Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Breast Cancer Beanie

The other day, a friend of mine had asked me if I could crochet a beanie for a friend of hers (that I had never met.) She was going to be starting chemo treatments for breast cancer in the next couple weeks and inevitably would lose her hair. I had never made a beanie, but I was happy to try. Later that day, I met my friend's friend and thought she was such a joy to be around. I was even more happy to make the beanie for someone so sweet and funny! (Not to mention she had one of the cutest Charpet dog I had ever seen!)

Here's how it started:

I got the pattern from a blog called "Knit, Crochet, and Everything Else Fun..." She called it a Spring Spirals Beanie. The spiral pattern is pretty awesome. I will let you go to her blog for the pattern, but here's a couple tips:

  1. Her directions confused me when I got down to the 3rd row. She said, "Row 3: *2 sc, 2 sc in next stitch; repeat from * around (24 sts)". You may understand this, but I threw a little temper tantrum trying to figure it out. Translation: 1 single crochet in next 2 stitches, then 2 single crochet in the next stitch - repeat. (I also learned that having to count while crocheting makes me angry. K can attest to it - I think she still has the other side of her face after biting her head off because she was trying to talk to my while I was counting. We wont mention that she didn't know I was counting.)

  2. When doing the brim, she says, "Make sure you do not slip stitch tightly." This is muy importante! She suggested using a larger hook. I didn't listen. I thought, "I got this!" I didn't. I put it on (thankfully before tying it off) and it made me look like that angry cat that's been floating around on the internet. I was lucky and was able to just undo a few rows and it was fine.
  3. Use a stitch marker. I have never used one before - don't even own one. I just used a safety pin. I'm not even sure I used it the right way, but it was definitely helpful when crocheting the hat/brim.
Wait! It's not done yet! I thought it would be cute to throw a pink "ribbon" on it. This is where the true battle came in. I did some test runs before I went out and bought pink yarn since I am not a huge fan of pink and this is likely the only project I would do using pink. The test runs were successful in that I could make them, but it was bigger than I wanted. (I didn't take a pic of this one.) So, I tried a thinner yarn. It improved it, but was still too big. (See pic below.) Next, I stuck with that same yarn and just tried a smaller needle, which made the size much better. I think I even left the third row off the one on the bottom.

I got the awesome ribbon pattern from "Little Orphan Skein". I am so grateful to bloggers that share their patterns. If I was creative enough to come up with them on my own, I would absolutely share! The author of this blog created this pattern all on her own while cooking dinner. Impressive! 

Again, I will let you go to her blog for the pattern. She deserves the traffic on her blog for coming up with something so rad!!

Here's the final product:

I am not completely excited about how the ribbon turned out, but it can be easily removed if she feels the same way about it as I do and I won't be offended if she opts to take it off!

Honestly, I feel honored to make this for such a great woman! I hope it helps her through the journey she is embarking on. I have not a doubt in my mind that she will kick cancer's ass!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Miss Me?

Awww, I missed you too! This job sucks the life out of me and leaves nothing left to blog. That doesn't mean I haven't been trying new recipes - it just means I haven't had the energy/desire to photograph and blog my new cooking adventures. You can check out a shortened version of what I have cheffed recently on my "Pinned This, Cheffed This" Pinterest board.

Here's some other things that I've been up to.

Vegas Baby!
My VIP sister-in-law was working an event at the Palazzo in Vegas and she invited us out to enjoy a free hotel room with VIP treatment. It was fabulous. We still came home broke and have been playing catch up ever since, but we had a good time. YOLO - Right?

We stopped at our favorite place on the way home from Vegas. It's a little place in the middle of no where called "Alien Jerky" in Baker, CA that sells delicious beef jerky with fun names like "Abducted Cow Jerky".

I traveled up North for two weeks for more training. This time it was radio training and it was a blast!! The campus there is beautiful and it was like a reunion because all the friends I made from the last training were there this time. Not to mention all that family and friends I got to see while there on somebody else's dime.

While up in Nor Cal:
We celebrated my 35th Birthday (Am I really that old?!)
Which included:

A trip to Muir Woods with K's family.
Which lead to the beach. Just as beautiful as our So Cal beaches, if you ask me.

Then ended with a Birthday Dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Pasta Pomodoro. They have a Pesto dipping sauce that is TO DIE FOR!! There is a pic of me somewhere hoarding all this sauce, but I cant seem to find it. Convenient!

Apparently the best part for my niece was the dessert. Do you SEE
that sugar crazed look? I adore her and her overpowering sweet tooth!!!
 I spent a lot of quality time with my sister.

We went to this random "Almond Festival" in the city of who-knows-where that literally had only two booths that were Almond related. The CHP had a booth there with this cool go cart. I didn't have the guts to get into it, but my sister was eager beaver. She looks like a kid in a candy store!! I just love her.

Miss Liberty Bell - aka Libby.
I also love her sweet pup (who's not much of a pup anymore.) I don't think I have loved a dog like I love her. No matter how much time passes between visits, she is always so excited to see me. And while she'd likely lick you to death, I believe in my heart of hearts, if I actually was threatened, she'd protect me. Sweetest dog I ever met.

Another perk of being at my sister's is the natural beauty
that exists on the acre of her property.
One of the biggest highlights of my trip up North?

Getting asked to be a Bride's Maid for one of my best friend's. Although our relationship exists mostly via email and Facebook these days, we formed a strong bond on that first day we invited her to lunch and I drilled her with questions in an attempt to get to know her better. We often board the same "crazy train", but since we're familiar with the trip it takes, we can easily talk each other off the train. I absolutely adore her and am grateful that our path's crossed!!! I can't wait to be a part of her big day.

In addition to my travels, I have: 

Taken up drinking alone.

Been enjoying local beaches.
Tying new hair styles.
And of course.... Enjoying my cats.

In the top one, Willy is coming up the leg of my shorts, while I sit on the toilet - TMI, I know, but that cat is just so silly! The bottom one, I couldn't find him anywhere. I searched high and low in our room - which is not big enough to lose a cat in. I go into the closet, where he doesn't normally go, and there he is - tucked into a drawer I must have left open just enough that he was able to open it further and crawl in. It took me about six months to fall in love with that cat, but man - do I love his silly butt!

And my sweet Edward that decided I was done crocheting by laying down on the blanket I was working on!

Sometimes I get into a rut thinking all I do is work, work, work. But looking back in this blog, I realize that although they may be little things with great spaces in between, I am not lacking as much as I think and I am rich in life and love.

I am hoping to once again find a balance and a more regular blog pattern, but until then, the occasional check-in will have to do. I hope you all have been well!