Thursday, December 18, 2014

That Time When I Got Mad On My Friend's Behalf

...and said nothing.  Because she asked me not to. *sigh*  It's hard to sit back and watch your friend be treated unfairly.  Honestly, if we were geographically closer, I don't think I would have been able to keep quiet.  It would be a very long drive for me to just go and give people a piece of my mind.  Not that it would make a difference in any way - I guess the thing I'm struggling with is how people can be cruel for no real reason?  I see no gain for them.  Zero.  The only thing they've gained is winning a power struggle.  Congrats.  Enjoy that, and whatever else comes with it.

I've never truly understood group politics.  I'm not the type of person who is out to get anything from anyone else.  My focus is always on how I can contribute to the group, whether that's at work, or church, or among friends, or here in blogland...  I'm definitely a competitive person, and fiercely loyal, but not to the point of tearing someone else down to make myself feel better.  I don't understand how someone can live inside their own head when they feel that way!  Talk about misery!  I would actually prefer to work toward someone else's success than try to make them fail.

My friend had her confidence betrayed by someone she called a friend, who then "spun" what was said in confidence into vicious lies, and the result was pretty major.  Not just for my friend and her family, but for a larger group.  I'm angry and hurt on her behalf, and there's nothing I can do to help.  I can reassure her that the people who did this have something broken inside them, that her actions all along the way were totally reasonable (based on the information and trust she had).  That she is better off knowing now who she can trust and who she can't, and that she finally has the freedom to control who she lets into her life.  But that doesn't change what's happened.  It doesn't erase the hurt, or the loss.  It doesn't restore friendships for her children.  It doesn't restore their security, or provide answers for their next steps.  It doesn't encourage her to make new friends in the future.

But because she asked me to stay quiet until after important conversations were had, and facts disseminated, I didn't post vague Facebook statuses or share (too many) supportive rainbow-glitter style pictures.  No more than usual.  I did find myself reverting to about 13 years of age, wanting to post status updates about "some people needing to grow up..." - then I realized how it sounded.  I even held this blog post for a week or so to avoid causing my friend any more difficulty.

All of this may be why I've been thinking about anxiety and ways to handle stress.  And on the positive side, has given me inspiration to start writing again.

So now I'm going to say this: Lies hurt people.  Spreading lies not only continues to hurt the person being lied about, but it hurts the person telling them - like I tell my children, if you lie to me, how can I trust you?  Eventually the truth comes out - either in public, or in realization within yourself.  And then the liars face That Moment When You Realize You Tried To Ruin Someone's Life Just Because You Were A Terrible Person.

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Week In Stitches

Progress pics!  And kids growing up too fast!

Let's start with this year's Seahawks socks (I dubbed them Volume 12, referring to the loud fanbase in Seattle - the cabled side gusset reminded me of the 12 hawk wings on the uniforms).  The original pattern, which the designer called Maeva, can be found here.  Holy Cables, Batman.  Lots and lots of little cables, and the pattern didn't seem very intuitive until I got to the leg portion.  And the cuff was very difficult.  And then I bound off and fastened off without trying on - and couldn't get the cuff past my heel.  Here I am binding it off, so excited, going to wear it...

And here's the sock after I discovered I couldn't wear it:

I gave up on this pattern.  I may try again another time, because the side gusset was really cool.  But I would 1) try on as I go (which is the point of toe-up socks anyway), 2) do a different cuff, and 3) take the time to do a stretchier bind-off.  And maybe do a solid color.  Yes, I did try to salvage the sock itself, but I swear the ribbing was difficult to figure out, and I'm not very good at picking up stitches unless it's a stockinette row.  Also, I would have had the same agony of trying to make the 2nd one, and I would have bad feelings every time I looked at them.

So now I have another one started.  But all I have is the toe, and I'm not happy with it.  I may give up (again) and finger-knit a scarf or something.

Kid-knit:

(See this post for a full report on the winter accessory set I made for the girls).  I remade H's hat, properly measuring her head, ears, everything this time.  And it fits!  And she loves it!


Cross stitch:
Before

After

Yes!  Really!  I did a little work on "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" Friday night while H was at her first school dance.

!!!

Yes!  Really!  She turns 12 and goes to a school dance.  With her friends, because they're 12.  The theme was "Hunger Games", and I think the dress we found went with the theme pretty well:


Sorry for the dark picture, I barely got home from work before she had to leave, so I didn't even have time to turn on another lamp.  She had a fantastic time, and made some great memories!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Kid-Knit Catch Up Post

Both of my kids have outgrown their winter hats, and they both have tried to steal my fingerless gloves.  So I decided to make them each a full set of winter accessories - hat, fingerless gloves, and new scarves.  This whole concept evolved from the moment I started thinking about it.  What really happened is I saw this yarn on sale at Jo-Ann:

Deborah Norville Serenity Garden Yarn in "Gems".  I originally took this picture to prove to my friend Micki that it was in fact Deborah Norville that was working up so soft and amazing.

I happen to have a child (K) who loves everything rainbow, and I thought it would be perfect for a set for her.  Until I knit a test swatch.  The color changes didn't happen the way I expected, and from the first swatch it just didn't seem like her.  But it really looked like her sister.  (Isn't that funny, how a color palette can have personality?)  So I went back to Jo-Ann and found this yarn:

Still Deborah Norville Serenity Garden Yarn, in "Mountain Heather."

And the way it works up is sooooooo K.  But the pattern for the fingerless mitts I chose (Sojourn) was not her at all (but very H).  And this, my friends, is when Pinterest comes in handy.  I searched through my "Yarny Goodness" pinboard until I found this cable pattern on craftcookie.com, which just fits K's personality.  It's called Angel Wings!  I had to adapt the Sojourn pattern a little bit, but not much.

http://www.craftcookie.com/knitting-stitches/cable-twist-stitches/166-angel-wings

Pattern for this cable is here.  Image belongs to craftcookie.com

The next problem to tackle was that it gets cold in Idaho, and my little darlings can't walk around with exposed fingertips.  So I wanted to add a "hood" to the fingerless mitts - and it worked!  I'll do a tutorial on how I did this, it was kind of fun.

The hood actually comes down far enough that they can tuck their thumbs in if the weather turns cold.  These are great for fall and spring days, I make them wear real gloves when it snows! (Also she didn't do a great job of posing so you can see the cable, but it ended up right where I wanted it, on the outside of her hand/wrist.)

The final step in the evolution of this project was in the creation of the hat - they both said they wanted ear flaps.  H had a hat a couple of years ago that had flaps, and there was a buttonhole in one flap and a long string on the other, so she could secure it under her chin.  It took a bit of pattern adapting to get these right but finally:

The cable in K's hat is in the flaps - that made them a little longer.

There's also a tutorial coming on this.  I've sent my instructions to some brave volunteers to check that my math works for other people's kids!

H's Sojourn scarf in progress - it's ripply.

The scarves were the last thing I did.  H's Sojourn pattern worked so nicely, all I had to do was cast on a multiple of 6 (with a 3 stitch border on each side), and boom I had a scarf.  The Angel Wings made things a little more interesting - I actually had the main cable motif run up the center, and I had half the motif on each side, but offset, so when the cable pattern in the center twisted, the side motifs were ending/starting.  In short, there was more math happening in my house than I really wanted, but I'm so happy with the result:


H's hat actually has to be remade, because somebody (me) didn't measure anything correctly.  It was 1.5" to short, and I tried to guess how long her ear flaps should be.  But her scarf and mitts turned out perfect.  And the best part is, I finished everything before the snow arrived - the second week of November (and then we were in the 60s yesterday, in the second week of December).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Pinterest Fun - Maybe I'll Make This For Next Year


Our office doesn't have any restrictions on holiday decorations in cubicles.  One friend had a Santa chair cover.  My cubicle neighbor has a snowman display complete with ladder and flashing lights. Someone else still has her fall leaves spread out.  What do I have?  A jar of red and green star mints (popular! I need more!) and a card I received last year that features one of my favorite lines from Elf: "I just like smiling, smiling's my favorite."  I need more cheer for my desk!!
(The snowmen with which I'm competing that need accessories)

Enter this pin (link takes you to original blog instructions).  A cute knitted tree ornament.  But, you know me, that's too simple.  I need to make lots of them!  And a swagged garland to drape across the shared front of the cubicles!

Obviously this won't happen for this year.  I'm realistic enough by now to know that May or June is a reasonable goal.  My plan (as of now) is to use leftover sock yarn from my Seahawks sock projects and my Entrelac fingerless gloves to make trees, then crochet a garland upon which to hang them.  Because people are questioning my holiday spirit!  (Even though neighbor is letting me call it "our" display! Haha!)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Musing: Creativity vs. Anxiety

I've never really considered these 2 states to be opposites.  But I saw this quote (Facebook? Pinterest? I can't remember any more) and downloaded it, and made it the wallpaper on my work computer:


I'm not a subscriber to Deepak Chopra's overall philosophy, but this quote struck a chord for me.  The one thing creativity and anxiety have in common is imagination!  Normally I use imagination in a positive sense, as describing wishes, hopes, dreams, possibilities.  But when I really think about it, anxiety does stem from letting imagination run to the most negative place.

I tend to be equal parts hopeful and anxious.  I generally have a positive outlook on big things (a 500-mile move with no housing lined up, nearly 2 years living apart from my then-husband because of his job location, separation and divorce...) but I get all worked up and gloomy over little things (the terrible voicemail message I left for a client recently - I was totally unclear, and even gave the wrong phone number - it's still bothering me).  I definitely imagine that people think the worst about me over little mistakes, and that causes a lot of unnecessary anxiety!

The crazy thing is that our imagination can be under our control.  We talk about someone's imagination "running away" with them, but we choose where we focus our attention.  It isn't always easy to change the focus off the negative.  But when we focus on the positive, it's always by choice, isn't it?  We don't just go through our day and realize, "Oh, I'm really thinking positive thoughts, and imagining good things for myself, and wow I feel inspired!"  Most of the time we have to choose a positive experience - either through an activity (music? stitching?), or a distraction, or a conversation with a friend.  These may seem automatic, but they are choices.  They are our "go-to" solutions for a bad mood.  When I'm truly anxious or mad, my kitchen gets soooo clean!  I choose to channel the negative energy into a task (loathsome) that gets a positive result.  And when I'm elbow-deep in dish water, I find my "imaginings" start to turn and become more realistic.  And suddenly I have a positive outlook - and sometimes even a solution!  And clean dishes!

Really, that's what creativity is - harnessing imagination and using it in a positive way.  To solve a problem.  To bring joy and beauty.

What do you all think about this?

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Get To Be The Cool Mom Tonight!

H turns 12 (!!) this weekend.  Instead of doing the now-traditional sleepover with friends and movies and pizza, this year we decided to do a girls' night out - H, her bestie and I will have dinner at their fav hamburger restaurant, then see the newest Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1.  Because 12.  Honestly, I'm just thrilled that she still wants to hang out with me and isn't insisting on being dropped at the entrance to the theater.  Come to think of it, I'm trying to remember when I did that.  It seems like I was somewhere between 12 and 14.  She's growing up way too fast, and I'm so proud of the young lady she's becoming!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

So This Happens Now At My House


I was never much of a coffee drinker.  The ex-husband had one of those 12-cup models that he could program to start at a specific time every morning, which was great because the coffee was always ready for him.  I was more of a tea drinker - if I had the urge for coffee, I'd go to Starbucks or Dutch Bros or whatever was handy.  But that didn't happen very often!  Certainly not often enough to warrant replacing the coffee pot when we split up.  However, one of the (very thoughtful) attorneys at my office brought me a bag of Snake River Roasting espresso beans from a recent trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Which meant that I needed to replace the coffee pot (and get a bean grinder).


I don't think I'll ever need to brew 12 cups of coffee at a time.  So I decided to look at the single-serve models, and I found this one!  It's by Hamilton Beach (available at Walmart, or through Amazon by clicking here).  It does 2 sizes - 8 oz or 14 oz, and even has a flip stand so smaller mugs are closer to the dispenser.  And there's no need for expensive specialty cups - the scoop fits right in the filter basket and acts as a double filter.  So now I can grind and brew my own coffee in my own house!  Not every day, because I can't make myself get up early enough to drink a cup of coffee before I leave for work.  And even though this baby will work to fill travel mugs, I never drink out of them.  So for me, it's a weekend and day off treat!

As long as I'm talking about things I like, let's update some things on and off the needles!

Off the needles first: I was promoted at work!  I'm now the legal assistant to the patent prosecution group at our law firm.  I've been working on their transition since they started, and it's truly a fantastic team to work with.  So happy.  This year-long transition has meant a lot of learning of new skills, which means a lot less mental energy for blogging.  I'm trying to schedule a few posts here and there to give you new things to read!  (But it apparently also means thoughtful gifts like those coffee beans....)


On the needles:  I've been busy!  I made each of my girls a coordinating winter accessory set (hat, scarf and fingerless-mitts-with-hoods - there will be tutorials coming on the hats and mitts - pictured above is the scarf I made for K - with an "angel wing" cable pattern).  The only problem was I had to remake H's hat, because I made it too small!  I made a really cute pair of socks (Vanilla Latte - you can search it on Ravelry - very easy top-down socks, and I loooooved the heel).  I have another pair in the works that I need to frog - I bound off and fastened off the cuff (toe-up socks) without trying them on, and I can't stretch the cuff enough to get it over my heel!  I think everything else about the sock is right; the cuff was not an intuitive rib pattern, so by the time I decided I was done I didn't feel like messing with the super-stretchy-bind-off.  I'm hoping that was the mistake - I would be happy to make them a little bit shorter and redo the bind-off if that will fix the issue!  I also have a sweater I've cast on and frogged.  And I have Christmas presents in my head.  I'll do another post with photo updates of some of these pieces.  One thing I've started doing is posting progress pics on Instagram as I think of it: you can totally follow me there to see them "live."  (If you're on Instagram, you can follow me by searching for drea_dear_414.)

I'll be back with more pics later, I have to pull them from "the cloud" and get them ready to post...and be witty...maybe after I have some more coffee!

Required Disclaimer: while this post does contain affiliate links, it is not a sponsored post.  If you purchase anything through a link in this post I may receive remuneration from the website.  Hamilton Beach is not paying me to promote their products, I'm just really impressed with the value and the performance of these particular items.  And if you know someone looking for a single-serve coffee maker but you just don't want to get that "other name brand", now you have an option!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

When Silence is a Good Thing

You know that saying, "Silence is golden.  Unless you have a toddler.  Then it's very, very bad."  Or something like that.  Well, I'm definitely not a toddler, so let's say that a long absence from this blog means things are going pretty well!

I have mentally started 10 or 12 posts in the last several months, but never made it to a keyboard to get them online.  I think somewhere I have pictures of baby gift #2 (baby boy was born before Thanksgiving, and I got to hold him when he was 2 days old, and he's sweet, and his mommy loved his gifts and his daddy loved the meals I put in their freezer).  If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen my finished Legion of Boom socks (which I proudly wore to watch my Seahawks decimate the Denver Broncos!!) as well as another pair of socks I've started.  I also made myself a couple of shrugs recently.  I have no pictures of those, I really should try to get pictures of me wearing them for you.

Currently, I have another secret project going.  I've been doing a lot of knitting, and zero cross stitching.  I broke my sewing machine a few months ago while trying to hem a pair of jeans - okay, so the whole machine is probably not broken, but it's more than just the needle that's broken.  Yes, I sewed over a pin.  Yes, I continued to use the broken needle, because denim.  There's no way I'm hand-hemming denim!  But it caused more damage than just the broken needle.  I'm sure I would make a repair person very happy by bringing it for a look!  But for now it sits on the table, because I don't have time to deal with it!

Beyond my hooks and needles, church is great, work is great, the kids are great, the dog is great.  My yard is not great.  We've been in this house for almost 5 years, and I still don't have it the way I want it.  I think it's time for me to declare "I'm just not a gardener", plant flowers in containers and do my best to keep grass alive.

On a personal note, next month marks the end of the series of "one year ago today" moments I've been living through.  I think passing the one year marker on several key moments in my divorce has been a good thing.  But I'm glad they're coming to an end.  I don't want to live the rest of my life marking the passage of time based on something painful.

I'm not going to end this post by making promises to be a better blogger.  If you've stayed with me through the last 6 and a half years, you know I have long silences with bright moments in between.  I'm glad that some of you are inspired by what I write, and what I stitch.  I'm grateful for your comments and your shares over the years.  I take it as a good sign that I've had the urge to write more recently.  Schedule willing, I'll be back again...sometime......

Monday, November 11, 2013

One Secret Is Out!

I can finally talk about all the surprises I had planned for my dear friend, April, and her new baby girl!  April and I have been friends since high school youth group.  Now that we seem to be in the 2nd or 3rd wave of friends having babies, I kind of wanted to go all out making this special for her!

So first, before the baby was born, came the poncho and booties.  They were so fun to make, and turned out so cute!  April called to tell me she received them and she loved them.

The next surprise was a surprise-within-a-surprise.  I showed you the jumbled yarn for a project I was working on for her shower.  This is what it turned into:

A series of "blocks" - knit and crochet.  Here I was playing with layout before assembling them with white yarn.  It is so hard for me to be random, y'all.  I made a total of 20 blocks: 4 each of yellow and light blue, and 2 each of the other 6 colors.  (Dark purple is single crochet, light purple is knit "linen" stitch, light pink is garter stitch, dark pink is basketweave knit, dark blue is "puff" or "bubble" crochet, and green is cable knit.)

And here's the real surprise:
The blanket in the background is clearly not the point of this picture. The real surprise was that I flew in to be there for her shower!  It was so hard to keep this a secret for about 7 or 8 weeks!  But it was worth it!  I got plenty of baby snuggles (and hugs from my friend).  They're so sweet, and of course she loved the blanket.

Now to finish the gift for the second baby-to-be in my circle, then back to normal!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gratitude Day 5

Are you doing this?  Last year, I made a point to post on Facebook every day in November something I was thankful for (I may have combined a couple of days, but I actually did pretty well!), and I'm doing it again this year.  Last year it was about using gratitude to stop focusing on pain and start looking for the good things in my life.  And as I look back over the past year, November was when I finally started moving forward and taking control.

So this year, I'm looking for little things, and expressing them as close to "in the moment" as I can - it's not always possible, but I hold onto that thought as long as I can until I can get to my phone or a computer.  Today's moment of gratitude is brought to you by my 8 year old daughter - when I woke her up for school this morning, I found her hugging her "pink baby".  (No picture of that, bleary-eyed mama was not exactly looking for blog-worthy gratitude moments right then.).  Here's the story behind "pink baby" and why she inspired gratitude this morning:

5 years ago, I had a 3 year old and an almost 6 year old.  We had just moved to Idaho, and we were maintaining 2 households because my ex (we were married at the time) was still working in Washington.  So money was tight, my sanity was tighter, and Christmas was coming.  Katie didn't really have a dolly to play with - she had a bear and a penguin, but no baby doll to cuddle like a 3 year old should.  So I decided to try to make one.  This is what she looked like almost finished:

I thought I had a "finish" picture, but it looks like some of my pictures have disappeared from Google.  She does have a face (brown eyes! why do all dolls have blue eyes???), and a skirt, and an attached blanket, and maybe a hat.  I know I didn't make hair.

Anyway, the sweetness of this comes in when I tell you that I had already started making the doll when I asked Katie what she wanted for Christmas.  I may have been about as far as this picture.  And she looked at me and said, "I want a pink baby."  Melted my heart.

So today's gratitude thought:  Today I'm thankful for craft.  Because even in tough times, even when I didn't have enough money to buy things for my children, I was able to make them things they needed and things they wanted.  And because last night sometime my now 8 year old decided to grab her pink baby and sleep with her.