Monday, November 22, 2010

My Own Little Time Machine

I sent out a plea to everyone I know who knits or crochets for scrap yarn for my afghan project. How's that going, you ask? Well, I'm still working at it. NaNoWriMo is taking a lot of my focus away along with all sorts of various other tasks and distractions, but I'm still plodding along. The reason I bring it up is that my wonderful aunt sent me a box full of yarn and a few other surprises. The best surprise was one of my grandmother's cookbooks.

I'm not talking about my grandmother's copy of The Joy of Cooking or any other sort of published tome. This cookbook is essentially a scrapbook. It's full of scraps of paper, recipe cards, and even typing paper wedged, glued, and hole-punched in place. It's simply amazing. The book is more than just a collection of recipes, it is a scrapbook. It is a glimpse into my grandmother's life.

It helps that my grandmother was a librarian. Being a librarian, or in my case raised by librarians, gives one an overwhelming urge to cite every source, it seems. Noted with almost every recipe whether typed, handwritten, photocopied, or clipped from a newspaper is a little notation of where it came from. It's a time capsule.

There's one recipe hand-written by one my grandmother's students from her time teaching fourth grade. There's a basic bread recipe and numerous variations on it from when my grandmother learned to bake bread during "WWII (the big one)." A handful of recipes are from my great-grandmother, who I never got a chance to know. Just being able to look at all these scraps of paper covered in my grandmother's handwriting is rewarding.

I think one of the absolute best things is that I can now share recipes with my husband that I grew up eating. There are tons of recipes I remember loving, and even more I can't wait to try. If I'm really lucky, going based on the ingredients underlined in the dozen or so spaghetti sauce recipes in the book, I may be able to cook up something close to the amazing spaghetti sauce that neither my mother nor grandmother got a chance to teach me to make.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Cord, a Cord, My Kingdom for a Cord!

Over the past month and a half or so I have been having a standoff with my laptop about power issues. I have come to a simple conclusion. The laptop hates me. Laptop cords hate me even more.

Because I am a very impatient person, I wanted a fast laptop. Because I am dreadfully addicted to World of Warcraft, I wanted a gaming computer. I have a lovely ASUS laptop. It has a huge display to show me all the pretty little pixels WoW has to offer. It's almost fast enough to please me. I'm sure that the computer actually fast enough to please me has yet to be invented.

There is a very big downfall to having a laptop with a large display and powerful video card: it eats power. After about six months of having a wonderful relationship with this powerful machine, disaster struck. The light on the power pack of the cord gave a sad little flicker and went out. I was running on battery.

The little card that displays the information about the computer at the electronics store we purchased it from (let's call them Preeminent Purchase) said that the computer had 3 hours of battery power. After some tears and a few nasty words aimed at the cord, I took a deep breath and realized that I has three hours to use the computer and find a solution. The first thing I looked at when I turned the computer on was the battery power indicator. My dreams slipped away as it proclaimed I have 1 hour of battery life. 1/3 of the amount I was promised by smiling salespeople at Preeminent Purchase. A fresh wave of tears and I shoved the laptop at the confused hubby and sent him out to Preeminent Purchase to see what they have to say about it.

Guess what they said. "Your cord is dead." Thanks, guys. I feel so much better knowing that I'm not just stupid. "Well, we can give you this $100 'universal' cord if you can find your receipt." Back home the hubby races to find the receipt.

Guess what happens next. No receipt. This laptop is a replacement to one we bought about a year and a half ago. We paid the difference between the gift card they gave us to refund the purchase price of the other one that died while still under warranty. We have the receipt for the original laptop and the packaging for the gift card. Did we save the receipt for the amount paid for the price difference? No. Can't they just look it up? No. We paid with cash from Christmas. Great.

The hubby searches on line and finds a suitable replacement. It says it will work with our model of laptop and it's only $10! We laugh in the face of Preeminent Purchase and their $100 cord. Thank you, electronics gods for bestowing this bounty on us.

The cord arrives and there is much rejoicing! Yay!

After about two weeks, the cord begins to have issues. It will still slowly refill the battery, but cannot supply power to the laptop during operation. This displeases me as it brings an end to my ability to play WoW on this computer. The hubby does some research.

Of course the new cord died. It's only a 90 watt cord. This powerful, energy eating machine requires 150 watts to satiate it. So . . . another cord is ordered. Almost $40 this time. With the hubby out of work, waiting on a class action suit before he can even get unemployment benefits (long story and I thought this one was rather short when I began, so we'll save that for another time) and us therefore surviving on my disability payments and etsy sales, this is bad for our lack of budget.

That was about a month ago. The new new cord, just a few minutes ago decided it hates me too. It will not cooperate and run this beast of a machine. I am displeased to say the least. Oh, I should also mention that the $100 "universal" cord that Preeminent Purchase wanted to sell us, as it is the only cord they carry, is also only 90 watts. Very glad that at least we didn't waste our money on that.

I'd like to tell you the moral of the story, but I don't know what it is yet. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Listing Adjustments

I realized a few days ago that there are people in the etsy world who don't seem to understand that we're all just self-employed crafters. I had an order come in for one of my patterns around 8:00 at night. I saw it in my email box, but due to the hour, decided to sent it off in the morning as it was time for me to get off the computer and start winding down so I could get a decent amount of sleep for once. I awoke in the morning to an email from the customer with a timestamp of 1:30 am asking when she would recieve the pattern. It was not, by any meaning an angry or irritated email. Still, it annoyed me. Maybe because I'm not a pleasant person first thing in the morning, I don't know.

Don't get me wrong, I'm always glad for a sale. I love all my customers. It's just, I'm not a mindless computer. It isn't, click this button, I'll take your money and you can immediately download your file. I think I was also annoyed because this forced me to realize that I had to go into every listing for a pattern in my shop and add to the last line so it now reads "PDF will be emailed to you within 24 hours after payment is recieved." Thankfully, there are only nine pattern listings at the moment.

Enough of my complaining. It's a little thing, but it got under my skin, and now it's over. I've also gone into several other listings and changed them so that any piece I make when ordered will now say that.

Other than dealing with this, I've been working on orders and making cards, which I still have to photograph and list, if the sun will even peek out again. I've also been trying to tat some new ornaments, but nothing seems to be working out right. I have a large stack of twisted threads and nothing finished to show for it. If I really worked the amount of false-starts into the time it takes to create a piece when I price it, I'm underselling myself by a lot more than I already know I am.

I am also, of course, still working on creating a mountain of squares for afghans. There are lots of other little projects drifting around in the back of my brain begging to be started, but there's just not enough time to do any of them and no money to get supplies. On the horizon, I'm planning to get some fiber reactive dyes and start dying some of my own tatting threads. But that's probably a long way off. I'm dding my best to keep on top of things, but it looks like I won't be finished with everything I'm already working on until the new year. Sigh, by then I'm sure there will be a new mountain of projects to climb.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Good Karma and My Favorite Holiday

Last night, I got proof that good things come back to you in the end. This is what happened. While we were unpacking and organizing craft supplies among other things, we donated a lot of things to Goodwill. See, I'm not a hoarder, I can part with things. Many things that we donated were old inventory from the last time I was doing craft fairs several years ago. Rather than have to deal with taking new pictures and listing them in my shop, only to have them not sell because they were based on styles from several years ago, I donated them. I left the tags on because they had care instructions. I didn't even think about the fact that my old website address was on the tags. Last night I got a convo on etsy from a woman who bought two hats and, not finding my old defunct website, looked me up through google and found my etsy shop. She wanted to know if I would be interested in making something else for her. So, in giving away a lot of inventory, I got new business!

I feel I may be a little late to the game getting my Halloween stuff up on etsy, but yesterday, I made a dozen Halloween cards because I felt inspired. I wish I had more Halloween stamps, but the spiderweb edging punches I bought on clearance were definitely a good investment. In fact, I didn't even use the one Halloween stamp I had because I was having so much fun with the punches. I've now added a Holiday Kards section to the shop. It's all Halloween cards right now, but as soon as I get some made, Christmas cards will be keeping them company.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Big Project

Yes, I have been a bad girl. I have neglected my shop. I have neglected my blog. However, it's all been for a good cause.

About two years ago, I started a shawl ministry at my church. It began as crochet lessons for most of the other ladies at church, but they all dropped out one by one. I continued on doing shawls, baby blankets, afghans, etc when they were asked for. Since that time, our church has joined with another to form a new church, and I'm still the one-woman shawl ministry. I'm not complaining about being alone in this effort. It doesn't really bother me. The shawl ministry project was something that God laid on my heart to do and I never really expected a big turn out.

Each Christmas, our church takes care packages to a local nursing home. The first year after starting the ministry, I found an easy slipper pattern to work up. It involved crocheting rectangles and then doing a little simple stitching to form the slippers. I crocheted rectangles for the required number of slippers and the ladies helped me stitch them together. Last year, they made knotted edge fleece blankets.

I decided last Christmas that this year, I would make afghans for the residents. So in January, after unpacking some of my scrap yarn, I set to work. I started crocheting granny squares. I thought that the afghans needed something else though, so I started knitting mitered squares as well. I did this in my spare time with my scrap yarn for a while. Then it hit me. I haven't done the exact math, but I have a general idea that I will need over 2,000 squares to make the required number of blankets. Since figuring this out, I've taken the project into overdrive. I worked through all the scrap yarn I'd started with, I searched and unpacked more, I was given scraps from a woman in my needlepoint class and asked my etsy fiber team and my friends. Well, there's a bin full of yarn to be worked through and another bin full of squares, but lots more to do. I have finished the first afghan, all stitched together:

I like the way it turned out. I'm hoping and praying that some of the ladies at church will help me stitch squares together to make the rest of the afghans. I'm going to have to go out and get more black yarn soon to keep edging them as I've run through all the black I had and bought for the project already.

So that is why I have been so absent and neglectful. After Christmas, I should be back to being productive at other things.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Different World Views

The hubby and I are sitting here watching tv when that stupid commercial comes on with the guy talking about how he loves all the best things in life but also likes saving money. What is that commercial for anyway? I never remember, therefore, it's completely ineffective. But I digress.

So my hubby watches it for the tenth or so time and starts going on about having a problem with the set-up. Hiss problem is that the slender gorgeous woman hands the guy a tray that has a remote balancing on a stack of gold bricks. He's not sure he could even pick up all those gold bricks, much less this skinny little woman balancing them in one hand.

While he's going on about this, I'm watching the commercial for the twentieth time or so and as it draws to a close, all I'm thinking is: "I want a tiny little giraffe!"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New and Exciting!

Finally took some pictures of the totes I made over the weekend and got them listed in my shop.

Rainbow Waves and Shells Tote

Shoreline Waves and Shells Tote

I also managed to list a crocheted business card pouch. I finally found a use for the little 1.5 oz hank of wool I dyed a few years ago as a demo at Michael's. They've discontinued two of the colors of Kool-Aid I used for it. I'd been saving it until I came up with thee perfect project since I loved it so much and could never recreate it. There was enough to make two business card pouches (one for me and one for the shop) and still enough left over for a felted flower or something else small. Want to know what it looks like? Well check out the one on my shop!

Also added a whole new section to my card shop! Friend Kards feature friendship quotes and some tatted flowers.

My hubby takes pretty good pictures. I might just have to get him to keep doing it from now on ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday ADA

I remember twenty years ago when my mother called me to come sit down so she could talk to me. She explained that something wonderful had happened. The Americans with Disabilities Act had passed. That meant that no one could deny me a job because I was disabled. It meant that public buildings would be accessible to me even when a few steps became a problem. It meant that I belonged to a group of people who would no longer be treated as second class citizens or a nuisance to the general public. It was more than just more handicapped parking spaces. It was change.

I'm not saying that the ADA is perfect. There is no way to mandate compassion. So while it may be illegal to discriminate against me because I can't walk up the stairs, it doesn't mean that people don't still roll their eyes at me for being slow. It doesn't mean that people stopped parking in handicapped spaces because they're "only going to be a minute" or even that fines for parking in such spaces are more readily enforced. It simply means that we are people and we deserve to be treated as such.

So today, I thank all the people who drafted the ADA, all the people who supported it. Everyone who made what my mother had always dreamed for me a reality.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is It Fall Yet?

I am officially over summer. It's hot. It's sticky. It's buggy. I can't stand to go outside long enough to take pictures of new items to list in my shop. It would mean leaving my air conditioned sanctuary. Actually, the air conditioner is having some trouble battling the heat sneaking under the door.

I'm tired of heat. I'm tired of it being so bright I can barely open my eyes. I'm just tired. Heat makes me tired.

So really, can it be fall now? I'm ready to move on to a more hospitable season.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Husband Thinks He's Funny

Yesterday we were driving behind a car with a plastic kiddie pool balanced on the roof. There were two passengers in the backseat, each with one arm out the window holding the pool so that it didn't fly off. My response was to say something about the fact that this is the south and I don't see how there's anyone living in this area of the country that doesn't at least know someone who knows someone who owns a truck. Why not get a friend or a friend of a friend with a truck to bring the pool to your house instead of making idiots of yourself?

My husband responds with a perfectly straight face "They're just trying to get in the car pool lane."


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Random Musing

Perhaps you should wait until the lead paint advisory and removal notice is taken down before you put up your apartment available sign again. Just a thought.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In the works

I know, I know, I fell off the radar again. Well, lots of projects going at the same time don't tend to leave me much time for blogging. So, what am I up to you ask? Lots of things!

I have a green and brown scarf on my needles at the moment. Pictures will come when it's all done and ready to list. I'm also working a shawl with my pineapple shawl pattern in a laceweight virgin wool yarn I picked up in a thrift store a while back. This is in addition to the Queen Anne's Lace doily I'm still working on, the needlepoint homework I'm not quite keeping up with, being driven mad by a handful of fruit flies, and continuing a little story writing on the side.

See, I'm not ignoring my blog, I'm just a little busy. As usual. Stupid crafting ADD. One day, I'll only have one project going at a time.

It could happen! Stop laughing at my pathetic attempt to control my wandering mind!

Ok, I need to stop lying to myself. I'll never stop trying to learn new crafts, I'll never stop reading two or three books at the same time, and I'll never have just one project. That reminds me, I really should get started on Halloween costumes soon. Maybe I'll be able to get a sewing machine set up and working soon and even get a little money set aside to buy fabric. Here's hoping!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer's Colorful Snowfall

I named the pendant pattern I created a few days ago Neige because it looked like a snowflake. Well, there's a sprinkling of more snow around here!

Neige Soleil Pendant

Admittedly, that's where my memory of French classes gave out and I didn't feel like looking up translations, so . . .

Neige Tropical Punch Pendant

Those are the only two I've listed so far, but there are two and a half more and I've still got lots of interesting thread colors! I need to write this pattern down soon so that I don't forget it. That means I have to figure out where my tatting journal has disappeared to. Why do things always run off and hide when I need them?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Playing with new techniques

I checked out a new tatting book from the library the other day and started playing with some new techniques. I always seem to find that things I think are going to be difficult never turn out to be in the end. After some frustration and confusion, I finally mastered the Dora Young knot, in spite of watching a YouTube video that had it completely wrong. One of these days, I might have to do some of my own videos, but that's a project for another time. Anyway, after playing with using the Dora Young knot to cover some small plastic rings I had lying around, I ended up creating this stunning new pendant:
It still boggles my mind that I covered that ring using the shuttle when the shuttle can't fit through the tiny little ring! If I hadn't done it myself, I wouldn't believe it was possible. I still almost don't. I see many more pendants with that pattern in my future.

Between continuous thread technique, the Dora Young knot, and split rings, I worked the whole thing without breaking the yarn until after the very last chain. I'm sure that for any readers I have that don't tat, this is all sounding like a lot of nonsense. To you, I'll just say, look at the pretty pendant, and don't worry about it.


Okay, just to let everyone know, yesterday I changed the settings for my blog. I now have to review all the comments before they post. I was tired of the random links being posted to strange sites that have nothing to do with me, my blog, or my interests. I'll do my best to check in and review comments as often as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Etsy Love

I don't just sell on etsy, I buy and trade as well. Today seemed like an excellent day to share a little etsy love and pass on info about some great sellers and products.

Normally, for some reason, I seem to have a neon sign over my head only visible to all the biting nasties in the summer air proclaiming "All You Can Eat!" But this year, I've kept them at bay with some wonderful handmade soap from my friend SmileyMoo

Bugs Be Gone Soap

This soap smells great to me, but not to the little buzzy guys. It's a great way to shut down the buffet and feel clean and fresh. No more spray on repellent for me! And as a bonus, Smiley also has the best lip balm I've ever used!

When I finished a prayer shawl for a good friend, I decided I wanted a nice shawl pin to go with it. OutNumberedNovelties has so many beautiful wooden pieces in their shop, they were the first ones I asked. I was not disappointed in the least! Through a series of convos, we collaborated on exactly what the finished product would look. (I'm not going to share the pictures of the one I got, because I still haven't sent it or the shawl off and I'd like a little surprise left) Much like me, making one just wasn't enough for Out, so there are more in their shop, each one totally unique.

Wooden Shawl Pin and Ring

One of the favorite things in my jewelry box is a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandmother. They are a pair of little gold wire birds' nest with tiny pearl "eggs" inside. I have loved them ever since I was little, but I never wore them. They always seemed too casual to wear any time I might wear a string of pearls and I just didn't have any other necklace to wear with them. I found the solution in the fantastic shop of thecuriouscupcake.

Cupcake and I traded the pendant for a pair of tatted earrings. This little baby may be all mine, but there are similar ones left and loads of other cute items!

So what are you still doing reading my blog? Go shop and find yourself some great items, too!

I also want to note that all the pictures above are from the individual sellers and I only borrowed them to show you all some of the amazing things out there ;)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why Michael's Is Out to Drive Me Crazy

I finished tatting the most amazing choker the other day, by far my favorite yet. I needed ribbon clamps to finish it off and, of course, didn't have any on hand. If all were the way I wanted it to be, I'd just put in an order to Fire Mountain Gems for them, but this plan had two flaws. 1) I'm far too impatient to wait for shipping when I'm so close to being done and 2) we didn't really have the money for me to put in an order because Wal-Mart screwed up the hubby's paycheck (but that's another rant for another time). So off we trek to Michael's where I've always gotten my ribbon clamps in the past.

I stare at all the findings for a few minutes. Where are the ribbon clamps? I must have missed them in this massive wall of head pins, eye pins, clasps of all sorts, cell phone charm ends, and, what the heck? wine bottle stoppers and badge clips? Really? Badge clips? Whatever. As long as I find the ribbon clamps, I don't care what other pointless stupid supplies they have. But, alas, there are no ribbon clamps. No, I scream in my head, that can't be! They're here somewhere! I mean, there are badge clips for crying out loud! Deep breath. Okay, new plan. Get all the other things I need and then order the ribbon clamps from Fire Mountain Gems when I get the money together.

After ten more minutes of comparing and contrasting the beads available with the imaginary ones I had my heart set on, I grab what I'm willing to settle on and make one last desperate search for the ribbon clamps. Nope, they didn't magically appear while I was debating the merits of various beads. Dammit! Okay, I'll just get this other stuff and . . . wait, what's wrong with me? Why am I willing to give any of my money to this chain that doesn't have the one thing I really need? Okay, plan C, shove everything back on the first hook I can reach and leave the store.

That's pretty much how it happened. I pouted all the way home because I wasn't going to be able to finish and list this awesome piece. Then the miracle happened.

I found a pouch I'd been using for projects around Christmas and had abandoned when I'd gotten something better suited as a gift. I opened the pouch to pull out the handful of vintage buttons I knew were stashed away there, hoping to distract myself with a totally new project. A little glint at the bottom of the bag caught my eye. I reached for the small package and, would you believe it, RIBBON CLAMPS! I found some I didn't even know I had! So here we go:

Vampire's Kiss Tatted Velvet Choker

Evening Sky Tatted Velvet Choker

So there they are, new totally new choker and the one I've been working on off and on for a good long while. All finished and listed :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Busy Saturday

I believe I've accomplished a lot this afternoon so far. I finished and listed a new pair of tatted earrings:

I made two treasuries: Cunning, Don't You Think? inspired by the earrings and Not Another Necktie in honor of the Father's Day gift cliche.

And I added some more to the Queen Anne's Lace Doily:

Now it's time to type up some of the story idea that's been banging around my brain for about a week! So much for Saturday being a lazy day, lol.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Live!

Once again, I have been neglecting my poor blog. It seems that I just end up leaping from project to project without giving myself a break. I've honestly been avoiding the computer a little lately as well. I'm trying to break myself of bad habits like sitting playing silly facebook app games all day long.

I'm been doing a LOT of tatting lately. My tatting calluses have calluses and my fingers are beginning to get a little achey. I've finally learned at least one method of making split rings with the shuttle and spent some time experimenting with that. So far, I haven't come up with anything great, but I'm still working with on it.

We've been driving around listening to audiobooks a lot. One of the best things about this is that it's wildflower season. I've been staring out the window at butterfly weed, tigerlilies, and queen anne's lace (my favorite) for hours and found a little inspiration.

I've been working on a Queen Anne's Lace doily. It's been trial and error so there's a pile of twisted, discarded false starts at least as big as the doily so far. I'll post more pictures as it continues to take shape.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Settling In

I am officially tired of boxes. I'm also a little tired of the fact that we don't seem to be doing anything about them. I love my hubby, but sometimes he just doesn't see the same point that I do. He wants to put off getting the storage units I want for the craft room and getting that room organized. He wants to tackle the boxes in the bedroom closet first.

That's all well and good, but he's not the one desperate to have a sewing machine up and working. The one who feels an overwhelming urge to make some cards. The one who wants to know what's in her yarn stash so she can organize and purge.

I don't think he realizes that the longer we put this off, the more I'm going to want to keep because I'll have more and more ideas for what to do with it!

Being stuck in the apartment for a week because of the snow piled on the sidewalk didn't help either. I'm feeling stir crazy. More than that, I'm feeling creatively antsy. I need something to do. I can't even add to the box of completed granny squares for a shawl ministry project, because I've run out of accessible worsted weight yarn. I'm starting to feel like I'm losing my mind!

I have a really awesome idea for a messenger bag. If I ever get a sewing machine set up, that is.

Monday, January 11, 2010

How to Feel Settled

I think I finally figured out why I don't feel settled in the apartment yet. It's not the huge stacks of boxes in the computer room. I've been working on the laptop in the living room, so I don't see them on a daily basis. It's not the boxes in the kitchen or the living room. There aren't many of them to bother me. It's not the little everyday things I keep realizing we don't have anymore like a vaccuum cleaner (because of the stupid storage room thieves) or a toilet brush (because we had one of those disposable ones and just haven't unpacked the handle or replaced the pads yet).

It's the kitchen. The dishes are unpacked. Most of the pots and pans and utensils are unpacked. We have the microwave, the tea kettle, our brand new coffee maker (thanks, Andy, awesome Christmas present, btw).

We don't have any sugar. We don't have chocolate chips or self-rising flour or yeast or anything I need for baking. Last night I was struck by a sudden need to bake something. Cookies or cupcakes or something sweet and I couldn't do it. Yes, I know, the last thing I need to do is bake up a batch of cookies or cupcakes when there are only two of us to eat them, but sometimes it's about making them rather than eating them. Not for long, but initially it is. We got some Bisquick at Sam's Club, so I can make some pancakes, but I can't make chocolate chip pancakes. And we only have a few bottles of spices. I want to bake some bread or something, but it's just such a pain to get everything together when you aren't starting with some of it in the cupboards.

So that's when I'll feel settled. When there's sugar in the cupboard.

Friday, January 1, 2010


A few of my friends have been asking what everyone New Year's resolutions are. As for me, I have many resolutions because I can't narrow anything down in any part of my life. But here's my major resolution:

Not to tell the world what my resolutions are so that I don't have to own up to it when I inevitably fail.

There, now stop asking, everyone! :)