MORE Crocheted Hats!

This past spring I started crocheting hats for guys in a local faith-based program that helps them to heal from various addictions. I thought it would be nice for them to receive a crocheted hat for Christmas. Many of these guys have next to nothing for possessions, let alone something that was handmade for them. Well, we are approaching the Christmas season so I need to finish these up and get them to the program director soon. My goal was to make about 60 hats, but that just is not going to happen. I might be able to make a couple more this week, but as of right now I only have 41 ready to go.

Hats # 30-32

Crocheted Hats #30-32

These were all made using yarns that I’ve used for previous hats.

Hat #30 – Discontinued Yarn Bee yarn

Crocheted Hat #30

Hat #31 – Ice Yarns Magic Light in Grey Shades, Copper

Crocheted Hat #31

Hat #32 – Lion Brand’s Z Twist (I used two colors held double)

Crocheted Hat #32

Hats # 33 – 34

Crocheted Hats #33-34

These look familiar because I used the same yarn, again, on two other hats.

Hat # 33 – Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn in a discontinued color

Crocheted Hat #33

Hat #34 – Same Hobby Lobby Yarn, but with an additional yarn added to finish it off

Crocheted Hat #34

Hats # 35 – 42

Crocheted Hats #35-42

I was looking around and found that Premier Yarns has a worsted acrylic yarn with color combinations to fit various sports teams. For Christmas I wanted to make a hat for a friend using his favorite team’s colors. Premier currently has this on sale. You get five skeins of yarn for $10. So technically one of these hats will be used as a Christmas gift for that friend. I made the others because it’s a fairly popular team in this area so I knew some of the guys in the program would also be big fans.

I had been making more of the “traditional” hat with the ribbed brim.

Hats 35 – 37

Crocheted Hat #35-37

Crocheting that brim really eats up a lot of yarn. I did find it interesting that I managed to get three different patterns out of it, too. I didn’t try to do any kind of color controlling. This is just what happened on its own.

Then I thought that maybe some of the guys would prefer the beanie style. After making one of those I realized how much quicker I could crochet a hat, so I made the rest in this style.

Hats 38-42

Crocheted Hat #38-42

Again, it’s interesting how the pattern fell into place without me doing anything to make it happen. I did a reverse single crochet around the edge to finish it off. I did run out of yarn on the fifth one of these, so I finished it with some black.

Other than hats, I’ve also been going a little wrap crazy. It seems that pocketed wraps are quite popular right now. I have seen several patterns come out recently and there are many different variations that I’ve been seeing in the catalogs. The pattern that I used for my sister’s wrap (which I still have to sew the button on) is very simple so I’ve been crocheting up a few more for gifts. I hope that the recipients like them.

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Another Entertainment Center

Back in September I received an invitation to attend a bridal shower for Jay’s sister. It said she was registered at Amazon and Target. Well, I do not like Target so I hopped on Amazon to see what she needed/wanted for gifts. That’s when I saw this:

Amazon TV Center

This isn’t the exact one that was on their list, but it’s close enough. The particular piece they had registered for had more of a gray/white distressed finish and it was $268.

I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here… growing up on a farm the very last thing that I want to use to decorate my house is distressed barn wood. Or even the barn look. It just makes me feel dirty and sneezy (which is how I usually feel if I have to be in the barn for any length of time). However, to each his own and if they want to bring the farm into the house… good for them.

My biggest issue with their choice of entertainment center was that despite the fact it used the term ‘wood’ in the description you had to read the smaller print at the bottom to discover that the entire thing was made out of MDF with a fancy laminate finish. Considering it was only $268 I didn’t expect that it was going to be made of real wood. I’m not a wood snob, but I prefer my furniture to be made out of actual solid wood even if it’s pine. At least you know it will last and if you decide that you dislike the finish you can always change it. You just know that this MDF piece is going to warp after a few years and if you mar it in any way you can’t easily fix it.

Do you recall that Jay just recently built a floating entertainment center for a coworker?

Brad's TV Center Installed

I showed Jay the registry and said that we could easily build his sister a very similar entertainment center, but it would be made out of real wood. I also pointed out that in a recent issue of Wood Magazine they’d had plans for a buffet that looked almost exactly like the entertainment center on the registry. The buffet in the magazine was a beautiful oak and I thought looked much nicer than the distressed barn wood.

Jay called up his sister and asked if she was particularly attached to the MDF version. They hadn’t even realized that it was MDF. We offered to make them, as their wedding gift, almost the exact same thing in solid wood. They were very happy about this. We asked if they were committed to the distressed look and they said that they definitely wanted the gray/white finish. *sigh*

Jay and I discussed options and I told him that I know I can find tutorials online about how to get the perfect distressed wood finish. However, I begged him to use pine because there is no way I could bring myself to cover beautiful oak with paint. If I were sent to The Bad Place, one of the most effective methods of torture they could use is to make me do faux distressed looks using paint on beautiful wooden furniture.

Based on resources and availability Jay ended up using pine. *the crowd cheers*

Using the plans from the magazine he drew it in SketchUp and then started the build.

T-E Entertainment Center 10-20-20

This piece is quite large. And it’s going to be quite heavy. I think Jay said that the overall length is just over 6′. For some reason I’m thinking that the top had to be 58″ long, but I could just be making that up.

The magazine used a solid piece of oak plywood (I think) for the top, but Jay glued up some pine boards that he grooved to fit into each other snuggly.

T-E TV Center Gluing Top 10-25-20

The only good thing about painting this is that I won’t have to worry about the different boards taking the finish in different ways.

As I have been working on my own projects, Jay has continued to work on the entertainment center.

T-E TV Center 10-25-20

Look close and you can see some additional details that he added.

T-E TV Center 11-2-20

He created a template to make drilling the dowel holes (to support the shelves) a lot easier and straighter.

Here is the top after the glue was dry:

T-E TV Center Top 11-2-20

Currently the doors are clamped while the glue dries.

T-E TV Center Doors 11-2-20

The wedding is supposed to take place at the beginning of January (we’ll see what happens due to the Plague), but Jay didn’t want to be working on it at the last minute. Especially since I will have a large amount of work to do on it once he has completed the construction. Let’s hope I can pull it off!

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Crocheting for Christmas

I haven’t been posting to my blog very frequently because a lot of the things Jay and I are working on currently are going to be Christmas gifts. If I know that the recipients don’t typically read my blog then I can post about the gifts. However, a lot of what we’ve done are for friends and family who meander over here now and again to look at what we’ve been doing. The other reason why I haven’t posted is because a lot of what we’ve been doing is related to non-blogging things (cleaning, organizing, scooping the poop, etc). 

I have been making some headway (pun intended) on crocheted hats. I am actually working on #30 right now, but since it’s not done you can only see #27-29.

Crocheted Hats #27-29

I have decided that I like this style of hat the best. I think it will best fit a number of guys’ tastes. These particular ones were made using clearance yarn that I bought at Hobby Lobby.

#27 used a roving-style of yarn by Yarn Bee (a Hobby Lobby brand) that actually has a black thread twisted around it.

Crocheted Hat #27

I looked on their website, but I don’t see anything like it. They must have discontinued the line of yarn and not just the color. It’s a soft acrylic, but it is a heavier #4. It took almost the entire skein to make this one hat. I had to use a regular black out of my stash in order to crochet the last round and the brim. I bought two skeins of this yarn so hat #30 will look exactly like this one.

Hats #28 and 29 use the I Love This Yarn! yarn from Hobby Lobby. The yarn is actually a blue and gray marled color.

Crocheted Hat #28

It looks like there’s some yellow in there, too. One skein made one entire hat and then most of a second one. I dug into my stash and found a gray that somewhat complimented the colors so that I could do the final round and brim on hat #29.

Crocheted Hat #29

I’m not sure how many more I’m going to make. I’ve set a deadline of Thanksgiving to make as many hats as I can and then I’ll give them to the substance abuse program by the end of November so that they can be handed out at the Christmas party for the guys in December.

These aren’t the only hats that I’ve been making.

My friend had a baby in August and so I had to figure out what I could make him for Christmas. My friend LOVES minions so I wanted something along those lines. Guess what I found?

Baby Minion Outfit

Isn’t it adorable? The pattern I found on Etsy was for the newborn size only so I had to figure out how to make an outfit for a baby who would be about 6 month-sized. I actually used a free pattern for a diaper cover that I found on Yarnspirations’ website, I used the Etsy pattern for the suspenders, and then I used the Etsy pattern as a guideline for the hat. I still need to find the perfect buttons for it. The good news is that if it is too small I can easily make a bigger size.

I used Premier’s Ever Soft yarn, which is similar to Caron’s Simply Soft. Herrschner’s was having their big Fall Yarn sale so I snagged this yarn for around $2.50 per skein. It crochets up so nicely! It’s very smooth and I didn’t have problems with it splitting or anything. I bought quite a bit of it because I had purchased another pattern on Etsy for hats.

Adult Minion Hats

Aren’t they adorable? I didn’t do a great job on the eyes, but I think my friend will love them. I thought she would like to be able to take a family picture with all of them wearing their minion hats.

Family Minion Hats

The adult hats are by AlenasDesign. Technically her pattern has you crocheting ear flaps and braided pigtails on them, but I didn’t like that style. Instead I crocheted with the blue as far as I thought I should go and then I did a simple reverse sc for the edge. I think they turned out really cute. I wanted to make sure they would look okay on the head, though, so I had my model try one on.

Jay in Minion Hat Edited

He folded the brim up a bit so that it fit him better, but I think it still looks adorable. 

When I wasn’t crocheting hats I switched over to wash cloths. You see, I was watching Crystal on Bag O’ Day Crochet on YouTube and she had been asked to review a new cotton yarn that Wal-Mart is carrying. She tried it out and said that she thought it was exactly like Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton yarn. We all know that I’m a huge Hobby Lobby fan, so I had to try it out.

Cotton Wash Cloths 10-20-20

I bought one skein of this tan color. It actually made two full wash cloths and about a third of another one. I was trying some patterns I found in an issue of Crochet World magazine (I can’t remember which one and the pattern is downstairs out of reach). 

Crystal was right. The Main Stays cotton (Wal-Mart brand) is surprisingly good! It’s also about $1 cheaper than Hobby Lobby’s brand. The only problem is that it currently only comes in 7 colors whereas the Hobby Lobby brand comes in about 71 (if I counted correctly). This yarn would work nicely for garments or wash cloths that will be used for your body. It’s a soft and supple cotton.

I had a friend email me and ask if I’d ever used a certain type of recycled yarn. I believe it was a cotton/acrylic blend. I hadn’t, but then the poor girl had to read an entire email from me that went on and on about the vast difference there can be in quality from one type of cotton or acrylic to another. I sent her a package and I included a wash cloth made from the Main Stays cotton and one made from Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream cotton.

Cotton Comparison Cloths 10-5-20

I wanted her to feel the difference between the rougher utility cotton (great for dish cloths) on the left and the softer garment-friendly cotton on the right. I made them using the same exact pattern so that it was an apples-to-apples comparison. That’s why I love it when the stores have the knitted samples of yarn hanging by the skeins. It’s one thing to feel it in the skein, but sometimes it looks and feels completely different when it’s stitched into something.

Well, I think that I’ve bored you for long enough with my crochet. Until next time…

Posted in Charity, Crochet, Hats, Yarn | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

So Much to Clear Out!!

If you read my last post then you know that Jay’s stepdad passed away at the beginning of September. And yes, the list was found. Jay’s aunt discovered it in one of the many filing cabinets. It was in an unlabeled folder. Because of course it was. *sigh*

Jay has spent a lot of his free time (which has also been limited) trying to help his mom to sort and clear out the huge amount of things that his stepdad left behind. This man was born at the end of the Great Depression so that was a big part of how he was raised. Which is why we found a bread box filled with used twine that had been wound up and tied together. It’s also why I found a cigar box filled with OLD pull handles from rope-pulled starters. Seriously. There were probably 20 of these handles in the box.

I have definitely benefitted, though. All of these were found in his garage:

Paint Can Openers 10 2020

I believe they were located near the 12 paint roller handles and across the garage from the 30 pipe wrenches hanging on the walls (that doesn’t count the numerous other pipe wrenches in the two large tool chests against the wall). Also, this does not include all of the stuff located at their camp (two hours away) or in the garages at the apartments he owned in town. According to Jay’s mom, every time he couldn’t find something he just went out and bought a new one. He also didn’t like dragging his tools from one place to another so he had full sets of stuff at the house, at camp and at the garages.

Jay’s company makes the handles for the majority of pipe wrenches that you can buy here in the States. I told him that he ought to propose a huge cost savings measure by returning all of the pipe wrenches we can find and tossing them back into the furnace to be melted down again. He didn’t think that would work.

Since Jay is neck-deep in all of this clearing out of the properties it’s made him take stock of his situation at home. After spending a day throwing out twine, old toothbrushes, and a zillion random pieces of hardware he came home and did some cleaning up in the basement.

This is kind of how it looked this spring (more had been added since then):

Battery Area 3-5-20

In fact, a lot of the stuff in this next picture ended up surrounding the chair:

Basement Catch-All 3-5-20

As of today it looks like this:

Battery Area 10-5-20

The weekend that we were really involved in cleaning out Karen’s garage I told Jay that we needed to get the piano out of the living room.

Formal Living Room and Tree

Since I have the baby grand in the family room I don’t play the spinet in the living room. We’d tried giving it away for two years, but nobody wants a piano. We’d torn one apart a few years ago to make room for this one, so we pulled this one apart as well.

Piano Deconstruction 2020

Jay kept some of the wood, but most of it we had my dad pick up and take home to burn out back. The guy who was scrapping the metal from Karen’s garage also took the cast iron harp and other metal pieces that we pulled off of this instrument.

I kept the keys because I feel like there’s something really neat that we can do with them, we just have to think of it. Then it hit me…

Puzzle for Pianists

A puzzle for pianists!

There are only 88 pieces, but it’s VERY challenging. Especially if you have somebody helping you who doesn’t know anything about piano music.

“Say, do you have an extra F Sharp hanging around over there?”

“No, all I have is this G Flat that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere.”

(Sorry… nerdy musician humor…)

We did manage to solve it, though.

Pianist's Puzzle Solved

Once the piano was out of there I decided to try moving the couch to a different spot.

Living Room 9-29-20

It’s different, but I’m starting to really like it.

Jay says that we should get a “real” chair for over near the fire place, but I kind of like his bench there.

Living Room 2 9-29-2020

The couch also makes a very nice place to sit while watching the birds. I will keep this arrangement until the day after Thanksgiving. Then I’ll move everything back to make room for the tree in front of the fireplace. We’ll see what happens when the Christmas stuff comes down.

In the meantime I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting. A lot of the things I’m making are Christmas gifts that I can’t post on here. Also, I have an idea floating around my brain about possibly filming podcasts and putting them on YouTube. We’ll have to see how far I actually get with that! I mean, do we really need another person yapping away on YouTube about crochet or yarn?

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A Crocheted Comfort Wrap

What should have been a relaxing Labor Day actually began a week of stress and rushing around to get things done. Jay’s stepdad passed away Labor Day morning, so we were active in helping Karen get things in line and preparing for the funeral.

Just a note for everybody out there… even if you’re in the best of health PLEASE let your spouses or family know where to find all of your important papers and financial information. Also, if you are a landlord be sure there is a convenient place for your survivors to find the details of your leases (how much is paid, when rent is due, how long the lease is, etc). You don’t want to leave your loved ones searching through three different filing cabinets and five different safes looking for a list that you promised was in existence.

Anyway, back to Karen…

I knew that after the funeral there would still be people popping by to check on her, but that after a while that would begin to taper off. Then there are going to be times of loneliness and sadness. Doesn’t anybody care? Nobody loves me… everybody hates me… etc. To keep her from going out back and eating some worms I decided to make her a reminder of our love for her.

Karen's Wrap 09 2020

I didn’t know if she would receive a prayer shawl from our church, but I wanted to give her a comfort wrap. Something that when she’s feeling blue she can wrap around her shoulders and feel our love hugging her. 

I used a pattern called Teal Treasure Wrap by Ellen Gormley that I found in the October 2013 issue of Crochet World. I also used some yarn from my stash that I’ve used for a poncho for a friend. This is Ice Yarns Pastel Cotton. I’m not sure that they sell this version of yarn any more.

Karen's Wrap Back 09 2020

I wanted it a little holey because Karen doesn’t often need bulky sweaters. She’s usually trying to thin down her layers. 

Karen's Wrap Detail 09 2020

This yarn is machine washable/dryable, so if Karen gets it dirty while rummaging in the basement trying to find things that her husband promised her were there, the wrap can be easily laundered. It’s one less thing to worry about.

Now where did he put that list??!!

Posted in Crochet, Garment, Prayer Shawl | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Crocheted Christmas Wraps

I have cut my posting frequency WAY BACK lately because a) we’ve been busy and b) a lot of what we’re working on are Christmas gifts for people who read my blog. It wouldn’t be very nice for them to see their gift online before holding it in their hands.

The birds have also been keeping me busy.

Bathing Birds 2020

I think there are five billion of these sparrows hanging out in my front yard. On the weekends I have to fill the bird bath at least twice a day. They love to get in here and just splash all over. When you have 8-10 of them at a time, plus they take turns, that’s a lot of water being splashed out of the bird bath. Not to mention that they put a pretty good hurting on the seed!

One day, in between re-filling the bird bath, my sister sent me a picture of a woman wearing a crocheted wrap that had pockets. She said that she really wouldn’t mind getting something like that for Christmas so that she can wear it in her classroom while she teaches. She wanted it in neutral colors that would also hide any grunge that it would pick up from the kids.

The picture she sent included a drawing with the measurements. It wasn’t in English, but I could understand enough of what was going on to be able to determine the approximate size. I knew that I had similar patterns in my stash so I went hunting. I found something that I liked in a book called The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion.

The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion

It’s called Special Occasion Shawl and calls for a main color and a contrasting color. Also, it has pockets. Not that I couldn’t have added pockets to any other shawl, but the less that I have to think about the better.

My next issue was my sister asked for it to be made in a neutral or darker colors like brown, dark blue, etc. I looked in my stash and I do have those colors, but I couldn’t bring myself to use them for my sister. Even though that’s what she requested. So I tried to compromise. What do you think?

Droof's Wrap 2

It’s not quite done because I’m going to sew a button on it in the general vicinity where I’ve clipped it together. I figure that if she’s wearing it in the classroom it would be nice to not worry about it falling off of her shoulders. Especially if she puts something in the pockets.

Droof's Wrap 1

Addie was so very nice to model this for me. I even attached an arm for her to casually place in the pocket. She really doesn’t have the shoulders or neck to correctly wear it, but she did her best.

Droof's Wrap 3

I made it a little wider than the pattern called for so that it would be cozier. I thought the black would be good for the “grunge” factor and my sister’s favorite color is purple. Do you think it’s too loud?

Droof's Wrap 4

The purple is slightly darker than what these shots are showing. I’m not good enough with my camera to be able to get it to not wash everything out.

When I was done (or almost done) with this shawl I thought that maybe my sister’s stepdaughter would like one, too. She’s in the Air Force and is currently stationed in Colorado. I thought it might be something nice for her to cuddle in when she’s sitting up reading at night. I still have a lot of black yarn, but her favorite combination is black and bright pink. I looked and looked, but the only bright pink I could find was in the Red Heart Super Saver Ombre line. I had to go to a sketchy Wal-Mart in my area to get a skein of it, too.

Red Heart Ombre

I’m not sure if they are discontinuing it or if they are just can’t manufacture it fast enough. I couldn’t find any place to buy it online and out of all the stores in my area it was only the sketchy Wal-Mart who claimed to have any in stock.

Raven's Wrap

It’s difficult to see the ombre effect in these pictures. You can kind of see it if you look closely on the left side of this picture. The body of the shawl is crocheted first and the ombre started with the lightest pink. The pocket that is sewn to that side was done at the very end, so you can see that I’d worked up to a brighter pink. Again, my camera skills are severely lacking, but I tried to get a better picture of this ombre effect.

Raven's Wrap 2

The beginning (with the edging added at the end of the project), and the brightly-striped pocket.

Raven's Wrap 3

The end of the shawl. You can tell that there’s not such a large contrast between the last body stripes and the pocket stripes.

Again, I’m going to sew a button onto the pink shawl so that she can keep it on her shoulders. There’s nothing that bothers me more than having a sweater, or wrap, that refuses to stay on your shoulders. I’ve been known to tear sweaters off in fits of irritation and toss them in the Goodwill pile after I’ve had enough with them falling down my arms.

So, two gifts almost done. Only fifty million more to go…

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Wooden Holders

It’s been two weeks since I posted anything. Somebody whined that I was posting too much of my crochet stuff, so I had to find time to work on non-crochet stuff. It wasn’t easy. In the last woodworking post I gave you a teaser for the next project Jay was making.

Brad's TV Beginning

Not much of a hint, is it? Okay, what if I show you this:

Brad's TV Center 8-10-20

Does that help?

The title of the post is ‘Wooden Holders’ because the main function of the projects I will be sharing is to hold stuff. This particular project holds electronic devices that hook up to your TV. Some people might call it a floating entertainment center. Or you can call it the ‘electronic device holder for your TV’. Your choice.

Not only did Jay make the entertainment center, but he also made two shelves to accessorize it on the same wall.

Brad's TV Shelves 8-10-20

They are assemble-yourself shelves.

Or maybe not. The guy who Jay was making this for probably wouldn’t have been able to figure it out. After all, he is a Buffalo Bills fan…

These pieces all ended up on my finishing table.

Unfinished TV Shelves 8-16-20

Unstained TV Center 8-16-20

My finishing table is actually an old conference room table that Jay’s work was going to throw away. Jay had a coworker bring it home for him and then he built the support base to my specified height. That was last year. This year he finally installed a shelf on the bottom for me.

Finishing Bench Shelf

I love this table. It’s big enough to hold all the pieces of the floating entertainment center and still leave me room for an At-At. Although, it looks like he might have been hit by the plague…

Dead At-At

Poor At-At!

While Jay was resuscitating him I had to stain the wood pieces occupying my table.

Stained TV Pieces 8-16-20

We didn’t fill in the holes left by the screws to assemble the pieces because Jay said that the guy didn’t want them filled in. Also, Jay was pretty sure that they would blend in with the stain color that was chosen. It’s called ‘Honey’.

Stained TV Center 8-16-20

I used up all the stain that I had in this color. I was glad I didn’t need to do any touching up on it. Then came the poly. I don’t use any oil based finishes because, to be completely truthful, I’m scared of them. I know my water-based poly so that’s what I used. I had a devil of a time getting it smooth, though. After what felt like five zillion layers of gloss finish it was finally done!

Brad's TV Center Finished

It’s not the best picture, but I almost forgot to take any pictures of the completed pieces. Jay was getting ready to deliver it when I snapped a couple.

Bob helped.

Brad's TV Center Reflection

Look at the reflection on the front of it! You can see Bob’s paw. That should be very easy to dust!

Newsflash! This just in…. We have had a sighting of the TV Center in its natural habitat. Let’s take a look at the image that was captured:

Brad's TV Center Installed

It is unknown at this time if the television program and toys are to entertain the Bills’ fan or if there are legitimately children in this household at this point in time.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post…

Once my bench was clear I quickly found something else to put on it.

Coffee Pod Holder Side

This is actually for my office at work. In the year that I’ve worked there I’ve watched the other people in the office dig around in a big box for their coffee pods (kept in the credenza with the office supplies) and then pile some of them on top so they wouldn’t have to keep digging. They also have two coffee cups on the credenza in case we have visitors or somebody forgot their cup at home. I’m tired of looking at this mess so I drew up a design and Jay executed it.

Coffee Pod Holder Front

Jay glued together scraps and then used them for the coffee pod holder. I used a golden oak colored stain because the credenza top is almost the color of my finishing table. I thought they would go together nicely.

Coffee Pod Holder Finished

Here it is finished. Doesn’t it look nice?

I put some shelf liner in there for the cups to sit on.

Coffee Pod Holder Opened

The top is hinged so that you can put the pods on the top. I glued on some felt so that the top wouldn’t bang and make noise all the time.

On the inside is a removable bottom.

Coffee Pod Holder Inside

It’s removable because I somehow didn’t clearly communicate to Jay that there needed to be a bottom to it. When he thought he was done you opened up the top and looked right down at the coffee cups that would be sitting there. He wondered what the purpose was, but he was going by my drawing so he didn’t ask questions. I told him he was good enough to be able to add a bottom to it. He was.

Coffee Pod Holder 9-1-20

Hopefully the coffee drinkers in my office like it.

The last holder that I have to show you didn’t need to be finished. As in stained or painted. Jay finished constructing it, but the only thing I had to do was put it in place.

Utility Shelf Finished

Isn’t that nice? We have a bunch of OSB left over from the Lean-To so Jay used that to make a new utility shelf for me. It even has wheels. I’ll show you why.

This was my old utility shelf:

Old Utility Shelf

The majority of my painting tools reside on this shelf. It worked great as long as you didn’t move it. However, twice a year I have to move it so that I can change the filter on the furnace. When the furnace was originally installed we were told we only had to change the filter once a year. I like to do it twice… once before winter and once before summer. And yes, you read that correctly I am the one who changes the filter.

To put it mildly, this shelf is a piece of junk.

Misshapened Utility Shelf

It only has about four bolts holding it together so it moves and sways like a rag-time dancer when you just blow on it. I must admit that one time when I was trying to move this shelf to get at the furnace filter I lost my temper and something went flying across the basement. It wasn’t the shelf because it wouldn’t stay in one piece long enough to get off the ground.

But now I have a shelf on wheels!

New Utility Shelf

When it’s time to change the filter all I’ll have to do is just wheel it out of the way. No more cursing or throwing things. I can’t wait!

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Drooling Over Crocheted Throws

If you’ve followed my blog for a little bit then you know that I crochet blankets for Project Linus. I try to make quite a few of these every year so typically I don’t get too excited over crochet patterns for blankets, afghans or throws. Then I subscribed to the Special Issues put out by Crochet! Magazine and received this in the mail last week:

Crochet! Autumn 2020 Madala-Style Throws

(Please excuse my pictures. It’s been a long day and I’m looking forward to getting together with my bed in a little bit.)

To complete the picture, I’m also not a big fan of mandalas. Or round blankets. Do you remember when I attempted the Cathedral Rose Window Afghan?

Cathedral Rose Window Afghan 2-18-20

(This afghan is also in this issue)

Needless to say, when I sat down to thumb threw this issue I figured I would take a quick look and then put it off to the side. WRONG. There are a couple of patterns in here that I’m itching to try. In fact, I already have one on my WILL BE CROCHETED list. I won’t show you a picture of that one because I’m pretty sure the recipient looks at my blog now and again. Anyway, the first one I came across was the Celtic Mandala Throw by Bonnie Barker.

Celtic Mandala Throw

My picture really does NOT do this afghan justice. It is rated at a #4 Intermediate level and calls for #4 worsted yarn. According to the pattern it is 47″ square when finished. Looking at this I really want to see if I can actually learn all of those stitches. Is it as complicated as it looks? If I were to make this I would give it to my sister as she LOVES Celtic items.

The next throw that caught my eye is the Six-Pointed Star Afghan by Sandra Jean Smith.

Six-Pointed Star Afghan

This one is listed as a #5 Moderately Challenging piece and calls for #4 worsted yarn. The final size is 69″ in diameter. Usually I feel that the gray/white/black scheme is a bit too contemporary for me, but it really intrigues me in this rippled afghan. It reminds me of the Big Dream Panel by Hoffman that the quilters love to use.


This panel comes in all different shades and colors, so I might actually use one of them to find a different color scheme for this crocheted afghan.

The next afghan I’ve been eyeing is the Alegria Afghan by Priscilla Hewitt.

Alegria Afghan

I’m not a fan of the color, but the design is interesting. This pattern is listed as a #4 Intermediate and calls for #4 worsted yarn. It is 58″ in diameter and they used a self-striping yarn so that they weren’t constantly changing colors. It calls for 15 skeins of yarn, the 5oz Red Heart Super Saver Stripes. That seems like a LOT of yarn, but there are a LOT of post stitches and they usually eat up a lot of yarn.

The last one I was interested in is called Honey Bunch Blanket by Priscilla Hewitt.

Honey Bunch Blanket

It’s the many different textures that intrigues me about this blanket. It is considered to be a #4 Intermediate and calls for #4 yarn. Except, this is a baby blanket so it’s only 36″ across… and uses 7 balls of 3.5oz yarn! Maybe that’s not a lot, but to me it seems like a lot. To be fair, the amount of texture requires a lot of yarn, but holy smokes… it’s only 36″ cross?? It’s beautiful, but I think this will be at the very bottom of my list.

There are a lot more throws in this issue, but I will let you click on the links I provided to go look at the rest of them.

I haven’t just been drooling over patterns, though. It took me a month, but I finally got all of my mill ends spun into balls!

I opened up all of the bags and sorted out the colors so that I could match the yarns.

Ice Yarns Mill Ends

I would then wind them onto my swift, knotting the ends together, and wound them into cakes. This way when I have a project the yarn is ready to go and I don’t have to procrastinate even more with the task of winding the yarn together. Also, it makes it easier to see what colors I have. The mill ends up above wound up into this ball:

Ice Yarns Mill Ends Balled

It reminds me of sorbet. lol

I have done some actual crocheting, but I don’t have any pictures to share. Maybe next time. 🙂

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Wooden Finishes!

A recent picture of me:

Cat Door Stopper 8-10-20

Okay, so it’s not ACTUALLY me, but that’s exactly how my head has been feeling lately. When you’re allergic to every thing and have sinus issues it can slow down progress on your projects. My To Do list is 10 miles long, but when my head feels like it’s in a vise I can’t do anything. But, despite that I’ve been able to get a few things done!

When we last visited you had seen the Cat Food cubby on my work bench.

Cat Food Cubby Oops

This should have been finished a lot sooner because all I had to do was paint it. That’s it! I should have had it done within a weekend. Instead, it took me several weeks.

Cat Food Cubby Finished 8-2-20

But it’s done. Yea!  Doesn’t it make that area look so much nicer?


Cat Food Area


Cat Food Cubby Finished Side

(Yes, Bob is spoiled)

Bob In Bed 05 2017

The next project that I was able to complete (thanks to a furlough day) was the Bird Food cubby. Jay was finished with the construction, but I needed to actually finish it.

Bird Food Cubby Finishing 7-31-20

This will sit next to my grandma’s dresser in the living room, so I used the same dark mahogany stain so that they will look like the go together. Maybe.

Bird Food Cubby Finished 8-9-20

Didn’t that turn out nice?! I’m so happy that not only does all of the seed fit in there, but it looks gorgeous. Jay did an excellent job!


Bird Food Area

Now I have an extra piano bench in my living room. I want to turn it into a cat tent/cat bed, but we’ll have to see. I’m still working on the cat couch..

Cat Couch 6-30-20

In the near future we will also be deconstructing another piano.

Piano Deconstruction Crew

It’s the one that Jay’s mom gave me because it was in much nicer shape than the one that I had. However, now that I have the baby grand I don’t touch the spinet. I’ve tried giving it away, but nobody wants a piano. The only thing left to do is tear it apart and use the pieces for other projects.

The third project I’ve had in progress is my At-At Bird Feeder.

At-At Bird Feeder 7-21-20

After the base coat, Jay gave him some knees.

At-At Bird Feeder 7-31-20

Then I painted the first coat of gray.

At-At Bird Feeder 1st Coat of Gray

Since this is going to hold a seed block I needed holes drilled in the belly so that water can drain out and won’t collect in it.

At-At Bird Feeder Belly

I also needed a tray to set the seed block on so that the birds can get to it.

At-At Bird Feeder Shelf

This is currently sitting on my bench waiting to be poly’d. I’m going to poly it so that the wood has a bit of protection. Jay has extra screen material so once I’m done he can tappity-tap-tap it together. I also have to finish painting the At-At. And I also have one other accessory in the works for it, too. That will be a surprise, though.

Finally, let me show you a teaser of what Jay is currently working on:

Brad's TV Beginning

Can you guess what it is??

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Machining a Support – Take 2

I haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been taking little steps on many projects, but not enough to really add up to a post. Also, I’ve been winding a LOT of yarn. I have wound over half of the mill ends I bought into balls.

In the meantime, Jay mentioned that he had taken some pictures of the CNC spindle support that he’s machining. Do you remember when he was supposedly machining a spindle support and it turned out that he made a completely new CNC router setup?

MachinedCNC 2-24

I was a bit skeptical when he claimed to be building the support for his first CNC router. He crossed his heart and hoped to die, stick a needle in his eye. He also held up his hands so that I could see that he wasn’t crossing his fingers behind his back.

Since I like to encourage Jay to take pictures of his projects (it’s one less thing for me to try to remember) I’m going to go ahead and post them. I can’t promise that I know what’s going on in every picture, but he took them so I’m including them here. Jay told me that these are out of order, but I’m taking them off of the camera in the order that they appear. How can the camera get them out of order?

Picture #1

2nd Spindle 1

It appears that he has placed two pieces of aluminum together and is cutting out the arcs at one time.

Picture #2

2nd Spindle 2


Now with holes!

Picture #3

2nd Spindle 3

What the Al-u-min-ium pieces are destined to become.

Picture #4

2nd Spindle 4

The finished hole from Picture #1.

Picture #5

2nd Spindle 5

An arc walks into a Nifold Bar and asks, “Where’d that come from??! Ouch!”

Picture #6

2nd Spindle 6

We are going to remove a LOT of material all at once on this hobby-grade mill. Let’s hope the hamsters don’t give out!

Picture #7

2nd Spindle 7

“I’m sorry, but it came back positive…”

Or else these are earrings for the Bride of Frankenstein.

Picture #8

2nd Spindle 8

That looks like a very heavy drink holder.

Picture #9

2nd Spindle 9

Unfortunately the shark carcass has been removed.

Picture #10

2nd Spindle 10

No longer will there be a shark with a frickin’ laser on its head!

Picture #11

2nd Spindle 11

“Sit down and take a load off!”

“No, thank you. I’ll just add a few holes and be on my way.”

(Jay added the holes on the side to reduce weight)

Well, I hope this blog post was as informative for you as it was for me. I like it when we can learn new things together!


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