Campfire Hokum and Crochet Fireflies

When we finally caught a break from Ohio’s monsoon season last weekend, we decided to haul out some firewood and roast hotdogs in the backyard. Mr. Neon Sheep (aka, Brett) and I were pretty excited about introducing baby Katie to the simple pleasures of campfire cooking. Unfortunately, the mosquitos were pretty excited, too, and they took to us like a pack of tiny winged hyenas as soon as we set foot outside.

As I alternated scratching and hunting around the house for citronella-scented anything, Brett was still preoccupied with burning things. He found an article online about igniting bundles of herbs to repel mosquitos and quickly harvested a pile of sage from the garden. Then he rolled it up with newspaper and borrowed some of my white cotton yarn to bind it all together.

yarn binding

Unfortunately he borrows yarn about as well as my cats borrow pom-poms.

jealous tiger

Tiger was quite jealous.

Once the sage bundles were ready (and the leftover cotton was stashed away for future salvage), we tossed one on the fire and crossed our fingers, simultaneously swatting at a new cloud of mosquitos. Then we threw another bundle on. And another—the faint sound of mosquito laughter gradually growing louder in the background. It may have just been the sound of damp firewood hissing. . .but we were hungry and running low on blood cells at that point, so it’s hard to say for sure.

campfire

In the end, it was a forgotten bucket of citronella in the garage that saved us from requiring total blood transfusions after we’d finally eaten. The burnt sage repellent was a dud, but it turns out that our real problem was trying to attempt a DIY project on an empty stomach. We later realized that we totally overlooked two key ingredients for making flaming herb mosquito repellant: lavender and mint. Technically Brett overlooked them, but I was so desperate for a s’more that I didn’t ask if he’d read ALL the instructions in the online article. And if you were familiar with Brett’s track record with reading instructions, you’d know that was possibly a more detrimental oversight on my part.

Luckily we were able to stay outside long enough to enjoy watching the fireflies burn off some of their cabin fever. (At least, I imagine fireflies get bored being cooped up wherever they live when it rains for weeks on end. . .) Katie’s still too little to run around chasing them, which means I don’t have an excuse yet to run around and chase them either (other than too much sangria). Same goes for the ice cream truck, unfortunately. But I’m looking forward to regressing back into childhood foolishness when she’s a toddler. And embarrassing her with the pictures later.

In the meantime, I’ve crocheted some of these little guys to light up my workspace at night.

single bug

Trust me, the only thing better than rediscovering the awesomeness of capturing lightning bugs in a jar is discovering the awesomeness of playing with glow-in-the-dark Jelly Yarn. (And also not being eaten alive by mosquitos. . .) The pattern to make your own crochet lightning bugs is available here or by following the picture link on the Pattern Gallery page. It includes instructions with and without glow-in-the-dark yarn, but let’s face it—everything is better when it glows in the dark.

May your summer nights be bright and your bug spray plentiful! ♥

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Pom-Poms: The Stuff of Dreams and Cat Toys

The origin story of this blog begins with a big honking box of pom-poms.

pom poms

Two years ago I vowed to ditch my awful day job, have a baby, finally publish my crochet patterns, and blog about my adventures along the way. It seemed like a simple enough plan, but by then I had already started spending all my money on prenatal vitamins and ovulation kits instead of gin and vermouth, so I was probably a little definitely delusional at the time. . . . About a zillion negative pregnancy tests and freelance query responses later, my ambitions to blog and publish started to accumulate dust faster than my liquor cabinet, and my frustrations manifested into an ungodly hoard of pom-poms.

Some of them were put to good use.

pom pom flowers

But my cats borrowed a lot of them without asking. Cats are jerks about borrowing things.

dead pom pom

The rest ended up as various garlands, hat embellishments, and rainbow-tinged hairballs outside my bedroom door. Four hundred and sixty-three pom-poms later, things finally started looking up. I secured a few sources of steady freelance work, politely told my bosses to suck it, and this drooly little miracle happened:

baby1

The moral of the story: sometimes getting from point A to point B in life just requires some intensive, semi-neurotic pom-pom therapy. And a really big bottle of cat puke stain remover.

Now that I’ve finally arrived at my point B, operation “Publish Crochet Patterns” can commence—mostly in the middle of the night. It’s a stealth mission that involves sleep deprivation, yarn camouflage (to make it look less like cat spaghetti), and avoiding eye contact with the baby monitor. Seriously, NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE BABY MONITOR. I’m pretty sure it triggers a silent alarm that really pisses babies off. The end goal is to share my patterns/patterning adventures with the world and hopefully inspire an army of flying birthday pigs. . .

100_1727

or a bunch of crochet duckling clones. . .

Ducklings

I have the blueprints for a whole crochet zoo floating around in my head, but there’s some practical stuff in there sometimes, too:

legwarmers 2

rug1

I believe anything is possible with a hook, a little imagination, and a lot of experimentation, and my crochet design philosophy is equal parts quirky and eclectic. A sleepy baby, well-behaved cats, and a few adult beverages tend to help the creative process, too. So whether you stay for the crochet shoptalk or my random late-night musings, I’m grateful for your company as I begin this adventure in blogging. Here’s to crafty camaraderie that never sleeps. ♥