We have a bowl on our kitchen counter for produce that doesn't go in the fridge. For a long, long, long time we've had the same bowl there. I like that bowl, however, it has been there for so long that I have become immune to its beauty. Over the weekend, I swapped the old bowl for a new bowl that I got at a pottery sale at Dock 6 Pottery. That little swap has cheered the kitchen up for me. See how I am constantly looking for ways to add color to these gray January days?
I like this little pop of color amidst the grey and white winter ground and sky and the grey and white manufacturing buildings. I see this building and its evolving patchwork, graffiti-covering paint on my walk to and from the train stop.
I like that most nights Paul gets home before I do because, on those nights, he turns the outside light on for me. It makes me feel like I am being greeted with a warm and welcoming home when the lights are glowing from the windows on a cold winter night.
I spent the day making peasant bread, baking Orange Almond Polenta Cake, prepping oatmeal for breakfasts this week, doing laundry, and cleaning. I accomplished everything I needed to so that I can now spend the rest of the night knitting and watching movies. Paul is out of the house watching football with friends, so I am going to watch a chick flick!
As part of Paul's birthday present (from July!) he received a homemade gift certificate for lunch at Everest on Grand and a tour of the Summit Brewery. We spent the first part of the day doing just that. The tour was very informative and inclusive. And, after the tour, they let you drink lots of beer! At 2 in the afternoon! I am a lightweight when it comes to drinking, so I had a few tastes of the offerings and then stuck with my glass of Oatmeal Stout.
We had to keep our wits about us, though, because we needed to go home and prepare for Mike and Sally. The four of us enjoyed a dinner together at our place in honor of Sally's recent birthday. We managed to eat dinner, dessert AND fit in a game of Pass the Pigs and a game of Word Grab.
Plarn = plastic yarn. This crocheted bag is made out of plastic Target shopping bags. We had someone come in a do a little demo during the knitting group today. It is a fun concept, but I think it has really limited practical use. The best thing I can come up with is a bath mat or an entry way rug. Am I missing the appeal? Can you think of awesome uses for plarn?
I got hooked up with a free tooth whitening from my dentist. I am a B2 at the start. I have to be careful so that I don't over whiten and end up with glowing teeth like Ross. (There is knitting in that clip, too!)
Tonight was seaming night for all of the charity knitting blankets at the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. Also, have you seen the lineup for the Guild's Yarnover? Holy smokes! I am excited. Registration is still open, if you want to go.
Now that I have reviewed how I did with my 2009 resolutions, it is time I formally declare the areas I would like to focus on for 2010.
My biggest focus during 2010 is resolving to Settle Down and Settle In.
I have learned over time that I have a serious aversion to letting things get stagnant in my life. I always feels like I have to be working towards some larger goal, be it a degree or a new job or a new place to live. In the past, this aversion has caused me to live while focusing all of my energy on one big goal right after the other. This wouldn't be a bad thing except for sometimes it results in glossing over what I have achieved and not appreciating what is happening rightnow. When I look back over the last 15 or so years of my life, there has always been some BIG things I had my eyes set on, some thing that required immediate sacrifice in order for bigger and better things to occur in the future. Some goal that I would look towards while thinking, "things will be so great when X is accomplished." Well, I think I have finally gotten to the point where I would like to see what it is like to coast for a little while.
Settle Down: Included in this resolution is accepting the things that I cannot change right now. I will consciously refrain from spending my time and energy getting stressed out about the economy, job security, and preparing myself for the many, many what-if scenarios that could occur. In short, I will make efforts to settle down and go with the flow a bit more. To let go of the many, many things that might happen, but that I have no control over. If I can't take any action, I will try to just release it from my worries. Releasing these worries will free up time and energy that I can use towards settling in.
Settle In: I won't make goals towards any major life changes during 2010. I will instead spend my energy enjoying the things in my life that deserve to be recognized and appreciated like my relationships with people, playing with my furry family members, creating things, taking care of myself, gardening, making good food, reading, exploring the area in which I live, etc. I will allow myself to be what I would have formerly called "stagnant" this year and I will see how it feels.
The caveat: I am planning on opening an Etsy store this year. Opening an Etsy store is a goal that will challenge me, but I feel like it is not a goal that is at odds with my resolution to Settle Down and Settle In. I have been thinking through my motivation for opening the store and what it would both take from me and provide for me. The conclusion I reached is that it would be a fun way to expand upon what I enjoy doing already: creating things and sharing them with others.
So, there you have it. My resolutions this year are not easily measured, but rather, they provide me with a mindset I will strive to adopt this year.
In 2009, I made the following resolutions: 1. To Knit 2. To Learn 3. To Be
Here is a link to the full explanation of my 2009 resolutions.
So, how did I do? Truth time.
1. My explanation of the resolution To Knit, included designing and knitting a cabled blanket. This part of the resolution did not happen for a very good reason. Shortly after I made the resolution, I had a resurgence of moth issues in my stash. With all of that work to battle the moths, the last thing I wanted to do was knit this huge, woolen labor of love and then have it get attacked by moths. I eventually did challenge myself when I made Oblique and I used the yarn that I wanted to use for the blanket. And, I definitely knitted a lot in 2009. So, even though the resolution didn't work out exactly as I had originally envisioned, I don't feel like I missed out.
2. To Learn was explained in terms of technology. I tasked myself with learning how to be independently capable of operating our computer/TV, watching a DVD, burning/ripping CDs, managing my music files and processing photos. I'd say I kicked ass on this resolution. And, I barely needed Paul's help to do it! It helps that he hasn't made any major changes to our set-up in a while. I can now rip, burn, compile and backup our music. I now know how to power cycle our wireless internet and can troubleshoot problems with our entertainment system, wireless internet and laptop. I now back-up photos on a regular basis and can make adjustments in photoshop without my shortcuts/macro keys. I even took a photo workshop class that was fun AND taught me more photo processing skills. Yay!
3. To Be was a more vague resolution, but a very necessary one considering how mired I was in job searching and the challenges of settling into life in a new/old city. This resolution involved being mindful of my needs and my choices this year in regards to nutrition, exercise and stress.
Let's break this third resolution down further: NUTRITION: Damn, I like sweets! I like to bake. I like to finish off a meal with something sweet. So, sugar is still a part of my diet. Maybe it is a little more limited than before. Maybe not. It probably depends on the week. As far as other nutritional considerations, I feel like I eat a pretty balanced vegetarian diet, with a majority of my meals being homemade. I still have the occasional pre-packaged meal when circumstances warrant it. I have been totally dedicated to taking my vitamins and supplements throughout 2009 and feel like they have really helped me fight off most of the bugs my co-workers pass around.
EXERCISE: I learned something valuable about myself through this resolution. I learned that I will stick with exercise that is fun. That I will likely practice avoidance if I do not get enjoyment from exercise. Part of what makes exercise fun for me is variety. This year I took a bunch of classes from Minneapolis Community Education, including African Dance, Belly Dance, Hoop Dance, Cardio Kickboxing and Toning Aerobics. Through my new gym, I take Zumba and Bosu Ball classes. I also tried my hand at the Couch to 5K, but by week 7 it started to get cold and I started to find it to be VERY repetitive and slightly torturous. Luckily, through my new job, I was able to join a gym that allows me to fit in the occasional lunch break workout and go to the gym straight from work. Hopefully I have set myself up for keeping the momentum going through 2010.
STRESS: The past year has brought some stress in relation to both good and bad things. Let's talk about the good. I have a job! Hooray! Also, we bought a house! I feel proud of how well I handled the stress of all of the life changes Paul and I encountered in 2009 and proud that we have accomplished some really major goals. Of course, not everything is perfect. Overall we are very fortunate and I have chosen to recognize that as often as possible, which has really helped with managing stress and keeping a healthy perspective throughout the year.
As has been the case in past years, my resolutions really helped me direct my energy and stay on track towards my goals. I am definitely on board for making more resolutions in 2010. Tune in tomorrow to find out about my 2010 resolutions.
As is the case with many knitters, I have accumulated quite the backlog of partial skeins of yarn. I recently sorted these leftovers into colors and have started working on a blanket for our couch. I am calling this the Bit by Bit Blanket because it will use up my extra bits of yarn and because the only way I plan to work on it is bit by bit.
I recently drove past a store that caught my eye. I made a mental note to go back and check it out sometime because I was on my way elsewhere and didn't have the time to pull over. Missy recently reminded me of the store and suggested that I might find buttons for my vest there. I went there yesterday. Holy cow! I am completely in love with Hunt & Gather. This store is filled with my favorite aesthetics. So, so, so much chipping paint, rusty metal and aged wood is to be found in this store. I had an awesome time browsing the booths and came away with the buttons I had been looking for and a few other treasures. And, next time I go, I am bringing Paul so we can pick out some things for our house.
My Olivine vest is done and blocked and is just waiting for buttons. I plan to go button shopping ASAP (this weekend?), because I am eager to wear the vest. I expect that it is going to be warm and snuggly soft in the same way that my Malabrigo sweater is. Malabrigo is an amazing yarn.
Missy and I went to Anodyne tonight to knit with a knitting group. It must have been a bad week for the group because no one from the group showed up. It was great that Missy and I had gone together so we could keep each other company. We had a good time catching up on the recent goings on and we both got a chance to knit on the Community Knit scarf. Today is the two week anniversary of Missy becoming a knitter. She has taken to it quite quickly, as she is nearly finished with 2 scarves and has the yarn for her next project already. I think it is safe to say she is a born knitter.
I am not sure if this was the case for you, but in my circle, it seems like this past week was a really rough one. I think part of it is that a lot of people that I know are dealing with death, illnesses, lay-offs, money issues and other big stresses. When you combine that with cold weather, short days and the post-holidays doldrums, you get a pretty unhappy result. Nothing bad has happened to me directly, in fact, we got the good news that our little dog Jack does not have cancer and is back to his usual activities (hooray!), but I have been taking on a bit of the stress and sadness that many of my loved ones are experiencing.
Project 365: Day 281 January 9, 2010
I had plans for this weekend, but what ended up happening was that shortly after I got up on Saturday morning, I was putting away laundry, washing dishes and taking care of miscellaneous to-do list items. Before long, I found myself back in bed, with dogs warming my legs, trashy TV on and knitting in hand. And, that was how I stayed for pretty much the entire day. It was blissful. I wore my pajamas all day, Paul cooked me food, I got a ton of knitting done and I got the time I needed to retreat from the world, from worrying, from talking, from thinking and from participating. I didn't know that was what I needed until I got it.
Project 365: Day 282 January 10, 2010
On Sunday, I had to do a bit of making up for my day of being checked out of the world. I had to run errands, prep some food for the week and get some other things done. While I was out in the world, I had my eyes peeled for something interesting to photograph. Let me tell you, the city is really cold and covered in snow. People are not really out in the world except for to get from here to there. Everything is covered in a few feet of snow and what isn't covered in snow is likely covered in ice. No wonder I am so content staying at home these days! 'Tis the season to hibernate.
Jamie is a curler, as in she spends time on the ice with a broom and a stone. For Christmas she desired a hat to wear for curling games. When we were at Rhinebeck, she chose this yarn, I bought it and promised to knit her a hat for her Christmas present.
The yarn is Creatively DyedWoodbrook yarn in the color Dan. In the skein it looked very speckled. I was pleasantly surprised when that quality of the dying was distributed over the knitted fabric. It served to break-up any potential pooling and spread the colors of the skein out nicely over the stitch pattern.
The hat pattern is the Groovy Cable Tuque from The Loop Craft Cafe. Because I had plenty of yardage, I also knit up a cowl in the same stitch pattern.
This red is hard to photograph. It is a very pure red, semi-solid yarn, not the nearly glowing, electric red that it looks like in these photos. The yarn and pattern combination resulted in a really crisp looking fabric. The pattern was fun to knit although a bit tedious at times with the twisted stitch ribbing. But, I think it will be durable as a fingerless mitten with the twisted stitches preserving the elasticity of the ribbing after many time of being taken on and off the hands.
I am very glad that I finally got around to felting my mittens. They'll get a full post later, but in this stretch of cold, cold days, I thought they deserved a little shout out. In conjunction with my liner mittens, they have been keeping my hands warm in the sub-zero weather.
I usually think that us opening our Christmas gifts is a gift to Fanny because she then gets to play in the paper and boxes. But, this year she also got a new toy just for her.
This toy started out as a scarf based on the Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf pattern. Somehow a little bit into it, I decided that I wasn't going to like the result as a scarf, so I bound off and turned it into a cat toy. I made each end a little differently to see which appealed to her more.
When setting it down to take a photo, Fanny wasted no time coming to check it out.
I wonder how many other cats have toys made of fancy yarn?
Jack had his surgery today. Turns out that he didn't just have to have the growth removed, he also had to have a tooth extracted. One of his pre-molars had broken at the gum line and needed to be removed. This was a surprise to us. We had no idea he had broken his tooth! And, as long as he was knocked out and getting dental work done, we went ahead and had his teeth scaled, too.
He had a rough day. And, now he has to wear the cone of shame for 10 long days. If you are a dog person who has not seen the movie Up, I highly recommend seeing it. If only to be amused by how great the dogs are in that movie. The cone of shame is a term used in the movie. Here is a clip:
As soon as we eat dinner, I plan to spend the rest of the evening knitting and hanging out with him on the coveted cuddle (our bed). He deserves some snuggle time after the day he has had. We hope to hear (good news) back soon from the pathologist on Jack's biopsy.
3-Color Basket Weave stitch pattern from the Treasury
2-Color Twisted Ladder stitch pattern from the Treasury
I really enjoyed exploring new stitch patterns from the Treasury book and resulting cute little gift bundles.
I highly recommend this yarn. I was a little concerned about how it would perform as a dishcloth considering that the fiber content is 25% acrylic. The acrylic did not prevent the cloth from absorbing water and, in fact, I think it performs much better than the mercerized cotton I have used on some dishcloths in the past. A great bonus with this yarn is knowing that the 75% cotton content comes from textile waste from the garment industry. Additionally, the colors are beautiful and the dye didn't bleeding when I used the dishcloth. If you are willing to spend a little more on your dishcloth yarn than the usual Peaches and Cream prices, this yarn would be a great option.
I'd call myself a maker. More specifically: a knitter, an urban gardener, a food preserver, a cook, a baker, a reader, an aspiring photographer, a budding sewist and an all-around dabbler.
I enjoy using this space to record the things I see, make, eat, and do. My aim is to capture and share with you much of what floats my boat. Chances are you are here because it floats your boat, too!
My husband and co-conspirator on the much linked to Mega Man hat. He is the house expert when it comes to all things with electrical cords/chargers and/or anything that requires configuring. When I first met Paul he was a smoker and a vegetarian. Now he is a non-smoker who enjoys making smoked meat in his BBQ. Paul recently dove headfirst into brewing beer and is quickly acquiring mad brewing skills. If you are really lucky, he will invite you to one of his Meat Meet Supper Club dinners or Beer Release parties.
Cast of Characters: Tchazo
Tchazo, our Weimaraner, was born 3 days before Paul and I had our first date. During our second date, Paul and I egged each other on about getting dogs. Eight weeks later, Tchazo became a part of our lives! At first I thought he was kind of a jerk because he kept punching me in the face (Tchazo, not Paul!) when I tried to be alpha dog. It turns he is a wonderful dog and puppies in general are cute jerks. Tchazo loves life, especially the parts that include eating, smelling, sunbathing, playing and cuddling on the bed. Also, he is smart and, if you come over, he will likely trick you into scratching his butt.
Cast of Characters: Fanny
Fanny is the most recent addition to our family, joining us in 2008. When we met Fanny at a shelter in Boston, we thought she was a small, adult cat. We were wrong. She must have been less than a year old, because when we brought her home and fed her, she kept getting bigger and bigger and fluffier and fluffier. The shelter named her Faneuil after Faneuil Hall, but we changed her name to Fanny. We think it makes for a lot of entertaining variations. I imagine some searchers who end up at my blog are not getting what they hoped for, given what “fanny” is slang for in a few countries. Our Fanny is a polydactyl cat with a fused or “super” claw. She has taught me that it is possible for cats to cackle, which you would be likely to hear if she spots a squirrel while you are here!
Cast of Characters: Jack
I adopted Jack at about the same time Paul bought Tchazo (see previous note about egging each other on), but since Tchazo was young and needed to stay with his mom for a few more weeks, Jack came into our house first. For a while, he HATED Tchazo but they eventually became 24-7 buddies. After nearly 11 years together, we had to put Jack down in May of 2013. Jack was a little crazy in the head, but we learned how to live with it. His favorite things included licking the floor, lying under the couch and gazing at me longingly. Jack was physically incapable of wagging his tail whilst being petted. I like to think it is because he was soaking up the love so intensely that it required his full concentration.