“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried something new.”
I’ve been doing a LOT of amigurumi (Japanese for crocheted stuffed toy) lately and realized that I haven’t been sharing all of my little projects with you all. So I’d like to make up for that now. I’ve been in the...
So sorry for my months (!) of silence! You’ll soon see why. We’ve adopted a new hobby, which I’m excited to share with you… When Vincent and I first started dating (back in 2006), I revealed to him that one thing that...
Where’s Derby Thursday? Well, I’ve taken an unofficial break from roller derby until we move in the spring. Attending practice an hour away has been difficult for me. So until I start attending practice again, Derby Thursday will be...
Tee-hee-hee. I love that double entandre for crocheting! I’ve been a little crochet crazed lately. For Lex’s birthday I made a set of characters from Where the Wild Things Are using the patterns from CraftyisCool. I was so thrilled...
It’s that time of year again…Halloween! I’ve been hard at work getting this house finished…or at least finished enough for now. I set myself a deadline of October 15th to get done, and obviously that hasn’t...
I’ve been doing a LOT of amigurumi (Japanese for crocheted stuffed toy) lately and realized that I haven’t been sharing all of my little projects with you all. So I’d like to make up for that now.
I’ve been in the process of creating some new patterns that I’ll be putting in my online store (coming soon!). Here’s my first attempt at America’s favorite star ship captain, Captain James T. Kirk:
I’m not 100% happy with how he turned out. I’d like for him to be a little less lanky and a bit more muscular. I made some adjustments when I made his best friend and first office, Mr. Spock:
I’m really pleased with how Spock came out. It was my first time wiring a doll so that it would be pose-able, and it was really easy thanks to this tutorial. I’ve been writing the patterns for my Star Trek guys as I go along. I’m planning on doing the whole crew, so stay tuned.
I took this photo when setting up for the Museum of Discovery’s annual TinkerFest here in Little Rock. I was one of the Makers there and taught kids how to crochet (more or less) and got to show them what kinds of cool stuff they can make with it. In my area we also had a spinner with a spinning wheel and a knitter who makes really awesome knitted stuffed things, including a giant squid she’d made for her husband. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture. It was really great!
Also pictured are a Weeping Angel inspired by Doctor Who and C-3PO. I got the pattern for C-3PO here. I’ve since added some little red and blue wires to his middle. The Weeping Angel pattern can be found on Ravelry here. I modified it a little by embroidering the hair and adding a headband to make it look more like the ones in the show. Here’s a closer look:
Next up is a little elephant I made for my mom for Mother’s Day.
I found this pattern on Ravelry after a co-worker commissioned one for a graduation gift. And since it was right around Mother’s Day, I thought it would make the perfect gift for my mom since she loves elephants. For hers, I added three hearts for her three daughters, one of which had a smaller one attached to represent Lex and me.
There are even more things I’ve done in the last few months, but I’ll leave it at this for now.
I’ve surprised myself by not getting sick of crocheting already. I’ll usually get tired of doing the same kind of craft over and over, but I think making little stuffed animals keeps it fun. Plus, since they’re small, they work up really quickly and you get that feeling of instant gratification.
So sorry for my months (!) of silence! You’ll soon see why. We’ve adopted a new hobby, which I’m excited to share with you…
When Vincent and I first started dating (back in 2006), I revealed to him that one thing that I’d always wanted to do was go to a Renaissance Faire. I’ve always loved history and fairy tales and knights and princesses and all that fun stuff. When I was in high school at our local Hastings, I found a great magazine called Renaissance that was full of photos of people at Renaissance Faires and articles about life during the Middle Ages. I found it all absolutely fascinating and fantasized about one day dressing up as a fair maiden and perusing the wares of medieval shopkeeps, perhaps watching a joust…you get the picture.
So when I told Vincent about my love of the Renaissance and Middle Ages, he told me that some friends of his were involved in a local group called the SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism. I’d never heard of them. He told me that they were sort of like a Ren Faire group, but they liked to be a little more historically accurate. They were having an event soon in Little Rock, and he suggested we go check it out. Honestly I don’t remember a whole lot about that particular event. I do remember being disappointed because it didn’t look like any of the Renaissance Faires in the magazine. I also remember it was cold and raining and that no one in the group was particularly welcoming so we just sort of wandered around. I mean, it was kind of cool, and we bought a few things and got to see an archery demonstration so that was fun, but overall, we didn’t get the best first impression. Because of that sort of “meh” impression, we never went back to another event.
Fast forward to 2012. We went to dinner with a bunch of Vincent’s old friends because one was visiting from Canada, and I finally met his friend, Brad. I’d heard about Brad a lot before, but never happened to meet him until then. He is very active in the local SCA group in Conway, called Shire Lagerdamm, and they just so happened to be having their annual Newbie Collegium soon. Brad and I talked about our different crafting interests– he likes to make clothing and I showed him my knit and crochet projects. Vincent suggested that we go to the next event and see if we liked it. We both thought it sounded like something we could have fun doing together, and since we already knew Brad we felt pretty comfortable going.
It was much different from our first experience. We were enthusiastically greeted when we arrived and scuttled off by the chatelaine to find some suitable garb for us to wear.
There were various classes going on and a lists set up (where sword fighting takes place) with an on-going tournament. There were also a few vendors and a silent auction. We decided to split up on the classes so we could get as much experience as possible. I took a class on making lampwork beads, which was really cool. I even got to make a bead using a torch and everything. I took another class on drafting period clothing using modern patterns. I also took an introductory class to herbalism, something I’ve always found intriguing. Vincent learned about heraldry, developing a persona, making leather armor, and rapier fighting.
After the classes, they had a Newbie Round Table where we could ask any questions about SCA in general. It was very informative, the hosts were great, and we decided that we definitely wanted to join up.
Since the Newbie Collegium, we have been to one business meeting, one Arts & Sciences (A&S) meeting, one event and several rapier practices. We also decided on the kinds of garb we wanted to wear and got patterns for them:
I’ve already finished Vincent’s garb, though I’m sure it will be embellished in the future. Mine is going to have to wait because the amount of fabric I need gets really pricey! Besides, I have some garb that I bought long, long ago. Here we are at our first real event, the Investiture of the Baron and Baroness of the Barony of the Small Gray Bear.
We had a great time! It was really cool to see the court and feast, which we missed at our newbie event. We also learned what all goes into putting an event on since our shire hosted this event for the Barony of the Small Gray Bear. As thanks, we were all awarded The Bear’s Heart by the new Baron and Baroness and received a little token. I was tickled to get an award.
Here’s a photo of the feast taken by the talented Kenneth Eden:
You can see Vincent and me (or my hair anyway) on the right. It was a potluck, and everything was very tasty. It was kind of magical to see everyone whip out their feast gear from various trunks and baskets, complete with period-looking table cloths and make the plain utilitarian tables look like proper feast tables. I only wish I’d thought to bring some things. Live and learn.
The event took place at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Conway. They have a lovely little chapel that they also allow us to use for our Arts & Sciences meetings each month.
Speaking of Arts & Sciences (or A&S), here are a couple pics from the last one we went to.
Vincent learned how to make Celtic knots from the talented Signy.
Then, Lady Arianna showed us how to make Roman fibulae (Roman safety pins, basically, but pretty).
We’ve also been learning how to fence with rapiers. With our tax refund, we bought swords. Admire the shiny:
Here’s Vincent in some borrowed gear, ready to take on a foe!
That’s him fighting one of our instructors, Victoria, who also happens to be an old college friend of ours. She’s an amazing fighter.
We even got the kids involved.
There they are with Binn, our other instructor, who is also amazing and very patient with us newbies.
Start ‘em young, we say!
So far, joining SCA has been a wonderful experience. We have never met a friendlier, more welcoming group of people. I haven’t met anyone who’s been snobby (Yes, I was worried about garb snobs. It’s totally a thing!) or stand-offish or anything negative. Everyone (seriously, everyone) is eager to help with anything and everything. It’s really amazing. We love it! I can’t wait to share all the things I learn with all of you, too.
It feels like forever since I’ve written, and it’s because I’ve been BUSY. I mean, busier than usual–busy at work, at home and even socially (crazy, right?). I’d been wanting to blog about a dozen times about all of my little projects, but then I didn’t have good pictures and so I didn’t do anything. Not to worry, though: I’ll do some catching up shortly.
I feel like I’ve recently emerged from a fog or a flurry (or maybe a foggy flurry?) and suddenly saw all the chaos that has been going on in my life. And now I’ve finally steeled myself up enough to do something about it. As you may know, I have anxiety issues. They frequently lead to procrastination. Then I get all crazy OCD on stuff, become satisfied with what I’ve done, pat myself on the back, and then repeat the cycle. Now I’m trying to break the cycle. It’s not easy. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. I never really questioned it until recently. I guess I thought it was normal and that most people live this way. But now I realize that it’s a really crappy way to live, at least for me anyway. It makes everything more stressful. When I’m stressed, I’m irritable and I fight with my husband and get mad at my kids about little things. And then I don’t feel like doing anything and then I feel guilty for not having done anything. NO MORE!
I have begun utilizing all sorts of things that have been at my disposal for a while now, and I’ve been doing it on a semi-regular basis. I’ve been keeping up with my dishes for the last week and even getting some laundry done. (Everything kind of went to hell during the holiday/post-holiday foggy flurry) And I have a new mantra: progress, not perfection. As long as I’m making some progress, I try not to get down on myself for not doing it perfectly or if I don’t get everything done that I wanted to.
See? I made a to-do list of all my stuff with Astrid. Love it!
I’m still trying to find the balance between housework, family time, social time and me time. And all of those things are constantly in flux, so it’s just one of those things that must constantly be adjusted.
Is it weird that I’m just now realizing, and I mean really, fully comprehending, that nothing in life is ever really finished? It’s so strange to me that I am only now fully aware that there will never come a time to simply rest on my laurels. Life is a constant struggle. And really that’s a good thing. If we had nothing to do, nothing to struggle for, we’d all be bored to death.
I guess when I was younger I had this sort of vision of the future where I’d have a certain kind of life and my goal was to get there. I never really thought about what would happen once I was there. What I didn’t think about then was that the future is not a place; it’s always moving and always out of reach.
I say all this because I’ve realized that yes, I can lose weight; yes, I can organize my stuff; yes, I can make myself a schedule. But all of those things have to be maintained every day. I have to wake up each morning and make the decision again that I’m going to lose weight or stay organized or follow my schedule. And it’s hard. It’s hard to make that same decision every single day. It’s easy to read a story about someone else who’s done it and get really motivated for a day or a week or even a year, but the hard part comes when that initial excitement has waned. You have to keep reminding yourself of why you want it and make that decision again.
I’m not going to lie. It’s been difficult for me to keep to my diet. I’ve stopped wanting it as badly as I did before. I’ve got to keep reminding myself not to go back to the way I was before and not to let all my hard work go to waste. I’ve been pretty much eating whatever I want lately, and I’m starting to pay for it. Seeing that little bit of flab show up again has snapped me out of my denial again and I’m trying harder now. I think getting back to blogging is going to help keep me accountable, too.
Even though it’s hard right now, I’m hoping that, like most things, it will get easier over time. Maybe it will even become second-nature. We’ll see.Read More
We’re only a little over a week into the new year, and I’m feeling kind of meh about my progress on my goals and resolution so far. Last year I was very motivated to lose weight. I had been mentally preparing myself for it for a few months before hand, something I tried to do again this year, and I was just plan tired of being fat. This year’s different for some reason. I’m finding it hard to not give into temptation…a lot. It’s really frustrating. I mean, I worked really hard to form good eating habits, but now I feel like I’ve destroyed those good habits by letting them slide for the last couple of months. And now my will power is depleted, and I keep eating sweets like there’s no tomorrow. Even when I see the number on the scale creeping up again, I still can’t find the will to just say no. It’s the age old story of logic vs. emotion. Logically I know that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I’m going to end up gaining back all the weight I worked so hard to lose. I also know that eating better will make me feel better and be healthier in the long run. But emotionally I’m tired of restricting myself. I want to eat as much chocolate as I want, whenever I want. My inner child is becoming more rebellious and winning out more often than not. It’s definitely something I need to work on.
I did, however, manage to make myself work out last night, mainly because I felt guilty for the amount of candy and cookies I at yesterday. The work out was hard, but afterwards I felt fantastic. I got that nice endorphin rush that exercise gives you, and it reminded me that yeah, I do enjoy this. It’s not a chore. It’s something I do for me. So I thought to myself that perhaps my goal for this year shouldn’t be just to drop another 20 pounds. No, I think it’s going to be to become more physically fit. If you recall, the reason I started exercising last year was to help speed up my weight loss. When I started doing it, I realized that being active is really enjoyable. Now I want to focus on being active for the sake of being active, not simply use it as a means to an end. I’ve found that for me the best motivation for exercising is to have a specific goal that I’m working toward. This year I have two. One, to run a half marathon. Pretty ambitious, I know, but I think I can pull it off. I found one here in Arkansas that’s in December so I’ll have plenty of time to train. Two, to pass my MST for roller derby. I’ve been taking a little break because getting to practice in Cabot was starting to make my home life stressful. Once we move, I plan to start back up with a vengeance. And I want to pass that darn test! Speaking of roller derby, I skated outside for the first time Sunday and it wasn’t too bad. Now if I can just make myself do that more often I won’t feel like a total noob when I start going to practice again.
Now onto my resolution: getting more organized. It’s pretty vague, so let me clarify. First I want to establish a daily routine that allows me to keep up with daily chores (dishes and laundry, specifically), exercise, and keeping the house 15 minutes away from “guest ready,” meaning if I had 15 minutes notice that someone was coming over I wouldn’t be terribly embarrassed by the state of my house. Now that doesn’t mean I want my house to look perfect at all times, just mostly clean and de-cluttered. Secondly, I want to de-clutter my life. I’m frequently overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have in my house, and I’m in a mood to purge. Thirdly, I want to organize my cabinets and drawers and all those places where stuff just gets unceremoniously tossed when it’s in the way. Fourthly, I want to organize my finances. I’ve been letting them get out of hand the past few years and it’s really time to take action.
So far I’ve been somewhat successful at establishing a daily routine. For the past 4 days I have been doing my dishes and laundry daily. I’ve also been making my bed each morning; such a little thing that yields big reward. I’m amazed at how much better I feel about my bedroom when the bed is made. It just looks so much nicer! And it only takes 5 minutes max to make it up each morning. Having my sink clear and most, if not all, of the dishes clean makes cooking so much easier. Each night I “swish & swipe” my bathroom sink, counter, and toilet, which takes about five minutes, and I have a clean bathroom every day. I’ve been trying to think of it as making preparations rather than cleaning. I’m preparing my kitchen for the next time I need to cook. I’m preparing my clothes to be worn again. I’m organizing things in preparation for the next time I need them. For me, at least, changing the way I think about chores makes me more likely to do them. If I can stay positive about it, I’ll get it done quickly and gladly rather than dragging my feet and sulking about it. I’ve been trying to keep my daily to do list realistic and not beating myself up if I don’t get every little thing done. When I worked for Verizon they had a little motto that I really liked: “Our best was good enough for today, but tomorrow we’ll do better.” It reminds me that I did the best I could at that particular time but I can always improve. Right now the plan is to keep plugging along at the routine and work on a big project each weekend. This weekend is baby free (thanks, Dad!) so I’m planning on finally making progress on the cubby shelves for Lex’s room. I really hope I can get it finished. *fingers crossed*
Check out my organizing Pinterest board here for some ideas I plan on implementing, and please share any other ideas that have worked for you. I need all the help I can get!