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!

Keeping the Momentum Going

Alright, so I have not precisely kept my momentum going.  This week I have been forced to focus a bit more on my finances, my resume, and working on my crafting plans for the library I work at.  Plan for the worst, plan for the best, hope for the best.  That philosophy is generally how I manage to keep on top of work and my personal life.

My garage studio is coming along quite nicely, I am very pleased with the insulation going in.  There was a minor problem with a squirrel trying to make  nest in the corner, however that has been cleaned out and sealed up quite tightly.  My handyman suggested that I look into indoor outdoor carpeting for the floor once everything is insulated and the paneling is up.

There has been some crafting going on however.  I have not made any real progress on the crocheted sole, I hope to do some this week.  I am almost finished with half of the spinning for the mystery knit along from paradise fibers.  Since that means there is another half to spin, ply, and then start knitting, I do not anticipate that being finished this upcoming week, though tomorrow may surprise me.  I grabbed a drop spindle, one of my less expensive ones, and a piece of fiber to take with me.  I am currently working on spinning that up to be used as embroidery thread for a pretty flower pattern I found.  If we count paper crafting in my list of accomplishments, then I have been working on using the stickers I obtained from Stickii to upgrade my bullet journal, it is looking very fly.  I also purchased some cardstock and a 3 ring binder to create my own version of my samples notebook from Kate Larson’s class.  Wow, I guess I did more crafting than I thought.

Thursday one of my co-workers decided that we should talk about Halloween costumes, I mentioned that I have a red velvet cloak and she suggested that I make cat ears.  I’m not sure how those two topics combine, however I decided to make wolf ears.  My basic plan is essentially Little Red Werewolf.  So far I managed to create the basic outline for the outer part of the ears.  I hope to crochet an inner piece that has white inside along with some white chenille for texture.  The plan is to then sew these ears, probably stuff them a little, onto a headband (which I still have to crochet.)

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I am really happy with how these are turning out.  Tomorrow is my day off.  I had ordered a Blue Apron Box to arrive on Saturday so that I could do the cooking and have the meals ready to grab this week.  Of course that means that the box will arrive on Monday by 9pm, my next short day is Thursday.  This probably means that I will spend some time this week scrambling to make sure that I can cook the meals in the mornings before I leave for work.  The main problem with this is the need for things to be cool before putting them in the fridge.

Life is complicated and every time I think I have things under control something happens.  However, this is not going to stop me from living life A Little More Abstract.

Trying Double Weave

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Okay, so I decided to go for it and I warped up a loom with 16epi cottolin for 4 yards.  Now I have to figure out how to get it off of my rigid heddle loom and onto one of the tabletop looms, or if I will just use it for a weft for a future project.  I wound the warp, warped the loom, threaded the heddles, made sure I had good tension…still!  Every time I try to move a heddle to get a shed the entire thing starts going loosey-goosey.  I’m done with it.  I’m not really happy about this, however I tried and some days that is all you can do.  I’m going to finally finish weaving off the towel I have on my table loom and see about threading this on there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a better shed, I really would hate to waste all of this yarn, it wasn’t cheap, and I would love a table runner out of it.

On another note, I have also received my Strickpaner for 2020 and I am really enjoying getting to know it.  They have a particular company that they work with to create planner stickers, I hope to check them out very soon.  They have 7 pages in the front advertising their company and explaining about the planner.  This is followed by a page of conversion charts, a page of time zones then 8 pages covering 2 years (2020 and 2021) with slots for important events each day of those years.  This is followed by pages of goals, reflections, notes, lessons learned, then we get into quarterly overviews.  Seriously, if I use this properly I should be fairly well set for the year.  There are built in trackers, week spreads with inspiration and tips, this planner seriously rocks.  On page 142 the knitting aspect of the planner begins, Project overviews, ideas, project pages, a pattern for a cover for the planner, yarn purchases, wishlists (yarn, book, accessories separated out), festivals, podcasts, stores, each have their own lists to fill in.  There is so much more, spaces for the sizes and measurements of those that you love to knit for, indexed lists and notes.  The notes are separated into index card sized, graph paper, and dotted paper, before going into a contacts section.  After the contacts are schedules (quarterly which works really well with my work life), some more advertisements, and finally a page with a ruler and needle size conversion chart.  This should be an amazing way to keep track of everything.  They even had an option to purchase a huge set of stickers that contain knitting, spinning, crochet, etc. so that I can mark days when I was able to craft, or plan out days to craft.

I did make another purchase over the weekend, I finally bought a table for my 16 shaft floor loom.  I’m not going back to that store in a hurry so they lost a lot of potential sales, but I did get the table I wanted.  Story time: I went in and saw the table, as I was checking out the lavendar (for moths) and Goats Milk Soap, I need something other than Dial, I asked how much the table was.  The saleswoman was very eager to tell me it was 90, I made a comment about getting it in a couple of weeks.  She was all about, well I’m going to take it home if it doesn’t get bought, and such.  I was honest and told her that my paychecks would be sorted out in a couple of weeks and I could afford it then, she put more pressure on and I guess I caved.  Of course, I was honest, I’m going to be pretty flush in a couple of weeks but hey, if she wants to lose out on the purchases for a quick sale it saves me money in the long run.  So, I have a table that will work for my loom and a couple of extra chairs.  Right now I am in the middle of an 11 day straight stretch of work, however after that I hope to be able to begin setting up my studio.  There are a few days where I do not have to be to work super early, so I could do something in the morning.

I think that’s enough for right now, next time I will discuss my silk dyeing and other experiments.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!