The Envelope, Please…

August 27 thru August 31, 2016

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Over the years, I’ve heard the phrase, “An expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.”  It makes sense; I have many examples of this in my life.  However, with each stitch I crocheted or sewed on my blanket for the State Fair, I had an expectation about its success in the ribbons department.  Yes, I used the plural because a small part of my hope / expectation was that it would earn more than one.

The results were emailed yesterday afternoon, and I am thrilled to say that I got 9 ribbons out of 10 entries.  Four of them are first place blue ribbons.  The one entry that received NO ribbons, not even an Honorable Mention, is the blanket.  The blanket that was specifically made for the Fair based on its theme this year.  The largest item I’ve ever attempted in 25+ years of crocheting.  The only thing I’ve ever made that wasn’t 100% to the pattern and required me to put on my thinking cap to make it work out how I wanted it.

So, yeah…there’s some resentment going on.  I’m sure that whatever did win, place, show and was honorable is simply fantastic.  You should have seen how many items were piled up on the tables when I turned in my entries.  The portions I could see of many of the folded afghans were gorgeous.  I started to have doubts about my chances, but the ladies who processed my entries were all oooh’ing and aaah’ing over some of my things, and the blanket was one of those.  One lady even asked us to hold it up so she could take a picture.  I guess they weren’t judges.

I think if I’d received just 1 ribbon out of 10, and if that ribbon had been for the blanket, I would be content.  I can say that because that’s not what happened so I don’t have to be held to it.  But, I will admit that my pride and ego were bruised when I looked at the list of entries in the email and saw “NW” next to just one item.  “NW” = Non-Winning.

Don’t let my whining fool you though.  I am really grateful and happy about the other nine.  Here are the results (and my comments, of course)…

Honorable Mention

  • Yellow Rose Doily (category: Doilies up to 12″) – This one kinda makes me scratch my head a little, but I’m OK that it didn’t place higher.  (It did place higher.  See newer post.) The ladies at the Fair commented on this item too, saying that it was nice to have an entry where they could write a description other than “ecru pineapple pattern.”  They commented on the yellow roses for Texas and the little pearl beads in the center of each flower.  But, hey, the HM ribbon is yellow so it will pair nicely with this when they’re in the dresser drawer together. (It’ll look much nicer in the drawer now that I’ve realized it got a blue instead!)
  • Overlay Mandala (category: Any item not mentioned in another category) – Of all the entries, I expected this to be the one I’d have to pick up before the Fair because I really didn’t expect it to win anything.  So, I’m happy it got a ribbon.  I bet I can guess what won first in this category.  Someone crocheted a zebra head!  I have the pattern book that includes the zebra, and I’ve been dying to make one.  Now I won’t be making it for the Fair though.

Third Place

  • Long Striped Doggie (category: Stuffed Toy) – I have to keep reminding myself that the number of entries for the State Fair is exponentially higher than for the little Hunt County Fair in the spring.  However, in this category, I have seen some really basic, dated designs.  I’ll be looking for the other toys that won just to see what the judges prefer.  I’ve already got some ideas for next year.
  • Christmas Treats Doily (category: Holiday Table Decoration) – This category is not strictly for crocheted items.  The Holiday section has numerous categories for various holidays, but there was not one where a doily would fit in, so I entered it in this broad one.  I am sure I was up against all sorts of amazing items, so I’m grateful this one placed at all.  I did wonder, though, if I had axed the Yellow Roses Extravagant Doily and entered this in that category instead would it have shown better.  I guess we’ll never know.

Second Place

  • Fall Splendor Doily (category: Thanksgiving) – This is another of the categories that isn’t just for crochet.  And, I really did expect it to be one item that didn’t get a ribbon as it’s not REALLY Thanksgiving-related; it’s just fall colors.  So, this ribbon was a nice surprise.

First Place – I am truly happy about winning more blue ribbons than any other this year.  The magnitude of this is not lost on me, and I’m excited to be able to say that I’m now a State Fair of Texas blue ribbon winner.  (Folks, you’ve gotta be from Texas to get how cool this feels.)  I guess I have no more Bucket List items when it comes to the Fair.

  • No-Flower Cardigan (category: Toddler Sweater) – So many people have said they want this for their granddaughters, and it won a blue ribbon plus 2nd overall in the Needle Arts division at the County Fair, but I didn’t think that would translate to a blue ribbon at the State Fair.
  • Maywood Purse (category: Knitted or Crocheted Felting) – I love this bag because of how it turned out after attempting some things I’d never done before.  This may be the ribbon I’m the most happy about.
  • A River Runs Through Alice (category: Neck Scarf) – I made this cowl for myself as a companion to the gorgeous knitted one made for me by my partner in a swap on Ravelry.  It was never meant to be a Fair entry; however, when I was filling out my form and trying to decide what else I could finish before the deadline, I knew I couldn’t start and finish a new scarf (not the one I had in mind anyway), so I threw this in as an afterthought.  And now it’s a blue ribbon winner.
  • Extravagant Doily (category: Doilies up to 18″) – If I were planning to shut down this blog, this would be the perfect time to do so.  This doily is what caused me to miss entering anything in the 2014 State Fair.  This doily is what led to this blog.  And now, after winning Grand Champion at the 2015 Hunt County Fair, it’s also a blue ribbon winner at the 2016 State Fair of Texas. (Blah, blah, blah.  None of that applies now that I’ve re-read the results and realized it won an Honorable Mention instead.)

Making things for the fairs has really kept me going the past few years.  It’s kept my mind off so much that’s happened.  It’s given me an excuse to crochet since I always feel like what I’m doing needs a purpose, particularly as a gift or, lately, a fair entry.  And, in some cases, it’s given me an excuse to just stay home when I don’t feel like facing the outside world.

The first time I entered something in 2013, I was in love and excited about the future.  I had a boyfriend, and a dog, and I had money in the bank.  I was virtually debt-free.  Here we are 3 years (3 YEARS?!?!?) later, and I don’t have a boyfriend, a dog, or money in the bank.  But, I do have debt!  And I now have a pile of ribbons (or I will when the Fair ends in October) to add to my scrapbook…whenever I get around to that project.

To anyone who’s been reading this at any point in the past 2 years, thank you for following along on my adventures.  Let’s see where the next one takes us.  All I know for sure is that I’m taking that stinkin’ blanket to the County Fair in April and hoping it gets a ribbon there.  But, no expectations!  I’ll do as the graphic up above suggests and enjoy the blanket for what it is…a blanket…and not put expectations upon it to be a ribbon-winning blanket.  Until April, 2017 though, that blanket is going to be in a plastic bag so that cat of mine can’t rub her furry little body all over it.

 

Rainbow Sprinkles. Yummmmm…

August 25 thru August 26, 2016

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A Ravelry friend told me about a new yarn that’s exclusive to Michaels.  It’s called Caron Cakes, and it’s got a lot of people talking.  Even people who don’t like to work with acrylic yarns.  I’m one of the latter.  I have a lot of acrylic in my stash because that’s all I knew to buy for most of my crocheting life.  A pattern in a magazine that called for anything other than what I could buy at Walmart or Michaels was one I had to overlook.  I either couldn’t afford it or didn’t know where to get it.  I also didn’t know anything about yarn substitutions until I got on Ravelry and found all the tools that make it so easy.

Now that I know about other types of yarns, and I’ve found outlets to buy them at reasonable prices or can swap for them, I rarely use acrylics.  I definitely don’t use the old style scratchy 100% acrylics.  The newer “soft” acrylics are tolerable, but I hate how splitty they are.  This new Caron Cakes yarn eliminates all of the negatives I’ve encountered with acrylic, and it comes with a bonus of having long color changes.

During my lunch break on Thursday, I went to Michaels and found this display.

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My brain went into sensory overload.  I couldn’t afford to get one of nearly every color, and I knew I’d need more than one skein to make some of the things I wanted to make with it.  So, I stood there FOREVER trying to decide what color to get!  My Ravelry friend is sending me some Cake Pop, which is the one I was first drawn to since it’s “my” colors.  It’s the aqua/blue/grey one in the middle on the third shelf.  I next was drawn to the greens on the shelf above.  But I also liked the more muted browns and creams on the bottom.  There’s one more shelf on top that my pic cuts off, and it had a skein of pinks (uh….no), and 2 other colorways I’d been considering.  One is called Red Velvet and works up like this:

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Isn’t that amazing?  It’s a Sophie’s Garden afghan block on a Raveler’s project page.  I didn’t choose that one, but now I’m regretting that I didn’t.

The other color on the top shelf is Rainbow Sprinkles.  I am not a rainbow yarn type of gal.  I don’t wear bright colors.  I don’t really know anyone who wears bright colors.  But something about that skein intrigued me.  So, I got one.

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You can’t tell it from my pic, but all the colors except red & orange have some colored flecks in them…purple in the blue, red/orange in the yellow and the green.  It’s lovely!  I decided I’d make a scarf out of it and then maybe gift it to someone.

Before I was done, Maxi had claimed it.

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By the time I was completely done, I had claimed it for myself!

 

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Then I started thinking about that pretty Sophie’s Garden.  I’ve been wanting to make one of the Sophie’s patterns for a while.  You can make it as a small, medium, or large mandala.  Or you can keep going and make it into Sophie’s Garden, which is a squared off version of the mandalas.  Or you can keep going some more and make a huge Sophie’s Universe blanket.  I have some yarn for that last one, but I haven’t committed myself to that big of a project yet.

There are a zillion beautiful Sophie’s projects on Ravelry, and I’ve favorited several because I planned to be inspired by (ok…to copy) their color choices.  Last night, sitting there with about half a skein of Caron Cakes left, I decided to start crocheting a Sophie and when I ran out of yarn, I’d call it quits and maybe sew the result to a pillow or something.  Well, that pattern is addictive!!  And I was having so much fun that I was really disappointed when the yellow in my skein ran out with just 2 petals to do on round 10.

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I kept going with the orange, but the color changes are abrupt instead of gradual, and it was just too obvious of a change for me.

What to do?  Well…I’m going to do what any good yarn hoarder does.  I’m going to Michaels at lunch today to get another skein!  The 30% off yarn sale ended yesterday, but I’ve got a 50% off coupon for 1 item.  So, that’s even better.  As long as I contain myself to 1 skein.

I will say that this was the first time (I think) that I’ve ever bought a skein of yarn in the afternoon and had completely used it up by the end of the night…and on TWO projects, no less!

In addition to the Rainbow yarn I got yesterday, I bought 3 skeins of Blueberry Cheesecake.

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I’m going to turn this into a baby blanket for Jerri’s nephew & niece whose baby boy is due in February.

On Wednesday night I was also very productive.  If it wasn’t for all this crocheting, I do think I’d be in the nuthouse.  Spending so much time alone during the day is getting to me, but at least at night I can keep the demons at bay by creating something fun and then sharing it with you (hello, you!) and my friends on Ravelry.

I’m working on a special project, and I was stumped on a couple of ideas.  The same friend who turned me onto the Cakes helped me out tremendously on the other project.  One idea she had was to make a particular scarf due to its name.  (I’m being  a bit cryptic here in the wild off chance that the recipient is reading this, although I doubt it.)  Anyway, I started on that project as soon as work was over on Wednesday.  I was loving the outcome, but as I worked I realized I already have 1 scarf done and another planned, and I wondered about adding a third to the mix.  So, I thought outside the box (as my friend suggested), and I came up with a TABLE scarf!  I love it!  It’s rich in texture and color, and it’s simple yet elegant-looking.

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As for the One a Day project, I didn’t do the junk drawer like I’d planned.  I didn’t go through any boxes or drawers on Wednesday.  So, I did two last night.

Box 3 was another easy one.  It was full of clay.  I used to have visions of making fun things like this:

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Or clay handled crochet hooks…

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I’ve done neither.  But, I’m still carrying around this box of clay:

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Jerri did use some for craft items for our conference, and I told her to keep it, but it got returned to me anyway.  So, I stuck it all in that miscellaneous tote.  Maybe one rainy fall afternoon I’ll at least make a crochet hook handle.

Box 4 is a box of Christmas craft stuff that is leftover from a bigger box of Christmas craft stuff.  I gave away some things earlier this year, and I kept this box because I figured I would use these things, for sure, just any minute now.

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As you can see, most are still in their original packaging, so I haven’t used them yet.  I’m keeping the elf faces as I really want to make one of those shelf elves.  And I’m keeping the buttons.  But I’m offering the rest in a Ravelry giveaway.  Surprisingly, as of this morning, no one had claimed it and I’m even paying the postage.  One woman’s trash is still another woman’s trash, I guess.

But, both boxes now look like this (I felt it was necessary to only take a pic of 1 as proof of my accomplishment):

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I threw that hook away.  Man, this feels good! 🙂

I may tackle that junk drawer tonight.  When I’m done crocheting.  And catching up on “Big Brother.”

 

MORE Ideas!

August 23 thru August 24, 2016

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There were two more project ideas that I left off the list in my last post!

  • CDH Tote Project – If you’re not already a member of Ravelry and have no idea what CDH means, it stands for Cold Dead Hands.  As in, “If you want to take that yarn from me, you’re going to have to pry it from my Cold Dead Hands!”  I’ve been very lucky over the past couple of years to obtain some CDH-worthy yarns through swaps or sales.  It started out as being just Madelinetosh and Malabrigo brands.  But, I’ve also drooled on some skeins of Dream in Color, Mrs. Crosby, Koigu, and several skeins from indie dyers, such as my friend Jules at  KnittyStash in Homer, Alaska (that’s one of her skeins in the pic).  Despite my recent closet re-organizations, my main yarn closet was getting very messy on the shelf that housed L-O, due to all those M brand names.  I decided that I would get a tote and fill it with the CDH yarns.  If there was ever a fire or a tornado or a zombie apocalypse, and I could only take a small portion of my yarn, these are the ones I’d want.  So, the other night, I trekked to Walmart and got a couple of totes.  I got a few of the small square ones for the oddball stuff that is in kitchen & desk drawers that you may not ever need but don’t want to throw away.  I already know that my One a Day project (mentioned in my last post) will turn up some dilemmas like that, so I got 1 box each for the office, kitchen and bathroom.  They will be easily stored in a cabinet, and I can always go back to them later and destash from them some more.  I also got a medium square tote for the oddball craft stuff that I’ll save but don’t have a home for yet.  As you’ll see in a minute, I started my One a Day project with some craft supplies.  So far, the majority of the junk already had a home that it needed to be returned to, such as beads, threads, needles, etc. that all live in nicely organized spaces in the closet.  However, there were a couple of items that I have planned for projects but they didn’t have somewhere to go.  Now they do.  Finally, I bought a large (but not XL) rectangular tote for storing my CDH yarns.  I really, really did think it was going to be big enough when I bought it.  The problem was that when I started pulling out the super loved yarns from the closet last night, the tote quickly filled and overflowed.  So, I emptied a BIG tote of stuff I want to sell on eBay, transferred all of that to some large bags, and then filled up the CDH tote.  It was still too small!  That left me with the horrible decision-making process of who to vote out of the CDH tote.  I used the new, smaller tote for “I like you a lot, but I don’t love you that much” yarns, and/or ones that I have imminent plans for, and that made it a lot easier.  I am now ready for the Emergency Alert tones to sound, at least when it comes to my yarn.  And if I have time to grab 2 totes, I’m prepared!
  • Ribbon Scrapbook Project – My hard-earned Fair ribbons are currently crammed in a dresser drawer in my closet, along with all the doilies and some of the other things that received the ribbons.  I’ve given away a few of the items, so I won’t be buying a display cabinet for all of this stuff.  But, I wanted a way to consolidate it all and put it into a format that I can look at, or that my family will have to dispose of when I’m gone.  So, I bought a large scrapbook on sale at Michael’s a few months ago.  The plan is to go to CVS (or wherever still does this) and print photos of each item, make some notes about the project, and put the ribbons with all of that into the scrapbook.  It seems like a simple project, and I have all the supplies, but I can’t get motivated to go print the photos.  One of these days.  Maybe when One a Day gets to my dresser.

 

The One a Day project started Monday night.  2 days down and 2 boxes done.  (insert pat on the back here)

When I did all that musical closet stuff a few months back, I ended up with a small stack of plastic shoebox-sized totes with miscellaneous craft stuff in them.  They used to have an entire shelf all to themselves in my bedroom closet.  However, I realized that I’ve carted around a lot of this stuff since (I’m ashamed to say) the early 1990s!  It was time to get real and get rid of a lot.  I’ve donated and tossed quite a bit, but there are still 4 or 5 of those boxes stacked in the corner that I haven’t done anything with…until now.

  • Day 1, Box 1 – This is the reason why I needed the medium-sized tote from Walmart the other night.  For example, there are 2 cone-shaped Styrofoam forms that I use for making ribbon trees, and I had nowhere to stash them to keep them from getting messed up until I get around to making another.  Now I do.  Here’s a pic of the box before:

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Here’s a pic of the box after:

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That’s a little deceiving, though, as I didn’t get rid of it all.  I think I threw out a broken crayon.  The rest went to its rightful homes, and the Styrofoam cones and 2 small bead kits went into the medium tote.  It’s now ready to receive more stuff!

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  • Day 2, Box 2 – Another craft box before:

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And, after:

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Woo hoo!!!  Victory is mine!  This box was easy too because all those threads have their own drawer in my craft cabinet.  I just have a very bad habit of not putting things back where they belong when I’m done with them.  The yarn labels go into a baggie that I keep in a drawer.  I really need to throw them out because any of the care information I might need can easily be looked up on Ravelry.  But, baby steps, folks!  This time I think I threw away some tangled threads rather than try to wind them back onto the spool.  And a paper clip.

I’m thinking tonight I’ll take on something a little more intimidating.

The kitchen JUNK DRAWER!!!

(I actually have 2 of them.)

 

Full of Ideas

July 20 thru August 22, 2016

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A lot has transpired since my last post.

The best thing was spending 5 days with my niece when she visited me.  And coming here was her own idea!  She’s a wonderful person to be around, and we had fun crocheting together, hanging out on the Riverwalk in San Antonio (it just so happened I had to go down there for a board meeting so she and my friend, Jerri, joined me), and getting to know each other better.  We’ve never spent that much time alone together, and I loved it.  I miss her and look forward to our chance to do it again soon.  I’ll forever remember her saving me at the mall when I got suckered into one of those skincare stores and was given the spiel about how much better I’ll look if only I spent $300 on their products.  My niece, when asked what she thought about the miracle transformation they’d done under 1 eye (not both, mind you…just 1), told them we had to go somewhere else but we’d think it over and be back.  She’s more mature than I am, apparently!

I completed the couple of projects for the State Fair that weren’t entered in the Hunt County Fair, including the blanket based on the State Fair’s theme of Texas Agriculture. This isn’t a great pic as it was taken at night in a hotel room in San Antonio.  In order to get it all in the frame, my niece had to stand on the other bed.  When I get it back, I’ll find a fun setting and take a pic worthy of all the time and effort I put into it.  I am patting myself on the back for this because it’s the largest project I’ve ever undertaken, as well as being the first project that wasn’t just following a pattern.  I actually had to THINK!

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The other item I made specifically for the State Fair was this Fall Splendor Doily.  I’m going to give it to my sister in honor of all the Thanksgivings we have spent together, which has become my favorite holiday due to the family time.

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I also accomplished some goals during the Ravellenics.  In total, I finished 6 WIPs, completed 2 new projects, and frogged 5 items.  That last one may not be a big deal to some folks, but when you have a laundry basket full of WIPs, plus 2 big project bags with WIP afghans in them, it’s very freeing to let go of something you worked on but know you won’t finish.

One of the items I was going to frog turned into a completed WIP.  It was supposed to be a big table centerpiece, but for various reasons I didn’t finish.  As I was ripping it out, I realized that if I ripped back to a certain point, it was a perfectly acceptable large doily.  So, it got blocked and now I have a big doily (although nowhere to put one).  It measures 22″ across!

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I also finished the lamb toy that I started making for the County Fair but ran out of time to complete.  It’s inspired by this news story.  (Warning: it’s very graphic so do not read if you are overly disturbed by violence to children.)  I was asked what I am going to do with the toy.  I thought about keeping it or giving it to my sister, but I’m thinking I may try to track down the girl’s grandparents and give it to them.

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Here are some other items I’ve finished in the last couple of weeks.

A stuffed Gummy Bear.

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A Kooky Owl (posing with a Kooky Cat).

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A scarf I tested for the designer.

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A pair of Barefoot Sandals.

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A cowl that was going to be for my sister but I’m keeping it because the squirrels aren’t as obvious as I’d like them to be for her.  Also, after taking this picture, I was trimming some of the fuzz off the edge and snipped right through some stitches!

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I’ve made a lot of stuff this year.  Over 140 items!  That’s the most productive I’ve ever been in my life.  And there’s still 4 months left to go.

If you are interested in seeing all my projects, look at my What Have I Done? page.  Although, don’t look right now because it’s not updated yet. 🙂

Also, I am going to scratch the Where’s the Pattern? page and link all the patterns from the photos page.  Again…that’ll be later.

I also have plans to do the following:

  • A “One a Day” project that involves organizing and de-cluttering in my apartment.  I’m going to go through 1 drawer, cabinet, box, etc. per day and get rid of a bunch of stuff.  I’ve lived in this apartment for 4 years, and there is stuff I haven’t touched, unless it was to move it out of the way.  My desk, kitchen cabinets & drawers, bathroom cabinets & drawers, boxes in the closet & the garage…all of it is going to be evaluated for its need/love/value.  Whatever doesn’t make the cut goes to the Dumpster or gets donated.  I know y’all are dying to see how this progresses (yeah, right), so I’ll post Before & After pics…if it’s not too embarrassing!
  • A “Stash Down” project that involves using up some yarn.  I’ll do this via a trick a friend posted on Ravelry.  I’m going to use the tools on the site to sort my stash by the least yardage to the most.  I’ll weed out mini skeins, cottons that I use for all sorts of things, and yarns I’m going to use for dyeing.  Then I’ll start making stuff.  The first skein is going to actually be a skein of Red Heart Sassy Fabric.  What better time to use it up than right before Christmas?  After that is a leftover skein of some pretty purple bulky yarn that will make a nice bowl to store stuff in.

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  • An “Appreciate the Gifts” project that involves taking the list of patterns I’ve been gifted on Ravelry and, starting with the oldest, actually USE the patterns to make the items I at one point was really excited about making.  I actually started this in May when I made Mr. Moustache Cat.  The next oldest gift was received in June, 2013 and is a lovely lacy scarf by one of my favorite designers, Julie Blagojevich.
  • And, I’ll start planning my projects for the Hunt County Fair in April, 2017 and the State Fair of Texas 2017.  And, while we’re at it, maybe even the Ravellenics for the 2018 Winter Games!

Wish me luck!  And I wish you luck in meeting your crafty goals!

 

 

One Step Closer

July 8 thru July 19, 2016

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I’m giving myself a blue ribbon for completing the next step on my 2016 Texas State Fair journey!  I may not win a single ribbon from the Fair itself, but with the way I’ve been accomplishing so little lately, it really is a small victory to get the entry form filled out, a check written for the entry fees, and the two dropped into the mailbox with a stamp attached to the envelope.

There are 10 items on my entry form.  At least I won’t be giving them a complete donation this year as 8 of those 10 items are complete.  So long as I manage to make it to the turn-in table by the end of the day on August 13, I’m good.  The other 2 items (an afghan and a toy) are about a 50-50 shot at getting done.  The toy should be a breeze to finish, so long as I keep working on it.  I get so bored with going around and around and around with single crochet.  The afghan is also single crochet, in rows, but at least there are color changes to form designs, which keeps my mind a bit more occupied.  My only concern with the afghan is having enough time to get all the squares not just completed but sewn together.  I need to do some research on what to do to join them and edge the entire thing.

I’m going to my sister’s for a week, so when I’m not hanging out with family or at the conference I’m going there to attend, I’ll be crocheting.  Biggest problem with that is I will lose almost 4 days (weekend days!) of crochet time because of the driving.  I’ll have the 2 Saturday nights in a hotel room in Amarillo, but it won’t be like if I were home and had my butt parked on the couch all day.  The 2 Sundays will be a washout because I’ll be catching up with family on the first one and catching up with the cat (and on laundry) when I get home on the second one.  Then, a couple weeks later my niece will be here, which means some night(s) before that will be devoted to house cleaning.  The Saturday before turn-in is also out for crocheting because I’ll be going to San Antonio with my niece and a friend, and we’ll all stop in Dallas on the way back on Sunday to turn in my stuff.

So, if I count the days, I have…

14 evenings, 5 weekdays at my sister’s, and 1 full weekend left!

If I don’t finish this afghan, I will be very disappointed in myself because it’s a Fair-specific design that I wouldn’t be making for any other reason.

I’m meeting a friend for dinner after work, so tonight will not be a crochet night.  At 5pm tomorrow, when the old factory whistle blows, I’m gonna commute from my dining room office to my living room couch, pick up my hook and yarn, and get ‘er done!  (At least 1 square anyway.)

 

Left Brain, Right Brain, No Brainer

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June 23 thru July 7, 2016

I think I figured out why I rarely get anything done.  The graphic above is mostly correct.  But, I also think it’s because I love planning projects more than following through with projects.  Last night, as an example, I nearly finished a wash cloth.  I say “nearly” because all I have to do is cut the yarn, weave in a couple of ends, and block it so it’ll look nice when I give it as a gift.  That’s it.  10 minutes of work, tops!  Yet it’s currently sitting on my coffee table, yarn still attached to what’s left of the skein.  After placing it on the coffee table, I got up from the couch and went into my bedroom.  A sane person would’ve gone in search of the scissors and a smaller hook for weaving ends.  Not I, said the Little Red Hen!  I went in search of a new project!

I have a laundry basket in the corner of my bedroom that mocks me on a daily basis.  In the basket are a bunch of project bags containing items in various stages of completion.  Some of them need to be frogged because I hate them.  Some of them really need to be finished, but I have lost my mojo for those particular items.  I also have 3 tote bags full of afghan-sized projects.  In fact, they are afghan projects.  They’re in the kinds of tote bags that you get when you order clothes from a catalog and they throw in a beach bag or weekend getaway bag.  I don’t go to the beach and when I go away for the weekend I need a much bigger bag than those.  So, they’re full of yarn.  One project was started last summer (Lily Pond Blanket).  One was started last Thanksgiving (Moorish Mosaic Afghan).  One was started this spring (a super secret mystery afghan that may go into the State Fair).  Now, the first 2 will probably have to be started over at some point, thanks to issues with gauge and tension.  To be honest, the first one was already started over once because there was such a huge gap between the times I worked on it that there was no way the pieces would have ever looked right when sewn together.  I know all this, so why don’t I finish what I start so I don’t have these kinds of problems?

The answer could be ADD.  It could be Left Brain vs Right Brain because, God, do I love to plan projects!  Or, it could simply be boredom.  All I know is that rather than pick something out of that basket or from one of those tote bags, I actually picked up a brand new, unopened afghan kit and considered starting it!  Stop the insanity!  Someone needs to shoot me with a tranquilizer dart when I do something like that.

Thankfully, as I tossed the bag onto the bed before turning to go in search of an H hook, my crochet life flashed before my eyes.  All those unfinished projects were crying out with “Finish me, please!”, and I saw all the fun projects I have to keep putting off because of the guilt over the unfinished ones.  Not to mention all the yarn I keep buying for projects I’ll never get to if I don’t finish the ones I’ve started.  Who am I kidding?  I could start them, but then I’d need a bigger laundry basket.

So, I put the new kit back where it belongs and picked up a tote bag with an old, boring, thought out, planned, in-process, unfinished project inside.

I think my brain operates somewhere in that fine line between left & right.  Between logic and creativity.  Between order and chaos.

Last night, at least, logic and order prevailed.

Oops, I Did It Again!

June 9 thru June 22, 2016

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I said in my last post that I was going to update this daily with all my little successes and failures with projects.  And random thoughts.  And pics of cats.

As you can see from the date range above, that did not happen.

I’ve been productive, but I haven’t felt like writing about it here.  One of the reasons is, I think, that I spend a lot of time on Ravelry talking about projects, updating my stash listings and project pages, and daydreaming about various patterns and yarn combos.  So, I don’t really want to talk about it some MORE over here.  I guess if I quit talking about all projects and just talk about Fair projects, that would make it more interesting…for me, anyway.  For anyone reading this?  Not so much.

The bigger reason, I believe, for not posting here is that my mindset about just about everything is not in a happy place.  I’m not really depressed right now, but I feel really empty.  Nothing is bringing me much joy these days, and when I try to seek out some joy I come up empty-handed.

I hate the summer because I hate the heat and humidity.  It’s impossible to enjoy being outdoors when you are covered in a thin film of sweat from head to toe.  I remember summer days as a kid where the grass was dewy in the morning, and the bright blue sky beckoned us to come out and play, and we took swimming lessons and played games with friends and read books.  Now the days all roll together and I avoid watching the weather on the news because it’s so depressing to see that little sun graphic on every stinkin’ day and watching the high temp keep rising a degree or two each week until we’ll be in the triple digits for days at a time.  While everyone around me looks forward to summer when it’s cold outside in winter, I secretly wish for some weather anomaly that will keep the heat away and bring unseasonable rain.  I got my wish last spring and early summer, and it was glorious!

I’m not liking my financial situation that will soon require me to get a second job to cover my monthly deficit.  At 52, that does not make me happy.  I’m going to a big sale at a yarn shop on July 1, and I’m going to ask about the possibility of working there on weekends, even though it’s about a 30 mile drive each way.  That’s about the only thing I can think about doing that wouldn’t fill me with anger and resentment about having to give up my days off to make a few dollars until things pick up at my regular job and I get my full salary back and we make enough for bonuses again.

I’m also really struggling with my envious feelings about my beautiful, talented, funny, intelligent (younger) sister who lives in the perfect place, is married to a great guy, and has a nice home in a gorgeous setting.  Does she have her own daily dilemmas to deal with?  Well, she has a teenage son and a daughter in her early 20s, so that’s the answer to that question.  But she’s able to travel and enjoy life at a level that I don’t (can’t) in Texas where I live alone in an apartment and I fill up my internal empty spaces with yarn and crochet.

There ARE wonderful friends in my life who make me happy, make me feel loved, and make me realize I’m not alone in this world.  But I have old programmed thinking about how life is only going to be good if I have a home and a family and I live near my sister to spend holidays with and we go to dinner together and have a weekly game night or Netflix night and I can go see my nephew perform in school plays.  Kinda like an episode of “Brothers & Sisters” or “Parenthood”.  The lack of all that has me feeling “less than” more often than not.  I have a job here, and bills to pay, so packing up and moving to a ski town in the mountains is not practical (and I don’t ski).

I’d also love to find the real-life equivalent to Cicely, Alaska from “Northern Exposure.”  I know it was filmed in Roslyn, WA so that is the real-life town.  But, I want to find the quirky people and hang out at the Brick and watch the moose amble down Main Street.  Oddly enough, the town where my sister lives comes pretty close.  It’s more touristy than Cicely was, but it’s close.  If I was in my 20s, I could go there and work in a restaurant or a bar and find a way to scrape out a living selling crocheted hats on the side while living with 2 or 3 other people to afford the rent up there.  But, I have a car payment, and student loans, and vet bills, and a couple of guilty-pleasure credit card bills that I use for late night yarn buying when I am feeling lonely and sad and scared.

So, as I keep saying, I crochet.  And I have dinner with friends like I did last night and will again tonight.  And I try to keep those happy feelings from being overshadowed by sadness as soon as I walk into my apartment and realize Bella is gone and the redneck is having fun with all the friends I used to have fun with.  And I ask God to show me what He wants me to do because the things I’ve done that I’ve thought were with His blessing haven’t quite worked out like I’d hoped.