I read the script and the costume fits, so I’ll play my part

I don’t think I got that quite right, but it’s a lyric from a song that just sort of speaks to me. I’ve taken to making notes in my phone when I hear something that just strikes me. The other one, that I’m pretty sure came from a cooking show was “we are all ancestors in training.” Talk about profound.

My newly “remodeled” office

I decided last week that I needed a Change. This happens with me sometimes, so I wasn’t all that surprised. In the past this Change has taken the shape of everything from a new haircut/color, a tattoo, embarking on a new project, or what my family affectionately refers to as Shit Shifting. I might have talked about this before, but in essence the idea is moving the furniture/accessories/artwork/etc to different places in the same room or different places in the house. It involves $0 and it taps your creative side. I ❤ Shit Shifting.

So we took the hutch off my desk and moved that down to the basement for Lancelot’s desk and then put my desk right in front of the window. I am loving it so far. I did loose some storage space so we decided to go ahead and purchase a bookcase for the office that has a very small footprint.

Amen.

I suppose part of it is that we’re all still trying to do our best to stay home and not spend so much time out and about, so I’m at home more and have time to really notice and think about the things I’d like to change. And most of those changes really are a matter of cutting down on the “things” and finding ways to make what we have work better for us. I enjoy the challenge.

I would be delighted to hear what you all are up to right now. Like, what is your favorite budget friendly tip?

life is what happens while you’re busy making plans

I’m a planner, y’all know that. I like a good amount of structure in my world, in my day, and when that doesn’t happen it takes me a bit to bounce back. And my world has been more chaotic than not lately, in good ways, but it’s taking a bit longer than normal to bounce back.

A rare photo of all three kids. This period of behaving and getting along lasted maybe 90 seconds.

I have been busy knitting and working on other creative projects. I have two scarves and an adult hat knit for the charity collection, which I think is a good way to start the year. There’s plenty of yarn for more, and I’m planning to start making baby hats as well. I had one for our new niece and realized that they’re really quick to make and don’t use much yarn, so they’re an excellent project.

Tiny baby hat for our niece

I made this hat using some Koigu I had in my stash. The color is much more of a light, tonal lilac purple. I think it’s a lovely little hat for a lovely little girl.

I’ve also been making some random jewelry, doing some small Lego kits, and planning some future projects. One of my unofficial goals is to do as many of these projects as I can without having to buy additional supplies. I have all of this stuff, I really should use it.

I was not really ready for this

It’s winter in Nebraska, so honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised that the temps have finally dropped into the zone of feeling arctic. But it doesn’t mean I’m ever ready for this point in the season and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to like it. However, since I knit, I am sort of prepared.

Aronia, in the wild

I’m trying to wear a knit item every day, a challenge I undertake periodically. It’s not like there’s any shortage of scarves, shawls, and now cowls in this house. I made them, I should wear them. The Aronia cowl yesterday looked great with a new blouse I had purchased and it was the perfect amount of extra warmth that I needed. Today is extra cold, something like a high of only 14 degrees and wicked wind chills, so I’ve got on a slightly more traditional shawl but worn around my neck. It’s delightful.

Work continues to progress on the mohair “thing” and I’m also spending a little time with a scarf that will be donated. I may have mentioned but my goal is to make at least one item for charity every month, and I’m contemplating doing some hats and mittens to go with the scarves. We shall see. But it makes me feel good to know that I’m doing something for someone else.

starting off proper

One of the goals I had set for last year was to explore vegetarian cooking and try to incorporate that into our lifestyle. I actually found that I really enjoy it. We have not switched to an entirely vegetarian diet, but we do make a point of having at least one meatless meal every week. And because it’s catchy (and I think something they did during WWII?) we go with Meatless Mondays. Tonight’s dinner will be an delish vegetarian chili made in the Instant Pot. It’s tasty, healthy, and really quite filling.

Now where is that recipe for BBQ squirrel?

On Saturday Lancelot helped me with a project that’s really needed to be done, and especially not since I’m going to be trying to expand my recipe horizons. That mess spread all over the table was the contents of my recipe box, my mother’s recipe box, and my grandmother’s recipe box. It was hard to find anything because there were duplicates, cards with very sketchy info, and names that didn’t always make sense to us. So instead of filing things in alphabetical order we decided to group them by type, like “Appetizer” or “Drink” or “Breakfast.” It’s in much better shape now and should actually be useful. And yes, there is actually a recipe for BBQ squirrel. My mom said it was pretty tasty.

Aronia cowl made with Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in “Tapestry”

The cowl is gorgeous. I was a little concerned about doing lace with yarn that has so much color, but I think it looks amazing. I’ll be wearing it later this week. Right now I’m focusing my attention on getting the big mohair piece done. I’m envisioning a wide, long shoulder wrap type piece that will have three large buttons and multiple ways to fasten them. Yes, this is kind of a riff on Rectangulum but I have high hopes that it’s going to be amazing.

2021 in review

Hey y’all! Nope, not dead yet. I’ve just been busy and haven’t taken time to write in a really long time. I’ve been knitting, cooking, spending time with my friends, and today I finished a rather large Lego-type project.

The secret holiday gift for Miz M
I hated the mohair shawl I was making so I ripped it out and have started a new project with the yarn
I played with jewelry one day
That’s the most recent brick build, a giant swallowtail butterfly

I’m also working on a lace cowl (that doesn’t have beads) and another charity scarf. I stay pretty damn busy these days. And having Lancelot home makes it even more enjoyable.

I’m not a “new year’s resolution” kind of person, they seem destined to fail right from the start. I do, however, like to set goals for myself for the coming year. These are what I set for last year…

  • I will work to incorporate more physical activity into my routine by using the treadmill, ultimately getting to 30min/day, 5x/week
  • I will learn a new creative skill (I have kits here already for quilling and chain maille)
  • I will continue to explore vegetarian dishes and strive to include a meatless dinner at least 1x/week – Meatless Monday is a thing at our house
  • I will learn at least one new Indian recipeI will finish all of the fiber projects that are currently in progress
  • I will continue to work on my health issues by being more mindful of what I eat and drink

I feel like I did really well with some of those, completed them even, but not everything. So for 2022 I’m planning to…

• No new yarn (unless I somehow manage to use everything I have in the house)
• Learn a new knitting skill
• Complete at least one project every month – doesn’t have to be knitting, just something creative
• Learn a new craft skill (like actually use the chain maille or quilling kits)
• Try at least two new recipes every month
• Plant and maintain a vegetable garden
• Lose 50lbs

We’ll see how it goes. I have already kind of started by picking out yarns to go with patterns and putting them in project bags in my office closet. Hopefully that helps.

Hoping you’re all safe and having a wonderful holiday season. Be good to each other.

never enough time

We had a really nice weekend, and that was good. We managed to get a very nice balance of being productive and being sloths. Heavenly really. Though I will say, I won’t be putting off grocery shopping until Sunday afternoon again any time soon. But here I am with very little time because, quite frankly, I’m realizing what bits of my life really are the priorities.

That’s a queen size bed in our guest room

I can’t remember when I finished those three, and I can’t be bothered to look, but I can tell you that they’ve been hanging out in the closet for entirely too long. We’re anticipating having a house guest around New Year’s so I figured I should probably get this done before she arrives. I also managed to finish the last gift and that baby will also require blocking, so…

Rectangulum in the wild

I wore Rectangulum to work one day last week with a black tunic and black leggings and it was just lovely. The ability to customize the look with the buttons and button holes is really kind of genius. And I still believe that this yarn is absolutely perfect.

My goal now for the rest of 2021 is try to finish what I can of the existing projects. I’ve moved on to a lace scarf that’s been in the works because it’s probably closest to done. There’s also still the beaded lace cowl, the kitty doll, and the mohair shawl. I’m well aware that those won’t ALL be done before the new year, but I’ll try. I did start a new charity scarf this morning because I wanted something mindless to work on sometimes.

Garth is not pleased that today is Monday

monday got me like…

Run Forrest, run!!!

Ok, so it’s not quite that bad. But I did just explode a container of vanilla yogurt because I was fighting with the package. Two valuable lessons learned from that, so not all bad. One, the dog really seems to like vanilla bean yogurt. Two, white yogurt on a greet shirt leaves an unusual yet hilarious visual. Use your imagination.

Anyway, the weekend was great. We did very little that would be considered “productive” and it was delightful. I did manage to finish a project I’ve been working on.

Rectangulum

This is what happens when you cannot be bothered to check your damn gauge. It should have been much narrower and much longer. However, it does “fit” and I like how the placement of the buttons/buttonholes makes for a lot of versatility. And that fucker is WARM.

I also managed to get a good amount of work done on the one remaining holiday present. I would say I’m now at least half way done, maybe more. Unfortunately this is one of those patterns where I’ll have to guess when I get close to the end and see how intense a game of Yarn Chicken I want to play. But progress is being made and that pleases me.

In other news, I found a really interesting show on Discovery+ called “Good with Wood” and it’s turning out to be something that both Lancelot and I enjoy watching. I think it’s probably a good break from all of the holiday baking competition shows I’ve been watching.

Having Lancelot here is slowly but steadily feeling more normal. (for everyone I think) It’s definitely nice to have meals with him and to have his company in the evenings. I still firmly believe that it was the right decision for him to leave that job, and he doesn’t appear to have any regrets.

We are fast approaching the end of one year and the start of another. I am not a person who does resolutions. I’m not broken, in need of fixing, so that just seems silly to me. But I do like to set goals for myself. I can’t find where I wrote down the goals I set for this year, but I feel like the ones I didn’t complete were 1) learning a new craft, and 2) exercising more.

I’m still thinking about what all would make sense for next year. I’d like to get back to posting about it more often, making more progress hopefully.

confessions of a coffee junkie

There was a time when I would go through the coffee shop drive through every day on my way to work and get a mocha. Sometimes I would also go to the coffee shop on campus in the afternoon and get another mocha. I had a $200/month coffee habit and thought nothing of it. I didn’t have the equipment to make what I wanted, or any knowledge of how to make it, so I happily forked out a sizeable amount of money to have someone else do it for me.

My daily habit finally came to a halt when my finances dried up some and there wasn’t near as much money in my budget for frivolous things like fancy coffee. But I didn’t want to give it up entirely. I mean honestly, coffee is like the nectar of the gods, I was not about to cut that out of the picture entirely.

I started experimenting with what I had on hand which amounted to pretty standard ground coffee from the grocery store, a traditional drip-style coffee pot, and various coffee creamer type things. Since I prefer cold coffee I tried different ways of chilling it, sweetening it, how much dairy stuff to add… You get the picture. But all of this in the name of saving some money, a noble cause indeed.

And then I realized something. By not having fancy coffee shop coffee every day it became an actual treat when I did have it.

I’ve continued to experiment and my current coffee routine involves making a large batch of cold brewed coffee using a Rumble Jar. I almost always use a flavored ground coffee and sweeten the whole batch with Splenda. I add 4C of unsweetened coconut milk and mix it all in a 2 gallon container. When I prepare the coffee to drink I typically add a shot of half & half.

These days I limit myself to the fancy coffee only once a week. But I try to really make it count. I’ve been getting different drinks to try to branch out a bit, and I have a new way of counting this in my budget. Coffee is actually much more expensive than when I was getting it every day, but only one drink a week is easier to absorb. It also makes it easier to tip the baristas. I always plan to spend $10 on my drink, so any change I get goes right into the tip jar.

sometimes it’s just not worth trying to make sense of the nonsense in my brain

I’m generally a fairly organized person and I don’t have too much trouble staying on top of necessary tasks. It’s possible that the dental work plus the holiday last week has thrown me off. It’s possible that being on my feet too much and then having a cyst rupture has thrown me off. It’s possible that the 500lb bull I was trying to hold on to for 8 seconds has thrown me off. Wait…

Some days I just have more difficulty staying between the lines, so to speak. Today it appears that I have categorically denied the existence of the lines at all. And there you have it.

We had an amazing Thanksgiving with our friends. Good food and even better company is just a perfect combination. We all had so much fun that Lancelot and I decided that we’re hosting Christmas.

We actually got to have two Thanksgivings because the plans my mom and R had basically fell through, so I hosted the four of us here last night for a mostly traditional dinner. Again, good food and excellent company. The critters even mostly behaved.

We are not Black Friday shoppers, at least not the type that go out in public. I’m so against crowds anymore that we decided to have our groceries delivered. The only other shopping I did was also online and to support a friend of ours who does silversmithing. Her jewelry is amazing.

Even though Black Friday isn’t a thing for us, Small Business Saturday definitely is. We went to a local shop that sells local honey and my favorite local yarn shop. As a bonus, the yarn shop shares space with an art gallery so I managed to pick up a brass dragonfly in addition to yarn for a project I had picked out ahead of time.

We’ve also decided that we aren’t exchanging gifts this year, but we’ll give the money we would have spent to our local food bank. We certainly aren’t wealthy, but we’ve got more than many people do and I feel it’s vital to help since we’re able to.

Dog Blossom is not keen on having her picture taken, especially when L’s beard smells of turkey

update on projects in the works, OR, when Erin comes clean about the many many things she’s trying to do

I would like to think that I’m better at reining in the number of projects I’m working on at one time, but let’s be honest, I am 100% not good at that at all. I typically love the projects but sometimes they bore me to tears and I feel like I need to get something new going like right this second. Having new yarn arrive the other day did nothing to help the situation. So here goes, a full accounting of what I’m working on…

Kitty amigurumi – this is for our new niece who should be born in January. It’s probably at least half done and it’s such a small project that I’m not sure why I just can’t get it finished.

Skewed shawl – I bought this cake of mohair yarn on an absolute whim and then could find just ONE pattern that uses it. And I’m not super excited about it.

Lace scarf – this is fine, but it’s boring. The yarn is soft, does this rainbow color block thing that’s lovely, but the pattern is just a two row repeat and the yarn is sock weight. It’s taking absolutely forever. But this is the project I take with me for things like doc visits when I know I’ll be spending some time waiting. It’s also good TV knitting.

Lotus cowl – sock weight yarn, lace, and beads, need I say more? I’m about 1/3 of the way done with this but unlike that lace scarf this is one that has to be done with plenty of solitude and quietness. Assuming I ever actually finish it this will be stunning.

Holiday gift – I’m not sure who all reads this blog so I’m going to play this safe and be super vague. The yarn is great, the pattern is great, but it’s a bit fussy. I would say I’m probably at least 1/3 of the way done and should have no trouble finishing by Christmas.

Rectangulum – this is the new kid. I had the pattern saved in my Ravelry library but didn’t have enough of any one sock yarn to make this the way I wanted to, at least not until that latest batch of yarn arrived. I’ll be making this with two balls of Louisa Harding’s Pittura in the “Sleeping Venus” colorway. This pattern also requires buttons and thanks to Mom I have a whole jar full. I found several colors I’ll be using and it’ll be perfect.

I’ve also got a jewelry project that I started ages ago that really should get finished, plus several more kits for jewelry, oh and some felting kits as well. Truly, I have enough project fodder to last at least the next year, probably longer. But I like to stay busy and I hate being bored.

Today I love… new knitting projects, I love overnight oats and how that means less fussing in the morning, I love that Dino (my friend’s kitty; I’m critter sitting this week) hung out with me yesterday for a bit, I love that Lancelot only has 2 shifts left, and I love that being hyper-organized really does work for me

Super basic knit cowl made with a single ball of Queensland Collection Perth yarn in the Tasmanian Bay colorway (rich jeweltones)