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

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!)

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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!  ^_^

Playing Catch Up

Whoo!  The last few  weeks have been ridiculously busy.  I’ve barely even had time to breathe (or pee by myself), let alone post about crochet projects.  First up, let’s catch you all up on what’s been going on in the life of Gray, shall we?  (Because you’re all so interested in the inner workings of my life, I’m sure.  *insert sarcastic eye roll here*  Just bear with me… I promise I’ll get to the crochet stuff.  Eventually.)

Three weeks ago, I accompanied my daughter and her 6th grade class on their Catalina, California field trip.  It was 8 hours of bus ride, 3 hours of ferry ride, and two and a half days of corralling 6th graders and reminding them to behave like humans instead of animals.  There were sick kids to contend with, scheduling conflicts with instructors, asthma attacks, snorkeling adventures, octopuses (octopi?  Isn’t that the plural for octopus?  Stupid spell check says it wrong.  OCTOPI.  Take that, spell check.  TAKE.THAT.), and so much more.  I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked due to only having my iPhone with me, and the battery constantly dying because it was searching for a non-existent signal at CIMI (Catalina Island Marine Institute).  I did manage to get a few pictures, so here are those.

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This is my daughter and I together, just after the 8 hour long bus ride, during the two hour long wait for the ferry, and before the three hour long ferry ride to the island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0752And this is me and my friend Mallory, who is a 2nd grade teacher at the same school I work at.  She and her husband were two of the eight chaperons we had on the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0763Here is Alyssa with Mallory and Mrs. Lok, who is Alyssa’s 6th grade teacher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And these are just some of the random pictures I took.  One is a picture of our dorm – it used to be a military training facility.  And another is the bison that kept coming down into camp, despite how many times workers and instructors kept shoo’ing it away.  He’d lay down in the sandbox and look at us with these huge eyes like, “What?  I belong here, too.”  We couldn’t approach him or anything, but it added another level of ‘cool’ to the trip for the kids.

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And this…. this is the coolest octopus I have ever seen.  (Not that I’ve seen many.)  She’s a Red Octopus, and is – according to our instructor – one of the most poisonous and deadly species of octopi.  She would hang out around the top of her tank and – I kid you not – I could have stood there for hours just watching her.  But every time I moved, she would swim right up in front of me, like she was staring at me, and go from this pale yellow color to a deep red – almost purple – and pop out these spikes all over her body.  Then I’d just stand still for a minute and she’d go back to her natural pale yellow and start swimming around her tank again, but the second I moved, she’d be right back in front of me and that dark red again.  COOLEST.THING.EVER.

 

 

Me and Yoder

After I got back from the Catalina trip, I’ve had music gigs up and down and all over the place.  Monday night, I had a three and a half hour band practice after working all day – I didn’t get home until after 9:30pm.  I was EXHAUSTED.  Then Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I played the piano for the local high school’s Ice Cream Social (hence the three and a half hour band practice on Monday.  It was the only night we could all get together before the Social).  To make matters worse the choir teacher at the high school is retiring at the end of this school year, so Friday was his last concert.  I BAWLED.  It was horrible.  Anyway, the theme of the social was Country and Western, so here is a picture of myself and Mr. Yoder (the high school choir teacher) on Friday night.  He looks quite authentic.  I, however, don’t.  It was the best I could do on short notice and with no budget.  I’m not exactly a Country and Western sort of girl.

9th AnniversaryWednesday night (yes, the same night as the Ice Cream Social), Dean and I celebrated our 9th Anniversary.  Well, okay, we didn’t do much actual celebrating on Wednesday, but it was our Anniversary.  We went out to a very nice dinner together on Saturday, instead, at the same restaurant where he proposed to me.  It’s our tradition to go to this place, with the same server (who we absolutely adore), for our anniversary every year.  What can I say, we’re creatures of habit.  It’s a black tie sort of place, so this is Dean and I all dressed up and ready to hit the town.

And that’s about it.  You are now all caught up on the Life of Gray!  Don’t you feel ever so much better?  ^_^  Now, ON TO THE CRAFTING!

First, I’m still working on that Diamonds shawl.  It’s taking ages, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I’ve only got 11 more rows, and then I am FINISHED with this thing.  WOO!  I’ll post pictures once it’s done.

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Second, I finished a coin purse for my coworker.  She loaned us her carpet cleaner machine thingie, so I’ve made her this coin purse as a thank you.  Unfortunately, the zipper I bought was a little too small for the opening, but at least it’s sturdy, and the bag is fully lined.  I hope she likes it; it’s the first time I’ve ever installed a zipper on one of my crochet pieces.

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And third, I started working on a new circle shawl for Mother’s Day for my mom.  I can only hope that I’ll manage to finish it, what with all the other projects I’ve got lined up to work on , too.

Well, that’s it from me, fellow BlogLanders!  I’m off to bed to prepare for another exciting day at work.  Yipee.  Plus side?  Only three more full weeks until Summer Break.  YES!