Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Monday, December 31, 2012

Decision Time. Or Happy New Year's Eve!


I had hoped to spend the day cleaning in preparation for the new year, but instead I did a lot of playing around with yarn and patterns. And now my house is looking pretty messy and it's still not clean. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. Or next year, as the case may be.

Decided that this project did not work with this yarn, so despite being almost done, I decided to frog it.


I think the yarn would work better in a baby blanket instead of a baby garment. It's Mission Falls 1824 Wool, which is more Aran weight than worsted, at least when I use it.


Can't decide which of these three patterns to use for Steve's scarf. Any advice?

Mini Herringbone, Rick Rack, or Reversible Cable. I'm using Cascade 220, if that helps.


I went through seven binders of patterns today, made sure they were all in Ravelry and/or my GoodReader, and then pared the paper copies down to two binders. I felt great, until I found the large suitcase full of yarn that Meredith had given me from her stash that I had forgotten about. Sheesh.


So Stephanie and I left the mess and met Melissa at Fellini's for a Greek salad and pizza. The house wasn't any cleaner when I got home, so I made chocolate peppermint cookies. Yum.


Hope 2013 is a sweet year for us all!


PS: I love my craft room! I've been in it all evening, sorting, labeling, and resorting. Pictures soon!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stash or Burn Challenge: 2013

The Stash and Burn podcast is doing a 13 in 2013 stash challenge, so I jumped on the bandwagon. After sorting, photographing, and bagging my "must knit" yarn, I found I have twenty two single or two skein projects' worth of yarn, plus two sweater's worth of yarn that I wouldn't want to part with. I find that I'm kind of overwhelmed by this. I mean this isn't even taking into account all of the "meh" yarn I have left over, or the yarn still in the garage freezer, or the many projects already languishing on the needles, in some sort of project limbo. This is the best of the stash. Oh. My. Of course this means that instead of knitting today, I've been stuck in a purgatory of crafty nothingness. Frozen by my acquisitiveness. Greediness, even.

Later in the day.

Okay, I've calmed down a bit, gave some yarn away, had a Coke and some Rice Krispie Treats (holiday sugar, anyone?) finished a mitten and a cowl, and I'm feeling better.

First is the mitten, using Tin Can Knits pattern, Bon Bon Mittens, and Green Mountain Spinnery's Wonderfully Wooly, in Pine Warbler. A bit greener than this pic shows. Bought this yarn on spring break. In April. Interesting purl stitch palms on this pattern, but if I make another pair, I'll use the more traditional stockinette palm.

And another Tin Can Knits pattern, False Creek, using a skein of Quince & Co. Puffin, in Frank's Plum. Quick knit!


Here's the plan:

I'm going to use these two skeins of Malabrigo Chunky to make Gale Zucker's Decibella Cowl. Bought the pattern right after she posted it, and the yarn on my playing hooky day before Christmas.

For this pair of Baby Alpaca Grande Glow skeins, I'm using PurlBee's pattern, Fluted Cowl. I think I bought this yarn in November.

For the second skein of Puffin, I'm going to make the Snow Cowl from tentenknits. I've had this yarn since last Christmas.

I'm going to use the eight skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino that Meredith gave me to make Tidal, from Breezy Blues.

I have quite a lot of other beautiful yarns, but I'll decide what to make as I get to them. For now, these projects will do to get me started, don't you think?


Friday, December 28, 2012

The Day After The Blue Day

Stephanie and I got out yesterday to enjoy the sunny weather. We went to my favorite coffee shop and knit for awhile, then we went to the LYS to knit some more. Afterwards, I dropped her off so she could meet up with some friends, and I took a little stroll before heading home to knit some more. Oh, and I also completed the SPCA adoption application, so I can begin the process of adopting my own cat. I think I'm ready to have a little more of this in my life.


Even though I am usually a bit melancholy right after Christmas, it's also a good time for me to relax, look ahead, and think about any changes I want to make. Improving my financial stability, i.e., eliminating debt, is always at the top of my list. Crafting and knitting and decluttering are also usually on the list as well. This year I want to make more garments for myself that aren't accessories. I love wearing cardigans, so that's what I want to focus on making. I made a shrug type sweater that I enjoy wearing, but I don't think it's going to hold up well, as I knit it in Baby Alpaca Grande, which, while extremely soft, pills terribly. So it is going to fall in the accessory category, especially since I can only wear it when it's really cold.

So I've decided I want to knit a couple of beautiful yet practical sweaters that can be part of my everyday wardrobe. And since I got a really nice gift certificate for yarn from my husband for Christmas, this is a good time to begin. I'm looking at a couple of different patterns. Here are the ones on my possibility list:

Any advice/experience with these?

Of course, instead of starting any of these patterns, or indeed, using any of the patterns I already own, I have been buying individual patterns through the evil magic of PayPal. I bought a number of patterns from Tin Can Knits, as well as this shawl pattern. I think I'm trying to work through my stash by buying patterns instead of yarn, since I'm going to try the Stash and Burn 2013 Challenge. Anyone interested in joining me?


On a completely different topic, I just finished reading a post about how taking and sharing pictures have changed over the years, and it really got me thinking. Blogging feels like having a bunch of pen pals to me. I get to read about and see pictures of an amazing number of places I'd never get to see otherwise, and I get to know some amazing people I will probably never meet face to face. Kind of cool, isn't it? Thanks, Stephanie V!


So, speaking of photos, i want to share this photo of my oldest daughter, Meredith, and her fiancé.

I think they look adorable!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blue Day

Today was a windy, rainy day, made blue because my daughter left to go home to Brooklyn, taking her cat, who had been staying with me since Thanksgiving. And blue because I am fighting an upper respiratory infection that makes my ear and head hurt.


So here are a few pictures of the last couple of days, to cheer me up.


Sinon, lazing on the couch. I miss him already. I think it's time for me to adopt one of my own.

Olivia (Ollie), taking a nap.

Meredith and Ollie, trying to gain control of the chair.

Our Christmas feast for our kids, the day before Christmas Eve.

Melissa, mixing up some bath salts, with Meredith overseeing her.
Christmas cheer and cookies.

One of the bath salt concoctions.


Tomorrow, Stephanie and I are going to hang out at our local yarn shop and knit. And I won't be blue.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So Good

Christmas was so good this year, filled with the things I love most about the holiday. My girls, crafting many of their gifts, which always makes me so proud of them. Melissa found a clear lamp at the thrift store that she used for my mom's gift, after she partially filled it with seashells and Epsom salt, which looked kind of magical in a way I wouldn't have believed from the description. Stephanie colored her own wrapping paper, and made beeswax lip balm for her mom; then she, Meredith, Melissa, and I made a huge batch of scented bath salts, putting them into jars I had been saving for awhile. There were multiple batches of Rice Krispie treats, fudge, gingerbread, and cookies, along with quiche and pie, and lots more good food, eaten at all hours. There was knitting, of course, and talking, laughter, music, coffee, family, and Christmas Eve church. There was quiet time too, for resting and relaxing, and looking at the lights on the tree. And there was love.


Hoping your day was a good one. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Sights







Hope your preparations are going well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Things. . .

. . . aren't things at all. But you knew that already, didn't you?


Happy Solstice.


Sunday, December 16, 2012


Things are progressing as usual for this time of year. Some days I feel like I've got everything under control, and some days the stress level is through the roof. I have 99% of my gifts bought and wrapped, so no stress there. Of course, I had some help from the kitty.


I did two big grocery runs and a wine/beer run, so I have plenty of food for the kids who will be either staying here or visiting. I also have all of the baking stuff ready to go and baking day is planned for Friday, the first day of my break, which will finish up the gifts I need to have. Stephanie is due home tomorrow, and Meredith and Ryan are coming in Thursday night. The only thing missing is a tree, but we purposely planned to do it late this year, so the kids are a part of it. I even took a mental health day on Friday with three knitting friends from work and we spent the day eating, knitting, and hanging out at two different yarn stores. It was marvelous and probably will be an annual event, as it was such a great way to spend a day.

So why don't I feel joyful? Blended family stress again. It just never seems to go away. Maybe I was being naive to think it would, but since it hasn't after six years, I'm thinking I better give up that particular expectation. I thought about leaving this paragraph out, but I'm trying to keep it honest, so I'm leaving it in.


Now for some crafty news. Still loving my new craft room, but in the rush to organize it, I've either lost some black polar fleece I need for a gift, or else I used it up last year and forgot. The only knitting gifts I'm doing this year are some wash/dish cloths for my former MIL and some hand mitts for two nieces and a nephew. I have all but one of the dishcloths finished, and two out of the three pairs of mitts done, so I'm not stressing about that at all. I've made a pair of Cozy Thermal Mitts in Quince & Co. Lark, a pair of Braided Mitts, using Berroco Vintage, and I'm going to make the third pair using the pattern, Staghorn Mitts, with another skein of Lark. I am giving lots of food/alcohol/craft supply gifts this year, so they were easy and fun to buy. And I'm making one polar fleece throw for my son-in-law, in a sports theme print he will love. That and an eight pack of craft beer sounds like a good guy gift to me.


I hung some thrifted curtains over the open area to try and tame the cluttered look. What do you think?

The cloths on the left are face cloths and the ones on the right are dish clothes. Come to think of it, I'm done with these.
This is the Calais Cowl made out of Dragonfly Fiber yarn. It feels a lot like MadTosh, but the colors are often extra vibrant and eye catching.

I made this hat for a student of mine who is the mom to a three year old girl. Cat helped me with the photo.
Spent Friday knitting on the Woven Cowl, and will put it in the FO pile for an as yet undetermined recipient. I'm mostly knitting for the joy of it lately. I can't figure out if I'm using MadTosh or Dream In Color, as apparently I never put it in Ravelry. It doesn't much matter, as I love the richness of the color.

Oh, and Steve and I ate breakfast at this cute little place in Virginia Beach this morning to celebrate the date; six years ago we were married in our church ceremony, despite being secretly already married six weeks earlier, on November 7.

Cute decor, with free range chickens running around outside, and delicious food. Looking forward to a return visit.

Only four teaching days this week, which shouldn't be too bad. I'm teaching Romeo and Juliet, and the kids are really into it, which makes it great. Happy week to you, whatever you're doing.

****It feels trivial talking about all of this without mentioning the Sandy Hook tragedy, but it just leaves me without words. Apparently we are helpless to make meaningful changes to our gun control laws, which means these types of tragedies just happen over and over and over again. And feeling helpless is not a good feeling.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Lucky Me!

Thanks go out to Rudee, for giving me this sweet Reader Appreciation award, enabling me to have a focus for this post!

Where do you do most of your writing/blogging?
  • Thanks to my husband, I now do almost every post from the iPad he bought me for Christmas last year.  It's so convenient for uploading photos, although it does seem like I actually write a bit less text. 
What books were your childhood favorites?
  • The first author I remember loving was Beverly Cleary.  I loved her for two reasons.  The first reason was that I remember being stunned to find an author whose last name was so very close to my name, which was Cearley.  I still remember that frisson of excitement when I first saw her name on the spine of a book at the Little Creek Branch of the Norfolk Public Library, where my mom would take me every other week.  Seriously, I can see the whole room and remember exactly how startled I was to see that name.  I read every one of her books that I could get my hands on.  Secondly, I had a 5th grade teacher who read The Mouse and The Motorcycle aloud to my class and I was enraptured by the scenes her words created in my mind.  Truthfully, I think the teaching seed was planted in my mind that year as a direct result. 
  • The second book I fell in love with was The Anne of Green Gable series; I received most of the series for Christmas when I was somewhere between ten and twelve years old.  I read those books over and over again, and I truly believe the lessons in those stories were lessons I internalized.  Being kind, smart, and grateful were the "Anne way", and I began to think consciously about those qualities as a result.
  • Also, the Cherry Ames books, despite the fact that they were so outdated, even then.  But I loved them, and wanted to be a nurse for awhile because of them.  Until I did a stint as a candystriper in one of the local hospitals. 
Who is your favorite fictional character?
  • Why, Anne Shirley, of course!
Have you ever Googled yourself and been surprised at what you’ve found
  • No, not really.
Who would play you in a movie of your life
  • Either Helen Hunt (my choice), or Meryl Streep (Steve's contribution to this post). 

Thanks again for reading!  Anyone who wants to join in, please feel free!

Oh, have I mentioned how lucky I feel to have my craft room coming together so well?  I love the space and am making time to hang out in there a little bit every day.  As a matter of fact, this post is brought to you from the craft room and the "old" laptop.  My sewing machine is on the desk, just to the left of the laptop, the craft hutch and chest of drawers is to my right, and the cat is sprawled out on the twin bed, which is a comfy place to sit and make lists or browse through my collection of knitting binders.  I'm still moving things around, but it's a fun process.  I'll probably paint the room and hang some pictures after Christmas.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Knitting

Or the lack thereof. It seems I've hit the saturation point for my family with regards to Christmas gift knitting. Everyone has tactfully (or not so tactfully) indicated that there is no need for me to knit anything for Christmas this year, so I'm just knitting what I feel like knitting with no deadline pressure. Which is pretty nice, once I got over being slightly insulted by it all. Kidding. Sort of.

So I'm knitting this shrug for me. And this cowl, out of some gorgeous Dragonfly Fiber yarn. And another second sock. And then I'm going to pull out some stash yarn and knit whatever the heck strikes my fancy. This is what's called a quality problem.

Oh, and I'm going to sew this for the cat. At least he'll appreciate the effort. I hope.


Monday, December 3, 2012


I was so lucky yesterday. I went for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather and found the perfect craft hutch for free on the curb. It's exactly what I've been looking for on my thrift store visits but even better because it was free! Isn't it lovely?


There are two shelves to put in, as soon as I figure out a way to secure them. The doors at the bottom conceal all my pattern binders and the baskets on the top contain yarn in ziplock bags.


And remember, I warned you. Lots of cat photos.

Cat on the thrifted chest of drawers.

Cat on the thrifted chair and handmade quilt (by Meredith) in the sunroom.
Cat checking out the seashell Christmas tree.

I'm loving this cat.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Football

Steve got us tickets to the ODU football game, and the weather couldn't have been better.


Knitting at the game.

The cat this morning, on the newly covered couch.

He's looking pretty dapper, wouldn't you agree?