Busy Week

Not really crafty until after second *. *This was my first week back to all three jobs, it has actually gone well. I am under some financial strain since the government did not extend the federal unemployment payments and I wanted to continue to work a couple of days a week. The beginning of this month is going to be short and I wound up applying for an Amazon Credit card. I did not really want to, however this will enable me to invest in my skill-set and make myself more marketable.*

I ordered a 3-d printer with heated plate and filament for under $200, on credit through Amazon. I have already created two original drawings in TinkerCad, a free online 3-d creation tool. My sibling recommended the slicer software that they use, and I plan on doing some experimenting once I have my set-up at home. The two drawings I made are below, the first is supposed to be a stone-like set of stairs while the second is supposed to be a dice tower.

I am very excited to begin learning the ins and outs of 3-d printing. I have not had a good technological challenge in a while and I look forward to exercising those muscles again. A colleague and I were asked to put together easy craft ideas so that another colleague can keep them occupied after school.

We were given about two weeks to come up with ideas, samples, and teach the other person. Fortunately we had about two weeks worth of dead simple crafts that I could whip out right away. We are asking the person in the room to have the teens, and now pre-teens, to brainstorm as many ideas as they can come up with, we can figure out a way to have them learn almost anything. I already obtained some feedback from a teen that worked with the children’s department over the summer, and he suggested Clay as a medium he enjoyed. We received the e-mail the same day I was going up to Buffalo for my third cast change (one more to go then the pin comes out in October), so I swung by Michael’s Craft Store to get some supplies and ideas.

From left to right, black clay teardrop pendant, jack-o-lantern made from pony beads, wooden owl face (upside down) colored with brown, white orange, and pink paint pens, leather bracelet half colored with blue leather marker, half colored with green. Tiny star imprinted on leather and colored yellow.

I am also planning on having a demonstration piece of Kumihimo cord, lucet cord, and a knitted fingerless glove. Two of my colleagues have teen/pre-teen children so I hope to ask them if needle felting would be too dangerous.

I find that during zoom meetings that I can take at home is when I get around to spinning on my black skein. If I am home and not on my computer then I tend to mess around with the Kumihimo and Lucet work, though not for very long stretches of time, since they involve pinching the work with my left hand. The pinching problem is also why I do not have the top hem of my skirt finished yet either.

I did finish plying the 716 batt, and I discovered why it is best to make sure you have 4 ties in your skeins of yarn. I tried to get away with just 2, one snapped, which left me with a yarn barf to sort out.

Brightly colored yarn tangled up, whites, blues, pinks, greens, and more. This close you can see where there are thinner spots and puffier spots.

Fortunately there was not a ton of yarn in the skein, though I am still not sure how much, so I was able to wind it into a ball in about an hour or so.

Ball of yarn, pink, green, blue, purple, whites showing through.

I cannot wait to be finished with these sample pieces so that I can work up a couple of test swatches with this yarn.

Until next time, remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Organizing My Self and Stash

Two weeks ago I thought that I would be able to pass along two of the dressers left in my home.  My sibling and I inherited my home from my parents along with the 30+ years of accumulated stuff that goes with a family of 4.  My sibling is uninterested in much of this and I have realized that it is way too much stuff for me alone.  Truthfully we have a chest of drawers, what I think is called an armoire, and three dressers.  Out of these five pieces I only want to keep one of the dressers so the other 4 need to be re-homed.  All of this is just to say that I had plans for what I call the computer room, which is where I am doing my work from home work.  I planned on streamlining my work space, bill paying station, and adding in craft storage.  Even though I have not gotten rid of the dressers yet, I have prospects, I have moved forward on the craft storage part.  Right now everything is boxed up…randomly..in my living room.  I have no idea how I thought that was organizing anything.  Instead I purchased a 12 cubby system.  I love it, however when I was putting it together many parts were held together by little wooden dowels….that I managed to snap every single one (it really was my fault but shoot).

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I did manage to get this put together, however at this point it is not very sturdy.  I have t-brackets coming that I will install on the back to stabilize the entire structure.  Honestly this might be for the best, the metal pieces should stabilize things better than the wooden dowels.  I also purchased black fabric bins to hold my yarn and fiber.  I think I’m going to start with my fiber and see how much I can store.  You see a mostly empty bookshelf to the right, those are my comic books on top, I hope to greatly curate my book collection as well.  The bookshelf there will hold my treasured favorites, there is another to the right of the shown shelf that holds my crafting books.

This deliberate organization of my stash has allowed me an opportunity to actually look at the kits that I own, stash them in a single space, and eventually plan on which ones I can work on when I get my hand fixed.

With trying to get organized, and spring break being finished with at one of my libraries, I have not gotten a lot of crafting done.  I’ll post next week with how my storage and crafting are doing.  Until then remember to live life A Little More Abstract and if you are an introvert please check on your extrovert!

Dyeing to be Crafting Again

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Not even torn ligaments are going to keep me from my crafting.  To be honest, I’ve had fun exploring the different crafts that I can accomplish with just one hand.  Another fun discovery is that I can still dye up some tapestry wool I purchased from Purl Soho last year.  I had pre-mordanted the fiber using alum and let it thoroughly dry.  To reactive the mordant I wet the fiber, and added a touch of vinegar for good luck.  The fibers pictured above are dyed with some food coloring, 30 seconds in the microwave to set.  I’m planning on having some fun simmering fibers on the stove over the next week.  Hopefully I will have results to post next weekend.

I have also discovered that I can do some little bits of weaving on my Mirrix with just one hand, I’m using a paperclip as a shuttle since I want to use several small colors at a time.  I really would like to get a few tapestry bobbins, however they are about $20 for 3.  I’m still trying to keep within my budget, so it is going to depend on my next couple of pay periods.  (I had to buy a new pair of shoes, my last ones were good for about 9 months, so if I can get that out of these I will be pleased).

In my week, I have a lead on a potential full-time job relatively locally.  I hope to hear back from them this week for an interview.  Should this job pan out I will be able to make a big difference in a nearby community, live in Pennsylvania (be closer to my sibling), and purchase a house to set up just the way I want it to be.  I am very excited for this opportunity to make a fresh start and concentrate my attention on the intricacies of a single job rather than juggling three.

Have a great week and Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Planning for Spring

The beginning of this year has afforded me a lot of opportunity to think about my future, both immediate and long term.  What I want out of my life immediately, in the near future, and in the distant future.  There are some things that are abstract, and others that are concrete.  I am not going to detail these things here, however one aspect is organization.  Right now I am working on sorting and organizing all of my craft supplies.  The current job, since yarn, periodicals/patterns, and fiber are finished, is my weaving supplies.  I have a great rolling laundry basket I had purchased last year, and it occurred to me that the 8/2 cotton I have for weaving towels would do great in cloth boxes in the bottom of the laundry hamper, then if I put another cloth box on top I can put reeds, shuttles, etc, in that box.  I believe some of my supplies like the sticks to hold crosses and rag shuttles are going to have to be stored upright beside or behind the boxes.  I will get photographs to show you how well this does/does not work out. I have a plastic box I am using for bobbins, spare parts, oils, etc. for my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel.  I am not sure if I want to find something different or not.  My Spinolution Firefly is a little more difficult to store as I have two flyer heads for it (one quite large).  I had hoped to be able to at least continue my gigantic plying project, however upon further reflection there is no need to risk further damage to my wrist.

In the midst of all of this organizing I was thinking about my home.  When I get a full-time job I fully intend to move to where I will be working and purchase a house.  If it is possible for me to commute for a few years that would be ideal, I can save up to put a good down-payment on a house, find the precise property I want, and organize everything for moving.  It has also become apparent that the large pieces of furniture in my home might become refreshed with a simple change in color scheme.  Right now everything is either stark white or very dark.  I am planning on getting some paint chips to change this.

This week, in addition to my usual workload, I intend to corral my weaving supplies as well as my spinning supplies.   My final crafty home related task is to pick up some paint chips to tape to my furniture.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Organizing Fiber

Since I have been unable to craft I have decided to go on an organizing spree.  I’ve also had an amazing amount of energy these past three weeks, since reading the book “Do Less” by Kate Northrup, I wonder if it is tied in with the moon cycles or my personal cycle.  I’ll try to keep track and figure this out.  On to organization, below see the two metal laundry baskets I picked up to fit my fiber and yar…okay.  I have more fiber than I thought, I filled both of these.

Yes, I know my carpet is ugly.  Okay so I filled up these two Laundry baskets….and most of a third smaller laundry basket…

While I do still intend to retain my subscription to Paradise Fibers, I also plan on creating projects so that I can spin more intentionally and spin down some of this stash…in July…when I can craft again.  *sigh*.

I have not been entirely idle on the crafting front, in addition to finding out that I absolutely cannot knit, I cannot sew a needle minder, and I cannot wire wrap bookmarks (that really has more to do with me not understanding types of wire and how to harden them than anything else).

I can still needle felt, and do Bullet Journal Activities, so not all is lost.  This is going to be for the best, I hope to have all of my crafts in easily transportable boxes by the end of February.  My ‘reach’ goal, that will happen if I get everything packed away in time, is to be able to take down my modular shelving as well.

Adversity exists to prove to ourselves how strong we can be.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!  (Normal is so boring).

Crafting Single Handed (Literally)

2020 is going to be a very interesting year for me regarding my crafting life.  As shown above, I can certainly work with polymer clay, though the stamp on the left that was meant for wax is not working as well as I would have liked.  I will try it again with shallower cuts, if that does not work then I’ll put some cooking spray or olive oil on it to make the wax release.  The bowl on the right turned out wonderfully.  I am also doing well with my bullet journaling and other written/artistic activities such as watercolors, and Japanese Stab Binding.

My MRI showed that the ligament in my wrist has been completely torn, I will need to have surgery and then spend 3 months in a cast.  Scheduling the surgery will need to wait until I have received approval from the insurance company, this can take 25-40 days.  I will likely not be having surgery until March at the earliest.  March-April, April-May, May-June would be three months in a cast, so hopefully sometime in June I will get the cast off.  Realistically I will then need physical therapy since my wrist has not been actively used since November 2019.

These facts, combined with my need for a full-time job means that this is a year of:

  • Organizing and packing up my yarn, fiber, and crafting equipment.  This is also a perfect time to catalog my collection.
    • Goal is to have most easily transportable, non essential, items ready to travel when I need to move.
  • Go on a complete yarn diet.  Do not buy any yarn, still get paradise fibers monthly box
    • No purchases during Feb., March, & April  = Cotton/fine handcards when $50 is reached in PF Rewards points.

These goals should put me in a good place June of 2020, when I will reevaluate.  Until then, I have plenty of reading to do, plenty of organizing, as well as Bullet Journaling!

Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

New Year, New Goals

I am still not certain when my wrist brace is coming off.  This has not stopped me from exploring my creative side, simply permitted a new avenue of exploration.  While things are certainly easier to accomplish with two working hands, as well as wrists, this has given me an opportunity to explore avenues of creativity that I have allowed to fall by the wayside previously.

Recently I have been exploring crafts that can be created with forms of clay that do not require a kiln to create lasting pieces.  Since the summer of 2020 reading program for New York State is “Imagine Your Story” focusing on mythology and fairy tales.  I know that many programs are going to focus on the mainstream Greek and Roman mythology, with a bit of Norse (Thor and Loki via Marvelverse), and some Celtic or Wicca mythos thrown in.  The Japanese have a remarkable mythological tradition, as do the Native American, and African peoples.  I would love to be able to explore these traditions, it would be wonderful to have examples illustrated to patrons either through craft, storytelling (with some intellectual discourse), or a food tradition.

I am just bursting with ideas, as some of them come to fruition I will post the successes and failures here for everyone to learn from.  Until then remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

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!

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!

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!