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!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A Moment of Zen

"You'll never do a whole lot
unless you're brave enough to try."
-Dolly Parton

Sorry for the complete lack of any crochet-related posts lately.  I have been working on things, however, and in fact, they are both wearables.  One is a little shrug-type thingie for Girl Child, and the other is a wee dress for my niece Cecil, who will be turning 2 in just about a week.  These are both works in progress, so I think I'll post photos tomorrow for W.I.P Wednesday.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Good Things

Inspired by this post from Pip at Meet Me At Mike's, I've decided to make a wee list of Good Things that I've experienced today.  Maybe I'll make this a regular Sunday thing.

  • Lunch outside on the front patio with The Man and The Children
  • Getting over 200 pages in my 700-page manuscript edited
  • Seeing pictures of my friends' babies on Facebook
  • Girl Child volunteering to sweep the patio and the walk
  • The sweet, unguarded sound of Boy Child's singing when he doesn't know I'm listening
  • Digging in the earth and planting things

What are your Sunday Good Things?

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Springtime Symphony

Late March in Southern Arizona is pretty heavenly.

The skies are filled with scores of birds--woodpeckers, doves, warblers, wrens, finches, sparrows, and the more exotic curved-bill thrashers--who fill the trees with their feathery little bodies and sing their hearts out.  There's the slow, lazy, almost soporific din of bees buzzing about the early flowers.  It's sunny and warm, and the flagstones of my patio soak up the heat and give back just a little taste of what's to come in only a few short months.

Curve Billed Thrasher

Red Breasted House Finch

Cactus Wren

I enjoy sitting on my front patio, watching the birds in our cedar, or the cat's claw acacia, or the mesquite tree.  Sometimes The Man puts orange halves in the branches of the cedar tree and within half an hour, one or both of a mated pair of Gila woodpeckers are there, feasting on a rare treat.  We call them Pedro and Lupe and they've been coming to visit our house for the entire three and a half years we've lived here.  I think they nest in a hollowed out saguaro cactus in the garden of the house opposite us.

There are teeny-tiny lizards playing tag and doing press-ups in the branches of the enormous cedar tree in my front garden.  And the air is heavy, positively redolent with the perfume of orange blossoms and sand verbena.

Sand Verbena

Orange blossoms and ripening fruit

This morning, I went to sit and read on the front patio for an hour or so and I spent more time watching the birds and the lizards than I did actually reading.  The wildlife around here is far more interesting than the book I'm currently reading.  At one point, our neighbour's cat came to drink at our bird bath and then she slipped away into a particularly scruffy portion of the garden.  I made a mental note to ask The Man to have a go at it with the weed whacker tomorrow morning and the realisation that I was taking away the kitty's personal jungle made me sad.  Maybe I'll let the weeds go an extra day or two.

Eventually, though, that nagging little voice in the back of my head, the one that doesn't let me sit idling for too long, reminded me that my books are never going to get edited unless I work on them, so I reluctantly left my comfy, warm, beautifully fragrant spot on the patio and came inside, where I found my own kitties sacked out in a sunbeam.  I'd loved to have joined them, but edits don't get done unless I do them, so I went into my office and sat down to...write this post.  And now I have to quit mucking about and get down to serious business.

Small Cat in the sun
Even though I'd much rather be outside with the birds and the bees, the lizards and the orange blossoms.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

WIP Wednesday

Nothing too exciting going on here in the Land of Perpetual Sunshine...except for the fact that it kinda-sorta-but not really-almost snowed here on Sunday morning!  (I guess the perpetual sunshine thing's a misnomer, huh?)  It was raining and every once in a while, there were these fat globs of almost-snow that splattered against the windscreen of our car.  I was excited for half a moment, until The Man said, "You know there will be no accumulation, right?"  Then all of my snow hopes and dreams were dashed and I pouted.

You'd think with all the ugly, cold, wet weather we had here this week-end, I would have gotten a lot of crocheting done, right?  Well, no.  I watched far too much TV (Doctor Who, Buffy, and Angel), ate far too much good food (pumpernickle bagels, turkey sandwiches on Jewish rye bread, and won ton soup), and spent far too much time with my kids.  I did, however, receive a commission to make this for a friend in Texas and started work on an afghan for the last of the babies on my Baby Gift To-Do list.  Her name is Lydia and she is almost eight months old.  She's also painfully cute and wears a lot of pink...I mean A LOT of pink.  So I dug through my stash and came up with this incredibly soft, shimmery hot pink yarn (I think it might be Red Heart's 'Shimmer', but the label's gone) and decided that a very girlie-girl needs more flowers in her life.  The pattern is here, in case you're curious.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Moment of Zen

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil,
but by those who watch them without doing anything."
-Albert Einstein

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Great Reveal!

I finished and photographed my latest Nerd Wars challenge project last night.  This one was tough, both because the challenge itself was difficult and because the execution of the piece had me flummoxed for a while.  But I persevered and am quite chuffed with the finished work.

The challenge was States of Matter.  You know, solid, liquid, gas, plasma?  Only the matter that inspired my work couldn't be organic...and I had to find inspiration from one of the other teams.  I wanted to do an amigurumi Adipose Fat Baby from Doctor Who, 'cos really?  Those little buggers are so painfully cute!  But of course fat is organic so that idea was right out.  Then the leader of our team decided to make a Hat Full Of Sky from the Terry Pratchett Disc World series so that got me thinking about things from that series and I landed upon ice roses from the Tiffany Aching books.  And voila--Tiffany Aching's Ice Rose Wreath was born.

Two of the roses are from this pattern from Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn.  Some of the roses are from this pattern and this pattern I found on Pinterest, and the rest were plucked from the ether and born as they were being made.  The leaves, which were really easy and quite fun to work up, came from here.  So, there it is.  Tiffany Aching's Ice Roses Wreath.  I think this particular one will soon be up for sale in the Hook and Yarn Creations shop, but I think I'll make another in pretty spring-time colours to keep for myself!

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Granny A Day 2012

Pip from Meet Me At Mike's is hosting a Granny-A-Day-apalooza!  (Try saying that five times fast!)  I'm going to try and take part and maybe do three grannies a week.  This'll be a pretty fantastic and easy way to make an afghan, huh?  If you want to join in, visit Meet Me At Mike's and sign up.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

W.I.P Wednesday

Woo! I'm finally more comfortable with knitting that I'm beginning a big project. Hey, this is really big news!  The Man loves--and I mean LOVES--Doctor Who.  In fact, he is 100% responsible for my own Who addiction.  So, to thank him for introducing me to the wonderfulness that is this show, I'm making him a T.A.R.D.I.S Kindle cover.  And with the help of my SIL, I've adapted the pattern from knitting on circular needles to knitting on straight needles, because I cannot get the hang of circular needles.  I know some people say that they're much easier than straight needles, but I simply don't find that to be the case for me.  Anyway, here's a little preview of the first 16 rows of the Kindle cover:

I'm really kind of proud of this!

And in crocheting news, remember those granny squares I made to use up scraps a while back?  Thanks to Pinterest, I finally found a use for them.  A Granny Bag!  My daughter requested a bag a while back and I finally found a cute way to not only fulfill her request but do something with these squares.  Now all I have to do is suss out how, exactly, to attach the straps.

Granny bag open; there will be a button to secure the top flap closed

Granny bag closed.  Use your imagination and picture
a button in the middle and a strap at the top.
Work continues on my Klimt socks but no new photographs of them yet...mostly because the difference between the last time I took photos and now is insignificant.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

New Items in the Store!

Two new items have just been added to the
 Hook and Yarn Creations Store!

A Moment of Zen

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself any direction you choose. 
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go."
-Dr. Seuss

Monday, 12 March 2012

Monday Morning Mish-Mash

First, I'd just like to extend a big thank you to everyone who's helped spread the word about my fundraiser to send Girl Child to the World Finals for Odyssey of the Mind.  It's been on Twitter, Facebook, other blogs, and even Pinterest and Google +.  I am so amazed and down-right gobsmacked that people I don't even know are caring this much about the academic dreams of a girl in Arizona, who they'll probably never meet or see.

Secondly, I'd like to also extend a GIANT THANK YOU!!! to those people who have donated money so far.  We went from $0 to $150 overnight and seeing those emails from PayPal telling me that there have been donations reduced me to tears yesterday.  You donators are angels and it means more to me than I could ever hope to express that you've given your hard-earned money to help my family out.  But we're not out of the woods yet, so keep Tweeting and sending the notice out on Facebook, Pinterest, your blogs, whatever you can do.  It's so appreciated!

In other, more crocheting news, this weekend was a pretty busy one for me.  I continued work on my Klimt socks, some ice roses for another Nerd Wars challenge, and found time to make some cool little drawstring bags and one half of a pair of slippers for Girl Child.

The blue and yellow bag is a little makeup bag that matches my new purse (photos of that when I get it back from my MIL, who is currently lining it for me because as we all know, I am sewing impaired) and the brown one is for The Man, who needed accessories for his monk costume, something he wears every Hallowe'en and to the Renaissance Festival every year as well.

The slippers were a spur of the moment thing.  Girl Child was complaining of cold feet yesterday so I decided to raid the Yarn Box and came up with yellow and brown yarn that sort of reminds me of Bananas Foster.  Plus yellow is one of her favourite colours and I have lots of brown left over so voila!  Half a pair of Bananas Foster Slippers.  I have to wait to borrow her feet to make sure they fit before making the other one.

Send Hannah to OM World Finals!