Project Linus Blanket #33

Project Linus Blanket #33

Project Linus Blanket #33 1-1-21 - Easy Peasy

“Easy Peasy”

It’s been a while since I’ve finished a blanket for Project Linus. Looking at my pictures I see that the last one was in April. After that I was crocheting gifts. Baby gifts, birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. It kept me busy!

I had actually started this one in April after the last one was done. I grabbed a bag out of my totes and arranged the yarn in my crochet bag.

crochet bags with dividers

I had six rows done… and that’s where it sat until Christmas. Once I got started on it again it only took me about a week to finish it. Of course, I still have to weave in the ends, but we can do that later.

Project Linus Blanket #33 Detail

It wasn’t my favorite yarn to use. The only one I enjoyed was the black as that was the Nicole Stitch Studio yarn that is no longer produced. Although, I’ve heard that since Michaels bought A.C. Moore their Value Smart yarn is now very similar to the Stitch Studio. I haven’t purchased any to find out, but that’s what I hear.

The darker variegated is a Michaels value yarn (their brand name) that was definitely produced before they bought A.C. Moore. It feels a lot like Red Heart Super Saver, which I think is the brand of the light blue color and the other blue variegated yarn that I used in the middle of the blanket (they no longer have bands on them). The bright blue color is an old one. I must have pulled this out of my mom’s stash. It is a TMA Yarns and has an Ames price tag on it. At that time you could purchase this 8 oz skein for $1.99. It feels like a Red Heart Super Saver clone.

I am currently working on a birthday present, so I won’t be able to share that with you for a while, but once it’s done I will reach into my tote and pull out another bag that’s all kitted up and ready to go. These ripple blankets are quick and easy projects. I definitely need to do better than just four Project Linus blankets this year!

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Staining the Entertainment Center

T-E Entertainment Center 12-5-20

Sometimes it feels like this is the project that will live with us forever in the basement. I think it’s just because Jay has been working on it since October. It’s not his fault that it has lingered for so long. When you have to wait for your finishing department to fit it in their schedule, you get behind.

After all of the Christmas making was behind us I told him to start laying pieces of it on my workbench so that I could begin finishing it. To be completely honest I was very scared of this project.

T-E TV Center Shelves Bare 1-3-21

Jay’s sister wants a distressed barn wood finish. I’m not good with the faux finishes. I would much rather stain and poly wood. So to say that I was putting off this project would be an understatement. But it’s their wedding gift and I can’t hold off for ever.

I had done some research on faux finishing and how to get the look of barn wood. There are so many different ways to do it, but the method that made the most sense to me was to stain it a wood color, then go over it with a gray paint and then white wash it. Obviously, there are a bunch of steps in there, but that was the basic idea. Instead of using gray paint, though, I decided to go with a gray stain. 

First, I had to put the brown base coat of stain on the pieces.

T-E TV Center Shelves Base Coat 1-3-21

It looks splotchy because I used two different colors of stain to make it splotchy. I figured distressed wood needs to have some different shades, otherwise it would be nice and neat and referred to as ‘calmed’ barn wood.

T-E TV Center Doors Base Coat 1-3-21

After I took these pictures I actually went back with a third color of stain and went over them again. I wanted it to be a bit darker. After that was completely dry I coated everything in gray.

T-E TV Center Doors Gray Coat 1-10-21

I didn’t want it to be a solid gray, though. I wanted there to be streaks where the brown showed through from the base.

T-E TV Center Shelves Gray Coat 1-10-21

I did a good job of getting everything covered in gray stain…

Stain Coat

Good thing this was one of my old sweat skirts!

I thought I had the process down and so I tried to do the white wash on top. You see, I originally thought I would be able to stop at the gray stain and then poly it. Nope. They wanted it more the white-gray color. Today I did my best to do a white wash coating that doesn’t look like white wash. I started on the bottom since that’s the side nobody will see. Here they are after the white wash:

T-E TV Center Shelves White Wash 1-10-21

I couldn’t get a good picture without the lights glaring off of the top. I’m not happy with it. Does it look too uniform? Is there something missing? I’m not sure. I think I need to sit with it for a bit and decide if this will work or if I need to do something else.

*sigh* Why couldn’t they have been happy with it dyed a golden oak??

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A Handcrafted Christmas

My last post was on December 8th. I wanted to write a post today to kind of wrap up this Christmas gifting season. You may think that I was lazy and that’s why I didn’t post, but I promise you that was NOT the reason. Between the extra hours at work and all of the stuff I was trying to make, I just didn’t have the time. I warn you that this post may be a bit long so get comfy.

Let’s start with one of the projects that you saw in progress. For Christmas I asked Jay to make me a new recycling center. I was using an old trash can that had actually been my grandmother’s (no, it’s not an heirloom).

Recycling Basket - Old Edited

It was a lot like me: not much to look at, but it does the job. Except, I had the idea to try to keep the cat food cans separate so that I can take them to the cat shelter. They turn them in for scrap money. I didn’t want to add another basket to this area so I did some measuring, drew up a very bad picture, and asked Jay to construct it.

Recycling Center Side 11-30-20

Yes, I had to do the finishing on it, but I didn’t care. It just meant that I would get the finish that I wanted. Are you ready to see how it turned out?

Recycling Center in Place 12-24-20 Edited

It’s a bit larger than I anticipated, but it works. As you can see we have two areas for the bags and underneath is where I can collect the glass. I might see if I can find a tote that fits a bit better. 

Recycling Center 12-24-20

This is a bad picture, but I wanted you to see the top. I only stained as far as my arm could reach, but I don’t care. I had Jay attach binder clips to the middle insert (I could only find two with logos and one regular clip for the other side) so that the bag will be held on the inside and the top pins the other side of the bags to the box. The recyclables that can go out to the curb on trash night goes in the bigger clear bag and the cat food cans will go in the blue bag. It’s been a week and so far it’s working great.

Another project that I had to finish after Jay did the initial design and cutting were back scratchers.

Back Scratchers

I think we had 8 or 9 of these. They are actually laying on the table runner that my mom made me for Christmas. Isn’t it pretty?

Do you remember when we tore apart the last piano? This was the second set of piano keys that we had hanging out in the house. Jay and I were discussing what we could make with them and between the two of us we came up with a Key Board:

Key Board 3 11-30-20

This one is a little dark, but there are hooks on it so that you can hang your keys on it. There are two wall hangers on the back. I tried to group the piano keys in groups that kind of made sense. I also tried three different colors of stains to see which one I liked best.

Key Board 2 11-30-20

Key Board 1 11-30-20

The entertainment center is a wedding gift and it’s not done yet, so you won’t see any pictures of it. I think that’s it for the wooden gifts.

Next up are the gifts that I crocheted.

The first one has actually been finished since August or so. And of course, I didn’t take any pictures of it because I thought I would have plenty of time to do so. *sigh* This past year I posted pictures of crocheted garments that I hoped to eventually make. One of these was the Everyday Cardi:

Everyday Casual Cardi CSpr2020

Jay’s mom commented on my post saying that she wouldn’t mind having this in a light pink color. I told Jay that I knew what I was going to give his mom for Christmas. I ordered some yarn from Ice Yarns and got to work.

Ice Yarns Lorena Worsted

I think it turned out quite nice. Luckily it fit her nicely, too!

I knew that I wanted to make something for my friend’s little girl. The problem is that the little darling is growing like a weed! I decided to make a dress in two different sizes in the hopes that she would fit the smaller one and can grow into the bigger one.

Dresses for Indah 2020

The nice thing about this pattern is that it can be worn as a type of tunic, too. 

When I was finished with some of the larger projects I was working on I decided to fill in my empty time with some washcloths. I think I made almost 20 wash cloths. Here are the ones that I sent to my friend:

Dishcloths for Pauline

I was trying to figure out what I could actually make my friend. I know how much I love the ear warmer that my mom made me a few years ago so I decided to try to crochet one. I couldn’t decide on the size, though, so I made three different sizes and hoped that at least one of them would fit.

Pauline-Ear Warmers

With all of the crocheted gifts I let the recipients know that if they didn’t want them, or they don’t fit, I’m fine with them giving the gifts away to people who can use them. As long as they are being used then I will be happy.

Since I’d made about a zillion hats I decided a few more wouldn’t hurt. I made two for my brother-in-law and then two for my friend’s husband.

Remi Hats

Jay’s brother was supposed to be heading out here for their sister’s wedding, but due to the plague they have cancelled their trip. When they were here the last time, though, our new brother-in-law (who had never seen snow) showed up without proper winter clothing. I decided that I would at least provide them with hats and some cowls. I wasn’t sure what colors they would like, or what hat style they would prefer, so I wrapped them and sent a note saying that they could pick whichever set they liked.

Justin-Tony Hats-Cowl

I figured a black/gray set should go with most coats.

Tony-Justin Hats-Cowl

This picture is a bit washed out so that you can see the yarn color a little better. Otherwise they looked like big black splotches when they are actually a mottled brown. I haven’t heard anything from them, but I hope they liked them. Or that they gave them to somebody who can really use them.

I made one more hat, but this one is so stinkin’ cute. Gary said that he wanted to model it for me.

Charlie's Hat 12 2020

It’s an aviator cap for my friend’s little boy. I’ve got a better view of it from the side.

Charlie's Hat

The little boy is about four months old so I also made him a blanket that will be good for the floor.

Charlie's Floor Blanket

This was made with a chenille-type of yarn. It is definitely not a type of yarn that I will look forward to using again. Because of its nature the yarn is very grabby and gives your hands a bit of a work out when crocheting.

Charlie's Blanket Detail

Are you still with me? I just have one more item to show you. If you remember, I made some wraps for my sister and step-niece. I decided to make another one for my friend using the same yarn that I used for her minion hat.

Chrissy's Wrap

It’s very soft. You can see that I added a button. It annoys me when a shawl I’m wearing falls off my shoulders so I figure that it would bother my friend as well. You don’t want to be trying to do something with your baby while trying to keep your wrap on your shoulders. I hope she likes it.

Chrissy's Wrap 12 2020

My sister loved hers. I gave her two… a black and purple one and then a gray one. She loved the button feature. Hopefully my friend will, too.

Hopefully know you will understand why I’ve been a little absent over the past few months. I have a Project Linus blanket on my hook that’s almost done and then I’ve got a list of gifts that I will start after that. There is never a shortage of projects!

 

Posted in Blankets, Crafting, Crochet, Garment, Hats, piano, Wood Work, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Christmas Crafting…

I wish I could show you everything that we’re currently making. I think you would be a bit shocked to see the amount of things we are producing. On December 26th-ish it will all be revealed…

In the meantime, Jay is still working on the entertainment center for his sister.

T-E Entertainment Center 12-5-20

The doors are assembled. The shelves have been completed and put in place. The hardware is being constructed and painted. I believe he has an order arriving this week for the rest of the hardware. I have even practiced the finishing technique that I will use. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of that. Too many other things going on!

T-E TV Center Door 12-5-20

Jay did a beautiful job on the doors. This is the first time he’s ever made this style of door.

T-E TV Center Front 12-5-20

A closer look at the shelves…

He has also been working on one of my Christmas gifts. This one required a lot of input from me, so that’s why I know about it and am doing the finishing work on it.

Recycling Center Side 11-30-20

It’s a little recycling center for the library. Currently I have a 13 gallon garbage can that sits by the desk in the library, and this is where we throw all of the recyclables. I wanted one that I can put two bags in (one for the cat food cans that the shelter will turn in for scrap money and one for the rest of the recyclables). Then I wanted a little space on the bottom to put a plastic tote where I can place the glass jars.

Recycling Center Top 11-30-20

This sounds a bit silly, but the City has restricted the amount of things that can be recycled. They no longer accept glass (so I drop it off at a separate glass recycling location) and they will accept very little plastic. It’s a bit ridiculous. I’m not a tree-hugger by any stretch of the imagination, but I hate throwing stuff in the landfill that I know will sit there for hundreds of years without breaking down. Especially if it can be re-used.

Jay has been working on other projects, too, but I can’t show those to you yet. They are Christmas gifts. He asked me to make him an elf hat to wear while he’s doing all of this work.

Elf Hat and Fixed Loop 11-25-20

So I made him a hat and then fixed his belt. The loop was falling apart so I bought a piece of leather and some rivets. He thought it was silly that I would pay more in total for the items to fix the loop as compared to just going out and buying another $12 belt. This belt is still perfectly good! Again, I hate throwing stuff away that can still be used! Now if something happens to the loop, or if some other leather item needs repair, I have the materials to make it happen.

The last post I made on the blog showed off a few more of the hats that I crocheted. Well, I turned them into the organization last week. Before I handed them over, though, I tried to take a picture. Here are the 41 hats that I made:

41 Hats 11-24-20

They are all scrunched on my cutting table, but I didn’t have anywhere else to place them for the picture. These aren’t the only things that I’ve been crocheting. I’ve made about five more hats, three ear warmers and two cowls. Plus I’ve been working on a blanket for a friend’s baby. On top of the other gifts that I’ve crocheted. This is what it looks like on my end of the couch:

Crochet Mess 12-5-20

It’s a mess! Once all of my Christmas crocheting is done I need to get back to the Project Linus blankets. They’ve been severely neglected!

Okay. I think that’s about all I can show you for now. I have to get back to my finishing area to do some sanding and staining…

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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…

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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??!!

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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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