Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I love to make 'em Shrink!

And now for a blog entry that has absolutely nothing to do with crochet! Instead we'll be talking about something else that is very near and dear to my heart. Shrinky Dinks.

I miss the hell out of Shrinky Dinks. Back in the 80's they were big and they were so much fun. A simple Google search will fill you with hope that it may be possible to find Shrinky Dinks now, should you dare to look. BS. They're gone and they're not coming back. (They're not coming to my town, anyway.) The world mourns.

Except that I was recently at a local pet expo and I saw these:

And the world rejoiced.

Yes, these are Shrinky Dink pet tags. Awesome. Open up the package, and this is what you get:

As you can see, they already colored in most of the tag for you, so it's not exactly like the old Shrinky Dink experience. With the old Shrinky Dinks you'd color the thing in yourself, and since you were probably a little kid like I was the coloring job may not have been fantastic. Nevertheless, through the magic of shrinkage the coloring would look really awesome when the whole process was said and done.

I wouldn't get that exact experience, but it would be something close. Instead I had to try and write information for my pets on the three tags. The dog tag was easiest, as it was also the biggest. I was able to squeeze my whole address on there. The cat tags were tiny and it was impossible to get any information other than the cat's names and my phone number on there.

While you're struggling to write tiny writing with a Sharpie pen, you're supposed to be preheating these cardboard squares. Something gross fell in the bottom of the oven recently so this Shrinky Dink experience was a smoky one.

The tags are ready to go in. I hope you're not incredibly offended that I blurred out my personal info. Stalker.

I tried to take pics of the tags in the process of shrinkage, but the door to the oven is just dirty enough that you can't see much. Oh well. Here they are coming out of the oven:

If any of your tags are curly, you're supposed to flatten them out with a spatula. So I did.

You can't see it because of my Paint Shop skills, but my writing totally shrunk up tiny. Still readable, though, except for Oscars where it was really hard to fit my phone number in there.

This was the hard part. Well, this and the writing of the address. You can just barely see it, but this is the part where I put a clear plastic sticker over the top, I guess to keep the address from scratching off. There's not a lot of room to work with, so I was scared I'd get it all crooked.

The sticker for Mindy's tag was too small to cover the whole address. Cheap bastards!

Here's the finished product, which will show up on your screen about the same size as they are in real life. Now I just need to get some pliers so I can affix the hardware.

This didn't quite fill my cravings for a real Shrinky Dink experience, but beggars can't be choosers. It was still fun.

Mindy, the dog, is turning 4 today, so happy birthday to her. Yay!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

My toes get cold.

So I was visiting my grandmother last Summer, and one of my cousins came by the place for a visit. He was about 11 at the time and wanted me to show him how to crochet. I was glad to, so we searched the house for some cheap yarn he could use. (My grandmother knits, but we didn't want to use her nice yarn just to teach crochet.)

We finally found some Red Heart Super Saver in the bottom of one of her closets and set to it.

Unfortunately neither of us counted on two simple things:

  • I have many fantastic teaching abilities, but I suck at teaching crochet.
  • He is 11 and has a very short attention span.
So he was holding the yarn and the hook wrong, but I was powerless to show him how to hold them correctly or to explain how he was holding them wrong. (In fairness to him, there are numerous accepted ways to hold both the yarn and the hook, but he was still holding both wrong.) He managed to chain a bit and then get a few stitches done, but couldn't work up the ambition to keep going.

So ended the crochet lesson.

Not one to waste an opportunity, I frogged his work and used the yarn to make these:


My grandmother's yarn is the purplish, bluish, pinkish variegated yarn. As you can see, I ran out of yarn near the end of the second sock. I wasn't too overcome with love over the color of the yarn (I did find it at the bottom of a closet, after all), and I didn't want to buy a whole new skien of it just for the last couple of inches of toe, so I used some other yarn I had lying around. You may recognize it as the yarn I used to make this blanket. I don't remember which project came first.

I kind of like the one red toe. For one thing, I always know which sock to put on my left foot. For another, when I wear these socks it kind of looks like I've recently suffered some horrible foot injury, which is kind of cool.

I know the socks look awful lying on the floor like that. They're not so bad on:

They're more slipper socks than anything else. The yarn I used is too bulky for the socks to fit inside most shoes. The knobbly stitch is kind of uncomfortable to walk on for too long at a time anyway. But for just hanging around the house on a day off from work? These socks rule.

I definitely have more socks on my list of future projects. I'd have to use a finer yarn, though.

Some day I may show you a pair that I started and then aborted, but there's not really enough of that to fill out an entire post. Maybe I'm due for another post of failed projects.

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