Monday, September 24, 2012

Secure Your Electronic Devices.....

especially when you're using an outdoor portable toilet.  Two weekends ago, I sold my crafted wares at the Sweden Harvest Festival.  It was in a cemetery that surrounds the Farmer's museum in the town of Sweden, which is in the western part of Monroe County.  The festival itself was set up on the museum lawn, but the 5k race went, at least partially through the narrow gravel paths that wound through the cemetery.  Quaint setting, but rather spooky, since it was an older cemetery, with crypts built right into the hillside.

But, I felt like I'd arrived.  It was my first real festival.  I've done garage sales at churches and at our town's historical society, but nothing like a festival.  Since I knew the September weather can be changeable, I bought my first canopy!  And, it had sides you could attach as well, which I left home because the forecast was promising.  Loading in and setting up went very smoothly. Looking back at my tent from across the lawn, I felt like I'd arrived.

I couldn't shake this feeling of uneasiness.  Like something really bad was about to happen.   I can be very superstitious.  I spent 15 years as a nurse, and it always seemed when there was a full moon on a Friday, or if somebody said the word "quiet" all hell broke loose.  Even though I haven't worked in many years, the feeling lingers.  First off, the festival was in a cemetery, and I was assigned space 13.  I'm not scared of the number 13.  The notion of bad things happening to or onto things associated with that number are just folklore.

Then, it was time for a bathroom break.  I was rather impressed with the portable toilet they had.  It was actually rather spacious, and appeared to still be clean, and it didn't rock when I moved around inside.  I hate using them, because I always think that if I sneeze, or move too fast, either the door will fly open, or the whole thing will fall on it's side, and I'll fall out.

I had on a hooded, zip front sweatshirt, and had tucked my car keys and cell phone inside the left pocket.  I must have jostled it when I zipped my pants, because the next think I knew, my keys and phone were falling towards the seat.  Luckily, I was fast enough to catch my keys. But the cell phone bounced off the seat, and into the blue tinted muck.  I immediately shoved the sleeve of my sweatshirt up my arm, and plunged my arm in after it.  Thankfully, the crowd at the festival was quite light, so it didn't take long for me to find the phone. I threw out the case, and wiped it thoroughly with toilet paper and napkins.  I dialed my home number to see if the phone would work, and eureka!  I was able to place the call.  I rubbed some hand sanitizer on the phone and my hands afterwards, then disinfected the phone, my watch, and scrubbed my right arm once I got home.  Lesson learned-when using a portable toilet, always place your valuables in your pants pocket.  Thank goodness the rest of my shows are indoors.  I'll be updating my schedule in a day or two.

Friday, January 27, 2012

When is a Crate Pad, Not a Crate Pad?

 When it becomes a throw!  Freddy only slept in his crate on his first night with us, and he spends a lot of time on the love seat.  Instead of making the crate pad, I decided to use the fabric for something he can lay on, or lay up against or snuggle under if it gets cold.  And yes, I really spoil my dogs. 
 I wanted to back the black fabric with the piece of white fabric I have, for a little contrast.  But the piece I have was too small.  So, I backed the black piece with a piece of solid black fleece.  It turned out nicely, and I was very proud of myself...until I picked it up and saw all the dog hair!  I should have realized that  light brown dog hair would show up against a black background.  Freddy is the first dog who'd shed.  Heidi was a chocolate lab, and she didn't shed too much.  Chloe is a bichon mix, who doesn't really shed.  Katie was a terrier mix with dark hair, who didn't really shed either.  Oh well, live and learn.  The throw gets washed frequently, and it's held up well thus far.  I made a pillow out of the white fabric.  I have a couple of  pieces left, so I could make a couple more pillows, or something else.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Freddy's Crate Pad

Well, Freddy only used the crate the first night he stayed here.  Ever since then, he's been sleeping in the orthopedic dog bed, or in one of the other dog beds we have upstairs.  Which is fine.  But, I'm still going to share the first steps in making the crate pad.

I went to Joann's and bought a twin sized pressure relieving mattress overlay-aka an "eggcrate" mattress.  The pointy foam looks like an egg carton.  My mother had one on her bed and loved it, and the orthopedic dog bed we have has one, only it's supported by a thick layer of foam beneath it.

Next, I measured the inside of the dog crate...minus the sleeping bag the previous owner used for a padded bottom.  The bottom is tapered somewhat, so it's a little smaller than the regular dimensions of the crate.  Then I cut the foam, and then measured the fabric to fit.      
I'm using a fleece remnant I found at Joann's.  I had it in my fabric stash.  I love to pile through the remnant racks whenever I go in there for whatever unusual fabric I find.  I don't know how much there was on the piece, but I think it was at least 3/4 of a yard.  That's where I've stopped.  All I have to do is sew up two sides and either put a zipper in, or put velcro/other type of fasteners on the remaining side.  I've been doing several shows so I've been crocheting and knitting up a storm.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things Don't Always Go as Planned

Unfortunately, the exhibition at the Dryer House Gallery closed unexpectedly, because the Dryer House closed.  You can see the details in this article from the Democrat and Chronicle.  But, despite the disappointment, it was a good experience.  It was great to think of crochet and knit as art forms, not just as a craft, and how I could take my skills and take them further into the art world.  I plan to keep working on crochet and knit as art, and do a few artsy type crochet projects that I can use in other exhibitions.

But now, my craftiness has taken a temporary turn away from the knit and crochet.  It's all because of this guy:

His name is Freddy, and he's a 7 year old hunk of labby love.  We adopted him from his former owner who has some health problems and needed to find him a good home.  Our Vet's office recommended us to her and things went well during the two meetings we had.  He limps a little, and has a touch of arthritis, so we were happy that he took to the orthopedic dog bed we'd bought for our last lab.  He has a crate, and since he spent his first night there, I thought I'd make him an orthopedic crate pad to go inside.  I saw a couple in the pet store, and wasn't too thrilled with what they had at the price they wanted.  So, being a crafty person, I figured I could do it better myself.  Details, in the next post....


Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I have vowed to turn this blog into something special. I haven't been able to update at all these past few months because things got a bit crazy.  One of our dogs became very ill and passed.  I joined a new church and have become active in the prayer shawl ministry.  Plus, I've picked up some craft shows over the summer and have become involved with a local artisan group:  Rochester Artisans.   It's a great group that has gotten me to think a lot about where crochet and knitting fit into the world of art and artistic expression.  I plan to post tutorials-hopefully by the end of next week.  But, it'll have photos instead of video.  I'm still having trouble getting the video right.  I don't know if it's me,  the program to edit the video with, how I'm getting it off the camera, or if the file format from the camera into the folders isn't right.  But, I have to take time to play with it. 
  I currently am participating in an exhibition at The Dryer House Gallery in Victor, NY that was coordinated by the Rochester Artisans group leader.  The theme is "Blue"-everything in the exhibition is the color blue.  I have a shawl:
When I  saw the yarn at the store it just screamed waterfall.  It looked and felt so cool on a day it was very hot.
There's also a set of motifs that I framed.  I got the idea from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  They had a room in a recent issue that had a framed doily. I thought three motifs would look nice as well as one doily.
Next, there were three snowflakes done in blue thread called "Winter Blues" because if you live in Western NY, you know how long the winters can seem.
There's also a ribbon yarn scarf I knit up and turned out to be a big hit.

 Anyway, there's more to come, so thanks for your patience!  I'm currently getting my Fall show schedule together, so that will be updated this week as well. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


 During the month of February, I participated in a blog called Thing-a-day.  It's a collective blog where participants pledge to create something, every day during the month of February and post it to the group.  I figured it would get me motivated to crochet and knit items to add to my craft show inventory and open the  online store I've been planning.  Yeah, right. Just like my efforts at Nanowrimo, I got sidetracked.

 The first several days went as planned.  I've seen a lot of sewn clothing for 18 inch dolls, but no crocheted or knit accessories.  So, I made a hat and a couple of scarves with some yarn I had left over from other projects. This yarn was left from a kids hat and scarf set I made recently. 

 This little purse started as a hat for this snowman.

He was supposed to be a cute amigurimi, but I think it looks more creepy than cute.  I couldn't get the top to flare out right like a top hat, so I put handles on it and it's now a beach bag for Barbie.  Of course, I had to make an obligatory dish cloth.

 And I spent two days making scarves from ribbon yarn-Lion Brand Incredible I found at a charity craft store.  I did a shorter, ascot like scarf, and a longer, more traditional fashion length scarf. 
Next, came the baby bib and face cloth.
   I took one day off because I just couldn't think of anything to do, and I needed a break.  Then, I looked through a pile of papers and saw that I needed to get my income taxes done before March 1 do meet the deadline for local property tax paperwork.  It took a while to get my receipts together and get everything organized.  So, I got this pillow finished during the time I wasn't organizing and sorting.  I wanted to have it finished in time for the Vanna's Choice contest, but I didn't get it done in time.   

Early in January, I found red, white and green Red Heart Super Saver in my yarn stash, so I planned to make a Christmas afghan to take to the Fall shows.  I did one square in January, and took around 3 days or so to do this square.  It's a cable pattern I found on Vogue Knitting website.  With only 2 squares done,  I have a long ways to go before I get this afghan done.  Hopefully it'll be done by this Christmas, although to do that, I may need to add some crochet squares.  I'm not the fastest knitter in the world.
 I also felt the need this month to replenish my baby blanket stash, since I sold them all during my shows last Fall.  This one took a week to make with Bernat Softee Baby.  I used to really like this yarn, but this batch wasn't that great.  It looked rather fuzzy once it was done, almost like it had been laundered.  Maybe it's just me, though.

The last week of February turned out to be busier than usual.  My brother was bitten by one of his dogs several years ago and had ended up in a local hospital for a week on intravenous antibiotics.  The hospital not only gave him antibiotics, but sent him home with a drug resistant bacteria.  Well, it flared up this past month with a couple of abscesses under his armpit.  Add a nasty reaction to a drug complete with tongue swelling and the inability to eat much, I had less time to craft than usual. Which lead to the two day burp pad.  I grabbed a ball of blue Peaches and Cream cotton and went to town.

The last couple of days I wasn't feeling that great. The weather changed rapidly and we had a snow storm, which meant worse migraines.  But, I  managed to cut up a plastic bag  to start a ball of "plarn", that I want to use for something.  Maybe a tote bag, or a liner for a grocery bag. The bag was already ripped, so it didn't take long to cut it apart.  I have a lot of bags in my garage, so I'll be making a lot more of this.

The last day of February, figured I wouldn't have time to do too much, so I got together all the bandannas my dogs have gotten from the Groomer over the past three years they've been living here along with the ones I made for their Christmas photos.  I plan to sew them together to make a throw.   I ironed them all-they'd been washed previously, and now they're sitting on top of a stack of storage drawers to be sorted by size and paired off.   I guess that's not bad for a month's work.  Considering there were other people who didn't create something every day, I did pretty well in comparison.  Maybe next year I'll have better luck.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Craft Shows and Migraine Disease

The last few years, I've done one, possibly two craft fairs/church bazaars every Fall.  My late mother got me into it.  She wanted to sell some of the things she had made, and she never thought she had enough for a full table.  So, I'd split the table rent, and go sit with her for the day.  We'd bring a cooler with water and snacks, and my brother would bring us lunch if we didn't get what the venue was serving.  Of course, she usually had more than enough to cover a full table, but I managed to squeeze a few things of mine.  If I got a migraine, or if I started to feel more off balanced or nauseated,  I could go home.  I did that a couple of times.

Things changed once my mother died.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep doing shows, but I figured I could still do one or two without doing much harm to myself.  The first one without her was hard, but I knew she'd want me to be there.  But, things changed. I didn't have an out anymore.  I had to stay unless things got to the brink of non-functionality-like throw-up-in-a-garbage -bag bad or getting-the-warning-that-I'll-need-to-lie-down-and-watch-the-room-spin bad.  My brother would come and man my table if I really needed him to, but more than likely at that point he'd be driving me home.  So, I had to be prepared to counteract the potential triggers I'd face before and during each show.

 The environment of most shows is not friendly to migraineurs or people with vestibular disorders.  The environment is rich in migraine and vertigo triggers.  Shows are held in classrooms, gymnasiums or church halls or meeting rooms with tiled floors-large rooms without much to visually focus on if the room starts spinning.  Loud noise from the combination of the crowd, vendors, loud background music, squeaky PA systems used to announce raffle winners; florescent lights that flicker, as well as strong odors from cooking food and other vendor displays like scented candles come to mind.  

 Then there are the other, personal migraine triggers that follow me everywhere.  Sometimes I'd get excited and anxious the night before and not sleep well.  Lack of sleep or sleep disruptions are a big trigger for me.  I also try to maintain a regular daily schedule.  I have to eat at certain intervals since my migraines can be triggered by skipping meals or delayed meals.  Because of the CFIDS, I also have to rest at certain intervals in order to keep the fatigue, dizzies and migraines at bay.  At a show, I can't do that, obviously.  Then there's the motion of people walking back and forth in front of the table, which can be a vertigo trigger. 

I focused first on the personal triggers.  I made sure I rested for a couple of days prior to the show.  This doesn't mean I stay in bed all day.  I try to be sure my errands-like banking and going to the grocery store are kept to a minimum.  I get to bed early, and make sure I have everything loaded in the car the evening before I set up.  I also still take a cooler with me.  I make sure I have plenty of bottled water, milk, and this year I tried mozzarella sticks.  The protein lasts longer for me, and gives me a little perk up when I start dragging.  This way I can eat smaller portions during the day to maintain my energy.  This year I took an emergency kit with me.  I had my sunglasses to fight glare and light flickering, ear plugs for the noise, tissues-because I get a lot of nasal congestion, nasal spray, analgesic, as well as an Epi-pen-I have a ton of food  and other allergies and I don't leave home without it.  I brought a couple of different projects that didn't require any thought so I'd have something I could focus on.  I also learned acupressure points from my Chiropractor that work for migraine.

There's really not much I could do about the environmental triggers, besides the glasses, and earplugs. Once I got my table set up, I'd look for an area/fixed, not visually cluttered or busy spot that I could look at if I started to feel more spinny.  My brother came to relieve me, and I used the show helpers a couple of times to come watch my table if I needed a break.  My strategy helped.  Although I did get a couple of migraines, they didn't get to be real least until after I got home.  I still was totally exhausted for a few days afterward, but I survived.  Last year I did five shows in all, which was a record, and I'm amazed I survived them!  I tried not to do shows consecutive weeks, but if I did, I tried to do no more than two shows in a row.
I don't know if I'll be able to do five shows this year, but at least I have a plan.