Misc. Monday Moodiness

How’s your week starting out? Although Monday didn’t start out poorly, it quickly got there and proceeded to become more troublesome as the day went on. Yes, it’s Misc. Monday Moodiness today. I am very thankful for the small bits of kindness others shared with me, and I’m especially happy to be home with my family at the end of a long day.

The above painting is a quick watercolor study. Some parts of it are nice, but others didn’t work out quite well. Isn’t that often the way it goes? I’m always thankful to have a little time to paint, though. I’ve been busy with a large (5 foot x 5 foot) crochet blanket out of a bulky yarn to go in my hygge basket for the Whisker Mixer silent auction. The basket also includes a bottle of Bailey’s, a mug, a blank journal (a really nice one, too…I have way, way too many unused journals), fairy lights, bath soak and a lotion bar. I’ve also done a mani-pedi jar, a safety first home improvement basket, a cupcake basket, and a Christmas basket. I just hope they bring in some decent money for the shelter pets. This year’s fundraisers have been a struggle for me on several fronts. Virtual events are a ton more work than live events, with a much lower payout. Anyhow, here’s the blanket:

It’s Bernat blanket yarn, HDC with a giant wooden hook, and it’s really soft. I’ve gone back to crocheting my shawl, and I just finished watching the 1992 movie Candyman. I’m not a horror fan, but I really wanted to see the scenes shot in Cabrini Green. I’m trying to get my holiday shopping done well early this year, so I don’t have to worry about it. I need to get started on the holiday greeting cards.

Misc. Project Updates

It seems I am working on a lot of things and not getting a ton accomplished these days. I have found May to be a strange month. The weather was either much too hot (90 degrees!) or much too cold (frost predicted for Memorial Weekend!). I came down with a bad case of hives of unknown origin and have been on a course of steriods that initially had me feeling AMAZING but now has me feeling the sickest I’ve been in a very long time, both mentally and physically. I am hoping June turns out better all around.

I did finish another baby blanket. This one is for a girl; the nursery theme is pink, blue and gold dinosaurs. The blanket is Bernat Softee Baby in navy and pink, hdc waffle stick with an L hook. I think it turned out ok. Now I’m working on what I hope will be the final baby blanket for a long time. It’s again in Bernat Softee Baby, but in navy, light blue and gray stripes. I’ve switched from British mysteries on Britbox to British gardening shows in an effort to relax and de-stress. I wish to be as zen as Monty Don’s dogs.

Mom and I did the greenhouses and the cemeteries. Mt. Hope did manage to raise Jeanette’s and Alberta’s stones. What a difference! I was very pleased to see them. I have planted the vegetable garden and it’s coming along well. I put in six new perennials in the monarch garden at home, plus all the annuals. It will be a pain to have to cover them for frost this weekend. We’ve had almost no rain at all. Bob and I planted 30 pines and dogwood trees at the shelter at work. You can see a video of my garden on my YouTube channel here.

Mom and I took an online course on Udemy from Nick Stewart on painting with fountain pen ink. I haven’t had enough time to really get into it. I love the idea and I love the way his look, but so far I’m not having much luck. Maybe I’ll have more time over the holiday weekend?

We are doing a FUNdraiser at work with pet portraits in June. People will pay $20 and submit a photo of their pet. In return, an “artist” will create the pet in drawing, painting, fiber art, etc. The original image and the artistic image will be posted up online and people will vote for the best representation. The artist could win a $50 gift card. The person who made the donation will receive the original artwork in the mail. Most of them will be done by Board members and volunteers, so they won’t be professional. Some of them might look like the work of a toddler. But it’s all to raise money for the shelter pets. I did this quick study (less than an hour) in gouache to show what could be expected. This is technically painting #41, since I’m not counting the few postcards I did for National Postcard Week. This isn’t really a finished work, but it is my first attempt at an animal.

Painting #39, Crochet and Snow

painting #39

As we approach the end of April, we can enjoy weather and hobbies. Or maybe not? Painting #39, crochet and unfortunately snow this late in April. I don’t have in my notes snow after April 9 since 2007, so this year is a bit unusual. It is also snowing where my friend Beverly is, in Kentucky. My thoughts are with her and her family.

Painting #39

Latest gouache painting #39, Twin Palms Court. Need to work on letter painting for sure. I think the brighter colors up front and more faded in the back is helping to show more depth of focus, as suggested to me on a recent Reddit inquiry. The palm tree on the near left might look more like grass, though the ones in the back are a bit better. The best bit is the pole for the sign I think. I’m working on another pink motel now. Perhaps pink motel is the new theme? I’d like to work on something a bit more abstract, but how does one do that and still get the perspective correct without using a ruler? And once you pull out the ruler, it seems not as abstract. Suggestions?

snow

Snow

It’s cold. How cold? Cold enough to snow yesterday and ice up the car this morning. The sun is out and the temperature is supposed to reach 45 so I would guess the snow will be gone this evening, but it’s still supposed to be cold tomorrow. And maybe 80 degrees by Tuesday again. I’m picking up trees from the Calhoun Conservation District tomorrow for planting on Friday. It’s possible I selected too many trees since they were so inexpensive and I felt I was helping a good cause.

Put the hummingbird and oriole jelly feeders up last weekend. This next weekend I’ll be planting radish and arugula seeds. This time of year always goes so fast!

crochet

Crochet

I’m crocheting another baby blanket. It’s Bernat Baby Softee yarn in pink and navy. It’s a HDC waffle stitch on an L sized hook, so it’s super soft and drape-y. The yarn is more likely to split, so you have to keep one eye on it with the other on Rebus on Britbox. After this (weaving in the ends will take forever), it’s back to the shawl and more blankets for the cat room. Staff members are loving the different colors.

Misc. Updates – Painting, Crochet and Weather

It seems we are ready for some misc. updates. I’ve been doing better keeping this updated in general this year, but I am lacking on the postcards. I’ll have to work on that.

We’ve had our first major frost, and it’s been colder than average the past week or so. It is supposed to warm up in the next two days before dropping down again so maybe I will get two final bike rides in. I sure hope so.

Mom and I went up to clean up the cemeteries on the 13th, and took the back way home to take some photos for later painting inspiration. I think this has been the most beautiful autumn I ever remember. It’s so lovely, it fuels my neuroses and makes me wonder if the beauty is to make up for a horror that will arrive soon. Do you ever feel that way? Anyhow, I pulled over at Goldies Motel to snap #10. This photo has not been retouched. The colors were that amazing.

Goldies Motel

I’ve been doing website updates at work. The shelter is closed to the public through the end of the year, except by appointment. It’s more peaceful this way, and we’ve still been doing fine with adoptions. I do miss the Trail of Terror though, and dressing up for Halloween, even though it is a ton of work. Donna and Jerry Castleberry died from COVID-19 this past weekend. Cases are climbing in Calhoun County.

crochet blanket

I’ve been watching streaming and crocheting in the evenings. This blanket is for a relative. The colors reminded me of water…that of the ocean and of the great lakes. It’s Lion Brand Mandala which is self striping, and I’m doing my old trusty repeating HDC using an L hook. I watched The Trial of the Chicago 7 which was quite good. And the Haunting of Bly Manor. Just started Deadwater Fell.

When I am not painting, it seems I am always thinking of painting. I’m taking an online class to build my skills now. I’ve been working on color swatches which is helping me to pick colors I guess. So I have learned something new from the class. It is cool we live in a time when we can take classes and learn so much online. This is my latest piece, which was inspired by a photo in an old Sunset magazine. It’s in gouache and is piece #22. It serves as a reminder that you absolutely need a ruler to draw your horizon line. But I think the rocks are pretty good.

painting #22

I got my flu vaccine and have been having nightmares and bad headaches again. Not because of the vaccine, but just because. I’m finding it somewhat hard to concentrate on writing snail mail letters and impossible to read.

Crocheting and Biking

crochet

I finished the third of three baby blankets. This was a really soft, fuzzy yarn that was hard to work with, but the nursery color needed is coral and it fit that perfectly. It’s my standard, continuous rows of half double crochet. On this one, I did a border of rows of half double crochet as well because the yarn is so thick and fuzzy you’d never be able to see a scallop pattern. My friend liked it, and I’ve moved on to another blanket, this one using mandala yarn. Expect an update.

As I’ve been crocheting, I’ve also continued watching documentaries. A Secret Love on Netflix was excellent. Such a heartwarming love story. Athlete A on Netflix was a horrific look in to Larry Nassar and the US Women’s Gymnastics program. A good watch just the same. I started watching Dick Johnson is Dead and honestly I couldn’t get past about 12 minutes of it. Life is too short to watch uninspiring tv or movies. Anyhow, I’m making pretty good progress on the available likely nominees for 2021 Best Documentary Oscars. I have also started the next season of Great British Baking Show, which is balm for my sore and aching heart, and the Haunting of Bly Manor which I am enjoying. We’ll watch the West Wing reunion this week, and have one more episode to go of Raised by Wolves.

I’ve put on 954 miles on the bike this year. Over the weekend I pulled my back gardening and it is supposed to get quite cold this week. I’d like to think I can still get out a few more rides and break 1,000 miles. It’s easier to do it on a sunny day, because at least the sun is warming. Coming up with a replacement exercise plan for winter is going to be challenging.

Crochet and TV

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I’ve been working away on some crochet projects. One of the employees at work is having twins, so I came up with two baby blankets. The body of both is a variegated baby yarn. Both are half double crochet with an L sized hook. The edging on one is a coordinated yellow with a scallop pattern and the other is the coordinated green with a ruffle edge. It turns out they are both girls, so the gender-neutral colors should be fine. I have one more blanket to go, for a friend. It’s a different yarn than I’ve used before and it is heavy but really very soft. I still have another two skeins to kill on it before it’s done.

You may know that while I’m crocheting, I’m streaming tv shows. This summer I watched the first half of the new Unsolved Mysteries, Tiger King, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, season 2 of POSE, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, The Devil All the Time, and all three seasons of DARK. That’s a fair amount of tv watching.

Now that we are getting closer to the 2021 Oscar season, and nomination predictions are coming out, I’ve turned my attention to the feature documentaries, short docs, animated shorts and live-action shorts. I never care as much about the main attraction movies. So far, I’ve watched Welcome to Chechnya, Crip Camp, Disclosure, and Circus of Books. Documentaries are amazing. They make you see the world in a new way. You almost get to live a life other than yours for an hour or so. I always wind up being moved to help, or to become a better person, through learning more about others.

Crochet Lap Blanket Extravaganza

Monday, June 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

If you were to ask me what my favorite thing is to crochet, it would have to be lap blankets. I enjoy picking colors specifically for individuals. I like using a nice big hook and a HDC stitch with either a rippled or scalloped border. I make them in the evenings while I’m binge-watching something on Netflix. And so far this year, I’ve made quite a few lap blankets…working on number seven, and that doesn’t include a smaller one for a cat with cancer that I made back in January.

I started out with this blanket, made with all kinds of colors, for a special lady who crochets blankets for shelter cats:

Next up was a blanket for a friend’s mother who was having surgery:

Then a blanket for a friend’s mother who was moving into a nursing home (the orange color with the blue and green edging reminded me of a sunset over the Caribbean Ocean):

Then a sage-colored blanket for a friend who is facing a serious health issue:

Then a pink blanket for the feisty daughter of a friend who was in the hospital:

And lastly, now I am working on a blanket for a friend who is moving someplace really cold. I’m doing something a bit different with this stitch pattern:

As you can see, Maxy often helps me work on the blankets. He especially likes it when they are long enough for him to nap under while I’m working. There is something meditative about working on a lap blanket, the same repeating stitches. It’s very calming.

Crochet Project Update

Thursday, February 14, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a crochet update (hello, any kind of update!). There is a very nice lady who used to crochet little blankets for the shelter pets. They were meant to go home with each adopter, so the pet would have something of their stay in the shelter to take home with them. She has arthritis, and it’s been hard for her to crochet much. I thought she deserved a crochet blanket of her own to warm her on cold nights.

I like lots of colors, so I got a number of skeins of yarn and switched colors as I felt it needed. The crochet stitch is a simple HDC with a size L hook. The ruffle border is a triple crochet, three stitches per, to form the waviness. Most of the yarn is Caron Simply Soft, but there are a few others in there as well.

Blankets are my favorite thing to crochet, as the repeating pattern is relaxing, almost like a meditation, and I can watch tv while I do it. This blanket saw me through The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the Ted Bundy Tapes and GLOW (thanks, Amy for the recommendation!) and now for a repeat watch of Twin Peaks as Twin Peaks Day is this month.

Maxy also enjoys when I crochet blankets in the winter, as when they start to lengthen, the wind up over his back and help facilitate his napping. It’s a win-win!

Recent Crochet Projects

Monday, June 12, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

Sweater, Shawl, Blanket – Recent Crochet Projects

sweater2

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a crochet project update (and the last one, for National Crochet Month 2017 – I didn’t do a single one of those projects). I’ve been steadily working on various items. I did two sets of eight washcloths to pair with soap from Black Sheep Antiques┬áin Marshall. They have the best soap ever…smells wonderfully, maintains its scent, doesn’t melt down too quickly. I love it. One set of eight went to the Women’s Co-Op auction and the other for the Hand Made Market at the Humane Society’s Martini Madness event.

After the washcloths, I finished up my attempt at a sweater (above photo – and not the one I was planning on in National Crochet Month, which is still not completed). I took the photo from the only angle that looks good. The sweater is unwearable. It’s two rectangles stitched together, and seamed up the sides and down the middle. As you need to leave room for the neck hole, the center of the front and back of the sweater are much shorter than the sides. In fact, the back of the sweater only comes up to mid-back, which the sides are both at hip level. Bummer. Worse yet, it came from a pattern on facebook and I can’t see any way possible the pattern would actually work out as described now that I’ve completed it. I just started a different pattern for a cardigan, also from facebook. It’s a rectangle that is seamed together in a weird way. I hope it turns out. I’m using some linen knit picks yarn I bought on sale two years ago and forgot I had. I have high hopes for it.

shawl2
After the no-good sweater, I did a quick Shawl in a Ball shawl for my mindfulness instructor. I took the extra time to block it out on the boards, which helped I think. It’s the purple color and she liked it. I’ve made a number of these Shawl in a Ball projects. They are fast, they look good, and they make great gifts. Highly recommend.

After that, I had a baby afghan to make for my cousin’s baby. It’s a new yarn for me, Bernat Pipsqueak. Each skein I used had multiple knotted joins, so I’m not a fan and probably won’t be working with it again. I understand one join in a skein. But multiple joins in each skein? No thanks. It required a giant hook for the pattern I did so you could see the stitches. It is really, really soft. I used five skeins.

baby2

After the current cardigan sweater, I did find a pattern for another one that I might try. I got a really interesting book on crocheting sweaters from the top down, but it’s too complicated for me. I need simple blocks that don’t require a lot of counting.

What crochet projects are you working on?

Like crochet? Check these out:

National Crochet Month 2017

National Crochet Month 2016

 

National Crochet Month 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

As you know, March is National Crochet Month. I’m a little late in posting, as we’re already half-way through the month. Things are stressful all over now, so I’m doing the best I can.

national crochet month

I’ve been working on blankets. Finished the purple and white one I was working on last. I’ve got two new ones going now, stash-busting projects. I’m not exactly happy with either. Turning a circle into a square is not as easy as you would think. These two blankets will be one-of-a-kind and unique, and they will be the last two I make like this. I’ll update with photos when they are done as they are a mess right now.

Normally, for National Crochet Month, I like to try something new and challenge myself. As I mentioned, things are difficult right now, and it’s all I can do to keep on with the two blankets I’ve got going. However, I did purchase two vintage books. If you crochet much, you might know that nearly all vintage crochet/knitting books have patterns that are almost always knit with just a tiny bit of crochet trim. But getting the ratio of what is knit to crochet on eBay is difficult. You’re lucky if you get a few pure crochet patterns. In the two books, only the photo above here is crochet. It sort of looks like a crocodile stitch. I did think maybe I’d work on that next. Vintage patterns are also challenging…good luck trying to figure out what that old yarn they used would correspond to today. But, it could be fun.

crochet2

Because I don’t like to knit, it’s kind of disappointing to look at all the beautiful patterns in the vintage books and just brush them off. I think what I’d like to try is to convert a few of these patterns into crochet. Some of it is getting a stitch that looks right. Some of it is in the drawing and measuring of the finished project. So, although I don’t think I will get anything other than one of the blankets done during National Crochet Month, my plan is to work on eyeballing a vintage knitting pattern and converting it over.

What are you working on for National Crochet Month?

Previous National Crochet Months:

2015

2014