Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


I Crocheted Some iPod Gloves For Myself

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:26 pm

Fingerless Gloves

This is an EXCELLENT pattern for fingerless gloves.

I love this pattern works in spirals instead of rounds. It makes it so easy for someone who never really learned how to work in rounds.


Crocheted Bath Mat

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Crocheted Bath Mat

My current craft project right now is this bath mat. It’s about half-way done right now and I’ll probably be finished with it in a couple of days depending on how much writing I do and how much avoiding writing I do.

This is a pattern of my own making where I’m really just working in rounds, but I got the stitch from a book called Crochet Your Way. It’s a book full of UGLY patterns, but there are so many different stitches, it’s a great reference book. Think of it as a stitch bible with a bunch of ugly patterns distracting you.

This is the Twisted Loop Stitch:

Twisted Loop Stitch

I work the row twice. First I go around the round doing a double crochet in each loop. After that, I go back over the double crocheted stitches with these loops (chain 7, single crochet around the post of the double crochet).

You end up with a thick and bouncy mat that is perfect for stepping out of the shower onto.

Muppet Jacket from Crochet Your WayBy the way, I wasn’t kidding about the insanely ugly patterns in Crochet Your Way. Here’s an example. I feel so sorry for the model in this picture. Fortunately, no Muppets were murdered to create this jacket. It’s made from Faux Muppet Pelt using your mad crocheting skillz. As much as I’ve hated the patterns from this book, I have used the stitches in my own creations many times over. I have such a love-hate relationship with this book that I feel funny even writing about it. I don’t want to seem like I’m recommending it, but I AM recommending it.



Twitter Log: 2008-11-21

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm

Powered by Twitter Tools.


Note To Self: XBox Rock Band Drum Kit Cozy

Filed under: Note To Self — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Rock Band Drum Cozy

Either crochet a Rock Band Drum Cozy for myself or buy one from FunkieFresh for 40 bucks.

Why didn’t I think of this?



Thrift Store Finds

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Whenever I go thrift store shopping with Mike, it’s a rush job. The thick stench of dust makes him want to leave as soon as possible before an allergy attack sets off an asthma attack and it all spirals down from there. On my self-imposed Internet exile last week, I went thrift store shopping ALONE. I spent about four hours at my favorite DI and Thrift Town. I found many pairs of red shoes, a couple of books and some glasses that Arby’s gave out in the 1980’s. The same style that has become a family heirloom, I found for a buck a piece.

More importantly, I found lots of cool things that I didn’t want to buy. I snapped photos instead.

I found this crocheted set of characters from Winnie the Pooh both heartbreaking and heart-warming. Someone went to a lot of trouble to crochet these pristine and unloved stuff animals. I can tell they were unloved because they are so clean and beautiful. I imagined an excited grandma-to-be working steadily away at these stuffed animals. Why are they at the thrift store? Were they rejected by the mom? Were they too young for the barely teen grandchild who received them? Did the baby die? I can’t think of a happy story for these lovely and rejected stuffed animals.

Thrift Store Finds from Flickr

This blender, on the other hand, was WELL loved. Worn and still covered with bits of food, this blender was used at many cocktail parties by a handsome woman in a full skirt with crinoline. Only four dollars and perpetually stuck in the on position.

Thrift Store Finds from Flickr

I had to take the Barb-B-Table out of box to even understand what it was. Apparently, it’s a table tray that attaches to your barb-b-que. It was a sandy brown, the same color as the lettering on the box. It seems that the box was far more interesting to it’s previous owner than the table.

Thrift Store Finds from Flickr

I didn’t buy any of these items, despite their appeal. I have no children to love the stuffed animals. I have no use for a broken blender, despite its retro beauty. I certainly have no use for half a table. That didn’t stop me from wanting them, so I snapped photos so I can remember them forever.


Note To Self: Crochet AquaAmi Patterns

Filed under: Note To Self — Laura Moncur @ 9:39 am

AquaAmi from PlanetJune

Totally adorable crocheted dolphins, whales and sea lions.

She is only selling the patterns, not the crocheted animals. Whenever I try to do things like this, they end up not looking nearly as cute as these little guys.

I still want to try, though.

Via: Craftzine.com blog: Crochet AquaAmi Patterns


Crochet Ghost Pumpkin and Candy Corn Amigurumi

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Crocheted Halloween Cuteness on Etsy

You can get a ghostie, a pumpkin and a candy corn for only $14 on Etsy. They are adorable!

I like my Halloween Gothic and scary, but these little guys are just charming me!

Via: Craftzine.com blog: Halloween Amigurumi = Cute


Sexy Hamburger Costume

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Joy Kampia’s Hamburger CostumeIf you read the phrase Sexy Hamburger Costume, you probably had a big question mark light up above your head, but after seeing it, I’m sure you agree. It IS a sexy hamburger costume!

To see the costume from all angles, click here:

The dress is a crocheted creation and I’m am impressed with the inventiveness. It wraps up the funniest and sexiest costume prizes in one fail swoop!

Via: Craftzine.com blog: Crochet Hamburger Dress


All I’d Get Is This Lousy Calendar?

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar at Amazon.comI got an email from the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar people. They were holding a contest for their 2009 calendar. You can submit your pattern for the contest. Sounds pretty good, huh? Not really…

$500 will be awarded as First place for both calendars; there are also 2nd and 3rd place prizes; and all contributors whose patterns are used will receive a 2009 calendar.

So, out of 365 patterns in their calendar, they give one first prize of $500, an unmentioned second and third prize. Everybody else just gets a copy of the calendar. Does that sound like a good chance to you? I know I’m feeling uninspired to send my patterns to them. Quite frankly, I’m pretty unimpressed with the Crochet Pattern-a-Day Calendar I bought this year. I get more good ideas from the Craft Magazine blog and Etsy.

I have felt a resurgence of love for crochet, but it has nothing to do with major publishers. All my good ideas have come from looking at what other people are doing all over the world on the web. People have created some interesting and edgy ideas. Instead of crochet being the thing that grandmas do, it’s something young people do. We create iPod cozies, watch bands and even crazy little crocheted stuffed robots. It’s all new and exciting right now, but if I head into a Barnes and Noble to see if there is a new book, it’s all about the ponchos, doilies and ghastly sweaters.

Sorry, Accord Publishing, I’m not submitting my patterns to you. I’ll just give them away for free on the Internet.


Muppet Gloves

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 1:04 pm

Muppet Gloves

I crocheted these for my sister. Somehow, I don’t think she’s going to like them. They match her scarf though…


Make Your Own Sandals

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Tire Sandals from MAKEThese two articles show you how to make your own sandals from junk. I really liked the old tire sandals because they used to be a fad when I was in high school. Kids would come back from their trip to California and wear the tire sandals that they got from Tijuana. I remember them turning your feet black for the first few months that you wore them.

I just don’t have any old tires to make sandals out of. Do you have a set of old tires lying around your house? I never have. Grocery bags, however. I’ve got tons of them.

Grocery Bag Sandals from Craftster

I am really excited about these grocery bag sandals and they are the next crafty project on my list. I’m gathering the bags in anticipation.


Veggie Liberation Army

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Psychotic TomatoKnitting has gotten a lot of attention lately. There are lots of knitting magazines at the grocery store, whereas two years ago, there was only one. Crochet is still ignored, but knitting is enjoying a comeback right now.

I crochet. I’ve talked about this before, but I have never crocheted vindictive vegetables.

You can download a pattern for the Psychotic Tomato on this website and they are selling a beautiful pattern for a jellyfish.

These are some mad crocheting skillz here!

Via: gadgetgirl: The Good, The Bad and the Veggie


Not-So-Morning Pages

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 12:30 pm

10-07-04: From my morning pages…edited only to preserve privacy.

10:30 am: I’ve got to write my pages so I can write some blog entries so I can write on my chapter. I have so much writing to do because I haven’t bothered to write while I’m at work. I’ve been reading comics online and just messing around. I guess I am just tired right now. Ok, that’s bullshit. The house is a mess, I’m worried about the Halloween party and I’m letting that stuff suck out my energy. Instead of just cleaning up the house and letting myself get some work done, I’m letting it drain my life force. I need to just spend all day tomorrow cleaning up the house and getting my costume ready for the year. Then I won’t have to worry about those things and I can just feel better.

I had a pretty busy morning yesterday. We got the books ready for the project and then there was nothing to do. I volunteered to go home so that I wouldn’t be bored all day at work. I thought that I could go home, enjoy some time with Mike and clean up the house. I did the first two on the list, but then I just slept. He went right back to work, but I just fell asleep. I made him dinner, which was a nice thing to do for him while he worked. I let myself have fun, too. I watched Mean Girls and crocheted. I never let myself watch the movies that I get. I really wanted to see that movie in the first run theater, then it was in the dollar theater and I wanted to see it, finally, I saw it at Blockbuster the other day, so I rented it. We went in to find the Babylon 5 pilot, but they didn’t have it. We ended up buying that one.

That’s another thing. I have spent all this time finding the Babylon 5 DVDs and I haven’t even seen any of them. We saw the pilot on Sunday and we plan to watch one every Sunday, so we’ll see how that works this weekend. I DID let myself have fun yesterday, but I think I should have cleaned the kitchen or tried to write a blog entry. I should have done a little bit of work yesterday. Should should should. I could should on myself all day. What I need to do is gonna.

Ok, I have tomorrow off, so I’m gonna start my day cleaning the house. I’m going to use that as my exercise time. I’m going to get the dishes and the laundry and clean the bathroom. I’m going to pick up the clutter on the table and at my desk. I’m going to burn DVDs all day that I’m going to pick up tonight. I have a ton of things on hold for me at the library, so I’m going to pick them up tonight. Maybe I’ll even go to the storage unit and pick up the decorations and take over some things that could be put away for the season. I guess I should make a list.

11:19 am: I didn’t make a list. I ate my snack instead. I don’t know what is the matter with me. I’m just not up to writing right now. Even writing my pages is like pulling teeth. I write a few sentences, send Mike an email. I write a few sentences and help with the toner. I write a few sentences and eat a pear. I am just having a hard time writing today. Usually writing my pages is enough to spark my creativity. I have things that I want to write about like the concept of infinite wishes and the Mean Girls movie that I just saw last night. I have things to write about, but I’m just not feeling like writing. It’s like the words don’t want to come out of my fingers.

I’m staring at my Halloween invitation. It’s sitting on my desk. I need to print about twenty or thirty more so that I can give them away at church this weekend and give them to the neighbors and such. I don’t know why I haven’t printed up more. I guess I am just waiting until things are slow and I can just sit and fold them without worrying about writing. It’s like the dishes in the sink at home. These unwritten chapters and blog entries are sapping the life out of my body, making everything else hard to complete. I need to get the petty things in my life fixed so that I can enjoy the fun fully. I had fun yesterday, but I felt guilty about not cleaning. Heck, I even felt guilty for not playing DDR. I feel guilty for not having all the fun that is possible to have sometimes. Isn’t fun just supposed to be fun? Can’t I just enjoy it and not think about the other fun that I could have.

Well, I’ve written two paragraphs, so now I’m going to go cook my food and eat my lunch. 11:47 am: Lunch eaten I’m back. Thinking about putting the food I’ve eaten into my Palm, but feeling guilty for not finishing these damn pages and I want to know what the hell is the matter with me. Maybe I need to get back into The Artist’s Way. I never finished that book. I need something to jump start my creativity. It’s not like the ideas and words aren’t there. It’s like my fingers are tired of typing. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. Maybe I’ll just finish my pages and post them unedited online. Ok, I named names, so I’ll have to edit them some. Editing itself sounds like a burden.

12:03 pm: I put my food into my Palm. I played a game of BeJeweled and got a high score. I played a game of Collapse and got a high score. I played a game of Nisqually and realized that I’m still figuring that game out. I am going to finish these pages if it kills me. I am just going to write about crap until I get to the end of the page and I’m not going to let anything else get in the way. I’m just going to type until I fill the page, even if I fill the page with, “I have nothing to say today,” over and over again. I am just going to keep typing until I’m finished.

I just feel so empty. I know I have ideas. I know I have things that I want to say. I know that I’m going to eventually write them down. I just don’t know why they don’t want to come out of my fingers right now. As I am typing this, I’m thinking about Chapter 10. I have ideas for it. I know what I want to do with it. I don’t have to worry about anything, yet I’m not writing them down. I’m not putting them into motion.

I’m not putting pen to paper either. It’s not like I’m writing in another medium. I’m not writing by hand. I’m not typing on the computer. I’m not tapping out on the Palm. I’m doing nothing. I’m not even being creative in a different art. There is an unfinished painting in the basement that just needs to be whitewashed to be finished. It hasn’t been touched for months. At first it was drying, but it has been dry for so long that it is technically forgotten right now. I haven’t sung with the choir this year. They started meeting again in August, but I haven’t attended once. I haven’t drawn anything for a long time.

I’m not dry. I have plenty of ideas. They just won’t come out of my fingers. Maybe I need to do some finger exercises. Maybe I need a finger massage. I just don’t know what I’m going to do about this. I guess I’ll just write my morning pages every day and just post them. That’s all I can do sometimes.


The Homeless Guy on 1-80 (Part 2 of 2)

Filed under: Kathleen Bennett,Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Mike and I moved to Sugarhouse last July. Sugarhouse isn’t as urban as the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, but it’s very similar. It’s the closest thing that Salt Lake City has to The Haight. We live within walking distance of over fifteen restaurants and as many stores. When the weather isn’t below fifty or above one hundred degrees outside, Mike and I walk everywhere.

The homeless have been kicked out of the metropolitan areas of Salt Lake. It happened a few years before the Olympics, but just because they can’t sleep in Pioneer Park anymore doesn’t mean that they left our town. No, they moved to Sugarhouse. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the homeless from the hippies. Point of reference: the homeless usually hold up a cardboard sign and the hippies are usually carrying a paper bag from Wild Oats. Don’t give hippies money. They just get pissed.

Life is different now that I walk everywhere. I see things that I would have never seen if I had been driving. I find things on the ground. I dodge dirty snow and dog shit. I look the homeless and the hippies in the face instead of zipping past them. I see all of this on a regular basis.

There’s a homeless guy on the corner of 7th East and I-80. I see him every day. He’s tall and thin. He wears a crocheted blue cap. He didn’t used to wear the cap. It was bright blue the first day I saw him wearing it. Since then, it has grayed in color. I suspect that it  eventually will be the same gray that everything that survives a Utah winter becomes. The other day, I gave him money. I don’t know why.

I was in my car and he was crossing the street. I’m usually on the right lane, waiting for the light and he is usually on the left side of the street. This time, he was crossing, so I beeped my horn. He thought that I was beeping for him to get out of the way, so he jumped. It was only after I was able to get the window down that he realized that I was trying to give him money. “God Bless.” I didn’t bother to tell him I was an atheist. I just took the blessing and left when the light turned green.

Now comes the awkward explanation. Now I try to put into words what Kathleen was unable to describe to me so long ago. That clumsy grappling for words to describe what it feels like to live in Sugarhouse. What it feels like to see that blue crocheted cap every day. What it feels like to walk on 21st South past the other homeless. What it feels like to mingle among the hippies and the yuppies and even the puppies. Dogs and humans and dirty snow the color of coal. All of it is mine. The dirt, the sky, the homeless, the home bound, the stores, the parks, the vacant lots, the vacant real estate, the vacant stares: all of it is mine.

I am filled by it all and all of it surrounds me. My day isn’t the same if the guy in the blue cap isn’t there. My day isn’t the same if my walk is missing the slight tremor of fear when I walk past the tattoo parlor. “I’m used to them” isn’t enough. They are part of me and I am part of them. Even if I never speak. Even if I never pass a dime. Even if I walk quickly with a light step. They are mine and I am theirs and we belong to this land.


Raw Sewage

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:28 pm

It’s a lucky thing that I write these entries ahead of time. If not, I would have just disappeared off the face of the earth a couple of days ago and my weblog would have been silent. Here’s a sample of what my personal journal entry looked like a couple of days ago�

01-02-04 10:32pm

This year has come in like a lion, so I’m hoping it goes out like a lamb. If it holds for March, maybe it will hold for the year. We noticed that the drains were slow a week ago. Yesterday, they became impassable. When I took my shower late in the day, the tub took thirty minutes to drain. The toilet caused an overflow downstairs, so we called a roto-rooter-type place called The Drain Doctor.

Drain Butcher was more like it. It was all downhill from there. He came at five this morning and ran the roto-thing down the toilet drain. The drains seemed the same, but he said it would take couple of hours to fully drain. With trepidation, we paid him and let him leave. We hoped, rather than believed, that he was right.

By 10:30 am, we knew he was wrong. We called the Drain Doctor again and asked them to send him back. By the time 12:30 pm rolled around, we gave up on his coming and called them again. The plumber finally called at 1:30 pm with a lame excuse about just barely getting our page and would be there in 45 minutes.

He finally showed up, put the camera down the drain a mere ten feet and found water. Surprise, surprise, it wasn’t draining. Just like we had said on the phone (and knew before we even let him leave), the clog hadn’t gotten any better, so he went to get the super jet-rutter thing and a helper. They tried the small jet-rutter, then they tried the huge jet-rutter, which they ended up getting stuck in our pipes.

By 8:00 pm, they just cut off the jet-rutter hose and said they’d call us back tomorrow to get it out. Mike and I hadn’t used a rest room for nine hours. Additionally, Mike hadn’t slept at all the night before, so he had been up for over 24 hours straight. We were ready to freak out.

Thank God for Mom and Reed. They are letting us stay overnight in their Taylorsville condo. There is a bed and a washing machine. Most importantly, there is a toilet that can flush. We can shower here and do the laundry. We brought Sid and I am so grateful to them. I’m sure really good karma is coming their way as we speak.

I forgot to mention the most spectacular part of the whole thing. When they were using the smaller jet-rutter, they forgot to put a plug on the hole in the bathroom where the toilet had been, so a huge geyser of water sprayed our entire bathroom. Water that had been through the sewer pipes, mind you. I’m amazed that I didn’t break down and lose it right there. It is still unclean and lying open as we speak. Mike and I just left the cats at home, grabbed Sid and our laundry and drove to the condo.

Ironically, I think I asked for this. I sometimes feel like I control the universe because I am here, living what I asked for. Two weeks ago, Mike and I were going to run away. We were going to take a couple of extra days and go to Vegas or Boise for a quiet getaway. I told him that I wanted to relax and do nothing, so we decided to stay home. We were going to clean the house from top to bottom and then I was going to stay at home and just write and read and crochet. I was going to unplug and hide. No TV, no shopping, just a clean house, writing in my journal, reading a good book, crocheting the afghan, and listening to music.

As we speak, that is exactly where we are. We are hiding and isolated at Reed’s condo. No TV. Just my MP3 player, my book that I got from Stacey for Christmas, this journal and the dog at my feet. I am sitting next to the heater vent and I am unplugged. This is exactly the escape I was hoping for. I was planning on getting it at my house, but here, there is no choice. I have to unplug because there is nothing here to plug in. I’m doing laundry, which falls right into my cleaning house gig. Once we get this drain problem solved, that house is going to receive a cleaning like it has never seen before. That damn geyser hit the fucking ceiling.

I feel totally contaminated. I should take a shower as soon as I have some clean, dry clothes to change into. It is 10:45 pm and I vow to finish the laundry before I go to bed. While we waited for the plumber to come, I napped, so I can work a little extra right now. I also crocheted an entire skein on the afghan while I waited for them to get their shit together.

So, I’m vacationing in a strange house. Just me, Mike and Sid. Mike is finally sleeping. Sid, uneasy, scared, and feigning sleep, is at my feet. I am writing because that is what I do when I’m upset. I write. I put pen to paper and let all the frustration flow out of my mind, out of my heart, down my right arm and right into the paper. I just took a deep, cleansing breath. I can feel the stress leaving me. Tomorrow, we will meet the Drain Doctor at our damaged and abused home. They will correct the drainage problem. They will remove their damaged and abused equipment from the pipes of our home. All will be right with the world tomorrow. I just have to get through tonight.

The entire house has experienced the joy of Clorox. It only took $488 to get the damn thing out of our pipes. Our drains drain. Our toilet flushes. Our water flows. For now� The ominous prediction of future problems looms. It’s an 80 year-old house, and I’m still writing.



Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:16 am

Today is the third entry in my Senses series in our meditation class, but I never told you how last week’s class went. Last week we concentrated on our sense of touch. I brought many interesting things to place in your hand while meditating. Stacey brought some pine cones and cornstarch. I brought some crocheted test swatches, an interesting carved rock, modeling clay, lentils and horse chestnuts. Mike was nice enough to go out in the cold and the dark to gather the horse chestnuts from the snowy ground for me. He also brought back some chestnuts that didn’t reach maturity.

Age is no guarantee of maturity.  – Lawana Blackwell, The Courtship of the Vicar’s Daughter, 1998

Before chestnuts reach maturity, they are housed in a spiky shell. It looks like the end of a mace or spiked flail. Nature’s battle axe against hungry birds, the shell over the horse chestnut is quite sharp. I brought them to the meditation just for fun. I didn’t think that anyone would choose them for their meditation item.

Choose your pleasures for yourself, and do not let them be imposed upon you.  – Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773)

Eddie did. She could have cuddled with a little square of crocheted yarn. Let a magic pine cone take her on a journey. She could have rested her hand in a bowl of lentils and felt their slick skins slide past her skin and yet somehow still support it. Instead, she chose the spiky and painful little balls of the undeveloped horse chestnut. I was eager to hear her speak after the meditation. She did not disappoint.   When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.  – Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)

After a while holding the sharp ball, she realized that it was like the painful times in our lives. If she was careful and held it gently, the ball didn’t hurt her, it merely kept its presence known in her hand. During the painful times of our lives, we need to hold ourselves and our loved ones gently. If we treat ourselves with kindness and care during these times, life will be less painful. Thank you, Eddie.

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur