Random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk


“I’m looking up at the beautiful expanse of blue sky above me as I walk, and I’m thinking how amazing it is that it’s exactly the same sky that I played under when I was a little girl. The same sky that I gazed up at to watch clouds drift by on a summer day. The same sky that blazed with sunshine on my wedding day. The same sky that sent down a gentle dusting of snowflakes on the day that my daughter was born. The same sky that’s been above me for as long as I’ve existed on earth. And for infinite years before me. The same sky that dinosaurs and Neanderthals roamed beneath.

Will that same sky be there for future generations to appreciate? I can only pray.

As long as men like Kim Jong Ugh, Vladimir PU-tin, Donald Grump, et al., exist—
men who delight in their power to make things go boom—who knows?

For now, I am looking up at that blue, blue sky, and I’m so happy that it’s still there.”

My little dolly is tutu cute!

I was playing with the versatile Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn and made this little doll, just because.

I didn’t write out the pattern as I went along, but if you can crochet in simple rounds, then you can make her too. She doesn’t have to be perfect—experiment and make her any size you like.

Materials:
• Bernat Handicrafter cotton in hot pink, orange and yellow (or any choice of colours)
• 3.75 mm crochet hook
• Yarn needle for sewing
• Scrap yellow yarn for the hair
• Fiberfill stuffing
Optional: scrap of fabric netting to make the tutu

Instructions:

Head: Using yellow cotton, ch 4 and make a ring;

Round 1: 4 sc in ring (use a marker and crochet in continuous rounds)

Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around (8 sc)

Round 3: 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 2 sc,
*2 sc in next, sc in next 2; rep * around

Round 4: 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 3 sc,
*2 sc in next, sc in next 3; rep * around

Rounds 5 & 6: sc in each sc around

Round 7: start decreasing rounds: *sc dec in first 2 sc, sc in next sc,
rep * around. Stuff head as much as you can, then continue rounds.

Rounds 8-10: Keep decreasing around until you can slip stitch opening closed. When you fasten off, leave a long tail for sewing head to the body.

Body: Start out same as the head, but increase more and add more rows of sc to make bigger and fatter. I did half the body in hot pink and the other half in orange.

Legs: I used yellow for the first few rounds, then variegated pink and orange for the rest of the legs. Start out same as the head, just make sure to only increase in the first couple of rounds so you’ll make tube shapes instead of ball shapes, add more even rounds of sc to make the shape longer, and then start decreasing when the legs are long enough. When you fasten off, leave a long enough tail on each leg to sew to the body.

Arms: Same as the legs, just shorter. I made half the arm orange, the other half pink.

Use yarn needle and yarn tail to sew arms, legs and head onto body.

Hair: Using the yellow scrap yarn, I cut many lengths of about 5”. Then I started at the top of the head and, using the yarn needle, pulled a piece of yarn through and around one sc, made them even, then tied a knot around the sc. I did that with each piece of yarn until I’d covered the top and most of the back of the head. I cut shorter pieces and did the same process at the front to make bangs. Then I pulled through about 6 pieces at the top and tied a piece of pink yarn around them to make a little ponytail that sticks up. Once finished, I trimmed the “hair” so the back would be relatively even. But I didn’t expect it to be perfect, so the hair is a little choppy in areas. She’s perfectly cute even if she isn’t perfect!

Face: I used size 3 crochet cotton thread in dark grey and red. First, I used the grey to make two French knots for eyes (wound it around the needle a good three times so the eyes would be prominent). Then I used the red to stitch on her mouth.

Optional tutu: I was impatient to finish her off at this point, so I didn’t sew this as neatly as I should have. Anyway, I just cut a piece of fabric netting a bit larger than the width of her tummy. Then I folded over the top about a quarter inch and stitched it down with a needle and thread so that it left a pocket along the top that I could run a piece of yarn through. I also roughly seamed together the back ends. Then I used my yarn needle to run the yarn around the top, pulled the tutu up to her waist, and tied the yarn in a bow, which made the tutu gather at the waist.

Hope these instructions are clear enough. As I said earlier, if you can crochet in rounds, then you won’t have any problems making this doll.

Happy Easter!

 

I made an Easter egg tree with a crocheted egg pattern and branches from the garden.

Here’s how:

Picked up a glass vase from the dollar store and thought I’d glam it up with some stripes. All you need is some masking tape and spray paint. I used the masking tape to make stripes, then spray painted over it. Once dry, I peeled off the masking tape and was left with a really cute vase.Spray painted some branches the same colour as the vase.

Filled the vase with some Arborio rice that had been sitting at the back of my cupboard for the past two years, then set the branches in it.
Used Bernat Handicrafter yarn in different colours to crochet some easter eggs. Here’s a great free pattern at the wonderful Petals To Picots blog:

https://www.petalstopicots.com/2012/03/crocheted-easter-eggs-pattern/
I altered the egg pattern a bit to make two spring chicks (see photos), just for fun. I pasted google eyes on them and cut beaks from some orange felt.
I attached thin ribbon to all the eggs and chicks, then tied them onto the branches. And there you have it. An Easter egg tree to brighten up the holiday weekend!

Otis is very curious!

 

Random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk

Every day, I go for my exercise walk outside, rain or shine. I put on my headphones, listen to great music, and walk to the beat. I’ve found that I brainstorm some of my best ideas for new projects or stories while I’m walking.

I’ve also found that some really crazy-ass, random thoughts will pop into my mind for no good reason, and I’ve started writing them down, just for fun.

Every so often, I’ll share these thoughts here because… well, why not?

A sample of the random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk:

“What’s it like to be dead?

I know that lots of people have died and been revived, then gushed about how beautiful death is and how sad they were to have to come back to life on earth.

But how about all the ones who didn’t come back? Is it possible that, during their journey through the tunnel, they kicked and screamed and told God to go find some other sucker? Might they have been screaming things like, “Blimey! Why didn’t I just eat that effing piece of cheesecake the other night! Like it matters up here what my ass looks like!” or
“It bloody well figures. Now I’ll never get to buy a Prada bag or Miu Miu heels! I penny pinched and plucked, and now my kid will be livin’ large—thanks to el cheapo!” or
“Shit! Did I turn off the stove this morning?”

And then again—just in case the powers that be are reading my mind right now—I take it back. I don’t really want to know the answer after all. I’d like to just forget about it and put my focus back on Diana Ross & The Supremes, OK?”

Easy Crocheted Checkerboard Cowl Scarf

I was aiming for a checkerboard look with this pattern. It was pure experimentation that turned out looking better than expected, with its interesting texture. It’s as easy as crocheting 5 single crochets, then chaining 5, and alternating your 5 sc and ch-5 back and forth for the entire length of your piece, turning, and then repeating the same steps for another 4 rows (to make 5 rows). Then you simply reverse the process over the next 5 rows by starting with ch-5 followed by 5 sc and continuing across the length of your piece. Switching back and forth for 5 rows gives you the checkerboard effect.

You can make the piece larger by using multiples of five. It’s crocheted in one piece, with the ends later seamed together to form the cowl.

So, here we go:

CHECKERBOARD COWL SCARF

MATERIALS
Worsted weight yarn (14 oz / 400g / 867 yds / 792m) one ball Burgundy
6.5 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

ABBREVIATIONS: sc (single crochet); sp (space); sk (skip); rep (repeat); ch-sp (chain space)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Chain (ch) 115 + 2.

Row 1: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in each ch across. (115 sc) Turn.

THE FIRST 5 ROWS

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in each of next 4 sc, ch 5 and sk next 5 sc, *sc in next 5 sc, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across and end row with sc in each of last 5 sc. Turn.

Row 3 to Row 5: Rep Row 2.

Row 6: Ch 6 (5 + 1 extra), sk next 4 sc, *sc in first ch-sp of ch-5 (from Row 5) and in each of the next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across to last remaining ch-5, sc in each of the 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc to join. Turn.

Row 7 to Row 10: Ch 6, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5, rep from * across, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc.

Row 11: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk 5 sc, *sc in each of next 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk 5 sc, rep from * across and end row with sc in each of last 5 ch-sps. Turn.

Row 12 to Row 15: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in next 4 sc, ch 5, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5, rep from * across to last 5 sc, sc in each of last 5 sc. Turn.

Row 16: Ch 6, sk next 4 sc, *sc in first ch-sp of ch-5 (from Row 15) and in each of the next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across to last remaining ch-5, sc in each of the 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last sc to join. Turn.

Row 17 to Row 20: Ch 6, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5; rep from * across, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc.

Continue alternating pattern every 5 rows until your piece is desired length. Mine measured approx. 27″ wide x 10″ deep. Once finished, seam ends together by slip stitching on the wrong side. I also did a final row of sc around both top and bottom openings for a nice, clean finish. I never bothered blocking, but you may want to.

A churchy kind of poem

Spring is here… it’s the time of year when children begin to wind down the school year in preparation for summer vacation, and those in Catholic schools are getting ready to celebrate their First Communion or Confirmation.

My poem is for all the parents who’ve been there, done that,
and all of those who are about to.

Confirmation

Perched in church,
nephew’s confirmation,
swaddled in finery,
big family occasion.

Grandma on the aisle,
camera poised.
Grandpa hunched,
both eyes closed.

Cousins ahead,
aunties behind,
uncles a-twitch
in neckties that bind.

Impure thoughts,
flecked with guilt.
Long time since
confessions spilt.

Mind’s a-wandering,
what a sinner…
wondering what
we’ll have for dinner.

We sit. We stand.
We stand. We sit.
Unfold the bench
and kneel a bit.

We genuflect,
we sing a hymn,
we bow our heads
and pray to Him.

Ah, sermon’s over,
we’ve all been blessed.
Tumultuous minds
for now at rest.

We chatter, we shuffle,
our exit’s begun.
We burst through the doors.
Church is done.

 

What do you get when you put Jack White + The Edge + Jimmy Page together in one room?

The only part of the Grammys that I bothered tuning in to this year was when Lady Gaga and Metallica strapped their TNT together and proceeded to detonate on-stage. As for the rest of the acts? They just didn’t spark my batteries.

Don’t get me wrong—I do love Adele. And Carrie Underwood. And Alicia Keys. And that Bruno Mars guy isn’t half bad (his music aside; I would kill to have his flawless skin!). 

 

But most of the meh music of today just doesn’t do it for me.

There is nothing—and I mean NOTHING—that makes my atoms hum like the thunder of drumsticks gone berserk along with the furious keening of an electric guitar. Obvious, isn’t it, that I was a child of the seventies?

Which takes me to an extraordinary documentary on Netflix that I watched the other night, called It Might Get Loud.

If, like me, you miss the days when you’d turn on the radio and hear the kind of music that made you drop whatever you were holding in your hands to play air guitar, you’ll relish this coming together of Jack White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page, during which they share their love of insane guitar playing.

Talented really isn’t a strong enough word to describe these three men, and it’s stirring to see the raw passion they have for their craft. Driven by this passion since childhood—that they’ve achieved such heights is kismet. What’s fun about the documentary is the way it was filmed—it’s just the three musicians sitting around a coffee table in an old warehouse, sharing stories of their musical journeys and their love for music and playing guitar riffs together, with flashbacks here and there of different key periods in their lives.

Jack White is an absolute force to be reckoned with. And The Edge is, of course, The Edge. But … holey moley ravioli! … Mr. Jimmy Page is ageless when he picks up his guitar. The man is truly a guitar god. 

There’s no doubt about it. You’ll want the volume on full, even though It Might Get Loud.

Crocheted Victorian Lattice Poncho

I discovered the loveliest crocheted square design called Victorian Lattice Square, designed by Destany Wymor and offered free on her Ravelry page at: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-lattice-square

The minute I saw it, I decided that I wanted to use it to make myself a really lightweight poncho that’s almost more like a top that I can wear over a camisole or t-shirt. So I sketched out a rough poncho layout that had been simmering in my mind. Then I selected three colours that I love from the Loops & Threads Woolike line of yarn—it’s a super-fine yarn that I’ve fallen in love with because it’s so soft and a bit stretchy—and I began working away on the squares.

Here’s how I made my Victorian Lattice Poncho.

  • 5 mm crochet hook
  • Loops & Threads Woolike Yarn (678 yds/3.5 oz./620 m/100 g)
    2 balls Tan, 2 balls Pumpkin Spice, 1 ball Golden Yellow
  • Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Squares are 7-1/2 x 7-1/2, unblocked.

The size shown is a medium. You can increase or decrease the size of your hook to change the size of your poncho.

Following the Victorian Lattice Square pattern at the link above, I made:

4 Golden Yellow squares (GY); 8 Tan squares (T); and 12 Pumpkin Spice squares (PS).

When I started making the squares, I had a vague idea of the colour pattern I wanted to follow, so just to be able to see a visual of it, I initially tied a bunch of squares together with pieces of yarn and also tried it on over my head to make sure the neck opening would be big enough. The 7-1/2 x 7-1/2 squares were the perfect size.

Once all the squares were complete, I seamed them together, right sides facing, stitching on the wrong sides, into 6 separate strips as shown below (I used the Tan yarn for all seaming):

Two squares seamed together.

Seamed strips laid out to match final layout.

Once the strips were complete, I laid them out side by side in the pattern below, wrong sides facing up, and pinned them together. The grey square in the middle represents the neckline opening.

Then, I seamed the strips together one by one.

Once the strips were seamed together, I turned the poncho back to the right side so I could work on the neckline. I simply did one round of single crochet around the neckline in each colour—starting with one sc round of Golden Yellow, then one sc round of Pumpkin Spice, then two sc rounds of Tan.

Finally, I finished the poncho with striped edging in all three colours: first two rows of dc in Golden Yellow, then two rows of dc in Pumpkin Spice, then two rows of dc in Tan.

Lastly, I blocked the poncho by dampening it with a spray bottle of water, then pinned it to a huge piece of foamcore board. Optional: you can add tassels or fringe if that’s your preference; I was fine with just having the striped edging.

I would love to make another one using the same yarn, which is wonderful to work with, but in different colours.

This is the top and pants combo I plan to wear it with.

My Otis—A most fascinating cat!

Poor Otis. He’s a boy cat but I’m guilty of forcing him to model lady cat hats for my own selfish amusement.

So here’s the thing. He has this toy fish that was on its last legs, so instead of throwing it in the trash, I thought I’d combine it with some netting and sequins and other baubles to create a “lady cat fascinator.”

For those of you who don’t really know me—I assure you that I’m not some batshit crazy cat lady—I simply like to have some fun once in a while at the expense of my poor, beloved cat.

I wonder if he’s swearing at me right now in cat-speak?

So without further ado, here is my baby boy, who is thoroughly pissed off and trying to escape me (and his new hat) in every photo.

Honestly, it’s not as outlandish as some of the fascinators I’ve seen women wearing in photos at that Ascot event in England! (haha)

This photo is most representative of the many photos I tried to take of him. He just refused to keep still!

Use any 6″ square pattern to make a pretty granny square purse

PLEASE NOTE: Since this post has run, I’ve had a lot of requests for 1-bag_purse-granny-brownthe exact pattern I used to make this purse. It’s called Lavender Square and you can find it at the Hooks and Yarns blog, at this link: https://www.allfreecrochetafghanpatterns.com/Granny-Square-Patterns/Lovely-Lavender-Square. I’ve added the types of yarn I used in the instructions below. I did the first 4 rounds of the square in variegated and the remaining rounds, plus the border in the solid color.

This 18″ wide x 10″ deep purse is roomy enough to carry everything but the kitchen sink.

Use any crochet square pattern you like (there are zillions to choose from on the Web), use your favorite yarn colors, and put them together using my template samples shown below, which require 10 squares.

For the purse shown, I used a 6 mm crochet hook and my squares were approx. six inches. I used a variegated color for the first few rounds of the square (Impeccable Earth) and a dark taupe (Red Heart Super Saver Café Latte) for the last couple of rounds. You can make your purse larger or smaller, depending on the size of square you choose to use.

How to make your purse:

Choose the square pattern and yarn that you’d like to use. (I used the Lavender Square from Hooks and Yarns at http://hooksandyarns.blogspot.ca/2013/02/simply-pretty.html. For the variegated yarn, I used Impeccable Loops & Threads in Earth, and for the solid color, I used Red Heart Super Saver in Cafe Latte. (This link at Crochet Pattern Central offers tons of 6″ crocheted square patterns to choose from! https://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/directory/6in_squares.php )

Make 10 squares.
(1) Using your edging color (mine was the taupe), seam your squares together in three separate pieces (with one extra single square, set aside) as shown below, attaching them (right sides together) using single crochet. The x’s in the picture here show where the squares have been seamed. So you should end up with one row of two squares, one row of three squares, one row of four squares, and one single square.
2-seam-squares
(2) Next, you need to seam your rows together exactly as shown below, with the row of two attached to the row of three, the row of three attached to the row of four, and the single square attached to the right side of the row of four. The x’s shown represent where you’ve seamed, using single crochet again.3-seam-rows
(3) Once your squares are all seamed to form one piece, you can line your purse with fabric if you want. As you’ll see in the photo below, my impatience makes me sloppy with sewing my lining, so you might want to slow down and use tidier stitches! Anyway, I just cut a piece of fabric in the same shape as my one piece of seamed squares and hand-sewed it with needle and thread to the wrong side, making sure that the last row of crochet around the entire piece is uncovered so you’ll be able to seam the edges together when you fold it.4-lining
(4) Once the lining has been sewed in place, fold exactly where the dotted lines are shown below, placing right sides together and lining up edges, then seam edges together with single crochet. The longest dotted line is the bottom of the purse and the two shorter dotted lines are the sides of the purse. To make things neat, I crocheted a border around the mouth of the purse using two rows of single crochet.
5-fold
(5) Next, using the taupe yarn, I crocheted 4 simple rectangles for the handle rings, 3″ wide (6 dc + turning wide) x 5.5″ long, and I used a yarn needle to sew one to the wrong side of each of the four points where the handles will be attached.
6-front-back-handles
(6) The rings are actually wood curtain rings that I picked up at Fabricland (removing the little hook screwed into each one). Wrap the loose end of each of your rectangle tabs around each wood ring, and sew it securely again to the wrong side with your yarn needle.
7-handle-ring
(7) For the two straps, I used the taupe yarn, crocheting each one approx. 1.5″ wide x 32″ long (6 dc + turning across). Then I wrapped the very ends over the rings and used my yarn needle to stitch them on securely (sewing on wrong sides). As shown below, one strap is positioned on one side of the purse, the other strap on the other side.
8-handles9-all-handles
(8) Next, I made a fastening tab with a buttonhole space for closing the purse. I crocheted it 3″ wide x 5.5″ long (10 dc + turning wide) minus edging. Once finished, I used my yarn needle to stitch it to the center of the back side of the purse, then I used my variegated yarn to single-crochet a border around the edges.
10-buttonhole-flap
(9) Last, I sewed a wooden button to the middle front of the purse, about an inch down from the edge.11-button-placement

I’m fairly new at making up my own patterns, and still getting used to writing tutorials, so I’m sorry if I’m unclear at any point. I get so enthusiastic when I start a project, I just dive into it, and then I find myself thinking halfway through that I really should have been making step-by-step notes. Hopefully, I’ll get better at this as time goes on!12-bag_purse-granny-brown2

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