Friday, December 31, 2010

It's been a busy year

A little over a year ago in 2009 I picked up a crochet set and a lesson book and started creating projects. I spent the first few months creating very plain boring dish cloths and potholders. Most of which are in a box in my house. Way too many for me to use but now are making great gifts for my friends.

As 2010 began I started creating more specific projects. I didn't realize until i created this collage how many projects I finished. So, as I end 2010 and start writing up my Top 10 of 2010, I thought I would share a collage of my work.  This isn't even everything.  This is just everything I managed to remember to take a picture.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review -- Your Assignment

Your Assignment should you choose to accept it is as follows:

Do not focus on what you promised yourself
Do not focus on the things on your resolution list that you did not accomplish

DO Make a Top 10 list for 2010 -- List anything and everything that is an accomplishment. Did you lose 5 pounds instead of 50. Scratch the 50, focus on the 5

Come up with AT LEAST 10 items
If you have more good but list at least 10 good things that you can focus on about this past year.

Check back tomorrow for my Top 10 list.

Crochet Awakenings: GRANNY STRIPE TA-DAH

This is a really beautiful blanket. I'd really like to make one like this this year. I love Attic24 and all her patterns

Crochet Awakenings: GRANNY STRIPE TA-DAH: "Hello everyone!!! (the first part of this post is an almost exact copy of my post on the We Love Lucy forum on Ravelry) GRANNY STRIPE MAD..."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Little Flower Square

Came across this pattern on Ravelry recently. It's a practice square for the 2011 Block-A-Month (BAM) Crochet-Along (CAL) group.


I think I may use it to create a new baby blanket for our church nursery. Only problem is that I'll need like 20 or 30 little squares depending on how big or small I want the blanket. Wow that's a lot of squares. I don't know what is harder - 30 squares or making one by just making increasing rounds like here or here

Another Finished Project -- Christmas Wreath

When I went home to Pittsburgh for Christmas, I noticed my Mom had a cool crochet Christmas Wreath magnet on her refrigerator.

The color I chose as the background is pretty hideous.
original wreath

I decided it was a simple looking project and something that I can recreate.
I took many photos while I was creating it and will be uploading the pattern very soon.

Instead of a magnet I decided to create an ornament and added a short chain so that it can be hung somewhere.
Here is the finished project. What do you think?

I think I should've use something other than a red bead. It's really hard to see it in some spots.
Finished wreath

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finished Project - polygon ornaments

I'm still working on the instructions but I thought I would share the finished product. I took detailed pictures so I think the finished instructions will be pretty excellent.

They turned out a little big but I think they are really cute.

This is the "front" of the ornament

This is the "back" of the ornament.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sneak Peak - Polygon Ornament

Here's a sneak peak at a new ornament I'm working on.
I meant to create a hexagon but ended up with a polygon -- Whee!

I want to incorporate some beads into the border. As soon as I figure that out I'll join it and write up the instructions.

In the meantime, here's the beginning of the project.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Goodness

I decided this year to create some crafts Christmas. One of my favorite craft bloggers Attic24 posted some Christmas Baubles on her site that I couldn't resist making. I stuck to her pattern without too many variations. I think my only variations is in the hanging loop and how I stitched on my beads. Below are my photos. I'm really pleased with these. I'll be giving them to my 2 bosses and my office manager as Christmas gifts.

The bottons on this one are recycled from an old blouse. They're really pretty buttons but I'm not sure they come through on the photo.

I forgot to take front/back photos of this ornament. The front button is pink. The back button is red. No reason. Just didn't have two matching red buttons.

On this one I cheated. I used Gorilla Super Glue to glue the beads. The reason? I didn't have a needle that would fit into the beads so I could sew them onto the ornament.

Here's a front photo of all three ornaments. The pink blanket background isn't very flattering.

This is the back of the ornaments.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Publishing Patterns

I think I just successfully created and published my first pattern on the Ravelry site. What's cool is for a little while, my pattern was displayed on the home page of the Ravelry site since it was a recent addition.

The pattern is for the following two projects:

Pink-Purple Blanket

Granny Pastel Blanket

Of course, these two projects and the pattern all lead back to my blog entries:
First baby blanket
Second Baby Blanket

Second Baby Blanket

This was my second attempt at a baby blanket.  The pattern for this blanket can be found in two places.

On my blog here

Or on the Ravelry site here as my first submitted pattern.

Below are pictures of the finished project.
granny pastel baby blanket

granny pastel baby blanket

granny pastel baby blanket

First Baby Blanket

I finally decided what to do with the baby blankets I have.  I have two at my house and I've been looking for a recipient.  A lovely mom in my Bible study group has adopted a sweet little baby girl.  We had a surprise baby shower for her.  I gave her one of the blankets and decided while I was there I would give her the second one the next time I see her.

Pink-purple baby blanket

This is made using a tight granny square pattern.  I'm not sure if this pattern has a name.  It is a variation on the granny square though.

Pink-purple baby blanket

You can see from the above picture that I used a basic square pattern to start and just kept working the rounds.  It's a pink/purple variegated yarn that changes from shimmering pink to shimmering purple.  Although I have to admit the picture above does make it look a little blue-ish.

I don't have photos of the step by step process, but I'm going to try and include instructions here.

Hook –
H (US 4.75mm)

Legend –
DC – US Double Chain
HDC - US Half-Double Chain
SC - Single Chain
R-SC - Reverse Since SC
SL – US Slip Stitch
CH – US chain stitch

CH. 4 and join with a Sl Stich

Rnd 1: CH 3 (counts as a DC). (2DC, CH 3) and then (3DC, CH 3) 3 times. Join with a SL (12DC total)

Rnd 2: CH 3 (counts as first DC). DC in each of the next 2 DC. In the CH 3 sp – (2DC, CH 3, 2DC). DC in each DC around. Join with a SL. (28 DC total)

Rnd 3: CH 3 (counts as first DC). DC in each of the next DC. In the CH 3 sp – (2DC, CH 3, 2DC). DC in each DC around. Join with a SL. (44 DC total)

Repeat Rnd. 3 until you have the width desired. I don’t know how big or small baby blankets are supposed to be so I created 30 RNDs.

Border: I like to just create decreasing rows so I go from DC to HDC to SC to finish off. Probably imperceptible to the recipient but it’s my little thing.

Brd 1: CH 2 (counts as first HDC). HDC in each DC. I the CH 3 sp – (2HDC, CH 3, 2HDC). DC in each DC around. Join with a SL

Brd 2: CH 1. SC in each HDC around. In the CH 3 sp – (2SC, CH 1, 2SC). SC in each DC around. Join with a SL.

Weave in all the ends.

I didn't do this for this particular blanket but I usually finish my projects using a R-SC border. This is actually the final row I like to use as a border in a lot of my projects. I think a reverse SC adds a nice ribbed looking border to a project.

Optional Brd 3: CH 1. R-SC in the last SC of the round you just completed. R-SC all the way around. In the CH 3 sp - 5RSC (no Ch 3 stitches this time). Join with a SL.

For detailed instructions on creating a R-SC, watch this video.

Below are two more pictures of the finished blanket close in.
Pink-purple baby blanket

Pink-purple baby blanket

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Publishing Projects

This week I decided it's time for me to start posting and sharing more of the things I create.  I started by posting my most recent projects on Ravelry.  I think I may write up some instructions for them and share them in the next few days.  In the meantime, check out my projects.

Scrappy Coaster

Friday, December 3, 2010

Some interesting things coming up

I have been super duper busy but haven't had time to blog about it. It's a shame that I haven't because I've been having such a blast lately. I would love to share it all with you.

In short, I did a 5K fund raising walk in November. This was really fun and I finished in record time. Well, record time for me anyway.

I've been working on some really cool Christmas gifts. I can't afford to shop for everyone so I've been busy putting my crocheting skills to work. I can't post pics of the finished products until after the gifts have been give but wait until you see. They are so pretty and I am very please with the outcomes.

I'm doing an official 5K Santa Shuffle race this coming Saturday (December 4) and will have lots to talk about afterward.

Last I just found a really great idea for some Christmas ornaments that I can make using a crochet pattern. I'm so excited because I was hoping to find something small that I can put together for some parties I am attending this month. I'm sitting here at work and all I can think about is leaving and going shopping for more yarn instead of going to the movies tonight. How crazy is that? Would you rather go to the movie or make handmade gifts? Normally I'd vote for the movie, but I just can't wait to get home and begin crafting.

So, there are lots of things to come so please come back and be prepared for lots of reading and photos.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today is Day #1

In an effort to really commit to the Pittsburgh ½ Marathon I have signed up for a fitness/runners training program. The program is 8 weeks long and begins today. It’s very reasonably priced. It consists of 2 training runs and 1 optional run a week. Without the optional run it’s only costing me about $16/session. I’m terrified and excited. I don’t feel ready at all. I walk daily and do some Wog intervals … see, there’s the problem. That word “some”. I’m not jogging or wogging daily or regularly. Some will leave me gasping, wheezing and not finishing the 1/2 marathon. May 2011 is going to be here before I know it.

So, here I go. Head first into the pool. I hope there’s water in it. I’m in a training program for the next 8 weeks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My first Official Jog-Walk

I just did my first official jog/walk today during my lunchtime break.

I my legs felt very fatigued last night so I did not do the jog/walk interval I talked about in my previous post.

So, today at lunch I did my very first C25K Jog/Walk Interval. I'm very excited and proud to report that I ran 1.31 miles in 26:21 minutes. According to my Nike+ app on my phone that calculates as a 19.58 mile pace.

Two days ago I did the same distance in 30:14 minutes. My pace that day was a solide 21 min mile.

Just be doing short jogs I was able to increase by pace by 1.5 minutes. Wow!  That's seems like a big increase.

Today was a beautiful day for it too. I went back to Lake Accotink Park. It's a really pretty area to walk.

The temperature was grand. About 70F and sunny out. I forgot to take my before/after blood sugar to see the differences. I'm curious to see what kind of difference there is.

At points during the run, I felt like my calves were on fire. I can only take about 30 minutes during lunch so I doubt I'll go much further in distance during my lunchtime runs, but I'm looking forward to tracking my progress as I get better and better at jogging.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Couch to 5K Training

As I posted previously, I have registered to compete in the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon in May 2011.

This week I have begun my training. First goal. Run a mile. I can walk a mile but I can’t run or jog hardly at all. I found a site that gives a schedule for going from couch potato to 5K runner/jogger in 8 weeks. Basically you run/walk in intervals. It’s actually called Couch-to-5K or C25K.  The intervals go like this to start with.

Week 1 Intervals
  • Five minute brisk warm-up walk
  • 60 seconds of jobbing
  • 90 seconds of walking
  • Keeping this up for 20 minutes and then doing a 5 minutes cool down walk.

While that seems pretty simple, it is not. Well, not for me. I jog for a few seconds and can barely breath and end up walking the rest of the 30 minutes.

So, this week I have been upping my walking game. I’m walking for 30 minutes but trying to walk a faster pace. I’m using my Nike+ Sensor. Yesterday I walked 30 minutes at lunch and was able to cover 1.44 miles. That’s definite improvement on what I’ve been doing on the treadmill even.

I found another source that has a suggestion for moving from couch to 5K running. This came from a book by Jeff Galloway. I’ve never heard of him but I’ve seen his articles in several running magazines (yes, I’ve started reading them online and in paper). He apparently is the source and has been running and winning marathons for a long time. His run/walk intervals look a little easier to manage so today I’m going to begin doing his method of run/walk. Here is how his intervals go.

For a 20 minute mile
  • Five minute brisk warm-up walk
  • Run 30 sec/Walk 60 sec
  • Run the last few minutes/miles of the race.

This sounds much more doable. I can certainly run for 30 seconds.  Not sure how many intervals I can do but I'm definitely going to give it a shot.

So, today after work we’ll be giving this a shot and see how things go.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crochet-Along Clue #1

I’m participating in the Bernat Mystery Crochet-Along afghan contest.  Each week Bernat publishes a pattern on their blog site.  The patterns gives the instructions but doesn’t give any pics of what a finished square will look like.  I finally got around to making Clue #1.  Below is what my square looks like.  According to the Clue #1 update, this is exactly what the square should look like so I’m on a roll.  Sort of…
I haven’t created the Clue #2 square yet but it should be easy.  It’s a granny square.  I love granny squares.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stop the Bullying – Stop the Madness

Yesterday on Twitter quite a lot of people were Tweeting about bullying. Many people commenting and responding to the tragic death of a young man who jumped off the GW Bridge in New York after his roommate filmed and then broadcasted him having sex with another man. Of course he’s not the only young person to be bullied or teased to the point of no return. There are more and more stories of young man/women who just can’t stand the taunting and pain any longer so they kill them selves or they get a gun and they just start shooting. It’s tragic on a lot of levels.

I tweeted a few myself. I remember being bullied and teased mercilessly in elementary and junior high. The faces of most of the kids who did it to me in are pretty much a blur. The bizarre thing is when one type of teasing stopped it seemed like another one just started up again. I remember screwing up a word in a spelling bee in our 5th grade classroom and the kids teased me almost non-stop for months afterwards. In 6th grade I was teased daily because of my overbite.

I remember being teased because I didn’t “bloom” when the other girls did and was one of a few girls who wasn’t yet wearing a training bra. I can’t remember if that was 6th or 7th grade but I DO remember the pain and embarrassment. I remember begging my mom to buy me one just so I’d “fit in” and the teasing would stop.

… But it didn’t…

Then I was teased to tears for not shaving my legs. Begged my mom to let me shave.

Then I was teased to tears for having a bad overbite. How many 6th graders do you know who begged for braces? I did.

Then I was teased for being a brace-face. Sigh…

Then I was teased for not having a boyfriend. Then I was teased when several of the kids thought it would be funny to send me notes pretending to be a secret admirer. Yeah, that was real funny what that all finally blew up.

One teasing would end and another would start. Something different each year until around 8th or 9th grade. I’m not sure why it stopped but that’s where my memory of the teasing ends.

It’s shocking to me to think how little help I got from my teachers. I remember kids openly teasing me in front of a teacher and he/she would say nothing. They would just look the other day. My parents tried to help but honestly that just made the teasing worse – “Ooh, you Mommy had to come to school. Big Baby….” In that sing-songy way that bullies do. By not saying anything, the teachers were basically telling the bullies it’s OK.

It’s NOT OK. It was NEVER OK.

The point is this all happened to me years ago and when I think about it still it hurts as much now as it did then.  It's like a knife sticking into my chest and I can't breath for a moment. The effects of the teasing have affected my life in ways that no one realizes. I have self-esteem issues that go all the way back to elementary school.  I expect very little from people.  Expect negativity from people.  I'm surprised when people are good and nice.  That's so backward, right?

I don’t know what the answer is, but something has to change. Parents have to do a better job with their kids. Schools have to do a better job with discipline and punishment of bullies and bullying behavior. Parents and Schools have to send a message to kids that it’s OK to be different and it’s not OK to make fun of people who are different.

We can’t let kids in school be bullied/teased to tears. We can’t accept that it’s OK to film your college roommate and broadcast it world-wide because he’s a fag.

We just can’t

The madness has to stop.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Starting today, we begin training for a half-marathon.

It's a marathon!  OK... it's a 1/2 Marathon.  That's 13 miles.

OMG. What have I done? I must be crazy. You’d have to be crazy, right? Well, what’s done is done.

I signed up to run/walk the 2011 Pittsburgh Half-Marathon.

I’m excited. I’m freaked. I’m nervous – already?!? FCOL the race is 8 months away. I can do this, right? Right!

OMG – what have I done?

I’ve never done anything more than a 5K.  I haven't even done a 10K yet. Why am I doing a ½ Marathon?

I blame Kristin.  It's her fault.    :-)  One of my high school alums in The Burgh is doing it and we’ve been talking about it (via FB and e-mail) so I thought I would give it a shot. I currently can walk a mile in about 2 min. I don’t jog.  Not even a little bit.  The last time I ran, I was dreaming I was being chased.

I’ve got all sorts of training materials to help me get up to jogging – books, podcasts, e-newsletters, couch-to-5K/10K podcasts, nike sport fob (whatever that thing is called)– but I haven’t begun to use any of it. AT ALL.

The last 2 5Ks I signed up for, I slept in and skipped. (LOSER)

So, the deed is done.

No more excuses.

No more slacking.

Starting today, we begin training for a half-marathon.

Now, where did I putting my shoes?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brrrr ... Is it Winter already?

My company moved into a new office building. It's newer, prettier and has better electrical and A/C system than the old building. In the new building I get my own office. I don't have to share my office space with another employee. If our company grows, I may need to share the space but I think that'll be a long while off. The bad part? It's really cold. I mean really cold in our offices. I have a clock on my desk that has a thermometer in it. The temperature fluctuates between 67-F and 70-F.  When it's 80 or so degrees outside that's pretty darned cold.  I thought about burning a fire in my office but I don't think my boss or building management would appreciate that very much.  ~:-)

So, I've been thinking about ways to keep warm. I think tomorrow I may wear one of my hats to the office. I'm trying to decide which one to wear. What do you think?

Everyone thinks the bobble on this hat is a pin.  It's actually a Christmas ornament that I sewed onto the hat once I had finished it. 
I like this hat but it is a little snug.  Plus I think it would squish my hairdo and I'd have really bad hat-head all day.  Also the pom pom on it has gotten smooshed and I can't get it to fluff back up.  I tried washing and drying the hat but it hasn't popped back yet.  May be I'll make bigger pom poms next time.
The hat is more comfortable.  I tried to take a pic so you can see the flower pattern but I couldn't get the angle just right.  I crocheted this three small flowers and then sewed them onto the hat.
Here's a close up of the flowers I took for one of my other blog entries.  They're pretty cute.  I think I'm going to use brighter colors next time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I'm very excited.  I wrote up a short proposal to the head of the mens/womens ministry for a project that I wanted to do this winter at my church.  I proposed to them that the men/women in the ministries ban together and make hats and scarves this fall and then donate them to the Echo Food Bank.  The Food Bank is one of the philanthropies that my church supports.  Last year I made several scarves and delivered them to the Food Bank myself.  I think I made 15 scarves total.  It was really great feeling.

My proposal was that men (yes some men do knit or crochet :-) ) and women would knit or crochet scarves and hats together but separately.  We would work on them together in spirit but wouldn't necessarily get together for stitch-n-bitch sessions.  Well, they liked my idea so much they said i could do it but only if we opened it up to the whole church.  Ack!  OK.  I can do this. 

I tried to come up with a witty name for the project.  It took me a bit but I decided on

Knit - Crochet - Pray

A neat little play/pray on words :-)

So, now I'm collecting free patterns from all over the Internet and getting my sign-up and informational flyer ready.  I'll be at a table before and after church today hoping to get some people signed up.

Wish me luck and pray for success.

Echo Sage Ombré Hat

Fall Ombré Cap

Fall ombré detail

Saturday, September 4, 2010

1 Step Closer

So, I did it. I finally sold my BMW. I took it down to Carmax ( and got it appraised a week ago. It wasn’t a bad estimate at all. The appraisal came in a little below my note but still a good offer. So, I got a cashier’s check from the bank and went back today. Part of me is sad that I got rid of it and part of me is glad about it. I’m sad because it was a pretty car and a nice ride. I’m glad because the debt and the maintenance cost are too much for my budget. I’m working towards being debt free. I’ve been making double payments on my car note and another debt. That just takes so much out of my budget. So, the really great thing about this whole step is that I am now 1 debt closer to being debt free. It’s very exciting.

Here are some photos of my beloved BMW.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rippling Along

I've got a good chunk of the ripple afghan started.  I decided to use several different skeins of yarn I have.  I am creating it in rows of 3.  In between each color I'm putting three rows of cream colored yarn.  Not much else to say about it at the moment.  Here are some photos.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The next "next" project

mystery diagramI'm excited about my next "next" project.  I get bored easily so I'm always looking for something else to do to keep my hands and mind busy.

The Bernat yarn folks are doing a Crochet-Along this fall.  Starting on September 1, anyone who wants to participate can go to the Bernat Blog and get the starting block. There's only 1 catch -- the pattern is a mystery.  We have to solve clues to figure out the pattern and then create the blocks.  I think the only thing we get to decide is the colors.  We can pick any colors we like. Oooh... What colors shall I pick.  May be I'll go for some really bright colors?  May be I'll stick to variegated skeins.  Who knows.  I can't wait to see where this project leads me.

The next project

So, you all know by now how much I love reading Laughing Purple Goldfish’s blog. She’s so creative I just love trying to copy her ideas. Well a LOoOoONG time ago, she blogged about an afghan she was going to work on. It was this beautiful ripple patterned afghan that she of course added her own flare to it. Well, I decided this weekend I would try my hand at a ripple pattern.  I grabbed a skein that is supposed to be saving for another afghan project I'm working on (so many projects so little time) and started downloading different patterns.  I ended up using a pattern for a baby ripple pattern  I tried several other patterns but the instructions were hard for me to comprehend.  So, I have no idea what colors I will use but the photos below are some early shots of what I've started with.  The first few rows are actually called Bon Bon Print.  Cute right?  I'm going to use it, some white yarn and whatever other colors I have.  I have lots of different skeins just waiting to be used.  So, here are my beginning photos.

Ripple Afghan
ripple pattern

Ripple afghan
close up of the DC stitch

Ripple afghan 1
More ripple action

One of these days I'm going to pick a more appropriate place to take my photos.  The colors look so awful.  Either that or I'm going to have to start using my digital camera instead of my iPhone to take the photos. 

I will post more pictures as this project progresses.


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