Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened to Me...

on the way to blog yesterday...
People - well, okay, my Mother in particular; have always made claims that my home is a zoo.
Over the years, I've had skunks, possums, squirrels, birds, rabbits, dogs, cats, ferrets, rats, mice, cows, goats, chickens and horses... feel like I am forgetting something...
Oh yeah... and Oliver... a 3 foot long green snake that I forgot to keep an eye on and who... hmm...
let's just say my Mom spent the better part of 2 years opening drawers and cupboards very carefully. *grin*

So it should really have come as no surprise (to me or anyone who knows me) when I walked out back on yesterday to have a ciggie I would be the one to catch a glimpse of brown fur in the trees behind my house.

Naturally, being the fearless nature enthusiast... I went in for a closer look...

I rubbed my eyes and tried to adjust to the sunshine and looked again...

Dude!! There is a flippin' monkey in my tree!

Now, not having any experience with lions, and tigers and bears (oh my, that's another story huh?) ... and the closest circus training I've had is trying to wrangle 2 divas out the door and onto a waiting bus, 5 minutes after waking them ...
... it should be easy to see why having a chimpanzee in your backyard can be quite exciting... and perhaps even overwhelming..

I did what any woman over the age of 25 would do...
I screamed like a schoolgirl and ran for the house (and the safety of 2 inch sliding glass door)!!

I must have been quite the sight... that's all I can say.
A blur of smoke, hot pink and flesh was probably all this poor little guy witnessed. Enough to frighten even the fiercest of beasts.

At first, the little chimp, in a terrified frenzy, scampered higher into the tree to gain valuable vantage (and probably to decide if I was dangerous as well as crazy). Then, apparently after gauging that I was more intimidated by him than he of me... he hopped out of the tree and through the brush.

and closer...

and closer still...

Now friends, I am not ashamed to admit... my heart was racing... my palms were sweaty and my head was reeling!
I couldn't have really just seen what I thought I saw. Must be the menthols making my head light. (or, since it was early afternoon, I mixed up my afternoon ice-coffee with my evening cocktail and hadn't noticed... nah... couldn't have been that!)
Was there really a chimp in my backyard? In the "city"? by the ocean?

I mustered up all my strength (and courage) and slid the backdoor open about an inch..

Yup... only he was no longer in the trees.. or in the brush on the outskirts of my backyard..
he was now in my pumpkin patch (okay, so it's not a patch so much as a plant or two... but it was mere inches from my backdoor... and from me!)

I called for the dog..
nuttin.. (well, I suppose in the dog's defense.. it was probably more of a whisper than an actual call)

I "psst psst" for the cat..
he just rolled his eyes at me with that "what? deal with your own delusions - I'm busy" and went back to sleep...

I was on my own..
and I would have been fine...
IF he hadn't done what he was about to do...

he turned right to me.. looked at me ... winked... and then preceded to lecture me about the dangers of smoking.. then, in one of those Cat In The Hat Returns type moments, he turned tail and made a beeline for the brush line.
I haven't opened the slider since.

My deepest apologies to Paola of Delicious Crochet - I thought I had posted a link on the photos, but I just found an eMail asking me where to obtain this pattern. This pattern is her Chuck the Monkey pattern and you can purchase it either at her Delicious Crochet Website or from her Etsy Website. Paola has MANY wonderful crochet patterns for you to consider, not just the ones featured on my blog - sign up for her newsletter and get eMail notifications when she releases new ones!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Smooth Criminal has my Keys!!!

Not only do I keep Michael in my heart.. I keep him on my key-chain!

NO! I did NOT purchase this pattern and NO there is no pattern to either share or purchase.

This doll was a labor of love while listening to one of my all time favorite MJ songs.

Smooth Criminal!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hooking for Charity: Sweet Summer Fairy

Isn't she sweet?
She is the sweetest little summer 'charity' fairy... and, as you know, fairies grant wishes and make life magical.. can you spread the magic too?

This sweet little fairy will be given away (shipping included) by raffle for you being magical through a charitable contribution.

During these tough economical times, charities often find that contributions dwindle down to almost nothing. We become so focused on our own hardships, we sometimes completely forget about those who really need the most attention.
So, from now until the end of August, I will be accepting raffle applications for this sweet little doll. Your application must tell me which charity below you have donated to DURING THE MONTH(S) OF JULY or AUGUST 2009 and an email address to send you your raffle numbers.
The drawing will be held on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 and mailed out to you no later than Saturday, September 12th, 2009.

To win the doll, you must have the winning raffle numbers AND have donated to one of the charities listed below during the month of July and/or August (you must be able to show *proof* of your charitable contribution).

- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Christian Foundation for Children and Aging
- Lupus Research Institute
- The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund


If you would like a chance to win this doll, please email me the following information:
- Your Name (this CAN be a screen name although to mail the actual doll, I will need a real name and address)
- Which charity you have donated to (remember you will have to prove that contribution has been made by you during this time-frame)
- An email address in which to correspond with you (I have no use for email addresses, even if I wanted to sell them, I wouldn't know to who.. so no worries! NO SPAM from me!)

Mail all this information to: FiberDoodles

** Sorry, due to problems with International Shipping that I have faced in the past, this raffle is only open to residents of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Way You Make Me Feel....

Ha Ha! Gotcha..
you thought I was talking about HIM didn't you?

Well, this post has nothing to do with music and everything to do with *stuffing*. There is a fine art to stuffing your finished piece.
Stuff too lightly, and you will have a misshapen piece that looks like it's been attacked by the dog/cat/kids.
Stuff too firmly and you have something that is so hard, it's not *lovable* at all.

The trick is to find that balance in between.
For heads of the project it is 99.9% important to stuff firmly.
There are very few exceptions when this rule doesn't apply - however, in works such as
Yarn Arts by Kathleen Early, where you are actually sculpturing crochet; much work is done to create a detailed head that has definition and character. This definition will not show through with just a bare minimum stuff.
Even in simple amigurumi, you want to achieve that roundness and smoothness with your stuffing so it doesn't resemble something that was left aside the road.

It is important - although time consuming - to take small bits of stuffing at a time. This will make sure that all the little nooks-and-crannies get their fair share of stuffing.

Look, you spend hours holding a piece to work to completion, why skimp on the finality.

It is just as important to mold while stuffing. USE your hands as your guide! If making a round shape - the cup of your hand can help!

When it comes to the body, there isn't a set format.
For a 'dolly' which will be receiving love and cuddles from that special little girl or boy, you may want to stuff lighter so that there is a cuddle factor. This doesn't mean barely stuff - you want to still stuff firmly enough so that the body has some mass as well as shape.
However, you don't want to make a rock hard body. Palpitating as you work will help.
If you are stuffing a body for show, such as a thread bear or small doll which will be for display purposes only - you will want that rock hard body.

These factors need to be decided WHILE you are completing the project!!!
Objects which have a firm head and a lightly stuffed body, will need to have a smaller opening; otherwise, the stuffing will eventually transfer it's self to the less filled area.

Eg: Let's say you want to make a doll with a FIRM head, but you want a body that is cuddly. The pattern calls for you to end with a circle that has 12 open loops. (12 sc) f/o.

Reduce this by half using ONLY the inside loops of the remaining stitches.
In this manner, you close the opening considerably, but have the stitches needed - available to you to join to the body as the pattern dictates. Now you have a piece which will have a head that can remain firm and detailed, with a body that doesn't need all that hardness.

The extremities:
Again, the amount of stuffing used will depend on what your finished project will be used for.
A dolly who doesn't need to be able to stand on it's own can have, in theory, unstuffed legs/barely stuffed legs.
In my bears, which are used for display only, are stuffed very firmly!

So what can you use to stuff your pieces?

Well, as far as the stuffing itself, you can use almost anything that is soft and small. Bits of scrap yarn, plastic bags cut up, polyfil, plastic pellets, etc. Everyone has their favorites.

What it comes down to is what YOU feel most comfortable with.

How to use it?

Everything can be used to shovel in your polyfil from blunt pencils to chopsticks to surgical tweezers.
Again, it comes down to your comfort.

Do not be CHEAP or FAST when stuffing a finished project.
You've always heard the phrase "...It's what's inside that counts."

Well, it REALLY applies here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Boom Boom Pow

Happy 4th!
Nothing says "Independence" like blowing up the neighbors' backyard and hammering down a few cases of beer ...

This year, with the almost constant rain, I was delightfully surprised to have been greeted by the sun this morning..
although the clouds loomed over at times this afternoon.. the fireworks went off as planned at the local harbor.

Another year, another round of Boom Boom *Pow*..
-My daughter gets that one :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Fiber Tribute

The death of Michael Jackson has rattled me to my core....
Physically, my heart is aching over the loss of this man.

I had sort of walked away from Michael's music when I was in my late teens - not because of any "eccentricities" or the controversy of his life - I simply took interest in a different style of music- Heavy Metal.
I didn't even know about the accusations until the 2005 trial had begun - which I watched with the utmost devotion and literally screamed with joy when he was found "Not Guilty"...
...  "he'll be alright now.. he's got his kids, he's been vindicated - they'll just leave him alone and he can live out his life in peace."

and I sort of just drifted away again...
Then June 25th, 2009 at 2:26 p.m (PST).... which I didn't find out until WELL after the fact.. I think it was around 8 pm (EST) that night..but.. 

Michael was gone...

Since Friday the 26th; I've barely been able to keep a dry eye.  I lost a dear friend and a person who's always been close to my heart.

Listening to his music.. the pain, the frustration.. the message in the lyrics...

"I'm tired of bein' the victim of hate
You're rapin' me of my pride
Oh, for God's sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy...
Set me free"
They Don't Care About Us
-Michael Jackson

I began working on my own tribute to Michael and the legacy he left behind on Friday 26th... then frogged my first attempt and began a new on Tuesday the 31st

This is what I've gotten done thus far...

Smooth Criminal was the last video that I actively watched of Michael , the first time I said "goodbye" to him.

I actually cry as I work on it.. so it has been a slow process...  but one which I am hoping I can be proud of and does him justice.

The World has lost not only a talented musician, but a genuine icon of love, compassion and peace that transcended color, religion and cultural boundaries. 
Rest in Peace Michael.  My heart is heavy with the pain of your loss... my selfishness wishes you were still here - but at least you have been set free from your pain. 

Readers ask me often.. "don't you think he was..."
NO!  I absolutely do NOT think he was any sort of monster or molester.  I think he was an easy mark for liars and manipulators because he was so trusting (think I am foolish?  Do your own research - look at the history of the only 2 'people' who ever actually brought a case against him - GRIFTERS!).