#DoSomethingForNothing

Mornin’ darlings!

Recently, I was faced with some heating issues at the old house. Nothing too seriously and eventually (when the weather breaks) fixable. However, it did leave me in the midst of the Great Polar Vortex with no heat. I stayed in the house for 24 hours with supplemental heat before the decision was made to winterize the house and move out until the worst was over.

straight up…first world problems and I was a baby.

However, in that small window of time, I had a lot of time to think….and stress. Now, mind you, the house was maintaining at about 45-50 degrees! I personally found this amazingly impressive since we were being hit with wind chills of -20 to -25.

just a wee bit of frost going on

Back to the point.

I could not help but think of the homeless who were out suffering in the arctic temps. Northeast Ohio isn’t any more or less special than the rest of the country in this regard. In Akron, there has been a bit of a battle between the city and a private resident who has been using his property to provide shelter for the local homeless. The biggest point made from the entire argument is that there is a huge problem when people are living homelessly for prolonged periods and we as a society move right on by.

Chicago was nationally reported on for the issues they were facing and the amazing good samaritans who stepped up to help. Hats off to you Candice Payne for everything you did and are now doing to help! Not to mention, the city of Chicago for using their transit buses and mobile warming centers. Now that is thinking creatively!

Then, I was watching the Netflix documentary The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, and one of the episodes talked about a gentleman in the UK who goes around and gives homeless people free haircuts. In the process of his generosity, he developed the #DoSomethingForNothing. Joshua Coombes, you also sir…are a saint.

Morgan Freeman watches as Hair Stylist, Joshua Coombes, gives homeless man, Stuart Durkin, a free haircut. (National Geographic/Maria Bohe)

Do you ever feel like the universe is throwing signs in your face? Like hello you dumb ass, wake up and pay attention?

Enough rambling, get to the point girl.

In the past, I have donated goods I have made to the homeless. Truthfully, it is when I have items that have not sold and need be rotated through to make room for new stock. Mainly, because I am addicted to crochet and will ALWAYS be making stuff until my little fingers fall right off.

I seriously feel bad just saying that. They were discards. I know they helped people. I do. I just recently donated two trash bags of scarves to the homeless around the school where I work. I know the people who received them probably greatly valued them, especially during the Polar Vortex.

One piece was missing though. The personal connection.

So, my goal for the winter of 2019-2020 is this. I want to make 20 beautiful, warm and snuggly scarves/hats/blankets and I want to personally donate them and shake the hands of the recipients. I want them to know that I see them and they are not just the underbelly of society to me.

I do feel like it is a pathetically small thing. So small. But it’s a start. Who knows where it will grow. However, hopefully my teeny-tiny step will spark a little flame in someone around me…because the world needs more love. It definitely can’t hurt, right??

So, thoughts? Opinions? Inspirations?

Peace out peeps.

how to’s of crochet item care

Hey hey darlings!

So, this topic has recently popped into some of my daily conversations with peeps who have received a crochet/knit item and are not sure of how to care for it.

Shockingly, as someone who gifts/donates/forces a TON of crochet items on loved ones, I have NEVER discussed with any of those recipients on how to care for it (FYI, my new personal goal in life is to include some simple instructions with each prize!) I have also ALWAYS taken it for granted that since I was raised in home with tons of handmade stuff that EVERYONE automatically knew how to care for their gifted goodies.

Guess what? Nope, not the case.

So, here is some VERY basic 411 on and suggestions I have learned over the years. Feel free to comment with any suggestions or lessons you have learned on this topic! Lord knows, all help is always welcome when it comes to keeping our beautiful creations looking amazing for years to come!

Cleaning

Before washing your gift, you might consider contacting the creator for specifics on what type of yarn they used and how they recommend laundering it.

Now, I can’t lie…do I throw my winter scarves I made in with my regular laundry, wash and dry it with everything else, and move on with life. Sure do.

However, you might consider following a different life path. I would always recommend a gentle cycle (consider even using a lingerie bag) or handwashing if you are concerned about damaging the item. I make so much stuff, if it falls apart (which it rarely does), I make a new one and move on.

To be safe, always air dry your items. One of the easiest ways it to lay an item out on a flat surface that is covered by a couple of towels. Feel free to “block” (shape while damp and smooth out to lie evenly) for this process to help the item retain a lovely shape. It is IMPERATIVE that the item is completely dry before it is folded and stored away. Yarn will get funky and nasty quick if it is stored damp. Imagine a wet dog smell forever, only worse.

A random end….

So, you have a glorious blanket that your Great Aunt Gertie handed down to you. It’s your fav. EVER.

One night while binge watching Handmaid’s Tale or Outlander, you spot a random tail peeking out of the edge of the blanket. You think, no biggie and you tie a knot in it and snip it short.

Worst thing EVER.

If you do not crochet or knit, you might understand the mechanics of how that tail works. Nor should you! It ain’t your gig to make this stuff!

That little tail however, plays a pretty important roll in the construction of your piece. Each time a color is changed or a new skein of yarn is added, there is a connection made. Those connections have two tails. Now, most creators, weave them back in using a tapestry needle. Over the usage of the piece, those ends can weave themselves back out. When you snip it short, you are getting dangerously close to where the two pieces connect and therefore closer to the creation of a hole. If you see an end, the best thing to do is to tuck it back in. You can use your fingers, a crochet hook or a tapestry needle to weave it back in.

Dum, dum dum….a hole.

Oy. This could be a problem. Your favorite winter scarf that you have sported for years and washed without a care in the world has developed….gasp….a hole.

Now, there are a couple of approaches on this. First, do NOT pick or pull at it. It will only get worse….promise.

Next, call your craftiest friend, offer to buy them wine, dinner, whatever and beg them to fix it for you. They most likely will do it without any payment minus the joy on your face when you get to wear your gem again!

cute, random kid who loves his crochet scarf!

You can always also contact the creator. I know personally, if I have made it, I will ALWAYS fix or replace an item. I back my work and I want people to wear and use the crap out of things! That is what it is for and should know that I have their back!

If you feel fairly savvy with a needle and thread, you can always try to repair it yourself, by catching as many of the loops as possible and “securing” things back in place to prevent any more unraveling.

Highly recommend jumping to YouTube for some guidance on this. You will most likely not have the exact yarn, so match it with thread or yarn the best you can. One quick Google search provided a ton of options, including this one!

Most likely, this will always look like a repair. I personally am good with that, because you can still love and use the item! It just has more character now that it is showing it’s age.

In closing, if you have been so lucky to be gifted a handmade gift, please NEVER insult the creator by not using it. They made it for you. They want you to enjoy it and love it forever. The best thing you can do is bring it into your life fully and just go with it. If it has an issue, contact someone. We are everywhere…us crafty folks…and all of us are awesome and amazing and would love to help you!

Don’t forget, comment with any advice you have to add! LOVE hearing from y’all!

Peace out peeps.

what i do.

Besides working on a really damn old house, I make stuff. Lots of stuff.

I graduated from Ohio University a long time ago with a BFA and a focus in painting and ceramics. Now, however, I get a thrill out of making more “craft” life art and I think it’s wonderful!

My primary medium in the winter is crochet. I crochet until my little fingers want to fall off. I know there are a lot of you out there who are with me on this one! I wanted to share show of my newest creations…I would LOVE to see what you make in the comments section! SHARE YOUR CRAFT!

So, here we go!!

This was a fun little mosaic type stitch that is an infinity scarf! I really enjoy trying out new patterns! If you would like to try this pattern, you can find it here! I HIGHLY suggest using the videos at the end of the article!

Now, the rest of the ones I will be sharing don’t really have a pattern. I have a huge issue with making up things as I go! Sorry friends! A lot of them are being made because I am trying desperately to clean out my yarn stash a little!

This little guy is a prime example of using up two partial skeins of yarn!

The last one is a pattern I tried because I have had a lot of requests for messy bun hats! I did modify this pattern a little, because I enjoy a nice brim on a hat. You can find the original pattern here.

So, with all of that! Share your talents!

Peace out peeps.

arctic crap.

So, how y’all doing?

Anyone who is actually living in the Northeast….a BIG shout out and kudos for surviving Winter Storms Harper and Inga! Now, here comes enough cold air to make an Elsa herself want hot chocolate and what I lovingly have nick-named a “life-changing” blanket!

As I am making preparations and finishing up weather-proofing projects around the “old girl”, I am curious, what do you do to prepare for this level of impending cold? Do you have animals? How do you help them?

This is Princess Daisy last night….

Yes, this is the DEFINITION of spoiled pet. Can you imagine if I had a kiddo?



So, for transparency purposes strictly, this is how I prepare.

  1. I have a variety of extra sources of heat (just in case I end up without heat!)
  2. I stash a TON of yarn so that I can crochet my little frozen fingers off.
  3. I stick to carbs and warm beverages with a splash of protein…not the best for the diet, but frigid cold screams comfort food to me!
  4. I keep a pair of Carhartt bibs at the ready, whether I am at Momma D’s place or mine!
  5. LIFE-CHANGING blankets are freshly washed and ready to snuggle in with!
  6. Humidifier is on the ready, because lord knows, the drafts and the cold wing tear my skin and sinuses up! Speaking of which, anyone ever use Castor Oil as a moisturizer? You should try it out!
  7. Must have my favorite, comfy pairs of sweats clean and ready to go!
  8. Keep the cars with no less that a 1/2 tank of fuel, totally old school on this one…

Obviously, these are not survival based ideas…way more along the lines of comfort levels! lol! That is my official disclaimer, please do not use the above list and expect to survive in sub-zero temps.

Just saying.

However, in case you would like to ready up on winter preparedness…here is a handy article!S

So, how do you prepare? My winning responses are going to involve moving to a warm state! That is for you P.T. and M.P (if you’re reading this!)

Most likely, I will be posting next week (I am predicting a cold day or two from school, so I’ll have no excuse!). Hopefully, it will be more entertaining that this post! lol!

Peace out peeps. Stay warm!

This is for you Aunt S.

Yep, here I am. I had to charge the laptop and make a point of sitting down to formulate a thought. All for you Aunt S.

Actually, in reality, I owe you a huge thank you!! I have discovered that over the course of the last three years blogging (and I use that term LOOSELY) I have learned how easy it is to let large amounts of time pass between entries.

Call it life, call it laziness ….call it whatever the hell you want…it happens. All the damn time.

So, the back story is, I saw Aunt S. at our yearly family Christmas event and right off the whip she said, “There is nothing there!”. Then the real reality check, “Not since August and the birds!”.

In fairness, I did sneak a short entry in for November.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT.

So, thanks Aunt S. I don’t think you’ll ever realize how much you make me smile and how much I love ya!

I don’t like to do resolutions, but being that it is January 1st, I feel compelled to at least say that I will try harder to be more present…and frankly, bore the crap out of y’all!

I do actually have a fun project to share. Years ago, I inherited my Grandma D’s china. The story went that she remembers this china being shipped from England in crates with straw. All I knew about it was I was in love with it.

I moved out years ago and I have NEVER made an attempt to move this stuff out of my mom’s house. I was firmly convinced some freak accident would happen and it would be destroyed.

Two weeks ago, I got brave and took 12 pieces to my house for my round of Book Club.

It inspired me. I immediately started trolling all of the Buy/Sell ads for the perfect piece of furniture to house it all.

Then I found it!

Screenshot_20181230-171423

I recruited mom and dad (and for the record a cute little dog named Brave) to ride along with me to go snatch it up! We met a wonderful woman who shared the story of the piece and how it had been in her husband’s family for generations.

As soon as it was unloaded, I headed straight to my mom’s to round up the rest of the china and prayed hard to get it all home in one piece!

Which I did…for the record!!

IMG_20181231_174518

I LOVE the final result! I don’t mean to sound like a braggy bitch, but it makes my heart so happy to see it all on display after literally decades.

IMG_20190101_064814.jpg

IMG_20190101_064833

I have also be blessed with watching this little gem over my break! So, from my crazy home to yours….

Happy New Year’s and make every day count.

MVIMG_20181231_185646

Peace out peeps

Welp.

Well, would you look at that.  It is almost December!!

So, I have a question for everyone….what’s everyone stance on Christmas decorations?? Specifically Christmas trees.

Not holiday trees either.

I am not hugely religious, but I have a wicked old-school traditional streak that runs through me.  It’s hard to modify the name of one my of favorite things ever.

I personally am addicted to Christmas trees.

I just returned back to school from my Thanksgiving break.  Over the course of my 5 day (really actually only 4 days…) I managed to decorate a total of 5 trees, 4 of which were at my house.  Friends and I were discussing it this morning and it is kinda crazy.  I don’t have holiday parties, I don’t really entertain…but I LOVE the house being decorated and enjoying the lights!

In years past, I would spend Black Friday decorating the house.  However, I knew that with everything, I should start to break it into chunks.  The themes of these two are “Ice Queen” &  “Thin Blue Line”.

img_20181120_182238

Then the big one got done!  I found my new little tree stand at my fav Hobby Lobby.  Don’t be like Momma D. and point out that the plaid doesn’t line up in this picture!

Love you Momma D.!

img_20181120_204529

Just for the record….this is the kind of chaos that ensues when I decorate…plus you can see the little kitchen tree, even though it’s not done!

img_20181122_174825

Then throw in Momma D’s tree for more fun!  Excuse the look on my face, it was after Turkey Dinner and I had a sore throat and was TIRED!

I even have two little trees in my classroom!  I can’t get away from them.  One of my life mantras is to do all the things that make your heart happy and Christmas trees make my heart happy!

So, do me a favor peeps!  Share your pics!  Add your comments!

Most of all, do what makes your heart happy!

Peace out peeps.

 

that’s a wrap.

Ahhhh, another summer break is in the books!

After the last two weeks of being in training at school, tomorrow is the actual first day with kiddos.  Which translates to the fact that I will be exhausted for the next week or so.

Also, I should probably write some lesson plans.

Or a post. Yay, procrastination!

I have waited all summer to write an update because this summer was a little strange.  I actually didn’t have any big projects this summer.  So, instead, there were many little projects.  I didn’t want to bore y’all with a play by play, when the plays were boring as hell.  So, here is your big recap!

I apologize in advance for the length!

My first big project of the summer was the garden.  Because of the end of the school year and life in general I got a really late start on it.  Not to mention, I did not prep it fully last fall, so needless to say I really had my work cut out for me this spring.  However, as I sit here writing this post, I am thrilled with the state of the garden.  We have probably another month of good warm weather to finish it out.  The biggest issue I face is storing/canning food while back in school.

Another exciting note is that the grapes are producing again this year after the massive prune job I did last year….so concord grape jam will be made this fall!!!

Then randomly, I threw in a redecorating project.  Shortly after I moved to the house, my mom gifted me our family dining room table from my childhood (it was better suited than Grandma D’s set that I had first “borrowed”).  Momma D. is probably going to read this and say, “Who said anything about gifting it to you?? What if I want it back??”

Touche Momma D.

It’s on loan.

Regardless, so back in the day when I was  wee lass, my mom recovered the chairs.  I remember her doing it.  I remember loving the fabric.  That was probably almost 30 years ago (geez, I hate admitting that!).  So, when I inherited some beautiful fabric from Miss Margie and I got a burr up my butt to change them out.

That same damn day.

 

Let’s just take a moment and address that fact that Momma D has craftsmanship above all others.  All of those tacks in my hand came out of ONE chair!  I am not going to lie, when I recovered them, I used a staple gun.  I ain’t got the patience for all of that!

When I recovered them, I also amped up the cush factor…because let’s be honest, I really like cushy stuff!  I think they turned out great!  Should be good to go for another 30 years!

Then there was the random curb appeal projects.

My mail man already hates me because I am horrible at checking the mail.  But he REALLY started to get annoyed when I allowed my mailbox to literally fell apart.  So, I caved in and upgraded.  He even told me he really enjoys seeing new mailboxes!

After the mailbox was looking so nice, I felt propelled to do something about the sandstone markers at the end of the driveway.   I don’t know if they were originally in this exact location, or if they were hitching posts….or what their exact purpose was.  However, I did know that I wanted to make them look more intentional and honor them a little more.  So, after some convincing with the truck (oh yeah, couldn’t use Tracky because I blew her up this summer…she’ll be back soon though!) and my handy-dandy chain, I was able to remove the one that had sunk almost a foot!

I was able to reset them on a base and then start some wood chip mulch beds for future plantings.  There is a long term goal of getting some nice medium sized trees out there that won’t block the beauty of the house, but will help as a sound barrier for the road.

Baby steps friends.

Then I spent some time working on the patio in the back.  The primary reason was to continue to move water away from the back of the house and I can’t lie, I am thrilled on how it has turned out.  Each year that all of the flowers get bigger and fuller, I love it more and more.

Too bad I NEVER sit out there!

The above is not how the actual final version ended up, but you get the idea with the sandstone steps!  There was more gravel added and some more cool rocks for texture.

Then I added an additional retaining wall and planted the old water trough for the first time!  Which I will NEVER not plant again.  I loved it and I only had to water it once.  Like my mail, I am terrible at watering plants.

So, there ya go!  The big, fun and pretty projects!  Throw in there some other minor projects, sewing projects, getting hay, house-sitting, car shows and a camping trip and this summer was a wrap!

Speaking of which….check out the fun 360 version of the old place!

PANO_20180615_141310

There will be plenty more projects this fall and with the weather changing, probably more posts also!

Peace out peeps!

The Wall.

 

So, way back in March, I wrote a post about resolving the annoying bird problem by fixing my ceiling in my closet.  I also hinted at my next big project.

HA!

Well, needless to say.  I forgot about that promise to fill you in…and I am SURE you have been sitting on the edge of your seat since then!!  I mean, who wouldn’t be???

This is where I left all y’all hanging.  Truly.  CLIFF HANGER.

IMG_20180304_145802078.jpg

Let me fill in the back story here a little bit.

This wall is in the craft room.  It was built when they installed the upstairs furnace by some very creative and talented carpenters.  When I moved into the house, I immediately wanted to remove it. It was very elaborate.  It had a screen door installed to access the furnace “room” and a dropped ceiling.   It was a true work of art and craftsmanship…as you’ll soon see!

However, before I got crazy, I did talk to a furnace guy.

He informed me that the only thing that might be up there would some of the duct work running to the attic.

Crap.

So, the above picture was my trial run.  Before just destroying the wall, I wanted to make I knew exactly what I was getting into!

IMG_20180304_145818706

Apparently, the only thing all of this “wall” was hiding was a massive amount of dirt and cobwebs!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2018-1-13,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

This lame little map gives you a SLIGHTLY better idea of the design of this wall and how it affected the room.  The bold line indicates the actually crappy wall.

You would never believe I was an art teacher based on the above image.  Please don’t hold it against me!  lol!

So, with the good news that there was nothing stopping my progress….bring it on!

Out came the sawzall, the shop vac, the drill, crowbars of various sizes….and pretty much anything else I deemed worthy of this demo!

This was the first big change and frankly my favorite!  With this STUPID wall gone, the amount of natural light that now floods the hallway is amazing!  You can really see the dropped ceiling in this picture and how “cave-like” it made the hall.

Now, it might be hard to tell in this grouping, these walls were built from rough OLD stock wood of some sort.  There was a TON of wood used in this little wall, with not real rhyme or reason to it.

Little by little.  Chunk by chunk.   I managed to get 97.3% of it removed and carted outside to the burn pile (no small feat if you know my steps!!)

As with any project around my house, there are always surprises!  I mean, what a perfect place for a hook…just missing the latch!  How about those lag bolts???  I can’t lie, they might end up staying.  They are securing that board into the wall of the house (which is solid brick) and as dad says, “If you take them out, the house might fall down.”

Plus, they would make for a great conversation piece for the rest of EVER!

So, as of today….this is how the room looks…

IMG_20180318_160423317_HDR

Ok, that’s also a total lie…it’s cleaner than that!

I do love the original ceiling color in this room!  Although, it won’t be that color this next time around.  Thank you again to $9.00 mistints….you’ll see hopefully before the end of the year what it will be!

I need to finish a SMALL amount of demo (hence the 97.3% reference above).  Then rebuild enough to frame in a door for the furnace and WA-LAAAAA!!

Just look at all of the light and space I was able to add back to the room!  It was well worth the demo!

Until next time.

Peace out peeps.

checking in.

Hey peeps.

download

How ya’ll doing?

So, I have literally NOTHING to write about.  No crazy “animal-in-the-house” stories.  No “this-is-the-insane-project-I-am-into-now” stories.  No “the-dating-world-is-slowly-killing-me” stories.

That’s a lie.  There are always those stories, but truly…it’s a broken record.

So, I just wanted to drop a line and see how everyone is doing?

Reading anything good?

What are you planning in your gardens this season?

Are you working on anything cool?

Do YOU have a fun dating story?!?!

What’s really gonna suck is if NO ONE responds to me.  So, you know you wanna!  lol!

Have a great Monday!  It’s the last day of April and time is FLYING by!  I promise, next post will be more interesting!

Peace out peeps.

another day. another closet.

Well, hello everyone!

Missed y’all.  I know, it doesn’t seem like it, because I just fall off the face of the earth for weeks at a time.  But yet, I am here…doing well…and I hope you’re all doing well also!

Since I moved into the house, I have had this little bird issue.  Starlings.  Oy.

So annoying.

Because the eaves have not been repaired yet, (I know, right??  It’s like what the hell have I been doing!) the starlings love to build their nests in there.  I do not understand why they can’t just be happy with the barn, but oh well.  However, since they build in the eaves, each spring I have had an instance with birds in the house.  I can’t lie, each time has shaved at least a year off of my life.

I knew where they were coming in.  There is a hole in my closet, rather WAS a hole in my closet.  However, I thought they were going up into the attic and then down through the hole in my closet.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had the morning from hell and had two of them in the house.  The worst part was, I had already been in EACH of the rooms they were in.  So, when I strolled nonchalantly back in those rooms as part of my normal morning routine, I was scared to death.

Here is a little video of it.  I apologize for the swearing in advance.

 

After that fun little morning, I decided it was time to tackle the hole.

See, what was alarming was I had known there was the hole that I could see.  But there was this nasty shelf in the way.  Until I demolished that, I had no idea that you could actually see daylight.  The birds were not actually ever making it into the attic.  If they missed their nest by a couple of inches, they were instantly in the house.

The good news, I noticed my room was quieter once the ceiling was fixed!  Which brings me to an entirely different topic…

Do any of you living in old homes (that are being restored) find themselves compromising living standards that most normal people would balk about??

Anywho…back on track.

With a new piece of drywall securely in place (and now with the new roof, leaks are gone and the eaves will hopefully be done this summer, so that will be the end of this mess) and me sporting one of my fav Christmas presents from the best bro ever!  I was ready to paint and put it back together.

 

Another fabulous mistint find for $9.00 and some shoe organization and WHAM!! No, the irony is NOT lost on me that when the house was built, the inhabitants were probably lucky to have one pair of shoes and now I am using this closet just for shoes.

That has been an ongoing collection….don’t judge.

I have also decided to paint the craft room closet this color instead of the bright blue/green…because I have enough left and I like it better.  I really hate that damn blue/green mishap from the original stair project… read here if you’re brave enough to relive that hot mess.

In other news….hint, hint to the next big project….

IMG_20180304_145802078.jpg

I love doing my own stunts.

No birds were hurt in this post.  Every single one made it out alive.

Have a fabulous week and remember….be kind.  It ain’t worth the drama to be any other way.

Peace out peeps.