Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year

Another year is ending.  A new year is beginning.  Many people take this time to look back over the past year, and look ahead to the coming year.  I am no different - except I'm probably looking back a little farther than just the past year.  The past two years have been really rough - those of you who know me personally know that.  I went from having a great job, or at least a good one, one that I liked to having no job, to having one that is far from perfect.   I went from being in the best shape of my life to the worst.  I went from being pregnant to having the most beautiful little girl who is a joy and a pleasure to watch and listen to and love.  I went from never being sick to being sick constantly.

I had my fair share of trouble the past couple of years, and now I have some health issues that are beginning.  I've been on anti-depressants, gained weight, and now have blood pressure medicine that I'm taking.  This is less to complain, and more to explain where I want to go.  In order to know where you're headed, you have to know where you've been.  So, now you know where I am, so my goals will make more sense.

I don't really do New Year's Resolutions, more goals.  Sometimes I start them in the middle of the year, or month, or just on a Monday.  Have you thought about goals?  Do you want to get healthier, explore a new location, or learn a new skill?  I'd like to do 2 of those - the get healthier and the learn a new skill.  I want to get off all my medications, which really should only take some diet and exercise. I also want to learn to spin on my new wheel.

I want to grow a great garden and cook and bake more at home.  I think it's healthier than anything you can buy.  I want to use what I have, and spend more time with my kids.  I want to clean up our house and yard, and build a playhouse for our kids.  

There is a lot I want to accomplish this year.  Getting a new job is also on my list, but I have less control over that one.  I have been close this past year, and got passed over for internal referrals.  It happens.  So, instead of trying to improve my career, I'm going to improve my life.  What about you?  Any plans for this new year?  It's a blank page, ready for you to write the next chapter.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Catch-up

I didn't get to post pictures of the last few presents before Christmas, but I did take pictures before wrapping them.

Here's the Mallory for my husband's aunt.  I used 2 colors of Vintage, and striped it.  It turned out really well.

These socks were for my FIL.  He really liked them - knowing they'd be warm.  I based them on the Yarn Harlot's Sock recipe.  Little Man picked out the color.

These were the same, just bigger.  Little Man once again picked out the color, but these went to my brother.

I did the same for my husband in black.  I had been promising him socks for a couple of years, and finally just did it.  All of these were out of Classic Wool DK from Paton's.  I made them on size US 6, which in retrospect probably wasn't the best of ideas, but they will work.  I probably should have gone down a needle size or two, but I had the 6's and since that's the recommended needle size, I just went with it.

Now, that was all the gifts given.  Now for the gifts received.  I got a bag full of Cascade Eco +, that I forgot to take a picture of, but it's a fuchsia color.  I love it.  I'll post a picture of that later.  For the other stuff:

My brother gave me a lovely tea pot.  I have a feeling this will be one of a few.  I love it.

This is my favorite.  My husband, in all his wonderfulness, found an antique wheel.  It's a saxony wheel, and I get to learn how to spin on it.  I have to figure out how it works, but I have it, and it's mine.

In my limited knowledge, here's the flyer.  It still has bits of fiber in it from previous use.  I love that.

Here's the wheel itself, and our current make-shift drive band.

I'm still not sure what this piece is, but it looks like a lovely feather.  I think this is the draft hole, where the fiber feeds to spin.  I'll have to do some more research, unless one of you lovely readers can tell me.

And last, but not least, is the treadle.  There are a few issues, like woodworm holes, but I think that adds character.  They're not active, and there's not many of them.  To me, there's just enough to make it endearing.

There was more.  Oh, so much more.  He bought me yarn.  Above, is some Jo Sharp Rare Comfort in Pine.  It's a dark grey-green color, and I have 2 skeins.  Below, is more Jo Sharp, 5 skeins, in Earl Grey.  He unknowingly continued the tea theme.

This is the same, in a lovely ice blue color.  There are 4 skeins of this.  Can't you just see this in a GORGEOUS shawl?

He also bought me 10 skeins of Adrienne Vittadini Veronica, in a medium grey color.  It's an eyelash yarn, and I'm already planning some fun stuff with it.  I can make several of these, maybe a couple of these, and maybe one of these.

This was the pièce de résistance - lovely hand-dyed chenille DK weight yarn from Kindred Spirits.

There is between 450 and 485 yards per skein.  I'm already imagining an Effortless Cardigan in this.  It's lovely and soft, and hand dyed.  It needs a plain pattern to let the yarn shine through.  It's grey and purple and pink, all in muted dark tones.  It's beautiful.  Didn't he do good?

I also won a contest from Luvinthemommyhood.  I got some Birch Organic fabric in Set Sail and the Flag Day pattern from Lunden Designs.  Little Man will LOVE the resulting quilt.  I haven't decided yet if I want to add more fabric to it to make it a twin size quilt, or make it as is (crib quilt) for him, and then still make him a twin quilt as planned in the Sarah Jane fabric of Out to Sea.  Realize this was ultra exciting for me as I never win anything.  Okay, rarely do I win.  I've won 3 things in my life - once in 4th or 5th grade, when Coca-Cola had those pop-up cans with prizes, I won $5, which was stolen.  Then, at an office Christmas party 3 years ago, I won a Flip Video.  And now this.  I just don't win stuff.  But this was awesome, and all of it arrived in time for Christmas.  This is an awfully long post - don't hold it against me.  I've been so busy with Christmas, and I haven't had a chance to blog much, so I guess I'm making up for it. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Christmas Ever

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I know I did - we had people a LOT over the 2 days (Monday and yesterday).  And the presents: mostly for the kids, and boy did they enjoy them.  Princess got a kitchen and jewelry and shoes (both play and useful shoes).  Little Man got Legos and science stuff and Mommy finally finished his star sweater.

All the Christmas gifts were well received - loved by all.  That was wonderful.  We had the old fashioned stockings for all our visitors, which included homemade apple butter and pumpkin butter.  I got a call this morning from one of the recipients saying he ate half the jar of apple butter this morning with some Whole Foods bread.

Then came my presents.  Can I tell you wonderful my husband is?  He not only bought me yarn (and a whole box of it) but he created a Ravelry account (dbrown73 - go say hi!) and researched antique spinning wheels for me, but HE BOUGHT ME ONE.  Yes, I got a BEAUTIFUL antique spinning wheel, that works and is mostly complete (the drive band is missing, like most, but easily replaced).  He really researched, asked around, checked out different models, learned about the parts, and then bought one.  The one he purchased was beautiful.  Sure, it might have some woodworm holes in it, and it's old (hence the ANTIQUE part), but it's beautiful.  I think her name is Betty, and I haven't tried her out yet, but I will.  Oh boy, will I ever.  I will definitely post pictures soon.  Here's what it kind of looks like:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Most of you know that I stick mainly to craft-related posts, but I feel the need to write something unrelated this morning.  In light of events that transpired on Friday, I know I cannot say any words that others have not put more eloquently, heal hearts more rapidly, or change anyone's perspective.  However, Friday morning's events weigh heavily on my mind and heart, and here is the best place to release.  This is not about gun control becoming more strict or less strict, or mental illness awareness.  Those are debates for another time and another place, and ones that I would rather have face-to-face than here.  Those are opinions, and everyone is entitled to them, and everyone is entitled to express them.  Again, that is not something I am moved to express at this time.

As a wife, a mother, a sibling, a friend, I cannot pretend to know the grief those in Newtown, Connecticut must be feeling, nor do I honestly want to imagine it.  I know I have experienced loss, and even the loss of a child, but it does not compare to their experience.  This atrocity affects everyone around the world, not because of its geographic location, but for two main reasons.  First and foremost, it attacks our sense of mortality and humanity.  It brings home the reminder that we all perish, and we do not know when.  Secondly, it was an attack, a blatant evil attack, on innocent lives.  This was pure evil attacking pure innocence. That disturbs even the most unshakable.  I grief as a mother, for those who lost their children.  This hits me hardest.  To have your child ripped away in such an unceremonious manner is a burden not many can bear.  The thought that there are Christmas presents that will not be opened in a few days' time, that Christmas pageants will have missing characters, that parents were robbed of the chance to hold their children once more and say "I love you" tears at my heart.  I hope that you, as I do now, am reminded that life is short, and to hug a little tighter, kiss one more time, hold a little longer, and whisper "I love you" a little more often in coming days.

All that said, my thoughts are turned to another Parent who watched His Child die.  He also sent His Son off one morning, and was separated from Him as well.  God sent His Only Child to earth, to live in this mortal coil, and to one day perish.  I am sure that Mary also felt a bittersweet moment when she first held her baby boy.  To love Him so deeply that you feel as though your heart would break from all the love, and to know that you must give Him up to the hands of evil and cruel men one day.  I know that feeling as well (without the cruelty) - but her firstborn was something extra special.  Let us remember God suffered a deep loss, that we might gain.  It does not answer any of our questions, the "why" or the "how,"  but there is One who knows more than we could ever hope to learn.  It does not stop the parent or friend from grieving for their loss.  Grieving is what we should do.  I also pray that God, in His infinite mercy, wisdom, love and justice, is holding all 20 of those children in His arms, cradling them.  And just as He has gathered those children together, He has looked into the face of that evil destroyer, and said "depart from me; I never knew you."  I also pray for all you, that you may remember lessons forgotten, memories buried, and turn to Christ this Christmas season.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stolen Moments

I'm a stealth knitter - I knit whenever I can, whether I'm supposed to or not.  I knit in unusual places, like the bathroom and while sitting in traffic.  I know, that can be dangerous, especially in Atlanta traffic, but I am careful.  I hate wasting good knitting time, and I've learned I can get a few stitches done at a red light, and even more when there's a line of cars at a red light.

Now, I'm stealing knitting time for myself.  I have Christmas knitting left to do, but most nights, before finally going to sleep I steal a little time for myself.  I quietly work on Gemini for me.  I doubt I'll get it done for Christmas, but a row here and row there add up.

I also now have the yarn to make a Mallory cowl for myself.  This one might get done for Christmas.  If I hurry.

I finished another sock, cast on for the match and now I'm about halfway done with it.  I also think I've given up the idea for the kids' quilts for Christmas.  Oh, the quilts are not going to be abandoned, and I still want to work on them.  As a matter of fact, I got the sashing needed for the squares.  But, I'm being sneaky - I'm hoping to have at least the tops done, and show them off while family is here.  Then, perhaps, if she's not COMPLETELY oblivious, my grandmother will offer her sewing machine to me.  It's a lovely 1940's Singer sewing machine, complete with cabinet storage and foot treadle.

I think it's black, or maybe green, and old, and simply wonderful.  There are no bells and whistles on it, and it probably needs to be cleaned, but I think it's adorable.  It makes straight and zigzag stitches, and I think there's a buttonhole foot for it, and not much else.  It's simplicity itself.  And that is what makes it perfect.  No computer screen to die, or microchip that will get fried during a storm, or thrity-thousand moving parts that could break and cost me an arm and a leg to replace.  This machine has seen a lot - two children growing up, night shifts, recitals, at least one war, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren.  This heirloom is one that should stay in the family, and be used lovingly.  I don't know if I'll actually get it or not, but it's nice to hope that I will.  I'm not the only granddaughter, nor am I the favorite.  I'm okay with that - I've known that for the majority of my life, and have accepted it.  But, I am the one who does more crafting and I even finished one of my grandmother's projects.  She had started a crewel project ages ago, and I finished it sometime in high school I believe.  It was a simple embroidery floral pattern, as a wall hanging.  It's probably in storage somewhere, and I may drag it out if I can find it and hang it up somewhere.  Maybe in Princess's room.  But, in the meantime, I'm going to hope that I get this machine, and I can finish my quilts on it.  I possibly could finish them on my machine, but the problem is that the feeddogs don't work as well as they should.  Something's wrong with them, and that's affected the tension.  I make it work, but I don't know how it'd work with the 3 layers of a quilt.  I guess we'll see when I get there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


There's been good news and bad news around here.  The good news is that I've been busy on Christmas.  The bad news is that I haven't made nearly as much progress as I had hoped, and I haven't had as much time to blog.

On the good news front, last weekend we went to my family Christmas party.  We haven't been in 3-4 years, so it was nice to see all who showed up (not everyone did, which is normal).  They changed it from a Sunday in December to a Saturday in December, which makes recovery for us a little easier.  However, since Hubby let his license expire (he thought he had to renew next year), this meant my 7 hours of potential knitting time was cut to 0.  I drove THE. WHOLE. WAY.  The drive itself wasn't that bad, but with 2 small children in the car and a grumpy hubby, it made for a less than pleasant trip.  I should clarify, lest you think he was angry about something in particular, that his grumpiness was somewhat understandable.  He had a headache, the sun was blaring down on him the whole way there (exacerbating his headache), and he couldn't drive.  He happens to enjoy driving, to an extent, and to be unable to drive, not unwilling, changes things.  It's like anything else - the one thing you CAN'T do is the one thing you WANT to do.  After some ibuprofen and a little nap, he was in better spirits.

Quilting is proving more math than I anticipated.  Also, a little slower than I had hoped.  My original vision for Princess's quilt has changed slightly, and requires more funds for more fabric.  In the meantime, I hope to start on Little Man's quilt, but I sort of need his opinion.  I could do it on my own, and I'm sure he'd be fine with it, BUT...he's at an age where he wants to be involved.  I'd rather keep him in the loop than not and have him interested (potentially for longer than normal) than just do it without him.  It sounds like a lot of hassle, but with this kid, you pick your battles.  He's a highly independent and strong willed (read: STUBBORN as the day is long - a summer day, that is), which has a good and bad side to it.  Learning to pick your battles with him, as with anyone, is key.  He also enjoys Mommy-time, and who am I to refuse my child that enjoyment?  There will come a time when he wants virtually nothing to do with me (except when he needs money or car keys), so I'm relishing what time I can get now.  Besides, working with him is a lot of fun.  He has a very creative imagination and can carry on wonderful conversations.  He asks lots of questions, and he enjoys talking to me.   I enjoy it too.

I haven't taken any pictures recently, so nothing really new to show you, but I will share this lovely one with you I took a few weeks ago:

You can't ask for a better picture, now can you? :)