Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recycle Reuse Rejoyce

As I find myself with some extra time, I am enjoying a bit of thrift shopping. There are some good things to find in the midst... if you have the time to pick through the "junk". For me it's like treasure hunting. Searching, searching, searching to find someone's trash that makes up my treasure.

The loot from this trip to Goodwill consists of (1) Abercrombie & Fitch shirt, XL for my husband, that looks like it was never worn, The Tenth House, a novel about Tarot in England during the 1800s, a trinket box, a brass colander that I intend to plant Ivy in this spring, and a very colorful plate that I just couldn't resist.

Re-Purposing is fun!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lots of Catching Up to Do!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Whew... A lot has happened since the last time I checked in. First and foremost, I have officially graduated from Aurora University!! December 15th was my very last day of classes. I now hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Yay for me! I am 39 years old, and like I always say...better late than never :)

After I finished school I thought it was going to be so great to do whatever I wanted. But I found myself anxious, almost pacing the floor. What? Free time... What am I supposed to do with that?

Christmas kept me busy... like way busy. I finally finished my "Shaker" afghan I started back in July, which was intended as Christmas gift for my Dad, at 1 o'clock on Christmas eve. School kinda got in the way of crocheting. But, talk about pressure... I worked on it with fury crocheting 6 skeins in three days. That is not my style of crocheting. I didn't enjoy it, it became work. Now, its on to the next one, my no rhyme, no reason stripey afghan. Maybe I'll finish that one before Grad school starts... but I doubt it.

I would like to leave you with this relaxing image of hot cocoa... Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Suzi

Happy Birthday to You!

This week we had a Birthday... meet my sister Sue. Our families are often sooo busy that we don't have a whole lot of time to get together and have some fun. But, today is not the case. Bill, Sue's husband, and I were able to keep our mouths shut and surprise Sue for her Birthday. At 6.30 at night our family showed up at her door with a cake, a fun craft, and some presents for her on her birthday! Kind of like a kiddie birthday, but for an adult :)

Above is the craft table. I thought, in efforts to get into the Christmas spirit, we should have a snowman theme. I was at Target and luckily they had a winter craft that comes in a box! Everything you need to make 20 snowmen all in one awesome kit. I love it. We laughed a lot trying to assemble our snowmen. Below is my new Facebook profile pic for the winter.

Have a look at our family below...

All in all, it was one fun day!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One a Day WIP-3

Hello everyone... Here is my "One-A-Day" update for those of you who have been following along. My stripey blanket won this week. I have completed 8 rows - Whoot! Whoot! This is my 3rd post, but actually week 4... I missed a week in there somewhere. You can follow the crochet clan along at Gingerbread Girl's Tuesday Tallies post on her blog.

I was so happy to read your comments last Tuesday about having multiple projects going. It makes me feel much more normal and less scatter-brained knowing that others subscribe to my ways of working. I just love being apart of this group. It's wonderful to take a sneak-peek at all the other wonderful projects that are going on too. Well done ladies!

My post is going to be short and sweet today as I have way too many pages to read before class tomorrow. But not too short to say that I hope you all had a great, and spooky, Halloween yesterday. We sure did. CJ counted 199 pieces of candy in his trick-or-treat bag. And Kelsey topped the 200 mark. Oh, how the dentists must love Halloween.

This week I have learned a new stitch... the popcorn stitch. It's really quite simple, just 5 double crochets in the same hole, and the pull them together. A real tutorial can be found here. I like the little bit of random texture it adds.

I got a bit carried away with the size. I haven't actually taken the time to measure it but... I think that when I'm done it will no longer be a cozy throw, but an all out coverlet for my bed. It's going to take months to finish!! I'm not sure about the Navy?? I have to look at it a while before I continue. It isn't supposed to match anything but... maybe it is?? Any thoughts? Is it too much? I'm on the edge.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Helllloo my friends... hope your weekend is relaxing and joyful. I have been doing a bit of crochet, actually I've been able to complete several rows of my stripey afghan that I started last week, which is awesome, but what I really want to share with you is my experience at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a chaperone for my Kelsey's band field trip. I am not sophisticated enough to be a regular attendee at the symphony. In all actuality I would feel terribly out of place if I went there not with a group, but I was good with leading a bunch of kids! It was a long 2 hour trip into the city... on a yellow school bus, of which, I'm pretty sure there isn't an ounce of suspension on it.

We live in the suburbs, not totally farm like, but nothing like city living. It was entirely way to busy for my liking. Or maybe I am just getting older. Hmmmm. Below is the entrance to the orchestra hall. And the scads of people!

But the performance was awesome! Because it was close to Halloween, the production had a spooky theme. The orchestra members were dressed as zombies, and the music was from the movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

The Maestro was great. The sounds were amazing. All-in-all is was an excellent experience. I would even have to say the it was worth the 4 hours it took for us to get there and back!

Happy Halloween,
xx Nicky

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Love Technology

Technologically speaking, some days are better than others. And today is a good day. As I sit here in the Phillips Library of Aurora University, wishing that I was partaking in a crafty endeavor, I can at least blog about it on my laptop. Not only can I write about it, but I can read about it too. I am collecting quite a list of favorite blogs, and you can browse them too if you like.

I only have 7 weeks left at AU until I graduate. I can almost taste it! Then off to grad school to become a librarian. By the summer of 2014 I will have a job that I have been wishing for for a long time... but really, who's counting?

But for now, we are reading James Joyce - A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man for class. I'm not really getting into it, but then again I'm only on page 21?!? 39 pages to go before class... must read! Can you see that I get easily distracted?? And I procrastinate? Must read.

Enjoy your day,

xx Nicky

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Many Works In Progress (WIP)

The Moods of Crochet!

Hello there ladies... It's such a lovely day here in the Midwest. 75 degrees they tell me on the news, and it's the end of October... how lucky can we get??

If you have been following me on my journey of finishing the Granny, here is an update...

It is getting bigger... slowly, but surely! And in my last post I mentioned that I was a little bored with it, tired of all those color changes, so ... I have decided, perhaps it was a revelation, that there is crochet for the many moods I have!?! The Granny is for when I'm firmly planted in my comfy chair, with lots of room to spread out. That way I won't get frustrated when I realize I haven't brought the right color with me when on the move, or when I'm having trouble finding my scissors because I forgot to put them in the bag. (I recently bought a spare pair just for these situations!) The Granny, I have decided, is a stationary project!

The next project is totally mobile. It's a one color wonder, and I can carry it with me everywhere! The picture doesn't give it the justice it deserves, as the colors are lovely. It is a very conservative blend of wheat, cream and grey. It is from Lion Brand Home Spun yarn, and the color is called Shaker. This particular brand of yarn is so soft and cuddly... I love it! I began this blankey a while ago, and you can see my first post about it here. It, too, has come a long way. But you have to be in the right mood to be a crochet machine, never changing colors or stitches... but there is a time and a place for it, and love it when I travel.

Since I can never have enough projects going at the same time, I have started a stripy sort of a thing last week. It hasn't made the scarf-like stage yet, but it's a fun one to make. There is very little planning involved. I decide what comes next when I reach the end of a row. Super simple and great when watching TV with the family.Now this one has the potential for living in both worlds - with the ease of mobility, as it doesn't have as many color changes, so it will travel well, and the interest of different colors and stitches, which I hope will hold my interest.

Now there is no excuse for not working on something! Except when I run out of time :)
Happy crocheting,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eye of the Storm

Flowers make me happy!

Hello my Yarnish friends... as some of you may know, and I'm sure many of you do not, that I am a student of literature by day, and am a wife of one and mother of two by night. This is my last semester at Aurora University, a small, private institution with about 4000 students in attendance. I have titled this post as the "Eye of the Storm" because it is midterms this week... and for some unknown reason I am terribly calm! Normally I freak out because of all the exams to take and papers to write... but today, not so much. The semester is half over, only eight weeks to go and I am feeling quite relaxed in this middle moment. In December, I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. I'm not quite sure what that will get me, other than having read some really good books :)


Having some extra time, I have turned once again to The Granny 2.0, and I have realized that all the color changes are driving me crazy. It is NOT relaxing for me, at the moment, always changing colors. Just as I get all cozy in my chair I have to change a color. Its like work. I want to snuggle down and crochet long, luscious rows that have some substance to them. So... I have decided to put it down for a bit and start yet another blanket. Laugh if you want, but this is WIP #3. I took great inspiration from Jules at Little Woollie... Below is HER blanket...

Isn't it just lovely!!!! I think so. Her Ta-dah post can be found here. It is just wonderful. Instead of trying to be so neat and orderly, I am just going to crochet by the seat of my pants. Without rules, I am going to wing it. Which ever stitch strikes my fancy, I will stitch it, and with what ever color moves me at that moment... with in reason. I will post my beginnings of my new blanket, which has not even reached the scarf-like stage yet, tomorrow when it is light out.

Night night

PS. Thanks Jules... where ever you are :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Camping

Fall Camping with a Halloween Theme

Last weekend we took our little family on a mini vacation and went camping in Caledonia, Wisconsin. It's about 2 hours north of us in Yorkville. It was super cute for the kids, as it was a Halloween themed weekend. They got to dress up in their spooky or silly, we chose silly, Halloween costumes and Trick-or-Treat the other campers. As crazy as it sounds, the campers... ourselves included... decorated their campsites! It was a good time had by all.

I planed to get a lot done on my never-ending granny afghan... but omg! is camping a lot of work! I had visions of sitting in a camping chair with my yarn bag next to me as I merrily hooked row after row... not so much. Actually, I didn't even get one square done. But I did get a rough draft of a paper written for school... priorities.

We're back home and I'm getting back in the groove. I find that if I'm going to fit any crochet in it is has to be in the morning after the kiddles get off to school. That's when I find an hour or two of quiet time all to my self!

Have a good couple days :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The First of Many Tuesday Tallies

Tuesday Tally
First, and foremost, I want to thank all the ladies out there, you know who you are :), who offered such warm welcomes when I jumped into their "One a Day" crochet group. It was so fun to get comments from real live people from all over. Who knew that yarnish could bring so many people together??

You can visit the One a Day creator here... Gingerbread Girl. I love the list every Tuesday. It makes it way easy to check on the progress of other magic fingers. After I complete this post I'm going to add myself to the list. Yay.

This was my first week attempting to complete one granny square a day. Attempting should give you hint as to what is about to come next... I didn't make it. I think I'm going to subscribe to the One a Day ish mentality that one fellow crocheter came up with... and when I find her again, I will thank her for coining that phrase!

I did manage to get 3 squares done... and some various parts. As you can tell from the picture above, it just about covers Bean's feet when she's lounging on the couch! How can I not let her lounge with it, just look at all the snuggle emotion...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yarn Hop

I had some extra time, which doesn't happen to me often these days, so I decided to make the trip to St. Charles and check out this little yarn shop I had been googling over on the internet. Wool and Co. is only about an hour from my house, yet I can never seem to get there. I really hadn't a plan as to what I was going to buy, but I just knew that I needed to go... TODAY.

The town is super cute and has all the luxuries... cafes and coffee shops to get a tasty treat or a cuppa Joe, a theater, a music store, you know, the kind that sell actual instruments, and of course a store full of wonderfully, colorfully yarn! I would have loved to walked the town... antiquey stores, and quaint little boutiques to find the perfect gift for a treasured friend, but I was on a mission. I couldn't get inside the yarn store fast enough.

It was better than I imagined!
The first thing I wanted to do was touch everything!

It so reminded me of my grandmother's needlepoint store she had when I was a kid. It was called Pick-A-Stitch in downtown Naperville, Illinois. I'm talking in the late 70s... yikes! She too, had a big table in the center of the store welcoming any and all who wished to work on a project for the afternoon. Those chairs were always filled.

The yarns were endless...

And this one had the cutest little tag... All the way from Greece!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the sneak-peak inside my sorta local yarn shop...
Good times had by all,

PS. I am still working, slowly but surely, on the colorful The Granny 2.0!

I guessing that I am close to half way... I am most looking forward to the border :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One a Day

Surround Yourself With Happiness

Where do you go to surround yourself with happiness if you're a crocheter? To Ravelry of course! The Ravelry site offers a wealth of friendly inspiration for people like me, you know...those who are just poking their big toe into a sea of wonderful.

While I was surfing, coffee cup in hand, some of my favorite, artfully inspiring blogs, Gingerbread Girl had a post about a group... One a Day... on the Ravelry site. This is great I thought, a group made to push me along to finish the never ending granny square by encouraging the groupies, myself included, to complete one square a day... hence the name... clever I thought.

I'm thinking that it's a group that you can just jump in, as some post people are on their 2nd week, and some are on their 4th, and I am now on my 1st. Tuesday is the day to reveal your progress for the week, so here goes...

I started The Granny back in the beginning of summer. I have 5 rows of seven squares completed and, as you can see in the picture, 2 squares finished on the 6th row. My intent is to have 9 ish rows, maybe 11 rows to complete the afghan. I think that when I get there, I'll know when I'm done.

So please join me in the Ravelry Group by clicking on the icon below, and don't forget to visit me next Tuesday for the Tuesday Tallies, my progress (I hope!) on the granny.


Monday, September 26, 2011

How Many Do You Have???

Helllooo my fellow crafters...
Today's post is all about "stash" confessions!

OK, I'll start... I have more yarn that I care to admit! But... for some reason it still isn't enough. One of my very favorite things to do is to find small, independent yarn stores and go for a visit... and, by the way, I have a few indie yarn-store-visit posts I'm working on. The thing is, when I visit these cutsie little stores my creative gears begin to turn, and I am seduced into the idea of yet another project. I can't help myself. I need, need, need to buy enough yarn for said project because you never know when you're going to get back there. It's really all about being prepared. Really.

I am not the kind of girl that starts one project and sticks with it until it is finished before I start another! Oh, no. I need to have a few things going so I can choose which to work on according to how I'm feeling. Do I feel like I want to take the time for a lot of color changing? Or am I feeling lazy and want to veg out with long lines of color? Or am I feeling really lazy and just can't deal with any color change at all? It's all about the choices :)

With that said... Are you like me and have many projects going on at once... or do like to start and finish before moving on?

Above is my granny square I started over the summer, and with all that color changing, it's not the one I go for when I just want to hang out in front of the TV, or listen to the kids read their 30 minutes a night. I also have this one going...

The colors aren't all that exciting, it's Shaker from Lion Brand Home Spun, but it is super fabulously soft and will match everything it gets thrown on. I have, however, hit a road block and can't seen to find this particular color of yarn to finish. I've looked at 3 different Michaels stores only to find an empty bin labeled "Shaker". UGH! Oh well, that's OK because...

... I just bought yarn is some fabulous colors to make this...

I can not take credit for this picture, as I found it on Tangled Happy , who... follow me now... found it on Moogly. It is a free pattern, so I thought I would share the fabulousness here. Isn't the internet fun? When I saw this pattern I loved it immediately and off to the yarn store I went. My reasoning for this is it's a smaller baby blanket and it would be easy to travel with... Hey what ever you have to tell yourself in order to rationalize, right? I haven't started it, but I'm ready to go.

I've also been thinking about a ripple. Oh, how the world is my oyster.

Happy days,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome to Pick A Stitch


Have you ever tried to tuck your crafting gene away in order to get on with the rest of your life? If you're like me, the need to be creative brews from deep within! I've tried to ignore it, and have been successful for a week or two, maybe even a month... but then I see something awesomely artsy and before you know it I have bought every book about it, and the supplies needed to complete that awesomely artsy something. My craft lab contains vast amounts of art supplies that would rival even the most well stocked Hobby Lobby!

They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and needlework is no exception. Many years ago (in a land far far way... no, just kidding) my grandmother owned a needlework store called Pick A Stitch in downtown Naperville (Illinois). We're talking in the late 70's, early 80s. A very adventurous lady she was. Although I didn't realize it then, but she was following her passion in hopes to spread the love of needlework. How cool would it be if she still owned her store today?? I'd be in heaven!

My love for the yarn runs deep, just as it did with Dodi, and you could say I'm kind of following in her footsteps...with the help of technology. So, today I am joining the other talented, domesticated divas who also share the love of knitting and crocheting, by introducing the new-and-improved, technologically updated version of Pick A Stitch. If we all can't all meet around the big table in the center of the yarn store, at least we can gather around our computer screens, coffee in hand, and ravel in all the wonderful yarn goodness this magical internet brings together. I hope this blog finds you well, and offers you some encouragement, a little inspiration, and at the very least, lots of laughs.

I welcome you to leave many comments, and share your yarnish and fiberful experiences with the rest of us. Here's to a wonderful beginning... coffee cups clinking...