I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to adjust the line spacing for my posts in Blogger. I have problems with Blogger taking out and putting in lines between sentences. I usually type my posts in Microsoft Word, give them 1.5 inch line spacing, then copy and paste them into Blogger. Sometimes the spacing stays the same, but a lot of times, especially with long posts, Blogger will change some of the paragraphs to single-spaced. It's so frustrating! I have no idea what to do to keep that from happening. Also, if you've noticed, the picture on my blog header has been looking funny lately. I had it centered neatly within the box, but then about a week ago, Blogger made some changes to their software, and now I can't get the photo to line up right. I'm still trying to figure out what to do to get it to look right. Any suggestions? I have no HTML experience, so I need dumbed-down help, LOL!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Well, now that Christmas is over, I have some finished crochet projects and gifts to show! My husband and kids and I went to one of my older sister’s house on Christmas Eve. My kids had a lot of fun playing with their cousins, and getting gifts. There’s 12 kids in the family (soon to be 13), and all of the aunts and uncles used to buy gifts for each kid, but now that there’s so many, it’s gotten too expensive, so we drew names this year. My daughter got a scooter from my older brother and his wife, and my son got a Lightning McQueen (from the Cars movie) lamp and a Cars puzzle from one of my sisters. They were both thrilled with their gifts.
I made a few more small things for my brother and his wife, who’s pregnant and due in January. The first is a bib crocheted from Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in the Lake and Almond colors. I found the pattern on Ravelry – it’s a free pattern from the Bernat website. I found the pattern for the star online too, but now I can’t remember the website. The pattern for the bib called for half double crochet, but I did it in single crochet instead, so the bib would provide better protection from spills.
My kids were happy with their gifts from “Santa” too. Surprisingly my daughter still believes in Santa, even though she’s almost 10. I imagine by next Christmas she might have figured it out. My son was thrilled because he got a lot of Veggie Tales, pirates, and Disney Cars stuff. My daughter liked all her gifts, especially the Webkinz border collie she received. She and her girl cousins and most of her girl classmates are crazy about Webkinz. She was a little disappointed though because she didn’t get the Game Boy she wanted. She had been asking for a Game Boy for about a year, and my husband and I aren’t too big on video games – we figure she already spends enough time playing computer games, but she never asks for anything expensive, so we decided to get her a Game Boy for Christmas.
Yesterday was my birthday! Yes, I’m a very old 34! I feel old anyway – my kids are wearing me out (and I have the gray hairs to show it – got to keep covering them up with the red hair dye)! My husband and kids and I went out to eat, and that night after the kids were in bed, my husband and I watched "Spider Man 3". Both of us love superhero stuff (we love the Justice League cartoons on Cartoon Network), and I had been waiting to see Spider Man 3 for the longest time. We didn't have a chance to see it when it was at the movies, and when it came to video, our local video store was always out. It finally came on Pay Per View, so I finally got to see it. This was my favorite of the Spider Man movies. Some of the action scenes were shot in downtown Cleveland, not too far from my job, so it was interesting trying to spot a glimpse of Cleveland in the movie.
Overall, it was a nice Christmas and birthday, but I’m glad it’s over. I don’t look forward to the snow and cold every year around this time (although surprisingly we had no snow on Christmas), or the huge expense of Christmas gifts. I also miss my dad a lot this time of year – he passed away a few years ago. I’ve been off from work since 23rd – I work for the national offices of a religious denomination, so they shut down the offices from the 24th through January 1st. and glad not to have to get up early every morning to rush to get the kids to daycare and school and myself to work. My daughter went to an American Girl-themed New Years’ Eve party at this local Henn Mansion today. A lot of her friends from school were there as well, and the mom of one of her friends invited my daughter a bunch of other girls over, so my daughter is at her friend’s house right now. My son is taking a nap, so I actually had some quiet time to blog! I hope everyone had a nice Christmas, and I wish everyone a happy New Years’ too!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I have a few more crochet projects to show. The first is a basket I crocheted for my daughter’s room. I saw some of these on Ravelry, and loved them, so I had to make one myself. I got the pattern for free on Ravelry as a PDF file, but couldn’t find it elsewhere online. If anyone wants the pattern, I can email you the PDF file. For the basket, I used two skeins of Sugar N’ Cream Twists in the “Summer Twists” color, that I got for $1.37 each at a local craft store, Pat Catan's. Sure beats the $1.99 Joann’s charges it for it online.
I used an F hook instead of the recommended E, because I crochet tightly, but after assembling the basket, I realized I should have used the E, to make the basket stiffer. I sprayed the basket with several coats of a fabric stiffening spray, and that helped, but it’s still not as stiff as I would like. I added a shell stitch trim to make the basket more interesting. It was an easy pattern, but all the rows of single crochet with a small hook made it really tedious, not to mention making my right wrist and hand sore. The third photo is of my daughter’s hamster, Chester, who she put in the basket. Needless to say, he wasn’t too happy, LOL!
My son saw the basket, asked if I crocheted it, then picked it up, and said it will be perfect for carrying his cars (he has a ton of little Hotwheels cars, and cars from the Disney Cars movie). When I told him the basket was for Sissy (my daughter – he’s called her Sissy ever since he learned how to talk), he got upset. I told him I’ll make him one too, in “boy colors”. I feel bad that I don’t crochet as many things as I do for my daughter, but there’s so few crochet patterns for boys his age (he’s almost 5). I did start working on a “blankie” for him a while ago though.
When I first learned how to crochet, I made him a small blanket out of Lion Brand Jiffy yarn, and he takes it to daycare with him for nap time, but the blanket has gotten so fuzzy and worn looking (the yarn didn’t hold up well), and after he saw a granny square blanket I started for my daughter, he wanted me to make him a second blanket. I had tried to crochet a ripple blanket awhile ago, but the pattern called for skipping spaces, and for some reason I couldn’t get the holes in each row created by the skipped spaces to line up, so I gave up on ripples. I was really disappointed until I found this super-easy ripple baby blanket pattern in Crochet Today magazine. The “valleys” in the ripples are created by decreases, rather than skipping stitches, which for some reason, I just find easier. I started my son’s blanket about a month or two ago, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out.
I’m using TLC Essentials in Barn Red, Light Celery, Country Blue, and Linen. I kind of wish now that I had used a yellow color instead of the tan, because I think the tan looks rather dull. I don’t feel like redoing the blanket now though since I’ve gotten so much done. The TLC Essentials is cheap, and has a lot of yardage, but I’m disappointed about how rough it feels to me. I ordered it from Joann.com, and all the reviews raved about it, and said it’s a soft yarn, so I assumed it would be soft, but it’s not. I’m hoping it will soften up once I wash and dry it with fabric softener.
I haven’t been working on the blanket a whole lot lately though, because I get most of my crocheting done on the bus to and from work, and the blanket is getting too large to work on comfortably on the bus. The local bus system here in the Cleveland area just cut out a bunch of busses from the routes I regularly ride, and now the busses are so crowded that a lot of times I can’t crochet (don’t want to bump anyone with my elbows!) or can only work on something small. Every time my son sees the blanket, he asks me if it’s done, and gets upset when I tell him not yet, so I need to get started on it again.
The one thing I would love to crochet for my son, but can’t find a pattern I like anywhere, is a vest. I just want a pattern for a simple, crocheted, v-neck boy’s size 4 or 5 vest, with no buttons, or zippers, or elaborate stitches. Sounds simple enough, but I can’t find one anywhere. I’ve tried Googling, asking on Ravelry, on Crochet Partners, on Crochetville, looking at patterns on yarn company websites, looking in my collection of crochet books, everywhere I could think of with no luck. I’d even be happy with a girl’s vest pattern (because I could change the color), but no luck for that either. I wish I had more crocheting experience so I could just design my own.
Well, my last thing to show is a picture of my daughter’s Christmas band concert last Wednesday evening at her school. She plays flute in the beginning band, which are mostly 4th graders with a handful of 5th graders. The band must be pretty popular, because my daughter said all of the kids in her 4th grade class are in the band except for about two. She’s the one in the middle with the big puffy ponytail, and the burgundy top and skirt. My husband comes from a very musical family – all his brothers play instruments, and my husband was in several marching bands through junior high and high school. He can read music, and also play by ear, and can play the piano, trumpet, and drums. I’m trying to convince him to buy a trumpet so he can play along with our daughter, LOL! He was happy then when my daughter announced that she wanted to join the school band, and luckily he helps her practice, because I can’t read music.
My daughter did well in the concert. I’m proud of her for going right up there on the stage and playing even though she was nervous. The concert was very nice. A few kids in the advanced band (grades 5 through 8) did solos, and they were all really good. I told my daughter if she sticks with the flute, I’ll buy her a pink flute case (she just has a black one now). I’ve actually seen pink flutes, but at $300+, forget it! Her used flute alone cost $140 with the flute, case, cleaning kit, etc. Between that and the $600 a year the band program costs, I’m going to make sure she sticks it out!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Joann.com is having a great sweepstakes for knitters and crocheters. Here’s the info:
THREE GRAND PRIZE WINNERS
Ultimate Yarn Package (Retail value over $350)
Create fabulous scarves, hats, blankets and more with this complete knitting and crochet gift package from Lion Brand®. Three Grand Prize winners will receive an Ultimate Yarn Gift Package valued at over $350 including an array of beautiful colors of your favorite Lion Brand® Yarns. Also included are knitting needles, crochet hooks, and an ultimate tote bag. (Contents may vary from picture shown.).
Wouldn’t that be an awesome prize?! Go on over to Joann.com to enter.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I decided to sign up for a crochet swap on Crochetaholic’s Swap Blog.
As part of the sign-up, I have to post and answer the following questions on my blog, so here goes!
•My favorite colors... My favorite color is pink (all shades!), but I also like lavender, peach, coral, aqua blue, mint green, and red and burgundy shades. I'm not too fond of purple, bright yellow, or neutrals.
•My hobbies... Does eating chocolate count as a hobby? LOL! Seriously though, my hobbies are crochet, loom knitting (rarely though since I learned how to crochet), painting and stenciling wood items, and reading (crochet books/magazines and nonfiction about urban/social issues). I’ve only been crocheting since March, so I can’t do anything beyond beginner/advanced beginner type patterns yet (darn!). I also enjoy gardening.
•My kitchen theme and colors... A red & white 1950’s diner theme. I have a laminate-topped, chrome bottom 50’s look kitchen table with red & white vinyl covered chairs and cute red & white gingham curtains to match! I love 50’s stuff!
•My bathroom theme and colors... A dusty blue, yellow, and white rubber duck theme.
•My dislikes... Scratchy yarn (I can’t use that Red Heart Super Saver – too rough)! I also have a really difficult time crocheting with fluffy, furry, novelty yarns. I love them, but just can’t see my stitches in the yarn. I also dislike the "Boye" type crochet hooks - I find that they snag in my stitches. I prefer the "Bates" type hooks.
•What I like... I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate! I don’t drink tea or coffee, but I love hot chocolate. I love Italian and Mexican food. My favorite season is spring, and my favorite holiday is Easter. My favorite flower is pansies, but I also love all spring flowers (tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths). I love old houses and historic architecture. I'm a true crime stories and history buff. I love jazz music. I always carry a lip balm with me (I have lip balms stashed in my purse, in my desk at work, around my house, etc), because my lips are constantly dry. My husband claims it's all in my head, but that's not true - they really are dry!
•My allergies... None, although I have a colon disease, diverticulitis, and have had two major surgeries to repair my colon after it ruptured from the disease, so I’m forever forbidden from eating nuts, popcorn, or seeds…sigh!
•My favorite pets... Cats!
•My favorite scents... Rose, lavender, lilac, chamomile, cotton/linen (yes, I know, cotton and linen don't actually have scents, but there's candles, lotion, etc. with those "scents", LOL!), baby powder, vanilla-y birthday cake scent.
•Other stuff about me... I work full-time, am a part-time grad student, and am a married mom of two kids.
I’m really looking forward to the swaps! Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
OK, this isn’t a crochet post, but I just had to share a link to these. I think they’re just TOO cute, and the description is pretty funny too! Based on the description, yes, I think I need some of these a**-kicking shoes to defend myself against the myriad perverts in downtown Cleveland, where I work, LOL! They’re for sale at this little boutique called Shoparooni, that opened in the North Collinwood neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland.
I grew up about half a mile from this store, and my mom and brother still live in the house I grew up in. The neighborhood was always a working-class one, and over the years has become lower-income, but funny to me, a fair amount of trendy art galleries, shops, and restaurants are starting to pop up in the neighborhood. I guess I just find it funny because the area was so blue-collar when I was growing up, definitely not a magnet for any $50 a bottle wine-sipping, art-gallery hopping types. I’m glad to see the area picking up though, because over the past decade, it’s suffered from a lot of vacant buildings and houses, and an increasing crime rate.
Back to the shoes though, if you like retro stuff (I love 1950’s things – my kitchen is decorated in a 50’s diner theme!), check them out! There’s a lot of other cute and unusual things for sale on this website and in the store too, and you can even shop by price – “Strapped”, “Budgeteer”, “Payday” and “Big Spender”, LOL!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Soften the World Simply Soft Sweepstakes
Help soften the world by entering the Soften the World Simply Soft Sweepstakes. All stitched sections will be donated to “Warm Up America!”
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Most everyone in the group hit it off really well, so the second-last day of the cruise, the group members all exchanged addresses and phone numbers. A few weeks after I got home, I received a letter from Latanya. She had seen an article I wrote, that was published in Interrace, recognized my name, and wrote to ask if I was the author. That letter became the start of a wonderful friendship that has endured for 11 years, despite our living 1,200 miles apart, and keeping in touch solely through letters, emails, and the occasional phone call. Latanya is like an old soul who is wise beyond her years, and she has helped me through many a tough time in my life over the years. Her friendship has truly been a blessing in my life.
Every year without fail Latanya has sent me amazing birthday and Christmas presents that I unfortunately have never been able to adequately reciprocate for (although Latanya never complains). I wanted to give her something special for Christmas this year, and I hope these gifts measure up. Latanya loves pink as much as I do (I still have my pink baby blanket that my Dad brought me home from the hospital in as a newborn, and it’s my most prized possession!), so of course, all the gifts are pink!
I photographed the scarf on this lovely built-in wood cabinet in the downstairs hallway of my 1949 Cleveland-area bungalow. Here’s another shot of it so you can see my Cherished Teddies (Enesco bear figurines) collection, which I started when I was teenager, and which has been so graciously supplemented over the years through gifts from my Dad (who unfortunately passed away a few years ago), one brother, one sister, and my husband.
The next Christmas present is a bath puff for my boss, crocheted in Lily Sugar N’ Cream in the Over the Rainbow color (and hanging from my Christmas tree for photo purposes!). I found the pattern for the puff here.
It was a fun, fast pattern. I started it on the bus on the way to work this morning, and finished it up earlier this evening. I bought a set of various fruit-scented hand creams, and a soy lotion candle (very cool – you burn the candle, then it melts into a lotion) in a yummy citrus coconut scent to go along with it.
Finally, I have a crocheted cloche and scarf for a coworker, done in a wonderfully soft, discontinued TLC Cara Mia yarn, that I picked up for a bargain on EBay. It’s an acrylic, wool, nylon, angora blend, in shades of tan and cream, and was so nice to work with! I’ve bought every color of it I could find on EBay, and have been scouring EBay for more. I found the pattern for the hat here.
The pattern called for a chunky weight yarn, and a K hook, but the Cara Mia is a worsted weight, so I used an I hook, and played around with the pattern until I got the hat the right size. I ended up redoing the hat at least 3 times before I got it to come out right. The trim on the hat is Paton’s merino in a chocolate brown color. The scarf was simple – just half double crochets with a shell-stitch border. I gave it to my coworker today, and was trying not to get into the present until Christmas, but her curiosity got the best of her, and she opened it, and loved it!
Now that the Christmas gifts are done, I can start working on some other projects for upcoming occasions. My daughter’s 10th birthday is in January, so I’m going to attempt to make her a crocheted cupcake pillow (as a surprise). I’m also finishing up a bib for my sister-in-law’s soon to be born baby, plus I have plans for a hat and booties for her as well. My mother’s birthday is coming up in February, and she’s been asking me to crochet her a poncho for the longest time, so I need to get started on that as well. Too many projects I want to do and not enough time to crochet!
My daughter is spending the night at her aunt’s house (my oldest sister), so with just one kid at home (my son), I actually had a nice, quiet evening, with some crocheting time! I love my kids, but they wear me out when they’re together! They are 5 years apart in age, and of different genders, so they don’t always get along so well. I know they love each other though – my son usually whines for his “Sissy” when she’s not home, and more than once I’ve seen them sitting quietly together on the couch snuggled up together under a blanket, watching TV. To be honest, I was not really planning on having any more kids after I had my daughter, and if I didn’t get pregnant with my son when I did, I don’t think I would have had any more, Now that I have him though, I’m thankful that my daughter has a sibling to grow up with. I grew up with my five brothers and sisters, and quite often they drove me crazy, and I often wondered what it would be like to be an only child, instead of being crammed in a tiny house with only one bathroom, and no privacy, but as an adult, I’m thankful for the friendship and camaraderie of having so many brothers and sisters.
I don’t know if I’ll have any more blog posts between now and Christmas, so if not, have a wonderful Christmas! Or Kwanzaa or Hanukah!
Saturday, December 8, 2007
…with Ravelry! I got my invitation to join on Friday, and now I can’t stay off it! I used to waste so much time searching online for photos of projects completed with particular yarns (to see how the yarn actually looks worked up), but now I can just go to Ravelry, type in the name of a yarn, and see photos of projects done with that yarn! How awesome is that?! I also love that I can narrow projects down by knit or crochet, because some yarns (like self-striping or multicolored yarns) look different crocheted than they do knitted. I’m also thrilled that I can swap and buy yarn through Ravelry – now I can buy some discontinued Lion Brand Cotton-Ease colors that I’ve been itching to get my hands on, but can’t buy on EBay without getting outbid! I don’t have any projects posted on Ravelry yet, but if you want to stop by and say hello, my Ravelry name is redhairedlady (of course!).
Posted by Laura at 9:04 PM
Friday, December 7, 2007
My 19 year old nephew (my oldest brother’s son) joined the Air Force recently. He’s stationed in San Antonio right now (my husband grew up there, and says it's a gorgeous city!). My brother, who is in the Navy Reserves told me how much military personnel love receiving mail and packages, so it made me start thinking about possibly participating in some kind of donation program for the troops. Just today I read an article about this organization, The Ships Project, in an email newsletter I got from Creative Knitting magazine. This group collects crocheted, needle knitted (no loom knitted items), or sewn, hats and slippers for American troops stationed overseas. I think it sounds like a good cause, and also a good way to use up stash yarn. I have two almost full skeins of super soft Bernat Satin in red and black left over from another crochet project, and I’ve wanted to use it up, but couldn’t think of anything to do with it. I think I’ll use it to crochet a hat to donate.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Well, I received 57 votes on my baby bunting color poll, and the majority (36%) chose the lavender and white color combination, so those are the colors I’m going to use. Thank you to everyone who voted! I decided to use a new yarn from Coats & Clark – TLC Sparkle Soft. I had decided not to buy any more yarn before Christmas, because I need to save money for Christmas gifts, but I listed a leather jacket that I don't wear anymore for sale on Ebay, and if it sells, I think I’ll use the money from that to buy the yarn for the bunting. I need to get started on it soon, because my sister-in-law’s baby is due January 17th, and I wanted give her the bunting right after the baby is born, which doesn’t give me a whole lot of time. I have Christmas week off from work (one of the nice things about working for a church), so hopefully I can get started on it then.
I got the January/February issue of Crochet Today magazine in the mail yesterday (you can see how I’ve gotten it worn out already!), and I’m so excited, because it has a whole section on one of my favorite crochet things – granny squares! There’s a lot of cute granny square projects, and information on crocheting grannies in other shapes besides squares. I tried it out and made a (slightly lopsided) granny triangle!
My youngest sister is getting married next May (I’m going to be the maid of honor, my daughter is going to be a junior bridesmaid, and my son is going to be the ring bearer). I want to crochet her a wedding shawl (as May weather is so variable here in Cleveland), for a bridal shower gift, but was having trouble finding a fancy, but easy pattern. My problem was solved when I read in the article that a triangular granny could be worked until it reaches shawl size! I’m thinking now that I’ll make my sister a triangular granny shawl with a lacy border. Her wedding dress is ivory with periwinkle accents, and her wedding flowers are going to be periwinkle and lavender hydrangeas. Knit Picks has a sport-weight cotton blend yarn (Shine Sport), in what looks like the same shade of blue on her dress, that’s very appropriately named “Hydrangea”. I think I’m going to use that for the shawl. Here are some pictures of the dress (click on the Knit Picks link to see the yarn) – I think the colors are pretty close.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
A few months ago, I checked out Kim Werker's crochet book, ”Get Hooked: Simple Steps to Crochet Cook Stuff, and really liked it. When her follow-up book, "Get Hooked Again: Simple Steps to Crochet More Cool Stuff" came out, I put a request hold on it, but the library hasn't even gotten any copies in yet, so I broke down and bought a copy from Amazon.com.
The book is geared towards teenagers, but even though I'm in my thirties, I still really liked it. The first half of the book is crochet instructions, covering hook size, types of hooks, yarn types, reading yarn labels, reading patterns, felting crocheted items, making a gauge swatch, the four basic stitches, etc. The stitch instructions show color photos of hands performing the stitches, which, when I was learning how to crochet, I found so much easier to follow than the black and white line drawings present in so many books. There also instructions on crocheting in the round, and increasing and decreasing stitches. The end of each section of instructions includes a "Try It" pattern that uses the stitches/techniques taught so far.
The second half of the book contains just patterns. There are 15 patterns in the book:
Autumn Striped Scarf
Chunky Hat (shown on cover)
Shelter Your Shades Case
Gidget Bucket Hat
Workin' For You Scarf
Fingerless Street Mitts
Flower Power Pillow
Honor Roll Vest
I thought the patterns were very cute, especially the Gidget Bucket Hat and the Chunky Hat (the chunky hat is shown on the front cover). There's quite a few patterns I would like to crochet for either myself or my daughter.
Another thing I really liked about this book is that most of the projects use inexpensive yarns that are available at mainstream craft stores, Wal-Mart, etc. One of my pet peeves is crochet books where every pattern is made with $10+ a skein yarns that only specialty yarn shops carry. Not everyone can afford to spend $50 on yarn just to make a hat. Another really nice thing is that each pattern lists the exact yardage of yarn used, rather than just saying "3 skeins of Yarn A". I find that helpful for determining if that partial skein of yarn in my stash would be enough for a project. One last thing I really liked about the book is the biographical information about the designers in the back of the book.
Overall, I felt "Get Hooked Again" was well worth the price (a really reasonable $9.56 on Amazon), and I highly recommend it. If you go to the Get Hooked website, there's two free patterns (which are not in the book) you can check out.