Scrub-a-dub dub, baby!

Wash-Cloths-Bright-Solids

Mundane?  Yes.  

Plain?  Never! 

Wash-Cloth-Stack-2No two are alike.  No, it’s true.  I love the juicy enthusiasm of that orange cotton.  I love it so much that I couldn’t stop with just one- so the second one was a little different.  More knit stitch-less garter.  It jacked my stack.  The negative impact to the glorious uniformity I sought is a little painful for me to behold…but that’s life isn’t it.  Sometimes you have to let go of uniform perfection and just follow your bliss.  And if bliss takes the form of chain knitting seven different painfully  simple dish cloths because your brain is fried and you just can’t deal with any more decisions-even if that decision is simply what to make next?  Well, so be it.

Big-Orange-Wash-Cloth

They’re pretty and I love them.  Not only are they pretty, but they really are better than your run of the mill terry dish cloth.  They do a bang up job.  I know this isn’t exactly a newsflash for  anyone, but you know how it is.  You read lots of stuff about how old school domestic products really are better, you try a few, and then you face facts that although you may feel better about them, they don’t actually work better.  You know what I mean?  If we’re honest with ourselves, we know Mr. Clean Tub and Tile really does work better than vinegar or baking soda or bleach water.  It is what it is.  But these sweet babies put our old dish cloth to shame!

Scrub-a-dub dub, baby!

Wash-Cloths-Macro

Behold, my Garter!

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New can be fun.  It’s exciting to accomplish something that you weren’t able to  do previously.  It can also be difficult…frustrating…awkward…tedious.  I’ve introduced a lot of new into my life as of late.  Some of it voluntary.  Some of it involuntary.   Today, I’d like to talk about some of my voluntary newness!

Garterstitch-scarf-5

 

Behold, the Garter Stitch!  Totally new!

Garterstitch-scarf-4Behold the “keyhole” and the oh-so-lacy ruffle!

Garterstitch-scarf-1

Behold, me knitting!  I’ve been on Craftsy again (of course).  The class is called Knit Lab. The instructor, Stefanie Japel, is pretty cool. I love the format, and she’s a natural teacher. It wasn’t easy for me, however.  The sticks have been a challenge.  They feel awkward compared to the a crochet hook.  And it takes for-ev-er….I’ll press on, however.  It’s bound to feel natural eventually.  Right?

 

 

 

Resolution #1: Great Literature I’ve Never Read

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It’s a long and shameful list. Made more so by the artful dodging it required for someone with a B.A. in English. There are books on this list that I should have read in grade school. There are books on this list that were required reading. I took tests over these books, turned in papers about these books, and waxed pretentious on occasion about them. What was my problem? They were downers. They were downers and I knew they were downers. And well…I don’t like downers. I like stories that aren’t big fat downers. I like some tumult, with a sprinkling of crisis, book-ended by humor and happiness. I don’t like unrelenting tragedy or pathos. There you have it.

So I’m a grown up now. Supposedly. And it bothers me a little bit-all these years later-that I dodged the bullet on some of these stories. So here is number one on my very short list of 2013 Resolutions….

I will read one bypassed tome of “Great Literature” per month in 2013.

For a total of 12, which doesn’t even begin to cover the list of great literature I’ve never read. Let’s face it, life is too short and too full for a book like Moby Dick. No offense to those who love it. It’s a crazy dude and a whale. It ends badly. Gotcha.

So here they are in no particular order:

1. Bleak House…Charles Dickens 2. Treasure Island…Robert Louis Stevens on 3. The Three Musketeers or the Count of Monte Cristo….Alexandre Dumas 4. The Red Badge of Courage…Stephen Crane 5. The Grapes of Wrath…John Steinbeck 6. The Call of the Wild…Jack London 7. The Good Earth…Pearl S. Buck 8. Johnny Tremain…Esther Forbes

I’m stopping there.  It gives me four to play around with.  If you have suggestions, I’d love to see them. If it’s great chick lit, I’ve probably read it.  It’s the more masculine or primitive tales that were diligently avoided.

What are your resolutions this year?

A+cup+of+coffee+with+a+stack+of+books

Copy Cat and Compulsive Hobbyist

First, I need to give you a little back story.  I have a couple of pretty significant issues that have influenced my course of action this week.

Issue #1: Sometimes I’m a copy cat.  Every once in a great while, I see something that gets under my skin.  I may not act on it the first time I see it, or the second or the third. Inevitably, however, if it’s lodges in just the right way, I will engage in full on mimicry.  (It’s the sincerest form of flattery you know.)

Issue #2:  Hi, my name is Amy and I’m a compulsive hobbyist.  It’s been two days since I picked up a new hobby.  And here’s the rub.  I don’t need anything new in my life right now.  The sewing machine is still out (and I think it’s staring at me) from my sewing “do over”.  I have a constant stream of crochet projects in progress with skeins of yarn taunting me from every nook and cranny of my house.  I haven’t blogged about it, but I have beading projects in process (that are staring at me accusingly from their totes) in an adjacent room. I’ll stop there lest I begin to look ridiculous.

Okay, now that you’re familiar with my issues, I can tell you about my latest misadventure…

The Seed is Planted  

Blair, who blogs at WiseCraft, began blogging about her sketchbook project a few months ago. She’s exploring the use of  water colors. I admire her for her efforts and tenacity, and have looked forward to seeing her progress.

As a pertinent side bar,  I’ve had a great interest in painting for a couple of years now.  It just doesn’t strike me as a class you’d want to take online. I think there are certain things you’ve got to do in person.  My kids are young.  I work.  There’s just no time right now.  But the idea lingers at the back of my mind.  So again, I’ve enjoyed watching Blair progress through her journey.  She’s talented in so many areas, it seemed natural that she would do something as bold as posting daily sketches.  I could never do that.  I can’t even draw for pete’s sake.  My painting plan has always been to work in abstract so that drawing would be irrelevant.

The Seed takes Hold  

Friday, I notice that Beki at artsy-craftsy babe posted her sketchbook.  It’s adorable.  Beki is ridiculously talented. She knits, sews, quilts and hand stitches some amazing projects, and apparently, she was inspired by Blair’s sketchbook project.  She’s done the most adorable watercolor houses in this little book.  I began to feel something more than “interested”.  I began to feel,  inspired…

The Seed Sprouts

Finally, over the weekend I read a post where Blair blogged about the tools she’s using for her sketchbook project. She’s doing watercolors with an assortment of nifty devices.   I’m a sucker for implements and tools…(it might even be classified as Issue #3.)

So really, it was inevitable.  Monday, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a small spiral bound sketchbook and some common colored pencils.  I lingered longingly over the graphite drawing pencils and watercolor pencils of every hue…then I snapped out of it and got out of there as quickly as I could before I got sucked into other departments.

Here’s one exceptionally good thing.  By far, this little adventure had the cheapest start-up costs of any hobby to date.  Five bucks.  I can live with that.  Second good thing?  It doesn’t have to be terribly time-consuming.  I’m just pencil sketching. I can spend as much or as little time as I want.

I’m still analyzing why this feels like something I need to do.  I’ve never drawn anything I considered competent.  I’ve always admired those who have a talent for drawing.   And maybe that’s enough.  It’s a skill I admire.  I’m not going to try to do it daily.  My goal is at least one bankable sketch per week.  I think it’s going to be fun, and I’ll keep you posted!

Obstacles…

 

It’s been a month of transition at my house.  Transition back to school.  Transition back into my husband’s business travel.  Transition into a new level of engagement in my own job, which has also necessitated travel.  As it turns out, I’m not as good at transition as I used to be.  This morning finds me reflecting back on a month of obstacles.  Isn’t that absurd?  It’s so easy for us to focus on what we aren’t able to do instead of really experiencing what we’ve done.

I sat down today to write about obstacles to my blogging.  Mainly because I carry masses of guilt on a daily basis.  Guilt for what I haven’t done or haven’t done well.  I added my blog to this list over the last couple of weeks.  I felt guilty because I didn’t do something that I do strictly because I enjoy it.  And guess what? The guilt eliminates the enjoyment.  That’s an irony I don’t find enjoyable.  And I love irony.

So this morning I woke up a little angry.  Per the usual, I was angry with myself.  So I decided to give into the obstacles. I let myself be interrupted by my kids and chose not to be frustrated by it. I let myself go onto other things when i couldn’t start a load of laundry because I’m out of laundry detergent.  I let myself read blogs and link to sites as my whim dictated. I let myself drink a cup of coffee and do nothing. And it was nice.  And I don’t feel guilty.  I gave into the obstacles, and I was able to cut myself some slack instead of focusing on what isn’t getting done.  (I win!)

….And now I’m blogging.  (I win again!)  And I’m still going to talk about those obstacles, because really, they’re kind of funny.

1.  I finished my Tunisian Multi-Garment, but have no photos to blog because I can’t decide the best way to lace it together.  I’ve laced and re-laced this garment around 5 times and undo it every time.  There’s a strong possibility I’m subconsciously postponing the inevitable because I don’t want  my picture taken.  Hmmmm.

2.  I’ve crocheted what I feel is an adorable scarf.  I can’t finish it, however, because I went off pattern and ran out of yarn with only three sides of the final border row to go.  I went to the yarn store yesterday and they’re out, so I ordered some.  It’s going to take two weeks for the yarn to come in because I went to my local yarn store instead of ordering it online.  Why don’t I order it online?  Because of guilt! I love the little ladies at my yarn store and I feel obligated to get it from them because of their elderly wonderfulness. Next.

3.  I’ve finished a pencil skirt and I think it’s pretty awesome.  I’m actually taking license by saying I’ve finished it because I haven’t.  I need to add a hook and eye to the waist band.  That’s all.  I’ve needed to add this hook and I for roughly four weeks.  Still haven’t done it.  I want to wear it to work.  But I can’t because it needs a hook and eye.  Could it be that I’m postponing completion on purpose?  Probably.  You see, I want to blog my sewing triumph, but then…I’d probably need to have my picture taken….

Oh well, I think I’ll deal with one shortcoming at a time…don’t you think?  I’m going back here now…Wishing you all a peaceful weekend!….Amy