I think I'm in some kind of "simplify your life" zone because in the past few months, I've sold off unused/unwanted things, gone back to a basic cell phone, and just generally de-cluttered our lives.
My latest move was to sell my big spinning wheel, a Kromski Sonata.
Now, I loved this wheel. It was beautiful...quiet...and huge. One of the first problems I had with it was the size. I liked the way it spun, I loved the looks, but it always seemsed to be in the way. I've always wished it was just a bit smaller. So, this past week, I sold it.
And bought this:
A Hitchhiker. It's so small, that it fits in that totebag pictured behind it (which is about the size of one of those large Lands End tote bags). It took me a bit to get it going (different type of spinning wheel than my old one- completely different setup than what I was used to), but now that I've sat down and done some proper spinning on it, I LOVE it.
This is exactly what I wanted in a wheel. Compact, portable, and it just feels right- I may have finally found my spinning soulmate. I'm so glad I made the switch.
I can't imagine what brought me to that conclusion.
Over the course of the Kindergarten Year From Hell™, Seamus did a unit on drugs and alcohol. Every day during this unit, he came home with something new and now my every move is being judged my a 5-year-old.
I had a beer one night. He called my mother and told her I was having beer and beer is a drug. Yes, son. A blueberry-flavored drug that keeps me from screaming every once in a while.
Then, one day he noticed I rub a special lotion on my wrists, inner elbows, and back of my neck. "What do you use that for?"
"My eczema." *shows him the spots on my wrist*
"And that helps it?"
"A bit. Eczema is itchy and makes mommy miserable."
"That stuff is a DRUG."
Well, Mary Kay (and mom), thank you for your drugs. You help make me slightly less miserable.
Then he noticed me taking pills one night. Zyrtek and (not every night, but I happened to be this night) Calms Forte. They're drugs. I take them. They also make me slightly less miserable in my sad little existence.
I drew the line when I was sitting one day drinking a Coke and was informed it was a drug...because it has CAFFEINE in it.
I love you. You're amazing just the way you are. NEVER. EVER. CHANGE.
Today, I made beer bread with a bottle of my blueberry beer. I love how simple it is to make. Beer, flour, sugar, butter, bake, enjoy. Seamus, who is, of course, out for the summer, helped me make it and FREAKED THE HELL OUT when I poured beer in the mix. BEER IS A DRUG. He freaked out even further when I told him he could have some. BEER IS NOT FOR CHILDREN. BEER WILL MAKE YOU CRAZY. BEER MAKES PARENTS BEAT THEIR CHILDREN.
You bastarding, evil bread. How dare you cause such pain and destruction!
However, you do look quite delicious.
This is the talk I got:
Whittier Elementary School, I would like to thank you for making me insane. Because, by the end of this summer, I'm going to be living on the 13th floor of the local hospital screaming about drugs.
My hand has been feeling much better and I've been going gangbusters on my knitting projects. It's really nice to be able to knit again.
This is a dress I made for my niece's birthday. I love the way this turned out- especially the colors. They're so festive and girly. <3 Frankly, I want a dress just like it. The pattern is the not-yet-released Cady top pattern and the yarn is organic cotton by Blue Sky Alpacas in "punch" and "marmalade".
This is a frog I knitted for a trade. He has a tennis ball in his belly so he'll bounce. I love the way this yarn looks. It's a handspun that I bought ages ago, before I started spinning, and the name of the colorway is "Fantastic Plastic", which I also love. <3
I started this bunny almost a year ago. This pattern is such a PITA, I never wanted to work on it. I finally drudged my way through it so I can mail it to my niece for her birthday. I will be thrilled never to see this rabbit again.
Other then knitting, I've also been canning jam.
Tutti Fruiti, like my grandmother used to make...
Strawberry, my favorite on crackers...
And grape, which is the easiest jelly ever. If you're new to canning jelly and you want to make it, start with grape. It's really easy. Here's the recipe I used.
I would hazard a guess that I use my hands a lot more than the average bear. I knit, I spin, I draw, I game, and, on top of all that, I know sign language (although, I don't use that very often anymore). About a month ago, I started having pains in my left hand. I kept knitting through it because I wanted to finish this:
The pattern is Sugared Violets and it was knit with Sanguine Gryphon "Little Traveller" in "Gaudi House". I picked the yarn up at Maryland Sheep and Wool last month and it is delicious!
Anyway, after pressing through and finishing my knitting, my hand ached. I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor after I was carrying the groceries in from the car and my hand gave out. I got diagnosed with tendinitis in my hand and got meds and orders not to knit (or anything else of the like) for two weeks.
Let me tell you: telling someone who works with their hands not to use them is something tantamout to waterboarding. I tried to learn a new craft (and re-learn old ones) to pass the time.
I taught myself to cross stitch. It's...OK.
That wasn't cutting it, so I decided to pick crochet back up. I made washcloths.
Then I remembered that I quit crocheting for a reason, so that wasn't doing it either.
Instead, I cooked. I cooked and then I ate what I cooked, so I probably gained 10 lbs. Tendinitis leads to weight gain.
What is it about forbidden fruit?
Seamus has a kid in the neighborhood he likes to play with, let's call him Almond. When they first started playing together, I din't mind Seamus and Almond playing together. It was a nice enough set up considering Almond lives right across the street Then, I realized that Almond was a bad influence on Seamus and that Almond's mom was too busy breeding* to really care what he did, so I started trying to limit their time together. It was easy enough to do when Seamus was in preschool last year and Almond was in kindergarten. He only went for 1/2 a day while Almond went for a full day, so I just made sure he was in by the time Almond got home. This year, though, it has been harder. Seamus is in kindergarten, so they ride the same bus and get home at the same time.
I didn't expressly forbid Seamus from playing with Almond until about 4 or 5 months ago. Seamus had gone over to his house and I went to retrieve him. When I rang the doorbell, Almond's dad came to the door in his bathrobe with (obviously) nothing underneath. Something about it just didn't sit right with me and brought out my inner mama bear, so that was the last time I let Seamus and Almond play inside together. They continued to ocassionally play outside togetehr until Almond starting hitting Seamus and I forbid Seamus from playing with him. No more, I was done. There are plenty of other kids to play with.
While I've had to keep them apart a few times, Seamus has, for the most part, listened. His daddy and I are quick to correct him if we discover them together. More and more, though, I've found them playing together.
Last week, I called Seamus in for dinner and one of the kids on the playground informed me that Seamus was at Almond's house playing. I marched over there and retrieved him and immediately grounded him (not just because of this, but because he went to and into someone's house without telling me). No TV, no games, and extra chores for a week. Today is day 5 of the punishment and with Mike basically MIA because of an exercise at work, I was losing my mind listening to him whine. He had been pretty good for a few days, so I decided to end his (and my) punishment a couple of days early to recharge my sanity. Before I sent him out, I expressly reminded him that if Almond tryed to play with him and he wouldn't leave him alone, he was to come tell me because he was not supposed to play with Almond. He went outside to play on his Slip n' Slide and all was peaceful for about an hour. Then I heard Seamus and another child yelling "SOPHIE!" over and over, so I stepped out to make sure she hadn't freed herself (she hadn't). But...
Almond was here and soaking wet from playing on the Slip n' Slide with his clothes all over my yard (he still had his shorts on).
So, Seamus is now right back where he started and I have another round of punishment to look forward to. I know this isn't really working, but we're not prepared to move and I'm out of ideas. I'm sick of punishing myself while punishing him, but I have no clue what else I can do. I've told Almond to stay away from Seamus, I've told his mother, I even talked to Seamus teacher about school hours after I saw that they have recess at the same time.
So, if you have any suggestions, I'm open. How do I make my son stay away from the kid I don't want him near?
*This isn't a slight on so-called "breeders". I have a dear friend who is a a quiverfull mom who has amazing, loved, well-behaved kids. This mom, however, breeds just to breed and ignores the kids she has and, thus, has 4 little brats and one more on the way.
As with all things, I have my preferences with knitting tools. I believe that beautiful tools yield beautiful results. I buy pretty (quality) yarn, I buy nice needles, I have a nice knitting bag, and I buy nice sttch markers. Now, I have a few different kinds, all of which I *like*, but I have one set I particularly *LOVE*.
My stitch markers from my dear friend Sue at Pink Lemonade. I recieved one set after Seamus threw away all my stitch markers, then bought more, then bought some more after the TSA knocked some out of my bag while searching it, and now I just ordered some more. I have 14 and I just ordered 10 more. Why?
Because I'm in the midst of knitting a Clapotis, a pattern that calls for 18 stitch markers (also, speaking of nice things to work with, that is Huckleberry Knits' silk and wool yarn in my favorite colorway ever, "Moonlight"). And because my virgo husband (read: anal) has rubbed off on me, me and my Clap are at an impasse. I've used all of my favorite stitch markers and now I cannot go further. I thought about using non-matching stitch markers, but I just can't do it. One of my friends suggested evenly spacing non-matching markers between the others, but I can't make myself do that, either. So, now my Clap has been put aside until I can get more stitch markers. Seriously. I can knit no further until I get more markers. Damn you, Mike.
Yesterday, I ordered two things:
I ordered the shoes because, well, I like shoes, and I had just tossed out my old clog-style tennis shoes a few weeks ago. Because I'm a Zappos VIP (don't ask me how, probably because I spend too much money there), I get free overnight shipping. Yay!
I ordered the camcorder because Seamus has a school concert coming up next week and I wanted to videotape it for the grandparents. I didn't want to spend a fortune and Tiger Direct had these on sale for $58. I paid for overnight shipping because I wanted it to get here in time.
So, both items arrived today (obviously). Let's talk about the Zappos box first.
No obnoxiously huge box, no mounds of packing material, just my shoes and a slightly bigger box than my shoes (and probably an invoice, too). A+, Zappos.
Now let's talk about Tiger Direct. Bear in mind that one of the advantages of a Flip camcorder is that it's small. It's about the size of a pack of cigarettes or something.
This box is massive. See that white thing? That's the Flip. Let's take a better look.
Seriously, Tiger Direct? No one had ANYTHING smaller? What a waste of trees!
I was trying to get a photo of Sophie in the Zappos box to submit for their Furry Customers page but she was having none of it, so this was the best I could do. Enjoy.
I wanted to make myself a loose cardigan. Something that would work for spring- especially here in Maryland (for the record, it's May 5th and currently 61 degrees at lunchtime). So, I set out to make the Madelinetosh Creature Comforts Cardi with this yarn:
Madelinetosh Vintage in "Curiosity"
Basically, you knit a huge rectangle with a cable pattern in the middle and sew up the sides. It took me 3 weeks to knit this thing up and before I sewed up I LOVED it (disclaimer: it isn't 2 different colors, I don't know why it photographed that way.):
I even had a dress to match
Then I sewed up the sides.
And I. hated. it.
I got Mike to take some photos of me in it just to prove it was done, but I was not happy.
The knitting is beautiful. The cabling turned out perfect. I even love the color.
I just hate it.
However, my mother loved it and I ended up selling it to her and taking my husband out on a date with the money.