Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Books, Garage Sale, and a Lovely Yarn Shop!

The saga continues regarding my quest to organize my home.  The recipe project is finished (see my previous blog entry for details), and I have moved on to our books.  When I say "our books," I'm not referring to a bookshelf tucked away in a corner somewhere.  Oh, no.  We are a family of avid readers who love the feel of a REAL book in out hands.   We are slowly being smothered by all of our books. So, we finally tackled them, keeping this thought in mind:  "Will I read it within the next five years?  If I have already read it, will I read it again?  Was it a life-altering book or possibly a beloved favorite?"  

It actually worked.  When we were finished, we had six banker's boxes full for a garage sale, and 15 full to list on Amazon.  My plan was to finish this project before my upcoming garage sale.

I am impressed with how organized our bookcases look now!  Can you imagine all of those other books crammed willy-nilly in here too?

So ... the next step is the garage sale, which is this coming Saturday.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I have retired from teaching high school reading, and have a lot of classroom supplies, teaching materials, decorations, and hundreds of books to sell.   Adding six more boxes certainly isn't a big deal.  The Amazon listings will take a while, and will probably be my "Fall project."

On to knitting news .....
Well ..........NOTE TO SELF: when purchasing yarn for a child's clothing item, knit the darn thing immediately!!!  Why, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  I don't have enough yarn to complete the sweater I am knitting for my grandson for Christmas.  No big deal, right?  After all, someone on Ravelry will probably have some in their stash, or certainly I should be able to find some online.  With the world at our fingertips, surely this should not be a problem.  


Only one person on Ravelry has the yarn in their stash, and has not responded to my message of over a week ago.  I searched online for HOURS and could not find the color ANYWHERE.  So, I decided that two balls of a contrasting oatmeal color would look very nice for the shawl collar.  I ordered them from, and all was well.  Or so I thought.  Now I have finished knitting the back and half of the front of the sweater, and realize I won't have enough red to complete the sleeves.  Guess what I had to do?  Yep ...order more of the oatmeal color to stripe the sleeves.  

Now ....I admit that my gauge was a TAD off stitch less in 4 inches, but for a child's sweater, a tad bigger is better, right?  I seriously don't think that small difference in gauge on a child's size 6-7 should have made such an enormous difference in the amount of yarn needed.  I will definitely make a note on the pattern in case I ever want to make it again.  I will post a picture when the sweater is finally finished.  

Better knitting news .....I finally made it to Criativity in Largo, Florida.  What a lovely shop! All of the people there, both working and "playing," were extremely nice.  Besides yarnie goodness, the shop also has clothing, accessories, toys, games, soaps, and more.  Worth a visit if you are ever in the area!

I couldn't resist the call of the fibers, and bought a skein of Petite Madison (75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% silk) in colorway Harvest to make the "That Nice Stitch Cowl" on Ravelry.  I think I will leave it as a scarf, rather than kitchener it together at the end. The Purl Bee has an excellent video on the kitchener stitch here.  I plan to take this new project to my daughter's house on my upcoming visit.  

Until next time, HAPPY KNITTING!

Monday, August 3, 2015

My New Journey - a More Organized Home ...and knitting news, of course!

Well, I'm finally getting around to organizing things in my house.  It's amazing how much can be accumulated in 15 years and how cluttered things become with everyone working full-time plus!

With the assistance of my youngest daughter, my kitchen counters and cabinets are now greatly improved.  The main change was in cookbooks, recipes and spices.  At her suggestion, I moved my spices to a different cabinet (something I never thought of doing) and purchased some amazing racks from The Container Store.  Next, I went through every cookbook I owned, and marked any recipes I truly thought I might make in the next year or so.  I am still in the process of writing those recipes on cards for my recipe box.  Yes, I'm still old school; I'd rather pull out a card than fre up the iPad when in the kitchen.  I'm passing the cookbooks on to a friend ...reuse, recycle, etc.!

This was the spice cabinet had a double-decker Lazy Susan in it, but spices were tucked everywhere behind it too.  What a mess it was.  This makes much more sense!

My cookbooks were on my kitchen counter, under this cabinet, taking up a huge corner area, always looking messy.  Now they are in a nicely organized baking cabinet.  My recipe box will fit in front of the cookbooks when I am finished.

And, I am extremely happy with my spice cabinet.  As I use up some of the larger ones, I will replace them with smaller ones that will fit in the racks ...then maybe there will be space in here for my Crockpots!

All of this has reignited my desire to cook, and is the first step on my journy to a neater, more organized home!

In knitting news, I have started my Christmas knitting.  Every year I tell myself I am not going to knit gifts for Christmas, but here I am, doing it again anyway.  In my defense, I have two sweaters for grandchildren who will not fit into them for very long if I wait any longer to make them!  Here is a picture of the first one, a Wrap-Collar Sweater that I'm making in a size 6-7 for my grandson.  The wrap-collar will be in an oatmeal color of the same yarn.

Until next time ...happy organizing and happy knitting!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Recharging, Renewing, and Rediscovering.....

The past two years have been very difficult. Don't get me wrong, there have been many wonderful times as well. Last July we took our adult children on a cruise for our 30th anniversary, and we all had a wonderful time!  

In addition, both of my daughters graduated from college this past May, one week apart .....and the younger one is extremely proud of the fact that she was the first!  

Okay, now for the difficult part ... 
First, Knit 'n Knibble, my LYS (local yarn shop) shut down.  I enjoyed teaching classes and hanging out there for many years.  Actually, they reinvented themselves and now offer mobile lessons, finishing services, ready-to-wear items and other finished goods, and even do commissioned work (Link: Knit 'n Knibble).

Next, I decided to go back to school to reinstate my teaching certificate, which I originally received in 1980.  I had the crazy notion that it would be an honorable career move to teach reading to high school students who desperately needed it. What a struggle that turned out to be .....two years of ninth graders in a Title I school with very little administrative support regarding behavior issues.  How can you create a warm and inviting learning environment where students are engaged in higher order thinking when you are not allowed to take away their phones (it's an addiction - seriously, there should be a 12-step program), isolate them in the classroom, or send them out in the hallway when they are misbehaving?  The phones are a liability issue, the isolation is a "damage their psyche" issue, and the hallway is a safety issue case you are as confused as I was.  To top this off, I even had one student threaten to put me in the hospital.  So, after two years, I am DONE.  Yes, that was bold and in all caps.  

And finally, an estranged family member decided to reconnect with our family (we were able to enjoy a wedding and the birth of another grandchild), but then his determination to stay removed from the family once again caused us much pain.   Enough said, that is dirty laundry that I don't want to air any further on this blog. 

Now,  I am determined to rediscover how to enjoy life.  I am updating and revamping my Etsy shop (stay tuned for new items) and dusting off my blog.

On a final note, I visited my new favorite yarn shop again yesterday with a dear friend.   Four Purls  is located in Winter Haven, Florida and has an amazing selection of yarns and all things "knitterly".  I have been going through knit shop withdrawal for quite a while and yesterday's trip was very satisfying.  The beautiful bag shown below was a gift from my friend and is a RockFlowerPaper original.  The yarns are both from Cascade, the teal is Alpaca Lace, and the gray is Venezia Sport ....they are both destined to become shawls.  The lovely wooden yarn bowl will probably find a home in my new camper (more on the camper in a later post), and the purple needle keeper will prevent my needles from poking out of my fabric bags!