Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One Step at a Time

  Sometimes when you're stuck on something, you just have to move on to something else. The simple surface crochet flowers that I was going to add to Mom's Afghan aren't working out for me, and the delay left me the opportunity to get into another project... Well okay, Dad surprised us with my grandma's old TV, and that kinda forced me to rearrange my whole living room, which lead to a bit of de-cluttering, and the finding of some forgotten material. Then I surprised myself by actually finishing a project!

crochet, rubber yarn, floor mat

  So, the material was more like discarded, not forgotten. Remember the rubber yarn project? I'm not surprised if not, because I recycled it over a year ago. This friction-filled rubber material had so much potential to become something cool, but I found it way too difficult to work with. I set the ball aside waiting for my hands to heal enough to hold up to the tension, and it became nothing more than some clutter in a basket. During the event now known as the TV Tornado, I decided it was time to create with it or throw it out.

crochet, rubber yarn, recycle a rubber ball

  This project was perfect for me in many ways: (1) I knew I couldn't create much with the little material I had, so once it's done, it's done. It was motivating to have a quick finish in sight. (2) On a related note, the monstrous gauge (1 stitch = over 1" wide) of the thick material would produce something in no time. I needed a project to finish, to give me that "I did it" feeling that I'm not getting with the afghan. (3) My hands were about as good as they get, so I needed to get this finished before RA attacks again. (4) The Other Half hasn't heard a word I've said since the TV got hooked up, so this tension-filled project helped me through my anger. (5) My feet hurt. I need a squishy mat. What could be more perfect than this ridiculous material?

rubber yarn, crochet, floor mat

  It was a mental and physical workout to complete. The simple granny rectangle wasn't working out as smoothly as I hoped, because the material is cut unevenly. I worked out three rounds to the snoring serenade of The Other Half, the material became thinner, and the project started to curl. Already beat from the friction and weight of the material, I ripped out what I had done, rolled it back up, and stopped to cook dinner in hopes of making eye contact with my husband for the first time that day. More TV after dinner lead me to pick up the project again, but I could feel how sore I was after the break. I took it easy and worked out two rounds of a double crochet/chain-1 pattern before bed.

crochet, finger crochet, rubber yarn

  I gave up on the idea of using a hook and worked this up with finger crochet, but I still needed help to get it done. When I first created this material I was using baby oil to combat the friction, but this time I opted for some petroleum jelly. Even with that, I was left with a raw spot on my index finger that was close to becoming a blister. I took a picture of the two tools I needed to complete this project, which lead me to the conclusion that this is one of the weirdest crochet projects, ever. It's not yarn, you don't use a hook, and what in the world is that other thing I have?

Vaping, crochet, box mod, petroleum jelly

  Well, that's not something that everybody needs to complete a project like this, but it's what got me through it. With all the stress that life has been throwing at me, I've lost my fight to remain a non-smoker. I lit one up in a moment of weakness, and once again found it impossible to stop at just one. Knowing that going outside for a smoke stops me from working, that's the last thing I need when I'm trying to catch up with all my neglected projects. My Big Bro introduced me to the world of "vaping", so now I'm using this box-thingy and some nicotine-free liquid instead of lighting up. It's fighting the cravings, and I can vape while I keep working so I don't miss a second of The Other Half's snoring.

  I'm not saying "hey kids, it's fun, start vaping!", but I do recommend giving it a try if you are a smoker. There's a lot of hype out there, but there are some risks, too. Educate yourself about what is and isn't safe about it, go get a real setup at a good shop, and realize that it won't be the same as smoking. But it's so much less-bad for you.

  As for the rest of you, I'm introducing you to my new bad habit in case you see that thingy in some pictures. Since I've already had one person freak out about it, I'd like to let you know it's not a bong. It's called a "box mod", and I'm just using it to fight the urge to smoke. I'm keeping this thing at hand like Bob Dole's pen, and I don't always clean off my work space before taking progress photos. Just so you know... Box mod. Not a bong.

  I know... I'm mentally slapping myself, saying "why'd you even pick one up again you dumb...", and vaping is just another bad habit, but the stress has got to me. Sometimes crochet just isn't enough to help, and other times crochet can be the cause of it. You can go over a year's time on my blog and find the death of my cat, the suicide of a good friend, insane computer problems, and a marriage that almost didn't happen. You can even get a good glimpse into the everyday aggravation of my life with this stress-filled post. Now the deaths of my grandma, dog, and mom in a little over a month's time... I don't have the strength to fight the cravings anymore. You couldn't blame me if it was a bong. But it's not a bong. Just nicotine-free vaping.

  I still have to clean up the aftermath of the TV Tornado, but at least I've got my computer hooked up in the place my office will be. I still don't have everything set up, hence the not-so-great pictures of me working on the couch. I moved all the furniture in one day, so I'm sore from more than my crochet project. Untangling my wires and setting up my speakers is next. However, I did take the time to get Chrome Cast working on the new TV, so I can still enjoy some metal while The Other Half isn't under it's spell.

rubber yarn, crochet, Lamb of God

   So just like everything else, I have to take the road to being a non-smoker (again) one step at a time. It feels good to finish a project, and that helps with the stress. It also feels good to dig my toes into this bouncy, squishy mat. I was only able to make it 18" by 20" before running out of material, but it's now a finished object instead of corner clutter. It's interesting to look at, rather messy, and twisted in a few spots. But you can stretch it thin, walk all over it, or toss it aside, and it will just bounce right back. I love how my crochet projects often reflect my personality.

  If I had to do it all over again, I think I would toss the exercise ball in the trash instead of going through all this work. Although having to put some muscle into my crochet helped me work out my frustrations, I just don't feel like it was worth all that work for this tiny little mat. (And it weighs five pounds!) But I'm still enjoying it's squishy-ness, and the project has definitely been cat-approved.

cats, crochet, rubber yarn, floor mat

crochet, cats, rubber yarn, floor mat

Happy Crocheting!


  1. Hello Jenny,
    as it's cat-approved the mat must be brilliant. Don't know if I'd had the courage to keep going with nearly blistered fingers though.
    Have a successful day,
    P.S.: Actually, it does look as if kitty is going to seize the mat and won't be tempted to leave it any time soon... One can read the thoughts behind the eyes: MINE!

    1. I used to get cut, burned, and bruised at my old job... At first, I thought a blister isn't so bad. But I see it now: Any kind of injury = Crazy crochet project.

      You are 100% right about that look that kitties get! And once they set their minds to it, there's not much hope of getting your project back :) At least somebody is enjoying my work!

  2. Congratulations on A. finished project and B. finding an alternative to the cigarettes!

    Cigarettes. Sigh. Smoked for a total of 40 years. Started at twelve. Tried to quit repeatedly. Took Wellbutrin and quit for four years. Bad year, tons of stress, lit up ONE cigarette...... and I was hooked all over again. Found vaping. YES! I could "smoke" without smoking! Three years now and that's three years during which I had my father in-law dying of cancer and I was his main caregiver (he was at home), family issues, job issues, money issues.....and I never touched a cigarette!

    I do have nicotine in my unflavored juice. I'm at an 8. I smoked for so long and from such a young age that I believe my brain is hardwired to the nicotine. I also believe that nicotine is on par with caffine having done a ton of research on it. So I don't worry about it. Not inhaling all of the tar and chemicals and Roundup from the tobacco which are the big culprits!

    Good luck with yours "bong", lol! The ritual of smoking is harder to beat, in some ways, than the chemical addiction. Vaping eliminates that problem!

    Cool rug! Pretty kitty!

    1. Thanks, Kim, and congratulations to you for also finding an alternative! I've been on-again, off again with cigarettes so much that I think I'm only addicted to the habit, but then again, addiction has that funny way of tricking you into thinking you're not addicted. Either way, I'm having tons of success with the nicotine-free juice!

      If I wasn't afraid of people getting the wrong idea, I think I would jokingly call the thing "my bong", lol. Had it for less than a week and had to deal with some lady carrying on about how "you can't even go to Wal-Mart anymore without people smoking bongs in their cars. Jeez, I have kids"... Jeez, I have news for her: There probably *are* people smoking bongs in their cars at Wal-Mart. Meanwhile as she was busy berating me, she left the kid (finishing off a Big Gulp) standing in the lot, and he almost got hit by a car. I think... I'm not going to worry about what people think about vaping or my "bong" (lol). I'm just gonna worry about remaining a non-smoker.

  3. Great mat !!! And cat !
    Have a nice weekend !

    1. Thanks, Anna! Hope you have a great one, too!

  4. I gave up smoking using a nicotine inhaler (or as they like to call it 'inhalator'), I couldn't have done it without it. And it is because no only do you get to do the same motions as smoking but the short burst or nico (as opposed to patches which are constant). I'm super impressed that you have managed to go back to trying to quit so soon after crumbling (with damn fine reasons!) Luckily the inhaler were well advertised here and didn't really raise any eyebrows.

    I think I would have ditched that project. Good on you for finishing it. It's pretty darn funky.

    1. I put so much work into recycling that ball that I couldn't just scrap it in the end. Pretty? No, lol. Squishy? Yes. At least it's over with now. :)

      Hey, I remember those inhalors, but I haven't seen one in years! I'm glad you were able to find a method that worked for you.

      I think it's now or never for me to quit. I could make excuses about being stressed, but it would lead to full-blown smoking again. If anything ever happens to me, I want to be able to show my kids that I at least tried to fight my addiction. Had a setback yesterday and lit up - My neighbors think it's *funny* that their dog rips up my trash every day - But excuses, again. Maybe I do need some low-nic liquid for those days.

  5. What a cool looking mat! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

  6. I really love reading your posts Jenny :) You are such an inspiration the way you share your trails, tribulations and joys about life, crochet and cats. Thank you.
    Congratulations! You are one of my features :)
    Joanita @ Snickerdoodle Sunday

    1. Thanks, Joanita! I always enjoy linking up at the party, and seeing my posts featured makes it extra-special. Thank you for all the work you do as a host, and the opportunity to share my projects!

  7. Hi Jenny. There are more to live, then meets the eye. Life is a learning curve, and not always easy. In May '99, 4 months after I turned 55, (my life was on a high! I had achieved more than most other women, born in the 40's & was in charge of my live, or so I thought...) I was on my way home, after collecting my new car from Mc Carthey's, where "her" 1st 10,000 km service has been done. I had my favourite CD in the player & I couldn't have felt any better/happier, when I collided head-on with a taxi, that overtook a string of cars on a steep, ignoring the barrier line. I came from the opposite direction, & it was only when the both of us reached the top that I saw the taxi right in front of me! There was nothing anyone of us could do, to avoid the crash, that changed my whole live. I was off work for nearly 10 months & went back in a wheel chair. "Lucky to be alive", people said, but none have been in mý shoes for a single hour of these past 17 years... I am in pain 24/7. I never smoked, I don't consume alcohol & I have to cope on my own. I live alone, (with my Pekingese male & Poodle female) & cannot afford a full time domestic worker. I have to use a 3 wheeled walking aid, since a couple of months after returning to work... The wheel chair, was just too much of a "hassle"... I forced myself to get behind the wheel of my new car, on July 4, 1999 as soon as it was delivered to me. That was the best move I ever made!!! I could write a book about my life, but what I aimed to get across to all you lovely bloggers is: "Where there is a will, there is a way!!" But sometimes this lesson, comes at a very high cost... At least we have got Technology & are not cut off from the world entirely... Happy blogging xx

    1. I'm sorry you've been through so much. If you wrote that book about your life, I would read it! You sound like a woman full of good advice. I believe that everyone else's life can lend a different perspective to our own, and I'm glad you shared part of your story here.


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