Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

The Elephant in the Room…

For my last post of the month, I felt I had to address something.

And that’s the explosion of traffic that just manifested in my blog stats the last two days.

There has been more traffic yesterday and today – individually – than any other day of traffic in the history of my blog.

I wish I could say it’s because I’m a rad crochet personality. But that’s not why yesterday and today’s stats have each broken all other traffic records in a single day on my blog.

The last “all in a day” record? Yeah, that was back in fall 2011 when we had the Cama Beach Crochet Retreat and I posted all those photos during the week.  In fact since I posted every day of the retreat as well as during my extra few days stay afterward, the entire week had high traffic stats. So did the video I made (in summer 2011) from the 2010 crochet retreat too.

Makes sense.

And a close 2nd was my article in summer 2012 about The US Olympics Committee bungle with Ravelry.

Again, makes sense. Crochet, crochet, crochet. Check.

And while it hasn’t broken a record for hits in a single day, the absolute #1 post on my blog is my 2011 post on “What Does Frogging Mean?

So what is it that’s breaking all the records this week, two days in a row? And ain’t over yet? (Vast majority of traffic from the US too.)

Tape Ball.

Yep, it’s my article from last year’s NaBloPoMo about the game Tape Ball, aka Candy Ball.  The simple but fun game played with a large ball that’s made with cling wrap/plastic wrap, leftover wrapping paper, candy, prizes, underwear, a sense of humor and a lot of shenanigans.

My phone keeps going off – “Your stats are booming!!!”

Guess I’m glad that I took my time and compiled a complete how-to last year. To be honest, I did it so I could have something to go back and reference for myself. And at least for now it’s turned into a record-breaking post.

In addition, oddly, my 2011 story about accidentally making butter in my Ninja blender when I was trying to make whipped cream for Thanksgiving has also been getting an unusual amount of attention the last two days too. The 4th most popular post on my blog, incidentally. Either a lot of people accidentally screwed up their Thanksgiving desserts, or someone’s trying to get back to their old-fashioned roots – with power kitchen tools.

Gee, you know thinking about it – that’s an awful lot of blog popularity all written back in 2011 right there.

Does that mean I was a better writer then?

I don’t know, but in either case, I predict that this holiday season will be a lot more fun for some strange reason.

And I want pics.


Leave a comment

Filed under 'Tis the Season, NaBloPoMo

Getting Close Now…

I debated on what to write about tonight.

The only NaBloPoMo I ever lost was because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and unexpectedly NOT having access to a computer before midnight.

And of course, I didn’t have a smart phone of any kind back then.

The last 3 nights, I managed to blog via cell phone only. A neat trick, these new-fangled tech tools.

I attempted useful, meaningful and whimsy.  And overall seemed to avoid any major auto-correct mishaps on my blog.

Not that it would have really mattered for NaBloPoMo.  Since it’s not supposed to be about quality, but instead about commitment.

But if you’ve followed me for any time, then you know that I rather despise the idea of “lazy” posts.

I’ll experiment with writing exercises. I’ll play with different styles.

I’ll tell stories and write poetry.  I’ll share information and play show ‘n tell.

But I’m not a real fan of following the crowd or throw-away posts.

Real writing is about sharing some piece of heart, after all. Right?

Unless there’s nothing else left but sheer commitment to the process.

In the end, perhaps there’s a lesson in that.  As it’s often commitment that keeps the world ticking and that drives us to success.  Not the prettiest, the loudest or the tastiest things that cross our paths.  Simply the steadfast things.  The ones we know we can rely on. That which always has our back. What is it that’s always there, even when things don’t go to plan? It gets us through.

Practice, training, love….  None of these are always easy, always sexy, always fun.  But investment in each pays off in troves.

And to dig further into that… What do we want that foundation that we can rely on to be?  What do we really want to commit our energy to in life?  But likewise, from what do we wish to draw upon to help propel us forward?

It’s all too easy to put off important things, because we don’t think we have time to do it right.  We don’t write that letter, because it won’t be a masterpiece. We don’t make that call, because we don’t have enough patience.  We don’t share that story that’s crying to be told, because we’re not good enough to do the telling.  We don’t invest in the relationships that matter the most.  We don’t plan room in our lives for memories, for smiles, for people, for stumbling, for tears, for sticky fingers and sloppy kisses.

And when there’s no extra room, when we live our lives so close to the wire, by the skin of our teeth…

When every minute is spoken for in ways we’d never want for our children, much less ourselves…

It’s time to look up and see the cliff we’re heading for.

Thanksgiving is over and now November NaBloPoMo is winding down to an end. Tomorrow marks the last day of the challenge.

I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday weekend with good memories and camaraderie.



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts





“Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”


The feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something greater than yourself.

Have you ever felt “the Hand of God” upon you?

Ever known something you shouldn’t.

Had faith without logical reason.

Felt compelled as if it meant life and breath.

Charted a path against all odds, because something called you….

I’m here to tell you that if you can believe.

If you can embrace.

If you can allow yourself to calm the noise and simply Know Thyself.

It’s worth it.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Is time travel like crochet or like knit?

We just watched the new Terminator movie tonight.

And it got me thinking about the fabric of time.

Is it more like crochet? Or is it more like knit?

If you travel back in time, and something goes wrong and the timeline is changed… is it like a run in your pantyhose?

Something that ripples like a straight line through the entire length of knit fabric, permanently changing the landscape? Erasing an entire line of loops?

Or is it more like crochet?  In that if a loop of the fabric is damaged, its spread remains fairly localized. But the altered appearance in that area is more pronounced, leaving remants of threads and half memories?

And instead of erasing a line of loops, a little pot hole is formed, and the face of the landscape changes across multiple “lines?”

Do you think time as we know it is at risk from time moths?



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Measure or Weigh? Which Do You Do With Your Yarn?

Do you measure or weigh your yarn?

Or neither?

The obvious reason to do either, is to be sure you have enough yarn for your project.

It’s fairly common for patterns to tell you up front how much yarn you need in terms of yards or meters. Some will also tell you how much yarn you need in terms of thickness and in actual weight.

When you buy yarn for your project, commercially produced yarn will state on the label how much yardage or meters and / or how much weight the yarn has. But even if it doesn’t show the weight, you can easily use a kitchen scale to weigh your yarn.

So what if you’re designing on your own? What if you don’t have a pattern, and you’re making something you’ve never made before?

You could measure length, but for speed, consider weighing your yarn.

How does that help you ask?

The weight of your yarn can be used as a means to gauge where you’re at in a project and how much more yarn you still need to finish it.

Say you’re a fairly experienced crocheter but you’re making your own hat design. You know what you’re doing, but you’re not entirely sure how much yarn you’re using to do what you want to do.

Weigh it. You can weigh both the UFO and the yarn you have left halfway through the project to help you gauge whether you have enough yarn weight left to finish it. If the finished portion weighs far more than the leftover yarn, then you’re probably going to run short on your project.  And if the yarn you have left weighs far more than your project does so far, then you’ll probably be ok.

You can also weigh your completely finished object so you know how much yarn to put down in your notes for the next time you make it.  Or for your pattern if you’re going to write and publish it.

Handy right?

Still, it seems that people have different opinions as to which method is more accurate. Weight or length?

So I put it out to you. Which method do you use? Share your answer in the comments below!


Filed under crochet, Crochet Education, NaBloPoMo, Yarn

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet!

1. Sleep in your clothes. You’ve probably heard about laying your clothes out the night before to save time the next morning.  But I say heck – why not cut the time out altogether?  Go to bed dressed for tomorrow.  That way you don’t have to dress when you get up in the morning, thereby saving you even more time.  Note: T-shirts, jeans and knit items work the best.

2. Eat breakfast in the shower.  How long do you take to eat breakfast in the morning?  I’m guessing you probably scarf something down in 5-10 minutes tops, don’t ya?  Well that’s still 5-10 wasted minutes you could be crocheting instead!  Multi-task by eating in the shower.  I know, brilliant right?  Hello smoothie! Instant Breakfast shake! Just pop it in a spill proof container and voilà, suck that puppy down while you rinse and you won’t even taste the suds.

3. “Services will be down for scheduled maintenance.” No seriously! Send this notice to your boss, put it on your website, place a sign on your desk and then get to your scheduled crochet maintenance! Trust me, the world will be amazed at how much better everything seems to work!

4. Skip the makeup. After all which is worth more – Maybeline or Malibrigo. Obviously, when your priorities are straight, there’s no contest.  Use that time to pretty your crochet instead.

5. Have a Cro-Go Bag.  Seriously, I don’t just mean your emergency go bag essentials that you should always have tucked away in the trunk.  I mean get in the habit of keeping a crochet bag packed and ready to go – to take in your car.  *Crochet in the drive-through, crochet in the pick-up line at school, crochet at the red lights.  Crochet in the waiting room at the county tag office.  You never know where you might be delayed and there are moments to be caught anywhere.  Especially if you’re a Mom Taxi.  And if you suddenly find yourself having to wait on someone – no worries, you can be productive.

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet - photo and article by Aberrant Crochet6. Crochet on the phone.  Blue tooth and speaker phone were made for crochet, unless you need to count.

7. Let Amazon deliver.  Seriously. More and more you can find anything on Amazon.  Even Malibrigo.  Save your gas, let them deliver goods to your door and use that time to crochet!

8. Skip lunch.  Well, is your crochet important to you or not?

9. Cover your end tables with crochet projects and WIPs, thereby eliminating the need to dust.  Ergo, more crochet time.

10. Store your clothes in the dryer. Seriously, why fold and put them away?  You’re just going to put them on again before you go to bed.  So leave them in the dryer, toss them if they get cold and save that folding time for crochet!

11. Better yet, barter for laundry service.  You wash and fold my clothes for me, I’ll totally crochet for you.  Oh here, this one has a wine stain.

12. Barter for meals.  You want more time to crochet anyway, right?  Well cooking eats a lot of time!  Covert that time instead into crochet time.  Find the best foodie cook you know and offer to trade them your time, hour for hour, in crochet.  Make sure they have lots of pot holders.

And there you have it!

12 BRILLIANT ways to increase the #crochet quality of your life.

Do you have an idea to add?  Share it in the comments below!

Got a friend in need who could use these tips?

Do them a favor and SHARE this post with them!

World peace will thank you later.

Leave a comment

Filed under crochet, Crochet Community, Humor, NaBloPoMo

Diversify or Specialize: You Can’t Do Both – Right?

“Austin is a smaller version of New York city.”

This is what a friend of mine (from New York) told me once. I’ve heard that Austin and Seattle are similar in personalities, but I hadn’t heard it being anything like New York before.

Granted, I have not yet been to New York.  Still, I’m not sure that I can agree with her.  And certainly, it would probably be best for her to never repeat that to a native Texan who didn’t already love her. In fact, I’m not sure a native New Yorker would appreciate the comparison.

Still, if you stop and think about it, both cities are incredibly diverse in culture. Pretty much every kind of food, every kind of belief system, every kind of hobby can be found in both places. I never think about Austin’s unique nature much until I travel to other areas and suddenly realize that wait – something’s missing. Or when a friend comes to visit and comments on it.

Oddly, my friend’s comment got me thinking about competitive marketing in the Austin area.

Austin is a colorful and amazing city with a lot of talent to offer. And all of the surrounding cities take on a similar general personality. We’re laid back and friendly here.  We don’t take anything too seriously, except our food and our friendships.  And our social demographic is influenced by the fact that Austin/Round Rock is considered one of the most educated cities in the US.

There are so many diverse and interesting things that can be marketed or written about here. I figure working for Austin Monthly magazine must be a great job as a writer. Surely fun and rarely boring.

But then I was thinking about niche businesses. How marketing (and writing) changes when you specialize instead of diversify.

Austin’s happenings and culture seem like bountiful writing resources, where there’s a plethora of colorful possibilities – pretty astounding. There’s so much texture and color to explore here, all unified by the fact that is all quirky Austin.

But if I were to try to switch things up, and dedicate a specialized magazine to say – crochet in Austin – suddenly there is no diversification. Because in spite of our colorful and rich stories, Austin is still essentially a small town community.  We don’t have the kind of population you see in other cities.  Which also means that the amount of crocheters in Austin is pretty small. And hard to find. Or a least, when you need a substantial support system to justify such an endeavor.

That got me thinking.  That in marketing you can be specialized, or you can be diversified, but it’s near impossible to be both.

Unless perhaps if you walk the fine tight rope of specializing in being diverse.

Welcome to Austin Mural - Austin's Famous Street Art


Filed under Business, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Stop Salting My Chocolate!

I’m the poster child for “Ick, that’s too sweet.”  And I love dark chocolate.

The darker the chocolate the better.

Mmmmm... Chocolate....My husband jokes that one of these days he’ll come home to find me huddled in a corner, gnawing on a bar of baker’s chocolate.


It’s that serious.

And it’s not a new thing.

I love chocolate.  But I am not a chocolate slut.

I am a chocolate snob.

Which is also why it is unlikely that my dear hubby will ever find me gnawing on baker’s chocolate.  Most of it doesn’t make the cut for that kind of treat.  And I should know.  Because making chocolate deserts is a hobby of mine.

I’ve been a fan of good dark chocolate, since childhood. I’m not sure if it started because my Grandma Leona also preferred dark chocolate, and so maybe I decided that because Grandma was cool, then I preferred it too.  Or if it was part of my ingrained <ick – I can’t stand über sweet things quirkiness> all along.

The thing is, dark chocolate wasn’t that readily available when I was a kid.  Or at least not in my area.

There was Hershey’s Special Dark, which I could sometimes get in a bar, but usually could only find in a bag of Hershey’s Miniatures.  Those Miniatures were one of the few types of candy bags my Grandma would ever indulge in.  (At least that I ever saw at her house.)  And usually only for the holidays.

Special Dark was better than milk chocolate, but it still wasn’t all that good.  Maybe the caterpillar that I once found wrapped in a Special Dark bar is what set me seeking in a different direction.  (No kidding.)  I took it back to the drug store, showed them the worm and his little cocoon inside the wrapper and got my money back.

And maybe I’d already decided that I could wait for better chocolate.

In general, I preferred Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.  Which, by the way, I swear used to have more cacao than they do today.  I mean today, now you see semi-sweet morsels AND dark chocolate morsels for sale at the market.  Today they seem much sweeter.  And when I make the same deserts I made 18 years ago with the semi, I don’t get the same results.  Baugh.  Seems I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Then somewhere in my teens, along came Dove and the world became a little brighter.

As I grew older, I explored many brands and flavors.  Dark chocolate and chipotle, dark chocolate and green tea, dark chocolate and pomegranate.  Among my favorites?  Dark chocolate and pecan, dark chocolate and hazelnuts, dark chocolate and caramel, and the ‘ol stand by of dark chocolate and almond.

I know.  Not quite as exotic as the others.

And I learned that chocolate, like coffee, has different flavor nuances depending on where it is grown.  Guatemalan chocolate is different than Costa Rican chocolate.  And btw, I think Godiva is overrated.  Except the liquor.

But the ickiest flavor to me is salted chocolate.  The only salt that should be allowed in there is the salt in any butter used.  That’s it.

And here’s the thing.  I recognize that salt can be used to help bring out a flavor, or even to create a spark of interest that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

But today, it seems most ALL the dark chocolate sold in store is salted.  If it’s dark, then by golly let’s salt it too.  Ugh.  And most of the caramel too.  If I want dark chocolate covered caramel, I’m extra out of luck.  Either the chocolate is salted, or the caramel is.  Either one tastes bad.  Ocassionally I can find it without.

I supposed I should count my blessings.  The flooded market of ocean-water flavored chocolate keeps me from indulging most of the time.

But still, leave me some options people! Those who like salted dark chocolate will still like unsalted dark chocolate.

It’s a binary system.  Those who like salted chocolate and those who don’t.

So leave options.

It’s a win-win.  And everyone gets to have chocolate.

Hopefully one day I’ll be telling stories to my grand-kids about how all the chocolate companies used to salt dark chocolate candies all the time. Kinda like how Coca-Cola tried to replace a winning product with New Coke.

And the kids will be all like, “Ewww, Grandma, for real?”

“Yep,” I’ll say, “For real.”

“But Grandma, how did you survive it?”

And I’ll simply say, “Well kids, therein lies the lesson.  Learn to make your own.”



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Ordinary People…

Today a friend shared her experience with reuniting a lost dog with his family.

She noticed him on the side of the road on the way to the store and again on the way back.

So she stopped.

He was exhausted and dehydrated.  He’d run his pads off.

She called the local shelter, who contacted an owner looking for the very same dog.

And she stayed with him until they were reunited.

An ordinary person. Making a difference to an ordinary dog and his family.

It’s easy to think that we don’t have time.

Or to think that we have no real impact in the world.

If I were to disappear tomorrow, the world would continue without me.
So why be bothered? Why worry?

But small random acts of kindness by ordinary people can make a difference to other ordinary people.

It is such as these that make for heroes.

Because now someone’s life and reality is different.

Now that future has shifted for the better.

And they’ll never forget the experience of kindness.

This is how we teach and mold a better society.

And this is why ordinary people matter.

I know I shan’t forget my teachers.


Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts, Writing

Penny-Wise Porterhouse Steak

I thought it’d be interesting to share a recipe from my Grandma Dot’s collection.

She was born November 20th, 1919.  And my Grandpa Jack was born the very next day on November 21st, 1919.

96 years ago TODAY.

And I guess if I stop to think about it, Grandpa Chester was born August 27, 1916.

99+ years ago. 

Wow.  No way. He was 55 when I was born.

Anyway, I have a pile of recipes from both sides of my grandparents that I am going through.

This one was interesting to me as a sign of the times, stretching every cent.

Penny-wise Porterhouse Steak

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 egg
2 T. grated onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. very fine cracker crumbs

Combine meat, egg, crumbs and seasonings. Mix well. Shape to resemble steak, about 1 1/2″ thick. Preheat broiler pan until thoroughly hot. Place steak on broiler pan so that surface of meat is 3″ from flame. When brown, turn. Again place surface of meat 3″ from flame and continue to cook until steak is well browned. Serves 5.

Seven simple ingredients.

Simple recipe.

Feed a family of 5.

Just make sure you get the shape right.



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Recipes

The True Meaning Of A “Buttload…”

I try to learn something new every day.

And while today has most certainly been a weird day, it hasn’t been lacking in introducing me to new data.

I have finally been able to put to rest my un-ease about the word “buttload.”

As a kid, it always seemed like such an odd descriptor.

What the heck did it really mean?

Was it an insult to someone’s backside?

Was it related to loads carried by Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transports?

Turns out, it’s from the Roman or Greek word buttisa large cask for wine.

According to Wikipedia’s Glossary of Wine Making Terms (and a few other sources), a butt is “an old English unit of wine casks, equal to about 477 liters (126 US gallons/105 imperial gallons).”

Revealing new perspective to the word “buttload!”

I’m not sure if it’s smaller or larger than what I originally thought.

But there you go.

Go forth into the world one word wiser. :)



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

The Fruit Fly Gnat Trap – Part 2…

Because you asked…

So I perked up this morning when I came downstairs for coffee, remembering my gnat trap.  Wanting to see how many gnats it had caught.

And then my face fell.

Because I realized that I moved the trap to a cabinet far away from the fruit bowl, while trying to get a good picture.

And I forgot to put the trap back.


You’re supposed to place the trap wherever the gnats are frequenting.  And I’d left the thing over by the mostly empty dry cat food dish.

On top of that, an actual cold front moved in last night and we accidentally left a window open downstairs.  It was super chilly (might get our first freeze this weekend), so there wasn’t a gnat to be seen in the air.

I checked the dish and sure enough, nothing new.

I was in a hurry this morning (crazy day), and the high was supposed to be in the 70’s, so I put the trap back together, stuck it by the trash can and rushed out the door.

When I got home tonight, I was pleased to find 11 little gnat bodies floating in the trap! Not sure if you can see them well, but check out the picture below.

So I’d say this is definitely working!

I’ve placed the trap again (by the fruit bowl) and we’ll see if it gets anymore overnight!

If you want to get one of your own, find it on Amazon here.



Filed under NaBloPoMo

My New Fruit Fly Gnat Trap…

I’m pretty excited tonight, as my new gnat trap arrived in the mail today.

I make smoothies every morning. And I buy what organic fruit I can.

But along with the territory comes gnats.  And the last batch of bananas I picked up at Whole Foods brought a bunch in.

And because I’m using fruit every single day, the problem doesn’t go away so easily.

Thank goodness gnats don’t bite, but still!  Done with them!  Want them OUT.

I looked into some of the homemade traps.  Make a paper funnel, stick it in a little glass or vase with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish soap. And supposedly catch all the gnats.

Nope, didn’t work for me.  And for my friends who’ve used it, it seems they never get more than a couple gnats when they do it.

So I finally took to Amazon, the King of Product Reviews.  And I found a trap with great reviews from a company called FlyFix.

So I ordered it and it arrived earlier today.

However, tonight we had friends over for dinner.  And little gnats visited everyone at the dinner table.  Ugh.  Thankfully our friends are really down to earth, but everyone was clapping, trying to kill the buggers. Not my preference for entertainment. We’d been so busy getting ready, that I hadn’t opened the package or even thought about it.

Finally I remembered the package and ran to get it.  We cracked that sucker open, poured some apple cider vinegar into it, closed it up and set it on the table.  The instructions state to allow a few hours for the gnats to find the trap, but in less than an hour, it’d already caught a couple! :)

So I’m thrilled. This is already as good as trying the DIY method.  So as far as I see, it’s looking promising.  And it blends in with the apples well!

I can’t wait to see how many gnats it’s trapped by morning.

Gant Fruit Fly Trap - Aberrant Crochet


Filed under My Recommends, NaBloPoMo

My Hack For A Yarn Slave, er… Feeder Stand Control Box Thing…

I had to kill some time today while getting my laptop looked over at a repair shop.  Seems my fan is about to go.  I thought it was flat-out dead at first, but it’s come back to life a little bit.  In its death throes for sure, but for now, zombie fan is spinning.

A ribbon storage box turned yarn slave.

A ribbon storage box.

So while I waited for the tech to look things over, I headed over to a nearby closeout store to look around.

I had hoped to find some bath sheets, but instead I found something (almost) better.  I found a promising crochet helper/enabler.

I found THIS!

It’s a “ribbon storage box” for ribbon spools – you know – for a wrapping paper station.

But I took one look at it and thought YARN.


5 Ft Leaping Dear Tapestry - Aberrant Crochet

5′ Leaping Dear Tapestry

I use multiple yarns in almost all my projects.  It’s rare when I don’t.  Projects like my 5 Foot Leaping Deer Tapestry or my CLF Flaming Hook are extreme examples that required multiple balls of yarn to be attached and going in the same project in each row.

My Flaming Crochet Hook design for the CLF First Ever Book

Mostly because they were a mix of tapestry and faire isle techniques. (Read my Ravelry notes linked above.)

But even my simple projects like my version of my Grandma’s potholders use multiple yarns together and apart, depending on the look I want.

Potholders by Aberrant Crochet and Grandma

Potholders by Aberrant Crochet and Grandma

Wrangling all that yarn for a single project can get, well… “less than neat” shall we say.

So I’ve looked into ways to control the yarn I’m using.  For like ever.

I’ve used tall deep vases to keep yarn balls at bay.  I’ve used (clean) kitty litter buckets and 5 gallon Home Depot buckets.  I’ve used yarn bowls and soda bottles.  I’ve used decorative baskets and laundry baskets.  I’ve used special “made for yarn” project bags with little feeding holes and I’ve woven ends through the back slats of chairs to help keep yarns straight.

And aside from maybe the one large deep floor vase that was really heavy weighted that I used for a while until it broke, I wasn’t too satisfied with any of them.  Nice ideas, but in the long run just not enough help to justify the problems they brought to the table.

Friends have suggested I try things like this DIY Yarn Holder made from a toilet roll stand.  I just want to laugh, because if I can pull over a kitchen chair with what I do, a toilet paper stand that hasn’t been concreted into the ground hasn’t a chance. It might work for someone using just one lace weight yarn, or for a slower crocheter than I, but not for me.

I’ve had some thoughts on designing something, but haven’t had the time to give making something a try (yet).

Present Day

Yarn feeder stand hack - by Aberrant Crochet -2

A ribbon storage box turned yarn slave.

So today when I found the ribbon storage case, I saw opportunity.  Because this has spindles already to go.  This is a smooth painted box, ready to go.  And with just a look, I could tell that this would be perfectly sized for my cake balls (talking about yarn here for the uninitiated).  And with some modification, it might even work for my hand-wrapped balls too.

So I grabbed a couple cakes and voilà! I tested the spindles a bit.  They seem to hold. The box is sturdy and weighty.  Guess it might work!

Now to actually crochet on something to test this control box out…

The cherry on top?  It was $4 on clearance, at the closeout store.

Thanks yarn gods.


Filed under Crochet Ruminations, NaBloPoMo, Yarn

Nothing Lasts That You Don’t Feed…

Relationships. Goals. Values. Love.

It all matters. And it all requires nourishing.

I was struck last night by an article titled, “Don’t F* Up The Culture,” written by Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb.

I’m not much into use of profanity for shock value, except in distinct circumstances where it really helps illustrate a point.  And here it definitely does.

Brian touches on the sentiments of an investor who sees that all too often, a great thing goes wrong when it gets too big. Brian then presents his own exploration into how he could make sure that his own company did not fall into this same pit of disappointment.

And he brought it all down to culture.

While I agree that culture is the vehicle, it takes the values at the core to create a culture around.  A point he illustrated well.

Brian had some striking things to say.  Here’s what stood out to me most:

…Culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.”

“…We build culture… by upholding our core values in everything we do. Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to f* up the culture. Each one of us has this opportunity, this burden.”

“The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous.”

“Ever notice how families or tribes don’t require much process? That is because there is such a strong trust and culture that it supersedes any process. In organizations (or even in a society) where culture is weak, you need an abundance of heavy, precise rules and processes.”

– Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

A thousand things, a thousand times.
It creates the foundation for the future.
When it’s strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.
When it’s weak, you need an abundance of rules and strict processes.

And it struck me how perfectly this illustrates our human need to:

  1. Hold ourselves to a life code, one that we never violate – whatever it is.
  2. Nourish the unity and relationships within our families, within our circles, within our culture as a society.
  3. And for simplicity through responsibility.

Everything in life is cycles and flow.  But it all requires nourishment and commitment to keep going.

Our relationships.  Our skills.  Our bodies.  Our money.  Our society.  Our trust.

Everything requires investment in order for it to be anchored and remain.  It requires loyalty to ideals and to each other.  It requires flexibility for flow and breathing room, while still maintaining a core of strength that is never compromised.

The perfect system.

I don’t know. Seems Brian strikes an important tone to give attention to.

Maybe you’ll agree?

Check out his article here.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Memories: Double Haiku…

I would bake a cake
We’d rent a cheap video
One hundred plus came

Pickup truck hot tub
“But bunny rabbits don’t bite!”
Best times forgotten

Written 11-15-2015, 10:50pm
Copyright © 2015 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Poetry, Writing

Friday the 13th….

There was a lot of sadness around the world yesterday.

Sad week even.

The attacks in Paris.

7.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan.

And a graduate from the kids’ high school committed suicide this week.

His friends are hurting and wondering why.

So many tears out there.

Much love and prayers for all.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaBloPoMo

The Cutest Things I Saw Tonight…

Tonight was homecoming for our little geeky school of overachievers.  This year the homecoming game was dodge ball.  My son played and their team was 2nd in the finals.

Before the tournament officially began though, they announced the homecoming “court” for every grade in highschool.  Basically a king and queen for each high school grade.  Which of course is interesting for a small K-12 school that maxes out at around 375 kids.

Well, dear son was voted homecoming king for his junior class.  And it was obvious that he was surprised! But that wasn’t the cutest thing.

The cutest thing was the grin on his face as he stood between pretty girls while they took photos of the whole “court” of homecoming winners for each grade in high school.

After all the years of early school strife for him as a dysgraphic kid who couldn’t really see well, and who struggled in sports, because no one realized he couldn’t really see well…. Yeah.  It did this momma’s heart good!

After the tournament, dear hubby and I took off to enjoy some snacks and drinks at a new favorite restaurant in Round Rock called Verde.  Our kids are spending the night with friends, which left us some time together for a quick date.  I’ll have to tell you more about it another time, but rest assured – Verde is tasty!

After our drinks and lite “meal” we headed over to Barnes ‘N Noble.  We’ve had a tradition for years that when we do go out, we often like to head to a book store after dinner.  It’s a great top off to a pleasant evening for us.  In fact, most of our early dates (geeze we’re at 20 years ago) were to used bookstores.  But then, we realized it was getting kind of expensive to keep up with – because we are both book geeks and neither of us can say no to each others’ book purchases!

Anyway, so though we don’t go all the time these days, when we do get to go out, we often still enjoy stopping by the book store.  I usually grab a coffee and peruse what’s new.

Tonight, I stopped by the information desk to check out the 3-D printer they had sitting there.  Last weekend was the (inter?)national Barnes ‘N Noble Mini Maker Faire, but we missed it thanks to our weather.

While I was looking over the 3D printer, though, I suddenly became aware of a request from little curly-headed boy approaching the information desk.

“Hey there! What can I do for you?” said a tattooed information specialist as he greeted the approaching boy.

“Um, yeah…” the boy (about 10?) responded.  “Where can I find a book about how to get a date?”

I watched the cool, confident, tattooed guy go from confident to quite unsure in an instant.

“Um, what do you mean?” the specialist asked?

“Well,” the boy went on. “I’m pretty popular in school and everyone knows me. So how do I get a date?”

I about lost it right there.  I gotta hand it to the information specialist, because while he was obviously stumped about how to respond to this request for information, he remained professional and even carefully respectful as he responded to the request.  “Well, I honestly don’t know what I could find for you that would be in your age group…” he started.  I chuckled and moved on, before I could get caught rolling on the floor busting a gut.  That was darling!  What a hoot!

Toddler Christmas Elf Hat - By Aberrant Crochet - Photo by Caroline Gukian and model child Smith

Photo taken by my friend Caroline Gukian and willing test model is daughter of my friend Laura Smith.

The third cute thing tonight was getting to try my Christmas Elf Hat design out on a real live little kid.  Because, you know – I don’t have little ones at home anymore, nor do I generally have easy access to anyone else’s.  I’ve been aiming for a size 18 months to 2 year old toddler range.  But the sizing seems to be coming out more preschool age.

Still, I’m pleased with how the shaping is working out and the ability to pose the hat.  It sure looks cute on her.  Don’t ya think?


Filed under crochet, Friends and Family, NaBloPoMo

If You’re Coming To Austin, Try The Pizza…

Austin’s definitely a food loving town.  The more thoughtful and creative, the better.  And there’s lots of it.

Everything from Korean to Japanese, to Tex-Mex to Italian, to Southern and Mediterranean… whatever your tastes – it’s all represented in some way here.  After all, we’re one of the most incredibly diverse communities anywhere.

Of course, anyone can argue about how “authentic” each “cultural” food is.  I’m not sure if “Americanized” is the word for it, but definitely a lot of foods are “Austinized” here, where we celebrate creative new ways to put foods together that aren’t typically thought of.

A little restaurant in Round Rock, just on the north edge of Austin, called La Cocina is a great example.  Their entire menu is inspired by the owner’s ties to both Mexico and his classical chef training in Italy.  Hence, a menu full of both Tex-Mex (is it really though?) and Italian dishes – plus a flavorful salsa with fresh basil as an ingredient.  Unusual presentations and unexpected ideas, but great food!  Completely an Austin kind of approach to “let’s get creative with food and see what else we can do!”

Or the little family owned sushi place on 620 that my husband loves. Where they make sushi rolls with jalapenos.  Not necessarily what you’d expect, but the taste is spectacular.

Everyone can pretty much agree that Austin dining is overall done very well in terms of quality and taste. If you visit Austin and don’t find something good to eat, then you really didn’t get out.

Put this on your list…

There are definitely some iconic, artistic places to consider visiting though. And when it comes to pizza, a little place on South Congress fits the bill for both iconic personality and art AND for crafting one of the best pizzas around.

And that place is Home Slice Pizza. My daughter and I love the Margherita pizza, which you can get both as a white and as a red pizza.  My son prefers straight up cheese or pepperoni.  The atmosphere is fun and eclectic Austin.  And it’s fairly economical as well.  You can get a large slice for $3.50 – $4.00 and a whole pizza is ready for takeout or dine-in usually in just 20 minutes.  They’ve got a system going over there and it works.

Mr Rogers mural at Home Slice - Austin Texas - by AberrantCrochet 2015

The Mr. Rogers mural at Home Slice Pizza.

Home Slice is also home to some of the most recognizable iconic mural art that Austin has become known for.  It’s conveniently located on popular South Congress where you’ll find other great food and interesting art and shopping as well.

My favorite mural on their building is probably Mr. Rogers, sported outside on the parking drive side.

Add it to your bucket list and let me know when you’re in town! We’ll go crochet in public together!

Leave a comment

Filed under Austin, NaBloPoMo

Quick Tip: Improving the Quality of Your Cell Phone Photos

I’m playing around with BandiCam today and thought I’d use it to create quick tutorial for my NaBloPoMo post today.

We all take them, but are we always happy with our cell phone shots of our crochet work?  I bet not!  Here’s a super quick tweak you can use that often instantly improves the appearance.

OK, so it’s my first BandiCam video, but what d’ya think?  I hope you find it helpful!

Btw, the girl in the middle of that photo is my daughter! She made her costume and the costume of her friend Alex on her left.

AND she made that narwhal sword!  Along with her other best friend Beckie (with the tail), the three girls are dressed as characters from the graphic novel, Bizenghast.

Seriously, my daughter is cooler than me!

Until next time…

Leave a comment

Filed under Crochet Education, Education, NaBloPoMo