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!

A New Week – From Heck

*Little to no crafting content in this post.  There will be some frank discussion about female issues that I cope with, if this bothers you (nothing to explicit) then please skip to my next posting.  Thanks.*

  • Get through my Skype Interview- This went pretty well, I look forward to hearing from them.
  • Call the garage to get my inspection and brakes- The inspection is $21 the Brakes, Struts, Calipers, and Control arm are going to cost me quite a bit more.  How much more, we will find out.
  • Work on my Poncho, ultimately I would like to get to the second portion I made progress on this however I did not get as far as I would have liked
  • Complete at least 10 rows on my Strickplaner cover well I managed 4 rows, not too bad really
  • Keep working on my budget/budget plan- I have made significant progress on this, I hope to have it under control by the middle of October.
  • Figure out a food plan that includes: –
    • Decent Food
    • Vegetables
    • Not a ton of expense
    • Quick to make
    • Easy to take with me for work
    • Containers that are either disposable or dishwasher safe
  • I think that the food plan is mostly going to be solved by Freshly and some frozen vegetables as filler.  I may decide to upgrade my subscription to 12 meals a week just so that I have them readily available to nuke when I get home.

So there is not enough progress on my poncho to justify a photo, and I have not made any real progress on any of my other crafts.  I am trying to up my bullet journal as well as my financial planning.  Right now I have a to the cent update of my financial situation, as well as a weekly outline of what my schedule is going to look like this week. 

It is not fun.  Yesterday I spent the day sleeping, like literally I was up for about 4-6 hours the entire 24 hour period.  This is simply because I was going to start my cycle today.  I’m one of those women that need to stock up on protein and sleep right before then on the first day I go through absolute Hell.  Right now it is before 3pm and I have already taken 4 Pamprin Max, I’m only allowed 8 in a 24 hour time frame.  My cramps have not really subsided, eating something might help but the pain is such that I really cannot face eating right now.  I know that I only have about 3 more hours left on my shift, then I can go home and go to bed.  By tomorrow everything should shift so that the Pamprin is enough to keep me from being this miserable.  I know, some of you are probably wondering why I don’t go on the Dep shot or something similar, well I am 37 and I have poly-cystic-ovary syndrome.  I am actually happy that I am currently getting my period on a regular cycle rather than being on medication that doesn’t really control things.  In addition to my health issues next week is going to be problematic with my schedule as well.

Monday I am filling in for someone 8am-12:30 then from 1pm-9pm I am working my regular shift.  Tuesday I have a doctor’s appointment at 7:30am (I get to get yelled at about my A1C again, joy), then at 8:30 I have the first of my 2 car appointments, followed by work from 11:30-6:30 then 7-10 at another job.  Wednesday I have another car appointment at 8am, work from 11:30-6 and 6:30-10 at my other job.  Thursday is just 11:30-6:30 but Friday is 11:30-4 (normally I would have my second job, but they’re on midterm break).  Then Saturday I’m working 9:30-1:30 but I do get Sunday off. So my 50.5 hour work week is turned up to 59 hours, 2 car appointments, and a doctors appointment.  For some crazy reason I don’t think I’m going to get much crafting done this week.  I do have 2 job applications I need to turn in, if I get those done  and I don’t wind up ill I’ll consider this a good week.

Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

I Hate Colds

*Little to no Crafting Content in this Post*

So when I had Influenza this past spring it was three days, 2 of fever, one recovery, then I’m almost back to normal.  This blasted cold however is still going quite strong 8 days in, I actually had the pleasure of waking up with a bloody nose since I must have blown a blood vessel trying to keep this cold from turning into an infection.  So yesterday was my first day off in over 10 days, and I really just planned on sleeping.  There are things I needed to do in my house, I really hate that my garbage has to be out Sunday night for Monday Morning Pickup, but since I got most of that sorted out yesterday I should be good.  I simply have to put the garbage into the cans, it is already downstairs, and haul the cans to the end of the driveway.  Then tomorrow morning before I leave for work, pick up what the crows and vermin have managed to scatter out of the can.  Between running a few loads of laundry and getting the dishwasher loaded and run I managed to catch up on rest for the day, if not actual sleep.  I had hoped to go through with the 30 books in 30 days challenge, however we are almost to the middle of the month and I have read/listened to about 2 books.  There is the possibility that if I were to listen to audiobooks every free moment of the day I could finish the challenge strong, since that isn’t going to happen I will have to resign myself to not meeting that challenge.

I did manage to complete another row on the sleeves of my sweater, this means that I have 7 of the 14 rows I need to do before the 2 rows of single crochet.  It looks like I am lucky I decided to just have 16 rows total on the sleeves, my yarn is getting a bit short.

I hope to get more knitting done on my poncho from Jimmy Beans Wool, really I just need to buckle down and work on it.  I haven’t even gotten through the first month of the knit poncho or the crochet shawl and I received the third months kit in the mail yesterday.  I do realize that a good deal of my problem revolves around my need to start new projects all the time, my lack of free time, and the simple fact that I come home tired, eat something, take my pills (vitamins, diabetes, etc.), read some fanfiction, then go to sleep.

Checking on my schedule I am working about 50.5 hours a week, with 2.5 hours unpaid travel time between places and, honestly, about 12 hours travel time to and from work with time added in to grab fast food.  This means that for about 65 hours out of every week I am in pursuit of work related activities.  Then take into account that I should be getting about 40 hours of sleep a week and there are 168 hours in a week that should mean that I have about 60 hours free per week.  Of course, 2 hours each day to get ready eat breakfast, coffee, etc. 6 days a week takes this total down to about 50 hours free time.  Well, this is unexpectedly eye opening. I know that I waste about an hour each day playing a few facebook games, however I think this total means that I am spending about 30-40 hours a week reading fanfiction.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, sometimes, however I might need to move out of my rut.  Huh, with these revelations (and figuring out that it takes me about 5 minutes to knit a row on the poncho) I am going to start tracking where some of my time goes a bit better.  I realize that I tend to get into obsessions, not always a bad thing, and that Glee Fanfiction is my current obsession.  I also realized that the Glee Lads Singing “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” are much better than the original artist, especially since Chris Colfer is an actual Countertenor.  Who knew that the music appreciation class Dad helped me with during my undergrad days would pay off even though I am effectively tone deaf.  Okay, that is enough random ramblings:
GOALS THIS WEEK:

  • Figure out where my time Goes
  • Finish the Sleeves
  • Finish the first month of my poncho
  • Work on the first month of my crochet cowl
  • Decide on next project (not Jimmy Beans Wool)
    • Socks, knit
    • Ladybug Cowl from Kelly’s Knit Club
    • Cover for Strickt Planner, Knit
    • New Sweater from Kit (You have about 3)
  • Finish Winding the warp for your first rug, 10 epi
  • Figure out how many inches each of the sections on the sectional warp beam are supposed to cover
  • Look up information about job for interview, figure out some questions like benefits package, outreach efforts, community demographics, etc.

Okay, it looks like my week is going to be busy.  Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Shifts in Time and Perspective

Today is when we set our clocks ahead an hour, thereby losing an hour of sleep but gaining an hour of daylight.  For me this means that spring is ever closer, and a quarter of the year is almost gone.  I know, that will not be true until closer to the end of March, but time is certainly marching on.  Taxes are soon going to be filed, the cat is going to the vet tomorrow, gardens need to be prepared, and it really needs to stop snowing.  Thinking about all of this is giving me time to remember what the name of this blog is really about.  It is too easy to take life very seriously, and think of things in a very linear way.  Sometimes you need to think in ways that are A Little More Abstract, about life as well as craft.

February is always a bad month for me.  The end of January was my parents wedding anniversary, February 21st was the closing of the 10th year since we lost my father.  This is my first full year without my mother.  March begins a new month, a fresh month, working our way toward spring.  Lent is upon us, if you are Christian, so we begin a march toward Easter.  The word ‘March’ in the phrases, “March toward Easter”, and “Time is Marching on” tend to bring the unfortunate connotation of drudgery.  You think of an army slogging its way toward a battle, instead I think of a steady progression.  When soldiers March they tend to do so with their heads held high, marching proudly toward their destiny, whatever that may be.

This is where my shift in perspective is coming into play.  I need to figure out where my destiny is going to lay.  These past 10 years working several part-time jobs and taking care of mom has been a wonderful learning experience.  I have had the time as well as freedom to learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of in addition to some of my limitations.  Now it is time for me to face what the spring and summer will bring.  I know, this entire entry is a bit maudlin, but that is what this time of year does to me.

Yesterday I managed to wrap all of the warps for the shoelace weaving project I will be teaching tomorrow, put together a shelving unit for my studio when it is completed, and set up pans for the 12 stepping stones I hope to make out of cement.  I intended to begin pouring the stones yesterday, but since the weather is supposed to get up to almost 50 by the middle of the week I decided to hold off on actually mixing and pouring the cement.  I have the sand poured and the glass set, so it is just a matter of adding the cement and leaving them to harden.  Hopefully things will be in good shape by Wednesday, when they are coming to install my new garage door, and Thursday when I hope to mix the cement.  The decorations on these stones are pieces of glass, but I believe I will change that out for mosaic tiles or decorative stone for the actual class.  The glass shards are too much of a liability to consider as a good solution.

I have completed 2/3rds of the Jimmy Beans Knitted Cowl and have begun the final third.  It is actually my goal to have that knitted by the end of this week so that I can block it out and take a final picture for a blog post next week, fingers crossed.  I have not make much progress on the second installment of the Crochet Pouf but that is going to be my second goal, I believe.  This may get sidetracked depending on how complex the first installment of the Sherlock Afghan is on Saturday.  I also have socks and dishcloths I am fiddling with, hopefully things will get past the stage of stitching into nothingness and some progress will be made.

So that is the end of it for now.  Shifting time, shifting perspective, and a shifting list of priorities.  Learning more about myself and what I can do, playing with cement is new, and reminding myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.  So until next installment.

Keep crafting and remember to keep your life a little more abstract.

Two Steps Forward Three Steps Back

*This is just an update on my life, if you only want to read crafty stuff, hopefully the next post will contain that.  There is mention of Mice and permanent ways to get rid of them, if you are big into non-lethal rodent control then you will not want to read this post.*

I am still trying to get around to reviewing all of the things that I got myself for Christmas, but the ongoing Mouse Saga seems to be two steps forward and three back.  In the last two weeks I have found droppings on the counters and just today in a drawer.  Fortunately my handyman is amazing, he looked to see if there was anywhere they could get in from the outside and sealed those up. He spoke with a couple of farmers and old timers and they advised him how to keep the mice out with an indoor/outdoor safe spray that smells a bit like Citronella and is supposed to keep them out.  He sprayed all around outside and quite a few doorways, I put it around the doorways from the kitchen to the rest of the house (after locking the cat away) and am waiting for it to dry so I can let the cat out.

Neither of us have found any detritus anywhere else in the house, so I think that they are contained.  If I see any more droppings I will let him know and we will get some snap traps.  (Don’t bother yelling at me about killing mice, once they are in the house they will always seek another house to get into.)  He will also get some special traps for outside to keep them from coming in, that will be Wednesday after Christmas.  I will need to run all of my pots and pans through the dishwasher, I’m going to throw out all of my baking goods, the thought of using them is making me nauseous, (not that I have time to bake).  I also plan on throwing out all of the plastics that I haven’t used in years and possibly putting the pots and pans that I haven’t used in a while in a plastic tub with a lid once they have been through the dishwasher.  Getting the outside sealed up and the deterrent spray were my two steps forward, my three steps back are a bit frustrating.  The first step is having to run everything in the kitchen through the dishwasher.  Actually the next two steps back were in one action, some of the tiles along the peak of the roof blew back leaving something like a foot of the attic exposed to the elements.  Thank goodness my handyman is amazing and he managed to get a patch on, but I am so frustrated that it seems like there is always something else going wrong.  On a brighter note, I also remembered that Mom and I collected Beanie Babies and they wound up stored in the back hallway.

They were almost all packed away, but most of them were in cardboard boxes and I decided that since I had some plastics I bought for the organization I wanted to kill several birds with one cleaning.  I wanted to make sure that none of the beanies were compromised, get rid of any that I know I don’t want to keep, make sure that there were no mice in the back hallway, vacuum the back hall, wipe down the walls, get the beanies in better storage, and have them in a state so that my home organizers don’t even need to concern themselves with them.  So I had 8 huge plastics, I think 125 quarts each, and they are completely full.  I ordered another 4 from Walmart online and bought 4 more from a dollar store.  I plan to spend some time tomorrow finishing up packing the beanies, then perhaps rewarding myself with a movie. I have decided on two big garbage bags full of stuffed animals I’m donating which doesn’t seem like much but since I have memories attached to all of them it really is progress.  The unexpected benefit is, I get to remember the amazing times Mom and I had getting these beanies, we spent a few weeks eating tons of happy meals when McDonalds were having their beanie special, the flea market where her aunt worked, the shop in town where we used to get them, and so much more.  Sometimes it is hard to realize that you are able to experience all of your emotions at once, happy, sad, melancholy, angry, frustrated, tired, etc.

Well, that is enough out of me.  Things are progressing quite well.  I am moving forward on the cleaning, and remembering good times along the way.  The roof was sorted out before it became a big problem.  All entrances for the mice seem to be sealed, and a deep clean/disinfecting is on its way.  Wednesday my handyman will be up to work on getting preventative measures in place, Thursday and Friday my organizing team will be up here and I will find out what my Grand in fees gets me.  Then I will be able to start my New Year Fresh and Bright!

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (no matter what you celebrate), and I will be on again soon.

Happy Crafting!

Mice and Me

The handyman that my colleague recommended to me is amazing, he has done so much work over the past week I can hardly believe it.  He is getting the basement cleared out, going to set up traps, seal any holes, and generally make sure that more mice getting in is impossible.  He has also managed to greatly disturb the existing nest and last night I heard what sounded like claws on the linoleum.  So, I didn’t sleep last night at all.  I dragged all of the cardboard out of the house, I had to put it by the external garage since pickup is not this week but next.  I looked for detritus, mouse droppings, and found none.  I called the handyman and he mentioned that since I have drop tiled ceilings in the basement the scratching  could have been coming from below the floor, which means I might be able to sleep tonight.

This is sort of a relief, however I think I need to get a professional organizer in the house anyway.  I had it in my head that I was going to take this one room at a time, blah, blah, blah.  In reality I know what I want to do, but have no idea how to achieve it.  Hopefully hiring a professional to accomplish this will help me to succeed and overcome this overwhelming sense of not enough space, not enough time.

On another note, I have received my Mirrix Little Guy Loom and I am enjoying myself a great deal.  I have begun to understand where this shopping retail is coming from and it actually is not depression.  My sibling’s (transgendered) driving force is travel.  They have always wanted to go to Japan and see the world.  I would like to see the world, but my driving force is Crafting.  Part is the primal driving force to connect with my fore-mothers through the crafts that they used to spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years learning and perfecting.  A portion is to try everything and find out what I am good at.  Another portion is simply a love of creating something tangible, meant to be used, held, and worn out.  If I gift you a bookmark, use it until the threads fall out, I’ll make you another.  If I give you dishtowels, please use them, I would love to hear that you wore a hole in them.  Art is pretty and it functions to decorate walls, Tapestries are prettier, decorate walls, and insulate your house.  So while my sibling is going on a trip to Japan in 8-10  weeks I am stocking up my studio to see what I can create in a year.  Right now I have a pair of tapestry cuffs on my Mirrix loom, I am enjoying testing out the different weights of wool and silk that I have to see what they will do on the loom.

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It really is true, you can get by with inferior tools but working with the right tools makes all the difference.  This loom warps up amazingly quickly, I am using the 8 dents per inch, and the shedding device allows me to add weft to the tapestries at an amazing rate.  I can easily adjust them up and down so that I have more room to work, and the tension system allows me to get a much tighter weave.  Looking at these it would take some imagination to think of what a worse beat is, I have to work hard on my selvedges.  This loom is also good for bead weaving which is an art that I want to become involved in.  I look forward to that exploration.

There are three more weeks before the end of the year.  In the next post I hope to have an update on the mouse issue, the organizer issue, my current tapestries, as well as a review of my Spinolution Firefly wheel.  To clarify, I purchased a 16 shaft Ashford loom which I will be discussing, the pin loom which was in the last blog post (I still love it), the Mirrix Loom which I will be exploring in depth this year, the Spinolution Firefly (electric) wheel package that includes a skein winder, lazy kate, 32oz and 16 oz heads, and more, as well as a variety of Jacquard dyes to color my weft threads.  It turns out that four or five skeins of weft from Treenway Silks costs about the same as a big skein of undyed silk yarn from knitpicks and some Jacquard dyes.  I had a pink dye already and found a good deal on Salmon (which is a brighter pink than I would have thought).  All of these supplies should stand me in good stead for working on my breed spinning experiment this year, making bookmarks, finding the right diameter of yarn for my 7′ triangle loom, and working on my curtains for the kitchen.

For now, Happy Crafting!

Sad News

It has been a couple of weeks since I have posted here.  Some of you that have been reading this for a while will remember me mentioning my Mother a couple of times.  She and my Grandmother, her mother, are my inspiration for crafting.  There has never been a time that crafting was not a part of my life, I remember getting scraps of yarn and making tons of crochet chains to hang around the house.  Mom was so very proud of all of the crafts that I became involved in, she said that Grandma would be so proud of me.  While my grandmother has been gone for over a decade, I had mom with me.  As you can probably tell from my use of past tense, Mom passed on Friday October 19th after a very bad night.  She was mere hours away from coming home for hospice, but after how bad that last night was I can only be glad that she did not suffer.

I, along with my tans-gender sibling whom was born John but prefers to be called Phoebe, have spent the last week straightening out her papers, arranging and attending her funeral, and all of those things that need to be done when one life ends and others need to go on.  We are fortunate to have a very large family that are extremely supportive, if not very close by.  I overheard one of them stating that I was devastated, and cannot deny that.  I do miss mom extremely, however I am lucky in that I am not often given to introspection.  I prefer to try and look forward, while remembering those that I loved and the contributions that they have made to my life.

I will take a year to explore who I am now and what is important to me. I will explore some things that I had neither the time nor energy to explore, and I will not make any huge changes until at least a year has passed.  There are small things that I will change, trying to eat better, cook more, explore flavors and cultures, exercise more, say yes to outings, and so much more.  A very good friend of mine has asked if I want to go to a show over Veterans Day weekend, and I have said that this sounds good.  I purchased a rotisserie chicken and made some curry using one of the chicken breasts.  (I’m not really impressed by the flavors, but I would like to try it with a more robust meat and different vegetables, maybe some vindaloo paste.)  Sometimes I feel that I am not mourning enough, but I will always miss both of my parents, it will hit me like a ton of bricks at times.

Mom is with Dad, in Heaven, and they are looking over all of the family.  May they both rest in peace in the light of the Lord.  God Rest Their Souls.