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!

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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!

The Importance of Taking Time Outs

I’m the kind of person who thrives on discipline and routine.  Otherwise, I don’t have motivation to complete my goals.  There are many times I don’t really feel like running, for example, but I know I’ll feel really guilty if I don’t.  And so I run.  Or cleaning my house.  I’m never, like, “YAYYY I CAN’T WAIT TO MOP!” but I get stressed when my house isn’t clean.  And so on Sundays, I do all my weekly cleaning chores.

Theoretically, there are many things I’d still  like to accomplish with my life.  I make it sound like I’m getting into my twilight years – I’m 33 and that’s still relatively young.  But there’s only so many activities we can devote time to until we feel overworked.  Getting my Professional Engineer’s license and project management certification are tangible, responsible things I’m working on now.  But if we’re talking theoretically – I’d like to be published (maybe a book of poetry); learn guitar well enough to release a self-recorded EP of songs (but not those overwrought covers that are suddenly trendy because I think we can all agree that those are officially The Worst); be fluent in Italian and French; be a craft designer and blogger; qualify for and run the Boston marathon (!); be a studio drummer.  What else?  If we’re getting really fantastical, have a dachshund farm and sheep farm (for my own line of home-dyed yarn, duh!). And throw raising a couple of kids in there.

But since I can’t do ALL THE THINGS, I choose some of the things.  A handful of the things.  Really just three things.  Right now I’m focusing on work, studying, and running.  I wake up, do yoga, go running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, come home, eat dinner, study for an hour and a half, then go to sleep.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

But yesterday I just felt so exhausted.  I’ve been trying to increase my running distance and in this heat, it’s just taxing on my body. I felt bleary-eyed at work all day and didn’t feel any kind of  motivation to do much of anything, other than wanting to fall asleep.  My routine was catching up with me and I couldn’t motivate myself to come home and study.  So instead I made a nice dinner with Fiancé, we walked our dog and then I did NOTHING! It was great! No studying.  No reading serious articles about North Korea and our increasingly unstable president on the internet.  Instead I read about the real issues, like WHY DID ANNA FARIS AND CHRIS PRATT BREAK UP? and ARE ANGELINA JOLIE AND BRAD PITT EVER RECONCILING?

I fell asleep before Colbert came on and just slept all night. It was great.  I woke up this morning and instead of doing yoga, I typed out this blog post with a cup of coffee and belligerent dog by my side (he’s upset about the unknown entity in the chimney. Let’s give him some space).

Goal-setting, keeping a routine, and having discipline are all crucial elements to accomplishing what’s on your constant to-do list.  But sometimes if you don’t listen to your body, you’ll burn out.  By taking a break from my routine, I feel refreshed and motivated to start my day.  Sometimes a quick little break is just as important when it comes to meeting your goals.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to work and stuff.

Where I’ve Been

HELLO MY FRIENDS WE MEET UUUUUUGAIN!

I nearly upgraded my site just so I could post that Creed video and you all could judge accordingly, but it’s kind of pricey to upgrade so I’m just going to trust that you all click the link and shake your heads.

So.

How’s it going?

It’s been over three months since I posted and I’ve been missing this little blog.  I’ve been keeping pretty busy, but to keep from boring everyone I will just focus on the highlights.

TEST

After my last post, I succumbed to “obsessively check and wait for results” mode, which was awful. Waiting is the worst!  I finally received results in late May and, like I expected, I did not pass.  It was pretty disappointing.  But the difference between my score and the passing score was in the single digits…so…I am not far.  The next test is October 27th, and I have already started studying. I will pass this time!  I NEED TO PASS THIS TIME.  The next test after the October one is April 2018, which is when I’m getting married, which is a big NOPE.

TRAVEL

Another thing I started focusing on after my test was scrubbing up my admittedly weak Italian.  My family and I had a trip planned in June.  It was probably late May where I realized I wasn’t going to learn 32 years worth of Italian in a month, so I relaxed a little bit.

I will need to do an entire post on Italy but it was a pretty great trip.  We were there for two weeks and I was able to see my family, who I hadn’t seen in so long! My Italian was still bad, but I learned a lot being immersed over there.

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Selfie in Positano

Work

As one of my aunts says, “Lavoro é lavoro” (work is work), but I’ve been enjoying it.  Lots of reports to keep me busy. I really enjoy the projects where I get to dig deeply into the data (because I’m a nerd), but projects involving a lot of data can always be stressful because you want your analysis to be perfection.  I was also in the field for two weeks this month at a couple of my sites.  Guys. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years so I’m used to this heat – or I thought?  But one week was just so bad!  I’m so glad August is crunch time at the office and I have an excuse to be in the AC.

I do have one funny story – a gate wasn’t closed properly at my site, so we arrived the next morning to find a bunch of cows who had decided to make a visit.

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Just a small sampling of the cows at the site.

 

That was a call I wasn’t looking forward to making to my project manager.  He said we needed to herd them off-site.  “I…um…is there a way you recommend herding them?” I asked.  He told us to make lots of noise.  So I started running at the cows wildly, waving my arms and yelling “SHOOOOOO!” while my coworker jumped in his vehicle and started honking at the cows.  We were able to get the cows off-site and back to their proper home in ten minutes, which exceeded my expectations.  I can now add Jenny: Cow Herder to my resume.

CRAFTS

I want to post a couple of pictures of things I’ve either worked on or finished. I finished a couple of other neat pieces, but I want to spend more time on those posts.

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Fun sashiko-inspired piece from Studio MME

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Another Studio MME piece. I finished this one in Italy – this is my aunt’s table, isn’t it beautiful?

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Fun amigurumi piece from Little Box of Crochet

Wedding

We’re actually getting a lot done.  Booked a photographer (NOT the guy who told me, “I’m a hugger, deal with it” and openly admitted to google stalking the both of us – good lord), finding a caterer, and narrowing down on a baker and officiant.  Fiancé has been really helpful and taken the lead on a lot of the vendors.  Go Fiancé!  Planning is making this wedding less of this nebulous event and something real and tangible.  I’m getting really excited!

Alrighty, I need to get ready for work, but I will be back soon! I have been toying around with ideas for this little blog and hopefully we’ll have some fun in the process!

I’m Back!

HEY GUYS!!!!

I’m back!  My test is done!  It was on Friday.  It’s a pretty intense experience – 8 hours of testing, 100 questions. It was open-book and you can bring in whatever references you want.  It was pretty wild to see everyone wheeling around their carry-on bags full of books (myself included).  I actually had someone at work tell me I was lucky it was open book, like somehow this made everything easier.  FOR REAL?  That only means that they can test you on pretty much anything.  Doesn’t anyone remember how much harder the open book exams were in school? The failure rate for the environmental exam hovers around 40%. Good times!

So how did it go?  It suuuuucked. I’m pretty sure that I failed and will be retaking the test in October.  There were just too many questions where I was like, “Cool, just gonna bubble in ‘A'” for me to feel good about passing.  But honestly, I’m so elated that it’s over with that I don’t even care that I probably failed it.  There are worse things in life than potentially failing a test.  I am just really happy that I tried.  Now time to wait 8-10 weeks for the results.

And I just have to give a shout out to my family and my fiancé for all their support! They were amazing!

But for real, I don’t know what to do with all this free time and these songs encapsulate my feelings.  And if you clicked on those links, YOU’RE WELCOME.*

Anyway, my Willow Tank is done!! Lookit!

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This was my very first time making a shirt.  It was pretty intimidating but my teacher did a good job of stepping us through the process.  It was also my first time sewing darts.  My darts are really wonky and apparently sewing in a straight line is still a difficulty for me.  But I’m so happy it’s done! I finished sewing the bias tape to one of the armholes and collar this evening since we ran out of time in class.

I must admit I tried really hard to do the “thoughtfully contemplating my shopping list” pose that everyone on Instagram seems to do when modeling their makes.  You can tell I’m trying really hard not to laugh in the photo above!  Fiancé took the photos of me and I had to explain to him why I was staring at the ground like this:

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I hope you all had a great weekend!  Please catch me up on all the crafty things you’ve been doing.  I’m glad to be back.  Talk to you all soon!

* I don’t even like this song all that much, but I just can’t help belting out the chorus from time to time.  THIS IS MY TRUTH.

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!