Thursday, December 29, 2011

Potraits of a Coffee Mug Collection

My favorite coffee mug, a gift from my sister

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Library Loot

I'm always lurking on this fabulous blog about books and reading, but this is my first time actually posting with a topic, or maybe my second. I don't remember. But one of my goals for 2012 is to actually meet a reading goal I have set for myself, and I think this will help me.

I checked out a few books from the library last week and plan to have a marathon reading session today. I have D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton. I wanted the B book in the series, but alas, my library didn't have it. I also got Promises, Promises by Erica James thinking it would be a great read for a lazy day at home, like today.

I forgot to get the next Hillerman mystery and I couldn't find a couple others I wanted. Better luck next week, I hope.

Yarn and Knitting and All That Good Stuff

We just moved in with my grandmother, who is not a knitter but an avid sewer, quilter, and baker. I love the conversations we've been having about her history of sewing and her inspirations and ideas for new projects. I'm really motivated to keep knitting and take it to the next level with more interesting and complex projects and patterns.

When we moved, my stash had no home. Honestly, my stash has always been homeless, living in plastic bags in a pile in the corner. Shameful, I know. My grandmother gave us the loveliest antique cabinet. (I'll post a pic later) that is perfect for my stash. I moved it all in yesterday and was so pleased. There is plenty of room for the skeins to stretch out and breather, yet lots more room to welcome new additions as well. Yay! When I was showing dh all the unpacking I did yesterday, I also gave him a glance into the stash, and he said, "Oh, this is what you really wanted to show me, isn't it?" Ha ha! I guess he could tell how ridiculously happy I was to have found a permanent home for my beloved yarn.

I have a couple projects on the needles right now, but sorting through my stash, I discovered a couple more unfinished WIP. Two comfort scarves are patiently waiting to be completed and donated to Handmade Especially For You, a charity that provides knitted scarves to abused women. I was more diligent in this project earlier last year, and I hope to keep going in 2012. I have a goal set to donate three scarves a month. This seems like a small number, and if I pass it then that's great, but if I set it too high, well, you know how it goes. I don't want to get overwhelmed. So three is the magic number for now.

I am still trying to finish my double-knit potholders for myself. I truly need these since I have no potholders right now and keep burning my hands when I try to remove incredibly hot pans from the convection oven with doubled up napkins. Not good. My goal is to finish these by the end of the year. I think it can be done.

I am still working on the capelet for my grandmother, although it's looking more like a cowl. I keep learning the same lesson: if you don't use the yarn the pattern recommends, the finished product will not look like the picture. Hence the capelet knit in wool is tighter than the capelet knit with eyelash yarn, which the pattern required. Ah, well. A cowl is nice, too.

My youngest son has requested a pair of arm warmers. I have some great patterns for a stole and a hood that I can't wait to cast on. I need yarn. I'm thinking it's time to start buying some fancy yarn instead of what I usually buy, stop being so conservative. My mind is full of knitted bags, mug warmers, and scarves with pockets. Sigh. Feels like a great year for knitting is ahead.

I think my grandmother is my muse.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So This Was My Day

Today was a day for getting things done. I don't like to do housework when my dh is home because I feel that is time best spent together, family time. So I had a list in my mind of things I wanted to take care of around the house. For instance, dishes.

Washing dishes is not what it once was. I no longer have a dishwasher so everything must be hand washed and I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. On the one hand, it gives me a chance to clear my mind and focus on the task at hand, some quiet time to sort through my thoughts. But, it also makes my hands incredibly pruny and then incredibly dry. Dry hands are not good for knitting. Yarn snags on dry skin and I end up with little bits of fuzz stuck to the ends of my fingers and cuticles. Yes, I know, the easy solution is to wear gloves or put lotion on. I know. I just haven't gotten any gloves because I always forget when I'm at the store. Also, I have this lotion in my purse that smells amazing, and I really don't mind putting it on, when I think about it. Mostly though, I pick yarn off my fingertips and shake my head.

Another task accomplished today was the installation of my homeschool shelves into their designated space. Then I was able to unpack and organize a lot of my supplies, with an aim of getting thoroughly set up before winter break is over in another week. I was pleased with the way things are located in the house. Whatever is not essential is not in the living space. Having storage space is definitely a luxury we didn't have before.

I also went to a doctor's appointment, or so I thought. Turns out it was just the processing appointment. You don't get to see a doctor the first time, tricked you! But I guess that was good since the person I met with turned out to be a real jackass. He kept emphasizing how I needed to go back to school and finish my degree. Really?! Look, mutha*, I'm 30-awesome years old and so far have encountered nothing that made me regret having a family and not finishing school. I think he didn't realize my age. I look young and usually that works in my favor, except in the instance of the occasional jackass. Like this one.

I watched another documentary about the fashion world, "Picture Me", about Sara Ziff. I'm fascinated with these behind-the-runway glimpses of fashion. Modeling was never in my plan. My sister was the pretty one. (I was the pretty funny one, ha!) But I have always enjoyed reading fashion magazines and even now I never miss an issue of InStyle. "Picture Me" was a great look at Sara's career and choices, with input from other models. I think it's interesting how she chose to...at the end, but you have to watch it for yourself! Check it out. Netflix Instant. I've decided to pay more attention to the way I walk. :)

Speaking of walking, no, I didn't run today. Back at it tomorrow I think.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post-pourri

Well, the end of the year is drawing near and I have made some goals for the next year. I really can't remember what my goals were for 2011, but since this has been one of the crappiest years of my life, I have decided I'm happy just to have gotten through it.

So, looking to next year, these are the topics on my mind.
  • Weight loss - isn't this always on the list? I need to drop at least 20 pounds.
  • Consistent exercise - I love running through my neighborhood and I want to set a mileage goal per week to keep me going. I'm thinking of trying some yoga, too.
  • Getting my Etsy shop going - seriously, I think my knitting is going to the next level and I would love to make a living off of it.
  • Hitting all the marks for homeschool - this means getting organized and staying that way
  • Managing my depression - so tricky, this one, but it can be done.
I just went on a 30 minute run through the neighborhood, to include a quick loop through the cemetery, and I feel great. My legs feel sore since I ran most of the time, but it's totally worth it. I can feel the extra weight I've put on and it's pretty gross.

This week I'm hoping to get everything put away in the new house and also get a handle on some kind of cleaning routine. What would be great is to get up early and squeeze in a run before the kids get up. We'll see. I haven't been running since the weather turned cooler and the short-shorts I run in weren't ideal. The new pants I got today were awe-some! I've never considered myself the athletic type, but more and more I see how my personality tends that way if I let it. I was in Lady Foot Locker at the mall today and could easily spend hundreds of dollars on everything I saw that I wanted. That's a good thing, I think.

Oh, I did think of a reading goal, too. There is a list of books recommended by Stephen King and I was amazed to see a handful of my favorites on there. I have decided to work my way through the list. I'm thinking if he chose so many I agree are wonderful, the others are probably great, too. I'll try it. Also, my dad is so pleased I've been reading Hillerman that I want to keep that up. I love discussing books with him, with anyone! Maybe I should find a reading group. Hm.

Thank you, faithful readers, for checking in. My hope is that next year I will be more diligent in writing on this blog and keep my life interesting enough that other people want to read about it. Hm.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Short List

Here I am, on my own in the new house for the first time in weeks. Sometimes I forget how much I need solitude and time for myself in a quiet place. The library here is amazing and I can't wait to establish a regular presence there. My Saturday runs would be a great prelude to an afternoon in the stacks, knitting or reading. Ah, yes. Good times await.

Here is a list of things I have been doing lately.

  • Homeschool - I've really stayed on my game this month and we've gotten a lot of math done. I can see the kids are really getting it. Practice makes perfect. I gave them each a science project to work on and they've been doing great with that, too. I feel good about this meeting coming up. I just need to make sure I give myself enough time to write the learning logs. Boo.
  • I colored my hair black cherry. Really. I've had the itch to color my hair for a long time, and I finally did it. I love it. My hair looks almost purple and my DH said I look like a fairy. Love it! Of course, I had dyer's remorse a couple hours after I did it, when it looked so dark and black, but by morning I was resigned to it and actually smiled at myself when I looked in the mirror. Yep. I love it.
  • The new house is being slowly decorated and put together, mostly by me. I don't mind. For once in my life I am enjoying seeing my home come together. I am driven by the desire to make it my own. I put a Klimt poster on the wall and a coffepot clock in the kitchen. This place is feeling like home more and more.
  • My health class has been very helpful. I am able to spot mood shifts from farther off and combat the negativity with positivity. "I give birth to the light in me." I know it sounds corny, maybe, but to me it means that I'm no longer depending on another person to get me through, to turn the light on inside of me. I am turning the light on for myself.
  • I started reading Beach Music by Pat Conroy. This book was given to me and it's a big, fat read. I am really enjoying it so far. I love Pat Conroy novels, so it's almost a no-brainer. I can't wait to load up my Kindle though. And there's a movie for all the Janet Evanovitch Stephanie Plum mysteries, yes! And The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie! And the new Sherlock Holmes movie! Lots of good stuff coming out.
I miss writing. I don't have much time for myself. I need to remember to carve that time out and protect it. One big bonus about living here is that the kids can play outside unsupervised. They've already made friends with other kids on the block and spent almost all of Sunday outdoors. I need to remember to take advantage of that!

***I forgot to add that I've started running! How could I forget that? There is a wonderful area to run through my neighborhood, up to the cemetary and back again is about four miles. I love it. The fresh air and the exertion are blissfully intoxicating. I love the freedom of being spontaneous and running out the door and back again. I just need to get up early enough to do it during the week now. I joined a challenge on DailyMile to run 25 miles by December 25th. I think I can make it. So far I've done about 8 miles.

I also checked my reading challenge to myself to read 100 books this year. I don't think I'm going to make it! I think I will give myself until my birthday to reach that goal!