats were wary at first, but I sprinkled some catnip on the platforms and now they love it.
Here is Buffy in her new spot - right on top where she can oversee her kingdom. She loves being at face-level with us. Joshua is very healthy right now and races up and down like crazy. It gives him plenty of exercise but makes him eat like a horse. He's healthy, though, and that's all that matters after how sick he has been. You may have seen on instagram that we got a new washer and dryer. Our old ones were over fourteen years old and were starting to not work very well. The spin cycle made the washer sound like it was going to explode! We went to Menard's last Sunday and Eric let me choose which set we should get. It will take us a little while to get used to them, of course. I feel like such a grown-up for being excited about appliances. I didn't make any resolutions this year. I've made a list of things I want to make, but we all know that my attention span is like that of a hyperactive toddler with a sugar buzz. Most of the list is stuff that didn't get finished last year. We'll see how that goes. I'll share what I make, of course. I just need to clean out my sewing room and decide what to make first. Have a great week, guys. I hope lots of good things happen to you! See you soon.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fast, Cheap, and Easy

Not me - this sweater I recently finished. The pattern is $5 in Paris, a free one that I've made before. I've been working on a cabled cardigan and it was annoying me, so I decided to make something simple and familiar. The yarn is Simply Soft. I think it cost maybe six dollars total. I still have enough of both colors for another project when I find one. So, what do you think?
I've taken a few days off to clean the house and do some baking. You can tell from the mess behind me that the cleaning isn't going well - I'm obsessed with Stranger Things and don't want to do much else but watch it over and over. I did bake some cookies, though, for Khloe and her friends to decorate after school. I'm going to try to persuade them to unwrap some chocolate kisses for peanut butter cookies. Recently I watched some makeup videos on You Tube. Apparently I do it all wrong! One girl talked about blending her eyeshadow for 40 minutes. My whole face takes less than 10 - I have better things to do. I still do mine how I learned when I was young, when disco was everywhere and color was in. I like it. I don't want over-painted eye brows and tons of contour and fake lashes (can't get them to work, honestly!). I've never wanted a "natural" look. I guess it's dependant on when you were young and what you latched on to. Well, I should go do something responsible. The laundry still doesn't wash itself. Darn it. I'll see you all later!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mind Calming Activities

The past few months have been insane - fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, a terrorist attack (even if the news won't call it that)...and I was making myself crazy thinking about it. What can I do? Why don't I have any useful skills? How can so much happen all at once? What kind of crap person leaves their pet out in a hurricane? What can I do? What can I do? I had to do something for myself to settle down and not have a breakdown or something. One of the things that I love about knitting and crochet is the relaxing rhythm and knew that I needed something simple to work on. Khloe had bought a scarf on her birthday shopping trip (she's seventeen. Seven. Teen. I can't even believe it.) that I picked up - a bunch of thin knit strips tacked together in a lattice pattern and then fringed. It reminded me a bit of a pattern I'd printed out earlier in the summer, so I dug it out, grabbed a ball of yarn, and got to crocheting. The pattern was just what I needed - chain some, double crochet, chain one, double crochet, repeat to the end, chain four, turn, over and over until it was as long as I am tall, slip stitch the short ends together, and add fringe. Calming rhythm, pretty yarn, and I have a new infinity scarf!
I showed it to Khloe and she asked for a black one. I got out some yarn for it and, well, I was kind of worried about this second one. The yarn is acrylic and was kind of stiff to work with. After I'd finished, I tossed it in the washer and dryer with a load of laundry and it came out super soft and lovely. Yay!
Khloe is wearing it to school today since it's gotten cold all of a sudden (it was 80 degrees last week and almost freezing this morning) and asked if I could make one in burnt orange. By the time I had finished both of them my mind had really calmed down. I've donated to some charities, especially for the animals, and am trying to add a donation amount to my monthly budget for future chaotic events. The other thing that's been helping has a bit of a backstory. When I was about 13, Duran Duran released Rio. I loved that record so much and played the heck out of it. I knew every song by heart and sang them constantly (to myself only because people gave me a lot of crap when I sang...a-holes). I actually had quite a great record collection but it's gone because I had trusted someone who turned out to be quite untrustworthy. Anyway, I have driven a Kia Rio for sixteen years now and often sing Rio to her while we're driving. Last week I found a cheap cd of Rio and had to have it - and I still remember almost all of the words to all of the songs! Singing along loudly on my way to and from work has been very therapeutic and keeps me in a decent mood. I walk in smiling and get home with none of the stress or drama that had been bothering me. Eventually I will rebuild that amazing record collection...probably not the colored vinyl import EPs that cost a lot back then, but the rest of it. The 80s are back - did you see Bananarama on Graham Norton? I sang along to that, too! I'm off today and plan to spend some time in my sewing room finishing a project that's been slowly going for a few weeks. I should be back soon!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Finally A Weasley

As a Harry Potter lover, I've long wanted the knitwear from the movies, especially one of the sweaters that Molly makes the kids each year for Christmas. In January I decided on a yarn and started one and finally finished it last week.
I'm so happy with how it turned out - oversized and snuggly. The yarn is a wool blend and will be nice and warm this winter. The pattern wasn't hard, it was just a lot of flat stockinette stitch which bores be, so I put it aside a lot for more interesting things.
The pattern is from the book Charmed Knits. It's all items from or inspired by the movies. I've had it for nearly ten years and this is the first thing I've made from it. It won't be the last, though.
Next up, though, is a cabled cardigan. The pattern was gifted to me several years ago and I've finally decided on the perfect yarn. I'm making some baby hats for charity, too, and have an expecting coworker who I want to make something for. That's all for today. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Nineteen Years Later

You know how much I love Harry Potter. Did you know that today, September 1, is the day of the epilogue? It's the day that Harry takes his youngest son to Platform 9 3/4 for his first year at Hogwarts. To celebrate, I want to share some of my favorite read-along podcasts. Tales From Godric's Hollow is Matt, a long time fan, and Josh, a total newbie, reading through the series. Josh seriously hadn't read the books or seen the movies and had no idea what he was getting into. They have great discussions about the chapters (usually two per week) and have built quite a community of fans. They give away a prize every week, thanks to their patreon sponsors. I won a little dragon during Goblet of Fire! It's really cute. They just celebrated their anniversary with a fun, live you tube episode. The episodes are long (the latest was over three hours) but probably half of that is reading emails from listeners. Check them out for fun discussion and fresh eyes. Dear Mr. Potter is hosted by Alastair, who is (if I remember correctly) a college literature professor - or he was, he recently moved. He brings so much knowledge about novel writing and references to each chapter. His show is recorded during live you tube chats, so there's interaction with viewers about topics that come up. Listening to him makes me feel so much smarter. He also hosts There and Back Again, a Tolkien reread, which is also amazing. His episodes are usually about an hour and a half long, sometimes longer, but are worth it. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is about finding spirituality in the books, chapter by chapter. Vanessa and Casper met at theology school and have such a great relationship. They are like brother and sister but get really deep in topics like forgiveness and love. The way Vanessa says "Hermione" makes me smile. Their episodes are short - about half an hour - but really make you think. I hope you check these out. Listening to them brings new dimension and perspective to the books for me and gives me a place to just geek out and be a fan. Let me know if you've found any that I should listen to! Alohomora!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Inspired By Stevie

Stevie Nicks is rarely far from my mind. Lyrics come out of my mouth randomly and I often have the urge to twirl as if draped with chiffon. I can't tell you how often I have a kid get frustrated with me dancing to no music - because Sara or Gypsy is in my head and they just can't hear it. I follow a couple of Stevie fan accounts on instagram and am treated to dozens of pictures every day, and, as you know, Stevie wears a shawl like no one else. I've read that she crochets, too, and an idea was ignited. I have a shawl pattern book from 1971 and decided to make one of them -
using some red yarn that I've had for ages. Mine isn't as full as the picture, but I really like it.
Yeah, I'm in jeans today. I've been feeling kind of down. Today is the last day of J. C. Penney in town. It's the latest in a long like of businesses that have closed up. This town seems to be dying. We even had a thrift shop close - that can't be a good sign. I've been moody, too, and I'm blaming it on the upcoming eclipse. I mean, if a monthly full moon can make people crazy, a full solar eclipse must make us insane...that's my excuse, anyway. Joshua has been trying his best to cheer me up. If I'm sitting, he's on my lap. I appreciate the effort, I must say. That's all for the end of July. Happy birthday, Harry Potter! Have a great week, everyone!