Category: Craftiness

Saturday comes and goes

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week. It’s funny how sometimes you don’t realize how crummy you’re feeling until you’re not feeling crummy anymore. And while I’m not at 100% yet, the graph is trending up and up and that is good. And I get to spend this weekend with my parents, at one of my favorite places on earth, celebrating my dad’s birthday. So that’s pretty great.


I’ve been working on some new classes for my gig at the local yarn store. One is for a Brooklyn Tweed square shawl that I am in love with, and the second is an argyle sock class. I made my dad a pair of argyle socks for his Christmas socks, and I was super-happy with them. So I’m writing up a pattern/tutorial for the class. Because everyone should be able to have some argyle socks in their sock drawer.


My office continues to pull itself together. I’m particularly happy with this little corner, right as I walk in the door. Yes, this is home, and yes, I’m happy to be home.


And then there’s this gem. I finally got around to really re-covering (not just fake slipcovering) my office chair. Some old and very awesome (and very found-it-in-the-bins-of-fabric-in-the-shed-at-my-parents’-house) upholstery fabric. I wanted a couch covered in this, but I only had about 3/4 of a yard. Perfect for the office chair, and such a day-brightener

So that’s it for today. More fun awesome to come, folks. More fun awesome to come.


Putting the wheels back on.

The carpet is in. Even better, I’m almost re-organized in my new office. Good enough to be working in here daily, at any rate. Pictures to come.

But the important thing is that I’m back on track after a February that was nothing like I thought it should be. It wasn’t bad, just scattered and not really productive. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done (though I did get those socks done. still haven’t mailed them yet….) And I’m getting back to running now that it’s no longer -40 out and my frostbitten toes are healed.

So I haven’t lost all the focus that I had hoped to shove into 2013.

I even have something crafty-like to show you today. Read on to see….

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Hooray for Mondays!

We got hit by the big snowstorm at the end of last week, and I was super-happy to be able to use the snowblower. Signe was just happy to plow through the snow gazelle-style. I shared this on facebook too, with the caption “i hope you have the chance to be this happy sometime today, even if it is only for a little bit.” And it holds true today too.

Mondays are great and have just about always been my favorite day of the week. No, I’m not kidding. I like routine, and monday is a return to routine, the end of a weekend in which I try to get EVERYTHING POSSIBLE done.

So happy Monday! I hope it’s a great day! Here are a few things that are making my Monday great today –

  • I got my new carpet installed on Saturday afternoon. I’m writing this FROM MY NEW OFFICE, and I can’t wait to share pictures with you! Importantly, I am reclaiming my livingroom and bedroom inch-by-inch. Not quite there yet, but it’s getting SO MUCH BETTER. I think I’ll be back to normal by the end of this week. Hallelujah!
  • I painted my new office white. and I love it. because now this is an option, though for now i’m leaving it white and am just enjoying the clean look. (found via elise.)
  • While the language used by the writer of this article isn’t exactly what I would use, a great point about the excitement of science is made: let’s stop trying to over-sell discoveries and just be ecstatic about how much closer each little thing we learn gets us to understanding the awesomeness of nature (and, in particular, the brain.) I have a lot of thoughts about this and would love to discuss them, but not here. I actually just deleted about 5000 words summarizing my thoughts on this, because it is monday and I want to keep things light for you. (you’re welcome.)
  • again, the language is a little coarse, but as someone who has participated in the relocation of not one, not two, but three labs (and now my own personal home office), this is something to which I can certainly relate.
  • I wants to spend all of my time with these.
  • I made this over the weekend. It works like magic (I used snow instead of ice and my immersion blender instead of the whisk). Tasted like magic too. And because of dark chocolate’s health benefits, I think it can even be classified under “health food.” No. Really.
  • Gotta find time for making  this, some of these, one of these, and a whole pile of these, with sour cream in vinegar.

Happy Monday!

What you lack, child, is FOCUS.

1. I’ve started to break up my posts on the home page. be sure to click the link at the bottom if you want to see the whole thing (or if you’re an e-mail subscriber.) It’s an effort to streamline the front page. Let me know if you happen to have strong feelings about it. I, for one, love it.

2. enter the prairie boot pdf pattern giveaway here. go. do it. now.

3. I feel torn in about a million directions right now – so much to get done (currently in the OHNOALLMYJUNKEXPLODEDALLOVERTHEHOUSE stage of de-crapping, de-stashing, un-messifying, and re-organizing my house) and so little time. It really makes it hard to pay attention to one thing at a time, and I’m feeling the pull. Once my office is reset, things will be smoother. but until then, I need tangible goals. Data tracking is going well, and I’ve managed to line up a bunch of work to pay the bills, so that’s all squared away. The daily to-do list has stuff like “take a shower” and “drink a cup of coffee” on it so that I can feel some control. But as for my creative time, I need to FOCUS and get something done for real for real. Like COMPLETED done. So it falls to knitting – there are a ton of things on the needles, and a number of them are close to completion. So, in an effort to complete all the knitting projects on the needles, and because I should really get the Christmas knitting done before Valentine’s day (oops…), I present to you the three projects that I must focus on this month. These and no others, until they’re done.

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The mother of all needle rolls.


Don’t forget to enter the drawing for the prairie boots pattern here!



The New Needle Roll

In an effort to finally corral and organize all of my knitting accoutrement, I have crafted (what I believe to be, in my own humble opinion) the most amazing of all amazing knitting needle rolls. Let me first give you an idea of what I was dealing with before I made this thing: needles everywhere, floating around my knitting basket(s) and in just about a gazillion different locations.

The internal monologue went something like this (and played out at least four or five times a month) –

Hey. where’re all my crochet hooks? I think they’re in a drawer somewhere. what drawer? well, I saw them last week, I think, and I’m pretty sure it was in a drawer. Great. Ok. Let’s check all the drawers. 
Ok, so what about my US3 sock needles? Well, I think they’re in the basket I only see 4 of them. where’s the 5th? It’s not in there? Well, no. I don’t think so. Are you sure? did you check the pocket? Oh, yeah. THAT’s where I put my 42″ Circulars!

Aaaand so on… Riveting, I know. So for the next step in my “Organizational Resolutions” goals, here’s where all my knitting tools are going to live from now on! (and as a bonus, I got to use up a ton of the marimekko scraps that i’ve been hoarding!)

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A simple plan for February.

Month two of the year of simple. I thought a lot about living a simple(r) life in January, and some things worked out well, but others didn’t.

I am a goal-oriented person. I like to see my results. and I love data. My Garmin GPS watch is great for this, because it provides me with a ton of data for every run. That alone is motivating for me – enough to get me out of the house, because I know I will see my results, for better or worse. That’s how I know I didn’t do as well as I had wanted for running in January.

But the other things were harder to track. Part of that is that “get my brain, body, life, and house more organized” is a little less concrete. The plan for February is, therefore, to quantify some of this, to see what sorts of patterns exist in my life. Once I establish my “baseline,” it’ll be much easier to keep track of my progress.

Like just about everyone else who makes new years resolutions, mine include some weight loss (included under the broader “body organization” category). It’s another easily-trackable piece of information, so every day in January, I weighed myself. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t all that encouraging to see little to no difference (and even a lot of increases) from day-to-day. But then I graphed it and could see what was really happening.


See that red line? When I look at the 5-day moving average (i.e. the average of the previous 5 days, the blue line), I see progress towards the green goal line! That’s exciting! And even better than knowing the progress that I’ve already made, I’m now feeling motivated to continue. For me, this motivation makes sticking to a plan, a goal, or a resolution a simple task.

So February’s simple plan is to log all the data I can about my life. This might sound not-so-simple to a lot of people. To me, though, this sounds like fun. And it’s ingrained in me to collect data and crunch numbers and to look for trends and patterns (I am, after all, a scientist!) It’s a bit of extra work, but it’s work that I can do.

I’ll keep track of my time (and how much of it I’m wasting). The miles I run and the speed I run them at will be easy to log. I’m going to continue with the weight goal. And I want to very clearly document projects that need to be done (and the completion of said projects). My thinking is that, once I know my baseline, I’ll be able to find ways to make the improvements that I want to make – to identify where my time is wasted, what my trouble-spots are in my house (for organization) and to see that I am making progress.

So whaddya think? Does this sound like a nightmare to you? If it doesn’t (or even if it just sounds like a tough but manageable project), would you join me in keeping track of some behavioral goal for the month of February? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, and I’m excited to see what happens over these 28 days.

(Don’t forget about the Prairie Boots Pattern Giveaway!  Enter the drawing here)


**I’ve been using the free Loseit app on my phone for daily calorie logging, with a 1-lb weekly weight-loss goal. I haven’t really stuck to it 100% every day, but it’s helping me be mindful of what goes into my body, and I’m re-learning portion control. Good things, without being restrictive. The habit of paying attention to what I eat, when I eat, and how much I eat has been helpful as I work towards happy food and a simple life. **

February is the shortest (and best) month of the year — A GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)



Yippee!!! It’s my birthday month!

To celebrate, I’m kicking off a month of weekly(ish) giveaways. Not 100% sure of what each week’s item will be, but you can bet that they’ll all be things that make me happy that I hope you’ll also like.

And Guess WHAT! The first giveaway starts TODAY!!!!  Remember these knit slippers?


Well, dudes, I’m giving away a PDF copy of the Prairie Boots Slippers pattern


Leave a comment on this post by 11:59 PM, CST, on 07 February, 2013. Tell me what color/s yarn you’d make your boots. Please include your name and an e-mail at which you can be reached. One entry per person, please!  Winner will be announced on Whirlwind and notified via e-mail on 08 Feb. The PDF will be available to the winner on the Coco Knits website.

Prairie Boots slippers are designed by Julie Wisenberger, Coco Knits.