Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Owl Craze and Chronic Pain

Howdy Dynamos!

I am the first to admit that I'm pretty late to the owl craze.  I was an early adopter on the sparrow madness a few years ago, and frankly, it became annoying when everyone I knew had all the same stuff I did.  I'm not into matchy-matchy (ask Jake how many times I've told him to change his shirt because we were wearing the same color).  Mostly I like one-of-a-kind stuff.  I march to the beat of my own electronic drum machine.  But the damn crochet owls have worn me down with their extreme cuteness.

I made Mims an owl bookmark. She's got reading homework this year (20 minutes every day) and anything I can do that makes it more fun for her to get out a book is good for me!

I've been fooling around with some tiny owls, trying to make some that would be tiny enough to wear as earrings. (I used craft thread and a size B hook for these, to give you a sense of scale.  I should have put something in the picture to help you visualize it, darn it.  The small owl in the center is about the size of the end of my thumb.)  These are still a little large, but they would make a cute necklace.  I'm also thinking that they would make a pretty cute zipper pull...  The purple one is just the right size to make a key fob that you won't lose in your purse.  I need to make a trip to the craft store.  I sort of jumped the gun by posting about this project.  I'll write it up as a pattern when I get the kinks worked out.

Completely off the topic of crochet, I have recently discovered that I'm allergic to everything yummy in the world.  I have had these stabbing pains in my abdomen for the last couple of years every time I ate.  Sometimes they would be so bad and intense the pain felt like it ran down the inside of my leg all the way to my knee.  It's funny what you learn to live with.  I realized that I wasn't any good for my family, living with constant pain.  My temper was short, and I was unable to be flexible when things didn't go as I had planned.  I didn't want to be that kind of mom, or wife.

So I've removed wheat and dairy products from my diet and most of the refined sugar too (but that's only because most of my sugar was eaten with wheat and dairy... mmm, cookies...).  If you were wondering, the first few days were not fun.  But now that it's been a few weeks, I'm finding a new normal.  My stomach pain stopped after a couple of days and it hasn't returned.  I can't remember when the last time was that I went this long without it.

Okay, this part is weird, but I've got to mention it.  Jake and I have stopped having arguments since I started eating this way.  We went from not being able to spend more that two hours together without it turning into World War 3, to maybe having a slight disagreement once every few days.  Weird, right? We were laughing about it yesterday, and I thought it was worth mentioning.  Now, I'm not claiming that eating this way fixes serious marital problems, but I think that if one person in a relationship is in chronic pain, or living with some sort of extreme stress, it's very hard on the other person.  We realized that neither one of us was getting the love and support we needed, since I was using all my 'extra love' on just being pleasant in normal situations, and frankly, he was tired of me being hurt and sad all the time.  Our marriage has been a bumpy ride, but it was never as difficult as the last few years have been.  It hadn't even occurred to me that my health and the health of my relationship were so intertwined.  Taking care of myself has brought me benefits in so many ways.

So let my story be a cautionary tale.  If there's a way that you can take better care of yourself this weekend, do it!!!  You'll be a better partner/parent/sibling/bff to the people who love you!  And yes, if yarn therapy is what makes you feel better, I give you permission to indulge yourself!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pom Poms and Murder

Good morning, Beautiful Dynamos!!

The Pinterest app on my phone is probably my most-used app right now.  I seem to go in phases.  Before Pinterest it was The Simpson's: Tapped Out game.  Before that it was Candy Crush Saga.  At least with Pinterest it's making my actual real life better.  LOL!!!

I found a pin linking to Mr. Printable's animal pom poms.  OMG how cute are they? So cute!  Of course Mims and I had to try making some.

I clearly don't have much pom pom trimming and shaping experience, but I thought my little bear turned out pretty cute.   I saw another pin that suggested using handmade pom poms as bookmarks...

LOL!  The little bear head makes a very funky bookmark...

I also tried making a couple of the flower pom poms. They look a little thistle-ey to me.  

Mine also look like they could have come straight out of a '70s craft book. I think they might look better if I was better at trimming them.

Okay, so I've been having a ball making soap, but tried a technique a couple of days that just didn't turn out right.  I was trying to make smooth perfect stripes in the soap, and instead it separated on me, leaking oil for hours.  It was slimy and gross and smelled terrible.  I needed to rebatch it if I wanted to save it.  So I grated it up and dumped it into a crockpot and let it cook for a couple hours before I added some fresh fragrance oil and put it back into its mold.

It had a Strawberry scent.  But I could still smell the weird smell from before underneath the soap too.  The extra funky smell made the soap smell like Strawberry and Foul Deeds...

It didn't help that the soap looked like it was chunks of a murder victim.   It looks so Halloween scary.  I would pass it along to my Halloween Cousin, but it smells too awful.  It's destined for the garbage, but I thought it was just too funny not to share.

On a much happier note, this soap smells like freshly cut grass.

Jake and I agree that it smells more like freshly cut wheatgrass, rather than front lawn, but it still is fun. 

I hope you're day is wonderful, Dynamos!  

ps - you can follow me on Pinterest by clicking the link over there in the right hand side bar so you can see all the other awesome ideas that I'm hoarding for a rainy craft day...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jake's Slippers

Jake hates wearing shoes.  He'd rather go barefoot, or wear flip flops, or wear slippers.  Unfortunately for him, he has size 16 feet, which makes the finding of flip flops and slippers pretty difficult, and (no shock here) really expensive.  No discount shoe shopping for him!

So recently I've become enthralled with the slipper patterns at Mamachee.  While making my Mom a pair of the slingbacks, I discovered that my gauge is slightly larger than recommended for her patterns.  It wasn't a problem on Mom's slippers, I just made them a size smaller, but it gave me hope that the Opa Slippers (which are sized up to a Men's 12/13) might actually be a 15/16 in my looser gauge.  It was totally worth a try... (and even if the pattern didn't work for him, Mims and I would both rock the little grandpa slippers!!)

Lucky for me, the slippers were the perfect size!  They're HUGE!!!  LOL!!!

The finished slippers turned out so cool!!!  They are pretty slippery on the bottom so I think I'm going to make him some jute soles and maybe add some lines of silicone for extra grip.  I'd hate for him to break something falling down the stairs in these things... LOL!!  Best and worst gift ever?!

I also made some manly soap this week.  I used the cylinder pour method from Soap Crafting to make my Mountain Man soap...  I scraped the outer edge of the soap with a fork to make it look like tree bark.

My brother-in-law's birthday is coming up.  I crocheted a jute basket to hold some of the soaps.  I love the rustic look of the jute.  The natural look is so great with the soap.

I also experimented with the Mantra Swirl technique from Soap Crafting this week.  I got a little crazy and made a rainbow mantra swirl.   And then I flung a bunch of cosmetic grade soap glitter on it.  Unicorn soap?!

This last soap was completely inspired by Kyme at Alamo Candelaria.  I watched a bunch of her YouTube videos and had to try making her soap poppies.  It was so much fun!!  I ended up making 3 different colors of poppies to make my soap look like a big poppy field...

If you'd like to try them yourself, here's the video that inspired me!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Working on presents...

My Mom's birthday was last week.  She wanted to wait to open her presents until we could have a family party, but since my niece got sick at daycare, and my grandma is pretty fragile right now and shouldn't be exposed to any more germs than necessary, it seems like a party is not going to happen for at least another week.  It's kind of a bummer, but hey, it's what Mom wants so who am I to argue? 

My Mom is a pretty challenging to shop for, so I just picked out things that I would want myself.  LOL!!  I made her her some slingback slippers.  Love the Mamachee pattern!

I made her a rose bath scrubby to go with a bunch of handmade soap.  I'm super happy with how my latest batches have turned out.

I'm loving the ombre soap action I got with this batch.  It's got a fresh laundry fragrance and it makes me think of the beach.  

This is one of the techniques from Soap Crafting.  I'm still on a mission to go through all of the recipes in the book. This is the linear swirl. I used a Blackberry Amber fragrance oil in it.  It smells divine!

This is another of of the Soap Crafting techniques, a Pumpkin ITP swirl.  It's got pumpkin puree in it, and it smells like pumpkin pie.  My sis-in-law is getting married next month, and pumpkin is her favorite, so I'm planning to give her a bunch of these as part of her wedding present.


Friday, September 6, 2013

A quick heads up!

Hey, just a quick heads up that Tara over at Mamachee * Crochet Makes Me Happy has a whole facebook fan thing going on right now.  16 days of contests, giveaways, and freebies.  If you're on facebook anyway, you should go check it out.

* Today's a free-gift-with-purchase! Buy any footwear pattern and she'll send you her jute sole pattern.  Rad!  I got a pattern to make Jake some slippers for his birthday.  I'm super excited because the jute soles will make them good for indoor/outdoor use.  Score!

**I've used her patterns before and she's awesome!  I highly recommend her stuff!!

*** I wasn't paid to say any of that.  Didn't get anything free (except my gift-with-purchase, which I haven't actually gotten yet, but I'm sure it's coming...)

**** I like the asterisks

***** I like my fans too.  Leave a comment if you've got an idea for a good giveaway over here.  I am stumped. I keep thinking another free book day... Love free book days, everyone wins!

Oh, and I've joined the world of Instagram!  I'm crochet_dynamite if you want to follow...

xoxo Jaime
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