Autumn is My Favorite

Fall Wreath: Wooly Mastadon

People wonder why I get so excited as soon as September rolls around and the days of summer heat slowly get taken over with cooler weather. The leaves begin to change, the ferns yellow, and the goldenrod withers. But with all this change comes the cozy evenings snuggled under a blanket with a big mug of hot tea. Stacks of books sit proudly on the coffee table and bedside tables begging to be read. Knitting on the couch with a good knitting podcast on the TV is always the answer to an evening in.

Fall Reading: Wooly Mastadon

This year has the added benefit of being able to share my favorite season with my husband. Granted, he does not enjoy knitting or the podcasts that I watch far too often, but we trade off TV time (for him it’s football) and being together is what matters. Its a season of comfort and love, of change, and of sharing the simple moments. It’s evenings after work spent on the couch, or visiting family. Its the evening grocery runs that slowly but surely always end up being after dark because the sun starts to hide its face earlier and earlier. It’s the promise of my favorite holidays and both my and my husband’s birthdays.

Fall Wreath: Wooly Mastadon

And it is remembering Mom. This was my Mom’s favorite season too, and this year above all others I want to put a little of her into everything I do. I want to make sure that this fall and every one after is one that she would be happy with knowing I spent the time doing things I love and some that she loved too. We’ll watch Big Fat Greek Wedding (yes, I went there..and I love it!) and we’ll read all of the books. I’ll bake all of the cookies and bars and try to eat healthy in spurts every other week. I’ll listen to Enya and early Christmas music on repeat. I’ll drink all of the tea and cast on far too many projects. I’ll aspire to knit Christmas gifts for everyone and manage to make something small skating into the deadline headfirst but just making it. I’ll go crazy with seasonal decor and spread the joy every chance I get.

It’s fall, and it’s one of the best times of year. I hope that in the season as in all others it brings blessings to all who enjoy it. Stay warm, stay cozy, and share all the joy you can.

~Stay Inspired

P.S. The amazing fall wreath pictured above is by the best florist at Bobbi at Econo Foods in Houghton, MI. If you’re in the market for a wreath of any kind, or any floral design (she did our wedding flowers!!) for that matter and are local please check her out!

 

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Fall Cast-on?

It’s that time of year. The number of days below 70 degrees is growing and with it the urge to curl up under an afghan, a good knitting podcast on TV, and a new fall cast-on on the needles. It’s a picture I’ve been dreaming of since mid-summer when the temps rose and our apartment’s average temp was a minimum of 80 degrees. Yet, now as this image slowly comes into reality I have no idea what to cast on. Do I knit a sweater? If so is it a pullover, cardigan, does it have a hood? Is it a huge chunky shawl? Is it simply a hat? Should I really be thinking about Christmas gifts (please no, not yet)?

All these questions have been running through my head and as I browse my queue on Ravelry or just browse the patterns section but I just can’t seem to settle on a pattern. I’ve even dug through my back issues of knitting magazines to no avail. I just want to cast on everything…thus in that case nothing. I freeze.

For over two years I’ve been sitting on 2,200 yards of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted in the Blackberry colorway (purple of course…I can’t avoid it!). The problem: I will not cast a new project on until I find that ‘perfect’ project. I want to use up as much yardage as possible (which isn’t hard since I’m not a small person) but also make something I can live in. When I find something interesting there is always a flaw. I don’t know whats stopping me. Perhaps its the fear I won’t wear what I make…a sweater’s quantity of yarn isn’t exactly cheap. Even then, it shouldn’t stop me, I should plow ahead without worry because if I don’t this yarn will sit in my stash forever.

This is it, this is the year I will finally cast on my sweater! But what to choose. Throughout this post you have seen several options. What do you think I should choose? Do you have a pattern suggestion? What do you do when you don’t know what to knit? Let me know!

~Stay Inspired

Honeymoon Ramblings

Honeymoon: Wooly Mastadon

As you noticed I’ve been gone for over a week. It was 100% worth it as my husband and I finally got the vacation time to take our honeymoon…10 days of work free-bliss. Early on in planning we had decided this trip would be all about family (and in our minds our best friends are family too…of course!). We made a loop leaving our home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, heading to Wisconsin for a few days, then going through Illinois/Indiana to lower Michigan, finally to head over the Mackinac bridge home. It was a lot of driving (with no car a.c….boo) but we made it despite the 80+ degree temps, and hey, we’re Yoopers and that’s hot!

Honeymoon: Wooly Mastadon

The one destination we had planned other than visiting our favorite people was House on the Rock in Spring Green Wisconsin. It is an amazing place and if you ever get the chance GO! The words I would use to describe it just wouldn’t give it justice so check out the link and go see the place for yourself If museums and oddities are your thing, you’ll love it. This was my third time going (first time as an adult…its been about 10 years) but my husband’s first visit and to my delight he absolutely loved it! It was a springboard for creativity and something to remember forever.

However, on this trip it certainly gave me a chance to refocus. In my four+ years working where I do (small town grocery store) I have never taken this much time off, even for our wedding. It was amazing, and a relief from a lot of stress. I checked my phone but no where near as much as I would when I was at home, leaving far more time for chatting, playing board games, learning card games, and just being outside with the best people. I knit, got completely immersed in a book, and shared so many meaningful conversations with my husband. Through it all I realized just how important all these things are to me, and how little time I was actually setting aside for them. Work is work, and I am lucky enough to have a job that I can leave behind at the end of the day, and should do just that rather than drag the drama home with me making my one safe haven not so safe (especially for my poor husband who has to listen to hour long rants).

Honeymoon: Wooly Mastadon

Through all this it solidified what I’ve been learning, well re-learning, this year. Creativity is what makes me thrive, family is what truly matters, and yes, work can be a soul-sucking monster but only if you truly let it. I need to make sure that all the hours spent outside of work are so filled with the good that if the bad tries to drain my happiness I have a reserve overflowing to beat it. Yes, it will not always work. There will be days where I let things drag me down, but as long as I don’t stay there then there is progress.

I’ll be back soon to share some fun things soon (I’m thinking a favorites post is in order, I may or may not have bought way too many books on our honeymoon, all worth sharing!). It’s time to focus on what actually matters!

~Stay Inspired

P.S. Sorry for the crazy pictures, I know they don’t really match the content (they are from one small part of House on the Rock). We went in with good intentions to take so many photos this trip but our cameras stayed in our pockets, and I’m okay with that. We were in the moment with great people and electronics can’t replace that!

Life Lately: Joy and Sadness

Mom and Me

It’s been a while, to say the least. Sometimes you have plans to do amazing things, and are forced to take a step back. In the months following my last post so many things happened. My now husband and I were planning a wedding and being the person I am, I ended up making a lot of things by hand. While we were planning and making Mom’s cancer progressed farther and faster than any of us could expect.

Christmas was amazing, one that I will remember forever. My Mom and I went all out and made the house a winter wonderland and baked far too many cookies than any of us could reasonably eat (but we did….yeah). We celebrated and enjoyed one last Christmas together. Then with the new year, Mom’s cancer got far more aggressive. She became house bound, and her chemo treatments were weekly with more visits to the doctor for side effects from the chemo. Her health slipped.

Mom made sure that when she did have energy she was helping us plan our wedding, talking about projects and cooking, and caring so much about us all. But her time was less and less. The day after Mother’s Day Mom went home to heaven. Her funeral was that following Friday. It was bittersweet. We got to see family a few weeks earlier than planned.

Less than a month later was the wedding, a celebration that both my husband and I will remember forever (I’ll share more details soon). It was perfect. Everyone says one detail of the wedding will go wrong and seriously wrong. We didn’t have that. Everything went smoothly and was amazing. My Dad walked me down the isle and did our wedding service. Our only sad part to our day was missing Mom, but she was rejoicing from heaven.Mom's Shawl: Wooly MastadonWhat does this have to do with Wooly Mastadon? I’m not sure yet. What I do know is that right now the loss of my Mom is setting in. I didn’t have a chance to grieve. Now that I have a bit more time, the realization is hitting and hard: she’s gone. My husband has been truly supportive through all this but even he knows that sometimes the only way to heal is time, and doing something you love. For most of 2018 I did not create much of anything. I was a caregiver for my Mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but to properly work through her passing I think it only makes sense to start creating once again. My Mom was my partner in crime when it came to art/crafts/creating. I bounced all my ideas off her, asked her for advice, and just shared in the experience of creating. Although I will never replace my Mom perhaps you can now be my outlet. Let’s create a community and share. Let’s heal together.

P.S. The shawl in the first photo is one that I knit in only a few months, the shortest amount of time it has ever taken for me to knit a shawl. It was for Mom and I finished it in time for her to have it to wear for Christmas. I’ll share more on this later on as well as wedding fun!

~Stay Inspired

Hold Onto What Matters…

When Its Unclear: Wooly Mastadon

In the past few weeks it has been a roller-coaster. I don’t like putting life updates here, this place is for the purpose of sharing projects, creativity, inspiration. Yet sometimes life just has to come to the forefront, needs to be seen. No matter how much you try to hide what is happening it shines through. It shines through here and elsewhere in my silence. Now, there have been some really good moments but there have been a lot of really hard moments too. It was to the point that all I wanted to do was run and hide from everything. Thankfully I have a really amazing person in my life who helped me get out of that but sometimes things hit you hard. One thing that I have shared on and off here was my Mom’s battle and defeat of cancer. Two months ago my family learned that that cancer had returned, and with a vengeance. She’s getting treatment and doctors seem pretty positive but it hit everyone hard, when something terrible was over…at least you thought it was, only to come back.

This was just one example of the downs that have hit these past few months. I lost track of what mattered and let things get to me. I let work drama creep into my time away from work and eat away at what was left of me. I gave up on knitting and reading, and really creating for a while. The only thing I really had to show for a span of time were some nature photographs from mini day trips to go escape for a while. I think somewhere in the mess that was my brain it knew the only way to get me out of my funk was to get me out of the house.

So I got out of the house. Some of my best friends came up to visit. I went on day trips, I took photos, and I worked. For whatever reason, possibly because some of the troubles are slowly being resolved, things are getting better. I have someone in my life who is constantly reminding me not to lose sight of my goals, and that it is always worth working toward the things that you find important.

What's Out There: Wooly Mastadon

And so in the past week I have made an effort to get back into the small things I love to do, the creative things that keep me going. I started designing some knitwear and brainstormed some big ideas. These big ideas reminded me that I still someday want to be a graphic designer at a knitwear magazine, or something like that. I want to move on and do the things I love for a living. And I have to work toward that, not give up, if I want to accomplish it.

Life isn’t always happy, it isn’t the perfectly edited photo posted to Instagram or the short witty post to Facebook. It isn’t the properly edited blog post filtered to make your life look perfect. Life has ups and downs, and sometimes the downs feel impossible to handle. It is possible, it will get better. You just have to hold onto what matters.

Hold onto what matters…it keeps you going when nothing else will.

I’ll be back, with projects, hopefully very soon. Thanks for listening.

~Stay Inspired

 

Adventures in the Woods (and by the Big Lake)

Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon

As you may (or may not) have noticed I was absent last Friday on the blog. Perhaps you didn’t care, perhaps you did but it was all for a good cause. In the past two weeks I’ve taken my camera for a spin, both close to home (my backyard of course) and a bit farther away in Copper Harbor, Michigan. Nature is my happy place, nature by the water is even better, nature by the water with an amazing friend is the best. Here’s what I’ve been up to (warning…photo dump!).

Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon

Let’s start with Copper Harbor. I finally had a day off that coincided with my friend’s work schedule. He had never been to Copper Harbor before and I went several times every year…any chance I could. It was a cold (45 degrees fahrenheit!) windy day, but neither of us minded. I made sure we hit all of my favorite spots, Brockway Mountain, Fort Wilkins, a park with a cool rock formation you can climb, the works. It was lovely, we both enjoyed it, and had a blast. Of course my camera came along for the journey and he humored all of my crazy just to get the best shot (read he’s terrified of heights and I’m not…yeah, he endured almost heart attacks so I could get the best shot with my camera). It was fun, I came away with so many photos, and the urge to go back again soon. Next time we’ll hit up some beaches and perhaps a lighthouse or two when the weather is warmer.

Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

My second location, my yard. Granted this isn’t the most grand of places to take photos, I still find joy in crawling around in the woods for the best shot, laying under bushes in the flowerbeds to get the best angle, and just general exploration. Today I topped everything off with planting my mom’s flower beds…perhaps I’ll have to capture some of that with my camera tonight but we shall see.

Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

Anyway, I do have some projects coming to share with you very soon. Here’s to hoping that the beginning of what might actually be summer is here to stay for a while. Happy Friday!

~Stay Inspired

Crazy How Things Change…24 a Few Months In

24 Reflection: Wooly Mastadon

A strange title for a blog post on a fiber blog but it is fitting right now. I haven’t done a serious sit-down-and-chat post in a while. It’s just one of those things. It has been a good several weeks of 2016, but crazy and hectic. The thing is, it’s only now finally sinking in, I’m 24. Granted I’ve been 24 since November but for whatever reason I just ignored it and moved on. By now, most good bloggers would make a 25 by 25 list but I’m just not into goals like that so I thought I’d change things up. 24 isn’t a standout age so to speak, but for me it just feels like a big one. It’s kind of hitting mid 20s and it was a mark that I kind of thought I’d have more figured out. Its a nondescript year, but for some reason it hit me. I’m 24, have no idea what I’m doing, working at a grocery store in customer service and bookkeeping, I’ve got freelance design projects coming and going, but I have no idea who I am.

It’s a strange thing, when people think you should have everything figured out, that somehow you should be making big bucks in a career, the media pushes you to believe that if you don’t have a solid hold on what life is by now, you’re destined to fail. Now I don’t believe all that, rather I know life is just one long journey of learning, about yourself, about life, about your fellow human beings. You never have it all figured out, something always changes to make you rework what you though you knew. Imposter syndrome will always be there if you have a success, and there will always be people to tell you what you don’t want to hear.

But there are always people there to help you too. Slowly but surely, although I have no idea what I am doing, I am learning who I am each day, how I change, how people close to me view me and value what I do even if it isn’t glamorous. Maybe I work a low-key job (with great people mind you) so that I stay humble, but also so I can keep doing what I love without tainting it with deadlines. Perhaps it is there to remind me that yes, I have plenty to work for and that with time I might just get there.

24. I’ve still got plenty of time before I hit 25 and no list is going to prepare me to get there, but perhaps I will end with this. By 25 I want to be more comfortable with who I am and where I am in life, even if it just means making sure I appreciate what I have now, appreciating where I am life and where I am going. My situation my be the same, but if I can refocus on the people I love and put more time into the things that really matter, then 24 will be a success and anything that follows will be where I am supposed to be.

~Stay Inspired

Wow, December 24th

 

 

Christmas with Wooly Mastaond

So, it’s been almost a month. A whole crazy wonderful annoying month. Where did it go. Today is Christmas Eve Day, the day my family celebrates Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas day. To change things up, I thought I’d recap the month, but just in a few pictures. This year December hasn’t really felt like the holiday season, we hardly had any snow and yesterday it was raining! Still, I spent most of my month working, knitting on mittens (or more like procrastinating knitting on them), and generally running around. I had a birthday the end of November, and that lead to a lot of thinking, and a lot of considering what I want for the future. I turned 24, so that means next year I’ll turn 25…yikes.

Enough chatter, onto the pictures. December is always a cozy time of year, warm, inviting, full of joy. As I prepared for the season I snapped some photos along the way. Enjoy.

Christmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly MastaondChristmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly Mastaond

~Stay Inspired