Thursday, March 16, 2017

Colorful



I love color (I may have mentioned that yesterday...). But (partly for economy, and partly so as not to add to the boxes in the top of my closet where yarn bits go to die) I rarely work things in more than one color. But when I discovered a basket of sock yarn minis at my favorite local yarn store, I chose my five favorites first and designed after. Thus, Gratifying, available for free on Ravelry. In case you or someone you know needs a fun spring cowl.




I rarely knit other people's patterns. But one book that I have had and loved and marked pages in for years is French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. I want to knit almost everything in it, and I had actually made two things (a lace tunic and an openwork sleeveless top). When some Shibui Silk Cloud was made available to me as a gift, I immediately got enough for two more projects. It's taken me a few months between other projects, but I'm very pleased with how the Veronique shrug turned out. I beaded all the edges because I love beads, and it was totally worth the extra work. (The purple I'm wearing under it is another project that will have its own post sometime next month).


Having finished my deadline projects and gotten the shrug off my conscience and onto my body, the Knitting Fates presented me with the recently released Perun Cowl by Shannon Okey (my very first sweater was one of hers, and I spent 6 fabulous weeks as her intern several years ago - it was about time I did another of her patterns). It seemed like a good garment for spring and for an upcoming trip (the Airport Conundrum - freezing planes, temperate terminals, and scorching tropical tarmacs). I was excited to find the yarn the pattern called for at my favorite local yarn store, and I'm hoping to have it finished up in a few days (probably just in time for the weather to warm up again, but there's always air conditioning).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What's Your Color Story?


I love color. Always have. As a child, I (unsuccessfully) attempted to get my mom to let me paint the walls and ceiling in my bedroom blue and put in green shag carpet ("it'll be like being outside!") and as an adult homeowner, I lost no time in creating a full rainbow from my kitchen to my living room, with furniture, art, and accent walls.


So I was delighted to be on the launch team for Moll Anderson's new book Change Your Home, Change Your Life With Color: What's Your Color Story? I've seen plenty of decorating books that talked about color and how to use it - that's not exactly what this is, though. Moll suggests that vibrant color is something that naturally speaks to us (and that we speak through), but that we tie colors to events in our lives, and sometimes those create negative connotations. 

The book is filled with pages and pages of gorgeous photos (not all of them decorate-y) in all colors, along with gentle encouragement, tips for incorporating color into your life, and a few journaling exercises for digging down to discover the colors you truly love, and maybe find forgiveness for the ones who've hurt you in the past.


I found it both validating and encouraging - it's already led me to make some color choices with my knitting that I might not have before, and stepping outside my usual Activist-Turquoise and Introvert-Green into a more balanced rainbow. I encourage you to pick up a copy - every story needs a little color, and this book is filled with vibrant hues for home and life.

Find Moll's new book here - I was given a copy as part of the launch team, but these opinions are honest and wholly mine.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

52 Lists: the things that always cheer you up

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row on a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.

A list of the things that always cheer me up


1. Color
2. Knitting
3. Tea
4. Nature
5. Poetry
6. Music
7. Pretty things
8. in short, all things bright and beautiful

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

52 Lists: your best qualities

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row on a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.

A list of my best qualities


I feel like one's best qualities can also be one's worst - it's just a matter of how they're applied...

1. Seeing the humor in even frustrating situations ("humor" being subject to definition)
2. Undying loyalty
3. A sense of adventure
4. High standards
5. An extremely analytical mind
6. and the ability to step back from a situation emotionally
7. or to be wholly fueled by passion for a particular subject
8. Hyperfocus
9. and multitasking
10. Insatiable curiosity

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Peace in the Beauty


March! That sounds promisingly spring-y to me. Although, the promise of Spring is already being fulfilled here in the South - the Jane magnolias have bloomed, the forsythias have lost their blossoms as they begin to grow leaves, and the ants have begun their yearly attack a solid two months earlier than usual.


February was, to be quite honest, rough. We three are all thoroughly tired of Adam being gone, and have begun to get on each other's nerves (more than usual. There's always 4pm). At the end of several weeks during which Everything Was Awful And I Was Not Okay, I called for reinforcements and let the Littles spend a few days with out-of-town grandparents. Per the Sanity Rules, I worked on lowering my blood pressure before scraping the last of the applesauce off the walls, and found deep soul refreshment in a hike and some solid knitting time.


It is totally okay to not be okay. That's a lesson I'm learning slowly, since one of my spiritual gifts is "being the calm person when everyone else is freaking out," but sometimes I need to be the one who freaks out. I am so grateful to have people in my life who will be the Calm One for me when I need them - people who ask how I am, and then don't run away and not look back when I pour out my tale of woe.


But I'm learning to find peace in the beauty - to look up and look around when I'm feeling overwhelmed by a circumstance, and to fixate on something beautiful. I suppose it's a variation on seeking gratitude in all things, although this strikes a deeper chord in me. Like Sam's song at the edge of Mordor in JRR Tolkien's book The Return of the King... "above all shadows rides the sun / and stars forever dwell / I will not say the day is done / nor bid the stars farewell." He wasn't necessarily having a moment of "well, it's dark enough where I am here, but I'm glad to have seen that star before going on to the hardest and darkest part of this quest" - it seems to me to be more of a simple acknowledgement that as long as there is beauty somewhere, there is hope.


So moving forward into the season of Lent, that's my goal. To share that hope by consuming less and contributing more - not just by, for example, only checking social media when I have something (I hope) of value to add, but also intentionally calling out the beauty that surrounds me so it can touch the hearts of others, as well.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

52 Lists: ways to rejuvenate your space

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row on a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.


First, from last week:
A list of the things I should ignore


Nothing. Nothing is improved by being ignored - emotions must be processed, events must be addressed, conflict must be resolved... and Small Persons should never not ever be out of sight for any amount of time.

Ahem. Moving on to this week's list...

A list of ways to rejuvenate my space


I can't think of a good way to condense this into a list... Since we moved into our house less than a year ago, and I am not shy about painting an accent wall in every room as I have the time and the paint/making as many nail holes as it takes to get a gallery wall right/spray painting things I don't like the color of, that "space" doesn't really need to be rejuvenated.

However, I mentioned awhile back that my inner attic has been getting a thorough cleaning, albeit involuntarily. My life, in reverse, flashing before my eyes, projected onto an imaginary screen and accompanied by some fairly illuminating commentary (amazing how differently we see situations from our childhood when we're able to look back at them with the experience and perception of adulthood).

A lot of things have also been thrown out - ideas and ideologies that were, at best, flawed. Some of them were the foundations of whole stacks of things that also came tumbling down, and I felt a little lost for awhile, like that last night you spend in your home, before you move but after you've packed everything away into the moving truck and all you saved out was your pillow and maybe a blanket (if you were thinking clearly by the time you finished loading boxes at 2am).

But painted on the floor under the very last box, I found a prime directive of sorts - the things I have always believed in, even when they didn't make sense. Beautiful and not safe, but good. The second is from the Chronicles of Narnia - expressing apprehension about going to ask the lion Aslan to help them rescue their brother, Peter asks if He is safe. "Safe?" says Mr Beaver. "'course He's not safe. But He's good." The first is the highest compliment I can pay, the goal of my every pursuit, and a truth I've always stood by.

So on the newly cleared walls of my mind, I've hung that word and that phrase as posters - big and bold, front and center. I'm not sure what it looks like to live a dangerously beautiful life, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weak...


I am, by nature, tendent toward self sufficiency. While I have often said I don't want to, I have rarely faced a situation which wrested an I can't from me. It may be unpleasant, but goshdarn the consequences, I can do this - to the point of stuffing down panic attacks because it wasn't a good time. Perhaps this is because I don't want to be seen as weak - or because I don't want to think of myself that way. I am an adventurer and an advocate, not some helpless hapless female.

But. The reality is, I can't do anything by myself. My very atoms are held together by the active will of a God who loves me enough to remind me (often) that only He can do what He does, and that only when I am willing to bring Him my weakness, can it be multiplied into His strength.

This has been especially evident as I've been solo with Littles for several months (and still have awhile to go). Yes, I could grit my teeth and muscle on - at the expenditure of everyone's joy/my sanity... or I could ask for help, and accept it when it's offered. And in the process, I'm learning something: our weakness is what gives us strength as a community. From I-can't-paint-but-you-can't-knit (see yesterday's post) to "I pulled a muscle in my shoulder chipping apple sauce off the walls, yes, I will gladly accept your offer to drop my kids off at your house for a few hours," when I'm willing to admit to my weak points, the strengths of others shine through.

It's a good thing to know and embrace the strengths that you've been given (because we all have them) - but there's no shame in naming weakness along with it. We're meant to be parts of a body, working together to form a whole, and sometimes recognizing our own limitations is a part of functioning smoothly, allowing everyone an opportunity to give as well as to receive.

It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers, internet wide, gather to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by Kate Motaung, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join, head here.