Posted by: geekycrochetmom | July 7, 2013

Note to self: When faced by a daunting task, read this!

The past two weeks saw me pulling off projects/tasks that were, at first, seemingly not doable.

First, was a profession-related assignment placed on my shoulders 6 months ago. After weeks and weeks of lists and worries and planning and sleepless nights… it was a success! I couldn’t believe it.  With the help of people who actually believed in me AND people who actually helped out, it was done.

Second, teaching. The first meeting with my students was quite nerve-wracking. But last week, the young doctors seemed to manage to keep their interest and have left my classroom with smiles on their faces. So much more material to review but… so far, so good.

Lastly Third, our youngest’s 7th birthday party. With some planning and a couple of late nights (one spent preparing lootbags, the other -a few weeks ago – spent worrying), we made it! Today! The little girl and her friends were happy. After the hustle and bustle of party games and fun rides, the grownups looked a bit tired but pleased, too.

I write this down, not because I feel proud of such “accomplishments”. I’ve decided to put this on record to remind myself that, when faced with a new challenge, the wise thing to do is to plan and pray more AND to worry less. God is truly faithful. Despite my stubborn resistance against all things new and difficult (by the way, I’ve learned that most new things ARE difficult), He patiently puts up with my whining. He never loses faith in me. In Holy-Fatherly-fashion, He whispers words of encouragement, comforts me during tough times, and never lets go of my hand. Thank You, Jesus.

More challenges lay ahead of me. Profession-wise: a hospital committee in desperate need of my attention after weeks of being taken for granted; a huge, upcoming lecture (my first ever convention lecture… gulp); more residency-training duties. Personal challenges: helping the kids with schoolwork; finding the time to help them form improved study habits; spending more time with hubby and really listening to him when he speaks of his interests (duathlons, currently) instead of half-listening as my mind wanders off to the next item on my to-do list. Self-challenges: the need to make time for exercise, to make healthy changes in our diet, to lose a little weight, to make time for being with loved ones, and to find time for things that I love to do (books, crochet, movies!).

The list just goes on and on. I realize it’s a blessing really, this list that never ends. On to the next!

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Posted by: geekycrochetmom | March 11, 2013

Blankets and Biking

Yesterday was a bit of a milestone for me. For the first time, I gave in to hubby’s prod… I went with him to bike outside of our village. We ended up biking a total of 21.5 km! There was leisurely breakfast & some iced coffee (decaf) in between, plus a considerable break while he changed his flat tire.

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But it was good bonding time for us sans the kids. I ended up with sore legs and fell into a deep, hour-long nap afterwards. It felt good, and though my arse is a wee bit sore up until today, I think we might do it again sometime (he does it regularly as he’s preparing for his duathlon next month; this is the weekend warrior speaking here, hehe).

A few weeks ago, I’ve finally managed to finish some long overdue granny coasters for a dear crochet friend and for a high school classmate. The packages have been sent. I wanted to stuff more into the package but it was now or never (“don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”… forgot where I’ve read that one).

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Anyway, with the coasters out of the way, I suddenly felt “free” to jump into another WIP – my son’s Giant Granny Square Blanket. So out of hibernation it went. I’ve managed to add a handful of rounds  while watching TV.

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I struggled with the dilemma of wanting to end up with a rectangular blanket (silly, I know). Should I add granny stripes on two ends? Or line up some solid granny squares on two sides? How about some semi-large squares? It was getting too complicated so I decided… what the heck, a square it shall remain. I just have to make it considerably larger so he can use it for a long time. And so, I trudge on.

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Another source of excitement recently (yes, excitement) was learning to do the moss stitch. I got the pattern from Baby Love Brand and I was thrilled to finally find a use for my thread.

The thread was a thoughtful gift from a godmother: 6 huge balls of three-ply thread (estambre) – 2 red, 2 green, 2 dark blue. It is actually made up of 2 strands of very thin white polyester thread plus a strand of very thin colored cotton (which gave it its color). [Because the three strands are not actually plied together, it’s a bit splitty and gets caught on my hook or finger sometimes]. I am trying to make a plain rectangular striped “mat” to be used as a cover for our printer.
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Since the thread was too thin, I used Navajo plying. No need to re-wind into balls or to work on two or three balls at once (must be quite a nightmare with three balls jumping about & getting tangled).

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It turned into this sturdy yet stretchy fabric; compact but the details of the stitches come out nicely. It was also a lot of work as I have gotten used to how fast granny squares go. Although slow-going, I’m thinking this would make a very nice baby blanket, given soft yarn. I wonder when my sister or sister-in-law will have their next baby? (Once, my sister called to say she thought she might be pregnant and my first thought was, “Yey! So exciting! Now, what colors should I pick out for the yarn?”). Crocheters are a funny bunch.

That’s it for now. Your taking time to stop by means a lot to me. Have a great week!

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | February 25, 2013

First Attempt at Blocking

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Up until now, I have always been using small balls of mercerized cotton thread size 8 for crochet. In the advent of local online yarn sellers, crocheters in the Philippines have been introduced to different kinds of yarns that are relatively easier on the budget (compared to mall shops and online stores from other continents). Hooray!

This huge spool of yarn that just sits there and unwinds itself as I work makes me so happy. (Insane, right?). No wrangling with and chasing after balls that jump about as I crochet.

The 5-ply, off-white acrylic has been my companion for the past couple of days. I have fallen in love with it but, like most loves who come with not-so-endearing traits, it puzzles me why I ended up with wrinkly edges. (Was it because it’s not as elastic as my old cottony  friend?).

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Thus, my first attempt at blocking. After having spent hours (for the past months) reading blogs & Ravelry discussion forums, I haven’t made up my mind – does one block acrylic? Will steam blocking work? Won’t it melt right into the rubber mat? (Lastly, aren’t there more pressing concerns in the world than these?) =p

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Anyway, I opted for wet blocking. After having taken the picture above, I fixed the rightmost edge and oh-so-gently coaxed and pulled it into as straight an edge as I and the pins can manage.

I know staring at it will not make it dry faster. So I better go upstairs and grab another WIP while watching more Criminal Minds and scare myself out of my wits.

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | February 24, 2013

Have you ever crocheted a doily using acrylic?

I meant to make a traditional circular doily but it was not easy with this 5-ply acrylic. So I tried out these motifs.

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I love how the acrylic is not as stretchy as cotton thread but find it to be less suited for lacey projects. Beginner’s mistake,maybe?

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This pattern is from a Japanese crochet book. I plan on making something for our plain, round table. Wish me luck!

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | February 21, 2013

Birthdays & Decluttering

It’s been quite a week.
We’ve celebrated the Big Boy’s 9th birthday withsome mall-ing & dinner. We surprised our little bookworm with some more Hardy Boys hardbounds:

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And the following Monday, we brought his birthday cake & some spaghetti & chicken to school for sharing with his classmates.

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Peanut’s 1st birthday fell on the same day (so she’s now 7-dogyears-old, is that right?). We surprised her with some great-smelling shampoo/conditioner, a dog “bone” treat, & a new toy.

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She was quite pleased.

A good part of our weekend was also spent on some major cleaning & decluttering. We had an aircon unit installed in the den; two men drilled holes into one of the walls & we were quite shocked by the amount of dirt & dust that covered the whole house. Hubby also asked them to make the aircon “hole” in our bedroom a bit bigger so it can fit a 1.5hp unit in preparation for summer (our old one did not do the job well & has been thus handed down to the den). A bloody Sunday it was.

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Everything had to be hauled out. Shelves & windows covered with plastic. My desk was a huge mess & dirt was uncovered from nooks & crannies – quite embarrassing.

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Eeeew…

My desk surface turned from looking like this…

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… to this:

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Ahh, so much better!

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | February 21, 2013

An FO, at last!

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My Bright & Cheery Grannysquare Cushion is finally finished! There’s nothing like the thrill of a finished project, plus the encouraging words of appreciation of loved ones. You can see her “getting to know” the other cushions on the couch =D

Here’s the back side:

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Because of this, I feel my fingers itching to start a new project. I actually ordered some new yarns a couple of weeks ago & it’s taking me all the strength I can muster to keep from starting yet another project (it helped that I have been keeping them in a box… out of sight).

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Those up there are different kinds of yarns & the possibilities are endless!

I’ve also managed to add two rounds to my son’s Giant Granny Square blanket which has been in hibernation. Mindless crochet but a bit of a challenge too… as it grew bigger, it also took longer to complete each round. To keep from getting bored, I watched Criminal Minds. Look, a crochet sighting:

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A beautiful crocheted afghan!

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | February 8, 2013

When the going gets tough…

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… the tough goes crocheting!

It’s been a tough couple of weeks — a health scare, big projects (one of which is stalled, argh!), difficult cases/patients, not to mention the guilt of not giving the family my 100%

Overwhelmed? I guess you can say that. I sit in traffic analyzing the situation & asking myself some difficult questions. No wonder I feel so T-I-R-E-D.

This afternoon, I went to church & ran an errand for the Little Girl. Then, in the evening,  despite the huge urge to plunk myself on the couch & drink decaf while browsing Instagram, I gave in to hubby’s request: for me to bike around the village with him as he ran (he’s preparing for a duathlon). Hearty dinner. Then a bit of crochet for a friend (this one is long overdue). Somehow, I feel refreshed!

Where did I read it… something about the things that should be done that are left undone being the most tiring & distressing? How true!

So, the cure to my stress — however weird this sounds — is not to rest on my laurels but to do more tasks, especially the ones that have been hanging around for so long on my to-do lists. To spend time with loved ones. To honor their simple requests. To count my blessings.

Despite all the challenges of everyday grown-up life, there is always so much to be thankful for.

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | January 23, 2013

My Bright & Happy Granny Square Cushion

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Yep, bright & cheery! =)

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | January 22, 2013

Circles in a Square Throw – done!

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My first finished project for the year! I finished this yesterday while I stayed home with a bad case of diarrhea (back to work now). When I updated my project page on Ravelry, I was mildly shocked to find that this was started last Oct 3. Almost 3 1/2 months!

But, I am happy and relieved. When it came to the border I placed some half-double crochet & double & treble crochets in the corners (in between squares) as I wanted the border to be straight (it sort of curved/dipped into the corners where 2 squares met). Honestly, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing… I was just winging it. It’s not perfect but I am pleased.

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It added much needed (new) color to our otherwise too-orangey-mustard-living-room. (Hubby bought the couch more than two years ago to surprise me; I appreciated it though I would’ve picked a beige/neutral one). We’re planning to replace it someday & buy a decent coffeetable but for now, the throw has seemed to turn our living room into a happier place. =)

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | January 15, 2013

Notebooks Galore

I cannot remember exactly when my love affair with notebooks began. My earliest memory was of being giddy about my small, brown, spiral Golden Gate pocket notebook when I was maybe 5. My memory of holding it is still quite vivid though I cannot remember what I had written in it.

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So, it occurred to me – it’d be kind of fun if I gathered all my notebooks & see how much of an addict I really am. I brought them — the ones that are currently being used — all out. From the nooks & drawers of my desk alone, I found eight!

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So here I had rounded them all up. The accumulation was not deliberate. Like almost all collections, I simply bought one by one… notebooks that I fancy & are not too expensive. I find all sorts of uses for them — excuses to keep them, to justify the hoarding purchase. Then hubby took notice & gifted me once in a while.

Starting from the periwinkle blue on the upper right hand, going clockwise:

1) Periwinkle – this is my one-sentence journal inspired by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. It’s fun especially when you come to a date & find out what you were up to exactly a year ago.

2)Smaller, lighter blue – it’s where I record short anecdotes, funny things my kids have said (kids say the funniest things!). The kids grow up right before eyes & I’d hate to forget all the amusing & hilarious things that have come out of the mouths of these babes. Wouldn’t it be fun to reread this when they’re much older?

3) Small, green – my prayer request list, tucked in my desk drawer for easy access. Sick loved ones & friends, special concerns from close family members… I will have to update this soon.

4) Orange, small – our family’s health record. I had an electronic version but found the hard copy quicker to access & bringing it to the hospital/doctor is simpler. Vaccines, lab results, weights, etc.

5) Black notebook – I started this one as a gratitude journal. It helped me through some rough times.

6) Red 2013 planner – holds my patients’ follow up/check up schedules. I like to be able to block specific days in advance, sparing my patients futile trips to the hospital.

7) Small yellow & white spiral – my auto record, a sort of “baby book” for my car. It stays in my glove compartment & holds records of oil change, tire replacement, aircon repair. Very important especially since I drive a 6-year-old, albeit, well-maintained sedan.

8) Red, small spiral – this is my absolute favorite, a constant companion. My brain dump, literally. It holds bits of information, to-do lists, ideas from lightbulb moments, must-reads, errands, etc. Amazing how helpful it is, the simple act of placing on paper the things that nag or bother me.

9) Small orange/black (with cartoon) – I bring this to teachings & recollections. Scribbles from homilies that I’ve found very helpful. For notes that are vital to my spiritual growth.

10) Journal, light brown – for my notes on books that I’ve read. Not all… mostly for those that struck a chord. A significant amount of writings here were lifted from the book Death by Suburb by David Goetz

11) Red big planner – my daily reflection/prayer book. This year, hubby & I vowed to be more faithful to our daily prayer & scripture time. (We do it separately, for now). In here I write personal reflections, small “epiphanies” during prayer, Bible passages that seem to have come at the time I needed them most.

12) Lastly, orange spiral – I used this for my notes & reflections as I read Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life. Very inspiring as always.

I always enjoy rereading them (except for the occasional cringe) whenever I have time.

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These two below are the ones that keep me company every single day.

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These three below are for specific projects or tasks. Huge reponsibilities that require months of work & preparation, therefore deserving of their own notebook. (All work-related). Note: The notebooks are give-aways from pharmaceuticals during conventions.

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And these below are my “reserve” =)

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I love looking at them on my shelf and have a few ideas brewing for their use. A notebook for gift ideas? For instance, I only learned last month how much my mom loves polvoron (a powdery, sweet treat/delicacy). I never knew! So maybe I can write them down as ideas for pasalubong (homecoming gifts). Even gift ideas for Christmas or upcoming birthdays so I wouldn’t have to tear my hair out with last-minute shopping! Or gift ideas for relatives who live abroad. Yup, I really should do that.

Or a notebook dedicated solely to crochet projects or WIPs. Though our Ravelry virtual noteooks do the job quite well.

If you’ve stayed with me down to this last paragraph, I thank you from the bottom my heart for your patience & tolerance. Three cheers for notebooks & notebook lovers! =)

How do you use your notebooks?

P.S. I do not own a single Moleskine. Nothing against it… I think they’re excellent products. I just couldn’t bear to buy notebooks that are that expensive. I’m afraid the cost will only leave me paralyzed, haha.

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