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!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Socks With Stories

I haven't gotten any better with my time management - maybe when school starts back up I'll be able to make a schedule that will stick. I have made a few things to show you, but today I just have a couple of pair of socks that I've knit over the past few weeks. Sock story number one: a couple of months ago one of my Ravenclaw friends asked us in the group if we'd like some sock yarn as she was destashing. I said sure because I always have room for a couple of skeins and I knit a lot of socks. About three days later I was watching Ghostbusters (the new one - I love Holtzman and Patty so much) and enjoying a day off when I heard a thud on the porch. When I opened the door, I saw a giant box and wondered what Eric had ordered and if I had maybe bought something and didn't remember. Well, it was addressed to me and when I opened it, it was full of sock yarn. Full. Thirty-four skeins. I was floored. I couldn't stop looking at all of the beautiful colors and squishing it all. One skein didn't have a label, so I caked it up and picked a pattern and this is them:
The pattern is called Double Agent and was inspired by Snape, but the colors are so bright that the stitches don't show. They're so bright and cheerful! I have a nice-sized ball left to make a little something else or maybe a pair of footies. Sock story number two takes us a bit further back. Several years ago, when Khloe was about eight or nine, I gave her a big skein of plain yarn to dye up. She had a great time picking colors and made a very springy and light colorway. I had already made socks for my mom from it and the giant cake has been staring at me, waiting for more attention. Well, I got it out and started knitting, planning to overdye the socks when I was done because green and orange are not my colors in any way. I rewatched a documentary called Paris Is Burning while knitting one afternoon - it's about the drag balls in New York in the 80s and the birth of voguing and interviews many different people. I've watched it several times because it's so interesting to me and especially now knowing that RuPaul and his best friend Michelle were a part of that scene but not in the movie. As I was watching, it came to the part where we, the viewer, meet a young girl named Venus who is so tiny and sweet but tough and has huge dreams of getting married and having a family. It hit me that the yarn was the same colors as what Venus wears, so I decided to leave them green as a tribute to her tragic story - spoiler, she was murdered.
I didn't capture the greenness very well in the picture. It's more of a fresh leaf kind of color. The pattern is called Fawkes, more Harry Potter inspiration. The designer faked her own death to get out of some obligations and caused quite a stir in the knitting community a few years ago. I don't know if her actions ever caught up with her. Finally, a kitten update. We determined that her birthday is in the first week of July, so she's one now and has gotten huge.
She's a very healthy eater and loves stealing Joshua's food. I kind of have to prepare myself when I want to pick her up since she weighs at least twelve pounds now. She still has her sweet face, though. Eric recently got a smart phone and it's full of pictures of Buffy which Khloe and I think is hilarious. That's all for today. Have a great week and I'll see you again soon.

Monday, May 22, 2017

On To The Future

Saturday was a big day for us. Kerry graduated from high school. It was quite a journey - he had a lot of behavior issues and attitude problems which got him moved to a special school for such kids. Then he moved to his dad's house and they moved again - four schools in four years. He talked about quitting a couple of times but must have had some sort of awakening and got his act together. I'm so proud of him. He even got certified as a lifeguard the previous weekend and is going to work at a public pool this summer. I finally got a picture of us together, but their dad is very tall so the angle is weird.

And I'm standing on my toes! My kids did not get their height from me. Now Kerry is planning to go on to be a teacher, of all things. Now if only I could influence his taste in music...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer Top

I finally did some sewing. I've wanted to make one of these ruffle tops since last year, but my time management skills are lacking.
I'm not sure how I feel about the color, but it's cotton so I can dye it if I want to later. It was super easy to make. I used one of the hundred tutorials on Pinterest but can't remember which one exactly. Now I'm going through my fabric stash to make a couple more! Mother's Day was yesterday. Look at the great cards I got!
Khloe went the sweet route. Eric knows my geeky heart. The two latest Star Wars movies have really reawakened my love for the series. I saw the original movie when it came out and had a tee shirt and Chewbacca action figure (don't know where he went). I put my sci fi love on the back burner for a long time, but now I'm in a place where I can be as much of a fan as I want. Last night, on my way home from work, I saw a woman walking her dog. Not unusual, of course, but I took a second look and saw that she was walking a big orange cat! It's the first time I've seen that around here. Khloe wants to walk Joshua and Buffy, but they aren't too thrilled with the idea. Buffy flopped flat on the floor when Khloe put a harness on her. She's such a dramatic kitten. That's it for today. Have a great week!

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Khloe's first prom was this past weekend. She was super excited. Her date was a friend, not her boyfriend, so that made her less nervous about eating and dancing - does everyone get self-conscious about dancing in front of someone they like? They had a great time and, of course, looked amazing.

My parents came to see her before she left and got a picture, too:

My babies are all grown! Kerry turned eighteen last month. Eighteen. He graduates next month and is getting ready for college. I've been making some things but it's slow going. I've apparently forgotten how to manage time with a job. Bad me! I'm figuring it out, though, slowly but surely. That's all for today. Back soon, my dears!

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.