A Quick-ish Hello

Hello friends!

I just wanted to drop a quick note and say hi.  It’s been really busy over here – I’m five days out from my test, work has finally started getting really hectic again, and we’ve been planning our wedding in between.

I’ve logged 133.75 hours of studying for this Friday’s exam.  I didn’t log how many hours I studied in the spring (it can’t have been more than 60-70 hours), so I definitely feel more prepared this time around. It’s still a very broad exam and all the hours I’ve logged doesn’t guarantee I will pass. I’m just ready to get it over with. I can’t wait to come home from work and not have to spend the rest of my weekend studying.

Right after the exam, I’ve got field work at a relatively new site.  I’m pretty excited that the chances of getting stuck in mud at this site are pretty low.   Then after field work, I’m freeeeeee to do nothing on my weekends.  (Except plan for the wedding.)

I finally pinned some bridesmaids dresses for my ladies this weekend (I’m letting them choose their dresses).  Fiancé and I are taking our engagement photos on Wednesday and I am so excited. I’m getting my hair and makeup done for the shoot, which I’ve never done before.  It’s going to be a really fun study break.  I already have my wedding dress as well, so everything is slowly coming together.  My hair stylist gave me the idea of making my own veil, which is something I’m definitely going to pursue. I have zero interest in purchasing a veil that is half the cost of my dress.

I’m typing on my new laptop because yours truly dropped her old one several weekends ago and cracked the screen.  I really like it so far, and the photo editing program that comes with it is just basic enough for me to grasp.  I honestly haven’t been doing much in the craft department, other than working on a simple blanket that doesn’t require any counting. But up until a couple of weeks ago, I was working on a wreath from an old Little Box of Crochet project:

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Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough.  Time to hit the books again.

 

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Wearable Crochet – Wool and the Gang’s Calvin Top

Good morning friends!

Today I want to talk about my first experience with crochet garment making!  I made the Calvin Top from Wool and the Gang.  With this project kit, you get three balls of Billie Jean yarn in one of three colorways.  I made mine in Washed Out Denim. This yarn is made from upcycled denim waste, and works up to be really light-weight and breathable.

Voilaaaaaaa!!!

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I’m modeling a couple of different looks here.  The top is perfect for weekend wear – seeing a movie with friends, hanging out at the park, or a casual date.  I’m wearing an undershirt to illustrate how you can wear this top in a more professional setting – you can very easily swap the jeans for a skirt or khaki pants.  (Also, I don’t want all of Instagram to see my bra, since the top is kinda see-through.  SORRY NOT SORRY).

This project is fairly straightforward as it uses primarily double crochet stitches.  The pattern does a good job of walking you through the piece and for the most part, I did not struggle with any of the pattern mechanics.

What I DID struggle with was gauge.  I had made the gauge swatch as recommended, and had hovered in between two hook sizes.  I went with a larger hook but then did not continuously check my gauge as I moved forward with the project.  This resulted in my needing to order another ball of yarn when I was so close to finishing the project.  That was a frustrating lesson to take my gauge more seriously.

I was also in the phase of stubbornly not counting my stitches when I worked up this piece.  It did look wonky at some parts but luckily the effect was hidden when I sewed the top pieces together.  It goes without saying that I should have been counting my stitches instead of just being like, “Whatever, it’ll work itself out.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I made a slight modification to the pattern – it has a little cord/tie at the bottom. I wasn’t feeling it, so I left it out.  The top is also little shorter than I would prefer.; if I would make this top again, I’d make it a little longer.  But overall, I’m really happy with the piece.  I was so happy to finish my first crocheted garment!

On a slightly unrelated note, I still struggle not to burst into laughter when modeling the “trying to remember if I made a doctor’s appointment” pose that is so popular on Instagram right now.  “Just be yourself,” Fiancé said as he snapped photos.

So I did this*:

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“…maybe be less of yourself,” he responded.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this many pictures of myself on this blog.  I am feeling slightly narcissistic and I should probably stop now.  Until next time!

*When I was in high school, I was taking a group photo with the rest of my Academic Decathlon team after a competition.** The photographer told my team to be silly.  I made this exact same pose and covered up everyone else’s face in the photo.

** Yes, I was in Academic Decathlon. ***

*** It probably all makes sense now, right?

Little Box of Crochet – Darling Little Duck Project Review

Happy Saturday, friends!  Today I want to show you a Little Box of Crochet project that I recently finished (and by recently, I mean an hour ago).

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This little duck looks really world weary, doesn’t he? He’s BEEN THROUGH A LOT, OK?

This fun little project was designed by Anisbee Anisbee  using Three Bears Yarn.

Let’s peek inside this box, which was released this past July to all subscribers.  (So I’m only two months behind, cool).

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Let’s open it up…

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With this project, you get an encouraging postcard from Nicola Rowlands, a pen and notebook, your hook and project yarn, and a stitch marker from Koro Clay Studio.  You also get a little bit of stuffing for your duck, but if you don’t have any on hand, I’d suggest you purchase some.  The stuffing included in the box is just enough to get you started, but won’t be enough to fill the entire duck (which makes sense – there’s no way to fit all that stuffing in one box!)

The yarn is soft and easy to work with.

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I moved along with the project pretty quickly at first.  This was my first large-scale amigurumi project but the pattern was easy to follow.

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He looks like a little bowling pin here.

I was moving along swimmingly until I got to the part where I had to make his little feet.  I thought, “This looks challenging” and put the project away for about a month.

Finally I felt guilty and started assembling the feet.  It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought, but I think a couple of photos to guide me through the process would have made me feel a little better about making them!

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I finally finished the feet last night.  I definitely miscounted on one of them, and they look a little wonky overall (don’t tell Ducky.  He’s a little touchy about his feet, ok?)

This morning I sewed on his little feet, beak, and created his eyes.

Voilaaaaaaa!

 

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This sweet little guy is all complete!  There are also some bonus projects if you’d like to use up your extra yarn, like a garland or finger puppet.

For anyone wanting to wade into the world of amigurumi, this is a great box to get started with!

Little Box of Crochet – Crochet Mug Cozy Project Review

Hello friends!

The weather in Texas actually…dare I say it?  Feels like fall?  I’m almost afraid to make that proclamation, because usually once I feel really happy about cooler weather, the temperature will jump back up into the 90s.   I am now able to go for a run without feeling like I would get a heat stroke, and I’ve already dug out my boots.  Fall is my favorite season!

Today I wanted to share a review of Little Box of Crochet’s February project, Crochet Mug Cozies.  This pattern was put together by Attic24, so I was really excited for this box. If you don’t follow Attic24’s work, her projects are all studies in color and they are marvelous.

This completed project has been waiting for a review for quite some time now.  I was working on it during my first test attempt in the spring.  Several weeks before the test, I was in this dark mood where I would stay up past midnight watching Forensic Files and working on this project. ??? I don’t know why I was going down that hole of darkness, but at least I was able to get this project finished that way.

Let’s take a look at the box, shall we?

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Already it’s mega-colorful!  Now to open the box…

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With this box you get a beautiful pin and some really fun crochet stickers.

Just look at all that yarn!

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This project’s yarn is from Yarn and Colors.   The yarn was beautiful and really easy to work with.

Let’s meet the mugs who will be modeling my finished projects, shall we?

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Fiancé’s “Let the F=ma be with you” cup (GET IT?!) and this cute ass cup:

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(This has nothing to do with crochet, but the inside of the mug is just as cute. Check it:)

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I have another mug that says, “How ewe doing?”

ANYWAY.  And here they are completed, voilaaaaa!

I’m really pleased with the finished results!  The colors work beautifully together and are so bright and cheery.  In terms of difficulty, this is completely accessible to a beginner.  I’m still learning how to work in the round so you can see that my leaves and flowers are just a little wonky. But nearly everything is in single crochet (double crochet for any UK readers), and the pattern was pretty simple and easy to follow.

I will admit that I am very lazy when it comes to doing extra work with crochet.  I just now started counting my stitches after having to frog rows too many times.  The pattern suggests you try your cozy on your favorite mug after completing your first row to make sure it fits.  Nahhhh I thought, it’ll be fine.

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The cute ass sheep mug may or may not have had tape on the back of it to make the cozy fit.  

Overall, this was a fun and simple project, and I had a lot of fun making it.  And now that the weather is getting cooler again, it’s the perfect opportunity to use them!

An Update: Caverning, Adulting, and Some Crafting

Hello everyone!

I’m still struggling with finding a good update schedule for this little blog as I delve deeper into test mode (now less than two months away, gulp).  After doing yoga this morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and here I am.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that progress and improvement happens slowly.  I’m not going to build an amazing blog overnight, just as I am not going to become a super strong runner or indispensable employee in just a couple of days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past week:

  1.  CAVERNS

This weekend, Fiancé and several of our friends visited the Natural Bridge Caverns in New Braunfels.  It’s one of those things I’ve wanted to do for so long but had never set aside some time to do.  It was so awesome!  We took the Hidden Passages tour and went 180 feet underground to explore the caverns.  We got to sit in total darkness for several minutes, which was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  I couldn’t even see my hand when I held it out in front of me.

Confession time – the more our guide told us not to touch the cavern walls and stalagmites,  THE MORE I WANTED TO (but didn’t.  Because I respect nature, etc. Also I did not want a 3rd degree felony on my record).

2.  Books (for fun)

I took a break from studying and blazed through this book over the weekend: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

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It was okay.  It was pretty predictable, and wasn’t as scary as Reese Witherspoon’s cover quote promised (actually, it wasn’t scary at all).  In terms of atmospheric thrillers, it doesn’t even come close to someone like Tana French.  But it was a fun, quick read, and something to add to my Goodreads tally, which has been sorely neglected for the most part.

3.  Adulting (the Front Yard Edition)

Confession time # 2 – I am a terrible gardener.  TERRIBLE.  My gardening methods are like so:  purchase 15 plants from Home Depot, come home, stare at the plants, think, “Man, that’s gonna be a lot of work,” leave the plants in their containers for two weeks, finally plant them out of guilt, and then let the garden become its own version of Lord of the Flies.

This time I was determined not to let the plants die, and to not overwhelm ourselves with gardening for more than 20 minutes.  Our front yard needed some TLC, so I decided that we would only buy 3-4 plants max.

Voilaaaaa!

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Yayyy! So pretty!

Please don’t die, plants!

4.  Crafting

I’ve been in a major crochet mood lately, digging out a blanket that I had started during the spring during the first exam attempt.

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The colors I selected are very cozy, and as the weather gets (slightly) cooler here in Texas, I am feeling more inspired to dig out the long-term projects again.

I’m also catching up with a Little Box of Crochet project from last fall.  I am making a wreath.  Here’s the beginning of a leaf:

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I hope wherever you are, you are keeping cozy!  Talk to you soon!

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!

Rapid Fire Picture Post Time

Hey guys! I hope all is well.  Things are good here, studying has taken over my life, etc etc.

PICTURE TIME.

So I’ve been able to work on my Little Box of Crochet March project…I have one mug cozy completed. I just have to block it, which I’ve been too lazy to do.  Blocking and gauge swatches – who has time for that? (I know, I know, these are important elements, just let me ask my rhetorical questions.)

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I’m now working on the second cozy, which has pretty flowers:

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I’ve also been working on my embroidery project from Studio MME:

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But most importantly, I can confirm that, yes, I did order the Scheepjes Hygge CAL kit in Jewel because it arrived today! Look, look, look:

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Squeeeeee!

Ok, I’m going to unwind by working on my projects!  I hope you had a great Monday. Let me know what you’ve been working on!