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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Picot Love

I have a confession.  I don't really like the picot crochet stitch.  I know, it's a pretty common one in edgings and what not, but I don't really like it.  I think it's because I don't really like slip stitches.  But all that has changed.  One pattern, that's all it took - well, two really, but they are related.  Such an easy, quick little pattern.  But so satisfying, and it's all about the picot.  Such perfectly pointy little picots.  My whole world is changed.  Ok, maybe that is just slightly exaggerating.  Maybe.  I suppose you want to see?

See?  Such pretty little flowers and leaves, so nice and pointy and perfect.  The pattern for both the leaves and the flowers is from Alice over at Crochet with Raymond, and I cannot thank her enough for them.  Really, I have had a project that I have been working on for over a year and which I was feeling quite anxious over.  It was promised to a friend, you see, and I wanted it to really be something special, especially since it was taking so long.  But I just had no inspiration.  I made several false starts, but nothing was right.  As soon as I saw Alice's little leaves, though, I fell in love.  And then the next day she posted the flowers, and that was all I needed.  Everything else just fell into place from there.

I have to say, sewing all the ends in on these tiny little thread flowers took some time.  But it was worth it, they are all just gorgeous, don't you think so?  I can't share the final project yet - it's done, HOORAY, but it just wouldn't be fair to go posting it all over before my friend gets to see it herself, you know?  But I thought I would share the little flowers at least.  I did enjoy hooking them, I got quite a little rhythm going.  half double, double, half treble, PICOT! half treble, double, half double, slip.  Over and over in my head all around the flowers.

Oh, if you look closely, you may notice that the two different colors of leaves are slightly different.  The dark green ones are following the pattern exactly.  On the light green ones, I changed it just slightly to make the stitches on the second side mirror the stitches on the first side.  It just makes the second side a tiny bit rounder.  I really like it both ways.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jewelry With a Hook

I found this book last night at a local discount bookstore, and for only $7, I just had to snatch it up!  Especially since crocheted and beaded jewelry is an area I want to really focus on in my etsy shop this year.  I love all the different patterns it gives, and that it covers nearly every type of jewelry - necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and pins.  Several of the earring patterns have matching necklace patterns, and each pattern has great color photos of the piece on a model as well as a closeup of the piece itself.  Check these out -

These are a couple of my favorites from the section on necklaces.  Think of all the possibilities for that charm cover!  There is also a pattern for 4 different styles of "chain" to hang it off of.  I love options!

These rings are a great way to use random or unique buttons, and again, the possibilities are endless.  And speaking of unique - that Space Age bracelet uses monofilament fishing line for a really distinct look.  I love experimenting with crochet using unexpected materials, but this is one I would not have thought of on my own.  Awesome!

I forgot to take a picture of the chapter page for the Lobes and Lapels - the chapter on earrings and brooches.  And I guess none of the brooches really stood out enough for me to want to photo them, though there are some really pretty ones in the book.  And anyway, I don't want to totally overload you with photos, especially since I haven't been able to figure out how to lay them out any other way than 1 at a time.  Still working on that.  Anyway, I really like those Silver Spirals, which is just one of the earring/necklace sets.  There's a couple of patterns that are basically for crocheted beads, which you can then assemble any way you want.  And there's a Daisy Chain necklace which, although it isn't intended to match with these leaf earrings, I think they'd go great together.  You could even make a charm bracelet with these for a complete set!

All in all, there are so many possibilities, and I am so excited to start trying these patterns.  The only trouble is deciding which one to try first!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Socks!

Why did I ever stop wearing fun colorful socks, anyway?  I went to Target today and scored 7 pairs of fun socks for me, plus this adorable robot pair for Gabriel, and the most I paid for any of them was $2!  Daddy's socks aren't new, they were a birthday present last year and came from Sock Dreams.  But I didn't want to leave him out of the fun.  : )

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Gradual Awakening

I am not by any means normally a morning person.  So when I decided to drag myself out of bed on a Saturday morning after being out late the night before so I could watch the sunrise on the first day of the year, I was hoping for something - well, a little more exciting than what I got.  In my mind, it would be a brilliant sky of vibrant pinks and oranges and purples, the sun bursting forth over the lake, a glorious golden ball, a promise that the new year would be full of light and excitement.  What I got was a biting cold wind and a sky full of so many clouds, you couldn't really see the sun at all.  While the  pastel pinks, greys, and blues were pretty, they were also much softer than the vision in my head.  There was no single moment where the sun burst over the horizon; rather, the sky simply gradually got lighter.  The wind was so cold that I couldn't bear to stand outside with the camera for more than a few moments, so I bounced in and out of the car, wanting to take as many pictures as I could, a little disappointed in what there was to take pictures of, and cold enough to start wondering why I had dragged my tail out of bed for this in the first place.  I ended up with a grand total of 4 photos.  On the one hand, I feel this is rather underwhelming for having achieved the momentous task of getting myself out the door at 7am on a Saturday morning.  On the other hand, there is not a great deal of difference in any of them.  Perhaps if I'd gotten up slightly earlier and gotten a few pre-dawn shots.  Or if I'd braved the cold for a little longer than 10 minutes.  Oh well.  I guess these 4 aren't so bad.

So why did I get up for the sunrise anyway?  Well, as I've mentioned before, I've been digging a lot into the Energy Profiling system by Carol Tuttle.  I originally thought I was a Type 2, but after some unexpected comments and a lot (I mean a LOT) of thought, I now believe I am a Type 1 with a secondary 2.  Type 1 is described as the Bright Animated woman, and the sun/moon cycle associated with Type 1 is sunrise - so while it is NOT something I plan on making a habit out of, I thought it would be a cool way to greet the new year.  Type 2 is described as the Subtle Soft woman.   So... I was envisioning a Type 1 sunrise - what I got was more Type 2.

You know what though?  I decided that was ok.  Actually, I consider it a good picture for myself.   I am excited about learning more about the Energy Profiling system and am striving to use it to gain more insights about myself and others, and most importantly to start to really live my truth (a key idea in the system).  See, even though 2 is my secondary type, I have been living in my 2ness for more years than I can even think of.  As I learn more about Type 1 and allow myself to let those aspects come out, even learn to embrace them, I am finding that I feel more relaxed, more free, and more excited - more Bright and Animated! - and I'm loving it!  At the same time, that doesn't mean the Soft and Subtle 2 is gone.  It's still there, influencing my 1ness and how it is expressed, and I'm figuring out all those nuances too.  So to me, this sunrise is a beautiful picture of my life, right now and what I look forward to in the year ahead.  Maybe the sun didn't burst forth in one glorious moment, and maybe I won't have any brilliant flashes of instant inspiration where I suddenly totally understand myself, know how to fully live my truth, and all my problems are over (don't I wish!) - but that's ok.  Maybe my walk looks more like a serious of small discoveries, knowing myself better and better gradually over time, changing old ideas and learning to live my truth a little more each day.  It's still a beautiful expression of 1 and 2 together, each new day gradually awakening to more truth.  That's my own unique style, and it's beautiful.

New Year’s Eve and Project 52

In accordance with my goal of trying to both take more pictures and post more pictures, I’m going to try to do Project 52 – that’s at least 1 photo every week, all year.  I was kind of wanting to try Project 365 – that’s a photo every day! – except that I realized as I went to bed on the 3rd that I had already missed 2 days.  Doh.  So 1 a week it is, and honestly, I think that’ll be enough of a challenge for me anyway.  There are various lists around for themes to follow each week, but I am just going to do my own theme, maybe for the whole  year, maybe for a month and then a new one, or maybe I’ll end up throwing out having a theme at all, but for now I’m just looking for COLOR.


And on that note, I thought it would be fun to take you to Ella’s Deli with me.  This is an ice cream parlor near our house, and they also are a (I think kosher) deli.  But neither of those things really describes what Ella’s is.   We were planning on a late dinner New Year’s Eve and wanted to grab a small bite before heading to friends’ houses, but didn’t want to go far out of our way, so we headed to Ella’s.  Poor Gabriel – it’s not the first time he’s been there, but it’s the sort of place where you find something new every time you go, even after years and years, so he ended up being too excited and enthralled by it all to really eat much.
I do have to mention that almost all of these photos are taken from our table, which was all the way at the back of one side of the restaurant.  There’s a whole nother half not even represented here at all, and even the half I was taking pictures of, I only got a very small portion of it.  From the bits I got, you can see how it is just jam packed and the whole place is like that.  I also did not get pictures of the carousel, which is all locked up for the winter, so I’ll just have to go back sometime this summer.  ; )

The other cool thing about Ella's is that almost everything moves - there's lots of figures going back on forth on tracks (in addition to Mighty Mouse here, there's also Batman and Harry Potter with a Golden Snitch, and tons of others), spinning like these sea horses, there's a series of vacuum tubes with balls running through them, and if you look closely at the picture of the ice cream counter, there's a monkey riding a unicycle on a tight rope.

PS:  I'm sorry about the formatting issues here.  I'm very *grrr* about it, I just can't seem to get the photos to layout the way I want them to.  I'll keep working on it though, I guess if I'm going to be posting lots of photos, I've got opportunity to learn.