Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Past Year

Well, a lot has happened in the past year.  I got work from my former employer after her business burned down (complete loss of the church within which she had her interior design business and showroom).  She hired me as an independent contractor at first to help with the business start up with computers, printers, getting re-organized and helping with the insurance claim.  She rented a new space, and I was able to help her get set-up with all the business things.  At the beginning of this year, she hired me as a regular employee and I worked there until the end of June.  She was disappointed to see me go, but my hubby and I are in the process of moving!

We found an older two-story farm house on ten acres only about a 1/4 of a mile from Lake Michigan in a nice, small community.  It was surprisingly cheap and only about an hour from my sister's family and an hour and a half from my parent's house, so it seemed perfect!  We've been slowly moving in since we closed on the house at the end of January.  It's be difficult since my hubby had to quit working at the paper mill and went back to work in the plumbers and pipefitters' union.  It's kept us from being down there officially yet, but we're awfully close and the anticipation is killing me! :)

DH has been laid off the job he was on and patiently awaiting the next job (which will probably be in North Dakota).  In the mean time, we've been able to get mostly moved out of our current home, he's working on fixing a few things, and I need him to put in a laundry hook-up in the new house.  Apparently, the late wife of the previous homeowner worked at the Laundromat, so they didn't need laundry in the house (and they used a clothesline for drying).  They also managed to raise five kids in the house!  It's twice as big as our (tiny) current house, but still not that big.  We're planning for some big chances including the bedroom downstairs being turned into a bathroom/laundry room, the current (tiny) bathroom will be a pantry for the kitchen, and we want to build an addition off the one side of the house.  Lots to do, but very exciting.  The house was built in the '30s, but it's very solid and came with a 24' x 36' garage!

So, lots happening and I'll make sure to post more updates!  I'll also be posting pictures of the new house and the remodeling as it happens.  I just need to find work in our new town now...wish me luck!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Customer Orders

After posting the wrist warmers on Facebook, I got a couple orders for them!  So I made some in black to sell.  One of my friends has really small hands, so I had to adjust the size so they'd fit her correctly (which is harder to do when you've never crocheted anything based on someone's measurements before and you don't have her close enough to make sure it fits).  Luckily, when I took them downstate to her, they fit perfect!  Here's one of the pairs I made, this one I made a little shorter, so it doesn't go as far up the arm.  By the way, I'm selling them for $7 a pair in any color.


Then, while I was downstate for my niece's 12th birthday party (I can't believe she's 12 already), my sister liked my blue shrug so much she asked for one.  She wanted the sleeves to be full length, and she wanted it in really soft black.  I found some really nice black yarn at Threadbender Yarn Shop down in Wyoming, MI (Grand Rapids area) the next weekend when John and I were visiting his parents.  It's 52% Silk and 48% Merino Wool and SO SOFT!  It was more expensive ($9.00 for 108 yards), but totally worth it.  It turned out great.  She'll have to hand wash it, but I think she'll love the softness.  Another of my friends liked it too, so I just have to find out what color she wants it and I can make one for her!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wrist Warmers

Another pattern I found thanks to Pinterest!  Here's a link to the pattern: Crochet Pattern: Wrist Warmers by Danyel Pink.  It's a great pattern and really easy to make.

I used a size I hook with some of the leftover yarn from the Three-Quarter Length Sleeve Shrug I made (worsted weight Red Heart yarn).  These only took me a couple hours to stitch up!  They'll be great in the winter when my hands are ALWAYS cold.  Now I just need to make a few more in other colors! :)

Three-Quarter Length Sleeve Shrug

This shrug was fantastically easy and quick to stitch up.  The pattern is from The Happy Hooker book called the "Knot Ugly Shrug".  I made the simple version (the deluxe version had ruffles on the edges and sleeves.)  I decided to make it in a light blue for a soft look (with Red Heart worsted weight yarn).  I used a size N hook (I need to find a size L and M hook since Wal-Mart doesn't have those two sizes), and I made it in the large size.  It only took me two afternoons and evenings to complete.  Mesh is great because it stitches up so quickly.  I really like the way this looks; it should be great over a lot of things, and I'll be able to use it on the cruise I'm taking in September!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pallet Coffee Table

My first pallet project was to make a coffee table for our living room.  To do that, I started with one of the nice pallets I got.  I pried off two 1"x1"s that were on the edges of the top of the pallet.  Then I used my hubby's belt sander and the 80 grit belt that was already on it to sand the top, sides, and even bottom a bit.  I mainly just got rid of any pieces sticking out.  We had some One Step Stain and Polyurethane in  "Golden Pecan".  I covered the top and sides with a total of 3 coats of that (sanding in between coats with 220 grit sandpaper).  Then, I covered just the top with a single coat of some Spar Urethane we had lying around.

For the legs, I had my hubby use the circular saw to cut off the ends of 2 of my other nicer pallets.  I screwed them together then to the top.  It was important to me to be able to move the table around easily in our living room (since it's really small with very limited space); so, I went to Home Depot and bought 2-2 packs of 2" wheel casters for about $12.  Using a 5/16" drill bit, I drilled a hole in each corner for the casters and screwed them in.

Here are some pictures of the process:

The pallet before anything was done to it.
 After being sanded...
 Finished with the final coat!
The pallet ends my hubby cut for me.
 Screwed in the legs...
And the finished product!
I must admit, I'm happy with how the coffee table turned out.  It fits quite well in the room, it's mobile, and we can use the ends as little shelves; oh, and it's not heavy. :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pallet Project Start-Up

I've been bitten by the pallet project bug!!  After seeing so many cool things made from shipping pallets (and pinning about a hundred of them), I've finally decided to give it a go for myself!

Step 1: find free pallets...CHECK...I found a couple places in town where I can get free shipping pallets on a regular basis (Sears even posted on Craigslist).

Step 2: decide which projects to try that will work with the pallets I table on casters for the living room, 2 chairs and a table for outside.

Step 3: get started!
I got 5 of these...they're in really good shape and look good!
These two are "not-so-great", but they should still be useable.
I dismantled one but am keeping the other one together to use as the main part of the table (you can see the pieces of the other one that I'll use to fill in the gaps).

Well, I got some really nice pallets that will be turned into the coffee table and outside chairs, and I got a couple pallets that aren't that great, but they'll work just fine for an outside table.  Today I managed to get one of the "not-so-great" pallets broken down using a sawzall and pry bar (so I have some extra wood to add to the other "not-so-great" pallet to make the table.)  I also managed to get one of the nice pallets sanded and stained (I used a stain and poly in one) for the coffee table.  I think I'm off to a pretty good start.  I have to figure out what to do for legs for the coffee table, and I'm planning to get casters so it will move easily in our little living room.

If it's not raining tomorrow, I'll see how the coffee table pallet looks.  I may add another coat of the stain/poly.  Then I'll head to Home Depot to find some casters!  This shouldn't take very long to finish up.

Black Bolero

Last week I decided to make a bolero from a pattern in The Happy Hooker called "Short 'N Sweet".  Theirs is done in a dark red 100% mercerized cotton; I used some black 100% acrylic Red Heart yarn I had on hand.  The pattern was pretty fun to stitch up (I'd never done around the post crocheting before).  I wasn't sure exactly which size I should make, but I figured a little bigger would be better than too small.  So, I went with the large size.  It is a little big, but I still like how it turned out.  I think the pattern would have shown up better with a lighter colored yarn.  If I make this again, I'll find some of the mercerized cotton in a light color.  I do like it though; it's pretty warm, so it should work great on cool nights (or in air conditioned building) over anything from a T-shirt to a dress (great for bonfires, parties, and anything outside from Spring through Autumn).  On to the next shrug!