Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am one lucky dog--you can be too!

First of all, thanks for all the nice words--I'm convinced they made me feel better faster, which just proves that whining works.

Time for the fun stuff! The "surprise" I've been alluding to for weeks now? This empty nester now has her very own space to create and work and relax in. I still almost can't believe it. I've turned our guest room into the studio I've been dreaming of for years. Check out these before photos:

This is one way to make sure guests don't stay long, but I don't recommend it. And don't even get me started on the closet in this room. I'll spare you the photos, in case you've just eaten.

And now the after photos:

This is my new desk and chair. The clock hanging on the wall above the cabinet was made by my son many years ago, and it's very special to me.

I love the chair by the window. Unfortunately, I haven't had as much time to lounge in it as I planned, but it's lovely to sit by the window and knit or read, even if it's only for a short while. The footstool is the reason for my second and third trip to Ikea. They were out of it when I decided I really did want it after all.

I love the shelving, my favorite Ikea purchase. DH and I put it together and while I wouldn't call it a walk in the park, we did it without snarling at each other even once. Notice the picture above the rocking chair...

I love all the little cubbies that hold my stash and books. It's so nice to have everything where I can find it and get at it easily, and there's the perfect amount of space for the vertical swift I picked up at Sock Summit. I'm hoping I'll get back to inkle weaving now that I can find my loom without sending out a search team.

I honestly feel like I'm more productive already, even though the closet is not completely organized, and I still need to find window coverings and do some wall patching.

Yes, I know how lucky I am, and I know I had a lot of help and inspiration getting here. This brings me to the best part--the giveaway! There will be not one but THREE lucky winners. I always feel bad when I draw one name, knowing that everybody else is disappointed--not this time!

Here are the prizes:

Donna Druchunas has been such a huge inspiration for me. She has been so generous with her knowledge and expertise, and has given me yarn, books, and so much more. It is because of that generosity that I'm offering three of her books and some very yummy lace-weight yarn as two of the giveaways.

The third giveaway is inspired by Sock Summit. It's the necklace I showed in this post, and some delicious sock yarn called Twinkle Toes.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment here. The first name I draw will get to choose first, the second name goes second, and so on. Want to up your chances of winning? Leave another comment with your favorite organizational tip or a link to one, and you'll get an extra chance.

Remember, all comments must be on this blog post to be eligible for the drawing. I'll pick the winning names on September 7, around noon MST, by way of a random number generator.

Good luck everybody and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn

I hate to use words like 'gastrointestinal' in a blog post, but I figure if I do, you won't ask for details. Trust me, you don't want to know. I'm only surfacing today because somewhere in my foggy brain I recall something about a contest and a surprise and who knows what else I said.

I've been saving the few working brain cells I have for basic functions like sleeping and whining, but I promise the moment I have the energy to do anything more there will be one heck of a giveaway on this blog. Seriously. And my surprise? Let's just say it was worth three trips to Ikea...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Parents of College-Bound Kids: It Will Be O.K.

Tomorrow, DD moves out of our house and into the dorm. This is a good thing. Let me repeat: THIS IS A GOOD THING.

The last few days I've read so many blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts from parents who are ready to have a nervous breakdown because their adult child (emphasis on ADULT) is doing what they raised them to do--grow up. I have a headache from all my eye-rolling. Seriously. The obstetrician cut the umbilical cord eighteen years ago. It's your turn now. Get out those scissors and finish the job. IT WILL BE O.K.

I know I will miss DD's presence. I know I will worry about whether or not she's eating right, being safe, doing homework on time, wearing clean underwear, hanging out with good people, and all the other things I've worried about for the last eighteen years. But now these decisions are hers. For all those years, I cooked the meals but didn't force her to eat them. I told her how to be safe online but didn't restrict her internet access. I reminded her that doing homework first, then playing X-Box was a much better plan then vice versa, and let her deal with her teachers when she ignored that advice. If she smelled funny and we were going to be in the car together, I gave her the choice of changing her clothes or riding on the roof of the car. She wasn't the most fastidious kid in the world but she never chose the car roof, not once.

I suppose I should sympathize with parents who are freaking out because their kid will be on their own. If you spent their childhood making sure that they couldn't handle life without the training wheels, then I guess you do have reason to worry, and I'm sorry about that. But just like cats landing on their feet, so will your kid. They might get bumped and bruised along the way, and have to go commando because they haven't done laundry in a month, but they'll figure it out.

Don't get the impression that I think my daughter has this whole thing nailed and will never call home crying or complaining. *I'm not that stupid. But I am so excited for her! I know that after all the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, she is going to find out she can handle way more on her own than she ever thought she could. She's going to learn and explore and grow and turn into the most magnificent woman I can image. She's going to change the world--this I am certain of. She changed mine and her dad's eighteen years ago, and nothing has ever been the same.

So I just got a little verklempt myself, but when I think about DD's closet now having room for her stuff that's presently in the guest room closet... stay tuned!

*My son turned out pretty damn wonderful in spite of me, so I'll let my track record speak for itself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm anonymously famous!

Check out the cover of the next Piecework Magazine. See those mittens? No, I didn't design them--Donna Druchunas did. But I made them, which is a little bit like saying you proofread War and Peace for Leo Tolstoy. Or something like that.

This is not my exciting news that is worthy of a giveaway, by the way. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Me and My Arrows...

As usual, I'm up to my butt in alligators. DD moves into the dorm on Thursday and there's chaos and piles o'crap everywhere EXCEPT FOR ONE PLACE...

Let me explain the arrows in the crappy iPhone photo:

  • The yellow arrow is pointing to my new vertical yarn swift. The nice people from The Oregon Woodworker were letting people demo their swifts at Sock Summit. I saw this bad boy hanging on their booth wall and that was all she wrote. I love it! No more schlepping my swift and ball winder downstairs to the kitchen. 
  • The red arrow is pointing to the Sock Summit tote Donna gave me. Thanks Donna, you're the best!
  • The blue arrow is pointing to the yarn swift bag I bought from Slipped Stitch Studios. They were at Sock Summit too, and had some really great things. The link is to their Etsy shop (and the bag that ran a close second to the geisha-print bag I bought) if you want to check it out. I'm going to keep my original yarn swift in it so it won't get dinged up. It'll be great for travel--you just never know when you're going to need a yarn swift on the road.
  • And last but not least--the green arrow is pointing to something in that one place I alluded to. It's almost ready to be revealed and I am so happy and excited about it I can hardly stand it.
I'm going to have a post-Sock Summit, Empty Nester, and EXCEPT FOR ONE PLACE give-away on Friday. There will be details in the next few days. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 8, 2011

What's the hurry?

The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry.
—John Jensen

I am decidedly NOT in a hurry to get to the other end of anything in summertime. If I had my druthers, mornings would begin about 9 a.m. and end about 2 p.m. The rest of the day could then commence, but at a leisurely pace. Cocktails at 5. That being said, I'm up to my eyeballs in deadlines and unfinished and unstarted projects. (I stole "unstarted." Come forth and claim credit.) My carpets haven't seen the vacuum cleaner in so long they probably wouldn't recognize each other. I have a hundred ideas for new patterns racing around in my head, along with updates to my blog template. Those days that should start at 9 a.m. will have to end at 2 a.m. if I'm going to finish anything before Fall gets here.

Here's a tidbit from Anne Hanson, since I promised you Sock Summit goodies: tie knots in the yarn tail of your gauge swatch to correspond to the needle size you used. Brilliant! My own riff on this for those X.5 size needles--tie one extra knot separated from the knots for the needle size. 

There will be more from Sock Summit soon, I promise, but I'm off to a book meeting. I'll leave you with a hint of a project that just needs seaming. And soaking. And blocking. And mailing. ::sigh::

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sock Summit 2011, Day Four: When do they open the 2013 registration?

I'm writing this last post about Sock Summit on the train from Portland to Tacoma, Washington. I'm going up there to spend a few days with family before I head back to Denver. I wish I could take the train back! Right this moment, I've got wifi and a glass of wine. Just polished off a bowl of Ivar's clam chowder and it's so lovely, just sitting back and watching the scenery go by. Nobody xrayed me or grabbed body parts--this is so much nicer than air travel! When I finish this post I'm going to knit a little, if I don't have another glass of wine...

I had another class on Sunday with Anne Hanson, and the poor thing was pretty much fried by then--she came to Sock Summit directly from London and has one more teaching gig before she heads home--but she was gracious and attentive, as always.

The Fleece to Foot Challenge was Sunday--pretty cool, but no one finished their second sock. Not surprising, since they had to comb the fleece, spin it, then knit the pattern, all in a few hours. Crazy! Here are the three sheep that gave it up for a good cause:

Here's one of the teams:

I heard a rumor that the next Sock Summit (2013) will take up the entire Oregon Convention Center. I'm not sure how they're going to top a flash mob, live sheep and the biggest yarn market I've ever seen but I plan to be here. 

I'll try to post about the classes I took before fly back to Denver, but I'm making no promises. I'll be surrounded by nieces and nephews I haven't seen for a while and I'm hoping some of them will sit still long enough for a few knitting lessons. But oh how I wish you could all have been at Sock Summit with me!