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.

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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?

All of These Projects at Once

I have a few words to share with you, blogosphere, that my knitter followers as well as my circus followers will sympathize with.  I am injured.  A little over a week ago, I was working on the cyr wheel.  Everything was going great- I was internalizing my struggle and really catching on to the weird physics that exists within the wheel.  I eventually stopped practicing because my stomach couldn’t quite handle the sheer amount of spinning involved.  The next morning, my shoulder was in excruciating pain.  It was so bad, I couldn’t put my coat on, I couldn’t hold my purse over my shoulder, I couldn’t even pour a cup of coffee.  A week later, it still hurt, so I went to see a physical therapist for a consultation.  Basically, between training almost daily in my circus stuff, trying to knit a massive sweater in a month, and the projects I had going on at work, I have a repetitive use injury – an inflamed rotator tendon.

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So, my knitting/crocheting holiday gifts are slow going.  I actually cut out a lot of the gifts and reduced the size of others.  Ellette’s gift (pictured above) is the hardest for me to work on because it is a tiny and tight gauge and 100% cotton which has absolutely no give.

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These are other (secret) projects that have so far been less stressful on my shoulder.  The above is at a somewhat looser gauge and was simple crochet, which was easy to work on.  Below, I blocked some stuff that had been sitting in my finishing bag for a couple months.  The finishing bag is filled with completed projects that need ends woven in and blocking, and tends to be done in chunks rather than as projects actually get finished.

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And then I blocked Esjan, which had been sitting in that finishing bag since it’s completion in October.  I’m entirely in love with the colors!  It was completely dry this morning so I unpinned it and folded it up so my cats couldn’t get to it, and tonight I hope to weave in the ends.

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I am sorry that things won’t be completed quickly and the parade of finished things I was looking forward to will not be happening.  I am also sorry that I won’t have any awesome circus photos to share over the rest of the month, since all flying activity is mostly suspended until I heal.  Here’s to a speedy recovery!

Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

I’m back to the holiday knitting hustle.  I really wish I could zone out and work on projects at my own pace, and projects that I want to get done rather than think I have to or the world will crash and burn.  I feel a little bad because I went through my list and did some heavy editing so I won’t have so much stress to deal with this month.  One of the projects that stayed is Rainbow Dash for Ellette.

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I have one front leg and most of the second front leg.  This is entirely possible, and I actually think I can complete it by Thursday.  It’s really easy, and small, so it’s flying off the hook.  I’m hoping the next couple weeks will consist of a parade of finished things.

Giving In

Startitis has been strong over the past couple weeks.  Holiday knitting is interesting, and I have been telling myself over and over that it needs to be done, it helps stash bust, and it’s better than knitting just for me.  Only two more months until the holidays are over.  However, one of those months is NaKniSweMo, which ties into my holiday knitting, but because I love a challenge is going to be challenging and thus, time consuming.  It doesn’t help that designers and publishers are having sales, I’m finding all sorts of really cool things I want to make, and inspiration is bombarding me from every angle.  There’s only so much a girl can resist!

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Last night, I worked a little bit on holiday projects (the red bowl shaped thing on the left) and then couldn’t resist casting on a Esjan, because it just looks so cozy in the photographs and it is starting to get chilly out, almost freezing even, and it uses worsted weight, which takes up a lot of room in my stash so I need to get rid of it quick, and it’s knit on fat needles and I hear it goes by quickly and…and…

The best way to get rid of temptation is to give in to it.

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