April 27, 2012

Handmade Banks (or, Why Everyone Needs a Woodworking Grandpa)

Everyone wishes they had a woodworker for a grandpa. Someone to build neat toys for you that you can pass on to your own children some day.

Well, guess what? I do have that grandpa! And this is no "sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, whittling away at a block of wood" grandpa. No, he has huge (and scary) machines, heaping wood piles, and some serious style.

Over the years, he's made a bunny-shaped coat hanger and various animal puzzles for Kayden. He made a book-thong holder for me. And a huge, sturdy rocking horse that I pretended was for Kayden, but it was actually for me too.

He also lets me shoot guns when I visit, but that's another post for another day:

So why am I bragging about my grandpa and waving around all the awesome things he makes for us? Because he is now selling some awesome stuff in the Hermits of Afton Etsy shop. Yes, you too can have a woodworking grandpa!

His first line of products is of the awesomely clever and fun wooden banks. Each one has a theme which is great for either men or women, while the craftsmanship and durability makes it great for kids too.

Get a bank and start saving up for...

...a new music instrument:

...a round of golf:

...escaping Arizona:

...just the hell of it. Because, face it, you are a responsible kid/adult who likes saving money, right?

(The irony of spending money to save money is not lost on me.)

Let me tell you a story about saving money: I don't really do it well. In fact, I forget that I have a savings account. This is normally a good thing, because it means you're not withdrawing from that account. But in my case, it means I'm not depositing anything into it either.

So how do I save money? I don't spend my change. At all. I just keep it in my pocket. Then each night, I drop all of my change into a bank. That's it.  And because I don't really want to pay for a skirt with dimes and nickels, I don't spend that money. As a result, it accumulates.  Last month, I dumped all that change into a coin counter at the bank. Guess how much a month of saving coins produced?


Seriously. After a month of dropping coins in a bank each night.

Of course, if you have no qualms about buying dinner with those dimes and nickels, there are handy ways of retrieving your money from these banks:

Start reaping the benefits of a woodworking grandpa today!

April 19, 2012


The first baby bunny of the season fell into my window well today. I knew this day would be special. I just knew it.

When I opened the window to commence Operation Rescue Fluffy Bunnies and Pet Them and Love Them, the bunny ran to the opposite side of the window well. I mean, of course it did. I'm pretty scary in the mornings.

I reached out to catch it and saw this above it:

Do you see that about six inches above the bunny? It's a spider the size of my fist. It was so big and gnarly that I actually worried for the safety of the bunny. I finally got the bunny to see reason and come to me (i.e., by dropping a box in that corner to block the spider), where I reached out and caught it.

Here's a better picture of the bunny, with my boss holding it. He loves baby bunnies as much as I do.

So, that was my morning. You know how I'm really bad about blogging and I say it's because I don't have the time anymore? Well, the truth is, it's because there haven't been any bunnies dropping from the sky all winter. What else is there to even talk about?

April 18, 2012

Finish Unfinished Projects Week

I'm a hat-maker 90% of the time. Sometimes I'll throw in a custom-ordered book thong or a custom-ordered baby blanket or a custom-ordered scarf. But it's not often I set out to make any of these items for the hell of it. The reason why is that I love hats and wear them all the time.

The real reason, though, is that it takes me about 2-4 hours to make a hat (depending on the complexity). And after I make a hat, I can spend time adding artistic touches to it. I like being able to kick out a "base" quickly, then do the interesting work to make it a special Bitter o'Clock hat.

What I can't do is work on the same stitch over and over again, with no end in sight. And with nobody ordering that product (and therefore, no deadline and no tangible motive for doing it), I lose interest.

With all that being said, I was setting up my designated craft area last week when I came across my Unfinished Projects drawers. A big pile of sad, half-finished (or half-unfinished, depending on your perspective) projects just filling up precious space.

(And sadly, this is not even all of the projects...)

With the weather getting warmer and fewer people thinking wearing a skein of yarn on their heads in 70+ degree weather is a good idea, the business was slowing down. I decided it was time to work through some of those projects.

First up was that pink lacy thing you see up there. It was supposed to be a jacket, I think? Maybe a shirt? I have no idea. What I do know is that I had no intention of seeing it through. And so, in the grand tradition of "Bitter o'Clock turns unfinished shit into neckwarmers," I turned it into a neckwarmer (or rather, a cowl, which is pretty much a baggy neckwarmer):

Crochet Infinity Cowl- Mesh Pattern in Powder Pink

Next up, the blue thing.

Now, I remember where I was going with this. I was going to be a baby blanket for a pregnant coworker. Well, I believe that baby is now five years old and I haven't been at that job for four of those years.

And so, it becomes a neckwarmer:

Crochet Infinity Cowl- Mesh Shell Pattern in Summer Sky Blue

Now, lest you think I'm all about the lazy style of crocheting, here are some projects that were actually begun with the intention of being neck accessories. Granted, I intended them to be scarves, but whatevs...Neckwarmers!

Crochet Scarf Necklace in Celery Green and Cream

Crochet Infinity Cowl- Buttercream Scarf with Stripes of Dark Red and Orange

Crochet Flower Neckwarmer with Gold Button- Scarflette in Purple and Olive Green

By the week's end, I had finished five of the projects. Watch out for more upcoming finished projects (oh, let's just call it like it is, they'll probably be neckwarmers) next week!