Sunday, August 25, 2019

At Last: The Return of the Crafty Nook

For two years, my crafty nook has served double-duty as my grad school homework hub and unfortunately, a storage room for the materials I used to regularly create with. Books and notebooks here, syllabi and portfolio standards there, and yarn everywhere else.  My Bunnies by the Bay collection collected dust.  My soldering wand was rarely used.  No new paper banners or bunting were made.

Mid-summer, and oh-so-near the end of my master's project (a week before, to be exact), I ended up having a hysterectomy (hallelujah!), which postponed my craft room reset for over a month.  Not even allowed back to work until last Friday, I decided that this was the weekend to reclaim my space.

I cleaned off my desktop computer, updated its OS... vacuumed... selected which textbook essentials to keep within reach and which to put away... brought two small plants downstairs... discovered my teacher's bag hadn't been cleaned out and washed since spring... and found a whole stack of magazines and a few books that I had acquired during my master's program still waiting to be read.

Though I still have some school stuff on my desk (school-school, not grad school), the space is looking and feeling so much more like what I originally intended it to be and what it had been prior to my return to college: my crafty retreat.  My space, where I don't compromise or try to please anyone else including professors, administrators, colleagues, students, friends, children or my spouse is a must-have for me.  I can see my yarn.  My bunnies are clean, small artwork is displayed, and I can come down whenever I want to and enjoy every bit of the space without avoiding or neglecting all of the projects I very much want to undertake.

Take a look (it's rainy and gloomy outside, cozy inside):

Even Tish-Tish approves.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

So, It Turns Out... I Have Some Yarn

I've finished five afghans in five months: yay, me!

In need of June crochet inspiration, I meandered downstairs to the crafty nook to look through my yarn.

Some was here, some was there...

Oh, and some was over in that corner.  Oh, oh, don't forget the basket, too!  Skeins, cakes, balls.

And then I began pulling furniture away from the wall, because, well, why not:

... emptying all of my cubby shelves (the floor is a disaster) and stacking them upright:

Then filling in each cubby so I could see exactly what I have, and realizing:


I need more cubbies.



No, no, I'm not going to show you the floor, because I actually need to rethink the layout of my entire craft room now.  That's right: while trying to figure out what yarn to use for my June afghan, I ended up in ye olde redecorate mode.  


With only a day left before my last semester of graduate school starts (the end is nigh, the end is nigh!) I won't be crocheting tomorrow.  I'll be redecorating. 

No, I still haven't figured out which yarn to use for June. 

Yes, I need to go get more cubbies and do a whole lot of rearranging.

And I need to find my floor, because... wow.  

Just... wow.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

January Afghan and Hello, Tish-Tish

Maybe it was the pace of the holidays or my need for lots and lots of sleep or the joy that resulted after visiting the local humane society with Dear Daughter, but I neglected... forgot... to make new year resolutions.

While looking through my yarn stash I thought of one: crochet one blanket per month.  My husband had just added the perfect mountain of yarn to my collection, fourteen cakes of Mandala Wool-Ease in "Hades," so the opportunity and motivation were there to start on January 1.

Oh, and she's been here every step of the way.  Readers, meet Tish-Tish (short for Morticia), Tish-Tish, Readers:

A few months ago I followed along with BellaCoco'sYouTube tutorial teaching viewers how to crochet a virus blanket, and the pattern has become my new favorite.  For this afghan, I double-stranded the Mandala trying to make sure I wasn't holding two matching runs of color together (I pulled from two cakes at a time) and used a 5.25 mm (I) hook.  The afghan worked up relatively quickly, and after close to fourteen full cakes, almost covers the top of my king-sized bed. 

I'm not planning on making every monthly blanket as large, and I'm allowing myself some simple ripple/chevron baby blankets to contribute to the mix so I can build up my supply of baby shower gifts and keep my sanity during this semester of teaching AND graduate school. My idle hands need projects during t.v. time with my family and blankets are cuddle time essentials, right?  

I'm also not certain Tish-Tish will fully accommodate my resolution as she's turning out to be an I-want-to-cuddle-on-your-chest-UNDER-a-blankie kitty. Every... single... night.

Did you make any crafty-crochet-hobby resolutions for 2019?


You can see more of Tish-Tish on Instagram! #IAmTishTish 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas in the Craft Room

While it's going to be a very crochet Christmas this year, the new-to-me project of making my daughter's t-shirt quilt has made me realize I need as few distractions as possible in my line of sight in my craft room.

The shirts were washed, dried and ironed, and then the stabilizer was applied. A lot of careful cutting later, and I have a stack of logos that she's thankfully arranged in the order she'd like... so all I need to do is start sewing. But the yarn spread hither and yon, the grad school articles, books and notes covering almost every surface, and the unvacuumed carpet have been driving me crazy and making it difficult to get into the Christmas mood. 

Coffee, Christmas music streaming on Amazon (I love John Legend's new holiday album), and a few hours of cleaning, straightening and decorating later and the crafty nook is ready, which means *I* will be as soon as my final project for the semester is finished and I can concentrate on the quilt.

I got out the ornaments:

I love older ornaments, "vintage" baubles that glitter and reflect the twinkle lights on a tree.  The styrofoam and papier-mâché Santas are like a pair (one red, one white) that my mother used to hang on our tree every year. I snatch them up every time I encounter them, which isn't often. This is the first year I'm putting a traditional topper on the little silver tree that fills my window.

Sometimes it's the little vignettes that make me smile the most when decorating. This three-tiered stand has held balls of yarn, crochet hooks, yarn needles, magnifying glasses, scissors, pens and printed patterns alongside a stash of SMARTIES candy.  You know, the essentials.  After dusting it and finding my box of bottle brush trees, here's how it turned out (the mini-ornaments are the cutest just as they are- I found them at Target), with some seasonal sweetness for me to sneak during sewing breaks:

I still have some crochet projects in the works, but they're easy-peasy and don't require an entire table of space.  I'll sit here and listen to some movies (I rarely watch them when I'm counting stitches), and enjoy the newly cleaned craft room that now has the right touch of holiday spirit.  It'll certainly help me when I get underway on Dear Daughter's blanket. 

I haven't put up any other holiday decor in the house yet and suspect I won't be in the mood to do so until this semester of grad school is done next week.  My craft room will be a cheerful respite in the meantime, and I'll be able to concentrate on the t-shirt quilt assembly once I start. 

Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Repurposing Grandpa's Ice Bucket

Having a home bar has been and is a thing for many people, though not quite us yet.  My wine glasses are used rarely, but often enough to keep the stemware within semi-easy reach, and were recently joined by my grandmother's pilsners after a visit to my mother's.  She also gave me my grandfather's silver ice bucket, which has a bit of added character thanks to a dent in the front.  After polishing it up I couldn't quite decide where to put it to use, as of course, I don't have an established bar area or "entertainment" cabinet.

The crafty nook?

Tucked away in the china hutch somewhere?

I've had it on the dining room table just sitting, waiting for inspiration for weeks now.

While straightening up the table, watering plants and switching out the patriotic placemats, I plopped a smaller plant into the bucket to get it out of my way, and, wouldn't you know it, that's where it's going to stay for the rest of the summer.

(I know, I know, I should iron the table runner, but you know what?  It's not going to happen right now.)

Perhaps Grandpa would approve of the repurposing considering we have quite enough ice in the freezer's dispenser.

No, I told you, I'm not ironing it.

The wrinkles go with the dent.

So there.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Greenhouse Growth... FINALLY

Thanks to my late start and scaled-back plans for the greenhouse, I'm just now beginning to see the start of some productive growth.


As it turns out, being forced into a restful summer (see previous post) does nothing to curb one's tendency towards impatience.

Fine.  It does nothing to curb MY tendency. There.  I blogged it.

Blooms appearing on bell pepper plants. A single bloom on the lemon tree (some sort of pest attacked it when it overwintered indoors, so I had to treat and clean it like crazy to salvage it). One bright jewel on the tomatoes.  Cucumber vines taking over the place, attaching their tendrils to the tomato cage, with more climbing up toward the roof (seriously, where are you going?).  Perky, happy, bright flowers within and cheerful, tall wallflowers growing like weeds (and with them) surrounding the whole thing.

Not bad.  Not what I had envisioned during the spring, but pleasing nonetheless.

How does your garden grow this summer?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Unanticipated Start to Summer

It's been a while, and I'm in the mood to dive right on into this blog post and get everything off my chest. I know, I know, those are ~legs~.

With the school year coming to a close (I'm a kindergarten teacher for those new readers who may have somehow stumbled across this, my crafting blog) in May, I found myself diagnosed with a blood clot in my left leg, a DVT, three days before the last day of school.  See the swelling?  A week and a half or so later, three pulmonary embolisms, er, emboli, were found in my lungs and it was discovered that I was severely anemic.  So anemic, and with such a low hemoglobin count that I was *this close* (.6 on whatever scale is used) to requiring a blood transfusion.  

Nothing like being an overachiever.

I'm on blood thinner therapy, have refrained from juggling knives and chainsaws, take three iron supplements daily, have modified my diet and have been sleeping, sleeping, and more sleeping. This unanticipated start to summer has been filled with a lot of this:

... and not much of what I had originally planned. Thankfully, every day gets a bit better. Buck has become my napping companion:

 I get to eat iron-rich meals like this:

And every day I have a bit more energy and motivation, a very, v-e-r-y gradual return of my mojo.

Plans for the greenhouse were scaled back significantly.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, forsythia, basil and flowers are the only things planted this year.

Small jobs such as sorting my yarn used up all of the energy I could muster a week and a half ago:

... while today I was able to clear all of the kitchen countertops so I could give them the thorough cleaning that they desperately needed.  It's only fair that the person who deep-cleaned the kitchen be the one to mess it up to make cookies, right?

Yes, I thought so too.

So that's where I've been.  That's what's been going on.  That's this summer's adventure (so far).  My only other plans are to keep following the doctor's orders, remembering my meds, and taking all the time necessary to heal, though I'm hoping that I'll be able to indulge in some crafty, creative who-knows-what sooner rather than later.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.