October 26, 2014

"Oh, I'll just... Nope."

I recently found a mystery crochet-along that seems like it'll turn out to be a cute project! And wonder of wonders: I even have suitable colors in my yarn stash, just waiting for a purpose! All right! I'm ready to dive into this fun little piece!

....Wait. Nope. Nevermind. Can't. *sigh*

See, I'm missing something vital. The right crochet hooks. Because I lost the vast majority of every hook I owned.

Back in May, the husband & I went on an amazeballs vacation to Mexico to attend my best friend's wedding. It was a great trip, and my very first out of the US! Awesomesauce! And since we had some significant layovers there and back, I packed up a few different crochet projects and my container of hooks, not knowing what I'd want to work on when. I tend to overpack, especially when it comes to crafts.

On our way back home, I learned a very valuable lesson: Different countries have different rules as to what you can take in your carry-on.

The USA's TSA doesn't give a crap about craft supplies. Crochet hooks present zero problems at all, and are allowed in carry-ons on domestic flights, as well as when flying from the US to another country. Mexico's airport security has a different opinion. They didn't care that I had crochet hooks in my bag while coming into their country. So I didn't think anything of it while packing my bag to head home. But, no. Mexico's airport security forbids crochet hooks on flights out. I got my entire crochet tool supply confiscated: hooks, yarn needles, plastic stitch markers, paper clips (poor girl's stitch markers), and even the container itself. *super-mega-epic-grumble* They took the whole container & everything in it.

Could have been worse. I mean, hey, they let me leave without a pat-down or handcuffs! ;) But what a bother to lose so many hooks!

I've been able to manage my craftaholic-ness up to this point. I've been finding projects that use the few hooks I have left (which were safe at home and not in the confiscated container by stroke of luck; I'm SO HAPPY the thread-weight hooks I inheritted from my grandma were safe at home!), and doing non-crochet projects as well.

But now that I'm gearing up to dive into Holiday Gift Crafting, I'm feeling the loss of my tools. I'm not fully armed any more, and the funds are pretty tight. (I maaay have realized only a few months ago that I had a hefty sum still unpaid on a credit card, so I'm holding my financial reins super tight until that debt is gone.) So I'll have to start budgeting in the extra cost of each hook I need for each project I decide on, and hope I get gauge with the listed hook so I don't end up buying two or three hooks per project.

Lesson learned: Be careful when travelling outside the US when you have craft supplies in-tow! But hey, at least I know that from this point forward, I won't have any hooks lying around that I'll never need! Silver linings!

October 25, 2014

Hot Cocoa Gift Jars

As the leaves begin to turn to their best colors, we crafters tend to turn our thoughts toward hand-crafted holiday gifts. As much as I get irked by the retail stores putting out Christmas merchandise before Halloween, I fully admit & accept that when it comes to crafting gifts, you've got to start early. Crafts take time, and the more people you have to gift to, the further in advance you have to get those creative gears churning!

Here's a gift I gave to several people last year: Hot Cocoa Gift Jars. These jars are really quick & easy to put together. If you've got kids, they might get a kick out of helping you with them--especially if rewarded with a cuppa cocoa afterwards. This mix is soooo tasty, too! I'm actually going to make some up tomorrow for me & the husband, even though it's going to be 80 degrees outside. It's that good.

The original instructions called for a cinnamon stick to top off the jars, but I'm a fan of the classic heap of marshmallows. So I opted for those instead, and used wide-mouth jars to make removing the marshmallows from the jar easier for my giftees.

I made up my labels using one of those Avery brand print-at-home packs from Walmart.

Not in the mood for making a half-gallon of hot cocoa at one shot? The recipe works well as single-servings, too. Just use 1/8 of everything in the instructions to make one cup of cocoa.


October 11, 2014

Sewing Tips From the Pros!

My friend, Allie, shared this link on facebook today. LOTS of great tips to make your at-home sewing go smoother, faster, & with a more professional looking end result. Love it!