Monday, August 13, 2012

TMNT Can Cozies

These cozies were actually made as a commission for someone who decided AFTER I had made them all that they didn't want to buy them. Maybe I overcharge on my Etsy Store, but then again, Maybe I'm just someone who values their time more than most people. I never call in sick, but I do request days off for no reason sometimes. I don't spend my days off getting things done, I spend them doing things that make me happy (if I didn't, would I have a blog dedicated to crocheting and crafts?)


All these things are so important to me, having more happiness than money, having more time to take walks and pictures of wildflowers than doing laundry and fretting about things. I occasionally do laundry and fret, but more often than not I'm cuddled up in a nest crocheting something big and fuzzy. Why, then, did it take me so long to deal with the fact that I was hating what I was doing 40 hours a week?

Until recently, I worked at a movie theater. I didn't work at your typical movie, theater, either. It was a more upscale theater with higher prices, and better commodities (also a theater that has jaded the word 'amenities' for me forever. More on that later). The customers were so mean to me that in the past I have gone home to cry, drink, and Gabe and I have even had some rough times when I came home to scream and scream and scream about how my day went.


I had been called stupid, a 'fucking idiot'. I've been told I will 'never go anywhere in life'. I have been called a liar after telling someone that our theater has won awards. I have been literally screamed at for telling someone they had to wait in line. I have been told our salt is 'too salty'. I have been personally blamed for mistakes made when a person ordered tickets online, then promptly yelled at. I have been scoffed at and had my eyes rolled at me countless times. I could go on, believe me. Is it because I'm a mean or rude person? No, it's because people are used to getting the things they want, no matter what, and I was actually holding our policies up. I got yelled at, berated and degraded for doing my job, properly.

I stayed there for two years, and some change. I stayed there because I was convinced I couldn't find another job, because this was the best I could do. It wasn't until the incident in Aurora, CO that got me to quit.


It was a strange feeling, to feel so close to something that had nothing to do with you. Maybe it was the fact that it was a movie theater, and so is Sundance, or the fact that it was so random and isolated of an incident that it very well could have been me, at my theater. It may have even been the fact that that weekend, customer after customer scrunched their faces up and scoffed at me when I told them we would have no additional security in our theaters, and I was just about done. But honestly, it was very little of that, it was the fact that the tiniest part of me thought for one millisecond that I kind of maybe understood where he was coming from.

No, not the deranged Joker persona and the killing of many innocent people. No, not that part. The anger part. The part where people treat you terribly for no reason to a point where you do something drastic and irrational.


People are mean. People make you cry, and run you over, even when you're being nice, and even when they know you're having a rough time. In that moment, I realized how much faith I had truly lost in humanity, and I couldn't deal with it!

I left early that Saturday, having a crisis with myself.  Do I stay, stay unhappy and comfortable, or leave and go out into the big scary world of job hunting, potential unhappiness on an even deeper level, and maybe even a pay decrease? Yes, yes I would. Without having a job lined up, I quit. I quit the hell out of that place.


Exactly two weeks after putting my notice in, I was hired on the spot at a place where I will be able to serve my favorite thing (espresso) to people doing my favorite thing (being creative). I will be working at Traveler's Hearth Cafe & Games, a cafe and board game shop, where people can get away from their TVs, phones, twitter, and whatever other time-wasting machines to be social, and have fun with their time. My kind of place? I hope so.

So, I may have wasted some time making these cozies, but I suppose the least I can do is make the best of it, and share the pattern with you guys. And yes, I'm going to do my best to take some things with Sundance with me, and leave the negativity behind.


These cozies were rather easy enough to make. I  adapted them from my TMNT Mug cozies, and I actually like them better. I think they look nicer, even though I have no use for can cozies...I hope someone else does.

So here's how to do it.

Base worked in continuous rounds.

R1: With green, ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook (6sc)

R2: 2 sc in each sc around (12sc)

R3: *2sc in next st, sc* 6 times around (18sc)

R4: *2sc in next st, 2sc* 6 times around (24sc)

R5: *2sc in next st, 3sc* 6 times around (30sc)

R6: *2sc in next st, 4sc* 6 times around (36sc)

R7: ch 1 (does not count as stitch now and throughout), in back loop only hdc in each st around. ss to first hdc. ch 1, turn (36hdc)

R8 - 15: Working in both loops, hdc in each st around. ss to first hdc, ch 1.

R16 -20: With Color B (Bandana color), hdc in each st around. ss to first hdc, ch 1.

R21 - 22: With green, hdc in each st around. ss to first hdc, ch 1. Fasten off after row 22.

Eyes (Make 2):

R1: With white, ch 2, 6sc in second ch from hook. Do not join to first st. (6sc)
R2: 2sc in each st around, ss to first st, cut white. (12sc)
R3: With Color B (Bandana color),  *2sc in next st, sc* 6 times around (18sc). Fasten off, but leave a long tail.

Pupils (Make 2):

With black, ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook, ss to first sc. Fasten off, but leave a long tail.

Using the long tail, sew the pupils onto the eyes. Then, using the long tail, sew the eyes onto the mug cozy.

Weave in all ends.


Good luck, guys! I should be back soon with some STAR TREK goodies, and another semirelated story :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Halloween Project #10: Potion Bottles

I used to consider myself a Wiccan, and I was pretty uptight about it, too.


Then again, when you're 14, dress in a lot of black, only listen to obscure Japanese rock, and have an offbeat 'religion', you can't really say too much without being put under the microscope about how 'weird' you are. You'd be a little defensive, too.


I took it very seriously, too. I never tried to curse people, or hurt anyone, but when I got a headache, I tried putting a cucumber peel to my forehead, I picked up Tarot reading (which I still do) and I even had a little chant if we couldn't find our car in a parking lot. I collected herbs and stones, memorized their magical properties, and had a green book with thick parchment paper where I used a matching green pen to write down everything I needed to remember. It's actually the only notebook I ever filled to the very last page.

I would get frustrated around Halloween, when I saw fake bottles with labels on them for "Eye of Newt" and other 'crazy' witches brews, and I found myself even more annoyed at the people gobbling them up, picking them up with their sweaty, unmagical hands screeching out "Look honey! Eye of Newt! This sounds scary! Hope we have $8 to dole out for it!".

For the record, Eye of Newt is actually just a nickname for Lavender....And screeching women in stores still bother me, but this is neither here nor there.

These people didn't know anything. If I could have, I would have cleared off a shelf of bad Halloween party favors and yelled everything I knew about magic and Wicca at them, and they all would have second thoughts about buying fake novelty potion bottles. They could learn something, enrich their life, get rid of headaches with cucumbers, but instead I rolled my eyes and stayed quiet. Looking back, it was actually probably the most reasonable response.


It wasn't until Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that this started to change. After forcing myself to hate the first movie (and book), due to my principles of knowing strictly what witchcraft was, is, and should ever be, I refused to indulge myself in liking something so....fake. Against my will, I went with my Dad to see the movie.

And damn was it good.


How could it be that something could go against all the rules of REAL witchcraft and be so damn clever, and fun? Well, as it turns out, it's called imagination, and taking things lightly.

And yeah, you bet I'm saying that Harry Potter helped me lighten up.

So now, around Halloween time, I look around my apartment, at the fake potion bottles, the scene setters, the bad party favors, and it looks DAMN good every year. I just don't have any bottles labeled Eye of Newt, because the fact that I know what I'm talking about has not changed, now I can just deal with people who don't. Afterall, I can't judge anyone anymore, not after all the morals Harry Potter instilled in me.

Want to make some awesome fake potion bottles for yourself for the upcoming Halloween season?  Michael's is selling these for $5 each, but with a couple summer garage sales left to hit, some ribbon I KNOW you have lying around and a printer- you can make your own for significantly cheaper.

Here's how.

What you'll need:

- 20 Gauge Wire
- Pliers
- Empty 'potion' bottles (I got mine at Michaels for 99 cents each)
- Ribbon
- Mod Podge, and a paintbrush to apply said Mod Podge
- Potion label images (I found mine online, and printed them off with NO intent of selling them (in case you are thinking about yelling at me!). Otherwise I know Martha Stewart has had Halloween labels on her website in the past). If you design your own labels, I'm sure Etsy will be kind to you in the near future ;)
- Coffee, obviously.
- Optional: Things to fill them with! I have not dealt with this yet, but as Halloween approaches, I may put some thought into it.

How to do it:

1. Cut two piece of wire, one about 3" long (This is to wrap around the neck of your bottle, so make sure it is long enough, with some extra slack) and the other one about 7" long (This will be the wire you will actually see/wire to use to hang on nails, etc.)


2. Bend the longer wire to form a U-shape. Using your pliers, bend about 1/2" of wire to wrap around itself a few times. Leave a small opening, as you will be putting the smaller wire through this.


3. Slip the smaller wire through the two loops at the end of your U-shape. With all of it as one 'piece', wrap the smaller wire around the thinnest part of the neck of your bottle. Use your pliers to twist the extra wire around itself, then push down towards the neck to lie as flat as possible. It's okay if this isn't perfect, you'll be covering it in ribbon, just make sure it's wrapped tightly enough so that it won't come undone.

Note: I know it seems odd to do it this way, instead of putting wire around the neck and THEN looping the handle through, but I found that I kept putting the neck wire on too tightly to fit the handle wire in.

Now you have a good base! Here's where the fun stuff REALLY starts.


4. Wrap the neck of your bottle with ribbon. You can use as much or as little as you feel it needs. Personally, it turns out I'm having some kind of love affair with ribbon, because I went way overboard, and I'm not looking back. I also tied some around one (or both) sides of the 'handle' for some extra fluff. I think the only REAL 'requirement' is hiding all the icky twists in the wires. Once those are hidden, you're golden.


5. Now make sure you have a good label printed out in the size and shape you think will be flattering for your unique potion bottle, and cut that sucker out.

6. Mod podge it on. Wait for it to dry, cover with a coating of mod podge.

7. Display proudly, knowing that you are not taking yourself too seriously, and you saved a couple bucks!

Are you filling your bottles with any potions, real or fake? What are you using, what kind of crafty concoctions are you coming up with?