twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Decisions, decisions. January 24, 2017

Filed under: jewels,knitting,life,writing — kathy @ 11:35 am
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“The only thing you want to do is stay in bed and pet me…I repeat, the only thing you want to do…”

Are you like this?

 

Over any given weekend, do you take time to make a list of things you’d like to do/accomplish during the upcoming week?

 

And then once the week begins, do the other “must handle” items like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and household chores get in the way and all your good intentions go out the window?

 

Does it drive you crazy, too?

 

I used to be so good about defining my goals and crossing them off my ever-lengthening to-do list—oh, how I love to cross stuff off my list—but the last few weeks, I look at that list and feel paralyzed. Forget all the other stuff that gets in the way; I just can’t choose where to start. And then I panic a little.

 

I realize some of that panic comes from the place in my head I mentioned a few weeks ago, the place where I feel I’m running out of time in my life. But this is getting out of hand. Some days I look up at the clock and see it’s noon and I am still sitting, cat on lap, trying to decide what to do that day. By then it’s usually too late to start anything of great importance, so I just run the vacuum around the house, or sort through the mail. Bleh.

 

I pondered this dilemma a good while this morning—two full coffee mug’s worth of time—(see what I mean?) and finally had this brilliant idea. Well, it seems brilliant now…we shall see.

 

Anyway, I thought that if every night before I went to bed I decided what I would tackle the following day and set things up to be able to jump right into my project, I’d be a step ahead of the game and save time, too. Kind of like laying my clothes out the night before. No heavy thinking, just get up, take care of the morning stuff, and then get to work.

 

Starting tomorrow—I mean tonight—I’ll begin this experiment. Let you know how it turns out…

 

Have you got any special ways to get your projects underway every day? Would love to know.

 

Insane brain November 13, 2014

Just a tiny sample...

Just a tiny sample of rosary bracelets and chaplets…

And that’s putting it mildly.

This is my craziest time of year, with custom orders, and trunk shows and craft fairs, forget about Thanksgiving and Christmas, both of which will likely be spent here in pjs and slippers. As my teenaged Bug says, I just don’t have the spoons for it all. Sigh.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been focused on putting together new designs for my annual holiday trunk show and a craft boutique for my local parish church. I have been working on and off all year on sparkly new stuff for the trunk show, so it’s not like I’m only doing all this last minute. However there is definitely something in me that loves a bit of a challenge, not to mention the part that has a last minute inspiration for a design. And then there are last minute Christmas custom orders.

That said, I decided to take a little pressure off by allowing myself to do just the parish Christmas Boutique now, and do the trunk show at Valentine’s Day–oh wait, I think I mentioned that last week. See…insane brain.

My fingertips are twanging as I type this because I’ve been making chaplets and rosaries and rosary bracelets for days now. A completely wire-wrapped bronze or sterling gemstone rosary takes an entire day (give or take a quick vacuuming or a load of laundry). Thing is, I shouldn’t probably make so many pieces. Especially rosaries. I should know better than to make too many because invariably someone (or two) will come up to my display and wrinkle their noses or gasp at my prices. It makes me crazy, because my work isn’t the kind of “made in China” assembly line stuff you find in a Christian Book Store. It’s actually something made by hand of fine metals and gemstones, one-of-a-kind and meant to be an heirloom.

But I digress.

And I’d better get back to work so I might be able to squeak out some time to daydream…I have a story percolating in my head, all itching to get out and written. And a load of laundry. And dinner. Oh yes, and maybe some long neglected knitting (whaaaa). 😦 There’s just too much stuff in my head.

What I need is an hour spent at this amazing spa called Watercourse Way. Hmm. maybe I need to book an appointment for one the week after this boutique. I have a gift certificate, after all.

I hope I made some sense today. What gets you going this time of year? I’d love to know I’m not alone.

 

Back in the Saddle Again… January 2, 2013

Filed under: jewels,knitting,life,writing — kathy @ 1:36 pm
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A few favorite pieces from this year's trunk show

A few favorite pieces from this year’s trunk show

Well, I may not have been abducted by aliens as I joked months ago, but I’d certainly have to say that I was overwhelmed by UFOs since I wrote my last post. UFOs–unfinished objects, that is.

The finished "Coat of Many Colors." What a project!

The finished “Coat of Many Colors.” What a project!

Where do I even start? (Begin run-on sentence, because frankly that’s how it felt) It started with knitting like crazy to finish those “nearly done” projects that I really could use, knitting gifties for those I love, then I got the wild hair to open a new Etsy store, made scads of bridal jewelry this year, and mid-summer, determined that this year I’d be ready to go with my new pieces of jewelry at the beginning of November instead of a day or two before my big annual trunk show; the plot thickened when Bug’s 8th grade year began, and all sorts of little things needed to be accomplished before the Holidays that somehow required my help (these are too numerous to list, but include class projects and the 8th grade class trip).

Namely her applications to the local private high schools were a huge focus this fall. Sheesh. It was like applying for college (well, way back in my day, anyway; I know that’s also tougher now). And the poor kid has to take a test like an SAT in a couple of weekends, on top of it all. Not that she should have a problem (even though those Waldorf schools don’t generally test the kids, so she’s not really used to “test-taking”), however, we’re practicing taking timed tests just for the feel of it, and that makes for an unhappy kid over her Christmas Break. Not to mention I’m now helping out in the school handwork class once a week until the end of the school year. This, of course, caused me to come down with a horrible cold over the break on top of it all.

I know all of that doesn’t sound like a good reason for not writing; I suppose it sounds like a whole bunch of whining and I’m sorry for that. Frankly I really miss writing. It was just that so many things were vying for my attention, that I was truly overwhelmed. I think the thing that overwhelms me most is the jewelry-making. And honestly, between the rising cost of materials, the huge drain on my time, and the lack of a good place to work (a place where I can leave out my work-in-progress, as well as do metal clay and torch work, and no, what I  used to call my “studio” has become a fancy cat bathroom…sigh.), I’m seriously considering taking a year off from jewelry-making.

A view of some of this year's trunk show items...

A view of some of this year’s trunk show items…

This year’s show was not as well attended, which was no huge surprise to me with the way the economy’s been going. What was hard was that for all the time I spent making jewelry, I could’ve made more money working part time at the local Hallmark store. More than that, however, I feel somewhat as though I’ve made a wrong turn, focusing on jewelry, and that I should stop, take out a map, and re-examine my route.

I’ve been meditating and praying a lot lately, trying to determine a real direction for my next few years (especially since the world didn’t come to an end on 12/21, thank you very much. Oh, how much stash yarn would’ve been wasted.). I suspect things are about to take a wee shift, and I sense the need to move along with them–get into the flow. Every year I talk about my writing, and how much it means to me. perhaps this is the year that will be my “get it done once and for all year.” I’m not exactly sure how it’ll pan out, but then, I’ve never really followed through with it all. I have so many stories to write dancing around in my addled brain…

And somehow, fiber and yarn is also part of this shift in focus for me. Not sure if it’s the dyeing, or the pattern-writing, or what. I just feel like I really need to commit to a new direction this year.

Anyway, instead of dwelling on time lost and the unknown ahead, I will say that finishing knitting projects and making gifts was a joyful and fulfilling process since the summer’s end. And the undertaking of opening a new Etsy store for my rosaries and rosary bracelets, with all the photography and copywriting, was refreshing as well.

So the journey begins once again, and I’m happy to say I’m back in the saddle. I wish you all, dear friends, wonderful things in the upcoming new year, and give you a promise to keep you all abreast of how my own trip’s going. Happy New Year!

(Below are just a few of the knitting projects I finished in the past few months that I wanted to share…)

For a friend's baby...

For a friend’s baby…

A cuddly "Delius" Vest for Captain Romance

A cuddly “Delius” Vest for Captain Romanc

A loverly teapot cozy for a most loverly friend

A loverly teapot cozy for a most loverly friend

 

Hat Trick March 26, 2012

Please forgive me. Once again, posts have been sidetracked by unavoidable responsibilities, peppered by lots of fun stuff, jewelry-making, and wool-related activities.

When I last checked in with all of you, both Darling Cuz and Stitches West were coming to my part of the world. It was so much fun, and met with so much excitement, that when they finally first opened the doors of the hallowed Market (Bug and I always go to the opening night of the Market as one of our special girlie activities…I head straight for Blue Moon Fiber, she goes for all the roving), a wild cheer went up through the crowd. If only I’d have been taking a video that evening. What a rush!

This is a very cool, wool-wrapped statue at the Lion Brand Yarn Booth!

Of course Cuz and I had a mahvelous time oogling wool, knitting, gabbing, and eating! I wish it’d never ended. But then we’ll always have our summer trek out to the Fold in Marengo, one of the most wonderful places to buy yarn, as well as the fact that we get a few hours of uninterrupted gabbing in on the way. Heaven! Miss you, Cuz!

OMG! This bag was a-dorable! But I couldn't justify the $260 price when I know I could find the materials and make something like it for $50 or so. Watch for details of that...

Then just the other day, I thought it’s be a blast to “surprise” my nephew who’s away at school with a little box of goodies, and what would be better in a box of goodies besides some yummy food treats, but a yummy Malabrigo Hat treat. So I popped over to one of my fab LYSs, Uncommon Threads, because they’re one of the local shops that carries Mmmmalabrigo.

I decided to make “A Hat Fit For a Boyfriend” using some Rios in Azul Profundo. CR said, “Hmm, that’s nice,” so I grabbed another skein of the exact same yarn, while the Bug became entranced by a skein in the “Candobe” colorway for what she wanted: a slouchy hat. Okay, who am I to argue? You want me to knit you guys hats with some Malabrigo? I guess I’ll have to forcemyself… 😉 After perusing all the wonderful slouchy hats on Rav, she picked the loads of fun “Knit Night Hat.”

A super fun pattern!

Not a great picture, but you get the idea...

At any rate, three hats flew off my needles in the past few weeks, along with a great squishy cowl made from (what else?) more Malabrigo: this time Rasta in Garden Gate and I used the LTYC Super Bulky Cowl.

So much fun, and only took one day…and was just the thing she needed for a class ski trip to Tahoe with CR.

!he LTYC Super Bulky Cowl. Super Freaky!

I love covering my loved ones in knitted love. Like Franklin Habit says (okay, I’m paraphrasing), it’s like saying I love you, 12,000 times. Crazytown.

Oh, the colors are magnificent!

And I’ve been trudging along on my beloved “Dreamcoat of Many Colors,” swirl coat by Sandra McIver. Fabulous idea, brain-bending instructions, gobs of purling. Gobs and gobs. But I invested in this project 100%, and intend on finishing it. I’ve finished the outer oval shaping that forms the collar and the lower body, but have spent a few hours stuck at “Welt 14” where (I think) you begin to build the back of the body and the upper sides of the coat, so I’m a little behind where I thought I’d be by now. There are 2, chock full of information, schematics in the book, but honestly, if you don’t understand what the knitting should look like, you’re a little lost. In fact, if the instructions for Welt 14 started with the phrase, “You will now begin to knit flat as you form the back and upper sides of the body,” I honestly believe that it would be a little easier to understand. Luckily, after pouring over all the Ravelry projects for the coat, I found one (in German) that had some great photos that helped make the light go on! Hoorah!

Nonetheless, I will keep going with this project and with any luck, finish it while it’s still cool enough to wear it! Even if I don’t, it’ll be a major accomplishment I’ll be thrilled to wear. The colors of the yarn are amazing.

Well, plenty of other stuff going on, so I’d better get a move on over here. Hope to have a good bit of progress made on the sweater over the next few days.

As always, please feel free to add a comment or two! I love to know what’s happening out there with all of you! 

 

What’s up? October 8, 2011

Well, once again, I’ve found myself mired in the quicksand of life…so much is going on that I haven’t had a chance to post anything lately. Even though day after day post ideas pop into my head; it’s just that I haven’t had a spare moment to write. You see, I’m missing one very important skill: supersonic fast typing skills.

I mentioned once that way back in 8th grade at Edison Jr. High, when we were forced to take a typing class, I silently revolted against the teacher, thinking, “I’m not going to be a secretary. Why the heck should I learn to type? I’ll look at the keys if I feel like it…” Result? my top speed on any typing test in that class was 39 words per minute. Mostly because I’d look at the keys, as well as correct my mistakes as I went along.

Fast forward to now. Hmm. Didn’t need to learn how to type, eh? Well, all the angels in heaven had a mighty good laugh at me. Over 17 years writing full time in advertising…my dearest dream of being a published fantasy writer (thousands of pages written/edited/deleted/saved by now), this blog…just general correspondence…the list goes on and on.

With all that writing, I have to admit that my typing skills have improved. Vastly. But I still look at the keys on occasion. This causes me to take a good 2 to 3 hours to create a post here.

All this is my way of explaining why I haven’t posted in an age, and to say I’m sorry. I really enjoy writing here, visiting and letting you know what’s happening.

That’s the other part of it, though. This is my super-de-duper busiest time of the year. My annual Talisman Rocks Holiday Trunk Show is coming up in a month (November 18th and 19th), and I’ve been at it full time. Really inspired this year to create some new things. Here’s a wee “amuse bouche” of the goods:

Gorgeous Karen Thai sterling pendants, luscious pearls and gemstones knotted on irish linen and silk lay softly over one's clavicle...

Long earrings! So much fun and so "now!"

Also had a day by myself last Saturday, and really finally figured out what I was doing wrong dyeing yarn. Came up with some glorious goodies that I really think I would sell, though I might have to send out a few to some intrepid knitting pals to test knit with…more on that another time.

Here’s a look at some of what I worked up: Merino, merino with cashmere, Blue-faced Leicester with silk, and Alpaca with merino and silk. Yummy stuff. If I had a studio to work in, I’d do this 3 or 4 days a week.

from left, BFL silk fingering, Merino cashmere fingering, Merino fingering

The camera just isn't getting the luscious wines and cinnamons here...better in the picture of the yarn drying at the bottom of this post.

And, I’ve had a couple of design ideas bouncing around in my old noggin so I’ve been playing with that, too.

More on what I'm up to here later...yes, that's yarn I dyed! Super soft merino in a cinnamon candy red.

Busy, busy.

Well, that’s nothing new, I suppose.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Hugs to you all!

Here the reds are closer to what they look like in real life...

A fun, sort of firey autumn leaves/hogwarts hand painted merino.

 

Procrastination, resolution, evolution. January 4, 2011

This is what Christmas should look like...

Well, well, my friends. It has indeed been ages and ages since I selected “new post” from my blog menu options. In part because I was plum tired out from my annual end-of-year ride on the crazy train, in part because every time I thought I could jot something down to report and hopefully entertain you all with, I found myself overwhelmed with all the crap stuff that was going on—everything seemed too complicated to put into digest form. So then I’d find something else on my “to do before Christmas” list that I believed was more manageable, such as, “make felted soaps for teacher’s gifts,” or “memorize the Declaration of Independence.”  Ha ha ha. Who am I kidding?

Yes, I admit it. My name is Kathy and I am a procrastinator.

As further evidence of that, besides the blog, you should know that both the felted soaps and the Declaration fell by the wayside.

What did I accomplish over the past month and one quarter? Hmm. Let’s see. Perhaps I can do it as writer Anne Lamott says, Bird by Bird. That is, do one thing, then the next. And I will try to find some way to connect all of it as I go.

Jewelry-making:

I spent many days fulfilling custom orders and restocking the local Aveda Salon that features my work. I enjoy custom work, however I prefer not to do it during the days leading up to the holidays when so many other things are demanding my attention. Wish I’d had time to take some pictures of what I did do, but that was yet another of the things I procrastinated doing until it was too late and the pieces were in the mail to their new owners.

"Who, me...naughty?"

Lucy:

Yes, Lucy has her own spot in my crazytown line-up, along with her best new nickname by far (coined by Captain Romance): Goofus McButthead. You may ask, “why has this innocent-looking pile of fur, teeth, and claws earned this unusual new name?” Well, she has ventured into a career of what I like to call Deconstructive Paper Art. CR calls it: “What the hell heck is wrong with that cat?” Here are some examples of her work:

Her first work, entitled "Chaos in Situ"

She also likes to draw and quarter tiny toy mice, sever power supply cords for small electronic devices (especially while plugged into the wall) and worst of all, nibble through unattended strands of yarn—especially those attached to my current knitting projects. And I was worried about the possibility getting moths.  I’m thinking of sending her to boarding school.

More recent pieces which express a more frantic approach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Who you callin' Goofus McButthead?"

Oh Happy Day with homemade flourless fudge cake and clams (not together, of course)

Bug Turned 12:

This past December the Bug had her 12th birthday, complete with her “first-in-ages party” at a tearoom with her school chums, as well as a special meal at home with a dear older neighbor friend. Already I’m noticing splashes of angst and drama around here—more than usual. This should be an interesting year.

Knitting Projects:

And one of her birthday presents was this nifty “Werewolf Hat” from Vampire Knits. Luckily this took only 2 days to make as I kept telling myself after my trunk show that I’d have plenty of time to make it and continued to work on other crap stuff. Used some extremely soft and thick Rowan Cocoon I’d snagged for 60% off at the 6:00 AM Purlescence Yarns Pajama Jammie Jam Yarn Sale the day after Thanksgiving. Cleverly bought enough to make a pair of Bella Mittens, which I am contemplating making for her to have in time for her class ski trip…we shall see. I hesitate because if I do, she will certainly lose them; if not, I’ll worry about her little fingers.

Will there be room in the Twilight saga for another character?

Finally finally finally finished Amelia! I so desperately needed a cardigan to take to Chicago for Christmas. Hey, it’s cold there. I was literally sewing the vintage buttons on the night before we left.

Then in a mad dash for Christmas morning, as soon as the buttons were on, I began a pair of toe-up Van Dyke Socks from one of my all time fav sock knitting books, “Socks from the Toe Up” by Wendy D. Johnson of Wendy Knits. I used wonderful Blue Moon Socks That Rock “mediumweight” superwash merino from my stash! These were for my darling mother who is to have some foot surgery soon. Let me tell you, this was a fast knit. And you all know I do not knit fast. I knit most of them on the plane and If I hadn’t had so many errands to do in Chicago after I got there, I would’ve finished them both there. As it turned out, I finished the second sock on the plane ride home and will now have to send it back. But I did finish it!!

The second sock

So there were so many other “birds” flapping around my life in addition to the main things I listed here, including helping out a couple of sick friends, getting teacher gifts ready, shopping and mailing christmas presents ahead, getting the old homestead ready for the house/cat sitter, mailing out custom work, holiday breakfasts and lunches with dear friends, designing, addressing, and mailing Christmas cards…just to name a few. But these things are things we all do before the holidays, so to list them in more detail would be a bore.

One thing I promise myself, though: In 2011, no matter what, I will make myself ready for Christmas early so that making fruitcakes and plum puddings,  and my dreams of caroling through the neighborhood like I did as a young teen will be memories I can share with my Bug and her cousins next year. That instead of throwing presents into gift bags from the Dollar Tree (which are actually quite nice), bleary-eyed at 2:45 AM,  I have a day to wrap a few carefully made or chosen gifts beautifully.

I think I’d better get started now. 🙂

Here’s wishing you all, my dear friends, the happiest new year yet!

A slow-simmering pot of luck-inducing Hoppin' John to ring in the new year

 

 

Like Alice down the Rabbit Hole… November 23, 2010

Filed under: jewels,life — kathy @ 10:58 am
Tags: ,

…that’s how I feel. Tumbling, tumbling, tumbling.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted anything. The days just flew by as I prepared for my Holiday Trunk Show. Of course I had lots of help from Bug and Lulu (if you call that help, I mean the cat here).

This has been my motto over the last relentless month...note my helper there.

Just a few of the Trunk Show goodies on display...

And when it finally happened, well, it was great fun to see all my friends, old pals and some new. And as for what didn’t sell, well, some of it’s promised to a boutique or two, and the rest is going into my Etsy Shop.

And in order to make room for the new goodies, I’m putting everything in the shop at 20% off until December 5th, so if there’s anything you might want, now’s a great time to snap it up.

Well anyway, I’m gonna take a day or two to get all my other neglected affairs in order, and then update you all on the other stuff going on. Meanwhile, I’m sending you love and well wishes for this Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for friends like you all.

My newest obsession: knotting gemstones on Irish linen cord. Yum!

 

 

 
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