About Me

Arizona, United States
I'm a work-at-home mom who enjoys the beautiful sunsets here in the high desert.

My Designs

For the free patterns for these afghan squares I designed for My Reading Afghan, click here.

My Recently Completed Projects

On The Hook

Ravelry CAL Afghan 1 in progress
Ravelry CAL Afghan 1

Ravelry CAL Afghan 2 in progress
Ravelry CAL Afghan 2

Ravelry CAL Afghan 3 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 3 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 3

Ravelry CAL Afghan 4 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 4 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 4

Ravelry CAL Afghan 5 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 5 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 5

Ravelry CAL Afghan 6 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 6 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 6

Ravelry CAL Afghan 7 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 7 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan--Flower Burst 7ARavelry CAL Afghan--Flower Burst 7B
Ravelry CAL Afghan 7

Ravelry CAL Afghan 8 in progress
Ravelry CAL Afghan 8

Ravelry CAL Afghan Blocks:
Dream Catcher
Cross My Heart
Cygnus
Chocolate Delight
Flower Burst

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Afghan Started

Pineapple Square Afghan: Yes, I actually did start a new afghan. This may be a new record for me for the most works in progress at the same time. I love the color of this yarn. It's called Painted Desert. You can see it a little better in the close-up picture, but the actual color is still more brown than it looks in the pic. The pineapple pattern is one of my favorites, and I've made several things with pineapples in them. Mostly I remember a poncho I made as a teenager that was all pineapples like this. I loved it and wore it for years. Can't remember what happened to it. Probably ponchos went out of style and I got rid of it. Too bad because it would be totally in style today again. Oh, well.


American Idol: It was really weird. Some of the guys that didn't do so well the previous week did great this week. For instance, Luke Menard. I thought he did great this time after being totally out of tune last time. He talked about being in an a capella group. I wonder if that made it more difficult for him to adjust to singing with a band and maybe that caused his pitch problems the first week? Michael Johns, whom I liked from the beginning, did not do very well this week. He's originally from Australia, but I wonder if he's a naturalized citizen. I don't want anyone to win 'American Idol' if they're not an American. I loved David Cook again this week, and of course, David Achuleta was awesome again. Right now, I'd say he's the most likely to win the whole thing. The girls were about the same, I thought, though my favorite, Ramiele, did not do as well as last week, so that was a disappointment. It feels like they're really trying to push that Carly Smithson down our throats, and I'm just not a fan. In addition to her being a has-been who has already had a major recording contract and CD and all, if she hasn't become an American citizen, she has no business being on 'American Idol'. If she's an Irish citizen, she needs to be on 'Irish Idol' or 'European Idol' or something like that.

Big Brother 9: This is the most boring Big Brother ever. I think forcing them to compete in 2-person teams must be stifling and constraining everybody. If it weren't for the drama of the health emergencies, it would have been a big yawner so far. I'm amazed that kind of thing didn't happen sooner with people having to eat that nasty-tasting slop. I'd rather not eat at all than to eat something so nasty. And apparently that's what happened to Amanda--not enough food led to the hypoglycemia. I wonder what set off Allison's allergic reaction? Was she on slop, too? Wouldn't surprise me. I think they need to go back to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches rather than that yucky slop.

Lost: Lost is on tonight--can't wait! It's apparently supposed to be a Desmond-centric episode, so looking forward to that. Really curious to find out how Kate got little Aaron in her clutches, but that probably won't be revealed for a while. And why doesn't Jack want to see him? I'm still wondering if she was actually pregnant and just named her own baby Aaron. As usual, lots to speculate about. I definitely want to know why Sayid is under Ben's thumb.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Afghan Update
















The Ravelry CAL Afghans: I finally finished the final two colorways for this afghan, so now there are a total of seven of these afghans in progress. I really like both of these colorways. The first one is a combination of black, white and light and dark gray. The second one has a linen color with two shades of blue. At this point, I am caught up as far as this CAL is concerned, but I also wanted to investigate the Tunisian Crochet CAL's January and February squares to see if they'd work with these squares since combining both of these CALs this would result in a full-size afghan in 12 months instead of 24 months. But that's going to have to wait because I need to get a couple of gift projects done in the next couple of weeks.
















Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Top 6 Girls

American Idol: I'm sorry, but I could only come up with 4 girls that stood out from the pack in last night's show (in order of their appearance):



Kady Malloy--Liked her since her initial audition and still liked her performance last night. I thought she made a very 60s song (Groovy Kind of Love) sound contemporary and entertaining.




Asia'h Epperson--I was not a fan of hers during the early auditions because she seemed to repeatedly suffer from what I call 'the Johnny Mathis syndrome'. This is where the singer starts singing a note/word and then their voice disappears for a second or more and then returns. During last night's performance, she had no Johnny Mathis episodes until the latter part of the song, and by then she was doing such a great job with the song that I was willing to overlook the latter-end Johnny Mathis moments.


Ramiele Malubay--This girl is an awesome singer. Great voice. Great stage presence.






Syesha Mercado--She already looks and sounds like a polished professional. Pleasant and entertaining.





At first, I couldn't even come up with a couple more to add in to make a Top 6 because the other girls were even more 'forgettable' than the 'forgettable' boys, but I guess if pressed I might include:


Brooke White--Sang well and on tune, but just not a stand-out performance.





Alaina Whitaker--She also did a decent job, just not outstanding.






The Bottom 6 (and why they're there):


Alexandrea Lushington--All I can remember is the goofy pants and suspenders.





Amanda Overmyer--Was never impressed with this one. Why hasn't anyone noticed that she never holds a note longer than a nanosecond? The reason for that is usually because they can't.




Amy Davis--Sang the entire song out of tune. All the more offensive because I always liked Connie Francis' version of Where The Boys Are.





Carly Smithson--A has-been. She already got her shot with a big-time recording contract with MCA a few years ago. The fact that her shot didn't happen wasn't because of her story that the record company went defunct. The fact is that her CD only sold like 478 copies, and maybe that was at least partly why the record company went defunct after they invested huge sums of money in her. I didn't even like her singing before I learned of her previous recording contract, so I like her even less upon reading all about her long-standing entertainment career going back to childhood. Her place in the competition should have been given to someone who's never yet had a shot.

Joanne Borgella--I wanted to like her, but sadly, her voice was just too unremarkable.





Kristy Lee Cook--The way she kept making bug-eyes freaked me out. She just didn't seem at all comfortable on stage in front of a camera.





Big Brother 9: I'm so glad that Jen didn't get vetoed off the block. Although I like Parker better than her, she just has to go, so I sure hope they get evicted rather than Ryan and Allison. I'm not thrilled with either of them, but Jen is the most offensive by far, so I'd really like to see her go. Aside from her abrasive personality, what's with her wanting to see Adam's uncircumcised penis? And what's with her boyfriend apparently not having a problem with that?





Terminator-The Sarah Connor Chronicles: I have really been enjoying this story. Even after three movies and a few of these TV episodes, it is still a good story and keeps me on the edge of my seat. I hope they don't cut it short like they did with JourneyMan, which is apparently never coming back (boo-hoo).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Top 6 Guys

American Idol: After watching the 12 male finalists, it was fairly easy to pick my top 6. Actually I ended up with a top 4 that were especially impressive and then added in 2 of the more or less 'forgettable' (as Simon would say) ones that I liked better than others.

My top 4 (in order of their appearance on last night's show) are:


David Cook--Love the texture and tone of his voice.




David Archuleta--This kid is a natural. I don't think he could sing badly to save his life. It's like he was born to sing. Reminds me of Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken in that regard--flawless and seemingly incapable of hitting a wrong note.




Jason Castro--Jason made it into my top 4 because he surprised me so much. I was fully prepared not to like him, and then he did such a fun authentic performance, singing on tune and sounding like he would sound if he had actually lived and performed in the 60s, but still sounding fresh and today as well.


Michael Johns--Great-sounding voice, star-quality presence and consistently excellent performances.





My add-ins so that I could come up with a Top 6:


Colton Berry--Pleasant voice. Sings on tune.




Robbie Carrico--Pleasant voice. Sings on tune. But not quite the rocker sound he seems to want to have.





The rest of them and why they didn't make it into my Top 6:

Chikezie--Aside from the odd name, he just has such a stock sound that doesn't stand out in any way. Plus I didn't like his attitude. The best way to respond to criticism from Simon is with grace, not attitude. What Simon wears is irrelevant since he is there to judge, not to be judged by arrogant contestants. Every one of these contestants signed up to be on this show, very well-known for criticism given by Simon Cowell, so for any of them to come back with any kind of arrogant attitude towards one of the people that gave them their shot on national TV is just plain tacky and trashy.

Danny Noriega--Too flaming full of himself.






David Hernandez--I just couldn't take the overdone mouth manipulations and stylizing.






Garrett Haley--Looks and sounds too much like a girl.






Jason Yeager--Moon River brings back bad childhood memories, and he just wasn't impressive enough to overcome that.





Luke Menard--Sang pretty much his whole song out of tune and then alarmingly failed to recognize that fact during his after-performance interview, even AFTER the judges pointed it out to him.




I sure hope that at least my top 4 end up in the top 6.

Big Brother 9: Bonehead move #1--Jen and Ryan telling their respective partners about the fact that they are a real-life couple, together for 10 months before entering the Big Brother house, thus giving up their distinct advantage in the game.

Bonehead move #2--Jen and Parker telling everybody the secret about Jen and Ryan already being a couple out of some strange need to tell before Allison tells, even though Allison had no reason to tell anyone.

Bonehead move #3--Allison and Sheila pretending to be a lesbian couple of long standing before entering the Big Brother house and announcing this to Joshuah and Neil (and maybe others?) AFTER the swearing-on-the-Bible ceremony where everyone swore that there were no other prior relationships in the house other than Jen and Ryan.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cherry Chip


Ravelry CAL Afghan 6: I finished the Cross My Heart square for this afghan, and I definitely do like this color combination. I especially think the name of the multicolor yarn used for this afghan is cute--'Cherry Chip'. I pretty much have this pattern memorized by now since I've made it a few times. This makes it easier to crochet while watching TV. I love seeing how the different color combinations turn out.

Big Brother 9: Apparently that Sheila was more hard-up than she tried to make it appear on the first show because on last night's show she was all over Adam, the guy she supposedly couldn't stand. Well, okay, she was all over him with the exception of when she was making a big deal about his 'insensitive' remark, talking it up to everyone in the house--this on the heels of her completely insensitive tirade to everyone in the house on the previous episode. Jen and Ryan are completely stupid for telling their secret that they're a couple IRL (in real life). Nothing like putting a big target on your head and taking away your advantage in the game! But then Parker and Allison would be equally stupid to leak the secret since it would put targets on their heads, too. But that Allison seems really vindictive and angry about the fact that she can't have Ryan as she had hoped, so she may end up cutting off her nose to spite her face.

Lost: I finally made it through the season 1 episodes on the ABC website and have also managed to see the first three or four episodes of season 2. I wish I had enough time off to just do a marathon and watch all the remaining past episodes one after the other so I could be completely caught up. I'm hoping that some of my questions get answered after I've watched all the episodes so far. I know new questions come up because I'm also watching the current season on TV. Anyway, it's a great show, and I'm enjoying watching it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cross My Heart




The Ravelry CAL Afghans: I got two more of the Cross My Heart squares done last night--for afghan 2 and afghan 4. The reason there is not yet an afghan 3 on display is because I still need to get the colorway for that one figured out as well as buy the yarn for it. The starting of afghan 5 is delayed for the same reason. But I need to stick with these number labels because that is what helps me keep track of the recipient for each one. Well, basically I just need to look at the squares and yarn to know who it's for, but for the purposes of my blog and Ravelry notebook, I need a label for each one, and I'd like to retain a little mystery rather than labeling each one So-and-So's afghan. So far, my favorite colorway is afghan 4. Those colors are right up my alley. I'm liking the Cross My Heart block more than the Dreamcatcher block. Hoping to get both blocks done in each of seven colorways before the March block is posted for the group.







American Idol: My favorite singer so far is Michael Johns. That 16-year-old Archuleta boy also was very good. None of the girl singers have stood out to me yet. Maybe they haven't shown us the best girl singers yet.







Big Brother 9: Okay, that 46-year-old woman, Sheila, is disgusting. Apparently no one ever taught her any manners, and apparently she has no idea she's supposed to be playing a game, the goal of which is to win. Why does she think she's such a prize as to be so picky, and who cares anyway since the whole point of going on the show was to play the game and try to win--not to find your 'soulmate'. The 'soulmate' twist was not known to the participants until it was sprung on them after they were in the house, so what grounds does she have to be so offended by getting matched up with the guy she got? No matter who you get matched up with, you should just try to work with them to be able to strategize as a team with an eye toward winning. She must have done a great job teaching her son some great values, good manners and basic human empathy..... not!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Square After Square



The Ravelry CAL Afghans: I finished three more of the Dreamcatcher squares (the CAL selection for January) for these sampler afghans I have planned and then finally got my first Cross My Heart square done, which is the selection for February. See the pictures on the right.

I'm getting a kick out of the color names for these multicolor yarns. The shaded pinks one on the top is called 'Candy Print'. The next one down, which is mainly pink, beige and dark brown is called 'Cherry Chip'. The pink, beige, green and light brown one is called 'Pink Camo'. In contrast, the multicolor I'm using for the browns colorway afghan is simply called 'Shaded Browns', kind of a boring name compared to the others, don't you think?

I'm really enjoying how these are turning out. Especially now that I have the first two squares done in the browns colorway, I'm able to better see how the colors are working together and get a little peek at how the afghan might turn out. I'm hoping I'll get the same preview when I finish the Cross My Heart square for each of the other colorways as well.

Now that I have these five afghans started, it is a challenge keeping up with all the yarn and the finished squares. So far, each afghan has four colors assigned to it, and I'm keeping each of these in a different bag. There is some overlap of colors, though, with the browns because two of the pink colorways use a brown from the brown colorway, but I'm going to go ahead and have separate skeins for each colorway in order to keep each bag a project to itself and lessen my confusion.

I've been keeping all my afghan squares--all of these plus the Ravelry Book Club Afghan squares and the still solitary Great North American Afghan square all in one bag because it's still a small stack of squares, but as the pile grows, I'll need to split them up. Since these afghans will probably take a year or more to make, I'll need to come up with some kind of acceptable storage system until all the squares are completed and it's time to sew them together.

There is also a Tunisian Crochet CAL on Ravelry, and they are also doing a block a month. I'm thinking about doing those blocks to alternate with these regular crochet blocks in order to have enough blocks for each afghan sooner, but in order to do that, I need to get the specialized hook for that and hope I get the right size to create squares the same size as these. It's always an adventure!

I'm also toying with the idea of doing an illusion crochet square to put in the middle of each afghan, bringing the total squares for each afghan to 25 and thus 5 squares x 5 squares, which will make each afghan a 60 x 60-inch square.

I just recently discovered illusion crochet on Ravelry when someone did their design square for one of the Ravelry Book Club's selections in that method. It looks like stripes when you look at it straight on, but when you look at it from an angle, a hidden image appears. It is really cool! The same thing can also be accomplished in knitting, so I'm looking forward to trying both.

Here's a link to some pictures of illusion crochet (you have to scroll down): http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=101914;sa=showTopics

Sunday, February 10, 2008

CALs and KALs



CALs and KALs: CAL stands for crochet-a-long, meaning a group of people are crocheting the same project in roughly the same time frame. KAL is the term for the same thing for knitting projects. CALs and KALs turn what is usually a solitary activity into a group activity, somewhat like the old quilting bees, and because of the internet we can share with each other online. In addition to the social aspect of talking about the project we're working on with others who are working on the same project, it's a perfect way to get help if you run into any problems like if you're not sure about the pattern instructions and whether you're following them correctly. My favorite part of CALs and KALs is being able to see everyone's project developing and all the different ways people end up doing the same project. It's very inspiring to see all the different color combinations, and in the case of motif-type afghans--the different placement of the squares, fillers used, different types of joinings and all kinds of borders. I'm currently participating in CALs/KALs for the following projects:


The Great North American Afghan
The Ravelry Book Club Afghan
Jeanie (shawl)
Pinwheel Sweater
The Ravelry CAL Afghan


All of these CAL/KAL groups are on Ravelry. I'll also be joining in KALs for The Great American Afghan and The Great American Aran Afghan as soon as I get started on those. In the meantime, I love looking at the pictures of everyone else's projects.


The Ravelry CAL Afghans: This group on Ravelry is a block-a-month group, where there is a featured block for each month that we all crochet during that month. This past week I decided to make multiples of these blocks in order to make more than one afghan. So far, I have gathered the yarn for five different colorways, thus the makings of five different afghans. (Thank you to my two youngest daughters and husband for helping me figure out the best color combinations!) I'm hoping to come up with at least two more colorways for a total of seven afghans to result from this CAL. Last night I finished a Dreamcatcher block (January's block) in Shaded Browns and will be working on completing the same block in the other colorways until I have all five Dreamcatcher blocks completed. Then I'll start on February's block (called Cross My Heart) in all five of the colorways I currently have. I thought this would be a less boring way to get more afghans finished. Making the same block in different colors is less boring than making the same block over and over in the same colors. Also, making a different block each month is fun to anticipate and a welcome change from the previous block.




The Ravelry Book Club Afghan: This is most likely going to be my afghan because it won't really have any meaning to anyone but me and my fellow Ravelry Book Club members. Each square is designed to represent one of the books we've read. So far, that has been three books since the inception of the group. We're currently reading our fourth book. There is an afghan square design contest for each book. So far, I won the contest for the first book by being the only one who submitted an entry! It looks like I'm the only one who submitted an entry for the second book as well, and the deadline for entries on that one was yesterday. Our third book, however, has three entries so far and could get more since the deadline isn't until March 29. I'm hoping that a lot more people will submit their designs because the more squares I can make, the faster my afghan will get done.


Knitting and Crocheting Organization: Because I generally have several WIPs (works in progress) at a time, I decided to come up with a system of keeping track of my progress with each one. I found some old neon-colored 3 x 5 index cards in my desk and put all the particulars for each WIP on its own card. Ravelry uses a percentage system to keep track of progress and I do the same here on my blog (see the progress bars in the left-hand column for each WIP), so I figured out all these percentages for each project and wrote them down on the index cards. Now that all the math is done, all I have to do is look at the card and see that if I get to row such-and-such or finish half of a sleeve or whatever the case may be, the project will be a certain percentage completed and I can advance my progress bars accordingly. I am using these cards as a way of making steady progress on all of my WIPs as well. As soon as I reach the next percentage place on the card, I rotate to another WIP, check its card and do the same. These short-term goals are helping me to make progress on the projects that tend to get boring for me. I know that I only have to work on it until the next percentage, and then I can move on to a different project. That way the projects that seem 'endless' are less overwhelming, and I can feel a sense of accomplishment with each percentage point I reach.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

From Prayer Shawl to Baby Blanket

Diagonal Pattern Baby Blanket: This is an example of what happens when a project is started during one phase of your life and not finished during the same phase. It started out as a Prayer Shawl using a pattern from the Prayer Shawl Ministry: http://www.shawlministry.com/ . At the time, I liked the ideas of comforting expressed by the ministry, and the circumstances of my life back then were such that I couldn't think of anyone who needed such comfort more than I did. During that time, things were so dark and desperate and the spiritual warfare so intense that I was praying every day more than I had ever prayed in my life before. So, I bought some of the yarn recommended for the pattern in a colorway that was a combination of pink, blue and white--pink and blue having been my favorite colors for a long, long time.

Through the subsequent years, my life changed, especially my spiritual life. First, I discovered that the tallit (Hebrew prayer shawl) had been around for millennia and when I had my own, I discovered that it was a lot more practical for use as a prayer shawl than the heavy bulky one I had been knitting off and on for the previous three years or so since it is much lighter--a single layer of woven fabric. While the one I was knitting could end up being a tallit by adding a tzitzit to each of the four corners when it was finished, it seemed it would still be too hot and uncomfortable to be under for long periods of prayer time. Also, because of its size and bulk, it would not fit into a tallit bag and be easy to take along in my Scriptures case as with the traditional tallit.

As time went on, I didn't even need a traditional tallit because I came to wearing a headcovering full-time, so the shawl in progress had become obsolete for the originally intended purpose. I thought about just completing it and using it as a regular shawl for warmth purposes, but I've never been a shawl wearer. Besides that, pink and blue weren't even my favorite colors anymore! Somewhere along the way I've come to prefer soft purple colors like lavender and violet. When I thought about completing the shawl and giving it to one of my loved ones, the pastel pink and blue colors of the shawl didn't seem to fit any of them either--too babyish.

Finally, after a few more months of thinking about it, I decided to frog the Prayer Shawl. (The knitting term 'frog' comes from 'rip it, rip it'.) Then I actually did it and ended up with four skeins of Baby Clouds yarn absolutely perfect in every way for a soft cuddly baby blanket and immediately started knitting it up. That's the great thing about yarn--it can always be unraveled and you can start again. I kind of miss the Prayer Shawl and the way it reminded me of my spiritual journey of the past few years, but the baby blanket has the same effect as I'm knitting it.

Dance War: I have been wondering about the point of this show from the beginning--How can a 'team' win this 'war' unless one team never has anyone eliminated? Is that the point--to have one of the original teams stay intact while the other team dwindles down to zero week by week? But then what if, next week, the dwindling team wins the audience vote, and so that the so-far-intact team has to finally lose a member? In that case, you'd have no intact teams, only reduced teams, and does that mean the show is over? If not, and the point is to get down to only one person still standing, then how can that be a winning 'team'? Winning 'side' maybe, but not really a 'team'. What if there are 3 people left on one team when the last member of the other team gets eliminated? Is the show over then, or will they then fight amongst themselves to be the last one standing? I guess that's why I still pay some attention to this show--to see how it's supposed to play out--because the singing and dancing sure aren't good enough to keep my interest.

Today's Scripture Reading: Shemu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 6:1-9:14

Dinner Tonight: Final appearance of Dad's Super Bowl Chili.

 

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