Time to Contemplate

For me time to contemplate is one of the most dangerous things I can have.  I love staying busy as well as productive in both my home and work life.  When I get contemplative I start thinking in terms of, “Be the change you want to see.” and “Discover the obstacles and eliminate them.”  Of course these two phrases have me re-thinking several aspects of my life.

The first is plastic bags, honestly they are just taking over my kitchen.  I do sort of hate the idea of buying cloth bags, however I cannot work on making my own at this time so I will take some time this upcoming week to put all of my plastic bags into a garbage bag, I spoke to someone earlier today about our reliance on plastic garbage bags, and take  them to the public library for patrons to use on rainy/snowy days.  I was going to weave homeless mats, but by time I’m healed enough to warp my loom it will be too late for this year.  I’ll get rid of them and start fresh with reusable bags.

The second, along with my boss at the community college I work for, has me reading The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.  I taught a basic class on how to Bullet Journal at the Public Library I work for, now my director at the community college wants me to show students how to identify and break down their goals into trackable achievements using the Bullet Journal Method.  I am honestly loving learning more about this method.  I use my current journal more like a diary, admittedly one that I have been fairly dedicated to for several months now.  By learning this new method and taking notes on it, I should be able to more effectively leverage my bullet journal and teach the students.

The third, and for now final, contemplation is using the (dateless) Dream Planner pdf I purchased from Dragontree two years ago.  This planner is based around the concept of rituals.  This is a little too…woo woo for me even in my most contemplative moods.  However the planning sheets are certainly useful, and I do intend to create concrete goals to attain some future desires.

This planning and bullet journaling also include setting up a very definitive financial plan.  Sticking to it will be a bit more difficult, however I will persevere.

With all of these goals in mind, I may not be posting much before 2020, if not: Happy New Year.  Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Suspension of Crafting

You know how there are those days when you start out good, you’re looking forward to something and then something else comes along to mess it all up?  Well I had that kind of day a couple of weeks ago.  I was looking forward to a magic crayon creation class, however while I was setting up a patron came in complaining that they were dizzy.  The long and the short of it is that I managed to get them to the floor before they had what appeared to be a petite mal seizure that they recovered instantly from, and I have what is either a shifted bone in my wrist or a mild sprain.  The doctors cannot agree which it is.  It also turns out that it takes about 3-6 months to heal from a sprain.  Yay, I’m in a brace until about March and we now have several new policies at the library.

I told you that to tell you this, I will not be doing much knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, or crafting in general until my wrist is out of the brace.  Fortunately for me, writing in my bullet journal is a one handed activity, it was my left wrist ( I am right handed) and the fingers are free so I can do washi tapes and such.  I am also going to use this time to consolidate my stash and get my house in something resembling order.

Frankly, I am a bit angry but I cannot be too sad about this.  The outcome could have been so much worse, the person that fell into me is very solid, however I am solid enough that they did not knock me over like they may have some of my more petite colleagues.  I could have been hurt much worse, there might have been bystander injuries, and so many other scenarios.  I’m teaching a class on creating a metal tree of life, I have a colleague that has volunteered to help, and the entire experience should be fun.

I also believe that I have some serious chances at a full-time job in the new year.  This is going to be a good opportunity for me to adjust my priorities and figure out what I want to be doing without the distraction of…well fun.  Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

BAO and Knitting

The first part is about my new BAO.  Eileen’s Tacky Glue overnight managed to keep the loose brad from being a problem, YAY!  I have since the last post received my two Stickii club packs, as well as moving all of my previous washi tapes, most of my pens, and other accessories into my BAO.  There were a few stickers in  my Stickii Pop Pack that were not seated properly on their backing, but I blame the cold and shifting in the package for that.  It just gave me an excuse to use them right away.  I love my BAO.  The only reason that I am unable to fit all of my pens into the BAO is because I love my pen case that converts into a cellphone holder/pen cup.  If I were willing to leave that home I would have all of my current supplies in one location.  As it is, both of my journals, all of my washi tapes, glues, and stickers fit wonderfully into this case.

I ordered some Washi Tape Cards Sample Boards that I hope to use for my Bullet Journal Class.  This will give the students a chance to try out some of the washi tapes without a lot of fighting over, “I wanted this one, why can’t I have some of that one.”  This should be a fun class, and I can show the students how simple or complex this hobby can get.

Speaking of simple and complex hobbies, I have made some progress on knitting the second section of my slipper.  This one is a bit more complex, and I am not certain how I can work on the second slipper before receiving my third installment.  The end of this patter requires leaving both yarns attached and the stitches live on the needles.  I can deal with the live stitches, I have cord caps and extra cords I can knit with, I am not sure if I want to go through the mess of knitting with the other end of the yarn that I was given for the pattern.  I can easily find the other end, for the contrasting color I would need to pull from the outside; without getting it tangled with the other slipper, and while changing colors every two rows.  I think once I have this portion done, I am going to quietly work on my crocheted slippers until I get my final knitting kit installment.

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I love how potato-chippy this knitting is.  I am a bit worried about the next part of this installment since it involves casting on stitches, however if I take my time things usually work out alright.

I am so glad that I have taken this year to try new things and discover new ways of doing old things.  I am still not sure that  I will sign up for any of the jimmy beans clubs for next year, but I will still have plenty of knitting and crochet to do, not to mention my new passion for paper crafts.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

 

Stickii BAO Box – Galaxy Edition

For quite some time I have been considering getting one of the organizers from Stickii for my planner and sticker collections.  I know that I am always trying out new things, however in recent months I have found that by keeping my calendar both in a digital format, my ipad, and a physical format I can keep better track of what I am doing each day as well as what needs to be accomplished.  As I am not the slightest bit artistic I am unable to draw in my planner with any degree of success, so stickers are a good solution for me.  The Stickii Club has been a lot of fun so far, and is relatively inexpensive.

This brings us to the Galaxy BAO from Stickii at $88 it is not the least expensive purchase I have ever made, for certain.  I could have gone with the Stickii Folio for $15, however the soft sided nature seemed to be asking for trouble.  The regular BAO Box runs $68, and since I tend to love pouches as well as Galaxy themed items it seemed work the extra $20 to get a decent case.  I will not sugar coat my review.

When I received the box I was very excited.

Opening the box I was greeted by a sticker sheet with succulents on it as well as an envelope with a pretty stirring spoon sticker sealing it closed.

Upon further inspection the envelope contained a very sweet thank you note for ordering this set from Stickii.

I drew out my anticipation and took a photo of each aspect of my uncovering the actual BAO.  The white pouch that this arrived in, within the box, seems like it is a nice pouch.  I hope to use it to organize my Washi Tapes and other Paper Crafting Supplies that I am not actively using.

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Actually opening the box was like discovering Aladdins Cave.  There were so many amazing items to discover I could not wait to start.  Since I do not want to end this post with the negatives, they were really minor in the end, I will put them here.  The bottom rivet on the binder insert was not set properly.  I discovered this when I was starting to explore the pouches.  A little glue and the problem is fixed, I could have kicked up a fuss and sent it back (probably would have except I was so looking forward to this).  This does mean that I would not give this item as a gift shipped from the manufacturer.  If I find out that someone I love would use something like this I would certainly get it shipped to myself then send it off once I had inspected it (and stocked it up a bit).  The other problem is simply that for the first few uses the zipper stuck.  Now, check out these washi tapes I received!

The middle set has a paper backing that I am still finding out the best way to peel off.  The rest are so neat though, I cannot wait to start using them.  These are not the only treats in my box however.

The stamp was neat, though immediately consigned to staying at home since I do not plan on messing around with stamp ink on the go.

The pouch is very pretty, I love that it is mostly see-through with a carrying loop and easy to use zipper.  The included pen has a super fine writing tip, .3mm or less, and a really clunky bit of bling.  I think that I will either use the bling as a zipper pull or a progress keeper for my knitting/crochet.  As you can see the washi tapes fit wonderfully in the pouch, however I discovered that too many bags make the BAO hard to close.

There were two really neat pages of Stickii Packs included, and the BAO looks really deep.  These stickers were so much fun to explore and I look forward to spending quite a bit of time playing with them.

You can see there was everything from paper stickers, memo papers, raised stickers, and more.  The assortment is going to provide me with months of fun.

I firmly believe that this is a good purchase for me.  It will not only up my paper crafting game, I believe that it will help and inspire me to greater heights in my organization efforts.  Since I have 2 separate journals going on at one time, I will not be using this in the most conventional manner, however it should be more than adequate for my needs.  The purple journal is my financial planning, the red is my monthly/weekly/daily tracker.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

November Already

I cannot believe that November is here already, two more full weeks and it will be Thanksgiving week!  This year has both dragged and flown by.  This past week I received my November Paradise Fibers Box, the fibers look neat but the patterns for knitted ornaments are what has really caught my eye.

I received the more subdued colors of fiber, the white was what everyone received, my second color was a light pink rather than bright pinks and purples.  I enjoy the colors, especially since I have enough brighter fibers to use as pops of color for the ornaments.  I almost repurposed the spinning I was doing to be used as embroidery thread, however I decided to stick to my original plan.  I do still believe that I will use any left-over yarns as crewel embroidery rather than scrap projects (if they are not big enough to knit into hexipuffs).

Speaking of things that I learned from EGLFC I have decided to use the highly textured yarns that I created that weekend as a sort of commemorative scarf.  I managed to get my Ashford Sample It Loom threaded and tensioned using a 7.5dent heddle.

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I love how it is turning out, however this is going to be the very definition of ‘Slow Cloth’ Weaving.  Each time I open a new shed the yarns stick, since the textured yarns are in the slots they do not like to move up and down or separate from their neighbors.  Keeping the actual locks to the top, without interfering with the addition of new horizontal picks, and so many more problems.  The fascinating part of this is, I do not mind the problems at all.  Yes, I am not really happy that one of my warp threads had to be tied back together when it snapped, I’m a bit worried about advancing the warp and how much trouble beating is going to be (I think I’m going to use a fork or tapestry beater at times), however I believe that I am going to enjoy taking my time and letting this scarf become what it wants to be.  IMG_3095

There are several other projects going on in my life right now.  I am working on upping my bullet journaling game, not only because of the class at the end of the month, but because I am trying to be more organized.  As I hinted earlier I finished a small braid that I am going to use for embroidery thread, it was a sample from my Holi Spinning box earlier this year.  At present I am pulling off lengths, allowing them to ply back on themselves and tying them into bundles to be steamed when I have time.

For other projects, my handyman has finally gotten around to putting up the paneling in my ‘studio’, of course since it has snowed already I had to purchase a small heater that claims it will heat up a room twice as big as the one I am using.  Finger’s crossed, I hope so because I had to lay out a few home truths to him about the nature of working on a part time basis for a community college and private university, specifically that from my last paycheck in the middle of December I will not get another from those two until February.  Fortunately I have enough crafting supplies stocked up, and just enough pay coming to me in the next six weeks, that I should be able to handle all of the major bills for January relying on my public library pay for food and gas.

I am not certain about the holidays at present, there are some good sales on Turkeys and Hams, so I believe I will stock up a bit on major protein sources.  Life goes on and I am luckier than most.

For crafting, I also picked up the Charollais I received as a part of Holi, I was fascinated by the lock structure and hoped to use it as some texture in a new yarn.  When I picked it up, it felt a touch tacky.  Thinking that a bit of lanolin was left in the locks, I immersed it in some very hot tap water, that immediately turned brown.  I had been harboring unwashed wool!  There is nothing inherently wrong with unwashed wool, if you know it is there so you can keep an eye on it or make sure it is away from the rest of your stash.  Unwashed wool is what attracts Wool Moths and Mice, neither of which I want in my stash.  I gave this wool three really good rinses and hopefully this will be enough, it is almost half way dry as of this morning.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Halloween Aftermath

Between the asterisks * and before the photo is non-crafting related content.  Some may be disturbing, if you’re not interested don’t read.  Crafting content starts at the photo.

*The Trunk or Treat event for Halloween that my public library had, was interesting.  This is the event that I dressed up for.  I believe that my makeup was relatively successful, I certainly got enough complements, however I do not like how the photos turned out so will not be showing those.  To give some background, the Monday before I had one student at my craft class.  We talked about quite a bit and they confided some things to me.  Two most relevant to this conversation, other than their medical issues, were that they tended to become very attached to people and that they were, essentially, interested in me…to date…it was pretty direct.  I, as gently as I could , told them that they were not the gender I was attracted to but I liked them as a person (and that I was a decade older than them).   So during Trunk or Treat when they sought me out, I engaged evasive maneuvers.   Since I am actively seeking employment it is not likely I will remain in the area, so even if I were interested it would not be fair to start anything with them.  A little later, after a tent had blown into a tree, this individual sought me out again.  They were having some medical issues, and in the end they were taken off in an ambulance.  It was a complication of their earlier problems, and part of an ongoing issue.  The last was a lost and then found iPhone, which makes a total of 3 problems that night.  I may see this patron again tomorrow for my silk scarf dyeing class, and I intend to push them toward organizations that may be able to help with their problems.  Not a great Thursday, I must admit.*

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As you can see, I am still making progress on my crewel embroidery.  This, along with my spinning, are quick easy crafts that I can pick up and work on within a couple of minutes of sitting down.  There is no figuring out where I was in the pattern, what row I finished, what my stitch count should be.  Just thread the needle with whatever color wool appeals to me in the moment, or pick up whatever fiber I am spinning on at the time.  As winter approaches and I start to fill out my civil service tests these easy projects are going to be great for me.  If the weather clears up next weekend, and there is significant progress on my studio, I hope to warp the loom Saturday and start weaving so that I have another easy to pick up project.  Speaking of weaving, I have made some progress on my bamboo scarf, however it does not look any different so there is no point in putting a photo of that up.

A couple of weeks ago we had dyeing as the craft du-jour at my public library, dyeing wool specifically.  Since we had left over dye I threw a few pieces of wool in to soak things up.  I forgot them in the car for a week and in my bathroom for another week.  Last night I started to rinse the green out, it was hemorrhaging blue.  I am not certain why I took the time to let it all rinse out and never thought of using the leftover dye to dye something else, silly.  The yellow was sheer perfection, no dye leaking out.

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I love how they look and cannot wait to see what they are like dry.  When the pink started to bleed, I finally realized that I could capture the leftover dye on another fiber.  I happened to have some beautiful grey merino top and I wanted to see what the vibrant hot pink would look like on the grey fiber.  The result was spectacular, and surprising.

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The remarkable hot pink showed up as a completely different, almost raspberry.  This was an amazing end to a decent week.  I believe that this will also be a good start to November.  Life goes on, and so will I.  Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Halloween Crafting

So, in my last post I was trying to crochet wolf ears for my costume.  Yeah, less than 2 weeks out is not the time to start crafting for a costume, and I knew this.  I have decided to make my life considerably easier.  I purchased a quantity of Makeup and tomorrow morning I will use makeup, spray on hair coloring, and a bit of ingenuity to make myself into a ‘spinster’.  Since I am a spinner anyway, I believe that blowing out my hair instead of using smoothing products (maybe giving it a bit of a boost with the salt volumizing spray), putting a silk hankie in it (silk cocoons spread over a form, pulled apart further for spinning), and adding a spindle and bag to my velvet cloak should create an interesting effect.  If it is decent I will post a photo, if not we will forget I ever had this idea.

In other news, Jimmy Beans Wool had a scrap bag sale that I could not resist.  This means that I have started knitting a simple triangle shawl started with a garter tab, also with a garter edging.  I love how this is turning out.  Since I am going to be using scraps that are 20 yards or more it will be interesting to see where the stripes are going to end.  The progress photo looks a little cramped since I am using a DPN and needed to have some rubber bands to keep the stitches from slipping off the end when stored.  I will transfer this to a circular needle soon.

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October was known as Inktober, where artists decided to do their best to follow certain prompts and create ink drawings each day during the month of October.  Since I am not an artist, I enjoyed the concept and stuck with my crafts.  November, however, is also NaNoWriMo.  This is National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month.  The breakdown of this is: 1,667 words every day or, 12,500 words a week (not counting the first week which is 2 days long).  I sort of stink at making goals, however I think that I will make something of an effort to work toward writing down some of my ideas toward a novel.  The first draft might not be too coherent, however I think I have a chance.  Of course, I also have 4 Civil Service Tests to fill out, starting November 1.  It looks like my next 31 days are going to be busy.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!