Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Crochet Sweatshop

(In an ominous voice) And it begins...  

Yesterday morning, my friend Alina commented on my holiday meltdown post and gave me her tip of the day, which was:
"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."  
from my instagram feed
This piece of advice has been rattling around in my head since then.  It's rather encouraging don't you think? :)

Another of my awesome-pants blog friends, Erica, also left some encouragement for me.  I really appreciate these ladies ^.^ With all this positivity, how can I not get to work??  Even whistling while I work... I'm planning on becoming a crocheting Snow White in this piece! lol o.O

Anywho, last night I went to my friend's house to watch the Walking Dead and decided that I was going to work the whole time on the DIP afghan #2. I love that the pattern calls for granny stitching which I can pretty much do with my eyes closed.  So I got 12 rows completed on it, just 2 rows shy of completing the whole side.  I'm surprised my fingers aren't stiff :)  
This is after I finished the last 2 rows on the long side.
I'm now curled up on the couch working on the first short side and watching Alphas on netflix.  I'm on the last episode of the season though... Does anyone have any suggestions for a new show for me to watch while crocheting?  And here's something else...
In my best Tim Gunn voice "Make it work!" ^.^
I finally rigged my crochet hook!  Because I hold my crochet hook like a knife instead of a pencil, like most other people do, the end rubs against the edge of my pinky finger.  Of course after hours of crocheting, my poor baby finger is really irritated, SOOOO I got a pencil holder and some little rubber bands and softened the edge.  It worked like a charm ^.^  No more annoying rubbing ::happy dance:: 

Well I'm off to finish the short side of this blanket.  I'm also going to try to finish the other mason jar cozy and maybe attach the alligator clips to the butterflies/bows to finish that gift.  If I get thru those, that'll be 2 gifts completely done and one getting very close.  
I'm eating my elephant one bite at a time ;-)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Crafting: Minor Meltdown

Hey there.

It's past midnight and I have NO idea why I'm still awake... I was watching Corinne's Re:Create videos on about.com (check them out here) for a while.  I really miss the old Threadbanger. Oh well, I can always go back and watch the archives :)

Anyway, I had a thought... Christmas is 30 days away... Has anyone else had this realization?!?!  What the crap!!!! I still have sooo much work to do!  I'm low-key freaking out... I just want to have all my projects/gifts ready this year.  That's all I really want...

I'm going to have to turn myself into a one-woman crochet sweatshop for the next few weeks... I have 15 out of 20 projects done... What have I been frittering about doing?

Handmade Holidays List
[] 2 drop in the pond afghans (1 complete)
[] 3 scarves with initials (2 in progress)
[] 3 pairs of slippers (1 complete)
[] 2 hats (1 complete)
[] 1 hat/scarf set
[] 1 set of mason jar cozies (1 complete - 1 in progress)
[x] 1 set of luminaries
[] 1 set of bow & butterfly hair clips (in progress - need clips)
[] 5 undecided gifts

Ok... I feel like I've been working non-stop of crochet things and haven't done anything... ugh!  I was ahead of the game when I first started this in SEPTEMBER!  What the crap!!!  Calm down... I can do this. I can finish these projects in time. My friends and family WILL get their gifts for Christmas and not Valentine's or St. Patrick's day...

Alright. That was quite a quiet meltdown I just had... I guess tomorrow and Tuesday I'll work on finishing the second drop in the pond afghan and the hair clips.  I need to break out my calendar and seriously schedule out my crafting time and goals so that I can complete this.

Plus, if I ever really want to run a shop myself, I have to get better at starting/chugging out/finishing pieces in a timely manner.  I really want to do the shop thing.  But that's totally a dream right now.  A star on the horizon.

Good night all.  If you have any tips of getting things done, please let me know and if you have any encouragement for this crafty life, lay it on me :)  Peace.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mason Jar Cozies (yaaay!!!)

One of the many Handmade Holiday gifts I've been working on is a set of jar cozies for my bestsisterfriend requested.  She said she wants to be able to drink hot drinks out of mason jars, but doesn't want to burn her hands.  So I decided to work up a his & her set :)  And actually documented the process ^.^ Check me out!

My late night idea doodle :)
Cozy makin's
 So I started off with a 2 pint mason jar and using 2 strands together, crocheted a disc to cover the bottom (photo 1).  After the disc was the right size, I started working up the sides of the cozy. I worked the first row into the back loops only to make a distinct edge for the cozy bottom (photos 2 & 3).

This is my first foray into embroidery ^.^ I used the chain stitch and a satin stitch to make the mustache (photos 4-6).  The Hers version will be written in pink yarn.  I'm excited about how the His version came out!  But, I'm going to have to take a break before starting the other one... I'm tired of looking at the brown & cream, lol. 

That's it for this post.  I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgivings and had a good time with family and friends :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What's on My Hook? #17: Been Hookin... (I know, couldn't help it)

'Ello!  Today was a good day.  Half day at work, preparing to donate a bag of yarn/other stuff to the thrift store but giving it to a friend instead, thrifting & dinner out with Lamar, new socks, and some finished crochet pieces ^.^ Huzzah!!!!

So, I've certainly slowed down with my Handmade Holidays crafting... (bad Caleisha! I know... hangs head in shame). Let's see... I finished the man slippers.

I also made the mistake of asking my other cousin what she would like me to make for her and her husband...

Word of advice for fellow crafters: Don't do that!  Just make them something useful and call it a day!

She sent me a picture of a hat from Buckle like 'can you make me this hat?'  I want to rant about that, but I won't... I just rolled my eyes and took my hips over to Ravelry to browse hat patterns.  I'll be making some kind of slouchy beanie for her and this beanie for her husband, but honestly, I've been changing my mind so often lately that this may be completely different come tomorrow... 

I have been working on & frogging out a pair of slippers for my cousin Dawn, and at this moment have nothing but a pile of yarn to show for it... Originally, I was going to make these bunny slippers for her, but the pattern was very frustrating... I'm going to try to tackle it again later on, but it's not working for me for this holiday crafting.  Oh well.  So I think I'm going to go back to the moccasin pattern for her, cuz I really like it :)
This is all that's left of the bunny slippers...

Next, I've completely fallen in LOVE with this pattern! It's a simple chunky tam and so far, I've made... 4.  Yes, I went a little ham... I must confess, I do love love love me some chunky accessories! :) 
1.Burgundy 2.Grey/Navy 3.Black 4.Oatmeal
Having these hats has been such a saver for me because I haven't washed/detangled my hair in a week and snatching the black hat and tucking my hair away has been great.  I just finished the last tan one tonight.  Call it a "break" from holiday crafting... I don't know if you can actually call it a break since I haven't been finishing any holiday crafting... but whatever...

Lastly, a few weeks ago Michaels had their Loops&Thread Charisma yarn on sale for $1.99 ea (reg $4.49 ea) and I bought 3 balls of yellow and 3 of white.  In the back of my head I wanted to use the color scheme for a chevron blanket, but 6 balls of yarn is nowhere near the amount needed for a substantial blanket... so I raided my yarn stash for other colors/textures to go with the two Charisma yarns.  And now, I have a pretty great mix of yellows, greys, & white.

So yeah, that's it. I know it's a long post & I'm sorry... the next WoMH will be mostly pictures because I WILL have more projects completed. I decree and declare! lol...

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving & if you go out to shop on Black Friday, say something encouraging to the sales reps/cashiers. Working Black Friday is one of the worst things to do as a retail employee...

~Peace ^.^

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Best Day in a Long Time

Hey there!  (Sorry for the cruddy picture quality to follow, all we had for a while were our cell phones.)

It's been a little while since I've really written, but I really wanted to share a bit of happiness with you :)

Sooooo... I am oh so very happy this week ^.^ and the reason is due to the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, Lamar is visiting for the WHOLE WEEK!!!!!

I could dance around Huntsville :)

The girls were SO EXCITED to see Lamar ^.^

Anywho, he flew in on Saturday at 11:30 and after getting stuck in like 2 mile per hour traffic I finally got to the Birmingham airport by like 1pm or something.  I feel like if someone had been filming one of those lovey-dovey chick flick movies they wouldve absolutely loved our "reunion."  Why? Because he was sitting on a bench and I saw him before he saw me- and I ran to him then slid into his lap ^.^  It was great!  After which, there were lots of kisses and hugs and strangers smiling at us.

Unfortunately, Lamar's suitcase didn't make it onto his flight and we were told that we'd need to come back in the morning to pick it up.  I'm so glad that he's such an even keel person, because he took what could've been a frustrating experience (who really has money to make extra trips to Bham?!?) and turn it into an awesome Date Day :) I'm blessed.

So, we got up Sunday and lounged around and left the house at 2pm to head back down to Bham.  Our first stop was the Civil Rights Institute.  Of course, I ended up crying... but it's always good to know your history.

After we left the Institute, we walked through Kelly Ingram Park and looked at the statues.  They were so intense!  There was one where you walk through a corridor and there are huge rabid looking dogs jumping out of the walls.  All I could think was "Thank you GOD in Your infinite wisdom for bringing me into this world in this time..."

Across the street from the park/Institute, is the 16th Street Baptist Church.  They have a memorial for the four girls killed in 1963.  The part of the Institue that brought me to tears was their room.  They were so young...

By this time of the evening, my heart was so heavy so we went to snatch Lamar's bag from the airport then find the Carver Theater for a poetry show.  Or what I thought was going to be a poetry show... Only it wasn't... It turned out to be a step show called Step in the Name of Love with lots of church groups and a few Greek groups.  It was awesome. Very inspirational :)

Here are a few of the performances:
These mimes had people PRAISING in the audience!
Stepping Church Youth Group. Yes those are leeettle kiddos in the front.
The SYD Shuffle. Giant rapping bear with glasses... check...
They were throwing t-shirts into the audience, but Lamar and I sat in the balcony so we figured there's no way we'll get anything.  Then the MC of the program came out to throw a shirt and tossed it directly into Lamar's hands. WINNING!!!

OK. That's it.  We had alot of fun, but the best thing about the whole experience was that we had it together.  I'm so glad Lamar's here with me.  I've probably said that to him multiple times a day already.  He's sitting next to me on the sofa falling asleep as I'm writing this and I can't help but to smile at him. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not So Blue Monday #17: Speaking to Shadows

Every so often I get swallowed by a "depression" of sorts. I use quotes because I don't want to get use to claiming the depression as mine. Sometimes it slides up on me slowly like and approaching thunderstorm. I can see it coming and kind of get myself ready to face it... batten down my hatches and whatnot.  Other times it crashes down like a tornado with no warning... no heads up and I'm floored.

Today is a gloomy, rainy, soggy kind of day.  These are the days that, if given opportunity, will chain me to the bed without a second thought. The kind of day when I expect some unwelcome company to saunter up next to me and make its home in my hair.

This afternoon, as I was heading back to work after lunch, I felt it come up behind me. Imagine walking down a sidewalk and someone comes out and starts walking behind you.  They don't make a sound, but you know they're there.  That's what it's like.  Normally, I get anxious, but today I started talking to 'her' and laid down some rules.  I told 'her' that she can stay with me and can make me feel melancholy or whatever, but she is not allowed to floor me.  If she agrees to the terms she can hang out with me today.  So I got in the car and continued talking to 'her' like there was someone riding in the backseat. (As I'm writing this, I realize that it makes me sound rather crazy, but bear with me.) I told 'her' that she will need a name... I'm probably going to end up calling her something typical like Melancholia... *shrug*

Anyway, the funny thing about the whole situation is that after I told 'her' what she can and cannot do, I felt better.  I'm not feeling anywhere as down as I expected. I told Lamar about this experience and he said I felt better because I took ownership of 'her' and didn't fight.  Then after getting off the phone with him, I noticed that there was the best break in the dreary, cloudy sky.  So I pulled over to snap a picture.

I woke up in sort of a tizzy this morning. Late for work, feeling off, tripping over dogs... it was a snowball of unfortunate rolling downhill.  But I'm glad to say that even when it seems that 50 million little things are doing their best to pull you down, the sun (quite literally) still comes out. :)

At the time of the photo I was around the corner from work, and when I got onto campus, the sun was peeking out as well. I wanted to take another picture, but I was already late returning... I've really got to work on my timeliness.

Crafterweekend! (Crafternoon #19)

We had an Art&Soul (poetry club) weekend at the apt this weekend.  It was all chill time, creative time, get to know your family time, and foodie time.  Sabbath we initially were going to go up to Green Mountain, but when everyone woke up we slowly started talking about our favorite poets and then listening to said poets.  With the poetry filling the atmosphere, it was only a matter of time before we all got writing or something.  It actually turned into a craftermorning/crafternoon.  We had the pull-out bed out and it was covered with jewelry makings and beads and yarn. It was a lovely crafty cacophony of awesomeness. I snapped some pictures in between working on a scarf.  So here they be:

It's been a while since the group has gotten together to just hang out.  Normally it's a business meeting or getting ready for a show or something like that. So it's really good for the fam to get to spend chill time with each other and strengthen the friendships within.

In the first picture, I'm working on a scarf for myself.  Originally it was suppose to be an offset cable scarf, but I didn't like how it was working up so I frogged it and reworked it into a granny stripe (my favorite scarf makin' pattern ever!)
The cable idea.  To be recreated at a later time.

Frogged & Reborn.  It's like 5+ feet long I think...o.o
The yarn I used for the scarf is one I haven't used in the past.  I really only picked it up because it was on sale for $1.99 and it's normally priced at $4.49. So I feel like this was the best time to try it out. And it's so soft! It's one of those yarns that feels different in a ball than it does worked up.  So of course, I went back to Michaels and picked up a few more balls before the sale ended, and super lucky me, the cashier told me about a 25% off coupon that applied to sale items too! Wins for me!  Now my Art&Soul friends are saying that I'm a yarn hoarder and that I have an addiction.  I beg to differ.  I use the yarn.  So it's not hoarded.  It's a craft stash and I'm perfectly fine with non-crafters and occasional crafters who don't understand the purpose of a "stash".  Now just to drive my point home- yes, I got six more balls of that yarn; no, I don't have a project immediately in mind; yes, I'm glad I bought them. Why? Because I paid $9.67 for $29.10 worth of yarn.  You saved $19.43!

Anywho, I got a bright sunny yellow and white.  I want to do chevrons.  I didn't get enough for a blanket... and I don't want it to be a chevron scarf...  Any suggestions?  Also, I've been fiddling around with my blog design and whatnot... do you think my pictures are too big?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Looking for New Blogs

I'm looking to find some new crafty blogs to read.  You know how sometimes you get into a sorta rut reading all the same blogs... not that they're boring or anything, but I just want to see something new. 

Does anyone have any blog suggestions for me please?
Thanks ^.^

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not So Blue Monday #16: Friend Time

This is what made my Monday not so blue:

My bestbrotherfriend Ricky came to visit from California! Hurray! It was awesome to get to hang out with him again. I think the last time we saw each other was like summer 2010.

We decided to go out to lunch and like good little Oakwood Alumni, lunch was at Stanlieo's Sub Villa.
To explain: Around Easter weekend countless and far-flung Oakwoodites make the yearly pilgrimage back to Huntsville to reconnect with friends and take long walks down memory lane.  During this time, they must eat and for some reason, Stanlieo's has been the generational food provider for such travelers.  So much so, that Stanlieo's actually has an OC Special sub.  A high honor for the Oaks as none of the other universities in the city can make that claim.  Anyway, people who were unable to make the trip send requests along the highways and byways "Bring me back a Stanlieo's!" & "Don't forget my Stanlieo's!" & "I want the Veggie Combo... no the Veggie Medley!" And their faithful friends return home heavy laden with the once toasty subs, now soggy from the trip,  which are eaten with misty eyes and nostalgic hearts leaving the muncher longing for their next opportunity to partake in this, the most yummy of Oakwood traditions.
snagged from Ricky's instagram @rmhodnett
So Ricky and I spent an hour and a half laughing at our old shenanigans making lists of stories that we're not allowed to share at each others weddings.  He definitely has more than me... Funny times :)

All that's left is the bag... yum
At this point in my life I really appreciate my true friends. Friends that have been there for me thru good and bad, ups and downs, in and out of relationships, and loved me enough to drag me to a counselor in the midst of my dark days.  They are my family by choice.  Adopted brothers and sisters that blood couldn't make closer to me.

I'm sure they've saved my life.

Observe Caleisha's creeper face.
Friends always make Mondays not so blue. ^.^  Plus friends are good for your health so I'm just sayin, keep up with your old friends and don't forget to try to make new ones.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Crafternoon #18: More Holiday Crafting & a Resurrection

Crafter-freakin-noons y'all!!!!  Yep... that just happened :)

I got a good deal of work done on my holiday crafts today... I mean, I'm half way through my cousin Ron's gift.  The idea I had for him was a set of 'man slippers' so off to search Ravelry I went.  After much looking I came upon this pattern for Crochet Moccasins.  I decided to use 2 strands of yarn (navy & grey). So far I've completed one and let me tell you that pattern needs a smidge of work.  It just has a few places where the wording is not clear and I ended up wasting so much time doing things the wrong way because of how it was written.  Oh well, now that I know, the second slipper will go so much faster.  I'll likely start on the mate later on this week.

Comfy looking huh? =)

I also did a few more rows on the Drop in the Pond afghan #2. To be precise I finished 3 rows while in a poetry club meeting.  Slowly but surely making progress on it.  I should just devote a few days this coming week to finish it up.  I was looking at the first Drop in the Pond afghan I made and kinda want to put some more border rows on it... It feels unfinished to me for some reason.  I don't think I shared the completed first afghan on here.  So here are Drop in the Pond (DP) afghans #1 & #2.
Completed DP #1
Progress on DP #2
Lastly, I did some dyeing today.  It was more of a refashioning project.  You see, a while ago I got a cream cardigan from American Eagle and eventually didn't want it anymore.  But instead of giving it away, I decided to dye it brown because I had been looking for a brown cardigan to wear to church and work, but couldn't find one I liked.  So I popped it in the sink with some RIT dye.  45 mins- to an hour later I chucked it in the wash to see what the finished product would look like... It looked HORRIBLE...  The dye didn't take evenly so it was all splotchy and whatnot and I was like, there's no way I'm wearing this!  So into my "to be fixed one day when I have time" pile it went.

Today was that day. I pulled out my new/old dye pot I got from the Ghostown Flea Market and prepared another brown dye bath.  This time, I made sure the water was pretty near boiling when I put the sweater in to insure I got a deep color.  That little sweater was in that bath for nearly 2 hours.  When the water cooled down, I rinsed the piece and ran it thru the washer and dryer, and I'm very glad that I didn't give up on this cardigan.  Now it's the perfect dark brown and the only other alteration I'm considering is changing out the buttons, but the dye bath was so hot that what use to be cream colored buttons are now brown too, lol.

Roommate said I looked like a witch stirring potions in my huge pot with my large wooden spoon...
Awkward self portrait at midnight... check...
Close up.  The buttons actually look kinda olive or army green... I'm going to change the out for gold ones.
So yep, that was my crafternoon. We didn't have anyone over for real, but sometimes I appreciate being able to crochet by myself at home.  Next Sunday, Alina and I are going to the Spin & Stitch circle at Yarn Expressions.  I was telling my mom that I'm so much more likely to go to things like that with a friend than by myself... especially if I think I'm going to be outnumbered by old ladies.  No one wants to be outnumbered.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and got some extra rest with this time change and all... Speaking of, I need to get my tail in the bed... Gotta be to work tomorrow morning.  Goodbye crafty weekend.