Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Construction Worker/Tatter/Crocheter/Doctor for the Summer

I have no artsy stuff to show for myself today. This weekend was absolutely nuts. Tons of grouting, digging, cutting, organizing, cleaning, and a million other things. I finished tiling most of the living room (isn't all grouted as you'll notice) and some of the kitchen, leaving only about 140 square feet left. Not a big deal. The main reason why I wanted to get at least most of the living room done was that my dad was coming over to build an inside and outside pen for the dogs.

For some reason, I completely forgot to take pictures of the completed outside pen, but it looks pretty amazing. My dad never does anything short of perfection. This inside pen isn't complete, but boy is it nice. The door is spring loaded, so I don't have to worry about the doggies running past me. The entire frame is so stable, it's ridiculous. To top it off, it's not even anchored into the floor. It's 100% anchored to the wall and is therefore completely removable if we ever didn't need it.

The floor isn't complete around the edges and I still need to clean the grout haze. My dad said I did a good job, but we're going to wait until next weekend so he can help me finish, since my tile scorer decided to die.

Now for pictures of random things.

My kitty, Harvey, has been enjoying the downstairs a lot more now that the dogs are penned up. 

Sweet little Josie begging to come inside the house during construction. She certainly has innocence in her face. While I'm sure she has a lot of pit bull in her, there's got to be something else. What do you think? Someone said she looked like a Doberman. 

Delilah dug the biggest hole I've ever seen. She made it into a cave/house for herself to escape the heat. I'm glad she can't dig anymore in her new pen! I was so scared of this collapsing on her. 

Stop reading if you're squeamish!  (It's not that bad)

If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit scatter brained. I start a lot of projects. While I do finish most of them, I work very fast. Unfortunately for me, some projects shouldn't be rushed. While installing the living room tiles, I made a straight cut on an edge tile. There was a little edge leftover, but no big deal. I would get that corner with the tile nippers. In a split second, said tile slipped and dug into my knee. 


Right before my eyes, I saw my foolish mistake. The gash was not long, but was very deep and the skin wasn't sealing. I knew it was stitches time. Still in DIY mode, I thought "I can do that myself!!!" So, if you'd like to see my stitches, scroll down. 

I used an itty bitty beading needle (sterilized, of course. And I lost it, so I should probably get more for this very purpose.) and some plastic thread that I got years ago and never used. As you can see, the wound is very tiny, but my skin scars up way too easily. A wound this deep would have left me marked for life. 

This happened on Friday. Silly me, I decided on Sunday that I probably didn't need them and I removed one of the edge stitches. Immediately, the wound tried to open again. So I guess they are helping after all. I shall remove the other two in a week. *sigh* 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I DO love tatting!

For a while, I had thought that maybe tatting wasn't my thing. Recently, however, I've felt a new enthusiasm. I even completed a doily!!!

I am very happy with this doily, despite my messy joins. This is the first doily I've done with alternating colors. The threads are Lizbeth. The pattern is from Tatting Patterns and Designs. While the book has a ton of great designs, the doilies usually don't lay right. You have to give them some serious manipulation.

Tatting something so time consuming wasn't as terrible as I remember. There was no point at which I was miserable. Maybe I'm growing up?

I've also been playing with my tatting needles.

I love how needle tatting looks thick and plush, but it can never be as neat as shuttle tatting. This is from that snowflake book. The name escapes me at the moment.

Another from the aforementioned tatting book. A pretty mint bookmark for my grandma.

There is a missing picot on the tail because I couldn't force anymore stitches out of the tiny bit of thread left. Oops! I love this pattern so much.

Last tatting:

My 13 year old cousin requested some earrings. Unfortunately for me, her school only allows earrings smaller than a quarter, so I couldn't do anything too fancy. I looove the way beads over picots look. Thank you for all your bead-adding suggestions! I found myself a microscopic crochet hook. It doesn't even have a size on it, it's so small. 

Other things I've been up to:

My little sister is turning 5. So I painted a box and made a whole bunch of chocolate covered oreos. This gift made me extremely happy because it's not clutter. I hate giving clutter. She can actually use it after the goodies are gone. I also loved the little wrappers. I used washi tape to seal them. Though my cookies didn't turn out perfect, they look like a marbled them on purpose, which I did after a few failed batches. 

I painted a silly little portait. Her birthday was princess themed, so I wanted to reflect that. 

My grandma has an ancient crochet doily that I have started replicating. Crochet is not quite as easy to pick out as tatting, even though crochet is worlds easier. The doily is a bunch of motifs. I don't feel very enthusiastic about it. Probably won't finish for a long time.

Painted my other grandma a little card. 

Killed my stapler trying to attack the 30 pages documents I had to turn in for the end of my Spring Semester. 

Oh. For all wondering, I ended up pulling off a B in History! Woohoo! That means it counts as Honors and doesn't wreck my GPA, which is a climbing 3.75. So happy!!! 

For the first half of my summer, I'm taking an easy online course, so every in the house is GAME. I've been tackling everything, including some strange things. This is an old house. The flooring was poorly installed and ruined throughout the years. I decided to tackle the tile in the guest bathroom, singlehandedly. Don't judge, please! I try to keep everything immaculate, but there is just no way to pretty up an ugly floor. This is the "before", after removing the toilet, of course (again, by myself). 

See? Ewwww. How could they let that be the subfloor? 

With much effort and patience, I managed to install everything pretty well. 

I am clearly not an expert tile cutter, but the toilet hole will be covered. Tub still needs some scrubbing, but, man, am I proud! Also, the seams are icky too. They'll be covered by the new baseboard. 

This project left me so confident that I've started on the living room too. Now knowing what I'm doing, it's going so well. It looks beautiful! There will definitely be pictures very soon. Just call me "Anika: Jack of all Trades." 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tatting! Yes!

Today, I finally allowed myself to something non-school related, since, this week, I finished my English abstract, History notes for the final, History Honors paper, and a few extra things. The only thing I need to do for the rest of the semester is study Algebra (not a big deal) and finish my English Honors paper (1 page left. Easy.).

Needless to say, I was going to be CREATIVE! First thing I did was finish an itty bitty, crochet doily.

Beautiful yellow thread that I got a while back but didn't allow myself to use until there were no more educational obligations. The pattern is, of course, from 99 Little Doilies, my favorite. I've been using a smaller hook than usual. After completing the pattern (I don't actually choose the pattern specifically, I just look for one with very few rows and surprise myself.), I realized that I had done the pattern before in red with a bigger hook and same size thread. Here's the size comparison. Ridiculous, right?! They both actually look fine, but I like the tight look that the small hook gives.

Then I worked on this little beauty. Another new thread. After beginning the pattern, which was again a surprise, I remembered that I don't like it very much because of all the open space on the outer rows. So I made up my own pattern for the last two rows, drawing on ideas from the yellow doily above. Turned out pretty cute.

After all that crocheting, I decided I was ready to tat for the first time in a while. Not only did I want to tat, but I wanted to design. Ceremoniously, I prepared the area.

Supplies: Thread, shuttles, findings, beads, buttons, notebook, a page of ideas that I so thankfully wrote out forever ago.

Decided on my colors and picked out coordinating supplies.

Sketched my idea. Not the prettiest drawing I've ever seen....

Used two shuttles, something I rarely do, which you can probably tell from my hideous ring. Not sure why there's such a big space. On both  sides, nonetheless. Step one of idea complete.

Threaded the loose threads with beads, then swung them over.

See how I put the picots in beads?? I've never done that before! I looooove how it looks. For so long, I saw it all over blogs and didn't know how to attempt it. Also, see that space? How do I avoid that? I have no idea what I did wrong. As for beads, how do you thread them over the picots? I just wet it and pinched it, then forced it through with a little effort. Pretty sure there's a specific way you're supposed to do it.

Final product! Ta-da! I'm hoping those spaces aren't too noticeable. I really hate that I couldn't even prevent it totally the second time around, so I just stretched the one okay-side to make it even(ha).

I'm working on something else tatted that is VERY cool. The first part is complete. Now i just need to perfect it. Will post this week.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cheating at Cake

Before I say anything else, thank you for the encouraging comments about my school situation! I promise to keep quiet about that for a while... Haha. :)

Today is my boyfriend's birthday. What do you get the man who has everything? I couldn't think of anything besides food, so that's the route I took. If you've met me, you know that I never. stop. talking. Not only that, but I've got a big mouth. With kindness in my heart, I make a lot of promises. Don't get me wrong, I always keep my promises, but I happened to promise said boyfriend that I would make him a birthday cake.


"ANIKA!" I thought, "WHEN are you going to find the time to do that?!" Upcoming finals, exams, two research papers, a presentation. Time is ever-fleeting.

But then I remembered something I read on a blog post. You can buy undecorated cakes and pretend that you made them. Brilliant. That's what I did.

Mmmmm vanilla with buttercream frosting. I ordered it from Stater Bros. for only $8. The woman even made sure not to put a label on the box so I could pretend I made it.  

I got these at Joann. Everything was inexpensive, plus I had a few 50% off coupons. The pearl sprinkles are wonderful, but, just a warning, they don't feel too great on your teeth!

Just one problem. I forgot to get a Wilton tip set, so I had to figure something out at the last minute. 

I cut some plastic tips from the grocery store. They were dirt cheap and did the job fine. Came in a set of 4.

Almost started crying. That sooooo doesn't look good..... 

Some nice puffs around the edges. Looking better.

Black petals where I'll put the roses and cover my boo-boos. 

Placed the roses. Looking a ton better.

I put little pearls in the middle of each spiral. 

Then added a trim of black pearls around the edges. 


It turns out cake decorating is hard stuff. Not too bad for my first "serious" attempt. The spirals would have been much better if only I had remembered to get the correct tips, or, you know, actually knew what I was doing. 

For the actual meal, I made ceviche. 

Shrimp, green bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, cilantro, pepper. I had the shrimp "cooking" in lemon juice overnight. 

I don't eat this type of thing, so I was a little grossed out by the tiny creatures. 

Even though this isn't my thing, I know when something looks pretty! Hurrah! 

Side note: OH my goodness cilantro smells terrible! Why did no one ever tell me this? I have no problem working with vegetables or foods I don't like at all, but cilantro pushed me over the edge. I had to throw it out. I didn't even put a tiny bit in the ceviche. It doesn't smell rotten, more like money with an undertone of herbs. Strange. 

None of this exists anymore. The birthday-boy was very happy. According to him, the ceviche was delicious and the cake was both beautiful and delectable  I had a slice of the cake. It was very good. I didn't want to take credit for something I didn't do so I fessed up that cake and buttercream frosting layer was made by someone much more skilled than I. He didn't mind. 

Good day!