Friday, February 26, 2010

Fiber Travels

Plans for an item on my crafty resolutions list have been made!

The 2010 Knit and Crochet Show will take place in Manchester, NH July 8-10 with the CGOA Professional Development Day on July 7. With creative measures, I found I will have enough leave to take the week off to attend. Registration for classes opens on March 3rd but I'm not sure if I'll spend the money to take any, unless something looks too good to miss.

If anyone has attended this show before, please share your experiences and advice for this newbie.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Completed Project: Ocean Waves Blanket for Lucia

Completed this one on Monday - which was well in advance of today's baby shower. It measures about 24" x 25 1/2" using Lion Brand Baby Soft yarn (less than a skein of each color) and a G crochet hook. More links and details on Ravelry.

Ocean Waves Blanket 02 09

Ocean Waves Blanket 02 11

The photos don't do it justice as I had to photograph it last night and the lighting was poor. I love the way it looks except I think I should have beefed up the border a bit. Unlike the first ocean waves blanket where I used a different border, for this one I used the one that came with the pattern.

I also made a cake for the shower - the colors are somewhat similar to the blanket. A coincidence? Not at all. And making the cake means I cross off another item from my Year of Lovely Things list.

Shower Cake 06

Shower Cake 05

Shower Cake 04

I am now frantically trying to finish the third ocean waves blanket before March 4th. But I've got company coming on Saturday and list of other stuff that needs to get done sooner rather than later. If it really looks as though I'm not going to make it, I'll make a mini version of the blanket and put it in a little bag as a preview of what they'll eventually get.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Painted Butterflies

You may have wondered what I meant when I put "paint butterflies" on my Year of Lovely Things list. Wonder no more...

With some neon highlighter markers I went from this:

Butterflies 04

To this:

Butterflies 05

Butterflies 01

I made four in total that will be put on a baby shower cake I need to make later this week. You'll notice the color scheme matches the baby blanket I'm giving to the momma-to-be.

They came out quite nicely given I quickly decorated them with broad tipped highlighters. I still have 8 left to paint at a future time - not sure whether I'll use actual paint, other markers or maybe even embroidery or fabric.

Wanna make your own set? I got these from Oriental Trading Company for just $6.00 per dozen. They measure about 3 1/2 inches but if you want a larger size, they have a 7 inch version, too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Long Weekends are Lovely...

...but they always seem too short.

This past weekend - even after the record snowfall and closures that occured during the week - seemed to fly by at light speed. I did happen to make time for two lovely things - I baked some delicious chewy oatmeal cookies and spent most of Saturday evening playing the Sims.

I've got a photo of the cookies (to be posted later) but not the Sims. I'm still waiting for them to come up with a career that includes owning a yarn shop.

Hope you had a lovely weekend last weekend and you have something lovely planned for this weekend, too!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Always Follow Your Gut

I was soooo close to having the longest weekend ever until the government reopened on Friday. Had it stayed closed, it would have been an 11-day weekend for me - from the Friday prior to this Monday's holiday. But no, OPM decided to do delayed opening/liberal leave for the day and given that I don't have a ton of leave, I made the trek in to the city.


Long story short - the commute was awful both in and out of the city (ice, puddles, train delays and a derailment, and almost missing my train home) and even just 6 hours of work seemed to undo all the relaxation and enjoyment I had gleaned from the snow days.

I should have stayed home like my gut told me to ... but with so little leave, it was a hard decision to make. Next time - leave balance be damned! I'm staying home!

I tried to get back into the relaxation/enjoyment groove yesterday with a trip to Joann's for some new storage containers (40 percent off - yay!) and a new skein of Baby Soft for the third Ocean Waves blanket (yet to be started). I also got my taxes done and was able to ask some questions of my accountant about starting a small business. I've got some more information now about copyrighting and registering a trademark/brand name and also getting a tax number if I need it. My gut is telling me to pursue this crafty entrepreneurship, so I'm listening!

Today will be spent finishing the updates to my stash on Ravelry and organizing the craft cabinet. But this will done after I make my wonderful husband a delicious Valentine's Day breakfast and a batch of oatmeal cookies.

I hope you have something fun planned for your Valentine's Day, too!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Project: Ocean Waves Blanket for Lucia

This is the second blanket using the Ocean Waves pattern from Lion Brand. I started it the day after I finished the blanket for Caitlin (who loves it). The only change from Caitlin's to Lucia's blanket is the substitution of green for pale pink. Lucia's Momma picked out the colors to match her nursery.

Ocean Waves 2 01

Ocean Waves 2 06

Now that I'm entering day six of being snowed in, I've gotten a lot of work done on it and should have it completed in plenty of time for the baby shower on February 24. Which is a good thing because blanket number 3 needs to be done by March 5.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Place for Everything (Almost)

During snowmaggedon, I put down my crochet hook and picked up a screwdriver to put together the new cabinet for the craft room. Here's the old cabinet:

Old Cabinet 02

The homespun had no home inside the cabinet and neither did the pile of yarn on the second shelf. I had posted some time ago just how full the inside was - but it had become even worse because a yarn freeze doesn't last very long. I had a goal and a coupon when I searched Home Decorators last month for a new cabinet and I was lucky that it arrived before the blizzard. Here's a photo of the finished assembly:

New Cabinet 01

You'll see in the photo I'm still trying to organize my stash, which also includes double checking my current stash list in Ravelry. I really like the way it looks in the craft room. What I didn't realize until it arrived is that the colors of the cabinet match the fabric I bought to make the craft room curtains. A great surprise!

As large as this new cabinet is... there is not enough room for all my yarn, books and assorted other crafty materials (beading, painting and sewing supplies) in this one cabinet. Once the old cabinet and corner unit are gone, I'll be checking out Home Decorators for another piece to compliment the new cabinet. In the meantime, with another storm on it's way tonight (yes, another 10-20 inches is predicted!), I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to finish my inventory.

Frog One, Knit One

I have begun working on one of my crafty resolutions - to go through all the unfinished projects lurking in the shadows and either finish 'em or frog 'em.

First up - the spiral motif shawl that I started years ago. I bought the yarn at my very first MS&W but I just couldn't find a pattern that did the yarn justice. Even with the spiral motifs, the pattern was lost and the yarn didn't look good.

But I wanted it to work, so I just kept making the motifs, trying to convince myself that the finished project would be so much better. Denial lead me to create 7 large motifs that when pieced together, still looked awful. So into the bag the motifs and leftover yarn went and in the bag they sat, waiting for the right pattern.

I finally found that pattern at last year's MS&W when at the same booth I first acquired the yarn, I saw it hanging on the wall - the most beautiful knitted wrap in a plain garter stitch using very large needles.

I had my idea, but I didn't have the time last year to act on it, so the boucle sat untouched for many more months until...

Two weekends ago (before snowmaggedon), I started poking around the craft room, trying to visualize how the new cabinet I ordered would look (more on that in a separate post). I saw the bag of beautiful boucle and decided right then and there to frog it. There was some swearing as the boucle loops were knotting themselves together as I tried to rip out the stitches. Some inches of yarn were lost to knots and breakages but I salvaged almost all of it. The small balls of yarn were a marked improvement over the motifs.

Then I pulled out the giant knitting needles I bought in Ireland and cast on. So far, here's what I've got:

Red Boucle Shawl 02

More photos and details on Ravelry. So far, so good. It's fast going and I love the way it looks and feels. I probably could have used slightly smaller needles - but I'll save that experiment for the other skein of boucle I have in blues and greens.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It was worse than they predicted and I'm at the epicenter of the storm with a reported 32" of snow so far. Here's what I saw at 9:30 this morning. Note that this is the view from the third floor of our condo building.

Saturday morning

Snowmaggedon 2010

Seamus soooo wanted to go out and investigate but the snow was deeper than he was taller on the balcony and 4 times his height on the ground.

Seamus and Snowmaggedon

I'm taking advantage of having to be homebound for the day (and probably the next 2 days). The laundry is going, some cleaning is planned, and I'm getting some blogging done. I should also have plenty of time to put together my new craft cabinet. (It's just a matter of how I'll get the empty boxes out to the dumpster.)

Stay warm!

Year of Lovely Things

I've signed up to join "Year of Lovely Things" headed by my dear friend, Perches. There is a link to the page under the header of the blog (which is a new feature I just found).

I created the list earlier last month, but I'm just now getting around to posting about it. That is why a couple of items on the list have already been completed - making NE Clam Chowder and watching all 3 LOTR extended version movies in one weekend.

The soup was made the weekend the Ravens played the NE Patriots. I made it for the 4 Patriots fans at my house as a peace offering since my Ravens beat them something fierce. The LOTR marathon took place on MLK Jr. weekend with the Perches family and the Kiernans. We managed to watch all three in one day if you count having it on in the background as watching. We were much too busy and happy playing with the little ones to give it our full attention. But a yearly tradition has been born, one that I hope the kids grow to love and look forward to.

So check out my list or join the "Year of Lovely Things" yourself.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Merci Buckets

Thanks to all for the feedback. The blog will be staying here for now, perhaps trying some new layouts or color schemes in place of packing it all up and moving to a different blog host.

In other news, the snowpocolyse redux or snowmageddon is on it's way to DC/Baltimore. I'm hunkered down with plenty of craftiness to keep me busy. I'll also have some time to blog about it all while the snow piles up outside. Cheers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Solicited Advice

As noted in my crafty resolutions for this year, some changes are brewing here at the blog. I've been thinking about moving from Blogger to WordPress but I'm still on the fence. While the change could be fun (new features and designs) it could also be a pain (a lot of work to set up, new platform to learn, links to past posts won't work, might lose readers).

To move or not to move, that is the question.

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.