if I had a kid, chapter 2

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away….called the internet….I wrote a blog post about “if I had a kid”. The concept was that I would use this title to share little tidbits of wisdom that I have come to value throughout my life journey.

The first one was about showering.

Probably a good thing I haven’t had kids.

However, if you’re dying to read it, here ya go…click away! lol!

Anyway, today’s contribution is hopefully a little more deep that keeping up with basic hygiene. I want to take a moment to dig into something super important to me, which is taking a moment to realize that every single person around you is going through a laundry list of stressful items that are playing on their souls every damn day.

Putting it shortly.

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

I myself am so guilty of getting caught up in my own drama (even though I work so hard to cut drama out left and right!). It is SO easy to let your life become all consuming. To the point where you come across that person while your in a store, or a restaurant and you snap at them. The innocent victim. You have not idea what’s going on with them and frankly vice versa.

At the end of the day, we are ALL bogged down with too much stress. We are ALL doing the very best we can to keep our boats from sinking. We are ALL juggling mental, physical and emotional health battles.

However, I believe taking those moments to breathe, step back….reassess and just remember, we are all human. We are ALL in this mess together. So, here is a quick list of some of the things that I have to remind myself to do sometimes that might help someone have a better day.

  • be kind
  • let them chose what is for dinner
  • practice a random act of kindness
  • hold the door for someone
  • make them a cup of tea or coffee
  • when they ask for a ride, give it
  • smile at strangers (they might think you’re creepy, but they might smile back, ya never know!)
  • crack a joke and get someone laughing
  • check in on people
  • don’t go out of your way to be a jerk
  • actually comment on their social media instead of the distant “like” button
  • call them (especially if they actually like to talk on the phone)
  • compliments are always a solid choice, especially when they are legit
  • park farther away and let someone else get a closer spot
  • be patient with people
  • do not lose your mind over a piece of limp lettuce on a sandwich on the poor cashier
  • thank people, thank them a lot
  • prizes, everyone loves prizes
  • fill up your brother’s car when he lets you borrow it
  • clean up the dog crap
  • if they need a hug, give it…it won’t kill ya
  • put things in perspective
  • let someone have control of the tv remote
  • empathically listen when they are talking, there doesn’t always need to be a fix
  • when someone trusts you, don’t break it

Now, some of these might seem super specific, they are! lol! Some of these are examples of what some of my friends have gone through this week alone.

So, take a moment, breath…you got this! So do your friends….but we all need each other.

Next post….the finished Tunisian scarf! I know you are just tingling with anticipation.

Peace out peeps.

it will be fun they said…

I am sitting here laughing at myself….mainly because that title could apply to my ENTIRE LIFE.

Buy a century home….it will be fun they said.

Own horses…it will be fun they said.

Become a teacher…it will be fun they said.

Try Tunisian crochet…it will be fun they said.

Ok, ok, ok….in FAIRNESS, all of those and my entire life do have some fabulous shining moments and I wouldn’t trade a single bit of it.

To clarify, this post is about Tunisian crochet and my lame attempt at it so far. So, if you just read those words and thought, “Um, stupid.”. My feelings will not be hurt when you dip out right now.

I have been crocheting for about 20 years and I have never tried any of the Tunisian stitches. Funny fact, neither has Momma D….which shocked the living hell out of me, because she if it falls under the crafting umbrella, I thought she had done it!

So, I was finally ready to give it a whirl and I found this beautiful scarf pattern on Pinterest (where else, duh?!)

I loved it. Who wouldn’t?? It drapes beautifully. It appears to be exceptionally warm and snuggly. It would match so many outfits.

I was SOLD!

One little problem…or a few. I did not have that gorgeous yarn on hand or anything even remotely similar and I am on a yarn purchasing hold. The trunk is overflowing and I have restricted all yarn purchases until I use up some of the stash.

would you look at that hot mess express???

So, the next best thing was this Red Heart super hot pink, right?! Well, it’s what I went with. You can see the culprit right there on top of the pile. Honest, the biggest reason I selected it was because there was an ample amount of it left.

Next issue was that the original pattern called for it to be twice as wide than what is shown. As soon as I got a couple of rows in, I realized because of the weight and texture difference in the yarns, that was going to be a terrible idea. So, I ripped and ripped, starting over at 1/2 the width.

Now, the next issue is….Tunisian crochet turns out, feels very knit-like. I do not mind knitting, but I am terrible at it. I don’t have the patience and I suck at fixing mistakes. With the Tunisian, a huge bonus is it is easy to fix mistakes (in my experience so far).

But man, it works up SLOW.

Over the last couple of evenings working on it, I have started to enjoy the methodical slowness to the project, but it has taken a minute of getting used too.

Then last night, I ran into a new issue. I ran out of the pink.

Ugh.

It is too wide to be a cowl, it is too short to be an infinity. So, I broke into the trunk and dug out some other colors, thinking that I might try going the “scrap” look route??

I am still not sure about it. My edges are horrible and obviously need some more practice.

So, what do I do? Rock it out for exactly what it is, a practice piece and just let it work up however it’s little heart wants too?? Rip it out, narrow it again and just keep practicing and hopefully get an infinity out of it as a single color?

HELP!!!

Also, feel free to share pics and helpful hints in the comments! ALL ADVICE IS WELCOME!

Parting Friday thought…

Dead serious. You have zero idea of how much you mean to so many people. You might not see or hear it, but you are!

Peace out peeps.

#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.