Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kool Aid Art, Ghana, and Disability

As I mentioned in my last post, I dyed some yarn with Kool Aid. I made it into a little sleep sack that can be used for a baby. I was happy with the finished product.

I really like the color variations in the bag and how the lighter colors seem to "wrap around" the bag. The yarn is 100% wool, so that will be nice for someone to use. I'll include this in the next box I send.

Recently I've been on a sort of documentary kick. I get them from Netflix because there are TONS of them available from the website and I really enjoy watching these informational films. One that I recently watched was called "Emmanuel's Gift" about a Ghanian man who was born with a deformed leg. This caused him to be labeled as "disabled" which is, in many ways, viewed as sub-human in the country of Ghana even though as many as 10% of the population is disabled in some way. Through hard work, a supportive family, and refusing to succumb to the plight of the many disabled people in Ghana who have to resort to begging, he was able to bike ride across the country to raise awareness about disability. This led to a trip to the United States and a subsequent surgery to allow him to be fitted for a prosthesis. Withing a few weeks of the surgery, he participated in a triathlon relay. He helped to change the plight of people in his home country by giving disabled people wheelchairs and change perspectives of the common people. It was an empowering film and really brought to light how much perspective can affect a person or group of people.

I also heard about the story of Nick Vujicic who was born without arms and legs. He's a motivational speaker who's only 25 years old and has a following all over the world. There are many videos on youtube about him, but mainly he speaks about his experience and how perspective is very powerful. "Attitude is altitude". He stated that he didn't see having no arms as no legs as a big disability. He defines the word "disability" as something that stops you from doing what you want to do. One of the most interesting things he said is that the biggest disability to everyone is their mind. I thought that was a very big statement. He talks about being thankful for what you have and your opportunites rather than focus on what you can't do. The videos are very inspiring and leave you feeling better. It's refreshing.

On a completely unrelated note, I just realized today that the cereal "Froot Loops" was spelled "FROOT Loops" and not "FRUIT Loops"! For some reason, this completely blows my mind. I don't think I realized the misspelling of "fruit" because I was always distracted by the delicious looking cereal o's that replaced the actual o's on the package. Whatever. I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Adventures in Dyeing

While I'm at home and have some downtime, I figured that I would try new things. One of these things is dyeing yarn and I tried this a few days ago. Why do I feel the need to dye my own yarn? Your guess is as good as mine. Actually it sounded like a lot of fun and I found some tutorials where you can use household items and not have to buy expensive supplies to do so. After a trip to Jo Ann fabrics for some yarn and a grocery store for some kool aid (yes, kool aid), I was ready to go.

I decided to do dye everything outside on the picnic table in the backyard. This was just in case disaster struck and I got dye everywhere in the house. Besides, it was one of the first nice weather days of the year - in the 50's and sunny! That's nice for Michigan! Granted, a few days later, it ended up snowing. Go figure.

Anyway I got my supplies ready and started putting my dye into the yarn. I used lemon lime kool aid and lemonade kool aid. Kool aid works because there is citric acid in it (which sets the dye) and no sugar (which can cause problems with how you heat the yarn). After basically squirting the yarn with dye, I threw it into a ziploc bag and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes at a time . The heat also helps set the dye so that it, theoretically, won't bleed or lose the dye when washed.

Then I had to hang up the yarn to dry and kept it there for a day or two.

After this, I had to wind up the yarn into a ball so I could put it in a hank (third picture). I like the colors and think it turned out very well considering it's my first dye project! I think I'll make a hat out of it or something.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sending to LOWO

Yesterday (St. Patrick's Day), I sent my first box to LOWO. It contained a bunch of items in it. Including a starghan (star shaped afghan), color block blanket made from scrap yarn (far left), toy giraffe, a yellow baby hat, a pink cables and bobbles baby outfit, a
"little man baby sweater", the blanket and stuffy I mentioned in an earlier post, 2 pairs of booties, a set that includes a baby hat and booties, another crochet afghan that I made probably 15ish years ago when I initially learned to crochet (purple and green one), and a cat with kitty ears on it (hey now, it was cool when I started it...6 years ago).

I made a number of these items recently, but there were a lot that I had in my house that just accumulated throughout the years. I'm glad that they are finally going to people who will hopefully appreciate them and get some good use out of them. It felt awesome to send this box - making crafts for this cause has helped me to find something I'm passionate about and gives me some drive to try new projects.

And to top it off, I mailed them in a dog treat jealous.

One of the projects I included (the pink outfit) I entered in the local county youth fair back in 2005. I ended up winning Reserve Grand Champion for knitting and crocheting and I just recently found it in my room after all these years. I'm very excited that some little baby will have this outfit and hopefully make the parents and baby happy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crafting, take one

In the past week, I have been working on two projects in particular. The idea was to make a baby blanket and a matching doll. I've completed both and here's the results. I think it turned out pretty well. I nicknamed the doll "Stuffy" since the pattern is called "Stuffies". Makes sense, right? I made it in unisex colors so it can be for a boy or a girl. I knitted the doll using the magic loop technique (which hurts my hands A LOT) and I crocheted the blanket using a large size M hook. I used an acrylic yarn (Red Heart) for both. Sorry about the technical details, I'm a geek ;).

OH NO STUFFY!!!! (jk, this was before he was put together)

So you might be thinking, "Great? So why are you making this? You're not pregnant are you?!?!?" The answer to that is a resounding "NO!". Haha, instead I'm making them for charity. I joined a group on ravelry called Bundles of Joy that gets a group of people together to donate items (baby, child, and adult) to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota - mainly the OB ward. I'm donating mine to Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Owicakiyapi, Inc or LOWO which is a child welfare agency and a family assistance program. If you've never heard of Pine Ridge (neither had I really until I joined the group), it is one of the most impoverished places in the country. Here's a little tidbit I found on it:

"Pine Ridge Reservation is the poorest spot in the USA. The average life expectancy for residents is only 47 for males and early 50s for women. The unemployment rate is 90% and the teen suicide rate is four times the national average. Basics such as running water, heat and food are scarce for many residents let alone jobs and health care. These challenges are particularly difficult to deal with given the geographical isolation of the Rez and the incredibly harsh climate."

After hearing about this, I figured that I would get stuff together to donate items that I had accumulating around the house and make a few to send. You'd be surprised that since I've started knitting in 2004 that I had actually made a lot of baby things and blankets that could be donated. In fact, almost all of the things I have submitted to the local county youth fair has been baby stuff. Obviously I won't use these items anytime soon (I would hope), so I'll give them to people who would appreciate it more than I would.

In other news, I submitted some more apps. Hopefully something awesome will pan out.

Today's video is in honor of my current Avatar on the Ravelry site.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Glory of the Internet

Was surfing the internets today and found this gem:

So this chat roulette thing sounds...interesting. I've heard about it before, but haven't done it yet. That's probably for the best.

My friend D left for San Francisco this morning on her way to Indonesia for the Peace Corps. It's weird cause two of my friends are overseas now. I'll be (hopefully) finding a job soon, so I won't know where I'll be living even a few months from now. All of my friends are scattered all over the place since we're all graduating college and taking the next step in our lives. This is part of growing up, right? It's exciting and terrifying at the same time. It's also something that tends to keep me awake at night.

I worked on a few things today craftwise. Maybe if I feel ambitious I'll post some of my recent projects and such. Not right now though. For now, just enjoy basking in the glory that is chat roulette.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A fresh start

Hello blogland! I decided to start one of these in order to post thoughts, recent happenings, random things, and some of my crafting. I hope to write here when the inspiration hits me - it may be often or few and far between. I don’t know how successful this whole blog thing will be, but I figured I’d give it a go. I'm not expecting anything big.

Currently, for those who don’t know me, I’m a recent college graduate living at home with my parents (sign of the times?). I’m from a small town in Michigan that many people haven’t heard of and I am currently looking for my first “real job” in healthcare. With all the time I have at home, I have decided to make many crafty projects. As you can tell, it’s an exciting life :P

I’m going to start this blog with my favorite poem , "The Invitation"

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living

I want to know what you ache for

and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool

for love

for your dreams

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow

if you have been opened by life's betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your

fingers and toes

without cautioning us to

be careful

be realistic

to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand on the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,


It doesn't interest me

to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after a night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the center of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone

with yourself

and if you truly like the company you keep

in the empty moments.