Sunday, December 31, 2017

You say you want a resolution... episode

The episode can be listened to here or using iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.

Decluttering:
Buy Nothing New:
  • The Compact group on Yahoo! Groups - There are multiple groups for various areas. A quick Google search will bring up a list to choose from and you can pick the one you want to check out.
Making Less Trash:

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The No Impact episode

I'm having trouble getting the player to post here, but you can listen via this link for now.

Something a bit different... an audio episode!

I discuss the book and documentary, No Impact Man, by Colin Beavan.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

DIY dog bootie tutorial


Winter has been colder and snowier than normal here in the Pacific Northwest this winter. I whipped up dog booties for my boys and for those of friends to keep tiny toes warm and shared the process in case anyone wants to do the same. =)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

disconnected... and it feels so good!


The Winter of Our Disconnect (Susan Maushart) was published in 2010 so the statistics included are out of date now, but still, eye-opening at times. I haven't checked specifics, but I'd guess current stats would show average screen time has increased immensely. Agree or disagree with her method of this disconnect (her no screens rule applied only at home so access was still available everywhere else - one child even moved out during part of this experiment to stay constantly connected), this experiment certainly impacted their lives, especially those of her teenagers. I do find it disturbing just how connected kids (and most adults) are these days. It is a different world now and technology isn't going anywhere, but I do agree that boundaries are good and time away from digital devices is beneficial for everyone. I love that her son redirected his new disconnected time into music. And it seemed all of them benefited in improved schoolwork. Sleeping patterns changed (for the better). They became closer as a family as they talked more rather than retreating to their various devices. So many good things occurred because of the digital limitations. I was shocked at the fervor with which they dove back into connectivity though. I was hoping they'd go back a bit more slowly, having learned they didn't need to be constantly connected.

Like the author, my job requires computer use (I work remotely from home) so a complete digital fast isn't possible without taking time off, but I do try to limit my exposure. Back when I was working insane hours, I took my one day off each week as a Tech-no day. I shut my router off Saturday night and kept my cell phone in one spot so I could still answer calls, but wouldn't be tempted by texts or apps and nothing came back on until Monday morning when I sat down to work again. That weekly break was so refreshing! Since I wised up and changed jobs last year, I now very happily work only a 4-day week. This left me less stressed and I didn't feel as great a need for that complete break so I've fallen a little out of the habit of taking a full day away from the internet. Some weeks I still do it, but not always. Long ago, I turned off the notifications on my phone and tablet and I quit using Facebook when I realized I just didn't enjoy it that much anymore (no, I don't miss it and it's been probably a year or more). This means I'm only on social media when I choose to be (rather than in response to continual pings). I still enjoy Instagram and Ravelry for most things crafty, but I keep the groups and people I follow on the lower side. I use feedly to keep up with some blogs I enjoy too. Am I missing stuff? Sure! But I somehow survive. 

A little distance can be good. I think I'll reinstate my Tech-no Sundays again and throw in an occasional 3-day break here and there. 

Do you limit your digital connectivity? Do you think you should? All of our lives are different. What works for me may not work for you. I won't judge... unless you start texting when we're chatting face to face. 😕

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What's the worst that could happen?

Ah, after my month off from shopping in July, I have ventured into the thrift stores a couple times but haven't brought much home. Thankfully, I broke the habit and am very picky about buying anything. I did find a great covered basket for $2 and knew exactly what I'd use it for. Perfect for my craft room to hide sewing supplies! Today though, I found something I've had on my list for ages... Cast iron pans! I've found a few here and there, but usually they're either made in China (I don't want to risk it as some have been found to contain lead) or they're insanely priced even when they've been abused. 

Years ago, I ditched my nonstick (Teflon) skillets in favor of stainless steel, but some things just work better in a less "sticky" pan. I picked up a set of ceramic coated pans a few years back and they work well, but after awhile, the coating chips (even though I only use wooden utensils in mine and no harsh scrubby to wash) and then you have to trash them. Not cool, as far as I'm concerned. So I've been wanting cast iron, but I'm also avoiding anything but secondhand shopping. Cast iron is nearly indestructible. I have friends cooking in pans inherited from their great-grandmothers! If you find a cheap, USA-made pan that the coating is gone, have no fear. It can be revived! So how did I finally luck out? Goodwill had them priced way too high. As in, one was actually priced higher than it sells for new. Maybe they were pricing by weight? LOL I looked up the prices on Amazon on my phone and decided to try for a better price at the register. Worst they could say was no, right? Then I'd just leave them behind and know it wasn't meant to be today.

8.5 and 12 inch skillets and a 10.5 inch griddle pan

It took awhile since they had to call a lead to come make a decision, but the guy eventually came and he gave me much more fair prices on the pans. Total paid for the three? Less than $20. The large pan alone sells for $27 from Amazon. 😀 They're technically new with the tags still on, but they need to be reseasoned. Maybe someone got them as a gift and left them in the garage, unused, until they cleaned it out and they made their way to me. Who knows. Reseasoning is easy enough and well worth the savings. I already have a cast iron Dutch oven  and two nice, heavy stainless steel pots (also thrift store finds!) so I'm all set! Patience wins again!

Have a pan you want to fix up? Lodge shows you how:



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August craftiness

With the massive destash done, my yarny stash has drastically shrunk to a much more manageable size. It felt so good to let all of that yarn go! This is my new, much, much smaller stash:


Yes, the cabinet I once hoped would hold my entire yarn stash now holds all of it plus my drum carder, serger and some sewing supplies too! I love my new smaller stash. 😄 There's still plenty to play around with and be inspired by, but not so much that it feels overwhelming anymore. 

Ravelry organizes the Ravellenics to coincide with the Olympics and until this year, I'd never participated. But for some reason (likely due to the start following my huge destash), this time it relit my crafting bug and I jumped right in. I started with just one small goal, finish one shawl as part of the Shawl Sailing event so I pulled out three skeins of stash from 2009 (it's about time!) and started on a garter stitch shawl formed by knitting a billion (only slightly exaggerating here) short rows:

Eyre of Romance Jane Shawl by Kay Meadors


This was a great choice for knitting while distracted by the various Olympic events. Simple to keep track of where I was but not so simple that I got completely bored of it. Details here.

As I was finishing up the shawl, I took advantage of the Frogging Trampoline event and pulled out the Shalom cardigan I finished last year but never did even weave in the ends because I just didn't love it. The cardigan is now once again a pile of skeins with lots of potential:


Once the shawl was done, I still had a week of Ravellenics fun left, so I jumped into the pool with a braid of faux cashmere for some for Synchronized Spinning:


I split the braid roughly in half lengthwise and then plied the two singles together so the colors would mostly line up. Still inspired, I chose another shawl pattern and quickly knit up this:

Spring Garden Kerchief by Clare Lakewood


This was my first experience with faux cashmere. Not bad, but I won't be buying any more. Faux cashmere is nylon and I'm trying to stick with just natural, plant-based yarns and fiber from here on. This braid had been in my stash awhile though so I'm glad it has finally reached its potential. It sat in my stash since 2013 but its journey from fluff to shawl? Five days. (Info on the pattern and fiber can be found here.) Be warned, there is an error in the written directions for this shawlette. I've noted the correction on my project page and let the designer know, but it doesn't appear that the file has been corrected yet.

With only a couple days remaining, I decided I wanted one more project so I grabbed the remainder of the yarn from the Eyre of Romance shawl and knit up a quick hat for the Hat Dash event:

Kitkat Hat by Andre Sue

Super simple and quick! (Info here.) And with that, my 2016 Ravellenics Games were complete.

I thought after all that, I'd be all knitted out, but I quickly got the urge to cast on again and used Ravelry's awesome pattern search function to find my next project. I decided I wanted to use some stash from 2013 and used that yardage/weight to search. The first result? This shawl I'd seen ages ago, wanted to knit and... then forgot about:

Pfeilraupe by Alpi Alpenrose
I'm past the halfway point now and the rows are finally getting shorter! This will likely be the first of my donation shawls for 2017. (Pattern/yarn info here.) Another warning here, the shawl is quite simple to knit. The most difficult part about this shawl is deciphering the pattern instructions. The written instructions aren't incredibly clear and the charts aren't completely accurate. Between the two though, you can get the gist of it and as long as it's close, no one would know anyway. Garter stitch is forgiving! I may eventually make another from this pattern to keep.

So, that's it for August! See you next month for another crafty update. Until then...

Craft what makes you happy!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

charitable crafting

For the past few years, Sheila and Wendy, of the Knit1,HeartToo! podcast have helped a local (to them) group collect shawls for a comfort shawl program. Last year, I was able to send a few shawls, but I set myself a goal of a dozen for this year. Though my knitting mojo has waned this year, I've also been reducing the things I hold on to and this year? I was able to send a whopping 14! The charity accepts not only new shawls, but gently used shawls as well and of any fiber content. Most charities I've come across require acrylics and I'm not a fan of working with acrylic. This opens up the possibilities immensely! I do label all my shawls with fiber content and care instructions in case there are any allergies. I did a quick search online for free printable labels. I've made up my own in the past, but this year I used the ones found here (KnitPicks).

Getting them ready to pack up, I gave all of them a bath that hadn't already been done. Need a reason to always wash a shawl by itself the first time?


So. Much. Bleeding. Happily the shawl made from a skein I dyed... didn't bleed. =) Another happy moment? Realizing all but one of the shawls I needed to wash could be hung out on my clothesline to dry rather than being pinned out to block which meant they all got washed and dried in a single day.


Here they all are! If you're interested in more info on patterns/yarns used, see my Ravelry page and click on the specific project you're interested in for details.

Fall 2016 donations

Do you have any unloved shawls hiding in your closet? Or do you love making them but have already gifted them to all your knitworthy friends/family? Find a local charity to donate them or you can send them off to the group I did. Info can be found here.

I'm aiming for another dozen next year!