Friday, May 29, 2009

Life Interupts Our Creativity

Hello All!

I just wanted to drop a quick note today to let you know that no, I am not disappearing again. Rather, it's been a crazy/busy week as the school year winds down. In fact, in just a few hours I'll be assisting with Field Day (For those of you who know me well, you'll recognize that this is an extreme act of love on my part as I'm not exactly the 'Field Day' sort of mom.), running the "Frogs In A Bucket" game for the kindergartners.

As soon as school lets out, I'll be rushing home to clean up because this evening marks the beginning of the Missouri State P.E.O. Convention, which is quite fortunately being held here in town. As the delegate for my chapter, I'll pretty much be tied up with Convention through Sunday morning. This is my second year in attendance, and hopefully it will be as good of an experience - however exhausting it may be - as it was last year.

In the meantime, I do have a small teaser. We got some very good news indeed yesterday....and I can't wait to share it with you....just as soon as I can.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mommy, I Want My Own Shawl

My eldest has been begging for a shawl of her own for a very long time. I understand...I really do! After all, by the time I was 10 I was obsessed with them myself - and I didn't have a mother who knitted mountains of the frothy things. You could say my obsession was part of what drove me to my job at the historic site, where I got to wear shawls to my heart's content.
And so, when I cleaned out my shawl drawer, I set this red and purple creation aside to give to the Princess. It's one of my less-successful attempts, and in all honesty I think I wore it only once. In theory, it was a lovely idea - triangular in back with extra shaping to provide square front pieces for a better fit. The yarn was a gorgeous hand-dyed mohair that I fell head over heels for...until I began working with it and discovered what an expensive nightmare it was. It went into the bottom of the drawer, coming out periodically only to find that my feelings toward it were not changing.
My Princess, of course, doesn't have a negative history with this shawl. When I gave it to her, her eyes grew big and she squealed in delight. She almost couldn't believe that this was going to be her very own shawl, and she fell in love right away.
And she's been wearing it every since.
I see a lifetime of shawl knitting in her future as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Traditions

Several years ago, my very excited mother-in-law called to ask if she could take the Princess to our local Memorial Day Parade. Gana LOVES parades...but no one else ever wanted to go with her. Turns out she had been patiently waiting until her granddaughter was old enough to go with her.
This year, we decided the Pixie was old enough to join the fun! Gana had everything the girls could need - folding chairs, juice boxes, and a plan as to how best to see the parade.

Afterwords, she introduced the girls to the joys of iHop. (Nope, they'd never been. Gana apologized for "corrupting" them.)

This one was so excited about her pancake face that she bounded in the door with full description that COULD NOT WAIT. She's been reading the menu every since.

This one just likes sweets!

A big Thank You to Gana for taking the girls on such a fun outing, and an even bigger Thank You to her and to Doc for sharing the photos!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sorting, Storing and Selling?

I've spent the greater part of the last week in a very quiet, contemplative place. No worries....I've just been taking some time to begin working through some very old issues that really need to be dealt with so that I can live exactly the type of life that I want to live. As a consequence, I just haven't had much to talk about here in the blog.
The Green Woman and I have had several conversations about my creative life during this little, unexpected break, and as always she has had some very interesting opinions. While I'm a bit dubious about a few things she's suggested, I did agree whole-heartedly that a good stash reorganization would be a great place to start. And so, yesterday found me once again hauling out all of my yarn and fiber for a good sort. My periodic stash overhauls always leave me feeling inspired, optimistic and blessed.
I added an extra layer yesterday to my stash sort by emptying out my shawl drawer so that I could carefully repack my shawls after a winter of rough treatment. I almost laughed when I saw how much of the bed they took up....and these are only the ones that I've kept! I did retire two of them - more to come on that later this week - and the rest I lovingly tucked away for the summer.
Which leads me to the question for the day. What should I do with all of those scarves and shawls? Honestly, no one needs so many...especially when there are plans to make a whole bunch more. Lace is, after all, my biggest knitting passion! My husband thinks I should start selling them, but I just don't know. Gifting is iffy because you have to make sure that it's going to someone who will truly appreciate and love it. (Most of the time, too, if it's meant to be gifted it'll tell me as soon as it's finished.) I do love them all....even if I don't wear them all. Opinions?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My New Way To Start The Day

Each and every morning I try to be up by 6 at the latest so that I can spend some time quietly doing a series of Sun Salutations and working in my journal. It's a great way to start the day!

On Wednesday, though, I found myself jumping out of bed at 5:30 - awake and ready to go. With all of my regular morning meditations done in very good time, I decided that the best way to finish up my morning would be with some quiet porch crafting. What to do? Spinning, of course! I quickly set up my wheel on our porch, and got to work. I enjoyed it so much that I've incorporated it into my daily routine!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Blocking Party

Tuesday morning I made a quick trip to the Hillcreek for some woolwash so that I could finish up a couple of shawls for my guild meeting that night. I put one of the shawls in the Princess's room, and the other in the living room and prayed that they would be dry on time! As is usual for me, as soon as I picked them up off the floor I fell completely in love. Lacewing by Anne Hanson of KnitSpot
Yarn - The Unique Sheep Laceweight (formerly Liisu Yarns, the yarn is sadly discontinued), 3 skeins Meadowlight
Needles - Addi Turbo US 4 and 6, 24 inch
Time to Knit - Feb. 28 - March 27, 2009
Finished Size - 82 inches across tip edge, 30 inches long

I did this one because I fell in love with the insects across the bottom. The yarn had been in my stash for a couple of years, and I felt it brought to mind a quiet little pond on a summer's day. For me, it was quite simply the perfect marriage of pattern and yarn.

A big thank you to my BKB for modeling! We were both a tad on the scruffy side that day....and her pictures won out because she was less so than I was.

In fact, she might hurt me when she sees that I used the picture with her face and ponytail...
Laminaria, by Elizabeth Freeman in Knitty, Spring of 08
Yarn - Dream in Color Smooshy, 3 skeins Strange Harvest
Needles - Addi Turbo US 7, 32 inch
Time to knit - April 14 to May 11, 2009
Size - 82 inches across top, 45 inches long
I wanted another fingering weight shawl because I've found that they are the true workhorse shawls in my drawer. I knew I wanted a triangular shawl, and I knew I wanted it to be pretty big. I had purchased the yarn with an eye towards a triangular shawl, but for some reason I had resisted pairing it with this particular pattern. Silly me. Once I got going, I fell in love with the way the subtle variegation played with the pattern. In order to use up as much yarn as possible, I added an extra two repeats of the blossom pattern in the middle....and in the end I wound up with only 30 grams leftover. Perfect!

The Monday List?

The view from my hammock in the afternoon light....perfection!

As you know, I've been creating Monday Lists for quite some time now. I've been using it as a way to organize my week - both with the things I must do and the things that I want to do. Often times this list takes the place of daily progress reports for my various projects, which is a type of blogging that just doesn't seem to fit my personality well. The lists make it easy to summarize my creative and homemaking activities of the week before, and they allow me to gather my thoughts for the week to come.

After last week's list, though, several people questioned whether or not I should continue creating those lists. There seems to be the assumption that I'm biting off more than I can chew...that my overly-ambitious lists are causing more stress than good....that I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with the things that don't got done week after week.

To be honest, those gentle comments caught me off guard. (And yes, the folks who said something were very friendly and concerned in manner and tone.) I've been a list-maker my entire life, often creating elaborate lists that go on for months at a time. In fact, I used to carry a spiral notebook with me, and as soon as I'd finish off roughly half of the list I would rewrite the whole thing. There were ALWAYS items on the list that I never got around to completing (organizing photos and cleaning out the storage area are two of the more common examples from recent years), and it has NEVER bothered me. My lists are just part and parcel of who I am - and who I am has a bit of the compulsive list-maker in her.

However, I can completely see the other side of this. I do come across as a bit nutso sometimes with my lists, and I do often fail to complete much on the list. Several times, in fact, I've wound up just carrying the entire list over because the week was a wash! I'm sure it can seem like a self-flagellating weekly requirement.

In light of all of this, I'm going to take the week off from list making and think about whether or not I want to carry on with the Monday List. The Green Woman and I shall discuss...and then we'll get back to you.

Tuesday Was A Special Day

My Pixie turned three on Tuesday!
And last night, we celebrated!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Best Mother's Day Ever

About six years ago, my husband and I made a deal. If he would get up with the kid(s) on Saturday morning and let me sleep in, than I would let him sleep in on Sundays. It's been a bargain that has worked well for us - often allowing me to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Indeed, on Saturday I stayed in bed very late after a week of poor sleep. I was thus very surprised and delighted when my sweet husband told me to stay in bed yesterday. He got up with the girls and made whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. When they were ready, I found this very sweet setting ready for me at the table.
Technically, my Mother's Day surprises started on Friday when Sean brought me this gorgeous orchid instead of cut flowers. A wise move...the blooms will most likely last for three months, and I've never seen this particular color and pattern before. Orchids are my favorites, and this one will bring me great joy.

Those little flower boxes revealed some new jewelry. When Sean asked me what I wanted to do for Mother's Day, I had chosen to be very direct. I wanted 'handmade cards from the kids, not to have to cook (although I didn't care if that meant he cooked or we went out) and some sort of frivolous gift that didn't have anything to do with knitting.' Sounds silly, but when you live on a tight budget, sometimes you just want something that isn't a need. I think he did a great job picking out these three pieces. I just wish my camera did a better job of close-ups so that you could see how pretty the colors really are!

The real treasures are the gifts from the girls. My mother-in-law took the girls for two hours on Saturday to help them make little books for me. The funny thing is that she did something similar last year, and yet when she called to ask if she could have them Saturday morning I didn't think anything of it! The fabric card is from the Princess, who received a sewing kit from her great-aunt a couple of weeks ago and had been itching for a chance to use it. I wasn't allowed into the basement two Saturdays ago for the entire day while she worked diligently on it. Not pictured are the yarn octopus that Gana helped the Princess make and a several story books that she made at school.

But really, my favorite part of the day was our family walk on the MKT trail. It was a gorgeous day, and I wanted to be outside with my family. We did a 4 mile hike on a portion of the trail that I hadn't seen before. It was perfect.
At home, we set the girls up with a movie so that we could take our Sunday afternoon nap - a tradition that goes back to the early days of our marriage and still feels like a luxury. When we woke, I made granola bars with my eldest while my husband fixed his special spaghetti for dinner. I ended the day knitting in bed. As I said, it was the best Mother's Day EVER!

When I started this blog, it was intended purely for creative pursuits. That didn't last long. In the end, a mother's biggest act of creation is found in her children, and I am so very happy that I have these two wonderful girls to share with you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Little Slice of Heaven

The Green Woman and I completely agreed on the simple fact that I needed a bit of a break today. It's been an extremely productive week, but as The Green Woman reminded me, all work and no play.... And so, this morning she led the Pixie off to play quietly in her room with books and puzzles while I sat down at my kitchen table to enjoy a good mug of coffee, my knitting and some podcasts. Good fun.

The Green Woman would also like to point out that she convinced me to treat myself yesterday with these gorgeous mini-roses from the grocery store. Oddly, pink is not a color I usually go for, but we just couldn't pass up this particular bunch. There's just something so luxurious about a vase of roses, and they make me smile every time I see them.
Yes, this morning has been just about as perfect as can be!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Monday List

We will now all laugh at last week's very late list and the futility of trying to accomplish any of it given how the rest of our week went.
We'll just start fresh this week.
  1. Spring Cleaning is upon us! I'm on track to finish cleaning up the Pixie's room today, and would like to also get her sister's room cleaned up this week as well. Given that most of her stuff is still living in my room, this shouldn't be that big of a deal. What IS a big deal is that I am working to really teach her to take ownership and responsibility for her own stuff. So far, so good.
  2. I've finally finished cleaning out the girls' closets, and so it's time to get to mine. It never really recovered after the alpaca show, and really needs some attention.
  3. One final cleaning note - I should, perhaps, think about doing a little bit of work in our storage area. I went in there yesterday and was actually surprised with how much garbage is in there. People do not need as much stuff as we have!
  4. Over the last couple of days I've found myself gravitating towards only one of my knitting projects with an eye towards finishing it ASAP. Surprisingly, the project that has drawn me in is the Laminaria shawl. (When I have multiple projects, it's actually quite common for this to happen. I then become a single project knitter until it's over.) I should finish it up this week...which will then give me something new to show off at our guild meeting next week.
  5. Speaking of that guild meeting, I also need to block my Lacewing shawl so that I can show it off as well.
  6. I'm reading The Intentional Spinner right now - which I had wanted to do before starting any new spinning projects. I really do need to pick the next one and get started, though. I have three options....and haven't quite decided which one is the most appealing.
  7. The dratted Princess shawl needs to be swatched. Enough said.
  8. On Friday I pulled out my pile of prepared pieces for project bags. It won't take long to sew them up, and it will feel oh so good to have that one little project out of the way! (My sewing machine and I had an argument or they would be done by now.)
  9. I need to take some time to sit down and focus on planning out/sketching some knitting ideas that I have percolating in my head.
  10. Also, I need to get to work on a baby gift for a shower in June. (EEeeekkk! Only six weeks!)

Lofty goals, yes, but I'm in a rather productive frame of mind right now.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Embracing the Green

About two months ago, my acupuncturist took one look at me and smiled as she said, "You must really be ready for the spring!" I looked down at myself and laughed as I was wearing head-to-toe green. My shirt and socks were green, my knitting bag was green, everything in my knitting bag was green and my jewelry was green. YES, I was ready for the spring.

As the green has slowly crept over the earth this spring, I've come to recognize that there's something very powerful about that color that has been drawing me. It's not merely that I like green...although I do...but that I need it.

I need green as surely as I need fresh air to breath, water to drink, healthy foods to nourish me and peaceful sleep to help me rest. This year, green is about healing and growth. It's a promise of better things to come and a reminder of the life force that moves within us all.

Color shifts are - for me - quite natural and normal. This year, though, I'm choosing to fully embrace the green in all of it's glory. I'm letting it take over my life as I celebrate this color in all of its glorious variety.

It's hard to say which particular green is my favorite....from lime to olive to seafoam to mint to loden get the idea. I want to wear it and to surround myself with all it has to offer.

For me, the act of embracing the green is most apparent in my constant companion - my knitting bag. Open it (a very lime green!) and you will find nothing but green projects.

Working on each is a way to draw the green just a little bit more firmly into my heart, and each of these projects makes me smile.
This is indeed going to be a very good year.