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While I have completed one project, the Pemberley Cowl and Gloves set, I have not yet photographed them for posting, so you’ll have to be contented with me blathering on about another project I’ve had going on.

What you, my readers, might not know about me, is that a long time ago, I used to paint, and not too badly at it either, if I do say so myself. Oh I was no Monet or Da Vinci, but my paintings also didn’t look like a toddler could have done better either. When I married my ex-husband, like many of the other things I was passionate about, I gave it up, and replaced most of things I liked to do in this world with Him. When I left him, I thought I had healed from that loss of my creativity, I thought I had mourned the fact that I had sold parts of myself out just because someone else wanted me to. I thought I had regained all that back and moved on. I was wrong.

Last month I could feel things welling up inside of me, and writing in my journal and talking to a counselor (yes, I’m seeing one) wasn’t cutting it. There was stuff inside me that was trying to get OUT, and the only thing I could think of was somehow doing it artistically. But I didn’t know how. It had literally been almost 10 years since I had held a brush or worked with paint, and I was officially stuck. That very day, I was on Facebook, and this lovely lady I follow, Goddess Leonie is her name, was advertising the start of her Creative Goddess E-course within 24 hours. So I joined up, thinking that at the very least, there would be artistic projects to get me going in the right direction.

I had no idea that the weekly assignments would be so powerful, so moving, so healing. The first week was about JUST PAINTING, just DOING it, finally putting an end to the procrastination, and picking up paint, picking up brushes, or even using your hands, and things from nature, and creating something. So I did.

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I love my picture. I love everything it represents, all the possibility it holds, the energy that I feel coming out of it. I love her expression, I love the colors, and it felt absolutely surreal creating it. It was as if time and space had suddenly transported me back to 2002, back to art class, when I had “skill” with paint and brushes. The muscle memory of mixing colors, painting, filling in the fine detail, and just doing whatever came naturally was suddenly right back there in my hands, guiding me. I didn’t really THINK while I was painting this, it moved through me, and out onto the paper.

The second week was about transformation and releasing the negative built up energy of fear that has been holding me back creatively, and again, I needed that too. This time we had to create a natural sculpture and then destroy it, to release all that negative energy that you pour into it while creating your piece back out into the world, and it is cleansed from your body. I made my arrow, and was quite sad when I saw the finished product, to think that I was going to destroy it.

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But when the time came to go to the river and build a fire, and toss it into the flames, I was ready. I had faced my fears, I had acknowledged them, and I wanted to be free of them. I could feel their presence in my arrow, feel it living inside of it. I tossed it on the fire happily, and sighed a big sigh of relief.

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And this week, it’s about healing. There are things inside me that I need to heal, but I’m also choosing to help a dear friend to heal as well. A relationship she has been in for many years is coming to an end, and unfortunately, she has been subjected to some harsh truths, finding out that the person she thought she was with was not the person she thought she was. I know she poured her heart and soul into the relationship, and to see her so badly burned emotionally by this person makes me physically ill. I just want to HEAL HER. And so that’s what I intend to do this week, heal us both, at least, try to anyways. I am repurposing two small canvases, they are basically duplicates of paintings I already have (it’s a set of 4, basically the same two painting sets in two different sets of frames, I’m keeping one set, and painting over the second), and the first painting that I’m working on is for her.

It’s a woman standing in a river, facing the opposite side, she is nude, and you see her from the back. Her head is back, her arms flung open to receive the healing of the water and the sun and air, and you can’t see the expression on her face, but I’m hoping to make the painting feel as though she is supremely happy right then in that moment. I am not yet sure what my second painting will be of, but I’m sure that synchronicity will work its magic, and the image will come into my head at some point, and when it does, I will paint it. I kept the frames the canvases pop into, and they will go back into those frames when I’m done with the paintings. I’m going to embellish them however, improve them, I don’t like the way they look now.

I am absolutely loving the energy this course is putting back into my life, my soul, and my heart, and I really recommend that you check out her website and see if it’s for you as well. I think sometimes a new experience can be a little intimidating, but I really recommend watching a couple of her You Tube videos and giving some of her stuff a go, I think you would really like it. *insert big grinny smiley face here*

Until later, happy creating, happy knitting, happy everything!

A Plethora of Projects

I know it’s been awhile since I posted, like, a long while. Nearly four months to be exact. And I could sit here and make excuses about how busy I’ve been, or how hard it is to knit with a toddler running around all over the place, but let’s face it, you’ll know I was making excuses, and it’s not very nice to lie, is it? Truth is, I have been busy, but certainly not too busy to post. I’ll own up…I’ve been avoiding you, blog readers. I have been avoiding you.

Almost 3 months ago my relationship ended with my fiance after 3 years together. I will not get into personal details, lord knows you probably don’t really care anyways, and I’d rather not involve more people into our decision than necessary, but the decision is a happy one in a way, and there is no animosity between us. I moved back in with my mother (knitsnpurls on Ravelry) and Andrew stays with us during the week and spends the weekends with his father. I’ve also started working again as a Pharmacy Assistant, and I absolutely love my new employer, they are a pleasure to work for, and I have to say, I really *love* my job now. Even though there have been a great many changes I am fairly happy with how things are right now.

So, let’s talk about knitting now, shall we?

I will not talk in great detail about each project, merely name them and give a brief account of the yarn I used (if I remember. And if I don’t, you can look it up on my Ravelry page. =P)ImageImage

The Treats fingerless mitts were made for my friend Serena and the Circle Socks.ImageImage

 Monkey Socks and Southern Belle Socks.

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Scents of Lavender socks for my friend Serena and a pair of Felted Clogs for myself.

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The Ruslting Leaves Beret (from Coastal Knits) and 1 finished Clandestine sock, and my new skein of Fleece Artist Trail Sock sock yarn. Which… well, I’d like to get my reader (if I have any, that is) to give me some ideas about what to do with that skein of sock yarn. The colors are a little more vibrant than in the picture, but it’s fairly close. As you can see from all of my pictures, I’m pretty “socked-out” right now, so once those Clandestines (the second of which is on the first repeat of the leg as we speak) will hopefully be off the needles by the end of this week, and I don’t plan on doing another pair for a little while. I’m a little confuzzled about what to make with that beautiful yarn though, so I am open to suggestions! Post them in the comments, or send me a Ravelry message.

I’m also hoping to make the pattern from the cover of the Jane Austen Knits magazine, the Theme Scarf it’s called. I’m going to use the leftover laceweight I have from my Snowdrop Shawl, a beautiful white alpaca lace yarn that I think would look beautiful knit up nice and plain like that. I received the magazine for Christmas and I’ve been dying to cast something from there on, but I’m making myself stick to finishing the pair of socks I have on the go already, or the Clandestines could easily fall into the category of “I’ll get to them later” if I let them get put away, and they might never be touched for weeks or months to come.

I have yarn for 2 more projects from Coastal Knits picked out, and so I’m going to use Gloss to make the Sand and Sea Shawlette, a dolphin blue-grey for the body and some left over tan (used for the Gravel Grid socks) for the feather and fan detail on the edging. I’ve got some Classic Wool that my mother gifted to me too to make the Water’s Edge Cardigan, and I intend to have that sweater made by hopefully this early fall. I haven’t knit myself a sweater since I was pregnant, and that one was Hey Teach which I was able to make on the cheap, so it’s high time I make myself something pretty and really worth showing off, which I think that sweater is. The Branching Out Mitts from Coastal Knits is calling my name too, and I have plenty of left over sock yarn in which to make them. The Chawton Mittens from Jane Austen Knits is also on my short list, and so are the Pemberly Slippers, if I ever find a sport weight yarn that I like well enough to make them out of.

So you see, I haven’t been slacking in my knitting, only in my posting. Forgive me? I hope so, because I intend to be better about blogging more often again. So remember, if you have any ideas for my Trail Socks yarn, please comment and help jump start my brain! Happy knitting!

 

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Irate Squirrel Socks, designed by VeryBusyMonkey is a VeryBusyPattern, and for awhile, I just wasn’t feeling them, despite having had them in my queue for quite some time. But they are finally finished, and very soon will be shipped off to their recipient, my best friend, and now fellow knitter – Chelsea!

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The socks were just a bit too small for me, but I knew they would fit her feet. She’s only a size smaller than me (footwear-wise) so I knew it would be perfect! She graciously tried on the first sock when it was complete, and I went to work a month or so later on the second sock. They were made from KnitPicks Palette in Autumn Heather. I’ve learned from previous socks that it doesn’t wear well as sock yarn, but that was only after I had already cast on these babies. She’s been warned about washing them, and wearing them. I fear however, that their life will be short lived.

I’ve also got another project almost finished, Treads Handwarmers for my friend Serena for Christmas are almost complete. I finished the first one yesterday and she tried it on, and again, it fit perfectly. I’ve finished the thumb gusset on the second and I’m halfway through the last few rows of the hand before casting off. After that, all I have left to do is pick up the thumb, and voila! I will have a finished pair.

Which will lead right into my next project of…more handwarmers! This time however, I’m designing a pair for MEN. These will be Neil’s when they are finished. I’ve been getting that designing itch for awhile, and I can’t wait to see how these will turn out. They will be relatively simple, but definitely manly. Charcoal gray and cables…a little add-on if desired… yup! I think it will be a lovely design! Stay tuned!

Apparently, when I really put my mind to it, I can crank out the projects. Enter Bluebells Socks and the Milan Jacket for Andrew!

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The Bluebells socks were made with more of my Rancho Christmas yarn from Mom last year (I still have a couple skeins left I think) and the Milan Jacket was made with Shepherd Classic 100% wool and a few of those cute wooden toggle buttons.

A lot has happened since my last post. The first major thing of course, is that I knit. And I am still knitting too, I’m working on the second Irate Squirrel sock, which will be going to my friend Chelsea for Christmas. And I’d better get really busy on it too, because it’s November 30th, and yeah, Christmas is 25 days away! But the other major thing that happened was that Andrew turned 1!

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He’s a very active, busy little guy at 1 years old. At 10 months old he essentially stopped being a baby and turned into a toddler, and it’s been one heck of a ride ever since. We have to keep the bathroom door closed, locks on the cupboards, and currently, an eye on him around the Christmas tree. He’s an excellent walker and runner, and he can go up the stairs like a pro. He climbs onto the couch and his sister’s bed, and he’s been weaned off the bottle and formula and drinks milk out of a sippy cup. He eats lots of different foods, and he even has a favorite television show which pretty much gets his undivided attention. In fact, he’s watching it right now while I blog!

He got spoiled rotten on his birthday, and Christmas is coming up too. We were careful not to buy the kids a lot for Christmas this year, because the amount of stuff we got last year was ridiculous. Between Morgan’s two families and all the people that wanted to welcome baby Andrew into the world, we could hardly pack the car afterwards. Each child got one big toy from us, and then there a few smaller items, but for the most part, the haul from Santa at our house will be small – mostly because we expect that the haul from elsewhere will NOT be so small. It’s going to be a busy Christmas as usual, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m pretty proud of myself too, by the end of November I had all the shopping done for the immediate family, and even a couple extended family members, the decorations are all up, and the Christmas cards are all done, some just need to be mailed or handed out In person. Decent progress, I think!

If I want to keep up progress however, I’d better be on my way. Socks need knitting, and a certain toddler needs breakfast when his show ends in 5 minutes. Happy knitting!

Probably because instead, I have been chasing after my little guy, and attempting to please him at every cry. This would be one of those things that no one warned me about before I had him. There was lots about not sleeping, and feeling like my body wasn’t my own if I was nursing, but there were no warnings about having no privacy when I go to the bathroom, or about babies being so attached to their one parent that moving more than 10 feet from them would result in a complete and utter breakdown on their part. Seriously people, it would have been nice to know that. =P

But when I do manage to get a moment’s peace, and actually sit back on my nice comfortable sofa and watch him play, I am struck by the changes that I see in him. Just a few months ago he was a small, 6-something pound baby who was completely and utterly dependent on me for everything, from food, to diaper changes to getting around. His only sounds were ones of woe, and his life consisted of eating, pooping, sleeping, a brief period of awake time in which I had no idea what to do with him.

Now, he’s almost 18 pounds, he can feed himself solid food with his hands, and he can feed himself a bottle, though he gets distracted from that easily. He hates to be fed food from a spoon and gets frustrated, and has to be given an object to play with to distract him so I can actually get food past his lips. He crawls, he furniture walks, he stands on his own, and he even takes steps by himself here and there when he feels brave. He cries, he laughs, he yells, he babbles, he says Mama and Dada, and he loves to go outside. He puts everything in his mouth, and even when he doesn’t like it (like dirt and cat food) he is so curious about the sensation and taste that he doesn’t spit it out. He can shake his head no, he knows what the word “no” means, and he can choose to obey it or not. Usually, he chooses not.

And in those moments that I get to myself, I don’t even really get to spend them on myself. Going on the computer or actually watching a television program is right out, he is too easily frustrated by this. Knitting isn’t an option because he grabs at my yarn and pulls it, and puts small knitting notions in his mouth. I can read my books, but I must be careful where I put my bookmark, or it’s his! Cleaning is allowed sometimes, but not at others, though vacuuming is always okay, because he thinks it’s cool. Leaving the room is not allowed either, that is too much like not paying attention to him.

But life is about to get a lot harder for little Andrew, because towards the end of this month I will be taking in a little boy of 3 in for daycare. From just before 1pm to just after 6pm 6 days a week, Andrew’s time with me will be split by little Thomas, who thankfully, is potty trained. I have also decided to take on selling Norwex products, and the timing of my daycare couldn’t be more perfect, as it will leave me time to go host parties at night. If Andrew was the younger child all the time, he would be used to by now not always having his every need tended to right NOW, and he would have learned long ago that sometimes Mommy must walk away and do something else that didn’t involve him, but thanks to Andrew only having his sister here part time, he has quite gotten used to the perks that go along with being the oldest/only child, because that’s what he is for 2 weeks.

Thomas is going to shake things up quite a bit. He is going to teach Andrew more than just how to walk, or play with a dinosaur toy, or the usual things kids teach each other. he will teach him patience, that you have to put others first, how to share, and probably even how to make an awesome farting noise with your armpits. He is going to teach him something that Morgan would have taught him had she been here all the time – he is not always the center of attention. Sure, the lesson is coming a little late, but he’s a baby, and he will adapt to the change after a short time I’m sure. We will both learn a lot of lessons along the way I’m sure, but I think we’ll have a lot of fun too.

So, now that I’ve had my little time to blab, I’ll do what I know you’re waiting for; post some pictures.

Lack of Direction

Do you ever get that feeling sometimes when you wake up and you feel like there is a full day ahead of you, yet you have no idea what to do? I get that feeling pretty often myself, I’m the kind of person who always wants to be doing something, whether it’s being involved with a project around the house, or something new to plan. Yesterday was the first day in a few weeks that I had that feeling. I’d been sick twice, and then Andrew got sick as well, so I had no time or energy to put into projects or big ideas, until yesterday.

I used to sit down about 4 times a year, right around the turn of the seasons and reflect on my year, my goals that I’d set, and any new goals I wanted to achieve within the season and the remainder of the year, but when I got pregnant, I stopped doing that. Yesterday however, I got that familiar itch again, but I just couldn’t focus. Thankfully, Kimberly Wilson of the Tranquility Du Jour blog has quarterly teleclasses that focus on just that, setting goals and intentions and attempting to make yourself accountable for them. This woman is so goal oriented she even sets monthly goals, weekend goals, even weekly goals if she’s especially busy. I just never got into that habit, but I’m trying to take a page out of her book. http://blog.kimberlywilson.com/

For a small fee I downloaded her most recent teleclass ($10 USD) and listened to it yesterday, and took notes on her system first (she uses petals, how cute!) and then I sat down with my journal while Andrew was napping and Morgan was playing outside, and among other things, set my season’s goals and my last-half-of-2011 goals.

Season’s Goals:

1. Sort the storage room and sell off or donate any of the items we no longer want/use.

2. Clean and sort Morgan’s room; get rid of old/broken/unused toys, and organize, organize, organize!

3. Use my Wii Fit everyday – this is to help me build up to one of my year’s goals of developing a daily yoga practice.

4. Meditate after dinner every night for 10-15 minutes, and build from there.

5. Get up at 8am (or earlier) everyday, regardless. Exception: when I am sick, or have been up all night with a sick baby/child. Then I’m free to sleep as much as I need.

Remainder of 2011 Goals:

1. Develop a daily yoga practice.

2. Get more involved with the kids’ education; do some “learning time” with Morgan everyday (like in an activity book, or spending some time helping her with her speech) and in the fall, take Andrew to Strong Start at least once a week.

3. Try to get Andrew in the habit of putting himself to sleep again. If possible also move towards getting him to sleep through the night.

4. Develop a daily meditation practice of at least 20-30 minutes. (Can be split up into smaller chunks of time)

5. Clean and organize the following rooms:

-Morgan’s room

-storage room

-patio space

-living room – rearrange furniture, relocate office space to keep Andrew out, downsize some furniture

-our room? If Andrew starts sleeping through the night, put him in Morgan’s room?  This one is up in the air. It completely depends on whether or not Andrew will start sleeping through the night, and whether or not Morgan’s room can even accommodate his crib.

 

I’m feeling pretty down proud of myself, not only for actually making the time to sit down and set some direction into my life, but also for beginning to follow through on those goals. I got up at 8am this morning, and last night Neil and I cleaned and rearranged the living room, most of the way. We have a little bit more to do, but we have made a huge dent in it. Next on the list will be Morgan’s room, then the storage room and so forth. I’m also about to go and do my Wii fit right now, and a big chunk of that will be yoga. I feel like now I have some direction, and I’m not aimlessly getting up in the morning and moving through the motions, doing whatever feels good at the time.

If you are interested in downloading some of Kimberly’s teleclasses, go to www.kimberlywilson.com and click on “Shop” then “On Demand.” Teleclasses and talks can be found there and you pay via PayPal, and then get the download sent immediately to your inbox. How convenient is that?

Happy goal setting!

Latest obsessions:

1. http://pintrest.com/

Seriously, can’t get enough of it. If you want to see my Pintrest page or follow me, then click on this link: http://pinterest.com/bluedragonfly85/ This is a screenshot of some of my boards, which I just think is pretty.

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2. Art journalling.

Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of my latest journalling pages (most of them are pretty private) so I’ll instead share with you an image from someone else.

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Photo sourced from: http://alteredbyme.blogspot.com/2009/11/art-journaling.html

3. Images of love birds.

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Cause seriously, they’re just darling. Like love birds too? Search them on etsy.com and watch your mind explode with possibilities.

4. Environmentally friendly everything.

Cleaning, clothing, way of living. I’m trying my best to minimize my impact on the planet, including turning off lights and most of my electronics for periods of time during the day. I’m also planning on not buying any new clothing for myself for a long time, and instead try to find pieces at second hand stores. Upcycling is the new recycling don’t you know!

5. Sewing.

For some reason, I have this interest lately in sewing something on a sewing machine. No idea why, or where it came from, but I want to create. I think I smell a trip to my mom’s machine and scrap bag next week…

6. Blue.

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Specifically anything blue and vintage. I am reconnecting with my teenage obsession for romantic, vintage items, and anything dripping in flowers, lace, and that just looks pretty.

Très chic, oui?

Can you believe it? It’s not a sock, a bag, or leg warmer, but an honest-to-goodness actual garment made by yours truly. Okay, yes, this garment is composed of 2 straight panels with cables in the middle that travel in opposite directions, but a garment is still a garment, and I still made it. Behold, the Alicia Tabard, designed by Louisa Harding

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I made it out of Sirdar DK Tweed, and it took just under 6 balls. I was somewhere in between the 2 smallest sizes, which were 33.5” and 38”, the difference of which, I feel is kind of extreme. So, I made the 38” size back, and the 33.5” front, and I’m very happy with the results. Not much more to say, very easy pattern, and I love the results. I’m thinking about making a sort of wide belt for my waist out of the same yarn, but we’ll see.

In Andrew news, he is crawling, standing, and attempting both furniture walking and standing on his own. Here’s a couple of pictures:

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Photos that make me smile

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Christmas 2010 058

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Are you smiling yet?

As a yoga practioner, I always cringed whenever I heard the phrase “knitting is the new yoga” tossed around by people who both did not knit, and did not do yoga. As someone who semi-regularily partakes in both activities, I can tell you that knitting is in fact, the new meditation.

Yoga is the practice of asanas (poses, either done statically or through a movement sequence that flows) that is designed to help you link the mind and body in ways it does not normally co-exist. Breathing plays a huge role in yoga, as does mindfulness and body posture. When people equate knitting to yoga, I think they actually mean to equate it with meditation. Stockinette and garter stitch can start to get a rhythm that just sucks you into the motion. You feel your hands move the yarn and needles, your breathing is relaxed, and outside distractions just melt away. Yoga can often get you relaxed enough to be in a meditative state, but meditation and yoga are not one and the same, they simply complement each other.

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I should know, since as of last month, I am now a practicing Buddhist, who engages in meditation at least every other day, if not daily. And that is what I want to make this post about today, Buddhism. Specifically, a focus on one of Buddha’s teachings about The Four Noble Truths. In short, the four noble truths tell us that a)suffering in our lives is constant b)the sufferings we experience come from the mind c)we can learn to control our mind and d)once we control our mind, we will experience bliss. This post will focus around the second truth.

When the Buddha used the word “suffering” it really should have been translated as “discontent” or “dissatisfaction.” Suffering implies pain, and he really means that we can never really be satisfied because our minds are constantly telling us that to be happy we need to get this new outfit or get a new piece of furniture, or get a new job, or do any matter of things to affect our external world, when really, its just our minds have the power to make us really happy. And hey, there’s no shame in this. We’re all guilty, myself included. But once we recognize the problem, we have the power to fix it.

I have thankfully not been much of a stashing knitter. I do have a few spare skeins or balls of yarn lying around, but most of my yarn is purposed – set for a specific project, ready for when I have the time or skill (or both) to make it, and also, lots and lots of leftovers. If you look at my Ravelry projects you will probably notice lots of projects lately being made out of the same yarn. That’s because I’m trying desperately to get rid of my leftovers. But when I see stashers (a photo my mother showed me once of a woman who’s sock yarn stash alone covered her entire queen or king sized bed) flaunting their huge quantities of yarn, and still thirsting for more, well, first I feel a little twinge of jealousy, but then, I let it go.

My only point here is this: There is nothing wrong with stashing, but I hope you remember that your stash cannot and will not make you truly happy. Only YOU can make you happy. It’s okay to let that “perfect” skein go to someone else, afterall, how many “perfect” skeins do you have sitting in your stash waiting to be knit right now? Can you recall feeling joy as you clicked the “submit” button on the payment screen for many, if not all of them? And now what do they do for you? Take up space and collect dust until you finally remember about them and use them. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty, but I also feel that truth has well, a lot of truth to it. I will definitely be remembering it the next time I peruse the online yarn sites.

And now, for something completely different.

Andrew is almost crawling. I promise I’m going to upload videos to YouTube very shortly. In the meantime, if you want a baby fix, check out my YouTube channel. Search for 85bluedragonfly.

So, Namaste, happy knitting, and may all beings be happy, and all that jazz.

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