31 January 2013

Crochet Mania!

Remember when I had this grand idea of dedicating a blog to my Daily Square Project?

Let's just say it didn't work out quite like I thought it would. Mostly because I am the most indecisive person I know and kept changing my mind as to how I wanted to approach the project. But also because it ended up being a very time consuming. So....I'm ditching the extra blog and will be doing monthly updates here.


I am happy to say I am right on track with making one granny square a day. I've decided that instead of making a different style or use different colors every day, I'm going to work on a set of squares for an afghan until it's finished.

The first one I am working on is for my mom. She picked out her colors and so far I love the result! The colors work really well together and the yarn is coming out really soft. It's going to be a super cozy afghan when it is done.

I've also been making hats like no bodies business. So far think I've done a dozen in the last week alone (I know....where I find the time, I just don't know) and have four more to go! I've been a little crazy, but it not only gives me an excuse to buy more yarn, it's also helping to add to the "scraps bag" to use in a really color granny square afghan I plan on making for myself. It's a definite win-win for everyone involved.

30 January 2013

Weekly Reads: Blues Highway Blues

Blues Highway Blues by Eyre Price

One of the best things about having friends who love books as much as I do, is that sometimes you are lucky enough that they pass along a title you wouldn't have otherwise found and it ends up being an fantastic read.

This is how I came to read the book Blues Highway Blues  I came back from lunch to find it sitting on my desk at work. A friend graciously let me borrow his (signed) copy of the book to read and I am oh so glad he did.

It's been a long time since I read anything that had me hooked within the first chapter (I'm super judgy, if I'm not even slightly interested by the end of the first chapter, I'm likely to bail on the whole thing), let along the first paragraph.

Blues Highway Blues is about Daniel, a washed up music executive who tries to do business with the wrong guy and finds himself on the mother of all scavenger hunts, traveling cross country, following the path of the blues to save not only himself but his son Zack.

There are some great twists and turns along the way (some predictable but most of them not) and for this lover of the blues, I love all the history and trivia of the blues and even music in general peppered into the plot. I've even suggested to friends that at some point we should take the same road trip, minus the gangsters, murders and crazy hit-man.

28 January 2013

Music Monday: T.I.

Much to Sadie's dismay, I have been singing this song all day.....well at least the Christina Aguilera part.

27 January 2013

Pinterest Fail: Ice Marbles

I have boards on Pinterest packed full of "projects I can totally manage!" yet most of those projects go unattempted to be honestly, how has time for that?! Most of them are labor intensive (I'm not opposed to the time or work, it's just that sometimes I don't have the extra time needed), require supplies I do not own and/or are not readily accessible.

But occasionally, I'll stumble across an idea that really does seem like something I can manage, like the one: Ice Marbles.

Simple, right!

All you need are four things:
*Food Coloring
*Cold Weather

Friday night I set about my task of making my marble!

I gathered my supplies:

I filled my balloons with water and food color and set them outside to freeze!

And then something went wrong.....

The blue balloon decided it couldn't carry on (maybe it had the winter blues....) and rolled off the bench to what I thought for sure would be its death.
But thankfully, for the briefest amount of time I was wrong. The balloon didn't pop and the water stayed where it was supposed to.

Until of course I came home from work on Saturday afternoon to find this:
The remaining three marbles in training were holding up, but not frozen so I left them alone and let them sit for another 24 hours (total freezing time required for this project: 40 hours) until they were solid.....or at least until I thought they were solid.

To remove the balloons, I poked a small tear in the side and the balloon split the rest of the way on its own. I then carefully peeled off the rest of the balloon and admired my handywork.
Taking the balloon off the red and yellow marbles went quick smoothly. The balloon came off without incident and I was able to set then in the snow in front of my porch without any issue.

When I was taking the balloon off the green marble, it slipped, it landed apparently not as gently as I thought it had on the bench and cracked, leaking bright green water all over the bench, the porch and my boots. It looks like a leprechaun threw up all over the porch.
I love that my first instinct was that I needed to "take a photo for the blog!!" instead of chucking the thing in the side yard.

Thankfully it wasn't a total loss and there was enough green ice to keep it intact to be set out with the other two.

All-in-all I wouldn't call this a total fail. I think the concept of this project is pretty awesome. Especially if you were going to have some sort of a winter party, lining the walkway or around a deck. I'm just not sure how practical of a project this is.

I'm worried about spring, with these things start to melt and there is colored water all over my side yard--I plan on keeping a close eye on them once warmer temperatures arrive so I can move them, and hauling the water balloons through the house to get them outside was a bit stressful even with them in a bucket. 

But I do really like they way they look out in front of the house. They are a great pop of color in the snow making mine the most color yard on the block! 
Has anyone else attempted this DIY? If you have, any tips or tricks you'd like to share? 

24 January 2013

Crochet Corner

After posting about the other day about my work-in-progress library, I set to work at getting it finished.

Who knew posting about something on the internets would be all the inspiration one needs to get things done!

While I didn't get the whole room finished (there are still books waiting to be shelved, recycling waiting to be taken down to the garage, cds waiting to be stored) I did get one corner of the room competed: my crochet corner.


I have spent the last three nights in my cozy little space working on (more) hats for friends, my granny square project (which by the way: my big 'ole plan of having a separate space to share my progress was a wee bit of a fail, so I'm ditching the other blog and moving everything over here), an afghan for myself and/or curled up with one of the three books I am currently making my way through (although two of them--Starvation Lake and Beach Music--may be set aside until I finish Blues Highway Blues).

This side table used to belong to my grandmother. It's one of my favorite pieces of furniture that I own so I'm glad I'm able to use it on a daily basis.
A couple of baskets I made to hold all my left over bits of yarn from various projects.
Tools of the trade and a small stack of granny squares for my moms afghan.
A stack of half-granny squares for an afghan I'm thinking of making for myself.
Yarn stash! Every time I see all of my yarn together, it makes me ridiculously happy.
I absolutely adore my Keep Calm & Crochet On print that I ordered from Ravelry.com. 
My cozy little corner.
One of my next projects is to make some sort of new cover for my foot stool. I love the yellow, but it's old and needs some TLC.
And of course Sadie, because seriously. Who can resist that face?!

23 January 2013

Weekly Reads

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I'm beginning to realize that my definition of things is vastly different than the majority. I'm starting to feel like I'm either seriously screws up in the head or the collective conscious of pop culture has a secret agreement to just accept the popular watered down version of "creepy", "scandalous", "heinous", "thrilling", etc.

As with Sharp Objects, I didn't really feel like this was as much of a psychological thriller. It had its moments, but I've definitely read better when it comes to this particular genre.

With that being said, Flynn does have a style of writing that draws you in and keeps you interested. This was definitely a book I could pick up, thinking I'd read a chapter or two before bed and before I knew it, it was 2am and I nearly finished half the book.

The story is about the Day family and moves between present day and a day in January  that forever changed their lives. Flynn does a wonderful job of moving between both time frames and creating a group of characters that you end up either pulling at your heart strings or that you dislike. But in the end, you are on their side and just want to know the truth about what happened.

21 January 2013

Bits & Pieces: The Library

I feel like I've been talking about it since I moved into my house (five years ago) but today I finally.....finally spent some time in what is quickly becoming my favorite room in the house, the room I am affectionately referring to as my library. Once it's finished, it'll be a cozy space where I can sit and read, crochet or just hang out.

I still have quite a few things to do before the room is done, but I thought I'd share some of my favorite bits of the room so far.

My favorite albums from The Beatles and Sly & the Family Stone, along with a tour poster for Dave Barnes & Matt Wertz and a watercolor print by Brett Dennen.

My very modest collection of vinyl, mostly savaged from the basements and garages of my parents and grandma. And can we just take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness that is Neil Diamond? I mean seriously....look at that luscious head of hair. 

One of my projects to tackle in this room is to organize all my books. This is just one of many bookshelves I have with books just haphazardly placed on shelves. One day they will be organized and alphabetized and it will be wonderful. 

Music Monday: First Aid Kit

Any band that does a cover of America and does an exceptional job at it is a win in my book!

17 January 2013

Life Lately

Oiy vey....it feels good to be somewhat back among the living. I've been battling the plague cold from hell the last week and a half and am finally beginning to feel human again.

Even with the cold though, lately I've been......

Reading: My "to-read" list has once again grown out of control. I should never, I repeat NEVER be allowed to shop for books without a preset spending limit, even with gift cards are involved. Recent purchases include:

Others not pictured include Sharp Objects * The Skeleton Box * Various ebooks for my Kindle.

Celebrating: Yesterday was Sadie's 15th birthday. She celebrated her big day with her favorite meal of ground beef and rice. Indulged in a few extra snacks. And ran around the back yard taunting a field mouse that she somehow managed to catch (RIP little mouse). Never would I have imagined when I adopted her when she was 8 would she still be around so many years later (she was not the healthiest of dogs back then) but I'm very glad she is. She is the best dog a girl could ask for. Even if she is anti-camera unless you give her a quite a few snacks for standing still for any period of time.

Hooking: I am merrily making my way through my 365 crocheting project as well as a few other crochet related projects. The first afghan I am working on is for my mom. The plan was to give it to her for Christmas but I have a feeling she'll be receiving it a lot sooner than that. I'm going to be too excited to hold onto it until December once it is done!

I've also been making a bunch of winter hats. It's been a great way to practice different stitches and to work with different types of yarn. Plus, they've been extremely popular with friends so it's been nice to be able to do something for someone else!

Watching: Because I've been sick, I've been watching a lot more "tv" than normal. I've been completely obsessed with British crime dramas. I don't know why they are so much better than American crime dramas, but they are. They just are. So far I've made my way through Whitechapel and Sherlock (ok so I've watched it before but good grief I think Benedict Cumberbatch is delightful) and am currently making my way through Wallander.

Thanks for reading!

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