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Friday, December 30, 2016

This year - 2016

This year, I learned to ferment, more. I've been making sauerkraut for years. The sweet amber here is jun tea. Amazing! Made with honey, green tea, a scoby and time. Perfected by personal preference and imagination. For months it was a weekly routine. Then not.
 I got in my mind that I wanted to make hard cider. I read the directions, sort of. I set off with a plan (apparently not the directions) and created seriously hard, dry, hooch. That was something - rough. The knitting in the photo is supposed to be The Traveler's Shawl. Also didn't follow the directions. It's in a bag, waiting.
 This is my water kefir carrying on. I think that is hooch in the liquor bottle, but I used water kefir over my fresh pineapple to both preserve and create a sparkly fruit. Taste amazing! I am all about the taste (though I will eat stuff that taste like yuck cause it is good for me).

Later this year I learned to make tepache. Pineapple rind, sugar, water, and time. You've got it - amazing. I'm enjoying a bottle from 10.31.16  as I type.
 I started doodling at the beginning of the year, and until late summer kept up the practice of a daily doodle. I used index cards to reduce the anxiety of filling a page or abandoning the process. Some days I created several cards. It was fun to explore a new side of my creativity. That ended too. It seems so hard, all over again. I work at corners, then not.
I created art with my granddaughter every day. This piece is created with crayons and a heat gun. Let me say, "Heat guns are fun." We made beads from plastic bags, melted strips of plastic to make book marks, and kept busy on the search for ways to heat things up.
 I knit short socks for me. I love the heel construction and the yarn worked up nicely for color. The fit is questionable. I admire the sock knitters and hope one day to be counted among them.
I took the girls hiking and climbing often. They enjoy the outdoors and my community has committed to accessible green space. This park allows for easy travel up and down the boulders, but we also visited the climbing park where more effort and care is required.
 More art. My home is storage to paper, paints, scissors, glue, tape, bit and pieces and puzzles. We don't have company, inside. We are living in art world. Recently, we purchase a one inch hole punch. Creating never ends. We make art every day.

 I knit, every day.
The yarn in the blue shawl was a find at the local thrift store. I bought home an unfinished project and the matching yarn. I frogged (unraveled) the work and wound it into cakes. It remains one of my most beautiful creations from a find. It was gifted to a special friend.

Late spring, I decided I would knit shawls. Another opportunity to step up. While I select a pattern for its design, I tend to abandon the directions. This commitment was to follow though from cast on to bind off. Some projects became less interesting as I knit along. Cowls are quick and easy, especially in bulky yarns.

This one is a weekend project.

Kim chi and eggs for breakfast. Protein and probiotics. And coffee.
My goal was to have three month old kim chi. We were eating it as fast as I made it. Today, December 30, 2016, I have kim chi from September. My expectation were high. Shifting...

This year I started working out. Went at it hard for twelve weeks, five days a week. Then not. I'm like that.
I cleared out things I no longer use. Made space. Filled it up.
I gardened. We spent a lot of money to grow REALLY expensive produce. We need yet another new plan.
I saved a lot of money. I bought a roof. Boom! That shifted my financial situation. I go out and look at my money - working. I have a new roof.
I changed positions at my job. I had just decided that I would stay when the whole situation shifted. I've decided to focus on how this works for me and to live in that thought. It works for me.
I made my yearly pilgrimage to San Francisco. I journeyed to Oakland to visit my friend. I drank coffee at Jump N Java. I marched in solidarity with The Water Protectors.
I experience floating at the new float spa. I'm saving my opinion until I've returned for my next float.
I found a new massage spa, that I like. It is very affordable.
I gave of my time, talent, and treasures. And in line with the promise, I am prosperous.
My life is good.

Live by intention.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Foggy Perceptions

Here we are blanketed in fog. Low temps for May in the Midwest. Waking up to the forties puts a damper of thoughts of gardening and playing outside. I stood on the porch and listened to the dripping leaves. It is wet. First thought I want to fret about the plants which desperately need sunlight and warmth. There is nothing I can do about the weather. Next.

Coffee and pen
Last week I began the practice of mindful doodling. Initially it was really challenging. As I learned to slow down on focus on the movement of the pen, I let go of my expectations. There are no mistakes but an opportunity to shift the design. Doodling at the start of the day opens my perception and expands my horizon.

While I loved fermenting - yogurt and sauerkraut - last year I discovered natural sodas fermented with a ginger bug. Once I got it going we had fermented beverages daily. I mixed the bug with teas and juice for a second ferment. As it started to require more attention (constant kahm) I drained the solids and added the bug to whiskey. Talk about tasty. Last month I decided to try water keir.

Making water kefir requires water kefir grains. In the store they cost $16.99. Before I buy anything, I ask first. (That was the initial title of this post - Ask First.) I have very few "friends" on Facebook and even fewer connections in real life. However, I am connected with someone who is connected to hundreds of others. That means I am too.

I met the fellow who offered to share some of his water kefir grains with me at the local urban gardening center. I arrived in time to have dinner at the member potluck. I am a member but received no notice of the gathering. I am rarely social beyond my online connections and this was a fabulous opportunity to connect with others who garden, ferment, and live closer to the earth. Besides the water kefir grains (I offered a hat I knitted in exchange), I learned the gardening center delivered compost to gardens. Boom! I thought.

Their price was cost prohibited ($50), but the place where they get compost is very inexpensive. My son and I loaded his car with 10 trash bags of compost for $12.80.  It sells for about $4 for 2 cu ft in three stores in town. BOOM!

It is worth the savings to ask first. Check with connections on any and all social media. Connect with local free-cycle groups. Craigslist has a free section. Neighbors - they can help. Thrift stores, local interest groups, friends, and family. Whatever you need, it is probable that someone wants to share. Allow others to be a blessing to you.

That brings up to art. The three year old and I wandered over to the big thrift store. Last week we picked up a popcorn tin filled with crayons, pencils, markers, and color pencils - for free. It made a great sorting activity. Yesterday we made this creation.

Holding  the heat gun, JP proclaimed, "This is amazing!" Yes, it is. Not only melted crayons, but the time, space and attention to make it happen.

I'm here, living blessed.

Doddle away...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Good Morning, Beautiful

Spring rains perk up the garden. With the rise in temps, the tulips are fading - especially the dark purples. The irises are early bloomers in my garden and the peony has set buds. I stay up way too late these days knitting and arting. They both occupy my dreams.

The clematis are in full bloom and every year I wish I had a color other than white. This year I bought a boysenberry plant and a golden raspberry. I'd rather have food. It supports our habit of eating.

This is the piece that keep my attention last night. The hardest part is walking away without wondering. I love it as it is, yet wouldn't some gold, sparkle, layers, lettering, etc, make it pop? Do I want pop?

I hold my ideas in check. I would buy stationary with this design. It becomes part of the Take Flight Series.

I finished the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief with modifications. It was an easy knit with yarn I found for a song at the local thrift store. I am committed to knitting a shawl a month. This is my second for April.

We are learning different painting techniques. This is finger painting and a prompt from Creativity Reignited art class. When I remember art is about feeling, I am free from the criticism of comparison.

I follow both knitting and art posts. It is important to appreciate and learn, rather than attempt to emulate.

I opened this post early in the day and now another hour has passed. My days are occupied with a three year old. Running and dressing, dancing and celebrating. Ta-da! occurs more often than one can imagine.

Life is good.
All the time.

All the time;
Lie is good.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Predicting the Future

During the interview, they ask me, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Or some variation on that theme. The last time I answered, I covered the rest of my life. There comes a moment when we have to get clear on why we are here and what we are going to do about it. By now, I call the years previous to now, former lives as they are that distinct and varying from each other.

How do I see myself in five years? Happier than I am today. I came to this answer during my shift from doing what I loved every day. I was taking a job specifically for the benefits - health insurance. That decision worked on me - physically and emotionally. Once those two went, I was mental. I stayed. I made a commitment. I got sick. I was sad. Crying at my desk, I knew it was time to leave. This became my next indicator of when to let go.

Many jobs later, happily moving along (because I am on the path of happiness), I learned to stay and chart a leaving course. That was the birth of this blog. Today I stay at my job because it serves me. It allows me to do what I love - knit, crochet, read, art, and spend time with my grand-daughters. This is happiness.

I do what brings me joy, daily. Predicting the future is easy. Focus on happiness. Stay on that path and sing its praises.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Motherwort Dreams and Art Journal

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. Salvador Dali

Take Flight
 I woke this morning from a dream journey. Years of chronic insomnia have offered a myriad solutions, most with crap results. While I wait for my homemade sleep/relax concoction to extract - still five weeks to go - I bought motherwort herb. This is new to me and I began sipping tea yesterday. I knitted through the evening leaving my tea to steep in another room. So ended the night (meaning after midnight) with my tea at the bedside. I completed my routine and the last I remember it was 1:16 AM.

I dreamt another world. Here I was the original and many clones which wore out and disintegrated. Then another plucked off. Much of the dream has faded, but I remember sitting a the table asking (or realizing) I was the original.

I have opened a new process - art journaling. I watch videos about finishing in one sitting, like a page a day. That hasn't happened for me; however, this morning I decided to let go of the journal cover. The photo doesn't do it justice. From a distance, even I am impressed.

Multi-media page

Still holding to this page. It's all about the process and that I am enjoying. All acts of love and pleasure...

Add some glitter to your day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Putting Winter to Bed

The cold was short and unpredictable.  Still is. Eighty degrees on day and 36 the next night. All the calendar celebrations around the world will not control the weather. What are you going to do?

Knit, create art, and ferment.

Collage pages for art journals.

The girls work on craft projects.

First set of pages finished.

Splatter painting. Stage one of something.

No Purls Allowed Shawl - Ravelry

No Purls Allowed - Ravelry

Ribbed Cowl - occupying time

That's good for a couple thousand words.

I'm still pulling my 40 hours on the weekend gig, and have begun to rethink the decision. Re-think. I just remembered I have a plan to hang in here until school is out. That means June. Whew! Some days...

The work is fine. It's my constant need to adjust my attitude that is the problem. That's always the problem. I spend 34 of the 40 hours each weekend working on letting go and finding a way to not give a f---. So, God grant me the serenity and all.

No pictures of the ferments, but I have been constant in my management of my ginger bug. Friday Ferments include a couple quarts of sauerkraut and a second ferment of juice or tea with ginger bug. My next adventure is water kefir. Several people in town have water kefir grains, but seem to have abandoned them in the back of their fridge. My home is still too cool to care for the grains so I reckon when I am ready I will find some, locally.

Let's talk about money for a minute. I am still all about saving; however, I have recently (in the last year) incurred two large debts. I am thankful I had the resources to cover the need, but in surrendering my funds, I reconsidered how I have done without (though only in the most luxurious ways). I decided that if I have the money to support others, I have the money to enjoy my life as I choose. Today that means yarn. Nice yarn. Wool, soy silk, and their blends. While I have quite the storage bins/chest/trunk full, one can never have too much - yarn.

Here's to saving where you can and splurging when you want.