Quote from D. Gackenbach

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Expanding the Handmade Lovefest

Pay It Forward

Back in January a friend of mine posted a wonderful pay it forward thread on his FB page.  He was making handmade gifts for five friends if they would do the same for five others, thus paying it forward.  I jumped at the chance to make AND receive a handmade gift.  These are two of my favorite things!  Well imagine my surprise when I noticed this lovely post from This Enchanted Pixie Blog.  As luck would have it I am her lucky number three! 

I am so excited to continue the handmade lovefest here on my blog.  So, the first three people to comment on this post will receive something handmade from me this year.

The only rules are:

  • you must do a similar blog post and make something special for the first three people who comment on it
  • and send me something handmade in return

Now, if you want to play along just comment below; the first three participants will get an exciting handmade gift from me!  Oh, and if you actually know me personally and are playing along over in FB land, please don't double dip!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Everchanging Obsession

I am obsessed, often.  I have a habit of getting deeply-temporarily involved with ideas, projects, plans, what-have-you.  It could be a good thing.  The ability to get on something and ride it, really dig in until it is done, is a good thing, right?  Then you can just move on.  This trait was never a problem in school or during my time as a professor, in fact it was an asset.  Getting to the bottom of things, mastering a new skill, getting through to the end of the semester.  These were the goals, and I achieved them.  But in "real" life I am not sure my approach is valid.

Is it a good idea to become crazy about one thing at the expense of others?  For a brief burning moment I have a sense of clear purpose and I relish the clarity, but then it is over and I am left feeling like nothing really matters.  Actually, that song gets stuck in my head all the time: Nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, nothing really matters, to me... 

I guess this feeling is inspiration coming and going, but I have to admit it seems a little whacky at times.  I made eight granny square purses last week, eight.  And, technically, they aren't done.  I still need to weave in the ends and sew in linings.  But they feels done in my head, so I started a new sweater last night.  The new sweater is what got me thinking about this obsession issue.

My February Sweater is on hiatus, I need to find buttons for it, and buy some yarn to make another sample, but until I do I am putting off writing up the pattern (for no logical reason).  Since I have this little "break" from the sweater I decided to use up some of the waste yarn from January making handmade gifts for a Facebook based gift exchange I am participating in.  Seemed innocent, until I was eight bags in and totally distracted from the sweater pattern that I should be writing. 

Oh well, inspiration is good and I will take it when I can get it.  I would rather wear myself out with a constantly changing set of priorities than sit around waiting for something to inspire me.  With that being said, the March Sweater is on the needles, and you should all pray for February, it may not survive my mercurial moods.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tasting Childhood Memories

It is another rainy afternoon on the Puget Sound.  I decided to make myself a cup of hot tea.  I thought the Mint Verbena blend from The Enchanted Florist might be nice for my cold.  I took one sip and was transported back to my childhood. 

Well Within

Kiva Retreat House

When I was a kid my father used to take me to to some great public hot tubs back in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California.  The tea reminds me of the mint tea I used to enjoy way back then, have I mentioned my parents were hippies when I was little?  At first I was sure the tea was served at the Kiva House, but after another sip I thought maybe Well Within?  Now it is just going to bug me, if anybody knows which has the mint tea, comment, let me know so I can sleep tonight!

This memory reminds me what a lucky kid I was.  I can't say I have taken my kids to either of these wonderful places...  Different times, different kids, and I am not the parent that mine were.  It is funny how we choose our paths as parents.  I know that I for one have become a very different kind of parent than my mom and dad, not because they did a bad job, I turned out rad!  But seriously, I don't give my kids the freedoms I had as a child and I often wonder if this is a mistake.  I am strong because my parents allowed me to choose my own path, make my own mistakes, and learn from the journey.  I try to give my kids a safe environment to grow and learn in, but I think it may be too staged, their lessons too well choreographed. 

Hmmm, food for thought.  But at least I know where my kids are at night!  I love you Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day?

Well some people love this day, others hate it.  I am personally on the fence this year.  In general I revel in holidays, I enjoy making and giving gifts, I like to decorate, and I love to eat.  But this year St. Valentine just hasn't done it for me.  I am trying to get into the spirit before the munchkin returns from school, so hopefully there will be something fun for dinner, and maybe heart shaped, we shall see.  I think the problem is the head cold I am rockin' it is hard to feel full of love when you are really just full of snot!  I did manage a little token for the hubby.  Nothing says "romance" like chocolates and origami! 

(I would link you to the origami rose instructions, but the site was horrible and crashed at least 15 times while I was making the rose, I will not be recommending them)

Now on with the knitting progress report.  My February Sweater prototype (size Large) is almost done!  I need to add buttons and button holes and that is it, woohooo.  I plan to machine sew the holes so it should be really quick, but I haven't chosen buttons yet, so that could take a few days.  I always have a really hard time finding the right buttons.  I felted the sweater yesterday, and now I need to make some adjustments to the pattern to account for the insane amount it shrank vertically.  But I like it.  Tell me what you think.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sneak Peek @ February Sweater

Well I have been working hard on my February sweater pattern.  I wanted something sweet and romantic, maybe even a little bit sappy in honor of St. Valentine's Day.  I came up with an idea for a cut-out back with a lace panel in a boxy, boyfriend sweatery cardigan with lots of buttons down the front.  I think I am on the right track, in my head... 

I had no trouble drawing up a design in the first couple of days this month, I had been thinking about it since mid-January.  I swatched up a cut-out heart and thought I had it under control, but the first prototype didn't go well.  I had some trouble with my ease, the first go was half way done when I realized it was a XXL, not a Large.  Lame... but my own fault, I should have seen it coming sooner, I planned for way too much ease.  I like a fitted sweater, but wanted to make this one roomy, I had trouble finding the balance between tent and boyfriend sweater, but I've think I got it right this time.  Here are a couple pictures of the body of the sweater.

I am working on sleeves now, and will be adding the edges and the back panel next week.  Can you see where I am heading?  I will likely tweak the center of the heart a little, I don't like the CO, it draws too much attention to itself.  I think it will be very cute once it is done.  Then I just have to figure out my notes so I can draft the pattern... easy peasy, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back to Reality

Well for those of you residing in the lovely Pacific Northwest you know the sun has forsaken us yet again.  **SIGH**

I was so enjoying the beautiful sunny days we were having, my yard was starting to look like I actually live here again, it was nice.  I know what you are thinking, couldn't I just suck it up and go outside in the rain like the rest of the people?  Well the answer is, "No, I can't."  That's right I said it, I don't want to go outside in the rain!  So what the hell am i doing in Washington?  Oh, that's easy.  I like the rain from inside my house.  I like the rain on my windows, and my roof.  I like to lay in bed and listen to the rain, I like to sit in the cozy house and knit in the rain.  In fact I love the rain, as long as it is out there and I am in here.

You can imagine how much I get done (she says sarcastically).  But for the record, I did make it to water aerobics this morning. Yay me!  Now back to the blanket, and the couch, and the knitting... my feet are cold.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Suprise Day Off!

Last night as we went into the last tense minute of the game (you know that little football game featuring New England and New York) our phone rang.  I figured it was one of the father's, mine or the hubby's, calling to get our final prediction; how would it all go down?  Boy, was I wrong!  It was the automated school principal calling to "remind" us that we had no school on Monday.

No school?  Really?  Damn, I didn't see that coming.  This is a day off to replace a day off that was canceled on account of snow... that doesn't even make sense.  Okay, technically it does make sense, there was a teacher work day that was canceled and had to be made up, but you see my confusion right? 

Not to fret, this mom will come up with fun for your day off at a moments notice!  Thank whatever god you believe in for the internet and a little unseasonal sunshine!  Today we pulled weeds for money, used bamboo stakes as weapons, played video games, and built a variety of paper airplanes, all in jammies!  Woo hoo!  I highly recommend the paper helicopter by Alex (sorry about the typos over there, the planes are still good).  Now if only mommy could get a little time to shower... nope gotta go fly another plane before I make dinner. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spring Fever

I am sitting in the sun.  For those of you who know me you realize this is important, the sun means it is gardening time!  I was an avid gardener in California.  I grew lots of flowers and veggies, tried to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, even sweet talked the bees.  But moving to the lovely Pacific Northwest two summers ago has put a serious kink in my gardening hose!  I am learning to play by a  whole new set of rules up here. 

I miss my garden.  I miss my roses, hollyhocks, and my irises, and the peony that hated me too.  I miss butterfly bush and nasturtiums, borage and feverfew.  I miss the ladybugs, the onions, the garlic, even the zucchini that went crazy every year.  I miss my pond and I miss my frog.  I loved that garden, and I will never forget it.  But I am learning how to work the soil here, and I will move on.  Here are some fond memories; I hope they tide me over for a few more weeks, by then it will be time to grow some new memories.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Personal Stylist

 Some days I really do wish I had a personal stylist in my closet.  I am going out with a couple of friends tonight and I will be wearing my favorite Kate Spade dress, but I can't decide on shoes!  Argh, silly I know, but do I wear the hot pink snakeskin heels or simple black flats?  I want to wear the hot pink ones, because let's face it I never go anywhere, and they want to get out of the closet.  But what if I decide to dance?  I don't know if I can cut a rug in the heels, they are a bit high.  Okay, I worked it out on my own, I will wear the pink ones and bring along the flats in case of emergency.  Whew! Crisis averted, no need to call a hotline.  Now out the door I go!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Perfect Timing

So yesterday I mentioned my new relationship with the gym.  I have a love/hate with the gym it is true, but I am looking forward to working on my body until it feels good again.  Then, this morning when I started reading all the lovely things written about in the blogs I follow, I came across this blog post (thank you Polly) from Amy Morby. 

I cried, and I was reminded how lucky I am to love myself (most days).  I may get pissed at my body for feeling so old when I am still so young, but I do love it.  It works pretty well.  I have made and fed two wonderful little humans with it.  I can walk, and sit, and stand, and do cartwheels if I want to.  I can juggle, and swim, and ride a bike.  My body is beautiful, and competent, even if it hurts sometimes.  I rock!  I don't always feel this way, but I am stronger than self-loathing, and I always win.

I think Morby's series is a very worthwhile way to recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness Month.  If an ED has touched your life, or the life of someone you know and love get on board, make the pledge, and slap a badge on something!  Then give yourself some love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I am not really big on fitness.  I enjoy the look and feel of my voluptuous body.  I love to eat.  I make my clothes look good.  I run when something very scary chases me, or when the spirit of Phoebe Buffay strikes.

But... yep there it is, you knew it was coming.  But, even I have to admit that lately I have been too sedentary for my own good.  I have a history of back and hip issues, so I usually try to keep flexible and maintain my weight, usually.  Lately I haven't been on top of those two things and now I am paying for it.  I hurt.  So I broke down and joined a gym.

This morning was my first water aerobics class.  It was good, my hips are a little tender already, but it was good.  I will be going twice a week, and taking yoga three days too.  I am a little bit excited.  I do miss the ability to work out whenever I wanted (a perk I left behind when I quit teaching 2 years ago). 

The gym also has a nice selection of equipment to use if the mood strikes.  Who knows, maybe I will get back into circuit training too.  I want to take some aerial silks classes from a fun school down in West Seattle, perhaps if I work on my arms for a couple months I will feel ready to take that on... 

what a beautiful shot