Gumdrop Ripple

Sweet little chevron rainbow blanket for a baby girl due to join our family in August. I sent it to her Mama early, and I've had it done since January -- less than a month after I found out my cousin was expecting! (I probably would have made a different blankie if she weren't having a girl.)

I loved this pattern and the puff stitches. And the crab stitch/reverse single crochet edging is so simple but really provides a nice finish. I used the super soft white yarn and brighter colors for the rainbow than the pattern called for. I've STILL got rainbow yarn left over, and I've made four rainbow-themed blankies with it so far.

Linked Out

Ugh. Another email asking "Do you know Ex-Boyfriend?" from Linked In. It's the second one, and no thanks. I don't want to connect with him even if we do have some contacts in common (I figure that's the only way it would suggest the connection?). I could see once on the mobile app that he (or someone from the newspaper where he works) had looked at my profile, so I looked at his back. And maybe that is it. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

And it looks like Linked In is adding more high school stalker-esque tools to allow people to see who's looking at their updates and profile AND keep a list of what you've looked at. Maybe good for when you're looking for a job and you know that a potential employer has (or has not) looked you up there. But even that seems a little unsettling to me.

It's enough to keep me logged out of Linked In. I'd rather just be oblivious. You can connect with me there though:

(Also, someone other than Shawn should endorse me for things. I must pop up on the top of his when he logs in -- the one social media outlet he uses! -- and he likes to endorse me. They're things I actually am good at -- editing, proofreading, etc. But I'm sure it looks more than a little wonky to have my husband as my top endorser, especially when we haven't ever worked directly together aside from my proofing of his dissertation and other papers.)

Elephant Lovey

I saw a picture on Ravelry of a really cute elephant security blanket. I thought I could recreate it without the pattern. I sort of did, although my version leaves a lot to be desired, and the scale of the elephant to the blanket is definitely not the same as the inspiration picture.

To properly make amigurumi I need to have tighter tension so it's a more solid fabric. I also need to be more consistent in where I place my stitches. I tend to drift from placing in the stitch, only in the back post, only in the front post, between stitches, etc. With this one at least I used white stuffing and white yarn so you can't tell as much how bad my stitches are. I also should have made the elephant slightly smaller to make the granny square blanket seem bigger. Making the flower for the elephant's ear was fun though and it looks pretty cute.

Jane loves the elephant and has been dragging it around some.Maybe I'll try again. I've still got plenty of this rainbow worsted weight yarn left...

Putting the Free in Freelance

I've been volunteering for my church for about a year, helping with their website and social media. They did a big redesign last summer and I helped get the content in shape and over in the new template. (I am a content person and writer, and there were designers in charge of coding) Then the site went live and the web design firm went MIA, and I was basically left on my own to sort out different issues.

The site is built on WordPress. I am not a WordPress expert, but I can figure things out and follow online tutorials, etc. But I was panicky about doing any updates without clear instructions from the web firm about backups, even just as part of a hand off of responsibilities to me, but no instructions ever came. No matter how many times I asked.

So what happened IS my fault, in that I wasn't more vigilant in updating WordPress myself. Things seemed to be OK so I just let it lie. Bad idea.

I'd noticed the site coming up as "potentially dangerous" in my browser's security bar, but I didn't look into it until the church accountant got a message from a member to that effect. I first updated WordPress (and it didn't break anything!), and then I contacted our host.

The host flagged our site as suspicious and said they would shut down our account if we didn't delete a certain file in 24 hours. Ruh, roh!

But since they told me the file I could go in and clean out the malicious code. I also updated all of the themes, plug ins, etc. and changed all the passwords as directed. BUT when I updated the theme ... POOF! Goodbye theme customizations.


The host does backups of the site and keeps them for a few days, so since I caught it soon enough I knew I could get an old one and then upload an old version of the theme via FTP. Well I didn't know that at first, but after I took Jane to the park and thought about it for a while the idea came to me -- and it actually worked, and the site went back to looking right with the customizations.

But that means our theme is not the latest version, leaving us vulnerable to hacks, and I'm not sure I've completely cleaned the site, and I'm especially worried that there's still a backdoor into the site and we'll just keep getting hacked and flagged.

I finally got a response from the web design firm. We're not active clients, and our contact there seems to have left the firm. But someone wrote back and said they'd look into it. I don't know what to expect (this firm also left tons of broken images and links throughout the site when they pushed it live from their testing server, among other unprofessional, frustrating things).

So I was feeling OK, thinking that at least we were stable for now. And then I tried to add a link to a post -- just updating it. And I couldn't edit the HTML and clicking "add link" icon did nothing. On top of everything else it made me want to beat my head against the wall. I googled, googled, googled and found directions to add a line of code to one of the files. And it appeared in enough of the WP help forums that it seemed legit. So I did that and it worked. I can edit the posts again. I still need to get used to the new version of WordPress and figure out if anything else got broken during the update.

I also don't know if maybe my computer is involved at all. There's only one other person who really updates the site, so I assume something could have gotten in through her computer. Or perhaps it was just through the site itself and a security breach within the theme.

My pulse has raced more times today than it has anytime since I haven't been working. I care SO much when I work and have projects/responsibilities like this. It's fun to figure things out and fulfilling to end up with a good end product that people like and use. But the process to get to that is so full of angst I can hardly stand it.

**I didn't really cry, but man I was a TERRIBLE mama to Jane during this ordeal ... which is still ongoing.

Green Eyebrows?

I have a green eyeliner pencil that I've never used. I bought it with the idea I might like to try an edgy makeup look sometime. Since I don't wear makeup normally going for edgy is a bit of a stretch. But it was a cheap-o brand so no real loss. But I was looking at it this week and the label says "eye and eyebrow pencil."

*Record scratch*

Oh, that's a whole new look I have never seen before -- colored eyeliner in your brows. How about that, trendy hipsters? Does anyone already do that? If they don't and then they start you'll know where you heard it first.

As for me, I'm going to try to wear mascara every day and work my way back up from there. There was a solid 6 months that I wore makeup daily for work -- starting in August 2010 until the "morning" sickness of 2011. I also flattened/blowdried my hair every time I washed it (not daily, but 3-4 times per week).

It's a good thing I don't care about how I look.

That's a "favorite" quote about me from a friend. I still haven't quite digested it or gotten over it -- more than 5 years later. I've decided it doesn't mean the same as not caring what people think about me but more me not thinking anyone can get the right impression based on the way I look so why try? Or something. Insecurity alert, I know.

UPDATE: Thanks to my mom who did a Google image search, apparently green eyebrows are a thing, possibly started by Lady Gaga. Surprised? Nah.

Things I Bought That I Love: Cool Towels

I had never heard of cool towels until my aunt came to visit this year. We spent at least one steamy day in New Orleans, and having the cool towel was essential for keeping the baby cool (not to mention dealing with hot flashes).

I've since bought two -- one via Amazon (referral link) and one that I found at my local grocery store (hello, Winn Dixie) on sale. Once you find out about something you start seeing it EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, these things are supposedly 20 degrees cooler than ambient air, and all you do is wet them, wring them out and then store in their plastic tube until ready to use. Pull them out, shake them for 20 seconds (I just do 20 shakes) and they really are cool. And they feel good for wiping off sweat

At the park Jane will say "coo, coo" until I give her one of the towels (she will also hoot a little like an owl, because towel=owl in Jane's world right now). Her poor face gets so red when she's overheated. I know the towel can't completely cool her down, so we don't stay outside long now in these hot-hot-hot southern Louisiana summer days. But it's nice to let us get out a little bit (and having one for me helps me be a slightly less cranky mama when outside).

I also think they'll be VERY handy in hurricane season if we lose power again. Last year we filled our tub with water to wash with in case we lost water too, so dipping the towel in that to recharge wouldn't be a problem (also, we never lost water). Here's hoping we don't need the cool towel for that now that we have them!

I really think there's a market for garments made out of this material. Think about maternity shirts -- or my personal favorite a poncho. I guess those would be harder to shake and activate...

Snug, Snug

Some outtakes from playing outside a week or so ago. How much do I love this face? These teeth? That mouth? Those eyes?!

One of Fifteen, Again

I wrote three sentences about this right after it happened.

The trial was this week. Guilty verdict. Death sentence.

When I allow myself to think about it, read about it I almost go numb and my heart breaks all over again. It's upsetting from every single angle.

It feels improper for me to write about it or even really have feelings about it -- although believe me, the feelings are expansive and painful.

I'm reading Adam Hamilton's Confronting the Controversies: Biblical Perspectives on Tough Issues (referral link) and coincidentally read the death penalty chapter the night before the sentencing. I've never tried to decide what I think, and even now my opinion is clouded by a personal connection. But I liked what he had to say (Google Books link to that chapter).

Purple Swing Set Cardigan

It's a purple party cardi for my sweet baby girl. I had made a mistake in the previous one -- there was an error in the pattern, in my defense. But really I just didn't read closely enough or I would have realized the mistake. On this one I didn't do the button hole placement perfectly and I had to spend 2+ hours unraveling the second skein of yarn (so annoying). But I'm happy with how it turned out. I'm thinking about making a matching hat because I bought three skeins of this yarn and don't want to buy anymore to use up the third one.

Cardi in action -- perfect for reading books and sitting on your gardening bench in the living room.

Photo Bombed by Brando

Crochet Lately: Swingset Cardigan & Gumdrop Roullete

Gumdrop Roulette baby afghan -- made earlier this year but just finished it by weaving in ends, washing and photographing it. I love the Red Heart super soft (that's what I used for the white because it was on sale after Christmas) ... I wish I had more! The rainbow stripes match previous blankets I've made, and I still have more to use for another blanket I want to make. Stay tuned.

This is called a swing set cardigan. It's supposed to be made in DK weight yarn, but I couldn't find any that I liked. My aunt was visiting and making it in sport weight, and I bought this pretty color worsted weight and decided to give the pattern a try if nothing else. It worked up quickly, in about 4 days with plenty of non-crocheting time. There are no seams, which made it even easier and it looks just darling. Because of the thicker yarn it made a bigger finished cardigan. I made 9-18 months by the pattern, but it's still too big for Jane. She'll grow into it, and I may try to find some DK yarn to do another smaller one in the meantime. It's too hot here anyway to be wearing sweaters, even if they are short sleeved. This also needs some buttons added at the top.

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