Happy Hooking

~ a blog about crocheting and so on.

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I haven't been very diligent at updating much of anything lately. But hey, it's a new year so a good reason to have something to say. I haven't been crocheting as much as I usually do this time of the year, not really in a slump or anything just haven't done it. I did make a couple baby blankets before the holiday though. One for a boy (Emily's baby, Scot) and one for a girl (Mingqi's baby, Annie).

The following pictures are really inspiring to me. Curently I feel like my house is cluttered and full of a lot of useless items that no one would probably miss it they were gone, which is pretty sad....but at least I know it, lol. So this year (not gonna bother calling it a resolution), I am going to go through it for real this time. My house is very lived in with 3 cats, a dog, a rat, a tween, a teen, a husband, a brother in law and myself. Plus a lot of "things" have been left by others that have come and gone....the problem with living in a family house. We have many needs from our home too. We camp, and have for our entire lives so we have a lot of gear....almost all which is of use. This area can be cleaned back up easy enough, but there is stuff sp read out right now which is not good and I will pay if I don't get it cleaned up by April. We live in the Northeast, so a lot of the nicer patio items have to be stored in the basement, because I want them to last. I have most of the outdoor chairs, the cushions the (huge) patio lamp, the canvas to the gazebo and so on in the basement. We are do-it-youself-ers, and my husband has a tool for most jobs, which is great when you need them because having the right tools is most of the battle. But very fustrating when you can not find them. Organization of this area would help everyone! It gets messy quick, and putting away things after a big project (sometimes even a small one) isn't always easy. We have a lot of tool shelving and cabinets, it just needs the time and energy. We burn pellet, so 3+tons of pellet takes up a lot of room....nothing I can do about that, just keep it clean. There is a huge work table that Mike hates (I kinda like ) near the stove.....idk what to do over there. But there isn't all that much clutter there besides that thing. Our bedroom is also downstairs, but it's big, a quarter of the basement....ends up being a dumping ground sometimes. The old desktop really doesn't work and the monitor is huge....all this area really is good for is storage for all the routers and the printer. It could be reworked. Our bedroom closet is full of stuff that should probably go. Upstairs isn't too bad, the coat closet (more like the recylce closet) is cluttered with junk we don't use, as is the guest room (Billy's room) closet. The girls have gotten better with their own rooms, and that's pretty much their thing to deal with. The guest room needs some purging. I started to store yarn and stuff in there and that is the point to most of my rambling. I'd like to make a better area for my yarn and crafts, and these pictures below inpire me....

Nothing fancy, just organized. I love the cubes, but they are silly expensive in the stores....but how easy would they be to make? Or maybe pick them up at AC Moore with 40-50% off coupons? That would make them more affordable. I don't have an extra room for this right now....maybe someday, but I could make better use of the basement space where the camp gear is stored and the laundry area. I have cabinets, shelves (make shift, but still shelves) and a dresser in there. All used fairly inefficiently. Everyone always thinks I am so organized and probably imagines this is what my home looks like, lol....probably never will....but I can put some more effort into it. Just gotta step away from MW and FB! Plus Mike is going back to work tomorrow, and worse of all it will be some odd ball 2nd shift that starts at 4pm (4 nights a week). We will eat early most nights so we are all still together for dinner (very important, I think) and Kenzie has kartate those 4 nights too...so that will help, but I think I can use my "alone time" to work on some of these goals. I just need to stay motivated, so I figure posting this will remind me of how motivated I am right now. I also need to stay motivated to excersize and walk, I need to drop at least 20lbs to be where I should be....so I am off this thing for now and going to take bit of a walk, as much as the snow piles at work will let me.
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I've been busy with my other blogs, ravelry and facebook and realized today that I haven't posted on my crochet blog in months....all Summer actually, but that is typical of me and crocheting anyhow. Not that I didn't work on anything, I did. I made a nice cotton throw rug for the Aliner, some little creature habitats for our hairless rat and my nieces little hamster. Some scarfs and other small random projects too. I picked up some awesome Mini-mochi yarn in NY and made this lovely scarf for myself. I have another skein and plan on making the matching hat. I used the same pattern to make a green scarf for Carol. I love this pattern.....let me go check the name of it on Rav.....It is called Ziggy Lace Scarf. It works up nice and easy. I have not updated all my Summer projects even to Ravelry. Sometimes I just can't find the time. The Internet is a huge time suck and it seems like it takes me further away from my crocheting and ironically away from whatever it was I came online to look up in the first place. I can't totally condemn it because of the endless supply of crafty inspiration, craft and yarn coupons and awesome patterns I would never find in my local store or library. I am more motivated this time of the year to pick up my unfinished projects. One big monkey on my back right now is the Cathedral Rose afghan that I started last year to benefit a trip for Taylor with People to People. But the economy sucks and us just like most of middle America we are freaking broke and there are no extras like this, even with auctioning off an awesome project. I've been working off of my stash more and take the time to dig through it when I am thinking up new projects. Here is a site though that I can always find current AC Moore and Michaels coupons. After working with the mini-mochi splurge I bought in NY I really wish I had more free cash for my hobby, but I'm more lucky than a lot. I also look at my stash and think about all the cash spent on yarn I'm not even using. If only I could take that value and buy quality and not quantity. But when I buy yarn I feel "guilty" and don't always remember sometimes it really is just better buying less, but better.
Either way, like I said my crochet skills are back in season, so I intend to keep up on this blog a bit more diligently. Can't work on the Aliner too much over the Winter, although I do have some work to finish up sewing the curtains. That has been a fun but demanding project in itself. I am really looking forward to finishing that and using it next year. I can almost see myself sitting in it on some camping trip in the pouring rain crocheting a scrap afghan that will find it's home in the cozy camper.
Only other crochet thing on my mind at the moment is about the recent conversation going on in the Ravelry forums about yarn bowls. I would love one of these! But $$$! that I do not have for something like this...even if times were good, idk....kinda pricey. But it makes me think about other bowls and how they are used. Like rice bowls, or those soup bowls with lids that have an open slot or hole for the ladle to stick out. Or even just some random pottery bowl that has been dumped off at the Goodwill. So I am going to keep my eye out for something cool like that. It would definitely help keep the yarn off the floor and pet hair while I am working on a project at home. Plus it will look pretty on the table. We'll see what I can find out there, treasures everywhere if you look hard enough.
A few updated pics on the Cathedral Rose Window Afghan.

My current desktop wallpaper, tweet, tweet.
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I haven't posted much here lately, but I have posted here. Please check it out if you haven't yet. I am currently working on the Cathedral Rose Window Afghan. Pictured here is our color plan. This afghan will be auctioned off to help fund Taylor's trip with People to People, which you can read more about on my other blog....dedicated to the topic itself.

If you are on Ravelry you can keep up with it here. So far I am loving the pattern!
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Christmas was nice. No running around this year, nice and quite. Money was tight, but not so horrible that the kids didn't have a nice Christmas. In fact I think they really enjoyed the day. I got an awesome coffee maker. I didn't even know I needed a new one until I started using the new one. I had a Krups that I bought off of eBay at least 4 years ago now. It was the carafe type. I hate burnt coffee. My MIL broke it last year while she was staying with us, but I found a new one at the Outlets on clearance for $10. She didn't like my coffee maker. I think she broke the original carafe on purpose....but then again she thinks I broke her coffee maker on purpose too. Oh well. Anyway, the new one is a Cusineart. It has the bur grinder built right in. All have to do is put the water in. I can smell the coffee grinding while I am downstairs in bed before the water even starts to cycle through. Mike is so good at knowing what I want, even when I don't! He got a car (truck) starter, and even though this present was really only there because of his brother it was nice to see him have something to open too.

New Years has come and gone too. My two resolutions are to a) be motivated, more motivated than I have been. b) get into some kind of exercise routine. Even if it is just walking. I've gained weight since I quit smoking last March. No regrets, but I do need to start doing someing about it. Plus it's just time to, 36 and all. Not that 36 is old at all, just time to make sure my ass doesn't spread into some kind of uncontrolable wad of goo. And I do not want to sport "mom-butt" in any form what so ever. I'm still a camel toe kinda gal and want to stay that way as long as I can help it. I think I should also be more systematic about the household finances, it wouldn't hurt.

Next week is suppose to be record cold. Again, this is New England and that's what happens. Jan. is always super cold. But it's also already almost half over! Feb. is short, and my anniversary. March is long, long and cold. I hate March, except it's Mike's birthday and this year I will be celebrating my first year smoke free. Yay me! Nothing can top that one actually. Then it'll be April and Spring will be here once again.

My company is being bought out by Dow. I'm still not sure if this is a good thing or not. But it should be complete by today, if not next week. Not that there will be any immediate changes I guess. I just hope there are no lay offs. Times are so hard everywhere. We had our group meeting this morning and it seems like I am involved in a lot of projects, helping out. Being a tech is a good thing, diverse and all. Hopefully that'll count when they are lining up the ax.

Crochet wise I am dababling in a few projects at once, as usual. I am working on an afghan for Taylor. Not the orginal plan, but orginal colors. She'll be happy with whatever I make her anyway. I am also working on a small brown wool rug for in front of the hearth. The one I have there now kinda got beat on over the power outage days. I also have made one mitten with the same wool. Now I have to make another. Thank God I actually followed the pattern for a change. When my BIL (lol, Brother-In-Law = BIL, his name is Bill) goes back to SC this Spring I am going to partally use the back room as a craft room. I want to organize my yarn, take pics for my notebook stash on Ravelry and display it in a way that looks nice and shows off the yarn before it's worked up into its final form. Yarn is an art in itself. Maybe someday I will have enough money to buy snob yarn. In the meantime I am really liking the Vanna's Choice colors. I should go crochet after I am done here as a matter of fact. I finished my ripple pictured above somtime around the holiday. I love the colors, done in Vanna's Choice too.

I am very sad about the trees Worcester is loosing to the ALBs (asian longhorned beetles). Utterly amazing watching the landscape change by the second. So sad. Wish I could do more to stop it. Wish I had known it was going on when there was still a way to slow it down. And I hope so much that my 4 maples in the back will make it. So far they are okayed by the feds, so far.

I've joined twitter, as happyhooking. Kinda cool to have updates on what people are up to. I mostly joined in case Ravelry is down, just so I know why, lol.

That's about it. Not to exciting, not that it's a bad thing!

Holy shit, that sucked. All I want for Christmas is my power to stay on! The picture to the left made it to the WBZ picture gallery.

Here is a link to the family photo album. It was cold. Our power was off from Thursday, midnight until Monday morning about 7am. I was so happy when it came back on, and I am so sad for those who are still out. A lot of people in the smaller towns are out because their electric comes from a municipal source. If I had a generator I would "rent" it out. We heated the house with the fireplace, if you want to call 50F in the living room and 40F elsewhere heated. But it got down to 15F outside Saturday night. I can not imagine how the pioneers made it, or how the homeless survive. We are all so lucky. Amazing how an act like this makes you stop and think.

Here are a few pics if your not up to looking at the 90+ in the link above. I still have a few aftermath pics to post. Like the Caddy that was on the front of the T&G over the weekend with a huge branch over it. I took one after they got the branch off.

This is the view to the left out my front window. We had a microburst in October of 2007 and it took out a lot of trees in this area. We lost maybe 15 trees in that storm. So it could have been twice as bad this time. We live on a privite street, so the city does not come down here to clean up at all. This is when I think I should be getting some kind of tax credit for cleaning it up myself. It took us two days to clean up, and it's still not right.

We took a walk up Clark Street the morning after and I got a couple cool pics after the sun came out.

The kids are out of school all week. They are going to be going to school until July! Poor things, they actually want to go. They are being pretty good. I am lucky they're a bit older, I would hate to go through this with real little ones. Kenzie was able to take her blue belt test tonight, and she passed :) She was scheduled to take it last Saturday. Today the Dojo opened back up. Master Alty (in Leominster) is still without power and they say it could be 5-6 days longer. I really hope everyone has power by Christmas!!
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I have a handful of Ravelry invites. If you don't want to wait the few days it takes to get one let me know and I'll email you one.

If you don't know what Ravelry is, and you crochet and/or knit you really should go check it out....best thing invented since yarn!