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!

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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

 

Another Weekday Adventure

Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

With my work, I don’t have a normal repeating schedule. I don’t often get weekends, and my days off get shifted throughout the week all the time. However, it also means I can take Monday and Tuesday off without batting an eye. This week was the perfect reason to do that. A few of my friends made the trek to come visit me those days and of course we had to go on an adventure. Copper Harbor was a must.

Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

You know what’s coming, photo overload. Regardless, I had such a wonderful time I absolutely had to share.

Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

Hope your week was amazing and that your weekend is even better. Go out and explore!

~Stay Inspired

And Yet Another Year Flies By…

Wooly Mastadon Turns 2!

It’s been another year and Wooly Mastadon is now two years old! Granted this year hasn’t been a banner year for consistency but the fact that it is still here is a good sign. I love this little piece of the interwebs and hope to keep it going for as long as I can. I had lofty goals to create something awesome to share here today, something useful like a tutorial or printable, but I was utterly stumped. I just didn’t know what fit, and I wanted it to be just right. Thus, I’m taking suggestions…what should I do next. I want to create something, whether it be a printable, a background you can use on your computer, or even a tutorial or pattern. What shall it be?

With that I leave you. Its been a crazy two years, and this also marks just over two years out of college (yeesh!, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole). There have been ups and downs, and this little space is still here. Here’s to another, hopefully more productive, year! Thanks for sticking around.

~Stay Inspired

TDF Spinning Fail

TDF2016: Wooly Mastadon

It’s TDF…and I somehow missed the memo. I knew it was coming, and had planned to spin like crazy to finish up the fiber I am spinning up for a shawl for my Mom. I had plans…and then I missed the first day of TDF. I didn’t realize til late that night that it had started. With only one day lost, I continued on. Despite going out of town shortly after it started, I dutifully brought along my drop spindle and spun for a bit every day I was gone. Once I got home…I stopped. For whatever reason TDF this year is just not happening for me and since getting my wheel two years ago I’ve participated, newby or not. It’s sad that I’ve missed this much, but perhaps I’ll catch up…or not.

TDF2016: Wooly Mastadon

But this year I’ve decided that’s okay. I may not be spinning a whole lot, I may not be reaching lofty goals, and I may not even touch the wheel for a few days in a row during TDF but it needs to be that way. When it rains it pours and life seems to do that lately. TDF was a self-obligation and instead of enjoying it I was starting to worry about it. Thus I have resolved to this: I will spin when I can during TDF, not participating on any teams. Once TDF is over and things have evened out briefly in life, I’ll give myself my own challenge to spin a certain amount of fiber in a specific time. I really do enjoy the challenge TDF presents and just how much yarn I can spin when I push myself. It just clearly can’t be now.

I think that’s a plan. I really want to finish the fiber on my wheel so I can knit up an amazing shawl for my Mom. Let’s do this. Until next time, Happy Weekend.

~Stay Inspired

 

Another Adventure…

Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon

You may be sick of nature photos, but that won’t stop me from sharing them. Once again I have been out and about, taking photos of the things I love best. I spent some quality time (the longest amount of time I’ve been able to take off for myself in over a year) at my Grandma’s house once again. The fact that she lives in the woods by a lake, even better. For a wonderful summer refresher I thought I’d share some of the photos from this trip.

Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon

Fair warning, there are a few silly ones including a pink elephant. Long story but it was a gift and I thought it would be funny to share some photos of my pink elephant having fun in the woods. It works.

Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon

And one final thing, Happy 4th of July to all of you who live in the states. For everyone else, Happy Weekend.

~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

Some Small FOs

FO Friday: Wooly Mastadon

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to show you some FOs, but finally I have gotten a few things off the needles to show. Neither are very grand or exciting but it’s good to have them done. First off, I finished another pair of vanilla socks. Per usual, I knit them toe-up with an afterthought heel (with the placed scrap yarn) with the magic loop technique. Clearly I have settled into this style since I’ve knit the last 10 pairs of socks this way and am not sick of it yet. These socks were knit on size US 1 (2.25 mm) needles out of Knit Picks Stroll Multi in the Meadow colorway. Can we take a minute to admire the almost striping effect this yarn had on these socks? It’s lovely and it was exciting to knit to see how the colors would react. When I saw this in the skein I had no idea it would turn out this way and I absolutely love it. One more side note, it is entirely ironic when I finished these socks because I happened to finish themĀ on our hottest day of the year thus far, a 90 degree (Fahrenheit) day. Yeesh, I didn’t even try them on it was so hot, but they are done and they are awesome.

FO Friday: Wooly Mastadon

My second FO is a much smaller one but I thought it should be noted. I’ve had dishcloths on the needles for months for my Aunt. The honest truth is I completely forgot about them. Well, when I finished knitting my socks I wanted to pick up another project but it was far too warm to start anything big so I found these and finished them up. There are six dishcloths in varying patterns, a bit wonky but my Aunt loves them and will really appreciate the gift.

That’s about it for this week. Lots of fun things to come in the future. Happy Friday!

~Stay Inspired

When You Get Mad at Your WIPs

Scrap 'Ghan Fail: Wooly MastadonIt happened, and no one is surprised. In the past two weeks, I pushed to attempt to finish the bane of my existence, my scrap afghan. Honestly, its been a project for almost two years and although the initial idea was cool one mistake at the very beginning made this project a time sink and trouble all the way through. For some people, they would have seen the warning signs and ripped out the first few motifs at the start, but I was stubborn and decided to plow through.

Scrap 'Ghan Fail: Wooly Mastadon

I was so excited when I finished the borders around each motif for the afghan. So excited I didn’t plan and simply tried to crochet all of the motifs together…without testing for strength. Yeah, that was a fail. I shoved the connected circles, loose ends and all, back into the bag and I haven’t looked at it since. The kicker to all of this, it has stalled my knitting/crochet/spinning mojo. I want to cast on my Waiting for Rain shawl (yes that is going to be my next project), knit away at my socks, and start other projects. However, this afghan is preventing me from starting anything.

Do you ever have those projects, the ones that seem great at the beginning, but slowly but surely fall down the slippery slope of constant error and troubleshooting. This is one. The only way to get this cloud off of my knitting mojo and out of the back of my brain is to finish this afghan. I have an idea for a fix. Here’s to hoping it works and that I can report back with better success very soon. Happy Friday.

~Stay Inspired