Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm Going to Bootcamp!

Yes, you read that right. I'm heading off to bootcamp in October--belly dance bootcamp that is. I've been muddling this over for a few weeks now, and it happens that the workshop falls the same weekend as homecoming at my daughter's school. You moms can probably relate that we always seem to sacrifice for our kids, and all too often they don't appreciate our efforts. This just causes us to feel sad and let down. Well, I'm avoiding that altogether in this instance by devoting the entire weekend to me for a change. I've dreamed of being a belly dancer for years. Daughter and I have been to a few lessons the past couple of months, and that's been great fun. It's also shown me that dancing is not easy! My mind knows what my body should be doing, but getting the body to cooperate is another thing entirely. I've talked to Jeannie about some private lessons, and maybe that combined with an intensive weekend of training will get me more comfortable with my body and the moves involved in dancing. I'm hopeful!

The three of us and daughter's boyfriend went to a great dance exhibition at the local library tonight. The fantastic dancers from Alchemy performed. They were so good. You can tell by watching them that they truly enjoy what they're doing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Joy of Finishing

I'm going to start out this morning's post by asking you to stop by and visit Steph. She posted on Ravelry that she'd just finished her first lace project. In fact, she's so excited about this that she's hosting a little prize drawing. Isn't that sweet? Go take a look while I finish drinking my coffee. I promise to be here when you get back, and I'll even put on a fresh pot of coffee to share with you.

Steph says on Ravelry that she's rather new to knitting and crochet, so that surely plays at least a part in her excitement. Don't we all get excited about completing a project, especially if that project held some sort of challenge for us? Even a simple dishrag excites me some days!

Last night, I completed a crochet shopping bag. It's a very simple mesh bag and worked up quickly. When I make this again, I'll increase the length of the bag. It's nice as is, but I think it would be more functional if it were longer. I'll have to find the link to the pattern and share that with you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Doing It On the Cheap

I picked up a few crafty goodies yesterday and was able to save money on just about everything thanks to the Sunday sale paper coupons. My first stop was Jo-Ann where I found a nice little case for my crochet hooks. It's smaller than I had in mind, but it will do just fine for now. I also found safety eyes for stuffed animals. My friend Jeannie mentioned that Jo-Ann had them, and since I'm becoming addicted to amigurumi, these were a must.

A couple of weeks ago when we visited The Courtyard yarn shop in Hilton Head, one of the owners showed me an ad for a new book called Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet. I've been on the look out for the book locally and finally found it at Michaels. Thank goodness for the 40% off coupon, because I got this book for less than Amazon's price, and I didn't have to wait for shipping. The projects are so cute! I can't decide which one to make first.

Here are some photos of my new loot:

Another of my favorite passtimes is playing video games on my Nintendo DS. I got my first DS (a pink one which was given to daughter) and 3 games through a swap on Ravelry a few months ago. Most recently, I've swapped yarn for the game Zelda and the Phantom Hourglass and the guidebook (cheat book) for the game. I'm currently invovlved in another swap for the game Animal Crossing which I believe is a Sims type game. Both of these games are ones I wanted but hadn't purchased yet. The sell for around $25-$30 each, so swapping yarn that had been in the stash for a while and paying to ship that to my swap partners was well worth it to me.

Daughter and I are still working on her bathroom renovation. I got side tracked by other things and also had to wait for husband to take down the door and trim the bottom of it before I could paint it. I finished painting the trim work yesterday, so now all we have to do is get the towel bars hung up and hang a new cabinet. Daughter has decided that she doesn't want to put the door back up, so we're thinking of making a curtain to cover the door. Before you go thinking she's going to have no privacy, let me tell you that her bathroom is accessible only through her bedroom. If her bedroom door is closed, she's got all the privacy in the world. Daughter's bathroom is about the size of a large walk-in closet, so taking the door off will give her more space in there or at least the illusion of more space. We were not successful in finding fabric at Jo-Ann yesterday, so maybe Wal Mart will have something she likes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stopping In for a Moment

Daughter had her wisdom teeth removed yesterday morning. She's doing surprisingly well, but I guess when one is doped up on pain pills, things go OK. I've been sticking to the every 4 hours pain med dosing because it's easier to keep pain at bay than to get rid of it once it really sets in. She's been able to eat soft things like jello, pudding, ice cream and soup without chunks, and I'm really working to get her to drink water. Daughter doesn't hydrate well enough in the best of times, and this is particularly concerning to me while she's recovering.

I've not been able to focus on anything too detailed so far as knitting or crocheting, so I've been working on small things. Today I finished a set of 4 crocheted coasters in dish cloth cotton, and I'm working on an amirigumi bee for daughter. The mascot of the art college she dreams of attending is the bee, so I thought this would be a cute little item for her. I bought the pattern from Mygurumi and highly recommend this seller. She's located in Germany. Her pattern is very well written. The seller e-mailed it to me and it was in my mail first thing this morning. We've exchanged a couple of e-mails, and she's so nice and willing to answer any questions about her patterns. All of her patterns are cute, and I'm tempted to buy the hermit crab and turtle patterns as well. Then there's the bunny, and the fairy doll, and the pigeon. I want them all! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Artist and Her Work

Thank you all so much for the very positive comments about daughter's art work. We are so proud of her. It really does make us feel good to hear others, many of whom are complete strangers, say good things about her work. While I've not had time to photograph works in progress or newly acquired thrift store yarn, I do have some photos to share from daughter's art show.

Here she is with Elmo. This piece was really popular at the show and it is a treasure to us. I'm going to see about having it framed, probably in a simple black frame.

This photo shows daughter with the poster she made in Graphic Design. The assignment was simply to make a "wanted" poster. Daughter's says "I stole your number. Now answer your phone." She explained that the first sentence was written out like a phone number while the second sentence was in the format of an e-mail address. Clever. I like how she used the smilie faces for the letter "o." Daughter is known for her smiling face, so that really suited her well.

Finally, here she is outside her beloved "O. House" where she lived for the past week. Daughter really enjoyed the dorm life experience. She's such a social person. Her roommate was a really sweet girl, and the two seemed to get along very well. I hope she's as fortunate when she goes off to college for real!

Daughter is already talking about next year and a return to the summer sessions. She would also like to participate in the Rising Star program which is a 5-6 week session for rising high school seniors. The kids live on campus and attend two classes during the time. They earn college credit for the classes. I guess I'd better start saving my money now!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home Again

We got back from HHI this afternoon. I'm exhuasted and glad to be home even though we were not gone that long. Riding in the car makes me tired!

The art show last night was great. It was nice to see the work all the kids had done and to meet some of daughter's new friends. Of course, it was also great to see daughter work on display. Her drawing professor told her he'd gotten a lot of good feedback on her Elmo drawing.

I will try to post more pictures later in the week--too tired for that now. Daughter is having all 4 wisdom teeth out on Monday, so send some good thoughts her way. Depending on how she does, I may be off line for a couple of days looking after her.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beach Blogging

Greetings from Hilton Head Island.

We enjoyed some thrift store shopping today. You never know what you might find! At our first stop, I found a huge bag full of wool yarn imported from Sweden. It felt like wool and was in some great colors--gold, burgandy, green. The price was $10, quite the bargain. The yarn was from a rug kit, and I think the pattern was still there. I gave dibs on it to a lady from TN who was going to use it for weaving. I also found a nice but small padded blocking board marked at $5. It was too small for any of the projects I make, so again, sold to the lady from TN! It made me happy to see these things find loving fiber homes without it costing me anything. My score from this thrift store was Louisa Harding's Swallotails pattern book. Retail on it is around $18, and I only paid 50 cents.

At our next stop, I found two complete skeins of Cotton Fleece (one hot pink and one bright orange) for $1 each and some blue Bernat cotton for 50 cents for two skeins. I'll probably use it for knitted or crocheted shopping bags. Husband bought a bag of 10 skeins of dark beige mohair (not fuzzy) yarn for $5. I also picked up two knitting patterns (priced at 2 for 25 cents). One is a Penny Straker sweater pattern called Child's Nashawena #C886 and the other is a Cabin Fever women's tank top pattern Lace Checks #253. Not a bad haul!

We made a visit to The Courtyard and saw some great summer yarns there. I was so tempted, but given my current state of unemployment, I resisted and just walked away with the latest copy of Crochet Today and a new crochet hook. Yes, I'm proud of me and also glad that we're not going to be on this island tomorrow in case my resistance starts to crumble!

Daughter's art show is this evening, and I'm excited about that and about seeing her.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

All Done

I finished the beaded necklace last night. It's far from perfect, but I still think it's pretty. I'm wearing it tomorrow night to daughter's art show with black pants and a red blouse.

It has been so long since I've beaded anything--at least three years, probably. I need to buy some clasps or get some wire to make my own. The link that I posted yesterday has tutorials for making your own wire clasps.

There's not much else interesting to post today. I managed my 30 minutes on the elliptical again today even though I didn't really want to. I feel that I owe it to myself to do this and there's no excuse anymore of not having time because of work!

Daughter phoned last night to say she's still having an excellent time and does not want to come home! She's in her element (art school) so why does that surprise me at all?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tickle Me Elmo and Then Just "Bead" It

Warning. This post is picture heavy! I'm trying to make up for the severe lack of pictures in the last several posts.

Technology is a fabulous thing, particularly cell phones, text and picture messaging. On Monday I got a rather mysterious picture message on my phone, supposedly from daughter. Here's what she sent me:

Yep. That's Elmo, but not of the "tickle me" variety. Further texting indicated that daughter had been instructed to hang Elmo upside down and then draw him.

Yesterday, the following picture message came my way, and it brought tears to my eyes:

Isn't he great?? I think she did well with capturing the light and shadowing. If you look back at the original photo, you'll see how the light is aimed towards Elmo.

Daughter really summed it up yesterday when she sent me the message "I'm learning stuff, but in a fun way." I'm glad she's having this opportunity. She almost backed out of applying for the summer program, but someone (mom!) insisted she at least send in the application and then take it from there.

The artist and her boyfriend....that lip ring is a fake intended to freak his parents out.

Yesterday was a much better day for me than Monday. I got up with a purpose in mind--the purpose was merely not to eat everything in sight and not to sit around like a slug! I achieved that. Today is working out pretty well so far, too. Both yesterday and today I've gotten in 30 minute workouts on the elliptical. The first 15 minutes are not easy, but I keep pushing myself. It's worth it. I want to drop a few more pounds before September. My belly dance class is performing at a local festival, and I'd like to look good in my choli!

Speaking of belly dancers, here's a photo from Riverfest of my favorite belly dancer.

You probably noticed the lack of knitting in this knitting blog. I'm still plodding along on my eyelet cardi, and it is a plod now--plain old stockinette for miles and miles. UGH! It's going to be gorgeous, but I think I'm going to save it for car knitting even though it is very large at this point.

Instead of knitting, I've been netting--bead netting. I'm working on a very simple choker style necklace. Here's my beading setup:

This is just a simple magnetic dry erase board (the same one I use for knitting charts) on which I've attached the pattern. The little tray is from the art department at Michael's and is intended to hold paints. I'm using a beading needle with a gigantic eye running down the center of it. This is very easy for my tired old eyes to thread! Here's a close up of the necklace:

I worked 11 inches on this in just a few hours yesterday. I'm probably aiming for a 15-16 inch necklace, so this should be finished today. The pattern came from this website. I saved a copy many years ago, but it's still there on page 18! Take some time and look through the 35 pages of free beading patterns!!

My next beading project will be an African netted necklace.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

One Step Further

This is a big week for daughter. She's spending the week at art college (yep, genuine college) studying still life drawing and graphic design, and taking one step further out of the "family nest" and into her own adulthood. She's living in the dorms, has to get up on time to get ready, have breakfast in the cafeteria, and make it to the bus stop to catch the two buses that will eventually land her in her first class. The kids attending are all high schoolers (rising Sophomores and up) with more supervision than a regular college student would have, but they are still very much on their own. It's a good experience, I think, for them and for us parents at home.

Daughter is so excited about being away from home at COLLEGE and about the classes she's taking. She texted me this morning that she's learning a lot but having so much fun at the same time. Shouldn't learning be fun? I think so. I'm very hopeful that this experience will play a part in helping her decide whether she wants to attend a strictly art college or if she wants to go the liberal arts route with a major in the artistic field of her choice. She's made several changes over the past 3 years about what artistic field she wants to study--first fashion design, then interior design, and now graphic design. I imagine there will be more changes to come over the next three years before she actually steps foot into her first true college class. At least she's moving towards majors that will not only allow her to have a good time with her work but that will also help pay the bills!

This morning, I took one step further away from my fat behind, I hope. I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical with a goal of doing at least 15-30 minutes a day going forward. I'd done so well with Weight Watchers but had gotten slack in May and June due to insanely busy schedules in our family. It's time to get back on the wagon, and the wakeup call for me was my day-long boredom grazing yesterday. It was so quiet and lonely in the house without daughter around, and I could not focus on any one task (except for the hour I spent playing Rock Band on Wii). Instead, I ate, and ate, and ate. If it wasn't nailed down or healthy, I ate it. UGH! Wish me luck. This morning I've been better behaved, having a bowl of whole grain cereal and coffee for breakfast. There are boneless, skinless chicken breasts thawing for dinner, and lunch will most likely be a turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat with a cup of yogurt on the side and some fresh fruit.

Daughter's boyfriend spent the evening here last night. Poor kid. I don't know what he's going to do in August when he goes off to college and daughter is here. At least he'll be only a couple of hours away and can come home to visit regularly. Having found my true love at 18 years of age, I will not discount the depth of feeling between daughter and her boyfriend. Since my crystal ball has been in the shop recently, I can't predict what their future holds. All I know is that right now they love each other very much. If they've been fortunate enough to have found their one true love so early in life, they have my blessing.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Peek A Boo

The property our house sits on is gradually sloping from the back yard to the front. I suspect that they graded the lot a bit when the house was built many years ago, because there is a retaining wall made of landscape blocks edging the back yard along the parking area. Look who we found in a crack in the blocks yesterday.

We've not seen much more of this little guy than his (her?) head, but we suspect he (she?) is an Eastern King Snake, a non-venomous snake native to our area. From what we've seen so far, this particular snake is small and probably young. I don't mind having him around, because king snakes eat venomous snakes such as copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. I will, however, either avoid walking up and down the steps that are part of the retaining wall or else use extreme caution when doing so! As long as Snakey doesn't surprise me (aka scare the hell out of me!) all is good here.

Daughter had mentioned a few weeks back that she saw a snake head poking out of the retaining wall, but we thought perhaps she'd seen one of our other little guests instead. I'd never seen an Eastern Fence Lizard until we moved into this house. They are all over the place here!

I'm still working along on my Eyelet Cardi and am almost in the home stretch! It is a rather boring blob of off white at the moment, so I won't bore you with a photo.

The Boob Holder in sari silk has gone bye bye. The yarn was just not working for this pattern although the colors were gorgeous. I have instead decided that this yarn may just work for a purse.

Inspired by my new friend Jeannie, I'm going to give crochet a shot once again! I picked up a couple of hooks and some thread at Wal Mart, and I am planning to work on some jewelry of some sort or other. The pattern on this page is the one I'm going to try. There are also a few other interesting projects on the page.

We're planning a big July 4th! Daughter is belly dancing with our beginner class on Friday night. This is her first public appearance, and I think she's the youngest dancer in the group. I'm really proud of her--she picked up the choreography so easily and is doing quite well. She also looks cute in her dancing outfit!! With luck and determination, maybe I will be ready to dance this fall. That gives me time to put together my own outfit most of which I plan to sew myself.