Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts

December 13, 2015

'Tis the Season...

While I haven't posted on here in a month (!) I can assure you, I haven't forgotten about the blog. But after the hectic month of November, and writing an entire novel, I promised myself a few weeks of calm in December. 

My fingers also cramped up at the thought of hitting the keyboard again after NaNoWriMo

Years ago, when I worked onboard a Mercy Ship off the coast of West Africa, crew members got off an entire week for Christmas break. Now, of course, we didn't all have off 24/7, as the ship still needed to function. So we took turns helping out in reception, or the galley (the kitchen) or even gangway watch. But it was still a more relaxed pace than the usual frantic Decembers we often think about with the holidays. 

I still like to have a calm December, so I try not to go crazy (ie, I avoid the mall). Around the apartment, I've decorated with a few white twinkle lights, a tiny tree, some Christmas music, gingerbread cookies and a few minutes of knitting when the Peanut finally goes to sleep, or sits quietly 'reading' all of his books. 

That's my kind of holiday.

In between writing 50,000 words, I did a knitting and crochet photo-a-day challenge on Instagram in November, which helped me at least keep up the visual creativity. My camera is still kaput, but I have a plan to get it fixed in the next month.

In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the past month via my phone: 

Amazing weather when it's not raining: totally conducive to playing on the porch and knitting outside. 

Chickens! This kid is totally into chickens at the moment. And I'm loving Susan B. Anderson's Spud and Chloƫ at the Farm book. Let's face it, I love all of her designs and I have almost most of her books. Super cute kid stuff and I'm excited that the Peanut has so much fun playing with the things I've made for him.

This pattern is the Mother Hen and Chicks. Every night the Peanut and I put the chicks to sleep, and then in the morning, he finds them under the Mother Hen. (The little bluebird is also one of Susan's patterns: Egg to Bluebird. I told you I love her stuff.)

More chickens! I also found this cute crochet pattern on Ravelry for a chicken and egg coaster set, and I sent it to a good friend who has her own flock of birds. 

Sunrise/Sunset: Shorter days mean less daylight, but I have still been working on this sunrise sunset blanket, one square at a time. I finally finished it and it's en route to a friend now for her birthday. 

Cardigans: It is December after all, so a cardigan is occasionally in order. The Peanut can now wear this, which makes me thrilled and a little sad all at the same time. I remember finishing this over a year ago, wondering when the Peanut would be able to fit into it and he's already rapidly outgrowing it. 

I'm going to need to knit him some new cardigans soon, which is an excellent excuse to go yarn shopping. The Peanut is a wonderful helper in the shopping cart... he loves to hold the yarn and basically anything else I'm trying to purchase.

Christmas cards: Apparently some of my Christmas cards didn't make it to their destination until FEBRUARY of last year. I'm on the ball this year (well, at least more than last year!) and I've been working on getting my cards in the mail. Our family photo, however, is still goofy. I'm using the broken camera as an excuse. One of these days we'll either invest in a professional photographer or a selfie stick. Recipients, enjoy the laugh when you see how hilarious our 'selfies' are. 

Finally, I managed to 'win' NaNoWriMo

(Now, for you novel novices, that simply means I made it to the 50,000 word count within the month of November.)

The novel itself needs a TON of work, but I mainly did it to simply challenge myself creatively for the month of November and to get out of my writing rut. 

The whole experience was far more fun than I thought it would be! I got a mini thrill watching my word count increase throughout the month and I felt like I had an entire virtual team cheering me on. 

I have been writing non-fiction for so long, that it truly was freeing and fabulous to simply make stuff up and write it down. I'm thinking that I should keep writing fiction for fun. 

I hope I can write a bit more on here before Christmas. With the energy level of the Peanut these days, it might not happen (although he has miraculously been napping the entire time I've worked on this post!) 

Just in case I don't get around to posting more this month though, for more non-fiction holiday writing, see 2013's Christmas post here, and 2014, here

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, wherever and however you celebrate! 

May 16, 2015

(Halfway Through) May Day!

I don't know about you, but time is flying by right now. I have heard this phrase several times since having the Peanut: 'The days are long, but the years are short.' I cannot believe my little guy will be one in just a few short months. However, some nights feel like they are never-ending, depending on how much sleep we are all getting!

Once again, I have too much to say and not enough time to type it out. If I'm lucky, I'll at least finish this post before someone wakes up from their nap. (I didn't...)

Exciting things in our household of late: 

The acquisition of a new coffee maker! 

As you may already know, I love my coffee. I also love frequenting coffee shops, of which there is no shortage in my city. However, it's not always easy to get out the door and actually stay at one long enough to enjoy a beverage. I'm not a fan of getting coffee to go and drinking out of a disposable container, unless I'm actually on a long road trip in the car. 

So, the Sailor and I splurged on a Breville Barista espresso maker. I'm actually drinking less coffee these days because of the Peanut, so I figured that my daily intake should therefore be excellent quality.

We managed to nab it with a sale coupon and we cashed in points on our credit card, so the price wasn't as scary as we initially calculated. Plus, I've already saved on the amount of ah-mazing coffee I've had since we bought it. Best thing about it? The Peanut can be bouncing off the walls and I can still enjoy my coffee without fear of him knocking over a table at the coffee shop, or at the very least, coffee that I had to pay a ridiculous price for.

Drinking outstanding coffee at home in vintage Pyrex is simply a bonus. 

I'm smitten. 

This crochet blanket is still coming along...

The Sailor and I are working our way through our list of recorded TV series. I usually manage to get one or two squares crocheted per show, and now I'm about halfway through with this blanket. 

Friends from a distance visited a few weeks ago and gifted me with this awesome plant for my porch! I may not get much time to sit on the porch these days and admire the other plants, but I can see this one from the living room all of the time.

My little cross-stitch project that I started on our recent trip to South Africa is still in limbo for the time being. I may have to just save and finish it on the next international trip. 

And, I really am working on that cloth diapering post I promised months ago. I know that when I was ready to take the cloth diapering plunge, the Internet helped me immensely with navigating through the many options! I hope to help some other new mom out there with what I've learned. 

Finally, my aging iMac, Walter, fried himself this afternoon, so I'm in the processing of restoring everything (isn't technology a pain?!) In fact, I was about to add the photos to this post and then hit publish right when it all conked out. I had to retake the pics and then use another piece of technology to actually publish this post (isn't technology amazing?!) All that to say... bear with me while I sort out my technological issues! 

Happy mid-May Day! 

May 5, 2015

Seasons Change

You don't have to tell me that I have neglected this blog for the past few weeks. Every day I wake up and think, 'this is the day that I'll get a post done...'

And then life seems to take over. There are dishes to be washed, diapers to change, meals to make, clothes to clean. Plus the weather is gorgeous, so that means parks to sit in, hikes to take, porches to chill out on.

It really is never-ending. The other day I said to the Sailor that I couldn't understand why I didn't seem to get anything done beside basic survival and making sure the Peanut was fed, clothed, clean and (usually) happy. 

I felt like every other mother I saw was doing waaaaay more than me and still keeping their child fed, clothed, clean and happy. 

The Sailor reminded me that something usually still gives — life doesn't always look as perfect from the inside as from the outside. 

The leaves were just budding as I left for South Africa a few weeks ago. The temperature was about the same in South Africa, but the leaves were falling and there was a slight chill in the air in both the mornings and the evenings. It felt like autumn, as it should in the Southern Hemisphere.  

When we all returned home, spring had already sprung. Spring only lasts about two weeks in these parts, so I had some seasonal confusion. I hadn't yet packed away my winter clothes and I was still searching for non-maternity shorts that I could fit into in my wardrobe. 

I almost gave up on this little spring crochet wreath project, but I had started it before I left for my trip and decided to get it done. (Sidenote: I love, love, love, Repeat Crafter Me's blog. She has the cutest crochet projects and great instructions!) Besides the actual wreath and the green yarn for it, I used up scraps of yarn that I had leftover from other projects (part of my ongoing stash busting), and buttons from my stockpile. I wanted to do the picot edging on the wreath hanger, but ran out of yellow yarn. I figured it was better to improvise and actually get the thing done.

It may feel more like summer here than spring, but the calendar says otherwise. And yes, something 'gave' for me to get this done. Rather than catching up on sleep when the Peanut napped, I caught up on some TV shows and crocheted this wreath. I still feel tired, but at least the outside of the door looks pretty. You'd never know the chaos inside, unless you opened the door, however!

Seasons definitely change, and this is most certainly a different one for me. Hope you're enjoying the weather, wherever you are and whatever season you find yourself in at the moment! 

March 20, 2015

Swiftly Wind Your Yarn!

The last time I was in South Africa, my mother-in-law gifted me her old yarn winder. You can see more here (the yarn winder is near the end of the post).

I have used that thing a LOT since then. I'm not sure how I wound so much yarn before I had it, but I've definitely used it a ton. 

With my recent purchase of this yarn in the basket, I decided I finally needed a swift to go with my winder. Sure, I could unwind the yarn from the skein using two chairs, or an extra pair of hands, but frankly that takes too long. In that span of time, the Peanut is already climbing the bookshelf. 

So, for my recent birthday, I decided to get a swift. I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg though. After all, I need both arms to knit. But lo and behold, you can order a fairly cheap one online from Walmart

I tested it out this past week, and much to my glee, the Peanut was so busy staring at the yarn going around in circles, he forgot all about the bookshelf. I was able to wind all of those yarns swiftly (I guess that's why they call it a swift??

And now my yarn looks even prettier and more organized. Now if I could only find the time to actually knit or crochet something with it. 


March 6, 2015

Pictures are worth 1,000 words...

I kind of liked my photo recap the other week and I decided that since I seem to be blogging less, I should post lots of photos more often. One photo after all, is worth 1,000 words. So it makes sense that a few photos should make up for a lack of blogging on my part, right?

So here's what I've been up to: 

I've been waiting for Spring, and the sunshine finally started streaming through the windows a little more this week. 

The Peanut took his first flight across America a few weeks ago! 

He did great. His mama was pretty exhausted, though.

I started to crochet a blanket, using this pattern.  
(I also wrote about the blanket with the same pattern here.)

I made it into my local yarn store to pick up some buttons for this cardigan.

This gorgeous pile of yarn came home with me from Idaho. (Every time I visit this store, I break my promise to only use my stash and I make a yarn haul.)

These awesome scissors also made it into my bag. Cutting yarn is now even more delightful.

I am very much looking forward to the return of the Sailor in a few weeks. The Peanut is also missing him.

I'm a little excited to be using this cool vintage yarn holder I found at an antique shop a few weeks ago.

The Peanut has gone mobile. My little guy crawls all over the place and is now pulling himself up onto everything he can grab. 

And finally, this happened tonight... thanks to the aforementioned mobility of the Peanut. The little guy is into everything.

Welcome to my somewhat chaotic world nowadays! 

February 24, 2015

Sharing the Gifts

Last night, my friend's eight-year-old daughter made her brother a blanket for his stuffed owl. 

I taught this little munchkin to crochet a few years ago, but as soon as I left town, she promptly forgot. I gave her a quick refresher this week, and now she can't stop crocheting. 

In other news, my friend scrounged up this fleece outfit I sewed for her son a decade ago. 

These fleece suits and hat were my go-to baby gifts before I really learned to knit or crochet. She's passing it back to me for the Peanut, just in time since he's rapidly outgrowing his outdoor outfits. 

Now both the Peanut and the owl will stay warm this winter. And we all get to share the gifts. 

February 7, 2015

The Week in Pics

While perusing my past few posts, I realize I've been excessively wordy and very light on the photos. 

So, here's a little view of my week in pics. 

I kept the plants alive. 

I watched the Peanut grow. 

I crocheted a hat for a friend's little girl. 

I looked up basket patterns to go with this yarn. 
(I feel like I need more baskets to contain the Peanut's stuff...) 

I put the Peanut's stuff into baskets. 
(I'm trying to teach him to put his stuff back after he's done playing with it, but he hasn't gotten the hint yet.)

I read from each of the four books I have going, both traditional and on the nook. 

And sometimes in between, I daydreamed about stories I have yet to write... 

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

January 23, 2015

Matching Cardigans (well, almost)

Last week during our little getaway, I feverishly worked on a cardigan for the Peanut. I tend to get a little car sick when knitting, but since I hardly get any knitting in these days, and I knew this was my chance, I kept telling myself it was all in my head and I persevered. (And thankfully didn't feel sick!

I had one gray skein and a bit leftover from my own cardigan I started around this time last year, when I was pregnant. The Peanut never got to wear his Newborn Vertebrae sweater (August babies don't really need cozy cardies...) but lately he's been wearing his Ouma's white sweater nearly ever day to ward off the chill. 

And I know he's going to quickly outgrow that thing. 

So I'm making him a new gray cardigan. It will almost match mine, but not quite.

I'm thinking of keeping it in the car so that the next time we drive two miles up the road, I can get a few rows done. 

Oh and that granny square blanket? My own grandma made that many, many moons ago. I found it in my box of treasures this week and I decided it was useless sitting there under cover. Treasures should be used and loved — especially granny square crochet blankets. Not many kids can say that have something handmade from their great grandma, can they?

January 8, 2015

Wooly Hat Weather

Winter is here and a proper hat is a MUST in these frigid temps. I'm a huge 100% wool fan (pity the person allergic to it...) Wool socks are amazingly warm and a wooly hat is no different. 

Elizabeth Zimmerman, sage knitter of yesteryear, advised that people start clothing their babies in wool from the start so that they'd get used to the scratchiness and wouldn't be bothered by it later in life. I'm not sure if my mama bathed me in wooly goodness from the start, but it's never bothered me.

I've started small and crocheted the Peanut a wool hat. I still had a stash of wool yarn from these slippers — both the blue and grey pairs.

This pattern is super easy, straightforward, versatile and FREE! I love all of this site's designs though, and I know I'll be purchasing that safari helmet pattern for when the Peanut is older. 

The Sailor already thinks the Peanut looks like he's wearing an antique motorcycle helmet in this wooly hat, so I guess I managed to make even the baby look a little vintage-like. I can assure you, he looks cuter in it than the clock. 
Stay warm! And make somebody a hat.

October 11, 2014

Crocheted Nurse Doll

Over the summer, while I was expecting the Peanut, I crocheted this little doll for my friend's soon-to-be-three-year-old. 

I stashed it into a package and as soon as I popped it into the post, I realized I never took any photos of the doll. The recipient's mama was happy to oblige when the gift arrived. 

The nurse doll comes with a crocheted baby, chart and stethoscope. Perhaps my favorite part? The booties that look like either blue clogs or those slippers operating room staff wear! My friend is a nurse, and just had her second baby about a year ago, so I thought this would be the perfect gift for the big sister. And apparently she loved it. Crocheted dolls are great --  you can't break 'em!

The pattern can be found for purchase here via download. I purchased a hard copy of the booklet at a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store earlier in the summer. 

As a side note, I feel like I'm emerging from the 'newborn fog'. The Peanut is starting to give me a bit more time with both hands, and I hope to return to more regular blogging soon. In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me through fewer posts these days!

September 20, 2014

A Little Recap of the Week

I seem to have more time to read these days, especially during long feedings with the Peanut. Remember I have a magazine obsession? (Don't forget this list of what to do with your magazines when you're finished with them.)  

My mom sent me a Bird magazine of all things over the summer... and while I'm not a bird fan, I have a new thing for hummingbirds. I saw my first one, finally, the day after we brought the Peanut home from the hospital. Over the past few weeks, we've seen nearly one hummingbird a day! Apparently we're right along their flight path as they migrate south -- and September is a prime viewing month.

Birds aren't the only things I'm reading about though. The other day the Sailor and I were in town and I had a rare moment to run into a craft store to grab a magazine. The pickings were slim, until I saw that Interweave has just come out with a special edition Crochet Scene magazine! I was hooked and of course I had to have it. Knit Scene is one of my favorite magazines out there, although admittedly, I've skipped the past few issues since I knew I'd be making baby things instead of sweaters for myself in the months to come. 

Although, let's face it, thanks to the generosity of my friends, I have lots of cool clothes for the Peanut and probably don't need to knit many more just yet. And because of that, I've been writing a ton of Thank You notes. My top tip lately for writing multiple thank you notes? Make sure you keep a list of who gave you what. I have a running list, and then I just tick the name as soon as I write and address the note. 
(However, I did splurge on the crochet magazine!

I mean, how cute is this bag?! Hopefully I can get more than just a dishcloth done in the near future with the Peanut. 

Speaking of the Peanut, he is swiftly growing out of these jeans! Aren't they the cutest things EVER, though?

The Peanut of course is growing, because he's eating a ton. (As am I....) Having the Sailor home for so long meant that he cooked a lot during the early newborn weeks. Grilling season may be over in some parts of the States, but where I live, it's still gorgeous out and frankly, a little cool in the air is the perfect time to get your BBQ on. Here are the Sailor's top grilling tips

And, what goes in must come out! The cloth diapering experiment is still going strong, and frankly, I'm actually enjoying it. My current vote is that I love basic flats with a simple diaper cover over them. I hope to do a longer cloth diapering post later... in the meantime, it's probably time to change the Peanut. 

Hope you are having a wonderful Fall-inspired weekend! 

August 22, 2014

Gift Blankets

My mom used to say that a baby can never have too many blankets. I'm starting to think that is true. Even though it's summer, it seems that I have a blanket in the laundry daily. 

The only thing more fun than making a blanket as a gift for someone with a baby, is receiving one (or two!) in the mail as gifts for your own little one. 

I'm fortunate enough to have friends around the world... and even though not many of my pals actually knit and crochet, some of their mothers do. These two blankets made their way into our post box courtesy of some talented moms. 

I told my friends that I didn't have 'colors' picked out (see this post about the non-nursery) but that I wanted calm colors that reminded me of a safari (inspired by these critters.) 

Even though they are both totally different, I love the 'safari inspiration' in each of them!

June 30, 2014

Simple Crochet Bag

Understandably, I have a ton on my mind at the moment. The Peanut is due in about five weeks... so in between my nesting compulsions, and reading 874 (slight exaggeration...) pregnancy, birth and baby books, I'm giving myself some down time in my comfy chair, in front of the TV to catch up on a few series.

That of course means I end up crocheting or knitting something at the same time. 

At the moment, I've been working on this super simple (read: occasionally boring to hook...) crochet handbag

I've had the free pattern for a while, and on a trip to the yarn store a while back, I decided to buy this cone of yarn on a whim so that I would have a simple crochet project to do on the evenings that my brain felt especially foggy. 

Like tonight. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to going to have a seat in that chair and work on this summer tote so that I can actually finish it before the end of the season. (And forget what I said about this being a boring bag to crochet... tonight's episode of 24 should bring enough excitement for the evening.)