busy bee, lil ol’ me

Top Left: Garth doing his best “derp”
Top Right: Pippy enjoying a good flop
Bottom Left: A new glass project, pre-firing
Middle Right: A beautiful begonia “the kids” got me for Mother’s Day
Bottom Right: A pair of brick stitch earrings I made that showcase tiny silver bee charms one of my friends got for me

I finally have all of the planting outside done that’s going to be done, and I think all of the fussing with house plants done for now as well. That one is always in a state of flux since I have to move things around as they get too big for their pots and current locations. I am quite happy with the way the inside and outside gardens are doing. I’m also very much loving the begonia Lancelot and the kids sent me. The flowers are just such a beautiful color.

Speaking of the kids, things are starting to settle in around here. There’s still a fair amount of hissing and smacking, but no damage is being done and there’s minimal “tail floofing” so I feel ok about that.

I’m also feeling pretty damn ok about the creative stuff I’ve been doing. That glass piece pictured above will be fused and then slumped in a mold that will make it look like a flower, and then mounted on a stake so it can go out in the front bed around the tree. I’m very excited to see how it comes out. I’ve done one like this before but with much tamer colors and I just left it as a decorative bowl.

The earrings are a bit embarrassing, but only because it took so long to get them across the finish line. I can’t even remember when I started them, but I finished them Saturday morning. For some reason I popped awake at 2:30am and what else does one do at that unholy hour of the morning? Make jewelry, naturally.

Goals update

Since the start of the year I’ve made more than 70 creative bits, so I would say I’m doing quite well with that goal. I’ve continued to work on professional certificates and have earned a total of 9 so far. Books, the goal was to read 4 this year and I’ve finished 5 and am into a 6th.

I have modified my goal regarding clothing. I’ve gotten a few new shirts and a pair of shorts – partly because I didn’t own any shorts. The shirts are because Garth likes to do his “velcro kitty” routine and pokes holes in my shirts so I wanted to find some that were still casual but not quite t-shirt material. The new goal is to be more mindful about my purchases and to limit them. This seems very reasonable.

of road trips and other nonsense

Left: Trying on a very stylish hat at the Knights Museum in Alliance, NE
Top Center: Lancelot and I at Carhenge after our friends’ wedding
Top Right: Seen at the Knights Museum, I really want this for my new office
Middle Center: Eric was particularly handsome in the morning sun yesterday
Middle Right: My reward for keeping it between the ditches
Bottom Center: A happy lil cow picture I colored last week, and very appropriate given the number of happy lil cows we saw on our drive
Bottom Right: Also seen at the Knights Museum, the most unusual Kool-Aid recipe I think I’ve ever seen

We had a really nice time on our trip, in spite of the NASTY wind. Driving east to west / west to east across Nebraska is always a gamble and this trip was no exception. I have no idea what the wind speeds actually were, just that we were driving in areas that were under Wind Advisories most of the time, if not all of it. There’s nothing like driving through extremely limited visibility because of vegetal matter being blown across the road from the fields on either side of the highway.

We opted to take state highways instead of the interstate because it took approximately the same amount of time but was something like 100 fewer miles. Plus, it was more scenic. Maybe you have to be from the Midwest to appreciate the beauty of the Sandhills, maybe not. But it was definitely prettier than taking I-80 most of the way.

The wedding was lovely. The bride was, of course, very beautiful. And the groom, a friend of mine for years now, had never looked happier. It was amazing to be able to be part of their special day.

A few other tidbits of note – I have now busted (not in a good way) another goal. I bought a pair of shoes while we were there. In my defense, there was an awesome little shoe store going out of business and I got a pair of really lovely pewter flats for… drumroll please…


So I really don’t feel too bad about it. I did also finish a book yesterday, that was good. And I realized that one of the projects I’ve been working on isn’t making me happy because I messed up the instructions from damn near the beginning by trying to alter the size so I ripped out the entire thing and started over.

That’s right – I went all the way back to the very beginning and started over. That’s part of the beauty of most knit/crochet projects; you can pretty well undo and redo them if necessary with minimal harm to the yarn. I am so glad that I did, I’m much happier with how it’s looking now.

when the going gets tough, the tough make a blanket fort and hide out with hot cocoa

It was a WEEK. Lots of crud going on, very little that felt good, and so not much in the way of pretty pictures. And that’s ok. Sometimes the best thing to do is lay low in the blanket fort, make another mug of cocoa, and live to fight another day.

By way of good news, I realized that I’ve successfully met two of my twelve goals for the year. As a reminder, the full list is:

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

#11 and #12 are done! I’ve actually earned 6 certificates since the start of the year. Two of them were pretty quick but the other four spanned multiple weeks and required a fair amount of work. I’m pretty damn proud of that.

The new craft skill is stained glass. I do not claim to be totally proficient at it, but I did manage to successfully complete a class on Saturday and didn’t need any more help than anyone else in the class did, which felt really good.

It’s very straightforward, but I did have to cut glass (already fine with that from doing fused glass) and I had to fit all of my pieces together and then solder it all. The little gem (and a dragonfly that is very hard to see here) were glued on at the very end. It’s beautiful and I am so stinkin’ proud of this. I’m also excited because I have a ton of glass out in the garage from when I was doing fused glass at a different studio that I can now use for pieces like this.

Yes, that would mean potentially going against my goal of not buying more supplies, so it might wait. But then again, I make the rules so if I want to break them, it’s on me.

that Monday morning feeling

Left: Lancelot and I at our local tea shop on Saturday
Top Center: Garth and Eric lounging in the sunroom
Top Right: Five days worth of breakfast goodness
Middle Center: The Sea Dragon Shawl is finished
Middle Right: Dog Blossom
Bottom Center: Lego Dried Flower kit, hanging on my home office door
Bottom Right: One of my #the100dayproject drawings

Life around here has been pretty damn good lately. I’ve made progress with projects, like finishing the Sea Dragon Shawl, and we’ve also done a fair amount around the house. I officially have enough house plants now that I’m going to see if I can’t get this place designated as a tropical rainforest. And I’m more than halfway through my third book of the year. Progress is a beautiful thing.

We are coming into a busy time of year at work but I find that exciting. Allegedly our new office space will be ready by the end of the semester. Allegedly. So I am cautiously optimistic about having my own space on campus again, and that means another space to decorate and make into “home away from home.” I definitely want to do that, but with a serious budget – meaning I don’t plan to spend a lot to do it.

In spite of work keeping me busy I do still enjoy it. The challenges are just a little different every day and I get to interact with a wide range of people from different cultures and backgrounds who are passionate about a whole host of subjects. It’s that exposure to people who have had experiences very far removed from my own that keep the job, and I would argue life, interesting.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to do #the100dayproject, but I seem to be sticking with it pretty well. Drawing is one of things I identified on my list of 23 Things to Do More Of in 2023 so it really is a perfect fit. I’m trying to get myself to be brave and try drawing different things, and hopefully in the process to get my internal critic to just STFU. Practice makes perfect and honestly all I’m really going for here is a comfort level that’s higher than where I am today.

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

sometimes the pieces come together a lot later than you thought they would

Project from this weekend

Lancelot and I seem to have started a tradition of sharing a bottle of wine on our anniversary, and being the sentimental fool that I am, I’ve kept the corks from those two bottles. I wasn’t really sure why, it just seemed right. Yesterday I decided to see if I could make them more visible and that’s exactly what happened. I wrapped the corks with a bit of wire and added some sparkly bits. The other one is the same concept but with different accents. I have them hanging on the plant stand and they’re just perfect. I love projects that combine found objects and supplies I already have on hand.

I have definitely been keeping busy with the crafting lately. I finally finished some ornaments I had started working on sometime earlier this year, because the inspiration for how to finish them finally came to me. And I modified that Dragon Egg pattern to use some Koigu KPPM I had in my stash and ended up with a cozy for a plant jar.

I have no idea how much of a skein I used for this because it had been salvaged from a project of unknown origin and has been in my stash for well over 10 years. I had approximately 90 zillion ends to weave in because of this so instead of weaving them in I threaded them all to the inside and hid them instead. It’ll be our secret, shhhhh…

Keeping with my goal of not buying any yarn this year, and realizing that it wasn’t a struggle, has me thinking about going even bigger (actually smaller) next year. My thinking right now is that I won’t buy any new yarn, kits of any kind, or craft supplies next year. The caveat to all of those is that if I somehow manage to run out then my goal will have basically been met. But trust me, that’s not going to happen. I started making a list of just the bead kits I have and there are 10 on the list so far. So far. That doesn’t count the knitting kits, the crochet kit, felting kits, and other assorted craft kits that I know are lurking in this house. Step one is going to be to find and catalog all of those.

In other news, Lancelot and I took a mini-vacation to Des Moines, IA last Friday and had a blast. We went to the Art Center, Botanical Garden, an art gallery, and had the famous Crab Rangoon pizza at Fong’s. It was great to be able to get away and not spend an entire day on travel. It took less than a full tank of gas for the round-trip, plus we only needed a hotel for one night and L found a very nice place that was smack in the middle of what we wanted to see and was reasonably priced and had a fantastic continental breakfast. On Saturday when we got home we hung out and watched way too much TV and just had a really good time together.

We are sort of adorable together

psych update

There’s actually not much to update right now. I won’t see the doc again until the end of November, though I do see my therapist just about every other week. I think that therapy, like the medication, will always be a part of my life and I’m really ok with that. I feel very strongly that we all need someone to talk to that we know won’t judge us and will help us find solutions to situations that we just can’t talk to anyone else about. It’s just good for the soul.