Tag Archives: green

Another long absence but I’m back!!

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Remember when on the last day of December, New Year’s Eve, when you’re sitting around with your family and waiting for the new year to come, the discussion always heads towards “I hope next year is better than this year!”

Well, it hasn’t been so far.  Actually, it’s been one step left of brutal.

The first of the year kicked off with a massive snowstorm that hit the New England and then I deployed to the Midwest for four months.  The time within the four months consisted of:

1.     Unyielding snow storms and bone chilling cold that didn’t let up.

2.     Complete homesickness being away from my husband (and my dogs) for so long.

and the worst one…

3.     My precious father passed away before our eyes.

Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling all that creative and crafty lately.  However, as it is said, “when God closes a door, he always opens a window”; a window opened after being consumed in the fog of loss and grief for my Dad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hurting but a spark of my former self has returned, thanks to my husband, friends and family.

The first shot in the arm was that I decided to go back to college, thanks to the provocation of my friends.  I’m 6 weeks into my first class and I’m pulling a 98.2%; not too bad for an old lady such as myself.  The second is that it’s come to my realization that I’ll be eligible for retirement in the next 4 – 5 years and that I’d better start laying the foundation for what I’m going to be doing once retirement happens.  Knowing that once retirement occurs, my hubby and I will escape into the wilds of somewhere but a concrete fact remains that we are both technology geeks so wifi will be there…so I’m returning to the world of blogging.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it but it’s time to give it a go again.

So, for my loyal followers that wondered what happened to me, I’m back and will do everything I can do stay relevant again.  Please forgive me, it’s been a really tough year…

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Handmade Crochet Baby Blanket

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Well, here’s the latest creation!  This is a prime example of the baby blankets that I’ve been making for the members of my Squadron at work.  Unlike like the blanket that I previously put on my blog, this one is a double crochet stitch in a Granny Square style; a timeless pattern that is absolutely warm and versatile.  I think I like this style the best because you can do anything with it.

If you make little squares of different colors and sew them together, you have a Granny Square blanket.  If you make rows over and over, like the one pictured to the right, you can make it any size you want (this one is 3 foot squared).  Or, you can keep going and going on adding rows…I’ve made 3 king sized afghans, to fit king sized beds, in this exact style.  The color combinations are as limited as the yarns that you can find!

As for colors…I have something to say about them too.

I’m kind of on a mission to try and redefine what a baby blanket should look like.  If you compare the blankets that I’ve made, and blogged about, they aren’t made in historically “baby” colors.  I have a reason for this.
When I grew up, I guess it’s safe to say that I wasn’t “type-cast” into anything.  The only time that I was forced to wear dresses or dress the roll of “little girl” was when I was in church or the flower girl in a wedding or something like that even though I was a pure Tom Boy to the core.  I think because of that, I was able to develop my own individuality over time.  Don’t get me wrong,  there are occasions where nothing is better than a nicely tailored skirt and elegant heals and I’m happily wearing them.  Believe it or not, and this may surprise people that know me, there are times where I like to wear pink!

But babies really don’t have a choice in the matter.  I’ve known many women, especially being in the military, that were drowned in pink growing up and refuse to wear it to this day.  So, that is why I like to make baby things that are beautifully neutral.

I also feel sorry for the fathers that really step up to be good, involved fathers and they are trying really hard to ignore the fact that they are carrying a Pepto Bismol pink diaper bag but overjoyed to have their little girl in tow.

So, I’m completely on the unisex bandwagon when it comes to baby colors!!

UPDATE AS OF JANUARY 16TH, 2011

This baby blanket was donated to one of the MANY expecting families at the squadron that I belong to at the end of last year.  I hope their little one likes it!!

Knitting Board made Baby Blanket…amazing!

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Yes…I have been busy again!  The last time was because of the birthday’s in my family (note: they both loved them!!) but I have a new motivation this time…reproduction.

knitting board, yarn and flippy thingy

First off, and I think that this is important for the context of this entry…I do not have children of my own.  I have two step children but they were both teenagers when I came into the picture so it really doesn’t count.  I have never experienced morning sickness.  I have never experienced a ravenous appetite for weird things without explanation as to why (I had a friend, long ago, that craved night crawler dirt when she was preggers…she would stop at bait stores all over the place to just smell, not eat, night crawler dirt…very odd).  I have never given birth to anything.

I have, however, experienced something similar to labor pains.  I had a kidney stone a few years ago and yes; I was pleading with the nurse to make the pain stop (I saw it done in those birthing shows on the Discovery Channel and it seemed to work for them so I gave it a try…), thank God she was sympathetic to my situation!   As she was launching me into a blissful “full body buzz” via IV happy juice, she asked me if I’d ever had children.  I said no.  She smiled and said, and I quote…”A kidney stone is the closest thing you will experience similar to labor pains  if you’ve have never experienced a vaginal birth”.  Needless to say, I have great sympathy for any woman that would willingly put themselves through it in the first place.

zig zagging the yarn on the nails

So, why am I making a baby blanket?  Well…because many people that I know ARE.  They have decided to (or conceded to the idea of it happening…) bring forth another human being into the world.  On very few occasions, in my life, I have experienced the fleeting need/want to have, and keep, children.  Needless to say, it eventually passed.  In all honesty and seriousness, I have a very clear view of the horrors that are in this world so maybe, somewhere deep in my subconscious,  the mental switch prevented the physical act of creating a baby or maybe God understands that I had a different destiny lined up for me other then to change poopie diapers and cut me a little slack.  Since my sister ended up having “My” daughter that I was cursed to have (“you’ll be sorry when you have one just like you!!); I’m okay with the way things turned out.

I think making baby blankets is sort of my way of being sympathetic to the process of babies getting here and that I sort of skirted the whole thing.  From the outside looking in, the whole process seems rather…harsh.  My hubby works with one of our friends that’s due in about 3 months.  A few weeks ago he came home saying that I needed to come and see her because “the turkey thermometer popped”.  I found out soon after, as I saw her in her complete misery (my sister is the only woman I’ve ever seen “glow” when pregnant) her belly button had become VERY outwardly present and poked out prominently from her uniform.  She was miserable in a very public way and I feel bad for her…her blanket is almost done.

the “flipping the stitch” action

As for how I happened upon this miracle of yarn craft;   sometime this past winter, I decided to watch HSN (home shopping network) because it was “Craft Month” and was desperate for something to watch on a Tuesday afternoon.  They were highlighting an item called a “knitting board” (2 boards; scarf and baby blanket sized…).  I’ve been knitting and crocheting for a long time and never even heard of it before.  Since I normally get my best crafting idea’s from obscure TV shows, I was intrigued! Apparently, as the completely fake and plasticized hostess would go onto explain…(this chick had no clue as to what this thing did or was used for…she was as worthless as the hosts/hostesses that just hold the guitars when ESTABAN is on hocking his cheap guitars all while playing barely recognizable songs and they’re trying to look interested…nobody can smile that long!!)…that knitting needles were actually the upgrade to the knitting board due to the ease of transportation.  Thus, the knitting board fell to the way side and became a lost art somewhere around the time where being a Quaker in the US wasn’t mandatory.  However, due to the unique “double knit” result of this technique, there has recently been a resurgence in popularity within the crafting community.  Blah blah blah and the plastic lady was starting to piss me off.  However, when they showed the finished product I had to buy both of them!!

The finished blanket

It’s rather simple to do.   You zig zag the yarn and flip the bottom stitch over the top stitch that was just put on.  Changing colors is really easy too!  When you’re done, you just crochet the very first row and the very last row so the whole thing doesn’t come unraveled.

But, there is an amazing aspect to this blanket!!  It’s as fluffy as a bag of cotton balls!!  The double sided knit creates a fabric that is nothing short of luxuriously soft and light!  It’s so fluffy that it fluffs to about 1/2 thick but compresses to nothing if you pinch it lightly.  If it gets a snag, you just yank on it and it goes back into shape.  I almost wish I had the patience to create a whole afghan with it…but I don’t and it would take too long to do and then I wouldn’t be able to blog about the projects I make because a king sized afghan would take way too freakin’ long to do (plus it got up to 87 degrees today and the LAST thing I want to do is bury myself under “pile o’ yarn” for the sake of a winter project).  I wish blogs could be touch sensitive because words can’t describe how amazing this thing feels.  I’ve made 20 some-odd baby blankets but this is my second on the knitting board.

A guy I work with got the first for his little girl that was born 6 weeks ago.  First, it’s the only blanket she wants to sleep with.  Second, it can be washed in a washing machine as long as it’s not washed with anything that will snag it.  Third…his wife is putting in orders because all of her friends want one too.  I’m taking care of my friends first…

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my latest entry!!!  Thank you for all of the hits!!!

Emu Egg

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First off, thank you to my friends that have commented on my blog!!!  I’m having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to respond to your replies (still REALLY new at this!) so please forgive, I’ll keep working on it.

I’ve gotten such an amazing response to the ostrich egg that I had in my previous post, I thought that it would be a good idea to show the first emu egg that I carved about 5 years ago.

Just a recap of an emu egg:

1.  This egg is not painted.  It is naturally emerald green on the outside with and aquamarine blue layer and a very white layer underneath still.  It takes quite a bit of patience (and a steady hand) to relief carve the image that you see.

2.  The egg shell itself is about .1 mm thick.  I’m lucky I’ve never broken one but it still takes a gentle hand to do.

3.  The egg itself is the exact shape and size of a Nerf football but feels like cool porcelain to the touch.

4.  I buy my egg shells on EBay.  I don’t have a big enough yard to keep emu’s and ostriches.

Okay, now that I have the basic facts out of the way…this is how I do it.  You really don’t have to have any free hand drawing skill, only the ability to trace existing patterns and have a steady hand when using the drill.  That does take some practice.

First, you get an egg.  Like I said, I get them from EBay.  The outside emerald green varies from egg to egg.  I prefer the darkest outside color because I think it compliments the aquamarine beneath it better.  But, I’ve seen eggs that are almost a sage green on the outside to a pale green.  I still like the darker ones.

Then, I decide my pattern.  I own A LOT of clip art books!  I get many clip art books from Dover Publications because the patterns are very clean and they (mostly) come on a DVD.  I prefer the DVD’s because I can size the patterns for my own needs.  I’ve also been known to use free clip art from the net.  I don’t use the copyrighted images that can be found on the internet because I think it’s stealing and respect the original artists for their effort and creativity.

Once I decide on the pattern, I print it out and decide the best way to get the image on the egg.  It’s challenging to get a two dimensional image on a three dimensional surface so sometimes I print the patterns onto adhesive backed paper (full or half page label paper that you can get almost anywhere).

When I get the stickers (that’s what they are by the time I’m done with them) on the egg, I do a rough outline carving of the pattern with the drill.  Once that’s done, I take the cut up stickers off and finish the egg.

I’ve also used graph paper to transfer images; white graph paper for the emu eggs (you can’t see regular graph paper because the egg is so dark) and the standard graph paper for ostrich and goose eggs.

Once the egg is completely finished, I wash it off really well and then allow it to dry completely.  When the egg is blown out, a hole about a 1/4 inch remains at the bottom.  I was advised not to cover it up because you want to keep the air flowing to the inside so it doesn’t deteriorate.  I also spray the outside with a clear, matte finish sealant so dust doesn’t stain the egg when it’s on display. If kept out of direct sunlight, these eggs can last forever!!

So, there you go.  Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about carving an emu egg.  I’m still in awe by the delicate beauty they have when completed.

I hope you enjoyed my entry!!!