I found a place to do yoga here, OmBodies, and I went to my first session on Sunday. It was awesome! I chose a Restorative Yoga session, because it was labeled “level one” and it sounded not-intense. I’m pretty tightly wound most of the time and I’ve been trying to find ways to calm that urge to control everything.
This yoga session was just what I was looking for. I’m still a real beginner at quieting my mind, but I feel like if I continue to practice, I’ll improve. I can’t be much worse at it, anyway. My work life has always been a situation where I need to be both focused on specific tasks and constantly aware of my surroundings, and it is just not natural for me (yet) to not be thinking about or planning something.
I felt really refreshed after the session, and the instructor, Gracie, distributed bite-sized Ghiradelli chocolates at the end, which was unexpected and awesome. The one she gave me was dark chocolate with caramel, which happens to be my favorite. I win! I’m looking forward to making yoga part of my weekly routine. Now I need to acquire a yoga mat of my own. Any recommendations or tips from those in the know?
So, we moved last weekend and are finally getting settled in. Again. It’s been super tiring but we’ve managed to keep a pretty good attitude throughout the process, which I am counting as a major victory.
Since we knew where we wanted the furniture this time and had pared down our belongings significantly since moving into the first apartment, it was MUCH easier this time around. We also had the help of some awesome friends and family (and a few hired guns via U-Haul) so trekking across the parking lot wasn’t as bad as it might have been. We are ever in the debt of those friends and family!
Remember how many boxes there were last time? Far fewer this time! PROGRESS.
We spent last weekend moving everything and getting the basics into place, and this weekend we spent some time hanging up pictures and art.
Ghost Coraline! This new apartment has a vaulted ceiling, and it feels a lot larger than the previous unit we were in. We measured for furniture placement and it turns out – it actually is a few inches larger in a couple of rooms. Bonus! We are also on the third floor (no more Stompersons living upstairs), at the back of the building (we can’t hear the traffic of people coming in and out like we did before), and we have a better view and no streetlight right outside our bedroom. So all in all, we have ended up with a much better deal with this place.
I’m pleased with how the living room is set up. One thing I think we’ll look for in our future home is just one living room, rather than two. It’s all we really need, and if that square footage could be used for a craft room or something else we’d actually use, that would make a lot more sense. I found a couple of throw pillows for the couch that are about as close as you could hope to get to the color of the awesome green armchairs. We’d still like to find another one or two with a more geeky look, but we can be patient. Because of course I also want it/them to match/complement the green in the room.
The Star Wars print in the hallway is hung sort of oddly, but it’s covering up the electrical panel, so the placement was odd. We may end up changing it, and these shelves may not stay here or may change configuration – we’ll see what works for us. We couldn’t put the BILLY cases on this wall, though, because they would have covered up the circuit breaker. So now they will live in the dining room.
K has done an amazing job of organizing all our media and continuing to sell the things that we don’t want to own anymore. It’s a work in progress, but it’s coming right along! In the other aspects of life, I have been continuing to settle in and learn how things work at my new job. It’s always stressful and a bit anxiety-making to learn a new workplace, but I have been striving to be calm and just take things as they come. I know it’ll all work out, I just have to stop myself from trying to control all of it. Easier said than done, but I’m working on it.
As you may recall, we were dealing with some gross smoke issues in our apartment. Well, we still are, but we have a plan! Of course that plan involves moving AGAIN, which is sort of soul-crushing, but at least we will have a clean, safe place to live that doesn’t make me gross all the time (and give us cancer).
We have begun packing everything up again, and thanks to our recent purge of extraneous belongings, THANK THE BABY PICARD JESUS, there is a lot less to pack this time.
Also, we are thankfully only moving across the parking lot to a neighboring building, so there are a lot of things that can be carried over without real packing (throw clothes on hangers into a laundry basket, carry, and re-hang. Repeat.).
K has been industriously selling books, DVDs, and CDs (even before we knew we were moving again, he saw that we had a lot more media than we really use or want to own), so we have a lot less of those to cart this time, too. There are still more we’d like to re-home, but we’ll get there.
So once again, the dining room is Boxville, but this time there are a lot fewer boxes. We’re hiring some moving helpers to do the big stuff for us, and probably they’ll have time to do a bunch of the boxes as well. We are also super mega grateful to our very generous friends and family who are also coming to help us schlep things across the parking lot!
You know how you sometimes buy yarn planning to make a certain project for a gift, and then life changes happen and you don’t end up making it and you have the yarn sitting around in your stash for years before you find another project for which to use it? That’s what happened here.
I had noticed on Facebook that some friends were expecting a baby boy, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally use this Lion Brand Baby’s First yarn.
It’s a really nice yarn for baby blankets: it’s an acrylic/cotton mix that feels very much like cotton and not at all like acrylic, it’s washable, and it’s easy to knit with. I had also seen this Pinwheel Baby Blanket pattern a number of times and thought it was about time I tried it.
Blocking this blanket was an interesting challenge – I probably need to get another set of blocking panels if I’m going to do many more large projects like this.
But I made it work!
(Pardon the lighting and color balance on these photos – I was using my phone.)
I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. This yarn is fairly chunky and it shows off the pinwheel pattern really nicely. The baby’s mom assures me that it will be perfect for tummy time, too, which is awesome since tummy time is super important for wee ones.
Well! It has once again been ages since I posted, because we’ve been super busy with a million more life changes. I got a new job back in Michigan, in the town of Mount Pleasant, which we have missed greatly since moving away in 2006. Since we had packed up all our furniture and household stuff into a storage pod, we had that delivered to our new apartment, along with the U-Haul full of stuff we had from our time in Indiana. It was, in a word, MORE than we would need or could fit into our new place. However, we had to unload everything to see what would work and what was extraneous, so it was a bit of a process to get it all in order.
At first the living room was floor to ceiling furniture, but happily we were able to sell one set of living room furniture (couch, loveseat, armchair) the day after moving everything in, so that cleared up a lot of space. We also had boxes stacked in pretty much every area.
Because things were so crowded, we had to move things from one area to another repeatedly in order to get it all organized. We were also busy selling off the extra stuff. Hooray for Craigslist and online yard sales! Slowly but slowly, we’ve been able to rehome about half of our furniture and a lot of other small household items we don’t need or have room for. We also sent a lot of our house-maintenance type stuff (lawn mower, snow blower, yard tools, miter saw, etc) to live with Susan for the time being.
After a couple of days, we had a semi-usable living room space!
New Craftyton started coming together as well:
K’s office space got set up pretty quickly so we could stream from the media server on his PC. Priorities!
Something I’d been wanting to do for awhile was to build a standing desk setup for my PC. I don’t spend tons of time using it for long periods – usually I’m flitting back and forth between it and the cutting table or the sewing machine or the photo-taking setup, so a standing desk makes a lot more sense for me.
To do this, we got a LACK on one of our IKEA runs (we are now the people who make IKEA runs, since we don’t live 3 miles from the store anymore – weird!) and K found a monitor mount on clearance at Target (every time I type monitor, I accidentally type minotaur the first time – I bet in Night Vale they have minotaurs at Target).
We haven’t done the proper cable management as of this photo, but the main setup is done!
We got my thread racks mounted behind the door, so they’re tucked away a bit but still right next to the sewing machine table. I haven’t actually sat down to sew anything yet, but I’ll be ready soon.
After a couple of weeks and a number of false starts, we finally sold the extra queen bed set that had been taking up a lot of space in the dining room. Huzzah!
K made another IKEA run and picked up some BILLY bookcases for the hallway. I was a little skeptical of having bookcases in the hallway at first, but after living with boxes stacked in the hallway for a few weeks, I realized that it would be fine. The bookcases aren’t as deep as the boxes were, so it actually feels almost spacious.
At that point we unloaded all the book boxes (which of course we had moved into the dining room while we put up the bookcases) without much regard for what went where. My goal was really just to empty the boxes so we could break them down and get rid of them!
We also unfolded some of the wooden collapsible bookcases we already had, and loaded them up with CDs and DVDs.
Our goal here is to live within our means space-wise, and K has been busy selling extraneous media online. Yay for minimizing! It seems to be a universal truth that you fill up the space you have with stuff, whether you really need it or not, and we had definitely filled up the 1200+ square feet (plus a nearly equal amount of basement) in our Canton house. It feels really freeing to be letting go of things that we’d walk by every day but hardly ever (or never) used. We know we’ll buy a house again someday, but maybe at that time we’ll be able to think more carefully about the things we acquire.
I’ve now finished my first week of work, so of course I’ve been really tired in the evenings and not up for too much unpacking/organizing. But this weekend we started to hang art and photos, which really makes things feel like home. We also sold the last big pieces of furniture, so our dining room table is actually in the dining room. Baby steps.
We still have more to hang and of course more unpacking to do, but we are getting there.
Overall it’s been a pretty positive experience, despite all the hassle that comes with moving. My only big gripe right now is that we discovered after moving in that smoking is allowed in our building, and we can smell it in the hallways and occasionally in our own apartment. As I’m allergic to tobacco smoke, this is a definite problem. The maintenance service replaced our furnace filter with a stronger, higher quality filter, but it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference. I fear that we will end up having to move AGAIN into a non-smoking building (of course the management did not mention that there was such a thing until after we’d been moved in for a couple weeks) because I’m not sure what other options they can offer that will eliminate the possibility of smoke coming into our apartment. I’m developing a persistent cough already, though, and I do not want our upholstered furniture and clothing to be all contaminated with secondhand smoke. I especially don’t want us to get cancer! Like all the other hurdles, I’m sure we’ll find a solution to this one, though. We will get there!
This is, of course, another HPKCHC/destashing project: the Wolfsbane Cowl, made for the Apothecary assignment.
It’s another one for Susan, since the colorway reminded me of her winter wardrobe palette and I thought the blue and white tones would really suit her.
Wolfsbane, also known as Monkshood or Aconite, is a potion ingredient with extremely toxic leaves. Therefore, despite its lovely blue blossoms, it must be stored in a clear glass apothecary jar so that the contents are quite visible and not mistaken for anything less poisonous. This cowl is inspired by the look of Wolfsbane resting inside the glass: the blue color is visible and enticing, and as light shines through the jar, parts of the plant take on a glowing, almost white appearance. It is a rich color that calls out to you, even though you know that it’s inside the glass for good reason. As the color fades from rich blue to white and back again, the intermediate shades are a faint bluish grey in places, which is also reminiscent of the smoke that issues from a well-brewed Wolfsbane Potion.
I have been making all the hats as I continue to use up bits of leftover yarn in my stash and knit assignments for the Harry Potter Knit Crochet House Cup. I think I may also be trying to give cooler weather a little nudge.
First off, I made a Pewter Cauldron Hat for Potage’s Cauldron Shop.
This hat is the color of a pewter cauldron, perhaps one that has been somewhat neglected and lacks the shine of a new potion-brewing vessel. On the side of the hat are two cable twists, inspired by the precise stirring motions necessary for brewing spot-on potions. In this case, the brewer (knitter) used a synthetic fiber and smaller needles than she should have, making the weave a bit tighter than desirable and leaving the hat with less drape than it should have for this style. She did, however, learn a new technique (Tubular Cast-On), so certainly the endeavor was not for naught. Like potion-making, knitting can be a trial and error venture, and, in the eyes of this brewer (more generous than Professor Snape might be), as long as you learned something, it’s not a failure.
That one was theoretically going to be for K, but it may end up a donation.
Next up was the Wand Hat for Ollivanders.
My wand is Ash with a Phoenix Feather core. It is 12 1/2 inches long and has a pliant flexibility. Like my wand chose me in Ollivanders Wand Shop, this hat project chose me on a recent morning when the temperature started to cool off and show that fall is really on the way (never mind that it since changed its tune and is back in the 90sF). This yarn was waiting for me to choose it, as well, as part of my current destashing project. The brown yarn is the color of Ash wood, and the knitting sections contrasting with purl rows is reminiscent of the distinctive bark of a mature Ash tree. The grey yarn brings to mind the just-hatched Phoenix chick, covered in ashes and soot following its rebirth by fire. This hat will be sure to keep its owner warm and protected from the elements and prepared for winter weather just as a wizard or witch feels protected and prepared carrying the wand that has chosen him or her.
This one I think I’ll keep for myself, though I don’t often wear earth tones. I think the grey brings it close enough to my comfort zone.
Finally, the In the Red of the Night Hat for Knockturn Alley.
This hat is designed to allow the wearer to blend into the sometimes dodgy crowd who frequent Knockturn Alley. The repeated cables give the wearer the ability to twist and turn through the narrow streets and alleys, escaping notice through fluid movement. The deep red color is reminiscent of the blood-stained pack of cards Harry glimpsed in the glass case at Borgin and Burkes during his first visit there, and is a dark color likely to blend in with the wardrobes of those lurking in Knockturn Alley. The ball on top is similar to a clabbert pustule, a potion ingredient that can be found at the Knockturn Alley branch of Mr. Mulpepper’s Apothecary, though this hat’s orb maintains its red hue, unlike the pustule which would flash red in the presence of danger (not a wise thing to visually alert in Knockturn Alley).
This one is for Susan, to celebrate her being back in a climate where big fluffy hats are necessary. Hopefully she doesn’t run into any shady characters while wearing it.
This scarf is part of my continuing effort to destash and is also due to my renewed enthusiasm for building up my work-appropriate scarf collection. My building is usually kept at a pretty brisk temperature and since I sit still in my office most of the day, I definitely need an assortment of scarves to keep me comfortable.
You can see in the photo above that this yarn knits up really nicely in an open stitch pattern. Even before blocking (as above), it has a nice drape and the pattern starts to come out.
In the shot above, it is on the blocking boards and the pattern really opens up.
Finding a good spot to block long scarves is always a challenge, but luckily the guest room was unoccupied.
Here it is after blocking. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! My blocking wires are still packed away somewhere (I cannot for the life of me remember which box they’re in – not any of the boxes I’ve looked in so far!) but I was able to make do without them with only a few pin points around the edges.
This yarn is very light and has a terrific drape, thanks to it being made of a rayon fiber. I think an airy open stitch pattern works really well with this type of yarn.
These camera phone pics don’t really do it justice, but this yarn has a variety of shades of pink ranging from very light, soft pink to an intense magenta.
This project also counts as part of my ongoing effort to bring some bright colors into my wardrobe while still remaining close enough to my comfort zone that I don’t feel awkward. Since I started it in August but finished in September, I was also able to count it as a detention project for the Harry Potter Knit Crochet House Cup. This month the classes are all part of a field trip to Diagon Alley, so this is my Leaky Cauldron project. (Go Hufflepuff!)
I’m quite pleased with this project and I’ll definitely be wearing this scarf to work soon.
Despite a lack of posts to show it, I’ve been working on using up more stash yarn this summer. This is a continuation of the effort I started last year, but is also even more beneficial since we’re in between permanent living situations so the less yarn I have to move next time, the better. While my knitting hasn’t been as much of a focus as learning my new job, packing, moving, storing our stuff, and preparing to sell our Canton house (we closed on the sale Friday! Huzzah for milestones!), I’ve still been trying to make time for knitting in the evenings as much as I can. Most recently I used a skein of yarn that was part of a swap some time back on Ravelry.
The colorway is really light and airy, and I thought it would make a nice light shawl/scarf.
It’s also mostly cotton, so it hardly took any time to block.
This pattern is really easy to knit and went very quickly. It took almost one skein of this yarn, with just around 25 yards left over (enough to make something for Blythe, most likely).
I often wear a scarf to work, since the air conditioning is virtually always cranked and I get too cold otherwise.
I love the way this colorway worked with this pattern. The stripes worked out very neatly, but still organically, and the overall effect is, to my eye, quite perfect for the shape of scarf and feel of the fiber.
I can definitely see myself wearing this on a very regular basis. And while I’d love to imagine an idyllic scene involving a barefoot walk down the beach, me sitting in my office analyzing some spreadsheets is more likely. (I’ll take it.)
One of the most challenging parts for me of being in transition (home, work, location) is that I am really having trouble finding focus. I want to DO ALL THE THINGS and I can’t seem to decide what I feel passionate enough about to dive into. I go from thinking that renewing my efforts toward our Etsy shop is the right thing to do, to seeing someone tweet about how well her writing is going (for whom I am very happy btw) and thinking, I’ve been wanting to get back into writing! I should devote my time to that! Then I read a post about coding and think that I should come up with some projects to teach myself some programming I don’t yet know. I end up feeling scattered and just picking up my knitting or playing Animal Crossing.
I also keep being inspired by the many awesome acts of creation and innovation I’m seeing around the interwebs. Maximum Fun keeps adding to its list of kickass podcasts (and the ones that have already been around continue to delight and inspire), amazing DIYers are blogging about their projects and are finding happiness and even more opportunities for creativity, content innovators are looking at the world and finding ways to make it work the way they think it should, and there’s just such a lot of neat fucking stuff happening – I, too, want to be doing neat stuff and I know that I need to focus in order to make that happen.
I think that my general feeling of being not settled yet makes it more difficult for me to form a mental picture of what focusing on a particular thing looks like: I can’t see myself creating things in my new CraftyTown, because it doesn’t exist yet. I’m still getting my sea legs at my new job and there are still a thousand things I don’t know or I’m still researching to figure out what our normal operations look like. Even just finding a feeling of being settled in our new community is still eluding me. Making such a significant change in location has given me a ton of uncertainties: What if the sale of our old house falls through (again)? What if it’s a long time before we’re able to get our own place? Is my hair actually growing more slowly since we moved or is it just that I’m anxious to grow out this layered cut? What if this isn’t the right place for us to be? (Pretty sure the penultimate question in that list has an easy answer.)
Having just switched types of libraries to a job that, while it has many things in common with my past jobs, also has a lot of things that are different or new, also has me questioning everything. Is this the type of library I want to be in for the long haul? We’re in a budget crisis and a number of our systems are outdated and unlikely to be replaced anytime soon – should I be worried for my career since I’m not going to be able to stay up to date (at least on a really-knowing-them-since-I’m-using-them-daily way)? How long will it be before I really feel like I know what I’m doing here, and what if at that point it turns out that it wasn’t the right choice? Some of it may be due to library fatigue (growing tired of the stuff that never seems to change – this may be due to not spending enough time with other innovators). Switching types of libraries is a new thing for me, so for now I’m trying to just chalk it up to that. I have been reading a number of posts lately where others are wondering where their career path will lead, and several friends have recently become directors and have found it either awesome or awful. I’m going to write more about that later.
All of this adds up to one thing: nothing feels super certain, and that feeds my feelings of anxiety, which leads me to wander all over the place (mentally) without settling on a focus. I like to be a gal with a plan! I want to have a goal in mind and determine the steps on the path to getting there. On the one hand, I’ve been trying to treat this as a learning/development opportunity: learn how to feel okay with uncertainty, develop patience and the ability to Be Okay when not everything is figured out. To some extent I’ve been doing pretty well with this, but there’s always this voice in the back of my mind saying, “You’re not actually doing anything! You’re just wasting time when you have no plan! Get out there and DO ALL THE THINGS!”
So how do YOU deal with uncertainty? What strategies do you use to help you find focus?