Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crocheting

I don't know that I would consider myself a crafty person. When I was a child, my mom taught me how to cross-stitch.  I cross-stitched a watermelon "Welcome" pattern onto a bread basket for my Grandma.  My mom also taught me how to do simple embroidery.  I made 3 or 4 squares of embroidered animals, but I never finished enough squares to make a blanket, or even a pillow.  I bought a drawing tablet once and used two pages of it attempting to draw the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse one day.  I bought a bunch of jewelry making supplies one time and made one necklace. I bought paints and brushes and some empty canvases, in an attempt to make some abstract art.  Maybe I'll get that done one of these days. 

Anyway, after all of these attempts at being crafty, I found some yarn for sale at the Goodwill one day last fall.  With Christmas vacation coming up, I thought of my Grandma.  My Grandma has always crocheted, I think her grandmother taught her.  She made me hats when I was younger, and she was always making an afghan or a doily or something pretty.  I bought the yarn at Goodwill that day, and came home and emailed her to see if she would teach me how to crochet at Christmas.  She said she would love to, so we had a plan.

So, when we had our family Christmas at the local hunting lodge (because my mom's side of the family is really large and there are too many people to have Christmas at just one person's house), I took my Goodwill yarn, and my Grandma brought a set of hooks for me and some instruction books.  While the kids played video games, my uncles watched football and my aunts and cousins played board games and visited, my Grandma attempted to teach me how to crochet.

She showed me how to start the yarn on the hook, how to hold the yarn, how to hold the hook, how to pull it tight and keep the stitches even, how to make a single chain, how to stitch single crochets into that chain, how to do a double crochet stitch.

A few things my Grandma said during our lesson:
"You're pulling the yarn too tight."
"You're not pulling the yarn tight enough."
"You're killing it."
"Hold it like this."
"Loosen up."
"Let me try it."
"Let me see what you are doing."
"You are going to need some practice."

A few things I said during our lesson:
"I can't do it right."
"Are you sure that's the right way to hold it?"
"I'm getting hot."
"You're making me nervous."
"I don't think I can do this."
"Can you just make me a scarf?"
"I thought you said this was easy!"

Anyway ... after all that ... we got snowed in at my Mom's house for 2 days, which gave me plenty of time to practice.  My Aunt Linda also crochets and was snowed in at my Mom's with us, so after a few tips from her and a few phone calls to my Grandma, I had the makings of a single crochet scarf.  Three months later, I finished it!



Since then, I have made coasters, baby washcloths, headbands, a hunting mask for my boyfriend, potholders, a prayer shawl and I'm currently working on a baby blanket.  I would still consider myself a beginner, but everything has turned out great so far!  I can read the patterns and I'm getting faster with each project I finish. Maybe I am a crafty person after all. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adventures in Blogging

So, a little over a year ago, I started this blog. I had intentions of writing posts on my blog once a week, maybe more, as I had time - but for sure one post a month at the very least!  I hate to admit that 12 months later, I have a measly 7 blog entries and 3 followers. If this was a testament to my blog writing dedication, I would fail. If this was a popularity contest, based upon my 3 faithful followers, I would fail at that as well.

My unofficial title at work is Company Project Manager. I keep everything organized, help us keep our deadlines, help keep everyone on task.  You would think a simple task like putting up a blog entry every week or so would be an attainable goal.  You would think!

I think part of my problem is that with my job, I am at my desk for 40 or more hours a week. I get involved with what I am doing and though I force myself to take an hour lunch break each day, I usually miss my morning and afternoon breaks.  By the time 5:00 p.m. hits each day, many times I just turn my computer off.  I actually try to make a habit of turning it off. Since I work from home, I need some sort of separation between office and home ... so turning my computer off during non-work hours is how I manage to get that separation.

This includes weekends too - I try *not* to turn this lovely piece of equipment on during Saturday or Sunday.  I mean heck - I get a break, doesn't she deserve one too?  Which I guess brings us to the real dilemma - if my computer is usually off when I'm not working, when am I supposed to write these weekly or monthly blog postings for my 3 followers to enjoy?  I can't write them during work, and I don't want to write them during my lunch break, because it isn't much of a break if I take my break to keep sitting at the computer.

So ... in an attempt to be a more consistent blog writer, I'm going to try to do better than this 7 posts a year business, because really - 7 posts a year? What's the point?  At that rate, by the time my 3 followers read my next post, they may not even remember who I am or why they are my follower to begin with.  And what a failed blog this would be if I started LOSING followers!

A friend of mine from the Outer Banks was challenged earlier this year by a friend to do one blog posting per day for a year.  She accepted the challenge, and has faithfully posted in her blog every day.  She is a great writer, and I enjoy reading her posts each day.  Every now and then as I am reading hers, I get mad at myself that I can't make the same commitment - like I said, I'd be happy with one post per week.  That will be my new goal, one I am going to try to follow.  Whether I post at 7:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. or sometime on Saturday or Sunday ... guess we'll see.

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

When I was in college, I discovered a book titled "14,000 Things to Be Happy About," by Barbara Ann Kipfer. I carried the book in my backpack for most of my four years of school, because it always made me smile to read a page of it. I still pull it off the bookshelf once in awhile, my tattered, worn, read copy of this book. 

In honor of Barbara Ann Kipfer, I thought I would write my own mini-collection of "Things That Make Me Happy." Though it is much shorter than her list of 14,000 things spanning 612 happy pages, I hope you enjoy it.

"Darcy's List of Things to be Happy About - It's Not 14,000 Things but Hey, who's THAT Happy?"

How excited my dogs get when I come home, even if I was only gone for 5 minutes.
The way the sand feels between my toes.
Wearing a baseball cap in the summer.
Going to yard sales on Saturday mornings.
Live music.
Shopping online.
Finding something I've been looking for at a thrift store.
Drinking coffee. Lots of it.
The minute the plane lands in Sioux Falls, SD.
The minute the plane lands in Wilmington, NC.
The fact that Fat Tire beer from Colorado is now sold in North Carolina.
Working from home but being so busy during the day that it feels like I'm in an office.
Memories of my Dad.
Puppies. And dogs who act like puppies.
My family.
My carefree fishing and hunting boyfriend.
Listening to rain on the roof when it's dark outside.
Opening the windows on a warm spring day.
Sitting on the beach with a chair and a book.
Drinking rum in South Dakota with my family.
Thinking about old friends and the crazy stuff we used to do.
Campfires and camping.
How excited Dakota still gets when people come over, even though she's 5 years old now.
The fact that I remind my Grandma and my Mom of my Dad.
Making dinner and trying new recipes.
The day a new magazine comes in the mail.
Opening Christmas stockings on New Year's Eve.
Pots of bamboo sitting around the house.
Eating seafood.
Waiting for the pizza guy to come.
Buying stuff at The Home Depot because it makes me feel like such an adult.
Thinking about summer during the winter.
Hearing the UPS guy drop off a package on the front doorstep.
Having a job that I not only enjoy, but am good at doing.
Having a fireplace.
Lightning bugs. Or fireflies, whatever you want to call them.
Playing Phase 10 with Marshall, even though I usually lose.
The little green lizards (anoles) that live in my backyard in the summer.
Having money in my savings account.
Owning my house.
The yellow walls in my office. Which I painted myself.
Shopping at the weekend flea market for produce.
The fact that I have lived in South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and North Carolina.
My handful of really good friends who keep me sane when I call them to chat.
Reading books.
Collecting shells on the beach.
The smell of flowers, especially random ones in the wild.
Crocheting projects.
Banana pancakes with peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Looking at the flowers in my backyard.
Walking my dogs ... when they listen.
My 1997 Purple Ford Probe that my parents gave me, which I am still driving and don't want to replace.
Fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Relaxing on Friday night.

And these, my friends, are just a few things that I have to be happy about. :)