Thursday, April 4, 2024

Crochet Pattern: TV Remote Holder for a Couch Arm

 Everybody needs a place for their TV remotes. A remote location, if you will. This pattern is a simple rectangle, but the difficulty lies in finding the size you need. Here is my math: I measured my remotes (9"x2" and 8.5"x2") and I measured the length I wanted on the couch arm. My plan is to tuck one side between the couch cushion and the arm, and have the remotes in a pocket on the other side of the arm. Going off the length of the remotes, I wanted a 6" pocket. Here's my pattern with the finished product underneath it:

You can see my math all scratched in there. Here's the finished product so you can see the length I was measuring:

So I did an inch of buffer on each side and one in-between the remotes to get a width of 1+2+1+2+1=7". I then did the length of the remote plus an inch of buffer plus the length over the arm to tuck into the cushion plus 6" for the pocket to get 9+1+18+6=34". So for my couch, 34"x7" worked and that's what the pattern should make. 

Hook size: 5mm, standard yarn (wanted something soft since it's on the arm of the couch but I might have gone too stretchy, we shall see since the remotes are hanging in it). 
1. Chain about 134, turn.
2. Single crochet all, chain 1 and turn.
3-14. Double crochet all, chain 2 and turn. (12x)
GO MEASURE - take your work and ensure that the remotes fit and it fits on the couch arm. Adjust if needed.
15. Cut yarn and finish off. 
16. Fold up the pocket and, starting in the bottom corner, slip stitch up one side, single crochet the top of the pocket, and slip stitch down the other side. Cut yarn and finish off. Inside-out to hide the seam.
17. Starting at the top middle of the pocket, slip stitch all the way down to make the pocket have two sections (one for each remote). Cut yarn and finish off. 

This pattern should be simple to adapt to more remotes - add more rows to make more room then add more lines of slip stitches to mark off more pocket divisions - and whatever size couch arm you have - adjust the length so it fits. 

I hope this helps you keep track of your remotes!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Jury Duty

 So I recently was successfully called for the second time ever to do jury duty. I think I was summoned back when I was in college out of state and my mom responded for me to say nope she's far away, and last year I was summoned right before my baby was due so I said nope I'm indisposed and to that they said ok but you're back on the list next year and what do you know, I was summoned right when that time was up. 

My first successful summons was about four years ago and was super nice - I showed up in the morning, we got called back to the courtroom in a very timely manner, and the jury was selected before noon. I wasn't selected, so I went out to lunch and had the rest of the day off because where I worked gave me three days to use for jury duty and I was using one. The case involved a dentist and my sister works for a dentist so I was pretty sure they wouldn't select me. 

My most recent summons was not ideal. So I showed up at 8:30 like they said and I thought we'd be done by noon like last time but definitely by 4:30 since that's what the summons said BUT NOPE I was there until 6. Right off the bat there were delays because there were two juries being selected and I was not in the group for the first one, so we didn't get called back til like 10:30. Then the selection just took forever. We broke for lunch and they gave us an hour which I thought was plenty of time because there was a Wendy's in walking distance from the courthouse but wow, it was actually cutting it close because the staff was not great there and getting my nuggets took way longer than anticipated. And then the selection was just very long. So they ask like ten questions and you raise your hand if the question applies to you (i.e. do you, your family, or a close friend work for a dentist?). That part doesn't take very long. BUT THEN the judge goes back and for every question, everyone that said yes has to go up one at a time to say why they said yes. This part can take a very long time because you have to go up individually for every question that you said yes to (the bailiff keeps track of who said yes to what because wow your brain turns to mush after being in a courtroom for hours) and in this instance, there were 99 potential jurors in the room so multiply that by about 10 (then divide in half because some people say no to all but most say yes to a few) and you see why this takes a long time. BUT THEN the lawyers have time to think through all the answers and figure out who they want on their jury so now the selection can begin.

The selection can take a very long time because the judge calls up groups of potential jurors and goes through them one by one asking if both sides are content with this potential juror being in the jury. If either side doesn't want a person, they say "please thank and excuse juror #" and that person is released from the courtroom because there's nothing further for them to do. Let me tell you, I was potential juror 75 and I thought with a jury of twelve with three alternates, clearly I'm in the clear BUT I WAS NEARLY INCORRECT because they called up people in the sixties before the jury was filled and both sides content. So how it worked this time was they filled the twelve seats (probably before juror 30 was called) but then the judge asks if both sides agree to this jury and that's when each side can further "thank and excuse" people and open up seats there. AND THEN once the twelve are locked in, they still have to select the three alternates! It was rather tedious but it was for a big crime so I get why they were so selective. I was fairly sure I wouldn't be selected because part of the case involved a housefire and my sister had a housefire but there were 99 people there with lots of reason why they might not be the best for that jury.

OH there were suppose to be 99 potential jurors BUT there were at least two missing. So the first step is signing in once you arrive, but that's just the first time they check that you're there! Before heading to the courtroom, they give out the juror numbers (so in the courtroom they can say "Juror 5" instead of giving everyone your name) and if you don't come up and get your juror number, they know you're not there. Once you're in the courtroom, they take rollcall again to ensure everyone (all the numbers) made it to the correct courtroom so they'll know if you're not there. And when you get back from lunch break, they take rollcall again. I feel like they did another check at some point too but I'm not remembering when it happened. Basically don't think that you can duck out early and nobody will notice. They will know. I believe they can send an officer after you. Don't do it. There are legal ways to get out of being summoned, due to all sorts of reasons like being in college out of state or having a medical procedure or many other reasons, so go the proper way and get yourself excused. 

Here are some takeaways from my time served civically: 

  • Bring drinks and snacks because you do get a lunch break but you can be in the courtroom for hours - have pre- and post-lunch snacks and a refillable water bottle
  • Bring non-electronic time fillers - can't use phone/computer in the courtroom but you can read books, sketch, crochet, solve puzzle books, etc.
  • You can use electronics in the waiting room, so ensure your headphones connect to your device if you need an adapter or something if you'd like to use them
  • Look up lunch places beforehand so no anxiety over getting food in a timely manner
  • They might really pack the courtroom so dress in layers as it might get rather warm
  • They might have a metal detector on entry so leave the pocket knife and whatnot in the car
  • Take the stairs if able because you're gonna do a lot of sitting
  • Use the restroom when you can because there are times during the selection that you can't leave the courtroom
  • You could be done before lunch but also this could take all day so keep that in mind

Potty Training

 How it's working for us:

We started potty training in October when L was 2.5yrs and P was 6mo. L seemed knowledgeable about when she was eliminating, so I figured it was time to get her putting it where it belonged.

Started with the "Oh Crap! Potty Training" book and per my findings, you really can't have a younger kid with that. It doesn't allow for nursing and nap breaks or really for anything other than focusing on your toddler who is pants-less and figuring this all out. We made some good strides then kept hitting roadblocks and frustration was all around. SIDENOTE: check your local library for resources - they should have plenty to choose from so you can read up and find what you think could work for you and/or have many options to try for the many situations you could be in. I've read several books and blog posts and it seems there are many avenues to toilet training. We started out reward-less because that's what the first book said and it made sense to me. Switched to giving her a chocolate chip when she went on the potty. 

Switched back to pull-ups with the holidays and too much going on to stay home next to a bathroom at all times. Was reminding her all the time to use the potty, it was nearly always a struggle to get her there.

Things that helped:

  • Make it a race i.e. "I'm going to get to the restroom before you!"
  • Set a timer i.e. "Would you like to use the potty now or in 5 minutes?" (she always selects the delay) "Ok, Alexa set a L potty time for five minutes" and when it goes off she's usually happy to go to the restroom, sometimes she even goes over sooner because she's thinking about it and realizes she needs it.
  • Make her stay in the wet pants for like 2 minutes when she has an accident (gets her to realize she doesn't like this feeling and spurs her to focus more on her body and its needs).
  • Give her a small reward for going all day without accidents (for us it's a small glass of chocolate milk with breakfast the next day).
It's currently nearly March, so 5 months in (with a break for holidays) and she's pretty good during the day, provided I remind her to go - literally anything she is doing is more important to her than taking a potty break it seems. Our current struggle is in the evenings, mainly after dinner. She seems to need a potty break every 20-30min but doesn't seem to be getting the signal or is straight up refusing to acknowledge it. She will pee herself when doing a puzzle, watching tv, or walking upstairs to get a bath in the evening. It's a bit frustrating. 
During the day, she is great with staying dry even when out and about - I currently just do one-destination trips so just to the library and back or just the store and back and try to be speedy while shopping. I have used many public restrooms with her - it's always a good plan to keep your diaper bag with you (extra clothes) and always note where the restroom is in a store. The first few weeks when I took her out and about, I had her in a pull-up. She was very resistant to using public toilets (scary flush! loud flush!) and it took like four months for her to get over this with me constantly coaching her about how it's not scary since we know it will flush and make a noise. 
We are still giving her a chocolate chip when she goes in the potty, however she has to not complain about going to the potty to get the reward. She usually asks while on the potty to get a chocolate chip, and I'll tell her yes but you need to finish here and wash your hands first, but once she's washed her hands she just heads off into some other room to play or read and seems to forget about her request and I'm not gonna chase after her to reward her, so yes we do rewards in theory but often in practice she doesn't take us up on it? It's a bit confusing. 

I'll try to update this as more info dawns on us or improvements are made. It's a journey with many options all ending the same - a toilet trained child. 

April Update: We have good days where she stays dry and takes herself to the toilet when she needs it - and we have rough days where she has multiple accidents and doesn't seem to notice that she's peed herself. It's a bit confusing. We really don't do rewards anymore, like if she asks she can have a chocolate chip but she rarely asks. I've started keeping her pants-less for 30min after she pees herself (she gets out of the wet clothes after 3 minutes and gets dry undies but has to wait on pants) to help sink in the fact that we don't pee in clothes but I'm not sure how much that helps. She turns 3 at the end of this month so we shall see how this goes. The good news is that she is very consistent with getting her poop in the potty - I can't remember the last time she had a poopy accident and I'm very glad about that. 

Tools we have found helpful:
Portable toilet seat that doubles as a car toilet: Kalencom Potette Plus 2-in-1 Travel Potty and Trainer Seat (comes in several color options - we went with green/purple) *
Post-It sticky notes to cover the sensor on public toilets so it doesn't flush while your child is balanced up there and freak her out.
Plastic bottle with glitter and water in it (very tightly sealed and tapped closed) to shake up and say "stay on the potty til the glitter all floats down" - these also work as distractions for the baby so he doesn't try to climb up the toilet or pull off his sister's socks.
Chocolate Chip Bowl from Hobby Lobby to prettily display the reward on the kitchen counter (it's a 10oz ceramic bowl with a lid and it's a seasonal item so that link might not work but for some reason my screenshotting isn't working either).

*We have used this once as a car toilet when we were returning from a rec center about an hour away and she declared she needed to pee about halfway home so we pulled over, set it up, set her on it, and took care of business right there. It was super easy to use and did just what we needed.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Double Review: Camp Cretaceous and Multiverse of Madness

 I'm doing two reviews today so let's start with the child-friendly one: 

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.

Summary: I liked it until the final season. If you have seen all six Jurassic Park/World movies, you'll probably like this five-season Netflix series. They do not really break any new ground here. It's dinosaurs, more dinosaurs, and children. The kids want to save the dinosaurs, while the dinosaurs want to eat or stampede the children. The adults are about as helpful as the ones in A Series of Unfortunate Events, which is to say they are either evil or incompetent. 

Pros: Dinosaurs! Fairly predictable plot! More dinosaurs! Likeable characters in the main cast of six camp kids. 

Cons: Fairly predictable plot. Kinda scary dinosaur attacks, especially for the young age group this is aimed at (people totally get eaten, not on screen but you see the person and the dinosaur jaws and the camera cuts away with a scream so yeah). But the biggest negative: Romance :( I am not a fan of any children's series pairing up their pre-teens (how old are these kids? I am not sure. But they are not college aged, so that is too young for romance in my opinion). From the beginning there is a popular rich guy and a shallow blogger girl and you just know they're gonna be paired up. But in the final season the production team decided to pair up both a hetero couple and a homo couple and I feel strongly that they should have just left it all as friends. This show could have just been about pre-teens bonding over dinosaurs and crazy escape attempts and it would have been great.

Summary Restated: I recommend the first four seasons but can't recommend the fifth (final) season. 

Next, a movie:

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Summary: Did not like. Would not watch again. Why? Because it was super duper creepy, horror movie style. If horror movies are your thing, maybe you will like it. But it heavily (in my opinion) relies on earlier movies in the MCU (as most in the MCU do at this point), and it influences future movies I'm pretty sure, so you need to be a MCU fan and a horror movie fan. 

Pros: Can't think of any, other than continuing a few stories in the MCU (namely those of Doctor Strange, Scarlett Witch, and a new hero).

Cons: Super duper creepy. Dark magic, zombies, possession, demons, disgusting violence that I didn't watch because they telegraphed what was going to happen so I could disengage until my husband signaled that the gross part was over. I'm glad I didn't watch this one in theaters because I used my phone to escape from the creepiness and grossness of several portions. 

Slight spoilers here: "I am not a monster" says the character who is murdering heroes so she can kidnap a child to sacrifice so she can steal children from a loving home. 

Summary Restated: If horror movies aren't your thing, just get the Spark Notes / Wikipedia summary and enjoy the next MCU movie (not sure what that will be).

Monday, August 1, 2022

Reusable Bag Car Loop Pattern

My state has a bag tax, which means I try to keep some reusable bags in my vehicle. But I don't have a good place for them! My glove box is full of papers, and my doors are full of sunglasses and an armadillo (graduation present from my then-7-yr-old brother). So I made a loop that fits over my gear shift! Here's what I did:
1. Made a chain that fits over my gear shift twice (hold the ends together to make a loop, slide over the shift, twist, slide over again - if there's some wiggle room, you're at the right length!).
2. Slip-stitch the end to the start to make a loop, then single crochet all around. Cut yarn and finish off.

To use, slip the loop over your gear shift. Slide the bags onto the loop (you need the kind of reusable bag that has a little loop for hanging). Loop the loop (haha) back over the gear shift. Secured!

Here's the loop.
Here's the loop on the shifter, with bags slid onto it.
And here's the bag holder holding bags.

Hope this is a helpful addition to your car! 

UPDATE: It's not just for bags! This pattern is what I used to make bootloops / bootstraps for my ski boots and snowboard boots. You loop the loop through the loop on the top back of the boot to hold the boots together for ease of carrying. You can make the loop a little thicker for this (add another round or two of SC) so it's more comfy in your hand, since ski/board boots are not light. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Pot Scrubber Crochet Pattern

 Here is a popular crochet pattern, from Maggie's Crochet: Nylon Pot Scrubber.

I made this pattern, but not quite as directed because at first I didn't have a size N hook, then I couldn't find 2" nylon netting. Here's a photo of what I made, with the descriptions below.

Starting on the left, the blue is with Yarn Bee Scrub-ology Scrub It yarn and a size N hook. I bought a new skein for this because I wasn't sure if my leftovers from another project would be enough (I'm fairly certain I only had a few yards left). This yarn is a scrub yarn, so you want to protect your fingers and work slower so you don't rub your skin raw. This skein cost around $4 full price (79yd), and special yarns don't always go on sale with the regular but you can always check!

The yellow and green is with two strands of Yarn Bee Scrub-ology 2.0 yarn, and the yellow is with just one strand. These are using a size K hook. These were made with leftover yarn from another project - you can make a lot of scrubbers with one skein of this yarn! A review HERE says they made 7 scrubbies from one skein but I don't know what type they were making. I don't have a photo of the wrapper for this one since it's leftover yarn, already unwrapped. Same warning as the previous one, work slowly and use a thimble or something to protect your fingers so they don't get rubbed raw. Looks like the pricing is about the same as the other Yarn Bee, so about $4 per skein. I think you can make more out of this one than the other because I'm fairly certain the yardage is a bit longer but I can't find the yardage anywhere. The thinner skeins usually have much more yardage on them. 

Lastly the big green is using 1.5" x 10yd organza 100% nylon ribbon and a size N hook. This one is only one-sided because I ran out of ribbon! Yes, that means you'd need 20yrds of 1.5" ribbon to make one of these scrubbers. That is about $8 of ribbon (full price - please look for sales as craft stuff is always getting discounted). But you actually might need more because I only have a small portion left over (wraps around the spool 3x) and that is probably not enough to connect the two pieces. It might be, combined with the leftover from the second spool you will need, but you'll be tying the ending together so there'll be knots on your border. Not the best. I will add that crocheting with ribbon is annoying. I would charge extra if someone wants an item crocheted out of something that's not yarn.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Obit for my Sunglasses

sunglasses, old and new

Picture: on the left is my old pair of sunglasses, on the right is my new pair.

Oh my sunglasses, I acquired you way back in my college days circa 2007. I went to Aeropostale with my sister and she got a pair as well, since it was a 2 for $15 deal. I kept you in your little Aero sunglasses microfiber bag in my beloved Eclipse for all the years of her life with me, then moved you to my Jeep where you continued to be worn whenever the sun was shining and I was wearing my contacts rather than my glasses. I had you when my Mark proposed, when I returned after graduating college, when I got married, when I drove daily to my office job for over a decade, and many other milestones!

I was enjoying the sunshine at a playground on Saturday, approximately 15 years after your acquisition, when I heard and felt a POP. I thought a massive bug might have flown into my sunglasses, but alas it was your frame just breaking under the pressure of so many memories together. With the lens no longer securely held, it was time for a successor. I went back to Aeropostale (this time in MD rather than in FL) and acquired a similar pair for only $8, which is impressive that the price only went up $0.50 in over a decade. 

I hope these new glasses last me into the 2040's, only time will tell.