Studio Dreams

Can I tell you a secret?  Don’t tell my kids!

I’m planning a knitting studio!  Yes, really.

My oldest daughter is going off to college in the fall.  It’s not exactly that I’m happy to see her go, but, she’s going, so I want to make some big changes upstairs in sleeping arrangements.  I have a cunning plan.  An extra point to those of you who got that reference (hint, think Black Adder).

I’m going to take the biggest bedroom (which, oddly, isn’t the master bedroom!) and make it a studio!

Before we go any further, you may wonder why my master isn’t the biggest bedroom.  That’s a good question!  I have four bedrooms, the master is the 3rd smallest (not including the bathroom, which is on the smallish side).  I do have an entire wall of closets (not walk in).  Both of the bigger bedrooms have walk in closets – once of them even has two walk ins.  I can only think that in 1973, when my house was built, the era of huge master bedrooms hadn’t yet begun.  I suspect my builder thought he was brilliant when planning so many closets.  And, believe me, I’m very grateful for them!

Back to the secret plan – I’ll bet you can guess which one I’m confiscating.  That’s right, it’s the one with two walk-ins.

Youngest daughter will move into oldest daughter’s bedroom, and I will take her lovely room (which, as it houses a teenager, isn’t currently lovely at all).  When oldest daughter is home, she can sleep in the studio (note to self, research futons).

I have big plans and a nice little pinboard going.  Go take a look.  I’ll wait here.

I’m thinking big worktable, new laptop with printer, lots of yarn storage, everything neatly organized.  And a place to keep my spinning wheel out in the open where the cats won’t mess with it.  I will do a lot more yarn making!

Believe it or not, this will be a kitty free zone.  Kitties are welcome for supervised visits, but if I’m not there, the door is firmly closed with them on the outside.  Oh, it will be heaven.

I’d love to hear other fiber artists’ ideas about studio design.  Please do comment!

I have some lovely color scheme possibilities- I’m think a sort of apricot-y coral-mango, which will be warm and energizing.

How about this?  It’s monochromatic, so should be very relaxing.

Ranunculus Petals

Or this one?  Too cool perhaps?

RanunculusBrights500

Or this?  Lots of energy and perhaps would stimulate creativity?

ClippedHues605

Or this really springy color group?

Cut Spring

I got all these from Design Seeds.  She is an amazing colorist!

This is my current favorite (maybe just for today).  This is from Muse Digital Design.

freshMangos

Follow my pinboard to watch my ideas develop.  This is going to be really big project and I will probably change my mind about it all a dozen times.  I really do want input on the whole project, from color to layout to fiber studio must-haves.

If only I could figure out how to get a big sink in there…

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Decluttering – Seven Things At A Time

My house feels like it’s about to explode with stuff. Some days it feels like every flat surface is covered with junk and all closets are filled to the brim.

too much crap

I read somewhere that a manageable way to get back to a beautiful place is to get rid of seven things a day. They can be given away, sold, recycled or just trashed. My first choice is always given away or sold. Things mostly end up given away. Second choice is the recycling bin. Last and least popular choice is the garbage can.

One day last week I went through the shelf of coffee cups. I was amazed to find I was holding onto four chipped or cracked cups, just because I loved them. Part of me said, “they are broken, junk them”. The other part responded, “but Peter gave that one to me”, or” I bought that with my mom in Michigan”. Like it is for many of us, it’s difficult for me to discard things that have memories attached, even though the actual memory is, of course, unaffected by trashing the physical item. That is one reason my house is full of stuff.

Another reason is my laziness.

Another reason – kids.  Mine are packrats.  It’s hard for them to let go of old things.  They aren’t naturally organized or neat.  They are super busy with school.   And they like clothes, makeup, shoes.  All this makes a perfect storm of clutter.

Here is my motto on this project.


keep-calm-get-organized-blue

Some days go better than others.  Lots of days I forget, or don’t get around to it, or just plain can’t be bothered.  But – I want to stop feeling this way.

clutter

So, I’ll keep trying.

And now, I’m going to go find 7 things to get rid of.

My Very Favorite Vegan Cookbook of 2012

Someone asked me recently which new cookbook of 2012 I liked best.  I’m afraid I will show my greedy little sweet tooth here, but the winner is 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury.

150 best vegan muffin recipes

I use this cookbook three or four times a week (I have a lot of teenagers who eat endlessly).  The things I like best about it is that almost all the recipes use easily available ingredients and the recipes are very easily customized to your family’s tastes.    I have switched her recommended soy yogurt for coconut when that was all I had, with great results, which makes it very useful when cooking for someone with a soy allergy.

The author includes a tip with almost every recipe and some of them are quite useful, for example, how to choose a good mango, or how to store wheat germ.  She also suggests substitutions that can change things up a little bit.

So far, I’ve only found one stinker – Mashed Potato Muffins – and, to be fair, she states to mash the potatoes with a fork, which I think must mean they should be chunky.  Mine were very very smooth, potato puree really, and the muffins just weren’t anything special.

But, the others I’ve tried are fantastic!

My favorites (in no particular order)

  • Gingerbread Muffins
  • Dark Chocolate Muffins
  • Pumpkin Spice Muffins (I see my copy has a note in it in my handwriting which says  “add walnuts” and another that says “add ginger for pumpkin gingerbread”.  I’ve tried it both of these ways and they were smashing.
  • Chai Latte Muffins (favorite of the teens)
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  I add a tiny sprinkle of sugar to the top of each of these before baking to get a crunchy top.

Tonight’s menu is potato and kale soup, toasted french bread and to finish, the lemon poppy seed muffins.  Can’t wait!

Renaissance Man

Craig was in the cast at the Fishers (IN) Renaissance Fair last weekend. Here’s a picture of him in his costume, looking thoughtful – very impressive.  As soon as he came home he shaved off most of that facial hair, it was driving him crazy!

The rest of the family did not attend, since it rained heavily for 24 hours before the opening, and we didn’t relish walking around a 45 degree mud field.  We’ll go next year.  We were sorry to miss the sword fight and the jousting!

I added another item to my Etsy shop yesterday.  This gorgeous Entrelac Wrap was knit by Cheryl in a fabulous Noro yarn; it’s made of wool, silk, cashmere, alpaca, angora, camel and kid mohair.  It’s super cuddly and really incredible to see and touch in person.  It would make a spectacular gift for a fashionista with a winter birthday or for Christmas.  It would also look brilliant on the back of a couch, ready to snuggle into when you are a bit chilly in the evening or on an early morning weekend (can you tell I’m a morning person?).

We have lots of fingerless gloves coming into the shop soon.  We sold out of these last year, so we are busy making more than we had in stock in 2011.  I remember one person bought several pairs and really wished we could make more in time.  So, this year, we are starting early!  I hope we can meet the demand.  Better go do some knitting…

Frosty Times Two

It’s that time of year again, we had our first frost of the season Sunday evening.  It was mildly surprising to wake up see frost, it’s just a bit early for us this year, our usual frost date is Oct 11, we were three days ahead of schedule.  I guess that a pretty average date for the first frost, after our horrendously hot and dry summer.  Nice to see things are back to normal (I hope).

This weekend’s project will be cleaning out the garage so at least two cars can get in.  Craig was already complaining today (second frosty morning in a row) that he is tired of scraping his car.

Cecily will have to learn to get up a bit early and go out and start her car so she can see to drive to high school.  I remember the days of stumbling out of bed (college days for me), going out into the freezing Chicago dawn and getting the car going.  Don’t miss that at all!

Garage tidying is a good kid project, there is always a teenager around here looking to earn a buck or two!

My second frosty item is my Frosty Scarf in my Etsy shop.

Here are a couple of pictures showing the lovely color transitions and texture.

It’s a beauty and I’m very happy with it!

I’m hoping to finish the Wingspan shawl (although it is really more of a large scarf) today.  Then I plan to finish up something I dropped in mid-project, a mohair scarf.

I don’t really enjoy working with mohair, it can be  a bit tricky to see the stitches. In the past I haven’t enjoying wearing mohair as I find it a bit tickly, but it is very pretty and ethereal in a garment.  I adore the way it floats around the wearer!  I believe I will try to wear it again and see what happens.

Shoes

More on  crazy shopping; here is a photo of youngest daughter’s shoes when we got home from Costco last Sunday.

She was in a hurry when we left!

I went out with two different shoes once when I was about 28 – to work!  Must have been tired (or hungover) that day.  I know I wasn’t late – I’m not a person who is ever late for work.  That job started at 8, I was usually at work well before 7.  (Morning person!)

I noticed around 2 pm, then was in an agony of despair for the rest of the workday.  Thank heavens I mostly sat at my big, solid desk at that job.

Have you ever left the house with unmatched shoes?  If so, how long did it take you to notice?

Pagan Party

Had another great weekend here in Indianapolis.  On Saturday I took my two oldest daughters to the Indy Pagan Pride Day 2012.  This was my first visit to Pagan Pride Day, and the 14th Annual Pagan Pride Day held in Indy.  I believe it’s the largest such event in the Midwest, which surprises me.  I would expect Chicago to be the place to claim that distinction.  Maybe they have lots of smaller events in different areas of the city.

I had a great time browsing the product stalls and chatting with the vendors, and made a few purchases (of course).  I bought some lovely hand made soap from Body Eclectic Skin Care.  The very nice soapmaker had way too many choices.

After lots of sniffing, I chose “Borealis” which contains strawberry, blueberry, goji, and pomegranate.  It’s described as “fabulously flirty and fruity”.  Maybe I was hungry!  I would also like to try “Danae”, which is grapefruit, tangerine and amber – I wonder what amber smells like?  I love citrus fragrances, anything that comes in grapefruit scent is likely to land in my shopping cart.

There was also a soap with bacon fat in it – it smelled very odd to me!  It also contained liquid smoke.  It reminded me a bit of a wood fire, I guess that would be a masculine fragrance!

My other purchase was a small pendulum with a glass pendant.

I’ve been wanting one for a long time, ever since I experimented with them in my Reiki training.

I also met a very nice young man, I seem to recollect his name was Fred.  He was just visiting the festival with his caretaker, who was a vendor.

Since I am not a pagan, I did not realize that the Pagan Pride event coincided with a Pagan/Wiccan holiday, Mabon.  This holiday honors the harvest and celebrates the bounty of our earth.  Lovely!  And part of the festivities typically involve sharing with others.  The Pagan Pride Day collected two tons of donations for the Damien Center, and one ton of supplies for Indy Feral.  That’s a lot of sharing!

Here’s a Mabon blessing for all (a bit late perhaps, but still heartfelt).

On this day of equal light and darkness, may you find the balance you need in your life, may you be blessed with abundance of many kinds, and may you be surrounded by the people who love you.

After we finished shopping and people watching, the girls convinced me to take them to Noodles and Co for the first time (first time for me, they’ve been there many times).  Yes, I’m the last holdout to visit that restaurant.  I had Japanese Pan Fried Noodles with Tofu, which were quite nice, although nothing spectacular.  There are several vegan choices, which I do appreciate, it’s not always easy to eat out vegan style in Indy without special ordering.  I do order “off the menu”, but it’s nice to be able to just order.  Some of my friends seem a bit embarrassed when I order something “special”.  I absolutely hate when a big fuss is made about my food when eating out!

The noodles

And they also had a nice strawberry spinach salad, which could be veganized by just saying “no cheese, please”.

Then it was home again for a nap, and an afternoon and evening of knitting, a simple dinner and TV.  I had an assistant help me knit.

I did finish that shawl.  Pictures next time!