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.  ❤

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.

Headband Pattern

This pattern will work for either a plain headband, a beaded headband, or the Spring Flower headband.  If you’re making a beaded headband, string your beads onto your thread before beginning your project.  If making a plain headband or the Spring Flower Headband, nothing needs to be done in preparation.

Materials

  • 1 elastic hair pony
  • C/2 – 2.75mm crochet hook
  • Embroidery thread (in color of your choice)
  • Needle to sew in ends
  • Clear nail polish (optional – helps to keep the ends of thread from fraying)
  • Beads, flowers, or other decoration of your choice

Abbreviations

Sl St – Slip Stitch

Dc – Double Crochet

Rep – Repeat

Dc2Tog – Double Crochet 2 Together (decrease)

sts – stitches

C1 – Color 1

C2 – Color 2

hdc – Half Double Crochet

tr – Treble Crochet

Headband Instructions

Row 1:  Sl St into hair pony, ch 3, Dc 9 times into hair pony (10 sts across).  Turn

Row 2:  Ch 3, 9 dc across (10 sts). Turn.

Row 3-4:  rep row 2

Row 5:  Ch 3, dc2tog, dc in next 5 sts, dc 2 tog.  Turn.  (decrease x 2)

Row 6-7:  Ch 3, dc 7 across (8 sts).  Turn.

Row 8:  Ch 3, dc2tog, dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog.  Turn.  (decrease x 2)

Row 9-13:  Ch 3, dc 5 across (6 sts).  Turn.

Row 14-50:  Ch 3, 4 beaded dc, dc in last st.  Turn.  (If you’re not using beads on your headband, continue doing 6 dc across with no change.)

Row 51-55:  Ch 3, 5 dc across (6 sts).  Turn.  (No beads on these rows.)

Row 56:  Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as ch3, 1 dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in last st.  Turn.  (Increase x 2)

Row 57-58:  Ch 3, dc 7 across (8 sts).  Turn.

Row 59:  Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as ch 3, 1 dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in last st.  Turn.  (Increase x 2)

Row 60-61:  Ch 3, dc 9 across (10 sts).  Turn.

Row 62:  Sl st around hair pony and into headband 10 times (once in each st).  Fasten off and tie in ends.  Coat ends of thread/knot in clear nail polish to help prevent fraying.

 

Flower Instructions

Row 1:  With C1, dc 7 times into magic circle.  Pull circle closed, fasten, and tie off.

Row 2:  Join C2 with a sl st to any space BETWEEN 2 dc’s.  Ch 3, hdc, tr, hdc, dc into same sp as joining st.  Sl st to join the petal to the circle.  *Sl st into next space, ch 3, hdc, tr, hdc, dc, sl st in same sp.  Repeat from * all the way around.  Fasten and tie off.  (6 petals)

 

Now sew the flowers to the body of the headband using C1.  Use clear nail polish on the ends of the thread and/or the knot to help prevent unraveling and fraying.

Spring Hand-Flower

I don’t know if I’m allowed to enter two things into the Woolhogs Made It contest or not, but I finished the bracelet that matches the Spring Headband I made for my daughter.  Except… it’s a bit more than just a bracelet.  It’s actually a hand-flower; so a cuff around the wrist, and then a triangle that goes down the back of the hand and is connected to a ring that goes on the middle finger.  Some of you may remember a few posts ago, I talked about how my husband and I took our kids to the Renaissance Festival, and how we’re great big nerdlings and dress up every year.  I have a pair of chain mail hand-flowers that I bought from the Renaissance Festival several years ago, so this was inspired by that.  No pattern yet, but maybe if it’s popular I’ll sit down and write one out.

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It’s not real clear in the picture – my iPhone doesn’t take the best pictures, I’m afraid – but either end is actually done with chain mail and finished off with a circular lobster clasp (I don’t know what else to call the thing, sorry.  O_O).  Turns out it’s a little too big on my daughter, so I’m going to revisit it tomorrow and take out some of the chain mail pieces to make it a little smaller.  Actually, it’s too big on me, too, so I’m thinking that this revisiting thing is going to be interesting.  ^_^

 

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This is my hand you see here, and while the cuff is fastened on the underside of my wrist, there’s also quite a bit tucked under my arm to try and hide just how big it was on me.  Still came out cute, I think, and it’s lightweight and comfortable.  I think I might try to make another of these, but with beads next time instead of flowers.

So.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Suggestions?  All are welcome and appreciated!

Spring Headband

I haven’t posted anything for a while, and there are a couple of factors that have contributed to that.  One, is that I’ve been crocheting so much recently that my left pinky has gotten quite sore.  I’ve been taking a little bit of a break and only crocheting here and there to give myself a bit of time off.  Secondly is that we are coming up on the end of our school year, and everything seems to be exploding.  This whole week is AIMS testing (blarg on standardized testing, but we won’t go there), and as a classroom aide, I have been proctoring in a 4th grade classroom, and will continue to do so until Thursday.  Basically, I’m just another pair of eyes to make sure no one is cheating, and another pair of hands to pass out pencils, scratch paper, tissues, and to collect test sheets.  I really don’t do much, but for some reason, AIMS week wears me out completely.

Added to that, my daughter’s 6th grade trip to Catalina is coming up this Sunday, and I am one of the chaperons.  While I am looking forward to it, I’m not anywhere near ready.  I’m not packed, I need to get both my daughter and myself new swimsuits (blarg, again), make sure we have all the necessary items, fill out all the proper chaperon-y paperwork, etc.  It’s enough to make my head asplode.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve got new kids joining choir every day and don’t have nearly enough music folders for all of them.  Our Area Choir Festival is next Monday, and I have busted my rear to get these kids ready for it; but I won’t be able to go and direct them as I’ll be in Catalina and will be leaving my part up to another teacher.  My end of the year choir concert is next month, and we haven’t begun learning our songs for that as we’ve been focused on the festival music.  PLUS we’re singing two songs at the school’s talent show.

…..and people wonder why I want to take up drinking as a side hobby.

The whole point of this post (sorry about the tangent, guys… guess I needed to rant a bit) was to say that I finally completed a project!  YAY!  This is the Spring Headband, made for my daughter, Alyssa, and I am entering it into the WoolHogs April Made It contest.

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Yes, it’s simple, but it’s my first entry ever and I think it’s cute.  So does my daughter, which is really all that matters.  I had some leftovers flowers that were originally intended for the headband, but they made it look to cluttered so I think I’m going to make a bracelet with them.  I guess we’ll see what happens.

Two Bracelets and Weekend Shenanigans

It seems like I have been working on this Diamonds shawl foreveeerrrrrrrr, and as I’m getting rather tired of looking at it (shame on you, Gray), I decided to do some quick and easy bracelet experiments just to give myself something different to do.

I’ve recently come into possession of about 100 or so small silver studs and haven’t yet found a use for them.  Additionally, I’ve been wanting to make a bracelet or two that I can wear on Fridays, which are my school’s Spirit day and all the teachers wear our school colors.  Well, I mixed the two ideas together today and came up with the Circles Bracelet:

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It’s purple and yellow (yes, those really are my school colors) and it has the studded accents in the middle of each circle with a toggle closure.  It’s a neat idea and I think the bracelet turned out super cute, but sewing all those circles together about drove me insane.  I think I’m going to keep searching for a less crazy-inducing way of making my school spirit bracelets.

The second bracelet I made was just a simple single crochet bracelet with hematite seed beads.  I’d bought a ton of beads quite some time ago, thinking I would make a bunch of bracelets and such with them.  Then i realized that the crochet thread I had at the time was far too big for the bitty little seed beads, so that idea was scrapped.  Until now.  I went to JoAnne’s today and found – taa daa! – embroidery thread!  I don’t know why I never thought to use it instead of crochet thread for jewelry, but better late than never, right?  Anyway, it’s the perfect size for the seed beads, so I wasted no time in trying it out.  Here is the result of that experiment:

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Sorry about my hand being in the picture; I couldn’t get the bracelet to lay flat unless it was around my wrist.

In other news, I am a great big bum.  I have done nothing but laundry and dishes all weekend.  Well, aside from crocheting, of course.  Hopefully I’ll get some motivation and actually do something around the house before I have to go back to work again on Monday.

Psssh.  Yeah, right.