Too Many Projects!

I thought that once Christmas was done I would have more time to work on other projects. After all, my obligations would have been fulfilled. Right? Nope.

What ends up happening is somebody will mention how much they like something… and in my head I’m already thinking about which pattern I’ll use and if I have the correct yarn or fabric. Once I’ve picked those two things out I feel like I’m obligated to make the item. Even if the person who will be receiving it has no idea that I’ve decided to make them something. Let me give you an example.

For Christmas I made my sister the Warm Embers Cardigan. Last week my brother-in-law texted me to say that she practically lives in it and barely even takes it off to shower. Then he sent me a picture and mentioned that Chloe (their Chinese Crested “dog”) likes it, too.

Droof in her Warm Embers Cardi

To be fair, Chloe has more hair on the top of her head than anywhere else. But what happened? I instantly thought, “I still have a skein or so left of that yarn. If I can get Chloe’s chest measurement I’m sure that I’ve got enough yarn to make her a sweater, too.” Because apparently I need another project.

I received this in the mail last week:

Joanns 1-10-19

That is yarn that I am going to use to make my friend a Prayer Sweater. I’ve already made her a shawl and I thought a sweater might be cozier. She’s having a bit of a rough time lately so I thought the pretty color would cheer her up. (Not that you can really see the beautiful color since it’s dark – it’s called Dragonfly)

That doesn’t count all of the baby projects that I have lined up because two of my friends are expecting little bundles of joy this year.

Baby Blanket Yarn 1-16-20

I already have some yarn prepared to make a cushy baby blanket that will be great for the floor. Plus I received a Crochet! magazine and saw the most darling baby dress… so I have that in my head now.

That’s on top of the yarn that I purchased a few weeks ago for another Project Linus blanket.

Project Linus Yarn 1-16-20

Plus, I found some yarn on clearance that I think will make a great shawl for myself.

Shawl Yarn 1-16-20

Keep in mind that I’ve still got the yarn waiting for this shawl that I want to make:

Erigeneia Shawl

With this yarn:

IceY Magic Light and Glitz - Blues 7-3-19

I still have two totes with about a dozen Project Linus blankets kitted up:

Kitted Blankets 5-19-19

Did I also mention that I have technically started this afghan:

Rose Cathedral Window Afghan-edit

Using this yarn:

IceY Cathedral Window Colors 7-2-19

You guys, that’s just SOME of the crochet projects that I have lined up.

This is what my cutting table looks like in my sewing room:

Cutting Table 1-16-20

I did not stage this nor did I clean it up.

That’s just the crochet portion of my hobbies. I haven’t even mentioned Project Custom Clothes, the kitty couch Jay made for me that needs to be upholstered, moving my sewing room downstairs (and moving other rooms around to accommodate this move), plus the numerous concrete yard statues that are in need of paint.

If I didn’t have to work a full time job to feed Mr. Whiney Pants

Bob 1-9-20

then I would definitely have more time for my hobbies.

*sigh*

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Still Grieving

In my last post I mentioned that we were going to take in a cat who was in need of a loving home. She arrived Friday evening, but by Saturday morning I had to have her picked up and taken back. It was not due to anything that she did. In fact, she is a sweetheart of a cat and will make a terrific pet for anybody who does not have any other animals. It wasn’t until after I spent a few hours with her, and dealt with anxiety attacks during the night because she had been very aggressive with Bob, that I realized that I wasn’t ready for another cat. I still miss Chester too much.

Chester - Mama pay attention to me

Saturday morning I was right back in the same exact emotional state I had been in when I left the vet’s office after having to put Chester to sleep. It hasn’t quite been two months. I thought I was doing okay. I thought it would be good. After all, I’ve lost a few cats during my life.

Me and Frank

Frank

Zhu-Zhu In front of the Barn

Schwartz (“Baby Zhu-zhu”)

Jackson

Jackson

I loved all of these cats with my whole heart, so why does the loss of Chester feel so much deeper? Is it just because it’s more recent? Or is it due to the fact that Jackson was the cat that I had the longest at 8 years, whereas I had Chester for 14?

Was it because she was a unique cat who carried on conversations with me and was always supervising me?

chester-sewing-arm-covers

Whatever the reason, I decided that it was unfair to bring another cat into my house and not be able to really give it all of the love it deserves. I could feel that I was walling off my heart and holding Bob even tighter. That wasn’t fair to the cat and so I wanted to give her a chance to find a better human. I know that she will. I just feel bad that I put all of us through the attempt this weekend.

I know that non-pet people don’t understand. “It was just a cat,” they will say and dismiss it without hesitation. If you’ve ever had a beloved pet, though, I know you completely understand what I’m going through. I thought that by now I would be a little stronger. That I could handle talking about Chester without tearing up or looking at her picture and not wanting to break down sobbing. Apparently not. It’s going to take a little longer.

If you have a pet please hold them a little tighter tonight and give them lots of kissies. All too soon they will be gone.

bob-and-chester-7-24-15

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Real Life 1-10-20

I thought it was about time that I give you guys another reason for being glad that your life isn’t as messy as mine. There used to be a show called, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Well, this blog is the exact opposite. Welcome to “Lifestyle of the Non-Practicing Hermit.” Life is so busy and a full time job seems to always get in the way of real productivity.

I have SO many projects currently going on, but I haven’t been able to crochet for the last two days because my wrist has finally had enough. While I’ve been resting it I’ve been working on other projects.

Jay has finally de-planed the Pink room!

Pink Room 1-9-20

That means I can start preparing to move this furniture upstairs, and my sewing room downstairs. You can see the black garbage bag in this picture. That is full of t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters and tanks that will be going to Goodwill.

Before I can move this stuff out I need to move my sewing room stuff downstairs and the office stuff into the current sewing room. In order to do that I’ve been trying to minimize the junk that I will be moving around.

Office 1-9-20

Somehow I’ve managed to find enough papers to shred that it fills up almost two leaf bags. Plus I still have more! These will go to my dad for use as bedding in the barn. He has some piglets that I’ve named ‘Links’, ‘Patty’, ‘Ham-let’ and ‘Yummy’.

As you can see, my house is a disaster area. Well, except the library.

Library 1-9-20

No more desk!

That is, until you walk into the living room…

Living Room 1-9-20

I had to move the desk because this weekend we are getting an addition to our household. I’ve had a conversation with Bob, but we’ll see how well he listened. I was told about this poor little cat who is 9 years old and doesn’t get the love and attention that she deserves. So I was asked if I would like to take her in. How could I say no? My heart hurts whenever I hear about cats who aren’t spoiled rotten like they deserve.

This new cat comes with her own cat tree (which will be good because she will feel like she has a piece of her own territory here), so I want to put it in a room that is in the middle of everything. The poor dear has been relegated to the basement of her current house and doesn’t get nearly as much attention as she would like, so we are going to fix that problem quick, fast and in a hurry!

Again, the Bob is not impressed.

Bob 1-9-20

He feels that there are plenty of cats in the house.

Let’s end this blog post on a giggle.

My sister and brother-in-law gave Jay a shower curtain for Christmas because when they saw it they instantly thought of him. What do you think is on it? Airplanes? Beer? Wood working tools? Cats? Are you ready for this…

Jay's Shower Curtain

Our bathroom is small so this is the best picture that I could get of the curtain. I told him we need to get a picture of him peering out the vinyl window.

The funny thing is that this curtain goes perfectly with our bathroom decor!

Bathroom 1-9-20

Again, you won’t ever see anything like this on the rich and snooty home shows. You can only get this kind of designer style here at Kerry’d Away!

You’re welcome.

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A Horse Puppy

My sister and I are cat people.

Me and Droof 8-18-19

Dogs are okay, but we would rather surround ourselves with cats.

Droof and Cats

When she got married, her husband brought a “dog” into the relationship. You can’t really call Chloe a dog (she’s in the picture above). She’s small and acts more like a cat. In fact, she’s often much better behaved than my sister’s cats. So I only count her as 1/2 a dog. Anyway, this past summer my sister’s husband decided that he wanted another dog.

You know how sometimes when you’ve been itching for something you might go WAY bigger than you intended? For instance, when you’ve been really craving lasagna and then you finally get it, you cut too big of a piece and then can’t finish it all. Well, I think that’s what happened with Chuk and his dog.

Meet Rando.

Rando Puppy Pictures

Rando is a St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd mix.

If I remember correctly, the time that lapsed between the picture on the left and the picture on the right was only two weeks. I want to say that Rando was around 16 weeks old. Chuk kept saying that Rando is a Tea Cup St. Bernard. I told him if by that he means a Disney World Tea Cup, then I would agree.

When I traveled for work at the beginning of December I stopped in to visit with my sister. At this point, Rando is 7 months old. Do you want to see a picture of the little puppy?

Rando - 7 months old

Yep. Seven months old… and 90 pounds!

I guess that Rando’s dad is 160 pounds (his mom is the Australian Shepherd).

When he’s biting you and jumping on you it’s hard to remember that this giant horse is still a puppy. Thus, a Horse Puppy.

Rando 12-5-19 7mos old

I think that once he hits full maturity and gets out of the puppy stage he will be a really good dog. It’s just getting through that puppy stage that is a pain.

For Christmas we bought Chuk a Rando Pooper Scooper Set. I hope he liked it!

Rando Poop Scoop Kit

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A Wooden Surface

I don’t know what to actually call one of the gifts that Jay made me for Christmas. It’s similar to an adjustable computer tray that you see in living rooms, but yet it’s slightly different. Let me tell you why I wanted this adjustable tray.

This is what my family room looked like on December 24th:

Family Room 12-24-19

It doesn’t get any more real than this! Those weren’t gifts that I had opened. Nope. What you’re seeing there are gifts that still needed to be wrapped. Okay, divert your eyes away from the clutter and focus on the stand that is sitting next to the couch. Do you notice how it and the cushion next to it are covered in crochet paraphernalia?

Jay and I have been married for seven years and we still like each other. When I sit with him in the family room I sit right next to him on the couch. That is my spot where the pillow is sitting, thus all of my crochet stuff has been dumped on the cushion next to me.

When Chester was still around I had to keep that spot open for her because she liked to sit next to me.

chester crochet

I told Jay that I wanted something similar to a computer tray that would sit over the couch cushion, but could be adjusted up or down as needed. I wanted something that I could set my coffee on, keep my scissors handy and hold my pattern. Since I sit in the middle of the couch I don’t have the luxury of a stand. I also didn’t like how much room the stand that I had in front of the couch was taking up.

So Jay started working on it. I knew that it was being made because he needed some input on what I needed it to do and how the design would work.

Adjustable Tray

He used some scrap boards that he had on hand, so they have screw holes in them. I don’t care, though. As long as it does what I need it to, it doesn’t have to be pristine. After all, it’s going to be covered up most of the time.

When I got home from Christmas Eve mass I had a hard time guessing what one of my gifts was that had been placed by the tree.

Adjustable Tray Wrapped 12-24-19

I was very excited to get it placed in the family room.

Adjustable Tray in Place

Doesn’t that look so nice??

He made it adjustable and 3D printed the knobs for the legs.

Adjustable Tray Hardware

The legs can telescope, they can tilt at the bottom and the tray itself can be adjusted to different angles. Jay even contoured the support brackets to snuggle up a little better to the couch. I guess that if we ever buy a new couch I’ll have to take this with us to make sure it will fit.

Adjustable Tray in Profile

It looks so much nicer and I love it.

I think I’ll keep Jay around for a little while longer. 😉

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Crocheted Garments for Christmas

I believe it was a few weeks ago when I posted that I wanted to make a new top to wear to Christmas Eve mass. I found the Abundant Motifs Tunic:

Abundant Motifs Tunic Picture

I looked on Ravelry to see how many people had made it, but I only found two reviews. Both of them were unfavorable. Apparently the crocheters had difficulty when it came to the sleeves. This was only the second garment that I’d ever had to construct after crocheting, but I thought that as long as I took it slowly I would be okay.

I had to make 12 large motifs, 32 medium motifs and then you worked the wheels as you assembled the tunic. I’d discussed it with my mom (who can crochet ANYTHING), and we came up with a game plan for me to follow. I made all of the motifs first (at least, as far as I could, then I pulled enough yarn to finish them as they were being assembled).

Abundant Motifs Tunic Lg Motifs 11-28-19

Things went smoothly for the most part. I came across a few motifs that I had ‘shorted’ so I had to redo them. I also redid any motif that seemed excessively large (like the bottom right one in the photo above). The sleeves were a bit difficult when it came to the wheels that you make under the armpit. I fudged it, though, and it seemed to work.

Here is Addie modeling it for me after I finished it.

Addie Modeling Tunic 12-23-19

I think it looked better on her. It doesn’t look the same as the picture modeled above in beige because it actually called for a #3 yarn, which is thinner than the #4 worsted that I used. However, I really enjoyed wearing it.

Abundant Motifs Tunic 12-24-19

It was definitely over-sized, but that was okay. It kept me warm and I didn’t feel like I was swimming in it. I didn’t receive many comments on it, so I’m not sure if people could tell that it was homemade and didn’t want to tell me it looked bad, or if it looked so good they didn’t realize I had made it. We have an Epiphany concert on Jan 5th so I think I’m going to wear it to that, too.

The next gift I want to show is the shawl that I made for my best friend, Pauline. I saw the pattern and instantly thought of her. It’s called the Lost Skulls Shawl (free download on Ravelry) and this is why:

Pauline's Lost Skulls Shawl Detail 11-29-19

When you look at it from afar you don’t necessarily see the skulls.

Pauline's Lost Skulls Shawl 11-29-19

Of course, now that you’ve seen the skulls they will stick out at you. Oh, and again, please excuse my outfit. I had one shot to get pictures of three different garments so I jumped at the chance.

Pauline's Lost Skulls Shawl Back 11-29-19

Yes, I did weave in the ends before giving it as a gift. I wanted this shawl to be comfy and cozy. It will be a bit large on Pauline, but even if she just wears it around the house to keep the chill away it will work wonderfully. I used the Ice Yarns Pastel Cotton yarn. It is machine washable and dryable, plus it shouldn’t show the cat hair very easily.

The last garment that I want to show today is the poncho that I made for my friend, Patty.

Patty's Poncho 11-29-19

(Again, ignore my outfit)

This was made using Ice Yarns Pastel Cotton yarn. It was the only yarn that I could find in colors that really remind me of Patty. She wears a lot of pinks, corals, and pastels.

I wanted to make something that she could wear when she is on the beach looking for shells. Her and her husband tend to go to the beach during the off-season, so there’s usually a slight chill in the air. I thought this would work nicely on those days when it’s not cold enough for a jacket, but you just need a little something around your shoulders.

Patty's Poncho Back 11-29-19

Since it’s a poncho she doesn’t have to worry about the wind blowing it off of her shoulders, and if she gets too warm she can always push it up off of her arms a bit.

I used a tutorial by Christa from The Secret Yarnery.

Patty is smaller than me, so this fit her a lot nicer than you see it fitting me in these pictures. It bunches in all of the right places and really looks nice on her. She really liked it, too.

I did give my sister her cardigan.

WEC Finished No Buttons 9-18-19

She said she liked it and wore it the rest of the evening. I checked with my mom and apparently my sister continued to wear it throughout the rest of her visit. So I think that was a hit, too.

None of these garments were perfect, but they were all made with love. Hopefully the love crocheted into the garments sticks with the recipients for quite a while.

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Wooden Christmas Gifts

Every year Jay and I like to make a few gifts. This year we tried to make even more than normal. I will post about the gifts we made in a few separate blog posts so that they are easier to digest.

First up we have a coffee table that Jay’s mom wanted him to redo the top. There was some pretty heavy water damage.

Coffee Table 1

Jay had already started to clear the top of the table when he took this picture. You can see the water damage on the left side of the table. This is a chipboard table with a veneer finish. Jay decided to rout away the majority of the top and then he inlaid a piece of luan.

Coffee Table 2

I was away on my work trip when he started this project. I’m glad because I would have been fretting over the mess he was making in the basement.

Coffee Table 4

I am told that the mess in this picture was practically spotless as compared to the other messes he had made. Jay actually took the time to try to vacuum up a lot of the dust, but when you’re dealing with chipboard it just goes all over.

Coffee Table 3

I guess it was quite the process to rout out the top of this table. When it was finally finished he cut a piece of luan to size and stained it. Then he started to put poly on it. I was eyeball-deep into my own projects so I let Jay do everything on this coffee table. At one point, though, he told me that he was going to tear his hair out because the finish was splotchy and looked like crap. He’d put about a dozen layers on and couldn’t get it right. After sanding off about three layers and smoothing it out I helped him get the finish to a point where he could tolerate it. I think that it came out pretty good.

Finished Coffee Table

And there are enough layers of poly on there that it should be more difficult to mar the finish. We took this over to his mom’s on Christmas day and she loved it. Way to go, Jay!

The next gift that Jay made was one for me. I’ll show you a picture and see if you can determine its purpose.

DW Pedestal 12-26-19

He really did a beautiful job. He glued a bunch of scrap pieces together into a block and then turned it on his lathe.

DW Pedestal Top

Technically he has a metal machining lathe, but it turns wood, too.

DW Pedestal Profile

I love the finish. It really looks great in the kitchen.

Have you figured out what it’s for?

I’m sure that you could spend all day guessing and never get it right. Here, let me show you…

DW Pedestal Used

Yes, it is my Dishwasher Door Rest.

You see, I typically use my dishwasher as a giant drying rack because I hate how it washes dishes. I only run a load through it when I need to get the dishes off of the counter, but I don’t have time to spend washing them by hand. I know that I’ll end up re-washing some of them, but at least they aren’t on my counter.

Anyway, Jay was worried about ruining the hinges with the weight of the loaded bottom rack as I was washing the dishes and stacking them in there. For I don’t know how long I’ve had a can of polyurethane in the kitchen that I was using to set the door on each time. I kept asking him for something simple that I could maybe kick under the edge of the cabinet so that I no longer had to look at a can of poly on my counter.

No, I won’t be kicking this pedestal under my cabinet. Instead I will gladly display it on my counter. I LOVE this gift. It’s better than all of the jewelry I saw advertised on TV for Christmas (which was all ugly). Give me a utilitarian gift any day of the week over a piece of jewelry that will end up sitting in my jewelry box most of the time.

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