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

 

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A Project Fail…Sort Of

Mitten Fail: Wooly Mastadon

So, in a post I shared last week, I hinted that knitting, yes knitting, made me procrastinate and not knit. You might say this is madness, and it kind of is but yes, December was the month when I guilted myself so much over Christmas knitting that I just didn’t knit. Granted, this should never be the way I go about things when it comes to knitting but I just couldn’t stand knitting the project I chose on repeat. My project, knit what felt like four million pairs of mini mitten ornaments to give away as gifts. The kicker, I started this in July…July!

Mitten Fail: Wooly Mastadon

When I started to knit these mittens, I fell in love with the pattern. It’s a decent pattern, simple, and creates an adorable FO. I knit the first pair in a striped sequence and loved it. I cast on another pair of striped mittens, and they sat, for months. Fast forward to November and I realized I better start knitting again if I wanted to get all the mittens completed in time to give them to people for Christmas. I didn’t’ want to do it and decided I had time to put it off, only knitting about two pairs. Then December rolled around. I didn’t want to knit the mittens, but knew full well I had to if I wanted to meet my goal. Thus I didn’t knit anything, not my shawl, not my socks, not my afghan. I felt guilty working on any other projects so I simply didn’t knit. Then came the week before Christmas, and my needles flew. I frantically tried to knit at least 5 pairs of mittens in part of a day (which simply could not happen). I failed. This is the first time I have not completed my Christmas knitting/crocheting/crafting. Every other year I have been on top of things. This year, only a select few people got a hand-made gift.

Mitten Fail: Wooly Mastadon

The moral of the story, don’t procrastinate, and if a project really isn’t as fun as you had hoped, just don’t do it. Pick another pattern you can love and move on. Note to self, don’t knit mini mitten ornaments as Christmas gifts again. On the bright side, the two people who got striped mittens are very lucky and 10 people did get mittens (I knit 10 pairs people!), and I am back to knitting all of the things once more.

~Stay Inspired

What I’m Looking At

What I'm Looking At: Wooly Mastadon

I haven’t done a post like this in a while and I thought it made sense to share. I’ve been enjoying a lot around the internet lately, whether it be articles, songs, etc. So lets dive in.

This article on A Beautiful Mess really hit home. Anti-bullying is really a big deal as it should be. I wish there was more of it when I was in school because I know what it is like to be a victim. You don’t always realize how bad it is until you look back and see how it made you react, in my case hide. Good thoughts here.

I am a Neil Gaiman fan, although I haven’t ready near enough of his work. This article is perfect, but also brings up some very terrifying statistics. We need libraries, we need books, we need the written word, period.

I’ve been enjoying podcasts as usual but have added a few, namely A Homespun House and the YarnGasm Podcast. Molly and Kristen have so much to share. I love the projects they work on but my favorite part is when they talk about running their shops. I find it interesting and inspiring.

Now, to music. I have been binge listening to a few songs. At the top of my list, Shots by Imagine Dragons (the video is amazing too), Waiting for Love by Avicci (the interactive video is so cool), and Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap. In all honesty, Hide and Seek was spurred on by a bit of an inside joke with a coworker but after listening to the song after forgetting about it, I can’t get it out of my head.

As always, Ravelry and Pinterest have been up there too. I’ve been really liking my Design Inspiration board on Pinterest, but even just looking at all the things I’ve pinned and seeing trends in my taste has been fun. Ravelry has been about all of the shawls and sweaters lately. My queue has grown by quite a few awesome patterns in the past few weeks. It is hard to choose what to make next.

Well, that is about it for the week. Let me know if you like this type of post, I enjoy putting them together. Hope your Monday is awesome.

~Stay Inspired

Positivity

Positivity: Wooly Mastadon

Positivity. We all need it. I need to share more of it here. Lately I have noticed that there is always a slight negative undertone to what I do and write on this blog. There is always a ‘but’ or a ‘however’ that takes the side of the not so lovely. Yes, these ideas and opposing or negative opinions to different topics are indeed essential (especially when reviewing something, I want to be honest here) but I also realize that I can become bogged down by the negative vibes. After reading this post on A Beautiful Mess today about bullying, I thought one of the corollaries to this post was perfect: be kind. Just be kind, stay positive, and stand strong for you and others. It is something that I need to remember and something that I feel everyone has room to grow in. Let’s make this weekend and the following weeks going into another school year (whether you are in school or not) an opportunity to start fresh and start cultivating and helping spread positivity. It’s needed, and especially on a Friday when I’m tired and sick of it all, I need that reminder. I am truly blessed.

~Stay Inpsired

Time Really Does Fly

Time Flies: Wooly Mastadon

It’s crazy to think I’ve been out of college a year. Even crazier when I realized as of last week I have officially been working at my part-time turned full-time job at one of my local grocery stores for one year as well. Although I know I don’t want to be doing this the rest of my life, it has really been a blessing for paying the bills and for health insurance. I am lucky to not have to fight for that like so many that I know. I rememeber last year when I started this job. I was part-time (like 3 days a week) and was working on an internship as well. Now I’m full-time working on all kinds of things. I know I’m not getting to creating and designing as much as I should be (remember this post…yeah, that’s still in the works.), I am blessed to have a steady job. I have no idea what this next year will bring me, but some opportunities may be on the horizon (graphic design and otherwise) and I just might be adding to my full-time job. Am I crazy to consider working a full-time job plus another one? Should I be adding more when I want to be creating and knitting/spinning/crocheting more? Perhaps, perhaps not, but we shall see.

~Stay Inspired

This is Life

This is Life in Flora: Wooly Mastadon

Perhaps a strange title but a true statement of fact. This is indeed life. I am breathing, I am living, I exist. Deep, I know, but such is the state of things. I’m writing this after a day of work, a walk with the dog and my camera, some knitting tossed all over my desk, music playing, and the sound of my family watering plants outside. A strange mix perhaps, but a comforting one in the chaos that is life. I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m muddling through life like the next person. But for now, I thought I’d share some images of life lately, through plants. I love photography and taking my small camera with me on my walks with my pooch has proven to be the best decision I have made in a long time. It has gotten me looking at things through a different filter again, and whats more important is that I want to create. I want to knit, I want to draw/write/make. I even signed up for a letterpress work day. I feel ready to go. Photography is one outlet that I enjoy when I want to express more than just the urge to create, when I want to share part of my essence.

This is Life in Flora: Wooly Mastadon

With that, I leave you with my images. My pride. Life right now. Vibrant, essential, radiant.

This is Life in Flora: Wooly Mastadon This is Life in Flora: Wooly Mastadon This is Life in Flora: Wooly MastadonThis is Life in Flora: Wooly Mastadon

~Stay Inspired

A Week of Adventures

Thoughts: Wooly Mastadon

Alas, another week has slipped by and I am still trying to catch up. The end is at least in sight so hopes are building once more. As for this week, it included a much needed trip out of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I love this place, don’t get me wrong, but the last time I left home for more than 12 hours was around Christmas. That was quite a while back. Thus, traveling, even if it was just 3.5 hours away, was such a nice change. I ended up going to Wausau Wisconsin for part of a day. The purpose of the trip was a family member’s doctor appointment, but of course we squeezed quite a lot of shopping around that. Other than some spots my family wanted to stop by, I got my wish of stopping at Target as well as the LYS (local yarn shop) in Wausau, the Black Purl. I’ll share more about the Black Purl and a yarn haul later on, but for now, let’s just say that I loved this shop.

Around the trip to Wausau my family stopped by my Grandmother’s house in Wisconsin’s North Woods. She lives on a lake in the woods so there are always a lot of chores. My family ended up helping with a few as well and visiting. It was so nice to hear the frogs at night and listen to the water. I even braved the ice cold water and dipped my toes for a while. It was just beautiful. Although not as relaxing as you might think, it was a wonderful change from the everyday ho-hum that has been 2015 thus far. Don’t get me wrong, 2015 has had some amazing parts, but as of late the doldrums have taken over.

The only flaw to my trip was that I did not take any photos. Not even one terrible but candid pooch shot. Alas, perhaps next time I will be better at this. For now, I leave you with another of my random nature photos. Hope your weekend is a good one and that you at least have 10 minutes to spend on yourself.

P.S. Confession is good for the soul. I did not knit a single stitch on this trip despite the decent stash enhancement. I did, however, read a lot. Ah well, I started the toe on my second sock yesterday to make up for it.

~Stay Inspired

Random Ramblings: My Knitting Story via Yarn

My Yarn Journey: Wooly Mastadon

When I found the weaving piece I shared with you yesterday, I started thinking about yarn. When I was younger, I thought that yarn was stupid. I thought it was the most useless craft material known to man, and the only yarn I owned was some depressing acrylic from a thrift store that occasionally was used for sock puppet hair. Then, in fifth grade I was introduced to weaving on a cardboard loom. I actually enjoyed it and ended up putting that thrift store yarn to use. I started many of those weavings but never finished as single one. Fast-forward just under two years and my Aunt decided to teach me crochet on one summer vacation. My Aunt, Uncle and Cousin met my family at my Grandmother’s house for a week to visit, swim in the lake (Grandma lives on a small lake) and do chores to help out. For whatever reason, my Aunt was kind and patient enough to teach the snotty child that I was crochet. I don’t even remember why she decided to do it. All I remember is my Mom asking if I’d be interested shortly before we went on vacation and I said sure, not having a clue what would be started that summer. When I arrived a small crochet care package (yes my friends, that was my first knitting bag, and it was my pride and joy…I love Scooby Doo to this day) awaited me along with hand-written instructions and samples all prepared by my loving Aunt. I caught on quickly, much faster than she expected and only got stuck on the crochet chain (my Grandmother ended up showing me how to do her method to create the chain and I was set). By the end of that trip I had created 9 blanket squares which I shortly joined into a small baby blanket. That vacation I hardly ever put the hook down. From then on I created everything I could.

The following summer my Aunt taught me how to make a granny square, and many more projects followed. That Christmas she gave me a big box of yarn, knitting needles, and a how to knit book. I attempted to knit, but struggled to follow the book’s instructions. My Grandmother couldn’t stand watching me strugggle and taught me how to cast-on and the basic knit stitch. After that I never looked back. I learned the Continental method of knitting as opposed to the American method taught in the book, and have knit faster because of it.

All it took was a few days one summer to completely flip my opinion of yarn. Now I have so much yarn that I don’t know what to do with it. It is such a blessing, but I always look back to the days when I thought yarn was the most stupid, useless craft material on the planet. If only I knew what I would get sucked into. If only I knew fiber crafting/art was in my blood.

And I’m not ever going back.

~Stay Inspired

What I’m Reading.

What I'm Reading: Wooly Mastadon

I like to read. Granted, I do not go through the number of books many people might in a year, but I read every night and if I don’t my day is ruined. Reading means junk food fiction (fantasy, and scifi please), almost text-book like books and novels, and of course, fiber art books/magazines/etc. Some of my current reads are as follows.

Born Under Saturn by Margot and Rudolf Wittkower: This is more of a text book read, but was very interesting. I finished it up a week or two ago and loved all of the tidbits of info. The book’s format is going through different time periods in art (mainly between the 1400s and the 1800s) and discussing how artists were viewed during that time, how the profession was treated, and delves into the idea of the insane artist. It truly is fascinating if you are interested in ideas similar to these like I am. Be warned: this is not a light read. Go into it with a dictionary if you aren’t familiar with terms.

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff : This is one of the junk food fiction books that I mentioned before. I am not very far into it yet, but it seems to be good thus far. It’s a story about magic in our modern world, about the idea that evil breeds more evil, and that eventually, someone has to seal that evil off from the world before more is let in. Of course, a talking cat is involved, and some very stupid imps and manifestations of evil, but I think it will be a great read (I already own the second book so it better be, haha).

Interweave Crochet Spring 2015: Holy cow, the colors. I love this issue’s use of bright color and creative construction. I am not sure that I’d ever make several of the patterns in this issue (last issue had me wanting to make every pattern), but the eye candy is enough to keep me happy. There are some really great articles as well. Pick an issue up if you can.

Mollie Makes Issue 50: I’ll be honest, I absolutely love Mollie Makes. It takes me several days to get through one issue because I pour over it and take my time. It is almost inspiration overload for me. This issue has some great DIY’s and I love the bright, joyful products featured throughout. My favorite aspect, however, has to be the artist/maker interviews with a studio tour. It really makes me realize that I do at some point want to full-time pursue a creative field and that a studio is a must. Also, the kit that came with it, so cute. I need to make that bear.

What I'm Reading: Wooly Mastadon

As for a few other books, I may or may not have been sucked into the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I have sped through the first two books and am eagerly awaiting the last two to come out in paperback. Full disclosure: I read what I want. If it’s a picture book and I’m interested in it, I’ll read it. Young adult, check. Heavy college + level textbook, I’ll read it. It just has to interest me.

Well, for now that is about it. I have read a bit more than this, but this is the most recent bunch (sans about four million magazines…I didn’t want to make the list too long, haha). What are you reading and looking at? Do share!

~Stay Inspired

Cones of Awesome: A Yarn Haul

Yarn and Fiber Haul: Wooly Mastadon

As promised from my last post, I am sharing yet another yarn haul. This past Friday, my local community arts center held another fundraiser. Each year they host what is called a Fiberama, where people from the community donate yarn, fiber, fabric, etc. to sell to benefit the arts center. I missed the one this last fall (the 2013 event was great so I was sad to miss it), but was thrilled to hear about another one in Spring. The center had such a huge response to the call for donations that they hosted another sale in conjunction with a fiber exhibition. I went to help out, not sure if I’d buy any yarn, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. They were selling yarn by the bag: fill up your bag for a set price. I ended up leaving with three bags and a braid of roving. Why, because most of what was for sale was cones of yarn, the exact thing I wanted to buy to experiment with my fiber art. I couldn’t pass that up. To start, the roving is in the color Ophelia, and is by Chameleon Colorworks. As you can see, for yarn, I got quite a bit in different textures and thicknesses. My main goal was to get something in all of the colors of the rainbow, so that when experimenting with tapestry, coiling, etc., I had options.

Yarn and Fiber Haul: Wooly Mastadon

I am really excited about this. For me, cones of wool and other fibers hold a piece of my heart because of my college fiber classes. The fiber studio had shelves of cones of fiber, all sorted by color, just waiting to be used to experiment and create. Even if it is just a small chance, I still want to recreate a bit of that studio in my home, part nostalgia (bad word…well, that was an inside joke, sorry), but mostly because I love the idea of having something at hand with the purpose of experimenting and creating art. The yarn was very inexpensive so I don’t feel bad failing with it. I’m excited, another way to create and share my love of fiber. How do you experiment? What are your thoughts on cones of yarn?

~Stay Inspired