Friday, June 22, 2012

Maggie, Batman and Crochet

I learned the basics of crochet from my mom when I was very young.  I watched my mom making countless pretty doilies, the good eastern european mom she was, making dowry for her daughter (me).  But I never really applied, or were interested in applying these handy skills I inherited from her, until several years ago when I was in my late twenties.  The first thing I made that was more complex than just a long chain, was a baby blanket I made for my uncle's Pavel daughter Athena.  It was constructed of granny squares.  Then a year later I was pregnant myself, so I made my son a blanket, booties, and a teddy bear.

He looks pathetic, even though I did follow a pattern and he was supposed to look a lot neater than he does.
Then my husband requested that I make some superheroes, so I made Batman, The Flash, and The Demon.

I started making scarfs and bags and gave them to friends as gifts.  I learned new techniques from a book called 'The Happy Hooker'.  I made jewelry with fine crochet thread.

I accumulated so much yarn and thread that I still have three or four boxes stashed up in the closet.  At that time there weren't many crochet magazines out there.  My mom gave me her old 'Magic Crochet' magazines that were no longer published, my mother-in-law got several copies of a Spanish crochet magazine called 'Muestras y Ganchillos' which luckily had the patterns in a diagram form because I don't speak Spanish.  The only cool crochet magazine was 'Crochet Today' and 'Interweave Crochet' and I used to subscribe to both.  So a week ago when I was at Joann's Crafts I noticed a whole bunch of new crochet magazines.  Imagine this: VogueKnitting - Crochet.  Vogue has a crochet magazine?????  Then there was: 'Inside Crochet', 'Crochet!', 'Irresistable gifts to crochet'.
I am glad to see that interest in crochet has grown, and maybe people won't mistake us 'hookers' for knitters.  We don't knit, we hook, ok?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Heat

It's been unbearably hot, but I am afraid it has not reached the hottest yet.  And the thought of this being just the beginning of summer and the following three to four months it will be hot every day...ah...I try to find comfort in the fact that I do not have to shovel snow.  But snow, I miss.  Not the shoveling part, but the part where you watch it fall and hope for a snow day to stay home and cozy up.
I was used to the heat in AZ, it's only been the last couple of years that's been bugging me.  The drastic change in temperature between inside (depend on the household or business 76-79F) and the outside 110+F.  That's almost 40F difference.  It gives me a headache.

We go out at dusk, because it's a few degrees cooler.  We stumbled upon a sunflower field right in the heart of downtown Phoenix.
Or at the Environmental Education Center in Chandler.

Or on Saturday morning, Maggie and I hiding in the shade while watching Patrick's soccer practice.

Or hiding inside making more handbags.  After selling my first one, I felt encouraged to make more.

I don't have any vacation coming up.  For now the one thing I have to look forward to is a soldiering class I signed up for at the end of June.  More heat, ha ha.  I will try to stay cool and think cool thoughts.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Challenging myself

I think most of my readers are people that know me, individuals I can call friends or family.  So I don't need to explain that my husband is a photographer.  He went to school for it and has a degree.  He's uses all types of cameras, from high tech digital, to old fashion large format ones.
I on the other hand, relaying on his technical skills have left myself in the woods.  Lost!  I am embarassed to say that I do not know how to move digital photos from a camera onto a computer.  If it wasn't for my 'smart' phone, everyone will know that my smarts are not in the tech world .  At least not with cameras and fancy programs (by the way, all the photos on my blog are from my smart phone, just so you know.  I use the blogger app to load them, then I open the unfinished post on the computer to add text.  Smart eh?).
But I have to learn.  So I've signed up for an online Photoshop course through a local college.  I hope that the fear of failure helps me get through it.
The class starts tomorrow.  I was reading the syllabus tonight and it said that on average I will need to spend 9 hours per week on course work and assignments.  9 hours!!!!!!!!!!  Where will I find 9 hours?????

Monday, June 11, 2012

Making handbags

I had no idea how much time it goes into making a real handbag, a purse, with lining and pockets and all that.  I admit I have a new developed appreciation for handbags.  Depending on the complexity of it, one must cut at least 8-10 identical pieces for the front, back, and lining together.  All the ironing, basting, it's all time consuming.  I should have known this, because I had the similar realization when I took my sewing class two years ago and learned about all the labor that goes into making a shirt with collar and buttons and cuffs.  And then there is time spent on planning, the fabrics, the color, the design, the embellishing.

I cut enough for 4 bags, but I only constructed two over my days off.

And I learned that cutting and managing a 5 yard piece of fabric can be challenging if you have to work in a limited space with no real cutting table and having to use the floor.  But here you have them, the two bags I made and now contemplating on making more.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

It's never too late to find out who you want to be

My friend Lisa from The Pink Zebra Boutique said she was looking to sell bags at her boutique.  She asked: 'are you a good seamstress?'.  And I thought, why didn't I get a degree in something practical like that.  I thought of the sewing class I took 2 years ago and the shirt that I made with two left sleeves.  I wanted to say I am a good seamstress, so I said: 'let me work on it'. 
I came home and looked at a couple of patterns I had bought at Joann's Fabric at about the same time I took the sewing class.  Lisa's question was the challenge I needed to take a closer look at these patterns.
It required a great deal of concentration to work on this.  I didn't have too many fabric choices and materials and I couldn't really afford any at the moment.  I had to work with what I had on hand.  I was feeling stressed, the kids weren't helping with their constant demands for food, or drink, or to look at this or that, or to spell words for them.  This was definitely one time I wished sooo much that I had a family or friend who could help me and watch the kids for a few hours.  It was one of those 'mom' days, where mom really needed a break from kids, but it wasn't going to happen.  It was a 'bad' day for mom, because I wasn't getting done the things that I wanted to do.
I stayed up late on Saturday night, working on this.  My husband encouraged me to stay up, even though after getting the kids in bed and reading them a story I was ready to go to sleep myself.  I made a pot of coffee that I never drank.  My husband was going to stay up too, but I found him asleep on the couch.  I kept making mistakes, ripping the pieces apart, and putting them back together, until I had to admit that I was too tired to even think logically to avoid mistakes.  So I went to bed at 1am.

This morning after breakfast my husband finally took the kids off my hands for a couple of hours. They went to Bookmans.  It was exactly what I needed to finish my bag, just a few hours of peace and quiet.