31 March 2011

Day Four: Where are they now?

I have always done things for others. Back in middle school and high school, I used to go to church. A lot. Or as my dad said "every time the doors were open." Why? Because we had a great youth group and I had friends there. Every March and summer, we'd go somewhere and do some kind of mission work. Some trips, it was scraping paint off a house, others it was standing on a roof of a rickety trailer and scrubbing the mildew and muck off. Also in high school, I was apart of Key Club, where we'd help out with Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross with blood drives at school. Then, I graduated, and my friends and I went separate ways. I didn't volunteer anymore. I kind of felt empty. I enjoy helping others out that need it. But, my shyness (or now known as "social anxiety") has kept me away from joining new places, because meeting new people scares the crap out of me. 

A few years later (2006 to be precise) I rediscovered crochet. Then, I discovered my grandmother's charity she was crocheting for, Knits for Kids. It seemed easy. Cranking out double crocheted sweaters? Yeah, I can do that. To this day, I have made one whole sweater. It was a horrible sweater, too. I feel terrible for the kid who has to wear it. So, I tried my hand at something else. Preemie hats! I was successful! I've make quite a few of them, but my problem is, I don't know where to donate them to. Hmm. So, then I decided I'd make hats for Chemo patients. Got a few done, and then I realized, again, I don't know where to donate them to. So, a few days ago, while I was drooling over the vendor list for Stitches South, I noticed there was a booth called Halos for Hope. Being confused about this yarn company's name, I clicked on it. It's not a yarn company, it's a non-profit organization that people donate hats for chemo patients to! I won't lie. I became very giddy. I can't wait to meet these people in a few weeks and get all the information about them and start donating all my hats I've made! And then I can make more!

So, to answer today's question, I don't know where my donated items have gone. All I do hope is that they've helped someone smile in some way.

30 March 2011

Day Three: Tidy mind, tidy stitches.

Me, tidy? Well, yes. I actually am. Before my family dies from laughing, let me explain. I am organized. I know EXACTLY where everything is. For instance, I know my scissors are on the desk, piled underneath my stack of paperwork, which is underneath Brian's stack of crap, right in front of my note pad pile. My problem, which makes everything messy is I have too much stuff. I discovered that when I moved to Kentucky. Which is why when we move again, half of it's not coming with me.

Now, back to the yarn section of this post. My yarn is all together, neat, in one pile. Er, one box, I should say.

What hideous carpet.
That is a 35 gallon Rubbermaid tote full of yarn. The box on the right, is being donated to my LYS for their yarn bombing cause. The box on the left is my new scrap box. I have a glass container back at my parent's house that they're normally stored in, but I left that there. Now, within that tote, I have it organized by color. No lie. It's pretty to open! :D Though, I'll have to add that picture another day, because my camera died taking that picture, and I can't find my charger. ANYWHO, I have one small package of yarn underneath the desk, because it won't fit in the tote yet. My hooks are in a small pouch in my nightstand drawer, my notions are in a Brie cheese container, and my books and magazines have their rightful place on a bookshelf. I'd like to say my stuff is organized. And everything is listed in it's proper place on Ravelry.

29 March 2011

Day Two: Skill + 1UP

So, today, I'm supposed to post about new skillz I've learned over the past year. Have I learned anything new? I think I have. Looking back in March of 2010, I was doing basic things. Scarves, hats and blankets. Easy stitches, nothing complicated. Baby steps. Since then, I've completed three shawls, and my first sweater, in the form of a bolero.

Basically, this:

to this:

I think I've improved a lot. Also, my tastes have changed a bit. Now that I know I can do "fancy," I no longer want to do "boring and easy."

28 March 2011

Day One: A Tale of Two Yarns

Or, aka:

I've decided that I'll participate! Who doesn't like expressing their opinions about yarn?

Let me tell you my love story about Squoosh. I was in a swap in 2009 and my partner's requested color was pink. I didn't have an LYS at the time, and so I looked on Etsy trying to find the perfect thing. I actually bought two pink yarns that day. One to make something out of and one to give. I purchased the Squoosh in lace, and the other in fingering. They both arrived, and me, not knowing the proper difference between weights yet, looked at the Squoosh in fingering that it arrived in, and decided that I didn't have time to crochet anything with it, so I put it in my stash and went out and bought some material and put the other yarn in the box to give to my partner. I finish my box, and go about my business, completely forgetting about the Squoosh. A month later, Erica, the owner of Squoosh emails me and says she very mistakenly sent me the wrong weight of yarn. She apologized profusely, and offered another skein of yarn at no charge for me. Free yarn? Hell yeah! She mailed me the yarn of my choice, this one:

I was pleased. Interestingly enough, I didn't use that first pink one, until November 2010, and I didn't use the blue one until the beginning of this month, where I created the Heron Shawl. This yarn, I cannot express my love for this yarn. If I had nothing but a stash of Squoosh, I think my life would be complete. Here's to you, Erica, and your brilliant Squoosh yarn.

Now a yarn I'm not fond of? Hmm. I'm going to go with Noro Kureyon. Ever since I joined Ravelry, I have seen this beautiful, gradient color yarn. I drooled over projects, I coveted that yarn. And when I found my first LYS, I promptly bought me a skein and cackled with glee. I had that yarn that I've drooled over for months. It was MINE. And it was perfect for a hat my brother had asked for Christmas. BEHOLD.

The perfect manly colored Noro yarn. I was so giddy when I wound it up. And then I started.It was a little rough, but I thought that helped with the "manlyness" of the hat. Then, it took me all of five minutes to realize that, oh crap, my hands were breaking out! Little blotchy patches were appearing, and I freaked out. I didn't realize it was the yarn. I tried again the next day, happened again. The third time, I realized it was the yarn. I was devastated. I later learned that it had mohair in it, which is a goat product, to which I'm allergic to. I was crushed. My beautiful yarn, I could not use! And I am still sad. I love looking at finished projects from Noro. They blend beautifully, and I sigh, knowing I can never make anything, nor wear anything from Noro. So, I'll just have to admire them from afar. A few months later, I realized Cashmere was a goat product, too. And then a year later, I discovered I was allergic to alpaca. What a life. D:

26 March 2011

Ba dum dedum.

For a month or two, I have been in search for a non-flowery-heart-dove-frilly doused cross stitch wedding sampler. I couldn't find one. I googled every possible thing I could think of. Nothing. Then it hit me. Etsy! Duh. I don't even remember what I searched, but I found it. The most perfect wedding cross stitch piece ever. And it could be customized.
Witness my first experience with French knots.

Perfect! Well, I cut off the part that says our name and our wedding date, because I'm trying to retain SOME privacy on the internet. You know. Slightly anonymous. But, this was really easy. Beginner level. It took me about five hours to complete. We actually did come with eyeballs and a mouth, but I wasn't paying attention, and I was happily stitching along before I knew what happened. So, uh, we'll be blind and mute for a while.
Now, you may be asking, where did I find such a fabulous wedding portrait that captured us (and colors) so perfectly? Why, WeeLittleStitches of course! Jacqueline was so nice and awesome, that I feel she (and her husband, Christopher) definitely deserve some recognition. Now, if you don't know anything about cross stitching, or you just don't have any time, due to other things, they'll happily stitch it for you! If you don't want anything to do with weddings, don't worry. They have things to satisfy your geeky needs. From family portraits, Super Troopers, Ferris Bueller, all four Green Lanterns, the Justice League, and of course, the entire cast of Firefly, it's all there. 

And after posting this, I just realized, I forgot to put the piece I had in my hair! And I just framed it. SILLY ME. 

22 March 2011

Take Five.

I'm visiting my parents this week here in beautiful Georgia, and also I'm here to do the dreaded P word...pack. I seriously hate packing. I've only moved once in my life, and I vowed never to do it again. Whoops. Broke that vow, when I made more vows to my Army man. So, with a impending move on the way, I've got nothing better to do, while he's out in the field, but to come back to Georgia and start packing our stuff here.  Ugh.

 To better prepare myself, I woke up this morning and made muffins.  Those are cinnamon muffins. And yes, that is a coffee mug full of milk. I'm caffeine intolerant, so I can't enjoy coffee, cokes, or things of the like. So, I'm enjoying sitting on my parents screended in porch, studying a little for an upcoming quiz, watching the dog chase the wasps. Mmm. Mornings.

So now, I'm taking a break from packing, by stalling and updating my blog. Because, really. Who wants to get back to this?

90% of those are empty.

17 March 2011

Erin Go Blogh.

I should just add on to my previous blog post, but I'm being lazy. I finished two projects today. BEHOLD.
The crocheted version of the Ribbed Lace Bolero:


It was really easy, and turned out cute!

(Uh, blogger isn't letting me format this the way I want.) I used 1.3 skiens of Bijou Spun, which is an interesting yarn. It was really dry when I was crocheting with it, but as soon as I washed it, it softened up a whole lot!

Next, I just did these today. I was tired of my hands being cold when I do my schoolwork, so I decided to fix it. And voila! I have some handwarmers. I used some leftover Coldharbour Mill that Kate sent me. It's wonderfully squishy!

 They do the job, so far!

So far, this whole stash busting, WIP finishing thing is going well for me. :D

Feelin' lucky, punk?

Well, it's the day where everyone wears green, to refrain from being pinched. I reminded Brian this morning to wear green, and he just laughed and kissed me bye. Well, it was 4am, and I wasn't completely coherent to remember that ACUs are green. Anywho, I present to you a St. Patrick's Day craft!

SHAMROCKS. That's right. That is a picture of 44 shamrocks that I personally crocheted for the teachers where my mother works. Yes, I'm crazy. No, I have nothing better to do. I had lots of green left over from my dinosaur hat, and I stumbled across the super cute shamrock pattern from Girl On the Rocks. It's free, and adjustable for any weight yarn. Though, I'd give it an advanced beginner to an intermediate rating. I made a bunch of these a couple of years ago, so I figured I'd give it a go, again. I blame it on having nothing better to do. I almost feel that I should have crocheted the teachers a mini beer mug to go along with it, too.

Speaking of luck, I got super lucky in a contest a week or two ago! Subversive Cross Stitch was holding a contest on her Facebook page for the release of a new book, Let's Panic About Babies! All I had to do was mention my favorite patterns, and I'd get in the drawing. Sure enough, the next day, it was announced that I WON. I was so thrilled and elated! Just a couple of days ago, I got the book in the mail, and I laughed until I cried. It's truely a funny book, and I later figured out that they had a blog with even more funnies on there. This is the first time I've won something in forever!

So, for your St. Patrick's Day, I wish you lots of luck in that you don't get arrested for being drunk in public tonight.


11 March 2011

I made a pretty.

My once abandoned shawl, that I originally started in January, I ripped completely out a week ago, and four days ago, I started and finished it.

Ta-dah! There it is, in all it's glory. It's the Heron Shawl, which was super simple, once you figured out what you were doing. I used my beloved Squoosh Fiberarts yarn, Sublime: Fingering, in Lagoon. It was an apology yarn, sent from the Squoosh dyer herself, when she realized she sent me the wrong yarn and I didn't even realize it. So, I saved it for something special. Mmm. Worth it.

For those of you who've made the Heron Shawl, you may see something wrong with the edging there. Oh yes, I ran out of yarn, so I had to improvise. I only made it to three out of six rows of edging, but I am so happy with how it turned out, I'm almost glad I ran out of yarn. This shawl is delicious in everyway imaginable. Soft to the touch, doesn't make you look like a grandmother, and makes my blue eyes bluer. ;)

10 March 2011

I heart blueberries.

I am going to attempt one of those pretty photo guided recipe things. My only problem is, my photos aren't that pretty.

TODAY. We are making Deliciousness. Actually, I have no idea what it's called, but that's what I'm going to call it.

To make this, you need a few simple things:

 8oz of your favorite Brie cheese


 Your favorite fruit filling (could be preserves if you'd like)

Your favorite crescent rolls or puff pastry

You need to preheat your oven to 350°F. Being that I don't have all my fancy cookware with me, I lined a cookie sheet with tinfoil to bake it on. You can use whatever you want. Cause, I'm nice like that. 

After that, place your dough on your cookie sheet, and lay it out. If you're using crescent rolls, be sure to pinch all the "dotted lines" together; it helps in later steps. Then, cut your Brie wheel in half, and place one half on the dough. Now, here's my favorite part, take your fruit and spread it all over that cheese wheel. I use enough to cover it entirely, and then quite a bit more. Yours should look something like this:

When you've completed that step, place the other half of the cheese wheel on top, to make a delicious Brie and fruit sammich.

Then, wrap the dough all around the cheese sammich. I'm not a perfectionist, but a "Goodenuffist", so I just kinda fold mine all around. Now, if you're a perfectionist, I'm sure yours will be prettier than mine. But, as my grandmother taught me, "it's not how it looks, it's how it tastes" which is one of my personal mottos.

Totally not pretty.
Now that it's all wrapped and ready to go, remember to remove the knife off your tray, and stick that sucker into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes and wait impatiently.

15 more minutes?! NOOOOOO.
When checking to see if it's done, the dough should be a nice crispy looking color.

See? No knife.

You may need to let this cool for a minute, but otherwise go ahead and cut you a slice and enjoy.

om nom nom nom

08 March 2011

Green Green Green

As I promised, everything this month has to do with green. Though, interestingly enough, it's all slowly going to blue. BUT, so far, this is what I've created

First one, was the Crocus Bud Shawl, that I originally had planned to give Emily on our Disney Cruise back in Jaunary, but we all know, that the best laid plans will go awry.

My next green item came from knowing what it's like to be jealous when one sibling got something and you didn't. So I created the Dinosaur hat for Samantha's son, Jack, who is so adorably cute. 

I made Jack this hat, based off a random hat pattern on Ravelry, and I created my own triangles and sewed them on there. Why does Jack get a big brother hat? Because, his mother, is creating him a sister. So, of course, baby things are fun to make, so Ava gets a hat, too.

A giraffe hat, of course! I got the pattern from JT Creations. It was super easy, and turned out cute. I added the bow, so people would know that Ava is a girl giraffe, not a boy giraffe. The pictures are taken by Samantha, because her photography skillz are so much better than mine. She's also a fellow crafty-person and Army wife.

Next, we have the rare species that is the crocheted four leaf clover.
I made a bunch of these for Mom one year, and I owe her a few more, so I'm going to attempt to make as many as I can before my hands fall off. These are simple to make and only need maybe a yard or two of yarn.

LASTLY is a stash busting effort. I've had some skeins of Berroco Love It in my stash since 2006, and it's been begging to be a blanket ever since. Well, now, I finally got off my ass and put the effort into it. And sadly, I have run out of yarn and Love It is...*sniff*...discontinued. I'm begging around Ravelry to see if anyone will sell any of theirs to me. If you have any of these colors, or know where I can get some, let me know, and I'll gladly pay you for them. Unfinished Blanket is Sad.

And that's all the green I have for now. Hopefully, I'll produce some more before March is over!

03 March 2011

I forgot to mention...

So get off your keesters and CRAFT CRAFT CRAFT. My theme is the color green for the month. Everything I crochet will be green or have the color green on it. Hopefully, I'll have a bunch of green things to post! Stash busting GO GO GO.

Along with that, I finally got my package from my friend Kate! We were convinced the postal workers were eating my chocolates. In this sinful package were FOUR Bounty Bars. Bounty Bars, for those of you who have never had them, are similar to the State's Almond Joys and Mounds bars. EXCEPT the Bounty Bars are milk chocolate with coconut. Delicioso. I'm hording these in a secret place. Lucky for me, Brian doesn't like coconut.
She also sent me a box of Cadbury Animals. The description says "Animal shaped biscuits half covered with Cadbury milk chocolate." Um, hell yes! It's like eating a box of cookies dipped in Cadbury Chocolate. I'm going to have to portion these out.

And lastly, but most certainly not least: Yarn!

Ooooh yeah. It's a little less than a full skein of Coldharbour Mill Organically Farmed Merino Wool. It is a delicious pea green, and I feel it's destined to become mitts of some sort.

02 March 2011

Hydration is key.

January 1st. I was all pumped up. Excited even to start P90X. I was going to get back into shape! I wasn't going to wheeze when I ran up a flight of stairs! I WAS GOING TO TOUCH MY TOES. ... er, let's have some back story.

As a kid, thanks to the Presidential Challenge, or whatever it was in the early 90's, we had PE everyday in school. It varied from line dancing, gymnastics, dodgeball, baseball, running laps, pull ups, climbing poles, badminton, the shuttle run, etc, etc. I remember running laps at least once a week. So, I was a pretty healthy kid, who just wanted her Fruity Pebbles on Saturday mornings. Of course, at home, Mom would always tell my brother and I to "Go outside and play." So, my brother and I were not fat asses. Actually, we were quite stick like. In middle school, PE was the first half of the year, and the last half of the year, was a sport. I played tennis. I wasn't fantastic at it, but I could hold my own. Then, high school attacked. My freshman year, I did PE the first half of the year, and then played volleyball the other half. I was actually good at volleyball. I just didn't care enough to excel.  And that was it. Unless you count the few exercises that we did before marching band practice. My one PE class in college was bowling. So, nonetheless, my last "good" physical activity was in 9th grade...eleven years ago. I've gained 30lbs since then. While some of it was well needed, I'm scared it'll keep coming.


So, I started P90X January 1st. I kept on it for a month, and then I went on a cruise, where I worked out a couple of times. Then I got sick on the boat, and wasn't able to do anything for a week. Tried it again, a couple of days later, and got back into it. Middle of February? Yeah, I gave up. I like P90X, don't get me wrong, but after no physical activity for eleven years, working out an hour a day was kinda rough. Yeah, yeah, no pain no gain. So, I sat on my butt for the rest of February, except for last last weekend, when my husband dragged me to the gym, and I whined the whole time, because he was making me do push ups. Well, I decided to try again yesterday.  And I did! I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred about a year ago and decided to start it again. It's only a 25 minute or so work out, but it gives me what I need, and keeps my ADD in check. While I don't condone the whole "DON'T TAKE A BREAK" thing, I'll try it and let you know. So far, my arms and one thigh hurts.

Here's hoping that I can keep this 30 Day Shred up. I'd like to stop wheezing when I walk up a flight of stairs.

01 March 2011

Amber's Adventures in Frying

For this first time, last night, I fried. By myself. Unsupervised. "Wait, what?! How is this your first time frying? Aren't you from The South?" You may be asking. Growing up, my mom, grandma or aunt would do the frying. I'd stand on my little stool, peering over their shoulders, watching the grease sizzle, and then stealing the offerings, before one of them could pop my hand away. As I grew older, my parents learned that frying was terrible for you, so our frying was reduced to only when my aunt would visit. Then, we'd get fried okra.

So, brought on by nostalgia and the meat being on sale, I attempted frying cubed steak for the first time. Suggestion: Go ahead and open all your windows and turn on the fan. Smoke will fill a tiny apartment in minutes flat. Oh yes. I was thoroughly frying away when my eyes started water and I turned around and realized that it was awfully smokey. My husband, very graciously, stopped studying and packing to help open windows. The smoke was gone within minutes, thankfully. Overall, I'd like to say, it was successful. And behold, there it is to the right. Yeah, it looks like burnt tater tots, but it was delicious. You can see the half where the oil was fresh, and then the other half, when I realized that changing the oil WAS necessary. Whoops. Anywho, this meat is man approved, and so I'm proud to add it to my "Make This Again" book. Along with the meat, I had mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini. It was also my first time working with zucchini last night, also. I thought they turned out well. My husband said it kinda tasted like pickles, but I hate pickles. And I enjoyed it. So, whatever. But, I feel it was a success.

om nom nom nom