27 September 2015

Dinosaur Hat & FAQs

Even though I have millions of post ideas swirling in my head I'm going to stick to crochet for a while in case any of the Maker Faire attendees check me out and are looking for crochet info. (Also if I were smart I'd write down the ideas in advance of NaBloPoMo coming up in November!)

(See Want to Order a Crochet Hat for more details. Individual photos of other hats I've made are in my silvermari crochet hats Flickr album.)

The week before the faire I cranked out 10 hats, including this really cute dinosaur one. It was among the 17 purchased, and by someone who's in my parenting group. So that was fun. Since it didn't have a face it was only $10, even though those dadgum spikes were as tedious as a face to crochet and sew on (I did them during Heroes: Reborn!). I love how it turned out, and it's even cuter on a kid's head. Someone suggested a pink and purple dino hat ... interesting!

I got asked some questions repeatedly yesterday. I should have written them down/done more than just think I would remember them. I know I gave the same spiel a lot (Gran taught me to crochet when I was a teenager, I started making hats once Jane was born, it got out of control because we live in Baton Rouge and she can only wear one hat at a time, etc.).

How long does it take you to make one of these?

I started paying attention this week, in anticipation of that question. And I would say a straightforward, simple beanie takes about 1.5 hours. Something more complex, like Grumpy Cat or even the dino, could be up to 3 hours. Lambie was even more, and that's one I made for Jane that I don't intend to repeat (at least not for $15!).

Can I have one of these for free?

Of course this was asked by kids, but I was surprised by how many did -- and not little toddlers or anything. Hrm. (The answer is NO.)

Do you make up your own patterns?

Not really. I've made up one, which was really just a variation on an established pattern. I can recreate hats with faces just from pictures, because it's just crocheting shapes in the right colors and sewing them on a base hat. (There are a gazillion blog posts for making the perfect sized hat -- once you understand the basics of increasing in the round it's straightforward to make a good double-crochet base hat.) For patterns I recommend Moogly Blog (probably my favorite crochet blog right now), and a search on Pinterest will come up with patterns. I also have used library books to learn new stitches and patterns. Usually the pattern will say whether you can sell the finished product and if you need to cite them as the pattern maker (I attach a handwritten tag to each hat with hat name, yarn content, care instructions and any pattern info like that if needed).

Can you teach me to crochet?

I could, but I don't do lessons or classes. I just referred people to the library's crochet groups. They're listed in The Source, the library system's monthly newsletter. They even have groups geared to teens, which I think is so cool. YouTube has lots of learn-to-crochet videos, and I'm sure there are other ways to learn too.

Did I miss a question, or is there something you'd like to know about my crochet craft? Drop me a comment or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

Also, here's a picture of my booth yesterday. I had a much less space than last year, but I actually sold one or two more hats (and not having a credit card reader wasn't as big of an obstacle ... although I did order one that will be here this week - d'oh - so maybe next year or if I start doing other sales or something, which is doubtful):

22 September 2015

Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire 2015

I'll have a booth again at this year's Mini Maker Faire at the East Baton Rouge Public Library's main branch at Goodwood. It's this Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 am to 4 pm. (I'm missing the hot air balloon festival for this, thanks to multiple big events scheduled at the same time to avoid LSU home football games!)

Please see the Want to Order a Crochet Hat? post for details about how to place a custom crochet order. Also, more photos of hats I have made are in my silvermari crochet hats Flickr album

08 September 2015

Router Woes

A big storm on Sunday evening fried our wireless router. Our house has old wiring, and I guess our surge protector wasn't up to the job. It's a real pain in the you-know-what to be without wifi. We ordered a new router and it will be here tomorrow evening. AH!

In the meantime I'm able to hardwire into our modem, but only on my OLD laptop. My new laptop is thin, sleek, etc. That means it's unable to connect to the internet any way except wifi. AH!

Thankfully the old computer still works, albeit slower and still prone to overheating. Maybe being a packrat has its benefits? (Actually I just don't know how to get rid of computers -- I still have the one I used in grad school in a closet here and the one I used in undergrad in a closet at my mom's house.) AH!

And might I add ... AH!

31 August 2015

Broken Pub Glass

In summer 2000 I did an Oxford Authors class through OSU. We traveled to England, lived in dorms at Oxford, studied Oxford authors and got to travel a bit around the country (Stonehenge! London!).

It was a formative trip, and I had a great time, despite initially being very nervous and homebody-ish. I also made a lifelong friend and will always regret not agreeing to travel through Europe with her for two weeks before our class session.

One souvenir, a Hard Rock Cafe pint glass, stayed with me throughout all my moves and life changes since. But this month it finally broke -- a chip along the rim that made it unsafe to use. I took pictures and then Shawn threw it out.

Now I'm in the market for a new pint glass -- maybe OSU? University of Maryland? LSU? Something as embarrassing as Hard Rock Cafe? (Remember, I was 19 years old at the time and it was my very first time out of the country!) We have clear pint glasses for everyone else's use, but I like a heavier glass (probably because I have loved this particular now-broken glass for so long!).

I do have a backup - one my sister bought me on a Vegas trip - it's Circus Circus and works well, but it's not QUITE as heavy as Hard Rock and the clowns are kind of freaky! Plus two glasses in rotation is much smarter/better for making sure my glass gets washed!

Sad Sad Chip

26 August 2015

Adventures in Preschool Pickup

Jane started at the university preschool five mornings a week. It's in the heart of campus and not affiliated with the university's lab school (K-12) or the day care center (0-PK). Anyway, this is the middle of week 2. I had a lot of feelings and am still having a lot of feelings, but I hope things will become routine and less angsty for me. I thought I wrote about my feelings last year when she started the TWO morning/week class at another school, but I can't find them here. I wasn't quite as dramatic this year, but still. Big steps.

Background needed for this story: Shawn and I have gate-opening wands to get on campus and get into the lot where we drop her off/pick her up.

OMG. Today pick up was TERRIBLE. At 12:30 it's right at class changing time or class going to time or something so kids are EVERYWHERE and they are looking at their phones/not paying any attention/walking in the streets and it's awful.

AND THEN the arm wouldn't go up on the gate by the school. I got out of the car and waved my wand like a maniac and moved the car around too. NOTHING. A few college kids made snide remarks ("higher, higher"), which didn't do anything to help.

Finally I pulled away to let someone else try (and backing up into a horde of college kids was awful - but I did it three times all together). That driver got in no problem. But when I came back my wand still didn't work.

The director saw me and came out and said another parent had the same problem. She called the "if you have trouble with this gate" phone number on the gate, and they said "they'd send someone out." I wonder if they'd send someone quickly if I'd just parked in the bus lane and gone to pick up Jane on foot (another parent parked elsewhere on campus and walked).

SO the director brought Jane out to me while I'm stuck at the gate, I put her in, buckle her up and back up so another parent can get to the gate (I don't think it worked for them either, which was a small comfort). Luckily the swarm of kids was less now - they'd mostly made it to class or other parts of campus?

It was just horrible, nerve-wracking and the worst. The wand let me into campus no problem, so I don't know. I hope they fix it, but knowing LSU it will be a regular problem. Gah. Hope more kids start skipping school soon. (College not preschool.)

21 August 2015

Tailgating Maniacs

I just got back from a quick jaunt to the post office. I have to drive down College, which is pretty heavily congested. Today I had someone right on my tail from just after I turned onto Lee from our street until past Perkins. She was SO CLOSE to my bumper, it was scary. I was going the speed limit and didn't think much of it. People here love to tailgate -- ALL KINDS of tailgating. Geez.

Then as soon as we cross the railroad tracks I notice how close she's getting AND that the lane next to me is stopping. There's a one-legged man in a wheelchair crossing the street in the middle of the road. (This is a four-lane, busy busy road!) I honk my horn, mainly to alert this lunatic behind me to slow the EFF down and not hit me, as I slam my brakes to keep from running into the pedestrian. (Are you a pedestrian in a wheelchair?)

Then my adrenaline was running and I was so upset I just stayed stopped until this woman would go around me. She had ample opportunities, but she just sat there, inches behind me. If I inched up to give her space to get around she just creeped behind me. SO AWFUL.

I was terrible too, in that I was backing up traffic. But it was a crazy thing. FINALLY she went around me, and she was racing to get to ... STARBUCKS! She had her LSU stickers and stuff on her giant silver SUV. Typical typical typical. (She was still in line in the drive through when I came out of the post office.)

My heart has pretty much stopped racing now that I'm back home and everything is OK. I wish I'd thought to get her license plate number or something because she was really driving recklessly (I guess I was too by stopping in the road and impeding traffic).

I should probably just stay home!

17 August 2015

Crochet: Aqua, Coral & White Chevron Baby Blanket

Here's a baby blanket I made a few weeks ago for a former coworker expecting her first baby, a girl. I snooped on her Pinterest account to select the colors. Chevron patterns are still pretty popular, plus they're easy to crochet, and you know I love a zig-zag pattern (my initials make a chevron pattern you know!).

The mom-to-be was very appreciative when I sent the blanket. Surprise packages are the best packages anyway too.

I used Red Heart Soft yarn -- I bought them online, so the coral isn't at all what I had in mind. This was a little more orange than I expected - or something. But it still looked good as a pop between the white and turquoise (which I think was called deep sea or something).

Happy crocheting!