SO MUCH STUFF

Wow.  I’ve really neglected this place.  That makes me sad.  Let’s see… what has happened since January?  My daughter turned 13 on March 17th, and my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary together on May 1st.  We had ourselves a little staycation at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix, so that was nice.  Um… I had a craft booth at my school’s Spring Fling festival in April, and sold about $120 worth of jewelry.  That’s… really about it.  I’ll be 33 on Friday, and my son will be 15 in November.

 

How about I just post pictures of all the stuff I’ve made since my last post, yeah?

 

Freehanded Circle Skirt, made without a pattern.

Freehanded Circle Skirt, made without a pattern.

Wire braided necklace with brown stone beads, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Wire braided necklace with brown stone beads, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Wire braided necklace with pink stones, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Wire braided necklace with pink stones, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Crochet wire braided necklace with black and green stone beads, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Crochet wire braided necklace with black and green stone beads, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Crochet wire braided necklace with purple stone beads, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Crochet wire braided necklace with purple stone beads, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Beaded crochet wire earrings - SOLD

Beaded crochet wire earrings – SOLD

Braided crochet wire necklace with multicolored beads and pendant - SOLD

Braided crochet wire necklace with multicolored beads and pendant – SOLD

Purple beaded earrings. available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Purple beaded earrings. available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Freshwater pear necklace and earring set

Freshwater pear necklace and earring set

Freshwater pearl necklace and earring set

Freshwater pearl necklace and earring set

Crochet wire braided necklace with blue, white, and tan stone chips and pendant

Crochet wire braided necklace with blue, white, and tan stone chips and pendant

Custom requested set for a co-worker's girlfriend

Custom requested set for a co-worker’s girlfriend

Necklace and earring set for my mom for Mother's Day

Necklace and earring set for my mom for Mother’s Day

Multicolored stone and bead crochet wire braided necklace, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Multicolored stone and bead crochet wire braided necklace, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Multicolored stone and bead earrings, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Multicolored stone and bead earrings, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Purple Beaded Earrings, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Purple Beaded Earrings, available for purchase in my Etsy shop

 

See?  Lots of stuff.  Hopefully, I won’t be so bad about posting pictures and updates from now on.  *scuffs toe*  Sorry, guys.  ❤

Etsy shop up and running

Short little post just to say that I finally got my Etsy shop up and running!  The only thing I have available right now are my slouchy beanie hats, but I’ll be adding some necklaces here in the next couple of weeks or so, as  soon as I get my merchandise and photos back from the lovely young lady who’s modeling the necklaces and photographing them for me.  Do me a favor and check out my meager little shop if you get a chance, please and thank you, and let me know how everything looks.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignsByGray

 

Thanks, guys!  <3<3

Exciting News

Facebook Cover

 

This is my new banner for my Facebook page, located here, and I will have one very similar for my new Etsy page when it opens.  I am very fortunate to have such wonderful friends, as one of my co-workers has a daughter who is trying to break into the modeling world.  Janette is a beautiful young lady, full of life and spirit, and her photos always make me laugh or smile.  Which is why I am super duper excited to be able to say that not only has this lovely girl agreed to take pictures of my necklaces for my Etsy store (she’s a very good photographer), but she’s also going to model them in one of her own photoshoots!  I should have the results of all this by next weekend, so no photos to post just yet of the new necklaces I’ve made.  But hopefully soon!

 

And yes, I know, this blog post was painfully short, but I was so excited about this, I just had to share it with everyone!

Playing Katsup. Yes, It’s Messy.

I know I’ve been gone for a while thanks to some icky happenings over the summer and a rough start to the school year, but I’m back now, and hopefully better than ever.  I still miss my sweet Bugg, and I still tear up and cry when I unexpectedly come across a picture of her or remember something particularly sweet she used to do.  But the point is, I’m healing, and I’m finding ways to celebrate the joy she brought to my family with her life, rather than mourning her death.  In a (perhaps) misguided attempt to honor Bugg’s memory, I had decided to volunteer at the local Humane Society so I could better help other kitties who didn’t have the loving homes that my sweet girl did.  However, I went to orientation and training, and during the walk-through tour, met two beautiful babies and fell in love.

I ended up going back the next day and adopting them; a pair of sisters and littermates, just over 3-months old.  They are fluffy and fuzzy and cute and playful and so wonderfully different in every way from my Bugg, and yet, in their own way, are such a comfort to us at the same time.  Needless to say, I never did go back to finish my volunteer training.  I figured that if I was going to fall in love with a new baby every time I went to the Humane Society to volunteer, my husband would end up kicking me (and my brood of cats) out of the house.  In an attempt to save him from having to make that terrible choice, I’ve decided not to volunteer at this time, though it is certainly an option that I’m keeping open if there ever comes a time when I won’t be so susceptible to those beautiful, broken hearts.

Stormy and Tempest 9 1 13

This is Stormy and Tempest on the first day we brought them home, curled up together and crammed into the tiniest space they could findHere they are on their second day home, looking a little more relaxedHere they are on their second day home, looking a little more relaxedTempest 9 23 2013         Tempest, laying on my lap during her first week home. (Notice the shaved belly from her surgery?)Stormy 9 23 2013Stormy, making the cat condo her ownStormy and Tempst, hogging the blanket on my bed       Stormy and Tempest, hogging the blanket on my bed

Then, I went back to work in the middle of August, only to find that my dear friend and co-worker, Kathy, has had a relapse of cancer and has decided not to come back to work.  She’s planning on rolling her Long-Term Disability leave directly into her retirement; which, I mean, good for her, since she needs to rest and heal… but yuck for those of us who have been left behind at work.  We’ve had to deal with a whole slew of substitute teachers while she’s away, including a long-term sub who – for reasons unknown – doesn’t seem to like myself or the other lady in my classroom.  It has been an uphill battle since this long-term sub came to work with us, and while I won’t be so obnoxious to say that it’s all her fault, I will say that she definitely wasn’t open to compromise.  She wants everything her way, right now, and we aren’t allowed to explain how we’ve done things for the last 15 years, or to offer any suggestions or advice, because, according to her, ‘this is her classroom now and things change so we’d better get used to it.’

ANYWAY; sorry for the rant.

To add to the mess, somewhere in there my great-aunt passed away, my sister-in-law had spinal surgery, and my dad was in the hospital, 72 hours away from death, and had to have 8 inches of his colon removed.  Oh, and I turned 32, my son turned 14, my husband turned 43, and we had a couple of holidays in there, too.  If all of that isn’t a good enough excuse for my prolonged absence, well then…. pffft to you, I say!

And yet, somehow, I’ve managed to find a way to crochet.  A LOT.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get pictures of everything I made, as several things were Christmas gifts and I was rather rushed there toward the end, due to everything that was going on all at once.

First off, I finished the circle shawl for my mom:

6 14 13

Then I experimented with a purse (that got relegated to the back of my closet) and a change purse (that I use on a daily basis):

8 3 2013 001

It’s certainly cute, but not really practical for day-to-day

8 3 2013 002

The coin purse is actually quite large, but it’s cute, and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it

And then I made a LOT of bookmarks:

8 3 2013 003

8 5 13 010

8 5 13 012

8 5 13 011

8 5 13 009

And then I made a black lace shrug:

I didn't use a pattern with this, aside from the motif patterns that I used from MyPicot.com.  Also, I later added a silver button in the shape of a sun to help hold the front closed

I didn’t use a pattern with this, aside from the motif patterns that I used from MyPicot.com. Also, I later added a silver button in the shape of a sun to help hold the front closed

After that I made a lot of things for Christmas gifts, including several orders that had been placed for my Cloche-Inspired Slouchy Beanie hat that I had to finish so other people could give them as gifts.  I also made several different types of doilies to give to some of my family members, but, alas, didn’t take pictures of them.

Recently, I’ve been making a lot of jewelery, and as I’ve recently discovered that I can crochet with jewelry wire, I’ve been doing a LOT of experimenting with wire-and-bead necklaces.

A 3-strand tiered, stone necklace

A 3-strand tiered, stone necklaceBlack Braided NecklaceBlack Braided Necklace3-strand tiered necklace                      3-strand tiered necklaceMy first attempt at a bead braided wire necklaceMy first attempt at a bead braided wire necklaceMy second attempt at a braided wire necklaceMy second attempt at a braided wire necklace

 

And somewhere along the way, I decided to chop off 11 inches of hair and donate it to Locks of Love:

Final

 

And my daughter asked me to dress her up and do her hair for her first Junior High dance at school (insert proud mommy moment):

It absolutely kills me how grown up she is!

It absolutely kills me how grown up she is!

Aaaaand…. that’s about it from me.  I’m in the process of trying to open an Etsy shop, but I’ve no idea if it’ll ever actually happen or not.  Stay tuned to find out!  And to those of you who are still hanging in there with me, thank you SO much for being so patient with my long absence while I sorted things out in my personal life.  You’ll never know how much your support has meant to me these last few months.  As this is my last post of 2013, I would like to conclude by wishing you all the very best, brightest, and happiest of years in 2014.  You are all amazing and wonderful people, and even if I don’t know you personally, and I’m not fortunate enough to call you a ‘real life’ friend, please know that you are valued, and some crazy lady in a desert state thinks the world of your kindness.

Be well, my friends, and Happy New Year.

 

A Recent Lack of Gray

I’m sorry for my recent absence lately.  My cat, Bugg, has been sick, but we didn’t know until this past Saturday morning just how sick she was.  I took her to the vet first thing Friday morning because something was definitely off with her; they drew blood for a full blood work panel and in the meantime gave me fluids to give her via subcutaneous injection so she didn’t get dehydrated and special food to tempt her back into eating.  (This is only a very quick synopsis, but she had been acting strangely for a while.  However, she was still affectionate with all of us, and didn’t complain or seem to be in pain when either petted or picked up, so we figured it was just a bug or something.)

I woke up Saturday morning to my husband telling me that my sweet girl was dead.  She hadn’t even made it through the night.  The vet called later in the morning to give me the results of Bugg’s labwork; based on the numbers that came back and without any sort of imaging scans to back this up, they’re guessing that she had an advanced form of gastrointestinal cancer that had already spread to most if not all of her major organs.  There was nothing we could have done for her at that late stage anyway, except euthanize her; and she died in peace in her sleep, at home, where she was most comfortable and knew she was loved.

I don’t have the words to express how I’m feeling right now, and if I try, I’m going to end up sobbing all over my keyboard and my family has seen me crying enough already when we buried my sweet girl in the back yard.  So.  I’d like to share some pictures of Bugg.  I know that none of you will lover her little black nose and fluffy pillow-ness like I did, but she was a beautiful cat, even if she was a bit of a snot on occasion.  And the name, Bugg?  It’s short for Buggle Snuddy, which is Snuggle Buddy with the first letters interchanged; and that was exactly what she was.  She was my snuggle buddy in every way possible; we called her our ‘Comfort Kitty’ because if any of us were hurting or sick or upset, she was right there, meowing quietly at us as if to reassure us that she was there and she loved us; and if we were lying down and feeling icky, she was curled up at our sides until we were feeling better.  She would lay in my hair at night, and would be quite vocal about it if I didn’t first spread my hair out over my pillow for her to lay on.  She hogged my pillow and would dig her claws into my scalp if I dared to move; but I loved it because her little black nose was right by my ear every night and I would fall asleep to the sound of her purring.  She would wake me up in the morning by laying on my chest and stomach and purring just as loudly as she could, then when I got up, would prance to her food bowl like, “Oh good, you’re awake.  Now you can feed me.”  She was stubborn and ornery and sweet and occasionally she was a scaredy-cat; but she was my stubborn, ornery, sweet little scaredy-cat and I loved her.

It’s almost a week later, and I’m still crying over this cat.  I’ve always thought I would be one of those people who could move on easily when a pet dies; and now I don’t know how I could ever have been so callous as to think that.  My sweet girl is gone, and all I want is to have her comforting weight in my lap again so I can tell her goodbye and how much I love her.  She will always, always, be in my heart and my memories, and in this way, I know that I will never lose her.  But I’m not going to hear her meowing at me anymore when I’m sick, or feel the weight of her on my chest or in my hair at night; and oddly, it’s the little things that I always thought annoyed me that I miss the most about my Bugg.

Bugg as a kitten with her toy cat

Bug as a kitten, sleeping in my lap

 

Bugg was the only cat I’ve ever known who would happily sleep on her back and roll over for belly rubs

Bugg LOVED to sleep in the sinks. Or in boxes or bags or any other small space she could cram herself into and still be close to us.

 

Bugg-In-A-Basket

“Leave me alone, mom. I are sleepin’.”

 

See what I mean about that cute black nose?

Please forgive my lack of crafting; my motivation hasn’t been the best.  Also, I was nominated for three more awards, and I promise I will get around to them.  But I need time to grieve and heal first, and I beg your indulgence while I mourn.

A Girl And Her (Crochet) Addiction

A lot has happened in the past few weeks, but as I always seem to be busy, you’re probably getting pretty tired of hearing that.  So, I’ll skip over all the boring details and just give a quick run down.  First, my final choir concert of the year went very well; the kids got a lot of compliments, and several parents made a point of approaching me to say how much they enjoyed the concerts and how much their children enjoy choir.  Second, my daughter performed in the school’s talent show with her friend Maya, and they did very well together.  And finally, I am – at last – on summer break.  Hallelujah!  Just in case you missed it, I’ll say that again.  HALLELUJAH!!  This means that I have more time for other things, like crafting!  (Also for cleaning, which I don’t like as much.  I actually cleaned the bathroom today.  I know.  I’m in shock too.)

Ahem.  That is all.  I’ll get to the crafty bits now, since that’s doubtless what you’re waiting for.

5 23 13 003First, I finished this a couple of weeks ago and have been wearing it out and about and all over the place, and have gotten so many compliments on it and even an order for one in black ‘whenever I get time to get around to making it.’  O_O  This is the Quinty lace shrug, and I got the pattern from Berniolies Designs on Etsy.  Of course, the exact pattern is no longer available in her shop, but there is likely another very similar to it.  Unless you can sell the same thing multiple times on Etsy… I don’t know anything about that site, so you might very well find the Quinty lace shrug after all.  Who knows?

Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve managed to finish, as I’ve been ridiculously busy the last couple weeks.  However, I do have two WIPs currently going.  The first is a little hoodie jacket for myself.  It’s going to be hideous – I can already tell – but the yarn is soft and comfy, and I just want something to wear around the house or even at work, because my husband and my coworkers alike seem to enjoy setting the air conditioner to sub-zero temperatures.

6 4 13 002See what I mean about it being hideous?  The self-striping would be really pretty in a blanket or something, but in a jacket it just looks messy.  Still, I don’t mind; I’m not going for fashion with this one, I’m going for comfort and, above all, warmth!  Also, that little bit off to the right there is part of an unfinished sleeve.  I still have to finish it, make the second sleeve, attach them, make the hood and attach it, crochet a cuff all the way around the body and the hood, and add a zipper.  I’m thinking this is going to take me a while.  I’m also thinking that I’m going to need more of this hideous (but wonderfully soft and comfy) self-striping rainbow yarn.

And finally, remember that half-circle shawl I was making my mom for Mother’s Day that looked like this?

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Well, I’ve managed to mess it up, and I decided that the colors weren’t right.  Plus, the yarn is really bulky and not exactly something I can see comfortably wearing.  Ever.  So, this has been scrapped (seriously, it’s in a pile waiting to be ripped out and reused for something less icky), and it now looks like……

 

 

 

 

6 4 13 001  ….this!  See?  Much prettier, and more light weight, too!  Obviously, I didn’t get it done for Mother’s Day, but she knows that she has something in the works from me, and she also knows how busy I’ve been and how picky I am about gifts being as near to perfect as I can get them.  So…. I’ve got a little bit of leeway on this one, thank goodness.

One final thing before I leave you… I am now on DeviantArt, if any of you would like to pop on over and follow me or favorite any of my work.  Thank  you!  Also, I’m not sure why, but WordPress seems insistent on jumbling up my post.  First the pictures are cascading one right after the after in an almost domino effect, then there’s so much space between them that a jumbo jet could land there!  Maybe it’s just me and it’s only acting up because I’m tired.    *shrug*

So, that’s it from me, fellow crocheters/knitters/crafters/bloggers!  I hope your days and weeks are and have been wonderful!  Until next time…. Bye!

Leibster Award Part Deux

I honestly don’t know how I managed to miss it, but on May 7th, I was nominated for another Leibster Blog Award.  (And then I started to make my post WEEKS ago, got busy, and had to save it as a draft.  Now I’m finally finishing it.)  I can not believe my obliviousness sometimes.  *takes a moment of silence to curse her own idiocy*  Nat over at Storm in a B-Cup was kind and thoughtful enough to nominate me for this award, and I somehow managed to completely overlook it.  (Didn’t I tell you I’d been busy?  Now you can see HOW busy, that I would let something like this get past me without thanking the person who nominated me OR participating with my own nominees.  SHEESH!)

liebster-blog-award1

The idea of the Leibster Award is to recognise cool blogs, and help us all link up with each other and form a community.  Here’s the rules for accepting a Liebster Award:

The Rules:

1. List 11 random facts about yourself

2. Nominate 11 other bloggers, and link to their blogs

3. Notify the bloggers of their nomination

4. Ask 11 questions for your nominees to answer

5. Answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you, thank them for the nomination, and link back to their blog

11 Random Facts About Me

1.  I’ll choose Australian and/or British television shows over American every time.

2.  My family hasn’t had cable or network television in years.  We watch Netflix, instead.

3.  My family takes a trip to DisneyLand once every two years; we’ve been three times so far, and we learn/see something new every time we go.

4. I refuse to watch mainstream news, and prefer to stay informed through my husband.  I figure, if there’s something I need to know about, he’ll tell me.

5. I am addicted to Diamond Candles, especially the Honeysuckle scented one.

6. I’m having a difficult time deciding on the placement of my third tattoo, despite having known what design I wanted for over a year.

7. I have 10 holes in my head; 6 on the left ear and 4 on the right.  I want more.

8. I used to play EverQuest and World of Warcraft and other such MMO type games, but have realized that I am much more happy as a Simmer.

9. I am mildly good at doing lots of things, but not outstandingly good at anything.  Except maybe breathing, and even then I’m sure I mess it up somehow.

10. I have worn glasses or contacts since I was in the fourth grade.

11. I’m really glad this is the last random fact about me, because I’m running out of things to say!

Questions for My Nominees

1. Do you play online games?

2. Favorite vacation you’ve already had?

3. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?

4. What is your dream job?

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

6. Apples or Oranges?

7. Do you eat breakfast?

8. Are you a pack rat, or someone who throws everything away?

9. Favorite book/author?

10. Mac or PC?

11. Do you play any instruments?  If so, which one(s), and did you take lessons?

11 Questions from Nat Answered

1. How long have you been blogging for?

Since I’ve only just rejoined the blogging world, about three months.  Before that?  Several years.  I was blogging on Windows Spaces before there was such a thing as MySpace or Facebook.

2. What other hobbies do you have outside of blogging?

I crochet, play the piano, sing, read, torment my cats and kids….

3. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Nothing about myself…. if I changed anything about me, I wouldn’t be ME anymore.  You know?  However, I would like to have a bit of money stored away for the kids when they get older.

4. What would be your “final meal” of choice?

Filet Mignon – medium and butterfly cut – with a cabernet reduction sauce, garlic potatoes, and fresh string beans or sugar snap peas.

5. What is your favourite movie?

I don’t have a favorite; I’m one of those people where I’ll watch a movie over and over and over again if I like it, then probably never pick it up again because I’ve moved on to a new ‘favorite.’

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Stupid people, lack of common courtesy or common sense, rudeness…. I’m sure you can see where this is heading.

7. When is your favourite time of year, and why?

Summer!  Swimming, relaxing, heat and sunshine, and NO SCHOOL!

8. What is the worst gift you have ever received (or been given)?

Well, I wasn’t given this gift; it was drawn from a White Elephant gift exchange at a friend’s house one Christmas.  It was a towel that was divided in half, one half was dark brown and the other half was white.  On the white side of the towel was written ‘Face,’ and on the dark brown side of the towel was written ‘Butt.’  My husband thought it was the greatest gift ever; I was glad that we didn’t end up going home with it.

9. If you could say one thing to your 16 year old self, what would it be?

“Things are going to be hard, and you’re going to make some colossal mistakes.  People are going to judge you, and for a little while, you’re going to hate yourself.  But don’t lose sight of who you are, and always remember that the opinions of small minded people don’t matter.”

10. What is your earliest memory?

Being 5 or 6 years old and living in Virginia.

11. If you were writing your autobiography, what would it be called?

“My Life in Grayscale”

My Nominees

1. Bobbles & Baubles

2. Picot by Torhild

3. Cloud CouCou Crafts

4. A Nerdy Crocheter

5. Aviena

6. BossyLisa

7. Creating Cecilia

8. Jenna Makes Things

9. C’est la Vie

10. Blue Posy

11. Crafting Delight

Thanks again for the nomination Nat.  You’re GRRRRRRRREAT!  ^_^