Friday, January 31, 2014

Stuck in my own Groundhog Day

Truly, it does seem this way.

I have been a bad blogger.  When I finally sit down to write, every post seems to start with an apology for not having posted much lately.

So what's up with that?  For the last month, to be blunt, I have felt like crap.  Over Christmas, we went to Florida for a family vacation and to spend time with the Navy son.  My father, sister, brother-in-law, hubby, oldest son, step-daughter and I ventured south to get away and enjoy time together with him.  We were blessed to be able to also host and spend time with a couple of other guys from his base that were not able to be with family on Christmas Day.  Probably the best part of the whole trip was the Ugly Sweater photos we took.  During the planning phase of the trip, Alex, my oldest, suggested that we plan on taking some sort of family picture while we were there...but NOT the typical everyone in matchy matchy cutesy outfits.  We are not that normal.  Thus began the search for the ugliest Christmas sweaters we could find in order to create the "family personality weirdness correct" photo.   The search for said sweaters was referenced here, and we will be coming back to an update to that post shortly.  But in the meantime, indulge me in the backstory.

Christmas Day--the two poor fellas that joined us got sucked into our weirdness...but they DID so quite willingly!  As we ventured out of the condo and headed to the beach, we created quite a stir.  It was obviously impossible for the people we passed NOT to look/smile/and say Merry Christmas.  The fact that we were caroling loudly and greeting everyone probably did not help.  And, of course, we took that attention and ran with it.  Crossing the street it occurred to one of us that we looked sort of like a Griswold Christmas Beatles album cover.  So, re-do, while I stood in the middle of the road to snap this epic pose.

One of the guys graciously snapped our family photo after we shot a few of the whole group of us (once the camera timer was figured out).  It's a keeper!  We left a spot in the middle in order to edit in an appropriate picture of the Marine son, that could not be with us in person.  Where there's a will, there's a way...thank goodness for technology!!!

Yes, we really are this weirdly goofy, and I would not have it any other way.

During the trip, we had grand ideas about swimming/hot tubbing it every night.  Ha!  One night was all that really happened.  One night that I forgot about my whole problem with getting water in my ears.  It's bad, people, really bad.  So, for the last month, I have been battling a progressive infection in my ear and sinuses which knocked me for a loop.  Add to that, the debilitating epicondylitis (tennis elbow...or more appropriately...crochet elbow) resulting from the warp speed production of multiple pairs of Converse slippers and baby blankets for a project Marine-boy got me involved with and I have been pretty much down and out on the crafting front this month.

There has been a little bit of knitting going on, and it is increasing as my elbow improves.  Spinning has been much easier though, which led to the completion of the cashmere reclaiming project.  If you recall, I stumbled across a Women's 1X, 100% two-ply cashmere, Lord and Taylor sweater on the 50% off rack at Goodwill when searching for the ugly Christmas sweater.  $2.30 for cashmere?  Heck ya!!!

After posting about the find, someone asked about how to deconstruct the sweater.  It boils down to understanding sweater construction, then picking away until you find the ends that have been woven in.  Then, the magic happens as it unravels into potential yarny glory.

Don't you LOVE the high tech toilet paper tube bobbin for unravelling the yarn to?

Navajo plied yarn from one sleeve and the front.

First skein from one sleeve and the back.

Second skein from one sleeve and the front. (just off the bath yet)

Each skein has just under 400 yards of fingering weight yarn.  Total cost of ~800 yards of gorgeous, very very good quality cashmere in a color I think I'm going to leave alone: $2.30.  OH YEAH BABY!  Difficulty of doing this was not very great.  If you have a wheel or a drop spindle, I would heartily encourage you to give reclaiming yarn a try.  This goes beyond my normal make a sweater/hate said sweater/rip it out and make something else routine.  And even if you don't have a wheel, many sweaters can be found on the cheap, that are made from quite nice and luxurious fibers and are already at a gauge you would like.  In that case, all you have to do is deconstruct, unravel, skein up and give it a soaky bath to relax its memory and you are good to go.

Now what to make??? (besides the obvious gloves and/or socks)


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Listless? No way!!



Color Coordinated Notebooks.


These things make me giddy.

While I embrace the good parts of technology, part of me knows that everything I have stored digitally can be erased in a fraction of a second.  This technicality of the "modern age", keeps me tied to hard copies of everything that is important to me, whether it be pictures, calendars, address books, or copies of all my files.

To say I enjoy the organizational process of making and executing detailed lists for my life is a gross understatement.  I thrive in order, but that is not to say that a bit of chaos thrown in doesn't get me going either!  Not to mention that little spark of wonderfulness knowing that I know exactly where something is in my home and that things are being taken care of.  One important point about organization, is that it is an ongoing, always evolving process.  It shifts and changes along with the changes to my external world.

For as long as I can remember, list making has been part of my existence.  All through public school, college, and grad school my study plan was a highly detailed and exacting breakdown of time division for each subject.  Once married, I implemented elaborate cleaning schedules and line item budgets.  Are all these things regimented, time consuming and devoid of spontaneity?  Not in the least.  If anything, they afford me the opportunity for MORE down time to do what I want to do for fun, because in a nutshell, everything has a place and is in its place and done in a timely manner.  I have probably read and used portions of every home organization plan/approach that was written about throughout the '90's.  I have a daily cleaning/chore schedule that allows my home to stay neat and clean without the need for craziness in cleaning mode just to get ready for guests or even to simply function in.  Is this for everyone?  No.  But it works for me, even if it does garner snarky comments from some.

Over the years, I have used several different versions of home inventories, but believe I have now perfected what works for me.  Part of being a good steward and in control of one's own world, involves planning for the future and being prepared.  It is common knowledge that I am a huge proponent of using coupons/sales in order to create a well stocked home pantry so that everything is purchased at rock bottom prices and I have a supply on hand at all times.  While my children have often scoffed and called me a "hoarder", that has never stopped them from enjoying the fruits of my labors and "shopping" from my cabinets.

Do you make lists?  Do you actually use them?  Inquiring minds want to know.


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