20 June 2016


I remember when I was a teenager realizing that I didn't have any toys anymore. No dolls or legos or Barbies or playsets. I had books and crafts and asked for things like lotion and CDs for Christmas. I didn't have toys anymore, I had hobbies.

Recently, I had all three kids at a doctor's appointment when another lady in the waiting room jokingly asked me, "So, what do you do with your freetime?" I just smiled a tight-lipped smile, but I wished I'd told her the truth. "Oh, I like to read and crochet; thanks for asking!" Even with three kids, one of them a six-month-old, I still get at least a little time almost every day to indulge.

Right now, in fact, the girls are downstairs playing and Theodore is napping, so I've got blog time.

I crocheted Eleanor a pair of slippers that she practically lived in for the first day, but then she lost interest and they are now lost somewhere in her dress up bin. I then embarked on a little hanging basket for the shower. It was getting a bit crowded with five people's stuff and I couldn't find anything I liked at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I used this free pattern with two strands of Lily's Sugar 'n Cream in Indigo and a size N hook. (I bought the yarn on sale at Joann Fabrics and did not use the entire skein/s.) I made it in one afternoon and it came out great! I'm now searching for more places in my house that would benefit from basket-style organization.

Because it's in the bathroom, I wanted to make the basket out of quick-drying cotton, but a basket in the kitchen or a kid's room could certainly be made out of a cheaper yarn.

I'm also in the midst of three other crochet projects that live on the edge of the hearth. I still need to figure out a good place to put my work space (the one we got from Ikea when we lived in Chicago). It took some convincing, but the girls now leave the yarn pile alone.

So I'm working on a mid-weight shall for myself. I started in the spring, but when summer hit, the project kind of fell to the back burner. It's a very, very simple (and free) pattern, though, so I still break it out when I'm looking for something quick and easy to work on. This is also a great one to do when the kids are awake as it's easy to put down and not devastating if the girls pull out some of the rows. I finished the hot pink and navy blue is the next color. The color scheme is based off my favorite skirt.

I'm also working on a tunic tank top to layer over a tank top, especially low-cut tanks that are great for nursing but not for modesty. The pattern was not free, but looked very simple and I've been able to copy it just based off the pictures. I'm currently mad at the shirt because I'm pretty sure I'm going to look fat in it and will therefore never wear it. That is the problem with making one's own clothes. If you try it on and don't like it, you can't just return it.

The third project is the one I'm most actively pursuing. They are seat cushion/covers for our new hand-me-down patio chairs. I'm making them with scrap yarn using a crochet technique called "Bavarian." The stitch is easy and works up quickly, even with worsted weight yarn and a size I hook. I'm almost done and hoping to finish today, actually.

During the aforementioned trip to Joann, I stumbled across some foxy fabric and then, of course, had to buy it. I got some super-soft turquoise-y fabric to go with it. I'm planning to just sew the two fabrics together and - voila - have a super quick and cute blanket.

I'm not big on sewing, but when I saw the fabric, I was compelled to buy it. Since we're totally blanket people around here...

...making a blanket was the first thing that popped into my head. The fun foxies remind me a lot of a quilt that one of Matt's friends made for Theodore.

She has made all of my babies quilts and I'm super grateful and flattered.

The front of Theodore's quilt is like a vintage fabric version of an adventure tale come to life. The Egyptian-y fabric reminds me of one of my favorite books, The English Patient, and the "planes, trains, and automobiles" fabric looks like it belongs on the cover of a Jules Verne novel.

I like paring masculine novels with each of the fabrics. The nauticalesque white triangles on a navy background? Hemingway! (The Old Man and the Sea, my favorite Hemingway.) The blue spider webs? Edgar Allen Poe!

Thus far, each kid has his or her very own custom-made quilt, crochet blanket from Mommy, and (several) plush fabric blankets. I'm trying to get my kids as addicted to books and blankets as I am, apparently.

When I'm not crocheting with my free time, I'm usually reading. It's my goal to read 24 books this year. I'm on track having read 11 thus far and I have my next few picked out.

Chicago and A Strangeness are recommendations and The Princess Bride is just for fun. I also have The Brothers Karamozov and a nonfiction work, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in The Age of Reason, on my to-read list.

I also started writing again! I have an idea for a full novel, but I'm a bit nervous to venture into book writing again until the kids are older. It's difficult to write in one-hour spurts, and getting anything longer than one- to two-hour spurts with babies and toddlers and preschools is rare. I decided to focus on writing prompts and short stories in order to stay limber and improve my skills while I waited, so a little while ago, I bought an item called Rory's Story Cubes. They were pretty cool, but I only used them once and was rarely writing. Then last week, I found a beautiful journal for a very decent price and it re-inspired me.

Out flowed the story of Edgar, the dumpy bloke who gets drafted into the Circus. It was awesome to sit down and write on paper with a pen. I felt all creative and inspired. I'm hungry to do some more writing.

Quick side note on the story cubes - I have found that prices on them vary widely and the best deal is at the major book stores, Schuler, Barnes and Nobel, etc. I paid $8 for the large box and $4 for the "mix-ins."


Anonymous said...

Jacqueline, you are awesome -but surely you typo...24 books in one month? I was impressed with the idea of reading 24 books in one year, but I cannot believe 24 books in one month to be humanly possible for a mother with three small children who also had hobbies! Unless you're listening to books on tape while you sleep... :-) TB

Matt said...

Indeed; you are a close reader TB!

Jacqueline said...

I WISH I could read 24 books per month - I might actually read all the books in my to-read pile!

Hehe - I corrected the typo in the post.