Thursday, October 27, 2011

New books!

I have a great local library right down the street.  I pop in there weekly, and take full advantage of their website and hold system.  Any book in the Multnomah County library system can be placed on hold and delivered to your local branch.  It's brilliant and amazing.  I also take full advantage of the ability to renew a book as long as no one else is waiting for it.  

One of my most favorite and utilized books is due on Saturday.  I was so not ready to give it up, but at least one person has it on hold, and three other people have it out past the due date.  Apparently I am not the only person who loves this book.  

So I decided to give myself an early birthday present and went to and bought it!  And two other books!  HA!  I am really excited though.  I will be happy to own the book and be able to make the changes to the patterns with errors and not have to ever give it back.  The other two books I bought I have not seen before but they look fun.  This one in particular:
75 Butterflies, Bees, Birds & Little Beasts to Knit & Crochet

This is where I admit that I am sometimes a lazy crocheter.  Do I have a working knowledge of crochet design that allows me the ability to make nearly anything I want without a pattern?  Yes, yes I do.  But sometimes I need the inspiration of other pieces of work to spark my creative juices and do the kind of design I know I am capable of.  It's the same reason I buy Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine.  As a pescetarian, most of the recipes do not even apply to me, yet they inspire me to create my own dishes in a way that makes me purchase the magazine month after month.  It's the same reason I continue to buy crochet books.  They get my wheels turning.  I buy the crochet magazines too.  At one point I had subscriptions to 3 different magazines, and while I have never made anything from a pattern in a magazine, I HAVE made things because of a pattern in a magazine.  In my world, that rationalizes the magazines and the books and the whole lot of it.  

Oh, and The kitty is doing very very well.  Is up and about by himself, and is getting stronger everyday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When craft gets put on hold

Crochet has always been the ultimate happy place for me.  Sad, nervous, under the weather, bored...all can be made better with a crochet hook and some yarn in my hand.

One of the other things that make my life better is this guy:

Now 2 years old he is quirky and opinionated and sweet, and boy does he love his mama.  So when I left for work on Saturday and he looked just too sleepy, my heart sank.

When I came home later that night I realized that he was not eating or drinking and he kept looking at me with loopy eyes.  He was still jumping up on top of the water heater to sleep, and still using the bathroom, but something was wrong.  In the evening he came to curl up on my lap as he does every evening, but he felt heavier somehow.  Joshua had already gone to bed, and since he had to wake up at 4:15am for his first ever 5am work shift, I didn't want to wake him.  I stayed up almost the whole night talking to and nuzzling Tobie.  When Josh's alarm went off I told him something was wrong.  Now I know that I am one of those over nervous types, I always think something is wrong with one of the cats.  Ever since I had to put down my cat Angus due to a urinary blockage 4&1/2 years ago I have been on high alert.  NO ONE dies around here on my watch.  We have had some serious injuries, and my oldest cat even has eye cancer, but we have made it through it all.  I was certain that Tobie would make it too.  We started around the clock care, with him alone only during the 3 hours between when I leave for work and when Josh comes home. We feed him water with an eye dropper, and introduced eggs (he LOVES eggs).  It was not long after feeding him eggs with the dropper that he was lapping them up on his own.  He is back to getting up off the couch and walking around.  I brought home some Gerber chicken baby food and he ATTACKS it and devours it!  He still wants to spend his time on the couch, but he spends more time awake now.  His loopy eyes are gone and he even used his Tobie defiant voice when I told him to use the potty (he did anyway though!) He is far more alert and reacts to things around him much more now.  He even went up to stand on my shoulder when I picked him up.

The point of the matter is that I found a low point that crochet could not even help.   By the 5pm on Sunday I was a sobbing mess questioning the way that I was dealing with the situation.  I was too scared to take him to the Vet because I was afraid of what they would tell me, and I was even more afraid that they would be wrong.  That they would say "well it looks like his liver is failing, we could do some tests, but by the time we got the results back it is unlikely that he will still be here.  He is suffering and you could just end up with more medical bills if we wait."  And I respect that that is an educated opinion and will 9 times out of 10 be the right call.  I was also so scared that he was going to die right there in my arms, or that it could take days and he would still die.  I could not deal with the thought of life without him, I told him he had to get better because his mommy loved him too much, that he was the reason I woke in the morning, and not just because he knocks on the door incessantly until I come out (how cute that sounds now I thought).  Panic was tearing through me and my theanine was not the relief that it usually is.  I could do nothing but sob and sniffle and blabber uncomprehesively.   But then I thought of my cat Mitzie.

I was 9 when she disappeared.  I went searching and searching and found her in the forest part at the back end of our property.  She had gone there to die.  My best friend Rebecca and I tried to coax her into getting up but she was heavy and lethargic and would not get up.  I ran back to the house to call my mother and she told me to give the cat some water and some wet food, and that that was all we could do and she was either going to get better or she wouldn't.  I went back to Rebecca who was still sitting with Mitzie with the water and the food, told her what my mother had said, and we both cried.  I begged Mitzie to try to have some water, I brushed it on her face with my fingers, and eventually she sat up and drank it her self.  Happy that I had inspired some progress in her, I followed my mother's advise and went back to the house.  I told Mitzie that she needed to get better because I loved her, and I needed her at home, and we left.  A day and a half later, Mitzie came walking into the house.  Still pretty weak, but fairly hungry.  I was so happy I cried again, and Mitzie lived to be 19 years old.

I know that we are not out of the woods, but we have made huge strides in the last day.  He has cleaned him self, and continues to eat and use the potty.  He gets up to walk around, and although he is kinda weak, he is much stronger than he was before.  Right now he is lying beside me wrapped up in my blankie in his happy kitty sleeping pose, and I really do think he is going to be okay.

I feel like I can pick up my hook again. Well, maybe after I bring him his egg.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The finished piece

Last night I had an entire post written about the final step and the completion of the piece.  Somehow I lost the post and have no idea what I was waxing on about.  I think it had something to do with me being sad about the Ebay auction I had just lost or something.  Nothing you really want to hear about anyway.

So without further ado; the finished piece!

Yeah, so you kind of have to look hard to see the fact that it is on a hair comb.  Here, this will help:

I posted the image of it photographed on black first just because I think it looks better that way.

We decided to go with the hair comb because of the way that she was planning to wear it.   Her hair half up and the feathers coming down over it.  Like this:

I am so excited to see the pictures of her wearing it on her wedding day!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wedding hair clip continued!

Part three is where the sparkle happens.  The bride's dress includes some rhinestone accents, and I wanted to carry that over to her hair piece as well.  

I had originally planned on finding something at a local bead store or one of the craft stores, but I had the idea to turn to my vintage button collection first.  My stash of vintage buttons that include rhinestones is pretty well stocked.  It was fun to bring them out and pair them with my new project.  

I selected the buttons that I felt fit the best and put together a "mock up" package that included a stand in motif, the feathers, and a selection of awesome vintage buttons.  I presented them to her and we worked out the vision of the perfect piece.  We narrowed the selection down and decided that the piece itself would dictate the final selection.  

I believe that step 3 turned out quite well.  

Next: wrapping it up tomorrow with step 4!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wedding hair clip

I started this post sitting in my work space, creating one of the most beautiful and important things I have ever made.

It is important for two reasons.  First because I have never pushed myself to do something so awesome before, and as it unfolds in front of me, I have been nearly overwhelmed by how amazing this piece has become.  Second, in just over a week, an exceptionally beautiful bride will be wearing this piece on one of the most important days of her life!  Which is even MORE overwhelming.

I was moving from step one to step two of this project when I decided that I really wanted to document it.  It has been a labor of love that I want to put down in this blog.  Maybe not as much to share, but to look back upon later to remember how I feel right now, being so proud of what I have made.  Plus, this thing photographs SO well!

When I started, I wasn't really thinking of what this could become, so I have no pictures before the stage 2 part.  Pictures of stage 2 satisfactorily represent what the first and second step involved anyhow.

Well, except the part where I had to make the crochet motif 3 times.  The first time involved an over-site I should have caught.  I was working with some vintage crochet thread that I did not take the time to verify as being the correct size.  It wasn't.  The second attempt was perfect.  It was without technical error, it was without blemish, it did not even have the slightest hint of dirt (which is reeeeeeally hard because it is white and everything else in your whole entire world is not).  When I sat down this morning to start stage 2, I removed the pristine white motif from it's protective box, settled in to attach the motif to the feathers, and spilled my coffee on it.

I had a deadline.  There will be a wedding with or without this hair accessory.  I would really like it to be with, and I am pretty sure the bride would prefer it that way as well.  So, I tried not to panic.  I  poured another cup of coffee, took a deep breath, and started again.

I did try to touch the piece up, and I do think that it could be saved in the end, but I had no time for crying over spilled coffee, or blot-blot-blotting with what ever it is that my Martha Stewart guide to housekeeping would so correctly advise me to use.  I had a deadline.

I crocheted as fast as my fingers could go and motif #3 was completed.  It was on to step 2.

I had been brainstorming this project for a while when I found this amazing beaded white half hackle of feathers.  I had no idea what a half hackle of feathers even was before this.  Never once had I used feathers in a project before.   I have to say the whole project came together when I saw that package of feathers.  I had the whole design in my head.

After buying the feathers, the design of the finished project would change slightly, but stay mainly the same, and the feathers were the perfect thing.

Step 3...Next time.