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!

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

Apparently a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope, but usually people just call them a swarm or I might have said flock.  This week I finished up the 12 thread crochet butterflies I was working on to be donated for a Mind & Body Health Expo being produced by my scout mom / yoga / booty barre instructor friend.  They will be worn as hair decorations by the dancers & volunteers.  And then she liked them so much she asked for one herself, so that made 13... I have a 14th in process that I might try to take there tomorrow for her to raffle off.  I ended up adding 24 gauge beading wire so that they could be shaped more 3D and that helped to attach the barrettes also.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Go Cyclones

Repurposed my Christmas flip flops into school spirit ones, cutting away the other work and recovering them using a red/gold varigated yarn and a shell pattern I found online (for hangars) this morning. 

Why? Because it is near 80 degrees in eastern NC today and my alma mater, Iowa State, men's basketball plays tonight in the quarterfinals of Big 12 tournament. They aren't playing as well as they did last year (new coach) but may be able to pull another championship off. We'll see.  Go state!