Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm a Betty!

...a Domestic Betty, that is! A group of women that I know and respect started a very cool website last year... a place to share what we all need to know about - well, everything! They recently put out a call for a couple more writers, and I raised my hand faster than Big Boy can yell, "No!" If you get a chance, stop by - my first post is up there today!

Soon, and very soon, I'll post some more pictures. I've done some more paper cuttings, and I'm working on a very cool gift for my baby brother - who just happens to turn 30 this week! Happy Birthday, UncaDo! So I'll see you later this week with more updates.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The promised update

I meant to type all this up while I had no Internet connection... however, the time slipped away as I was working on other things. Namely, cleaning my house and working on a menu planning system that works for our family (I'll blog more about that when it's actually done). Shockingly, I had little time to do any crafting while we had no Internet. And I discovered something - the Internet is what gives me crafting ADD. Well, let's say.... it feeds into it. I have always moved from one thing to another, Internet or no. But recently, it's been very apparent. I think it's more apparent to me now because the crafting I do is pretty much the only thing that changes in my life. That sounds odd, but it's a good thing right now...

While I was in school, I loved being a music major. Not only did my classes change each semester, I also was in a couple different opera or musical theater productions at a time. I was always doing something different. Also, I used to think that I loved to move (gasp! WHAT?!?) because I never moved as a child (that I can remember). My parents lived in the same house from when I was 3 years old until I was 23... But now I think it's a sysmptom of my ADD. When I went to college, I remember loving the move-in at the beginning of the year and the move-out at the end of the year. Even now, as an adult, I've loved packing up whole houses and moving. It's the thrill of something new...

Anyway - all that to say my crafting ADD shouldn't surprise me. But right now, it frustrates me to no end. I have so many things I want to work on, but absolutely no time. I guess I could have time if I totally neglect my kids, my husband, the house, etc. But then Hubby would probably get really upset. And rightfully so! So my crafting (and Internet time!) is squeezed into a little time each week. Some days I don't get to pick up a knitting needle or a crochet hook at all, not to mention my Exacto knives....

"Exacto knives?" you may ask. "What in the world do Exacto knives have to do with yarn crafts? Isn't that a bad combination?" Yes, definitely. But when you put some paper in front of me, you get one of my "newest things..." ...paper cutting.

Mmmmm - I've been in love with this for some time, and I finally bit the bullet and actually purchased some quality cutting tools. Now I need to work on finding a good, light-weight paper supply with tons of different colors. Any ideas? I've been using card stock, but that gets a little hard to cut, especially when it's an intricate design. Here's some pics of what I've been up to...

I have a couple more that I don't have pictures of yet. And of course, I have big plans.... I have so many ideas rolling around in my head for motifs to cut. This is where I get really frustrated about not having time to do all that I want. sigh...

Then, of course, I'm working on amigurumi. Here's my latest completion:

The big guy in the back was one I've written about previously. The little sweetie up front is from the same pattern, using acrylic yarn instead of cotton, and using a smaller hook. I like her better - and she's going to be a gift for a really adorable baby girl who is just a tad younger than Baby D. And her ears are floppier (the bunny's, not the baby's).

A while ago I was poking around some crochet sites, and I kept seeing Tunisian crochet popping up. I really liked the way the resulting fabric looks - not lacy like crochet - more like a knit fabric. But it helps to have special crochet hooks for it - they are longer than normal. So I thought I would wait a while until I had time to learn something new and purchase some supplies online.

Well, then I visited my local Ben Franklin's (I've found that outside of the local LYSs, they have the best yarn selection - and by far the best knitting needle and crochet hook selection). I can't remember what I needed when I went in, but I know I came out with many different sizes of Tunisian hooks and Cro-hooks (still not sure about this one - apparently it is another crocheting technique using a double hooked long crochet hook. I'm planning on using the hooks for Tunisian crochet, though). They had a really nice selection!

This is my first attempt at Tunisian crochet. It's a simple dishcloth made out of Sugar 'n Cream yarn. Tunisian crochet has a tendency to curl, but this was my first attempt at it, so I decided not to try any modifications for this one. Plus, it is a dishcloth, so it's wet most of the time and the curl is not noticeable. Look at the stitch:

Nice and tight.... I love it! I'll show you the "purl" side on another project - it looks even more like a knitted purl stitch. The other project = a baby blanket for Baby D. He may be 15 years old by the time it's done (it only has about 6 inches done so far), but I really wanted to make something special for him. Big Boy got so many personalized gifts when he was born, but Baby D, being the 2nd son.... not so much.

It's a 3 Colored Tunisian (TM) crochet with the 3 different colors of the soft and yummy Lion Brand Lion Organic Cotton. Um, well, their website shows 4 colors, but I haven't seen the Almond color around here yet. I love it - the stitch is simple, and the organic cotton is so soft. The back:

See how much that looks like a knitted purl stitch? I love the way this looks, too - what I think I'm going to do is make 3 panels in the same 3 Color Tunisian stitch, and then attach them all together, with the middle panel purl-side forward. I'll show you a picture when I finish it in 15 years.

My other plans include a LOT of sewing. Tons. I tried making bibs for Baby D, since he is a spitter and drooler. Nice.... we go through about 4 bibs a day with him! Silly me, I thought sewing on bias tape would be self explanatory. Nope. But thanks to this video tutorial, I am ready to try again. When, though, I don't know. Then there are the curtains I still haven't finished for a friend, valances for the Big Boy's room, and some repurposing of Hubby's old undershirts that involves Rit dye, freezer paper, and fabric paint. Oooo, I can't wait!

I seriously need about 5 hours added on to each day to get things done. Of course, after the kids go to bed would be nice. One (or two) hours for household chores, maybe an hour for reading for leisure, and then the remaining time for crafting. Please, Lord? Just for a while?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not Happy

I'm not so happy with my new blog header. I like the new layout - but now I need to figure out what in the world I'm doing in Photoshop so I can make a decent header. Hmph. One day, one day...

Written April 14

It is really amazing what happens when one’s Internet connection is cut off. Especially when one thought one would have several days to prepare herself…

We are switching providers for Internet, phone, and cable, and to make the switch, we had to remove the DSL connection from our phone line so our number could be transferred to the new provider…. Blah blah blah… So we were told it would take 3 to 5 days for our DSL to be removed from our line. OK – 3 to 5 days – plenty of time to send an email to people notifying them of upcoming changes, post in forums letting them know we’ll be gone for a while, and copy info out of our provider’s Webmail service that we would need.

30 minutes later, our connection is cut off.


Then, the flurry of activity: trying to find a connection to take care of some business, calling the new provider to see if our installation date can be moved up.

Next comes the resentment – of everyone who has access to the Internet whenever they want it. Including Hubby, who has 2 – count them, 2 – laptops for work, and who can even check email from his new company issued BlackJack. Company issued, meaning no personal use. Especially not for the wifey.

Resignation sets in. OK, so maybe I really didn’t need all that info that was in my Webmail. And I guess I’ll find something to do while I have no Internet.

Resignation turns to amazement when I realize how much I can get done without running to the computer every chance I get. Wow… tons of laundry, clean floors, a shower… and that’s just during naptime. When the boys are awake, a lot of quality playtime happens. Mmm… that’s nice! And after bedtime, I get a lot of crafting done.

It’s still hard… I am typically the one who pays our bills online. So now I have to remember to ask Hubby to do that while he’s at work. If I need a quick recipe, I can’t hop on Allrecipes.com to look something up. And I shudder to think what my blogroll will look like when everything gets hooked back up. But at our new blazing fast download speeds, I should be able to whip through my missed reading with no problem at all!

So writing this not even half-way through my Internet exile… things are going well. We’ll see how I’m doing at the end of the 2 weeks.