I’m back!

Had to take a break from the blog due to illness and work but I’m feeling better now. I’ve been working on the Frida Kahlo wrap and that’s coming along nicely.

2014-07-11 09.22.26 2014-07-11 09.22.32

I’ve gone through my stash of blue yarn to build up the length. I’m using a DK Merino Superwash by Plymouth Yarn and a 5.00 mm hook.  It is lovely to work with and I am pleased with the quality.  Of course I am one skein short on the blue yarn which means a return trip to Redlands Yarn Company. http://www.redlandsyarncompany.com/

2014-08-03 20.26.01 2014-08-03 20.27.19

 

The pattern I am using I found at http://bizzycrochet.blogspot.com/2008/09/sweet-and-simple-shawl.html. It is a free pattern which is awesome! Once I figured out how to work the pattern, it was quite easy to crochet row after row. I love to get to that point on a project, it’s why I love to crochet so much.  It’s therapeutic for me to work with my hands.  I have always been process oriented, meaning it’s the process of making something, whether it’s a painting, a ceramic bowl, or a crochet piece that excites me.  The end result of my efforts is not as important as the journey to get there.

I also had the idea to make more coffee dispensers. I ordered ten coffee dispensers from an internet distributor and created sleeves for five so far. Making the appliques is my favorite part. I’m becoming slightly obsessed with buttons, add that to my yarn addiction and it spells trouble for my wallet.

20140707_084858

2014-08-03 19.44.32 2014-07-14 17.11.36

 

I like to play around with the eyes on the skulls.  I try different combinations until I find the one that works.  I must say, my least favorite of my little canisters is the the one with the blue skull. I had some left over owls from the graduation party I help plan and decided to try one out on a canister.  I like how it turned it.

2014-08-03 19.20.32 2014-07-13 21.52.27 2014-07-13 22.01.10 2014-07-13 22.00.39

 

As a side note, I have to share this with you.  The family and I went to a dog festival which would make sense if we had a dog but as we are currently sans pooch, I decided to get my dog fix by checking out the festival at Liberty Station http://libertystation.com/history .  It was a beautiful day and the different pet rescue organizations where out in force with their adorable pooches.  One particular vendor caught my attention.  They we selling coffee…yes…coffee at a dog festival.  This is no ordinary coffee vendor since 20% of their proceeds help rescue organizations. The coffee bags are the perfect size for my coffee dispenser so I decided to try one out.

2014-08-03 19.47.14 http://groundsandhoundscoffee.com/

The coffee is excellent and I was happy that my purchase helps the rescue organizations that do so much to help all the doggies out there to hopefully find their forever home.

2014-07-12 15.08.50 2014-07-12 15.11.27 2014-07-12 15.11.44 2014-07-12 15.11.45 2014-07-12 15.11.55

 

 

My little bit of heaven

20140707_095030

 

For the past year or so, I’ve been obsessed with a magazine by the publisher Cloth, Paper, Scissors. The magazine is called Studios Magazine.

http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blogs/studiosmagazine/default.aspx

I head to my local Barnes & Noble at least once a month and make a pile of whatever new crochet magazines I need to devour, I especially love the UK crochet magazine Simply Crochet www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk , art magazines, and a copy of Studios Magazine. Before I started the blog and embarked on living La Vida Crochet, I would dream about having a little creative space to call my own.  I live in a small apartment so the thought of being able to claim a bit of square footage for myself became a mini obsession.

I love to look at how artist organize their creative spaces.  I simply drool over the ones that have built dedicated spaces for their craft from scratch.  Others take over a spare bedroom or garage.  I’ve looked at the wonderful spaces photographed in Studios Magazine and have thought that maybe someday I too will have a studio as beautiful as those shot for the magazine.

Looking over the studio photographs in the magazine inspired me to re-evaluate what having a creative space means but left me pretty much at square one with yarn under my bed in plastic bins or stored in the closet.  My watercolor palette, the one I’ve had since my days in art school tucked neatly away in a bookshelf, blank canvases in some dark corner of a living room closet, and paintbrushes gathering dust.  It’s like having bits and pieces of my soul scattered out in the universe.   The worst of it was feeling the pull of those things and telling myself that soon I would return to the creative life.

It has been a long road but recently I managed to bring some of the pieces together. I’ve claimed the space at the end of my kitchen counter and placed a slim folding table that I am now using as my “crafting center”.  I’ve also taken up part of the kitchen counter to store some yarn in what used to be my fruit holder.  I now have a place to sit and crochet or sit and read my favorite blogs without worrying about my stuff being in the way.  I’ve also been training my kiddos and my husband to respect this space.

20140707_094637 20140707_094410

 

It’s not much but I love my little table.  Part of my yarn stash is within reach and looking at my pretty colored yarn makes me happy.

4th of July Weekend Roundup

20140706_151608

 

I hope you all enjoyed the 4th of July holiday weekend and that you were able to spend it with the ones you love.  I manage to spend it recovering from Strep Throat alongside my wonderful husband who was also struck down with the malaise.  So, antibiotics in hand and our alarms set to go off every six hours we managed to get out an about this weekend.

We started in San Marcos, California at a little Farmer’s Market and Art Show.   It was really quite a small affair but enjoyable nonetheless.  There was a car show as well and we made our way through the market and ended up in front of this beauty.

20140706_132333

I know next to nothing about cars but the beautiful red paint on this car caught my attention.  We met Woody Wood whose auto shop assisted the owner in putting the engine together.  We had a nice chat with Woody who proceeded to tell us about his experience with cars and being a local high school auto shop teacher.  The best part was when he decided to show us pictures of his cars.  He showed us actual photographs that he pulled from his wallet, the photos were part of a series of photos he kept in his wallet, old school, the way people used to carry their photographs.  No phone pics but real, hold in your hand, wrinkled and bent at the corners photos. I liked Woody Wood and we will be going out to see him race his car at the local races soon. www.baronadrags.com

Next we took a short ride to the town of Ramona, California.  We’ve been wanting to explore more of San Diego and this seemed like a good way to start, so of to Ramona we went.

20140706_151359

Ramona is a small town that at one point in its history was known as “The Turkey Capital of the World”. www.ramonachamber.com Now, it is known for its beautiful Thoroughbred horses.  You can see by the mural above that horses are kind of a big deal.

20140706_151451 20140706_151417 20140706_151408

 

20140706_152008 20140706_151955

 

 

They also have many antique stores of which we visited one. It was full of beautiful horse theme antiques. My daughter loves horses and this will be the perfect place to visit with her. The store had a lovely display out front for fourth of july.

20140706_15155920140706_15155120140706_151618

I also did my usual routine of looking for yarn stores and though I did not find any to visit I did find that there is an Alpaca Farm in Ramona.  They dye their own yarn! Check out, www.ldvalpacas.com

I would have liked to have done more but I was happy to get out and enjoy a little local exploration.

Coffee Dispenser Makeover

I have this plastic coffee dispenser I picked up a while ago and every morning when I make coffee, I think how much I hate the way it looks.

20140702_122747

Well, this morning I looked at it again and decided this would be the day to crochet something for it. I headed over to Attic24 (see Blogs I follow) for a little inspiration.  I found a post called “Jar Jackets” where she shows how to wrap glass jars in crochet and it was all I needed to get started on my little project.

I had some yarn left over from my owl project and I used it to make the crochet sleeve that would fit over the plastic dispenser.  I also decided to add a little skull with flowers to add a little something of interest.

20140702_122623 20140702_122647

It came together fairly quickly and now I have a coffee dispense that I will enjoy looking at every morning.

20140702_122708 20140702_123947

Start of the day

20140630_095318

Every morning should start like this: hot cup of coffee, yummy toast or some other pastry, box full of Prismacolors, and blank page to sketch on…this is heaven!

Fast forward to five minutes after I had set up my perfect morning to hear my daughter’s little voice saying “good morning mommy, what are you doing?”. The perfect start will have to be on pause until I get my kiddos off to school but I will return to that blank page and see where the imagination takes me.  Can’t wait!

Redlands Yarn Company

I have made it a mini mission to visit as many yarn stores as possible.  I learn something new with every visit and I just love, love, love being surrounded by yarn.

I had the chance to visit a yarn store located in Redlands, California. It was so hot that day that I was sure glad to get indoors.  I knew right away I was going to like Redlands Yarn Company http://www.redlandsyarncompany.com/   as I opened the door and was greeted by a beautiful French bulldog.

Resized RedlandsYarn

Becky, the owner, proceeded to tell the dog’s name was Cosmo.  I spent a minute or so making friends with Cosmo and took in the sights of the lovely store.  Becky was very helpful as she showed me how the store was organized.  All the yarn was grouped together by weight. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her I was looking for a lightweight yarn but more than the weight, I was looking for specific colors.

I focused on the selection that held a light/DK weight selection and found the perfect shade of blue I was hoping to find.  Luckily, she had plenty of hanks of the same color and I laid out my collection of yarn on the table.  By the way, there were several ladies sitting at the long table talking about various subjects and knitting away.  I loved seeing that. It was such a relaxed environment, every one greeted me and made me feel right at home.

I noticed that the store had a yarn swift and ball winder. I was happy to see it as most yarn bought at yarn stores come in hanks which have to be wound into balls that can then be used to crochet.  Until the hank becomes a ball, there’s no using it.  I know that there is a way to manually roll the yarn into a ball but after visiting a previous yarn store and having them use the swift and winder to do it, I knew this was the fastest and easiest way to go.

Yarn Winder. Image from www.yarn.com
Yarn Swift and Ball Winder. Image from www.yarn.com
Hanks of yarn.  Image from www.etsy.com/shop/Coloredworld
Hanks of yarn. Image from www.etsy.com/shop/Coloredworld

As I said at the beginning of this blog post, I learn something new each time I visit a yarn store and on this day I learned to use a ball winder.  I got to turn all 10 of my yarn hanks into 10 balls of yarn ready for my new crochet project.

It was a great visit to a great yarn store.  I was very impressed with Becky, she took the time to make sure that all the yarn I bought had the same lot number.  She educated me on the importance of keeping to the same lot number when purchasing multiple hanks of the same color since there can be variations in color from lot to lot…who knew? Now, I will add that tip to my list on how to purchase yarn for my projects.

Redlands Yarn Company Purchase
Redlands Yarn Company yarn purchase

I was excited to get my yarn purchase home so I could get started on my Frida Kahlo shawl project.  Yarn ball 1/10 is on the hook and ready to go!

Table

La Frida

There is not enough space or time to go on about one my favorite artists. Frida Kahlo. The master of emotions: Loss, heartache, joy, pain, you name it, she painted it.

I’ve been a Frida fan as far as I can remember, probably from the first time I saw her work and read her life story. Here is a link to learn more about her: http://www.fridakahlo.org/

I’m writing about Frida today because she is the inspiration for my next crochet project.  Actually, the idea started with a pair of Frida earrings I own.  I was wearing them the other day when I thought to myself that I just have to do a Frida inspired crochet project.

20140618_140211

There are two images that make up the images on the earrings.  They are from her painting The Two Fridas (Las dos Fridas).  In 2012 I had the privilege of standing before this beautiful painting when it came to the Los Angeles Museum of Art as part of exhibit Titled: In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United Stateshttp://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/wonderland-surrealist-adventures-women-artists-mexico-and-united-states. It was a breathtaking experience to stand in front of the massive painting and to take the time to simply take it all in.

Resized book cover Resized Frida and Claudia

I’m working on developing the design for the project.  I am thinking of doing two blankets that will be inspired by the color palette in the painting or making two shawls.  I haven’t worked on any shawls so this project can further advance my skill.  Stay tuned for the sketches.

Frida Kahlo - The Two Fridas - 1939
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954). The Two Fridas, 1939. Oil on canvas. 68 5/16 x 68 1/8 in. (173.5 x 173 cm). Collection Museo de Arte Moderno, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes–Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. © 2007 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust

It’s an Owl Thing…

Since my first blog post, I’ve been so excited about getting the chance to write my second post. It was on my mind the minute I first clicked the “publish” button.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been helping to plan a big graduation party for two of my cousins who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University Long Beach respectively.

One of the party details I worked on was the party favor. I wanted everyone at the party to have something that was unique, handmade, but more importantly, something that was made in crochet.  I chose the party theme to be the owl and I knew that was going to be my inspiration for the party favor.

Luckily, I found an owl pattern in a book I already owned called 30 Minute Crochet by Carol Meldrum. The Owl pattern was the perfect little party favor I was looking to create.  I did struggle with the pattern at first, I was not able to reconcile the stitch count as outlined in the pattern with the actual stitch count I was crocheting. I chalk it up to my inexperience in reading patterns, modified the stitch count so it made sense to me and continued to crochet away.

20140618_101653

I used a 4.5mm hook and my favorite Lily Sugar N’ Cream cotton yarn in 11 different colors on this project.

I started by creating the main body of the owl in three colors, white, cream, and beige.

20140611_201548 20140611_200841

 

Next, I worked on the center circle that was later attached to the main body of the owl.

20140612_105346

 

I then crocheted the beak.  This was the easiest part to crochet and took me no time at all.

20140612_231330

Last, I attached eyes.  I made a mess of my button box trying to find buttons that would accommodate the thickness of my tapestry needle. It was quite the challenge.

20140614_040402

I left a space in the back of the owl so a safety pin or hair accessory can be attached and the owl can be worn.

20140612_160137DSC_0149DSC_015020140618_111515

It was a lovely little project to work on, though I underestimated the time it would take to create all those little owls, I enjoyed every minute of it.  I put out a dish with some hair clips and I loved seeing everyone wearing them in their hair.

A blanket for Baby

I’ve looked around the web and have come across some delicious blanket designs that are so inspiring.  I thought to myself that it was time to tackle a blanket of my own.  Mind you, when I decided to do it, I didn’t have a pattern or color scheme in mind.  I wasn’t in the mood to learn a new stitch or to read a pattern.  I just wanted to put yarn to hook and start to crochet away. I did do a rough sketch of a design.

20140602_134210-1-1

I decided a baby blanket would be a good start. I wanted to experiment with colors more so than with the stitch so I stuck to using single crochet for the whole blanket.  I used the Sugar’ n Cream 100% Cotton yarn in bright colors and my 4.5mm hook.  I loved the whole process.  I wanted to create a baby blanket that was different and fun.

I carried the different color yarns along to create the green and blue in what I call the “tetris” pieces and I love how both colors come through each stitch.20140602_145143

I ended up adding more stripes to each side of the original size blanket because it was simply too narrow.  It was a tricky transition at first but once I did a border around the entire blanket, I just kept on plugging away until I got the desired width.

20140601_215449 (1) 20140602_123431

I learned a lot from just digging in and trying to figure out how to best add each color. I added the colorful circles at the very end to complete the design.  It’s not perfect but I love how it turned out.

20140601_202255 20140601_205910

This is my first attempt at a blog so please be patient with me as I learn how to take better pictures and add content.  Thanks for stopping by!