Thursday, February 28, 2013

The downside of spamming

So I was going through my email last night (which is a task that I've come to dread because of all of the spam I've been getting lately) and discovered that I got nearly 400 spam comments on the site in the last 2 weeks.  What a waste of my time!  I had to go through and check each comment to make sure that it wasn't actually on the site (the blogger spam filter is no match for the diabolical nature of these posts!) and then delete everything out.  Such a pain in the booty!!!

The worst part of it all is how many wonderful, delightful, friendly comments I had missed!!!  I try very hard to answer every comment on the site, because of a terrible mistake that I made very early on the blog.  I got a wonderful, sweet comment from my cousin (who was also my blogging inspiration and mentor) that I didn't answer.  I didn't think it was a big deal, I mean, lots of blogs don't answer all of the comments on the site.  And I was sure that it wouldn't hurt her feelings, she wasn't like that, so I didn't answer her back.

But I wish I had.  She was a wonderful mom, wife, cousin and friend.  She was an artist, and a skilled cook.  She was amazing.  She was the type of person that I wanted to be.  And she died unexpectedly a month (or so) after I started my blog of a brain aneurysm.  She was only 44.

It took us all by surprise.  I had my own brush with death about 9 years ago, so I understand that every single day is a gift, but Bindu's death hit me hard. Really, really hard.  She left behind a legacy of friendship and happiness and joy and love.  It made me wonder, if I only had 8 more years, what would my legacy be?

I knew that if I wanted to leave a legacy that was worth leaving, I would have to start with honoring everyone who took the time to leave me comments.  I hadn't answered Bindu's comment, but I could answer everyone elses.  Sadly, I've fallen terribly behind in that task.

So, to everyone who has left me wonderful comments, I want to thank you.  Thank you for spending time with me.  Thank you for encouraging me, supporting me, and keeping me going!  I will go through all of the comments for the last couple of weeks and try to get them all answered in the next week, so check back!!!

Thank you for going on this journey with me.  I still don't know what legacy I'll leave, that will be for others to determine at a later point, but I know that in my dreams it's one of friendship, happiness, joy and love.  I can't imagine anything more wonderful.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My kid is now 6!

Oh my gosh, you guys, I have been so crazy busy lately!  I have been getting ready for Mims to turn six, which finally happened today at 7:48 am!  LOL!!  We opted this year to have a small family party, and just do cool favors for her friends at school.  She and I both thought that the soda can candy bouquet we've been seeing on Pinterest (check it out HERE) was just too awesome, so we made a bunch of them. We made one for each of the kids in her class, and one for her teacher, and then a bunch for the family party we're having this afternoon.  Um, I'm not sure I'd tackle 36 of these at once again...  It took me the better part of 2 days to finish them, and I know my way around a glue gun!  

I was able to pick up the candy and soda for pretty cheap at Target, so the cost of each favor was around $3, which I thought was pretty good.  Even if we'd ordered stuff from Oriental Trading Co or gone over to Party City, we wouldn't have been able to get cool favors for that price!

Okay, so now to the crochet!  I saw a tantalizing picture of some argyle crochet on Pinterest (I seem to spend as much time there as I do at Target! LOL!!!) that just made my heart go pitter-patter!  It was love at first sight!!  I clicked the link (click HERE if you want to check it out too! You might need a Ravelry account to view it, I'm not sure...) and was both excited and slightly disappointed.  The crocheting was awesome. But HOW do you do it?!  I needed to know!!!

I did an extensive (read: 5 minute) Google search and came up with virtually nothing on the subject.  It's a form of pooling, which is apparently huge in the knitting community, but there was no info out there on how to do it with crochet!  So, I grabbed my variegated yarn and started to experiment.  And rip out the non-argyle results.  And experiment some more.  And rip it all out.  Until I finally cracked the code.  And then, holy shmow, I became obsessed...

This is a washcloth/dishcloth that I made out of a skein of variegated Lily Sugar N Cream cotton yarn...

I used a skein of Red Heart Super Saver yarn to make this blue and green strip.  It wasn't quite long enough to be a scarf...

So I turned it into a cowl!!

And this beauty that I made out of a skein of Craft Smart yarn is going to become a hat!  Aaand, I have grand hopes to make a throw pillow or two for our couch, and a cool baby blanket for my future-niece who should be arriving at the end of April.  I told you I was obsessed!!!

So, here's my question for you:  Is this something that you've all heard about and been doing for years and I was just out of the loop, or is this something that you'd like to learn more about so you don't have to spend a week ripping out non-argyle experimentations?  It's not hard, but it isn't easy to explain in a blogging format, so I'd turn it into a book (that you all would get for free, so don't worry darlings, I've got your back).  Let me know what you think in the comments below, or you can let me know on Facebook at the CrochetDynamite page.

Oooh, I almost forgot!!  I have been getting spammed like crazy lately on the site, and it's becoming a problem for me.  Like yesterday, for example, I got 40 (!!!!!) spam comments on the site, and 2 nice comments from real people.  I am spending so much time weeding out the 'bad' comments from robots that I'm getting burnt out, and that's not good for any of us.  So, even though I made some huge, sweeping anti-Captcha statements in the past, I'm retracting them all, and turning it back on.  I LOVE getting comments from people who have questions, want to comment, and who love being friends, but the robot comments have got to go.

Okay, I've got to run out and buy some balloons!  Hope you all have a delightful and wondrous day!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Trying Hairpin Lace again

Okay, so Mims is at her Grandma's house tonight, which means I've got a whole evening that I don't know what to do with.  I know!  I'm going to give Hairpin Lace another try.

My last Hairpin Lace attempt was a disaster.  I couldn't figure out for the life of me what I was supposed to do.  The frame/tool is awkward, all the YouTube videos are with right-handed people (I'm a lefty!), and the best videos are still hard to follow.  Crochet is not supposed to be this hard, people!!

I may have to take back my snarky thoughts about the YouTube videos.  I found one tonight that finally made sense to my brain.  Even better, I was able to create a (very short) piece of Hairpin Lace that didn't have weird, twisty loops.  Okay, she's right handed, but the video was so clear, I could follow it backwards.  And I finally SAW which loops I was supposed to crochet into.  Hallelujah!!

If you want to check it out, I'm imbedding it in the post so I don't lose it! LOL!!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Normally I like doing quick and easy projects, but Jake challenged me recently to make a full-sized puppet pattern.  We've built Muppet-style puppets before, with foam and fleece, but I've never tried to crochet a puppet.  The easy shapes we used when we were gluing and sewing have turned out to to be not as easy to replicate in crochet.  This is my 2nd attempt, which I'm pretty pleased with, but it still needs some refining.  I figure that I'll have something really amazing somewhere around attempt number 7 or so...

Mims was such a good model for this, since she also worked as a puppeteer for me.  If you had been there, you would have heard the puppet saying:

"Hello Mommy, I'm sitting in a tree!  I've never been up here before. My friend is here too.  Do we look pretty for the picture?"  Ahahaha.  My kid is so awesome and weird.

Okay, so I just can't seem to let the recycling thing go.  This is a project that I wanted to do when I did that recycling week last month, but I just couldn't figure out how to make it work.  It's a new spin on the classic beer can hat, but done with recycled chip bags.  Jake was kind enough to model it for me.  We both agree that if we saw someone wearing it at a party we would have to become instantly best friends with them.  It's an attention grabber!

While we were at the park anyway, we had to play around a little!  Mims lifted some trees off the hiking path to clear the way for us... One handed!
(Okay, so the tree was growing that way, but we couldn't resist the picture!)

Mims got a chance to use her scooter on big hills and curving pathways.  She didn't even crash once (which is a big deal for her)!

Best part of all, our little big girl didn't ask to be carried at any point, which is something that we've been working on for the last few months.  She's almost 6, but she still likes to be carried when we're walking for more than 20 minutes (I mean, I can't blame her, who wouldn't?).  She's just really tall for her age, and so we're trying to work on walking slower to match her pace so she doesn't get tired/frustrated while we're out.  With the scooter, this wasn't even an issue!  Jake and I could walk as long and as quickly as we wanted, and she was happy to scoot ahead of us and blaze the trail!   It was a really good day.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love is in the Air!

It's a funny tradition, but every year, right before Valentine's Day, we take Mims to the beach.  The weather is a little chilly, but we have the whole place to ourselves.  It gets very crowded in the summer (as you might imagine!) and we all tend to burn pretty easily, so mid-February is by far the best time of year to visit for our family.  Don't get me wrong, we go all year long, but there's always something special about our "Valentine's" trips.

Mims insisted on playing in the water, even though it was a little too cold to go in...

I got a new camera last week, since I noticed that I was having to crop a dark spot out of the pictures I took with the old one.  There wasn't anything on the lens of the camera, so I was going to have to take it somewhere to get it cleaned, but since it was a relatively cheap point-and-shoot camera, we decided to take the 'cleaning' money and just invest in a better camera.  It's my Valentine's present, and we weren't sure how the arm's-length-couple-photo would work with it, but it only took us 3 tries to get this one...

Although, the first picture was pretty hilarious!!!

You might notice that I dyed my hair purple.  I did it last week, after a nurse at the urgent care I went to (when I thought I was going to die from the flu) told me about her sister.  She is a breast cancer survivor, and she dies her hair pink a few times a year as a way to empower herself when she goes to fundraising/awareness events, like Walk For A Cure.  I was incredibly touched by her sister's story, and I went home (and felt awful for another couple of weeks) and decided that I had a wonderful opportunity to empower MYSELF on a daily basis.  Purple is the color they use to signify Lymphoma and Leukemia.

I don't have huge outer scars to show for the battle I went through, they're mostly all internal.  In fact, to look at me, you'd never know.  I think there's something so cool about dying my hair, hair that I had lost during chemo and radiation treatments, and turning it into an external expression of my internal beauty.  I knew I would feel empowered, but I had no idea it would make me feel so strong.  I feel powerful and brave.  I feel beautiful.  I love my bright crazy purple hair.

I've been working on a couple of projects that I can't show you yet (I know, I'm bummed too) but in my down time I've been making a ton of Surfer Girl bracelets.  I've been using them as a kind of meditation bracelet, sort of like a rosary, but for meditation.  The beads are small, but they help keep me focused, and I can wear them anywhere and they just look like an awesome hippie bracelet.  (Sorry for the goosebumps in the picture, the beach was getting COLD by the time we got back to our car and I remembered to take a quick pic!!)

Mims and I have a tradition of making shell hearts when we make our Valentine's beach trips.  The last couple of years there have been so many shells that we were able to do it easily, but this year there was a shell drought!!  We had to really search to find big ones for our heart, and by the time I finished, she was so over it, she just wanted to chase waves.  So I claimed this one as my own.   It makes me feel happy and loved every time I remember it.

And speaking of wonderfully loving things, I got another donation of scarves!  (To be honest, they came when I had the flu, and I was afraid to open the box because I was sick and I didn't want to contaminate the beautiful contents.  So I opened it now, and I'm completely delighted!!!)  A great big Thank You to Kim from Indiana, I think you're wonderful and I love you too!!!  I'm sending a big squishy e-hug to you!!!

She sent us 3 gorgeous cowls, and 4 beautiful scarves!!  Kristy was so excited when I told her about them, because the weather has been so cold at night she's been very concerned about the health and safety of some of the people she works with.  These will be very, very appreciated.

And Kim sent us 3 butterflies!  Aren't they so pretty?! These will also be appreciated by the homeless/motel families, especially the kids!!!

Okay, that's it for today!  Jake and I are about halfway through planting our gourd farm so we've got some more weeding to do (great non-gym workout!) and I've got to help Mims put her classroom Valentine cards together (we went with Phineas and Ferb this year), so I've got a busy day ahead of me.  Love, love, love to you all, dear Dynamos!!!  Do something today that makes you feel brave, empowered, and beautiful!!!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Index Card Holder - Finally a pattern

I'm back from the dead!!!  I feel normal again, and I'm excited to have finished my first project in a little over 2 weeks.  Once again: GET A FLU SHOT!!!  It was no fun for any of us...

I got a lovely request from Swel Mel last month for the pattern for my index card business card holder (hmm, kind of an awkward name, eh?).  I'm going to shorten it to Index Card Holder.  I meant to finish it up after I got done with my recycling week (funny, it's turned into recycling life around here.  Once you become aware, you can't go back...) but the flu hit me HARD!  LOL!!  I'm excited to share it now.

I have a lifelong adoration of index (3x5) cards.  I love them so much.  Not just to turn them into business cards, but for EVERYTHING!!!!  I carry them in my purse to jot quick notes.  Mims and I have invented a drawing game for when we're waiting at restaurants that only requires 2 index cards and 2 pens, and it keeps her occupied and happy no matter how long it takes for her mac and cheese to show up.  Jake uses them to plot his stories.  We go through a lot of cards, but they're how we organize our life!!!

This little holder is a perfect fit for my life.  It keeps the cards from getting mangled and gross in a bag or backpack, but it keeps them accessible and ready to go when you need to jot a quick note!  I've used my purple version for nearly 6 months now and it still looks great.  So if you need a fun gift for your favorite student, writer, or yourself, this is it!!!

Index (3x5) Card Holder
Craft Thread (or #5 Perle Cotton - it's the same thing) - approximately 100 yards (you could also use embroidery floss)
Size C crochet hook
Tapestry needle - to weave in ends!

Main Body - Front and Back
(make 2)
**If you want to make a striped back cover, you can alternate between a few colors on one of the main body pieces.  I haven't included instructions on when to switch colors since it's all up to your personal preferences! :D
I would not recommend wasting a lot of energy swapping out colors on the front piece, since it will rarely (or never!) be seen by anyone.**

ch 24
R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across (23 st)
R2-40: ch 1, sc in each st across (23 st)
Fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Upper Front Pocket

ch 24
R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across (23 st)
R2-6: ch 1, sc in each st across (23 st)
Fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Lower Front Pocket

ch 24
R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across (23 st)
R2-8: ch 1, sc in each st across (23 st)
Fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Using matching craft thread, whipstitch the upper front pocket to the top of the front piece.  Whipstitch the lower front pocket to the to bottom of the front piece.

Leave the top short edge open, and whipstitch the two long sides, and the bottom short side to the back piece.

I always like to finish any project that I've whipstitched by opening the piece up and smoothing the seams with my fingers.  This way I can manipulate the fabric into place so that the piece looks virtually seamless.  This step is entirely optional, but it only takes 30 seconds, so why not try it?!

Now you can fill your lovely index card holder with cards!!  I'm using some that are hole punched, so that I can archive them in a binder when I'm done, but plain cards will work too!  LOL!!!  Or you can check out my tute on making your own index card business cards!  This is, by far, the coolest way to carry them!

I like that this case holds about 6 cards in the front, but about 15-20 in the inside pocket, which is more than enough for me on any given outing.

Okay, Dynamos!  I'm off to run some errands, but I'll be back soon with some more fun stuff!  Love to you all!!!


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