Sunday, April 27, 2014

More knitting and other Ramblings...

It is finally getting warmer and I will be enjoying my first run outside today for the season - which probably means less crafting and more outside exercise and yard time.  
It seems I haven't gotten as much done in the last month - or at least not much to write about.  I realized I had 4 skeins of that crazy twirly scarf ribbon type yarn.  So I made 2 scarves and am working on my 3rd and will probably give to Goodwill the 4th skein.  I think I may have figured out my problem with making them in the past - they were always so short.  But this time, I made a scarf with the 'Sashay' yarn and it actually ended up a few inches over 60 (which is what the pattern says the scarf should be).  I was going to keep it for myself, but my mom said a neighbor friend had inquired about a scarf, so I gave it to her.
The other skeins are of another brand and the longest I can get them are about 45 inches - too short for me and I'm tired of making them - that's why I'm giving away the 4th skein.  

I've also been reading - as always, I have to be reminded that I can't do everything I want to do at the same time - it's either crafting or reading.  I finished the Divergent series by Veronica Roth - a little disappointing at the end of the series, but the first 2 books were really interesting.  

And I've been cleaning things out and listing some more items on Ebay.  And getting things out for Goodwill and for an upcoming church festival.  It feels so good to remove these things from my home, yet something still holds me back from getting rid of so much.  I still have many childhood items like a baby blanket, band shirts, high school jacket, Little Mermaid memorabilia ( I was a huge fan when it came out).  Honestly, if there were a fire in my house or if these things had been discarded by someone else, I would not have missed them, but since they are here, I feel like I can't get rid of them - like I should have some attachment to a baby blanket that has been folded neatly in a drawer untouched for 30 years.  

And on a funnier note, since I knew I was going to Goodwill, I decided to clean out my sock drawer and realized I had 113 pairs of sock!!!  What in the world!  I easily parted with 50% of them and may go through them again in the future to minimize more but, holy moly, how did I get to that?  

I can't imagine what my house looked like a year ago before I started cleaning stuff out, because in the last year I've sent lots of things to Goodwill, sold many items on Craigslist and Ebay and still feel like we have a house overwhelmed with stuff.  Either my limit
for stuff has changed or I was just good at ignoring things.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A new baby...

But not for me!!!!   

My cousin will be having a baby shortly and the baby shower was scheduled this past weekend, but it was out of town so I got a few extra days to finish a hat I was knitting for the new baby.   

Knitted items just fly off the needles in the winter compared to the summer.  That goes to show how much I sit and watch tv in the winter compared to the summer.  I knitted this same hat in the summer for a friend of mine (in a smaller size) and it took about 2 months to finish.  Now - one week and that's with doing other crafty stuff on the side.  We got Netflix as a Christmas gift - and whoa! is that addicting.  Now, I can always find something to watch - on the tv or on my kindle.  And that's how I get my knitting done - watching tv and knit, knit away.  It drives my husband nuts when we are supposed to be watching a movie together, but I rarely like to just sit and watch something (except Downton Abbey - where I have to watch them talk and listen or else I can't tell what they are saying!).  
Here's to getting the crafts done by watching Netflix - or more specifically, Dawson's Creek, my tv show du jour - and getting pudgier while doing so in these winter months!!  Soon, I hope we will be outside more (although the temperature is not supposed to go above freezing this week) and I'm honestly, without a specific project to do.  I'll have to try another needlecraft kit.
Hat is the Aviatrix Hat by Justine Turner, available on Ravelry.

Projects finished: 25
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: about 56

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Another disappointing kit...

I started this rose flower kit in January with hopes to finish by Valentine's Day, but things happened and yesterday I finally remembered it and pulled it out to finish and ....oh.... those Martha Stewart kits... How foolish do I look?  Making flowers aren't my medium but I didn't realize it until after I finished (that's a loose term) one of the roses.  It turned out.... not good.... all the petals kept falling off, even though I taped them on the stem and it looks very wilty - like the rose was just about ready to wither and die.   Once again, I'm reminded why I should stick with what I know best (and like).   So I cut my loses and just pitched the rest.  Really, I'd rather have real flowers anyway.    

Projects finished: 24
Projects given away: 11+

Thrown Away:  1?
Weeks: 53

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Knitting

Well, the cold weather is keeping me inside and knitting.  As soon as it gets warm enough to not have to wear 2 layers of clothing inside the house to stay warm, I'm sure I'll be on to other things.  But not having to go out and get supplies to do a craft is certainly a bonus in snowy, icy, cold, cold weather. (That is one nice thing about hoarding crafts, but all I really needed was one craft, not a million to choose from).
Here's to my seeking the perfect hat or earwarmer for cold weather.  The problem I have with knitting or crocheting one is that they are never warm enough for me, so I end up wearing the same green fleece Cincinnati Bell one I got in college for free.  So, I need to figure out how to remedy that - probably by doing a hat with colorwork.  In the meantime, this one was made with one of my more expensive yarns (Manos del Uruguay classic wool).  I think it was handspun and, to be honest, probably because it was handspun, the yarn is very irregular and not the nicest to knit with - very skinny at some points and very thick at others.  Maybe I'm just used to the machine-made cheap yarn that I usually purchase but I like some regularity in the yarn. 
I am definitely using up some of the yarn I have, but now I seem to be collecting lots of partial skeins and wonder what to do with them.  I can also tell that when I bought all this yarn, I really had no idea what I was going to do with it because I would only buy one skein of each color or yarn type and there are only so many one skein things to knit.  
Here it is (combining 2 patterns - 86-10 headband in Alaska & Frothy Layered Flower):

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What about this year?

I kind of never talked about goals and such for the coming year...

Boy, what high expectations I had a year ago - finish one craft kit every week.  The reality doesn't quite fit that bill.  With 23 projects finished, I'd really like to continue to work on only what I have (and LOVE) and maybe show off some other projects.  I've only cracked the craft kit box open and there are plenty of small and large projects available in there.  And I'd like to continue to give away those kits or crafty pursuits that no longer bring me joy. 
I only decreased the craft supply/hoard by one bin (but it was a big one - 96 Liters big) and would hope to decrease by another bin in the next year, whether its yarn or papercrafts or needle arts that I work with, it all needs to dwindle.  When we moved into our house 10 years ago, I had one small craft bin with a lot of miscellaneous stuff and one cross stitch kit.  It has really grown in the past 10 years.  I think my purchasing had a lot to do with discontent with working so much, not knowing what to do with myself since it was the first time in quite a few years that I wasn't going to school and unrealistic expectations of what could be done in what time frame.  I think this last year was a bit of self-discovery and I'm still working on that journey (aren't we all?).  But the fact that I can put the reasons in writing why I've acquired so much really gives me power over my actions in the future.  

Really figuring out the common sense thing that if I want to add something to my life (like a job, or a new hobby) means I have to take something out (an old hobby, a personal responsibility around the house) has been quite life altering.  I mean, it is common sense, but it wasn't until I read how another person gave up their hobby/passion and occupation of photography (and all of the detritus that comes with that) so they could pursue another passion and job of teaching, did it really kick in.  

I've been clearing out other things in my life (watching Hoarders on Tuesday nights, really helps me clean stuff out on Wednesdays!)  and only recently figured out  something that was holding me back.  I wanted to display some glass candle holders that I inherited from my grandma.  But I had to move something that was already on display - a cowboy hat candle I received when I was 5 years old from a friend that was moving from the house across the street to Texas (from Ohio) and 2 Korean dolls that I received from 2 little girls I tutored in English when I was in college.  I was afraid to get rid of these items, because I am afraid that if I let go of these items, then other people (mainly my kids) won't know who I am or was. This is also how I feel about doing so many crafty things.  I want to leave tangible evidence that I was here, in this world (and that I accomplished something in this world). 

 I know this is an unfounded fear and that I can tell my life story and life is about moments and not things...blah, blah, blah... I've heard it and read it a million times in all the simplifying/minimalist things that I've read.  It's easy to read the idea that "by owning less, we would draw more attention to the most important" and "our minds would be more free to create new memories in the future"  But it's a lot harder to deal with this emotion and emotional things when it's happening to me.   (quotes from Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker, chapter 9)  

Again, recognizing the feelings is the first way to deal and overcome them.  I also, more importantly, don't want my things to be a burden to others - I want others (especially my kids) to feel a freedom to go forward to do what they want with their lives and not feel like they have to keep something because I gave it to them.  With that being said, I hope to really take a look at what will be a benefit to me and my family in the future and make decisions from that standpoint.  

So no specific goals, just more of a look at the world from a different perspective and, always, continuing to decrease the craft hoard by doing what I enjoy most.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Another record breaker.  This time, I finished a hat in 5 days.  It's amazing - once I get good at something, it becomes easier and faster and more enjoyable to do.  

My daughter requested a new hat for this *!$@#$#@% winter (I'm much more a fan of summer).  We've just had too much snow and too much cold weather.

So, my only limitations for her were that it had to be picked from the yarn that I already own and the pattern had to be free.  So she searched and searched on ravelry and of course her favorite pattern cost money.  So I improvised.  I found a pattern that had the same weight of yarn that I had and was for a child's head and used that for guidelines on starting the pattern and then made my own fair isle pattern for a peace sign that she requested.  And found another pattern for guidelines on how to finish the top of the hat.  This is a first - semi-designing my own pattern.  I never thought I'd be able to do that.  

**Having set limitations really stretches the mind.** 

 If interested, here's the link to my semi-pattern on Ravelry:  Peace Sign Hat

Projects finished: 23
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: 53

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Finding the Perfect Hat

I'm always pining after the perfect knit hat.  With so many inspirations on Ravelry, Pinterest, Etsy and out on the web in general, it's hard not to be inspired.  And with the freezing cold weather lately, I've been wanting a new hat.  One that covers my ears and is warm!!!    So looking at what I could do with what I have - I found a cute knit hat and finished it in record breaking time - one week.

It's cute, but I think it turned a little too big with not enough slouchiness.  This one may will just get donated and I'll keep searching!

Projects finished: 22
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: 52

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Year Ago... Reassess

I can't believe I started this blog last January.  For some reason, I thought I started it in February (and therefore, had more time).  But it's been a year and where have I been?  I started this with the hopes to significantly dwindle my crafty obsession at this house.  I thought it would be all done through completing crafts but in this past year, I've realized what I can actually accomplish in a year full of other demands vs. what I thought I could do is quite different.  There are only so many hours in each day. 

This is the list that I thought I would finish first... (from the 2nd post)

OK.  Here's the list of UFOs I wrote about getting started on last January:
1)  Half knit hat  - completed in February
2)  Partially knit blanket - completed in April
3)  Crochet rope bracelet (2 of them with beads strung) - half done in February and realized this wasn't going to be my craft
4)  2011 calendar of cards to make - some cut out - completed in February
5)  Wall hanging for my daughter's room - completed in June
6)  Partially crosstitched stocking - working on it now
7)  Linea bag - from a kit - looked at it in disgust and sold it on ebay, even partially completed

                                              Making progress on #8...
It really has been a learning year.  I learned that just because I am home with kids, doesn't mean that I have huge lazy time all day to just craft.  It does take work to take care of kids WELL.  I learned that I don't want to do every craft.  I've learned to step back from all most of those cheaply made craft kits at the hobby stores.  I've learned that I would rather be outside rather than inside doing a craft.  

I think in the end it's all a matter of priorities.  I follow Gretchen Rubin's blog about the Happiness Project.  She talks about 'Being Gretchen'.  Once you realize what makes you happy and what you like, well, of course that leads to a lot of things that you realize you will not be.  I will not be a great sewer, and there are lots of great sewing inspiration that I wish I could do - in that I want the outcome but not the process.  I will not crochet jewelry - and oh, the pictures of crocheted jewelry are so pretty.  There are always limitations in life, as there should be, but sometimes that's hard to hear.  

What about this year?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Clutterfree with Kids...Is it Possible?

A new book is coming out on January 27th and I've gotten a sneak peek of it.

Have you ever checked out Joshua Becker of the blog Becoming Minimalist?  I've been following his blog for quite awhile and have read his books, Simplify and  Inside-Out Simplicity - excellent books I might add.   Depending on where you are in your simplifying journey, one book may work for you more than the other.  Personally, I preferred the Inside-Out Simplicity, for the depth in which it made me think about why I need and want change in my life.  I even referred to Mr. Becker's blog in my very first post.

But today's topic is his newest book, Clutterfree with Kids:  Change your thinking.  Discover new habits.  Free your home.
Click to Enlarge: 1000X895
As you can probably tell from this blog, I'm already on may way with decluttering our house of what's not needed.  But I  constantly feel I need reminders of what this life should be about (and it's not STUFF).  The book has three sections as the title states.

First, its all about 'change your thinking'.  While this section may not have been completely targeted at me, since I already have immersed myself in Simplicity and Minimalism blogs, books, articles, etc. in the last few years, it still was targeted at me, the mostly stay-at-home mom of 3 kids - 7 years and under - who enjoys seeing my kids find joy in new toys and things.
Daily my kids remind me of what's really important in life - just spending time together, helping others, even working hard for a goal.  But it's not fun when we can't do as much fun stuff because we have to spend so much time cleaning stuff up.  This section really discusses how owning less can change your heart and reviews the multiple benefits of less.  I really like the concept of 'The Simple Joy of One.' -(you'll have to read the book to find out more) and about simplicity teaching kids generosity.  My daughter freely gives things to her friends that they might like - she has such a generous heart that I think has been born from asking her to go through her items to find things to give away that she no longer wants or needs since an early age.

The second section is more practical steps to simplifying.  Each chapter is dedicated to an area that involves kids clutter and has a personal story of how freeing this area has affected someone's life in a positive way.  It also poses questions at the end of each chapter to help you go through your stuff and think about what you need.  This was probably not the intention of the book (but more along the lines of the intention of this blog), but the thing that has stuck with me most from this book is this tidbit:
  "Limit your toys too.  Kids will always learn more from example than words."
Really, isn't that the purpose of what I have been trying to do for this past year?  I didn't really think about my stuff in that context before.  But all the craft kits, yarn, beads, books, even my oboe from high school - aren't these all my toys?  And if that's so - I may have more toys than all 3 kids combined.  Those are the things I 'play with' to have fun.  Really, what are the kids learning from me?  I don't want to think that they need to have one type of every toy (like all my variety of craft kits).  I don't want them to think that they need to be good at everything (like I think I should be good at all types of crafting - still having a hard time with the concept that I'm not going to be a good sewer.)  I don't want them to think that because they enjoy doing something now, that they have to enjoy it for a lifetime (which explains me keeping my oboe that hasn't really been played for over 10 years, because I really just don't enjoy it as I once did). 
It's a lot of food for thought - and I took some action (as you can see from the last post).

And the last section - 'Free Your Life' - which talks about where living clutterfree can lead if you can keep it up (and how to overcome some of those obstacles - teenagers, reluctant partners, consumeritstic culture, and comparing).  It also has a section of becoming a one-income family - which is quite relevant to my family.  I quit work after becoming pregnant with my 3rd.  In some ways, we were always a one-income family - we went from me working full-time and my husband going to school full-time to him working full-time and me staying home with the kids, but I still find it hard that with a master's degree, my life is now judged on how well I keep the house clean.  Joshua writes this:
 "Find an outlet for service........   Just because you have decided to stay at home does not mean you resigned from using your gifts to change the world."
How true!  Something I'd like to work on more and will have more time to do once this place is clutterfree!

This book really is all around a great book for parents who want to live their lives differently and enjoy their time with their kids rather than be consumed from the everyday pressures of what this world wants to feed us that our lives should be about. 
It especially hits the nail on the head coming out after the post-Christmas influx of toys and STUFF!

***I did receive a free copy of this book for review but receive no other compensation for the review.  Hope you enjoy it as I have!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Seeing the Light

It's January.  We've gotten all the Christmas stuff sorted and put away.  It's been snowy and cold and it feels like we'll never be able to go out and enjoy any warm weather (or sunny weather - as any Ohioan could tell you).  We are inside all the time and so the stuff creeps up on me.  I got the urge to go through the bin of 'kits' and realized that I have at least 15 cross stitch kits, and not just those little ornament ones - I have 6 cross stitch Christmas stocking kits (and there are only 5 of us in this family), 4 big kits - (with completed designs that will be 11" x 14") and several others, including one that makes cross stitch cards - can't seem to have enough cards.  That doesn't include the punch needle, linea, crewel and silk ribbon embroidery kits.

Enough is enough!  I easily chose 4 kits that I knew I would rather not do.  I am sure they were appealing when I purchased them, but the design on them is not my favorite anymore. 

So, I decided to venture into the ebay world to try and recoup some costs from these.  One good thing - ebay is currently not charging any listing fees until January 21, 2014. 
The bad thing, I can't find anything that says what the actual fees will be after an item sells.  

The first thing I listed was a hit - a Dimensions Gold Collection stocking that apparently is in big demand in the ebay world.  You can see it above.  The other items, not so much.  Maybe they will get some buys at the end of the auction.  

There are so many other things I would rather be doing than listing items on ebay.  Something to remember for the future.  I shouldn't buy anything until I am ready to make it right then and there.  Because I will always find something.
Projects finished: 21
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: about 50

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Have I told you how many crosstitch kits I have?  Whew!!!!  It's a lot.  I usually spend an afternoon a week doing crafty things (usually jewelry) with a friend.  She started working on a crosstitch kit and that inspired me to do the same.  But I wanted something quick -where I could see the finish line when I started, so this little Christmas kit fit the bill.
Cute, simple, crafty.
Projects finished: 21
Projects given away: 7+ 

Weeks: about 40?

Monday, January 13, 2014


We've had 5 empty frames on our wall of framed pictures since I put them there.  My husband had made names for the pictured people in them (the pictures were those that came with the frames when purchased).  I knew I wanted to make silhouettes of the family but unsure of how to go about doing them.  So I dug in and just figured that if I accidentally cut the silhouette paper wrong - well, then, it's just paper and I could try again.  
This is by far one of the easiest projects that I've done and wished I had done it awhile ago to really capture the difference in face shapes from an infant to a toddler for the kids.  
Of course, as I say it's been easy, I also want to redo some of the face shapes and haven't done so yet.  My daughter's hair is a little weird in one.  One son's face shape could be bigger and my husband was weirdly jutting his chin forward when I took his picture.  
This was as simple as taking a picture on the digital camera and taping the wrong side of the picture to the wrong side of the silhouette paper (since it really didn't matter to me which way everyone was facing) and then cutting it out.  I actually used a really good pair of nail-trimming scissors to cut them out because they are tinier and really sharp and I could get more detail with them.
Projects finished: 20
Projects given away: 7+ 

Weeks: about 40?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The holidays were busy but that's no excuse for not crafting!  So, the next few days will include some of these finished ones and one that is steadily progressing...

First, a needlepoint bag.  A Martha Stewart kit that I found on clearance (of course, the way most of the crafts have been attained), probably in 2011 or thereabouts.  Unfortunately, I recycled the paper insert that shows the instructions and 'finished' copy.
So here it is,

Actually, it's quite pretty.  The colors are bright and it has just enough detailing on it.
I wish I would have left the name off of it.  I think it would be a nice gift for someone and frankly, I have a few wristlets and I've really been purging all the STUFF that I do have around the house and not trying to accumulate as much, but maybe this will be the push to get rid of another wristlet. 

And here's the one that is progressing, a crosstitch stocking, started, oh, maybe 9 years ago or so?   Ideally, I wanted to make a crosstitch stocking for the hubby, me and any kids we had, but, well, they take a really long time to make so I ended up making the kids some fairly easy felt applique ones, myself - I kept the one my mom made for me and my hubby has been stuck with a stocking I got as a gift from a friend a while ago.  Maybe 2014 will be the year  he'll have a handmade stocking. :)
I'm trying to get one strand of floss stitched up each day.  Since I picked it up around New Year's Day, I've finished the tops of the trees and all the deer that is done and lots of little odds and ends.  

Projects finished: 19
Projects given away: 7+ 

Weeks: about 40?