A day at a time...

Charleston, SC

Well the days just keep piling up around here like the unfinished craft projects that litter my house. In the past few weeks I haven't accomplished a lot on the crafting front but I have managed to learn a little about bobbin lace and I'm hooked. Dealing with MS and the new medications have been quite troublesome so I'm sick more often than not, when I'm not sick I'm reading what I can on bobbin lace and lace in general which helps to pass the time.

Last week I spent time with my parents which was nice. My mom has lots of cool crafting books and magazines so I enjoyed looking through those. I also got to go and visit my Grandma which was fun. My parents and Grandma have been so supportive during the past few months and it was great to see my Grandma. She's so upbeat and even when I don't believe in myself, she believes in me and is cheering me on. It was just so great to see her and give her a hug. I loved spending the week with my parents. My mom and I hang out a lot normally but I don't get to hang out that much with my dad so it was fun catching up with my dad, getting him to fix some things for me, and just chill with my folks. My parents are super crafty too so I guess I know where I get it from.

My mom's chickens were equally entertaining. An orange tabby cat recently adopted my parents and for some reason I think he is under the impression that he is a chicken. When we go outside the chickens all run up to us and time and time again "Morris" would be in the middle of these 10 chickens running with the pack to come and greet us. It was the strangest thing but it made me laugh pretty hard. My parents have an inside cat named Twinker who is an excellent kitty nurse, good ole Twinker stayed on my bed all week and followed me around the house everywhere I went. It was fun spending time with my parents pets but it sure made me miss my own puppies and kitties. Animals just warm my heart so much, especially when I'm not feeling good its nice to have a little critter to curl up with.

While visiting my Grandma she gave me a bunch of rocks that she used to collect with my Grandpa on their RV adventures. Most have them have been tumbled and polished but some of them have not. My dad and I got a rock tumbler so I'm looking forward to tumbling some of the un-polished stones. I've always loved different rocks and shells so it was neat talking to my Grandma about her collection. Today I went to the local library and picked up a book on gems and minerals so I'm hoping to be able to identify some of the different rocks.

Well I'm hoping to feel better soon so I can blog more and post some newer pictures. With MS and the new medications I'm just taking things one day at a time and hoping for the best. I continue to gain great support from my awesome friends and family and gain comfort from different crafts, either by doing them or reading about them when I'm to sick to work on things myself. I know that my family, friends, and different crafts will help me get through this.

The Archaeology of a Sewing Basket....

Cambria Tide pools
So much has been going on lately that the days just seem to fly by. Living with MS continues to be a constant lesson in being humble, and with the fires in San Diego last week I'm increasingly grateful that my folks still have a place to call home. I'm also blessed to have such awesome friends. This week has been a hard one for me, I had to learn to self inject my MS medication and was very scared by the entire process. Not to mention my heavy dose of denial is slowly wearing off and I'm beginning to begrudgingly realize that MS isn't going away anytime soon.
Today I made a little jaunt over to my favorite thrift shop while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled and made an amazing discovery....I purchased and funky little sewing basket for $2.50 which included the basket and its contents. I liked the basket because it looked well used and there was something about it that made me smile, not to mention I think I inherited some sort of basket kleptomania from my mother because I definitely don't need any more baskets but boy do I like them!
Anyway, I took my little basket home and set out to discover the contents. Being the archaeologist that I am in real life I couldn't help but take things out "layer" at a time. Even when I could see something underneath a pile of ribbon I resisted disturbing the stratigraphy of the sewing basket. Piece by piece I uncovered a wide arrangement of items. Little hand sewn pockets contained different pieces of ribbon and bias tape, at the bottom of one of the little pockets I was surprised to find a small bag of hot pink sequins and another bag of dime sized silver sequins. In the corner I found a box advertising those little circular thing-a-ma-bobs (for a whopping 15 cents) that you use to prevent the holes in your paper from tearing, but inside the box contained an assortment of needles. Little bits of delicate lace were rolled into little pillows and stacked in a plastic baggie. Cream and pink lace encircled an old piece of card board. Bits and pieces of different thread wrapped themselves around old card stock and a Simplicity pattern label. A few thimbles rumbled around a flowered ceramic dish.
An Air Force Ez Sewing kit contained bits of felt with various sized needles, tan and navy blue bias tape and patches stacked themselves next to the Air Force kit. Old suspender straps gathered with delicate hosiery clasps all held in place by a large safety pin. A single strand of orangish red sequins stood out next to the full ball of hunter green Coats and Clark darning thread. A large pointy needle with a round circle on the end of it stuck itself between soft darning thread. I've never seen a needle like it and I look forward to figuring out what it was used for. Folded in between a funky piece of cardboard were two peculiar looking needles, one which was shaped like a crescent, and the other a very nicely tapered "yarn needle."
In the corner of the basket, almost out of sight stood what I thought to be a stack of bobbins. I was pleasantly surprised to find a silver lipstick type tube with a bobbin on top, when I took the bobbin off it revealed a wooden needle holder containing needles and wrapped around its side was two different types of thread. This lipstick sewing kit was apparently compliments of "Cal's Beauty Salon" and the sight of it just brought a huge smile to my face.
Contained in this funky old little basket were so many little treasures. The bits and pieces of white and cream lace saved perhaps for a future project? Varying colors of bias tape all organized and ready to be used. Needles of all shapes and sizes organized in small boxes, the Air Force sewing kit, and bits of recycled cardboard. Ribbons, clasps, thread, and brightly colored sequins sprouted forth from this funky little treasure box. Granted somethings were cooler than others but I got a good laugh out of this metallic, elastic, fake stone encrusted ribbon that had been clearly painstakingly removed from its original ensemble. It was an interesting afternoon of discovery and well worth $2.50.
I have a ton of ideas in how to incorporate the various bits of lace into a series of projects I'm working on and brain-storming ideas. The "artifacts" from this funky little wooden basket were intriguing and made me wonder about its previous owner. It was a good day for a little creative discovery.

It's a small world after all.....

My fabulous hubby Mike

As of today I've been married 6 years and 1 day to a fabulous guy named Mike. My husband is my best friend and is one of the smartest people I know (he's also pretty darn handsome!). He's funny, silly, smart, compassionate, and we have a great time together. When I first met Mike in college we realized that we had been at the same track meet when we were in high school and I remembered thinking that it was so nutty that we could have been at the same place at the same time and then meet all these years later. I realized what a small world it was.

So yesterday to celebrate our anniversary we went to Disneyland and had a blast. I haven't been feeling the greatest lately and it was nice to be at the happiest place on earth with the person that makes me the happiest girl on earth and even though I wasn't up to riding any of the rides we had fun looking at the different Disney pins (I'm a pin trading nut). Mike is what I would like to call an "enabler," especially when it comes to pins. This trip he finally picked out a few pins of his own, granted they were Star Wars themed Mr. potato head pins, but still, the effort was appreciated.

We also entered the realm of Department 56 at downtown Disney. On a recent trip to Vegas with my folks my mom and I started collecting different village series of Department 56. My mom is collecting this and I started to collect this. Well after looking around the store Mike discovered this village. I naturally protested against him insisting that since they were having a sale we should collect both villages. That Mike, well he can be pretty persuasive. I was glad that we both liked the North Pole village although Mike had his eye on something from the original snow village series. One never knows when they may need a decorated cow at the north pole.

It was a super fun day and a great way to spend our anniversary. I am so thankful to be married to my best friend and it was nice to have such a fun day. Today has been a rather lazy day, Mike and I watched the Charger game (well Mike watched it and I organized my pin collection). Its been a good weekend.

No new news on the crafting front. I've been continuing to work on my free-form crochet purse that has taken on a life of its own but it keeps me from being distracting and freaking out about having this. I think I'm starting to get a bit more scared lately and I think it has to do with everything sinking in. I keep reminding myself that "its all a process" it was nice to spend time at Disneyland and be distracted by it all. It was good to feel a little "normal" for change.

Free your mind....and the rest will folllow......(hopefully)

Little Petroglyph Canyon

For some crazy reason I've had music from En Vogue stuck in my head lately, I was never a particularly huge fan of them but I did have their CD and I really liked their song Free your mind. Part of the lyrics are "free your mind and the rest will follow" and well frankly this past weeks crafting projects definitely needed a mind that was free (not to mention my brain has been working a bit on overload since my diagnosis with MS last week so I could use a little break).

So I've made some crafting progress in the past week. I made a Tunisian crochet poncho out of my variegated green hand-spun yarn and it turned out warm and cozy. I've also developed a new obsession- free form knitting & crochet. No rules, just yarn, different needles and go! Freedom!!! Now that's my type of project. I took a free form crochet class last Friday at Debra's shop and it was a blast. Keep in mind, I'm a knitter, not a crocheter. I know how to chain and apparently how to do a single crochet but beyond that I have no idea what I'm doing. Crochet freaks me out, between the double, half double, treble stitches- well frankly its just too many stitches. Knitting is easy, everything is knit or purl and combinations of those two stitches. Now the crocheters may beg to differ but I like only having to deal with two stitches, however in free-form you can do whatever you want and it doesn't matter. So with yarn at the ready and a few of my favorite crochet hooks (yes I'm not a crocheter but I can't help it I like pretty crochet hooks) I was ready to go.

We started out forming a circle (I though I was doomed) luckily the infamous sock knitter the fabulous Martha was on hand to give me some encouragement and make sure I wasn't messing up too bad. Martha is a fabulous crocheter and a pretty awesome knitter too. She was one of the students in my sock knitting class and she is a total delight. I was so happy that we were both students together for this class. The divine Miss. Patsy was also in the free form class and as usual had some beautiful colors and textures picked out for her purse. I just love seeing how every ones projects were coming together. I learned early on that my "circle" was really more of a ruffly representation of a circle but it was free-form anyway so it didn't bother me one bit. By the end of class I looked like I had crocheted this but I was quite pleased with my psychedelic toxic jellyfish. The initial shape also reminded me of the heads on the figures pictured in some of the Coso Petroglyphs.

Well ever since Friday I've been "hooked" literally. Since I don't have to stress about following a pattern I love the freedom of just changing hooks, adding new yarns and textures and just following the existing form. I think the simplicity of just following the existing form is what soothes me the most since the past few weeks have been pretty stressful and I'm still coming to terms with the reality of having to live with this.

I also recently read this by Crazy Aunt Purl and it made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt. It was great to read about the misadventures that led to her discovery of knitting and I could relate to a lot of what she said about knitting being a calming force. Not to mention its something great to do when it feels like all of your troubles are going to consume you.

So by "freeing" my mind if you will for the free form crochet I've also had to free up some brain space to deal with some of the stress I've been facing. Needless to say manipulating yarn with hooks is a lot easier. I've also come to the realization this week that as scared as I am about having MS and all that entails I know that I've got a great group of people in my life that care about me. My family who knows me, loves me and is there for me. My group of friends who pretty much rock the house and are made up of some of the most talented, intelligent, creative, compassionate, silly women and men I know. My fur-family of my two cats and dogs who faithfully keep me covered in pet hair and are ready to assist with any new project I'm going to tackle. Best of all, my best friend, my hubby who, well, frankly, is pretty freaking cool. Where I'm irrational he's calm, when I'm up tight, he's silly. He can do the best John Black face ever and it makes me laugh (you have to be a Days of our Lives fan to understand the funny faces that the character makes when he is trying to be series, lets just say he does this funky eyebrow raise that makes him look anything but serious). I have a great group of people in my life and I'm so blessed.

So today I'm off for lunch with one of my bestest friends Matt and hopefully tonight I'll be back in force at the Tuesday night craft night.

Not much knitting but a whole lot of spinning....

So what does a cow in a field have to do with anything related to knitting or crafts....not a whole lot. I just took this picture when I was in Virginia last year during a difficult time and that day the cow was one of the few things that made me smile.
So its been a long while since I've blogged and a lot has been happening. I would love to say that I finished this, but I'm still on the second clue. I have made some progress learning how to use this and I have created some beautiful yarn so far. Its no prairie dream yet but I'm getting there. I at least know where my inspiration lies. So far I enjoy using loud colors and adding random bits of other items like other cut up pieces of yarn, some beads (which aren't as cooperative as I could like), some funky tinsel stuff, and a few random paper flowers. Any progress I have made on the embellishment front tends to fall apart during the plying process but I'm learning and so far some of the yarn I have made is a lot better than any of the yarn my mom has ever spun. As a side note I am not being rude while stating this fact since my mom the OG spinner who's been spinning since I was a baby has stated (rather begrudgingly I might add) that my yarn is better. Needless to say I am enjoying that fact almost as much as I am enjoying the spinning. Lest I get too cocky I am sure the spinning gods will take their revenge, and I'm pretty sure my two cats are in cahoots with the spinning gods since roving tends to get a little mangled when I get ahead of myself.
So not a whole lot of knitting has been going on, a fair amount of spinning progress has been made but as of late I have been more under the weather than actually accomplishing anything all that craft-tastic. For the past few years I've been struggling with dealing with what I thought was fibromyalgia which clearly has not been a fun endeavor. However if it wasn't for my illness I would probably not taken up knitting, reading about knitting, obsessing about fibers, obsessing about bloggers, yarns, needles, gadgets, llamas (ok well maybe I would have obsessed about llamas but that is just because of this and honestly can you blame me?). Anyway over the past few years I have gained countless comfort from engaging in knitting and other crafts. Even when I have not felt well enough to engage in them I have been able to read a book about them, or surf the Internet reading other peoples blogs and being inspired.
Well the past few weeks it has been rather hot in my neck of the woods and it became clear to myself that my bodies reaction to the heat was not very consistent with fibromyalgia at all. Many doctors visits later, tests, MRI, etc...I found out that I have multiple sclerosis.
I'm still new to figuring out what this all means, how I'll cope with it, who I'll turn to for support etc....but I'm keenly aware of the importance of knowing what gives me comfort and what will get me through this next challenge. If anything I know that I will continue to obsess about crafts and learn new things during the good days and the bad days because crafting through a crisis is a great source of comfort. So today as I was sorting through stuff on my computer I came across the above picture of the happy cow from Virginia and I was reminded that even in the midst of something terrible you can find something to make you smile. Happy cows make me smile.

Here, there and everywhere....

Well its been a while since I've updated my blog. I guess you could say I've been a bit busy the past few weeks. I've been here, here , here, and most recently here. I guess you can say time flies when you are having fun.

The fabulous fiber fest was fun and delightful. I discovered Lisa Souza's Yarns and all I can say is WOW! I finally found the motivation to attempt a sweater, of course I need to finish all of my various socks in progress, MS3, and my flower petal shawl. I'll get to it eventually but in the meantime I've been pretty busy mastering my spinning wheel. Granted I'm not quite creating the most uniform yarn but I like all of the flubs and bumps I'm putting into it. I'm enjoying cutting up scraps of other yarns and adding it to my roving as I go, it gets to be pretty funky but with this as my inspiration my yarn is pretty tame! Morbid I know but it sure made me laugh!!!

Vegas with the folks was fun. I enjoyed being tour guide and was glad to have a good laugh at the Fremont Experience. All I have to say is that the "fabulous Constantine" wasn't quite as fabulous as he thought he was. We caught a cool Imax movie at the Luxor and I enjoyed my mom getting scared by the 3d fish. I only wish we could have seen the Dinosaurs movie, then I think she really would have jumped out of her chair.

The gem fair in San Diego was nuts but fun. I stocked up on some supplies for my jewelry business and made some good contacts. I've got lots of great ideas but before I can start making new items I've been updating my inventory which is not nearly as fun as making new items. So far I think I've got everything entered an accounted for but the DH needs to double check a few things, it helps having a bean-counter in the family.

Last but not least, I survived the San Diego Quilt show and all I got was fabric! What?? Yes I can hardly believe it, after years and years of relentless pressure I finally found a quilt pattern that I liked and the fabric to go with it. I told the vendor that I wasn't sure if I wanted to give my mom the satisfaction of purchasing items to make a quilt since she's been trying to convert me for years. See my mom likes stuff like this where as I like colors like these, pretty much the brighter the better. So you see my dilemma...anyway I found some fabulous batik and this pattern that looks easy so now I've got that on my list of things to do.....So many projects too little time!!

Well that's the update for now....I'm off to make a version of this for my mom so she can keep track of her good deeds for the day

Beads, beads, beads

Wire wrapped stone pendant and glass earrings
Another distraction that has been occupying my time has been jewelry making. I took a few class this past weekend and was able to cross off a few things on my to-do list.....(the pictures aren't that great, knitting is a lot easier to photography).

I'm happy to have finally learned how to wire wrap pendants and "donuts" and I'm incredibly happy that I finally can do tubular peyote stitch. I have to admit I thought peyote stitch would be a lot easier than wire wrapping but I was totally wrong. I struggled with the peyote stitch but luckily the teacher had lots of patience with me and I finally got it. Once I understood what I was supposed to be doing I absolutely loved it. While I'm used to reading knitting patterns, beading patterns are a whole other thing. It takes some getting used to but I'm looking forward to learning more about beading and finally using some of the beads that I've been acquiring off and on for years. I know my husband will be glad that I finally start using some of the stuff I've been acquiring although he probably realizes that it is just another craft mess waiting to happen! I can't help it though, so many cool crafts to do and so little time!!!

Tubular Peyote Beaded Necklace

Alpaca Jelly Fish

MS3 is on hold while I've been working on this:

Audrey Scarf - Designed by moi for the Crochet Cafe

I've learned that I'm obsessed with Royal Baby Alpaca yarn from Misti Alpaca. I thought my obsession with sock yarn was bad, but I have a feeling this will get me into more trouble.

I've also learned that if you click the wrong button in your photo tweaking software you can make your scarf look like this:

Alpaca Green Jelly Fish

Now I'm not sure if Misti Alpaca comes in lime green but I'm kind of liking the green/blue bead combination. I think I must click the mystery button more often.....

Sew What?

New Home Sewing Machine Co. Model K

I love old things, heck that's part of the reason why I'm an archaeologist, but honestly lately I've been really obsessed with old knitting needles and other old craft items. A few months ago I found an old sewing machine in a cabinet at a local thrift shop. I've been wanting a small table for my entryway for a while and with the sewing machine enclosed I figured it was the perfect purchase. I've been slowly researching it on the Internet and trying to find out more about it. I also need to get a new cord for the machine because it has the internal electrical cords but I can't find one to plug into the wall socket. So my progress on research and wiring has been a bit delayed MS3. I'm still on 2 clue but enjoying it much more than clue 1.

Pfaff 360 Automatic

Well today I decided to go back to the same thrift store just to see if they had any old knitting needles. When I purchased my new home sewing machine I also picked up a pair of metal knitting needles from Czechoslovakia which I thought were pretty cool. Well today I found a cool ruler, a red crochet hook, and on my way back to the furniture section I found another sewing machine. This on is a Pfaff 360 Automatic in its cabinet and it works!!! I fell in love with it, when I got it home I realized that it had its original manual with it and its original date stamped tag from the manufacturer. It was made in Germany on the 28th of March 1963. How cool is that! I'm pretty excited. As I was exciting the thrift store an older lady informed me of a sewing machine repair shop just around the corner that gives lessons to folks with older machines. It sounds cheesy but with these two old machines I keep thinking about the folks that would have used them and what they might have made with them. Its like a little treasure trove of craftiness history sitting in my house, waiting to be used again, I wonder what I'll make first????

Clue 1 is finally done!!!!

Clue 1 of MS3

I've finally finished Clue 1 of MS3. I've learned a few valuable lessons: always use lifelines, color code your chart, use a magnetic board and magnets to keep track of your rows, and most importantly don't let your cats help you while you are knitting.

I am so relieved to finish Clue 1, I know that I'm way behind but I'm just so happy that it is finally finished. After having to start over and rip back to my lifelines on more than one occasion I was beginning to wonder if I would ever finish clue 1. I'm using straight needles so I wasn't able to fully stretch it out for the photo, but you get the idea.

I know that most folks are using solid colors but I couldn't resist the variegated yarn! I'm using Pastimes by Conjoined Creations. The color I am using is called 8 Tracks. Its 100% soy silk and heaven to knit with!

Now on to Clue 2!

Tunisian Crochet

So I finally finished my Tunisian crochet poncho. I used a size Q Tunisian Crochet Hook and 3 balls of tartelette yarn. I purchased an extra ball for the fringe but I have lots of it left over. Truth be told I had finished crocheting it quite a while back but I had failed to put the fringe and beads on at the end. While stalling on MS3 I figured I would take the time to put the fringe on so I can wear it to work tomorrow. I really like the way it turned out.

The puppies had a good time helping with the photo shoot. Halle thought it was great fun but Makena was not too impressed with wearing the poncho.

Halle & Makena

This time Halle was a bit more scared of the poncho than of the sock so she rolled over in submission instead of tearing off across the yard with it. I think that she thought we were playing a game of "roll-over" so she kept doing a crocodile roll a bit but at least she didn't start chewing on it. So that was an improvement.

Halle -
Don't worry she looks that idiotic most of the time

As for MS3 I finished chart A of clue one last night and am hoping to make some project on chart B this evening. My goal is to finish Clue 1 by the end of the week. I'm hoping all goes smoothly. If not I have a stack full of unfinished projects I can work on.

Life lessons....

"Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood. --Ralph Waldo Emerson"

Its funny how diving in feet first sometimes is a perfect opportunity to distract oneself from the true point of the dive itself. So MS3 seemed like a good idea. The beads seemed fabulous but then as I was using them I began to question my color choice for beads since they weren't standing out as much as I wanted them to, but I kept on knitting. Then I read about folks color coding the different stitches on the charts to make it easier, but I ignored that suggestion and kept on knitting. Then I read numerous accounts of the glory and power of lifelines, but then again I kept on knitting. Somehow if I kept on knitting then everything would somehow magically work out. Yeah....not so much.

So earlier last week I dropped some stitches, picked them up and kept on knitting, with the dull beads, without a color coded chart, and without lifelines. Then I realized my knitting was a bit off so I ripped it out a few rows and kept on going (it was still a bit off) but I rationalized it to myself and kept on going. That resulted in me tinking, then ripping, then tinking again to reach a point that I was fairly certain I knew where I was, so I put it down, grabbed my trusty pair of corn socks and headed off for a few days of academic stimulation.

During those few days I saw this......


Site Steward (the squirrel)

some of these

I found a few of these

Shell Beads

marveled at a herd of these

was fascinated by these

and was in total awe of this

It was great to do some field work in an area outside of my normal geographic area and it was a great opportunity to meet new people, see new things, and be inspired once again. It was an unexpected and highly welcomed feeling to be excited once again about my chosen profession and at the same time it made me come to terms with the "progress" I was making on MS3.

So today I gave it another shot, with the dull beads, a somewhat colored chart, and no lifelines. I made a mistake, I tinked back and then realized starting over isn't always the worst option possible. Going along with it, acting like everything is fine and knowing it isn't is a lot worse than taking a break and starting over with a new perspective and a new respect for a challenging task.

So I'm starting over, from the beginning on MS3 and its OK. I'm changing my beads. I'm going to use lifelines, and I'm going to color code my chart from the very beginning. While diving in head first can be fun, sometimes the best lessons aren't fun but necessary.

MS 3 - let the obsession begin!

I succumbed to MS 3, I couldn't help it. I read it about it on the Yarn Harlot's blog and was instantly intrigued. Now have I knit lace before? No! Have I used beads??? Yes! Thankfully I do know how to read a chart. I like a challenge so I figure I might as well jump in feet first. I've got about 30 rows done so far and I am loving it! My camera battery is being charged so I'll post my progress later on. I love the idea of doing a Knit-a-long (KAL) but I have never signed up for one before, I figure go big or go home right? I might as well try a lace stole as my first project. I'm hoping it doesn't come back to haunt me. Luckily there are tons of great tips on the group's Yahoo! page so I'm learning a lot from other knitters which I think is fabulous. I still can't get over the idea that there are 6,706 knitter's from around the world signed up for this KAL. How cool is that?

Back to the knitting.....

Happy Birthday Dad!

My Dad and I on my Wedding Day

Today is my dad's birthday! So I figured I would dedicate today's blog to my dad.

My dad is quite the guy, he can fix anything, open anything, and pretty much do anything. He's kind, sweet, caring, strong, compassionate, handy, helpful, funny, sarcastic, smart, humble, gentle, and most of all loving. I've learned the importance of hard work and how it pays off at the end of the day. My studying capabilities for school are totally the result of my dad who used to read my assignments and "hammer" me right before a test. My problem solving abilities comes from my dad who could always figure a way to fix something or make something better.

Not to brag but my dad can fix just about anything, or if you need a random thing-a-ma-bob that you saw on TV to make some new fandangled craft that peaked your interest, he can figure out how to make you one. He can build doll houses, piano benches, bread boxes, cabins, chicken coops, shelves, book cases, spare parts for toys that are broken, and he can make the best cupcakes you've ever had. He can read the most boring paper you've ever written for grad school and come up with insightful questions. If you need a set of doll chairs and a table for your tea parties, he can make you one (now my mom might steal it and keep you from it once you grow up, but that is just because it is so cute).

If you are going to be living on an island for 6 weeks one summer for an archaeological dig and you need a bunch of tools as a part of the project he can figure out the best ones to get and even some that you didn't think of. You need tools for a new wire jewelry project that you aren't quite sure about he can tell you what might work (and he's always right on the money).

When you are little and your hair needs to be curled for a dance recital and your mom is at work, he can figure it out. He can play barbies and He-man and set up an entire battalion of green army men in your living room while your mom is at work. He knows that even though it has a funny name "aba zabbas" and "big hunks" are the best candy to eat when flying model airplanes on the weekends. He knows that the best treat after dance class with your best friend is the Yogurt Mill with jelly beans "on the side." He knows that even if you are lost all day on a 3-wheel motorcycle it can be fun (even when your mom is livid when you finally get back). My dad knows that the best clam strips are in Morro Bay and that climbing on the rocks there is a lot better then going antique shopping. My dad knows how to pan for gold with patience (even though you've been a brat the whole trip and refused to eat anything other than McDonalds). He knows that the best hotel is one that has a pool, even though your mom thinks you're crazy for wanting to go swimming when its freezing.

He can teach you how to drive a stick shift without scaring the heck out of you (except that one time on the hill). He can encourage you when you decide to throw shot put and discus in high school because some guy said you couldn't (even though you are the smallest one on the team). When you decide in college to be an archaeologist he thinks its cool, unlike most of your friends parents who give you the blank stare followed by the comment "and what are you going to do for a real job."

On your wedding day he can calm you down when the emotions start getting to you, he can dance with you, talk with your friends, and welcome your husband into your family. He can help you move when its hotter than hell, baby sit your insane dogs that keep your parents up all night, and drive all the way to your house to check on your cats when you are on vacation. He can appreciate the time it takes to knit a sock, he's interested in the new craft projects you are working on and wants to know how you made them.

When your favorite uncle dies and you are beyond devastated he is there for you with hugs and support even though you feel like the world around you is crumbling. He's always there to let you know that things will work out and everything will be OK; somehow even if you don't believe it, you believe in him and that is enough.

My dad is freaking awesome. He knows how to love unconditionally, be supportive, encouraging and sympathetic. He is a strong man and a fabulous person. So here's to my dad, I hope he has a Happy Birthday and always know how much I love and respect him.

I love you Dad!

New inspirations

II love these colors - Flower from Maui

Today was full of new inspirations. My new issue of Piecework magazine came in the mail a few days ago and I had yet to sit down and check it out. Inside was an article about an art installation "Roses from the Heart" which involves 25,266 replica's of colonial women's bonnets. Apparently England used to forcibly transport convict women from to America (until 1776) and Australia. This installation of bonnets commemorate their struggle and the artist Christina Henri is hoping that people from around the world volunteer to sew a bonnet as to represent one of the convicts. A pattern is provided on her web page and we are asked to embroider the bonnet roses and hearts as well as the name of the convict on the outside of the bonnet. More information can be found here. Now I don't know really how to embroider but this project really tugged at my heart strings and I e-mailed the artist for additional information. I am totally interested in contributing to such a unique event which will go on display as a part of International Women's Day.

I was really excited about reading the article and checking out the information on the website provided. I think this is an interesting project and I look forward to contributing to it.

I also stopped by a small thrift shop this afternoon on my way home from lunch and stumbled upon a few unique finds: I found some knitting needles, an old knitting pattern book, an old wooden Boyle needle holder, a funky cardboard box for "Puritan" needles, a funky lamp that looks like a mini-spinning wheel and the greatest find.....a sewing machine in the cutest little desk. My sewing machine is a "New Home" Sewing Machine, model K and it was made in Orange Massachusetts. I'm not sure if it is model 5360 or 4122. It has the desk of 5360 but only one door instead of 2, there is only 1 door on the 4122 so I'm not sure which one it is. Either way according to the information I have found so far the pamphlet advertising the Model K was printed between 1910-1940. So I was pretty jazzed. I knew it was pretty old but I didn't realize it was that old!

When I got it home I found that it had its original operating instructions in one of its drawers and when I stuck my head under the table to look inside I found a small old woven basket with little bobbins full of thread. It was quite the find. I absolutely love it. I'm trying to research more about the sewing machine to narrow down the dates but still I'm pretty jazzed about it!

I'm looking forward to fixing up (or I should say begging my Dad who can fix anything to help me fix up) my "new" sewing machine. If I can get it working I think I'll try to sew my bonnet for the "Roses from the Heart" project, obviously the time frame is a little off but I still think it would be pretty cool.

Now I just need to learn how to embroider.....but hey if I can knit socks how hard can embroidery be? (I'm hoping that doesn't come back to bite me in the butt)

Socks, Stamps, Shopping, and Smiling

Maui Sunset =)

What a whirlwind couple of days. Teaching, knitting, shopping, driving, and lots of smiling pretty much sums it up. I finally got to catch up with my friends Kelli and Matt, unfortunately our other partner in crime Amy was out of town and she was greatly missed, but it was great seeing Kelli and Matt. We had a yummy lunch, saw a hilarious movie, and managed to drag Matt shopping and he was a great sport about it!

I survived teaching my first knitting class without too many bumps and bruises. It's ironic that I feel completely comfortable waxing and waning on and on about archaeology and the historical development of cultural ecological theory in graduate school but get me to teach knitting socks (something I love and a lot less complicated) and I need a Valium or about 10 skeins of hand dyed sock-yarn to calm myself down. The class had some ups and downs but I think that for the most part it went pretty good, we'll see how class 2 goes in a couple of weeks but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everyone will get their homework done and succumb to the propaganda I have been spewing about the joy of knitting socks.

Speaking of socks, the Pop! Corn socks are making some excellent progress, I could go on and on about the corn yarn again but I already did that a few days ago and I'm sure I'll be mentioning it enough as the socks progress. The cuff is done, the body is done, the heel is turned and I'm only a few inches away from the toe. Unfortunately the other Calypso socks that I have been working on have taken the back-burner to the Pop! Corn socks. The other socks shall now be referred to as Kelli's Socks since I succumbed and showed the sock in progress to her when we got together for lunch and a movie this weekend. Ordinarily I'm really good about picking out yarn for certain people (Kelli in particular since she likes such bright colors) and I honestly didn't expect the yarn to knit up and scream "Kelli" as much as they did when I started working on them. I figure resistance is futile but I can at least drag out the knitting progress for a little bit before I have to surrender them. =) On the other hand, the faster I get Kelli's socks finished the sooner I free up my needles for another pair of Corn socks..........at least I have my motivation!

Taking a break from knitting I've realized that the first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So here it goes...... I'm a stampaholic. Stamps, paper, ink, embellishments, flocking, and dare I say it...GLITTER......I can't help it.

I think the best part about being crafty is learning new things and meeting new people. Today it was great because I ran into a few ladies that I had taken some classes with at the Stampin Post and we could rush around the store oohing and aweing over the new stamps! It was so much fun! I feel so lucky that I have the Crochet Cafe where I love to hang out. I never thought I'd be a craft store groupie but between the fabulous classes, great location, and awesome friendships that I've formed with the owner Debra, and other people I've met at craft night, it's great to have a home away from home to just sit, chat and work on projects. Life is always full of ups and downs, and from time to time some smile shortages, however I'm learning tapping into my creativity and sharing it with like-minded individuals provides and endless supply of easily accessible smiles.

Not to mention you really can't go wrong glitter, stamps, sock yarn or corn yarn for that matter....What can I say......I'm easily entertained....

Corn, Beans, and Squash

Corn Fields in Minnesota

Last night was craft night at the Crochet Cafe and I had a blast. I managed to turn the heel on my Cherry Tree Hill Socks but was easily distracted by some of the new items that showed up when I was on vacation.

I am easily entertained but when I saw these I could hardly contain my glee! Square knitting needles! Who would have thought! Now I love all things knitting and I have more than my fair share of knitting needles but I never thought I would see square knitting needles! They are so gorgeous I can hardly wait to try them out. I was instantly trying to sort out what I wanted to knit on them when oops my brain was distracted by the discovery of yarn made out of corn!!! Yes, CORN!!!! At this point I didn't know what to do with myself, the colors, the textures, heck the fact that it was made of corn was enough of a reason for me to want to try them!

In college I took an introductory anthropology class which discussed in great detail the importance of agriculture and cultures; more specifically the main staples of early agriculture "corns, beans and squash." Instead of Anthro 101 the class should have been "Corns, beans, and squash 101." Everything centered around "corn, beans and squash" growing it, trading it, preparing it, when certain cultures had it, how it affected trade, you name it somehow, someway it seemed like everything had to deal with corn, beans, and squash. Corn especially was very important to numerous cultures and now, in the form of yarn it enters the realm of crafting culture. Who'd a thunk it?

While I gazed in amazement in the assortment of corn yarn I struggled with the idea of what I would make out of it and then I saw it......a glorious sock pattern utilizing corn yarn! Even cuter is the name of the pattern Pop!Corn

After the discovery of the square knitting needles and corn yarn it became apparent that progress was going to be halted on the Cherry Tree Hill socks. Who can blame me though??? It's yarn made out of corn!

I started on the socks this morning and so far I love the yarn, its soft, it doesn't split, and the color is so vibrant and cheery! I love discovering new things that are unexpected and delightful!


The DH and I just got back from a week in Maui and we had a blast. It is so peaceful and beautiful, not to mention it gave me loads of ideas for sock color combinations. I managed to make some progress on my Cherry Tree Hill "super" socks using Colinette Jitterbug yarn in Mardi Gras. I absolutely love the way the colors change, they are very bright and it was the perfect yarn to knit with while in Maui surrounded by all of the tropical plants and flowers. I also was lucky enough to meet Vladimir Kush in person, which absolutely blew my mind. I have been an admirer of his work for quite sometime and it was amazing to meet him at his gallery. We stopped in to look at his work and I was quite excited to see that he has a few books out, as I was picking up one of the books one of the employees informed me that he was in the studio and asked if I wanted to meet him. I tried not to make a totally nerd of myself (I'm not sure how successful I was) but it was one of the highlights of the entire trip.

Now that I'm back at home I'm looking forward to teaching a sock class later this week at the Crochet Cafe where I'm a regular Craft Store Groupie. It should be fun, I love knitting socks and I look forward to sharing my excitement with other people. For so long I was so afraid of knitting socks and once I finally conquered my fear of turning a heel (I had to put my first sock down for about 6 months before I got up the courage) I realized how fun they are.

I'm also looking forward to taking some new classes at the Stampin Post, my original Craft Store Groupie hangout. I love the selection of stamps and techniques offered in the classes there, not to mention Deborah (yes another Deb! they are everywhere!) carries the cutest monkey and penguin stamps. I'm always getting inspired every time I stop by.

That is what I love about crafts, I get inspiration from everything that surrounds me from the colors on my vacation, the artists that I admire, and the fabulous places that I hang out. I love being crafty!!!

Yeah for Sock Pixie!

I can't wait to knit these socks!!! They are so cute!!

SockPixie: Celebration (Free Sock Knitting Pattern)

two dogs one sock

Sock #1 from the Mountain Colors Family sock pattern is complete. I'm teaching a sock class in a few weeks and I wanted to at least get one sock done as a sample for the store.

The dogs were quite helpful with the last minute knitting this morning. They even wanted to be involved in the picture taking. Shortly after this picture was taken the sock went for a joy-ride around the yard. Aside from being a bit slobbered on it was no worse for wear.

I managed to steer away from my normal crafting ADD while working on this sock. My half finished beaded necklace has been calling my name and my new stamps and inks have been staring at me from across the room, but I have held firm. Thankfully my goal was just to get one sock done otherwise I don't think I could have lasted much longer.

I know some people that won't start a new project until the one they are working on is complete, I am definitely not one of those people. The more projects going on at once the better. At least I have proven that when push comes to shove I can set a deadline and stick to it. Now I get to reward myself with finishing my beaded necklace, or making cards, or starting that new felted bag project, or whatever else pops into my mind.......

Socks, Socks, Socks

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.....if I carpool with my hubby it gives me extra time to knit and obsess over my newest sock pattern. I'm normally a bit of a time freak, I like to arrive on time, and I absolutely hate being late. My conscious is still struggling with my overwhelming desire for lots of traffic yesterday so I could have more time for sock knitting yesterday but unfortunately there wasn't a lot of traffic....oh well maybe next time.


So the obvious question "clods and pebbles?" what is that all about.....

I'm impulsive, my mind wanders, and random things tend to grab my attention. I switch subjects mid-conversation, start multiple craft projects at once, and am constantly inspired by the ordinary almost as much as the extraordinary.

Yesterday for some reason I could remember a poem I read in high school and I couldn't get it out of my head. I scoured the Internet, flipped through various poetry books on my bookshelf and I finally found it.....

The Clod and the Pebble

"Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

So sang a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet:
But a pebble of the brook,
Warbled out these metres meet.

Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to Its delight:
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."

-- William Blake

So how does this relate to crafts?? Well, bear with me....

I surprised myself by remembering many interpretations of this paradoxical poem about Love's true intention but yesterday as I re-read the poem I remembered my initial interpretation almost over 10 years ago and compared it to my current interpretation. I'm still not caught up in analyzing the true "intention" of love or its relationship between "heaven" and "hell". More specifically I remember thinking focusing on the paradox of the differences in material discussing love: clay vs. stone, soft and pliable vs. hard and unyielding.

Now that I'm older and into various different crafts I thought it appropriate that yesterday I was reminded of this poem ... I decided that would change only one thing about it, instead of the word "love" I would insert a variety of words depending on the craft project I am currently working on (I would leave out the various expletives I have used during certain projects, because I have to draw the line somewhere).

I have yet to meet a project that didn't surprise me with its paradox, whether it be the changes in gauge or lost stitches while knitting. Heck, take out the word "love" and insert "yarn" and a whole host of knitters and crocheters could simply compare stories on how soft and pliable yarn can be until you try a new pattern or technique only to find it to be hard an unyielding. I swear there are times when I know that "yarn seeketh only itself to please." I've worked with a pattern to knit a heavenly 1st sock just to turn around and have it turn in to a hellish experience for the 2nd sock (at that point I was distracted by some mohair in my stash and promptly liberated myself from the fiery hell of bobbles and beads).

Clods and Pebbles, yarn and needles, crafts and life....lots of paradox, lots of projects, and not enough time!!!