Halloween 2014!

For those of you who know me in real life, you all know about my love for Halloween. For those of you who don’t know me in real life, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love it so much, as does my husband, that our wedding had a Halloween theme to it! There’s just something about it that I love. These days, spooks and thrills are my favorite thing about it, when I was younger and a fraid-y cat, I just loved getting to dress up in costume so that nobody would know that I was who I was, it was my chance to fit in for a single night and a chance for me to be me without being looked down upon. The fact that I’d get bags full of candy didn’t hurt matters, either!

I’ve always been a fan of the macabre and “spooky” things, even if they use to terrify me. When I was a young child, one year I went as Morticia Addams, and the following year I went as Lily Munster, two of my idols from two of my favorite shows (the original Addams Family, I’d like to add, I never liked the 90’s Addams Family until I grew up). As I grew older my costumes started to change into things that I felt like them being, instead of what my parents thought was acceptable. I even went trick-or-treating all the way until I was in 10th grade, but I went in full costume with my best friend, traipsing through our neighborhoods having a blast. My junior and senior year of high school were spent driving around filming terrible “horror movies” with gore courtesy of the Burger King condiment bar. After high school Dain (who was just my boyfriend at the time) and I bought a 1977 Chrysler Town & Country hearse for me – to go with his 1981 Cadillac DeVille hearse, naturally, and ever year since 2006, I’ve spent Halloween with Dain, sometimes our friends, and, as of 2007, two hearses, instead of just one. Of course, as years go on and you hold an interest in something, your collection of those things grows a bit bigger each year, and our Halloween collection is no exception!

Since I’m so fond of Halloween and our set up each year, I always take pictures to watch how it grows and look for ways that we can improve on it. Please forgive me for the not-so-great quality of these pictures. For some reason I refuse to use a tripod when I use my actual camera, and the pictures from my phone were seriously lacking this time around, when usually they’re of fairly good quality. I hope you can at least get an idea as to the awesomeness that is our set up! I’m breaking these up into two groups, pictures from my phone, and the ones from my camera. I hope you all enjoy!

Pictures from my camera:

Pictures from my phone:

Catchin’ Up on This Fine Monday!

So I’ve been MIA for another week! I think I can finally get back into the regular swing of things with blogging and crafting.

I may have mentioned in a previous post, I had a phone interview with a state credit union and was moving onto the next step in the interviewing process. Unfortunately, I did not go any further, which was a pretty big blow to me, and it kept me down for quite a while, but there’s a reason that I didn’t get that job, I just haven’t quite figured it out yet.

I applied to a temp agency in town last week and had an interview with them last Wednesday. I believe it went well! It went well enough to where they decided to place me in a (very temporary) gig as an Election Judge in the upcoming elections on November 4th. It’s only a total of 9 hours, but it will look nice on my resume and I’m very excited about it. I kind of hope I get to work either the ballot box and hand out stickers or the demonstration table, as those seem to be the least stress inducing. I was informed by one of my references that the temp agency had contacted them, so I hope that means that the rest of my references will get back to the agency and they’ll place me in a quick manner.

I finished the Super Secret Projects, which were two hats for a couple of friends. A Cthulu hat, and a hat to look like their cat, Odin:

I was also asked to make another skull scarf for someone’s favorite little guy. Which I am excited to get wrapped up and sent off. It shouldn’t take too much longer to finish that up!

I’ve made a couple of other hats in the last week, a brain hat and a regular “fashion” hat. The brain hat has yet to have the brain attached, and the other hat I have yet to take a picture of, which I might save for Finished it Friday.

 

My very first Yarnbox arrived on Friday and I am totally and completely hooked. The yarn they sent is wonderful and the patterns that are included are wonderful. This month’s yarn was from’ Neighborhood Fiber Company, in one of two weights, either a “Rustic Fingering” in a palette of candy apple reds, midnight blues, vibrant violet, and deep greens. The other weight is DK, in two colors, a bright last-leaf green or soft gray.’ The featured designers are Annie Riley and Katya Novikova, the free patterns are “Leaflet Gloves” by Annie Riley and “Overcast” which is a beautiful shawl from Katya Novikova. I am still tossing around the idea of making the Overcast shawl, or if I’m going to search around for something else. Luckily for me, yarn doesn’t expire! I have found, however, that I now need a ball winder, as these yarns come in hanks, as they would if they were shipped to a store, and to make things easier for me I should really buy a ball winder. It’s on the list!

I also had a surprise arrive at my doorstep on Thursday! It was totally unexpected and completely awesome. Sometimes, my mom really understands my needs:

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Officially my new favorite sweater!

I am also preparing for my monthly yarn order early this coming month, which is all yarn for Christmas gifts. I’ve got enough yarn otherwise to make a few things to sell. I’m having a hard time coping with the fact that not only is it almost Halloween, but Christmas is right around the corner, too. Damn.

Well, that about sums it up for me! Happy crafting, everyone

That Dreaded Gift Reaction…

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My husband’s cousin’s daughter, McKenzie, turned 16 this past week on Wednesday or Thursday, I believe, and since I am short on cash (as per usual) but had plentiful amounts of yarn, I opted to make her something.

A week or so previous to deciding to make her something, I had found Rolling in the Deep, which is an infinity scarf pattern that I fell in love with immediately. I showed it to my mother-in-law to see if she thought that McKenzie would like it and assured me that she would, so I asked her to figure out McKenzie’s favorite colors, and when she figured that out for me, I set off in a frenzy to make the scarf, hoping that I would finish quickly so I could move on to making more to (eventually) sell.

When I finished it, everyone loved it, Dain, his dad, his mom, and most importantly, I loved it. I don’t typically like what I make by the time I’m done with it because I’m sick of staring at it. I had a lot of confidence wrapping this one up to be gifted, figuring she would love it.

Yesterday was her party, so after working on the gift that my mother-in-law was giving her (tying and sewing together a quilt), we packed up in the car and went to the local Godfather’s to have pizza, cake, and watch her open her presents. Everyone ate their food and cake while the adults conversed with one another, took turns holding a baby, paid attention to her cute little nephew TJ, and then watched a slideshow and video that McKenzie’s brother put together for her, which was tear inducing and very sweet. After that, we all insisted that she open up presents, we adults were getting impatient, not to mention we were suppose to be out of Godfather’s party room at 7, and it was, at that point, 7:15.

So she started into her presents, she asked which one she should open first, and my husband handed her the one that I made for her, to my horror (there were other gifts! Mind didn’t need to be opened first). She opened the card that I had Dain write up for her, it was just a cheeky, stupid poem that I had Dain come up with in a pinch, which got a laugh – so far, so good! Then she tore into the gift, to find this:

And she just went “Oh.” and put it around her like a sash. So I got her attention and let her know that it was an infinity scarf, to which she said “I’m going to wear it like this, because I don’t care.”

My heart crumbled to a million pieces. She didn’t say she liked the color, she didn’t think it was pretty, nothing, just “oh.”

Now, logically, I realize she’s 16, and teenagers have that kind of attitude, and in retrospect, she had about that same reaction to all her gifts, except for gifts of money, but I can’t help but still feel crushed. I put a lot of time and effort into things that I make, and maybe once she got home and was away from all of her friends, she actually appreciated it more, but I feel very doubtful about that.

It’s reactions like hers that make me not want to make people things as gifts. I don’t usually get that reaction, but it’s always just as soul crushing when it does.

How do the rest of you deal with getting a less-than satisfied reaction to something that you made as a gift?

 

Amateur Photography

Every now and again, I like to try my hand at photography. I have no where near the skills or the eye that my husband has, but I like to pretend. Late last week I was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and the view from the floor that I was visiting really captures my eye, the Kahler Motel sign, which I don’t think has been changed since the 50’s, and this beautiful building a little further down, which I presume to be a church, but I have no idea. All of these years visiting that clinic and I still couldn’t tell you left from right in there. Anyway, enjoy some very shoddy photos that I took with my phone and the Lomo Camera app (because I haven’t managed to purchase a fisheye lens for my phone yet, but they make them!)

Finished it Friday: The projects that I leave behind

I have to be honest, here. Sometimes, I start a project with so much gusto and excitement that I plow through… most of it. I’ll get to the end with just a couple of steps to finish to be done with the project and I’ll go to pick it up one day and just be utterly disgusted with it and not want anything to do with it. You would honestly think it was covered in dog shit, smells of cat piss, and covered in prickly ash.

Then I get pattern envy, I’ll jump on Ravelry and start searching through patterns. Oogling all of the projects that I want to crochet or knit like a pubescent boy oogles his father’s nude-y magazines (or, in the case of a gay young male, oogling pictures the shirtless pictures of men in all of the magazines for women, or whatever suits their fancy). I will start to go through my stash looking for a match to one of the patterns, hoping that I’ll have a reason to walk away from my current project.

“Hell yeah!” I’ll exclaim, “Dain, I’ve found a pattern that I really like! Do you think [family member/friends name] would like it? (or alternatively, “Do you think it would sell?”) When my husband agrees, like he’s been trained to do because it’s a brilliant idea, I’ll move to that project, happy as can be.

However, there will sit the project that I left behind, for the first two weeks it starts out with no shame or guilt: “I just need some breathing room, don’t worry, I still love you, I’ll come back.” Weeks 3-8 the guilt starts to set in and I start making up excuses: “It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.” Usually by that time, I have actually gotten busy within my life and I’ll forget about the project gathering dust on my chair’s side table, until one day, when I’m cleaning and organizing my table because it’s become full of tiny pieces of yarn and miscellaneous pieces of paper, and I’ll pick up the long forgotten project and be overwhelmed with guilt: “I told you I”d come back for you!” I’ll say as I embrace the yarn and the mostly finished project, “I could never forget about you!”

Somehow, I feel that the yarn knows that I’m lying, and will then throw me some sort of curve ball when I start to work with it again. “I’ll teach you!”

Moral of the story: I’m a little crazy.

Anyway, I started this forgotten project (according to my Ravely account) on June 16th of this year, I finished it almost completely within a week, I just had to finish the second sleeve, snip all of the woven in ends, and buy and attach buttons. I sewed on the buttons today, making this project complete and ready to send to my aunt for my sweet baby cousin, Riley. I hope that she’ll like it.

What’s that yarn? Malabrigo Rios in English Rose and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash in Marina

A little over a year ago, my mom asked me to make her a pair of slippers. So I went out and bought the yarn and promptly set out on working on something else. I just recently got around to making her some. The pattern was fairly simple and plain, but if you add a little embellishment, they look fantastic! I really like the way they turned out, and even my mom says she likes them, but we’ll see how she actually feels when she receives them in the mail next week.

 

What’s that yarn? Berroco Vintage in Black Cherry and Cast Iron.

 

I hope you all have a great weekend!

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

My life has been kind of crazy lately. If you want to be exact, since the 26th of August, which happened to be my 26th birthday. Anyway, my life has been busy with doctor’s appointments and as I’d mentioned briefly in my introductory post, I have something called Marfan Syndrome, and these appointments have to do with that. Which isn’t a big deal, by any means – I’ve dealt with this my entire life and it’s not going to change any time soon, and my commute to get to these appointments has shortened greatly since I’ve moved in with my husband and his family all those years ago, but it’s still an hour commute one way with exorbitant parking fees and early mornings, of which I am not typically thrilled about. It is worth it, however, because I get to see some of the best doctors in the world, of which not everyone is so lucky to be able to do, even if they have something similar to or worse than what I have. I could always have it worse!

So – what’s happenin’…
In my personal life:

  • MRI Scan with contrast into my hip tomorrow (9/25)
  • Consultation with the Orthopedist concerning MRI results and talking about what to do next
  • Husband’s cousin’s “sweet 16’s” birthday party on Saturday
  • It’s fall around here and the colors are changing, which means it’s time to take pictures!
  • Starting to prepare for Halloween!
  • I will finally get to finish and send out all of the projects that I’ve finished for family members and friends
  • I will get a chance to write back to all of my penpals

With my book status:

  • I have started to read The Demonology of King James I by Donald Tyson, but am currently unsure if I’m going to continue, not for lack of  enjoying the book or it’s contents, but I just don’t know if it’s what I want to read right now. I’m considering re-reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, because … Gaiman.

In relation to my hooks:

  • I have recently found the Crochet Guild of America and have decided that when I have a spare $35, I will become a member and reap the benefits.
  • I am also toying with the idea of attempting the Master Crochet Program. I definitely think that I’m cut out for it, and it would definitely be a challenge! Still mulling it over.

With my hooks and some yarn:

I have found over the past few months that having multiple projects going at once gives me the opportunity to change up what I’m doing and keep my sanity a little bit longer (oh wait, I’ve never had my sanity! Well, you get what I’m saying anyway)!

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This project has been a lot of fun, and one of the first that I’ve come up with on my own. This is for a friend who has some really great tastes, and what’s even better, is when I’m done with this adult sized scarf, I get to make one on a smaller scale for his son! You can’t ever go wrong with skulls, especially this close to Halloween (or really, any other time of the year.

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While this sweater is technically done as far as crocheting goes, I still have to add a couple of buttons so that it will stay closed, but I am so happy with this little sweater that I kind of wish that I were a one-year-old so I could wear it. Not to mention all of the naps that I’d get to take if I were that age again!
What’s that yarn?: Malabrigo Rios Superwash (worsted weight) in English Rose and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash (worsted weight) in Merina

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This Crescent Turtleback Sweater is a long, ongoing project, but it is so much fun to work up and it’s even more fun to see it come to fruition. It’s been awhile since I’ve actually picked this one up and worked on it, but I think that might change as I find myself having to travel to my upcoming appointments, as the smaller skeins of yarn are easier to carry around than some of my bigger skeins.
What’s that yarn?: Knit Picks Comfy Sport in black

In my yarn heavy future:

  • A restocking of some yarn as I’m running low!
  • Making an infinity scarf for myself and my mother-in-law
  • Finding something to do with the little bits of Cascade 220, and Berroco Vintage that I have left
  • Take inventory of my yarn and reorganize it
  • Plan out holiday gifts and start on them

 

Well folks, that’s about all that I’ve got for this week. I hope you’re all doing wonderfully and enjoying this time of year!