September 28, 2014: Thanksgiving Craft Projects / Today in Review

Today I Published…

Today I Worked on…

  • …a few holiday blog posts that are scheduled for later this year.
  • …this page of free napkin ring instructions at FreeCrafts.info. I had already published the page a couple of days ago, but I just added several new pictures and links to the page. If you don’t already own a set of pretty napkin rings to go with your holiday table settings, now would be a great time to get started making some. You have time (but not too much time) to get ’em finished before the holidays arrive.
  • …a ghostwritten article for someone else’s website. I don’t particularly recommend ghostwriting; for creative people, it is not usually a smart business decision, because creative work has long-term value, and ghostwriting typically leaves money on the table. However, there are times when the need for quick cash arises, so I sometimes resort to it in emergencies. My opinion is that it’s not a good idea to make a habit of it.

Today the boat was rocking like crazy all day, making it très difficile to get anything done. 🙁 And it’s still rocking…

September 26, 2014: Napkins and Napkin Rings / Today in Review

Today I Made…

…a cloth tea napkin. It isn’t finished yet; I still have to add an edging. Then I have to complete the set. Thus there will be more napkin-making in my future soon. Maybe. Hopefully. I’ve been known to make one napkin at a time, and then not finish a complete set, and so I have a bunch of oddball napkins hanging around. This time I’m hoping to get an entire set done, but we’ll see how that goes.

Today I Published…

Today I Worked on…

…updating my crochet pages at this website; I added a few things to a couple of pages:

If it seems like I got a lot done today, that’s because I stayed up all night working. I am exhausted now.

Today I Ate…

  • Organic homemade energy bars made from dates and seeds
  • Organic vegetable soup
  • Organic grapefruit
  • Organic mango

(So far.) Wondering what’s for dinner tonight.

A cat broke the pressure cooker lid this morning by knocking the whole thing on the floor. This might not seem like a big deal to you landlubbers out there, but it’s the only pot we have aboard at the moment. Losing its pressure-cooking capabilities = total bummer. 🙁

Today’s Workout…

…hasn’t happened yet. I’m hopeful that it will, but it’s a little up in the air at this point.

September 23, 2014: Today in Review

Today I Worked on…

…photographing and blogging about this little Christmas wreath ornament. My sweet kitty, Inky, helped. He is so helpful! Please disregard any shredding or chewing that may be visible on the finished project sample…

Christmas Wreath Ornament or Cat Toy

  • This page of fingerless glove patterns at KnittingandCrochet.net; it’s not finished yet, but it’s off to a good start.
  • This page featuring a pair of wrist warmers by a fellow freelance pattern designer, Erica. I crocheted the wrist warmers a few years ago, then donated them to the folks at the Pine Ridge Reservation.
  • A whole bunch of holiday blog posts that are scheduled to be published over the next few months at appropriate times. Since I’m not in America at the moment, I tend to lose track of when American holidays are, and it helps me to schedule holiday-related blog posts ahead of time. Working on Thanksgiving posts reminds me that I sure will miss having Thanksgiving turkey with my family. I suppose the travel adventures I am having sort of make up for that. Sort of.

Today’s Workout…

Didn’t happen. Oops! Tomorrow will be better…

Today I Realized…

Re-reading the post above reminds me that I haven’t updated my kittens page in a long time — and I never wrote down the story of how we adopted Inky, or the story of how we re-homed Izzy and Cindy (and then later got Cindy back.) Or the story of how Ginger turned out to be a boy. Whoops! Or the story of how Rocketboy decided that he wants to be our cat, never mind that we already have too many cats.

These are stories that will have to be told another time…for now, over and out.

September 22, 2014: Today in Review

I used to journal every day. I started sometime when I was in junior high, although my earliest journals have not survived (because I shredded them at some point when I was in high school.) When I was in college, I got too busy for daily journaling, so it morphed into once-a-week journaling. Then I stopped journaling when Mike and I moved in together and other things took priority.

I miss journaling, and while I would love to go back to it I’m still finding that I can’t make it a top priority. If I were to devote the same amount of time to journaling that I used to, something else that’s more important would suffer.

Blogging isn’t quite the same as journaling, but I’m thinking perhaps it could be productive and motivating for me to start posting “today in review” style blog posts. Motivating, because if I know that I have to share my accomplishments at the end of every day, it means that I will have to accomplish something worth sharing — something better and more shareable than “snuggled with the cats in bed all day.”

I’m going to give this a try. Can I keep it up? I don’t know. Will I always have something worth sharing? I hope so, but again, I really don’t know. Let’s see how it goes.

Today I Made…

Crochet Lace Wreath Ornament for Christmas
Crochet Lace Wreath Ornament for Christmas

…this crocheted wreath ornament. The free crochet pattern is available at KnittingandCrochet.net.

Today I Worked on…

…this list of Christmas patterns to knit and crochet

Today I Saw…

…two young foxes playing together and chasing each other. They hopped up onto a fence and were running gracefully along; being atop the fence was not an issue for them at all. They were perfectly balanced. I had no idea foxes were so nimble. They were amazing.

Today’s Workout

  • The usual warmup
  • 7 different types of kicks — 15 of each, on each side
  • 30 scissor kicks on each side
  • 30 straight-leg situps with toes pointed. 10 more with toes flexed.
  • 10 ab crunches
  • Various machines at the free gym — these are machines where the workout comes from lifting your own body weight. 20 biceps, 10 triceps, 10 delts / triceps, 25 legs.
  • There was more, but that was most of it.

DIY Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

A quick reminder: Mother’s Day is approaching. This year, Mom’s special day falls on Sunday, May 11, 2014.

Do you ever draw a blank when trying to think of a worthy gift for the lady who is, after all, one of the most significant people in your life? Need some ideas for lovely gifts you could make for her?

If so, the pages linked here can help.

The projects on this list are all ideal Mother’s Day gifts that crocheters can make using free pattern available on the Internet. So if you know how to crochet, this page is a fantastic resource. Bonus points because you don’t have to buy any patterns.

If you don’t know how to crochet, I invite you to check out the following resources:

Of course, if you don’t already know how to crochet, you’ll probably want to practice a bit before you attempt to make an entire gift. So moving on to the next item for your consideration, you could take a look at this list of best Mother’s Day craft ideas. That list features projects you can create using a variety of different craft techniques.

I hope you’ll find these ideas inspiring and helpful when deliberating about what to make, and what to give. If you decide to make one of these projects, I wish you all the best with it. I sure hope you’ll have fun with both the gift-making, and the gift-giving.

Love,

Amy Solovay

A Silk Infinity Scarf

An Easy Silk Infinity Scarf -- A Free Crochet Pattern Is Available for This Design.
An Easy Silk Infinity Scarf — A Free Crochet Pattern Is Available for This Design.

This infinity scarf was designed to be crocheted in a warm, resilient yarn such as the lovely merino pictured on the original pattern page. However, with spring’s arrival, I packed the wool scarf away, and look forward to bringing it out again in the fall. For now, I’ve been wanting to having something a bit lighter and “springier” to wear around.

I had a) some pink silk yarn, and b) some serious curiosity about how the same scarf design would look if I used my silk yarn to crochet it instead of the wool. I was hopeful that it could work, but not at all sure it would. I knew the drape would be different, and I figured the entire look would be different.

The drape is definitely different.

The entire look is definitely different.

I’m happy enough with the results of this experiment. Drapey lightweight scarf: check. New spring wardrobe piece: check. Curiosity satisfied: check, check, check.

Cindy the SuperModel Gets in on Our Headband Photo Shoot

Mike Wearing a Crocheted Headband and Holding Cindy the SuperModel Kitten
Mike Wearing a Crocheted Headband and Holding Cindy the SuperModel Kitten

A few days ago, I made Mike a couple of new, guy-friendly crocheted headbands. I asked him if he’d let me post his picture wearing them on various websites online, and of course, he agreed.

The cockpit of our boat was the most convenient location for the photo shoot, so we headed out there.

Cindy, one of our cute little kittens, just would not leave us alone while we were taking the pictures. She kept trying to climb up Mike’s leg during the entire photo shoot. It’s as if she were trying to say, “hey guys, I’m the supermodel in this family!” (Note: We did name her after Cindy Crawford, and we do jokingly refer to her as “Cindy the SuperModel.”) So what could we do but include her in the pics? Cute cats = lots of website clicks! Er, we hope.

Cindy seems to get prettier every day; I think she is really turning out to be a beautiful cat. And of course, Mike is my favorite model when it comes to guys’ crochet projects.

Our kitties used to be scared of the outside world, and in the past they were content to stay inside the boat. Not anymore; nowadays they are playing outside on top of the boat — with supervision only, because we’re worried that the naughty little cuties will end up in the water if they aren’t careful. Every time they see fish jumping, I get nervous that they are going to dive right in and go fishing.

When we were cruising around California, we knew a guy who lived aboard his boat with several fully-grown cats. He told us that the cats enjoyed fishing from his dinghy. Sometimes we’d see them out there, their little eyes intent on the water, watching for fish. It was really cute. He said the cats actually managed to catch some impressive fish from time to time, although most of the time their catch was basically bait material. Maybe our girls could be taught to fish too…someday. We don’t have actual plans to make that happen any time soon.

If any of you are interested in grabbing the free headband pattern, it’s available at the crochet.about.com website. And for those of you who might like to see more pics of the headband (or incidentally, more pics of Mike and Cindy,) those are available too. I posted a new image gallery that shows several different views of the headband plus a couple different colors of the design. I made a green headband first, then made the blue one afterwards to test the pattern.

Hope you’re all well and happy, and enjoying 2013 so far. It’s hard to believe we’re this far into the month of January already!

Waking Up to Kittens

Waking up to Cute Kittens in Your Bed
Waking up to Cute Kittens in Your Bed

Sometimes, I awaken to the sounds of a purring symphony — because four sweet, loveable, mellow kittens are beside me in the bed, purring their little hearts out.

And sometimes, I awaken sooner than I would have liked to, because there are four tiny wildcats playing a game of tackle football on my head.

My Warmest, Softest Scarf

The nights at our place have been chilly lately.

When my kittens were tiny, if the weather was chilly, they’d sleep piled on top of each other for warmth. Now that they can jump, they sometimes like to jump up into our bed and sleep with us. Sometimes they sleep piled on top of Mike and me, and sometimes they sleep piled on top of each other. Several days ago I awoke with four kittens piled on top of my right arm. I couldn’t move it until I woke up enough to figure out how to get them off. I can’t believe how heavy they’re getting.

On several of the last few mornings, I’ve awoken wearing an IzzyScarf. Meaning that, at some point, in the wee hours of the morning, Izzy climbed onto my neck, stretched herself out across it and fell asleep there.

Izzy is the warmest, softest, furriest scarf I’ve ever worn. I wish I could wear her out and about in cold weather.

But, for that, at least I have my crocheted scarves – which are nice, although they are nowhere near as warm or as soft as my IzzyScarf.

I guess I should just be glad she lets me wear her sometimes while I am sleeping.

Yesterday morning, Mike got to experience the IzzyScarf too. Mike isn’t a big scarf fan, although I did make him a matching crocheted scarf and hat set. He wears the hat pretty often, but the scarf, not so much.

But the IzzyScarf? Well, that made his day! You shoulda seen the grin on his face. He loves his little baby Izzy sooooooooo much.

Wishing I had photos of this to show you! It was the cutest thing.

Fun Facts About Our Kittens

Our Kitten Gem on Mike's Shoulder
Our Kitten Gem on Mike’s Shoulder

Our four kittens are sisters and litter-mates. They’re similar in many ways, but the more you get to know them, the more you realize that each girl has her own distinct personality.

  • Kitty with the softest fur: Gem. Cindy is pretty soft too.
  • Kitty with the thickest fur: Izzy.
  • Most likely to purr loudly, for no apparent reason: Gem.
  • Most likely to lick my hand: Gem.
  • Most likely to bite my hand: Gem.
  • Most likely to beg for petting: Ginger.
  • Least likely to beg for petting: Izzy.
  • Most likely to use the scratching post: Izzy.
  • Most likely to unplug my computer: Izzy.
  • Most likely to jump into the cockpit: Ginger. Cindy is a close second.
  • Most likely to pounce on Mike’s shoulders: Cindy (although the photo shows Gem on Mike’s shoulder.)
  • Most likely to climb our pants legs: Cindy.
  • Most likely to climb into the sink: Cindy.
  • Most likely to make trouble: Gem. No, wait, Izzy. no, wait, Cindy. No, wait, Ginger. Hmmmmm.