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.

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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:

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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):

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

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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:

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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.

 

Final Countdown

Well, okay.  I guess it’s not the final final countdown.  I’m not dying or anything.  But we’re in the single digits for our countdown to the last day of school.  Yes!!!  This much-needed break can not come quickly enough.  I am utterly, absolutely, without a doubt exhausted.  It just seems like we constantly have something going on, or somewhere we’re expected to be, or things that have to get done… it is literally never ending.  And honestly, it’s like this every year the closer we get to the last day of school.  The kids are fried, the teachers are toast, and everyone’s patience and tolerance levels are so much lower.  It’s difficult, but we’ll get through it and then we have 9 weeks of summer break to enjoy.  (That’s the bit I’m looking forward to.)

 

So, two days ago was our Celebration of Learning, and my choir was asked to perform a few songs in the library so as to show parents and other students what we’re all about, and to provide a bit of entertainment as they’re walking around and looking at all the displays.  The kids did a phenomenal job; I am so proud of them, I could burst.  We got a ton of compliments from parents, teachers, and other students, and I had about two dozen approach me to tell me that they would be joining choir next year.  This is EXCELLENT!  Then yesterday was our Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, sponsored and hosted by the wonderful ladies of our PTO.  We were each given an insulted purple lunchbox with the phrase, “Ironwood School ROCKS!” emblazoned across the front in bright yellow.  I love it.  I brought it home and scrawled my name on the inside in permanent marker almost as soon as I walked through the door.  The lunchbox was filled was yummy treats like candy bars, Cheez-its, a Rice Krispies treat, and even a Smencil (scented pencil) that smelled like Peppermint!  Unfortunately, I had to leave the luncheon early to get to my CPR/First Aid re-certification class on time, but I got through that with relatively no bumps or bruises, though I did volunteer to let the teacher splint me for a broken wrist.  And, plus side, I get paid for my time in the class.

 

Next Thursday is our official choir concert, and Friday is the school’s Talent Show – in which my daughter is performing and so is the choir – and then it’s only Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week before WE.ARE.DONE!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be so close to the end of this year.  It’s gone by fast, but the days themselves have been long.

 

In other news, I have been crocheting like a madwoman and would like to enter a couple of things into the Woolhogs May Made It Challenge.  First up is the doily I crocheted for my Mother-In-Law for Mother’s Day.

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This is the first 11 rounds of the Thistledown Doily, found on this page.  There’s a LOT of really pretty patterns there, and not just for doilies!

Next up is the Diamonds Shawl that I crocheted for my Secret Buddy at work.  I have been working on this thing for MONTHS, but it’s so gorgeous and perfect for our Arizona desert weather, and I’m just glad that I managed to finish the thing without taking a butcher knife to it at least once.

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Heidi really seemed to like it, so I’m glad about that (that’s her in the first photo, wearing her new shawl).  It’s actually quite long – so much so that it’s longer than my kitchen table.

 

Well, fellow bloglanders, that’s about it from my little corner of the world.  I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far, and I will see you again when I have more projects to share and/or more tales about my life to bore you with.

Weekend Funsies and a WIP

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First, I would like to show off my newest WIP – the Diamonds Shawl from Kristin Omdahl’s book, “Crochet So Fine.”  This shawl is taking FOREVER to do, but in the end, I think it’s going to be worth it.  Lightweight and airy, which is perfect for desert weather, and a lovely pattern that can be dressed up or down, depending upon the situation.  I’m looking forward to finishing it.  Below is a closer picture of the shawl pattern.

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Yesterday, Dean and I took the kidlets to the Renaissance Festival for a day of just being out and about with the family.  He and I are great big nerds, and we both have full costumes; but we’ve never bought outfits for the kids because they’d wear them once and then outgrow them before the Festival ever came back to town.  SO, we rented outfits for them instead.  And, of course, I took pictures.  Here are Brendan and Alyssa first in their costumes – he as a noble boy and she as a peasant maiden, then Alyssa and I – I’m a belly dancer, and finally Dean and Brendan – Dean is a nobleman.

Brendan And Alyssa  Alyssa and Robin  Dean and Brendan

 

We had a lot of fun at the Festival, though we did miss the Falconry show.  However, we got to see the lads of Tartanic, and finally managed to buy a CD.  It’s already been copied to the computers and downloaded to all the various and sundry iPods/iPhones to be listened to at our leisure.  Also, we all got souvenirs of our time at the Festival, though I only got a couple of pictures.  Dean’s got a running collection of mugs from every year at the Ren Faire starting with 2005, so he picked up a 2013 mug as well as a silver flask and holder to add to his costume’s belt.  Both of the kids picked up a necklace of their choosing, plus Brendan picked out a plain wooden sword that he’s now started to paint, and Alyssa chose a lovely blue and green leather mask.  I actually picked up a whole new costume – more gypsy and less belly dancer this time – but I couldn’t get a decent photo of me in it.  So, you get a picture of my new hair spiral, instead.  I fell in love with the hair wraps years ago and have always made it my goal to get a hair wrap every year that we go to the Renaissance Festival.  The only thing I don’t like about them is that they only last for about 3 months, and when you want/need to take it out, you have to cut your hair because the thread is glued in.  With the hair spiral, I basically get the same effect, but the spiral can be removed and put back in at will, with no damage (or CUTTING) done to my hair.

Alyssa's Mask  Hair Spiral

 

Now the kids and husband are all in bed, and I’m headed that way myself in order to prepare for work in the morning (blech!).  And thus our weekend funsies come to a close.  How was your weekend, fellow bloggers?