Thursday, January 15, 2015

Love Bug

I've always had this really bad habit of not starting on holiday crafting until far too close to that specific holiday to realistically finishing every anything in time.  Somewhere around March or April 2014, I realized I should already be working on Summer crafting so that in the summer I would be working on Halloween crafting etc.  I always see fabric and crafting supplies at JoAnns many seasons out, and I know exactly why, I've just never been good at implementing this into my every day crafting.

I'm trying to be better this year, and in realizing that it's just a little over a month until Valentine's Day, and the fact that I got out my Valentine's Day decorations last weekend means I've got the BUG to start some new Valentine's stuff!

I was super duper excited when I got these finished last year, and loved them as much as I remember as soon as I got them out this year.  Here is their new location for 2015 - between the 2 windows in our current "living room"

don't mind our only-primed walls and lack of framing around the windows - this room will one day be a child's bedroom, and isn't close to being finished.  For now we are just loving it as our own space outside of our bedroom for watching TV, lounging and crocheting!

I tried to be all artist in the photos I took this morning.  Then I got to work and looked at them more closely.  Good grief, between the icky morning light, grainy cell phone photo and seeing how curled all my hearts are I'm definitely disappointed in this quick attempt at taking good photos on my way out the door! LOL

I saw the pattern to make these ADORABLE stuffed Hershey Kisses last year, printed out the pattern, bought some white ribbon when I couldn't find my stash, and, in true form, never even started one! This year, I'm gonna make these happen.

Sarah, over at Repeat Crafter Me is one of my top 5 favorite pattern designers/crochets/bloggers out there!  I use and reuse her patterns all the time, and always get excited when she posts a new pattern.  When she posted this key chain on Wednesday, talking about a crochet version coming the following day, I couldn't wait to see it.  Trust me, it did NOT disappoint.  How cute is THIS!  Can't stand it cute if you ask me!  Now I personally could never put this on my actual key chain and run the rick of ruining him, but I have loads of ideas for other places he could live.

High school musical rehearsals are in full gear around here, and I've been asked to choreograph the shows at two different schools this year.  While it's an honor to be asked, I've definitely got a full plate with coming up with the choreography and then I spend most of my week nights at each of the schools teaching the kids.  This means I have zero "free" time to crochet right now so it may be a bit before I have much finished to share (or even give a sneak peak)!  Hopefully within a week or so I'll have more of the choreography set so that I can spend either my lunch hour or a bit of time after work crocheting again vs. choreographing :-)

I leave you today with this really cute article.  It was a sponsored post on the Facebook page, and it made me smile.  Clearly all of this transfers over to crocheting pretty well!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Please vote!

You've heard me speak of my sweet little guy Copper a few times now, and if any of you are Facebook or Instagram friends with me, you've seen LOADS of posts and photos and videos and ridiculous stories about my little boy!  If not, here are a few highlights:

This is from the day we first met Copper (his name was Colby Creek at the time) at his foster family's house (July 9, 2013)

The day Copper officially came home to live with us (July 14, 2013)

Our first summer together (2013)

Copper loves his bones, begging for treats, snuggling and giving kisses

Please take a minute to vote for Copper in the Hot Dogs, Cool Cats Pet Photo Contest which is put on every year by our local Humane Society.  Copper is a rescue dog from Central New York, where the owners of 'mom' got the point with the litter where they no longer cared what home this last little puppy went to.  Thankfully he was brought to the Jamestown area and fostered by a wonderful family with a BIG heart for beagles until his path crossed mine.

Vote for Copper | Hot Dogs, Cool Cats Pet Photo Contest


Friday, January 9, 2015

January Goals

Time to breakdown what I'd like to accomplish in January:

1.  I know,  This almost feels like I'm already giving up on the possibility of crocheting a Christmas gift this month doesn't it?  Ok, well maybe not to you, and yes, I will certainly be crocheting more than what's listed under Goal #1 - I just feel like before I can start on any big project for 2015, I've GOT TO finish the not one, not TWO, but THREE baby gifts that were started over the past year and are not finished!  One is much smaller than the other two, and very close to being done.  And another is close to 3/4 done.  The other has a ways to go, but if, for once, I were to focus on these solely, I could actually get them finished by the end of the month no problem!  So far now, I'm holding off on starting a Christmas gift so I can get the monkey of these old projects off my back and out the door.  Besides, these babies need my crochet goodness to keep this warm this winter!

2. and 3.  These go hand in hand because there was a "great shuffle" of boxes and things over Thanksgiving weekend to give us a temporary living room in the 2nd bedroom we originally had demo/electrical/insulation work done to back in early 2013 (see the first set of before and afters HERE)

Here is what the 2nd bedroom/"storage central" looked like when we started in on Black Friday:
yikes, right?  
I know, it almost makes me twitchy.  I spent close to 18 months completely ignoring this rooms presence when I walked through the upstairs hallway.

Well after moving and shuffling and repacking and moving and labeling and shuffling and moving to the attic and the amazing super power that was having my parents helping us (seriously, I do NOT know what we'd do or where we'd be with out them), here's where we were by Sunday early evening:
As we rolled up an old mouse eaten rug from the room to replace with a remnant we purchased that weekend, we found this hole in the floor!  Crazy thing is, can't say any of us were all that surprised by this (other than the fact that I just thought it was a soft spot under the carpet when I would step there - not an actual, uncovered HOLE).  We've found this time and time again in the house where holes were cut in the floor for whatever reason access under floorboards was needed, and usually the fix was to just nail down whatever they had over it to cover the hole.  This would include tin can tops, parts to tin can tops and a 12" x 12" section of wainscoting (all were found on the original floors of our Master Bedroom)  The house originally operated as a Bed and Breakfast starting in 1885, though sections of the house are older than that (2 smaller houses were brought up on the hill by ox cart from the village and much work was done to build everything together into one large hotel.  When they demoed our Master Bedroom, in January 2013, there was newspaper being used as insulation from 1813 found in the walls - pretty cool huh?)  We believe many of these types of holes were created in the early 1900's when they would have been running electrical wiring in the house for the first time, and access was needed to hang chandeliers down in the 3 first floor parlors.

A few nights before we left for Disney, we had our couch, TV unit and coffee table from Maryland set up in our "new" temporary living room.  I snapped this very grainy picture with my cell phone on this night to post to Facebook:
It was my first time sitting back down on our couch since we had left Maryland 18 months prior and I was feeling all sorts of feels: sentimental for our old apartment, missing our friends and excitement for some progress on our side of the house.

I have cleaned blankets to use on the couch now, and my favorite couch pillows are out.  We even got a small fridge for drinks and a Keurig for morning coffee up there. I just need to clean up a bit this weekend before I can take some more after photos to share.

Moving all of my crafty things out of "storage" and quickly just into my craft room, meant my beautiful, almost finished craft room went from this:
(all that's missing is some moldings and my tile flooring - we decided to let me move everything in now and use the room as I can while work is being done on the bathroom, etc and that we'll get the tiles laid one of these days when we have professionals in working on the bathroom or something and Jonathan and my dad are in need of something to keep them busy! LOL)

to this!

Scary, huh...  
It's better than this now thanks to all my yarn being 90% put away (as I mentioned yesterday), but there is still tons to get put away so I can easily find things and use this room - including getting my sewing machine out of that box on the counter and start using it again!

4.  While I don't really knit anymore, I thoroughly enough reading Stephanie's blog.  Not only does she make me wish that I was a better knitter, but she's hilarious to boot!  One of my favorite times of year with her blog is during the month of December when she writes to non-knitters daily about what they can buy the knitter in their life.  Always amazing things that she researches and shares, many of which nicely convert over to use for a crazy crocheter like myself!

I'm always so insanely unorganized during the Christmas season (or, at least, it felt that way this year), and Stephanie's spreadsheets really spoke to me in my haze of just not knowing what I was doing for Christmas gifts.  Before Christmas was officially upon us, I had built out my own version of her spreadsheet to make sure that I had all the gifts I needed, and that I wasn't forgetting something stuck in a bag, hiding on the counter of my craft room behind a large tower of bins filled with was very interesting getting in there on Christmas Eve to find the Santa gifts which still needed wrapping!

Since wrapping up Christmas 2014, I have begun building my own gift-giving spreadsheet for all of 2015!  Whether birthdays, anniversaries, for Jonathan, my parents, sister-in-law, the puppies, or Bingo gifts for Christmas Eve; everyone has a row and every holiday a column.  It's still evolving (just yesterday I added in Mother's and Father's Day, and I blacked out any holidays where gifts aren't needed for particular people. I don't tend to buy my puppies Anniversary or Father's Day gifts, but I do spoil them with special treats on their birthdays, home-a-veries and on Christmas!  Nor do we buy my dad and father-in-law Mother's Day gifts - you get the idea)

I'd like to have, at least, a first draft of my 2015 spreadsheet well under way by the end of this month.  Mostly the crochet/sewing column - it's really the only way I'm going to effectively know what I need to make each month and stay on track, right?!?

5.  For those of you who don't know me personally, I skiied my entire childhood.  My parents were both on local ski patrol (my dad was actually on ski patrol at 2 different resorts) so I started skiing when I was 2 - which is actually 5 years before I even started taking dance lessons!  The last time I went skiing was my senior year of high school.  We used to come home from DC for the holidays thinking we'd get to ski but we'd run out of time, or the weather would just be too warm.  Now we're on our 2nd winter in WNY and we still haven't gone skiing.  That's changing this Sunday!  I'm excited and nervous all at once to pick something back up that I used to love, but haven't done for the past 12 years.

My boots still fit, my skis and bindings are being checked my a local ski shop.  Last night after work I stopped at Mom and Dads to go through what ski gear I still had that was usable.  Everything still fits or was in good enough condition (some mearly good-enough to get me through what's left of this winter) except for ski pants.  Turns out my hips are not as thin as they were when I was 18.  duh....I totally knew that 

There you have it - my January Goals.  Will try to remember to photograph my progress and completion throughout for a month-end recap!

Stay warm out there today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Goals

I'm a couple of days behind in getting this posted, esp when you consider the fact that I've had my 2015 goals set since New Years Eve!  Unfortunately, Jonathan and I got sick while in Disney mid-December and the "ick" that seems to be taking out any and all in our region has kept me down for weeks now - to the point where I didn't get off the couch or out of my jammies all day on New Years Day :-(

Last January I had big plans of keeping track of goals vs. resolutions throughout the year.  Well that was big flop long before I stopped blogging in March.  I'd like to try again each month to come up with around 5 things that I want to accomplish.  Some may tie into the 2015 goals I'm sharing with you now, while others may just be on a month by month whim!

1.  As I mentioned in my last post, this past Christmas I crafted far less gifts this year than for the past few years.  For a while I felt bad, almost guilty about this, but there came a point in December where I had to just "Let It Go" and remind myself that my family would not think that I cared less about them this Christmas just because their gift came from a store vs. my crochet hook or sewing machine!  I've certainly said it before, directly after the holiday stress and rush that I'm going to start crocheting Christmas gifts earlier next year!  Well, to make it seem a bit less daunting, I thought I'd just hold myself accountable to one gift per month.  In theory this means I should have 12 gifts made by Christmas 2015 - makes sense right?  We shall see how it goes!

2.  Shortly after midnight New Years Eve (well, technically Day) I proclaimed that this was my big New Years Resolution for 2015!  I had been thinking it for a couple of days at this point and hadn't shared with Jonathan.  For some odd reason I was bursting with excitement to share my level of commitment to this over the coming year.  Sadly, Jonathan's response was to scoff and say "what do I get if you buy yarn?" I was definitely disappointed that he wasn't taking me seriously (he later apologized, he's really not a stay up late kinda guy and was getting tired cranky).  It also fueled me to prove him wrong!  

Have no fear though, I will have ZERO problem crocheting lots this year while also keeping this goal.  This is, of course, because I quite possibly have the yarn stash to end all yarn stashes:
Mostly importantly, I'd like you all to please disregard the laundry and coats hanging in the doorway, and the bags stacked up on the floor.  My craft room is most definitely still a work in progress!

My yarn bin was designed by me, and fully built and executed by Jonathan and my Dad [who built everything in my craft room.]  The cabinet is deep enough that what's in there is 2 (sometimes 3 or 4) skeins deep right now.  As you can also see things like purple, veregated, baby, pound of love and cotton yarns are missing from my yarn cabinet.  There are 3 large plastic bins of veregated yarn along with 2 large plastic bin of purple yarn under the counter top just to the left of my yarn cabinet (bins are similar to THESE and were purchased at Walmart 2 summers ago).  My baby yarn is all stacked in a hanging cabinet in the corner of the same side of the room.  My cotton yarn and pound of love stash is in 3 plastic bins (2 of cotton, 1 of pound of love) in the floor to ceiling cabinets that were built to hold these sort of standard size Sterilite totes (20 in total, 10 pink and 10 silver if anyone truly cares other than me!)  And as I was telling my mom this morning this doesn't include the multiple bins and bags of yarn which is either part of a WIP or was purchased specially for something which I haven't given up on actually making one day...

So, as you can see, I will NOT be running out of yarn anytime soon this year, or next, or likely the year after that!  I have controlled the desire to walk through the yarn aisle at Walmart, or just swing by Michaels as I drive by, or even look at online sales for yarn so far.  Yes, I know, big whoop we're only 7 days into 2015!  But I'm trying.  I do foresee the possibility of needing more of a neutral like white, black or cream or a specific shade [say of blue] by mid year, but for now I'm really concentrating to use what I have!

And one day, what yarn I have will fit in my specially designed and built yarn cabinet.  It just won't be today.  Or tomorrow :-)

3.  I'm a bit on the fence on this Goal since typing these out back on New Years Eve.  It's taken me quite a few days to write this post around everything else in life, it's now January 7th and I haven't begun to pull together the materials to do this.  Heck, I haven't even come close to finishing my Mood Blanket from 2014!! As always around this time of year, everyone is talking about goals and projects for the following year.  First, I had to Google search what a Temperature Blanket even was.  Once I knew the answer to that, I felt a bit stupid for not putting that one together on my own.  As I kept looking, I found this pattern which got me exciting by the idea.  Now on the 7th of January, I haven't begun, my Mood Blanket hasn't been crocheted since last February (I have notes for every day of last year) and I'm starting to wonder if I want to bother....
The only thing keeping me holding onto the idea is 1. I love the pattern and it would allow me to try it out 2. I think this blanket would make an awesome Christmas present 3. if it gets to be too much, or I don't like the pattern after all I can always quit (keeping track of moods felt so much more personal last year that even when I had packed up the yarn for it, I still wanted to keep track of my moods throughout the year) and 4. think of all the yarn I would use up!
We'll see what happens.  Maybe I'll get some motivation over the weekend to dig in...

4. Cutting in dangerously close already, aren't I??  Can't believe my last post back was already a week ago!  Life has just gotten so busy lately.  Gonna try and be more organized and write with purpose in 2015.  Of course, if I have nothing interesting to write; I may miss a week, but I'm going to try and be more dedicated to the blog this year.  I write for me, and don't want it to be stressful, or feel like work - I just don't want to go 8 months between posts again!

5. I didn't read much at all last year.  I'd like to change that.  I have books on the shelf (and far more still in boxes), books on my kindle, books in my Amazon wishlist and even an subscription so it's not that I'm not interested in books, or reading/listening.  More importantly, when am I going to fit reading into my day with everything else??!? 

Up next: My January specific goals.  I will try and make that post a little shorter too!