26 October 2010

Supernatural Self Control

I did it! Friday night when I signed off, when I was sure I would fritter away hours playing bejeweled, I actually popped in a Christmas movie and made something. I made this little guy:
And here he is with the new birdfeeder we just put up.

Keep in mind that he is a prototype. His mouth coals are too big, and his button coals should all be on his middle bump. But otherwise, I'm pretty happy with him. I debated about how to do his arms for quite a while. I jut don't like felting appendages, and I wanted him to have branch-like arms but figured that pipecleaners wouldn't be the right scale. So I settled for wire, and although it isn't brown, I think the silver gives a nice festive effect and may just be my future snowman arm solution.

As to the Christmas movie dilemma, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and just start watching my Christmas movies. It's not easy to fit 20 movies into a month. Last year, I was saving Year Without a Santa Claus for last and didn't even get to it. No Snow Miser. No Heat Miser. Unacceptable. So this year, I'm starting early. I don't know how I feel about my departure from tradition, but I'm trying not to think too much about it.

In other news, I stumbled upon a site with over 1500 free crochet patterns from Lion Brand yarn. I skimmed through them and found 15 new crochet projects I want to try. I think this might be my next crochet venture. As my baby bump begins to make an appearance with promises of bigger things to come, I'm starting to realize that I need a few more sweaters so I don't stretch out my entire current wardrobe. And I can wear it after my pregnancy because it's open in the front so my bump won't hugify it. Win-win. I'm a little nervous about crocheting clothing, especially in a "one size fits most" pattern. But it's basically just a rectangle, so if it doesn't work out, it can just be a baby blanket. Win-win-win. Speaking of babies, if our little turnip is cooperating, we should find out if it's a boy or a girl a week from today!!! Woohoo!!

22 October 2010

Inconsistency, excuses, and the like

Well, so much for consistency. I guess it's just not in my nature. For instance, Jason and I were talking a few weeks back about scheduling. Jason is a teaching assistant for Greek this year, which means he has to be at an 8am class every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So he's been waking up early every single morning so as to have a consistent sleep routine. This does not seem at all logical to me. If I had to wake up early three days a week, you'd better believe I would be sleeping in as late as possible on the other days to help my body catch up for the glorious morning sleep I'm missing.

Consistency, discipline, routine...just shackles for a boundless imagination, right? I know that in order to be a serious artist, I need to work on that. At the moment, I could blame it on the little avocado growing inside of me, turning my days into an endless cycle of eating, being hungry, feeling sick, and eating again, but I was no more consistent when I was not pregnant, so it seems unfair to cast the blame on my unborn child. Let's just say that unemployment has not corrected all my shortcomings as I had hoped that it would. I keep telling myself I'll get serious as soon as I start to feel better, but that is a very subjective deadline.

Last week I did have a better excuse. Jason had a week off from school, so we planned a quick trip to Jersey, just Monday to Wednesday. Now, in order for this story to have full potency, you need to understand something about me and roadtrips. I. Do. Not. Stop. The only reason I permit a pause is because the car has run out of gas. Then it's fill up, grab something quick to eat from the gas station, and--if you must--go to the bathroom, but do it quickly, and we're on our way. Normally, Jason and I do the approximately 6 hour drive from Boston to the Promised Land with one quick gas stop on the Garden State Parkway, never leave the car, eat only the snacks we've packed for the trip, and we're there. But then I got all pregnant, which means that little apple baby was pushing on my bladder, and I just could not take it. So we pulled over in Connecticut, which is about 3 hours sooner than I generally permit a stop. I ran into McDonald's, took care of business, and when I came back out...the car would not start. Would. Not. Start. So we called AAA, watched helplessly and mournfully as the Wiggler was pulled onto the bed of the tow truck, checked into a Connecticut hotel for the night and sat in said hotel room watching Sports Center, Gator Hunters, and American Chopper until 3:00 the following day, when finally, with a new fuel pump, a large sum of money evaporated, and a very frustrated Robin, we went on our way. That will teach me to stop for a bathroom break. Never. Again.

Well, being that we didn't get to Jersey until Tuesday evening, it seemed silly to just stay the night and head out the following day after all that trouble. So we said we'd leave on Thursday instead. But then along came a Nor'easter, which is just no fun to drive through, so we ended up happily stranded in Jersey until Saturday, which meant that I got more time with the fam, and Jason got another round of golf with my brother-in-law Justin. Win-win-win.

But...that also meant that I didn't blog last week. I figure it's a pretty solid excuse. Except that Friday night brings my first post of this week. But what you have to understand is that blogging for me is not just about posting. I also have a HUGE blogroll that I read, and if I get behind, it's quite overwhelming, and the blogosphere becomes a dark and dangerous place that I avoid at all costs.

Nevertheless, I have begun a few new and exciting projects, which I will now reveal for those of you who championed this very long prelude.

This lovely little work in progress is going to be a cuff. Cuffs have been pretty big in the crafting world for a while now, and I have never gotten on board. I think they're kind of silly. But I found a pattern for one on ravelry that I fell in love with--probably mostly due to the color, harvest gold, which is my current color-crush--and I decided to suspend my prejudice for a chance to have a harvest gold crocheted cuff and to learn a new crochet technique called broomstick lace (I followed the tutorials found here.), which I simply adore but makes me quite nervous, which is why I haven't finished my cuff yet. Yup, we'll say that's the reason.

Here is a yard sale find from a few weeks back. It is a copper helmet ice bucket. I saw it, and I said to Jason, "How likely is it that someday we are going to throw a medieval-themed party and need a helmet-shaped ice bucket." Jason: "Um..." Me: "Pretty likely, right? We can't not buy this!!" Jason: "Yeah, you're probably right." And it was only five dollars...a total steal for something that most people would find completely unnecessary and odd but is now on display in our apartment as a victory and a treasure. (Sidenote: I have the most wonderful and obliging husband in the world.)

Here are a few felted projects that just require a few finishing touches. The holly is going to be a hairclip, and the little ball will be an ornament once it has a hook. The star was an experiment in felting with a cookie cutter, and I'm not entirely sure yet what it will be when it's done. I felted these pieces in preparation for the seminary Christmas bazaar that I did last year. I decided that this year, I really want my inventory to be all about Christmas. So I plan on making all sorts of Christmasy things from stockings to nativities to ornaments to aprons complete with Christmas cookie recipes to Christmas accessories like holly hairclips. I even took the time to list out everything I want to make, complete with pricing plans and special deals and everything I need to buy for supplies and display. And that's as far as I've gotten for five reasons:

1) I'm going to a wedding the first Saturday in December, which is when the bazaar was last year. And if I'm not going to be there, motivation becomes more difficult. I should just prepare anyway because I don't know when the date for this year's event will be announced, and it's not like things like stockings and felted creatures go bad. But still...no deadline = no motivation. Such is my way.

2) I don't have everything I need at my fingertips. I desperately need pipe-cleaners and just haven't gotten my act together enough to get dressed and go to the store.

3) I've found that my compact little crafting arrangement in my one-bedroom apartment is just too crowded to be a happy space. And before I can get down to sewing Christmas stockings and Christmas bunting and other miscellaneous Christmas cheer, I need to clean the bedroom, which has become the shove-zone for all things left homeless in the move from two bedrooms to one. And let's face it...brainstorming about all the wonderful things I can make is WAY more fun than cleaning.

4) I really don't like felting that much. But I know that people would buy felted nativities because they're unique and adorable and a person can't have too many and this is a Christmas fair on a seminary campus and I've figured out the perfect pricing model for them if I can make them simple enough to be cost effective. Win-win-lose. Win: I sell stuff. Win: People get to buy something that's handmade and high-quality and unique and affordable that they will use for years and years to come. Lose: I have a lot of felting to do.

5) I am a staunch traditionalist. My family would tell you that this is a gross understatement. For example, one year my family had to delay Thanksgiving dinner for 2 hours because I threw a holy fit that there was no cornbread and how could it be Thanksgiving if there wasn't any cornbread and I don't care that stores aren't open let's just figure out a way to make some cornbread. (My magician of a mom somehow pulled it together, and I think I ate only cornbread that Thanksgiving dinner to complete my emphatic principled stand.) All that to say, I desperately want to get in the Christmas spirit in order to jump-start my Christmas production. In order to do so, I would love to pop in one of the 20 Christmas movies in my collection and felt up a winter storm. But I do NOT start Christmasing until the day after Thanksgiving. Ever. And it isn't even Halloween yet. So I'm having quite the ethical dilemma here.

So there you have it. Excuses, excuses. But now I'm going to quit my whining and actually get something done. Because it's about freaking time, yes? I couldn't agree more. But maybe I'll just find something for me and little avocado to eat first. And then maybe I just might turn on the tv to make sure there's nothing on. And then I will probably just finish reading Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time before hopping on facebook and bejeweling myself into a stupor. You know, self-knowledge can be kinda dangerous when not paired with supernatural self-control. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

08 October 2010


In which Robin welcomes herself back with a grand announcement...

I'm pregnant.

And the long and short of it is that that is the reason I haven't been blogging.

I quit my job back in May, and my last day was July 6th. And very shortly thereafter, I got pregnant, spent three weeks traveling up and down the eastern seaboard and the following weeks feeling very ill indeed. So here I am, in the middle of my 14th week of pregnancy and starting to feel slightly more human in the moments that Jason and I manage to keep me hydrated and fed (which--let me tell you--is a never-ending battle for a person who normally enjoys a constant state of dehydration and does not enjoy eating).

In addition to the whole building a baby thing, I have actually gotten a lot done in my absence. There's so much making and living and processing that I haven't told you about, and it started to feel overwhelming. So I put it off. And then it was really hard to re-enter the electronic universe when I had been away for so long and not only had to catch up on writing my blog but also on reading everyone else's, not to mention email and facebook and etsy trends and mod cloth new arrivals and playing family feud. *phew* Back when I worked in an office and didn't have enough to do to fill the lonely hours, I built a very complex and time-consuming electronic universe. It was my lifeline. But now that I am not confined to my office, it's a little harder to motivate myself to stay connected online, especially with such a backlog. And that--in addition to being pregnant, and maybe moreso than the excuse of feeling sick--is why I have not been blogging.

But that just about catches us up on a personal level, and I trust you will forgive me for being m.i.a. these past months. I'm officially back now. I promise.

With the exception of August and September, I actually have been pretty consistently diligent on the making front. Here is all I have done in my absence:
  • Compiled a recipe book of all my favorites
  • Finished the massive (5 ft x 5 ft) granny square blanket I started back in February
  • Finished Megan's birthday (last November) felted gnome
  • Finished Amy's birthday (last December) crochet purse
  • Made a crazy quilt pillow for my friend Thais's high school graduation present
  • Made dolls with a few ladies in my church for a charity
  • Learned a new recipe (Avacado Salad) and mastered a few that have previously given me grief (Pizza Dough and Guacamole)
  • Wrote an extensive manual for work
  • Designed a new crafting space
  • Made a tote bag/road trip kit for my neighbors who moved to Mississippi
I've decided that that is sufficient for a catch up. I'm not going to write separate posts for the above projects because that's just too overwhelming a task. But if you have any questions or want to hear more about any of them, let me know.

I also:
  • Hosted my in-laws and brother-in-law for a weekend
  • Moved into a 1-bedroom apartment
  • Saw Mary Poppins on Broadway
  • Spent a week at Delanco Camp, during which I was a teacher, craft lady, dean of women, and on the music team
  • Spent a week in South Carolina playing with my 4-year-old nephew Jesse and meeting my newborn nephew Micah
  • Took a side trip to Williamsburg with my mom on the way back up the coast
  • Spent a few random days in Jersey with my family
  • Found out I was pregnant
I spent the next two months feeling sick and overwhelmed, but now with the help of bullet points and the start of October, I am turning over a new leaf:
  • I'm very close to being finished with a crocheted blanket I started for my dad's birthday (back in April). I finished all the squares last week, and now I just need to hook them together.
  • Last Friday, Jason and I played at another Kalos Coffeehouse. This time, we got to be in the front scheduled half of the night instead of the open mic section, which was a nice little love-pat for my ego and also a lot of fun. We played Run That Darkness Down, Orion, and Ebony. Jason played piano on the last two, and I LOVED what he was able to put together. We also figured out that in order to have fun practicing music together, I need to eliminate the phrase "can you do something that sounds kinda like [insert ambiguous semi-musical nonsense]." All in all, despite the fact that our actual performance was a little shaky, I think that it was a great success, if only because we actually enjoyed playing music together during practice, which just might be a first.
  • Last night, I did some drawing/coloring to help reconnect with my imaginative self. I drew a morning glory, a little sailboat on the ocean, a scene with assorted fairy tale abodes, and a ballerina playing a 3-stringed mandolin. While I was drawing, I listened to a Seabear album, which was totally relaxing and good for my soul.
  • I finally joined Ravelry, which is a huge network of knitters and crocheters. And I found some lovely and exciting free patterns that I really want to make along with some good crochet book suggestions and overall inspiration to start spreading my hooks beyond the realm of the beloved granny square.
  • In 4 weeks, I get my first ultrasound, which--if little lemon is cooperating--should reveal the gender of my baby, at which point, I will begin a flurry of baby-themed-making that is gender appropriate and the results of which I have absolutely no room for in our new apartment.
So there you have it. Robin is back.
[hooray! confetti! streamers! hallelujah chorus! cake for everyone!]