An Optimistic Cynic - Etsy Shop

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The best things about babies... crocheting tiny little baby things! Okay, I suppose that's arguable, but that's my favorite part. I'm just starting to accept that I'm at that age where I should probably just start stockpileing the wedding afghans and baby blankets now. The yarn for this one was donated by a friend of my mom's who was cleaning out her stash - it was perfect.
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Klean Kanteen Cozy

I get up around 4am for work most mornings, and I am cranky and groggy, and occationaly want some nice hot coffee to take to work with me. Got a kleen kanteen the night before and thought, "Great! I can bring my coffee to work this morning." Yeah. Um. Coffee is HOT, and that canteen is made of METAL. I am not smart at 4am. So after I bandaged my badly burnt hands (leaving my fingers exposed so I could still hold a hook), I grabbed a scrap yarn ball, and crocheted this during a boring morning at work. It's proven totally invaluable. I've posted the pattern on ehow ...

but you can scroll down and get it below too :-)

You will need:
a 5mm hook
less than on skein. I used a color I had in my scrap stash, so I can't be sure exactly how much.
a Klean kanteen, or a bottle of similar size
basic knowledge of crochet

The Bottom:

Ch 3, sl st in third ch from hook.
Row 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 7 dc in center. Sl st in top of ch 2 to join. (8 dc)
Row 2: Ch 2, dc in same sp as ch 2. 2 dc in next dc, and in each dc around. Sl st in ch 2 to join. (16 dc)
Row 3: Ch 2, dc in same sp as ch 2. *dc in dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat from * to* around. Sl st in ch 2 to join. (24 dc)
Row 4: Ch 2, dc in same sp as ch 2. *dc in dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat from * to* around. Sl st in ch 2 to join. (36 dc)

The Body:
Row 5: Ch 1 (count as 1st sc), sc in each dc across. Sl st in beg ch to join.(36sc)
Rows 6-26 (or till desired length is reached): Ch 1 (count as 1st sc), sc in each dc across. Sl st in beg ch to join.(36 sc)

The Trim:

Fan stitch: Skip first sc, 5 dc in next sc, skip sc, sl st in next sc. *Skip sc, 5 dc in next sc, skip sc, sl st in next sc*, repeat from * to * around. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Easy peasy.
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The Holiday Spirit

I've been crocheting as fast as my little fingers can fly....leave it to me to leave eveything till the last minute. For the first of my holiday offerings, I'm making my dad a set of golf club covers. He took up golf this year, and asked for a set. I had no luck finding a crochet pattern online that wasn't A. for knitters, B. less than 8 dollars, or C. completely, utterly, and totally rediculas looking. So I've started a set of my own...that's the beginning of them up top. I'll post another pic when they're finished in all their pom-pommed glory.

My sister likes all things Japanesey, so I whipped her up a sushi toilet paper roll cover. It makes me giggle when I look at it. I'm going to give it to her with a pair of chopsticks on top.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009


Oh man. I had the Makey-Someing-Itch. If I didn't pound out at least one halfway decent project, I might go nuts. I threw myslef into the forgotten depths of my yarn stash and found a wonderful electric blue that I thought went striking against black. Awesome. But what to do with it? I've never been one for making scarves, the novelty wears off after around number 20. Then I found this blog: (or The address is moving soon to wordpress)

Socks! Of course! I'd never made socks. In my entire collection of yarn I have sock yarn, just not in enough quantities to actually make a pair. I grabbed the long forgotten about spool of crochet cotten I'd bought when I was in a doily mood, and made, yes, fishnets. I was so happy with them and smitten with the whole idea of making socks, I made a pair of knee high slipper socks next. I know. Tacky. I love them, and they were really fun to make, so go check out that blog!
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One Project Leads to the Next

I needed a hook case. I mean I NEEDED a hook case. I would find hooks everywhere - the kitchen, under the bed, lost at the bottom of various purses, and once in the bathtub. Still can't figure out that one. So I clicked around on my little magic clicky internet box, and found this one...

I realized that I had the same ugly dollar bin yarn as the one that she made it with, so I thought it would be perfect. Which it is. My version is a bit different, but the basics are the same.

Upon seeing my hook case, my sister's boyfriend asked if I could make something like that, only bigger so it could hold shoes. Dance shoes. Did I mention he's a dancer? He's a dancer.

So I made one. He picked the stripey Red Heart Blue yarn, and I added a strap so the whole thing could be slung over a shoulder for ease of transport, but it could just as easily fit in a backpack. I also added ties to close the contraption, which I figured would be easier to to allow for more or fewer shoes.
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Spring Purse in September

For Christmas each year, my mom renews my subscription for Crochet! magazine. I'm not really too big on useing the patterns as is - they usually get adapted in some way,but I've also found it's a great springboard for coming up with ideas.

In any case, this was one pattern I took almost staight from the pages. I just thought that it was so cute, and I had the yarn picked out and everything as soon as I saw it. I was given a HUGE lot of miscellaneous yarns last Christmas (to go with the magazine, of course), and then bestowed with another HUGE lot curtesy of a very generous co-worker of my mom's who happened to be clearing out her yarn stash.

I have to admit, I'm not that generous. I hoard yarn as if it will be only currency accepted when the apocolapse hits. I use every scrap, I have projects that I plan out, and will think for hours about the fate of each lovely skien. Parting with any one them would be....tramatic.

So I really DO appreciate when I get yarn from those that pass on, and not hoard. It's really the right thing to do, and it's gotta be GREAT for your yarn karma. Yarma.

So this is the purse. I used a type of vintage yarn I'd never heard of before, but from what I can tell it's nylon based. Its has a soft plasticy feel, and I used a comparetively small hook. The stitches worked up so tightly, I didn't need to make a lining.

And the pin? A little vintage piece I inherited when a friend's grandmother passed away....thanks again Brandi :-) It's been sitting in my jewely box for years, so I'm glad it's finally being put to good use.
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Debbie's Tardis

A good friend of mine had a very special birthday, and I wanted to make her something a 'lil... different.

She's got a thing for Doctor Who (or, more acurately, David Tenet). My boyfriend sculpts - more specifically he does custom action figures, gorely little heads, and pretty much whatever else he feel like making that day. So he decided her was going to make a Debbie Action figure to the same scale as the David Tenet action figure she already owned, and I thought, "Perfect! I'll make them a little Tardis to fly around in!" And I did. I couldn't find a pattern in the size that I wanted, and I wanted one that could open like a box so the figures could actually be put inside. I just kinda fudged and crocheted up some rectangles and squares till I was able to fit it together how I wanted. Not to shabby...

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This is mew. He is a cute little kitty. Honestly, I'm not a kitty person. I'm a puppy person. But just look at that little face! Cute is cute. I made this little guy for my boyfriend when he moved in, and had to leave his kitties in the care of his parents... it wouldn't have been fair to make them leave their home.

The pattern I used was adapted from the very adorable Beary Jackson Pattern at

On another note, saw Tim Burton's "Coraline", finally, last weekend. Pretty cool, not so much a kid's movie like I was expecting. The part where the kid's face is stapled creeped me the hell out.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ten Foot Pole

Unscrew my hands
and stick them on a
ten foot pole,
so I can reach the sky
or down into a hole,
and people standing 'round
will mutter,
"My, my, my,
it only took a
ten foot pole
to reach into the sky!"

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Monday, May 11, 2009

New Phone! Yay! Plus new Bangles . . .

I FINALLY upgraded my old verison lg phone (it was actually my second lg phone, cuz the first one broke into two pieces that I had to gently hold together to make a call). I'm now using the Verizon Blitz - it's kinda like a Blackberry, but not so businessy lookin' , and has a pop out qwerty keyboard. It makes me feel all high tech, like I've finally made it to the 21st Century. I've never had any mobile device with internet capabilities on it before, so I've been having a lot of fun doing things like checking my e-mail (even though I don't really have any) and weather reports (that I don't really need). It's been fun in any case, and the qwerty keyboard is wonderful for those of us who never got the hang of texting on a regular phone . . .

Also, I made these lovely bangles. They're bamboo, and I've crocheted over them in a purple lavender silk thread, and dotted around the edge with amethyst chips that I crocheted into the piece. I really like crocheting with silk thread, it feels so luxerious, and Bead's World had exactly the color I had in my mind's eye . . . love it when that happens :-)
Here's the new listing I made for the bangles

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


And there she sat upon her stool
all heavy and distraught
time passed so slow that it was cruel
her brow furrowed in thought.

When -at last!- the time had come
for her to leave her seat
it made her want to dance and run
with excitment in her feet!

When just as she was going to leave,
you'll never guess what she saw,
a little hippo (this is hard to believe)
with an ice-pack on his jaw!

He had some pliers in his hand
his eyes all filled with tears,
"My tooth, it hurts, you understand,
haven't been to the dentist in years!"

He took my seat upon the stool
and opened his mouth wide,
from his hand I took that tool,
found the bad tooth and pryed.

"Why thank you! I feel much better",
my hippo friend did say.
He tucked the pliers into his sweater
and went quickly on his way.

I stepped oustide into the sun
just waiting for a tan,
becasue all of my work was done
and I'd met a hippo-man!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So . . . I plan listing prints of original artwork (done by yours truely, of course), by the end of the week. . . probably sooner. This particular one will likely be the first one up, so I thought I'd preview it here.

I do mostly pen and ink pieces. I like doing tiny, meticulas details for the sake of visual texture, and this is such an example. I call this one "Medusa" - she's my take on the Greek mythological charactor of the same name (although I suppose I could have called it "Gorgon" as well). I wanted the snakes to be there, but kind of secondary, like, "Oh hey, her hair is snakes!"

Any feedback is appreciated . . . drawings on the way . . .
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Ambulance Dude

I was walking down the street when an ambulance started going off. As the siren is getting closer I hear someone going "WEEEEOOOOOOWEEEEEEOOOOOOOWEEEEEEOOOOOOOO" in time with the siren. Not a crazy lookin' guy either. Just a regular lookin' guy blaring right along with the siren, like he was singing along with the radio. I considered pulling myself over to the curb to get out of his way - but while overall I supposed that was kind of on the low on of the crazy scale, and besides, I was in a hurry anways . . .

Feeling accomplished this Monday morning. Did a little spring cleaning, finished up a couple of projects I was working on, played a little Mario Kart (on Wii), and I even get out of the house for a bit . . . a pretty well balenced weekend overall.

One of the projects I finished was a custom piece for a Mother's Day gift. The pendant is turquise, but I liked it partictularly because it had an interesting blue/green swirly thing goin' on. The circle thingys are shells, they have a mother-of-pearl effect, so they didn't photograph as well as I'd hoped. The chain is one of my favs, I wanted to incorporate the swirlys into the overall design, and I really liked how it worked out. The client wanted the piece to have an Florida Keys kind of feel - something ocean inspired and fun, so I build from there.

As for Mario Kart, I've gotten really good at driving with a squid on my face.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I have a baggie of these really really tiny black beads, which over the weekend I discovered that when dropped all over my livingroom rug, blend right in. I thought I'd successfully (painstakingly) found them all - or at least most - and then I discovered the cashe that had been hiding under the table . . . after I kicked the neat little pile that had been sitting there, sending tiny flying projectiles every which way back onto the rug. I spent another 10 minutes with a roll of tape, sticky side down on the rug, picking the rest of them up.

With the beads once again inside the baggie, I sat down in my favorite chair with a nice cup of coffee, grabbed my nylon beading cord, set the baggie on the table, crossed my legs, bumped the table, and to my utter horror, watched at the bead filled baggie took flight, and then exploded, once again, onto the rug.


Perhaps I am simply not destined to use these beads.

Although, picking these things up has brought to my attention the need to clean my floors more often . . . so I guess this technically should count as the start of my spring cleaning.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Beachy Cuff and get the Shell out of here . . .

Okay, so the most recent batch of pics I just posted were things I made useing those snazzy shell and stone beads . . . the first one is one I'm calling the Beachy Cuff. I crocheted it in nylon beading thread and made 10 chains of beads to drape accross the front. really like this one . . .very easy to wear, and it really makes me wish summer would just get here already. Also, I use this design alot for cuffs that i make - specifically when i have cool looking beads that I think would be showcased well.

The other one I made was a for fun kinda thing.I had some shell halves, glass beads, and odds and ends of wire, nylon thread, and a bunch more stone and shell beads. After fiddling around with them for an afternoon, I ended up with the Shell Necklace. The hidden glass bead "pearl" inside the shell was the finishing touch for the seashell pendant.
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Friday, April 10, 2009

Now Tweeting! And the story of a lumberjack vest . . .

I've been a busy bee lately - I have a brand spankin' new banner and avatar, done by CandyGraphics . . . if you're in the market for either, check her out on Etsy. I've also posted some new stuff on my Burdastyle

account and I'm giving Twitter a try, but I don't know if I can get in the swing of updating that often, haha

Anyhoo . . . so a couple of years ago now, I had a birthday, and on this birthday, my buddy Jeff gave me a large, loud, plaid, thrift-store-find vest. Always up to a challenge, I was determined to, in the words of Tim Gunn, make it work.It wasn't all bad. It had a rather nice quilted lining (which i kept), and it was big, so I had a lot to work with. I split the side seams and took the whole thing in about three inches - on each side. I added a couple of darts at the small of my back to give it a hip-hugging shape. It had a hood attatched, which I liked, but it didn't really fit with the rest of the alterations, so I took it off, and reshaped it useing an old vintage pattern for a hooded pullover I had laying around. I tried to salvage the buttons and button holes (mostly because I hate sewing them on, and i HATE sewing button holes . . .such a pain), but because the vest was so large, I had to do some button adding and button hole rearranging, but in the end, I'm happy with how it turned out . . . it's pretty damn cute with jeans.
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Gems" and The Red Dress

So for this blog I plan to post info on what's in my Etsy Shop galleries, as well as fun stuff about what I'm making at the moment,, techniques, and funs stories behind different pieces.

That being said . . . one of my fav pics I've just put up has to be the "Gem" Necklace. The 'chain' is actually thin (I believe 16g?) copper wire that's been crocheted with a tiny hook (a 2.75mm one, to be exact). The 'gems' are acrylic, and therefore, this necklace is very light. It was fun to photograph because it's just one of those pieces that catches the light so well.

And here's how the red dress came to be . . . so my grandma hands me this red, balled up wad of material and says "I got this really ugly dress as Good-Will. Do you want it?" Me being me, I said, "Sure!", probably a bit too enthusiastically. It might have well have been a red and white flowered tent. The neckline have a huge bow-tie thing in the front - which was the first thing to go. I pretty much deconstructed the whole dress, reshaped the 'cut' (not that there really was one to begin with), and tailored it to loosely fit me. The god-awful bow-tie fabric strip I'd cut off became a tie at the waist . . . and there you have it.I really liked the material, and I like the 1940s-ish style the dress has overall, so I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

My mom still says it's ugly :-)
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