And Tom Waits Plays on the Radio

It’s the last day of 2013, and I alone in a house that is filled with music to drown out the silence, and the heater is blasting to try to keep me warm, even though it never quite reaches my bedroom.  I am sifting through the paperwork that has spent the last year growing on my dressers and inside drawers.  I’m unwinding forgotten knitting adventures and putting away the stray knickknacks.  This is the first time, in the all the years I have been in this apartment, that it did not feel like home.  Today, it feels cold, quiet, large, and cramped.  I am overwhelmed by the amount of stuff and the lack of connection I feel suddenly.  Maybe it is simply that I have been alone since I returned on Sunday, and that in itself was a shock after being completely surrounded by people and conversation, whether or not I had decided to engage, for the week prior.  And maybe it is getting to the time I move on.  Right now it’s hard to tell.

But I am looking back at the year and marveling at how intense it was.  Looking back over the posts, and I’m amazed at how quickly everything happened.  I jumped from adventure to adventure.  Perhaps it is simply the bitter cold that is making me restless.

I taught aerial as much as possible and pushed myself to my physical limits.  I have so much inspiration to help me focus on my work now.

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There are plans.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure how my main goals are going to turn out because of my shoulder injury.  I am still healing and it bums me out very much.  The key here is patience.  I must have patience.

I traveled to Seattle:

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And Boulder for the Aerial Dance Festival:

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I went to Lakes of Fire:

DSC06431And Burning Man:

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And I hope to find a way back to each in the next year.  Plans are in the works for Lakes of Fire, Burning Man is much more expensive and requires a lot more time off work, so it’s still up in the air.

I did reduce my yarn supply, but not nearly as much as I wanted to.  And on the designing front, I did not complete much.  I have a couple patterns in the testing phase right now, and a couple that just need to be written up.

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I’ve been staring at this for awhile now.  I left to think and work a bit more, and just returned to it.  I’m not quite sure what else to add.  I don’t quite have NYE plans and it’s the first time in years.

2013 – a wonderful year.  I grew more than I thought possible.  I went on many lovely, and sometimes frightening adventures.  I met dozens of beautiful souls throughout those adventures.  I’ve healed my broken heart (and don’t feel jaded, either).  I’m a lot stronger, wiser, and ready to take a leap.  Now I face a new year, different challenges, and some of the same, and I’m excited.  So many more adventures are coming up.

 

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Wrapped up in Virginia

I fell off the radar when I hopped in the car and drove out to the Virginia countryside for the winter holiday.  It was beautiful, sunny, relaxing, and time stood still for a few days as I enjoyed the rest and atmosphere.  I did remember to photograph the Esjan shawl before deciding to give it away.

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In a moment of solitude, I walked to the top of the hill and laid out the shawl.  The colors really shined with the soft, setting sunlight hitting it.

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While the colors are beautiful and I love the pattern, the combination of it all didn’t feel like me.  It wasn’t quite bright enough or soft enough.  I will probably make it again, but next time, I will start with more stitches and create more of a crescent shape instead of the half circle.

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I can’t believe we only have one more day left of 2013.  I’m spending a lot of my time today thinking about the past year – all of the ups and downs, the tears, the laughter, all of the wonderful adventures I embarked on and the amount of personal growth I felt.  It’s been incredible.

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The shawl ended up with someone who truly appreciated it.  I have dozens of photographs of what I did in Virginia, along with more stories and thoughts about 2013 and the quickly approaching 2014.  I hope you are having a wonderfully festive time and gaining everything you need from it.

Flash the Stash

I came home after physical therapy the other night a bit invigorated and wanting to do something about the mess.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t really been able to knit, or maybe it’s because the new knitter at my house was talking about yarn, but I decided to flash the stash.  Ellette and the other were very enthusiastic about what this might entail.

Basically, we emptied every receptacle that was storing yarn onto my bed and began trying to make sense of it.  But, not before some ridiculous photos were captured.

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Yeah….I have a problem.  I managed to give away one bag of yarn to this new knitter, and Ellette and she put together bags of yarn they want in their swants.

Swants? I hear you question.  Stephen West began a trend of reconstructing thrift store sweaters into pants.  Check out this tutorial if you want to make your own pair.  I love the idea of swants, and I’ve noticed they hit “high fashion” recently as well.  I still think handmade is better (and always will), and I like knitting more than sewing.  And my yarn supply, as you can see, is out of hand.

A few weeks ago, I tossed my stash a bit looking for odds and ends to include in my own on-the-fly swants project.  I call them Swoomers, since they hit just below the knee and kind of balloon out like bloomers.

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I reached the waistband last night, and after that it’s just weaving in ends and a light blocking.  They are so cozy!  I can’t wait to put them on and lounge in knitterly style.

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Since Ellette and other both want a pair of swants, or swoomers, I will have a chance to work out the pattern and offer it up for grabs.  This has been an awesome stash bust.  I’m still looking for more stashbusting methods.  My 2013 clean-the-stash resolution has still not been met, although I’m a lot closer (about two 10 gallon bins).

This Post Should Have Happened Sunday

My Sunday posts have been lagging a bit since my shoulder injury.  Luckily, my teaching hasn’t been impaired, since we were mostly running through our recital routines over and over again.  Then talking about the routine, then rehearsing again.  This meant that my Sundays were spent next to the speakers, hitting “Play,” “Pause,” “Volume,” and “Stop” and counting out the music for the girls.  Our fall recital was last weekend, and I was running around from noon, when I held an open gym session for anyone wanting a little extra practice before our recital at 3.  I continued running around throughout the recital, helping the girls get ready, running the music, and introducing each class to the audience.

Fall 2013 Aerial Girls

The girls were better than I could have hoped.  It always amazes me – right up until the recital I’m usually biting my fingernails and thinking we need a couple more weeks of rehearsal because they’re not quite getting it.  But, the day of the recital they pretty much nail it.

The session to recital process of the dance academy, where I teach a session and then there is a recital, all in 3 months, has been a bit challenging.  I want more time to work on skills and technique, but it is a fun rush of adrenaline when we get towards the end and I watch the students settle down and get serious.

Want to see one of the pieces?

That’s Ellette doing her “solo” intro with the other girls (they were paired up).  The song is Crystallize, by Lindsey Stirling.  I’m excited for the new session in January, when the recital isn’t a “Winter” theme like this one and I have a bit more liberty with my song selection (most of my songs are already chosen, but I’m always looking for inspiration!)

I Wish I Had A Better Update

It’s been quiet around here, and not the kind of quiet that means I’m too busy taking care of business to spend 10 minutes writing but I’ll have a lot to show you when it’s over. The kind of quiet that means I’m drowning under seasonal congestion and the injury to my shoulder is giving a whole new and terrifying meaning to the phrase ‘You’re grounded.”  No aerial.  Very little knitting.  Absolutely no crochet.

I can’t do anything that causes pain in my shoulder, and while that means I get to sit back and relax, per doctor’s orders, my house has become the wide open range for dust buffalos and mountains of smelly socks.  I don’t know where the time went – I was/am in a medicated stupor, trying to ease the swelling in my arm and get rid of whatever phlegmy monster is building a nest in my lungs.  It’s beginning to drive me crazy.

Before falling ill, I moved a bunch of my craft supplies into the dining room for anyone to play with, and I’m happy to report that our tree is beginning to take on the character of our house.

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The more people that stop by to visit, the more handmade ornaments get added.  a state of worry that I didn’t have the time or energy to make ornaments with Ellette, I had bought a small set of orb ornaments and set them out in case Ellette wanted to decorate.  She looks at them, then at me, and says very bluntly, “Mom, why did you get these?  They’re kind of lame.”

Our house has been left in the enthusiastic hands of an 8 year old, and I can’t believe how much fun she’s having handling the holiday on her own.

My Yarn Ornament

This is the first time Ellette and I will be celebrating Christmas at home.  I’m not big on Christmas for reasons that do not need to be discussed here.  Ellette, however, loves the idea of it – spending time with family, being secretive, surprising her friends and family, and making, giving, and receiving gifts.  She has never had a visit from Santa, nor has she ever had a stocking or even tree.  Family members we have spent the holiday with in previous years had both, but not us.

My gift to Ellette this year is decorating our apartment for the holidays.  She made her own stocking.  We have a tree and hung lights, but we have no ornaments.  That didn’t seem to matter to her, though, because as soon as we plugged in the lights and the Christmas tree lit up, so did her face and she squealed over how proud Santa will be.

Rather than spending money I don’t really have on ornaments we don’t really care about for a holiday I’m not too keen on, I suggested to Ellette that we use our creativity and the supplies we have on hand to make our own ornaments.  Then, each year we can make a couple more.  This way, everything will be meaningful and well-suited to us.  I see trees in the apartments of acquaintances that are idyllic – garlands, lights, and standard glass ornaments, and they look lovely.  But to me, they lack the warmth and spirit of the holiday.  It is how these individuals think a tree is supposed to look, and while that may be perfect for them, it is not for me.

Enter: Pinterest.  I’ve been scouring the online world for ideas on a handmade Christmas.  Some of these ideas I have been sending to Ellette’s nanny to work on afterschool, and some I have been saving for myself or for us to do together.  Last night was the start of our ornament-making adventure, which leads me to the subject of this post – I now have a yarny ornament on my tree.

You will need: A Styrofoam ball, a ball of yarn, two bamboo skewers, scissors, hot glue, and two beads that fit over the skewers.

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Step 1: Stick the skewers through the Styrofoam ball at whatever angle suits you best.

Step 2: Cut the skewers to the length you desire.  I cut them short so the ornament would fit nicely on our tree.

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This is what it looks like when you are ready.

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Step 3: Glue your beads to the flat ends of the skewers.  (One end is pointy, one end isn’t).  Ellette chose purple heart-shaped pony beads.

Step 4: Glue down the end of your yarn of choice to the ball, and start wrapping!

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Keep wrapping until you can’t see the Styrofoam underneath.  This took a lot more yarn that I had anticipated.

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Step 5: Glue the end of your yarn in an inconspicuous location.

Step 6: Use yarn or ribbon to create a loop for hanging the ornament.  (Can you tell this was an afterthought for me?)

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Step 7: Hang it on your tree!

I want to get tiny Styrofoam balls and toothpicks and make a dozen more.  Maybe make a garland of tiny yarn balls.  That sounds like heaven.

Do you have any special ornaments on your tree?

Reveal

Yesterday was the white elephant swap at Gothee House. I had been working on my contribution up until we left the house to go to the party. I didn’t snap any pictures before wrapping them, so I had to wait anxiously for them to be opened in order to capture a photograph.

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The Nyan Cat scarf was the first to be opened.  It was much sought after throughout the game, which made me feel really good.  I had been worried that I had picked a meme that was funny and would be appreciated, but no one would actually want to wear it.  The people who tried to claim it surprised me a little – definitely not the individuals I would have pegged for wanting a bright rainbow scarf.

The other item didn’t get opened until the very end of the game, when we were opening the extra gifts for the final swap (to make sure everyone left with something they liked).  Ellette laid claim over the item.

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We call it the Gothicorn.

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It is made from Cascade Magnum, a ridiculously lush and chunky yarn in a beautiful blue.  The horn is made from a pale yellow in Ella Rae classic, and the mane is a bunch of odds and ends I threw together to make the unicorn more goth (the theme for the party was “gothic elf”, which we embraced with abandon).

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The hat is the Unicorn Hat, and my fifth or sixth one made.  I adore the design.  Ellette wore the hat for the remainder of the evening, and left the house this morning with it firmly on her head.

I have had to slow down on my knitting even more, and crochet is out of the question as it sends a strange numbing sensation up my arm.  I’ve kind of said “screw it” to trying to make anything in time for the holidays.  Now I’m racking my brains for other gift ideas and my knitting has gone to a slower paced – what-do-I-actually-want-to-make format.  What has happened thusly is that all of the designs I’ve been sketching, charting, writing, and desiring are being realized (one is even with test-knitters now).

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