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?

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!

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!

Pretty Things

Good morning friends!

I can hardly believe it is already Wednesday, which means my test is a little over three weeks away.

::hyperventilates into paper bag::

Apollo has been a dependable study buddy, but as you can see, he’s getting a little tired of it.

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As promised, here are some beautiful things I’ve been working on lately or that have been inspiring me.

I received my package from Hawthorn Handmade this week!  This packaging is so lovely!

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I bought this cute set of cacti and succulent journals this weekend at Book People:

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I’ve been working on this pretty floral theme from Studio MME’s Super Stitchers’ Club:

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And also on last month’s Little Box of Crochet…it was designed by Attic24, which means lots of beautiful colors!

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Those colors are so scrumptious!

Speaking of scrumptious, I may or may not have used pay day as an opportunity to purchase the Scheepjes CAL Hygge kit.

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ALLEGEDLY.  ALLEGEDLY I purchased this kit in the Jewel colorway because I’ve been eyeing it for months and I probably won’t finish it until December but. BUT.  All this studying has put me in treat myself mode.

Okay, I need to work! Have a great day!

Little Box of Crochet – Peacock Pincushion

Good morning everyone!  Hope you’re having a relaxing Saturday so far.  It’s a pretty cozy morning; I’ve got a cup of coffee next to me, my planner open, and Fiancé and Apollo are snoozing next to me on the couch.  I’m going to watch a little TV and work on a project before diving back into studying.

I’m all finished with the Little Box of Crochet Peacock Pincushion and fob!  This is the July 2016 box but when I received it, I was very intimidated by the project.  I’m glad I finally decided to do it, as it’s a pretty approachable project for beginners.

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With this box you get lovely pins, a stitch marker, stickers for labeling your boxes should you decide to reuse them, and 5 balls of Scheepje Catona yarns.  I have already squee’d in a previous post over this yarn, and I am continuing to squee here.  It is such a treat to be able to work with Scheepje yarn since I can’t find that brand here in the States.  This yarn was so yummy and was a breeze to work with.  Amanda Bloom notes in her booklet that she couldn’t bear to break down the balls so she blew the month’s budget by keeping all the balls intact -Amanda, I’m so glad you did!  You should have extra yarn when you finish this project; I haven’t decided what to do with mine yet!

The pincushion and fob worked up pretty quickly and I actually didn’t lose any stitches while working in the round.  I had the most difficulty with the peacock feathers – and even those weren’t “hard,” I just was unsure of what to do with one step in the pattern.  This is probably more of my inexperience than any issue with the pattern.  Other than those minor issues, the pattern was pretty easy to follow and there are lots of pictures to guide you.

What do you think?

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I’m quite pleased with how this project has turned out. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

 

 

 

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!”