Countdown to Pretty

[You guys! Remember how I could never use the WP app on my phone because it was constantly breaking my site??? Now, through the magic of Jetpack, I can upload media directly from my phone AND write posts!!! This is so exciting!!]

Assortment of silk bags
Little silken bags of joy!

Back in November, one of my favorite crafters (I legit do not remember if it was Space Cadet or Kim Werker, but they’re both awesome so go check them out) included some information in a newsletter about a yarny advent calendar. I got all excited about doing it, but then realized that I have a ridiculous amount of yarn already. So, instead of buying a new one, I bought some little silk bags from Amazon and bagged up a bunch of little balls of yarn. I picked out a simple-but-not-boring shawl pattern (Fuss Free Festival Shawl) and eagerly awaited Dec. 1.

Ball of ombre blue yarn
First color! Note that the color does not match the bag. I did that on purpose to make sure I’m surprised every time. No cheating on this project!

The idea was that I would pull a bag each day and knit up the yarn, just like a traditional advent calendar. Easy, right? Except…I’m really slow. Really good, but really slow. Plus, I have about 5 gajillion other projects crying out for my attention. Also plus, I don’t have a huge amount of time to commit to knitting every night these days. It pretty quickly became apparent that the advent thing was just not going to be feasible (not to worry — I also had a unicorn advent calendar that met my daily opening needs just fine). So I’ve decided that this is going to instead be a random draw shawl. I’ll finish one ball, then draw the next and continue. But no time pressure. I’ll get to it when I get to it. And it will be beautiful when it’s done.

Some Days

Today wasn’t an awful day overall, but it had some real low points. It’s one of those days where between having to deal personally with people being racist (not to me, just in front of me, and yeah, I shut it down but it’s gross and awful, and mostly I hate that people who are not as privileged as I am have to deal with worse all the goddamn time) and the whole shitstorm the world generally is right now, I’m just exhausted. I know this sounds redundant, but I’m tired of being exhausted. And part of it is that I know I have a lot of friends who are dealing with a ton more serious shit than I am, and I don’t know how to help. I can only do what I can do, and days like today it just feels like it isn’t nearly enough. So, that’s where the inspiration for today’s #dailyartjournal came from.

I will not break. #dailyartjournal

I’m going to go knit some stitches now, and think about this weekend, which I will be spending watching some of the strongest, most bad-ass women in the world compete to find out who’s the best of the best in the roller derby world championships.


Werk(er)ing It

Journaling supplies

(This was pretty much ready to be posted last night but then I decided to try the WordPress app again because I forgot why I’d quit using it…right. It completely breaks the blog for an hour. Oops.)

This is going to meander a bit, but I promise, I have a destination in mind. A couple of summers ago, I had the opportunity to attend an amazing knitting convention/retreat/gathering in Kent, CT. I got to spend two days taking classes from a couple of my design heroes (that would be Amy Herzog and Norah Gaughan, both of whom I learned a tremendous from, but this is not a blog about that — you can read about that here). It was wonderful, but it was also exhausting, because I am an introvert extraordinaire. You know those personality tests with the sliding scales? I am consistently 0% extrovert. Everything else varies depending on my mood when I take the test, but that is a constant.

Make It Mighty Ugly coverSo instead of attending what I am sure was a lovely dinner in town with the instructors and other students, I holed up in my hotel room. And I pulled out this book, Make It Mighty Ugly, that I’d picked up kind of on a whim, based on this Twitter account that I follow and really like. I did the first chapter, or maybe two, that night, and really, really enjoyed it. It’s a little workbook-y, so there’s some interactive stuff to do, exercises to kind of get into your head and figure out what makes you you and how to use that to overcome your self-doubt about your own amazing creativity. I was so excited about it that I tweeted about it (I almost never tweet, you may have noticed) (of course, lately I almost never blog, either, so maybe you haven’t noticed so much).

Then after the retreat/conference/whatever I got home and put the book on top of my book pile, which is quite astounding in size and constantly being added to. It did not stay on top of the pile for long…more books were added, some were shuffled around, and it crept closer and closer to the bottom of the pile. It’s the kind of book I feel like I need to have some real good alone, sitting-with-myself kind of time for. I want to immerse myself  in it, to devour it with intensity and complete concentration. So I kept putting it off, waiting for The Perfect Moment to pick it back up again. TPM, of course, still has not come.

In the meantime, I have been continuing to follow the author, Kim Werker, and I still find her super inspirational (I’m pretty sure she’s the one who introduced me to bullet journaling, in fact). She has an art journal daily-ish mailing list thingie, and I’ve been wanting to do an art journal, so I subscribed. And in the intro email she said this:

“Actually, it doesn’t matter if you’re ready. The adventure is here! Time to embark upon it whether we’re ready or not.”

Now, she was talking about the art journaling thing, but holy crap did it hit me like a lightening bolt and make me determined to dig that book out and work all the way through it this time! The thing is, the way our various schedules are set up now, I really do have chunks of time that I can pretty easily carve out for spending some quality time with this. It had just been so long since it was on the top of my pile that it never occurred to me to grab it when those chunks of time are available. So. Back to the top of the pile it goes!

Journaling supplies
This is (most of) my kit. The notebook is one I found at IKEA months(years?) ago. The pouch holds a lot more stuff than it looks like it would (and look! There’s Make it Mighty Ugly so it doesn’t get lost in the pile again!)

But also, art journaling starts tonight. I am taking Kim’s words to heart and embarking on my adventure NOW! The idea is to do some art journaling every day. I know. I know, I always say I’m going to do these every-day-for-a-month/year/week things, and then I peter out. And I might this time as well. But I have also decided that I am okay with that. Because the point, for me, isn’t as much to make it to the end of the month. It’s to try it and see if I like it, if it’s a thing that is meaningful to me such that I want to do it pretty much daily. So I am committing to trying it, and that’s all.

I’m hoping to Insta-blog some or all of these art journal-y things. Those will be short little posts, probably, with pictures of my journal pages (or parts of them), because this thing is supposed to be a community thing — there’s a hashtag (#dailyartjournal) and everything! — so I’m going to try to dip my little introvert toes out into the pool of sharing. Interested in coming along on this journey? Head on over to Kim’s blog and sign yerself on up!

Nuns. No sense of humor. #dailyartjournal

Smell What the Lola’s Sprayin’!

Day 2

I have a very delicate nose. There’s a chemical that’s in a lot of scented products that makes it hard for me to breath — not in a throat-closing, I’m-going-to-die kind of way, just enough to make my nose clog up. I have strong feelings about people who wear perfume, especially to places like restaurants or the gym or, god forbid, on public transportation. So it’s been hard for us to find a bathroom spray that my sensitive schnoz can handle. Not to mention the climate consideration: I’d really prefer to avoid aerosols as much as possible, obviously.

One of my derby mates has been making gear-freshener with essential oils, and I thought, “You know, I could totes do that for bathroom spray!” So I went on the Amazon, like you do, and I bought some essential oils: orange, grapefruit to cut the cloying sweetness orange can have, and vanilla. I also picked up some witch hazel, which the internet informed I needed as an emulsifier, and a couple of nice glass spray bottles.

I turned out not to like the vanilla oil…something about it turns my stomach. But the combo of orange and grapefruit is perfect. The best thing is, this spray is much less intense smelling than store-bought stuff but does just as well –or better! — at deodorizing.

Here’s the formula I use — you should of course adjust the scents to your personal tastes:

  • Fill the bottle 2/3 with water, then the remaining 1/3 with witch hazel.
  • 15 drops orange oil
  • 10 drops grapefruit oil

Smells delish!Day 2