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Friday, December 30, 2011

Can't Give Up The Extra Sparkles Yet!

In years past, I've always taken the Christmas tree and packed everything up the day after Christmas.  For one thing, the day after Christmas is my daughter Carianne's birthday, and I always tried to make the two holidays very separate for her sake.  For another, I was always just ready to move on and get the house back to some semblance of normalcy! 


This year is different.  Carianne was not here for Christmas or her birthday, so that part didn't matter... and I'm just enjoying seeing the sparkly crystals and lights everywhere. The last two Christmases I didn't decorate very much due to "life."  This year I dragged out quite a bit of "HoHo" and I really enjoyed it a lot! So... we will sparkle on until New Year's, when I will have absolutely no excuse left for leaving it all up! 


A week ago, I found out the little spot I've had on my face forever is a basal cell carcinoma. I was scurried off to the plastic surgeon who did a 45-minute surgery to remove it. I have never had a black eye before, but I had quite a shiner! I went yesterday and had the stitches removed. Here I am just before they removed the stitches. To all you young girls out there who spend hours frying your skin in a tanning booth, and spending days outdoors without suncreen, this is what you may be looking at 20 or 30 years later!  So be warned. 


One little brag... the nurse who took out my
stitches wanted to know if my eyelashes were
real and complimented them... I said yup they
are, thank you Latisse! She was glad because
she had just started on it herself!

I've been crocheting a lot this week. It seems I never finish all my Christmas gifts on time. (It's a resolution for next year!) A lot of times I don't hit on the just-right idea until the last minute, and then I have to make three or four of whatever-it-is.  This year was the mobius scarf. It was Laurie's fault... my dear god-daughter stopped by last weekend with a scarf she had just purchased in very thin knit material, and she was sure I could come up with something better to match her coat! So I did... but then she went out of town and I had to do one of course for John's girlfriend Janette in orange, her favorite color. 

Janette's orange scarf in Homespun's Spice

Sally's Scarf in 3 yarns... Cameo Bulky,
 Enchantress Sequin, and Premier's Serenity Chunky. It is heaven to touch. 

Heidi dropped by and saw the beginnings of Laurie's, and wanted the identical one. My best friend Sally is in KC and I thought a bright red one would be just the thing to brighten her trips out to doctor appointments (she spent 75 days in the hospital the last couple of months).  So far Sally's and Janette's are completed, I sneaked in a white fluffy one for myself, and I have Heidi's and Laurie's yet to do. Luckily I can get each one done in a day. I have one more planned but she may actually read this blog, so it's a secret for now! 


My White "Snowy Scarf"
I also wanted to design a doily for Sally, something special to sit on her little coffee table by where she sits. So the "Sally's Doily" is now in progress and up on my squidoo site as a crochet-along. As I complete it, I'm putting up the new rounds for everyone.  (They may get a clue of the doily's theme on the last couple of rounds I just put up today!) 


Sally's Doily In Progress
Well, I'd better keep this short as obviously I have a lot of work to do! Hugs to all... and have a very happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December Wrap-Up

Merry Christmas! 

December has turned out to be a crazy month for me crochet-wise! I started out planning to do my usual annual snowflake. That turned out to be the Rose in Snow Beaded Snowflake. Ended up giving the prototype as a Christmas gift!

Then another crocheter asked for a cupcake pattern and I remembered having done one years ago, but never patterned it. So of course I had to design a new one! It's called the "Sparkly Cupcake Ornament." I've only made one of that so far but I want to make a whole bunch in different colors! I think they would look so cute either decorating a tiny tree, or hanging in the kitchen year-round.



Then there are the crocheted gifts. I did up a bunch of scrunchies in different patterns, one I particularly liked I did pattern up and post on my site. It's called the "Princess Crowns" ponytail cover. I discovered a new type of ponytail elastic recently. It's Scunci brand and the bands are clear silicone. Perfect to crochet over, no color show-through! Keep your eyes out for them, very cool.

I'm crocheting three different scarves, two of which will not be done in time for Christmas and none of which will be patterned - no time. Thank goodness my friends are understanding and will take an IOU!! One is an orangey flavor of Homespun, (their request!) one is Red Heart Kiss and the third is Red Heart Kiss held together with Paton's Brilliant. That third one especially is going to be pretty. I'm doing moebius scarves this year.

Crocheting up some cut-apart kitchen Christmas towels as usual - I'll get done as many as I can. Doing a hand-painted, decorated apron with crochet accents. I hope it turns out cute!

Having a small minor surgery tomorrow (just an office thing) which will cut out some precious hours I need to get things done! My cards are out, my shopping is almost done, and I just have to say this one thing. This has been the best Christmas season I have had in many, many years. Just because of feeling BETTER. And I am walking so much better too. Getting stronger by the day and hoping to go back to water therapy soon.

Had a small dinner party last night for some very close friends and family, the fact that I was able to that is testament to my feeling better! Something like that before the hip replacements would have been unthinkable.

I may take a very tiny "vacation" from crocheting for about a week to give my hands a rest. When you fight with arthritis, you have to do some rest time to settle things down. And my hands have been busy!  I love every minute of it, though.

Monty, Winnie and Ladybug test-nap the
new bed they got for Christmas.  This is what
 you call "Schnauzer Tested – Schnauzer Approved!" 


The furkids are all well and happy, thank goodness.  My grown daughter is out of town for the holidays, my grown son and his girlfriend will be around so that's good. We had our "Christmas Dinner" last night and exchanged gifts, so the rest of the week is really take-it-easy time for us. And that's a good thing!

In case I don't get back here in time, I want to wish all of you the merriest Christmas ever and the best new year you have ever had! I plan to have one of those myself!







Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Future Plans & Dreams....

Usually my "productivity" ends around 5 pm when the husband arrives home. I generally land in my comfy chair and work on stuff at my desk – either on the computer, crocheting, making some jewelry, or just watching TV.

Lately I've noticed that I'm not hitting that 5 pm "fatigue wall" every day. Some days - like today - I just keep going like the Energizer Bunny! I was insanely proud of myself today for making three web pages and then spending two hours deep cleaning my main bathroom! I know - it sounds pathetic - but you have to understand that before both of my hips were replaced, something like that would have been impossible. I could chip away at one or two things, perhaps, but then have to stop.  To be able to write, do that cleaning, hang some ornaments on the tree, visit with company for awhile, then go in and put together two batches of cookie dough? NO way. This is just too cool!

I'm really tired right now but mentally I'm still "on" so I think I'll finish designing my little crochet cupcake ornament and get it patterned up.  I had done a cupcake several years ago and now I can't even find the darned thing! I did find a photo of it, but no pattern. It's probably jotted down in one of my innumerable notebooks. Here's the old cupcake.



I'm finding a lot of gratification in giving away free patterns. It's just fun, especially at the holidays. To have a few hundred people visit your pattern site in one day is, admittedly, a big thrill!

Someday, however, I'm going to get my little project done and then I'm hoping to actually sell some patterns.  I have all those notebooks I just mentioned, from years of designs going back to around 1998 or so. I wrote down almost everything I made.  What I'm doing now is slowly transcribing all those notes into page layouts which I can later sort out and combine into... a book! Yes, it's a goal.

Funny how inspiration will strike you and then you're off on a new rabbit trail! The other day I read a post from another crocheter looking for a cupcake, and of course I had to go look for MY cupcake, and then discovering I didn't have it anymore, of course I had to design a NEW cupcake! That's how things usually work. Something sparks a project and off we go.  Usually there are two or three such projects in the works at once. Usually one or two thread things, one yarn thing, and maybe an illusion jewelry thing... it's nice to never be bored!

I've often thought over the years that "being in my element" perfectly would involve having a little shop on some little town square, where I'd hang out with a couple of my dogs and people would stop by for yarn or hooks or patterns... chat, have some coffee, whatever, while I designed and crocheted away.  It sounds like heaven to me. For now though, I'll content myself with hanging out with the coffee and all the dogs, and enjoying my crochet friends online.  It sure would be fun in person, though!


Friday, December 9, 2011

9 Things I'm Really Grateful For!

1. My fairy goddaughter, Chelsea. 

I had inspiration strike on a gift for her yesterday. Her mom told me she has been baking up a storm, and the child is only 11! She is SO smart and just a wonderful little girl. She mentioned she guessed she would have to get her an apron or something. 

My Chels with my Ladybug
Well, Sheila does aprons!!!! I used to do a lot of them as gifts. I'd take a blank apron, fabric paints laid out in a palette, a brush, and go to town. I would applique on scraps of fabric, decorations, embroidery, whatever... they were always multimedia and they were FUN. I haven't done one in years. So I had to go to JoAnn today and pick up everything. My fabric paints (wherever they are) are many years old, so I picked up just a few colors. I found an adorable cupcake applique and a little sequined star applique.  Aprons just went on 1/2 price for the weekend sale, yay! Now I think I need a cute little saying to put on it somewhere.   So that's one gift that will take some major time but I'm very excited about doing something different. And yes, it will have crochet on it in some form, somewhere!! 

2) The weather. (It should be snowy at Christmas!) We have lots of snow on the ground now and it looks very Christmasy out. I hadn't gone out in several days up til today. Brrr!!! I need to make myself another scarf sometime to go with my brown mood that I have going.  I worked on Christmas decorating all week – I have to do some and then rest a bit, so it takes awhile. I used to "psycho Christmas decorate" and for the last few years I've kept things to a bare minimum due to health. But this year, I've actually gone a little more toward my "normal psycho!"  Here's a couple of pictures of progress so far. 

3) My best friend Sally was put in the hospital again this week, I would sure appreciate your prayers and/or good thoughts for her. We have been best friends for 30 years. Her daughter is the mom of my fairy goddaughters I mentioned above.  I'm grateful because two days ago she was in critical condition and now she's stable. 

4) A party to go to! Trying to decide whether I could whip out a small shawl in 24K yarn to wear to a Christmas party the 18th. Probably not, right? But I wanna.... I'm very excited, this Christmas I actually feel like going out and doing some things for the first time in soooo many years! 

5) Friends to make gifts for! I'm taking a break from crocheting for a few minutes to write this. I am making my crocheted kitchen towels as usual for a couple special friends.  So far, I've made headband earwarmers, a whole bunch of crocheted hair ties (elasticized bands), a scarf (which isn't actually finished yet), and of course my brown vest (which I am going to be doing demolition and major remodeling to sometime this winter - I wasn't happy with the rear end). 


Today I finished two Swarovski crystal (12 mm!!) illusion necklaces. Those two are plain with no pendant. They need no further adornment!!! I also did a pearl illusion necklace with a cluster pendant made up of a silver cross, a big Swarovski rock, and a silver/crystal button. You can see how to make them here . 



There are so many things I'd like to make for gifts and just so little time. I'd love to give everyone an afghan, or something equally big. There isn't isn't time. But that's ok, that's why God made Amazon:) 

6) A cool place to sell my designs! 


HEY I don't usually promote this a lot - but if you have a friend who crochets, you must see the Sterling Silver Crochet Hook earrings I designed at my CafePress store. They come in heart shape, oval, or round and are small dangles. Very pretty, and affordable!! I also have a zillion other Crochet themed gifts on there - many kinds of shirts, jackets, calendars, license plate frames, note cards, Christmas cards, mouse pads, coffee cups, iPhone cases, and so much more!  What a great way to celebrate your love of Crochet! 

Some of my artwork themes are "Hooked on Crochet," "I'm The Other Happy Hooker," "Who Needs This (Chocolate) When I Have Crochet," and several other artwork designs without sayings - like my pretty jeweled crochet hook with a gemstone dangling from it! It really is fun stuff, it's affordable, and they ship directly to you or anyone you choose.  Best of all, the profits go straight to my Miniature Schnauzer rescue.  SO... just click here , and I would LOVE to hear what you think of my designs! Here is one of the necklaces and earrings.  They have the same design as the T-shirt below. 

                




7)  - Grateful for something way-cool that happened to me! Guess it's ok to toot my own horn on my own blog just a little bit! At Thanksgiving time, in between cooking I spent the day writing on a "lens" (what they call a web page) at Squidoo.com.  It's a very unique site where you can write websites on just about anything you want, and I've been working my butt off for months doing just that. Well, they had a contest on Thanksgiving for the best Thanksgiving themed lens. I did one on my entire Thanksgiving dinner - everything from shopping to what to do with the leftovers, and turned it in. I was thrilled when they picked mine as one of the 25 winners! There was also an Amazon gift certificate as a prize! I wanted something really special to commemorate getting paid for my writing for the first time, so i picked out some really special earrings that spoke to me. It was SO much fun!!  It just feels really good to have someone applaud your work. I think that's just being human:) Anyway, if you're interested, you can read the piece here

8) I'm making huge strides with physical strength with my new hip. (Or, hips!) I think I mentioned I ditched the walker a couple of weeks ago and I have just sent it to retire in the attic, hopefully forever. I just noticed today it's been 60 days since the last surgery. I was out shopping and saw a beautiful glass ornament with just the word, "HOPE" on it. It's now hanging near my desk. It hit me so hard when I saw it - with these two surgeries, I have HOPE for a much better life now!! Not to sound sappy, but it's so true. I was to the point this time last year that I had lost all hope for anything but a life full of constant agony. I am so grateful that I am not in that place anymore. 

9) Looks like the plans are settling into place for Christmas. The daughter will be flying out east to spend Christmas with her new boyfriend. The son will be home with his girlfriend. Hopefully I will get to make a little trip down to see my BFF in Kansas City before the holiday. I really need to see her. 

Everybody stay safe, have a great holiday weekend! 

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