Monday, December 28, 2009
It also looks good for the first StitchCraft sponsored craft show to take place in either February or March (I will know the date once I get the final approval to hold the shows and get feedback from potential vendors. I was looking for something to do that had to do with the craft show and keeping a positive outlook, so I created a logo:
What do you think? It's just a first go, but I'm liking it. I should know by this time next week if it's a go - if I remember to send the proposal.
I am hoping I went through all the crap for something great to be on the other side - I hope that right after I hope that all that crap is revisited upon the person who sent it. (Hey, I'm prayer, not perfect.)
There's another prayer shawl on the needles! And I sold another afghan! We have to take the pooch to the vet this evening because he cut himself and I will get the afghan out of storage in the trunk. It's freezing here - so I'm hoping to get the trunk open!
Did you all have a good Christmas? Mr. Honey and I saw Up in the Air on Christmas Day and yesterday we went to see The Blind Side. I will have to say this has been the best performance I've seen Sandra Bullock do and Tim McGraw was surprisingly good. (Is that his real hair?)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Well, that's not quite true.
I came up with a lot of things for my Christmas list. Just not things I wouldn't have to explain away. Like, the Addi Turbo set of exchangeable needles. I would have to explain that although Mr. Honey has already purchased me a set of exchangeable needles, this set is made of a different material and therefore I need them.
Or why I need another six books when I haven't even cracked open all the books I got between my birthday and Christmas last year. (I would have to explain that I have indeed cracked them open, but I have yet to make anything out of any of them. I would then have to explain my method of choosing books to work out of which would only cause more grief and confusion because according to my plan, I won't make anything out of those books til about 2015.)
There are a lot of things on my list - and I could have done another yarn shopping spree, but seriously, even I'm getting tired of all the yarn I have - so I've decided to keep that to just my anniversary present. Which means I have a lot of knitting to do between now and May. So, I was going to forego a Christmas present....
until...someone suggested a few weeks back that we go to Chix with Stix again. It was the Friday during the Holiday Shop and so we popped over and I got some really nice yarn (even paid full price for it) and as I was waiting for Melissa to finish her purchase I saw it.
A knitting bag to end all knitting bags.
I stared at it and decided I wanted it. I pulled it off of the shelf and fell more in love than ever. It was the only one of its kind in the store. I pulled out my cellphone and called Mr. Honey and told him I had something to put on my Christmas list after all. When I hung up the phone, I glanced at Melissa who promptly said:
"You are so spoiled."
Yep. But come on. It's the Hermosa Namaste. I wanted it before I even looked inside. And after I called and said I wanted it, I took a look inside and wanted it even more. The clerk told me she would add it to my wish list and all Mr. Honey had to do was to come and tell them it was on my wish list and they would ring it right up.
So, Christmas morning after I gave Mr. Honey all the stuff he asked for (except for the string, that didn't come in time.) He handed me a box and for a moment, I wondered if he didn't get the bag for me. But there it was - all beautiful and all mine.
And the bag finked on me.
There was an envelope in one of the pockets of the bag and as I picked it up, I saw a slip of paper inside so I said to Mr. Honey. "Gift receipt?"
I opened the envelope and pulled out the slip of paper that said 'Gift Certificate $20.'
"Ah, honey, you got me a gift certificate, too?"
"No." and his eyebrow arched.
I didn't understand.
"I don't understand."
"Well, I told them what you told me that the bag was on your wish list so they put the purchase under your name. And it appears you've spent so much in their store that you've earned a gift certificate."
"Hummm. I don't go to that store that often."
"And yet you have the certificate."
I just put my head down and admired my bag.
And thought about how to spend that $20 in that store.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
My wonderful Susie got me started with My Blog Spot and they sent me a coupon for some free biscuits (yum) and they also sent me a butter dish with a butter knife.
And here's the great thing - you can win a giveaway package just like I got. Pillsbury (through MyBlogSpark.com) sent me two coupons for a can of biscuits, the dish and the knife.
Let me tell you, Mr. Honey and I both like bread - Mr. Honey likes bread better than I do and he worships at the altar of Julia Child by saying you can never have too much butter. So biting into one of these biscuits is - to quote him - 'like eating dessert.' They are good. OK, they're a little better than good! One of my favorite eats from childhood is biscuit and syrup. Mom used to make biscuits, we would pour a little Alaga syrup on a plate then dip the bread into the syrup. Yummy, sticky goodness.
These biscuits take that to a higher level. Oh my. And we still have a coupon left!!
You want to win the prize pack? It consists of coupons for biscuits (good only in the US) the dish and the knife. And the contest couldn't be simpler - what did you serve for Christmas dinner?
It's an easy way to get back into our blog reading and writing routine!!
What did you serve for Christmas dinner?
Thursday, December 24, 2009
And I found a beautiful one.
A Black Pepper has some beautiful photography and also some nice knitting going on as well. You gotta love the talented people in the world - they give us something to look at.
Lucy writes and photographs this wonderfully fulfilling site (I don't know if she takes the shots of herself. She appears to be that talented.) She's also a designer and has an Etsy shop. So, if you're looking for a visual feast and some nice writing to go along with it right before you look at some knit and crochet items right before you go shopping on line, then check out A Black Pepper and prepare to enjoy yourself!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Mr. Honey's sister is getting the triangle one because she canceled Christmas (well, kinda, another post) and his sister-in-law is getting the prayer shawl on the upper right. (I can tell you this cuz they don't read the blog!)
There are more shawls to come in some really lovely colors and I am excited to see them go from skein to shawl.
You know what else I'm excited about? LIsa's Pieces. Lisa is a local artist and she makes jewelry. She's fresh and understated - which means her stuff has a great 'wow' factor.
Take a look at some of the things I love in her shop: Aren't these the cutest earrings? Y'all know since I chopped off the hair that the ears can't go out naked. Earrings have always been one of my favorite accessories and these are just darling!
My other favorite accessories are pendants and these are also quite cute.
She manages to get quite a lot into such a small area. The pieces aren't so big they overwhelm you, but the designs are such they carry themselves very well. I just love her work. She's been doing it for over fifteen years and she even makes guitar picks! Check out her shop on Etsy.com and see if you don't fall in love with it, too!
I'm going to get back to the knitting now. While I do have that prayer shawl on the needles that's about 1/3 done, I will actually be working on some squares. My secondary project is to make 200 squares and I have 3 of them done. I am hoping I can keep myself interested enough to get through them all because they will make about 4 sampler afghans which should look really nice.
I don't know that I will get back here before the holiday so let me take this moment to wish you and your family the best of the holiday season. Whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festival of Lights or whatever the observance of your heart and spirit - I pray that it is everything you wish and need it to be and that it leaves you feeling wonderfully tired and refreshed with the joy of being surrounded by the people you love or being in restful solitude can bring.
Friday, December 18, 2009
So, what's with the prayer shawls? Couple of things: I sold out at the holiday shop so I don't have any more. Mr. Honey and I decided to give his sister and sister-in-law prayer shawls for Christmas. And if you recall, I started making them for a Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church. I've also decided to put more of them in the online shop and have them available for sale at the craft sales we're pulling together. So I've been making them as fast as I can. I'm using a basic garter stitch pattern but the yarns and colors are so good they do the most of the work. I've discovered I can make one in about 15 hours. Mr. Honey will have the honor of selecting which ones are used as gifts. They've all been prayed over in church and will have a tag with the date on them. And the church will receive money for each one I sell. I am hoping it will help in some small way.
You get so much impact for the effort. They're soft and beautiful and can have such a meaning for people. Prayer shawls are not just to give comfort; they are also a way to spread joy. They can be used for celebrations and observances. I love making them.
Are you all ready for Christmas? It doesn't seem like it should be here. 2010 is two weeks away. Goodness. Didn't 2009 start just last week?
Monday, December 14, 2009
Yes, I know, it's been a while!
Heather and Cici! You won the contest and I need your contact info to send your prizes!
So, what have I been doing for this past week? StitchCraft was participating in the Pleasant Home Holiday Shop for the week. Pleasant Home is a beautiful mansion and for the first week in December, it is turned into a holiday shop with handmade crafts and art from local artisans.
We've had the pleasure and honor of being there for three years and ever since we've been there we've been the top sellers and I think we've probably had that distinction again and keeping that record holds special meaning for me because this is the first year the group isn't with the church. (They had their own space in the shop far away from ours.)
I was worried there wouldn't be enough merchandise to sell so I was furiously knitting up a storm and I ended up with about 100 pieces. I needn't have worried because five others contributed items and we had nearly 200 items to sell.
Everyone had at least one sale - Marion did really, really well with her jewelry and knitted goods. Overall, we made more than we made last year - which was another personal point of success for me.
Melissa took some photos and I'll let you know when she posts them. But our tablescape was really nice. Melissa did the original setup and Marion did some tweaking. We had a great variety.
My task from Mr. Honey was to come home with less than I left with. I left with four big bags and a box. I came home with three bags. I sold a little over 20 things. My goal was 30 but I can live with it since, well, I have to and because I sold an afghan for over $100!! (it was a great week for me on that front as well.)
I saw a couple of folks who have shops on etsy and still haven't managed to make my top ten list (that will return next week, btw!) and I got some ideas from some of the crafters that I will have to make reality.
So, today, I'm a bit tired and I have a meeting at church. I am going to take the rest of the day off and then come back strong tomorrow. I hope you had a great week last week and a great week this week. I cannot tell you how great positive reinforcement is for the soul.
Make it a great day!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Here's the bad news: just because you're a celebrity doesn't mean you get to tear your own life apart and then ask that we not look.
Let's say you're a young golfer and before you even step onto a course we've heard from your father how great you already are and how great you're going to be. I mean your dad does a great PR job on. So much so that we actually pay attention and we watch you as you make your professional debut.
And what do you know? Your dad was right. You are good. In fact, you're pretty great. We watch you some more because we are amazed at your talent. Does that mean we get to look into your private life?
No. But you offer us glimpses. Which is your right. You get to make up the rules that govern your privacy. It is YOUR privacy, after all. You shouldn't have to ask me to respect it. You should build the rules that tell me how I should treat it.
OK, so now you know that we are interested in you. In fact, you generate so much interest that companies are now coming to you and asking that you be the face for their product.
Your privacy firewall needs to change.
You are no longer just on the golf course. You are now representing a company. So your behavior and your decisions need to take into account the impact on your life and theirs. Does that mean I now get to invade your privacy?
Nope. But you have agreed to become more exposed. You are now on the t and v and radio. You do more interviews because the company wants the exposure they're paying you to get them. So while I still don't get to peek into your private life, you need to make the adjustment that I'm going to look just a little bit harder.
Let's say you get married. A marriage is a private and personal contract and that contract has to be made with your circumstances in mind: your wealth, your job, your public exposure. You need to make an agreement with your spouse about how your circumstances will not bring harm to your privacy - which now includes her and any little cubs that you have.
So, does being married mean I get to look into your private life?
Then you decide to take yourself a girlfriend...or a dozen.
Now, that doesn't violate your personal privacy agreement. It does, however, violate the privacy agreement you made with the companies you agreed to represent if you have a morals clause and it definitely violates the privacy agreement you have with your wife because most marriages do come with a pretty specific morals clause about keeping yourself only unto them.
So, the only agreement that has not been broken is the one you have with the girlfriends.
Does that mean I can pick apart your private life?
No. But your wife can. She's now free to come after you with a golf club in public - after all, the deal is over. You broke it. She's no longer obligated to keep anything - except mebbe some of that lovely money.
Your business partners can, too. After all, you put them at risk for losing the money they've already paid you in advance that might not be made up because of the decision you made. They can publicly or privately decide to dump you or decide to stick with you long enough to look at the profit margins.
None of the above puts you in danger of me until.....
your girlfriend(s) decide to break her/their agreement with you and send your texts, emails and voice mail all over creation. Then you can ask for all the privacy you want and I will agree not to talk to you...
because I don't need you. I have your texts, emails and voice mails. Thanks. It's not your privacy; it's your girlfriends' business that they're willing to share. It just happens to be about you. But, hey, I respect your wanting to get your family life together and I won't comment at all about the only reason you want to is because you're caught. That's all your business. And I am nothing if not respectful.
But I'm going to talk with all those women who are willing to talk to me. And you don't get to say anything about that. You set the rules, you broke the rules. We're all now walking through the broken pieces picking up what we can. You have the right to ask for your privacy but don't be surprised if I don't respect your lack of self-respect.
You want your privacy back? You will now have to make an agreement with me. You will promise to live the most boring life you can except when you're on the golf course. And I will agree to grow bored of you and leave you alone except on the golf course. I will, of course, push that. There will be stories and rumors but if I can't trace it back, they'll die down. But you will need to be consistently boring. Don't parade your family around in public to show me what a happy family you are. Just go home and be a happy family.
Oh, and it would help if you won your next golf tournament. Make it the next two. And speak with the tournament directors and the PGA and make it so the announcers on the t and v can't talk about....you know. And should you win and you have to do the post interview, have them make it clear that the first reporter that asks about...you know...will end the interview for everyone. If you win the tourney and they can't talk to you about it then they'll keep each other in check.
But you need to keep yourself in check first.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
As you know, there was first one prize of the book Knit Fix, some yarn and needles. That was supposed to be the only prize, but then there were so many good tips and I have so much yarn that I thought I would give away some of my workhorse yarns to the person who had the tip that benefits me the most - purely subjective.
So, first, the best tip prize. I read the tip and I said 'wow, that makes sense. I like that and I tested it out to see if it was really a time saver - not so sure about that - but it gives me an option for how I might want to do things. So the prize for the tip:
Instead of doing the original ssk, you can K2Tog through the back loop
Goes to CiCi!! Yeah, CiCi..send me an address and I will send you some yarn from my stash!
The Grand prize was pulled by Mr. Honey and I told him not to just take a name from the top, so he shuffled them all around and he pulled out a piece of paper and the name on it was..
How's about that, babe? You get some of my yarn and the book and needles. So, send me the place you want it shipped and it will be on the way.
There really were some great tips and even though you can go to the post and read them all, I will be featuring them one by one along the way.
Thanks to everyone who posted - Mr. Honey was impressed and that's saying something.
I have to go get dressed for our date night but I will be back quite soon with a new post!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
She was the last. Now in my immediate family we no longer have any fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers or grandmothers. Of course we are parents, aunts, uncles and two of us are grandmothers but there's no one left above us.
I remember when my mother died I whispered that I was an orphan even though my father was still living. Four years later, my sister asked me to come to Phoenix because Dad's mental health was failing and she had taken off more sick or vacation days than she had and she wanted to know if I would come. I had left Xerox the year before so I was free to come and I flew in to Phoenix on December 2nd. When I entered my Dad's bedroom, he was getting dressed - to look at him you couldn't tell he was sick but the voice inside my head said 'he won't make it to Christmas.'
Over the next few weeks, I could see what my sister meant by his mental health failing as he was moody, sad, upbeat and changeable. One morning he was sitting at the bar isle in the kitchen with his cousin when he keeled over and crumbled to the floor. Gone. Just like that. On Christmas Eve.
That left my aunt. My dad died in 2000 and I didn't speak to my aunt for a long time until my cousins were here for a family reunion. I actually didn't attend the reunion but Mr. Honey and I were at the zoo and happened to run into my cousins. One of my cousins admonished me for not keeping in touch with my aunt. She told me how they stayed in touch with my parents and the least I could do is stay in touch with my aunt who missed talking to me.
It made no sense to point out to my cousin that staying in touch with my parents wasn't a hard thing to do since they lived in the same town and went to the same church and did things together while I was in Chicago. Made no sense to say it because it made no sense that geography couldn't be overcome with a phone or an email. So I started calling and emailing. And the first time I spoke with my aunt in over five years, she broke down in tears and said over and over how good it was to hear my voice.
Yes, I'm an idiot but she forgave me by not admonishing me and I could tell from the conversation it wasn't even on her mind. A few months back my cousin thanked me for being consistent in keeping in touch even though I didn't get to speak to my aunt every time I called and not all the emails were returned. I am grateful she yelled at me.
Of the three girls and one boy that made up my mom's sibling group, Bay was the one who got the sense of sass and humor. I remember one time she was in the car when she was stopped by a police officer. We all knew Officer Gunn (yes, his real name) he lived down the street from me. He came up to the car and said to her. "Mrs. Patton, you didn't come to a complete stop at that sign." Without missing a beat she answered, "Officer Gunn, the sign said 'stop' not 'stay.'"
Without her here, my sister, the eldest grandchild, becomes the matriarch of the family. I kidded with her about that last night and asked her if we needed to call her something else. "Ma'am"she said. "start saying ma'am."
Without her here, I don't know where the anchors are. My sisters and brothers and I are close and my sisters and I are especially close so I guess that's where I will look - but it's not the same. We always had someone in that last generation to turn to. But now it's us. I'm one of the youngest, so we should be here for a good long time to assist the next generation - except none of the last generation made it to 80 years. Bay came close at 77, my father at 72. The generation before that made it to the 80's.
I've marked the next reunion on my calendar and I will make sure my brothers and sisters do the same. I have cousins I've never met in person on my Facebook page and we keep tabs on each other. And I've learned a valuable lesson about keeping in touch with family which I will remember. I am looking forward to meeting them next year.
The good news is now that generation is complete and together in whatever Heaven is and I'm certain that if there are stop signs in heaven she'll come to a complete stop, turn off the car and stay.
Monday, November 30, 2009
OK, so I chose a restaurant for my birthday dinner. Way back decades ago when I was in college, there was this restaurant by the campus called My Pie (except on the sign the pie was the Pi sign.) Great pizza - I mean really great. They closed but then a year or so back I read an article where they reopened a couple of restaurants and I tucked that information away. When Mr. Honey asked where I wanted to go for my birthday, I chose My Pie. I dutifully looked it up on the Internet (because Mr. Honey always wants to review the menu before he goes) and I looked at the menu - not surprising for a pizza restaurant, it had pizza stuff like that and it had a daily special that said either dine in or carry out.
I need to repeat that: the daily special was good for dine in and carry out.
So we mapped out how to get to the place because it wasn't far but it wasn't close. So we get to it and
I don't mean that is was closed - I mean I didn't see a building. We passed by a few more times and then I saw it. It's not a stand alone restaurant - it's in a mall.
So we park, get out of the car and walk over to the place.
Do you know what dine in means?
One of those tacky little glass patio tables with two ratty rattan chairs and some of the rattan was missing.
Ended up going to Giordanos' cuz we wanted pizza. Mr. Honey was kind enough to say that didn't count as my Bd dinner. There's another My Pie location in the suburbs and he suggested I call them to see if they were a dine in restaurant - but I don't trust them to know.
But that's not why you're here. You want to see the goodies I've picked for this week - and I want to show them to you. I promise the word 'pie' is not in the title of any of them. So here, in no particular order, are the ten things that will make me forget the birthday restaurant experience:
Holiday Pillows by Earth Cadets
It's nice that there's a pair - but I only need the one.
Iris Heart Necklace by Chinacherie
It's pretty and elegant and will suite a wide age range. This is the kind of piece that goes timeless.
Cashmere Dog Sweater by shopKCQ
Not only is the sweater cute, but you know the dog is saying: 'After this is over, you so better be giving me treats.'
Orange Dichronic Glass pendant by lpjewelry
Whimsical, cute and the color is eyecatching!
Blessing Pears by Middleburg
I could never do paper mache when I was a kid. I just ended up with a goopy mess my mother wouldn't even show off on the mantle. This is a much better improvement!
So, how's the Christmas shopping coming? I have one set of items to make. During the week when I haven't been posting, I've been a cotton dish/hand/body cloth making machine. I've made about 10 spa cloths, 5 scrubbers, 4 pots/pan scrubbers and 5 face scrubbers. We'll see how well they do at the holiday shop which opens this weekend.
I've also been working on the new church website. So, you see, I have my reasons. Hey, a new giveaway is coming, too. Kind of a neat prize, too. You can thank that ole Knitting Knoobie Suzy for it. I'll explain that when it happens! For now, here are the final five:
Mena by jenniferhawkjewelry
These are so pretty!
3 Strand necklace by sweetcharity
Colorful and really beautiful, I can see wearing this necklace on a nice night out (to a restaurant with real seating!)
Santa Stone Coasters by creativecoasterchick
Here's my selection for the holiday season. These are kicky and cute. You can sit your glass right on Santa's face!
Messenger sling by toteworthydesigns
That this cute little tote bag made the list isn't a surprise - but how did a store with the word 'tote' in it escape my notice for so long?
Timmy by glasscat
Glasscat returns to the list because of this very cute and funny suncatcher. I think it would look great in the window of a child's room!
I hope your Thanksgiving was great! I cooked a really good dinner and we had the leftovers the next night and they were even better than the first night. Mr. Honey will be cooking the Christmas dinner and he has something to beat; I'll tell you that!
I also hope you get the chance to take the batteries out and let them recharge. The holiday season is hectic and leads right into the new year so there's stress to be had all around. But you don't have to let it get to you. Make the time to take some deep, cleansing breaths and let the world turn without for a moment or two. It's the best present you can give yourself!
Monday, November 23, 2009
This year Mr. Honey and I will be staying home. We were invited to his brother's but I had already told him I wanted him for myself this Thanksgiving and I will be cooking - but he can bake the gingerbread - I should probably remind him of that.
I wasn't sure there was a lot I would want to be thankful for this year; there was so much stress, but there are things to be thankful for - there always are:
I am thankful for my aunt 'Bay.' She is the last one of her generation. After her there are no more aunts, uncles, Moms or Dads for me any all my cousins. She is in poor health and I have been in contact with her. She is the 'fun' aunt and I am grateful for her laughter and her smile - especially after all she has gone through in her life. She has a genuine spirit that will stay with her the rest of her days.
I am thankful Gayle, Judy and Cindi. Four friends from the other church who's friendship was never in question. They have stayed by me during the entire ordeal even though Judy now lives in New York. Cindi is Gayle's daughter and she and her husband have been very present and vocal. It's good to know people will speak up for you when the popular thing is to remain silent in the presence of a bully.
I am thankful for Mr. Honey for being the most wonderful husband in this and probably any universe. He handed over $30K to me in the summer and then just last week asked me what I wanted for my birthday.
I am thankful for all of you in the knitting blogosphere. Those who comment and those who lurk and those who do both. I really feel connected to you all and I don't remember what life was like before you - but it could not have been this fun.
Are you ready for this week's picks? I am thankful to be able to bring them to you - and when you see them you'll know why. In no particular order here are ten items to think about over the holiday week:
Snakeskin Purse by grandmamarievintage
Veru funky, very vintage
Customized mirror by chaoticcurios
I had to pick out a mirror and i like the funky chunky one with the letter. I like them all. what a unique gift idea for someone!
Cubes by burntone
I don't know what it is but this painting intrigues me.
French Love Letter by chinacherie
They've made the list before and earned another spot with this lovely piece.
Beach walk by liamparkinson
This isn't his first time on the list, either, and this photo is just stunning.
So what are you doing this Thanksgiving? If you have some time between visits and friends, you still have until the end of the month to enter the contest. There will be another contest coming sometime next month as well. I have more books I can afford to give away and there's always someone out there who can use it! How about the final five?
Green River by peggysu1464
I love the color and the stillness, but it's the reflection in the water that sold it!
Baby Pod by ventichi
Doesn't it make your uterus ache?
Holiday shimmer by glasscat
O come on, you knew it was just a matter of when the earrings would show up!
Teardrop Earrings by uncharted
These will be home for Christmas
Shumai by gobuggy
Two words: clev ver!
I wish for you and your family the time together to appreciate the good things about each other and that your hearts are so warmed in your company that you cannot wait for the next time to be together. Have a safe Thanksgiving!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The prayer shawl in the picture was started last Sunday during church. I like to sit in the back and knit. It's not that people can't see me, but sitting in the back is less distracting and the prayers of the people can still reach what's on the needles. It was easier at the other church because it's a lot bigger and sitting in the back was like sitting in a cavern. At the new church, people can easily see.
This prayer shawl is special because it is the first one I knit for someone at the new church. There are prayers and good wishes for the recipient knit into it, but there's also relief and relaxation knit into it from me. I just feel so much better.
It's going to a woman who has come to that time in her life where she can no longer make all her own decisions. She suffered a fall and her husband is also in poor health and they can no longer live alone. She's in her upper 80's and she's reached that point.
God bless her life that she has been able to live it in her own way for so long. The most precious gift we have is the ability to self-determine. To be able to decide for one's self how their life is going to go. And the second precious gift is having loved ones around you when time and nature start to remove that ability from us. So we are not abandoned and left behind but that we are given as much of the ability that can be had so we may continue with dignity and integrity.
I hope this shawl brings her comfort and keeps her connected with a church family that has been a part of her life for a very long time. And I hope it keeps us connected with her that we remember her in our prayers and in our visits and that we pray for everyone to live with grace no matter what our age. That we live our own lives that way so we are so filled up that we overflow with it and others can benefit from the excess of our blessings.
My blessing is to feel a part of something again and to move one step closer from walking away from a bad habit. Thank God I could make that determination for myself.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I was never a great fan of Mandy Patinkin. He was great in a little Broadway show called 'Evita' and that shot him to stardom and it seemed, at least to me, that the shot went straight into his head and he seemed a little too pleased with himself. Of course, that could have just been his character on 'Chicago Hope.'
But I watched 'Three Rivers" on CBS (actually, I watched it Monday from On Demand through Comcast) and he blew me away.
He played Victor, a man with ALS who is in a car accident that puts him on a ventilator. With the ALS, he will never get better, but he will be alive. But it isn't what he wants and after speaking with a patient who needs a heart transplant, he decides to take himself off the ventilator so he can donate his heart. Another woman walks in with her daughter and asks if he will give a portion of his liver. Another doctor walks in and asks for his lungs. Victor feels thrilled that he can make a decision about his life that the ALS cannot touch.
But Victor has a daughter. And this daughter was neglected when she was younger and having her father need her in the throes of his disease is her way of keeping him with her. She wants to stop his decision and even speaks to her attorney to stop it. Also, Victor's doctor doesn't think he should end his life because even though he will be tied to the ventilator and even though the ALS will continue to ravish him, he would be alive.
But that's not a life to Victor and he tells Andy that he wanted to be able to die with dignity and to give life to others and that would be his way of beating ALS one last time.
He gets his wish except the man he wants to have his heart gets a fever on the day the transplant is supposed to take place and it cannot go on but as Victor is willed into the operating room where his ventilator will be removed, he will die and his organs harvested, the people who will receive his organs are lining the hall to thank him and at the end of the hall is his daughter who is really proud of him.
Patinkin's performance is amazing. His speech and body movements, his emotions are moving and compelling and he keeps it from being over the top which it easily could have been. If there is not an Emmy nomination at the least then there is something seriously wrong with the process or there have to be some other kick ass performances out there that I haven't seen.
If you can get to On Demand and see the episode, you will see a truly moving performance.
Well done, Mr. Patinkin, well done.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Want to have a bad experience? Have a pastor that lies about you to other members of the congregation and have those people either believe her or if they don't, stay silent and let the lies go on. And with that statement, I hope to have breathed in and out the last of that experience and can now let it go.
And why not? There are some nice items out there in the handmade world that are a better use of time looking at and thinking about. Have you looked at the calendar? Almost a month to go. That's it. You're going to have to start getting serious about the holiday shopping. Let me help you. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is the top ten list for the week of November 16:
Green Apple Vegan Soap by YourTimeBodyTreat
Fall. Apples. Just makes sense. Besides, it looks great!
Golden Leaf Necklace by vivarevival
It's very retro and very cute. I just saw it and loved it. Simple as that.
Red Ombre by Industryjewelry
One of the reasons I like something is that it makes me think of something I can knit. I love the gradiation of color in the necklace. I love doing that in knitting.
Amber Fairy Light by olderthanyouare
This reminds me of some of the knick-knacks I used to see in the houses in the south. Elegant and timeless.
Coonley Playhouse Kitchen Window by RKMStudios
I am in awe of folks who can work with glass and this is very much like Frank Lloyd Wright's work - which is what it is based on! Simply beautiful!
We've picked up some more followers! Thanks so much. There's still time to get in on the contest. Remember there will now be two winners - one randomly drawn by Mr. Honey and the one tip that I think helps me the most. It's a chance for me to clear some room on my book shelves and clear out some of the yarn stash. Please enter!
Fiesta Dish Pillow by rachelsretrorags
This is just the cutest pillow. I know some folks who collect Fiesta dishes and this would be a great gift for anyone who does.
Cranberry Soap by nothingbutsoap
it looks like a piece of creamy candy but this is one treat you can rub all over body.
Emotions by adrianaoancia
Stunning colors in her artwork. I can see this in the upstairs hall of my house.
Blue Hawaii by elenadiadenko
Another piece of art with stunning colors. I've tried drawing and painting; if it weren't for those little numbers, I couldn't do it at all.
Heart by itsourearth
What makes this so cool? It's made from a recycled LP (for those of you who don't know that's a record - a disc that plays music with the help of a record player. LP means Long Play as opposed to a 45 - which is a small record that plays music with the help of a record player!)
Did you notice? Not a bag on the list this week. But two soaps and two pieces of art. How about that for a little different? Like I said, the holidays are fast approaching. If you don't shop any of these places - or my shop, make sure you look at some handmade shops for serious consideration.
I'm going to play with April and Melissa tomorrow at Barnes & Noble. I hope you have a great day!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Anyway, I posted this scarf yesterday and put the scarf and the hat in the shop for sale. Last night, right before dinner, I thought I'd check to shop views to see if anyone was looking around.
The scarf had sold.
This brings two conflicting thoughts to mind.
The first: YIPPEE!!!
The second: I sold it for too little.
The first thought tells the second thought to shut up. Pricing has been a big issue in both the freelance and handmade fields. We've had this discussion before: some folks are very quick to point out how pricing too low kills the rest of the industry. I still hear it from people who tell me I price my stuff too low.
Too low for what?
See. This is why the first thought tells the second thought to stuff it. For those of you who are thinking of selling your items, you will have to figure out what works best for you and let everyone else's opinion roll off your back.
Sometimes you have let it roll off your own back. I worked out a formula and I plug it in and a price comes up. Sometimes it seems reasonable; sometimes not, but some things about the business remains the same: materials cost what they cost, postage and fees are usually consistent. Time it take to create an article usually changes so I put in an average value for that which can increase over time like a raise or salary increase. And then I live with the numbers.
I do something similar when figuring out prices for the in person sales. There are some different considerations (like no shipping or handling fees) but the formula remains pretty much the same. Sometimes it means some really good prices - steals almost. Sometimes it means something will be pretty high end. Most of the time it hits it just right. And that might be the best you can hope for.
So I will probably get over the price thing - in truth, the price is probably about right to slightly too low - but the gratification of the sale remains with me. To know folks will buy your stuff. It's better than when I sell something I've written - and that's a pretty good high!
I'll worry about pricing another day - when I schedule time to worry about things. But for the moment, I'm going to rejoice that I have made my 18th sale since being in business for almost a year.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The things I'm learning. Since it is my contest and I can make the rules, I will be giving away an additional prize of stash yarn to the tip that personally helps me the most. So, now, you have more to win! Keep them coming, they are very helpful and very diverse. Knitters Rock.
Dig the color of the scarf and hat. Aubergine. Doesn't it make you drunk just saying it? I love the color and you know what? I didn't even know I was making a set. I made the hat about a week before I made the scarf. They aren't supposed to be a set, though I do think they came from the same pattern book.
I bought four books from Knit Picks while they were having their 40% books sale. I will review them all in detail at a later date, but I am salivating over two of them, one has instructions that I either need to give up drinking altogether or increase my intake three fold in order to understand, and I don't remember what the last one was. (I just went over the site and looked it up...it's OK.)
But this hat and scarf - or the original patterns - came from 24 Hour Knits. There's some nice stuff in that book and I am certain that if I ever completely follow a pattern as written - it would be from that book. Of course, I say that knowing I rarely do a pattern exactly as written and the road to hell is paved with good intentions - but still.
I've started a prayer shawl. I gathered my shawl books together because I'm feeling a shawl mojo starting (say good-bye to hats for the moment.) I am missing a prayer shawl book. I have the feeling it's up in the office which means that when I find it, it will signal the second coming. But even so, I have eight books of shawl patterns. Eight. I just like books. Nothing wrong with that.
I went stash shopping for another project and discovered a bunch of Homespun (of course) so now with that added to the skeins in the upstairs stash not to mention the new skeins in the trunk - I have contracted prayer shawl fever. I have a challenge to see how many I can finish between now and the end of the month. Nineteen days.
What do you think? How many can I get done?
Monday, November 9, 2009
1. You can enter the giveaway contest to win a copy of Knit Fix and other goodies here.
2. I hope you are all reading the tips that have been entered. There are some really good ones there, heck, they're all good. And they will all be the subject of their very own posts giving credit to the person who submitted them. I'm learning some new things every day from you guys (which happens to be a very good tip submitted by a reader!)
3, You won't believe what I just did! I had a meeting with my new pastor this afternoon and of course, I mentioned my knitting. She said she knew someone who had a stash of yarn from a yarn shop that closed down and they were giving it away and she wanted to know if I might be interested in having some of it.
I said no.
Before you beat me to a pulp.
Then I said to myself: "Girl, you crazy, you better get some of that."
I said: "This is yarn from a yarn shop?'
"Oh yes, we want some of that. We can use that to make prayer shawls and use them for members and the like."
You can put your knitting sticks down now. You won't need to beat me with them. I was thinking about the huge stash of yarn I already have and I was also thinking my mother also told me to say know when folks offered stuff.
But that was all overridden by it's yarn from a yarn store and if it's the yarn store I think it is - they don't sale very much acrylic yarn (which I love) but this could be a source of some natural fibers and that would be a great source of higher end items that can be made for church members.
In any case, that old training was left behind!
But that's not why you're here. You're here to see who and what I've chosen for this week's list. I am eager for you to see them so without further ado (what's an ado, anyway?) here, in no particular order, is this week's top ten:
Gray Mohawk Hat by LeafLee
Come on, now. You gotta admit it's way cool. I like the fact that it even exists.
Fall and Grapes by promirta
This is a lovely and unusual piece. The entire shop is like that. Another newbie who makes the list their first time out.
Evening Stroll by Elizabeth Wren
This isn't the first time Elizabeth has made our Top Ten and with work like this lovely shawl, it won't be the last. It's just beautiful and it looks snugly.
Crochet Picture Frame by double stitch
Now this is something I've never seen before and when you look at it you say, 'well, of course!' I love creativity and resourcefulness.
Abstract Gold Earrings by allisonmooney
These earrings are almost 3 inches so they have substance. I was thinking I shouldn't wear the big earrings because I have no neck and then I saw a reporter on the t and v and she has hair even shorter than mine and she was wearing these big a earrings and she doesn't have a neck, either. That's why these earrings are on my list.
I want to thank the new followers that I've picked up and remind all of you that I will give a shout to all of (especially if you have a blog or store or both to promote. In the meantime, I enjoy you all very much.
Now, back to the show...
Red beret for kids by fril
I've never seen a leaf pattern done in this way. Great job? I'm so gonna make my own version! Thanks for the inspiration,
Holographic Bling Pendant by FireGrog
Blue Dreams Quilt by kateemarie
Wow! Lovely simply lovely. I don't have this kind of patience!
Rebecca's Growing Garden Pendant by westbyron
The piece is very sweet and the description is touching. Read it for yourself and fall in love with it.
Spiral scarf by trucksandpearls
This scarf is quite lovely and the care that went into it shows up very nicely. If I didn't knit, I'd be looking to buy it.
There you have it - isn't an unusual but exciting list? Christmas is getting closer, do that holiday shopping and you can have bragging rights over your friends. Look locally, look at handmade and see if that doesn't supply your every gift giving need!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I tell you, this being in business for yourself thing is a web.
I know from my work in Publicity and PR that a three pronged approach to getting the word out is a key. Not everyone reads the newspaper so there should be something else to go with the press release to the newspaper. So you might do an email mailing, and then you might put flyers up around town. You might utilize the Internet by posting your event on various calendars. I'm used to doing that. But somehow my brain did not make the connection with a three prong approach when it comes to my store.
But I was listening to a webinar (can you believe what we come up with?) and the moderator said we should have a three pronged approach to our shop. We create an item in the shop and we should:
1. Blog about it
2. Facebook it
3. Tweet it
Well, ain't I a clever sausage because I already do those things - I just never put it altogether as a marketing strategy. OK, the truth is, I would blog it and tweet it - the facebook thing is new. I thought it would also be a good idea to do the same thing with the items I sell because it shows movement. It may inspire someone else to go looking around the shop. It keeps the product out there in the spheres (web sphere, blogosphere, here a sphere, there a sphere, everywhere a sphere sphere.)
Don't you think that has some validity?
Good. This sold today. My Prayer Shawl. You know what really freaks me out? I was thinking about prayer shawls over the last few days. I need to make some more for families of soldiers who have fallen, my last remaining aunt (and the last one of her circle) is ill and they've started hospice care, and I want to get the ministry established in my new church.
And the one prayer shawl I have is now sold.
God is trying to tell me something. I do have a fair amount of yarn to make shawls, but it doesn't all match. The thing about Homespun is that as longs as some of the colors are the same, they mix very well - as witnessed by this prayer shawl made of two different color ways. Homespun was on sale at JoAnn and I had a 10% off coupon - so now I have some to make the new prayer shawls that I am hoping will provide comfort and solace to those who need them - just as I hope it does to the person who purchased it and the person they purchased it for.
May God bless us everyone.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Knitting to Go by Kris Percival and Sherri Giblin
I was not hesitant about giving Kris Percival another shot, after all, she did Knitting Pretty which has a version that like, Knitting on the Go, is done with cards that you can drop in your bag and carry. (Knit Knack Kit) I have both versions (BTW, I will be giving away the card set in another contest down the road.) So buying this set wasn't a hard choice for me to make.
This set is a lot more challenging than the projects in her previous work, and that's a good thing. As I flipped through the cards, I found some projects that I am looking forward to wrapping my yarn around. There's a blanket, wraps and some animal hats that I want to get to (but you know me, could be years...)
The patterns are easy to read and to follow and the authors do a nice job of offering some variations to the pattern in case you're like me and following the rules all the time begins to wear on you. The photographs are certainly big enough (although a problem I have with a lot of books is that they only show one angle or one side. I would take a slightly smaller photo if I could have the front and back and the occasional side of an object just to make sure I know what it's supposed to look like.)
Most of the patterns seem within reach of a beginner/advanced beginner and every once in a while an intermediate pattern shows up. But that's fine. There's nothing wrong with an easy pattern - it opens up your mind to change it around to create something unique or it allows you to enjoy the process of knitting more. At least that's how it works for me.
Overall, I like it. Out of the 25 patterns in the book, I will probably tackle about half and that's a good ratio. If you've a mind to try it out, you can find the book new and used at Amazon and other book websites.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I stayed up until about 2 this morning finishing the offending afghan. Do not be too impressed I stayed up until 2 - that's normal. I usually go to bed at about 2 and get out of bed before 9 - it's a blessing. If I weren't so lazy I would have enough daylight to be Oprah on steroids. Then I could pay someone to stay up and finish afghans that cause me problems due to no other reason than I did something wrong.
But I decided to finish off the afghan yesterday when there are two other projects pending and I should have - keeping with the program - been working on one of them. But that would have meant I would not have gotten to the afghan until Saturday and it would have sat there - mocking me. So I decided to put it out of my misery.
But he did not go quietly. I put together three of the four strips and when I got to the fourth one, it again seemed to be too long. (Have you ever heard yarn laugh? Not pretty.) I took the pins out and turned the strip around the other way and voila!
Don't ask me why it worked, I have no idea why it worked. I don't think it should have worked. But it did and if you know the science of it, feel free to give me the explanation. I would be interested in hearing it just so I can say it makes no sense. I will say this though, man this afghan is incredibly soft. I've made this afghan twice before (didn't I say it was my favorite one to make?) and this is the thickest and softest. The main yarn (the Homespun) remains the same and then there's a hodgepodge of other yarns thrown in. We have some Norville, some fu-fu yarn some one gave me that I couldn't make anything else out of, and some artistry yarn. I will have to figure out what yarns were used so I can set the price, but today, I am happy to come out of the scrimmage intact and ready to move on to the next project.
It will eventually go on sale in the shop or at the Holiday Sale in December - probably both. What do you think? Was it worth the effort? Feel free to lie to me.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Then why am I having trouble making the strips the same size? I do the 12 changes and then pin the strips together. First two were fine. Third one was a little short. Fourth one was fine. Fifth one a little short.
Well, of course it's the yarn. Though all the yarn is chunky weight, some is boucle and some is cushier which means they don't all have the same gauge which means some pulls in and squishes more than others. No biggie. I could measure the strips - wait, you didn't take me seriously did you? Nope. I'd much rather to the pinning, see the strip is way short and then pick up stitches and knit some more.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
So, let's do a contest!
First, I still owe someone stitch markers from the last contest. I put your email in some folder and have to find it - I have not forgotten. You will get them.
OK - So, the prize for this contest is a copy of this book:
It's Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus and it's a book that gives solutions to some every day knitting problems.
The winner of the contest will also receives some of this:
Some yarn from my stash. You are not going to receive this much and it actually may not be any that's in this bag. But you will receive the book and enough skeins to fill a small mailing box.
You will also receive a set of knitting needles. So, you will have what you need to start knitting and fix the problems you encounter. You will also get a few extra goodies in the box cuz I'm sweet like that.
Here are the guidelines:
U.S. and Canadian participants only, please.
Contest will end November 28 - I like ending contests on my birthday
Winner will be chosen at random by Mr. Honey - cuz he likes doing things like that.
Make a comment with your best knitting tip - get one entry
Tweet about the contest - get another entry
Re-tweet my tweet about the contest- get yet another entry.
I'm adding this on - Talk about it on your blog and let me know and you get another entry!!
So, there you are, my lovelies. Get yourself or someone you love a little knit-kit of a book, yarn and needles (but the treats.) Boy, I'd enter this contest! And if you're interested in other knitting contests pay a visit to WitKnits. It's a fun site that's all about the contests!
Good luck everybody!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I get my television news from WTTW - Chicago's public broadcasting t and v station. I watch The Newshour with Jim Lehrer because they at least try to be balanced and do an admirable job of keeping their guests on point - which probably comes from having guests who don't think they are the voice of God. Come to think of it, they probably think they're higher than God. After all, God doesn't really need to raise his voice being, you know, God.
But when I want to read opinion rather than hear it or have it interrupted with commercials (even PBS is starting to have small ones) I go to the Huffington Post. Because, to me, it strives for balance. It's a blog that looks and reads like a newspaper and I think does a better job than some online newspapers.
The site overall doesn't give one slant (though Huffington makes no argument about her political stances and even so she used to be a Republican) you can find all kinds of views - even the politically incorrect Bill Maher.
For all the news and opinions, this remains a blog where readers can comment. It's a far reaching blog and it hits. It also gets a lot of hits being the most popular blog on the Internet.
Say what you want about her views - the chick knows how to pull together a good blog.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I am already looking at the blessings of the past year and the big ones came during these last few months. I am blissfully clear of credit card debt, I have a great knitting group with a core group of women who are fun to be around and inspirational to boot, I may have even found a new place to worship - God is amazing in all that He does.
And I cannot help but believe He's at work in the artistry we create - including these ten items from local Chicago artisans. Here, in no particular order, are ten more works from the Chicago creative circle:
Sangria by TaraBacci
If someone has a spare $288 and would like to get these for me - I wouldn't turn them away!
Colorblocked by CamilleStar
I will need something to put the Sangria earrings in.
Winter Bear Hat by EliesHappyHats
Come on, don't you wish you had a little head? Or knew someone willing to make one for your big head?
Fig Beret by PandoraSpocks
Can't playa hate. When someone does what you do and they do it well, you gotta give the props. Her hats are cool!
Jade earrings by Your Time
I just can't help it - a lot of artisans make jewelry. My ears are so happy for them! These are cute little gems!
I was supposed to launch a contest last week and I will launch it - just have to move the dates. But I will be giving away a copy of the book 'Knit Fix', some yarn from the stash and a set of knitting needles. Nice huh? Stayed tuned for the new launch date - it will be very soon. Now, back to the final five...
Bakelite Chetties by PetitOiseau
I love the color of this necklace and the little leaf. It is a delicious piece!
Rustic Cross by Wickedlygood
One, I collect cross necklaces. Two, there's just something about a store called wickedlygood selling a cross!
Pink Elephant by Hamandeggs
The menagerie is sweet, but this little fella just stuck out.
Hooded baby blanket by doodlebugmlh
Pretty baby blanket - hey, is this the first baby blanket to make the list? It just might be - and it comes in all sorts of pretty colors!
Patchwork blanket by homemadebysony
It's a blanket, it's a fleece! It's darned cute and look, back to back blanket picks - not planned I assure you. And the shop is bilingual as well.
There you have it! I can't help that I love earrings but I feel great that there are so many jewelry makers in the area and knitter, sewers and other artists. I bet if you look - and not all that hard - you can find such craftspeople in your area.
I informed Mr. Honey on Friday that we were buying handmade/homemade this year for our Christmas presents - I think he was somewhat relieved by it. After all, they're easy to find on line! Why don't you go take a look and see what you can find?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Remember when I told how Mr. Honey emptied everything that was in my trunk into my back seat? I had a lot of stuff in the trunk including some newly purchased yarn and pillow forms. Well, I am not going to just put it all back into the trunk and I am taking Mr. Honey's advice to 'go through the junk in my trunk.' Every time I've had to go to the car, I take out something from the backseat and decide to keep it or toss it. When I got home from church, I took out a big paper grocery bag. It had a plastic bag inside of it and inside of the plastic bag was yarn.
Old, ugly yarn.
Old, ugly, 'who the hell thought that would be a good color, yarn
Old, ugly, who the hell thought that would be a good color, made of the roughest ply of wool ever to come off a sheep, yarn.
My mind ran through a myriad of ways I could use this yarn and I couldn't come up with anything that appealed to me and then I heard myself say out loud: "I don't want this."
Who would steal yarn from a knitting baby.
I took the bag and closed the car door and started down the walk to my house. Now I had two options:
Keep straight, go through the gate, walk through the backyard to the gate and place the bag on the garbage can.
Go straight, turn right when I get to the side door and go in the house and place the yarn in the basement until I run across a pattern calling for an old, ugly yarn in the stupidest colors ever thought up, in which case I would be set.
The Bears played a really good game today. They started off a little rough and then realized they were playing Cleveland and then started playing smarter. We were watching the scoreboard to see if any team would remain undefe....what?
Which option did I take?
I placed the bag on top of the garbage can in the hope that one of our nosy (and they are) neighbors who walk in the alley (and they do) will look in the bag, find the yarn, take it and excitedly run home to tell their spouse or significant other: "You won't believe it! Someone put this yarn in the alley. Look how soft it is - and what wonderful colors! Can you believe it?"