Monday, August 30, 2010


I've been eating one of these every single day this week.

A sliced up peach - nicely ripe, topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey. Dusted with allspice. Yum! This peach time is a most excellent time of year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Simple Swap

Those of you who participate in swaps know the joy of filling a swap box with goodies for another crafter. Making the package is often as enjoyable as receiving one. I find swapping so fun because it's like getting a shopping trip with a friend who knows you. While the sender tries to send things you'll like, she also can't help but put her own spin on it. I've discovered some fabulous items that I never would have known about otherwise.

Our My Other Hobby Swap Group on Ravelry recently hosted a simple swap in which the sender could only select 3 items for their partner. This was truly challenging because each item had to count and contribute a significant amount of joy in order for the package to be a success. You couldn't rely on volume if you weren't sure what she'd like. It seemed alot more important to do some quality stalking.

Here's the fabulous package I received from Melanie, wtrmlni on Ravelry:

I absolutely love the selections she made for me! I've already spent quite a few happy hours browsing the book, Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D Johnson and have some serious sock knitting plans in place. I've made one pair of toe up socks before, but what I love about this book is the amount of information relating to basic toe up sock techniques. I like the idea of getting a good understanding of the process.

The yarn: well - as you can see, it's gorgeous! Those purpley, greeney blues. :sigh: I've not seen that colorway before and I'm excited to try it out. Melanie said she saw it knit into a beautiful scarf and that's what drew her to it.

And finally, my partner sewed me a dpn holder/organizer. Although I have one I received in a previous swap that I love - I had jammed it so full of dpn's that I still couldn't find what I needed, so this was a very welcome item. She did a beautiful job on it and I simply love it. I use it exclusively for my sock dpn's.

Yep, this is what organization looks like.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Airplane Knitting

I love going places. I just spent an enjoyable week in Washington D.C. My husband worked each day, but I was a lone tourist. I rode the metro everywhere and walked through countless museums. It was alternately opressively hot/humid and cool/wet. I liked the wet because I don't get much of that here. With my pop up umbrella and loaded metro pass, I was invincible, though my hair was really, really unruly. My hair only behaves in the dry desert and this was.... the opposite of that. I bought a baseball cap.

A Phoenix to Washington air flight gives you four long hours of audio book listening, knitting nirvana. Appropriately, I made travel socks that I can wear on my next flight. I'm thinking that will be a looong one - over the ocean to our new overseas home. Fourteen hours, I've heard! (Think of the ambitious project I can attempt on that trip!) I like the idea of being able to slip these on easily to avoid going barefoot through security once I take off my sandals, and for comfort on the plane as well.

These are great little socks. The pattern: Turkish Bed Socks. It caught my eye when I saw a display of dozens of these knit up in the wonderful shop on Bainbridge Island that I visited on vacation last year. I bought the skein of koigu there and have been intending to make them since. They kept being put aside for other projects I was making for other people, but now that I promised myself that I'd take care of myself first, these seemed like a perfect little project to kick off some wonderfully selfish knitting. They knit up so quickly that I completed one on the way to Washington.
I might even do some Christmas knitting with this pattern. I just can't imagine who wouldn't love them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aches and Pains

Did I tell you my neck is killing me? After several months of this, a consult with my M.D. got me some time with a physical therapist and she recommended using heat and cold to stimulate circulation to the painful area. I remembered seeing something about handmade microwave and freezer therapy bags, made out of muslin, filled with beans, corn or rice.

With a little internet investigation, I found a nice tutorial at Sew Mama Sew and made myself my own little therapy bag and case. In fact, I made two. One for the microwave and one I put in a gallon ziplock bag and stored in the freezer.

Mine are filled with pinto beans, because that's what I had on hand. I like the weight of the beans and they hold the heat for about 30 minutes after only 2 minutes in the microwave. I think the little pillowcase is an excellent idea for these, since it acts as insulation between hot spots that may be in the beans (or other filler), after microwave heating and your tender skin. I wouldn't use mine without it. I made my bags 7" x 11" and filled them with about 3 cups of beans.

This is a perfect first selfish project for myself. I'm using heat and cold therapy, along with anti-inflammatories, stretches and strengthening exercises 3 times daily to heal my sore neck and shoulder. Consistency is the key. I'll let you know how it goes...

A Journey of Change

Although I've been looking forward to change over the past year, anticipating it and actually doing it are two different things, I've found. Here it is on my doorstep.

Knock, knock
Hello. Everything's changed. Welcome to your new world. Pending international move of household, Goodbye to your fabulously stable job of 6 years, Goodbye to your known culture and surroundings. Goodbye to your family and friends.

Hi new world. :-) You seem like quite the adventure. I have many expectations of you, but here's my top two:

1.) Decreased stress
2.) Increased self care

A couple of years ago, I took much better care of me. I could run a half marathon. I was flexible and lithe because I practiced yoga regularly. I ate well. My weight was optimal.

I'm not sure exactly how this happened, but my health has changed. When I wasn't looking, my fitness degraded, along with my flexibility and motivation. Now my neck and shoulder hurt. My neck pops when I turn my head. I'm unhappy with my weight. I'm tired of cooking, so I make the same thing over and over for dinner, or go out to eat. I buy lunch at work rather than take it. I spend my days off lying around the house because I'm exhausted.

I've noticed for awhile now that I do alot for others and so little for myself. I'm well aware that if I want a healthful future, this must change. It may take a whole lot of selfish to get myself in the habit of putting myself first. This post starts a year long project of intent to improve my life. I'm going to have alot of fun doing it, too.

Doesn't this sound like a fun project?

Welcome to Project "It's all about ME"

Want to join me? We can do it in the name of a better quality of life and feel absolutely vindicated about doing stuff for ourselves alone. Pedicures. Exercise. Massage. Naps. Selfish knitting and sewing. Time for exploration and play. Reading. Writing. Journaling. Healthful cooking. Gifts to ourselves. If you'd like to join in, comment here and I'll make a sidebar link to the blogs of those involved so I can be inspired by your self care projects as well.

Now, I'm not saying I won't make things for my family or be kind and giving to others. I just won't let it take every bit of my free time. I'll put myself first.

I will.