Two More Weeks Until the Test, or: MORE PICTURES!

Hi guys!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  It’s less than 2 weeks until my test, and I’ve been really stressing out about it.  But only two more weeks of studying and I will be freeeeeeeee.

Today I was feeling very grumpy, and like a small child, I was mollified with a treat (Starbucks) and toys (pretty fabric).

PICTURE TIME!

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I stopped by The Cloth Pocket today to pick up some fabric for my upcoming Grainline Studio Willow Tank class.  I’m so happy The Cloth Pocket is around, especially now that Stitch Lab has closed.  They are offering so many cool classes and honestly, the location is a lot easier for me to get to than Stitch Lab’s.  I was so excited that I signed up for the Fancy Tiger Sailor Top class next month.  Yay!!

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In project news, I’ve been going back and forth between the Scheepjes Hygge CAL and my Little Box of Crochet mug cozy project.  I really have been loving the CAL, but I’ve hit a bit of a snag.

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These bobbles are supposed to “pop”…but as you can see, my bobbles are not popping.  I’ve watched the video tutorials and followed the pattern but I can’t get my bobbles to pop! So frustrating!  I was feeling pretty bummed about it until I went on Instagram and discovered that apparently there’s an entire hashtag dedicated to #bobblegate for the poor souls experiencing the same bobble issues that I am.  The CAL Facebook group has a pattern hack to make the bobbles pop, so I’ll have to frog this and try that hack instead.  I’m way too tired to do that tonight, so instead I worked on this:

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This is the second mug cozy from Little Box of Crochet’s February box…I think this color palette is my favorite of the two!  Hopefully this will be a quick project.

Alrighty!  I’m going to watch John Oliver and wind down with some projects.  I hope you all have a great week!

First Day of Spring! Inspirations

Spring is finally here! Although it’s been feeling like spring since February?  But that’s Texas weather for you.  Today I was planting flowers I’d purchased three weeks ago tending to my garden and noticed a lovely Texas bluebonnet blooming.

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I have a brown thumb, so I wanted to capture this moment before it dies next week.  ::insert inspirational thoughts about flowers and spring here::

This weekend was pretty great.  My friends and I decided to check out SXSW on Saturday. I don’t go to SXSW every year, but when I do, it’s always fantastic.  I think my fondest SXSW was in 2011, when Brother and I attended the Foo Fighters documentary premiere Back and Forth, and Dave Grohl was RIGHT ACROSS THE THEATER eating POPCORN and it was CRAZINESS.  That was also the year we waited in line for five hours to get into the MTV Woodie Awards just so we could watch the Foo Fighters perform one song.*

This year my friends and I took a more chill approach to SXSW, but we still had a blast.  They are all artistic people and I feel more inspired to create just being around them.  We also caught some really good shows.  I’d been feeling burned out on shows lately but Saturday refreshed my palate, I think.  My friend and I caught this one band called Happy Meals, and it was such a fun set.  But I’m hesitant to look them up now because I’m afraid they won’t sound as amazing when I’m sober.

Now that it’s spring and I’m wrapping up my pincushion project (the review will be ready this week!), I’m already eyeing more projects to add to my queue.  After my test is done, of course.**

PICTURE TIME.

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Wool and the Gang Dylan Tank

Wool and the Gang has all these awesome free patterns, and I’m eyeing this one for spring.  REAL TALK – I would nix the fringe though.

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Two of Wands, Movie Night Cocoon Cardi

I love this cardi by Two of Wands.  It would be a perfect transitional piece for the approximately two cooler days I can expect this spring.

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Lion Brand Afternoon Breeze Shawl

Ditto on this shawl.  It’s so cute! I can wear it to work so I won’t freeze to death in my cube.

Finally, I want to make this:

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Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top

I wish I had known about Fancy Tiger Crafts when I visited Denver two years ago, because I would have been ALL UP IN THAT.  I really have been wanting to go back to Denver because Rocky Mountains, the crepes place, Garden of the Gods, it’s amazing, etc etc etc, so this is just another reason to visit, right? Anyway, I got a little sidetracked…this top is really cute and versatile, and it’s supposed to be beginner friendly.  I really want to make it.  And also move to Denver.

I need to be responsible so I should probably sleep. Good night!

*I’m very done with waiting in line for hours and hating my life, but I’m really glad I did it then and have those memories.

** I splurged on a review course so my attitude has gone from “I’m going to fail” to “I might pass, maybe!”

GUYS I RAN OUT OF YARN

The other day I was thinking that I hadn’t posted my February makes.  I looked through my pictures and…realized I had only completed these:

Now to be fair, I had been in the field for two weeks last month…but still! This is hardly anything.  It was a good reminder to me that staying focused on projects is important.  It’s completely normal to feel burned out by a project – and when that happens, I think it’s necessary to move on to a little side project to take a mental break.  But my problem last month was trying to start too many new projects at once.  It doesn’t give me the chance to sit down and focus on completing a project.

I have a frustrating update to my Calvin Top project. I focused on this project ALL WEEK and didn’t work on any other projects.  I am so close to being finished with the second body piece! But, as I feared, I ran out of yarn.  Hence the overly dramatic post title.

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I actually did the tension swatch prior to starting the project, and remember thinking that my stitches were too dense. But I decided to plow ahead with the project anyway.  Lesson learned!  I ordered another skein from Wool and the Gang.  And since it is pay day, I ordered this project too:

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Brooding model not included.

I’ve been interested in making and wearing my own clothes lately, and this seems like a fun project to try my hand with.  It says EASY and it looks like it’s all just stockinette stitch?  Which I can do.  Knit, purl, knit, purl. I got this.  But the Calvin Top was supposed to be easy too, and I suppose it was, but it’s still going to look like a circus tent when I’m done with it.  In my humble opinion.

I also ordered this from Sublime Stitching because pay day, I have no children so my disposable income is all mine, life is short, etc etc.

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The saying on the pillow is “Vita Brevis Est” which translates to “Life is brief.” It’s so morbid. I love it.

What else is going on?  I’m keeping busy at work, which makes me happy.  Consulting is so stressful when there aren’t any projects to work on. I have a lot of projects right now so I feel like I have a purpose yay.  OR SOMETHING.  I had a very quick trip to Houston this week to sample one well, which was fun. I wish all my sites just required sampling one well.  My test is in six weeks and I’m freaking out.

I also enrolled in a garment making class. I mentioned I’m interested in making my own clothes, but it’s been hard to find the motivation to teach myself.  Fiancé has band practice on Saturdays so I thought it would be good to find a class during that time.  Every once in awhile I need to get myself out of my default reclusive loner introvert mode and actually socialize with people.  And learn to make something. I am taking a class in April where we are learning how to make Grainline Studio Willow tanks!

I’ve been following Grainline Studio for while on Instagram, so I’m excited to try my hand at sewing one of their patterns! Again, it’s supposed to be a beginner’s level class, but we’ll see.

Okay. I need to go be a productive member of society and show up to work and stuff. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  If you are stitching up something crafty this weekend, I’d love to hear about it!

Making Mistakes to Grow

One of my roles at work is being a safety rep.  For the next several months, I’m giving focus topic meetings on different aspects of being a safety rep since we have a lot of new safety reps in the area.  For my first focus topic yesterday, I decided to discuss the aspects I’d found most daunting about being a safety rep when I first started – like dealing with difficult project managers and people assuming that I was suddenly an OSHA expert and asking really detailed safety questions.  My area safety manager told the group that it was okay to make mistakes and encouraged people to get out there and try, even if they failed.

This maxim, that it’s okay to make mistakes, is one I constantly remind myself.  I made one that my team member gently reminded me of via email.  I was so frustrated!  I should have known better! I went home and felt better after eating my feelings and walking my dog.  But making mistakes just helps us grow, and part of working on a team is having other people holding you accountable and ground-truthing your work.

Last night, I started thinking about making mistakes in my own creative work.  I still consider myself a beginner with crafting which holds me back, because naturally, I don’t want to make mistakes. I just want to make a perfectly Instagrammable piece of art. But that inclination keeps me from trying riskier stitches because it will “look bad.”  Staying inside the box all the time can really hinder creativity, and I’ve definitely always been a rule follower. I can’t even purchase any of Keri Smith’s books, like This is Not a Book, because the idea of tearing pages from the book or destroying a page by pouring milk on it (or whatever the creative prompt actually is), is just so foreign to me. (I know! That’s supposed to be the point! BUT I CAN’T, YOU GUYS).

I’ve been working on a Studio MME Super Stitcher’s Club piece.  What I love about Megan Eckman’s work is you can stitch the piece as simply or as elaborated as you’d like.  It’s designed for stitchers who don’t like the crazy fancy stitches like French knots, but allows enough room for improvisation in case you decide to go crazy and plop a couple on there.  I’ve decided to go outside the box and play around with some extra stitches on the piece.  It’s made me uncomfortable, if I’m being honest.

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My brain is like, “STOP IT. YOUR STITCHES ARE UGLY.” But I know that I need to at least try this idea and see where it takes me.  Maybe my stitches will continue being ugly.  Or maybe I will end up with a piece I’m really proud of.  I’ll never know if I don’t try, or if I just continue doing the same back and running stitches and nothing else.

Making mistakes is a sign that you are growing and if you stumble a little, it means your path will be smoother in the future.  I proposed a risky little strategy at work several days ago and to my shock, the team decided to accept it!  There’s no way I would have had the gumption to propose it without the stumbling blocks I’ve had over the past year in this role.  And I know if I continue pushing myself with my creative projects -instead of restricting myself to the ones I already know I can do – I know I’ll continue growing in that aspect, too.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’ll be indulging in a lot of crafty time while Fiancé is at band practice.  Need to buy some flowers and plants since the one hard freeze we had this year killed all my succulents.  The house needs to be cleaned because it’s looking cluttered and I feel stressed when it’s cluttered.  I’ll need to do some yoga and maybe a run, because I haven’t run since the half-marathon and now I feel that pent-up crazy lady feeling when I haven’t been able to run in several days.  Maybe watch more of The People v. O.J. Simpson (not sure how I feel about it yet – and those fake Kardashian kids take me out of it every. single. time) and listening to a lot of this song, which is a current obsession.  See you Monday!

Easing into the New Year

I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t just dive right into my New Year’s resolutions.  Some people can, and that’s great! Go you. But I find myself getting easily discouraged if I try to do ALL THE THINGS week 1.  It’s just a recipe to burn out by week 2.  Building habits takes time, and breaking a bad habit takes even longer. What I find works best for me is to build on a habit slowly.

For example, last year I started a morning routine that I really enjoy. It consists of doing yoga right when I wake up, then making coffee and writing a little in my journal.  It didn’t start off that way though.  First, it was just coffee.  Then it was coffee and writing a little in my journal.  Then it was coffee, writing, and stretching off last night’s run.  Finally, it turned into the routine that I now really enjoy.  If I had tried doing that routine right after New Year’s, though, I don’t think I would have stuck with it at all.

So don’t beat yourself up if you’ve already slipped on your resolutions.  It’s not time to give up yet! Just give yourself time to incorporate your routine into your daily life.

Exhibit A:

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So I kind of reneged on my vow to craft from my stash, but guys.  We just discussed that it’s a process, riiiiiiight? So here’s how this downward spiral happened:  I bought the Mollie Makes Crochet book at Half Price on Saturday.  Looking through it, I found a blanket pattern I really liked. I dragged Boyfriend Fiancé to Jo-Ann on Sunday and bought all the yarn with the gift card he’d gotten me for Christmas.  I warned him that it would probably be a year until this blanket is finished.  Let’s just set those expectations real low.

I am really excited about the color palette though!  And Fiancé helped select the colors, since I figured it’d be a blanket we’d both be enjoying.

I’m at least making progress on my other makes.  Exhibit B, Pussyhat:

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I am a slow knitter so it unfortunately will be too late to ship to DC. But I’ll wear it this Saturday for the March here in Austin (if I finish it in time, etc).

And Exhibit C, the Mollie Makes Apollo dachshund:

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Have a great week everyone!  I’ll be back Wednesday with all the details on a crochet class I’m taking!

January Craft Goals

Hello my friends! We meet again.

Are you now thinking of that Creed song from fifteen years ago?  YOU’RE WELCOME!

I’m really not sure how I’m still awake. I woke up very early this morning for field work.  The field job is local, which is great!  I really enjoy being able to come home at the end of the day and unwind.  The site is in a fun location within the city, too.  It’s funny because I don’t know how many times I’ve run by that area, not even realizing we had a site there. (I get strangely dorky when I see groundwater monitoring wells while I’m not at work.  I point to them and say, “LOOK! THIS IS WHAT I DO!” and then nobody cares).

It’s been a very cozy week.  This weekend was coooooooold.  It was a perfect time to get bundled up and make things that will keep me warm.  I’m currently on a knitting frenzy. Now that I’ve made one hat, I want to make ALL HATS.

  1.  Craft Goal # 1 – Hat that probably will not fit my head

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I’m working on this pattern (stockinette stitch all the way) using Euro Baby’s Fruits and Veggies yarn.  I bought the yarn when I was in Vegas.  It is super cute.  The ball of yarn was shaped like a blueberry and the little green stem you see in the picture above was on top of it.  Like a blueberry! Get it? Unfortunately, I just made the realization (like, ten minutes ago) that the pattern was developed for a small child.  “But Jenny,” you’re thinking, “the brand is called ‘Euro Baby.’ Is that not a big enough clue that it’s for LITTLE KIDS?” And I’m like GET OFF MY BACK GUYS, IT WAS CUTE YARN, OKAY? I need to think of small children in my life who I can gift this to.  I do have a small cousin so maybe she will like it.

2.  Craft Goal #2 –  Pussyhat

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My Instagram friend Jo let me know of this really cool project going on for the Women’s March in DC.  It’s called the Pussyhat Project.  The idea is to knit enough hats for all the DC marchers to wear.  I love it!  I’m working on a hat now.  I’m not sure if I can finish it by the January 14th deadline, though.  If not, I’ll wear it to the sister march in Austin!

3.  Craft Goal #3 – Embroidery Project of Laziness

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And finally, I really need to finish an embroidery project I started back in…November.  I am really excited about this project since it’s my first design.  I just need. to. finish. it. It’s probably about another hour’s worth of work at the most.

What craft goals do you guys have for this month?