Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer is Here

Just uploaded recent pictures over at's picasa web albums... here, although it seems Picasa Web Albums are being discontinued (or just transitioned to Google Photos?) so will have to figure out where to upload stuff after that. 

Anyway, a few highlights from the June album are (which will give you an idea of what's been going on since last post):

Last Day of School

Got 5 yard of lava rock delivered to put down in front of house, too bad it can't just stay there in a heap... no it needs a place to go, then scooped, wheeled and spread.  On the To Do list still.

We went to an arcade/laser tag/go kart place

Wiley turned 14!

We went to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg VA with Stew's sister and boys' cousins.

Then we had a day trip to the beach.

See more of each event in the album.

Also there was an album of pictures from when I was up in Iowa helping prep for the sale, which is what came before all this June stuff.  And before Iowa was the handmade/vintage market, which got one picture up to Madam0wl's FB only and since then I haven't really crocheted at all.  Got a little burned out I guess but not worried, will pick it back up soon(ish), maybe.  Now I need to go mow the lawn.  Is it fall yet?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Busy Crunch Time Bleh Yay Ha!

Well I found a draft post saved from April 12th... see I had meant to post I just never got back to it. 

For some crazy reason back in late February I decided to apply for a booth at a "vintage / handmade market," to happen way ahead in May.  I remember hemming and hawing about whether to do it or not, not wanting to be "stressed" about crocheting since it is my stress release thing to do, ya know?  I bounced idea off Stew and he was like "sure do it as a challenge to yourself... if you crochet one thing a day until then you'll have about 60 things to sell!" I liked the idea of having a goal and challenging myself.  But do you think I actually did what he so wisely suggested I do?  Noooo...

I thought I was doing good by churning out a small batch of butterflies early on, but then riding on that "yay me" wave I slowed down, testing out new things here and there and making one or two of stuff I liked, but never getting really serious.  Until you know, these last two weeks before the market!   It will be OK.  I mean hey, there is still a week left!  That is plenty of time!  ha ha ha ha ha ha ha 

Really, I'm not going to freak out and I am trying not to stress about it. I'll just take what I have and will hope to break even on the booth rent (go low expectations!).  Plus I have some vintage clothes I plan to take, and my vintage Sassy magazines, and a few other things upstairs in my hoard will qualify, so I will have both vintage & handmade.  No where near enough to fill a 10' x 10' stall but that is OK.  I had thought maybe I could offer on-site crochet lessons too but that might be too much going on, still considering that.  Right now I am working out the kinks of a few new-to-me thread crochet jewelry/accessory items... which is fun because I like experimenting and modifying patterns and seeing how stuff turns out when I try my own ideas out, and have been having lots and lots of ideas... why can't I have felt this way a month ago?  Just one of my little procrastinator through-n-through quirks I guess.  I don't get the mojo flow until crunch time.  And then I do things like going out and mowing the weedy lawn between rain spells, or sit down to update my blog...

So if no further posts until like, May 15th, you'll understand right?  

Barefoot Sandals / anklets...

Vintage Snood Pattern (gave it to a friend, may try to make another one for the market)

Experimentations with smaller butterflies and finally... OWLS.  They look like owls right? Maybe for earrings or pendants.  I like the three smaller ones best I think. 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Spring Break Recap

I was tired of seeing my visor post so decided to summarize Spring Break 2016, as here we are, all alive on the last day... it actually didn't go so bad this year.  I remained fairly calm, the first few days at least.  

The boys were OK about the Easter Bunny needing to have coffee first, and we visited friends that evening.  In the beginning of the week we had lovely weather. We opened the windows and did some Spring Cleaning.  Milo helped mop the kitchen and bathroom. Wiley went out and brushed shedding hair off the dogs.  Cyrus actually persevered though push mowing for more than 10 minutes.  In fact I think he was out for closer to 30 before coming in all red faced and sweaty.  Wiley finished up the front yard and they both split the backyard the next day.  

Another outdoorsy project we completed was to plant two of the trees we've had in containers out on the back patio/terrace thing.  One was a Japanese Maple (Moonfire variety I believe) that was given as a memorial gift by my Stewart in-laws last Spring after Dad died.  We put that out front.  Wiley is a good hole digger, which is good because we actually had to plant this one twice.  The first spot I picked for it was deemed too close to the house as the roots would have gone up under the sidewalk.  For some reason I thought roots went down, not out.  Lesson learned. Been learning lots of lessons lately (like, don't call your car insurance if you ding a door! what a hassle, just work it out between parties), amazing how learning still continues throughout life. 

The second tree, a Red Maple I believe, is one Cyrus started from seed when he was little and we were still in the rental house down here.  It isn't starting to leaf out yet this season so it a little hard to see there in the backyard, but we put it out past where the pool used to be.  Not sure if we are going to get another pool this year or not... I mentioned to the boys that I wasn't sure and they were kind of upset so I guess we'll see.  There weren't really any good days this Spring Break to get in a pool anyway, although I think they got in last year.  A backyard pool definitely is a nice "there is nothing to do!" activity during summer... so we'll see.  

The last part of the week kind of disintegrated a bit.  I started getting PMSy irritable and also the weather did that thing where it looked and felt like it was going to rain but then never did. And that drives me crazy.  It drizzled now and then and did finally rain to the point of puddles yesterday, thankfully it held off until after Milo's Saturday morning soccer game.  

Looking forward to getting back into regular routine tomorrow.  Need to get back to crochet too.  I have inventory I need to build up...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Visor Testing

Happy Easter!  The rabbit didn't wake up before the kids this morning, but I convinced them to go back into their rooms and pretended to call him on the phone to tell him he'd missed our house and could he come back?  We'll go visit friends this evening but until then it is kind of a normal Sunday for us heathens.  So that means I will blather on about my latest crochet project.    

On Friday I took a break from continued butterfly production and tried out a visor pattern I'd been wanting to test out.  The pattern itself just shows a solid color throughout and a Size 3 crochet thread, smaller than typical craft yarn.  Which is what I used in the black, on the visor part, plus first few rows turned out good. However, since it was the day of ISU Mens Basketball playing in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen tournament, and I had my cardinal & gold gear on, I decided to jazz it up a little and add my ISU colored craft yarn.  Because everyone needs a matched visor and flip flop set right?  

Anyway, it was going pretty good, but I couldn't get it done in time for the 3 pm kids-pick-up time, which is maybe about where it was when I took that first goofy in-process selfie below on the left.  I should have just stopped there, except the elastic I'd bought to put in it, as called for in the pattern, was 1.5" and I hadn't made enough rows yet to cover it.  So once back home I just kept going, and the spike stitch pattern in the thicker craft yarn started getting too bulky, widening the gauge of the "band" so that it started looking really big & bumpy.  Especially when I got to the part where I was supposed to keep making rows high enough to fold it in half to cover the elastic.  By that time I hadn't compensated for the increase in gauge, plus I was using a bigger hook too because I was getting impatient to get it done.  When I finally starting watching the game at 7 pm, I was almost done but once I had folded the band over and trying to fasten over the elastic, it was way too bulky and all the excess on the inside made it super tight around my head.  Bummer.  Design modification fail.

Apparently my cheer visor failure was an omen, because ISU started out 10 - 15 points behind and stayed that way the rest of the game.  We'd given up watching it after the first 5 minutes, and I'd already started pulling out the too big rows... finally putting it down for the night to try again the next morning.  I sort of got it looking a little better the next morning (selfie on the right), but still wasn't happy with it.  Also I won't be wearing ISU cheer stuff until next Fall most likely.  So I pulled out all those craft yarn rows back down to the original black crochet thread rows, and this morning I started over.  I still wanted some color detail in it, so I tried just a couple single crochet rows of pink craft yarn, followed by the rest of the black crochet thread, which ended at just the right height to cover 1.5" elastic.  I decided to try the top fold over rows with the craft yarn again, only this time compensating for gauge by decreasing number of stitches evenly around the band. Once I got it tall enough and folded over, I tried it on without the elastic and decided it was snug enough so left it out.  

I think it turned out better/sleeker this time, but still have a few modifications to try out.  I will probably leave this one as is and try making a second.  The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to fail a few times before you get what you want, so don't let the mistakes bust your bubble too much.  Just shake it off and try again.  ISU lost the game, but at least they didn't get completely trampled, and they made it further in the tournament than they did last year.  Surely by next year I'll have perfected my visor design and will have an ISU one ready to go...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring brings new things

Happy Spring y'all!  It was actually a little chilly here this past weekend and today, but it looks like it should slowly warm up again this week.  We had a busy weekend with Cub Scout camp, soccer match (Milo scored 2 goals!), charitable event (where my butterflies were worn by dancers), Cyrus crossed over to Boy Scouts (yay!), and then unpacking/relaxing yesterday, sort of.

Since it is a new season, I thought I'd introduce a new nest of mine online...

I don't have a personal Facebook account anymore, but after having enough people ask me about where they could check out my crochet work, and not really wanting to use this blog for a lot of promotional bullshit, I decided to create a Facebook "business" page where I could upload photos of my finished projects as a way to reach a bigger, less personal audience when/if I decide to gear up to accept custom order requests/projects online.  I called it Madam0wl's Stitchcraft and used the little owl collage from earlier this month as the avatar, converting my etsy and spoonflower to the same look and name.

So I invite those out there reading, who also utilize Facebook, to click through to my Madam0wl's Stitchcraft page and Like it so that way you can see and comment on my creative textile/fiber ventures photos/posts in the Facebook realm.  However if you are anti-Facebook, I will continue to post similar "hey, look what I made" pictures here too.

Another reason for the page is that it was almost required in order to apply for spot in a local Handmade/Vintage Market and Food Truck Rodeo this May.  So another goal I am working toward this spring is creating enough inventory to have a small booth there where I can sell off more of my vintage clothing collection AND have an array of crochet goodies ready made or on display for custom orders.  Exciting!