Gratitude Project progress

March 13th, 2014

russiandolls005I have been working on some of my gratitude projects. I have 10 this year, five from an offer I made via fb, anf 5 via an offer I accepted from my neice (also via fb and a slightly different offer. Technically I only had 4 responses to the first offer, so I went and chose a fifth to be grateful for. I will do much the same for the second offer, given that ir received no response, but I can certainly find gratitude for five more peeps.

I can’t say that this is the beginning of one of those projects because I just don’t know yet. My dear wife was recently in Chicago without me and since he had been to Knot Just Knits on our previous visit to Oak Park, she knew exactly where to go to soothe her loneliness. She bought me the kit for Leftie which included a base yarn and an assortment pack of leaf colors and the pattern. I got the pattern delivered via email as soon as she bought it. I can imagine the conversation:

E: Hi! I want to get my wife a present because she couldn’t come with me on this trip and I mimss her terribly and she is a knitter and will love this!
Clerk: What does she like to knit?

E: yarn!
Clerk: okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…what colors does she like?

E: yes! she likes colors…

The conversation I imagine just goes on and on, and really, E should just give the clerk a dollar amount and tell her to pick a project out.

russiandolls004I also got this lovely Russian doll box style project bag. It all fits nice and neat insode and I have been a good girl about putting it away when i am done for the night because we have more than one dog (umm, three) with a history of hosting yarn parties. It’s great stuff and I am sure they just can’t help themselves.

So I will be knitting away on the Leftie shawl (so named for its fun use of leftovers, not for left-handedness, which I posess) and see where it ends up, whether as a keeper or a gifter.


30 day challenge

March 8th, 2014

I have joined in a 30 day challenge where you purge the number of things for what day it is, so day 1, 1 thing goes…day 2, 2 tthings go and so on and by the end of the month your things will be 465 less. I can’t believe I am putting this in writing, but accountability, even if only to myself, is helpful with this. Here’s where I am at the moment:

Day 1: deleted my yahoo account
Day 2: 2 shirts (donated)
Day 3: 3 shirts (donated)
Day 4: 5 books sent to my mother (who is amazed how much one can read (at 81) when one can no longer afford cable)
Day 5: 5 purses/bags
Day 6: 3 pair of shoes and 3 knitting bags
Day 7: OMG…7…seven…S E V E N…bags of clothes donated (plus one bag to the trash)

I sent 5 books on day 4 because last night I also went to see The Minimalists at a local bookstore and knew I would be bringing their book home with me. I will mail it on to the first person who claims an interest in it once I finish it…

My friend Kathryn came over today after work yesterday and we did a major clothes purge, and I had already recently purged. She was brutal in the most supportive and loving way and she took the bags with her to drop off on her way home so I won’t be having any donaters remorse. Temptation has been removed, and I still feel like too much remains. Kathryn agrees, especially as it pertains to t-shirts.

Kathryn recommended I do a 90 day challenge of turning all my hangers backwards. As an item is word, it can be rehung with the hanger forward. At the end of 90 days, anything not turned around goes. I am not fully committed to this yet, but I will take everything not turned around out of the closet and give it an honest evaluation. I am also going to be compulsive about one in/one out going forward.

In part this was inspired by seeing The Minimalists and reading their new book(which I have already sent on to someone else). I have been reading their blog for a while now and I like their easy approach to it all. Joshua Took the time to sort through and purge over a longer period of time. Ryan packed up everything he owned and only kept the things he took out and used over a 21 day period (plus seasonal use items). I am considering a combination of the two. I like their main premise that something must add value to be granted space in their life.

I don’t quite know how to apply this to all my stuff, but I feel good about trying as fifty approaches. It seems a defining time in my life in a way that still remains undefined. It will happen how it is supposed to in its own time.


Still playing catch-up…

February 10th, 2014

52 lists003I had hoped to get some lists caught up while I was working registration for a work conference the last week of January, but that just didn’t happen. I am going to keep plugging away and will eventually be in the groove with it…or not…whatever the outcome, at least for the moment it is still holding my attention. I really had a hard time with the week 3 topic of listing things you should be proud of so more sort of babbled on about it. It is what it is.

A few weeks before the conference, early in January, things at the office always get a little stressful in general. I know this is happening when I see(or feel) a disease flare coming on. I made efforts to diffuse this one day with a little online retail therapy. This usually means fleece or fiber of some sort these days, but Elizabeth and I had talked about going to see my man Sting, who just happens to be touring with her man Paul Simon. We talked about it on two separate occasions and basically decided not to go. Then I started thinking about my regrets at not seeing Sting when he toured with Annie Lennox. Then I started feeling the stress of work. Somehow, I needed to exhale in a major way.

I went to look up the concert again and rather than looking at the pricey floor seats none of which were two together, I looked to see if there were 2 cheapo seats together. There were, and a click or two later, we had tickets. I marked the office wall calendar for last Saturday with bog bold letters that said “YOU HAVE PLANS” and even boxed it heavily in red. True testament to how chaotic work has been, Elizabeth didn’t even see this until Friday, just a day before the concert.

It was like being in church. Once I unclenched my grip on the handrail that led me down the steep steps to our nose bleed seats, I settled in and totally had a near religious experience. It didn’t really matter who was performing, Sting, Paul Simon, or both of them together, I had the most soothing sense of well being. I am glad I didn’t let not being in the middle of it all stop me from getting tickets. As I was looking for tickets, I really thought about it and considering these aging rockers we were going to see, I truly felt the music was going to be the show and hearing it was the only consideration. Again, very glad I decided to get tickets. They might be coming to a city near you and it was definitely worth the price of admission.

Fundraiser art

February 5th, 2014

adogandhisbone004My friend Patti Digh announced a fundraiser for the Richmond Animal League because her friend Amy McCracken asked for her help. She is doing this for her friend, I am doing this for my friend…who knows why my brain makes the connections it does, but it did, and I emailed to be included and forgot about it. I know instantly I would use this photo of my dad from the collection I have, but then I pretty much forgot about it.

Soon enough, the small five inch canvas came in the mail and I left it on my desk so I wouldn’t forget it, and promptly forgot about it. Sometimes I think I work better under the gun, but I wanted to give this more time than I did. I wanted to make a little rubber stamp of a bone to embellish this further. I wanted to seal some mini milkbones (the one inch ones) with something and glue them around the edge to make a frame. All in all, I am pleased with what I did, and like all the pieces I have made using my dad’s images, I want to keep it, but it is off in the mail, scheduled to arrive before deadline.

I reason with myself that I don’t have to keep these pieces because I can recreate them, but I never do. I consider it lucky when I remember to at the very least take a photograph to securely file away, but even on this piece I forgot that, but remembered to scan it before sealing it away in it’s package. I hope Arnold is amused.

The chaos is abating

January 24th, 2014

Today brings an end to preparations (at work) for our annual conference. The conference itself is next week, an entirely different chaos, but the planning and doing are over. If it isn’t ready now, it just won’t be happening…but I am pretty sure everything is ready. I get so stressed leading up to this very moment right now. It happens every year. And the steam is now releasing.

I started the release process last night by going for a much needed pedicure. Oh, and a hair cut (just shy of a buzz), and it’s been a while, maybe 6 or 7 years, but my hair is once again red. It remains to be seen how long it stays red, as I am totally not invested, but for this moment right now, it just feels right.

We had a severe cold warning last night and mother nature didn’t disappoint. It seemed wise at 530 this morning to cancel my yoga class, and also at the time I didn’t know if we would be going to work. We only live 4 miles away so it seemed silly to not at least try, but we took the leisurely morning approach and went to breakfast, and got in at around 930. Respectably early in relation to the rest of the staff.

52Lists002This is week 2 for the 52 Lists Project. Since the project host is starting this by using her efforts from last year(when she didn’t make it through 52 weeks), the first 20 list topics are available. I have entered the topic lines ahead in my list journal and will work on a few at a time in an effort to get caught up. As with Week 1, I still don’t know if this one is finished, but want to get it posted. I will work on weeks 3 and 4 while I sit at registration next week, which might go a long way toward diffusing the next round of chaos. Maybe.

52 Lists: Week 1

January 15th, 2014

52 Lists001I am not yet sure if I am finished with week 1 of the 52 Lists Project, but I am calling it finished to get on with it. The topic for week one is words that touch your soul. I started a list on scrap paper and it felt so very cliche, so I just opened up the small sketch book I had in my office drawer, perfect for this project, and got to it. Also at my desk, there is a glue stick, a box of cut out words, and a tin of  120 Prismacolor pencils.

The sketch book is one I bought when I was visiting my friend Patti Digh while we met up for tea at Malaprops book store in Asheville. It is 4×6 when closed and I can already tell the small size will keep me from getting overwhelmed by this project. It is the perfect diversion when my eyes or my brain need a break from the computer screen at work.

I also posted another round of The Gratitude Project on my facebook page. Here is the offer I made:

Feels like it is time for another round of The Gratitude Project. The first 5 people to post a comment to this post will receive something handmade (by me) by the end of 2014. The only requirement is that you post the same offer and follow through with your intention to do this. No, I won’t be checking. It’s all about having some integrity in what you are putting out into the universe.

If you have participated in the past, it is fine to do so again…I was going to say as long as you followed through with the commitment in the past, but that is tha past and I am trying to stay focused on the present…so let’s say instead it is okay to participate again as long as you fully intend to follow through with your part of the bargain.

Now, if you are thinking you aren’t artistic or crafty enough to participate, well let’s just shut that down right now. Handmade doesn’t have to be by you. There are wonderful opportunities to support a plethora of artists (etsy anyone?) and everyone is encouraged to take this on and put your best self out there just a little.

I had four sign ups the first day, My cousins Donna and Jaye, my sister-in-law Yvonne, and my friend Deborah. there is still an opening for one more and if it isn’t filled by the end of the week I will randomly assign someone. If you want to sign up and can’t find the fb post, just leave a comment here.

What was, was…what will be, will be…

January 9th, 2014

In other words, no year in review or resolutions post for me, but rather more to the point of what is. I can’t believe another year has come and gone. My baby will be 29 next week. How does that happen?

I am going to make a better effort to get back to regular blogging going forward. I think this might happen, because rather than saying I am going to go back to yoga, I just went back. And here I am just writing a blog post. And tonight I will be just roasting some onion and cauliflower seasoned with curry. My efforts are focused toward balance and finding mine, while I try to figure out what I want 50 to look like. Like much else at the moment, this will just happen on its own as I continue to draw breath.

In October, I bought a pig. Okay, so not really a pig. Okay, so it isn’t really a pig, but that is what we call it. Elizabeth said, “That looks like a pig! AAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahaha…” And like in most things, she was brilliant and correct. I want to figure out a way to use it more artistically, though it is great fun to just carry around and pull out to take pics. I am going to a spin-in this Saturday with the Houston Weavers’ guild and I think I will bring it along to document the fun. It will be nice to spin again since my wheel has been uncharacteristically quiet and I haven’t spun a lick since the December spin-in at Yarnorama. I usually spin daily, so this is a bit out of order. Balance needs to work its way into this, as it does all things.

One of the new things I am trying out this year is the 52 Lists Project which I learned about via curious girl. Rather than a straight up list, I am going to try to keep up with this in an art journal and see where it takes me in a no rules sort of way. The last time I did a 52 list project, I did it on an old deck of cards collaging one a week and listing on the flip side. I lost steam, but am game to give it a go again. I rather like someone else giving the list its subject so I don’t have to think about that part. And of course, today is the 9th, so I am already behind, but I will be caught up soon enough.

She said yes…again!!

September 6th, 2013

I have been contemplating our anniversary recently. There are too many dates to consider. We actually met online at the end of April…but then we met face to face on July 13 (I am pretty sure) and I moved to Texas on August 17th…then we had our commitment ceremony on July 16th because it was the closest Saturday…and now we have decided to get married for real on October 15th. Since our commitment ceremony, we have basically celebrated our anniversary beginning on July 16th all the way through August 17th. It’s sort of our version of Europe taking the month of August as vacation. Adding October 15th might be too decadent an anniversary stretch, though I honestly can’t imagine too decadent…crazy talk…

So given that we can fiinally file jointly, we can get married when we visit Weese and
MAW next month in CT, and start getting all our 1000plus benefits we have til now been denied. Actually, I don’t know it will actually benefit us now, but in the future, I think that might change.

October 15th at 11AM, Stratford, CT town hall…who’s coming?


July 22nd, 2013

On my last update, I didn’t mention the new girl in the house.  Her name is Trudy. Who would’ve thought there might be a different spelling (other than the admin at the vet’s office.

Digital StillCamera Digital StillCameraI learned this morning that if I think she is being cute, I need to point and shoot, and fast. She is terribly frightened by the camera. Truth be told, she is terribly frightened by everything.

When we brought her home for her week long sleepover trial, it was day before before we heard a peep out of her or could even pick her up. If we had to decide on Wednesday night if we were going to keep her, we might have said no because she was just non-interactive and either in her crate, or way back under the computer desk.

Her first hour in our custody had her cowering under the fig tree in the corner of the yard as far removed as she could get. Or so we thought. A few moments after the fig tree fiasco, Trudy found her way between out old fence and our neighbor’s new fence, a space barely wider than she is. Elizabeth had to get out the power tools to disassemble some of the fence in a section of side yard that we keep closed off, and while she did that, I had to grasp enough of her collar to gently tug her toward me. Majorly convoluted…

On Thursday morning, however, she woke up all perky and assimilated like she had decided she would keep us. She has done pretty well, at least until Thomas came to visit. she still is a little unsure about him and barks ferociously if he looks at her.

The first picture is from this morning. I got out the camera to see if I could get a better shot of her, and she went running outside to cower behind the passion flower vine. I f I got any closer, she started trembling so  let her be and snapped what I could. If you look closely at the clearer picture of her, her ears look like they are folded over to the back or something, but not so. Someone used scissors to crop her ears at some point. We think she is about three years old, and hope she is part of the pack for many years to come.

Etsy store, coming soon, and other stuff…

July 12th, 2013

I was all set to post, and got distracted by a blurb in the latest Food & Wine magazine about Shrubs. I have added a link on the sidebar to a now defunct blog about them so I can read more, and so can you if you are so inclined.

One such previous recent distraction was breaking Wilton’s icing food color when dyeing fiber. In this case, wool and mohair were my victims. Digital StillCameraI started with the Wilton’s purple. The fiber on the left is Gulf coast Native from a fleece I got earlier this year. The fiber on the right is Pin drafted lamb’s wool roving from Catawampus Farms in Maine.

The underside of the fleece has more of the pink and is somewhat darker as it was at the bottom of the pot. I find it interesting that this totally broke, as in there was no dye left in the pot and there is no purple in this fiber anywhere. The dye breaking is a result of the different base colors absorbing at different rates and has little if anything to do with the fiber used. The blue roving took the dye more consistently and it could be that I have some lanolin left on the fleece I processed which is acting as a resist.

Digital StillCameraI was going to wait to try the second experiment, but the first one only took about 20 minutes, so I went on. This is the Wilton’s delphinium blue. The fiber on the left is the same roving as above (a different batch of it) as is the fiber on the right the same fleece (again different amount). In the middle is a sample I got of some  grey mohair. The color of the two wools seems pretty spot on, much more intense then the first effort, likely because I added more dye this time. The purple that resulted on the roving(this time at the bottom of the pot) is interesting since none showed up from the dye that actually was purple. The color of the mohair in reality, is more green-bordering-on-teal than it appears in this photo. I am going to spin some of this up this weekend and see what happens. Stay tuned for that. (I know, you really can’t wait…)

So the etsy store…We have been talking about it forever and in a recent conversation with Weese and MAW via skype, we were pushed over the edge to get it together somehow. LilliMins Artopia will be up and running before the end of the weekend. Elizabeth and I will both be contributing to this effort with our various artistic pursuits. There will be paintings, various mixed media pieces and of course, knitting, weaving, and all sorts of fiber craft stuff. Please, check us out!