Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crochet ADD

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been in a creative frenzy in the last couple of weeks.  Not only have I been increasing my lovely yarn stash, I've been utilizing said stash as I get back into my crochet-groove.  If only I can focus on just one project so that I can finish something instead of being a serial project starter.  Yep- I'm suffering from Crochet ADD.

First, it was the Branching Leaves Scarf that I saw on Ravelry.  There was just something about it that called to me.  I had no idea what yarn to use on it- it's been a while.  I'm a little rusty.  So, I started with a green Simply Soft that I've had forever.

Green Leaves- how original
I wasn't totally feeling the love for the Simply Soft.  Actually, it looks better in the picture than it does in real life- maybe I'll actually finish it.  Anyway, I decided to try it with some of the Country yarn that I got at AC Moore.  I chose a silver yarn, not because I wanted a silver scarf, but because it's the least likely color that I'll use on anything, so might as well use it on this.  Yes, that's right- I'm making myself a scarf, so I choose the (relatively) ugly yarn.  *Note to self- use the Loreal yarn- you are worth it!*

Silver Leaves- goes well with my colorful personality, no?


Well, since I wasn't feeling the silver either, I moved on to the Andalusia blanket.  Now this, I love.

Sllllooooowly geting there....
I will finish this...someday.  I really love it and do want it. However, once I got that taste of wool, I started jonesing for more.  That's when I started my wool buying binge.....
 
Once I scored a fix (or two), I went back to my frenzied ways and started another shawl in the Feather and Fan pattern.  It's going to be slightly different than my L.A.D.Y. Stole of Transformation.....that is if I ever get it done.

I want. I need. I may frog.
I'm using an unknown yarn that I scored at AC Moore in the mill ends bin.  I loved the color- it's a deep purple with some maroon bits it it.  I'm almost 100% sure it's Bernat Satin Solids in Plum Mist Heather.  It's really soft, and I'm liking the pattern, but....welllll....I'm afraid I'mturningintoayarnsnob.
There.  I said it.  I'm making this for myself (which means it most likely won't get done) and really love the color and it is really soft.  But.......I want the Loreal yarn!  I'm worth it darn it!  I've been eying the Melody yarn I scored at Eleganza for this....but.....I don't know.  So, until I decide whether or not to treat myself to beautiful, soft, gorgeous wool I have, this is going on the back burner.

As I mentioned yesterday, I started using the Noro right off the bat by starting a Half Granny Shawl.

Wool.  And lots of color. GIVE IT TO ME NOW!
The simplicity of the shawl does show the gorgeous color changes of the Noro.  However, I'm not really a shawl person, (Yeah, I know- I keep making them.  Shut up.) so I don't want to waste this beautiful yarn on something that I may never wear.  I fell in love with the half granny shawl when I saw all the beautiful ones on Ravelry- specifically the ones fanalaine has made.  Gorgeous!  However, I may end up using this yarn as my first real knit project- have you seen the Noro scarves??  They're beautiful and a scarf is something that I know I'll actually wear.  Hmmmm.....decisions, decisions.  Quickly whip up a fabulous, easy and beautiful crochet item that I may wear (but most likely not), or put it off until I have time to practice the slow, painful, humbling art known as knitting and have a gorgeous item I know I'll wear.....in 2013?

In the mean time, I've been on a designing frenzy, too.  First up is a little something for me- a MESSENGER BAG!!  Finally!  I'm thinking of using the Kaleidoscope for (parts of) it.  I used my new colorful pens and my new graph paper notebook to plan this project.  Yes, I knew you'd be impressed.  However, I'm not able to start it quite yet.  I need a specific red color- I'm pretty sure I'm going to use Patons SWS for it, but I don't have that specific color in my ever expanding stash, which means I need to buy more wool.  Oh darn.

I've been drooling over a vision of a bag that I've had in my mind's eye for quite a while.  I've just not tried the concept I have for the shape of it yet.  So, I got some Vanna's Choice (acrylic- ptew!) and got cranking.

Looks nothing like the finished bag
This is just a proof of concept.  I know how I'm going to make it- don't worry- it won't look like a crocheted Diva Cup.

There are a couple other bags I'm designing, too, but I'm really trying to be a little more focused so that I can hopefully actually FINISH a project.  Sheesh.  Does anyone know if there a wool based Ritalin or something?  Because I really do need to- Oh look! More wool!

Friday, July 30, 2010

High on Wool

I've been in a creative frenzy.  I hadn't crocheted in over 3 months and then *BAM*!  Two weeks ago the flood gates were opened.  It may have been the excitement of using my hooks again or just a backlog of creative juices that needed to flow, but most likely it was the enticing aroma and feel of my wool. It sat there watching me, just biding its time.  It knew that sooner or later I would come by and just catch a glimpse of its sensuous ends dangling out of its box slithering a come hither dance, enticing me to catch a whiff of its woolly goodness.  Most people would be fooled into thinking it was my cat who playfully helped it escape and merely the A/C blowing it around, but I'm no fool.  Wool Stash, you are a devious little temptress.


I do have a lot of yarn- about 8 large plastic tubs full of wool alone.  (Side bar- Since I have so much, I've been thinking of selling kits with my patterns.  I do have enough for kits for the Watermelon Felted Tote and will be posting them soon since I've already received a request for it.)  However, it's mostly Patons. (I went a little wild at Michaels and AC Moore when I found that I loved felting.  Don't judge me.)  I love Patons- it has served me very well.  I have a few Lion Brand Wool, too- I used both wools together in the Marilyn bag I made my sister.  I love their colors, I love the way it felts, and I truly do love the way it smells.  (I went shopping with my friend and she caught me snorting smelling the wool- it would have been more embarrassing had she not known me as well as she does.) 

Anywho, I really want to try branching out with new yarns- specifically wools for felting, but also different weights to make scarves/shawls out of something other than worsted weight.  So, first I went to Webs and scored some wool that was on closeout. 

Newest addition to the fam.

I am going to try my hand at Valley Yarns wool as well as Shepherd Classic wool.  There are 5 skeins each and I bought 8 skeins of black (can't remember which brand....I was high on wool, I tell you!) but they are back ordered so I'll hopefully receive them in the next couple weeks.  (WEEKS! GAH!)

Well, I can't wait a few weeks for another fix.  My wool high was wearing off and I need another hit NOW.  I may need wool rehab.  But, can you really blame me if I found a sale for 40% off the entire freakin' store?  Oh yes, my friends.  I found a new dealer.  Eleganza Yarns in Frederick, MD had a Midnight Madness sale and, from 9-midnight this past Saturday, their entire store was 40% off.  MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!! I dragged my Mister out there at 11pm just to get another score.  Hey, he's been wanting me to get my crochet back on- blame him for being an enabler.


Caution: May cause an OD on wool
If you are a wool newbie, you may want to back away from your screen- I don't know if you can handle the potency of the wool yet.  You need to build a tolerance for it otherwise you risk a wool coma.  Clockwise from the top left:

1) Elegant yarns Kaleidoscope. It's a self striping yarn- check out some of the projects on Ravelry that have used this yarn- beautiful! It's 100% wool and feltable.  I've already planned a project with it- see below...

2) Next is Jojoland Melody superwash.  It's a DK weight and is washable- also self striping.  I am pretty sure I know what I want to make with this yarn....more on that tomorrow.

3) Dalegarn Tiur- a sport weight Mohair/wool blend from Norway.  It was on clearance- 50% off- I'm the best shopper in the world!!  Have no idea what to do with it..... 

4) The yellow yarn is Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted 100% wool.  Again, feltable.  If you noticed, I bought a lot of yellow from Webs, too.  Yellow is the one color I don't have much of in my Patons stash, so I bought more.  That and....I forgot I bought it at Webs when I was at Eleganza.  The fumes were overpowering.

5) And finally, the yarn I've been wanting to try for quite a while- Noro Silk Garden.  I started using this baby right away.  I was a little loopy and didn't know what to do with this colorful woolly goodness, so I started a Half-Granny shawl (more on that in another post).

Being on a wool high triggered my designing impulses.  Now, I'm not an organized person.  I scrawl my ideas on whatever piece of paper I may find at hand (yes, even some napkins).  I've got a lot of ideas that have been bombarding my wool-intoxicated mind and I really would like to use a *single* notebook (rather than one of the many I have strewn across my home), but I also need to utilize graph paper for some of my designs.  Yesterday I was finally able to see the solution through the cloud of the wool fumes and off to Staples I went for some more retail therapy.

I iz professional now.
I bought a spiral graph paper notebook, which I've already put to good use (have a great project for that Kaleidoscope mapped out!), some colorful pens to aid with my designing, some new color pencils (I actually already had some, but spending money is almost as addicting as snorting wool.....don't tell my Mister), pencil sharpener, and erasers. I usually do my designing with a pen; however, after putting my new notebook through the paces today, I realized I should have bought myself a pencil, as well.  Now, here's the thing....before I collected yarn, I collected writing utensils.  I have literally hundreds of pens and pencils.  Why oh why did I buy more??  I WAS HIGH ON WOOL!!!! 

So, what started this wool addiction of mine?  I actually did not start out felting with Patons.  The first item I ever felted was a messenger bag that I ended up giving to my sister-in-law.  She has the very first GegeCrochet bag!  I made it with Sensations Kashmira wool (the JoAnn's house brand).  I never got pictures of it but finally remembered to ask my SIL to send me some.  Here is my first felted project:


I made it Christmas 2007 which we spent in AZ with my in-laws.  I started it on the plane ride there and tried first hand-felting it in the bathroom sink (not on the plane).  I then used the washing machine and was very pleased with the outcome.  With my current bags, I like to felt them even more- no stitch definition at all.  But, this one holds a special place in my heart.
 


 I crocheted the handle and was crossing my fingers that it wouldn't be too terribly long.  It's tough to gauge when you're felting.



I also integrated a pocket.  I actually made all my bags like this until I decided to line them.  I like the simplicity of the the felted interior and may do the same thing again when I make one for me.


I actually made a second one in the same exact colors with just a slightly different stripe sequence for me.....and then my sister fell in love with it so... I gave it to her.  *Sigh* I really want a freakin' messenger bag!!! 

So, there you have it- the project responsible for my wool addiction and the ongoing consequences of that first hit.  Let this be a lesson to you, kids.  Just say no to wool.  It may lead you down paths you never would have envisioned yourself traversing- like late night shopping at a store 40 minutes away for a 40% off sale. Besides, if you say no to wool, there will be more for me! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Hello all!

Thank you Libby and Tracy for your kind words (and for those who contacted me via email or Ravmail).  I appreciate your concerns and encouragement.  (And to the recent commenters on my Mario blanket- To Anonymous- Hi back to ya!  and to Generic Viagra- I'm glad you like my blanket. Thanks for keeping it...real.)

I'm a naturally cheerful and optimistic person (some may say annoyingly so- but they are idiots) so I'm happy to report that things have been looking up for me here in Chez GegeCrochet.

First of all, as I reported last post, I've been crocheting again.  It feels good, my friends. I started one project and then was lured into starting another one.  The second one is the Andalusia Blanket from Berroco yarns- very pretty in all solids:





 but when I saw it, I saw it in black and red.

1 of 2 made....22 more to go

I'm loving it!  I'm crocheting it out of Naturally Caron Country yarn- LOOOVE this yarn!  I got it on clearance at AC Moore- it was marked $3 (clearance) and then marked down an additional 50% off.  Huge score!!  And makes for a very affordable blanket. :) I just hope I have enough of it....I think I do, but we'll see.

Second of all, I've got a shoot tomorrow.  I've not done anything on the acting front since December, so this really makes me happy.  I've missed being on set.  I actually don't know if it's a commercial or an industrial (I was so jazzed at booking it that I forgot to clarify.....oops) but it's going to be fun.  I'm really looking forward to it. :)

Third of all, I survived yet another Summer Camp a couple weeks ago.  I had so much fun and have the bruises and skinned knees to show for it. (Yes, still.  They are going to have to use a lot of cover up on me tomorrow if I wear a skirt....).  I bought 600+ water balloons and spent one morning filling them up with some fellow conspirators counselors and then we drove around in a golf cart and pelted the unsuspecting children.  Muahahahahahaha! (Since I was the most veteran of the Strike Force, I was awarded the blame......and earned every bit of it.)

Fourth of all, my birthday is coming up soon and my Mister is planning something for me.  I have no idea what- he keeps things under wraps and loves the big reveal at the end.  He's such a big kid sometimes....but I love that about him.  I'm looking forward to his surprise, but I can't say that I'm looking forward to marking another year down the tubes.  However, a very bright spot in my aging process is that I got carded at a casino this weekend.  Yep.  I had to prove that I was at least 18.  Best.Birthday.Gift.Ever.

Fifth of all, I've started exercising again.  I've been on an exercising sabbatical for 6+ months, so it's not been that easy getting back into the swing of things.  However, it was easier than I thought it would be.  Muscle memory is real, yo.  (Now, if only my fat had a memory of not existing, I'd be golden.  Or at least fit.  Spanx are on my wardrobe list for tomorrow....)

So, things truly have been looking up for me.  For real.  I'm feeling....alive again, and that feels good.  You know what else feels good? Naturally Caron Country yarn.  Go to a store and pet it- you'll thank me later.

As for me, I've got to go downstairs and have it out with that darn treadmill.  Ugh.  I'm trying to convince myself that feeling sore feels good, too.  Yeah......I'd rather pet the yarn instead.  But, that muffin top in the mirror kinda wins the argument.  Yep.  I'm going to forget the treadmill and use the yarn to make bigger pants.  Win. Win.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Reawakening

You know, grief is a strange thing. You may think that all is well and you are perfectly fine for a while and then....BAM! It hits you in waves you thought you had already survived. You feel like you had been treading water just fine, thank you very much, and then....BOOM! The tidal wave hits.

That's where I've been lately. Treading water and trying to keep my head above so that I won't drown.

No. I'm not able to discuss what has been causing this grief, but I've been trying to keep my head above it since the beginning of December. I thought I was doing well since I was able to “keep my New Year's Resolutions” for a while. Even managed to make an entertaining blog post or two. But, the fact of the matter was that I was ignoring the hurt and pain. It's been nearly 7 months since this grief first showed it's ugly little head and nearly that long that I was able to ignore it- push it aside since I am a “strong” girl. Well, it turns out that I'm not superhuman after-all and I need to be able to ride those waves instead of trying to duck them at every pass.

I've been doing a lot better in the past month or so. I've not been hiding in my books or trying to duck those waves by playing hours upon hours of video games. There's not much I truly remember since January (I really should re-read my blog posts to see what I was up to) since I was mainly coasting on autopilot and showing the world (or at least my friends/loved ones....even myself) that I was ok. I wasn't ok. But, I'm getting there.

I thought I was getting “ok” over a month ago when I got off that lousy medication that muted the Me I remember. I was getting “ok” but wasn't truly all there. Today is the first day in nearly 3 months that I picked up my beloved crochet hooks. I hadn't read a book since my last posting on The Thirteenth Tale I made months ago....that was when I was trying to prove to myself that I was fine.

I'm slowly but surely now facing those ugly feelings and emotions that I tried so hard to brush under the rug. I know it's healthy for me and I know that I should have done this months ago. But, I was “too strong” back then. Now, I know that it's not really strength that allows you to ignore pain- it's strength that allows you to get through it. I'm becoming stronger now.

I saw a pattern on Ravelry that awakened my spirit. My Mister has been telling me for quite a while that I need to start crocheting again- get my creative juices flowing. I kept telling him (and myself), “Yeah! Of course! I have a project on my mind that I want to flesh out.” But, the truth of the matter was that I was trying to convince us both that I was “me” again. I wasn't. I've been feeling “me” trying to burst through that hard shell I've been building up around myself for awhile and I think that today I've finally made it through the cracks that have been forming. I started crocheting today.

So, dear blog readers, I'm sorry I've not been here updating as much as I would have liked to, filling page upon page with the ideas that used to swarm my brain. I've muted out those voices and pictures for a while and am just now finding them again. I'm starting a project that isn't one that I created- when I saw it, it was like a spark lit the fuse in my heart and I've missed that feeling. It started awakening parts of me that have been dormant for a while. I've got lots of projects that are almost done- and have been almost done for months- that have caught my eye. I want to finish them now. I think I'm ready to at least try.

So. Here I am. Trying to keep my head above the water. The colors and pictures that were alive in me are starting to reawaken. I hope they stay- I've missed them. I've missed me.

Here's to the Summer of Awakening 2010. I hope to see you all there.
  

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Night at the Movies

I was looking forward to yesterday for a while.  (That sounds weird...but go with it.) My Mister was out of town all week and got back in last night, so having him safely home again was wonderful.  Since my sister has moved out, that meant I was alone all week long- it was a little lonely, I'll admit.  But, don't cry for me, Argentina.  I was able to work out and just chill, which was nice. 

In addition to my Mister's homecoming, I was looking forward to yesterday because it was the opening day of The Last Airbender.  For those of you who don't know, it is the live-action film of the amazing cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender that was on Nickelodeon.  I have been looking forward to this movie ever since it was first announced. I love the show and am not ashamed to admit that I’m an adult who watches cartoons. (Or, at least really great cartoons that have an awesome story line and characters that I can actually care about rather than stupid potty humor and incomprehensible language skills). I got hooked on it while I was crocheting my Mario Blanket and I found out that both my sis and my brother were fans of it, as well.  Doesn't surprise me- we're a bunch of nerds.   My sis and I had been planning on seeing it on opening night for a while, so, right after my Mister got home, he, my sis and I went to see it.

I saw that it was getting a drubbing by the critics, but held out hope since it was getting fairly positive reviews by other viewers. I got goosebumps when I saw the first teaser trailer with Aang blowing out the candles that were lit all around him. I was so freaking excited for this movie!!

After all the buildup for this film, I must say that I left the theater….a little bit….meh. Yes, it could have been better; however, I don’t think it was as bad as others are making it out to be. It was entertaining and I truly hope that people will go and see it just so that there will be a sequel (hopefully with a different director) that will correct some of the mistakes this film made. The first Twilight film…the first Harry Potter film….not as good as the subsequent films. Give this one a chance in hopes that it will also get better! If you do see it, I’d recommend not wasting your money on 3D- the retrofitting of the film to 3D didn’t add anything to it. And, after the movie, they asked us to recycle our glasses. I just paid $3 for these glasses- Ima gonna keep ‘em, thank you very much.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Pros:
1) The look. I thought the cinematography was awesome. The look of the Northern Water Tribe city was Ah-ma-zing. Loved it.

2) The choreography. I’m not a martial artist, so I can’t speak about the technical aspects of the fights, but I was impressed with the look of the fighting/bending moves. Did I try said moves in an effort to bend my Diet Coke out of my cup and into my mouth? Heh. heh. no…ummm….of course not….that’d be silly…..right?

3) Noah Ringer.   He’s a dead ringer (ha! see what I did there?!) for Aang. The kid was awesome- especially in the action scenes. Some people are harshly criticizing his acting….ummm…it’s his first film. Ever. Rewatch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and then watch Order of the Phoenix. Notice how the young actors improve with experience? I hope he gets another chance to bring Aang to life! Especially before he gets too old! 

4) Momo and Appa. I LOVED seeing these two lovable creatures brought to life! I really enjoyed hearing their “real” voices, as well. (The voice actor from the show reprised his role for the film. Yay!) I just wish they had more screen time.

5) Seeing Aang in the Avatar State. Squee!

6) Princess Yue- GREAT casting and costumes and makeup on their part- I loved her! She did look like the cartoon brought to life!

CONS:

1) THE FREAKING MISPRONUNCIATION OF NAMES!!!!!! Argh! Or, as it would be pronounced in the film, Uhrgh! They pronounce Avatar as “Auh-vatar” and Aang as “Ung” and Sokka as “Soak-ah” and Iro as “Ear-o.” I cringed every time I heard, “Ung.” Even a little kid in the theater stage whispered to his mom, “His name is AANG.” Yes, little kid. You realize that and yet M. Night is the one getting millions of dollars for his tin ear.

2) The overall lack of humor. Ok, so I know that they were trying to squeeze a whole season of an epically awesome show into 90 minutes (really?!? You couldn’t push for an extra 30??) so, some of the finer details and characters were not going to make the cut. I can understand that. However, when the characters you DO have don’t have the characteristics that make them who they are, you have failed. Sokka was way too serious. As was Aang. There was no child-like-happy-go-lucky-enjoy-life-to-the-fullest attitude in the little bald dude. Now, some blame it on the young actor and his inability to effectively emote. I blame the director- since most of the humor was zapped from the film, it only stands to reason that that’s the way M. Night wanted it. The kid did the best he could with the material he was given. Such a shame.

3) The choreography. Ok- I know I put this in the “pro” category, but there is one thing that had me wanting to yell, “Hurry it up already!” at the screen. It was the overall intolerable length of time and number of moves it took to bend any of the elements. Seriously- if you were dancing for 30 seconds to send a water balloon at my head, I would have gored you with my spear in my very non-bending awesomeness in a second flat. Did they learn nothing from Indiana Jones?

4) The way Aang wussed out at the end. Ok- so, you know how at the end of the first season when the Fire Nation attacks the Northern Water Tribe and the Moon Spirit is killed and then Yue gives her life back to the moon and then Aang, in the Avatar state, turns into this huge fish water/moon being and completely wipes out all of the Fire Nation? Yeah. That was awesome. In the movie, I can understand not having Aang turn into a giant fish monster- it’d probably not translate as well in live-action. However, the Dragon spirit drilled it into his head that, as the Avatar, he’s not supposed to hurt anyone. So, when it comes to totally demolishing the Fire Nation ships, what does he do? In the power of his Avatar state, he create a HUMONGOUS tidal wave that strikes fear into their hearts! You can see them futilely trying to turn the ships around before that colossal wall of water crushes them Moses and the Red Sea style. And then, right when you think they are going to be swimming with the fishes, Aang ever so powerfully, in all his Avatar rage, …..gently lets the water back down again. Without even getting them wet. Just the awe of seeing that huge wall of water was apparently enough to make a whole navy turn back home in fear and in need of new underwear. Waaah! Fire Lord Ozai! The Avatar nearly got some water on me! He’s so mean!

5) The exposition. Ok, again, I know it’s hard to condense a whole season into one film, but I think that M. Night tried too hard to do just that. Instead of showing us the plot and character development, he relied on a whole lot of expository speeches/voice overs to explain everything that we missed (or that we were currently seeing…or were going to see). He could have had a narrower focus and instead worked on character development. I knew these characters cared for each other and really grow up with each other; however, if I had never seen the show before, I probably wouldn’t have really cared or connected with them. Shame shame M. Night.

So, all-in-all, I didn’t think this film was as bad as a lot of folks are saying. I did like it, although it could have been better. The blame squarely lies on M. Night’s shoulders- he wrote, directed AND produced. Next time (I truly do hope there will be a next time!) I hope they get a director who will actually make a decent movie from the awesome source material he has to work with. (Seriously- for 3 seasons the kid’s name was AANG!!! NOT UNG!! Gah!)

*off to plan an Avatar related project*