Prioritizing FTW (For the Win)

I not only got the name of the contractor, I went to the quilt shop with my friend as well! This is the fabric I purchased, 1 yard each of 6 rainbow colors, 1/2 yard of a print that looks very Hungarian (Mom was Hungarian so my sister and I are 1/2 Hungarian), and an 1/8th yard of a cute purple that looks like it has black thistle plants on it. (One of my dad’s cousins married a very proud Scotsman, and they have been great so if I can make them a wall hanging I will). I will get into my crafting for the week after the **** but first an update on my prioritizing.

I called the mechanic recommended by a colleague and seconded by another colleague. They are going to do an oil change and look at my front bumper Tuesday morning. Yay! My friend that accompanied me to the quilt shop sent me the contact info for her contractor on Monday night, when I called him Tuesday he offered to come on Thursday to look into what I needed done. While talking with him on Thursday he kept saying, “Oh, that’ll take me a couple of hours and shouldn’t cost above 1k, no real reason to redo the entire bathroom I’ll see what’s going on underneath when I get there. Oh the flooring will cost X (less than the price that was quoted for finishing 1 room), we can get that done whenever. Your garage is under a $100 fix. The sliding glass door, I can get a door and get it installed and the house fixed up in a couple of hours. Your front porch, we’ll jack it up, figure out what is going on, and get it fixed.”

All of the fixes that I was planning on doling out over the course of the summer, because I thought the bathroom alone would be 5k, he is planning on having finished in 2 weeks, and for a lot less than I had planned. The flooring will take a little longer because I need to pull all of the staples out before he can put the flooring down. I think I have one room staple free but I’m working on my bedroom first because I would like that finished ASAP. So, he is fixing my toilet on Wednesday and maybe doing something else, this is my day off so I’ll be hanging around the house. Then on Friday I will let him in before I leave for work so he can take out the very drafty sliding glass door and install a working regular door. I am so excited because this, combined with a garage door, will allow me to actually use my backyard. This is all very exciting and a bit overwhelming. The overwhelm keeps going.

When I got home from work on Friday I had my garbage can on the sidewalk in front of my steps leading up to the house. To clarify, I did not put it there. Someone, likely a passive aggressive neighbor, did. Fine, the snow is likely done for a while, I’ll move my can back around the side of the house. This also prompted me to assemble my manual mower, just a huge cutting blade with a handle that rotates as you push it along, and mow my lawn. This is when I realized the damage the previous owners dogs left behind in the form of brown spots where no grass will grow. I bagged up the leaves left over from last year, realized I have a lovely flower bed in the back yard, and looked into disposing of the yard waste as well as how to repair my lawn. The city wants $3 per bag of yard waste and compost costs $7 a bag. With this in mind I looked into getting a rotating compost barrel, yes it cost me $80, however that is 8 bags of yard waste and compost. Considering how many plants I’m planning on growing this year the compost barrel will be paid off by the end of a season or two. Since I do not use most of my driveway, it is an old house and the driveway is at an angle to the garage, I am going to put the barrel near the garage. For repairing my lawn I discovered a Scotts brand product that claims it will repair and reseed my lawn. Last night, Saturday, after I was done with my day of shopping (more about that soon) I used a weed digger I purchased to aerate the brown spots. The product is supposed to be waiting for me at home so I hope to put that down tonight. Now, about shopping!

I’m going to go in reverse order since I went to the quilt shop first and I would like that to segue into the crafting portion of this post. So given that I’ll lead the shopping segment with: I found a living room chair! After going to three different furniture stores I finally found a chair that I don’t feel I have to heave myself out of and better yet it has both lumbar support and a separately adjustable headrest. I can recline, adjust my lumbar support for my lower back, and raise my head so that I can watch something on TV all at the same time! I didn’t even really know that is what I was looking for! Admittedly the gold/tan color is not my favorite but it might brighten up a bit against the background of my purple room, better than the dark chocolate color that was my other option. Before that I managed to find three dresses that I like and two shrugs that I can use (since I hate sleeveless I need something to cover my upper arms). This means that I have enough outfits that currently fit me to take me through until the winter when I can pull out my sweater dresses again. I plan on going to the laundromat on Wednesday so I can freshen my sheets, wash my quilt, and probably wash my wool dresses for storage. Before the dress and furniture shopping I hit a bookstore, I am a librarian (lol), and found a book I look forward to exploring titled: Sarah Payne’s Quilt School. This segues into the first part of the shopping on Saturday, the Quilt Shop!

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A friend of mine is moving, she wanted to make sure I could find the local quilt shop before she moved. We had a lovely trip and I purchased too much fabric. In the picture at the top of the post you can see a rainbow of 6 colors of fabric, I purchased a yard each. I’m not too sure what I am going to do with this fabric, however I could not resist them. The 6 yards cost me what 4 would have from other retailers, so when there was a full rainbow I had to try. I’m going to look in the Sarah Payne book I purchased from a bookstore later in the day to see if there is a pattern that would look good in these colors.

I did not get much crafting done however I did realize that if the only thing stopping me from knitting up the hat is that I hate doing the ribbing then 3″ of ribbing is going to have to be enough so I can move onto the next part. Speaking of moving on, I did make some progress on the tapestery I have been weaving since last July (I had to look at when I bought the loom since I had it in my mind I had been working on this for a couple of years).

As you can see the edges are not very even and there is a wide mish-mash of different types of weaving in there. This is my sampler piece and I could not love it any more! It is amazingly colorful and has a lot of movement to it.

Okay, that is about it for me this week, so much exciting news!

Remember to take time for yourself and Live Life a Little More Abstract!

434 Out of 471 Glued Down

Catch up about life and the house(s) before crafting. Crafting content starts at ****. According to our real estate agent the closing date for the sale of the house should be within the next 2 weeks. This is a little sooner than anticipated, however that will likely work out in our favor in the end. When we get the final closing date I will call the oil company so that we can be reimbursed by the new owner for the oil left in the tank (they will essentially buy the oil off of us) and we can notify the insurance company as well as the electric company. Yay. I’m feeling relieved about this, not as sad as I expected (it really was too much house for me and mom had gotten into some minor hoarding tenancies which made it more difficult to keep up with than it already was.) My supervisor, that was supposed to pick up the loom, is on medical leave….I don’t have any details and feel that if she wanted me to know she would have told me so I’m not asking for any details….so her Father picked up the loom yesterday. He also worked for the city works administration where I now live and had plenty of advice about my getting a new roof and fixing up my bathroom. About the roof, apparently where I live doesn’t qualify for financial help getting a solar paneled roof, however they do offer financial help in installing a new roof. So I will look into that on Monday and make inquiries. He also advised that since the floor is going to have to be semi-leveled to fix the problem with the toilet I should think about just getting the bathroom completely redone. He pointed out that if the toilet had been leaking then it might have caused structural damage anyway, and if I’m going to possibly pull everything out I might as well budget for it and get it done the way I want it to be in the first place. It’s a little strange, however I think it also makes complete sense.

For some reason the shower in that bathroom doesn’t have any doors or rod for a shower curtain, I’ve been making due with a tension rod but that sort of sucks as well. When I try to hang up some things to dry, if it is more than some hand towels or underthings the weight tends to bring the rod down…which is not fun in the middle of the night. Getting the bathroom done the way it needs to be and the roof on the house should be enough for this year. I would like to get a heating/air conditioning unit installed since I don’t do well in the heat, however that will likely have to wait for another year. Part of why I have never done too well in the heat is simply being overweight. Since stopping nutrisystem I have been finding myself falling back on old bad habits. To counteract this I have decided to resume Nutrisystem, and to stop delaying any further I reinstated myself today. This combined with going to the gym, yes I only managed once last week however that was more than I had been doing before and I have plans for this upcoming week, should lead to results I enjoy. I will not be purchasing a scale, instead I will be looking into how my clothing fits at a given time.

Of course, if these two fixes to the house do not cost a huge amount I can look into other fixes for this upcoming year. If they do, then I will choose one fix each year until the place is the way it needs to be. Alright, I’m back. Thinking about a new bathroom promptly sent me on a spiral to look at Victorian Bathroom Fixtures and two hours later I have emerged from that rabbit hole with several ideas. I will have to work with the individuals doing the renovations to ensure that I do not have too many conflicting points of interest, especially since I would like to minimize the white in the room. Enough of this for now, decisions will be made when the time comes, and I have a chance to speak with a couple of contractors my friends and colleagues have recommended.

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As in the title I have 434 out of 471 pieces of Tula Pink’s Tula Nova English Paper Piecing quilt glue basted. I did start sewing together the second set of pieces where the initial step is to attach two pentagons together along one side. The first step is to actually attach 5 triangles around a pentagon then attach diamonds in between each of the triangles to completely encase the pentagon. I have not taken the first step since I am still gluing down diamonds and have not made a design choice about these pentagons yet. As I will be making 11 of these they are the focal points of the quilt and need quite a bit of attention, I believe. After that I make some stars which will be modified to create the next portion of the quilt. I’m thinking of laying several pieces down to try and form a semi-cohesive view of the finished product before I do any intense stitching.

Oh, you didn’t think I was only doing one project did you? As stated before I tend to go in fits and spurts as well as leaning into my need to have more than one project on the go at a time. I have made progress on the sampler quilt top I am playing with, when laying it on the bed it goes across the bed rather well despite being only about 60″ wide however the length leaves a lot to be desired. I have another strip ready to add on to the initial portion so that I can decide where to go from there. I thought about adding more onto this smaller strip and then adding that onto the larger quilt, however upon reflection (which is why I didn’t add it on right away) I believe I would be better off seeing how this strip adds to the pattern before making any drastic design decisions. While I do have some blocks that I could add on, and at looking at what I have now I think it might be neat to add on some 10″ squares outlined and baste in my EPP flowers as centerpieces…hmmm. What if I add strips of 10″ squares to the length of the top and bottom of the quilt, balancing them out. This might complete the project if the strip I am going to add on tonight or tomorrow means that I only need about 20 more inches added onto the length of the quilt. I don’t think that is going to be the case, so I might be cutting some more strips to add onto the top and bottom to flesh things out so to speak. Adding in EPP Motifs as I play around with them on top of the 10″ square border pieces would certainly add visual interest. It might take me a little longer….unless I give my current project a sewing pause as I make some more EPP flowers…it would give me a chance to play with some of the ideas I have going on regarding patterning in my second Tula Nova Quilt…

Oh, I did mention that I was making a second Tula Nova Quilt despite each quilt being positively huge right? I’m sure I did. Anyway, the Wolfsbane print from Spoonflower arrived as well as a yard of rainbow stripe fabric I ordered from amazon. I have cut the pieces that will act as the star centers out of the wolfsbane fabric so that each wolf is howling, it took some time to fussy cut each one out, however I LOVE the effect. I was thinking about fussy cutting some diamonds out of the same fabric, however I do not want to risk overusing one print in a potentially dynamic quilt. To that end I am going to do some experimenting with how the wolfsbane fabric looks as hexi flowers since I have about a 1/2 yard left, and I will play around with the stripes as well.

Once I have the new quilt top finished I intend to use the cotton batting as well as one of the 108″ backing fabrics to create my quilt sandwich. Then I plan on doing some form of free-motion quilting, trim the batting down and folding the edges of the backing to act as my binding. It is a little unconventional, however I haven’t followed a pattern for this quilt yet, why start now?

So, selling houses, potential bathroom renovations, new roofs, English paper piecing, diets, exercise, quilt tops, did I forget anything? Actually I did! My cousin’s daughters are very into Fairies right now, and I am into playing with resin. As with any of my projects I wanted to ensure that I was making something that would get some use, so I decided to figure out which colors the little girls would like. One likes rainbows and the other purple (girl after my own heart). So I made up two resin fairy pieces, and it took several weeks since I attempted to mix two different brands of resin to create the second (I was out of one type and added in a second). It turns out that doesn’t work…at all. No matter how much you try to cure it stays tacky. There is a vague possibility this was due to the humidity over a 3 day period that I tried to get the dang thing to cure…but I have Natural Gas heating and I believe the house gets quite dry. I finally got these pieces in the mail yesterday, YAY! I also told my supervisor to purchase Roxy Epoxy if she wants me to do this craft with the teens, so I had a bottle of that waiting for me. I have found that the three brands I tried, one from Michaels and 2 from Amazon, worked just fine if they were cured on their own and not too much coloring was added in. When I did try Mica Powder (which I will not be using with the teens) the result wanted to take a very long time to cure, which I did not find out until I stuck my finger in it.

It is my fondest hope that the girls like their little fairy friends.

Until next time Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

The Universe Was Not Finished With Me Yet

*Very little crafting content in this post, it will begin after the ***

So, I didn’t post last week. I usually post while I’m at my side hustle job, I do my work but there are periods of down time. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to my side hustle last week, well, let me back up a bit. Not this past Thursday but the one before that we put our old house up for sale. The realtor recommended we give it the weekend and start looking at offers the following, this past, Tuesday. My sister and I agreed. A friend/colleague from my side hustle job wanted to get together so we did a shopping trip that Saturday, February 12th. We had a bit of fun, I showed her my new house and she assured me that it does not smell of cat (yay!). As we were getting ready to end the night, she was going to try some Skinny Syrup Mermaid Flavor since I had some and wanted her to be able to try it before purchasing a bottle. She let me out and I started walking up the neighbors driveway, and I fell….hard…landing on the wrist where I had previously snapped a ligament. I hopped back up and tried to ignore the pain, thinking I would put a hot pack on once my friend had left.

She asked if I was alright, brought in my purchases, and all in all was amazing. I served her the flavored water, it tastes like coconut and all things tropical I love it. Then I noticed that a bulge was protruding from the back of my bad wrist, heat and ice were not going to do the trick. My friend took me to the urgent care center, we were seen within 10 minutes. It was a bit of fun hanging out with my friend, especially since ( a week later) I know that it was just a sprain. Since I was in pain, and did not feel up the the hour drive the next day (or another 8 hours of work followed by another hour drive) I called off of work/side hustle last week. This resulted in my, effectively, sulking for the entirety of last Sunday…which I needed. I slept a lot, rested my wrist, and generally had a very relaxing day. This past Tuesday we accepted an offer on the old house (we had 2, one was 66% of asking price and one was 100.5% of the asking price, so we accepted the full offer). Then came prepping for the inspection, which was just yesterday, and now we are going to wait for the next steps.

I’ve only given myself enough time to breathe today and realized that I was trying to work ‘full speed’ through my fallow period. Since I have so much going on I was trying to force myself to be productive instead of settling down and dealing with life as it comes….okay, since I have tomorrow completely off I’m going to rest, read, relax, and enjoy myself. *whew* That’s a load off of my mind, and probably what the universe was trying to tell me.

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I did discover that I can still use my sewing machine while wearing a wrist brace and with a sprained wrist. I am not really sure why quilting is hitting me so hard as the craft I want to do, but I am going with it right now.

This is my curvy log cabin quilt squares, well half of them before the final trim. I am supposed to trim off the last white section to square up the blocks…however I am seriously thinking about leaving that part on for this half of the blocks. For the second half I plan on reversing how they look, putting the white sections toward the center, and for that I will trim the white down to a square. I know, there are wrinkles everywhere, and I am certain there are ways to prevent them…I just don’t know what those are. I am not sure what I am going to do with the finished blocks, though I am really leaning toward a sampler quilt. I have a 108″x108″ backing piece that I can use to create a queen sized quilt. I also have two panel pieces that I fell in love with that I need to figure out what to do with. At present my quilting station is sufficient, but irritating so I am also looking into ways to make that situation better. Fortunately, for my wallet at least, there is not enough room for me to pick up a Create Room Co. Dream Box, though I’m still looking at their sewing station.

***This is going to be about home decoration, while craft room organization is a big part of that the actual crafting content is done***

As I am finding out looking for home furnishings, furniture of any quality is quite expensive. A really nice work desk is about $700, I can get similar from Amazon but I have to think that the quality will not be there. Of course I just did some more looking at the Dream Box, as I have been for the past three years or so, and discovered the Dream Cart. I will do some measuring and look into it further, however it looks like a reasonable solution. While it does not have the recessed sewing machine storage or the specific thread storage it does have two leaves that operate independently of each other, one can be used for pressing and the other for cutting. There is storage in the center column, on both sides so that it can easily be used from the ‘front’ or the ‘back’. Frankly if this works out the way it appears that it will I could see this becoming a great writing desk for me as well, but back to storage. I have full-sized origami racks, which I adore due to their portability and capacity.

They are also metal and rather…industrial looking. For right now they are doing great at storing the decorations I inherited, and cannot bear to part with right now, from Mom. That is taking up over half of my computer room right now, yet I do not see a way around that at present. I thought about putting the decorations downstairs, but I would need the smaller origami racks, and I would need about 4 of them, since they run 75 each I’m not willing to pay $300 right now for storage I can get elsewhere. I may decide to store them on the third floor if I do not find another use for that area. I have most of the carpet padding out of my final bedroom, plus I purchased curtain rods to install.

It is a bit difficult to drill holes to install curtain rods with one really good hand, so that has been put off a little bit. Even once the rods are installed I will have to find appropriate curtains to install, specifically blackout curtains. I think I have what I would like chosen, they are only about $45 per pair and I would need 5 sets. While I love the idea of weaving my own curtains I acknowledge that is not realistic; at least not for me to weave curtains that would be light proof.

As you can probably tell from this long and rambling post, organizing a craft room/house is quite a set of compromises. You can absolutely get furniture for under 1k; the main issue is you will likely be re-purchasing that furniture over and over again as it breaks.

I think that is enough rambling for today. I am going to take this week to enjoy my fallow period and work on finding what will relax and recharge me while trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. One of those messages seems to be ‘Don’t make any large purchases right now’; so I hope to spend time enjoying what I already have.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Progress and Planning

Crafty Content at the top, no photos this week.

I’ve been touching on a lot of different projects while deciding what is staying out and what is getting packed away. I found a plastic box of mostly forgotten fibers that I am spinning up one after the other. These fibers are all going onto one bobbin. Once that bobbin is full each fiber section, I am putting drastically different colors next to each other to keep the different fiber sections easy to see, they will be plied back onto themselves for crewel embroidery floss, or to be used for color-work knitting in the future.

I am using different colors of my tatting thread to make a warp for my sprang loom, since I want this warp to be wider it makes sense to use up bits of thread I have lying around. This is one of the longer term projects I plan on keeping out.

I did order and receive the special thimble I will need to work on the Sashiko kit I received for Christmas. I plan on keeping the kit out as well as my sewing machine for any alterations I can make to my clothing in the next couple of months.

A few more rows have been worked on the gusset of my second sock, it looks like I will not get through all 4 however getting 2 completed by the end of May is still quite the accomplishment. That is about all for the crafting content, though much of my moving has to do with crafting since crafts are my hobby.

Most of what I have been working on is packing. While I have adjusted my plans some, it doesn’t make much sense to be in another city when I still have a lot of cleaning to do in my house, the basics remain. I need to pack what I plan on keeping so that it can go into storage. This will free up a lot of room and mental space for me to begin getting rid of what needs to be eliminated and cleaning places that I have not been able to get to for years. I love mom, she however, has 10+ boxes of Christmas decorations that we have not taken out in years. That is before all of the other decorations for Easter and Halloween. I plan on keeping the pieces that she made as well as the family ornaments from years gone by and getting rid of the rest of it. I am even thinking about re-packing one of the boxes I already packed simply because I have realized that I do not really value the stuffed animals within. I’ll keep one to remind me, then get rid of the rest. The decision makes me feel free and relaxed rather than anxious. Going through all of the paper that has built up over the years…that is another story. That has me stressed out. My sister is planning a series of bonfires as we sort through and burn the papers we do not need to keep, it should actually be a bit of fun.

That is about it, I have a very busy week ahead of me. I am trying to take some time every single day to get some crafting done so that I do not burn out. Right now I think I have gone as far as I can with the packing and I will wait until I get some breathing room in the house before worrying about the rest. Okay, that’s a lie. The handyman will be coming Monday to take some things from the external garage to the dump, then I plan on moving several plastic boxes out to the garage so I have room to get the bed set up for my sister to have somewhere to sleep on Wednesday night.

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

Week of Blah

This post starts off with Non-Crafting content. If you are only here for the (little) crafting I did, then skip to the *****

Have you ever had a week where everything just seems like, blah? That is what last week was like for me. I know where it is coming from, there were a lot of ‘business’ related things that I needed to get done, my sister and I are trying to get our mom’s estate settled. We sort of left everything up to the lawyer, now that we had to do some bugging the lawyer in finally telling us what needs to get done to finalize this. It’s stressful, since my sister is not good about getting this sort of thing done. I can already tell I’ll have to bug her to order the form to switch the name on the little bit of stock we are inheriting as well as calling the house and car insurance company to get our names on the policies. It turns out inheriting (even mom’s tiny ‘estate’ which is a house, car, and a couple of small stocks) is pretty complicated, oh well. I’m not going to be coming into any sort of money from this to be clear, just having legal co-ownership of the house I’m living in and the car I’m driving. This should all be done by next month, along with my taxes which I dropped off yesterday. So my free time, after and before work, was spent figuring out what I might need and gathering paperwork. Oh well, other than calling the insurance company to make sure that the house and car insurance are in my name I think we’re done.

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I did not take much time to craft this week. Last week I started a project where I was going to take the samples of each breed of sheep I have wool for and spin it up to create granny squares with it. I started with the Hog Island, I do not have photos, and I did a two ply as well as a crepe ply. Crepe ply is where I took a section of the two ply (I kept 40 yards of the yarn as a 2 ply for the first square) and plied it back onto itself. This might have been a tidier construction if I had overplied the first 2 ply yarn, so I might do that for the next breed. Take 40 yards off of the 2 ply to make a square then overply the rest so that when I crepe ply it looks tidy. Things to learn!

The Hog Island fleece was a bouncy dream to spin up, though there was considerable VM (vegetable matter) in the combed top so it will take a few years for the fleece to be ‘really clean’. I’m not using any harsh chemicals to clean it so that will have to do. I then started spinning up some Icelandic Fleece I had as a worsted yarn using short forward draw. I was really good about keeping up with this….then I got bored. Okay, so the Icelandic top is probably a year or two old and has compacted down a bit. Since the wool is pretty grabby to begin with this means that it is a bit of a pain to draft from. I believe that I have plenty to make my two samples with, however the granny squares are going to be quite open since I am going to use the same size crochet hook and this yarn is much finer than my first breed. I really look forward to seeing how it will turn out. In order to use up the rest of the fiber I am also spinning up a woolen preparation for the rest of the Icelandic I have on hand. It goes faster and I am pulling the fiber sideways instead of straight out so they do not seem to grab as much. Of course using a long back draw helps as well, well it is an attempt at a long back draw.

The only photo I have for this week is some of the Icelandic on a bobbin as I spun.

As you can see the grey yarn is quite fine, I really hope I was patient enough to get enough yardage that I can crepe ply some of this.

Until next time I hope that you have a great week and Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract.

New Year, New Challenges

*This post is not going to be very crafting heavy, though I do have a crafting section, if you are only here for crafting please skip to the line of asterisks.**

2021 is going to be my year! I am looking forward to the new challenges that I will face this year as well as the changes I am choosing to make. Do I think everything is going to be smooth sailing, no of course not, however I am going to control what I can and leave the rest up to fate.

From the late 90s to the early 00s Mom and I collected Beanie Babies. We had a lot of fun and I have some amazing memories of the times we spent looking for certain beanies. The prices of these toys have not help up to the times so I found myself with literally hundreds of beanies sitting in tubs in the back hallway of my childhood home. In theory I could create sets, set up sales on ebay and see what I could get for them. I put up three posts of some beanies that had sold for huge amounts in the week I put the posts up. Two weeks later, I have not received a single offer. Oh well, to the donation box the rest of the beanies are going to go. I kept a few for myself that I have very fond memories of, okay so I kept a small tub for myself (I cleared out three huge tubs so this is still a lot of progress), and sent some to my sister that she would like. I made the conscious decision that I was not going to take these tubs of toys into my new life, and eventually new home. I did ensure that some of my friends and colleagues with children wound up with some, okay a lot, and I feel good about these decisions. I still have four huge tubs I need to put into garbage bags to donate, however I have made significant progress.

Along those lines later today I am going to be clearing out my car of junk so that I can start fresh for my new job. Theoretically I should be vacuuming and getting things detailed, that is not going to happen so I will focus on what I can do. I have also cleaned out my fridge of all of the items I have not eaten the past two years (condiments included) and need to wipe that out later. I know, some people are able to do these tasks on a regular basis and so accomplishing them is no big deal. I am not one of those people, I have been listening to decluttering books, organizing books, and minimalism books in the hopes of gaining control over my ‘stuff’. These changes are not just for today, this week, or this year, these changes are how I am going to be able to maintain these changes long term. They will take time and effort, however I will be rewarded in the end by only being surrounded with a functional, aesthetically pleasing, home that I enjoy being in.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith allowed me to understand what I need to do in order to craft my new home to work with my aesthetic as well as my needs. As much as mom used to make fun of my Grandmother’s bill paying desk, I am going to buy a little desk with cubbies right on top so I can organize and pay my bills in one cleared off space. Right now I am doing that on my computer desk with my supplies in a little metal drawer underneath my computer monitor. I hate having to move my keyboard out of the way, or going to a separate table to write out my Thank You notes as well as greeting cards. I have also made up some pinterest boards that are going to help me with my decorating choices when the time comes.

The Clutter Connection and Real Life Organizing by Cassandra Aarssen have both helped me to understand that I need my items to be visually available. Aarssen also runs an organization that talks about clutterbugs and she frames all of her information in that terminology, this is well worth a look. She also helped me to understand that I am not ‘lazy’, ‘naturally messy’ or any of those other self-defeating terms. I simply organize in a visual way because if I try to do the ‘everything put away’ thing I lose stuff or forget I own it. Since I have started trying this method I can find things when I look for them. This means that in my new home I am going to go for bookcases with baskets for my crafting supplies as well as two glass cabinets. I already have one that I am going to store Mom’s Hummels in, the other is going to be for the beanie babies I choose to keep. That way things are not tucked away but displayed with pride for me to enjoy.

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K White has allowed me to embrace ‘the container concept’. This is simply coming to accept that the size of the container designated for something is the size that it is. That means if something has to be eliminated because it does not fit in the container and is not loved as much as something else then that is it. You cannot keep more than a container holds. This is going to be very helpful to me when it comes to Mom’s collections. One cabinet for her Hummels, one for the Beanies. If there are items that do not fit in the container, then ask “what gets taken out?”

I am cringing even as I write this next part, I am going to apply these concepts to my craft collections. I know, it hurts to think about it. I do plan on setting up book cases for each of my major hobbies, knitting/crochet, weaving, spinning, papercrafts, and dioramas. I also intend to have two bookcases for books, one crafting books and the other fiction/DVDs. This does seem like a lot of bookcases yet for me this is the perfect balance of organized and visual. If the items are in baskets while on bookcases they are contained, organized, and visual enough for me to see.

I realize that for some people these concepts are completely ‘duh’ yet for plenty of other people like me these books will make you sit up and take notice. The best advice I received from these organizing and decluttering books, I am not alone. There are other people quietly suffering with the same problems that I have and grew up with. Mom did not know that she was a non-visual organizer compared to my visual organizer so things were a constant misery of lost items and accusations of slovenly behavior. I cannot tell you the number of times mom ‘knew’ that someone came in and stole something because she could not put her hands on it. Dana had the same story to tell.

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Onto the crafting! Purl Together has come up with a ‘Finish it or Frog It’ challenge that they have started for 2021. The first step is to gather all of your WIPs or Works In Progress and take a photo. Having some people talk about their 15-50 unfinished items makes me feel better about my nine. Six of these were put on hold while I had surgery and recovered from my surgery, and at least two are probably going to be frogged.

Nine unfinished knitting and crochet projects in various stages of completion.

The forest green piece on the bottom right side of the photo is a baby cardigan I waned to have finished by today, as you can see that did not happen. I have finished 2″ out of the 6″ I need on the first sleeve then I need to pick up the second sleeve, seam the sides, hide the ends and sew on buttons. The buttons are supposed to arrive on Monday or Tuesday so if I finish then I will be very happy. The 8×8 cabled cowl on the bottom far left of the photo is something that I am capable of, however the tight, huge, cable makes the width of the cowl much too small for my tastes. Since it is a bulky Knitpicks yarn I can easily find another pattern. I was very happy to find the cardigan that I started with a Jimmy Beans Wool Kit almost half done, I hope to finish that. There are a couple of mindless projects I can take with me, the half-granny triangle shawl out of lace weight yarn will take forever to crochet up, yet I love how it is turning out.

Between the New Job, Organizing, De-Cluttering, and a New House, 2021 is certainly going to be A Little More Abstract.

Memories in Crafts

Yes, right now my room still looks like an absolute mess.  However, I can see what this room will be once I get these large pieces of furniture out of the way.  Right now I have the cabinet I showed you last posted filled an organized, I am amazed how much fits in there.  The cardboard tube organizer that I used in a maker video for my public library turned out really well so I am using it on top to keep supplies visible.

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I did have to buy a second cubby in a different size and configuration that you can see next to the original.  I put a storage rack that was mostly empty into the corner to hold a combination of mom’s kits and some of my kits.  I am using the open blocking mats as shelf liners.  You can see part of one of the dressers I need to destash in the near future, with a lamp and a sock project on it.

I am not completely finished getting everything sorted and organized, however I have made a ton of progress.  There is still a bin I need to sort through, however I have also started displaying some yarn for inspiration.  I believe that this is the first time ever that a large majority of my crafts have been entirely in one place that I am likely to frequent.  I still have items downstairs however it is cold, and since I live right by the woods I am concerned I might have another dang mouse.  Most of mom’s acrylic yarn is down there also.

During all of this frenzy of organization I have found many things that I forgot were around, or simply did not know where they were.  There is a pair of Christmas stockings that I need to sew the trim on, Mom made the stockings and never finished them.  Mom had a ton of plastic canvas kits that she wanted to make, when I feel up to it I am going to have to sort through those.  The one that brought a tear to my eye, though I’m telling myself it might have been dust, is the alpaca yarn squares that I wove and mom edged for me.  We were going to make a vest out of them, however the project was abandoned well before finishing them.  I am going to make a table runner out of them to remember her by, I just need to find the right yarn to use to attach them together.

*whisper* I also found the organizer in which I stashed all of my DPNs, I knew I had DPNs!*whisper*

I have also found out that I can do more crafting than I thought I could if I hold my wrist carefully.  I’ll make a post about progress in crafts later.  Until then!

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!  Stay safe!

Always something…

There is always something new going on.  I have been sending out applications to try and get a full-time job, last week I dyed a cotton as well as a bamboo warp and weft with the Enchanted Mountains Weaver’s Guild (which was a ton of fun), and yesterday I had to put down my cat one month shy of 21 years old.

Precious Cat

Despite being a long haired cat my Dad, who was extremely allergic to cats, just adored her.  He would sit on his chair in the living room and tap the arm with her brush, Precious would leap on his lap and start purring like a motorboat.  When he passed she was beside herself, didn’t know what to do.  After a while she realized he wasn’t coming back, but she had mom at home to dote on her all the time.  For the past few years Mom and I suspected that she was going a bit senile, in addition to her progressive kidney failure and the heart problems we found out about spring of 2018.  The vet tech said that if we started giving her medicine for the heart troubles she might live to see 20.  We decided against the medication and Precious lived almost a year past expectations.  I am lucky that I had her when Mom passed in October of 2018, however for the past three months she has been getting progressively worse.  Between missing the litterbox, yowling half the night, and just lately not eating as much as usual, it was time to let her go.  Now I get to spend the weekend trying to clean up all of the stuff she left behind and figuring out if I can salvage the bathroom or if I am going to have to invest in getting it completely retiled in the future.  I’m not mad about any of it, I appreciate the time I had with her and I am sorry that I had to let her go.

I have done some spinning for Tour de Fleece, however not nearly as much as I would have liked.  There have been opportunities for me to work on different crafts, just today I am receiving supplies to see if resin casting is something that I can reasonably do at the public library I work for.  One of the trees, a choke berry tree I believe, had to be cut down outside our library.  The director was very opposed to this action, however we needed a new storage shed.  The maintenance person managed to salvage several of the berries and now I have the opportunity to play with resin as well as creating a keepsake for my Director.  Win-Win!

I have made considerable progress on my Furls Crochet Coffee Cup Sweater, right now I am working on the body and hope to start the sleeves mid august.  The only problem I have with it is, I will need to either wear something underneath or the yarn had best full quite a bit and close up some of the gaps.  I knew that this was a possibility when I saw that I would be using double crochets for part of it.  This might give me opportunity to bust out my t-shirt collection to wear as a layer underneath.  I Have started knitting my third quarter poncho pattern from Jimmy Beans Wool and look forward to seeing the finished product.

I guess I have been busier than I thought.  I will either be starting back up at the University Library I work at or be starting a new job.  If the former I will have more time to blog, if the latter it might be a little while until I get into a rhythm again.  If I obtain a new job I will post notification of a hiatus.

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Family History and Crafting

This will contain no crafting updates or lessons.  It has been only five months since Mom joined Dad and I am still processing my grief.  If you have any fresh grief or if you are particularly sensitive, you may want to skip this post.  Crafting updates will resume with the next post.

My memories of my Grandmother, Mom’s Mother, are of her smoking at the kitchen table, cooking dinner, eating pretzels while watching Wheel of Fortune, sitting on metal lawn chairs (not those woven ones with metal frames but heavy metal chairs I wish I had today) while listening to the Cleveland Indians on the radio and watching fireflies, and her crocheting.  She was always crocheting or sewing.  I have more memories of my Mom, but still, crocheting, plastic canvas, (she learned loom knitting because it was mentioned in the Knitting Retreat series by Betty Hechtman, a good series that I read because it got Mom interested in Loom Knitting), and always encouraging my desire to learn new techniques.  Mom never tired of telling me how proud her Mother would have been to see me learning all of the new (old/traditional) crafts.   Of course, I never got mom to try spinning, though I did trick her into learning needle tatting so she could help me teach a class on it; that was so much fun.  I came to realize just recently, how lucky I was to have crafting be a part of my memory as far back as I can remember, while I was working.

During a crafting triage session, where people can bring whatever they are working on for a bit more help, I had one patron show up.  She is a lovely middle aged woman who wanted to know why she couldn’t get the same results twice when using her knitting loom.  We determined that she needs to keep better records of what she is doing, and even out her tension.  However, during this session, while she was working from a couple of tangled skeins of yarn I came to realize that she did not know how to hand wind her yarn into a ball.  I’m not talking about using a notepinne to create a center pull ball, just a plain old ball of yarn.  The kind that tends to go bouncing all over the house if you are not careful.  By checking YouTube I see that they are all promoting how to wind a center pull ball as the only method, oh well.  We spent some time working on this new skill, and at the end she had three balls of white yarn and two more tangled skeins of blue to practice on.

What this really caused me to realize is how very lucky I am to have been raised by a Mom that was crafty.  Actually Dad used to make things with macrame and I remember him doing Rug Hooking for a time, so Dad was crafty as well.  I have Aunts, Dad’s sisters,  that Quilt, Sew, Knit, and Crochet so there is still a ton of Crafty influence and encouragement in my life.  You know how it goes, intellectually you understand how lucky you are to have the support and influences that you do, but until you are faced with someone that hasn’t had those advantages it doesn’t occur to you, Not everyone knows how to make a ball of yarn.  Those people that pull a length of yarn from the edge of a skein and cut it off really do not realize how much damage they are doing to the usability of the rest of the skein.

I miss mom, as spring begins to bloom and I realize that I do not need to traipse all over the back hills to pick every single daffodil that dares peek it’s head above ground, the ache becomes more apparent.  I am glad that is is with her parents and Dad, happy that she is no longer trapped by the ever growing limitations of her body, and pleased that she and Dad are looking down on the family.  Remembering the good times helps to ease the ache and deepen the sorrow all at the same time.

Okay, rant and reminiscing over.  There are more crafts to do, the weather is warming up, I should work on cutting down the weeds so I can create pretty flower beds out front.

Until next post, be happy for your support, remember your loved ones, and Live a 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.