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.

2 down, 10 to go

I didn’t necessarily plan it this way but hey, it’s the end of February! I am not too disappointed that I haven’t been posting super regularly because it’s been because I’ve been involved with doing other things, like life. And adulting. Generally I would say that “life” is much more enjoyable than “adulting,” but not always. But I digress.

Ignore the black lines

I managed to get back to the glass studio this past weekend and had a delightful time. That flower thing will be a “pretty” that sits in a frame on a table. It was fun to make, especially now that I’ve figured out how to work with the glass and work around my hands not wanting to cooperate all the time.

Dinner last night! Red lentils and chicken thighs

Lancelot and I have been cooking together, pretty much every night, and it’s wonderful. We’ve decided it’s probably time to start getting to work on my whole “lose 50lbs by the end of the year” thing so I’m opting for even more health recipes. Never a bad thing really.

I am also happy to report that this month I completed no fewer than 13 creative projects, and that makes me very happy indeed.

an interesting thing happened on the way to the symposium…

It’s odd, well maybe not, but I think it is. I’ve essentially quit Facebook. I still have an account but I don’t have the app on my phone, it doesn’t come up on my work computer at all, and I just don’t check it anymore. Once in a great while Lancelot will tell me about something, usually dealing with our new niece or with a close friend, and I’ll go out there just to see that single thing. But that’s it.

I’ve realized that this has freed up a remarkable about of time for other things. Like knitting. Like watching shows I enjoy. Like talking to my husband.

I am still posting photos on Instagram, and I keep up with a few people that way. But I’ve decided that I’d really rather talk to the people I care about and spend less time just randomly on the internet.

The one real downside to that is I’m spending less time with my personal laptop turned on and so less time reading blogs, and less time writing here. These are trade-offs I supposed.

I feel like an update is in order, so here goes…

I am still knitting and making progress, which is good. We’ve been working on trying new recipes and it’s been more like once a week as opposed to every other week. And I’m still working on various Lego kits that continue to arrive. I think today I’m going to make some tulips and sunflowers. The next “big” kit is a typewriter.

One of our favorite meals for Meatless Monday is Tofu and Black Bean nachos

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.

don’t spend time looking in the rearview mirror, that’s not where you’re going, look to your future instead

I’m feeling it more that the end of the year is fast approaching. While I firmly believe in focusing my energy on the future and only looking to the past for those important “lessons learned,” I don’t think it’s horrible to do a little self-reflection. And the closer it gets to the end of the calendar year the more I feel that tug in my brain to do just that.

I’m intending to do a slightly more formal review of the goals I had set for 2021 and a grand reveal of the ones I’m setting for 2022, but that’s a post for another day. These are more along the lines of life lessons I’ve learned this year.

  1. Not all food prep is the same, and I get bored with a lot of it real fucking quick. I would say that frozen smoothie packs have probably been the most successful, followed closely by keeping hard boiled eggs in the fridge.
  2. Whole Foods has the best produce in our area and it’s totally worth it. Because of this I also learned that I love parsnips.
  3. I really like to cook Indian food, maybe because I really like to eat Indian food.
  4. Supporting small local businesses is a wonderful thing and we should all try to do it more often.
  5. Being happy is VITALLY IMPORTANT.
  6. I can be 45 years old and still be stylish. It’s not only allowed but it’s encouraged.
  7. I still love to read.
  8. It takes a whole village to keep a human happy and healthy, and those people include the “family we choose” and should not be taken for granted. The pandemic has showed me how vital that small group of tight-knit friends really are.
  9. It took being married to three men who were not right for me to realize that Lancelot is indeed right and necessary for my happiness. If that man isn’t my soul mate then I don’t know what that really means. With everything we’ve gone through already I can’t imagine having done this with anyone else by my side.
  10. A tight hug from the right person when you really need it is amazingly restorative. It’s the very best OTC remedy to soothe the soul.

Today I love… starting to set goals for next year, wearing an old scarf with new earrings, going to a glass tonight for the first time in ages, that L is taking over more in the kitchen, and more progress on projects

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.

getting closer

You may remember that I made some goals for myself for 2021, six of them actually. I’ve already achieve two of them and I am now Super Duper Close to achieving a third. That would put me half way to what I see as a successful year, and given that the year is about half way through, I see this as excellent progress.

TA DA!!!

Those are the cabled fingerless mitts for K that I started last January 20th. I finished them on June 21, 2021. I’m very pleased with how they worked up and even more pleased that they’re done. And I was totally right, more than enough yarn left to make the basic beanie pattern I love. They look great and she seems quite pleased.

This is making me very happy because there is now only ONE project left from last year, and only two other projects currently on the needles. One is a feather and fan scarf that’s my “I don’t have to concentrate on this” project and the other is a shawl made with mohair and short rows. Don’t ask; I have no earthly idea what I was thinking, but since I started it I feel compelled to finish it.

Oh so yummy

I am still trying to be more mindful about what I eat and drink, which is another goal. To that end I have discovered that I really like making steel cut oats in the slow cooker. That was this morning’s breakfast and that batch of oats were cooked with mashed banana, salted caramel honey, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. I use half water and half almond milk for the liquid, so 1C of oats and 4C total of liquid is enough for four breakfasts. So easy and so tasty.

There is a whole lot of hurting going on right now, and I wish I could do more to help. I have several friends who are struggling, all with different things, and I know there are a whole lot of other people struggling just as much but who aren’t saying anything. I want y’all to know that it’s totally ok to ask for help when you need it. Even if what you need is someone to say that you matter, your presence is important, you have a place in this world. Because you do.

so there I was, hip deep in chewed on pansies and lilies trying to fit a tarp over a blow up kiddie pool

The yellow Asian lilies are stunning right now

So the title is partially accurate. I planted pansies in the front of the house and the damn bunnies are snacking on them. And there are lilies, right now the beautiful yellow seen above and some that are more of a copper orange color. I think there are white, pink, and red out there somewhere. There’s also a ton of yellow hollyhocks. Thanks to my mom that yard is full of pretty things.

Now that the Evil Robin has left we can actually get out to the yard and we did indeed setup a pool. I told Lancelot that I want a place I can park my hot old ass when it’s hot and hang out with Dog Blossom. So far we’ve only done it once but it was mostly fun.

There’s a flower on my nose!

I took a picture this morning to send to a friend of mine and figured I’d share it here. I’ve reached a point where I really don’t notice it’s there unless I catch the “shiny” out of the corner of my eye. If I smack myself in the nose or catch it on something then I notice it from a physical perspective, but most of the time I don’t. I’m quite pleased that I finally went ahead and did it.

Ilo!

This is my version of the Ilo shawl. I used Trendsetter Yarns Paradigm in the Golden Flowers colorway. I started this on January 16, 2020 and bound off this morning, June 16, 2021. This is my very first all lace shawl and I am stupid proud of it. I’m hoping to be able to block it soon.

You may recall that one of my goals for this year is to successfully finish all of the “legacy” projects that I started last year and didn’t finish. I have two left. I started a pair of cabled mitts for my friend K on January 20, 2020 and the Sunset Lights shawl on November 23, 2020. Maybe I can get the mitts done by June 20? That would be neato, and they are what I’ve designated as next in line.

I am still working on the feather and fan scarf and the Skewed Shawl but they can chill for a bit. The scarf is my “public” knitting right now. At any rate, I feel amazing that I’m making such good progress.

And I’m back to doing Noom, at least almost entirely. I’m not worrying about exercising just yet. I need to get my shit back together and so far just paying attention to what I’m eating/drinking and logging it is helping. The weight I had gained back is starting to go away again. This makes me happy.

I feel this so much

It’s hot here right now, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. I’m not looking forward to going back to working on campus in part because of having to deal with weather. But deal I shall. I’m still working on planning and plotting and figuring out how to make the most of the situation. I think I’m doing well. But I still want to curl up on a blanket with my ginger babes.