Resolution #1: Use it or Lose it

With all of the hustle and bustle prepping for the holidays, then post-crazy decompress, my house is not as orderly as I try to keep it.  Now, I am a craftaholic.  My yarn tends to explode randomly, I have stray bits of fabric spread all over, sometimes there are buttons, bells, ribbon, and other odd things left on the dining room table, or coffee table, or in bags littering the foyer.

My Confession: It takes a lot of work for me to even pretend to be clean.  I am a cluttering crafter to the core.

Yet, for some reason, I desire a clean and orderly house more than anything.  Maybe it’s the phase of life I am in.  Maybe it’s because my house is bigger than I alone can manage and I feel overwhelmed.  I’m not sure, exactly, but I realized last night during my meltdown that I really need to clear my head by cleaning my house.

Cleaning has been difficult with the shoulder injury, but there is still quite a bit that I am capable of doing.  And that starts with the purge.

By the end of this year, I am going to reassess my craft supply situation.  Anything that predates January 1st, 2014 and has not been designated for an already-in-progress craft will be donated. 

This excludes yarn, for which the resolution remains that I need to par it down to the single dresser.  At the end of 2014, I will reassess that situation and get rid of everything that does not have a definite project designation or is not enough for an actual project.

This begins tonight, where I resolve to blast the music, crank up the heat (my apartment is notoriously chilly) and work my butt off trying to purge and clean and unclutter my brain.

Wish me luck!

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Lessons in Making Candles

Last night gave us a rather interesting episode into making candles, and the kinds of mistakes you can make when are you rushing, tired, overwhelmed, and maybe have had too much wine.

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We ordered 20 pounds of soy based wax with the intention of making around 25 candles.

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Because we are camping, we didn’t want containers that would break on us.  I suggested using pails for the candles, because they would have  along burn time and wouldn’t break.  The problem we encountered, about a third of the way through our evening, was that the square planters were not watertight, and we ended up with a massive puddle of wax on the counter.  We tried to solder the edges of the pails, but it didn’t work.  Then we tried gluing the edges, and coating the inside with wax, but that didn’t work either.  In the end, we had to use epoxy on the corners.  This worked for most of them, and then we ran out of epoxy and the ones at the end of the line did not get used.

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Someone was monitoring the melting of the wax while another was concocting unique scents for them.

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I helped get the wicks in place.  This was a very annoying task, since the binder clips we used did not want to stick to the chopsticks.

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Once the wax was clear and the scent added, we poured.

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So, while we didn’t make 25 candles like intended, we did have a lot of fun, learned a lot of things about the process, and made at least 15 candles that should burn for 6-12 hours each, if not longer.  Hopefully, this creates enough ambience for the weekend at Lakes of Fire.  Tonight will entail painting and sewing, and hopefully getting started on packing.  Now, if only I had clean clothes…

Dear 2012

You have been quite a rollercoaster year for me. I started the year with such high hopes for my future. There were so many things I was looking forward to, hoping to accomplish, new things to learn. I wasn’t expecting so many changes – or rather, these kinds of changes – by the time you were over.

This year turned into an exploration of love, overall. What love means, how it grows, and how it hurts us. I found myself nurturing new friendships and letting go of old ones. I started planning a future with the love of my life, only to have the relationship end abruptly – I still don’t understand what happened. Maybe it’s not really my lesson to learn, but his. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of discovery as well as healing. Today, this last day, I will let it go.

There is still much to look back on, though, and many good things to be thankful for. Many things have happened to spark creativity and inspire hope.

I did my fairs again – Janesville and Custer – as well as new ones. It was a difficult realization to make that wings just aren’t as profitable as they used to be. I blame Disney. Retiring them – except for special orders – is going to be rough, but so far I have enjoyed not worrying about them. My energy has been going toward more productive endeavors.

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Aerial, for instace. I debuted in May at the Actor’s Gymnasium’s “Circus in Progress” show. It was exhilarating, challenging, and incredibly fun.

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Again in October, we performed at the fall Circus in Progress. That was a clever trapeze act in which our characters were ones you would find in a midnight diner.

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I was the lonely old lady – a character I had much fun concocting.

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I have been pushing my levels of endurance and my threshold for pain as I train for this. I am hoping to turn it into a career – and that is what I hope the end result of 2013 will be.

In September, I started teaching beginning aerial arts, and in January, my daughter will begin learning.  This has been a wonderful experience, albeit stressful at times.  My students are amazing and talented, and I am excited to be the one inspiring them to push themselves farther, and even more so to be able to give them skills and confidence to do that.

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I made a big push in the knitting world.  I participated in two challenges.  I did not succeed in one, but the other was fantastic.  The Ravellenic Games were a bit hard on me – I had too much going on at the time. The other was NaKniSweMo, and I adore the end product.

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I attended Stitches Midwest and took some wonderful classes, met amazing people, and bought too much yarn.

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I also released three new patterns.  The Tetris Afghan, Dragon Slayer Gauntlets, and Cascading Leaves Cowl:

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In June, we acquired our little Pygmalian.  He has been a fabulous addition to our household – goofy and loving and adorable.

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He is about three times that size now, and I still haven’t trained him to leave my yarn alone.  What a rascal!

There are more little things, here and there, that shine for me.  I run into bits and pieces as I walk through my house and go about my day.  With the recent relationship change, I have been working hard to clean my house and cleanse my soul.  Many things have resurfaced with this purge and my thoughts are filled with reflections.

This next year is going to be wonderful, if a little difficult and nerve wracking.  I am going to do some adventurous, dangerous, and hopefully clever things that shall be revealed throughout the coming months.  But that is in the realm of 2013.

For now, I am putting on a party dress and going to see friends to bring in this brand new year among people I love dearly, and who love me in return.

Goodbye, 2012.  I won’t be seeing you.

No longer yours,

Pixie

 

 

Things I Will Not Do

I will not open a bottle of wine.

I will not vacuum the carpet.

I will not watch a movie with my daughter.

I will not rearrange furniture.

I will not use cleaning as an excuse.

I will not convince the 7 year old to do it for me.

I will not make dinner.

I will not have the 7 year old make dinner for me.

I will not text a dozen people.

Even if it is to tell them that I love them and I am thinking of them.

I will not search for quarters in the couch.

I will not do laundry. (I have no quarters).

I will not read a novel.

I will not help with homework.

I will not cuddle the cat.

I will not check facebook.

I will not peruse Ravelry.

I will not knit things I do not need.

I will not dust the shelves.

I will not make the bed.

I will not blog.

I will not procrastinate.

Psst…Your Dork is Showing

Enter…the wall

It is an uninteresting, innocent-looking specimen at the top of the flight of stairs that permits entrance into the abode.  It has a creamy oatmeal complexion, with several crack and bumps along an otherwise smooth surface.  It is part of a house built in the 1800s, so some cracks are to be expected.

In a house of odd angles and large windows (see object to the left of specimen), it is difficult to find large expanses of smooth, unadulterated wall.

Enter…the Tardis

A roughly 7 foot tall gentian blue specimen constructed in four segments to be applied to the wall above to add pizzazz and infinite levels of dorkiness to our already dork-ridden home.  The go ahead was given by the other dwellers of this establishment, and with the aid of Vinyltastic, purveyor of vinyl wall art (it would be well advised to follow that link), the Tardis made it’s way to our apartment.

Enter…The boy.

As I am nowhere near 7 feet tall in high heels, there was absolutely no way I was going to get this thing in place on the wall.  Boy is very handy (or so he likes to tell himself) and I thought perhaps his knowledge, heighth, and strength could be manipulated useful.  Boy, disappointingly, did not have a scraper or appropriate flat surface with which to smooth out air bubbles as the piece was assembled, so we used a spatula.

Now, all we need is a doorbell that makes that wooshing noise and a blinking blue light to complete the facade.

(I have been thinking that when we actually find “our town” and buy a house, we totally are turning one of the doors into swinging Tardis doors.  Boy has no say in the matter, whatsoever.)

Last Days in Virginia

Finally, we are home and rested.  My friend Drew is in town from San Francisco for a few days and we have been spending a lot of time together.  I feel like I have been bouncing all over the place since we got home.

The last days in Virginia were bittersweet.  New Year’s Eve we were out and about for the afternoon, checking out the house and land of a friend’s mother.  It was absolutely beautiful.

Then, we tried to climb in the chimney and see who could get the farthest.

That night, we visited friends in the hills and played games before heading into Floyd for a party at a bar.  We had fun.  It was not the ideal situation for us, but we were together and that was enough.

When we got home, no one was quite ready for bed.  After some discussion, we decided to play a game of Settler’s of Catan and occupied ourselves until 4 am.

We left around noon New Year’s Day, drove for several hours, got a hotel, slept, and drove more the next day.  I had to work immediately after and only now do I have a chance to write.

I spent the entire car ride working on the afghan, which is for Drew.  It still is not complete, only just hitting the halfway mark in the car.  I have showed it to him with an IOUK and a promise to ship it to San Francisco when it is done.

However, I have been distracted by sparkly ribbon yarn.  Don’t say a word. Don’t.

Recuperating

Yesterday, I was feeling much better.  Odin’s niece turned 8 and there was a big party for her.  Then in the night I woke up with body racking coughs and did not feel well at all.  I spent some time this morning slowly recuperating, drinking tea and sucking cough drops until the shower was free for long enough that I could sit in the steam and clear the congestion better.  Now, I feel functional again and should tell you what’s been going on.

Odin’s brother has been learning how to unicycle and there was unicycling going on in downtown Floyd, as well as inside Dogtown – a pizza, family friendly, ping pong bar.  They also unofficially opened their doors the day after Christmas for us to play ping pong, but because I wasn’t feeling well, I wrapped myself in my long coat and curled up on the couch to watch.

Christmas and Christmas eve were spent preparing for Christmas dinner.  Odin’s mom and others were busy in the kitchen with pies, salads, and more.  I made a quiche for the vegetarians.

 

Christmas day, Odin’s dad and others (including Odin) were up at 6am to start roasting turkeys over an outdoor fire.

I popped out later and started throwing knives with Odin and Ellette.

I realize most parents would not allow their 6 year old to throw knives.  1) We are not most parents. 2) They are not very sharp. and 3) We were close by at all times.  Mostly she wanted to take pictures of us throwing knives.

About 40 people ended up piled into the house.  Most of us crammed in to one room at once for the White Elephant game, which was fantastic.

My favorite gift, by far, was the one given to Odin’s 13 year old niece.

Cold Hard Cash.  Brilliant.

On Tuesday, four of us snuck into Floyd for coffee and pastries.  The Red Rooster Roaster opened in Floyd a few years ago and is located beneath a coffee shop in downtown.  The owner bumped into us and, even though the roastery was technically closed, he let us in anyway.

I ended up leaving with several pounds of nice coffees from Sumatra, Guatemala, and Timor.  I have not tried any yet, but I had the Sumatra last year and it was delicious.

Following this excursion was Alena’s 8th birthday.  Ellette and Alena get along famously and there was even a sleepover the second night we were here (Thanks to Odin’s sister I was given Ellette-free time that meant I could finish that sweater in absolute secrecy).  Alena wanted an “Angry Bird” themed party.  The most angry birdish part of the party was the game that happened on the porch involving a slingshot, plush birdies, and a stack of cups.

 

The kids spent a lot of time in the dress up room into changing ball gowns and goth Alice in Wonderland dresses, then coming upstairs to attack the adults with balloons.  There was a pinata, which was great fun for the kids even though the parents did not look forward to the impending sugar rush, and of course gifts – and I only mention this because 8 year old Alena received a 30 foot length of rope that she was very excited about because she knew she could make it into a swing.  I found this highly amusing, because what other 8 year old would be so thrilled?

Today, I spent more low key, trying to get over this illness, which has not yet abated, and work on this afghan, which doesn’t seem to be getting bigger.  The boys are in the other room playing Axis and Allies, and considering how late they started it will be a wonder if they are finished by sunrise (no, seriously).

I promise knitting photos soon.

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