Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Too Busy With Candy

Today I won't be putting up pics or writing a real post. There is too much Trick-or-Treating, Trunk-or-Treating, costumes, and candy for me to do anything else today. So until tomorrow, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pretty Party Invites

The invitations that E. and I made for Nannon's birthday party turned out great!

We dug out a bunch of card stock, some stamps, fancy scissors, and acrylic paint and went to town! E. always comes to me when she needs to do something crafty, just because she knows that I'll have supplies on hand, at any given time. Tee hee! We stamped cardstock, cut it out, and glued it to another piece of cardstock. E. hand-wrote all the details inside, and we added cute little bug stickers in each corner for a little something extra. All said I think we did about 15, the ones above are just a sample. I think they're adorable and Nannon's friends at school will love getting homeade invites.

What a Day!

After all the craziness of Mardi Gras over the weekend, (which was fantastic, by the way) I was psyched to have the day off from work. Gives me time to build up my energy for Trick-or-Treating tomorrow night. I took full advantage of the beautiful weather and free time to relax and do autumny-type stuff.

I started off the day by heading to the grocery store for all the fixings to make Italian beef. I came right home and put it on to cook. The beef is at the stage now where it is starting to fall apart, and it smells wonderful!

After lunch my friend S. came over for a cup of coffee, and by the middle of the afternoon we were around the kitchen table flipping through craft books, sipping coffee, and enjoying the beautiful view out the kitchen window. My friend E. stopped in and the afternoon turned into a photo shoot for the finished Seraphina and my Symphony scarf.

E.'s daughter Nannon showed up after school, and I just had to take a picture of her cuz she was lookin' so punk-rock stylin". Her 10th birthday was Saturday, and she's a great kid. Happy Birthday Nannon!

I promise to put up project specs for Serafina and the scarf either tonight or tomorrow, but for now I'm getting back to the Italian beef, and after supper E. and I are going to make the invitations for Nannon's birthday party. Back to the fun!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Trying Something New

Socktoberfest has been extremely inspiring to me. I'm really liking my crocheted socks. With that said, all the sock knitting tutorials are giving me an itch to learn to knit socks! There are so many fabulous designs out there, and all the tutorials that Lolly and Socktoberfest have brought to light are so great. So I dug out a set of size 6 DPNs that I bought forever ago, and some baby yarn to experiment with. The pic is awful, but this is what I came up with:

Not a bad first attempt, I think. It's definitely a stockinette tube. But it doesn't look so great in the places where you switch from one DPN to the next. And knitting in the round feels very awkward to me. I'll keep studying the tutorials and practicing.

I'd really like to learn more about making socks and their construction in general, and I think learning to knit them is a good first step. I'm gonna keep practicing on the DPNs and go from there.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mardi Gras Finds

I promised pics of the blankie I made last night, so here they are. I am in LOVE with this blanket, and it's all for ME! I needed something for myself to break up the monotony of making Christmas presents.

I love the printed fleece, and it was on sale, of course. I used the same fleece for the back of the blanket that I used for the pillow. They look so cute together on my bed, and the blankie is so warm to snuggle up with!

The winter will be much warmer now!

As I said yesterday, Mardi Gras is in full swing here, and I checked out the flea market uptown this morning. I only brought home a couple of cool finds, the budget is limited this year. By the way, I wore my Blue Beauty Sweater to stroll through the market, it is just warm enough here to show it off! That's it in the upper left corner.
I bought Black Cherry-scented and Blueberry Cobbler-scented candles, and a couple of cute wooden hand-painted signs. Some of these things will probably become Christmas presents.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Fun

I took the kids to the business Trick or Treat at the elementary school this evening. Usually it's outside, downtown, but it has rained heavily all day, so they moved it indoors. Kassi was too cute with her big Spiderman muscles, and Laynie was a big hit as Elmo with pigtails. They brought home tons of candy and we're just getting started! Tomorrow is our town's biggest celebration of the year, Mardi Gras. There's a flea market, a marching band competition, and a giant parade in the evening. The girls will be dressing up in their costumes for that too, and the parade throws out tons of candy. Plus there is Trunk-or-Treat and the standard Trick or Treating around town on Tuesday. Whew! That's a lot of candy.
After the girls went to their dad's, the boyfriend and I went to a little get-together at my friend M's. While I was there I made another fleece blanket, and this one is all for me. Yay! Pics tomorrow if I can find time among all the Mardi Gras excitement.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Confessional

There are only 5 days left in Socktoberfest. It's time for me to admit, to y'all and to myself, something I've been in serious denial about for the last week or so. There is absolutely no way I'm going to be able to finish my Socktoberfest socks by the end of October. I am horrified! I really wanted to get them done, but I still haven't been able to find any sock yarn to finish them with. Then again, I haven't really made the best effort to find something that would work with the yarn I started with (which I'm dangerously close to being out of). I checked a couple stores, like Wal-Mart (no sock yarn at all) and Jo-Anns (no sock yarn that would match). I'll still finish them when I find that perfect yarn, so that I can show them off at the beginning of Socktoberfest 2007, but I really wanted to have them done by the 31st. NOT FAIR!

(Whew! That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bravo, Stephanie!

The Yarn Harlot wrote an excellent post on her blog yesterday, about the way we, as handcrafters, sometimes devalue our own work. I couldn't agree more. I have often caught myself saying things like, "Crocheting isn't hard, anybody can do it," or "It was easy, took no time at all." When in truth, there is a little piece of me in everything that I make with my hands.

My sewing adventures have taught me that just because something looks easy doesn't mean it is. I've always been a natural at crochet, so I thought I would be quick to pick up sewing skills. Not so. Now I appreciate all the handsewn things I see on the net (on places such as Craftster) so much more.

We all have our own individual talents, be they sewing, crocheting, or glass-blowing. From here on out, I will do my best to accept compliments on my work more gracefully, without diminishing the time and effort put forth to produce the work. I think everyone should read Stephanie's message and pledge to do the same, no matter what kind of stuff you make.

P. S. Stephanie's lace wedding shawl is absolutely gorgeous, a work of knitting genius!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Aren't These Cute?!

Kassi is into Spiderman, into it bad, and also Pirates of the Carribean. Aaaarrrgh!

Laynie is mostly just into being goofy!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Serafina (So Far)

I started the Serafina shawl and I've worked on it all weekend. I had a little trouble figuring out the pattern in the beginning, but now I've got it down and the shawl is starting to fly along.

I like the Rainbow Boucle, it works up into very pretty waves of colors. It doesn't frog well, however. Hopefully, no more swimming in the frog pond for Serafina!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Word of the Day is... Cheap!

I have added to the book collection, the yarn stash, and the fabric stash over the last two days. I just can't seem to stop myself. I went to JoAnn's yesterday and yard-saleing this morning. I picked up the Interweave Knits Holiday issue and the fall issue of Knit 1 yesterday.

This morning I paid a total of 60 cents for the other three at two different yardsales. I know that Crochet For Today was a good find, I borrowed it from the library last summer, and never got around to making anything out of it before I returned it. Now I have my own copy, super cheap! The other two are just a leaflet and a holiday magazine from the 80's or something.

I picked up this fabric yesterday on sale at JoAnn's. (I love being a preferred member, you get great coupons and always know about the sales.) The frog print is about two yards of fleece, and the kitties are three yards of flannel for more pajama pants. The yarn is Sensations Margherite, on clearance of course. I have a couple of these in pink and blue in the stash, so I bought the purple to throw in with it. It's a very soft yarn, and pretty colors, too. Again, super cheap.

I love cheap stash-building. It makes me feel good, without being too hard on the old wallet. Christmas is coming up you know, must save for presents.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fall Has Arrived!

It's really starting to get cold here. Typical highs in the mid-40's, brrrr! I love fall but I'm not crazy about cold. Yesterday I caught the windows fogging up, just from cooking a pot of macaroni and cheese.

Blogger is being a butt. It took me all day to get this post up, and today is the 20th, not the 19th!

I've been working on these blankets for over a year now, really. I started on the yellow one last fall, and cut the green one to the same size at that time. I worked on the yellow one here and there, with the intent of giving the blankets to the girls for Christmas.

I didn't finish in time for Christmas. Not even close. I made it about half-way around the yellow one, and when Christmas passed, I stuffed them in a Rubbermaid tote, which I am prone to do with projects I am pissed off at. I pulled them back out last week and set to work finishing them up. It amazed me how quickly they went this time. (I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fancy fabric scissors I bought on sale at JoAnn's.) I learned so much from the first blanket that I did the whole lime green blanket in two short evenings. Now that I've got the hang of it, I expect I'll be making quite a few more of these fringed blankets. These two Spongebob blankets will now fulfill their destiny under this year's Christmas tree, wrapped up for Kassi and Laynie.

Lest you think I have only tied together a couple blankies over the past week, I took this pic of all my other current projects. On the left are my Socktoberfest socks, they are growing bit by little bit. On the right is a scarf crocheted from Red Heart Symphony, I still need to fringe the other end.

And in the middle is a ball of JoAnn Sensations Rainbow Boucle and the pattern that I hand-copied from the Internet yesterday. It will become the Serafina Shawl, for a Christmas present. I spent a lot of time searching the Internet yesterday for just the right pattern, and this one came up again and again, so this one it shall be!

Never Enough Time

It's been a busy week, especially at work, and my computer and I have not spent much quality time together. Today is my day off and I'm playing catch-up, with the Internets and with the housecleaning. Oh, god, the housecleaning. I have soooo much to do today. Why is it that my day off always seems busier than the days I work? I'll try to take pictures of what I've been working on, and some stuff I've finished. I've still managed to find time for crafting in stolen moments before bed all week. I have Christmas presents to show!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Flava Flav!!!

The season finale of Flavor of Love comes on in about two hours, and I can't wait! I sooo hope he keeps Deelishis and sends that crazy b**** New York packin'. Anybody else kept up with Flavor of Love this go-round?
I've started the second sock, so as soon as the kiddies are bathed and tucked in, the second sock and I will be curling up for some good ole, drama-filled, reality TV.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another "Today's Lesson"

The lesson of the day is: I don't know JACK about using a pattern for sewing. I bought a new pattern for the girls' pj pants, in the correct size. And I'm pretty sure I screwed up the pair I cut out anyway. I just can't seem to get the whole transferring-pattern-from-paper-to-fabric thing down. I don't know, maybe I'm just not cut out for using a pattern. I guess we will see after I try to sew these babies together.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Today's Lesson

Last week I lied. I said that I was going to spend the whole weekend cleaning out drawers and closets, and putting away things to use for crafty ventures, and generally getting rid of clutter. I did clean a drawer or two. And I bagged up some stuff to send to the neighbor kids. But I did not do the vigorous clean-up I had planned. Here's a shot of what I have saved for recycling. The stack has actually gotten bigger since this picture, I'm still picking at drawers and closets here and there:

The main culprit behind the lack of cleaning mojo? I'm blaming her:

The sock is moving along quickly, mostly because once I get going, I can't seem to put it down. It sucks me in, and all the cleaning nonsense no longer registers with my brain.

I've reached the split for the ankle, and I'm actually thinking about taking out a round or two, because I think I may have been so entranced by the sock that I went too far. I'm definitely going to need more yarn, which makes sense because crochet stitches use more yarn than knit stitches. I think this is why the sock seems to be thick to me. I've never actually seen a handknit sock in person (that I can remember, anyway), so I don't have much to compare to, but it seems thick to me. They will be warm, though, and I guess that's what counts.

So, the moral of the story is, don't say you're gonna clean when you know the sock is gonna take precedence. Honestly, did you really think I was gonna clean closets when it's Socktoberfest?! He, he, he.

Too Close for Comfort

We had a huge scare yesterday. My little Laynie had to be rushed by ambulance to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis for a severe infection. When I took her to our local emergency room she had a fever of 106 degrees, and the ER staff thought it best to send her to CG to have an infected abcess lanced. I am not a big fan of our rinky-dink hospital, so I was glad that they sent her to the city, but it was very scary. Loading my baby into the back of an ambulance and saying goodbye was the hardest, and scariest, thing I have ever had to do. Laynie's daddy rode in the ambulance with her, and I followed in my sister's car. It was a very difficult ride.
The staff at Cardinal Glennon is exceptional, and everyone was very patient, kind, understanding, and most importantly, skillful. Thanks to their wonderful care, Laynie's infection has been lanced and drained, her fever is gone, and she feels much better. We came home last night, and she's been playing and resting on and off ever since. Thank you so much to everyone at Cardinal Glennon, for taking such good care of my baby, and sending us home as good as new.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Finally, a Started Sock

I couln't stand the idea of not having a pair of handmade socks by the end of Socktoberfest. So I sat down last night with my yarn and a couple of hooks, and swatched away. I crocheted, I frogged. Crochet, frog, crochet, frog, crochet, frog. You get the idea. After a couple hours and a little frustration, this is how far I got:

When I got up this morning I sent the girls to their dad's for a couple of hours, they haven't been seeing him much lately so it was kind of a treat for them. The treat for me? Getting to work on my sock some more. Here's where I'm at now:

By some kind of crocheting miracle, it fits. Yay! Of course, it may be more that I'm stubborn, and ripped out the damn thing over and over until it looked like it would fit, than a miracle of any sort. I'm happy either way. I love the way the colors are striping up so far, and it's going quickly now that I'm past the toe and on the foot part. I'm still convinced that I'm going to run out of yarn. I'll probably have to buy more, but if I can't find this particular kind, I'm sure I'll think of something creative. Maybe a solid pink or black for the afterthought heel and cuff. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I'm off to keep working on the sock. This whole Socktober thing is addictive!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Crochet Sock Patterns and Ideas

I've spent the last couple of days researching crocheted socks (in between the closet-cleaning). I put together a list of some of what I found, for anyone else who might be interested in crocheting their Socktoberfest socks.

  • Toe-Up Crocheted Socks- I've only looked through this pattern so far, but it seems to be very easy to adapt.
  • Amanda's Weekly Zen- Scroll down to the Sept. 4th and 16th entries for some inspiration.
    Crocheted Toe-Up Baby Socks- These are sooo cute! Great for using up leftovers.
    Brown Shell Socks- These use more yarn than I have for my Socktoberfest socks.
  • Hot Pink Crocheted Socks- These socks at Knitmodo and Crochetmodo don't have a pattern but they are great for inspiration.
  • Many people have also suggested or mentioned the book Crocheted Socks! by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood. I checked it out at Amazon and it looks like it would be a good resource, but I can't really afford it right now. Eh, maybe someday.

I'm contemplating the notion of giving up Socktoberfest socks for myself. I'm afraid that my two 50g skeins of yarn won't be enough. I could make a pair of socks for each of the girls, though. Or, I could try to adapt some of the things I've found into a toe-up pattern of sorts and just crochet until I run out of yarn. I'm still deciding. I'm going to run out of time if I don't speed it up.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Socktoberfest Sock Yarn

Here's the yarn I'll be using for my Socktoberfest socks. I thought it looked very pretty posed next to these beautiful wildflowers that have escaped the flowerbed.

See the flowerbed, in the left upperhand corner? That's where the stem of the plant is, but it just keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and longer, and now the flowers hang out of the bed. I'm afraid the guy who mows the grass is going to cut them off. Now that would be a tragedy, cuz these are some of the best looking flowers I've had all year long. And they match my soon to be socks perfectly.
Here's the yarn resting in the arms of Frankenstein (we've been hanging up our Halloween decorations). I thought this pic was appropriate since it is Socktoberfest, after all. It rather looks like ole Frankie has a secret plan to run away with my sock yarn!
I guess this would not be such a great travesty, because my progress thus far is nil. Zilch. Nada. I have managed to find one crocheted sock pattern so far that uses actual sock yarn rather than worsted weight. It's the In Your Shoes Ankle Socks pattern from Crochet Me. A nice-looking pattern, but I'm not sure it's what I'm looking for. I have rather large feet, see, and I want to make sure that those two little balls of pink goodness are going to make it through the whole pair of socks. And the instructions are not really clear on how to adjust the pattern for your size foot. It's one possibility, and I'm not giving up. I'll keep looking until I find just the right pattern, or figure out how to adjust this one. I'm fully dedicated to seeing this project all the way through, and to finishing on time. Let the games begin!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Next Big Craft Adventure

I'm planning on doing a lot of decluttering around my apartment this weekend. The time for giving and receiving gifts is fast approaching, and the 3 (sometimes 4) of us are running out of space. One of our biggest problem areas is the dressers in our bedrooms. They are simply overflowing with clothes, and the closets are the same way. So I've come up with a way to get rid of some stuff that we don't need, and at the same time, try to save some money during the upcoming holiday season. Drumroll, please.....
I'm going to clean out all of our old clothes, and rather than donate them or give them away, I'm going to organize them to be used for various crafty endeavors. Sure, I won't keep everything. But I have tons of ideas flying around in my head on ways to recycle old clothes and such. Why not channel that into Christmas presents, made from the heart and by hand?
This weekend I am going to do my best, with the time I have, to clean out and organize all these clothes that we really aren't wearing. I'll also try to take pictures of this wardrobe de-stash/crafty stash-up adventure, and post them for fun. This will be the hard part. The fun comes when I can pull everything back out, a little at a time, and create.

P.S. Since I figured out this whole button thing, I'm trying to update the look of my blog, or at least make it more colorful. I'm adding buttons under my link bar right now, so if you want to be included, contact me through the comments. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Maybe not so Weak after all

Yay! I figured out the whole buttons in the sidebar thing all by myself, just some patience and a couple of internet tutorials. I'm patting myself on the back right now.
I said I would post about Socktoberfest when I was done with the button, so here goes. I have never knit a pair of socks before, and I've only crocheted baby socks. I'm going to crochet myself my first pair of socks with some Moda Dea Sassy Stripes in a pink colorway hidden in the stash, but first I have to find the perfect pattern. I've been browsing the other SF participant's blogs to see who else crochets, but no luck yet. I'm also going to use up my sock yarn scraps to make preemie socks, and I'll add them to the hats I plan to donate.
Those are really my only goals for Socktoberfest, I have to think about Christmas presents right now, so I don't want to set my sights too high. I can't wait to have my own pair of handmade socks, though, so I'm excited to get started. Happy sock knitting (or crocheting!)


Well, I did it. I broke down and joined Socktoberfest 2006, even if I was two days late. Oops. Lolly is running this shindig, and offering up some great prizes.

Ok, see that? The button works just fine there. But I can't seem to make it work on my side bar, and I definitely cannot figure out why. Oooooooh, so frustrating. I'm not a big fan of html. If anyone can help me figure this out, that would be so great. E-mail me, comment, any help would, well, be helpful. I'll post more about Socktoberfest when I get this figured out.