Happy New Year & Decade!

Last year’s new year’s resolutions didn’t quite stick. This year I’m not giving myself such strict things to abide by. This year, I’m simply going to be better to myself by eating healthier, not taking on too many things at once, and reducing my stress. I want to simplify my life. I plan to get rid of many things that I no longer use that are accumulating in my house. I plan to unsubscribe from newsletters that I don’t read and not renew magazine subscriptions. I plan to set attainable goals for myself and not plan to do unrealistic things. Such as, The Crafty Kitten Studio is now closed until May 1, 2010 for two reasons. One, it’s very cold in my studio during the winter and Two, I shouldn’t plan to work on things during tax season because I’m usually too tired and overworked. During the next four months, I’ll still be knitting though.

I hope 2010 is a great year for everyone!

BTW, the Sylvi coat is almost done, one sleeve and the hood to go.

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O’ Christmas Tree, O’ Christmas Tree

I put our Christmas tree up this evening. I didn’t put many ornaments this year due to the for legged family members curiosity and chewing habits. My ornaments have to be fabric or some other material that wouldn’t hurt my pup if she were to chew it or break into a million sharp pieces when the kitties knock them off. All of my ornaments are hand made though. There are fabric bunny ornaments that a very sweet person gave me about six years ago, a felt hear that Beverly gave me, and four tiny books that I made. I’m hoping that I can come up with a few more handmade ornaments before Christmas, either ones made by me or others (others preferably because they are so much more special.)

Christmas Tree 2009

Ornaments

Handmade ornaments

My tree topper this year is a very well taken care of Heavenly Angel from the 60’s. I purchased it last year at a yard sale and it is in excellent condition and in the original box. I suspect that she was never taken out of the box.

Heavenly Angel Tree Topper

I also made a super tasty dinner tonight. Tilapia with asparagus and baby bellas. So veryyummy!

Yummy Dinner 12-09-09

Alterations

During my break from blogging, I also took some breaks from other things. I took several weekends off from the shop, I took the last of my vacation days at the office, and I took a break from knitting for others. I actually became bored at times and a bit stir crazy. However, I definitely needed it. I needed this time to rest and reenergize. I took time to visit my family. I took time to realign my goals and rethink some things. I took time to listen to what my body and spirit were telling me.

I had to think about what in my craft life I want to pursue as a hobby and what I want to pursue as a business and what kinds of things I want to produce. I needed to define boundaries for myself so that I know how to appropriately use my time. Though I have a fiber related job, knitting, crocheting, and spinning are my hobbies with the exception of my plans for toys, which may or may not become a reality. Sewing is also a hobby. These are all things I enjoy, but I do not intend to attempt to make money from them anymore. Not to say that I will not use these skills in my business but I will not be focusing on them in a business way.

When I did my apprenticeship in bookbinding in 2006, my original intention was to create book sculpture pieces or collectible pieces not pretty journals and sketchbooks. Somewhere along my path, I just settled into making pretty things and not expressing what I feel or think. I somehow forgot what I wanted to do. I was caught up in making and forgot to think. I just popped out tons of books and kept right on making. I had some great ideas along the way, I would jot them down in my ideas book, and there they would sit, while I went and made another pretty book. That combined with trying to make every craft I do profitable and, well, I sabotaged myself. There will be sketchbooks and journals in my shop but you will be seeing less of them as time goes on. I have a bunch stocked up now and hope to have them in the shop soon.

My life became very “GO, GO, GO!” “DO, DO, DO!” and “MAKE, MAKE, MAKE!” I lost sight of what is important in life; my health and my family. Sometimes I think I can take on the world and be superwoman to everyone who asks. Sometimes I forget to say “No.” I am a chronic people pleaser and I need to stop. My constant on the go lifestyle has made me miss out on things like seeing my nieces and visiting my grandmother, helping my mom finish that last 6 inches of quilt binding, dinner parties and board games with friends, and spending time with my husband.

Between the stress (mostly the stress I put on myself) and being on the wrong type of medicine for a while, my health was not in tiptop shape. I am on a new medicine now and I am feeling much better. I have had to rethink the types of foods that I eat. For several months, I was running on mostly caffeine and bad food. The bad eating habits combined with a hormone imbalance caused by my old meds made me gain weight quickly. I have cut out fast food and caffeine sodas. Earlier this year, I cut out coffee and I am now trying to quit the non-caffeine sodas. I am also doing much better with keeping up with my vitamins and protein shakes.

I am taking much better care of myself now and I am feeling much better. I am ready to get back in the game but this time I am playing by the rules I have set.

So, what exactly did I do during all that time off other than watch entirely too much TV? Well, I knit of course! I started the Sylvi coat from Twist Collective. I have finished the back. Hurray!! I had some gauge issues so there was plenty of math to do. I ended up knitting the large size and adding in about 50 rows which meant repeating sections of the cable chart. I have started on one side of the front panels but I am only a little bit into it.

Sylvi in progress

I finished a pair of socks in Koigu which are the most comfortable pair of socks I have knit so far. I have also picked the Hat Heel sock back up so I can finish the pair and stop feeling guilty about the Malabrigo sock yarn sitting there staring at me. I just need to finish the cuff and weave in all those ends.

October Afternoon Socks

I have also been working on the Whisper Cardigan. I am about one and a half inches from starting the second sleeve. I am working on it slowly because it is my go to mindless knitting for now. With all the cabling I did in the Sylvi coat, I need some mindless stockinette knitting for a while.

Whisper cardi wip

I have decided that I am only knitting/crocheting a very small handful of gifts for Christmas this year, four things to be exact. I am making three dishcloths to go in a bath set for the three tween girls in the family. Two are finished and I will have the third in no time. The fourth thing is a pair of leg warmers for my husband. He actually requested them, which made me happy 🙂 The first one is on the needles right now and is coming along pretty quickly.

One of the things that I had committed to before my break was a Ravelry swap. It was Crime Show/Mystery themed. I had so much fun putting the package for my partner together. I made her the Allison Dubois spa set, which included a handmade sleep mask, a bath cloth with a skull pattern, and a handmade blood spatter journal all inside of a handmade project bag. I also sent her a skein of Malabrigo lace in the most beautiful blue and two balls of Brown Sheep Nature Spun in Storm, a new crochet hook, a copy of Mary Kruger’s Died in the Wool, a pattern from her favorites list, carmex, flavor-aid for dying, a clear zipper project bag, cedar balls to keep her stash fresh, coil less safety pins, cashews, wasabi peas, and Darjeeling tea. I packaged everything to look as if they were evidence in a case by putting different things into envelopes and labeling them with things like “Exhibit A”. I also included a case file (the pattern) and two envelopes for my spoilee’s girls that were for her “Detectives In-Training” which included a Tinkerbell notepad and pencil so they can take witness statements.

Crime Show/Mystery Swap Package

Crime Show/Mystery Swap Package

I will give a plant update since I did not get to blog completely through their growing season. The killer tomatoes that we mowed over, after they were broken down by the weight of their own fruits, came back! The plant started growing again and started producing tomatoes again. I left them on the vine until the end of the second week of November because they had not begun to turn red yet, even though they were huge, but an unexpected frost did them in. My pepper plant did not give me anything edible. I picked the pumpkins the week of Halloween but didn’t get to carve them because we had company that evening. The pumpkins ended up being just as big as the ones you can pick up at the grocery store only healthier. When I did carve them open so I could get the seeds back outside, the meat was nearly three inches thick and probably thicker on the largest one. I did as I always do and released the seeds back into the wild. With the number of seeds that we had, my pumpkins may very well take over the town next year.

My birthday was on the 20th, I usually complain that my birthday is so horrible because it usually falls in the same week of Thanksgiving and everyone is caught up on eating turkey and making dinner so they forget. This year it fell in the week before so it ended up being wonderful. My dad threw me a joint birthday party/dinner with my grandma, whose birthday is the 16th. It was so wonderful that he put effort into my birthday this year. My hubby and I went to the Mexican restaurant, we lucked up, and were the only people there, so it was as if the whole place was just for us. My mom had a pizza party for me and I was able to spend time with my brother and his family. I then spent Saturday morning at the shop and then went shopping with Pam. With Thanksgiving the next week, I again was able to spend time with my entire immediate family and my aunt & uncle were able to come to dinner too.

November and my break was wonderful.