Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

Tuesday's Tribute has changed a bit. Jay and Deb decided that it would be a good idea to give prompts each week. Personally, I think this is a good idea, since it can be difficult to think of what to tribute every Tuesday.

This week's tribute is to a favorite blog. I had a tough time picking just one because I have lots of favorites that I read on a regular basis. But today's tribute is to a chick who is crafty as all get out, a total triple threat. I'm guilty of perusing her blog over and over again, looking at her projects for inspiration.

Crochet Cami

Rather than just write a long spiel about why I love Cami's blog, I'm going to tell you about her by using the letters in her name.

Creativity. Cami is full of creative energy. She sews, knits, makes cards, embroiders and crochets...all with amazing skill. The gorgeous bibs and quilts she made was a big reason I decided to pursue sewing. I once won a fleece blanket with crochet edging. I loved it so much that I kept it, hopefully for a future baby. I just could not bear to part with it.

Ambition. By Cami's own admission, she and her sister had well over 50 WIPs
going into the new year. I don't know about any of you, but having ore than 3 makes my heart flutter and have palpitations. I'd probably cry if I had more than 5.

Merry. Cami's blog shows what an upbeat person she is. I can't remember one single time that she complained or spoke badly about someone or something. Even with a huge cross country move in her near future, she's been positive about it all. When moving boxes are involved, positivity seems to leave me completely!

Inspiration. There is always, always, always inspiration to be found on Cami's blog. If you're a crafter, there are so many amazing projects to give you ideas. Even if you're not a crafter, the color combinations Cami uses can be inspiration too. For example, she made a gorgeous orange and brown quilt. I would have never thought to put those colors together in a quilt, but they were gorgeous together.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Egg Head

Today, I saw The Kansas Hooker's adorable Easter Bunny pattern. I thought how cute something like that would be with a hidden egg inside. After some thinking, this very simple Egg Head was born. Its easy enough for a beginner.

J hook
2 strands of Bernat Baby Coordinates held together. One strand of WW yarn should work just as well.
Yarn Needle
Wiggle Eyes
Jumbo size plastic egg

Gauge: 6hdc x 6 rows = 2 inches
Ch. 23
Row 1: Hdc in 3rd chain from hook and each ch. across, turn.
Rows 2-20: Ch.2, hdc in each st. across, turn.

It should measure 7.25" by 7". It doesn't need to be exact. It can be a bit bigger, but if it is smaller, your egg might not fit.

Fasten off, leaving a 10" tail for sewing.Fold right sides together and whipstitch sides, forming a tube.

At the end of the tube, weave the yarn tail in and out of the top row of stitches. Pull the tail tightly to gather. Fasten off and turn right side out.

Fold the tube in half, tucking the open half into the gathered part.

Cut wings, feet, and beak out of felt.
Using the picture as a guide, whipstitch felt parts onto the tube.
(Tip: I find it easiest to poke even holes in the felt with a yarn needle before whipstitching it into place).

Glue on wiggle eyes. If this will be for a small child, please embroider the eyes on instead for safety.

Insert the plastic egg, filled with goodies.

It would be very easy to make this into a bunny by cutting long ears instead of wings from felt and cutting a circle instead of a triangle for the nose.
Feel free to sell items made from this pattern, but do not sell this pattern.
Copyright 2009 @ Crafty Christina

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yarn Giveaway

No, not me!

The owner of this blog, While They Play, has discovered she's allergic to acrylic. Therefore, she's de-stashing with a giveaway. Go enter!

Friday, March 27, 2009

I tied the knot

Well, I tied that knot a little over 3 years ago, but that's not what I'm talking about. A bag from the S.E.W Sew Everything Workshop is what I'm referring to.
It was labeled as very easy and very easy is something I can stand behind, hee hee. Cutting out the pieces was easy and I didn't have any trouble getting the bag sewn together.

This fabric is a scrap a friend sent me to practice on and I love it. Its funky enough to be different but not weird. This is how the bag is meant to be worn, with a knot.

I felt like the bag was too short on me with the knot, so I figured I would learn how to use the automatic button-hole maker on the sewing machine. It took a few tries and my nose in the manual for awhile, but it worked like a charm.

Viola, longer handles!

It was a lot easier than I expected it to be. Now I keep looking at things to make button-holes on. :)

That's all the crafting that happened this week. My job is changing location next month, from Wall Street to the Village, and we've been nutty busy trying to clean up. The firm is hoping to become as "paperless" as possible. I've spent a good chunk of OT on scanning my files and cleaning my desk out of nearly 6 years worth of notes, memos, and files. I'm hoping to get it all done by the second week of April because I'd like to take my vacation during Easter week. Cross your fingers for me, as I'm not even halfway there yet.

We're also going to the circus tomorrow with Girl Scouts. Its a 45 minute subway ride, so maybe I'll bring a crochet hook with me to scratch some of the fiber itch I'm having. I need to crochet something...anything! Maybe a simple granny square for charity or a hat. Oooh yeah, a hat!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What a difference!

Piper's new mattress came today and its soft, awesomely soft.

What makes it even better is that I waited until Sears was having a 50% off sale. The mattress, which was originally listed for $339, was only $169. Of all the mattresses she had tried at the store, it was her favorite, so when hubby and I saw it at such a great deal, we jumped on it. Out of curiosity, I checked the Sears site today and it was back at $339, so I'm glad we bought it right away.

That's Hubby's hand. He loves the mattress....a lot. I have a feeling he's found a new spot to take naps.

What a difference a good mattress makes. Piper is going to sleep like a baby tonight! I'm not jealous...NOT! I'm totally jealous! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

Today's Tuesday's Tribute is to the farmers of the world. Admittedly, I don't think about farmers very often. Living in the middle of a big city doesn't lend to random, stray farmer thoughts.

But now that Spring has arrived, hubby and I are itching to grow things. We got half decent results last year, but it wasn't overly impressive. Let's be honest, if we had to live off of what we'd grown, we'd be very hungry.

The thought of having to grow all of my own food, knowing I suck at it, made me realize just how much I need and appreciate farmers. Overalls and all. Thanks for growing things and all it entails....digging up soil, planting seeds, watering, harvesting, and mailing the goodies to me.

Well, not directly to me, but you know what I mean.

I want to thanks farmers for raising chickens too. I like chicken (duh, I'm Puerto Rican) and I like eggs. I could never kill a chicken myself after a traumatic experience. Well, it wasn't directly traumatic to me, but it was bad enough to watch. A bunch of underage children (actors) were exploited on TV (Kid Nation) and had to kill a chicken themselves because they were hungry and tired of going meatless.

After watching them do that (and a poor little girl who tried to save the chickens), I'm very glad that my chicken comes already plucked, sliced up, and trimmed. I'm glad my eggs come in a container and if one is broken, I can switch it out with another container.

Even knowing what a sucky city farmers we are, hubby and I still took the plunge. We planted our spring seeds. Maybe we can be half-assed city farmers.

Grow seedlings, grow. And, well, if they don't, I know the real farmers have got my back. Thanks farmers!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rectangular Redemption

Sorry for the corny title, but I just re-read Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Good stuff, but the title stuck.

So anyhow, my hubby mentioned last night that we need new pillowcases. I'm not sure about everyone else, but our pillowcases get worn out faster than our sheets. I hate spending money on sheets and pillowcases. No one is going to see them but us anyway.

Luckily, my grandmother (wife of the PT rehab escapee) likes to buy random cheap sheets and give me the ones she bought in the wrong size. These are the kind you find for 10 bucks at street fairs and are undoubtedly ugly. That's my way of telling you to please excuse the ugly fabric you're about to see. It was free for me, therefore good enough for me.

Look how faded this one is.

Let's back track to hubby mentioning the pillowcases. I nodded my agreement and went to sleep. This morning, when I opened my eyes and looked at my very worn pillowcase, it occurred to me that I could make this. Its just a rectangle. A rectangle! No curves and no stuffing. I can't do curves and stuffing yet, but a rectangle? Oh yeah, bring it on!

I never use flat sheets. When I get a new set of sheets, the flat one gets stuffed into a closet, only to be used for Piper playing or as a picnic blanket. The flat sheet for this set was sitting in the closet and my scissors were itching to get at it.

I used my old worn pillowcase for measurements. I added 1/4" seams on the sides. For the open side, I added 2.5" to the seam. This was so I could hem the opening 1/2" and then turned the hemmed end under by 2" and sewed that into place. I guessed to do that by looking at the old one and it all seemed to work fine.

Here is the old pillowcase on the left and the new one I made on the right.

Yay, the one I made is bright!

A few hours and a few cups of coffee later, I had a new set of pillowcases. I used a zig-zag stitch for extra strength at the seams. Let's just hope they hold up in the wash.

For anyone who's interested, Grandpa is doing well. He refused to go to another PT place, but was able to arrange for in-home PT and an in-home nurse. He's able to do some walking on his own too, which is really great. My other grandfather is home from the hospital too. It looks like he won't need surgery after all. So its good news all around.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Be Thirfty and Win Prizes

Check out this blog I happened upon.

A Thrifty Mom

She's got oodles of tips on how to be coupon savvy and links to available coupons as well. Some of the deals this chick gets are crazy!

There's a give-away going on over there now and with the economy the way it is, who couldn't use more coupons. Go HERE to enter and Good Luck!

If you want more prizes, check out Halftime Lessons. Jay is shaving his head for St. Baldricks and to help find a cure for cancer. If you donate at least 5 bucks to the cause, you'll get entered into a pool for a bunch of awesome prizes.

The grand prize is getting your blog's name shaved on Jay's head, the picture posted on his blog, and a nice review. This is especially nice if you've got a crafty business, since Jay has way way more followers than anyone I know, except Kristina P. :)

Go HERE to find out more info.

And, if your tax money is still burning a hole in your pocket, Tib of Shark Bait is raising money to find a cure for Childhood Diabetes. She's not doing some measly walk....she's biking mile after mile after mile for this. The link to donate is right on her sidebar.

I'm disabling comments because I'd rather you spent the time to check out these blogs. Happy Thursday friends!

P.S. - HERE is the recipe for the cheesecake I baked. Easy peasy. The strawberries are just preserves that I bought at the supermarket.

Epic Fail

I thought I would give a small stuffed bunny a try. This pattern by Crafty Carnival looks easy enough. I must have temporarily forgotten that I'm not good with curves yet. You can see my stitches are wonky and anything but smooth.

Apparently, I'm also bad at embroidery. My first stuffed bunny = Epic Fail.

As a baker, this is a great success.
As a dieter, this is an Epic Fail.

But it made me feel better about the bunny. :X

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tying Up Loose Ends

The first thing I wanted to do with my sewing machine was finish the bibs I started with my mom's machine. I had completed the bib part, but didn't have Velcro to sew on by the time mom asked for her machine back.

I used the Chickpea Sewing Studio pattern. Cotton fabric is on the front and terrycloth is on the back. I just sewed the Velcro (learned the hard way to use the non-sticky!) inside the neck straps. The curves aren't great, but they were good practice. I'm happy enough with them that I'll gladly give them as baby shower gifts.

I'm not the only one enamored with the sewing machine. Pi practiced a bunch of the decorative stitches. I'm going to have to find a pattern that is easy enough for us to do together because her interest is really piqued.

When looking for a subway knitting project, I noticed that nearly all the in-the-round patterns require DPNs. I don't have any DPNs right now, so I opted for a regular pattern. This Ballet Style Sweater is might be a bit over-zealous for me, but I like a challenge. I'm using Bernat Softee Chunky.

The recommended needle size is a 10 for the larger one. I did swatch after swatch and discovered that I need a 13 to hit gauge! Crap, I knit even more tightly than I thought!

Side note: Its not a good idea to burn leaves in a backyard if you live in a super urban neighborhood. Some tart burned leaves in his backyard and the whole block and my apartment smells like fire. The fire department even showed up to the tart's house to see what was going on. Hubby and I could hear them yelling at the tart not to do it anymore. Just a reminder that fire = bad.

Sorry I missed Tuesday's Tribute yesterday. It was a busy day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hooray, it's done!

YIPEE!! I finished my very first knit scarf! Its the Feather and Fan scarf pattern, using size 7 needles and Red Heart Tweed.

Knitting takes way longer than crocheting, so I'm very excited that I actually finished it.

The scarf measures just under 60" and is about 6" wide. It should have been wider, but I discovered I knit very tightly. I also crochet very tightly, so I wasn't shocked to see my knitting follow the same pattern.

Add ImageAdd Image

I used the crochet bind-off method at KnittingHelp.com that Andrea pointed me to. Thanks Andrea, I love this method.

It definitely has mistakes in it, but it was a really good learning experience for me. I learned how to increase and decrease, which is lace in the knitting world.

I'm not 100% sure what my next knitting project will be. I've been bitten by the learn-to-sew bug. :)

P.S. - Laura, the Runaway Grandpa is married to non-dirty Grandma. If he was married to Dirty Grandma, I can't even imagine the trouble they'd get themselves into!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just call me McGuyver

The escape plan was a success! I think this may be a career changing experience for me. ;)

It started by calling the girl scout leader and begging her to take Piper on the trip without me. She's been our troop leader for 3 years now and was more than happy to help out. I was really disappointed about having to skip the trip because they were going to the Brooklyn Children's Museum, which is a lot of fun. Pi had a great time though, which is what counts.

After dropping her off with the troop leader, we drove to the PT place. I got slightly lost and more than slightly flustered trying to drive around the Grand Army Plaza Circle. For anyone who hasn't seen it, this is what it looks like.

Crazy traffic!

We get to the place and Grandpa immediately starts dressing himself in regular clothes while I call for the nurse. I explain that he wants to leave and no one is changing his mind. She walks out and very soon after, there is an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a floor nurse, and a supervising nurse standing in his room. They're all trying to convince him to stay, but he's not having that at all! They ask him to wait for Dr. Ickball to examine him and he says quite firmly "I'm not waiting for Dr. EIGHTBALL!"

We all burst out laughing. It was just one of those moments.

After much discussion, signing paperwork, proving he can hobble around a bit, and sarcasm, they agree to let him sign himself out. I got him into the wheelchair, they give him some goodbye Percocets, and we're off.

My hubby was pushing him to the car and Grandpa kept saying "this way James, lets go James..." My hubby's name isn't James, so I was majorly confused. I asked Grandpa why he was calling hubby James and Grandpa said that's what the rich people would call him. It suddenly dawned on me that he meant to call hubby Jeeves! LMAO!! Hysterical!

In the car, Grandpa was happy as could be and was talking A LOT more than I've ever heard him talk. Besides being happy to be out of the PT place, I'm pretty sure he was feeling the buzz from the Percocets. We got him home, he managed to get up the steps pretty well, and got settled in his favorite recliner chair.

I was prepared to stay with him all afternoon until my Grandma got home from work, but he promptly told me "Thanks, you don't need to stay with me." When I said I would stay, he said no. He wanted to be alone. McGuyver saves the elderly man in distress and gets the boot. Haha! He's such a personality.

After Pi got back from her girl scout trip, we went to Sears to look at mattresses. I want to compare prices online before buying, but she tried them all and decided which ones she liked best. I'm hoping to find a good deal on a mattress soon.

While we were there, we headed over to look at the sewing machines. The one I was looking at online had gone up $50 in price online. But it was still listed at the sales price at the store. Hubby told me to jump on it before the sale ended.

When we got to the checkout, it rang up at the higher price. Turns out that one of the employees from the night before forgot to remove the sales tag. A manager was called and she agreed to give us the sewing machine at the sales price, since the tag was still up.

I'm going to spend all of tomorrow playing with it. I keep looking at it, wondering if I really have my very own sewing machine. :) Its like love at first sight.

Side note on the manager: The cashier was next to a wall of display microwaves. As she was talking to us about the price issue, she popped chicken into one of the displays and warmed up her food. Ewww! Is it just me, or is that pretty gross? She warmed it in the display, in front of customers! Yeck.

Overall, it was an exhausting but interesting day, to say the least. Its not everyday you get to bust a guy out of rehab. ;)

McGuyver, are you there?

So the grandfather who had knee replacement surgery was transferred from the hospital to a physical therapy center this afternoon, for a 3 week stay. That was about 3 p.m.

By 7, he'd decided he disliked the place so much that he wouldn't stay there until Monday when he could be transferred somewhere else. He hatched a plan and revealed it to me when I got there about 7:30 p.m.

In this little scheme, I play McGuyver. Since my parents and uncle are all in PA and my grandmother doesn't drive, I'm the closest thing he's got to a getaway.

Grandpa decided I would bring a wheelchair to the PT place. How and where I would get the wheelchair were details that seemed unimportant to him.

Then he would sign himself out of the place and I'd somehow get him into his car. I'd drive him home and help him to his apartment, which is on the 2nd floor. How he would climb the steps with a freshly replaced knee that isn't healed yet is another unimportant detail, apparently. On Monday, I'm somehow supposed to get him back down the steps and transferred into a nicer PT place.

Oh yeah, and all this is supposed to magically coordinate with the girl scout trip we are going on tomorrow. Yeah, mmmkay.

Does anyone see a problem with this plan? I've got nothing to work with. Nothing! Even McGuyver got a paperclip, rubber band, and a pen to conduct his rescues!

There is good news though. I managed to borrow a wheelchair from someone I know. Not bad for such short notice, methinks. Maybe I've got a chance to prove the McGuyver in me.

I'll let you know how the escape plan goes tomorrow.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh No Update

Its 2 hours later...

I ate it.

A whole box.

I liked it.


Oh no!

Those are girl scout cookies, my friends. Over 120 boxes of them. Its like going to sleep and waking up in fatty heaven.

Tomorrow's weigh in is screwed and well...I'm ok with that! Very very ok in case you were wondering just how ok I was with that.

Sorry for the lack of actual content this week. Both of my grandfathers are in the hospital (2 separate hospitals to make things more complicated). One had knee replacement surgery and the other has kidney stones. We've been at the hospital visiting from the minute I get out of work until visiting hours are over (or until they kick us out for being there past visiting hours).
I'm going to spend the rest of tonight sorting cookies for the peeps who bought them, then crash into bed. Hopefully, I'll be back full force this weekend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Today's tribute is to something that keeps me sane, happy, and well...non-violent. My family will be eternally grateful for the calming effect these have on me.

If not for these, I would be a bigger witch than I normally am, especially when Aunt Flo is around. If you've been around long enough, you know that's normally 10-14 days if I'm lucky...more than 20 if I'm not. Thank you, thank you, dear Yodel, for being so wonderful and therapeutic.

You may be 9,846,534,765 calories each, forcing me to skip meals for 5 to 6 days just to enjoy you and you might be filled with animal fat creme, making vegetarians around the world cringe, but you're worth it Yodel. Our time together is just magical.

Stick you in the freezer and add a cup of coffee and well...let's just say that if I was a smoker, I'd need a cigarette when all was said and done.
Ahhh, that was good. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Back from the City of Brotherly Love

We got back late last night from Philly. I wish I had touristy pics for you, but we went to visit family and didn't do any sightseeing.

We were originally going to drive, but decided at the last minute to go Greyhound. While its nice to let someone else do the driving, it takes a lot longer to get to where you're going. For instance, we have an hour subway ride just to get to the Greyhound station. I don't mind the subway much, but some people who will not be named (Piper) aren't fans of the long ride.

My sister-in-law lives right on the Delaware River. Since the weather was pretty warm this weekend, we walked by the river and watched the geese. There are a ton of geese there and they're not afraid of people. My SIL said one of them sometimes walks right up to her and sits on her lap.

I had a feeling the bus knitting would go well when I saw that my needles matched the seat cushion fabric. It was like knitting mojo....totally meant to be.

sorry the pic is blurry...its a Pi original

Since the bus ride was long, I made a good chunk of progress on the feather and fan scarf. The scarf now measure 44 inches! Only 16 inches to go before its finished. I have hope that I can finish by this coming weekend.

That pink yarn is the lifeline I inserted. I'm not sure how I lived without it before.

For some reason, I have this crazy desire to try knitting in the round. You'd think I'd try to make a cable or something next, but my head keeps screaming ROUND ROUND. Hopefully, I can find a knit in the round beginner friendly pattern.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm starting to feel like Prince.

Why, you ask? Because of all the purple!

After the round ripple was finished, I started working on a layette set for the same co-worker since there was nearly an entire skein of the Bernat left over. The sweater is Kelly's sweater by Bella Bambina. I added shells on the sleeves to match the hat I was going to do. One day, I'll use another sweater pattern, but for now, I'm still really loving this one.

The hat is the Mesh Skull Cap by Chelle at Luv2Crochet. Fast, easy, and cute. I used some of the leftover boucle from the round ripple for the flower. Last, was a pair of quick MaryJanes that I found on Crochet Pattern Central.

I went through my bag of buttons and found 2 purple butterfly buttons. They fit perfectly into the buttonholes. It was meant to be. *snif* I get so emotional when it all goes together just right. :)

The only WIPs I have now are the baby bubble blanket that I won't have enough yarn for and the knit fan scarf. We're going on a short road trip to Philadelphia today. I'm hoping to make some good progress on my knit scarf since the trip is almost 2 hours each way.

Its a gorgeous 62 degrees today here. Hope you're all having nice weather too. Happy Saturday everyone (and don't forget to spring your clocks forward tonight)!