Life is Exhausting (and a peek into a few things I’m working on, and a few things I’ve learned recently…)

I try not to complain overly much. Life is hard, everyone has difficulties, and the argument is surely true that if everyone tossed their problems into a big pile, we’d each of us look around at what other people have to deal with and hurriedly grab our problems right back. So with this perspective floating around my head every day, several times a day, I feel confident saying: Life. Is. Hard. Someday I may write about exactly why this has been the worst 8 months of my entire life, but I am very cautiously hopeful that we are at the beginning of the other side of “the event” and that things from this point forward may resume more normalcy. That being said, I mentioned last time I blogged that I never did have the best timing for doing things, starting this blog included, so I’ve been lax about posting. But I think about posting all the time, because I’m still very interested in doing this. So that brings us to this post today. Here are a few little things I’ve either learned, enjoyed, or am working on in the craft world, and I will close things up with a particularly gorgeous picture of my backyard at dusk last evening, because I strung twinkly fairy lights all around and it has brought me so much joy to sit out in the chilly Northwest evenings near the oil heater and watch the wisteria play off the lights.

We’ll touch first on that Attic24 stripey bag I’m still plugging away on. I had asked around Reddit a while back (Plug: If you’re on Reddit and you crochet, /r/crochet is one of my favorite places to hang out and see what other people are doing. They’re restructuring too and cracking down on spam posts, so it tends to be quality – at least in my opinon.) – Anyway, I asked around Reddit a while back how to make my starting double crochets look better when working with color changes in the round, and a user pointed me to the all-mighty Tamara from Moogly and her standing double crochet tutorial. Basically, instead of starting the round by joining your new color at the top of the color below when working stripes, and having your tails at the bottom of your new color, you do a funny little take on a double crochet where the tails end up at the top. Not only does the standing DC work almost invisibly into your piece, but crocheting over your tails becomes lickity-split fast. Here’s the video tutorial for those interested:

And here’s the written post if that’s more your jam: Standing Double Crochet by Tamara from Moogly

It’s seriously been a game-changer for me.

The other thing I’m working on these days is a new Crochet-Along (CAL) from Laura over at HappyBerry Crochet – It’s a Road Playmat, like the roll-out carpets you find at Ikea for toy cars!! I was excited about this for a couple reasons. First, it’s a CAL that hadn’t started yet, and I am a new-enough crocheter that a lot of the CALs I like had already begun. There’s not really anything wrong with that, but the time commitment required to “catch up” to everyone is quite daunting. But this!! This I could start with everyone else!! And the other reason is that my kiddo is a lovely mix of girly-girl and tomboy, and she happens to LOVE her Hot Wheels. I asked her dad and my other half if he thought she would like one, and he said he thought she would have fun with it. Of course, then I had to go and think about my nephew who just turned 2 and would LOVE one, so now I’m making twice the squares. But it’ll be worth it in the end, as Laura has plans for expansion squares and all sorts of add-ons. Here are a few pics from her site and a link to the first YouTube tutorial for the CAL (I’ll be doing another standalone post on this CAL, so consider this a preview!!):

The first set of squares for the Road Playmat CAL from HappyBerry

Here’s this week’s set – it’s a 5 week CAL with add-ons to follow, so if you start now, you’ll still be at the beginning!!

Here’s the YouTube Tutorial for the first week – she’s thorough and precise, so they won’t be short videos, but there is no question about anything if you follow along.

And finally, she is hosting a new Facebook group for her CALs – I won’t bother linking it here because it’s a closed group and you will get an error if you follow a link and you’re not signed into Facebook, but if you search ” HappyBerry Crochet-a-longs (CALs)” you should find it – you  can then request to join and she will add you. It’s a great place to show off your progress and talk about the CAL and Laura is super interactive with the community there, too!! (more on that in my next post…)

And lastly on my short list of interesting happenings lately, I have a new coffee toy and I am over the moon (and caffeinated enough to be over the moon, too!!) about it: The Toddy T2N Cold Brew System (Amazon link, but I’m not an affiliate, so this is all unpaid love, ha.) This was originally loaned to us by the Mister’s co-worker because he likes to tell people how I am a completely caffeinated person and would be a total bear without copious amounts of coffee running through my bloodstream at any given moment and she thought I might like to try this. So I did, and I LOVE it, and he came home mid-last week with the news that his co-worker had gifted this to us because she had owned it for several years and only used it once. SCORE!! It’s fairly straighforward to operate, the replacement filters are cheap as are the plugs should you need a new one, and the resulting product is EXCELLENT if you follow proportions properly. That gadget is why my Insta feed is quickly filling up with pictures of delicious, lightly sweetened coldbrew coffee in mason jars. DE-lish!!

Well, I’ve written a short novel here, so I will stop now. But I WILL leave you with my gorgeous back patio area and the promise that my next post will be less all over the place, and a lot sooner than ten days from the date of this one. IMG_20150503_205725

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