On Things We Do for the Crusty Old People We Love

Don’t let the jokes fool you. This post is completely about service to the elderly.

My mom recently became disgustingly old and as such I was called upon to celebrate it. Mom is a really hard buy. She doesn’t like many things that aren’t either hockey or Steven King and I have bought her so many hockey pucks, and so many just god awful books that I couldn’t take it anymore. Every year, for birthdays and Christmas, I try really hard to find the one thing she will just pee herself over and I fail miserably every time. A few years back I got her a foot spa, for those times when she got home from work and needed a little massage. I got that same foot spa back about a year later, still in the box, with a reassuring, “Oh no, go ahead, use it please. I never use it.” Isn’t she just lovely?

My desire for the perfect gift led me to the hook and three balls of acrylic yarn. This is little man.
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So named because he is little and he is a man. Isn’t Mom creative? He still needs a stick because my polymer clay dried out, but he’s cute and mean, and within minutes he was already starting trouble.
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Note the happy look on Mom’s face as she snuggles her new friend. It was clear in that moment that I was her favorite daughter. Then things went horribly wrong.
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I knew the little guy was a scrapper, but I had no idea he would have such audacity to beat up his new owner! Mom keeps him confined in the hockey room, but already he’s been put in the box for attacking Bluejackets bear. I may have to make him a permanent box if he doesn’t shape up and skate right!

Technical Stuff: He was made with worsted weight acrylic yarn. I’ll probably post the pattern later this month because he’s really just as simple as it gets. Oh, and his little helmet is detachable! Cuuuuute!

Well Mom, I hope you’re happy because I’ve just unleashed a bloodthirsty puck warrior in your honor. You’re Welcome. Congrats on being super old!

Holy crap it’s eighty out! Enjoy the weather!!

Note: No moms were injured in the making of this blog post.

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On Hats and my Severe Attention Defecit Disorder

Ok, so I’ve been seriously and amazingly busy lately. Terribly sorry for the lack of posting to all two of you who read this. To the rest of you, I never liked you anyway.

As I’m sure you’ve discovered, I make a lot of hats this time of year. If you’ve known me for more than one winter it is safe to assume you’ve seen at least two new hats a season on me, and a few of you may have had the luck to get me excited enough about a project to actually make you a hat. Congrats, you beat my ADD! (Side note–those of you waiting for Christmas presents, I finally finished them, I just have to get them to you.)

Here are some hats from this year. The first one I didn’t get to keep because I crocheted it at one of Mike’s concerts and the girlfriend of his singer really liked it. I can’t really say no when someone likes a pattern, so she got to have it when I finished.
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She looks really cute in it. It’s got the perfect amount of slouch to it, and the “cabling” (I use that term loosely because they’re what I typically refer to as “idiot’s cables”) adds a lot of interest. I liked it so well I made one of my own. You’ve probably seen it already in a post to Stephanie I made a few months ago.
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The yarn I used for both was actually from the Stitch n’ Bitch family, and both are wool blends. They actually crochet really well and have a neat sheen to them, so if you’re curious try it out!

The singer for Mike’s band also had a birthday recently, so I made him a hat too. It’s kind of big on me and Mike doesn’t photograph happily so you’ll have to understand that I made this for someone with a much MUCH bigger head than my own.
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Again, note the fine use of idiots cables. I screwed a few of them up by forgetting to cable a few times. I’m not going to lie, I crocheted about eighty percent of this while drinking. But I caught both of the mistakes and…”fixed”…them.

This brings me to why I make so many hats in the first place. I actually have a whole slew of reasons, the first being that most of them are really, really easy to make and we all know crafting is better with a buzz (as is voting, parenting, watching reality television, and going to the museum). Also, most hats can be completeled in at worst, two sittings. This is ideal because I have the attention span of a gnat. Seriously, no one gets blankets from me–NO ONE–and that’s because I get so bored about halfway through them that I put it down and completely forget to finish it, find it a few months later, forget how to finish it, start feeling really guilty, start crying, get ice cream and go to the park. This is the cycle of a typical afghan for me; Gramma Lee I am not. With hats, even if I do get bored I can either figure out how to finish it or unravel it to make something else.

They’re portable, so I can crochet them at Mike’s shows or work and not have to carry too much, and they look so ridiculously cute! I get asked all the time why I don’t make scarves more often and it’s because of two things, the first being that they take forever to complete, the other being that while a really nice scarf looks cute, a really nice hat looks AMAZING. Case in point, this beauty that I made myself out of my Christmas yarn:
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This is my favorite hat EVER and I’m probably going to sell the pattern because it’s everyone else’s favorite hat ever too. That’s the magic of a really great hat. Oh, and one more thing:
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See that? That’s what I actually look like when I wake up. Now, I understand that you’re probably reeling in horror from seeing that but before you storm my house wielding pitchforks consider this–my family wakes up to that. Every morning. FOREVER. If you had to see that every single morning, wouldn’t you rather I put on a nice hat before coming down to breakfast? Exactly.

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A Special Message from Olive

I’m very sick so I’m not going to make a proper blog post for a few days (fear not though, I’ve finished a few projects and can’t wait to show them off). Still, today is a very important day, so I felt it was important to post this for a very special lady:

Edit 1. I’m not even sort of tech smart, so I can’t even make a viable link. You’ll have to copy paste that. 😦

Edit 2. Yeaaaaah…so not only do I not know why that’s on its side, I can’t figure out how to turn it back…Sorry Mrs. Kamper. Epic fail on my part.

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Why Stephanie Soika Will Probably Slug Me When She Gets Back to the States

Stephanie Soika, I have done you wrong.

Many of you are probably going, “Courtney, what the hell? This is a craft blog, not a twelve step program. Go make your amends elsewhere. And where’s my @#*$ing Christmas present?” Fear not readers, this will all make sense in a minute, I promise.

So, right before Christmas I quit my job at Payless. I made up for the lack of income by immediately starting at new job at Teavana. It’s an amazing job! I drink all sorts of tea, I get to take stuff home sometimes, and they’re really good about working around my school schedule and respecting my rights as a human being. In short, it’s everything that Payless is not.

Unfortunately, I was hired right AT Christmas time, which means they needed me every day I could afford to be there, two weeks before final exams, and right around the time I was already foaming at the mouth with the sheer amount of school, home and other work I had to do. I passed my finals, with flying colors I might add, and then geared up for two forty hour weeks in a row, right until Christmas day, my first day off in almost two weeks. Ollie and I had to bake cookies the only day I had a few free hours, and we had to bake a few more batches Christmas Eve at 8 pm in order to have enough to put out for Santa.

And that’s why you guys didn’t all get homemade Christmas gifts this year. That’s also why those of you that did probably haven’t gotten them yet. I’m working on them, I promise! Kristy’s is about half done and it shouldn’t take me much longer and a few others are about there. No worries guys, I’m on it!

Now, you’re probably still wondering what any of this has to do with Stephanie. I’m getting there I promise. Christmas came and went and the only person who got a homemade gift (my Mamaw) loved it (a scarf). I took some time after Christmas to get my bearings. I played with Olive, I did some reading, I studied for Latin, and enjoyed my gifts, especially…
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Holy cow, look at all the wool!!!!! Special thanks to Mrs. Kamper who clearly knew how much I needed fancy crochet materials to add to my stash. I love it love it love it! Of course, when Mike brought it back from far off lands (Pennsylvania) I got a little excited…
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Anyway, most of my gifts came in paper form this year so to treat myself I bought a Kindle. It’s so neat! I was a little worried, since I love print books so much, but I swear the screen looks just like print! It’s amazing! I needed to make sure this technological wonder was kept safe, so I made it a little case. Honestly? I’m not too happy with it, but it’s ok, and it’ll do till I make something a little nicer for it.
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I tried to make something kind of like the covers that Kindle sells from their store, but without the leather (boo) and expense (also boo). It’s ok, but I kind of wish I’d just used some of my nice yarn (IE my new amazing wool!) and made an envelope style one like what was featured in the most recent issue of Interweave crochet.

“COURTNEY!!!! WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH STEPHANIE?!?!?!” Well, I just got there! Geeze! Keep your pants on! If you’ll notice, the yarn I used is a weird greenish color that doesn’t take well to wet blocking. I bought it months ago at an Odd Lots of all places and stocked up on it thinking “Wow, look at this god awful yarn. Thank goodness I love a challenge.” I made that cover as a challenge to myself and to Step…

Oh crap I forgot about Steph!!!

Here’s the thing. I was in Stephanie’s wedding months ago. It was lovely, a really great and beautiful experience. BUT there were dress issues and a huge mess, needless to say we got a full refund on the original bridesmaid dress well after Steph commissioned a second set of dresses and we were to send a check for it after we got our refund. What does this have to do with really awful acryllic yarn that isn’t good for much?

Ha! Well, I bought more than enough for any small project I could make with the full intention of sending it to Steph, with the check, and a small Christmas present. I was planning on making it a fun crochet challenge–make something useful with what can barely be considered yarn. In my horrendous holiday stress and after shock, I let it all kind of sit in a corner and completely forgot to send it to her.

Unfortunately, Steph lives in the future, and I don’t see her often. She moved to the future shortly after she married Jason. Since she’s in even farther away lands, I need to actually make a trip to the post office and send it.

So Steph, I just put the check in the mailbox and expect a package in roughly the amount of time it takes to get a package from Ohio to the future. Here’s my challenge entry if you choose to accept. Otherwise, please enjoy the stash contribution and accept my sorry face as condolences.
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EDIT: OH MY GOD IT SMELLS LIKE BURNING RUBBER WHILE YOU CROCHET WITH IT!!! Good luck with this stuff Steph!

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My Dog is Ruining Christmas

Thanksgiving has passed and that means I have to make you jerks guys your Christmas presents, which is proving to be a massive task. I’m not anywhere near where I need to be due to questionable… “time management” …practices (Time management means watching MST3K for six hours straight just because I can). I’ve recently taken to crocheting at restaurants, bars, bathrooms (not YOUR present, of course), family get togethers, and during Mike’s marathon gaming sessions and I’m finally starting to make some real progress. That is, I was making great progress. Then, Sadie decided she needed to use the internet.

I’m sure most of you guys already know that Mike’s dog, Minnie, already has a blog, and if you don’t you can read it at http://www.worldsbestdog.wordpress.com. She’s a pretty great dog and Sadie, being a literate dog herself somehow, loves to read it. About a week ago though, Minnie mentioned missing a beloved toy that her family wasn’t able to replace, that they called “the grenade”.

Sadie wasn’t having any of that. “Mom!” she whined loudly, “Minnie needs a new grenade. You need to make her one! RIGHT NOW!” “Sadie,” I replied after recovering from shock and amazement at her sudden ability to speak, “I will do no such thing. I have two papers and a large amount of chemistry homework. Besides, it won’t be sturdy enough for her to chew on.” The discussion was promptly ended and Sadie began to whine. And whine. And whine.

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To be fair, it only took about an hour to make. I used two pieces of cheap yarn from my stash at once to make an extra thick, durable, chewy toy. An added bonus, it’s a soft toy, and those are Sadie’s favorites, as you can clearly see.
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See how her eyes glazed over and went all whacked out in that last picture? That’s the reason I had to make yet ANOTHER toy for Minnie. I couldn’t, in good conscience, take the original from Sadie. Look how happy it made her!
Sadie freaking out.

And that’s how two dogs managed to suck up two hours of my life. Happy Holidays!

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Why I love Mike Kamper

***EDIT: Make sure you guys click the links if you want to see the videos. I couldn’t embed them for some reason. ***

Hey crochet enthusiasts! How have you been, did you vote last week? Ollie and I sure did!
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http://s945.photobucket.com/albums/ad294/courtneykilledit/Family/?action=view&current=SANY0008.mp4

Fat load of good it did though! Mike and I spent election night in a stupor that was two parts fear and one part shame. To be fair, fear and shame played a big role in the republican win, so congrats guys, fear and empty promises still work better than actual results. Kudos for tapping the American psyche.

Anyway, it’s times like those–hard, confusing, and downright frustrating times–when I realize exactly how lucky I am to have someone who stands in solidarity with me. He helps me stay strong when an entire nation stands against us, or even when it just feels like it. He makes me happy when it feels like I can never be happy again. Seriously, Mike’s the greatest.

How great, you ask? On our third date I broke the tip jar at his gig by dropping a piano bench on it and he STILL wanted to go out with me again. Still not convinced? I didn’t think you would be, so I compiled some choice photographs and video to further prove my point.
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http://s945.photobucket.com/albums/ad294/courtneykilledit/Emptied%20the%20Camera/?action=view&current=Picture359.mp4

Now, what really, really sucks is that these don’t even scratch the surface of why Mike is so great. I can’t show you how he agreed to dress up as a monk for Halloween to go with my devil costume even though he doesn’t love the holiday (or how he whined like a little girl when I made him clean out his own pumpkin), and I can’t show all the fun little times we have together that are impossible to get on camera.

Anyway, I wanted to do something really, really nice for him to show him how much I love him. Before I go on, I don’t want to mislead anyone out there. I don’t HAVE to do really nice things or make him anything at all because for starters, he doesn’t expect it. Furthermore, I do nice things for him pretty consistently. But as a mom, I feel like I can really appreciate why someone would have some trouble seeing some of my gestures as heartfelt expressions of care. In fact, I’m fairly sure he views certain things–calling him in the middle of the day to see if he took his vitamins, forcing vitamins down him later if he hasn’t, making him put his laundry down after I just can’t take watching him agonize over how much detergent to use anymore, forcing him to buy the whole grain product that costs five cents more (five cents people!)–as nagging. It’s hard to feel the warmth of my love when my love is currently shoving a vitamin down his throat and lecturing him on the virtues of vitamin C.

So I decided that he needed to physically feel that warmth. I made him a nice hat.
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I’m actually pretty proud of that one. I striped every row, which is sort of a pain, and I did it in a spiral so it is seamless. It’s in green, because it’s his favorite color, and gray, because I thought it would match all of his things. I’ll probably make a matching scarf later, though he recently declared that “scarves are for girls” before realizing that I had already started the stupid thing.

I think he looks really good in it! Here are some action shots:
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http://s945.photobucket.com/albums/ad294/courtneykilledit/Emptied%20the%20Camera/?action=view&current=Picture358.mp4

(For those of you wondering why Olive isn’t wearing a coat, it was actually quite warm that day. Mike put on the hat just to show me that he liked it. Isn’t he great?)

Anyway, that’s my handsome, sweet, wonderful, considerate Mike. Thanks for reading about him! Normal posts are on their way, but for today I just wanted to brag about him and the super cool hat I made him.

Take care everyone!

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Update!

Ok, so I did finally starch the stupid thing and this is what it looks like. Not too shabby for a first filet, no?

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