Easter 2015

I'm really terrible at coming up with clever titles... I should work on that.

Anyway, I participated in an Easter swap that was hosted by the same person as the Bitches Get Stitches one. You could pick salty or sweet, or middle. I picked middle because while I don't mind how I talk, I don't usually flaunt my poor language about.

I ended up having Brandi as my swap mama (weird) and then getting Heidi from my birthday club as my partner! So cool!

I know Heidi likes flying geese so my project centered around those. In the swap you were supposed to make the medium sized open wide zip pouch (tutorial by Noodlehead) but I made her one much bigger. I wanted her to be able to use it for her knitting projects. I used Cotton + Steel for the geese, a cute Hello text print from my stash, and some green/white solids to balance out that crazy. The inside was a slight nod to her love of Miller Lite. It's really a St. Patrick's Day print, but I figured since it had beers on it and Easter was just after St. P's day, it was ok.

I stuffed it full of yarn, more metal zippers, and candy (mostly from Mexico and my stopover in California).

My tradition the last couple years has been to make myself a new Easter skirt. Eventually I will get into dresses, but I have a hard time with dresses because of my body shape - nothing really looks flattering on me. Skirts and shirts look so much better. This year, I used a vintage sheet from my stash (and some white to make it less see-through), as well as the sparkly knit I had leftover from my sad attempt at a Penelope Peplum (turns out, this kind of shirt looks crummy on me - but I do have plans to hack the pattern and make it into a plain shirt because the measurements for the arms/chest are perfect).

I used the Cerisy Skirt Tutorial from Imagine Gnats for my skirt again this year. I love this pattern - it's so quick and perfect!


In August of 2014 a new yarn shop opened near me! It's called Harps & Thistles and is in Cuyahoga Falls and it's much closer than My Sister's Yarn Shop in Green, but I love them both, equally. They have different selections of yarn and a wide variety of classes. Since Harps & Thistles is super close, I spend quite a bit of time (and money) there. Brandi and I have taken a team knitting class (even though we still haven't finished the project) and the owner hosted a knit along group time for the Downton Abbey mystery knit along! So much fun!

She does this really cool thing on the first Friday of the month and keeps the store open until 10pm and we can all snack and knit and have a nice time in our community - here I am working on my Downton Abbey shawl in March.
I have been knitting a lot lately and nabbed two things off my to-do list recently. I'm in an Outlander themed swap and a Game of Thrones themed swap. I made cowls for both my partners.

Winterfell Cowl by Fancy Tiger Crafts (on Ravelry)

Outlander Pattern for Claire Cowl by Shelli Westcott
(This is actually the pattern for the cowl that Claire wears in the show!)
One of my best friends went to New Zealand for a month and brought back so much delicious yarn for me! She found yarn that is a merino wool and possum fur blend! How cool is that?? I can't wait to get some projects with these yarns on the needles so I can see how it knits up!
Also pictured All Blacks salt and pepper shakers and a sheep shot glass - this girl gets me. :)
I've made friends with a few of the ladies who frequent the shop (including the lady who teaches a lot of classes including the team knitting one) and they invited me along to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival! I've never been to a fiber fest and it was AMAZING. I loved it! The opportunity to see so many shops and fiber makers in one spot was just incredible! I want to go to all the festivals now! Anyway, I saw a bunch of awesome yarns, bought a few, and a book. We also got to see Cindy from Harps & Thistles because she was there with Three Irish Girls Yarn!

Three Irish Girls had this awesome idea for a yarn bar - loved it!!

I found Brandi's dream yarn collection. Bright pink and sprinkles Madeline Tosh yarn. DREAMY.

This was the best burger I've had in ages. So good. Perfectly cooked, and I got this teeny tiny jar of mayonnaise!

There was a couple who had created a machine to spin fibers together and create this lovely cashmere/silk yarn! So cool!

I found this giant crochet hook - not sure how big the fiber would have to be to use it, but it's pretty cool.

It's called the OMG Hook!

This is what I snagged. The Hope yarn was my gift for attending, I got some stitch markers for Brandi (not pictured), some hot pink yarn that is from a company called Amelia & Wiggles and all the yarns are named after things Amelia (the daughter) and Wiggles (the dog) love. So cute!! I also snagged some sparkly Space Cadet yarn.

Now, about that yarn cake - how delicious is this?! I can't wait to knit this baby into a shawl and see it come to life!

Here's the book I got - Neo is gonna love it!

Well, that's all for that, I'll leave you with a picture of Neo and I snuggling while watching one of our favorite movies: Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It's finally on Netflix!

Can you hear the buzzing?

Neo snuggling on the chair while I work away in my studio. He's the best companion!
I've been working a lot lately, especially on things at home. Knitting and cross stitch have been my main time consumers, but I have a lot of sewing that needs to get done. I thought I would update you all on what's been happening around here in an effort to be better about blogging my progress.

I've entered a lot of swaps this year, the Instagram ones have dragged me in with their siren calls. I've also had the great joy of being a part of an OHCraft birthday club! This means I have a lot to balance on my plate, but I seem to be keeping up, if not a little ahead on those things so I can catch up on my backlog of things I owe people.

First up: my birthday was in February, right before I left for Mexico (I'll update that in another post, I promise!) so I got most of my birthday club gifts after I got back. It made for a really nice homecoming!!

Clockwise from top left:
1. Those photos from Chrissy are already hanging in my bedroom and look amazing!!
2. I use the pin cushion jar from Missy every time I sew.
3. The tea, fabric, and sooooo cute swimmy envelopes from Carrie are right up my alley - I have been drinking that tea almost every evening and it's delish!! I think I'll use the echino London print in my England quilt that I'm planning (so much England fabric in my stash! I love it!!).
4. The present from Heidi has mostly been used already, too. I use that Browns duct tape all the time, the chapstick is already in my purse, and the Game of Thrones guys went on the trip to Mexico with me. She also made me that lovely hoop that looks so much like Aneela Hooey's Little Red Riding Hood and I LOVE it!! When I was little I went to school as Little Red Riding Hood for my birthday and passed out treats to my classmates. That hoop is hanging in my bedroom on my newly constructed collage wall. She also made me a knitting bag that goes over your arm - I LOVE it! So functional and perfect for knitting socks on the go!

Here's a better look at Tiny Tyrion and Tiny Jon Snow:

Then, Amanda sent me this package:
You guys, this is me, in a box. It's amazing! She made me a Union Jack pillow with England fabric and sent me the bits leftover so I could add that to my stash! Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, London print, a book, candy, snacks for Neo (!!), soap...so much awesome.

This birthday club is the best idea ever!! I'm so glad I joined it - I got such great gifts and I'm so happy to have gotten to know these 5 ladies better!!

I'll end this post with the other gift I received when I got back and that's the swap I did at the beginning of the year. It was called "Bitches Get Stitches" and it was supposed to be a little vulgar. If you know me, you know that I've not got the cleanest vocabulary. I swear quite a bit. But I do mind myself around the public and generally keep my vulgarity for those close to me. Nevertheless, this mini quilt I received is AMAZING. It's so perfect. It's hanging in my bedroom right inside the door and I love looking at it every day!

The doll is a "Dammit Doll" and you're supposed to whack it on something and shout "dammit dammit dammit" until you feel better. It really works!! The giant gummy bear was eaten in about five minutes, and that bakers twine is just waiting for the perfect parcel to be wrapped up in it.

I've had such great luck with all the things I've gotten this year - I'm so grateful to have this community of makers who supports and encourages you. I had a tough couple months here and I'm so glad to know that there are others out there who are just as weird as I am. :)

Next update will be some knitting progress, then Easter/Easter Swap, and then I'll get to Mexico 2015. Until then, I leave you with sleepy Neo:


Mexico 2014

It's been well over a year since I posted here. 2014 was just insanity! So many things happened and I just never got on here to talk about them. So, here goes...

View of Cumbres neighborhood of Tijuana from our second worksite.
 Mexico in February was amazing. We worked on three sites during the week and got to see so many amazing things. The hibiscus above is what was growing next to the house where we made blocks. The first site we worked on was laying the floor and walls, here we made blocks, and the third site we worked on was digging the trenches for the foundation. All three had wonderful people to meet and work alongside. It was absolutely amazing!

House near our first build site - loved all the flora and fauna!
We went to the Pelican (the grocery store [which is more like Wal-Mart, but it's not Wal-Mart because they have that too] but it is actually called the Comercial Mexicana by name, but we call it the pelican because their symbol is a pelican...) and picked up some baby items because the daughter of the first home we worked on was pregnant! We had such a great time. And, as it turns out, her daughter's birthday is the same day as mine so we got to celebrate together. :)

Birthday girls!
As always, we stopped in to see Christina and Juan. Our group worked on two houses for their family - one for Christina and Juan and one for Christina's children. I wasn't there to work on either house, but I have grown to adore Christina, Juan, and the kids in the subsequent years.

We had such a great time visiting with them and we also took a trip to the beach! We love checking out the beach at Rosarito.

AJ and me with the Pacific Ocean in the back.

The 'young' crowd of the trip. Kevin (the whale we saw and named) is in the background, too!
We also took a trip through La Gloria (the town where the posada [the place where we stay] is) and stopped at the panaderia to get some treats on the way home. We also stopped at the swap meet with its strange dinosaurs, etc.

 We saw some goats at a veterinary hospital on our way home from the swap meet. We love goats. :)
And we got to see the TJ soccer team play. They're called the Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente. Super long name...they're nicknamed the Xolos (pronounced sholos). The xoloitzcuintli is a dog that is hairless and a native of Mexico.  We had such an awesome time at the game! I'm hoping maybe we can rope our way into another one this year.

Here are a few more assorted pictures from that trip:
The border. There is lovely art on the MX side and a sign that says there are sharp impaling things out in the water so don't even try to get around the wall that way.

Our first build site.
Making blocks.
Torta. No other words are necessary. :)
So there's Mexico 2014. Some time I'll get around to 2013. I've got a lot to catch up on. :)



I've started this post about 1.3 million times. Every time I start it, I just can't. So I don't. I'm going to be stronger this year, so here it goes.

Last year when I was in Mexico (which may be part of the reason for the lack of posting those pictures and stories), I was able to keep in contact with my parents and pup by FaceTime since we all got iPhones. It was great. I was so happy to see his face. Especially since he wasn't doing well without me. Before I left, I took him to the vet to see if he was ok because he was acting funny. Vet said some titers were a little high but still normal and everything else was ok. I left for Mexico thinking my baby boy was just fine. But he wasn't.

While I was gone, my parents took him back twice. They thought he wasn't eating because I was gone, but he was used to their house so that made no sense. Then maybe something was wrong with his stomach. Maybe he was in pain. Still no answers.

When I got back, I took him in again. They re-did the blood test and it turned out that he had advanced kidney disease and it was rapidly shutting down his kidneys. He had about 20% effectiveness by then and I was heartbroken. Absolutely smashed. This boy that I didn't even want, but turns out I needed, this boy who helped heal my mom, me, my dad, and everyone he met, was sick. I just couldn't.

We decided to do treatment for a time and see how he responded to it. He did, but not as well as we would have liked. So on March 9, 2013, I took my best friend in for the hardest choice I ever made. He went peacefully and surrounded by we who loved him.

I think I cried for three straight weeks. I couldn't sleep, because he was always there to keep me warm and safe. I stopped walking, so I gained weight. I was just unhappy. I never realized how lonely I felt until there wasn't a happy face to greet me when I got home. My cats are awesome, but they're not snuggly (Tigger was - boy, do I miss that cat!) and they don't really care when I'm home, just so long as I feed them.

This went for about a month and I just couldn't take it. I looked and looked to see who I could see on the Paws and Prayers website and I found my new little man. Eons ago I had watched The Matrix (and loved it!) and decided that I wanted a dog named Neo someday. Just so happens that they had a litter they named after Matrix characters. And one was named Neo. Kismet? I think so.

Neo is a St. Bernard/Red Tick (English) Coonhound mix. He's big, awkward, crazy, and the love of my life. I never set out to replace Raj, but to replace that hole he left in my life. Neo is very little like Raj, except he loves. All. The. Time. He is happy and waggy. He is sweet and crazy. He is my boy and I love him. I'm back to walks almost daily (we've even started running again!) and I sleep. Oh, how I sleep.

Neo at Howl-o-ween in his Neo costume.
I never thought of myself as a dog person but now after having the best dog in the world, I can't imagine my life and my home without one. They bring such joy and comfort.