Sunday, April 29, 2012



After accomplishing the grand feat of cleaning and organizing my stash, I was ready to get back to knitting and crocheting. I do love my fiber crafts and I use them to keep me calm in the stressful times and there is nothing more stressful than unemployment and a slow job search. But before allowing myself to dive into the stash to pick out a new project or even allowing myself to pick up an in-process project, I had to revisit my growing pile of socks that need darning of some kind. Darn!


I took a darning class about 3 years ago at Stitches South and I had yet to actually use the skills that I had learned. And with the variety of fixes that need to be made, I’m probably going to put everything I learned to the test. I pulled out some gray wool to mend with. This yarn is felt-able, which is key to the process.The pink socks are the very first pair of socks that I knit and they have done nothing but get softer and warmer over time. I know it’s not really possible to get warmer, but cut my nostalgic heart a little slack. These are my favorites. The others are not as special when all is said and done, but I do love having hand knit socks and I’m not willing to sacrifice any of them--at least not yet.


The two pair above were easy to fix. Using a darning egg and a lot of patience, they are mended and back in rotation. The holes on the pink socks are clearly products of wear as I have lovingly worn these socks for years. That other pair is a mystery to me. I just finished these socks a few months ago. As a matter of fact, I blogged their finishing here. I doubt I was able to wear these three times before a hole sprouted on the side of the foot. The side! I am going to completely blame this on the yarn and not on my construction abilities. That’s the version of the story that I’m sticking to, you will not change my mind.


Now, this sock is a little different. The hole itself is easy enough to fix, but there is a problem. I machine wash all of my socks. This is not a problem for most of the sock yarns on the market so don’t let this keep you from machine washing your own. But, please make sure you are careful with what you washed your socks with. This pair inadvertently got washed with a really fuzzy set of bath towels that I absolutely hate. That fuzz has worked its way into the lacy pattern of the sock and made the cuff section of the sock incredibly stiff. The result is that I would have to stretch the sock entirely too much to get it over my foot, hence the making of the hole. Really, I should probably find another use for these socks--I thought about making them into fingerless gloves but they are such cute socks. Needless to say, I have not made a decision and these will need to go back into consideration for the day when I am a more skilled knitter. The instructor of the darning class I attended would cut the entire cuff section off and knit a new one, but I am not that dedicated to these socks.And then what yarn would I use?


These Noro socks are just as much a mystery to me. Those are actually holes, but areas where the yarn is so thin that it’s easy to be poked through so the area is stretching out. Again, I am not a skilled enough darner to fix these as the yarn is so thin and the areas curving around the toe. It almost seems like poking through the darning yarn will do more damage than good. I’ll have to think on these a little more as well.

So, my darning adventures only led me to getting two pairs off socks back into rotation, but I will consider that good enough to free me into more yarn crafts. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you knitters out there on how you would repair/remake the socks that I am not brave enough to tackle yet. Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why the Kindle Fire Doesn't Work For Me


When tablet fever hit the world, I was interested. But the iPad as the leading device did not and still does not appeal to me. It’s entirely too big and after being an Android user with my cell phone, I see a lot of limitations with the form factor of the Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad software. I was determined to get an Android tablet when they hit the market, but I couldn’t justify the $500+ price point. To justify the purchase I needed to figure out ahead of time exactly what role the tablet would play in my life. I set about trying to decide exactly how I would use it, which really just resulted in it being an extension of the things I could already do on my cell phone. Of course, the bigger screen was a great selling point. I even considered incorporating the tablet into regular use and downgrading to a feature phone.

When the Kindle Fire was announced at $199, I no longer needed the justification. I was okay spending the money to try it out. Fast forward a few months and I hardly ever use the thing. One reason is that Amazon has put Apple-like limitations on the Android software so unless you are comfortable with rooting the device, you were a little stuck until app developers worked around things. One of the best and most useful things to me about Android is the use of widgets on multiple home screens. Amazon only offers you one home screen that displays like a book shelf.

But, I can still get most of the apps that I love on the Kindle and so I could still do all of the things that I like to do on my cell phone. But I find myself not even thinking to pick the thing up. When I’m home, I go for my laptop. When I’m on the go, I go for my cell phone. The Kindle Fire, although a really great device at a really great price point, has no place in my life. And I do have to say when it’s time to read, my go-to device is the e-ink Kindle.

I have to expand this to be inclusive of any tablet. I just don’t have a place for them in my life. Most of the people that I know that use and love tablets so much are people who are not big laptop users or have children that can not be trusted with a laptop. Some of them still have desktop computers at home and so the tablet hits a nice sweet spot for them. That place does not exist in my life. I never thought I would be rejecting a nice little piece of technology, but it is nice to say that I have everything around me that I need.

Maybe in a couple of years when it’s time to update my computer needs will I reconsider using a tablet device. For now, I will be bidding a fond farewell to my Kindle Fire. I have already wiped it and deregistered it and will be selling it on to someone who can find a place for it.

If you are a tablet user, I would love to hear how it is working out for you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tossing The Stash

Warning…more cleaning and organizing!

If you are a follower of The Yarn Harlot, you know that Ms. Stephanie likes to “toss” her stash once a year. She’s not getting rid of anything, just mixing it all around so the old stuff is not constantly stuck on the bottom. I decided I needed a bit of the same thing. Even though my yarn closet had a little bit of organization to it, it had gotten a bit out of hand and I’m not sure what all I have anymore.


These are shots of my closet. It was stuffed. I couldn’t see the floor anymore and to get the folding tables out, I would have to pull out several bags of yarn first. This was really starting to irritate me.

Step 1 is to get everything out of the closet! As usual, my guest bedroom is the staging area for the mess that was to ensue.


I had already taken the sheets off the guest bed to wash. If I had not already done it, it would have been necessary after this. Piles of yarns makes a mess and something in my stash makes me itch a bit. I have no idea what as I touched everything so I’ll have to keep an eye out when I finally get to knitting some of this stuff. Note, both the bed and the fold-out table in the back are covered with yarn.

Some of my yarn is still in the bags they were purchased in but so many of them had the misfortune of just roaming free. If you really need a reason to keep your stash organized and neat, just take a look at the yarn nests that had been created.


The situation was actually worse than it looks in the picture. It took hours to get all of the yarns untangled. And actually that black has not been completely untangled yet. I think I’m going to have to devote some serious movie-watching time to this one. To keep this from happening again, I have separated all of the yarns into separate plastic bags. I have collected a mass of those plastic covers from sheets, pillowcases, curtains, etc. And I am so glad that I have. These things really come in handy. When I was out of those, various sizes of zip bags fit the bill just fine.


Getting it all organized and neatly put back into the closet has made me want to get back to my yarn crafts, but there is one more thing I am determined to do first. More on that later. For now, look at how great my closet looks now. I’m so happy I can actually see the floor and my folding tables can slide out with no yarn shifting at all.


For all you yarn crafters out there, are you a regular stash tosser?

Friday, April 20, 2012


Just wanted to stop in and say a quick hello! I have so much to share with you, my blog friends.

I have...
  • crating with friends
  • sewing
  • quilting! really!
  • knitting
  • wedding
  • job search
  • unemployment
  • more Blissdom goodness
  • my 2012 reading challenge
  • the food stamp challenge
  • writing
  • hair trimming
There is so much floating around in my head that I want to talk about. There is so much inspiration and what-not floating around that I am so overwhelmed by it all that I can’t actually get out any words. But I will muddle through this weekend and share some of these things that are on my brain.

I hope you are having a wonderful April and a wonderful spring. I’m still spending as much time inside as possible as my allergies have been killing me, but I’m enjoying all I have to do.

Talk to you soon my friends

Monday, April 16, 2012

Could You Be A Blogger?

While 700+ Blissdom attendees are still coming down from such a high HIGH, there are quite a few of them that are sitting down at their computers and starting their very first blogs. Not everyone that attends these conferences are actual bloggers. Some are thinking about it. Some are writers that want to use social media to sell their books. Some are crafters that are looking to expand. Some are going through life changes and want to do something new.

Blogging brings all kinds of people together to a common medium and gives them all a space and a platform to display their voices. Could you be one of those people? Do you have a voice that needs to be heard? I am always encouraging the people around me to start blogging, especially women. Blogging is such a wonderful outlet for creativity and frustrations but also a wonderful way of finding people that share your interest. It could even lead you to the interest that is or is to become your passion. I am an avid book reader but there aren’t many in my closest groups of friends that read or strive to carve out the time to read. The same goes for my love of technology. I can’t exactly discuss rooting an android device with the people around me. That conversation would be lost on them. But with my blogging and other online mediums, I can find just the crowd that will understand the projects and gadgets and interests that are floating around in my life.

The first thing I typically hear from people when I encourage them to blog is “I don’t know what I would write about”. There are three people in particular that I’m trying to encourage. For the sake of this conversation, I will call them D, K and R. They may not think they have anything to share but I learn so much from them each time I’m around them.

D is a stay at home mom that home schools her children. She is a beautiful Christian woman that counsels and teaches and has so much to share about religion, family, homeschooling, container gardening, vegan cooking and so many other things. The dinners I share with her family are fascinating and I always walk away with so much inspiration if nothing else. I think that is worth writing about and sharing.

K is a stay at home mom who prior to staying home specialized in working with kids with disabilities. She is such a fun and interesting mom and she is often the person that is learning right along with me when I am looking to learn something new. I love people like her because they never stop learning. Not only could she share her love for children and working with kids with disabilities, she could also teach you how to have the best kids playroom ever, how to start a small garden at home, how to entertain and how never to be afraid of learning something new.

R is a beautiful young girl with a quiet spirit that just draws you in. She is a young professional that is about to set off on the greatest adventure. I won’t speak much about it but meeting her and hearing her know exactly what she wanted out of life and marriage influenced me greatly. She is young but she has so much to share and I think she minimizes the impact she could have on the world. I met her at a time when I was struggling with the idea of being a wife and being able to talk with her about it brought clarity and comfort to my situation. She is a budding photographer and I can’t wait to see the shots she takes as she treks around the world learning about her heritage.

These are just three of the women that inspire my life everyday. They don’t think they have much to share but I see a multitude of possibilities in each of them. They fuel me to keep going if for no other reason than to find others that need to have their voices heard. Are you one of them? Do you know people in your life that could be sharing so much? Make sure you tell them how much value you get from them and maybe they’ll be encouraged to share that value with the rest of us.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lorax and Trufella

A few weeks ago, my nephew came to town. I wish I could say he came to visit me, but I was just an unneeded bonus. He actually came to visit the children of friends of mine. It’s amazing how little ones bond with each other. If you want to see what childhood depression looks like, separate a four year old from a friend that he knows he won’t see for a few months, if not longer. It was heartbreaking to tell him it was time to go after visiting with them and playing hours of dress up (spiderman is my nephew). I got over it later when I found out he didn’t want me to go to the movies with him and his friends. I was the one that set up this little long distance play date, but that was lost on the young one.


The main event of their multi-day play date was catching a marathon showing of Dr. Suess’ The Lorax. I read the book to my nephew the night before to try to get him interested. He barely made it through it but after seeing the movie, I hear the book is keeping his attention a little better.


He likes it so much now that my sister called to inform me that my nephew has requested a yellow sweater knit from trufella trees.

Thanks, Dr. Suess!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Different Kind of Easter

I have been trying for days to write a post about Easter but I hit such an incredible wall and I can’t figure out why. I have nothing but happy memories of Easter. The new dresses, the speeches, the egg hunts and baskets. Easter and the start of spring have always held a special place in my life. It was such a time of excitement. It still is but things are different now that I am an adult. It’s different because I am an adult without any children. You forget exactly how much of this holiday has centered around the children.

As an adult, my Easter is more a time of reflection. Instead of just a day or two of learning of Jesus’ death and sacrifice, I spend the entire Lenten season learning, reflecting and attempting to make sacrifices of my own. It’s a different kind of Easter but it’s the perfect way to really know and absorb what this season is all about.

In my house, there are no new outfits, no speech practice, no fancy Sunday dinner. But thanks to Hershey’s, this year my Easter does include a very beautiful basket of goodies.


This is the first basket I have had in years and it wasn’t until this showed up on my doorstep that I realized how much this season has changed for me. Who knew I had so many smiles and fond memories tied up in the taste of a jelly bean.

No matter how you are spending this weekend, I pray that you know and understand the sacrifice that was made for us all.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Cleaning to Make Room

Once I came back home from traveling from work, I knew it was time to start tackling a few things. The priority items on the list were…

  • Going through and cleaning up two years of mail that had piled up.
  • Clearing out and organizing the guest room that had become a dumping ground for everything that didn’t have a home.
  • Making closet space for my soon-to-be husband.
I still have a bit more to do but I have made tremendous progress.


This was my guest room before I started. Oddly enough, the picture doesn’t look as bad as it truly was. I went through everything you see piled there, everything in the guest closet and everything in my master closet and I shredded/recycled everything that I could.


I made three trips to the recycling center. I couldn’t believe how much paper crap I had accumulated over the years. I had bank statements and cancelled checks from over 11 years ago. I had paperwork from college that was no longer needed and I had Christmas cards from people that I don’t even remember where I met them. I got rid of all that I could. The main things that I have held on to are tax documents and documentation from past credit problems that I had. I consolidated all that was left into one container and I will be tackling that with GTD in the near future.

My biggest challenge in sorting the closets was what to with my growing collection of purses and bags. Now, I have already admitted that I have a problem so please don’t judge me. There stacked on the end of my bed are all the different bags and purses that I own. I did not count them this time. I have topped over 100 before.


Piled separately on the floor is my collection of Vera Bradley.


And in a separate pile already put away in a closet, is my collection of wallets, clutches and smaller pouch-type bags.


The key to making room for the boy was finding a new home for all of these bags outside of the master bedroom (with exception of the wallet shelf--that stays in the smaller bedroom closet).

Between the hallway linen closet and the guest bedroom, I found a place to store all of these bags. I’m hoping this is just temporary storage as I really need to cut this collection down by more than half.


So, now that these are settled, there is (ALMOST) enough room for the boy. I still have lots of items I don’t need so you’ll see more about my pare down in the near future.

How is your spring cleaning going?