Thursday, April 21, 2016

Project Done!

I finally finished my clogs.

Remember the obsession of 2014?
I still have concerns about the strength of the leather but I wore them yesterday anyway and they seem just fine! I only wore them to work and back (riding my bicycle most of the way), so they still need a good walking road test. Then we'll know for sure. Note to self: keep flip flops close by in case there is a massive failure.

They fit great and are snug and don't fall off. I'm going to count that as success.

There was one big oops. The very last nail I put in did this:

I tried to pull the nail but it is in there so tight with that leather it's not budging. I am scared to force it too much because the wood might split. I put some insoles in and I can't feel it at all. I guess that proves it once an for all - I am not a princess.  

Get it? Princess and the Pea reference?  :)

PS: in the linked post I report on Mr. El's cancer scare. He is doing just fine and will turn 80 next year. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Huh. Crisis averted - apparently

It looks like things are back to normal.

 Ten minutes later. I'm hoping that I just checked things at the wrong time.
Nevermind - carry on.
Still doesn't change the fact that there is no place to email blogger directly.

I don't know what's wrong with my blog!

Big frowny face!
This is NOT what it should look like. There should be roses on the top and no overlapping text. I was looking at other options but I'm pretty sure I didn't save anything. Not sure why this happened. And of course - there is no possible way to talk to anyone at blogger and say - what in the heck did I do wrong!? Please, pretty please, help me restore what I had before!

sigh. wish me luck in figuring it out.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I have new tools.
After my last post, I couldn't get the diy crochet hook idea out of my head. One of the suggestions was to use Sculpy, an oven bake clay,  to make handles. On Thursday after work, I headed to my favorite art store and picked up five colors: red, blue, chartreusse, violet/magenta, and "translucent." We talked about this at work and I can't remember who suggested it, but making your own awls came up. I don't have a lot of crochet hooks, but I do have tons of needles. Happy crafting day for me!

I got a little carried away. Who needs five awls?
I've had Sculpy and Fimo all my life but it has be a very long time since I've made anything with it.  It gets so soft that it becomes a little difficult to work with. I struggled a bit with the flowers but in the end I think they came out just fine. I tried doing some weaving things but the clay didn't hold - it was too soft.

I got to use my crochet hook all weekend. And I do like it very much!

Last weekend I reported on the above. I finally got the suction cup hooks up here and hung it in the window.
I had another project in the works but wasn't feeling very excited about it. This goose is just too boring.
Poking around online let me find this much more interesting composition.  

I like this one a lot but I am using thinner thread. It is not holding up so well when I hang it in the window.

I'm not quitting though, I've done too much. Besides, if I use the larger thread I think the curtains will be way too big.

In another weather update, boy did we have some strange weather this weekend. It snowed for about 5 hours yesterday! It didn't stick but there were all of these huge snowflakes floating down all afternoon. It was really prettty. Last week with all the wind, the birds lost. A pair of Robins was building a nest in my Newport Pine, with the power line running right through it! 

 This does not seem like a wise architectural choice.
I wasn't able to do much yard surveying until about Wednesday. The entire nest had blown down and was in the middle of the grass.  

Also in the middle of the grass was this tiny egg. Obviously not a Robin's egg as it is not the tell-tale shade of Robin's Egg Blue, but rather it is a Mourning Dove egg. This brings the total number of known nests in the Newport Pine this year to three. My tenants reported that the cardinals are back and are (or maybe were) building a nest in the same place as last year. I understand the choice to build the nests in this tree. It provides plenty of cover for little birdies to hide. But unfortunately when it is so windy it's rather violent.

I won't leave you with a sad story - I'll leave you with my favorite actual news story of the week: Global Colored Pencil Shortage I'm not kidding. What a wonderful thing. I brought it up to the cashier at the art store and she just scoffed and said, "I coulda told you that - we can't keep them on the shelves and then can't get them when we order them."
Hm, first world problems...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Weather Update

Never mind spring, it's allergy season. 

Oye vey! Friday it was gorgeous and very warm - like 80F almost. Saturday was not so nice and then the wind picked up. And starting Saturday at 11pm - the weather gods must have gotten into quite a ruckus. First there was a good 20 minutes of marble sized hail beating on my bedroom windows, then the wind, then rain, then some more hail, and the wind didn't really stop until Sunday around 3pm. And when I say wind, I mean gale force. The windows were straining. On Saturday I didn't realize that I had taken all of the Benadryl in the house and so while I was up anyway through the hail storm, my allergies decided it was the perfect time to kick in. I discovered that being vertical was a better situation - everything drained - but I was also so tired. I finally rigged enough pillows in the bed to keep me vertical but I could sleep. I got about three hours. And of course with that much sleep it is so difficult to drag yourself out of the house to get to the drugstore on Sunday morning to get the big package of Benadryl. 
Needless to say the weekend had to be spent in mindless activities.

A little bit of gardening. 
I'm still cleaning up the old weeds and debris a little at a time. The dandelions have started and so I've always got a few of those to yank out.  We went to Green's Grow nursery on Friday and I bought seeds, purple pansies, compost, manure, and seed starting mix. I also bought another bag of Bulb Tone from Espoma. It's kinda expensive - but I bought a bag last year and spread it around liberally. My tulips and daffodils have never looked better. The tulips especially. I have more blooms and some have blooms for the first time. I'm a believer! 
I started a lot of seeds. 
I have standard basil, globe basil, marigolds, sunflowers, nasturtiums, zinnias, johnny jump ups and kale. I hope I didn't start things too late. Mid-May is time to plant more things such as tomatoes. Six weeks is plenty of time to get those seedlings going.  

On Sunday when I suffered the most serious allergy-mush-for-brains, I sat on the couch all day and did some more fillet crocheting. Just in case you are wondering, this fillet crocheting is not difficult. It is basically two stitches, chain stitch and double crochet. Then there is a grid to follow. Really, a no brainer.  While counting the minutes between Benadryl doses, I crocheted the heart. It should be a repeat so that there is an entire row of hearts. I like it but it's not as tall as I want it, so I'm on the second design... stay tuned for what it will be!
 Fillet crochet is usually done with very very thin thread. And an even smaller crochet hook. After the heart, my elbow was starting to hurt and I thought I could benefit from an ergonomic crochet hook handle. I priced a few, and while the prices were reasonable, I already have plenty of crochet hooks, I don't need more (not to mention that I also wanted it "right. now.") But I kept searching online and somehow I stumbled onto:
What? You can make comfortable crochet hooks yourself!? Unbelievable. 
 Well, I didn't have any of the gooshy squooshy things and I was not about to crawl out of warm comfy pajamas to go to AC Moore. I had a little think about what I might have in all of my crafty stash that could work similarly. And it came to me:

Craft foam and Hello Kitty duct tape! Done.  
In all seriousness - I can't believe the different this made. Just having a larger grip on the crochet handle helped so much!
Later, I did crawl out of pj's to go to AC Moore to purchase more thread, but that also seemed worth the effort.