Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Breaking the Rules Cowl

Well hello there!  I thought that I'd share a little crochet pattern of something that I whipped up for the upcoming fall/winter.  It's a new cowl!  Aren't ya excited?  Yeah.  That's what I thought.

Now it's been a super long time since I've dabbled in crochet and I have to be honest, my crochet pattern writing skills leave much to be desired.  That being said, I'm making the attempt anyway.

Breaking The Rules Cowl

Breaking the Rules Cowl

Hook: 5.5mm
Yarn: worsted to aran  (This pattern is awesome for use with handspun yarn as well)
Stitches Used: Chain, Single Crochet, Double Crochet

To Begin:

Chain 45 stitches.  Turn work.

Section One

*Skip the first chain stitch. SC into the back loop (doing this gives you the ribbing effect) of the 2nd ch and then doing the same into the following stitches until you reach the end of the row.  Ch 1 and turn work. *  repeat until the work measures approximately 6.5 inches.  Now this number is not set in stone.  Notice the word approximately.  If you go over that's ok.  This is a practical work of art, not rocket science folks.    At this point, the length of my work measures about 14 inches.  If it is shorter or longer in length, don't worry, we'll adjust it later.

At the end of the last row, chain 1 and then you will rotate your work to your right so that you will be starting the next row on the short end of your work.  Now this is where the crochet purists may have fits, but let's live dangerously and break some rules shall we? 

Section Two

In the nooks and crannies of the end of your work, pick up and Single Crochet 20 stitches or as many as you need to get to the end of the row.  That's right, it's more approximating magic.  I'm good at that. 

Continue SC rows until that part of the work measures *2 inches. 

*Now.  Remember where I said that we'd adjust the length later?  If your work was originally longer than the 14 inches, only crochet enough rows to get you to the 16 inch mark.  If you need to crochet more or less, that's fine.  Just get to your goal of 2 inches.  Bind off.

Section Three

Repeat Section Two again on the opposite side of the work, but do NOT bind off at the end.  Instead, chain 2 and turn work.

Double Crochet in each of the back loop of the previous row's Single Crochet stitches.   At the end of the row, bind off.  This row will act as your button holes. 

At this point, the work measures 18 inches total in length and 6.5 inches in width. 

Section Four

On the Section Two side of your work, attach buttons.   I used 4 vintage 1 inch buttons.  You can use more or less buttons, it's up to you.  There are plenty of button holes on the other side to accommodate quite a few buttons.

Now, put on that nice toasty warm cowl and go break some more rules!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Emperor The Youngest Palpatine

Well hello there!  I'm back after an extended, unplanned and totally needed vacation!  Not a real vacation mind you, just one from the blog.  Life interfered just a bit and threw off my blogging mojo.  Unfortunately, I'm out of the daily writing habit so bear with me as I jump back in. 

Here's something I wanted to share with you.  A few weeks ago, my son's friend had a birthday party.  Make that a Star Wars birthday party.  Well,  The Youngest, being the creative rock star that he is, decided that he could only attend this party if he was allowed to be The Emperor.  I was a little daunted by this task.  I mean, have you seen the Emperor?  His face is wrinkled, craggly, bumpy and just plain ugly!  But out came the face paints and we got to it.

This is what we came up with:  Facepaint + Cape with hood = Instant Emperor Palpatine!

Here's The  Youngest holding up the picture that I used for inspiration.

 And of course, the obligatory action shot:

The costume that he is wearing is the robes that went to an alien costume and the cape and hood are an adult size.  He loves how the cape trails behind him and how the hood drapes over his face.  Not bad huh?  He was very pleased and if he's pleased, then I'm pleased.  :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thanks for the Paranoia

Driving my kid to school this morning, I turned out from my street onto one of the main roads.  There was a man, an older, yet still attractive, silver haired man walking up the hill towards me.  As I passed by him I smiled and lifted my fingers off of the steering wheel in a slight wave.  Instead of reciprocating my friendliness, he just shook his head like there was something seriously wrong with me.

Now, in the area that I live in, a suburb of a major city, it's not unusual to be ignored.  A wave and smile?  It's just not done around here.  So I wouldn't have been surprised at that reaction, but the shake of the head?  Hmm. 

I started getting really paranoid.  It's not a pleasant way to start out your day.  Was it because I was wearing sun glasses at 7:45 am?  The sun can be blinding at that time of the morning at this time of year.  Did he think I was driving too fast?  There was a policeman handing out safe driving awards just over the hill, but it couldn't have been that, I was driving the speed limit.   Was my hair standing up in all directions?  No.  Or well, not more than usual anyway.  Naturally curly hair just does that.  Like all the time.  Was he from someplace where it's not politically correct to be friendly at that time of morning? 

I wasn't putting on makeup.  I wasn't talking on the phone and flicking a cig out the window while turning corners like I saw one idiot doing last week.  So it couldn't have been those.   So what was this man's problem?  I'll never know, but gee thanks for the paranoia Mister.  What a great way to start off my morning.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Darth Small

Did everyone have a fun 4th of July?   I did.  After spending time with some friends setting off personal fireworks, we ended up standing in a cemetery at 9pm  in the pouring rain with lighting thundering over our heads while watching fireworks.  Macabre, but fun. 

And to add to the  fun, the Youngest did everything with his face painted like this:

Darth Maul has arrived

Darth Small loved the fireworks and really loved having people seeing him like this.  :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day Flag - the Beginning

My life has become an utter whirlwind lately.  Summer this year is the busiest that I've ever had to deal with.  There are swim lessons, trips to Six Flags White Water (which is 5 min from my house), trips to the lake, holidays to deal with, choir obligations, etc.  I've been flying from  one to the other with no thought to anything else, including crafting.  I did finish the final sleeve to Mystere, but haven't blocked it yet.

However, since there is one holiday coming up, Father's day, I did start one project.  The kids and I have put our heads together and come up with something for my Dad, whom they call PawPaw.  Since he lives at the lake and has two boats, we decided to make him a giant flag for his pontoon boat.

This is where I am right now on it.  This is nylon fabric purchased at JoAnn fabrics.  I bought one yard of the orange and 1 yard of navy blue.  I did not cut down the orange fabric, just used it like it was.   I've hemmed all four sides - first with straight stitch and then with zigzag to secure it.   

To the left of the flag, I plan to use grommets.  In order to make the flag stronger, I used a piece of cotton twill tape that was cut to the size of the flag, folded the seam completely  around it and then stitched it down.  Always doing the straight stitch first and then going over that with the zigzag stitch.  I will be inserting the grommets into this part of  the flag.

We plan on using the blue for the lettering.  I went to my trusty word program and put in the phrase "PawPaw's Yacht" and did this in a size 500 font.  I wanted the words to be huge.  I then traced these letters onto the blue fabric and cut them out.

I also traced the kids' hand prints onto the blue fabric and cut those out.  


The next step is getting everything onto the double sided fusible web and cutting it out.  Once I do that, I will adhere it to the nylon (on the coolest setting) and then applique it with my sewing machine.  This flag is going to take a beating.  I want to make sure that none of the lettering or hand prints flies off at the first sign of wind.

So that's where this project stands at the moment.  It will be Saturday before I can complete the darn thing.

Why?  Because of more summer craziness!  I'm off to another state for 2 days and then have to race back to help prepare for a week long boy scout camp and then on Monday I will be singing the National Anthem and Canadian National Anthem at the Atlanta Braves game with my choir.  So yeah, there's just a few crazy things going on in my life right now.  :)

How's your Summer going?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Paint Makes A Difference

I've never really shown many pictures of my living room to you.  I've always been just a bit embarrassed to do so thanks to the walls and paint color choices of the previous owners of the house.  However, thanks to a fresh couple of coats of paint and a little rearranging of some furniture, that's going to change.

Here's a couple of before shots from two differents angles taken back in October:

In this shot you can see the wall color is a neutral brown, but it had a LOT of pink in it which just didn't go with anything that I owned.


And here you can see the unfortunate wallpaper:


And here is the transformation:

I need to get some window treatments up, but I haven't yet decided what I want to do with them.  
In this view, I had a Picture Bomber:


And yet one more angle:


At this time of day, the light is poor and the pics came out just a touch dark.    Can you see the little table to the right of the back door?  This is what it looks like up close:


The cabinet is filled with antique teacups.  At this point, the collection has outgrown it's cabinet, but until I find a better display for them, it will do.  The picture above the cabinet is a cross stitch project that I completed about 17 years ago.  The tea pot was acquired while on a trip to Scotland.

So, what do you think of the change?  There's still some tweaking to be done, but I love it already.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Super Mom

So when last we met, I had painted one 23.5 foot wall in my living room and it took me half a day to do that properly.  Since then, I've turned into Super Mom.

We decided that retrofitting our old trampoline with a new spring pad and enclosure was not cost effective.  It would have cost us more to do that than to buy a new one.  So we did.  Onto Craigslist it went and I managed to sell it for ten dollars more than I spent on it.  The lady said she was coming to get it and I met her and her two children and knew there was no possible way she was going to be able to take that thing apart by herself.  The two of us barely managed it.  We could really have used a man's muscles on that project.  But it's done and out of here.

The next morning I thought, what the heck, the Eldest and I can put the frame of the new one together and we again, barely managed it.  I am an official ten pound weakling.  After the husband came home it turned into this:
The Youngest in Mid Jump

Then, I tackled the living room and finished it in a day, by myself.   It's not all put back together, so I can't give you a good pic of it yet, but the transformation is amazing.

Since then I've been immersed in End of School activities.  It's been exhausting and I can't wait until school is out so that I can sleep late!

As far as knitting and crafty stuff?  I started the last sleeve of the Mystere Sweater, but it's slow going.  I've got second sleeve syndrome I'm afraid.  Other crafty stuff has been out the window.  I just haven't had time, but I'll get there...

Oh, and I'm learning to cut my own hair, but that's a story for another day.  :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Rid Of The Stripes

After having an atrocious week last week, I decided to do something that's been bugging me for eight years.  See the wall in the pic taken at Halloween, the one with all the stripes?


Those stripes contain seafoam green, mauve, white and tan.  The people who lived in this house before us had hideous taste in decorating.  One wall was filled with this wall paper, the other three walls were painted a mauve/brown.  I've hated it since we moved in, but it was better than some of the other rooms, so I left it for a while.

So, since DIY is good for depression and anger, I tackled this project with gusto on Saturday.  First, I took a paint can lid that came from some paint that my parents had sitting around of a gorgeous gold that has green undertones.  It's amazing how this paint looks depending on the light in the room.  It really changes colors and has great depth to it.

The guy at Home Depot said, "Sure we can match that".   Well, the first batch that he "matched" wasn't even close to what I wanted.  It came out a more bamboo green.  Someone searching the oops bin is going to love it.  Me?  Not so much.  Another guy came up to help and they finally got it right.

You know what?  It looks awful next to the old paint:

It's just not a good combo.   Yuck!

Please excuse all the grainy pics today.  My camera battery died and I'm using my Ipod Touch and it's camera sucks.

Here's what the main wall looks like now:


Way better.  My couch, rug and accessories are much happier with this gold color than the nasty pinky brown.

This one wall took me a long time to paint (working alone).  It's 23.5 feet long and 8' high!  It's a seriously long living room.  It took one coat of tinted primer and two coats of paint to hide all those damn stripes, but hidden they are!

Unfortunately, now the wall looks bare.  I think I'm used to seeing really busy stuff on the wall and I'm just not used to it.  It's going to take some thought to figure out how I'm going to fill some of that bare space. 

I still have three walls to paint, but they won't take quite as long nor quite as many coats of paint and primer.  I can't wait to see it finished! 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This post may be a day late, but it's never to late to tell your Mom you love her.

I Love You Mom!  Thanks for all that you've done for me!

Mom & I circa 1969
Mom & Me

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

It's Paula Ya'll!

On Sunday I took my Mom to the The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Marietta, GA as an early Mother's Day present.  There were tons of vendors and I swear that each and every one of them had samples for you to try.  You could eat yourself silly and add on several extra pounds doing it.

We went to every single booth and decided to go get a cup of coffee while we waited to see Paula Deen.  There was tons of time and our feet were already hurting so we found a couple of comfy chairs and sipped our coffee and chatted with some other ladies who had the same idea.

While this was happening, guess who walked right by us, made eye contact and said with a big smile "Good Mornin' Ya'll!"  Yep, Paula Deen and her husband, Michael.  How cool was that?  I thought the old lady next to us was going to have a heart attack right there.  She was so cute.  She jumped up out of her seat in a hurry (and this woman had to have been at least eighty years old) and was grinning from ear to ear.  Probably the fastest she's moved in years!


Paula's show actually got off to a very bad start.  She apologized to the crowd for being "a little off" and with good reason.  The day before was the funeral for her nephew.  She was in tears before a huge crowd and before you knew it, we were all in tears.  Not a dry eye in the place.  How could there be?  Here is this nationally loved woman bearing her soul and her pain to a huge crowd of people she's never met, telling of her loss.  It was truly heart breaking. 

But then, she put on her game face, and started up.  It was a night and day difference.   Ya'll (I get to use ya'll here cause we're talking about Paula you know) this was one of the funniest shows ever.  She could do stand up comedy in her sleep.  She didn't cook, which ticked off the lady next to me who got up and left.  But really, you can watch Paula cook  at all hours of the day on cable television.  That's not why I was there.  I wanted to see her and I wanted to hear her speak.  However, there was some cooking going on, but it was her husband Michael and another chef doing it.

Let me warn you though, if you ever decide to just get up and walk out of one of Paula's appearances, get ready to take the consequences.  One couple tried it and she let them have it.  It was hysterical.  "Where ya'll going?" was yelled several times and they even pointed the cameras at the poor couple.  I'm so glad it wasn't me being singled out.  I don't know if the couple answered her or not, I couldn't hear it.

I also have a new appreciation for her husband, Michael.  I don't know if he normally goes on stage with her, but he did this time and was the perfect straight man for her.  He's also extremely funny in his own right.

It was a great show.  If you ever get the chance to see Paula live, go do it!