Thursday, July 26, 2012

That's just how it is, and it's OK

I know I've been pretty quiet around here.  I guess priorities shifted and the crafty things that I tend to blog about got downgraded a bit. 

It's not bad.... I think maybe I went through my little creative dry spell to prepare myself for a little bit of letting go.  I don't have time to do a lot of it and I'm OK with it.  A few months ago, I would have flipped out.  No crafty time?  No way!  But it's OK.

I don't know if you remember my little goal of losing 37 lbs before I turn 37 in December.  For months after I made that goal, I just could not get into it.  I'd tell myself to get up and go to the gym in the morning and I might do it once or twice before finding some reason not to go again.  I'd tell myself to track my calories, and maybe do it half the day.  I couldn't get my head into it.  Over the course of 3 months, I lost 3 lbs.

Then my sister got me into yoga, and it literally has changed my life.  That's so cheesy-sounding, but it's true.  I am so much happier in general.  I'm much more accepting of my body - as is.  I want to change my body, of course, but I can't do that unless I love it.  I can pinpoint the moment that everything finally clicked and I started really being serious about taking care of my body again.  I am tracking my calories daily, changing the types of food I eat.... I'm finally in the game.

I've lost 9 lbs now.  I still have 19 weeks until my birthday to lose 28 lbs.  Totally doable.

I'm still crocheting, but it doesn't happen every day. We haven't really been able to get into a really solid routine this summer at all, so it's hard to find the time for everything.  Hopefully when school starts next month we can find a routine and I will be able to spare a little more of my attention to something other than the changes I'm making =)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nothing like paint fumes in the morning...

I woke up yesterday morning and just laid in bed for a minute wondering... what is that smell?  Then I realized I heard water running and little voices coming from the kitchen, so I looked at the clock (not even 6am), swore, and got up to see what was going on.

Isabelle and Zoe were at the kitchen sink.  It took me a few seconds to fully process what I was seeing.... two of my children... two cans of spray paint... HOLD IT!  Spray paint?  SPRAY PAINT!?!?!?


Yes.  Spray paint.  Red and yellow spray paint. 

I didn't see much damage in the kitchen.  A little paint on the floor, which wiped up without a problem.  The sprayer on the sink was ruined, but the sink and faucet wiped up.  I asked what they sprayed.  As calmly as possible (which was probably scarier than if I had lost it).  They pointed to the laundry room.

I wish I had gotten a picture of the wall and floor, but I was far more concerned with getting it off before it was too far gone.  It was the kind of spray paint for plastic, and I'm assuming that was a blessing because I really didn't expect to be able to get it off.  An hour of scrubbing with Magic Erasers and (aside from the sprayer) everything that was not our property (we rent, of course) was paint free. 

But the wall and floor seriously looked like someone had been shot in there.   If I had stumbled in there not knowing what had happened, I would have been looking for a body.  For real.

Unfortunately, my washing machine looks like this now...


How did they get spray paint?  I honestly am not quite sure how they did it.  The shelf it was on is taller than me... I have trouble getting stuff off of it.  Bill had removed one of the ladders on the bunk beds last week and I know that was involved, but it still would have required some pretty dangerous climbing.

We still haven't gotten all the paint off of the girls, either.  We tried all sorts of stuff... cooking spray, Bill's mechanic hand cleaner, different soaps... it's just going to have to wear off.  They look diseased.  It's gross and Isabelle is embarrassed by it.  Hate that for you, Dennis.

The girls had to spend part of their morning scrubbing the walls in the hall (they didn't paint there, it was just the first thing I could think of) and do time in their room.  Isabelle fell asleep during her time out and was out for hours, so God only knows how long they had been up.

I spent all day trying to figure out what to do to keep Isabelle from doing things like this.  Trying to figure out what is making her act out.  They're ready for summer to be over, everything is getting old and boring.  Let me just say, if you want to run for some sort of office and want my vote... promise me  year-round schools.  I guarantee I'll pimp myself out on the side of the road for you right about now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's Up?

This post is a little random... a little of this, a little of that.

I thought I'd update you on my parents.  They've gotten moved into a new apartment and I actually think they had fun shopping for furniture and things.  And you know what?  They totally should.  I think if you go through something as tragic as losing just about everything you own, you deserve some enjoyment in at least some part of the rebuilding.

Speaking of building... I got to partake in a lot of assembly for them Sunday


They forgot to buy a hammer, so I made do with what was on hand.  Stuff like that drives my husband batty.  Obviously, he doesn't believe in multitasking tools (and his Snap On account is a good testament to that.  Ugh!).  I, on the other hand, am not above using a plastic dress-up shoe to hammer nails into the wall.  We women, we're just resourceful like that.

For those who have asked, my parents have been so blessed with help that they've started asking people to donate to the Red Cross if they really feel the need to help out.  They're doing really well and don't have much that they need.  I'm still planning on doing something with donated granny squares, if you are interested.  Email me if you are.

After telling my father he was absolutely NOT paying me to assemble stuff, we agreed on going out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant.  You never know when you'll find inspiration, and that day I found inspiration in the restroom.  Look at this...


Isn't that gorgeous?  Broken mirrors and ceramic pieces.  So gorgeous.  After leaving the restroom, I noticed they had mosaics all over the place.


So cool.

My Rose Field blanket is growing...

It's grown more since this picture, but I'm too lazy to go take another ;)

I have to admit that making rosette after rosette got to be a little monotonous, so I added a second project.


It's the Vintage Crocheted Blanket pattern I've been coveting for about a year.  And if you think that mine doesn't quite look right, you'd be correct.  I didn't pay attention to the hook size and just grabbed my old standby, H.  It's too big, but I decided I like the lacy look of it this way.  I fully intend to make it properly eventually, but I'm going to keep going on this one.  I might give it to my mom as well, or keep it, or maybe it'll be a baby blanket - there are 3 pregnant girls at work.  I really enjoy this pattern.  I've never made a real ripple pattern blanket (just a band to a dress)  and I totally get the appeal of it.  Yes, it's monotonous, but in a simple, relaxed way.  The Rose Field blanket is kind of monotonous in a slightly tedious way.  But I love it too. 

So that's that.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where I begin to hook again...

Before I get to my new project, I wanted to say something.  I never in a million years thought that I'd have very many readers on my blog here, especially since it's rare I actually promote myself.  I'm always so excited when I see someone commented on a post.  To top all of that, some of you actually offered to make things for my parents on my post about their apartment burning down.  I can't really articulate how amazing you guys are.... I mean, you don't really know me, but you're willing to reach out to help my parents.  If you were here, I'd have to get over my hugging aversion and hug you.  =)

By no means do I expect anyone to do anything, but I was thinking it would be so cool if you wanted to make them something to have you make a granny square or two, whatever you have the time for - any pattern or size - and I'd work whatever I received into a pillow or blanket, depending on what I got.  I think it would be a really beautiful and special patchwork piece of work when finished.  If you are interested, email me (jifeeyore (at) yahoo (dot) com). 

On to my project now...

It's probably been over a month since I picked up a hook.  I don't really know why.  It's like all creativity had ground to a halt all at once.  It was a little frustrating, to say the least.

But we're back in business.

I ran across a blanket pattern last week that immediately caught my eye, even if I wasn't really feeling it at the moment...

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

From what I can tell, it's a fairly new pattern.  Less than 100 people have it queued on Ravelry and I think I was the 4th person to "hook it!".  And, in case you were wondering, no, it's not free.  I know... bummer.

I picked out yarn yesterday and got started.  The pattern itself has you make each motif in one color, base and petals, but I just wasn't crazy about the way the back looked.  So the base of my motifs is green and then the petals are three different colors.  You can't see the green from the front, but the back will just be a solid green, instead of a patchwork of colors.



All of my yarn needles seem to have gone in search of someone to use them during my hiatus, so I need to get some more.... loose ends bug me.  I like to weave in my ends as I go.  I'm afraid if I save them all until the end that I'll never do it.  =)

It's a little bigger now... I think about 10 motifs.  I think it's definitely more decorative than functional, because it will be quite thick and heavy.  As I work on it, I'm tempted to make it into a pillow and carry the same colors into a ripple afghan that would actually be more comfortable to snuggle up with.  We'll see.... I'm always changing my mind on things like this.  =)

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's in the blood...

If someone were to ask me where my creativity comes from, I would have to say it's from my mother.  Before MS made it too difficult for her, she dabbled in several crafty areas.  She's been into crocheting, knitting, drawing, sewing, even wood burning for a quick second.  But where did my mother get her creative streak?  My grandfather, mostly.  Let's meet my Grandpa 'Let, shall we?


Growing up, we could never say my grandparents' last name, so it was always Grandma and Grandpa 'Let.  =)  My Grandpa is 91 years young, emphasis on the "young".  Oh, he thinks he's as old as Methuselah, but he's doing very well for his age.  He still lives alone, still can drive, and is quite active.  He's an avid birdwatcher.  And he's an amazing wood carver.


I grew up with this in my house.  It's one of his early pieces.  He modeled it somewhat after my grandmother.


He started this donkey early in his carving career, but it was on the shelf unfinished until recently.  He's finally finished it and I think he said it took him about 50 years to get it finished.

Bird and Caterpillar detail

One of his favorite subjects would be birds.  Most of his bird carvings are so detailed and so realistic that you would expect it to fly away if you got too close.


He is very humble.  He calls himself a "whittler,"  not an artist. 


My brother-in-law wants a tattoo of this.

Falconer glove

This is not a real glove.  It's a piece of wood, people.  Amazing.  It had a falcon on it, but one of his cats knocked it off the shelf.

Cane detail

The head of my grandpa's cane.  He has carved a few canes for himself.  He also makes back scratchers.


Grandpa said that someone asked him how he got so good at carving.  He said that he tries to challenge himself every time he starts a new piece.  I totally "get" that.  When I'm looking for a new project, I don't want to just make something for the sake of making something.  I want it to be a little difficult, I want to learn something new.  I certainly could have found a simple afghan pattern to whip up quickly for my latest project (I'll share it in the next post), but I know I'll be more proud of it if it's a challenge and I want to be proud of what I give to my mother.

If you'd like to see more of my grandpa's work, go HERE.  I'm getting ready to start making photobooks for my family of his carvings.  I need to get copies to him to identify the different types of birds, maybe tell a story about a few of them, just to make it that much more special.  It's going to be everyone's Christmas present this year.  =)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A different kind of Family Day...

I spent today, not with my little family here, but with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law.  I was given a difficult task... taking photos.  Normally taking pictures is a joy, but this was not something inspiring or beautiful.

View from front door.

This was tragic.

Thursday evening, my parents heard banging on their door.  Their neighbor started telling them the roof on Apartment B was on fire (they're in Apartment E) and they needed to get out immediately.  We're in the midst of a terrible heat wave and drought, so the fire was bound to spread quickly.


They gathered up their medications and dog and went to my grandfather's apartment.  They had no home to return to that night.  Six apartments were destroyed, A through F.  No one was hurt.


I have been so worried about how my parents would cope with this... losing practically everything.  But God has protected them, provided for them, and blessed them.  They are in good spirits and just want to get settled in a new home as soon as possible.  They only lost THINGS.   Things are not that important.

Stuffed dog

They had renter's insurance, so they'll be able to replace everything.  If you rent, and don't have insurance, get it.  Right now.  It's inexpensive, so you have NO excuse.

Granny Violet

It was so scary to walk into what used to be their bedroom and find nothing but ashes where their bed used to be.  All the "what ifs" that run through your head.  I tried very hard to disconnect myself.

China Doll head

But my parents are safe.  They already have a new apartment secured and are just waiting to get to move into it.

Afghan remains

After sorting through things, rescuing precious little, but happily including photo albums, we went to lunch and just enjoyed being together.  Then we visited my grandfather and I was finally able to do something I've been meaning to do for a few years... photograph his wood carving collection.  I'll post about that soon. 

I've ordered some replacement photos for them and am already planning an afghan.  I asked my mom if she wanted me to replicate one of the old afghans that were lost (even the ugly brown/orange one that had me hating ripples for so long) but I think we're going in another direction.  I'm pretty excited. I've been so creatively stumped lately.... I guess I just needed a really good reason to make something.

They say everything happens for a reason.  And we might never know fully why something so awful had to happen to my parents, but I do know that it's shown me how much people love my parents.  How strong they are.  How there are some things just too coincidental not to be a miracle.  Things were lost, but a little more faith was definitely found.


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