Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Snaps: Brunch

Its Own Reward Tuna



Ingredients:

1 Can Tuna in Water

Black Olives

Sliced Canned Mushrooms

Small Onion

Small Green Pepper

1 Stalk of Chive

Hummus

Hot Pepper Sauce

Mustard

Mayonnaise

Fresh Black Pepper and Sea Salt

Served on Cheese Crackers


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Morning Reflections

Spending the night in the Grantley Adams control tower, cold and bored out of my mind I came to some peace with my dilemma with my Bolero.

The passion to complete it had been killed dead by the less than enthusiastic response from the intended recipient. I was trying to finish it on the impetus of determination and negativity. Needless to say this was not successful.

Last night I laid it out and took a long look at it. It was too large, way too large and a measurement affirmed my suspicions. The colorway however was too good to destroy and after trying it on and think about it; I came to the conclusion that it could be modified into a shawl/cape.

My crochet skills however are less than stellar and I would have to turn to my Squirrel to get it finished up. No problem really except that left me with no project to tackle until I could arrange a day by my friend which is quite disheartening.

I have been away from knitting so long I am beginning to crave St St. But I'll stick to my plans I will. I will.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wishful Thinking

You know when you start out a project with the best of intentions to progress/excel and then days pass and your needles have been so still you're worried you have forgotten how to knit... that's me.


Wishful Thinking

I thought to knit
I had a plan to crochet
But the blues wouldn't go away

I counted my eggs
I had great expectation
But nothing to show today

I dreamed the dream
I hoped for the best
But destiny had its say

I reached for the stars
I wished on the moon
But my skies remain gray




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP: Bolero Edition

Unlike many of my previous Wednesdays I only have one project to show because in an effort to simplify my crafting space and life, I am working on one project at a time.

The pattern has proved to be a challenge for my newly acquired crochet skills without stretching them over much, however understanding the pattern on the DROPs site and visualizing what I am doing is entirely another matter.

I have never felt quite so lost trying to understand the bigger picture. It has been quite a fight but I have progressed to the shaping of  one of the arms.

Another challenge was getting an apt picture but I did my best. With luck I can finish up both sleeves by Friday. We'll have to see however, I make mistakes frequently and the color-changing feels tedious and often inspires me to take breaks.

Enough prattle however. Here is it:



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crafting - The worthy Investment?

We've all looked at them, the spinning wheels, the ridgid-heddle weaving looms, expensive yarn swifts and electric winders. Eagerly and with some fascination we have toyed with the idea of an electric knitting machine, designer yarns and all the other tools and gadgets that would eventually end up being a monumental bill.

At the end of the day, we all have to look at our budgets and decide if investing in these items will be worth it, even if we have to penny pinch in the long run. I'm not willing and I am sure it is not me alone, to spend 500US on a spinning wheel and watch it gathering dust quite attractively in a corner of my workspace, nor do I want to buy a loom and realise that I detest weaving, even though I liked doing a more simplified version.

Despite all of these practicalities and misgivings, I maintain that investing in crafting, when done carefully can be very rewarding. I want to start off with a laptop, then follow with a stock of quality wool in a good colour selections. A yarn-ball winder/swift and various blocking tools would follow.

To this end I am considering taking out a small loan. It may seem crazy to some but I think it is the best way to go. I'm running my mind ragged making plans, drawing up budgets and screaming at the numbers.

Is there like at the end of this tunnel? I'm an unreformed shopaholic trying to control my impulsiveness and yet congratulate myself for what I manage to achieve. I think a loan would be the answer to my current crunch, but that's just for now.

I can't anticipate all life's problems but I'm trying to deal with what is before me right now. So for now, is crafting a worthy investment for me at this stage of life... a tentative yes.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Gifting Gafts - Let's face it I'm hurt

I recently started a project for a co-worker of mine and during a fitting she declared that she did not care for the colors. She said, that she prefers loud colors and what I had chosen was not to her liking.

Now the disappointment I felt was immense and I instantly started thinking as to what I could do instead; this co-worker had brought me some yarn, not paid for it just ferried from America to our island home and I wanted to repay her.

Here I was racking my brain as to what yarn I had in my stash to meet her color requirements. Then reality dawned: I had shown her this yarn before I started and she treated the prospect of having something knit for her with the yarn with excitement... now all of  sudden?

A coldness crept over me. I am by nature a very generous person. I love to make things for people and that is all the payment I feel I need.

It is ironic that after changing the name of my blog and making peace with my loving, gifting nature I would be faced with such contrary disregard for my efforts.

It is also ironic that faced with a deadline of Aug 23rd, that I would have to ditch my one project at a time rule to try to make up a shawl in 'loud' colors for this woman. I thought about it, but I changed my mind. Irreverently, my mind screamed "Hell no,".

I would finish my bolero as I planned, and then if it was not yet the 23rd, she would get her shawl/shawlette. If it was past due, too bad. I had done the best I could and I simply was not going to bend. I'm trying to recapture my good spirit about it, but it simply isn't easy.

I'm hurt, upset and angry but I'm trying to take it one day at a time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shopaholic Saturday No. 3

Having skipped a Saturday due to extreme fatigue, I present myself this Saturday ready to tackle my recent online finds, obsessions and reserved lists. I stand by the belief that making lists can help anyone manage their finances or at least get your head organized.

For me getting organized is also about buying thing for my room and craft to help me get what I need to do done more efficiently.

Here is a 4" stitch counting gauge from the talented Karen which I will buy at the end of this month:





It was produced to match with my recent purchase of a Needle gauge to the left. She has many sets from Safari animals to just yarn balls. Her sheep and llama gauges are particularly cute. Head on over to her store on Etsy if you would like one or two for yourself. I have further plans to round out my set so I could hardly blame you.



Next I have added yet more projects bags to my lists. My friend Inky from Urban Mouse to a Country Mouse had asked me where I found them. Now for some they may be on the expensive side but I can vouch that the construction is sound. They look lovely - I've gotten compliments on them already and they do the job well. That being said. Here is what I plan to get for myself very soon, another August purchase.

A very handsome bag if I do say so my self and indeed I do. If you are interested, head over to Gaby's on Etsy and have look. They also have some yarn available.

That is all for now. The rest of my shopping list is not yet finalized, when it is you may very well get a peek into my basket.

Take care until next time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

UnCluttered Me

My life feels like this:


But what I want is this:


Uncluttered Me

I want
To breathe freshness
See boundless
Live green and simple

I want
To watch the clouds
Smile at my reflection
Lay in the grass

I want
To take a walk along a road
Winding but peaceful
To the unknown

I want
Remember goals forgotten
Recall a lost friend's smile
Bask in happy memories

I want
To dance to my heartbeat
Get warm in the sun
Then cool under the trees

I want
Freedom in a moment
Unhinged in inspiration
Saved my imagination

I want
A life uncharted
But uncluttered
And uncomplicated!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP: Crochet/Knitting

I have several piece in the works today, including some crochet pieces. I'm extremely proud of that second part of that statement as crochet has eluded me for some time. However let's get right to it.

This is a cowl crocheted from TLC Cotton Plus, named  Snowy Mountain.

 A very simple design adapted from one on the Lion Brand site.

It was an ideal first project for me, just needs trimming now.


This cowl to the right is called Pina Colada on the Beach due not only to the colors but also because of the wave like effect of the decrease pattern.

Made from a no-brand 100% wool, it is fuzzy and very warm.

                                                                             

This next piece is destined to be a bolero fashioned from 100% Cotton in various shades. It is called A Walk in the Garden.


The pattern is one from Drops and features roses, so I think is very apt. My only concern so far is that it will have to be blocked and I have never blocked a crochet project before and I am daunted by the loops.

To the right is a crocheted cushion cover.

It is just under halfway done.

What I am loving about crochet is how easy it is to have 3 projects with the same hook in use and no worries about leaving one for the next - this leads to maximum portability and makes for a great "while driving" project.

I spend a lot of time in vehicles as my job has pick up, I am usually the first in and the last out so this is good for me.

Below  is a close up of the stitches.



Here is another braided necklace using wool yarn. I had fun with this and I love it.

Simple and fun.    

I call this one, Dried Fruit in my Ice-cream.                        

To the right is my Barbie, Fina wearing the very beginnings of a crocheted scarf. She may claim it for herself if I am not careful and I may let her keep it and start another.  

That is all for today. Thanks for looking and if you do, I appreciate you comments! If you're just passing through mosey along to Tami's and see lots of other projects in the beginning to mid stages.

Have a great day!                                                                          

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crossing over to the Hook Side Vol 1

I've finally done it. I have started and completed an entire crochet project and mentally, it simply wasn't easy. For stitchers who gravitate to knitting first and get comfortable, picking up crochet can at first be on a to-do list that eventually becomes an ever vague and mounting hill  and then a mountain to traverse.

One weapon but Teacher,
It's a dragon not a dragonfly!
Our very bodies seem to rebel, informing us quite primly that holding one implement and trying to create is not what it is used to and it would prefer if you would kindly put down the hook and pick back up the needles.

Visually every stitch can look like a brain-teaser and what may be simple to an absolute stitching novice, can look doubly as foreign as those trying to put aside the familiar vocabulary of knitting and jump head and hook first into crochet.

I fought it, I cursed it... heck to make myself feel better I even ridiculed it. When somewhere burning in my soul I felt inadequate... How could I not when all the bi-stitch-tual pattern makers continued to audaciously list a crochet hook of all things as a necessary implement.

From lovely edgings to the provisional cast on it taunted me. A dragon that didn't stick to its lair long enough to be forgotten. In fact it burned my villages down time and time again as my pattern leaflets continued to display patterns for crocheted pieces between my knitting treasures and the sheer beauty of them haunted me.

There was no reprieve anywhere, from WIP and FO from my stitching sisters of the hook variety to the crocheting tab above the knitting one of the Ravelry pattern search function. It rankled like a devil on my shoulder, laughing at my ineptitude.

Finally! I had had enough... and truly I had forgotten my knitting project bag at work and was in need of distraction. So I borrowed a hook from my best friend, stole a ball of TLC white she had that I have been eyeing for week and I started.


Yes, of course it is a cowl.
I almost gave in when my foundation chain for my project got twisted but  held out. Like a brave warrior armed only with determination and one less weapon that I was used too, I plodded on. Finally I defeated the dragon! Hushed the devil and it was a triumphant moment. I cheered, I danced and I grinned, filled with the knowledge that I - sadodosah had finally put that to rest.


Or so I thought...


After all all I did was single and double crochet. What madness is this that I see in my Encyclopaedia of Stitchery ( I will review this soon). Yet another battle field loomed before me and I cowered - I swayed with the exhaustion of the previous fight and I longed for the familiar needles, the simplicity of my knit stitch and I was about to cave in.
Ergh! What?! Uh oh!

Did I?

Well that's another story...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Curbing the Credit Demon

For people like me who buy a lot of their knitting supplies online by necessity alone our credit card bills often begin to reflect this negatively. I was blessed to have a credit card with a 500 US limit which curbed me from spending more than I could feasibly afford too.

Even so, spending that much is not good. Although the yarn is a necessary to my favorite and most rewarding past-time, the additional cost of taxes, shipping and duties can turn a simply buy into a very costly out of pocket expense.

Suddenly along with the credit card bill for the initial tans-action, I end up paying out of pocket to collect and clear my packages. Shipping prices can also be restrictive, even if I go through a second hand mail carrier.

In this digital age where gratification is a swipe away, taking care of credit is not as simple as saying that 'I don't need it, so I won't get it," as nice as that mantra is, it does nothing to assuage the soul and ease the need.

Moderation and careful consideration of our budgets is the only way to truly manage our money but as we are humans who falter, indiscretions and indulgences should be worked in, where-ever possible. Treating and rewarding ourselves is a guilt-relieving system that can also lead to better credit habits.

My four tips for controlling your credit bill in your personal expenses department, without turning into a robot are:

1) Set yourself a realistic Goal. Decide how much you want to shave off of your credit bill each month but make sure that it is an attainable figure.

2) Write lists. Shop around online and in real life if applicable, look in your cupboards, yarn stash and storage bins, take stock of your life and decide what you want now and what you can stand to get later. Write each down on appropriately titled or themed list and constantly revise.

3) Forgive yourself. When you try to stick to your list and you find that you stray. Don't get down on yourself. See what triggered the over-spending and access if it was avoidable. From an unplanned birthday to a sale on Elann.com - there is always a reason. And once you have identified it, see if you can learn to plan for it but increasing your indulgence budget.

4) Un-automate Payment. In most cases paying for things online is too damn easy. Where-ever possible take the long way around and give yourself time to think about what you are about to do. Check your list and see which section it falls under and make a non-hype induced decision. It is far to easy to just hit the pay now button and commit to something you have not yet really considered.

Overall with a good dose of self-discipline and planning, credit can be conquered before it gets to be debt because if you look at your credit card bill, the average person will find that 55% of the purchases were gratuitous.

Let's make a difference to our financial lives. Cut your bill by 5%. It might seem like a little bit, however, it will all add up. When you notice a saving in your credit, save the extra money for a rainy day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reflections

It seems to be just yesterday that I started this journey in blogging but it has been a month. Not a long time for some but for me a notable mile-stone.

My ups and downs in this period make yesterday feel like a lifetime; I have progressed in knitting; I have learnt how to knit a hat, I have done a baby blanket and a baby hat and have learnt about a provisional cast on and the horse-shoe lace pattern.

Participated in my first yarn swap and eagerly await the results. I have looked at my stash with new eyes and felt despair and consternation. I have literally squealed in delight over yarn  that I purchased online and challenged myself to the point where I didn't want to see my knitting needles anymore.

I recaptured some of my enthusiasm but going back to a tried and true favorite and joined a knitting community that brought me closer to others while managing to make me feel even farther away from my goal.

This month has taught me that I am willing to persevere if I can see a result in my struggle, but I remain daunted by finger-less gloves. I would welcome a return to innocence when even making on stitch without all the other slipping off the needle was triumph enough even as I revel in the completion in complex endeavors.

I ask myself if I want to continue blogging despite the way how it has expanded and corralled my horizons and expectations respectively, even, the answer is yes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Day: Aug 4th 2011

This is a short picture post highlighting a quietly productive day at home.



What is this you ask, my knitting project basket which looks as confused as I feel.
The colorful piece on top is a cowl called Pina-Colada on the Beach

My sink, still be cleaned after my cooking.

Knitting book ready to read after dishes

What  I should have eaten instead do I wouldn't have to do dishes!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP: NeckPieces

Things have been pretty quiet from me as I spent most of what was a national holiday at work watching planes.Unlike almost fifteen thousand other people who braved what is now Tropical Storm Emily to dance, drink and do de dog, I was working or at home sleeping.


I was also however, knitting which is my idea of Carnival - providing it goes well. I have been in a knitting funk lately and devised a plan to get me out of it.


My solution was to make simple neck pieces and try to finish the not so simple ones. I also took around my surrounding to appreciate what I have been ignoring while in my funk and discovered that their is still two thriving peppermint plants in my pots though I have been ignoring them. The rain of the last few weeks have helped them even as it hampered me. You have be thankful for everything.

With out further rambling here are my projects:


First we have the Raspberry and Cream Skinny Scarf. Made from 100% cotton it's great for adding a zing to your wardrobe in the hot summer weather.

Wrapped several times around.
Wrapped it to cover my ears here.

 Next in line we have the Bamboo Bodangle. It is made from a cotton-Bamboo mix that is super soft when worked up and also for cool weather. It is the perfect neck piece to jazz up that little black dress or add color to a cream jumper. It still needs to be fitted with a closing mechanism but truthfully a shawl pin would work fine.

Very bright and uplifting.

A close up
Following that we have the Braided Necklace. Made from a simple cotton-acrylic, it showcases very subdued colors and a rugged texture. It would be perfect for turning a plain T-shirt or outfit into something memorable. Best of all it is light weight when worn and won't keep you hot. It also needs to be finished and my friend Dana is helping me formulate a macrame still join.
Here it is worn.

 That's all for now folks. I'd love to have new pieces to show in my FO Friday since these are almost finished WIP it wouldn't make since to fill up an FO with them. I have been lazy about posting but at least I managed to make it today.

And here is my final words for the morning:

Stop, Stare, Breathe.

For more WIPs, go to Tami she'll hook you up! Here's where you go! Have a great day.