Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Moment of Zen

"If you always put limits on everything you do,
physical or anything else,
it will spread into your work and into your life.
 There are no limits.
There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there;
you must go beyond them."
-Bruce Lee

Monday, 14 May 2012

Monday Morning Mish-Mash

I had forgotten how time consuming owning a puppy can be.  It's much like having a baby--they require constant attention and I have to watch him with an eagle eye.  We've had a few accidents and lost one cell phone charger to chewing, but other than that, I cannot be more in love with this little guy.  He makes my heart happy.

We took him on Saturday to get his first shots and his first worming treatment.  While we were waiting, I noticed that he was scared to death of all the yappy Chihuahua dogs, but he desperately wanted to make friends with all the huge dogs.  There was a gorgeous pure-bred pit bull and a GIGANTIC Mastiff who were very tolerant of tiny Cooper climbing all over them and chewing on their ears.

Needless to say, with all the extra attention and training Cooper requires, I haven't done much crocheting since he came home with us last week.  The only thing I've finished since then is a small blanket for him.  It's nothing fancy, just rows of dc and a border made up of five rows of hdc, using this neat pattern that looks like it's been knitted.  Cooper loves his blanky and it often travels with him between his basket at my bedside and his spot in the living room.

I have a tonne of half-finished projects that I work on for about ten or fifteen minutes at a time, when he gives me a chance, including Mother's Day gifts for my MIL (obviously this is going to be a big late), a birthday present for my mother whose birthday is in June, and two baby afghans that need to be finished by August. Hopefully the little stinker will give me a bit more time to finish!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Moment Of Zen

"Everybody is a genius.
But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
-Albert Einstein

Saturday, 5 May 2012

It's a dog's life...

Meet Cooper.

He's 2 months old, a Border Collie/Black Lab mix.

AND HE'S ALL MINE!!!  *squeeeeeee!!!*

He moved right when I took the photo.  Hence the blurriness.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

April Round-Up

It's hard to believe that April is over with.  This was a good month as far as crocheting went.  I completed a lot of projects and went outside my comfort zone with my colour choices.  Here's hoping that May is just as wonderful and challenging.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Moment of Zen

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.  It's not."
-Dr. Seuss

Monday, 30 April 2012

Still here...

Yes, I'm still here.  I'm still crocheting.  I just haven't felt much like writing anything.  I mean, I post free stuff to win and exactly one person enters the contest.  I post fun things like the Pay It Forward entry where all you have to do is leave a comment and you'll get free crocheted items in the post from yours truly, and no one leaves a comment.  So it got me thinking...  What's the point?  I feel like I'm talking to myself when I write these things.  No one comments; how do I know that people are even reading?


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Moment Of Zen

"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy
is one comes from a strong will,
and the other from a strong won't."
-Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Pay It Forward

There's this fun little game goin' round the blogosphere lately and it sounds like fun.  It's called Pay It Forward, and basically what you do is select three of your commenters and send them a surprise gift in the post.  I heard about it from Melissa at Lazy Daisy Crochet, who in turn heard of it from Oodles 4 Noodles, who in turn got the idea from Create Bella Create.

Here's the rules:

1.  I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me.  It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise.  We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you).

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours.  If not, I will chose the next person who comments.

So that's it.  Seems like something fun, doesn't it?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Tale of Two Cats

Woo!  I LOVE CATS!  (Sorry. I had to.  This song gets stuck in my head frequently.)

So I have four of the furry beasts and two of them have very interesting stories about how they came to live at Casa Skye.  Small Cat, who turned 9 last Sunday, came to us when we were out buying plants at a local nursery.  After I'd picked out what I was going to plant that year (veggies and herbs, mostly, although I believe there were some pansies in the mix), we were standing at the check-out and Girl Child said, "Lookit, Mama!  Kittens!  Can we get one?"  I paid for my plants, loaded them in the car, and then went to look at these kittens.

They were in a wire cage with their Mama and they were all so tiny and cute!  There were three or four of them, and in a rainbow of kitteh colours--white, silver tabby, ginger.  Apparently, they'd been brought up from Mexico earlier that day and were free to good homes.  We had two cats already at the time, a Flame-point Siamese and a wee calico, but decided that these little guys were far too cute to pass up.  We selected the silver tabby, who was the only boy amongst the bunch and brought him home.  He's been with us ever since.

Small Cat's beautiful green eyes
Small Cat sitting with The Man
Large Cat, who will be either 6 or 7 in June, came to us in a similar situation.  We were out getting snails for our large aquarium at PetCo, and there was a local animal shelter holding an adoption event.  I lost the battle with the kids not to go and look at the animals--we had two cats, nine fish, two rats, and soon a snail or two, and quite frankly didn't need any more.  So very reluctantly, I trundled over to a large wire cage with Boy Child, and discovered a large, fluffy brown tabby kitten.  I picked him up and he immediately started purring.  He even purred loudly when Boy Child petted him.  I knew at that moment that he had to be ours.  I found out from the shelter lady that he was a Maine Coon and would be enormous when fully grown.  They told me that he was a year or so, but I think he was more like 6 or 7 months; they were fooled by his large size.  I plunked down $160 and walked out of the store with two snails and a cat.  And that cat became Boy Child's that very night, spending every evening curled up on Boy Child's bed and talking quite animatedly to him when being ignored.

Large Cat in all of his glory
Large Cat on a nest of blankets

Head on over to My Grandmotherly Ways to see more Caturday posts, and if you've a cat (or four of your own) post about 'em and add them to her Linky list!

Friday, 20 April 2012

F.O. Friday

Phew!  I've been crocheting up a storm here at Casa Skye, trying to finish a few things before my niece's second birthday party on Sunday.  She's actually already two--her birthday was the 6th--but since both of her parents work in the tax industry, they waited until after Tax Day to throw her a big bash.  Smart thinking on their part, huh?

Anyway, here is the completed tunic/dress/thingie I showed you a preview of a few weeks back.  It'll be paired with white leggings and I think it'll be oh-so cute on her.

And here is the little purse I made her.  She is obsessed with purses; she's always dragging her mother's around and taking a peek into mine or my MIL's.  So I made her one of her own.  This is another project that I would have loved to keep for myself--even though I already have a Starling Bag of my own!  I just love the bright, Spring-time colours of this bag.

Isn't it so darling?!  And it's the perfect size for a toddler, too.  I plan on getting her some pretend things that grown-up ladies carry in their bags--make-up, a wee mobile, maybe a little wallet and keys, too.

Don't forget about my Free Yarn Giveaway!  Be sure to enter to win three skeins of cuddly-soft, creamy white yarn from Loops & Threads!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

W.I.P Wednesday

YAY!  I've been visited by the Yarn Faerie twice more in the past few days and he's brought me lots and lots of wonderful yarn to make lots and lots of wonderful things for the people I love.  I have so many projects on the hooks (and just finished) that I figured I should probably only pick one for this installment of W.I.P Wednesday, and then feature the rest of them for F.O. Friday and maybe Monday Morning Mish-Mash or another W.I.P Wednesday.  Don't worry; I'm definitely going to be sharing everything I've made with the Yarn Faerie's leavings.  I promise!

Do you ever make something and then have a really hard time parting with it?  Maybe because the yarn is so awesome to work with, or you're just in love with the pattern or the colours?  I've run up against this feeling once or twice since I've been crocheting, but never so hard as I have it for this blanket.

The colours aren't something I ever thought would look good together.  Yellow and turquoise, okay.  Throw in pea green and I thought, "Ew!"  But really, they go together quite well.  This is a crib blanket for my newest nephew, who will be born in August.  The pattern is the Wavy Blanky and I'm using Loops & Thread Impeccable.

Here's a close-up of the nifty pattern.  It's 2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc, and 2 trc--so, so simple, yet so, so neat looking, don't you think?  When this one's all done, I think I'll be making a slightly larger version for myself.  Maybe I'll even use the same colours.

Don't forget about my Free Yarn Giveaway!  Be sure to enter to win three skeins of cuddly-soft, creamy white yarn from Loops & Threads!


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Moment of Zen

"To effect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of arts."
-Henry David Thoreau

Don't forget about my Free Yarn Giveaway!  Be sure to enter to win three skeins of cuddly-soft, creamy white yarn from Loops & Threads!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Yarn Giveaway

I weeded through my yarn stash this weekend, and came across some yarn that I don't think I'll ever use.  There's two different kinds and both are missing their labels; one is black with some pops of colour in it, while the other is super-soft and cuddly and sort of a cream colour.  The creamy yarn is Loops & Threads Country Loom, left-over from when I made my MIL her cuddly-soft birthday scarf.  I really have no idea what the black yarn is.  Hopefully the photos will help out in identifying it.  And hey, if you think you know what it is, please feel free to leave a comment with your best guess.  That would be wicked helpful!

Anyway, I'm giving it all away!  The first draw is for the Country Loom yarn.  There's three skeins of it and it's all yours if you win!  Simply use the handy-dandy (and quite awesome) Rafflecopter entry form thingie down there and next Sunday, April 22, I'll post the winner.  If you're more interested in the black yarn, I'll be giving that away next month, so stay tuned!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Thanks to the oh-so fab ladies over at 5 Minutes For Mom (and Melissa of Lazy Daisy Crochet!), I've joined the party!  :D

Welcome to Hook N' Yarn Creations.  I'm your host, Fiona, a Scottish girl wandering the deserts of Southern Arizona since 2000.  I'm a mom of two (well, 6, if you count our four cats) and share my life with the most amazing man in the world.  I'm also a photojournalism student at the University of Arizona, a fiction writer working on editing the first book of a five-book series and writing the fifth book--at the same time!.  (Phew.  It gets confusing sometimes!)   In my spare time, which could honestly be more, I crochet, which is what this site is all about.

Girl Child and Boy Child, my resident Cheese Monkeys

My grandmother tried to teach me how to crochet when I was eight or nine years old and I had absolutely no interest in doing it.  I thought it was boring and only old ladies crocheted and knitted.  I'd much rather have been outside, playing tag or catching caterpillars and frogs or exploring the woods or the seaside.  I was a bit of a tom-boy, you see.

Fast forward some years (possibly 25, maybe only 10...in my dreams), and my sister-in-law is expecting her first baby.  She was always crocheting or knitting sweaters and hats and blankets for the baby.  Every time I saw her, she had a lap full of beautiful, soft yarn.  I was really surprised at how much crocheting had changed since I'd last seen it.  No more doilies or itchy, drab sweaters.  Nope, she was using cashmere, and merino wool, and incredible drapey acrylics in the most amazing colours.  So I asked her to teach me, found a book at Michael's (a craft store here in the states), watched some videos on YouTube (honestly, where were we before YouTube?) and poof!  I'm a crocheting madwoman now, who is constantly seeking new challenges and harder, more involved projects.

So that's me and this site.  Thanks for visiting and feel free to explore.  That list of tags over there is probably the best way to navigate around.  Just pick a tag and read some posts and maybe grab a button for your own blog.  Oh, and PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS!  I love comments.  It validates the time I put into blogging.  :D

And don't forget about my Free Yarn Giveaway!  Be sure to enter to win three skeins of cuddly-soft, creamy white yarn from Loops & Threads!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Post crossings

I found this website, Postcrossing, last night and was immediately hooked.

What you do is send a postcard and get one in return.  Then you scan the postcard into your computer (or take a photo with your handy-dandy digital camera) and add it to the website.  The project is world-wide and I'm sending postcards out to Russia, Scotland, and Germany this week-end.  I hand-made my postcards, but obviously you don't have to do that.  Glancing through their database, it seems as though most people simply buy them.  But honestly, whichever kind I receive, I'll be just as happy. I've always loved this sort of thing.  I enjoy learning about other cultures, travelling, seeing how people in different cities and countries live, and getting a simple postcard in the post has always been a thrill.

Postcard to Russia.  The recipient said she likes flowers.

I also discovered two other sites that have to do with the post.  One is A Month of Letters Challenge, and the other is 52 Weeks of Mail.  I'd like to participate in both of them, but I haven't enough people (or enough money for postage!) to commit to sending something out every day for a month, so I'm going to opt in for the once a week for a year deal.  A friend of mine in Australia is going to help out, but perhaps some of my regular readers might want to participate, too.

I was thinking maybe we could get a list going and rotate through it.  One week would see the first person on the list receiving things from everyone else, and then the next person would be inundated with letters and cards the next week, and so on and so forth.  It would be kind of neat if we could arrange it so that people got things on or near their birthdays and maybe the letters or cards or whatever featured their favourite colours, or animals, or holiday spot, or dream vacation destination.

Postcard to Scotland.

Anyway, if you're interested in signing up, just send me a quick email and we'll get the list started.  We can start in May.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

W.I.P Wednesday


I'm so excited!  He arrived, driving his large brown delivery wagon, just as we were finishing dinner and he dropped off a box filled with beautiful colours and softness and a vaguely chemically smell that sort of worries me.  But never mind the smell. LOOK WHAT HE BROUGHT!  Getting boxes of yarn is almost like getting boxes for Christmas and my birthday.  IT'S SO EXCITING!

To make this for my friend J's baby.

To make this for my eldest niece, Wally.

I'm anticipating more visits from the Yarn Faerie over the next week or so; I'll be making a purse from my friend D in New York and a slouchy hat for my friend L in Texas.  They both asked if they could pay me to make them something and I said just buy the yarn and we're golden.  It's a nice compromise, don't you think?

On a related note, what do you all think of using personalised labels in the things you make?  Something that says "Made with love by {insert name here}" or something to that effect.  Would you do it?  Do you do it? Let me know what you think of the idea in the comments. I'd surely appreciate it!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Moment of Zen

"I do not understand the mystery of grace,
only that it meets us where we are
but does not leave us where it found us."
-Anne Lamott

Monday, 9 April 2012

Monday Morning Mish-Mash

(Okay, so it's more like Monday Night Mish-Mash.)

I had a very lovely holiday weekend.  The kids were home with me from Thursday on, and they'll go back to school tomorrow.  While I love spending time with them, I have to say that I'm rather glad they're going to be gone again.  Does that make me a horrible mother?

Anyway, I didn't really get a lot of crocheting done this weekend.  I was too busy playing with the kids and cooking for the Passover seder we had Saturday night at my MIL's house.  The Bunny Army from the last post was passed out to all the kids there that night and were a big hit.  I ended up keeping the little brown bunny for myself because he was just too cute to part with.  He's hanging out on my computer desk now with the hookapotamus.

I did finish one project, one I made just for myself and just for fun.  If you've read my 'About Me' page, you no doubt discovered that I number turtles amongst my favourite animals and I found the cutest pattern for a turtle softie on Ravelry.  So I made her.  And I love her.  :D

Meet Amaryllis.

This week, I'm anticipating some lovely visits from the UPS man, who should be bringing me yarn from Herrschner's.  Two of my friends asked me to make them some things, so in exchange for buying the yarn for me, I promised them pretties.  It's a pretty good deal, I think.  I'm also starting on a baby afghan for another friend, and a sleeveless hoodie for my niece.  Phew!  I can't wait!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Holiday Edition

Hoppy Easter, Every Bunny!
from your Future Masters and Overlords,
the Bunny Army

(pattern to create your own Bunny Army found here)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

You like me! You really like me!

No WIP Wednesday this week.  I've been far too busy begging money from people so I can afford to send Girl Child to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.  We're over half-way to our goal of $1200 and all the donations that have come in so far (from a couple of awesome people who gave $5, to someone who gave a whopping $300!) make my heart happy.  I'm normally a total misanthrope and think the worst of people ('cos it's easier not to be disappointed that way), but the way that You have all come together to help my daughter get to Iowa in May is chipping away at that jaded point of view of mine.  So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

And I got another surprise yesterday!  I received my very first blog award EVAR!  I squeed with surprised happiness when I saw it, especially when I saw who it was from!  Tanya from My Grandmotherly Ways seems like she and I were separated at birth!  We have the same obsessions: crochet, Doctor Who, Joss Whedon's work, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and doughnuts.  See?  Totally separated at birth.  Thank you so much, Tanya!  :D
This award has rules, which state I must now:
  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Include a link to their blog. 
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. 
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. 
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. 
Since I'm a total rebel (in addition to being a misanthrope), I'm not going to nominate 15 other bloggers...mostly because I don't follow that many people.  I'll just nominate 7 others, who I read every time they post something new.  I don't always comment, but I do always read!
  1. The Mossy Nest
  2. crochetime
  3. Bunny Mummy
  4. CraftyRie
  5. plus3 crochet
  6. Crocheting The Day Away
  7. Teacups and Tiskets
And now seven things about myself?  Hmmm...
  1. I have worked as a radio DJ, a web designer, 411 information operator, and a managing editor of a newspaper.
  2. I used to have a paralysing fear of spiders, until Girl Child and I allowed a large, tame tarantula to run across our hands at a butterfly museum.  I have not been afraid of spiders since!
  3.  My favourite place in the world is atop a little rock escarpment that overlooks a tiny creek valley just outside of Bailey, Colorado, in the Pike National Forest.
  4. I have killer strong hair but weak nails that often split and break for no apparent reason.
  5. The very first serious story I wrote was in the spring of 1988 and was inspired by the song, "Lady of the Valley", by White Lion.
  6. I have never had a professional pedicure.
  7. When I was eight years old, everything I owned was lavender.  It was my favourite colour at the time.  The next year, when I turned nine, I decided that I hated lavender and made my parents get rid of everything I owned.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Saturday, 31 March 2012

OM World Finals!

Just a quick note to let you all know...


I could not be prouder of her!

This means, of course, that the fundraising must begin in earnest.  I have a little more than 24 hours to raise the remainder of the $1200 so that she can go with her team.  So, please, donate generously if you can, and help spread the word about our fundraiser through Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Reddit, and whatever other social media you use.  Thank you so much to those of you who have helped out and thank you, too, to those of you who will help out now that it's certain she's going.  We appreciate it so much!

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

March Round-Up

Wow.  March went by really, really fast, didn't it?  It seemed to me that it just flashed past in the blink of an eye.  Maybe that's because it was a pretty exciting month for me.  Not only did I open a store, but I finished the first book in my 5-book series and got it out to my beta readers after the first edits were done, and Girl Child made it into the State competition for OM, just one step away from the World Finals.  (I'm going to watch her perform as soon as I'm done posting this.  Wish her luck!)

This month's mosaic is filled with beautiful spring colours--yellow, green, white, blue--and it makes me so happy to see them all here.  Spring is easily my favourite time of year.  I love the sense of renewal and of having the chance to wipe the slate clean and start all over, fresh and brand-new.  In the Springtime, the possibilities of being a better person, of conquering fears, of overcoming mistakes, of setting my feet down a different path seem endless. 

Friday, 30 March 2012

F.O. Friday

I have been down with a Stomach Thing since Wednesday night.  I've spent the past 36-ish hours either in bed or in the bathroom.  I'm starting to feel more human, but my stomach is still complaining at me rather loudly.  There is nothing I hate more than being sick!

Luckily I had the foresight to photograph some stuff on Wednesday morning so I'd have a post today for Finished Object Friday.  I've finally completed my Klimt socks and will not be undertaking another sock project again for quite some time.  Second Sock Syndrome is way too annoying!  But they turned out really well, nonetheless, don't you think?

And I finally got my Starling Handbag back from my MIL who graciously lined it for me, using a pretty yellow remnant I found at Hancock Fabrics.  I am utterly in love with this bag.  If you need a new bag or if you'd like to make a pretty and practical gift for someone, I highly recommend this project.  It works up quickly and the finished result is really, really nice.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed for the rest of the day.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday

I'm very sleepy this morning so you'll just have to forgive the less-than-exceptional photography that accompanies this post.  I was up late last night, you see, finishing the first (very) rough draft of the first book in the series I've written.  I sent it out to the first of my beta readers and loaded it onto the Kindle so The Man could read it during his lunch break at work.  Let me tell you, seeing my name in the author slot on the Kindle was pretty thrilling...even if the book's still (very) rough.

Anyway, on to the reason you're here.  Crocheting!  Yay!  :D

The first project I'm working on is a wee birthday dress for my niece Cecil, who will be turning 2 in just about two weeks.  I bought her some preschool supplies--stuff her Mum asked for--but I also wanted to make her something.  Here is the pattern for the bodice, but I'm winging the skirt as I didn't really like the way the skirt looked following the pattern.  Too many holes.  I'll add a picot edging around the sleeves and the hem of the skirt, too, as well as some flowers to the front.  I think it'll be pretty cute when it's all finished...which had better be soon, huh?

The second thing I've been working on is a little bolero jacket for Girl Child.  It was a spur of the moment sort of thing.  She likes yellow and I have all this yellow yarn laying around that I'd like to get rid of so I can buy other yarn--you know how the vicious cycle goes, don't you?--so I thought I'd make something for her.  The pattern is here and is so far very easy and quick to work up.

Also, please remember that Girl Child's State Final for OM is this weekend, and if she places first or second in her competition, she will be going onto World Finals in May at Iowa State University. We haven't had any more donations since the first $150 last week; this means that even if she wins, she may not be able to go to the World competition. Please help in any way you can. There are donation buttons all over this blog and even if you can't give just $5, please help spread the word by linking to the original post on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and your own blogs. You'd be helping my daughter realize a pretty special, once in a lifetime opportunity.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!