Crafty Princess, Not Gym Rat

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Friday 30 July 2010 at 2:04 pm

Warning: This is a long, silly story about how I am now sitting with a bag of frozen vegetables on my leg.

I have been taking weekly walks with a good friend of mine, C, for the past few months. Normally, our routine has been to meet up at a local parking garage that is almost deserted, one of the many places around these parts that didn’t develop as originally anticipated due to all the financial chaos going on lately. However, it has been a great place to walk because it has a slight incline (thus giving you a little extra push, but just a little) and we are covered for the most part from the elements. One lap up and down is one mile, so we’ve been doing three laps and manage to get in a 3 mile walk in about 50 minutes.

Of course, with temperatures in the 90s now, it has been crazy hot out, and I have to drive a pretty good distance to this place since it’s on the opposite end of town from where I live. This and the fact that C is a total gym rat and recently renewed her membership at a local gym, which included a bring a friend for free any time clause, caused her to suggest that we attempt a walk inside on the treadmills at this place. It is about a 10 minute drive from my house, so it’s closer, and we would not be out in this horrible heat.

I immediately told her, “No, I hate gyms. “Why?” “Because there will be people there!”

However, C persisted: “This time of day no one will be there. The place is deserted!”

I didn’t buy it, but she continued to insist that we would practically have the place to ourselves; wouldn’t I at least try it?

C has been raving about her wonderful gyms for years. This one in particular she has often suggested I join because it is so close to where I live. She is a major social butterfly, so for her, the whole gym social thing is appealing, but I have never been able to get through to her how much I hate that kind of thing. I want to workout, not chit chat with a bunch of people I barely know, people I would normally never know except seeing them at the gym.

I finally relented. C had come up with the idea of walking in the parking garage, and I had at first thought that was going to be stupid, but it turned out to be a great workout and not that bad of a drive after all. If there weren’t many people at this place, I may like it. I had used a treadmill once before and found them to be kind of cool.

Even as I was getting ready to go, I had a bad feeling. I realized that I couldn’t wear the normal crappy workout clothes and baseball hat. I even had the urge to put on earrings before walking out the door! However, I went.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I could barely find a place to park. I meet C inside the lobby. Before I even said anything, “Well, there are a few more people here than I realized. I guess because it’s summer time.”

“A few?”

The place was packed, jamming to the rafters! Size 0 pubescent 20-something girls were elbow to elbow. Music was blaring as big screen TVs showed Kim Kardasian talking to her mom and a plastic surgeon, all of which was displayed on a teleprompter since the sound was turned down.

“There really isn’t anyone here,” C insisted.

“Okay, you can believe you don’t see people, but I do see them, just so you know.”

We made our way up to the second floor.

“See, there are two machines next to each other, and that one doesn’t have anyone on it either, so there will be no one on the other side if you want to take that one. You’ll be alone.”

I didn’t say anything. Obviously, this was going to suck, but I was there, ready to workout, what the heck.

We set ourselves up next to two machines.

“How do you work this?” I asked her.

“Oh, push that start button, and then just push that to make it go faster.”

“That’s it.”

“Yes.”

Looking back, I should have also noticed the big read “stop” button on the right of the panel, but I didn’t.

So we are treading along. We are talking about organic food and my book and so on. I actually had wanted to talk to her about a few other things going on with my life now, but since we had a full audience of other gym rats, I realized our conversation was less than private.

We were about 10 minutes into all of this treading, and I picked up my washcloth to wipe my face. As I set it back down, it fell on the treading part of the mill, and I bent over to try to pick it up. Of course, this was so stupid because I ended up stopping and getting thrown off of thing.

A tiny little girl tried to help me up, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, just hurt my shin.”

C is now freaking out, “Should we call someone!? OMG! OMG! Are you okay!!”

“Okay, I’m outa here,” I tell her, and I stuff my few belongings in my bag and head out.

I’m a little bruised, not just the ego either. I have bruise on a pinky finger knuckle and a large welt growing on my leg now (thus the bag of frozen vegetables on my leg), but hey, I came home and did a 20 minute “walk away the pounds” DVD! At least I got about a 30 minute workout in, even with all that drama.  So there gym people! I so didn’t need to drive over there and watch Kim Kardasian and make a total ditz out of myself.

Needless to say, C and I have plans to head back to the garage on our next walking venture.

Fat Lady is Humming…More on the Book

Blogged under Publications from Moi by Tammy on Friday 30 July 2010 at 9:06 am

The fat lady is not ready to sing yet, but she is warming up! After having an issue with the gallery section of the book, I hunkered down over the past few weeks, and thanks to many helpful jewelry designers, the gallery section is not only back on track but looks extra amazing. I resubmitted the sections in question and uploaded a ton of amazing jewelry photos just yesterday, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Thank you to all my jewelry friends out there who came through for me. You really find out who your friends are when you need a massive favor and have about a day or two turn around! I’m not saying those who didn’t come through aren’t friends, of course. Sometimes the stars just aren’t aligned right and you can’t help someone out no matter how much you’d like to. In fact, these are some of the busiest people I have ever known!

At least the fat lady is humming if not fully belting out a tune at this point.

Crochet Washcloths Ready to Ship

Blogged under Charity Crafting by Tammy on Wednesday 28 July 2010 at 6:26 am

My latest crafting for charity project is a set of hand towels for the Global Knit Haiti Earthquake Relief Project. While this felt like it took me forever because most of it I did in single crochet stitch, the basic idea is simple enough that anyone with very basic crochet skills could handle. Using cotton yarn, you make a small 10×10 inch wash cloth and a larger 12×18 inch towel, put them in a zip lock bag together, add a bar of non-scented soap, and send them off to Global Relief’s office in Ohio. I’ve made two sets using Lily brand yarn (very inexpensive and nice to work with), and now I just need to pack them up and mail them out.

For more information about this program, go to the Global Knit site.

Some Craft Link Love and Organic Food Awakening

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 25 July 2010 at 8:13 am

I am constantly battling with my weight, but lately I’ve decided to take a different approach. Normally, I diet (as in pretty much starve myself), get the pounds off (though it gets harder and harder the older I get, so it comes over more slowly each time!), and then I’m back up on the scale again in about a year or so. My food choices while dieting would be a mix of processed foods, like Lean Cuisine, and lots of vegetables and a tiny amount of fruit (since it is high in natural sugar and thus calories).

This go-round on the lose weight journey I have decided to try a more holistic, general, get healthy type approach. This means avoiding processes foods. I haven’t had a Lean Cuisine all summer, and I think I have kicked my habit. I look on ingredient labels before I buy anything to make sure there aren’t any weird or unrecognized ingredients. And, most recently, I joined an organic food buying group. Actually, I’m testing them out but more than likely plan to commit next time I pick up my food.

I’m eating lots of fruit - natural sugar and calories be damned! - and lots of vegetables, and they are so amazingly fresh. My local grocery store, which I switched to from another one because this one is so much closer to where I live, has just the worst produce ever, so I have really missed decent produce. I almost forgot what it was like!

Now, I still have to work on just eating less, but now at least I’m eating good food that is good for me. In fact, I will be enjoying some organic vegetable quiche for lunch today!

Here’s to good food and good crafting! Enjoy this week’s craft link installment!

Aileen’s Musings
If your anything like Aileen you have a lot of extra embellishments you haven’t used. Stop by and see her Altered Embellishment video where Aileen gives you some ideas on altering them to fit your project!

About Family Crafts
Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on your holiday crafting. Discover how you can make a fun and unique holiday gift for everyone on your list this year.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Inspired by an antique find Carmi creates a new piece of wall decor.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
The Artful Crafter’s motto is “Helping Crafters to Be”. To turn a phrase, today we have “The Artful Crafter – and Cyndi – Helping Crafters to Be-ad”.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside’s giving away 2 copies of the new book Sew Retro along with a whole bunch of beautiful fabric from the on-line store Sew L.A., a no-pattern tutorial on how to make a triangle tank top, a free Hennya (devil mask) print download, a how-to on drawing an eyeball and wings and our schedule for Make and Takes at CHA Supershow in booth 324.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Kathy Peterson has a new line of Adirondack chairs and five fabulous designers have been challenged to decorate them!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has 4 books to give away this summer on crafting with tin! Book #2, “Tinwork” is up for grabs this week…come leave you comment and you may win!

Crafting Blogs & Blogs & More Blogs

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada, writing by Tammy on Wednesday 21 July 2010 at 6:17 pm

I haven’t been blogging here much lately because other than the jewelry book landing back on my doorstep, I have been working on school stuff for the fall. That includes making lots of blogs for my classes. So I have been blogging, just not here!

I have been using blogs for awhile as on-going class assignments for a few reasons. First, it is a way to allow my students a chance to express their opinions. A great deal of the writing I teach is analysis, so while technically they do give their opinions, most feel like they aren’t since they can’t use first or second person (I and you) in their work. So on the blogs, they can let it rip, as long as it as least half-way grammatically together.

Another reason to use the blogs is it gives them tiny writing assignments on a regular basis, just 4 to 6 sentences. Added up over the semester, I think it makes a difference in their thinking. They are limited in the length of their responses, so they have to be selective with their words. They have to actually write complete sentences, so they can’t just slap up any old pile of bologna too. It has to be grammatically correct bologna at any rate.

Finally, it helps them connect to each other a little since it creates a virtual conversation. I don’t treat it like a message board, so they aren’t required to respond to each other, but often they do after they start relaxing and get into it a little.

So far, weblogs have worked well with my full on-line and my blended (a mix of web and traditional) classes. I did try it last year with one traditional class, but I just could sell it that well. Students were too used the idea of walking out of class and away from the subject. To ask them to get on-line and write their thoughts was too much for most of them.

This year, out of 6 classes I have only one totally traditional class. This means 5 blogs, folks! Some of it I can recycle, but some of it I had to add to and tweak a little. I have found some great on-line resources too, especially for my technical communications class. In particular, I have used TED.com and embedded some pretty cool videos over there that relate to what we are studying. Students are more visual than every these days, so being able to add a video to my blog posts and then connecting that to reading material has been a big winner for me, especially when some of the videos include celebrities like Jamie Oliver or Mike Rowe.

If there are any teachers out there who would like some TED URLs, feel free to email me and I’ll send them to you or maybe even post them here, though I have a pretty long list!

Jewelry Book Galley Pages aka The Fat Lady Still Hasn’t Sung

Blogged under My Crafty News, Publications from Moi by Tammy on Monday 19 July 2010 at 8:09 am

The galley pages of my book, The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, showed up late Friday afternoon. The galley copy (also called a laser copy) is a pile of pages unbound that has all the text and photos in it pretty much how it will be in the final book. Larger photos are not totally clear, but for the most part, you get an idea of what the final product will look like. I could have had this sent as an electronic file - these huge pages are a mess to deal with - but I read so much better on paper than I do on the screen that I opted for hardcopy.

I have a little less than a week to review and send them back to the publisher. This is the one chance I get to see it before it goes off to press. I can, at this point, make minor changes, like typos. I’m still going back and forth on a few things with the publisher, but we are now at the point that decisions have to be made, obviously! Hopefully, they will trust my judgment - err…yes…I’ve written a tad about jewelry before you know ;) - and we’ll resolve some of the issue quickly, as in they’ll do what I am asking them to do!

I think that is one of the issues about books that a lot of people don’t know. The writer can often have limited control. Things like page count and layout can become so important that creativity and credibility go on the back burner.


That said, the book actually looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I forgot how much stuff is in this sucker, a lot!!

Sunday Morning…err..Afternoon Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web, Good Books by Tammy on Sunday 18 July 2010 at 10:55 am

Ah, the day is starting to get away from me, and I have so much to do! Our Sunday mornings around here are normally pretty relaxed. We enjoyed some yumo Yorkshire Pudding this morning for breakfast. The recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s latest book, Jamie’s Food Revolution. As you can see, we (as in I) put a big dent in them already and it’s just shy of noon! Now it is time to get something accomplished today, and I’m starting with some great crafting links.

About Family Crafts
Sherri has fond memories of making and playing with paper dolls when she was young. Perhaps that is why she was so excited to create these printable paper dolls.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen is offering a crafty blog giveaway. She offers 4 different ways you can enter to win her Tic-Tac-Toe 3 in a Row Blog Giveaway! Hurry over and enter today!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi creates some glamorous shaker cards with her sewing supplies.

Cathie Filian
Surf’s up and Cathie has a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a beach towel roll up. It even has a secret pocket!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside announces the new Qbookshop.com along with a chance to win a copy of 1,000 Poses in Fashion; there is also a tutorial on how to make a rubber stamp out of a garden kneeling cushion and a couple of quilt border ideas.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Here are some more ideas from Eileen for decorating canvas tote bags.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has a copy of The Fine Art of the Tin Can to give away! Pop on over and sign up to win!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how I used the stitch doodle technique from The Big-Ass book of Home Decor to embellish a skirt with a jackalope.

The Crochet Dude

Drew unveils the July purse from his Purse Pattern of the Month club. And it looks like there is still room to sign up!!

JoAnn’s Yarn Sale

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Friday 16 July 2010 at 3:34 pm

Of course, just as I was complaining about finding some decent on-line yarn sources, JoAnn’s has yarn sale that I have to admit is pretty decent. It ends tomorrow, 7/17, so if you are interested, you’ll need to hop to it. I wasn’t too impressed with the Red Heart Super Saver prices, but the Bernat baby yarn and Vanna’s Choice yarns are well-priced. They also have free shipping if you purchase at least $25. I stocked up on baby yarn, and I plan to keep an eye out for the next sale.

Etsy Shop Silver Jewelry and Supplies

Blogged under etsy by Tammy on Thursday 15 July 2010 at 5:38 pm




Just doing a little shameless self-promotion today!

Crochet Squares & Missing My Yarn Connection

Blogged under Charity Crafting by Tammy on Wednesday 14 July 2010 at 6:38 am

After getting an email that Heartmade Blessings was in need of afghan squares, I pulled out my cherry red and soft navy yarn and got back to work. This is one of about a half dozen squares I whipped up over a week’s time. For me, a 6 squares in a week is fast since I mainly crochet in the evenings while watching TV, so that’s only a few hours a day.

As I started in on the project, I realized that my yarn stash was very low on the needed colors and type of yarn. They prefer acrylic, since it washable, and have certain colors from the Red Heart Super Saver brand designated for specific types of afghans. About 6 or so months ago, I could have just gone over to my then favorite yarn source, Crafts Etc., but no longer.

The old Crafts Etc. URL directs you to Hobby Lobby’s web site now, and they do not have the same yarn deals in any way shape or form. Back in the day, they had yarn sales anywhere from 25% to 30% off and free shipping on orders of $25 or more. Hobby Lobby never has anything near to this as far as sales and free shipping together, so I put a call out to my fellow yarn people via forums and emails. While I did find some interesting yarn sources, still none had the same deals.

This means the dreaded trip to Walmart, ugh! And I have to admit that the prices there were - not surprisingly - pretty awesome. I scored 7oz Super Saver skeins for $2.48 each and Bernat baby yarn for 3.28 (solid) and 3.97 (variegated). Of course, when I check out at Walmart, I always have to be careful that my yarn doesn’t get dirty. Once I was behind someone buying raw chicken, yikes! Usually the cashiers are pretty understanding when I tell them I’d rather not set my yarn down on their dirty counter and to please scan and set them directly in the bag, thank you.

I have no local yarn store at all, and though Michael’s is up the road, its sales are so-so at best when it comes to yarn. Since many of the items I make I give away, obviously it’s kind of important that I keep to a yarn budget as best I can, which is so hard so who doesn’t love lots and lots of yarn? I’m just going to have to get my nerve up every so many months and go to Walmart and buy a ton at each visit so I can keep my trips to a minimum.

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