ISO – replacement parts

*for those of you who are not internet hipsters, ISO = in search of

That is the Caterpillar Shawlette from KnitPicks and I purchased it long enough ago that I did get the yarn shown in the sample. It’s gorgeous and it is in desperate need of blocking. It’s also the largest all-lace project I’ve made using only charts. There were a few bits that I fought with, but overall I would say it was a wonderful experience. And since the pattern is free, why not give it a shot.

I find myself at a familiar place right now, the place where I want to try to finish all of the projects I have started so that I start the new year with a clean crafting slate. I’m fairly certain that is a total pipe dream at this point. Currently in the works we have:

  • Sugar Stick, a two color scarf using sock yarn
  • Kitty B, a lace scarf using lace weight yarn (this is my travelling project and will for sure not get done)
  • A baby blanket that will go for charity
  • A small-ish cross stitch of a cat
  • Ennis Lotus Cowl – this is lace, and beads, and it WILL be done before Thanksgiving if it kills me

I started it on August 15, 2021, but clearly I didn’t work on it consistently. It’s slow because of the beading and it took me making the Caterpillar to truly get comfortable with charted patterns. I’m now just about half done with it and it keeps getting quicker. The end result should be very subtle elegance, at least that’s my hope.

At any rate, all of this fast and furious lace knitting has me wishing I could shop for a new arm. Biofreeze to the rescue! If you aren’t familiar, it’s like most other topical muscle pain relief treatments, it just happens to be the one I prefer.

oh the places I go

Welcome to Monday. No, I don’t care if you still have your receipt, you can’t get a refund. Buck up, little camper, here we go again…

Tao Silk Scarf – not using silk, maybe alpaca?

This is the “personal” project that I’m working on most right now. The pattern was free from Jimmy Beans Wool and is pretty straightforward; just a 4 row repeat. I’m using a ball of unknown laceweight yarn from my stash. I suspect it started life as “naked” alpaca from KnitPicks that I dyed myself about a thousand years ago but I don’t honestly remember. It’s pretty, it’s easy, and it makes me happy.

Other things that are making me happy include making a few more holiday gifts over the weekend, getting connected with a local knitters group that will happily take the hats and scarves I’ve been making and donate them to their chosen charity this year (I just need to get all of the ends woven in), and Lancelot. I mean honestly, what’s not to be happy about with a partner who gets what “partner” actually means.

Another thing that makes me happy is being a student, and I realized last week that it’s been too long since I wore that hat. I am not at all interested in another degree right now – for one thing I don’t think I can afford it in terms of my mental health. The university I work for covers some tuition costs if you attend one of the system schools, so that would help if I did decide to pursue a program there again, but mentally and emotionally I know that I don’t have what it would it would take to do justice to another full-on graduate degree. Not right now at least.

Instead I’m going to do a professional certificate program, all online and from the comfort of home, and I should be done in about a month. All for $50 and it comes very highly recommended. I’m excited about this. I really am someone who thrives on learning new things.

Goals update

Y’all probably know by now that I set myself some goals every year. I do not believe in the whole “new year’s resolution” thing, but I do believe in pushing myself to do new things and try to do some old things even better. The list for 2022 was (comments for each in brackets):

  • No new yarn (I have only bought yarn once, for a very specific project that was commissioned by a friend)
  • Learn a new knitting skill (I’ve finally learned how to knit with two colors!)
  • Complete at least one creative project every month (so far August was my slowest month with only 7 projects)
  • Learn a new craft skill (I’ve learned several new techniques for beading and jewelry making)
  • Try at least two new recipes every month (we’ve tried far more than this and loved 99% of them)
  • Plant and maintain a vegetable garden (we had tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, strawberries, and assorted herbs growing on the deck; I’ve started clearing space in the existing flower beds to accommodate a proper garden next year)
  • Lose 50lbs (this is the goal that I’ve struggled with the most and haven’t made any real progress with)

I’ve already been working on my goals for 2023, mostly so that I can be prepared. I’m 99.999% confident these are set now:

  • No new craft supplies (unless I manage to completely deplete my stashes of stuff)
  • Finish all of my kits (beading, knitting, etc. including the ones I’ve put together for knitting projects)
  • Read at least 4 books
  • Establish and maintain habits/routines for exercising
  • Complete at least 5 creative projects each month (anything creative counts – drawing, knitting, jewelry, LEGO, etc)
  • No new clothes unless I need new underwear or bras
  • No new shoes
  • Lose 50lbs
  • Post on my blog at least once per week
  • Learn how to bake bread from scratch
  • Earn at least one professional certificate
  • Learn at least one new craft skill

I think those should be both challenging yet absolutely attainable. And, in an effort to be able to tell when I’ve finished all of the kits I have, I’ve started taking an inventory of everything I have in the house. That’s been a great exercise because I’m uncovering things that I had completely forgotten about. It’s like shopping without spending any money.

I’ve considered going back to doing goals on a weekly basis; not quite sure about that yet. I will say I feel there’s a lot to be said for it in terms of keeping accountable. For now, it’s Monday and it’s time to see where today takes us.

Eric and Froggy are trying to hide from Monday, unsuccessfully

seasons change and so do i

Doesn’t it frustrate you when you pick just a tiny bit of a song lyric out of thin air that perfectly fits, but you can’t remember which song it comes from? Ugh, bonkers. Anyway, moving on…

Dragon Egg Dice Bag for friend N’s birthday

The gathering of people for N’s birthday this weekend went really well. The food turned out great, there was some great conversation, and for me it was just a lovely opportunity to play hostess, which is something I quite enjoy. And the gift I made him, the Dragon Egg Dice Bag (Ravelry link to free pattern), was very well received. Even better – I already had yarn than worked out perfectly and I got to learn a new stitch to make it.

In general I would say that things around here have been quiet and smooth. We’ve had bumps, yes, but tiny ones. And I feel like we’re in good shape for the coming months. Our Halloween decorating is done, I’ve started working on my plan for Christmas decorating, and I’ve been working on gifts.

Yesterday afternoon I managed to work out a “pattern” for a bead embellished glass ornament and I’m very pleased with the results, especially considering I didn’t use a pattern.

It’s hard to see but there’s a small crystal star suspended inside the ornament

I had a bunch of these clear ornaments and a bunch of beads so, look out world, beaded ornaments for everyone on my list this year!!!

Psych update

Things with the med adjustment continue be going well. I have noticed that I’m not constantly thirsty like I was and I do feel a bit more animated. The other real change right now is that it’s time for the sunlamp. In addition to working to keep the Bipolar under control I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder that I’ve been very effectively treating by using a full spectrum sun lamp in the mornings during the fall/winter months. This was the treatment prescribed by my doc and it really does work. Plus, it’s not a pill and that’s a bonus when you have as many pills to take as I do.

Garth soaks up the sunshine every chance he gets

no catchy title today, we are sold out

I’m going to guess that I’m not the only one starting to see shortages at the grocery store again. It’s possible that this is something different than the issues we were experiencing in the height of the pandemic, but whatever it is I find it a bit troubling. Because of that Lancelot and I have decided to “beef up” our pantry and freezer staples just a bit. No, I am not hoarding toilet paper or cans of tuna. I’m trying to shop the store sales and have a few extra cans/packages of the things we normally use, just in case.

I’ve also started gathering holiday supplies because last year I waited too long and then wasn’t able to get a few things I really hoped to have. So far I’ve ordered a few gifts and some Christmas decorations. I also picked up a rather large skeleton decoration. I have learned that if I see something I really want, that fits the budget, I should just freakin’ get it.

Alpine Meadow hat

I had to buy yarn this weekend, and yes, I really did have to buy it. My friend’s sister is fighting cancer for the second time and is anticipating losing her hair, again. And the weather here will be getting cooler. I love this pattern but didn’t have any bulky yarn, nor anything in the preferred colors. So Lancelot agreed that this would not mean I was going against my own goal of not buying new yarn because in a way this is a commission. (no, I am not planning to accept payment for this – the yarn was not expensive and I’m enjoying this)

The hat pattern (Ravelry link) is one I’ve knit at least three times before and is just lovely. I actually purchased it because they had the suggested yarn and a sample on display at my LYS several years ago. I find it to be well written, easy to follow, and it’s a quick knit.

Psych Update

In other news, last night I took my last Lithium capsule. This taper has taken four weeks and was done under the supervision of my psychiatrist. Please keep in mind that I would not ever suggest anyone muck around with medication doses, of any kind, without talking to the appropriate doctor. I would suggest that having frank conversations with your medical team periodically to see if what you’re taking (for any condition) is still the best thing and the best dose. Medical science advances every day.

I’m feeling pretty good really. I would say my motivation, concentration, appetite are all about where they usually are. I am experiencing the full range of normal human mood in a normal kind of ebb and flow. Nothing feels too hurried or too cumbersome. I do feel like I’m experiencing more enjoyment and excitement at times, but those are what feels like “appropriate” reactions to specific situations. I’ve discussed this with Lancelot and some of my support network and no one has noticed anything untoward.

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist Wednesday morning to follow up on all of this. I anticipate having blood work done sometime soon. Probably the biggest bummer from all this is I have five rather large bottles of Lithium capsules in the cupboard that I almost certainly won’t be needing. I plan to ask doc what’s the best way to safely dispose of that quantity of unneeded medication.

critter update

Sleepy baby

Garth has a visit with the vet lined up for tomorrow. He’s got a few tiny “naked” patches that I’m concerned about. There are two little spots on his face above his whiskers and another one behind his ear. Truly it looks like the fur just fell out; the skin that’s exposed looks healthy, no signs of scratching or trauma, no ringworm or anything like that. Who knows. So we’ll go get him checked out.

Eric the Red continues to be the most mellow kitty in the universe. His latest trick is to “steal” the critter bed positioned between the chairs in the living room where Lancelot and I normally sit, and where Dog Blossom normally conducts her neighborhood watch shifts. Dog is not pleased by this. Cat has no fucks left to give.

Talk to the peet

numb, but not like that

It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of the dentist. Dentists, the human beings, are just fine. They’re generally delightful people, actually. It’s the profession and what they want to do inside my mouth that I take issue with. But I’m trying to get back to doing the regular, big kid sorts of things I should do to take care of my teeth so this morning found me in a dentist chair getting a filling. I’m very proud to say that it only took the addition of nitrous to get me to tolerate the shots. But now one side of my face is well and truly numb.

I’m also trying to get on top of some other health issues, like my weight and my sleep and the fact that the nephrologist thinks the lithium I take for the Bipolar may well be causing kidney disease. Yeah, super not excited about that. So I’ve had a bunch of blood work and now tomorrow Lancelot and I are going to talk to my psychiatrist to see what can be done.

I am also working on my diet to improve it and I bought one of those fitness tracker things to help keep track of activity and sleep. Hopefully the combination of all this will make a difference.

I continue to work on creative projects, though a little slowly it seems. Over the weekend I finished the Crest of the Wave shawl which turned out lovely. I also started working on a Sherlock Holmes LEGO kit that is almost done. I definite need a balance of “productive” time and “play” time. And I think I’m going to try to get back to some of my old hobbies, like blogging. I’m going to try to write once a week.

Garth says it’s all about him anyway

from the depths, she emerges…

Proof that Garth and I are still alive

It’s interesting how priorities shift over time. Once upon a time it was crucial to me to write on my blog on a very regular basis. It helped to keep me centered and grounded and it was Very Important to me.

These days I find that I spend less and less time with technology in general, and apparently it’s been more than a month since I’ve blogged. Perhaps this is good, perhaps it’s not, and perhaps it’s one of those things that Just Is.

I will say that I’m spending a fair amount of time working on creative projects and hanging out with Lancelot. We took a road trip a few weeks ago, something that is becoming an annual thing, and had a wonderful time together.

The weather was lovely, the scenery was fantastic, and the food was awesome

It’s kind of an odd time of year to be thinking about doing some introspection and contemplating what kinds of life changes I’d like to make, but here I am. I know that my health, and L’s health, aren’t fantastic and that changing some of our habits would be helpful for both of us. So that’s certainly something I’m working on.

I’ve also been trying to work with what I have in terms of supplies for my creative projects. I’m working on stash busting with the knitting/crochet projects and I haven’t purchased any new beads for a while. I really would like to make use of what I have before I just blindly add to what’s here.

Not at all made with things on hand

That’s been my most recent, large scale project recently. Maybe this year. That is a fused glass serving tray that is slightly larger than one of our placemats. I hand cut most of it – except the circles and the dragonfly – and I think the result is fantastic. The ladies at the shop were impressed.

I am hoping to get some of the glass I have here at the house cut so that I can fuse it in the little microwave kiln L got for me. So many projects, so little time.

Until later, I do hope that y’all are doing well. Please be kind to one another.

letting it all flow

Fused glass vase

I haven’t been writing much lately because I haven’t been spending much time with the computer, and I can’t do this much typing in my phone. I might have mentioned this, can’t remember. Anyway, I’ve been doing the whole “living a life worth living” thing here lately and I have to say, I’m seriously enjoying it.

The finally completed Old Shale Cowl

I’ve been spending most of my free time during the week knitting and then on the weekends after errands and chores are done I’ll tinker with jewelry and sometimes Lego. It’s hard to both mess with the phone and knit at the same time so… Yeah. But I’m really enjoying myself and I still have not purchased any new yarn. I’m very excited about that and about my “making stuff” goals.

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

One of my other goals is to try at least two new recipes every month and that’s been a huge success. So far we haven’t had anything that wasn’t good enough to tweak and try again. That blueberry thing was supposed to be something else, but I didn’t read the recipe quite carefully enough and then ran out of time to get it fixed, so I massively improvised. It’s a cross between a baked French Toast and bread pudding. It was entirely delicious. And fortunately I did write down the ingredients and quantities, so one of these days I’ll write up the recipe.

Puddle of Kitty

The other “excitement” we’ve had recently is finding out that Garth has asthma. He had been doing this dry cough thing at random times, but it didn’t seem to bother him. And then it did. So the vet did some x-rays and it really looks a whole lot like human asthma. Based on how much fun it was to do the x-rays she recommended we start treatment by giving him a steroid shot. The little buddy would not do well with pills. He seems to be better now, though only time will tell.

I’m a firm believer in Art Therapy, and what that means for me is finding ways to express myself creatively, knowing that the outlet helps me to feel centered and really it just recharges my batteries. I shared a picture of a jewelry set I had made on a social media platform and added the tag of “bipolar” to it. And then someone questioned if it was about bipolar, I’m guessing because neither the image or the actual text mention the disorder and I wasn’t talking directly about medications or side effects or how awful bipolar is or any of the other thousand things people tend to talk about.

I replied with basically what I’ve just said here; the creative outlet is how I recharge and so I definitely do see this as related to bipolar. And I stand by that. But it saddens me that there are trolls in every sub-group.

keeping it between the lines

Those of you who knit will likely recognize those as being stitch markers. When working a pattern that repeats or does something every so many stitches the easiest thing to do is mark it, often will a little doohicky like this. Quite handy, really. The one that’s a little different is to mark the start of the round if you working on a project that’s, well, in the round. And these are deceptively easy to make, particularly if you already make jewelry, because they’re basically an earring but instead of the part that goes through your ear you put them on a jump ring. Amazing.

So when I found myself having to scrounge through my knitting supplies to find enough stitch markers the other day I decided that it would be beautifully dual purpose to make more AND give myself that sense of accomplishment. I win, twice. Yay for me!

I took a glass class last week and am eagerly awaiting my finished piece. I’ve been getting back into doing more with glass fusing and finding that I really enjoy it. I’m also doing a fair amount of knitting and beading. Basically I’m just staying fairly busy, but not in an irresponsible / dangerous kind of way. I enjoy having several projects going at once because I will inevitably get bored with something and it’s nice to have another on hand to pick up.

“Mama can’t talk anymore, she needs to snuggle me”

second verse, same as the first

Some things don’t seem to change much anymore, and for a while that really bothered me. Like, my life is so predictable and stable and normal and WTF??? And then I realized that I actually really enjoy this “normal” thing. Like a lot.

I’m doing pretty well with the whole adulting business. I’ve still been knitting and making jewelry and cooking, and I really enjoy those things. Lancelot and I have a lot more leisure time together and that is just beyond wonderful. We cook together, we watch weird shows together after dinner, it’s like a delightful little version of the alleged American Dream.

And I love it.

It does not, however, make for the most exciting blog posting. So do please pardon me for not being here as often. Know that I’m well and off enjoying the “not digital” world.

now with a side of even more random

Lots going on right now, and I can’t help but feel like that’s good. I’m getting into/back into doing some hobbies that I had put aside for years. I’m branching out more with what I cook at home. I’m really enjoying spending time with my husband. All in all, I have to think that this is what the therapists were suggesting could be my version of a Life Worth Living. (that’s a DBT concept and I think it’s pretty awesome)

Some random things I’ve noticed over the last six months or so...

I stepped away from Facebook in October 2021 because it honestly felt like a cesspool. Lots of nastiness, lots of ads, very little actual interaction among polite and respectful humans. I had a suspicion that it was impacting my mental health in negative way, and it turns out I was right. I uninstalled it from my phone and stopped opening it on the computer. I actually made sure that I can’t open it on my work laptop. The only times I got on were when Lancelot told me there were pictures of our niece.

No posts. No likes. No interaction of any kind.

It’s amazing how much more free time I found in my day, how much lighter my moods seemed overall. I didn’t miss it.

I posted something yesterday for the first time, but not until I did some major housecleaning. I ruthlessly unfriended people, removed myself from groups, and shut down notifications from pages. But after just one day I can tell you that this won’t be how it was. There’s still so much hate and trash and it’s not really worth it. So maybe I’ll post now and again, but we’ll see.

I’ve started making friends again, like real live, living and breathing humans that I can sit down with and have conversation and laugh and share food and stuff. They share interests with me, they’re respectful where it matters and brazen where it matters more.

It’s so weird making friends as an adult. Everyone is busy with their own lives, jobs and kids and being caregivers for others… But carving out time to spend with friends is part of my self-care and that’s maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned during the last six months.

These critters have helped keep me sane. They are nuttier than squirrel turds. Yesterday morning I was trying to work on troubleshooting an issue and here they all come, chasing each other up the hallway like a demon was after them, bounced across the bed to the other side, and back down the hall. I don’t even try to understand anymore, I just stay the hell out of the way.