Thursday, April 3, 2014

April A to Z Blogging Challenge Day 3...Today's Blog Brought to You by the Letter "C"

Today's blog will be about CROCHETING.

Okay, yeah, I know that is pretty generic considering that 25% of my blog (well, possibly more) is about crochet.  I had PLANNED on using today's blog to post two instructional videos: "crocheting basics"--one covering chaining and the other covering a single crochet stitch.  However, it's been one of those days.  No, one of those weeks.  Heck, when did it start???

***If you are visiting from the A to Z Challenge, you may want to skip my rant, indicated between the sets of asterisks!***

I have a to-do list that is a page and a half long.  And I don't mean one of those little post-it note pages or a cute little notepad page--I mean a full-on college-ruled notebook paper page.  And 75% of that list needs to be done NOW.  Today is Thursday.  I seriously can't remember much about Monday and Tuesday.  Oh, wait, I think Monday is coming back.

Let me back up a bit.  Saturday, we were preparing for out-of-town company.  My mom and my mother-in-law were coming to stay for an overnight.  However, complications arose with my brother.  Lots of emotions and logistics and in the end, things could have turned out differently, but in the end, she made it here, albeit late.  My mother-in-law arrived around noon and my mother at 10pm.

Sunday, I got up super-early.  I usually give my son his meds at 6:30 and go back to bed for a while since I am not a morning person, but my girls had to be at church early because it was "youth Sunday" where the youth department takes over many of the roles the adults usually hold, such as greeters, passing the communion, prayer, etc.  So, I got ready and took them for the early service, which I don't usually attend.  At the end of the second service, my daughter was baptized.  Then, we all went out to lunch.  I couldn't even go back home to see the moms off because I had to be back at the church to set up for an event the next day.  Our girls in the youth department have a discipleship group called GLOW (Girls Lighting Our World) and they were doing a service project, putting on a princess night for the little girls age three up to fifth grade.  I was hired as a photographer to do a photo booth as one of the stations, so I was building a set.  I carried up pieces of set from the basement and set and decorated and had other ideas and knew I would have to return the next day.  I went to the store after leaving the church and had about an hour until we had to be at our small group Bible study.

Monday morning, I was trying to get a few things done (I can't even recall what they were) and then we ran over to the church and while I finished elaborating on my set up (putting an arbor together, stringing lights and garland, and moving a bridge around), my husband helped blow up a ton of balloons.  We had lunch and I showered and finished the snacks I was making for the event and picked up my son and when the girls arrived home, we got ready and left.  I picked up my daughter's friend, dropped the girls at the church with the food, then ran my son over to my Pastor's house for a play date with their 4-year-old.  Then I beat it back to the church and spent two hours taking pictures.  Then another hour breaking down the set that took two days to put up.  Then I drove my daughter's TWO friends home and we went home and crashed.

Tuesday, I was sore.  I am always sore after a photo shoot.  I don't know how pros do this all day every day.  Maybe it's easier if you do it more regularly, but with all the bending and kneeling and getting down in the floor and getting in weird positions to get the best angle, I am always sore.  So, I was limping around (already injured my back a couple of weeks ago anyway).  It was April Fool's Day and you can see my pranks here that I set up.  I also loaded the pictures and did some basic editing and some other stuff that I can't remember because there has been too much water under the bridge since then.  I did write my review for Once Upon a Time on my friend's blog.  Then I had ladies' Bible study Tuesday night.

Wednesday, my husband had decreed that we were going bed shopping.  His mom had said she would buy us a bed for our September.  Yes, I know it is only April.  We love the memory foam beds at the Fairfield Inn we stay at when we visit them, so we had planned on buying one as they weren't as expensive as Tempurpedics and we had slept on it several times and knew that we liked it.  But, as often happens, our expenses and bills wiped out our bed fund.  So, my generous mother-in-law said she would buy it.  But, the shipping and hidden fees really jacked the price up, so we decided to look locally.  It was a rainy day and I was exhausted and really wanted to crawl back in bed, but my husband wouldn't let me.  We went to two mattress stores and found a great deal with a Sealy Optimum Inspiration.  The previous store had us almost sold on a Serta, but the Sealy had the Opticool Gel which sold me because I get night sweats and I knew that the big downside to memory foams is that it is too hot.  Plus, this bed set (mattress, box springs, frame, delivery, and mattress protector) was about $800 less.  They only had three left and after they were gone, the deal would be over (of course that is what they SAY), so my mother-in-law called and put it on her credit card and they said they would deliver it in a couple of hours.  Whoa!  Didn't expect it that fast and had a million things to do!  My bedroom needed serious cleaning and no way was it ready for a bed change-out, so I spent a while throwing things in a closet (like I always tell the kids NOT to do).  Then I had to run to the store to find some king size sheets!  I had a coupon for Dollar General so I went there, but they don't carry king size.  I went to go pick up my son, sheets could wait--he had a therapist appointment on the other side of town.  I had planned to pick him up early, but it didn't work out that way, so I was in the parents' pick-up line and they told me I had to pick him up inside because he had had a bad day and was in the recovery room.  I was already running late, so I was not happy that I had to park, go in, listen to them tell me everything he had done, and then get him to the car with nine minutes left to drive the sixteen miles to his doctor.  During the hour there, I was trying to redeem the time by reading my chapter for next week's Bible study, but my husband called to tell me that his mom was going to buy us some sheets on and have it available locally via site to store but I needed to pick the color and, of course, he hated the color I liked.  So, I got on the website on my phone and searched.  Nothing stood out, but before I could finish, my son's appointment was done and the therapist was coming out to talk to me.  While he was talking, my phone was ringing.  It was my mother-in-law, wanting to know which sheets I liked.  I called her back when I got to the car and promised I would look at the ones she was looking at and let her know which color.  I looked and decided, emailed her, called my husband, and went to get gas.  Apparently there are no gas stations anywhere close by and traffic on the highway is ridiculous at that time of day, so I went through town and got gas on the way.  It took an hour to get home.  I decided not to go to church because there was too much to do and I hadn't had a chance to shower yet and my son typically does not do well at church on nights when he has had so many outbursts.  So, my husband drove the girls to youth group and picked up some dinner.  They hadn't been able to find the sheets I wanted locally, so they went with another color.  I picked up the sheets and spent the evening getting the bedroom in a bit more order although my closet desperately needs cleaned out now.

Which brings us to today.  My husband was at work today, so I had the house to myself.  I spent the morning working on editing pictures and making a menu and a grocery list.  Then I went to three different stores (saving money is hard work).  Then mom taxi duty began.  After dropping the groceries at home, I picked up my son from school.  I had him change into some shorts and gave him a snack and headed to my girls' middle school.  They usually ride the bus, but Thursdays they have a Christian club and I pick them up after picking up their brother.  I usually also give rides to two to four other girls.  My 11-year-old daughter had called me earlier to tell me that she needed to stay a bit longer to work on a project for another class.  She knew he brother had karate, so we decided I could pick up the other girls, take them home, then come back for her and she would be ready by 4:45 so we could get to her brother's karate class by 5:15.  My oldest handed me a note from her sister which basically said that her troubled friend that I give a ride to had a horrible day and would I try to talk to her and "be the mother she doesn't have."  So, as I drove two girls home, I tried to draw a conversation out of a little girl that I don't know well and make connections in the ten minutes she was in my van.  Then I went back to the school to pick up my daughter.  We waited until almost 5:00 before she came out.  She had lost track of time.  So, we took off for karate.  I missed my turn because one of the girls distracted me, but we got there and only a few minutes late.  Which is still a lot considering the class is only thirty minutes.  My son was enjoying it until it was winding down and he felt like he got cheated out of those first few minutes and then the angry pouting came out.  Then it was back home to put away groceries, make dinner, and other nighttime routines (I just realized that I forgot to have my son finish the homework he needed to turn in tomorrow--argh!).  Then I sat down to finish editing the pictures that I promised to have done tonight.  That's when the internet went down...again.  So, I tried the online troubleshooting from my phone and got the wired computers back online, but not the computers on the wireless network.  So, I had to spend 45 minutes on the phone with tech support.  Then I was setting up my tripod to try to do the tutorial videos and realized that I am again missing the piece that connects my camera to the tripod, rendering my attempt to make a tutorial tonight completely useless.  Okay, that took longer than I planned and I should have made this "C" blog "complaining"!

*** (Back to the subject at hand!) ***


I taught myself to crochet using videos and tutorials I found online.  When I started my photography business, I saw all the completely adorable hats and props that were being sold on websites like Etsy and I wanted them.  All of them!  But, I couldn't afford all of them, or even some of them.  I wanted my photography to be affordable, so I couldn't spend big bucks on props and such and still make a profit.  So, I decided I should learn how to make them myself.

I started with learning to knit.  My mom knew how to do both and gave me a variety of knitting needles and some yarn.  I also found some yarns at the craft stores that started my yarn addiction.  After practicing a bit, just doing stitches, my first project was a baby elf hat.  I decided I didn't totally suck at it and kept going.  I had some disasters, but for the most part, I did pretty well.  I bought a few patterns and made some adorable hats and a baby hammock and a blanket.  My first "customer" was my friend's newborn and she wore a few of my hats and used my props!  I was excited!

Then I decided to try crocheting.  I was "hooked"!  Crocheting was so much simpler to me with only one hook, as opposed to the sometimes four needles I was using when I was knitting in the round, and projects worked so fast!  Instead of taking me days to complete, I could get a project done in a night, most times.  I got a little obsessive.  I crocheted all the time.  I brought yarn and hooks with me wherever I went.  I saved free patterns, printed out patterns, stocked up on yarn.  A friend gave me a huge stash that she had acquired.  I made lots of things, for gifts and for props for myself.  People asked me if I would be willing to make things to sell and I considered it.

I had to stop for a while because my hands started going numb.  Whether I was crocheting or talking on the phone or doing anything on my smart phone, if my elbows were bent for any length of time, my hands went numb.  I'd have to shake them out periodically.  Then one day, three fingers in my left hand went numb and the feeling didn't return.  While I was thankful that it wasn't my right hand, I still used my left hand to hold the yarn and provide tension and I couldn't manage that with only feeling in my index finger and my thumb.  So, I had to give up crocheting for a while.  I went to a chiropractor, figuring it was a pinched nerve.  After several weeks with no relief, I started going to see a physical therapist.  After several weeks with her, I finally got the feeling back in my fingers and was able to start crocheting again.  I still occasionally have problems, likely tendonitis, which I had when I was younger, or carpal tunnel, but the doc suggested that they may have to electrically shock my nerves to figure out what the problem is, so I don't complain much because ain't nobody got time for that!

After making a couple of cute hats for my son's Halloween costumes (Yoda and a minion) and getting lots of comments, I started to consider opening an Etsy shop.  I had gotten to where I could look at many items and figure out how to make it on my own without a pattern, though I still use patterns a lot of the time.  Or, I start out with a pattern and I modify it.  I had reconnected with a crafty friend from middle school who has two of her own Etsy shops and she encouraged me to do it too, saying that those geeky things (like Yoda and minions) would sell very well.  So, I did!  Business is slow but steady.  It would be nice to make more to help out my family financially, but when I do get business, it is great to have that extra money.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be beginning a crochet class/club at my church, with the idea to make items for charity: the homeless, cancer patients, childrens' homes, etc.  The tutorial videos will be invaluable for my beginners to practice from, so I hope I can get those made and up on the blog soon!

For now, I have to get back to editing pictures!  My rant took entirely too long!  I'm not even going to have time to proofread, so I apologize for any mistakes!!!

Good night!

~ Robin ~


  1. I love crocheting! I never learned to knit. Having first learned to crochet, I think it seemed unnecessarily complicated to knit. lol. Beautiful hat, by the way! I hope next week goes much better for you! :-)

    1. I hear that a lot--that people that learn to crochet first never take up knitting because going from one hook to two or more is too complicated. I am glad that I learned it the other way around. I just like speedy results, so I stick with crocheting. Thank you! I hope next week is a little more tame! My list keeps growing, though!

  2. I admire people who crochet. I'm not good at needlework. I do sew buttons on now and then and repair hems.

  3. My mom is the big seamstress. She has made two wedding dresses and does amazing embroidery. I would try to hem a dress and break three needles and sew the dress to itself. I finally found something I can do! If I MUST sew something, it's definitely by hand.