Thursday, December 29, 2011

I woke up this morning to the sound of a cricket somewhere nearby in the house.  Every so often it chirps and chirps, but I haven't been able to locate it yet.  I'm always surprised that critters like this - especially crickets - can survive in a house with boys clomping around, two cats, and a large dog who quite likes to snap at insects.

It's really quiet in here this morning.

Randy has gone back to work after his Christmas break, and the boys are away at a friend's house for a couple of days.

Maybe the cricket has been chirping for a week and this is the first time I've heard it.

Last year around this time I took a few days and made myself a planner for the year.  It stemmed from having used planners for 20+ (gulp) years, and not really ever having one 'fit' my life.  For a long time I loved the Polestar Family Calendar, but found that it had more pages than I needed and whole sections that I didn't use, year after year.

The one that I made last year worked really well.  There was enough room in it for all of life's unpredictability, and for the rhythm of the week.  The boys could add important (and goofy) messages to it, and it spent most of last year firmly parked on the kitchen counter within 2 steps of the whiteboard that we use to keep our whole family's week straight.

By some miracle, I kept the template from last year with the stamps, and was able to put the one for 2012 together without much fuss or bother.

There are a couple of modifications, but not many.  The main one is that I made the date numbers substantially smaller, and the month itself doesn't take up quite so much room on the page.  The basic layout is the same, with a week per page, and all the page's dates close to the spine.  I cut the corner off the pages last year as the weeks went by, and occasionally lost part of a phone number or name, so this year will be a bit more mindful about where things will be written. The new book has a 'contacts' area, and a 'frequently used numbers' section, as last year's did.  There are dividers with pockets at the point at which the school year becomes summer, and where the summer meets the school year again.  There is also a pocket divider at the very end of the year (this was really handy for receipts and other papers that had a longer shelf life than a week or two, but not a long enough one to warrant filing).

Once again, I used stamps to show certain things...days with a bird stamp are loved ones' birthdays, and days with a peacock feather stamp are anniversaries.  The above photo shows the week of Randy's and my anniversary last year, and in the year to come. It would seem that summer is not about relaxing!  Last year I pasted little things into the book throughout the year (pictures, fortune cookie fortunes), and doodled. I can see that this year's will be the same in that regard.

 I've been pretty decadent about my time over the holiday.  I found time to finally finish the sweater that was started in the summer, and to start another sweater.  Nelson's needlework and craft store closed this week (sniff), and I bought myself a little cashmere yarn as the doors were closing.

I still need to buy proper clasps for the completed sweater (the photo here shows it being held shut with stitch markers), and block it.  In the meantime, the new sweater I'm working on is coming together rather quickly as there is plenty of sitting-around-in-the-evening time right now.  The new sweater is acid green and seafoam stripes...mmmmmm, cashmere......

Randy has been finding time during the holiday to work on the house.  He built doors for the boys' bedrooms, (yay!) and the caps for our posts.  Bit by bit, the house is coming together.

We're all getting ready to jump in to the new year around here.  Last year my resolution was about drawing, and I managed to keep it going in the intended way for about 3 months.  After that, I started including drawings I was doing for work or other purposes as my drawing 'resolution drawings', but knew that I was cheating myself!  It's funny how we can convince ourselves of things that are so contrary - part of the point of that particular resolution was to ensure that I had a place to invite drawing back into my life in creative, non-commercial ways...and promptly started mentally using my 'work' drawings as my 'recreational' drawings.  Hrm.

So this year I've opted to do a similar (non-commercial) thing in a new way.  I've joined the Sketchbook Project. The whole works has to be wrapped up and sent in by April...and that's about as long as I was able to make my resolution stick last year.  I have to pay to participate in this one - hopefully that will help with my stick-to-it-ive-ness...and at the end of it all the book will be available online for all to see, and in their library in Brooklyn.  I like the idea, too, that all the books will travel around the US, and that someday I or people I care about could go and view the book in it's new home.  I loved the themes and was able to choose one that has a lot of meat on it's bones for me, and can't wait to get in there and start working on it.  I've already been doing a bit of research and getting some ideas down.

Now I'm off to tidy up and reorganize my little corner of the loft is completely torn apart right now as I prepare for the art-ing and craft-ing year ahead.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I realize it's been far too long since I stuck my head in here.  Since August we have been busy - we've been working and playing a LOT of our waking hours.  I'm back working at the school I was at last year (hooray!), as well as working to co-build and co-teach the ShelterGuides course, and am coaching speed skating.  In the quiet corners here and there I've tried to find time to do some crafting, but those quiet moments have been few and far between.  

I'm currently managing three websites, and developing a new one.  Somehow I managed to stay away from the computer for two full days - only to find more than 70 emails waiting for me this morning!  (*Note to self * NOT vetting the email regularly can be disasterous!!)

A good example of how little crafting time I've had:  the sweater that I cast on in August when Randy was at the coast for his knee replacement surgery is still not finished.  I managed to cast off the second sleeve last night, and still need to assemble the sweater and knit the collar. This sweater may end up taking the longest of any I've ever made!

School ended for us last Friday, and I got busy stitching, making gifts for friends and family.  Now I'm mostly playing. There are just a couple of gifts left to make, so this afternoon has been playtime!

If you've been reading this blog for a very long time, you may remember this post or this post...
I found a local source for verrrrryyyyy inexpensive clothesline ($2.00 for 100ft...100% cotton).  I still have a rather large stash of fabric - and some spare time!!  I've been playing with shapes and sizes, and am finding that I can make a rather nice sized breadbasket with about 50' of line.  The photos here are of my only circular one so far - the most recent experiment involves using up lots of extremely colourful scraps, odd bobbins and ends of spools of thread...and I plan on attempting a lid.  This particular basket is quite a bit larger than the other ones that I've been making.  I'm hoping it will not end up TOO big, and can be recruited to hold all the remote controls and other detritus that collects on the coffee table but needs to be there.  Then again, if the lid thing works out, I may make another one in tamer colours to live in the main room and recruit this one to hold crafting or spinning supplies. :)
 Yesterday I went out for a walk with young Max through the neighbourhood.  Although it snowing now, yesterday was reasonably clear (for this time of year) and cold.  The frost had formed on almost everything in the yard (branches, buildings, fences) - but only on the WEST side.  There was a lot of beautiful furry frost to be seen in all kinds of different corners.

We walked all over the place and Mr. Max left quite a few people prints in different areas...edges of fields, just off of driveways, out in the gravel pit. The area was beautiful and misty, with a low fog hanging in the valley.  I was able to get some really gorgeous photos of the area (some of which are posted on my Facebook account for friends and family).  It was wonderful to get outside together for an hour or so.  The kicker is that it was the last hour before sunset, which is at about 3:50pm these days as we are right up against our shortest day of the year.  Hurry up solstice!  We need our days to start getting longer!

The other night we unleashed our Christmas Chaos, and the boys decorated the tree - and each other from time to time.  It was pretty sweet to see.  They're so lovely together so much of the time.  I count my stars every day that they are the young men that they are. We are so lucky.

Wherever you are, I hope this note finds you well.