Learning to knit and crochet

So, I’ve decided to take up a hobby to take up some of my free time. I’ve recently been into drawing and crafty things like scrapbooking (though my wedding scrapbook is still not done), so I thought I’d try knitting and crocheting. I vaguely remember learning knitting in elementary school (we made a very simple little stuffed sheep), so I hoped it might come back to me with the help of Knitting and Crocheting for Dummies!

So far, I’ve had mixed results. Here are my products so far:

Knitting

Knitting

This is regular knitting. I don’t think this actually looks too bad for a first time. There’s a few holes you can see, but otherwise, I was able to do it pretty quickly and it seemed to flow pretty well. It did hurt my fingers a bit and I kind of wondered if I was making the stitches too tight. Once I tried purling, I failed miserably. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I think it’s just supposed to be opposite actions of knitting sort of, but I just couldn’t get it to work. The loops just kept falling off. So, that’s disappointing, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to do any real patterns without knowing how to purl.

Single crochet

Single crochet

This is my sad attempt at single crochet. It’s the smallest of the crochet stitches that my book shows and that gave me some trouble (maybe the dark thread also wasn’t a good choice?) because basically, I couldn’t keep track of where my hook needed to go for each next stitch. All the thread is so dark and close together, I can’t really see the stitches well. And obviously I missed some stitches in each row in order to make this get smaller toward the top. This was the first stitch I tried though and I think I got better with the others, so maybe I just need to go back and try it again with a lighter thread.

Double crochet

Double crochet

This is my double crochet. It’s a bit looser, so I think I did a much better job with it. I could see where the stitches needed to go and I actually got the process flowing pretty well here. I think my only problem may lie in “turning my work” before starting a new row because I can’t really tell the “right” side from the “wrong side”. They kind of look the same, with an alternating pattern as the rows go up, so I’m thinking I’m not turning it properly. The book is kind of confusing here though because it just tells me to turn my work toward me, which I thought I was doing. I’m not sure how else I can turn it.

Triple crochet

Triple crochet

This is my triple crochet. I think this one actually came out quite well. I think I may still be having the “turn your work” problem, but the stitches seem to look pretty uniform to me and the process was flowing nicely, so I think I at least got the hang of the stitches.

So that’s what I’ve made so far. They’re just test swatches, but I suppose I could also say I’ve got a bookmark, a tiny doll skirt, and 2 coasters, haha! I hope I can keep making progress with learning this because there’s some really cute stuff I could make, like scarves, bags, and Amigurumi dolls.

A tiny elephant

A tiny elephant

A really cute bag

A really cute bag

Interestingly, these are listed as “easy” and “advanced beginner,” respectively. I feel like I’m a long way from making those…but I do think I’m going to try a really simple lion:

Dental sigh

For the record, crown fittings are not pleasant. At all. I do not like having wire jammed into my gums and then several trays of goo crammed into my mouth. This was a 3 hour appointment! And I have 2 more. <blargh>

On the upside, I had my last scheduled filling today. <cheer!> And, most of my cold sensitivity seems to have faded mostly away! <double cheer!> I do still have one spot that still bugs me, though. After some cold tests (really cold stuff sprayed on a cotton ball and then stuck on my tooth – I had normal results – and blasts of air onto the tops and sides of my teeth – the side seems to bug me most), the dentist seems fairly sure I won’t need a root canal on that tooth and is optimistic that I just need some bite readjustment because my teeth may be hitting weird and causing some minor trauma that makes the tooth sensitive. I was very hesitant the last time this came up to believe that excuse, but at that time, I was having throbbing pain throughout most of the day and was popping Advil like candy, which is definitely not the case now, so I’m pretty open to the possibility this time. She said that typically air bothering the side of my tooth is indicative of gum recession, but she says she doesn’t see any recession, so she made some small adjustments to my bite and we’re going to see what happens. I may have to go back for more small adjustments, but hopefully that will be all it takes to fix it rather than real dental work (like fillings or root canals). I’m hopeful, but still a bit nervous. I really just want to be done with all the dental work. Physically and mentally (worrying about problems after fillings and worrying about costs), it’s been pretty exhausting.

So, the current plan, assuming that sensitivity fades away, is to go back in about 3 weeks for my permanent crown, schedule my last 2 crowns (might be as few as 2 appointments if I do them together or as much as 4 if not), and that should be it for the year. I’ve found out that my dental plan has a max coverage, so it’s not looking like I’ll be able to get the wisdom teeth taken out this year without going over it, so that will be scheduled for early 2010. I hate to think that it won’t be “over” till then, but I guess it’s really only a few more procedures, fairly spread out, so at least I shouldn’t feel like I live at the dentist this year.

Snow in the South

Well, it snowed. If you can call it that. Yesterday, I visited the dentist to inquire about something they sent me in the mail and the receptionist informed me that we were expecting 1-4 inches of snow and asked me if I was looking forward to it. She said she was excited and that she had to go to the grocery store for bread and milk (Really? People really do this?? Especially for 1-4 inches of snow??). I said no, that I had moved from New Jersey and was happy to be in a place that doesn’t normally get snow, but that I found last year’s “snow” funny because of how everyone overreacted. (Now, as an aside, I do enjoy seeing snow, like, once a year. It is pretty when it’s not slushy and brown on the side of the road. But my car doesn’t handle it well and I hate how cold snow is.) I heard a chuckle behind me, and the other guy in the waiting room said that he was from Michigan and that he also found it funny that places here completely shut down for a dusting.

As I was watching Craig Ferguson last night, I saw lots of school closing messages, even though it wasn’t until the end of the show that I finally saw that it was snowing outside (I had been checking occasionally up to then, seeing nothing). I grumbled. When I woke up this morning, this is what I found on our front lawn:

"Snow"

"Snow"

I did see the kids on our street heading to the bus stop, so it seems at least my area didn’t cancel school for this “snow”. Chris did mention that he saw an accident on the way to work because someone went too fast over an icy bridge. That’s actually kind of the opposite kind of inappropriate snow driving than I observed last year. Last year, everyone drove about 10 miles an hour because “OMG! Snow is scary!!” Anyway, it’s pretty much gone already and I’m hoping there will be no more to come! I will see my yearly snow in March on our annual ski trip and that will be enough.

Another birthday

I’m a bit late on this one, but my birthday was about 2 weeks ago, on the 5th. I turned 27. Gah. I know technically, I’m still pretty young, but 27 just sounds so much older to me than 26.

My birthday was a pretty laid back occasion. Chris took me to the mall to go shopping the weekend prior, at my request – I couldn’t think of anything I wanted specifically (something I hate about having my birthday so close to Christmas), so I figured a trip to the mall with Chris available for opinions (and no complaints) was a good gift. I hadn’t gone clothes shopping for myself in at least 6 months, so it was nice to get a few new shirts to change up my wardrobe a bit. Then on my actual birthday, Chris made me breakfast, I went shoe shopping (but found nothing. I cannot find grey boots anywhere!), got a few phone calls from my family (including my regular 1:50 pm call from my mom (and sister), which she does every year because that’s what time I was born 🙂 and another where my dad joked that I was 30 – funny.), and Chris took me to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner. I could eat crab legs for meals for the rest of my life and be happy I think. Mmmm.

Anyway, I’m another year older. And I still play video games, read young adult novels, and would chose a Disney vacation over a tropical island.

New Years Eve

Last year, Chris and I spent New Years alone, with Chris asleep in my lap by 11 pm, so this year, we decided to have a little party with 4 of our friends. It turned out pretty well, I think.

I spent the 2 days prior to New Years Eve cooking – who knew it took that much time to make food for a party? Or maybe it’s just me and my poor cooking skills, haha. We had finger-foods including 3 varieties of finger sandwiches (cheese-bacon, tuna, and cucumber – the consensus was that the cheese-bacon were the best of the 3) some party meatballs that ended up looking more like meat sauce but tasted ok, a really good curried cashew, pear and grape salad, and some typical things like chips, veggies, dip, and a cheeseball. I also made some cookies – Santa’s chocolate thumbprints, pumpkin chip cookies, raspberry and almond shortbread thumbprints, and my mom’s macadamia nut balls. Despite some issues while making the cookies, I think they all ended up tasting pretty good.

The Wii was played for a while until it was time to watch the ball drop. We had silly party hats and noise makers (which were apparently a hit!) and champagne glasses that lit up with changing colors (classy, huh? hehe). We watched the Ryan Seacrest/Dick Clark New Years show, which was slightly depressing, but that’s what I’ve always watched. Overall, it was a good time.

So, even though this post is quite a few days late, Happy New Years everyone! 🙂

Christmas

Ok, so we’ve been super busy the past 2 weeks, but finally I can sit down and write a post about the holidays. We spent this past Christmas at my husband’s family’s house, which was loads of fun. I, of course, missed my parents and my sister, but I had a really good time. I really enjoy visiting Chris’s family.

Flights to and from Houston were ok. There was a big storm up in the northeast the day we left, so there were some delays even in our area in the south because of incoming planes, but we made it out nearly on time and luckily, Kevin, my brother in law, who was flying from New York made it out – quite late, but at least he made it. The flight down was fairly smooth, but we had a screaming, kicking kid behind us. Literally kicking our seats. Which, when you have a stomachache and sinus pressure making your teeth hurt, is not pleasant or fun. Really cute kid, but geez, I wanted to throw it out the emergency exit by the end of the flight. The flight back was a bit bumpy and we had a pretty rough landing. It was like, Silent Hill foggy out and nearly midnight when we landed. I actually thought we were still fairly high up in the clouds until about 5 seconds before we landed – we were up in the air, I saw a light emerge from below and thought we were finally through a thick cloud, realized it was really big for how high I though we were and then, bam, we hit the ground. Judging by how hard we landed, it kind of seemed like the pilot had just discovered how low we were too. I imagined him turning on the mic and yelling “Oh my gosh, the ground!!” As always, I flailed about and grabbed the seat – which Chris makes fun of by saying that I saved the plane by grabbing on to it.

Anyway, visiting Chris’s family was really great. I love getting to spend time with family. There was a lot of video game playing, 3 trips to El Jarito, the local Mexican restaurant (and the best I’ve ever had for the record), and just some good quality time with people we love.

It’s really neat to see how other people celebrate Christmas. Now, my family has a pretty busy Christmas routine – Christmas Eve, we go out to a nice restaurant for dinner, and sometimes go look at lights on houses around town. On Christmas day, we get up at like 7 am (except for that one year I didn’t…I was a butthead that year), open presents, my dad cooks breakfast and we eat, then we realize we forgot the stockings (don’t ask how we always forget. Though I sometimes think we don’t all really forget. I think it’s mainly just a fun “oh yeah, we still have stockings to open!”), then we sit around for a short time and relax before showering and driving an hour and a half to my aunt’s house for the day. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also very busy.

This year, we had wine and cheese (and fabulous crab cakes, Kevin) on Christmas Eve followed by a candlelight service at their church, which was very pretty. Christmas day was much more laid back than I’m used to – we just kind of woke up whenever (though I made sure I was up at a reasonable hour so everyone wasn’t waiting forever for me), Kevin and Chris’s dad made breakfast, we made some phone calls to people to wish a merry Christmas, opened presents around noon, and played Wii until dinner (we also had fabulous deviled eggs made by Kevin, hehe).  Again, while I love my family’s traditions, it was also really nice to have a pretty relaxing Christmas.

Me and Chris in front of the tree

Me and Chris in front of the tree

)

Family 🙂

A Star Wars ornament. Im told its called a Lambda. It plays the Star Wars theme song when you push its button. The button was pushed often.

A Star Wars ornament. I'm told it's called a Lambda. It plays the Star Wars theme song when you push it's button. The button was pushed often.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas, too! Merry Belated Christmas! 🙂