Saturday, February 23, 2008


My sister Shauna came over today to take Bethany and me to pick up our bridesmaids’ dresses at the bridal shop and to take Dominic to get fitted for his ring bearer tuxedo. Here are the dresses!
Mine, obviously, is the larger one (periwinkle), and Bethany’s the smaller (lavender). Shauna’s wedding flower is hydrangeas, and I think these colors will look great with them. We tried on the dresses at the store, and Bethany’s fits really well, although the top will have to be brought up so it won’t be too low-cut. Mine fits great through the hips, but like I expected, it’s enormous on the top. Unfortunately, despite three pregnancies, I still don’t have much in the chest area, sigh… I think it might also need to be shortened – being only five feet tall, dresses are almost always too long on me. The dress is supposed to be tea-length. We’re going back to the bridal shop in March to get the alterations done on the dresses. Dominic got fitted for his tuxedo. He only tried on a jacket, and was measured, but how cute he looked in the little jacket! He’s little for his age, but luckily the smallest size tuxedo and shoes fit him. He'll be wearing a black tux with white shirt, vest, and tie. The men have it easy – it was only $45 for his tux and shoe rental, including alterations, compared to the couple of hundred dollars mine and Bethany’s dresses put me out. And that’s not including alterations, shoes, getting our hair done at the salon for the wedding, etc., etc. When I told my husband this, he said women wouldn’t want to rent a dress or shoes anyway. Maybe.

I’m excited that I finally got my dress, but now the downside is that I realized that the color of the wedding shawl I’m crocheting for Shauna is way off. The shawl is definitely a much lighter blue than the dress. Oh well. I’m still going to finish it and give it to her anyway, because she could wear it for another occasion. Here's me wearing what I have done on the shawl so far. I need to make it a little bigger, so it can tie in the front, and then I'm going to crochet a scalloped border, and weave ivory satin ribbon through the border.

Now I just need to figure out whether Bethany and I should wear pantyhose with the dresses or not. We're both going to be wearing open-toed silver shoes, and I don't know if they would look weird with pantyhose, being open-toed. I also happen to hate, with a capital "H" wearing pantyhose, but then again, my legs are so pale in early spring though. My lucky daughter has a pretty, year-round tan. Pantyhose or no pantyhose, Barack vs. Hillary - too many decisions to make, LOL!In other crocheting news, I had two really nice experiences the other day! I was sitting on the bus the other morning on the way to work, working on my one of my top-secret PIF gifts, and this man, probably in his 30’s or 40’s sitting in the seat opposite mine, said he was watching me crochet, and was amazed at how fast I was crocheting. Now, I know I’m not fast, but I guess to a non-crocheted it looked that way. He asked me what I was making, and asked what other kinds of things I crochet. That was nice to see a man taking interest in crochet.

The other nice thing that happened was my coworker, Taylor, wore a scarf I made for her for Christmas to work. I mentioned it to her, and she said she gets so many compliments from other people in our office building whenever she wears that scarf, or one I made her for her birthday. She’s taking some college classes, and she said one of her professor’s crochets or knits, and asked her about her scarf, and thought it was so pretty. That made me feel really good. Taylor said she’ll have to have me make her more scarves in different colors for other holidays. I told her definitely, I’ll gladly take special orders!

I took the kids to the library last week, and checked out this book, “Get Your Crochet On!: Hip Hats and Cool Caps” by Afya Ibomu. When I was looking it through it, I saw a pattern for a crocheted head scarf that just looked like something Taylor would love. I brought the book to work and showed it to her, and she was just so thrilled! She loved the scarf and most all the other hats in the book so much, that she said she’s going to Joann’s this weekend to buy some yarn and a hook so I can teach her how to crochet. I had offered to teach her before, because she had mentioned wanting to learn, but she said was too busy with work and school. After she saw those hats though, she decided she can carve out some time to learn how to crochet. That’s pretty exciting. Hopefully I’ll be a good teacher. We’re going to sit down and work on it one day at lunch time. Taylor was looking at my pictures of my crochet projects on my blog, and she said it looks like I’m totally addicted to crochet. I told her I am, and once she learns how to crochet, she’ll be addicted too!

Bethany has a “Crazy Hat Day” at school every year, I think in the spring (she goes to a Catholic school, so they don’t normally get to wear hats at school), so I’m working on a hat from the book for her. The hat is called “Soldier” (there’s pictures of a few on Ravelry), and it’s just basically a cap with a brim. The bottom is crocheted as a flat piece, then seamed together into a tube, and the top and brim are crocheted onto the tube. I'm going to crochet a flower to attach to the hat too. Here’s what I have done so far:

I’m using Caron Simply Soft Shadows in “Mardi Grey”, and I love how it’s coming out so far! Did I mention that I’m a sucker for self-striping yarns?

Well, I’ll post more pictures of the hat as I get it done. Now, if I could just figure out how to get this Blogger line spacing to stop messing up...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Sorry, no crochet projects to show yet. I've been so tired and stressed out lately between work, school, planning my sister's bridal shower, and helping her with her wedding plans, and my husband working nights, that I haven't gotten a whole lot of crocheting done.

My daughter announced today that she joined the fourth grade book club at her school - they meet once a week at lunchtime. That made me really happy. I'm glad that she (and my son too) loves books. I'm glad that she's old enough now to read chapter books too. I read to her every night before bed, and right now we're working though the "Main Street" series by Ann M. Martin. The title sounds corny, but the books are very good. They deal with some pretty substantial topics for the 9-12 year old set - death, mental retardation, alcoholism, Alzheimers, but are sensitive to the age group of the readers. Ann Martin also wrote another book called "The Meanest Doll in the World" that my daughter and I both really loved. I just bought a previous book in the same series, "The Doll People" for Bethany and I to read after we finish up the Main Street book we're reading.

My son and I right now are enjoying the Veggie Tales' Mess Detectives books. He's totally obsessed with Veggie Tales. I'm just glad he likes them instead of that Barney my daughter loved when she was little, LOL! At least the Veggie Tales are cute without being sappy. We're really fortunate that the suburb we live in has a great public library. It has a whole room of children's DVD's and videos, with two shelves of just Veggie Tales ones, so Dominic is thrilled everytime we go there. I'm happy that the library has a big section of crochet books, and that they are always adding new books to it.

Anyway, to make up for a lack of crocheting photos, I do want to show this: A fellow Clevelander and crafty blogger, Gretchen, took some fantastic pictures of the full lunar eclipse we had tonight. I planned to look for the eclipse, but was helping my daughter with homework and putting my son to bed and missed it. I still can't believe she stood outside in the 12 (feels like 7 with the wind chill) weather to take these! Aren't they great?! Check out her other website, (couldn't get those darn one-word links to work!) to see her awesome knit, crochet, and sewing projects.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Dominic

My husband took my son Dominic for his yearly checkup at the pediatrician's office yesterday. The pediatrician my kids normally see wasn't available, so Dominic saw another pediatrician in the practice. The doctor he normally sees is nice, but not very thorough, so I'm glad he did see a different doctor, because we found out that Dominic has what's called "undescended testicles".

Now, I'm not one to go around examining my son's private parts (LOL), but I did notice when giving him baths, etc., that the testicle area did a look a little "flat". He's my only boy, so I had nothing to compare it to, and I figured it was just how little boys look. When the doctor examined him though, she couldn't find his testicles, and after feeling around, realized that they are in his abdominal area. She gave my husband a phone number for a specialist who can examine Dominic further, and determine if he needs surgery. She said the surgery would have to be done before he turns 6, otherwise he'll start experiencing a lot of pain, and wouldn't be able to play sports, etc. Thank God that it was caught now.

I was doing research about the problem online, and found out that undescended testicles need to be treated as early in age as possible, to prevent future infertility. The articles said the undescended testicles are rare in boys that were born full-term, and Dominic was actually born a week late, so I wonder what caused this? I'm irritated about this now, because Dominic has had dozens of checkups since he was born, with various doctors, and I can't believe none of the doctors saw this sooner. I just hope he doesn't end up being infertile from it. That would so unfair for him.

Well, sorry if that was TMI (too much information) - I just had to rant!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! My son was so wound up about Valentine's Day this morning. He told me Miss Tammy (his teacher at daycare) said the kids "are going to be king of hearts and queens today", LOL! He's a funny little boy.

I decided to go the card shop downtown yesterday at lunch time to get a card for my husband, and some Beanie Babies for the kids. I should have known better. I got to the card shop, and there was a line at the cash register starting at the front of the store and stretching all the way to the back, and people were three-deep at the rack of Valentine's cards. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that a card shop would be packed the day before Valentine's Day. I gave up trying to buy a card (ended up getting one at the drugstore instead), and just got the kids' Beanie Babies. I got Bethany a pink teddy bear, and Dominic a dolphin (he loves the Veggie Tales "Jonah" movie, and has little figurines of the characters from the movie, except for the whale, so I thought he could pretend the dolphin is a whale). I gave them to the kids this morning, and they really liked them.

My husband came home from work this morning with a card, a box of chocolates, and these beautiful roses, for me. Isn't he sweet?! My kids got loaded up with candy at school and daycare, of course. Bethany didn't get nearly as much candy as Dominic, so she tried to get into his candy, and he told my husband, "Everytime it's a special day, Sissy gets into my candy!". They managed to get into my candy too, but that's OK, because I already had enough Valentine's day treats today.

I gave my husband some man bath stuff from Bath & Body Works for his gift. OK, I know that's probably not the ideal gift for a man, but there's so few places left to shop in downtown Cleveland anymore. Dozens of stores downtown have closed over the past 10-15 years (our economy here is in bad shape). We don't even have any department stores left. My husband and kids and I went to Pittsburgh (they have an incredible children's museum) in 2006 and we ended up driving through downtown (after Mapquest got us completely, horribly lost on our way to our hotel after going to Kennywood amusement park - long story), and even Pittsburgh's downtown looks more alive than Cleveland's does (at least they have a department store left) - now that was depressing!

We went to Chicago in 2005, and I was in awe, I mean absolute awe, over the blocks and blocks of stores they have downtown - everything from low to moderate priced stores like Payless and Sears, to top of the line upscale stores like Tiffany's and Bloomingdale's. They even have a Joann Fabrics downtown. If I worked in downtown Chicago, I'd be in trouble, because I sure would go broke with all those stores there!

Anyway, I have a few crochet projects to show. I've been meaning to post them for a while, but I've been totally sick all week. I have a horrible cough that won't go away. It gets worse at night, and when I lie down, and in addition to not being able to fall asleep, I wake up half a dozen times a night coughing, and am now just completely exhausted. I've been taking over the counter cough syrup, but it doesn't help much. I'm really hoping this isn't turning into bronchitis. I had bronchitis about 6 or 7 years ago, and it took over a month for the cough to go away, plus the prescription cough syrup and antibiotic made me so nauseated that I couldn't get out of bed.

On top of the lack of sleep, I've been busy planning my sister's bridal shower that's coming up next month, and have been swamped with that. At least I got to stay home from work on Monday, because my kids' school and daycare were closed because of the cold (only 7 degrees), and I got to leave work at 3PM on Tuesday (with pay for the rest of the day) because a bad storm was rolling in.

I did get my sister's ringbearer pillow finished, finally. I had both of the crocheted pieces done, and tried single crocheting them over the pillow, but a bunch of the ribbon rosettes and pearls popped off while I was crocheting. Then when I finally got it put together, I realized that the heart looked all distorted. I ended up cutting off the cover, throwing it away, and crocheting two new pieces. Luckily I had bought extra rosettes and pearls, so this time I glued them on after I was done with all the crocheting and the border, and it came out a lot nicer looking this time.I'm still working on my sister's shawl as well. I'm about 75% done with it, but think I'm going to need a few more skeins of yarn.

The last bridal shower present I have for my sister is this hydrangea unity candle.

It's personalized with her's and her fiancee's names (Shauna and Rich) and their wedding date. The bridal shop called today to let me know that mine and my daughter's bridesmaids' dresses are ready to be picked up, so I'll be getting those soon. Mine is periwinkle blue and my daughter's is lavender. I'm excited to see how they look, because the store didn't have any sample dresses in that style in those colors.

The second crochet project I have is a hat I crocheted for my friend Latanya for her March birthday. After I sent her crocheted Christmas presents (which fortunately she loved), she started throwing hints for me to crochet her a hat or a jacket. I don't have the skills to crochet any jackets yet, but I can do hats. I used Bernat Organic Cotton in Prairie Rose and Desert Bloom for the hat. The organic cotton is a little pricey, but so much softer than regular cotton and I figured Latanya would like because she's really into organic and natural products.

The hat pattern is a "Gidget Bucket Hat" from the book "Get Hooked Again", and I figured it would be a quick, easy project...ha! This hat drove me absolutely crazy! If it weren't for a gift, I would have just scrapped it. I don't know if something was wrong with the pattern, or if I just have a big old head, because I just could not get this hat to fit right. The pattern called for an F hook, but I crochet tightly, so I used a G, and got the right gauge. The book said at the correct gauge, the hat would crochet up tightly, but would stretch to fit most heads. Well, the hat came out so small and short, it would have fit my 5 year old son. I tried again with an H hook, and it came out too big. I went back and forth with different size hooks, and ended up using the G, and adding some extra increases and rows until I finally got it to fit.

I literally must have made and took apart four hats before I got it to come out right. It's still a little tight, but at least I can put it on. The pattern didn't call for a turning chain between rows, and I'm wondering if that was part of the problem. It didn't occur to me until after I finished the final hat that I could have added a turning chain between rows, or maybe even done the hat in half-double crochet instead of single. Oh well. Hopefully it will fit Latanya OK.

I'm also working on my PIF gifts, and am about halfway done with those, but can't show them here - I don't want to ruin any surprises!Have a happy Valentine's Day (what's left of it, anyway!)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Knitty Gritty

For any of my readers who watch Knitty Gritty on HGTV, I heard it's gradually being phased out. I've personally never seen the show (only because I don't really have much time to watch TV), but I heard it's very good. Denise Layman from is asking people to send knitted swatches (I suppose they could be crocheted too) to HGTV in protest. She has more information on her blog.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Crochet Contest

Crochet Today Magazine is having a contest. Check it out here:

There's a very talented few crocheting ladies I know from cyberspace who I think would be fantastic at this (Lesa, Christina, Naida, Laurah, hint, hint!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Belated Mardi Gras!

Happy belated Mardi Gras day! The 4th graders at my daughter’s school get to dress up as clowns for Mardi Gras, and they get treats, and parade around the school, visiting all the classrooms. Here she is all dressed up before school! How did I do on the homemade costume (well, I did buy the wig and the makeup)? She was so excited about getting dressed up that she got out of bed yesterday morning without even complaining like she usually does every morning.

As a nice treat for me, my daughter didn’t have homework yesterday, so I got a break from helping her with homework. She also didn’t have math homework today, which was nice too. I sit down with her every night to help her with homework, and she only needs minimal help with spelling, religion, science, etc., but math is a huge chore. She was diagnosed with a math learning disability in second grade, after struggling with math since kindergarten, and, despite receiving one on one tutoring twice a week through the school, and my nightly help, still gets D’s and F’s in math.

I understand how she feels, because I’ve struggled with math as long as I can remember too. Math was a nightmare for me in elementary school. I used to be mortified when I’d have to get up in front of the class to do a math problem on the board. I ended up taking a bunch of remedial math classes in college, and had to take a required statistics class three times before finally passing it with a C. I just don’t “get” math, never have, and helping my daughter with it is very frustrating. It takes us a good 40 minutes to get through her nightly 26-26 math problems, and I feel like a moron when there are a few problems that sometimes I can’t even figure out.

Hey, it’s only 4th grade math, and I nearly have a master’s degree, so the math should be a breeze for me, but it’s not. I feel terrible because my daughter loves science – has loved it for as long as I can remember, and wants to be a scientist one day, but I’m afraid with her math difficulties, that she might not be able to. It seems like most of the really good paying jobs require strong math skills, and not having them excludes a person from a lot, but I don't know what more I can do to help my daughter.

Well, as for me, I’ve been sick for the past few days with a nasty cold that I no doubt caught from my kids. I woke up this morning with a sore throat, cough, stuffed-up nose, and the whole right side of my face hurting, so I didn’t go to work. After getting the kids ready for school and daycare, I took some cold medicine, went back to bed after my husband left to drop them off, and didn’t get back up until 2:30. I’ve been trying to rest (when my kids will let me!) and following along on the Internet with this Bobby Cutts trial.

Now, I like to watch true crime TV shows, and I’ve been on jury duty twice in the past four years (once for an aggravated murder/aggravated robbery case and once for a robbery/kidnapping case), so I’ve seen some sick stuff, but this case really takes the cake.

Bobby Cutts is a former Canton, OH (Canton is about an hour south of Cleveland) police officer who is accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend (Jessie Davis) in front of their 2 year old son, and dumping her body in the woods. He was married at the time he killed her, and, as if that weren’t bad enough, it turns out that he was also seeing two other women (so four women total including his now ex-wife) while all this was happening! Then on top of that, one of the girlfriends was also married, and had gotten pregnant by Bobby, and had an abortion the day Jessie was murdered! And, Jessie and the two other girlfriends all knew he was married, plus Jessie had actually gotten pregnant by him three times (she miscarried one).

The prosecution is saying he killed Jessie because he was deeply in debt, and didn’t want to have to pay child support for their second child (he was already paying child support for a daughter conceived when he was in college, plus child support for Jessie’s first kid, and was ordered to pay child support to his ex-wife, who had started divorce proceedings before Jessie was killed). Can you say sick??? I know paying child support is no picnic – my oldest brother pays a small fortune in child support every month to his ex-wife for their one biological son, but to murder someone over it? All this could have been avoided if he hadn’t been messing around with all those women in the first place! And, I can’t figure out how this guy even got on the police force in the first place? Don’t they do psychological testing before letting a person join the police academy? Just crazy!

I did get manage to make some progress on two crochet projects today at least. I finished my daughter’s cupcake pillow. OK, I didn’t get it done in time for her birthday, but at least it’s done, right? I’m going to give it to her tomorrow when I get home from work. I used an H hook, Lion Brand Cupcake yarn in Pink Lemonade for the top, and Bernat Satin in Lagoon for the bottom. I had originally crocheted a cherry for the top, but after I sewed it on, I didn’t like it, so I cut it off, and used fabric glue to glue on some beads instead. The beads were just cheap ones from the beauty supply store. You’ll have to excuse the glue marks (it’ll dry clear) and the pins on the bow (those are just to hold it in place until the glue dries). I used a pattern I bought from a seller on Etsy for the cupcake, but I made it larger than called for in the pattern.

I also finished the inside pillow part of my sister’s ring bearer pillow. Now I just need to crochet the back cover, crochet them over the lavender pillow, and add a lavender ruffled edging. I’m still plugging away on her shawl when I have time. I like to crochet on the bus to and from work, but a bunch of busses were cut from the route I normally take, so most days the bus is so dang crowded, I can’t crochet at all. : (

That’s about it. I’ve got to clean up my house and get my kids’ clothes ready for tomorrow and then am going to bed

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Jenna with a "J" and Crochet Goodies

I don’t have any finished crochet projects to show yet. I’m still working on my sister’s wedding shawl and ring bearer pillow, and trying to get my mom’s poncho finished up before her February 27th birthday. I have one panel done so far. Like Christina and Lesa though, I do have some crochet goodies to show!

I was keeping my crochet hooks, stitch markers, yarn needles, etc., in a drugstore makeup bag, and was tired of always having to dig around it in trying to find the right size hook I needed, my scissors, etc. I couldn’t find a hook case I liked at any stores, so I ended up buying a hook roll and notions bag from a seller on Etsy, Blue Kitty Designs. How cute are these?! I love the retro pattern and colors!

My hooks and notions have now gone from this:

to this:

The hook roll isn’t big enough to hold all of my hooks, but it has room for all of the ones I use regularly.The hook roll and bag came in the mail on Friday (I ordered them on Tuesday and got them on Friday – talk about fast shipping!) along with my February/March issues of Crochet Today and Crochet Magazine, and some yarn I had ordered from Joann’s for one of my PIF gifts (I have two PIF gifts to make). That made for a very good Friday!

I just got back a little while ago today from my brother Joe and sister in law Gehan’s house. My husband and kids and I went to see my new niece, Jenna. Yes, I finally got the spelling straightened out – it’s Jenna with a “J”! It’s actually ironic that’s she’s named Jenna, because if I had a little girl this last time I was pregnant (the one I miscarried) my husband and I would have named her Genevieve. I guess great minds think alike! My husband said I did good going to see her. He meant because I still have some sadness over my miscarriage. I do still feel sad about it still, and can’t help but wonder what it would be like if I had been able to carry the baby to term.

At the same time though, after seeing Jenna go through two diaper changes (including one so bad she needed a bath to get cleaned up!) and two feedings during the couple of hours we were there, made me realize that having a baby at this point in my life (with my husband working night shift, me working full-time and being in grad school, and having one kid in school with nightly homework, etc., and one about to start school in the fall), would have been totally overwhelming. I told Joe in a few months (when Jenna is a little older) he can drop her off at my house, and I’ll babysit her so he and Gehan can have a night out and I can get my “baby fix”, LOL!

Anyway, little Jenna is just ADORABLE! I wish I had some pictures to show of her, but my digital camera batteries had run low right before I tried to take some pictures. My husband took a few pictures with his cell phone, but he has the phone with him at work, so I can’t download the pictures right now. It’s funny how chunky she looked in the pictures my brother sent, but when I saw her in person, compared to my kids, she looked so tiny! I had forgotten how little young babies actually are.

My brother is such a proud dad – he barely put that baby down for a second the whole time I was there. He has 3 boys from his first marriage (two stepsons and one biological son), but this is his first girl, so I think it’s extra special for him. His second-oldest son, who’s 15, actually went to Wal-Mart and used his own money to buy Jenna some clothes – he bought her the cutest little bodysuits and hats and booties. For a 15 year old boy, he did a really good job shopping for her! I thought that was really sweet of him.

Speaking of baby clothes, I was planning on crocheting a few clothes for Jenna – the sundress I started, a sweater and maybe another dress, but after seeing how many clothes Jenna has (a dresser and a closet stuffed full) between gifts from family and friends, now I’m reconsidering it. I don’t want to spend hours making something that she’ll probably end up only wearing once before she outgrows it. I’m thinking now about crocheting something for her bedroom – maybe an organizer to hang on the door (to hold diapers, pacifiers, etc), or maybe a rug.

Besides crocheting, I also enjoy painting and stenciling wood items, so I am also considering painting a shelf for Jenna's room. I’ve never shown any of my painted items on my blog, so here’s one I did last year – a desk for my daughter’s room (I think you can click on the pictures to see it in more detail). My husband and I bought the desk for $25 at a secondhand store. It was brown with ugly tarnished gold knobs. I sanded the desk down and sprayed it with white primer, then my husband spray painted it pink and cream and I stenciled the flowers on the side with stencil crème paint. My husband then sprayed the whole thing with a coat of clear polyurethane, and replaced the knobs. One of these days I need to buy her a pink desk chair to go along with the desk.

Back to the crocheting, another thing I was thinking about making is a nursing shawl for my sister-in-law. She’s breastfeeding Jenna, and just drapes a receiving blanket over her shoulder when she breastfeeds. I was thinking it might be nice for her to have a pretty shawl to use when she goes out with the baby. I didn’t breastfeed my kids though, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or not, and if I do make one, what shape it should be – rectangular or triangular? Maybe any of my blog readers who might have breastfed their kid(s) could advise me.