Weekends!

Hallo!

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How much do I love the weekend? 

This weekend was spent dining with friends as much as possible--sushi for lunch, Chinese for dinner. If I could have fit in a visit to my favorite Mid-Eastern restaurant, I would have (I might do that today!). 

Sunday was warm and beautiful, the perfect day to wash my car (far right) and get off the road-salt and dirt. (I love my car!) We've lived with gray skies and smog since the first of the year and it was fabulous to see blue sky, plus the temperature was over 40!

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I also spent quite a bit of  time knitting, as well as, stitching. I've embarked on my new AC T, the Lata T.

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Today my office is spending the better part of the day doing a service project in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. Every year we pick an organization and help them out in any way they need. We have fun and we enjoy giving to others as a group. 

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" ~Martin Luther King


David Bowie

10 on Tuesday has a way of  making me think and, sometimes, strive for answers. Like today, Carole asked we share our  10 Favorite David Bowie Songs and I'm just not what I would consider a David Bowie fan.  There is no mistaking his mark on music, culture, fashion, and just about any other media. He was a sensation and a visionary. He was the Icon of icons. David Bowie was always ahead of his time and everyone else had to run full tilt to catch up. 

I'm not qualified to say much about David Bowie's music. I listened to what was on the radio and liked it well enough. He wrote and performed many catchy songs and dance tunes, but I know little beyond that. I do have a few favorites and can certainly say I admired him for pushing the boundaries and leading the way. 

1 . When Chris Hadfield released Space Oddity, I admit, it was the first time I really enjoyed listening to  (and watching) Major Tom all the way through. After yesterday, I think I've heard the words "Ground Control to Major Tom" enough to last me for a long time. 

2. Serious Moonlight

3. Changes

4. Rebel Rebel

5. Fame

6. Modern Love

7. Let's Dance

8. Suffragette City

And a couple of his collaborations:

9. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby

10. Dancing in the Street with Mick Jagger

David Bowie's recent album, released on his birthday (January 8th), which was just two days before his death, was said to be jazz influenced. Last month I listened to several song to see if I could connect with the music, but once again, David Bowie was wa-a-ay ahead of the game. Bowie certainly moved through life in his own way, charting his own coarse, and changing everything around him as he went. We listened, we changed, and everyone strove to keep up with his pace. Bowie is/was a musician for the ages. 


Over the Weekend

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After 8 days of gray the sun played hide and seek with us with only revealing itself  a couple of times, and then, only for short spurts of time. The next week doesn't look very promising, as more gray, and maybe a little snow, are in the forecast. Saturday afternoon the blue skies came into view and Smith and I went for a walk just to celebrate. 

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I spent quite a bit of time listening to books (Americanah for the second time), podcasts (innumerable), and, either, knitting or sewing. My dark little secret is the jigsaw I work on while watching TV (Big Bang episodes from the library). Every couple of years I run across a jigsaw puzzle that catches my fancy and this one, Charlie Harper's Rocky Mountains was too cool to pass up. 

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On my needles is a second pair of Trip Mitts, which should be in the recipients hands by weeks end. Also, another Alabama Chanin project was started, but you'll have to wait to hear more about that later. The size T-shirt I bought may be a little big, which worries me some, but I'm going to enjoy working on it and wearing it no matter what. 

Smith and I looked through seed catalogs while dreaming of spring and he listened to me moan about the too long nights. I listened to him explained plants need at least 10 hours of light to respond (we're not there yet). Have you noticed the slightly longer days? On January 29th we hit the mark. YAY!

How's the weather in your part of the world? 


TGIF Entertainment

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The birds came out to play and beg for peanuts. They put up a right fuss, squawking, flapping around, looking up at my window and doing their best to let me know they're ready for the treat. 

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The snow came and went throughout the week, but I was there to scatter peanuts and the birds were there to take the treat and tuck them away for another day.  

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We have a mutual admiration society going on. Entertainment and joy is only a handful of peanuts away. 


Perfect Process

When I use my hands to create it is the act of creation that speaks to me. I love the process. Yes, the finished product is nice (usually) and I like using and wearing what I make, but it is the in and out of the needle, whether knitting needle or threaded needle, I enjoy most of all.

I work slowly, not by choice, necessarily, but it is the way I work in this moment. Once upon a time, I could whip through a sweater in a month, but those days are behind me -- partly because my hands and arms need a slower pace, and the occasional rest, and partly because I have found other shiny objects to draw my attention. 

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This past year I found one of the processes I have enjoyed most has been the sewing of Alabama Chanin projects. I buy kits from Alabama Chanin because I do not have the desire to own all the stuff needed to do my own stenciling, nor do I have the space. The fact I can buy a ready to stitch project is a big part of the draw. I need only thread a needle to be ready to go.

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The Market Bag was one of the most process heavy projects, of any sort, I have ever made. The point was to learn the different techniques used in the Alabama Chanin process and I certainly have learned that over the course of the two projects I've completed. I've also learned just how much I like it.

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The first thing I did was stitch the motifs on the two larger main pieces (the front/back) of the bag.  For one side I outlined the designs using a running stitch and on the other side I used a back stitch. The back stitch took 5 times longer, and more than twice the amount of thread, than the rest of the project. After outline, the inside of the motif was cut away to reveal the color below. Joy filled my heart, as the spots of color brought the whole project to life. However, there was much more to do once the main pieces were complete. The bag had two narrow side sections, a bottom, and two handles, plus all the pieces of the lining to sew into place. Don't forget, the cute little inside pocket with the AC label, which is the icing on the cake!

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To keep the bag stable I decided to only do the stitching of the bottom and side pieces and not cut them to reveal color. Three layers of fabric should give the bag the ability, as well as the stability, to carry heavier objects, like books or a computer. 

As with any long-term project I am going through a bit of a mourning period. I miss stitching my Market Bag. I started this project over Labor Day weekend of 2014, so we've been together a long time. It's now time to enjoy the next part of the journey with my Market Bag on my arm, full of my favorite things. I'm stoked.


Welcome 2016

Returning to the normalcy of a workday life (as well as a world of "have to,") after the long, lovely weekend feels like a rude awakening.  We had a mix of weather starting with Tuesday, when I missed SnB as the roads were too treacherous. Wednesday and Thursday we were visited by the "dreaded" inversion, but the New Year started with clear blue skies. I hope the clear sky is a portend of the coming month, as we would not like the inversion to come in and stay. 

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My weekend was relaxing, productive, and had plenty of fun scattered in. Even at the carwash, as I had the salt cleaned from my car, I found a friend who had a moment to share a little conversation. We had a grand time laughing and squawking. I complimented him on his choice of color. 

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I was honored to receive one of Beverly's hand drawn postcards of her 2015 Postcard Project. I have enjoyed watching her daily progress of creating one card for every day of the year. Her new daily project looks even more ambitious and personal. 

Smith and I went to a concert on the spur of the moment, something we rarely do. The music was a joyful way to bring in the New Year and being spontaneous is one of the things I'd like to work on in 2016. I don't usually share intentions and have never picked an official One Little Word, but I'm thinking about directions to head in 2016. I may even end up picking a "OLW", but that's still up in the air. 

Tripmitts

There were a couple of "finishes" in 2015 and a not so great start for my 2016 crafting. I do not accept it as a failure, but will treat it as a slight delay. My last project of 2015 was a pair of Gale's Trip Mitts and I think they're so cool! Somehow I ended up buying a too light weight yarn and the second pair turned out too small. My first project of 2016 will started later this week after I procure the right supplies. 

Despite the crafting setback, 2016 is going to be a great year for making, reading, moving, and doing. Plans and ideas dance around my head and I'm looking forward to seeing where the path of a new year leads.


Generosity

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Our Christmas of 2015 was filled with all that's good. We spent with friends who are generous, talented, and who throw great party. Our dear friends Monica and Steve had a crowd over for a Christmas Day feast. Monica not only cooked dinner for a large group, but she also made cookies and treats for everyone to take home (YES, me included!). She is a friend who goes above and beyond. Sadly, I left my camera at home, so you only get a small representation of the treats she made.

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Just as everyone dreams, snow fell Christmas Day covering the ground giving us a picturesque (if not treacherous) day. That night, just as we were leaving to head home, we saw the full moon. It was lovely night cap to our wonderful day.  The day after Christmas, Boxing Day apparently, was picture perfect, with the blue sky making the cold nearly bearable. Smith had the day off which meant we could meet friends for lunch. This time of year is all about sharing time with friends and family and, with our family so far away we feel grateful for our friends. 

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Our fun didn't stop there, as we were invited to have dinner at now-blogfree-Susan's. Cheryl and Larry were there and, once again, we had a really great time. Susan talked us into doing a Yankee Swap, but Cheryl and I were unsure. Holy cow, we had way more fun than expected, with Cheryl bringing the most sought after gift, a unicorn head!  Smith opened it first but Susan's DH thought it too good to pass up and he took possession. (Maybe you had to be there.)  Life is tough when you're a Mets fan, just sayin'.

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A week or so ago our power was out for a few hours and I mentioned how I'd spent the evening wrapped in fleece reading by flashlight. Susan was incredulous that I hadn't wrap up in the warmth of something wooly. She generously gave me her latest project, a huge and beautiful Nuvem. I feel so fortunate to have a warm, cozy, BIG blanket of a wrap whenever the cold starts to creep into my bones.

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I have been knitting! And, to do my own bit of paying it forward, I started a pair of gift mitts using Gale Zucker's new pattern Trip Mitts. They're quick knitting and have a fun, rustic, and very charming look. Did I mention how much fun I'm having knitting them?  They're just what you need when a little instant gratification is in order. I'm ending my year by knitting this pair and starting 2016 with another gift pair (just to even things out).

How are you beginning your knitting year? Something fun, something adventurous, something for yourself?

Have a very Happy New Year, friends!

 


2015

Every once in awhile I've posted A Year in Review with pictures from each moth along with the first sentence of the first post of each month. The sentence and pictures may not be of the same subject. Instead of 10 Things I Did That Made Me Feel Proud, my Ten on Tuesday is this years review. 

January - "Happy,Happy New Year, friends!! Here it is a fresh new year, all dusted off from the trappings of 2014. 

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February  - "In the center of our community garden is one of only 18 known labyrinths in Utah.

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March -"Saturday was cold, somewhat wet but Smith and I made the best of the day by spending leisurely time together."

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 April - "As of late, Vicki has been my hero. She not only helped me (inspired me, really) to change my banner, but  also dyed the yarn for my next project, Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015."

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May - "I needed the weekend more than I can express and (of course) it went by in a flash."

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June - "My day starts with KRCL's Acoustic Sunrise, as John plays a variety of tunes that ease me into my day."

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July - "Something shifted in my life, I'm not sure exactly what or why, but before 2010 I was more productive when it came to knitting (and probably, everything else). "

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August - "My weekend was broken up into segments, the total of which left me no time to do the usual errands and chores."

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September - "I intended to have all sorts of pictures for you but we spent a serendipitous evening with our neighbors, which means my blogging time was used up, but I did pull together a list for Carole's 10 Seemingly Ordinary Things That Bring You Joy."

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October - "Once upon a time, I made amazing pieces of lace, they were a frippery, a lovely indulgence, a glorious bit of fun, and, often time, challenging, demanding, a test of endurance."

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November -"Instead of complaining about the loss of light, or being elated about the extra hour in my day, I'm going to go with the flow (once my body clock is reset a few days from now)."

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December - "Carole made sure we could easily post today...one.more.day.  Tis, after all, Ten on Tuesday!

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Another year over, another yet to come. Here's to 2016 being a fabulous year for us all. 


Anticipation

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Hopefully, by the time this posts, the ground around us will be white with snow, with even more coming down in the mountains.  We have felt the anticipation all weekend of this coming snow event and, as I type this, I watch the clouds roll in hoping the "red sky at night" means waking to the "delight" of snow.  

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Hopefully, the time I spent sewing this weekend means the Alabama Chanin bag it will soon be finished. The sides, the handle pieces, and one corner of the front/back remain to be outlined with red thread. The pocket is stitched onto the lining and the  lining is ready to sewing into place. I'm anticipating using this little pretty! 

I had anticipated reaching my reading challenge of 65 books and, as it turned out, I was able to complete the challenge this weekend. Yay me!  Reading and listening to 200 page (or shorter) books helped me reach my goal. One must be strategic.  

Many of us (and I know many of you) have been anticipating the next installment of the Serial podcast. Well, it's here! This is going to be an interesting listen. I am a podcast fan and I listen to a wide variety of genres. Music, spoken word, stories, and mediation, I'm always looking for something new and interesting.  Do you have a favorite podcast? 

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Smith and I have anticipated the last day of Chanukah just so we could light all the candles of (almost) all the menorahs at one time. Now that's a way to get the light to return!