Friday, April 30, 2004


Here are pics of my fob. I'm so glad it's finished. It's like this weight has been lifted and I can now really enjoy all my other projects. The fob is stitched over two using one strand of floss on 36ct lambswool linen.

I hope the recipient likes it. I have decided that cording is not my friend. I need to take a finishing class if I can find one locally. My finishing has improved a lot but not as much as I would like. DH told me it looked nice but all I see is that it's a little wonky on the lower right corner. He says I'm way to anal about it.

Next Project

I haven't decided what's up next. Today I'll work a little on my gemstone/black afghan and maybe L'Ete, I ought to work on Fairy Grandmother, it's the right thing to do, but I don't want too. I'd love to start my Pieced Throw from Simple Crochet but really need to finish a few things before I do that. The 63 Squares afghan is also calling out to me. Decisions, decisions.

I also need to sit down and plan the huswife or sewing roll for my June Swap. Since the loop is a Lizzie Kate Loop I want to pick various L*K designs to decorate the outside of the roll. Not sure if I want to go with friendship related pieces or stitching related designs or maybe a few of each. The stitching always goes fast once I get it planned out, it's the finishing that usually holds me up because I agonize over it and never think it's good enough. I'm also pondering seasonal designs. There's a lot to choose from, I have several different layouts running around in my head.

Weekend Plans

Saturday I'll work for 10 hours straight, so Sunday will be spent recuperating. Not sure if I'll get any stitching in over the weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Yesterday's Progress Report

While watching Cold Creek Farm(not the best movie but wasn't bad) I crocheted 10 rows on my Red Heart Gemstone and Black afghan. I love using a Q hook. It's huge but the crocheting goes so fast. This afghan would be finished if I hadn't created a way too long foundation chain. Somehow it didn't look that long when it was just a harmless foundation chain. I also love working with three strands of yarn. The single crochet and the thickness of the three strands together is creating a very soft fabric. I love working on this project and am already trying to come up with the next afghan I can use a Q hook on and the right colors of yarn to blend together. I'm comtemplating two strands of Red Heart's Ocean and a strand of maybe Navy for contrast. not sure how that will look. Maybe I'll just go with three strands of Ocean. I love the colors in that yarn. I tried it using two strands of red and one strand of black and viceversa neither one really grabbed me. DS#2 wants a red and black afghan and I've been trying to be creative it with it but guess I'll just do a basic black and red ripple. Boring I know. Maybe I'll hold two strands together to make it a little more exciting. Ok, I'm reaching.


The fob is sewed together but not stuffed because I can't find the doll pellets I purchased to stuff it with or my brand new huge bag of polyfill. I'm beginning to determine I'm not the most organized person in the world. Ok, I know that I'm not organized but I've never been this scatterbrained. Usually the one area where things are organized is my stitching. These days I can't find anything. I must blame it on company. I go into a last minute cleaning frenzy and toss things in Rubbermaid buckets and then can't remember where anything is. Finding something is an all day event.

Other Projects

An email loop I've been with for 6 yrs is having an anniversary swap so I'm trying to decide what to stitch for my swap partner. I'm hoping to attempt a sewing roll or "huswife". I've seen several finished ones on some stitcher's sites and want to attempt a simple version.

Here's one that I love but way beyond my skill level, Sampler Cover. Here are a few more examples, Sampler Cove. As I mentioned before these are way beyond my sewing skill level but I think I can come up with something equally pretty but with not as elaborate finishing requirements.

On My Mind

Recently there have been discussions on various blogs regarding cheap acrylic yarn vs the good stuff. What I've discovered is that these discussions come up in all areas of crafting. With scrapbooking it's the difference in papers and in cross stitch there's occaisionally a discussion of overdyed threads vs DMC and handdyed fabrics vs readily available linens.

I think that most people work with what they have or can easily find locally. There was a time when I was in a frenzy to use all overdyed threads and pricey fabric because I thought it made me more dedicated to my stitching, I was really creating an heirloom. What I've discovered is that it only makes me more broke. Don't get me wrong. I love, love,
love expensive fabric, BOAF's linens are the best. I adore the overdyed threads, but what I've learned about myself is that it's the process of the stitching, the creation of my needleart that is important to me, not what thread or fabric I use. I've been cross stitching for 30 years and while I love linen and GAST and WDWs I'm just as happy with aida( as long as there are not a gazillion fractional stitches, then linen/evenweave is a necessity) and DMC.

I hadn't crocheted in ages until back in the fall I had the urge to make a ripple afghan, I didn't want to use Red Heart, I thought I was above that now. I had been using pricey overdyed threads for my cross stitch, how could I use anything less for crocheting? Since at the time it was all that was easily obtainable in my area, I wandered Walmart's yarn isle and picked some colors that I loved and went home and started crocheting. I couldn't get over how much I missed hooking. I had kept myself from doing something I enjoy because I had become a fiber snob. Yes, I drool over the Patternworks catalog and somewhere down the line when I crochet or finally figure the whole knitting thing out I'll invest in more expensive yarns and ribbon for clothing when I can but I will never allow myself to not crochet just because Red Heart is my only option. I must admit it's easy to work with, I can see my stitches and instantly spot an error. I find that comforting, especially when working on new to me stitches.

I had another epiphany regarding my quilting when I ran across a book titled, That Dorky Homemade Look. I found that I was avoiding quilting and piecing because my quilts weren't fabulous. They were dorky. They would never end up in Quilters Newsletter Magazine. My quilt tops are "primitive" and that's being kind. I thought I was less of a quilter because I didn't piece by machine, I don't use a rotary cutter. No, and don't fall off of your chairs, I do it the slow, time consuming way our ancestors and their ancestors and probably even the ancient Egyptians used. I trace every piece. I trace a sewing line on every piece(although Jinny Beyer in Quiltmaking by Hand has given me permission to just eyeball the sewing line). Yes, it's tedious at times, I do get frustrated when I read on RCTQ about people banging out quilts in a day or a weekend when I can't even get all my pieces cut out in a week. But what I have once again discovered about myself is it's not about finishing the quilt, it's about the process, going through the motions, it's about creating. Would I love for my kids and all the people I love to have quilts I've made? Sure. Will it happen? Well maybe for my kids but not anyone else and I'm so OK with that now. If I finish a quilt and it tells me it must go to so and so, then of course I will send it where it needs to be, but it's all about the process, not the finished project, not who it's for, it's all about me. My love for cutting out those little pieces of fabric and sewing them together by hand. If I get it finished in a timely manner, wahoo! If I don't, still wahoo! What ever happens to it in the end doesn't matter. It's the joy that the creation of it brought me. That's pretty selfish isn't it? But I have realized this with my cross stitching and crocheting too. It's the process. The joy, the comfort, the rythmn of the hook or needle(s), the feel of the fabric. It's not about how much the fabric cost, the yarn, the quilting fabric, it's not about what threads I use. It's the process. The creation. The love that goes into every stitch, not for who it might be for, but the love of the process.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

In yesterday's blog I mentioned that I didn't want to go to work, I just wasn't in the mood. I shouldn't have gone in, I should have called in, said I was sick. Why you may ask? Well fortunately this didn't happen until about two pm, only an hour before time to go home. I'm in the dining area, cleaning up tables, checking on the ketchup bottles, they need refilling. So I go to the fridge, and reach up, I'm short ok, the shelf is above my head. I pull down the ketchup bowl, the last person to use the ketchup bowl did not put the top back on correctly, it slipped through my fingers and hit me right at the bottom of my throat. Ketchup ran down the inside of my shirt and into my bra, it ran down the front of my shirt in between my apron and shirt and it ran down the front of my apron. There was one customer eating in the dining area, she heard me say, "Oh no, oh crap!" She calls out, "Everything all right hon?" I walk around the corner and say, "Uh does this look alright?" She said, "Don't you dare walk out that door, they'll think I attacked you." I ran into the bathroom and started trying to rinse out all the ketchup. I looked like someone out of "Scream" or "I Know What You Did Last Summer". There was ketchup all over me. I rinsed out my shirt as best I could and got the ketchup out of my hair and bra. What a mess! Then I walked back out to the area where we take orders and serve the food and the high school kid I work with says, "Uh what happened to you, it doesn't look good?" I go and stand in front of the fan and vow to never, ever touch the ketchup bowl or refill the ketchup bottles ever again.

On a positive note my getting off for my second grader's farewell party wasn't a problem. I don't know why I worry about stuff like that but I do. I feel like I'm letting people down when I ask off.

Let's see, on the stitching/crafty front:

I'm finally finishing up the fob. YEA!!! Shouldn't be a problem, if I can find my beige sewing thread. I borrowed some blue thread from my neighbor to attach the cording with but can't find my beige sewing thread to sew the sides of the fob together. Nothing seems easy these days. I'm obsessing over crocheting the Wavy Ribbon Tank from Interweave Knits Spring issue. I've read the pattern through several times and I think I'm up to the challenge. I'm going to look for some ribbon this weekend. I thought I read somewhere that LionBrand might be coming out with a ribbon, but I now have a LYS(it's small but they have a pretty decent variety of yarns and ribbon) so I ought to be able to find something I like. Hopefully it won't cost a lot. The pattern for my size calls for 4 balls of ribbon but I think I will buy 5 or 6 just to make sure I have enough. I also may have to add to the foundation chain since I'm not 100% sure the largest size will fit me. I haven't measured myself yet. I'm working from open to close this Saturday so the high school kids can all go the prom so my reward will be buying the ribbon for this tank.

I have ordered Cold Creek Manor on PPV and plan to either crochet on my gemstone/black afghan or if I find the thread before the movie starts I'll get my fob finished.

I've been in such a stitching slump lately. I'm not sure what the problem is. Could it be not enough hours in the day? I've overwhelmed myself with all these projects I want to start? I can't decide. So I'm going to take things one project at a time, work on what feels "right" and just enjoy creating again.

I may work on block 5 of the 63 Blocks CrochetAlong. I have everything sitting out for it. I think I need more discipline in my creative endeavors. But I find trying to set up a rotation or a schedule for stitching, it makes me avoid it even more because I never seem to want to work on what I'm supposed to be working on. I always find something more interesting and then I get annoyed or even angry at the scheduled project for intruding on my free time. So as much as I'd like a rotation, I don't think it'll ever work for me. I'm just a rebel at heart, even to the point of rebelling against my own rules and schedule. Sick isn't it?

I'm trying hard to stick the South Beach Diet. I would really, really
really love a coke. I'd love to feel that nice burn going down my throat. dream. I must be good so I'll just have to visualize the glass of ice, coke being poured over it, the little bubbles rising up from the rim of the glass, that first refreshing sip......that nice little fizzy burn.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Friday Happenings

I spent yesterday hanging out at the hotel with my SILs. Lots of sun. Too much sun. My nose, let's just say I could play Rudolph in a Christmas play. My fault, I should have put my nosekote on. But no, I was lazy. I was reading 1st to Die and couldn't put it down. Very good story. Patterson writes well from the woman's view point. I also have the new issue of Interweave Knits and there's a special crochet section and also an article on learning to knit and purl six ways.

Picked up Book 2: The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville using a coupon at JoAnn's. Hopefully with the demo on the computer, the book and help from ladies at the LYS, I can figure out if I'm purling correctly or not.

I haven't picked up a needle or hook of any kind in the last 48 hours. I miss my projects. Things should quieten down tomorrow when the SILS leave. We all went to dinner last night. Their treat. The boys couldn't agree on a place to eat so we just ended up doing the tourist thing and eating at Fudpuckers. Fine with me. I love the food there. Great burgers and I had a grouper sandwich and it was good. They've changed the way they do their fish and it's a definite improvement.

Hopefully I'll run across shelves at a yard sale today. I have got to get my bedroom and house and stash organized. Stash includes everything from cross stitch to scrapbooking to yarn. I'd love to get a wall in my bedroom all organized so I can see what I have on hand. Look at it and dream about it. What a geek I am. Right now I have to dig through Rubbermaid totes in various places in the house or garage. Nightmare. The house is wreck, clutter everywhere. Not the comforting kind of clutter either, the kind of clutter that makes you grind your teeth when you walk in the front door. I have managed to get almost all the laundry caught up after our washing machine fiasco last weekend. The dining table is almost cleaned off. Now I can see my winter themed tablecloth. Should have changed that out a month ago. But until now you couldn't see it so who would notice?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Finally finished gridding my fabric for the RR. Whew! Glad to have that finished. I didn't stitch my block, but I can do that when it's returned to me.

Ran by JoAnn's after taking my SILS to their hotel and picked up the cording for the fob I made for a swap. It's late but it should be going out in the mail first thing tomorrow morning. YEA!!!! Also picked up an eyelet starter kit for scrapbooking. I had a 50% off coupon so I got it for $5.

I feel like this huge weight has been lifted. I hate getting off schedule with swaps and stuff. Once I miss that deadline, I just don't want to look at it because I feel so guilty for being late.

Now I can pursue some other projects with a clear conscience.

I'm really enjoying James Patterson's 1st to Die. It's the first book I've read by him and it's the first book I've managed to stick with for longer than a couple of pages in a long time. With this one, you know who the killer is from the beginning so it's not like I'm trying to figure it out, just the characters are. I like being let in on the secret. This way I can enjoy the characters' journey and not spend my time reading trying to figure it out before they do. Yes, reading a mystery novel is a competitive sport for me. I like to think I know more than the characters. Yes, I'm a geek.

Now that I'm caught up on my stitching with deadlines I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to work on. I would love to get L'Ete by Birds of a Feather finished by the end of the month so I can get it in to be framed before my framer leaves for the summer or possibly retires for good.

I need to finish Fairy Grandmother. My mamaw isn't getting any younger. I've missed several deadlines with that piece. It's a priority.

DS#2's Dragon Isle is also a priority. This has been a WIP for 6 years. I only have a little left to finish. He even mentioned it not too long ago.

I'm not going to start any new cross stitch projects until at least one of the above is finished. Really, I'm not. Seriously, no new projects until one of these is completed.

I didn't say I wasn't going to keep stashing, just not start anything new.

I want to start several crochet projects and get back into a good routine with my 63 Sqaures afghan. I have my gemstone/black afghan, I have a crocheted box from Simple Crochet started and have all the Sugar & Cream ready to go for Erika Knight's Pieced Throw, also from Simple Crochet. I want to also pick up the Cotton Ease for a skirt from Family Circle's Easy Knitting plus Crochet Spring/Summer 2004 issue. It's a beach skirt to wear over my bathing suit. I'd post a pic from the magazine but I'm not sure about the copyright issues. It's the skirt on page 57. That Candy Blue Cotton Ease from Lionbrand will exactly match my bathing suit, not to mention it will cover up my big behind and my thighs. That's definitely a positive.

Also need to finish DS#3's quilt. The top is almost finished, then it's just adding the borders and then the batting and backing fabric. I plan to tie this quilt so it's not another year before he gets it. He's been pretty patient.

Great stitching days ahead and dreams of new projects floating around in my brain. I love planning projects and stashing for projects and kitting projects up almost as much as I enjoy actually working on the project.

Knitting Update

I still can't purl.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Cross Stitch Update

Believe it or not I managed to get my fabric for an upcoming RR just about ready for the first mailing. Should get it finished this evening.

I need to focus on L'Ete(can be viewed at and look under designer- Birds of a Feather-could never get my link to work) and Fairy Grandmother over the next couple of weeks. These are two projects that I want to finish soon.

Do I need to list all the cross stitch projects I want to do? I'm steadily buying charts and slowly kitting them up. I had been feeling a little bit of cross stitch burnout because for a while I was literally stitching 8 hours a day. I really needed to stop stitching cold turkey for a few weeks so I could once again enjoy picking up the needle. It felt good last night to stitch again.

Crochet Update

63 Squares-I'm up to block #5 but haven't started it yet. Once my fabric is finished for the RR, I'll start on Block #5. Maybe even tonight. It and some dishcloths will be my hotel projects for the weekend. When family is here and they stay at a hotel we spend a lot of time there. My kids enjoy the pool and I enjoy the view of the water. Yes, I have lost my aversion to water now. I'm ready to sit on their hotel balcony and enjoy the gorgeous view and crochet.

Gemstone/Black Afghan-Moving along rather nicely. I'm on skein three of the Red Heart Gemstone and skeins 3 & 4 of the black. I have 4 more skeins of black here but I think I may need at least two more to be able to make the afghan the size I want.

Knitting Update

I still can't flippin' purl.

Life Update

I have to work today. I need to thaw out something for dinner. I need to continue cleaning. Pretty boring. I've determined that boring can sometimes be a very good thing.


Went to the library yesterday because nothing I had in the house appealed to me. I picked up several James Patterson books. 1st to Die, 2nd Chance, & Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas and Jill Churchill's Bell, Book and Scandal. Also grabbed Laurell Hamilton's Seduced by Moonlight and Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice. Hopefully something in these selections will hold my attention. I miss reading, but lately I've gotten so picky about what I want to read that I either start a book and then just decide it's a waste of time or I just don't read at all.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Water, Water, Everywhere

I love water. It's why I live as close to the coast as I can afford here in the Sunshine State. I love water so much that chances are I was a fish in a previous life if there is a previous life. I love water so much that at the age of 40 I still love to wade barefoot through mudpuddles. I love to walk along the edge of the shore, wading in the waves breaking on the beach. I love looking at water and drinking water. But the one place I don't like water is when it's flooding my laundry room, my kitchen and my garage. I seriously begin to dislike water and definitely don't receive any comfort from being in it's close proximity. My kitchen and laundry room and then the garage were flooded, not once, not twice but three, three times this weekend. It's a glorious day, one for sitting on the beach and reading and I have absolutely no desire to go sit anywhere near water. I could use a bath, but I really don't want to go anywhere near water. It means I'll be wet. I'm tired of being wet. My feet have been wet all weekend. I'm so sick of being wet that if I see water on the floor one more time, I'll puke.

On a positive note, we bought a washer at a yard sale and it works, now. I won't bore anyone with the details....just don't ever, ever lay a washer on it's side to move it as everything shifts, the gasket comes off and things begin to flood. The thrice flooding is another story and since I tried not to get mad at the DH I won't even begin to go into the details here because I have a mountian of wet cat litter still to clean up and it makes me mad that I have to because someone doesn't listen to me and then floods the laundry room. Do you know how funky wet cat litter smells? ICK!

I'd love to be at the beach. This is a picture postcard day but we found out over the weekend that three of DH's sisters are coming down for a long weekend and just as sure as I don't clean they'll want to visit us at the house. Normally they don't but I always worry they will. So some deep cleaning will commence in a little while. Maybe. I hate cleaning.

Right now I hate doing just about anything. I don't like it when I get this way. I want to lay on the couch and not move. I want stare at the tv and not do one blessed thing. It's a beautiful day and I just want to hide in the house. So not like me.

I've been working on a crochet afghan, two black strands of yarn and one strand of Red Heart Gemstone, using a Q hook. It's working up so fast. I don't have to think when I work on it. The motion is habit now and I don't have to worry about changing colors. It's seriously heavy. I want to get it finished before it gets too much warmer around here. It's going to be a great winter blanket. Many thanks again to Krissy at Crafty Blog for the inspiration. It's been christened "very cool" by all the kids in the neighborhood.

We made a Hobby Lobby run on Sunday. My but I do love that store. Mine was very low on cross stitch supplies which made me sad because I have heard from others that Hobby Lobby has a great cross stitch dept. This one really didn't have a whole lot, at least that interested me. The yarn isle though was great! Lots of variety in the yarns. I want to get some of the Lion Brand Fun Fur and do a couple of crochet purses for my nieces. If I had known the SILs were coming I'd have gotten some this weekend so that I could crochet a couple of purses this weekend for the girls and let them take them back to them. But now I have ideas for birthdays and Christmas.

At Hobby Lobby I picked up 12 balls of Sugar & Cream Soft Ecru, and 9 each of pumpkin and rose pink. I plan to use these to crochet a throw from Erika Knight's Simple Crochet. Dh said it's going to be pretty girlie. Being the only girl in the house, I think that's a good thing every once in a while.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Spent the better part of yesterday trying to teach myself to knit. Funny things that one's mind recalls. While reading books, I've been attempting this two handed cast-on. I checked out some online demos that Donna at Yarn Tomato recommended at Common Threads and lo and behold I knew how to do the two tail cast-on. Amazing. I'm a casting on bandit. The only time I remember anyone teaching me to knit I was about 8 yrs old and this must have been the cast on I was taught. Then the knit/garter stitch seemed to flow ok. I need to get my stitches more even but I'm pretty happy with that. Purling, ahhh, the bane of my existence right now. I can't get my mind and hands to wrap around the technique for this stitch. It just views it as wrong. Even with the demo I'm not getting it. I'm hoping for one of those, "Alright, I get it now!" moments with this stitch when it just kind of falls into place with enough practice.


While talking to my mom yesterday she mentioned that when she was younger, before she met my dad, she used to embrodier on pillowcases. Her birthday is today and being the bad daughter that I am I have not sent a gift yet because other than a carton of cigarettes I had no clue what to buy her. So now I'm going to run out and buy her some pillowcases and the threads and needles and a hoop so that maybe she can pick up a hobby. I worry about her so much. I'm a loner. I know how depression and worry can take over your life. I asked her why she quit and she said, "I had a family, started working, just no time." I told I would shrivel up and die if I didn't have a project going. I can't decide how she feels about it. I know she thinks I spend way too much money on my "stitching". I know she thinks my house ought to be cleaner. Instead of sitting around working on whatever project I'm working on, that time could be better spent mopping, scrubbing the toilet, etc. But maybe if I could help reclaim the joy, the relaxation one gets from handwork, maybe she'd feel better about a lot of things. She does appreciate the time and work that goes into a project. She said it's been 40 yrs since she's touched a needle. I remember the few years I was lost in the pit of depression and didn't touch a needle, six years to be exact, and they were the worst years of my life. I know now that when I don't want to touch a needle, that's when I need to force myself to pick it up and work on something. It's my salvation. It keeps me sane.


We're going to go yard sale hopping this morning. I'm in search of shelves and/or an old entertainment center that I can use in the bedroom to organize my stash. I'd like to have my yarns out where I can see what I have instead of having to dig through Rubbermaid totes in the garage. I don't have a huge yarn stash. I tend to buy for projects as I start them. Although I have several lists in my purse for various afghans from several different sources but none of the yarn seems to be available locally so I may end up ordering from catalogs. I need a central location for my charts, magazines, books. A place to keep all my WIP organized, you get the picture. My stuff is all over the house. Right now looking around the living room, I have one of those rectangle shaped fold out tables piled up with yarn for my 63 Squares afghan, several books and magazines, the Ace hardware bag holding my twine for my crochet box from Simple Crochet, the beginnings of a Red Heart Gemstone and Black afghan thanks to Krissy at Crafty Blog for the inspiration. I had tons of Gemstone left over from a previous project. On top of the cedar chest there is a pile of cross stitch projects pulled from their baggies waiting for my attention. I keep thinking if I put them away I'll never touch them again. In the corner by the back door is my scrapbooking case and piled on one of the shelves in the living room are all my new albums that I purchased during JoAnn's Craft Month sale for the scrapbooking I have yet to get around too. In my bedroom, you can't see the top of my dresser, the ironing board is buried and there's a stack of books and charts that I like to read before bed on the floor by my side of the bed. The clutter has finally won. I have got to take control before we are trapped in the house forever because we can't find the doors because of the piles of stuff.

Frustration at Walmart

But what do I expect? I want to start this afghan from Simple Crochet. Here's Pinku's finished throw The one in the book is crocheted using a med. rose, an orange and an ecru. Yes I did write orange. It's very cool. I want to use these colors. I've been searching high and low looking for just the right colors and wanted to make it using something other than Red Heart. Here's what I've learned, in my area there isn't anything other than Red Heart. I wandered around Walmart for about an hour. They had these promotional balls of a nice cotton from Bernat, I think that was the manufacturer. Really soft, the rose color was just perfect and they had 10 balls. I started to scoop them up and walked around with them in my basket for a long time, I then put them back. Then I looked at the Simply Soft yarn. I found a rose(it was called plum on the label but it was a rose), but the off white was too yellow for me and there was no orange. I tried the Baby Soft colors. Baby pink, no off white, definitely no orange. I tried the Peaches & Creme. Found ecru, combined it with the soft Bernat cotton, no way would that work. Ended up tossing everything back. Drove over to JoAnn's and found out I was better off at Walmart. I'm hoping to make a road trip over to Micheals and Hobby Lobby but it's an all day outing. I really shouldn't spend the money now anyway, but I'd love to have it all kitted up and waiting for me when I'm ready to start. I had read on someone's blog that they were using Sugar & Cream for an afghan and the dishcloths I crocheted are really soft, so maybe I'll just order some Sugar & Cream for this afghan.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no yarn snob. I'll crochet with anything. I just wanted something a little softer for this afghan, just like I'd want something softer for a shawl. I did discover a LYS, but they really didn't have a lot of choices. I'm going to go back when I have more time and maybe there I can find the colors I want for this afghan but I seriously doubt it. They definitely carry more "traditional" colors. The only wild colors they had were in the funky fibers for scarves.

I want to make a shawl too. I've seen some beautiful shawls on knitter's sites, Rock Chick's Laurel Canyon Shawl and here's the back view then I saw Xtreme Knitting's Charlotte's Web Shawl my fingers started itching to make one, and then I thought, "What purpose would it serve? There are other things I want to work on." Then last night, sitting outside waiting on the dog to do her business, I was freezing and ran in the house and grabbed the afghan off the couch, and then that little light bulb went on, I need a dog watching shawl. There I have my reason and it's now a necessity.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

After spending the majority of the day searching high and low for the backing fabric and cording for my fob and not finding it, I finally surrendered a decided I'd just have to buy more tomorrow and pulled out Block #4 Treble Crochet for the 63 Squares CAL. My block turned out about a 1/2 inch larger all around than my other finished blocks. I made a note on the pattern and will probably redo it somewhere along the line unless a few other blocks turn out a little large too. Should make for an interesting afghan. LOL I crocheted the body of the block using Red Heart Country Blue and edged it in Blueberry Pie, also Red Heart

I bought some bright neon sales tags, the ones with the string attached, and am using those to label each block.

This afternoon while trying to catch some rays on the front porch and working on Block 4
one of the neighbor kids came up and asked me what I was doing. I told him that I was crocheting and he said "Oh you're knitting, my mom want's to learn how to knit." I said, "No, I'm crocheting." He sat down next to me and asked me if I'd teach him. I said sure. Off I go to find a spare skein of something, finally grabbed an 8oz skein of Royal blue, a G hook and attempted to teach him how to crochet. I printed out some directions from the internet and sent him home with a skein of yarn, a crochet hook and hopefully instructions that are good enough to help him remember everything I tried to show him today. He came back a few minutes later and asked me if I would write his mom a note so that he could keep the yarn and hook because he was afraid if I didn't she wouldn't let him.

I've determined I'm not a very good teacher. I try really hard to be patient, but I get frustrated when the kids get frustrated.

He asked me if I could teach his mom to knit. I said, "No, I'm trying to teach myself but I seem to spend more time walking across the room to pick up my knitting needles from where they landed when I threw them there in frustration than I do actually knitting."
Last night while reading Debbie Stoller's book Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook, she made a comment about how when women got the right to vote, they quit knitting because it was what a woman was supposed to do and the feminist icons of the 70's like Betty Friedan looked at knitting as "woman's societal obligation to serve everyone around them" yet she goes on to write that "they forgot that knitting served the knitter as well".

Couldn't we say this about any creative outlet we love? I grew up in a house with a mother who didn't sew, didn't knit, didn't crochet, didn't embrodier, you get the picture. So I've often wondered where my love, my obsession for creating things came into being. My grandmother made quilts, not quilts in the old fashioned sense but squares of polyester, rayon, double knit that was scavenged from my aunt's sewing scraps and they were all tied with acrylic yarn or embrodiery thread. Ahhh, I have an aunt that sewed, maybe that's where the seeds of creativity were planted. Uh, no, she's an aunt by marriage and taught home ec and clothing and textile services. I didn't want to sew. I was a Cosmo girl. The few times I tried to make clothes it was a nightmare. Maybe it was my teen angst about my body. When you go and buy clothes you try them on until you find something that fits your body type, when sewing your own clothes the flaws with your body are right there in your face. At least that's the way I always saw it. I never saw making my own clothes from the point of view that I had the freedom to design clothes that covered all my flaws. Oh to have that flaw filled 16 yr old body back. But I digress.

My grandmother baby sat me when I was very young and she worked in a junk store, when she'd get busy she'd hand me a little silver hoop(which I still have) with a piece of fabric in it and a needle and thread and say, "Make something pretty". So I'd sit there running the needle through the fabric and making letters. I guess it's the only thing my little 5 yr old mind could come up with. Recently when I made a trip back home my grandmother pulled a few of those little pieces of fabric from her Bible and I was surprised to see that I had satin stitched those letters. Ok, it wasn't a great satin stitch but that's what it was. One day she taught me to latch hook and kept me supplied with all kinds of latch hook rug kits. My aunt(the home ec teacher) and uncle have the prettiest latchhook I ever made. It was a bouquet of roses and turned out so nice. I gave it to them for Christmas one year and my aunt has it on the floor in her sewing room. This particular aunt's mother crocheted and whenever I would see her she would always have extra yarn and a spare hook(both of her daughters sewed but neither cared for crocheting) and she would spend time teaching me how to crochet. I still have a vest she and I made together(it's as ghastly as you'd imagine-think mid-70s) a poncho, and a couple of hats.

I also had a cousin that lived down the road that knitted and crocheted and read Harlequin romances. When I was going through my Little House on the Prairie phase running around in a sunbonnet and long skirts all the time she tried to teach me and my friend Linette to knit and crochet. We'd sit on the steps of Linette's apartment building and knit mile long rectangles. No one ever told us how to finish the piece off and we were too embarassed to ask. Sadly when we grew out of our Little House phase, we also out grew knitting.

Then cross stitch came into my life in all it's glory and I do know why I fell in love with cross stitch. I was a frustrated artist. My dad could pass the hours drawing on a sketch pad, I couldn't draw a stick person. The first cross stitch picture I saw took my breath away. Here was a way I could be an artist. Not a painter, not a sketch artist, but I could create beautiful pictures from fabric and thread. One of my neighbor's stitched models for a LNS and she took a little bit of time and taught me to cross stitch. She mostly cross stitched Paula Vaughn's and samplers, it wasn't until high school when my best friend's mom started cross stitching that I was introduced to a whole new world of cross stitch and all the places it could take you. I saw my first LNS, so many different designers all in one place. It was heaven.

I tried teaching my girlfriends to cross stitch. They all gave in, and I think eventually each of them might have made one Christmas ornament. None of them ever pick up a needle today.

So what is it that sets me apart from them? I hear this story over and over, knitters, crocheters, cross stitchers--none of their close friends ever seem to share their love of a fiber related hobby. What is it in us that nags at us to create something? What is it that makes us automatically reach for something to stitch when watching tv? Why do we find such joy and peace in these hobbies? Are we just born this way? I honestly can't imagine it being environment. Plenty of crafters grew up in homes like mine where the mother or father didn't have a hobby or a creative outlet yet these people aren't satisfied unless they have some time during the week to work on a project.

My mother is retired and I call her during the day and she's not doing anything. She doesn't read, not that I consider reading a hobby, it's a necessity like breathing, but she never picks up a book. She says she can't afford books. "Uh, mom, go to the library. Books are free there." She doesn't cross stitch, crochet or knit, or sew. She can't afford to do any of those things, so she says. Then she proceeds to lecture me on how wasteful and selfish I am for spending any money on any of my hobbies. A waste to buy cross stitch charts? A waste to buy yarn? A waste to spend money on fabric for quilts? A waste to spend money on something that passes the time, brings you joy and many times adds to the beauty and comfort of your home or a friend's home? I've offered to teach her to crochet or cross stitch and she won't let me. She'd rather sit around an empty house and worry about things and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. I'm not the only one that has tried to encourage my mom to pick up a hobby. The neighbor that taught me to cross stitch now lives alone and she's retired and she sees my mom several times a week and has tried over and over to talk momma into letting her teach her to cross stitch or quilt. She's told her she has more fabric and thread than she could ever use in one lifetime but still Momma can't be bothered. When the former neighbor leaves my mom will call me and say, "So and so came over tonight, I can't believe how much money she wastes on her hobbies. She doesn't have insurance but she has fabric. She has very little money coming in but still spends a lot on needlepoint canvases(my words, momma calls it that needlepoint junk)."

I've tried to explain to momma over and over again when we get into the whole "you can't afford to buy this hobby stuff" argument that I would die without my cross stitch stash, my yarn stash, my fabric stash and books. They save me from boredom. They give me something to do with my hands and my mind. They let me put a voice to my creativity. They keep me sane. My stash is also my rainy day creativity fund so to speak. It's there for me when I need it. It's my 401K for those times when money is tight and stitching, crocheting, quilting don't figure into the budget. There are schools of thought that might say if you didn't buy so much stash now you might actually have money later but my twisted mind just doesn't work that way. I've tried to explain to her that for the bargain price of $2.50 she can buy a ball of cotton yarn and a crochet hook and make two dish cloths and have some fun and still watch her soaps and smoke and drink coffee. It's the best deal in town. She then points out to me that that $2.50 could go towards laundry detergent or food. It is then that I know I must be adopted.

I seek out different projects for different reasons. Some are because they are easy and I just want something to do. Some projects I have a definite plan for, know exactly which wall I'll hang it on or whose bed it will cover or what piece of furniture it will be thrown over. Some are just experimental. What do people who don't have a creative outlet think about? I dream about my projects. I read charts before I go to bed at night. I dream about what colors I'll use, fabric choices, where it will hang, or if one my boys will snap it up and claim the item for their room. Doesn't everyone go to sleep with visions of projects floating around in their heads? Am I really an alien?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Last night I finished a second dishcloth for the Crochet Me Inaugural Project.

The first one I crocheted using a G hook, for the second one I used an I hook. The main part of the cloth is crocheted using yellow and the edging is crocheted using Fiesta or MexiCali.

When DH came home from work he was shocked to see a finished dishcloth and then even more impressed when I started and finished a second one while watching the Sopranos. He's used to me starting cross stitch projects and even the smallest one can take me a day or two. DS#1 asked me if I was going to really wash dishes with it or use them as bathcloths. I told him right now I was just going to enjoy looking at them, but yes, chances are I'd eventually use them. Can't wait to make a lot more.

Monday, April 12, 2004

All in all a productive day around here. While watching And the Sea Will Tell on the Mystery Channel I started and finished the Crochet Me Inaugural Project. This is the first time I've crocheted in the round in a long time and my piece seems to have a bit of a tear drop shape to it. Halfway through I figured out what I was doing wrong so I'm going to attempt another one before bed. The label was off this ball of Peaches & Creme but I believe the color is either Fiesta or Mexicali, something like that. I crocheted the edging in good ol' yellow. I also seem to have some largish holes where my rounds met up but I finally figured that out too. Guess I should have done a practice piece before starting my dishcloth but que sera sera. I didn't realize how much I've missed crocheting. I hope to stitch lots of these dishcloths. Many thanks to Pam for sharing her designing talents with all of us.

Not only did I finish one cross stitch project and a crocheted dish cloth, I managed to cook dinner too. I didn't give into the urge to order pizza. YEA ME!!!!!
Spent the better part of the day finishing up a fob for a Spring fob swap. It's Lizzie Kate's Spring Basket.

Now I have misplaced my backing fabric and the cording I purchased two months ago. Up until two weeks ago it was all out on my "craft" table in the living room. We had unexpected company, I went into a frenzy of cleaning and heaven only knows where it is now.

Nice day for stitching. At first it was cloudy, then it looked like the sun might come out, and then it hid behind the clouds so I enjoyed watching The Philadelphia Story, The Mummy and How to Make an American Quilt. DH has a softball game tonight so I might have to pull out my Thin Man tape. I really love lazy days, especially since I started working two days a week. It's really shown me how unorganized I am. Like I needed to be shown.

After I make dinner I plan to settle in and start the Crochet Me Inaugural Project

I think I have some Peaches & Creme Cotton around here somewhere. I believe I have yellow and the yellow varigated. It ought to work well in my zesty lime kitchen. Can you tell I live in Florida? It's possible I have a ball of the fiesta though. That's pretty wild, it might make a cool dishcloth.

The organizational bug has bitten me and I hope to find some shelves at yard sales in the near future. We are fortunate to have a large bedroom and right now on one side of the bed my ironing board stays set up 24/7. This morning I was thinking that would be a nice place to organize stash. Right now my stash is in the bottom of my closet and in the garage in rubbermaid containers and my magazine binders are all over the place. I would keep all my prekitted cross stitch projects in their rubbermaid container but I would be able to move my photoboxes of WIP to shelves in the bedroom and get them off the shelves in the living room as just about everyone pulls a box down thinking there are pictures in it and what do they see? A plastic bobbin box, a chart, fabric and either a hoop or Qsnaps. I need to find a way to store all my charts and organize all my freebies, I'm thinking binders and sheet protectors. I haven't checked Goodwill for binders in ages. I'm intrigued by the Unikeeps that I've seen people using over on the TWBB but they don't seem to be available around here. They just seem so much more compact than big 3" binders.

I'm going to toy with some organizational plans and see what I come up with.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Just realized I referred to a pattern in an earlier blog as "grandmother square" instead of granny square when talking about a crochet pattern. I'm getting quilts and crochet all mixed up together. Maybe I was just tired at the time. Didn't sleep too much last night and am feeling really restless tonight.

I'm excited to have already completed three blocks for the crochetalong. I think this project is one I'll stick with for the long haul because each of the blocks is it's own finish and there's so much variety in the squares. I don't see it getting boring.

Looking forward to DH going to work tomorrow and the boys going to school. I have several things I want to get completed tomorrow and for some reason when everyone is home I never get a lot of stitching done. Yes, I did manage to crochet but once I had the rythmn of the pattern down I didn't have to focus too hard and it's so much more portable than cross stitch since I just need the yarn and the hook. With stitching I need a pattern, my floss, fabric, needle, scissors, definitely have to be in good lighting and near an end table. The great thing about crocheting is I don't need near as much space and don't have to be sitting right under my stitching lamp. I can crochet in any room in the house.

Off and on over the weekend I've been crocheting on one of the boxes from Erika Knight's Simple Crochet. I love the texture of the crocheted twine. I'm still working on the first long side. I need to crochet about 5 more rows before it's the approximate size it needs to be. If I crochet more than three or four rows at a time my hand gets really sore so I've been bouncing back and forth on it between other projects. If this works out I may try one in burlap string or twine, not sure what it's called. I think it would be kind of rough on my hands, maybe even itchy, but it would make cool baskets. Here's my progress so far:

Wish my scans were better but this is this best of the three I did.

Quiet morning around here so I managed to finish Block 3 Double Crochet for the 63 Afghan CrochetAlong. I crocheted the block using Red Heart's Lt. Blue and edged it using Red Heart's Blueberry Pie.

This scan is horrible. Not sure what happened. The square looks wonkier than it actually is and on my computer screen it appears more lavender than lt. blue.

Woke up this morning to discover that my Block 2 was posted twice. Not sure how that happened except that when I tried to post last night it took forever and then said it didn't publish so I assumed the site was busy and decided to post later which is what I did. Anyway, got that post deleted so all is right with my world at the moment. Except that I have an 8 yr old currently on a sugar high at 7:43 in the morning. Does not bode well for the rest of the day.

Speaking of the aforementioned 8 yr old, he's been eating his way through McD's Happy Meals to get every dog that they are currently giving out as the toy. Now you must understand that he is regressing. This is the first time he's wanted a happy meal in 6 months. He's been eating the grown up extra value meals because he loves the larger fry. Now he's eaten McD's 7 times in 4 days. Did you know there's a breakfast happy meal? I had no clue. He's managed to acquire 7 different dogs and only got his first duplicate last night. We then told him that he will not eat another happy meal for at least a week. Breakfast or lunch. First of all we can't afford it and secondly, we are tired of giving into his tantrums trying to get all these stupid dogs. I really hate McD's at the moment. Their stockholders have no need to fear I'll never go back, that can't happen but I really hate these toy giveaways. Yes, I can be the parent and not give into it but, I've kind of enjoyed not cooking and my kitchen is actually clean. The sink is empty, there are clean glasses. WOW! But that all ends with today. No more happy meals for anyone, period for at least a week.

It appears to be a dreary day here along Florida's Emerald Coast. A good day for baking a ham and stitching the day away. Although DH commented last night that my current obsession with these crochet blocks is a little nuttier than usual. Hmmm, I'm either crocheting or cross stitching, if he wants to go do something he just has to say, "Let's go do _________." I then will set whatever I'm doing aside and head out the door but I will not sit in front of the TV and not do anything. He should know this, we've only been married a 100 yrs. Ok 18 yrs, but long enough that he should know better. I told him I multitask and he should know that. I think it unnerved him that I could crochet until pretty late without turning the overhead light on. He also asked why I haven't been cross stitching and it's because I needed a bulb for my lamp, not a pricey stitching lamp, just a stainless gooseneck floor lamp, and we had run out of lightbulbs so I needed something to do and picked up my crocheting. I finished a ripple afghan I started just before Christmas and wanted to get it finished. Then I found Crochetville and the 63 Squares crochetalong and joined up with that, all before I got around to buying lightbulbs. I'm off my stitching at the moment because I had a deadline I missed and I have another coming up and I'm losing my framer and I fear I won't get a very large piece finished so it can be framed to match it's mate on the wall before my framer retires in June so when I get stressed I don't want to stitch. I plan to sit down and get my fob for the swap finished this afternoon. I've had a nice break from the stitching. Cross stitch is another of my obsessions, I dream about it, think about it all the time, but now crochet has taken over. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I also discovered that there is a LYS. This is not good. Well it is but it isn't. I can't wait to buy some wooden crochet hooks, I used to have some when I was kid and thought my mom might have put them up in the attic but I couldn't find them last time I was home. I love my wooden knitting needles even though I can't knit worth anything. I just like the feel of them. I do fear my fiber obsession will carry over to crocheting. Unfortunately I don't think I can afford to buy all those fancy yarns very often. Maybe for extra special projects. I would love a good easy pattern for a tote bag and I saw this really funky grandmother square shawl in the first few pages of FC Easy Knitting. I called the LYS about the pattern and she doesn't carry patterns by Patons or Classic Elite who had an ad for a nice beach bag looking tote. But she happily informed that she had thousands and thousands of patterns and she was sure if I came in I'd find just the thing I've been looking for.

While playing Easter Bunny I decided to update the blog with my scan of Block #2, Half Double Crochet from the 63 Squares Afghan Crochetalong. I finished this about 8:30 last night.

I've resized it three times, it still looks a little large to me, but I'm going to give this a try anyway. The body of the square is crocheted with Red Heart's Med. Purple and the edging is crocheted with Red Heart's Blueberry Pie.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Yesterday I finished Block #1 of the 64 Squares afghan. I'm going to try once again to add an image to this blog. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I'll also include a link, just in case it doesn't want to cooperate. The body of the block is crocheted using Red Heart Windsor and the edging is crocheted in Red Heart Blueberry Pie. It's a little wonky from the scanner and the finished size worked out to be exactly 10 inches. Yikes! 3" larger than it should be. This is going to be one honkin' big afghan when it's finished.

Or if this just refuses to work, Block #1 (Edited to fix link)

And if neither of those work, click on my webshot album link, it does work, and then click on new when you get to my album, it should show the 63 Squares Afghan album on that screen.

Not sure why I'm having so much trouble linking the image from webshots here, I double checked the URL about 40 times and the link from my favorite places pulls it up.

I really need to take a class in html or buy a book about it.

ed. to add: Thanks Julie! now to just resize the pic. Yikes it's huge! Am now trying to resize the image...hope this one is smaller.....

Friday, April 09, 2004

I'm obsessing again over yet another hobby. Crocheting is taking over my life. DH even commented on it last night. He's used to my obsessions. He reminded me that I have quite a few cross stitch projects, nice, expensive to kit up cross stitch projects in various stages of completion. I plan to finish them, a few I really need to get finished before either May 1st or June 1st. One is a priority as I'm losing my framer and this piece must be framed to match it's companion currently hanging on my wall.

Last night I picked up Erika Knight's Simple Crochet. I love so many of the designs in the book and she uses kitchen twine quite liberally throughout the book. I love these boxes pictured in the book. They are single crochet and she shows three sizes, one 6in x 6 in x 8 1/4 in tall, another one is 10 3/4 by 4 1/4in x 3 1/4in tall and another one 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 4 3/4 tall. I was thinking that the third size would be nice for holding various charts for WIP, or making it 11 3/4 with 3 1/4 in sides and use it as an inbox or a place to toss all those random papers that clutter up a desk. I also love these raffia placemats. Who knew you could crochet with raffia? OK I'm not that great at thinking outside the box. I try but my attempts at unguided creativity usually end up as unsalvageable disasters. When not using kitchen twine she uses DK Cotton by Rowan in retro colors that I love. Can't help it, I'm just too groovy. I dig those pinks and oranges together. My question is, what is the difference in the DK cottons and the kitchen cotton? Since I don't have a wide variety of yarn choices around here and touching and feeling to compare is not an option I'm curious as to the differences. Maybe the DK is softer than the kitchen cotton?

I've known how to crochet since I was pretty young. One of my aunt's mother taught me to crochet when I was about 8. I've picked it up off and on over the years. I also have a cousin that always had something either on the knitting needles or the crochet hook, always. When I started back crocheting a couple of years ago I picked up Leisure Arts New Crochet Basics which is a great instructional guide for basic crochet stitches. I'm constantly referring to it. I used to say I was a self-taught crocheter because I just couldn't believe that those lessons I learned so long ago could still be floating around in my head but when I pick up a pattern and start working it, it all comes back-if it's a simple pattern that is. I still have to check out my basic stitch guide, I just don't have those stitches in my head, but once I start crocheting it's like I've been doing it forever.

I can't wait to attempt a few of the projects from Simple Crochet. My only complaint with the book is that the one throw I wanted to make, the main reason I tracked down this book, there's not that great of a picture of it. Every other project in the book is photographed really well, this throw, you just don't get a good idea of the pattern from the pictures in the book. More of a glimpse at what the project might look like.

I did choose some colors for my 63 Squares Afghan. I'm going to use Red Heart Blueberry Pie for the edging instead of the recommended ecru and I will also crochet a few squares in this color but not too many because the variegated thread will hide the pattern of the stitches. Then I decided on Red Heart Windsor Blue and Med. Purple since these colors show up in the Blueberry Pie, and then it still needed "something" for balance so I bought a skein of RH Lt Blue and a skein of RH Country Blue and will either use both or make a final decision on which one I like best. DH likes the Lt Blue, DS#1 liked the Country Blue. He said it blended better, DH said the lighter added more contrast. So where am I at with this decision? I'll just use both. LOL

Moral delimma of the day:

It was in our local newspaper that they are going to build a new super Walmart less than 5 mins from my house. On the one hand this is great news! No more road trips just to buy groceries so I can also buy fabric, DMC, yarn or CDs and slip them in with the groceries so that DH doesn't realize I'm buying stash. Yes I'm that sneaky. When you're buying $150 worth of groceries who's going to notice an extra $10 here or there? So where does the moral dilemma come in? I hate urban sprawl. I enjoy being in the middle of nowhere. I hate seeing trees plowed down so that I can buy cheap laundry detergent. We also just got a second grocery store which was great because we needed the competition as our original grocery store was really taking advantage of locals, raising prices, knowing they were the only game in town. So why do we need a Walmart? It'll put our hardware store out of business. Why go to Ace when you can get things much cheaper, 5 mins away, at Walmart and also buy some fried chicken and get your tires rotated and the oil changed? It's convenient but it's also just wrong for our community. Just my opinion of course.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Things To Do

Finish my fob for the swap. Didn't get it finished yesterday due to the passing away of Austin, my cat.

Finish DS#3's quilt top, buy fabric for backing-tropical fish print

Take a few minutes to weave in the loose threads on my ripple afghan

Choose yarn for 63 Squares CrochetAlong

Get fabric for Where I Live XS RR


I've been reading lots of crochet and knitting blogs over the last couple of days and it sure makes me feel better that other people comment on the high price of some yarns. I would love to have more options than Red Heart or LionBrand but you work with what you've got. On the plus side, the rainbow ripple afghan I made when DS#1 was two is as bright as the day I bought the yarns for it-he just turned 16. I think it costs me all of $10 back then. Of course there is the Patternworks catalog but it's more of my wish book than anything. I'm a fiber junkie and can spend hours drooling over that catalog, along with the Keepsake Quilting catalog.

I have a few projects bookmarked in various crochet magazines. One is a tote bag in a Knit It magazine from a few years back. The pattern calls for LionBrand Kitchen cotton and I'm having a problem finding the colors locally. They're bright, lime, berry and fuschia, not a bright ball of Kitchen Cotton to be found around here. I guess I'm going to have to order it online, the brand Walmart carries, Peaches and Cream, doesn't come in too many colors either from what I've seen. I tried subbing them for the colors in the pattern and didn't care for the look. Like I need to start another project. LOL

Anyone ever go into project overload? You have so many ideas and projects swirling around in your head that you just have to stop, calm down and face reality that you can't finish 50 projects in one week? This always frustrates me.

Yesterday afternoon was hard. Our three yr old cat, Austin, passed away. We're not sure what happened. We think he was bitten by a baby rattlesnake or a pygmy rattler. He was an 80% indoor cat but on occaision he loved to be outside and chase birds and other varmits out in the woods behind our house. The boys have been wandering in the woods the last couple of weeks and have run across two beds of baby rattlers. Needless to say they have been staying clear of the woods because they don't want to run into a mad momma rattler. We read Rainbow Bridge over his grave last night after we buried him. DS#2 had kept him in his bed all the night before so he could keep an eye on him. I don't think he slept at all because he tried to comfort the cat all night.

Austin was a sweet cat. He was one of those cats that just knew when you needed a cat on your lap. He could sense when you were feeling down and just needed him close. He was a blessing to our family and he will be missed. I couldn't sleep last night just because I kept expecting him to jump on my stomach and sleep there all night, softly purring.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Boy do I hate it when I start obsessing over projects. While reading Doodle-blog I ran across a link to the crochet-a-long for 63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches ( fix link) No Affiliation with the site, just wanted to show you all what the design was like. The crochetalong info can be found here:

Yarn Tomato

There's a link to the Crochetville crochetalong on that site.

I love all the different color choices that people are making and now I'm obsessing over all the different color themes I can choose from. The original colors in the leaflet are just not me. I love Melissa's
color choices but also like Annette's as shown in the crochetalong thread over at Crochetville .

I'm leaning toward blues, maybe a dark blue, medium/light blue, ecru or yellow, and maybe throw in a variegated just to spice up the mix. I wouldn't want to use a lot of the variegated because it might hide the pattern of the stitches, but I love those ombres. There's a pretty Red Heart ombre, Monet, that I've been wanting to buy for a while now but couldn't find a project for it. Maybe this would add a little pizzazz to the afghan if I did just a few blocks in that color. Then again I really love Red Heart's Ocean too. Decisions, decisions. I picked up the leaflet last night at Walmart and the recommended crochet hook. I'm hoping to decide on some yarn colors by Friday and I can pick up what I need of that and get started with block one this weekend. I need to officially join the crochet-a-long since I now have the chart in my possession. I'm not the Melissa listed in the forum.

It looks like rain today so I'm hoping to get my fob finished for my swap. I told the recipient I was running a little behind and am hoping to get it in the mail by the end of the week. I also have got get the fabric for my RR. I've been bouncing back and forth between vintage ivory 28ct linen or an antique white 28ct lugana. Either way I have got to buy it this weekend and get the borders around each person's block gridded off and work on my section. I may not get my section finished before the mailing date but hopefully I'll get the majority of it finished so that when it's back home I won't have to do a whole to it before I can get it framed. I have two other RRs I'd love to frame this year too. One is autumn themed and the other is Witches. I need to take some picks of those this weekend and add them to my webshots album. What I really need to do is buy a digital camera. Then I can update my album a lot faster.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

DH clocked out of work early today, nice for him since he works 12 hour days and now softball season has started so we don't see him so much these days.

We grabbed a bite to eat at Chili's and ran to Walmart for deodorant and other toiletries. Brought the boys home McD's. Also stopped by TJ Maxx so I could see what kind of tshirts they had in as DS#2 has been harassing me for new clothes. Found some nice stuff but I can't buy any of it until payday. Hopefully they'll get some more stuff in between now and then since the things they had in stock were all picked over.

At Walmart I also picked up a Leisure Arts crochet book, 63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches Combine to Make an Heirloom Afghan. A few blogs I follow have mentioned this book and the stitchalong on one of the crochet sites so at Walmart I saw it and had to have it. I've seen some nice color choices and I'm definitely going to change the colors as the ones called for in the pattern are rose, green and ecru and those aren't really me.

I've also become addicted to listening to an Austrailian radio station while I'm online. It's Nova 100. I'll try to add a link tomorrow. I love this song they are playing called the Bridal Train. I never hear who the artist is. They said it's based on her grandmother's life story.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Another Monday has passed and I wasted the day. I fell asleep on the couch and managed to accomplish absolutely nothing. We had company that ended up spending the night Saturday night, wasted a day cleaning, spent an evening with friends, and then Sunday kind of flew by, maybe it was the nap I took Sunday afternoon that made the day seem so short. Then today I just couldn't get motivated to do anything. I did make dinner and then DH says, "Why didn't you just order a pizza?" Well first of all we're trying not to eat out so much and I didn't think we could afford a pizza. I'd have much preferred to eat a pizza because I'm sick and tired of spaghetti night. I have got to change my recipes because Prego and Ragu just aren't doing it for me anymore. I need to pull out the recipe box and start making my sauce from scratch for a while. Although that usually causes the boys to say, "EWWWW, this isn't like you usually make! We're not eating it!"

Honestly I could eat out every night and never get tired of it. I would love to love cooking. I've read the cookbooks, about experiencing the beauty of the veggies when you're washing them, appreciating them for the life they give you, what a wonderful thing you're doing for your family, but let's face it, no one wants to eat my cooking, not even me, when there's another option. I'm not a bad cook by any means, I just get sick of eating my own cooking and my kids would prefer fast food, DH is the only one that seems to whine about eating out too much.

Let's see was any progress made on anything this weekend? I did get a few rows of my 9 patch quilt for DS#3 finished. Three if I'm not mistaken. Then my sewing frenzy was interrupted by having to clean for company. So nothing else was done on that, I may have sewed a little before my nap Sunday. My mind is blanking on me.

Things to accomplish this week:

Finish a fob

Buy the fabric for a RR and get it ready to mail on the 19th. I'm running really late on this, haven't had the extra $$$ for fabric and have put off buying it....really shouldn't take too long to get it ready. I know how I'm going to border it and what I'm going to stitch for my part but I had wanted to have it ready to go early so I could mail it off to England and the recipient would be sure to get the same amount of stitching time as everyone else.

Guess those are my priority stitching projects. There are other things I'd like to accomplish but these are the most important at the moment.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Spring Forward, Fall Back. Surprisingly enough DH remembered to reset the clocks last night. Why is that surprising? We had unexpected company not only show up but spend the night. Some friends arrived late yesterday with their three kids and we went over to the beach, caught the glorious sunset and then came back to our house for baked chicken, grilled steaks, party mashed potatoes(the kind made with garlic-sourcream-creamcheese). Lucky for us I had a freezer full of stuff for a change, usually the first of the month we're lucky to have Eggo Waffles and cereal in the house but I've been doing better with my shopping and meal planning and we were able to feed five extra people a pretty nice meal without it costing us the kids' lunch money for this week.

Stitching update:

Didn't accomplish much of anything yesterday since our unplanned visitors gave us about two hours notice and the house was a nightmare. Had to set all my stitching aside and mop and vacuum and figure out what to feed everyone without looking like Kenny's family on South Park and feeding everyone waffles. Yes, I keep referring to waffles but it's one staple I always have in the house. The boys eat them plain for a snack. I figure that has to be better than snack cakes and cookies and they aren't as sweet as cereal, especially when they eat them plain and they're enriched with vitamins. Anyway, I still have a fob to finish, hope to get it completed today, and I've put in a little more work on DS#3's quilt. I'm in the process of connecting the blocks and I have three rows completed. I get tired of sewing pretty quick, it really bores me so I work on it for a while and then go do something else.


The Accidental Buddhist by Dinty Moore. Good story of one guy's search for God or spirituality. I'm finding it hard to put down. He's writing about Buddhism from the American point of view of this Eastern religion, or rather, philosophy. I can see how a lot of people can find peace following this path. Honestly I'm in support of any religion, teaching, philosophy that encourages people to be good to each other.

I also have Buddhism for Dummies here too and Eragon. Eragon is due back at the library in three days so I really need to read more on it but it's just not keeping my attention at the moment but I was on the waiting list for it at the library for two months. I feel like it's waste if I don't get it read.

I may check my DMC stash and see if I have the colors needed for Lizzie Kate's Strawberry Scissor Case. It looks like a quick finish, I'd have stitched it already but I'm not sure of the best way to approach it. It doesn't look like holding that little band out to stitch on will be very comfortable. On the plus side it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to stitch.

I'm so sleepy right now. We stayed up late with our company watching True Romance and Pirates of the Carribean, then they planned to leave early this morning so I didn't get a lot of sleep.

I'd love to take a nap but it's so beautiful here, I'd also like to go to the beach for a little while. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Major excitement today. I'm definitely going to see my friends in England and Ireland in October. The plan is in motion and it's going to be great! I want to attend a Chatelaine weekend in London and my friends and I are hoping to work in an overnight stay in Paris. I'm so excited since I found out this was definitely doable and since it's so far off I should be able to save up enough money to have a nice trip. We're not rich, live paycheck to paycheck, but mostly because we eat out way too much. Well all that is going to stop. Time to eat home food, cut back on as much stuff as possible, save all my meager paychecks and put the stash buying on hold for as long as possible with the exception of fabric and threads for charts already in the stash. Although I have enough projects started that I shouldn't really buy anything new and just work on stuff that's in progress. But I know that I can't do that. A piece of fabric here and there and a few threads here and there, should keep me happy and the dreams of a fabulous trip in the not to distant future. I'm excited about the Chatelaine class but more excited about spending time with good friends and going to Ireland and England.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Yesterday I finished piecing the last of the 9 Patch blocks I needed for DS#3's 9 Patch I Spy quilt. This morning I plan to get them all ironed and pinned together in groups of two so I can do my second round of sewing on them. Hopefully by the weekend I'll be able sew the rows of 4 blocks each together. Huge milestone for me. I took a quilting class 17 yrs ago. I was pregnant with DS#1 and he just turned 16. Seems like a lifetime ago. Since that time I've only made one other quilt top and it turned out UGLY! It was an attic windows and it makes me cringe to just look at it. I pieced the window frames in black and then the windows were all just scraps. There is nothing the least bit pretty about this top. YUCK!

I still have to finish up a fob for a swap. I was thinking about sending it to a finisher but I've seen some neat fobs finished with beading around the edges instead of cording and beading for the fob ribbon or cording. So I'm kind of pondering that at the moment. The descriptions I've read for how to do it seem really simple but then again I'm not the greatest finisher so I may go on and send it to a finisher even though it will be a little late.

Yesterday was beautiful down here but the wind was so strong going to the beach was no fun. I kept getting stung by fine grains of sand picked up by the wind. I only lasted about 30 minutes. The wind gusts were constant and made it impossilbe to read too.

DH still hasn't fixed the washer and are clothes are beginning to look dingy. Guess I'll spend part of the weekend at the laundromat unless I figure out how to fix it myself. I started to take it apart yesterday but I'm afraid that if I do I'll completely destroy it and at least right now I can get the clothes some what clean.

DS#2 has officially become a teenager. He hates his clothes, wants a tan and wants to start working out all like yesterday. He hates me at the moment because I can't just run out and buy him all these cool new tshirts he suddenly has to acquire. I've told him this is the first of the month, all the bills are due and if he gives me a week I'll buy him some tshirts and shorts that he wants. That's not good enough. He started giving me this long list of reasons why he's a good kid and deserves better clothes. Old Navy just doesn't do it for him any more. Oh and he no longer wants to share his clothes with his brother. They are the same size, go to different schools and since they could wear the same size I thought it just increased their clothing options but no more. They also share a closet.

I'm thinking about trying to make a trip to England in October to attend a Chatelaine weekend. If I can work this out it will be so cool!(for lack of a better phase.) I'm not sure who I think I am. I'm currently stirring my laundry, can't afford a new washer and by DS#2 standards he's dressed like a dork, and here I am dreaming about a trip on the other side of the world.

DS#2 is giving me such a hard time right now about all the things he wants. He's constantly complaining about everything from the cheaper snacks I've been buying(knock off Oreos and chocolate chip cookies) to his clothes. I feel like the biggest loser in the parenting department. I thought up until now that I had done a pretty good job making the boys look stylish without having to get in to brand names and now all of a sudden he's Mr. GQ. I cried most of yesterday just because it felt good to let out it. All the stress of DS#2 constantly being in my face. I've tried to raise them not to be so materialistic, to be thankful for what they have, and now it's just a constant whining and begging. I'm hoping it's just the age and eventually he grows out of this phase but I don't know. He's so sensitive, all it takes is one person making one derogatory comment about his clothes and he wants a new wardrobe. Oh well enough of that whining. I guess I'm hoping if I write about here I won't burst into tears for no reason today.