Monday, January 10, 2011

Seeing Stripes & Loops!

Well, it appears that I am able to make new posts on Wednesdays, so I guess my weekly tasks will go from Wednesday until Wednesday!

Normally, when I make some sort of statement in regards to starting and finishing something within a certain time frame, I end up never returning to the blog to post about my shortcomings. Well, not this time! I am proud to announce that I have completed FOUR projects (not just the Three) for this week.

For the time being, I am completely obsessed with making scarves. For a split second, I thought to myself about the potential of the fresh spring season being around the corner. I was also reminded of this while online shopping and seeing all the floral prints and light-weight linen pants. But, as I took a peek outside my window, I was reminded of something even more relevant: It's still snowing full throttle in most places right now...and the corner that the spring season is right around? Well, that corner is about 2-3 miles away right now. With that in mind, I set out to explore this new craze I have for making scarves.

It all started in December. I decided to make scarves for all my pen pals, a seemingly large feat. Once I got started, I realized that scarves are really fun and easy to make. Most importantly, I can start and finish them in almost one sitting because I am done with them before my complete incapability to resist the temptation of distractions around me and my short attention span issues kick in.

I made a scarf for a pen pal, who later mentioned she preferred pink & purple. So I took that scarf and started to wear it myself. Much to my surprise, nearly everyone who saw it asked me where I got it and how much it was for me to make one. Then, this little sparkle went off in my mind, and I thought, not for the first time, to myself: " What if I were to create more of these scarves? They are simple and quick to make. What if I changed the base color and had more design options?" It was just a thought at the moment with the intention of making the same scarf for a few people as Christmas presents. Needless to say, I never finished the gifts, but I did manage to make two more scarves!

This black one has a different set of contrast colors, but I have to admit that I am not really excited about this color combination. Instead, I think that the contrast colors will remain the same and the main colors will change for each scarf.

I prefer this white main color to the crazy contrast colors of the black scarf. But, in order to redeem myself, I plan to redo the black scarf!

I would like to think of myself as being able to create for men and women, but there is something about creating items for women that is both more exciting and more interesting to me. I get bored when I think of all the browns, blues, greys, and blacks for men. All I see is an enchanted rainbow world of possibilities when it comes to creating things for women & girls!

Then, I was web-browsing... or whatever the online shopping equivalent to "window shopping" would be called... on Bloomingdale's website. I was in the accessories section because, well, no matter what happens to me financially, I would only be able to "splurge" on an accessory from such an expensive, high-end store. Even still, I rarely find something within my budget. At any rate, I found this amazingly chic crocheted cowl neck scarf or neck warmer.

I couldn't find the image again for the longest, so without the visual reference, duplication was impossible. That prompted long hours of internet research on cowl neck scarves and circle scarves. I was so excited about the results, I immediately started to make circle scarves, neck warmers and so forth. Obviously, Bloomingdale's neck warmer is of superior craftsmanship. It is so sexy and sleek! I don't know if I will ever be able to pull off something of this magnitude, but man, I am committed to trying!

As for my personal artistic endeavors, I used these inspirations as a jumping point to begin my own little journey in the crocheted accessory world. These are the scarves I have completed thus far (in addition to the two that I have given away), but I have some new ideas in mind!

I really love the way this can be casual or dressy. I don't want to give it away... but something tells me I would be better off if I didn't choose to keep everything I made!

I especially like the sequined yarn. You can get it at Hobby Lobby. I am not sure if these stores are nation-wide, but I know I have access to three of them here in Kentucky/Indiana! Either way, you can order online. It's decorative, sexy, and most importantly, soft on your skin!

I will definitely need to get some lamps to create better lighting. This is thinner and made with a different brand of yarn.

All of these circle scarves are made with multiple strands of yarn. This one was made with four strands: magenta, royal blue, dark purple, and black. It's the Caron Simply Soft yarn that you can get almost anywhere, even Wal-Mart.

This week, I really want to focus on being unique. I think that anyone can make a simple striped scarf. Anyone who knows how to connect a crocheted chain into a loop can easily make a cowl neck scarf or a circle scarf. I want to push myself to see what other ways I can present the same basic concept!

Here is a sneak peak of what sorts of things to look forward to next week.

I just recently learned to make African Flowers. If I can find the tutorial, I will create a link for it next week. This week should be interesting!

Wish me luck!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Power of THREE

First, and foremost, WELCOME TO 2011!!! How exciting it always feels to start a New Year. New Promises. New Hopes. New Dreams. New Plans. And, of course, New Resolutions.

Around this time last year, I found myself confronted with ONE HUNDRED resolutions. I could have just made a bucket list, but I felt really strongly about each much that all one hundred plans became resolutions for the new year. Needless to say (because we are all well aware of my affinity for never finishing anything I start) I did not finish even a quarter of the list. I now know that 100 resolutions is plain ridiculous. Making lots of resolutions is just as nonsensical as making the same resolutions year after year with no progress-- I will lose weight. I will find true love. I will travel more. Honestly, just because the date changes, doesn't necessarily mean our motivations and life circumstances have changed. Knowing that mine haven't, I chose to base my resolutions on this.

Every week, I want to do the things that mean the most to me THREE times per week. In all actuality, that's a simple task, especially since I already do most of these pleasing activities anyway. In an effort to create balance in my life, I wanted to really work hard at being consistent. Also, I like the number "3" a lot.

Last year, and for the past four years now, I haven't been taking care of myself. I haven't been living a full life. I have been sludging through the chaos and bullshit day in and day out so much so that I got to a point where I didn't see the importance of finishing anything. I would just pick up each day, right where I ended and time had no value. I was a robot, slaved to my monotonous life of daily drudgery. I love my life, folks, don't get me wrong! But don't you ever just feel it? Where you are not living your life, rather you are just existing in it. You are playing the role, rather than writing the story of your life? Well, NO MORE!

Someone once said that they read my blog and they had no idea what it was about. Ha! They are correct. If for the past 4 years my plan has been to never have a plan, why would I be able to maintain any sort of focus in a blog? Well, this year, that changes. This year, I will blog about THREE things... food, art, and entertainment. All the good things in life, right?

The things I will be completing THREE times per week, you ask?

1- Working out. I keep myself stressed, and I fear my health has finally begun to suffer from it, so I will be working out in some way in order to release some tension... or you may see videos of me acting out stupid crimes due to lack of stress relief.

2- Cook! I LOVE to cook, but only because I love to EAT! I am really good at eating!!! I want to try 3 new recipes a week. Just three. Last year, I would make entire 5 course meals based on new recipes. Then I would hate myself and hate cooking because I would experience the wildest stress from trying to read, memorize, measure, and prevent house fires all simultaneously. Only occasionally was I successful at this self-inflicted horror of a multi-tasking challenge. And less often did we enjoy what I was cooking!

3- Art projects. I am always working on something, but this year isn't about putting in the work. It's about finishing the work I put into each project. So this year, I will finish something-- well, 3 somethings to be exact-- every week. They don't all have to be the same media, but something will be completed three times per week. Just so we are clear on how serious I am-- I have 3 projects for this first week of January that are almost complete. I will have them finished on Sunday, as will be the case every Sunday for my trio of projects.

4-Have FUN! I don't care what form this comes in. I want to hang out more with friends, talk more about nothing on the phone/skype, get more pen pals to exchange letters with...MORE FUN! I already laugh almost all day as it is (and usually at myself), but I want more connection to people. More date nights with my husband. More sister time with my Sisi. More girls' nights out. Dinner parties. Dancing. Drinking... well, I am not very good at drinking these days, so that won't be done in threes! But I do plan on taking more people up on their offers!

5- Learn French. As of right now, I do not have the money enroll in my local adult education class. And I also have absolutely NO idea how to pronounce about 87.624% of the words in the French vocabulary, but there are other ways to build my understanding and knowledge of the French language. I have already raided my library of all French related items!

I think those are all fairly simple feats. I am always working on an art project. I am a married mom...we have to eat somehow, and let me tell ya, it's usually not because my husband, in between working both his jobs, has chosen to come home and stand in the kitchen whipping something up for the family after a long night & day's work! I carry around my booklet on how to pronounce French words. I hypothesize that in about 2 week's time I will be able to sound out words without the book! The hardest things for me to do is work out (because I am usually cooking, eating, or sleeping when I could be running or pumping iron!) and having fun. Yes, I am giddy all day, but I hate putting forth the effort to do something... or go somewhere... or be seen by someone. I'm not much of a hermit or loner, but I have lost interest in the "upkeep" process of making myself presentable for lunch dates, dinner parties, and cocktail hours. My challenge is to find that part of myself again!

So CHEERS to 2011! I look forward to sharing my progress!