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Monday, November 26, 2007

Not on the To Do List

We adopted a dog. She is shiny and new and I feel like a new Mom. Evan named her for a skateboarding term. Steezy. Unusual, I know. It is a compilation of style and ease. A good thing. Steeze. She is the cutest little Dachsund/Beagle mix and I am in love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Agendas

What is your agenda for the holidays this year? Are you angling for a special gift? Hoping to heal a relationship or bridge some gap in the family? Looking for deeper connections and spiritual growth? Surviving the next 40 days with grace and humor? Achieving world peace and financial stability forever and ever, amen? All of the above? Well, let me give you the first step in seeing this good work begun. Make a list!

I am the Queen of lists. All of my life I have structured my needs and wants in linear columns. The scientific method of outlining life is my compass. I am thankful for the internet this Thanksgiving. I sent out a beautiful greeting card to many of you, printed out my shopping list for the feast preparations, printed the flight itinerary's for the 2 airport pick ups on Wednesday, researched future flights for the next trip planned to MI, and now get to rant on this blog. What fun.

My list includes organizing my time for the next few days to optimize gas use and expedite the errands. Cleaning and cooking will take place on Thursday, since dinner is not till 5 pm. We will have a full house with 13 diners. Christine and her family are joining us. They love my cooking, so they are golden guests. I can cook Turkey dinner with my eyes closed. It is easy and fun for me. I stress over the cleanliness of the house and the effect of the hubbub on Ryan.

The other stress factor is the notice we received in the mail from SDG&E that says they will be turning off the power to our local grid on Wednesday for a few hours. If we all get food poisoning due to the fridge losing power- I may have to write a letter to SDG&E. This company must be run by men? Who thinks turning the power off for even 5 minutes ( when everyone needs to vacuum and do laundry and cook), is a good idea??!! Lordy.

I take comfort in my list making. It calms me to see every task written out and clicked off as I go. I will even write in the extra things I get done and then check them off. I read somewhere that this is a symptom of something? Whatever.

The other biggie on my holiday agenda is the family Christmas photo. This year you are in for a treat. Evan has gifted us early by expressing his creative self in the form of a Mohawk haircut. Oh, yes. Can't wait to share. You know that there isn't a button-down, oxford cloth shirt in the world that can dress up this look. Scary. If we wear matching colors will it be less noticeable? Should we feature him front and center, or have him wear a hat? I want to remember this character. I want to immortalize him in all of his 15 year old glory. This could be a memorable holiday.

I delivered one custom order bag Saturday. I have the next one on the needles with completion and delivery by next week. As soon as this one is in the felting stage the other one will be started. I want them delivered to their respective homes by the 2nd of December. My final show is at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club December the 9th, 1-5 pm. Come by and see me. It is open to the public and decorated beautifully for the season.I do love knitting my bags and selling them to appreciative owners. Remember to do something that you love to do this holiday season. Put it on your list. Put you on your list...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Post Fire Stress Syndrome

Time is flying quickly towards the holidays and we are being swept along. The craft show came together with all of the right ingredients for a perfect day. It was sunny, cool and crisp. A picture perfect fall day. Much better than the predicted rain. I stayed up all night finishing handbags. Sewing on the handles and crocheting closures. I was proud of my products and prepared to say goodbye as they made their way to a new home. Due to the extra set of Karen's hand on Friday, I was able to finish more than I had planned. Our own sweatshop right here in Encinitas. Momma was proud.

The set up went seamlessly and my location on the property was prime. Karen arrived with Starbucks, the cash box, and her best sales pitch. We were as ready as could be given the past month. Nobody came. Those that did, were stoic and complimentary. They were the friendliest bunch of lookers I have ever met. I sold less than 1/4 of last years sales total. Only 15 items! From 9 am until 4 pm. Fortunately, some of the bigger ticket items sold and custom orders for 2 large totes came through. Last year the proceeds of the sale bought a trip for 4 to NYC. This year four of us can go out to dinner with wine and call it a night. Heather helped out and someone tried to buy the sweater off of her back. It was too cold to give it up! I was so desperate to sell, I was willing to pimp her sweater to the highest bidder. Her wisdom prevailed and the sweater remained on her back.

We vendors talked amongst ourselves and agreed. Post fire stress has everyone evaluating their purchases and monitoring their spending. The good news for me came via an invitation to do another craft show in December from a lady that had touched everything in the booth and come back twice. She covertly revealed her mission to me, handed me an application, and assured me I was only one of a select group of special vendors. Flattery aside, I have inventory and will give it one more shot. December 9th, here I come. Stay tuned for a happy ending. Regardless, I continue to love my felted bags and the process of creating them. My sweet husband thinks they should sell for $800 each. Isn't that cute?

Tonight is Knitwits and I have a new project to share with the ladies. I think they will love it. I am off to teach, eat and drink the vino. I promise to take photos of the giant Christmas stockings and the girls...

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Tuesday was Knitting Guild. I had just received my latest Interweave Knits magazine and read it from cover to cover. This also coincided with the receipt of the guild newsletter with an editorial on the demise of more local yarn shops and the compelling reasons. We knitters that have been around for a while, know the knitting business is cyclical. Up and down, round and round. When the popularity of this sweet art surges, business booms and shops bloom like a colorful, fertilized garden.

When the shop I worked at closed this Spring, I was so sad. I knew that we were trending down again and I began to contemplate the signs. Shops closing, publications limiting circulation, magazines focusing on patterns with a complexity that appeals to experienced knitters. My job interview for teaching at our local Community College went well. The team putting together the class offerings said they would love to have me, but, knitting wasn't a big trend anymore? They still have not decided to offer knitting classes. I hope they do- for so many reasons.

There is less attention paid to the newbies. More time spent on technique and less on sharing the good news of knitting. What is the happy balance? Internet can be blamed for some shops closing, yet at the same time, access to yarn via the internet has opened up quality materials to all of the most remote regions of the world. This has spread the love of fine quality yarns to knitters that formerly had limited resources. I love to read about something new, do the research and push the "buy" button. I have no answers. I will always knit. I always have. I will teach anyone that wants to learn . Hopefully, I will still be around when the next surge of new knitters need me.

Saturday is my annual craft show. I am woefully unprepared. So little time, so little stock, so little energy. I have a full schedule which includes book club tonight. I read the book, printed out the reader guide and I am going. Saturday will come. Ready, or not. It is supposed to rain or drizzle. Grey and cold and humid. My felted bags have not dried. I have locked them in the guest room with the heat full blast and hope I can sew in the linings and handles tomorrow. Everything else you see piled on the table to tag and photograph. I may pull an all nighter. Nature has conspired against me this year and I am going with it. I will drink a glass of red wine to the power of nature, while discussing a good read and knitting a mohair ruffle to adorn a little evening bag. Multi-tasking moms and the lives we lead...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Going on a cruise is so relaxing. With no internet, telephone, schedule, television or family needs to meet, I regained the soundtrack in my head. It was so weird. With my brain freed from it's normal overload of the twirling Rolodex in my head, it turns out I have a streaming play list of oldies, but goodies. This creates awkward moments of humming and spontaneous bursts of song. Fine with me. My friends may not agree. They were pretty tolerant.

We all let our hair down on the Carnival Fun Ship, Elation. The food wasn't that good. I consumed my weight in wine(that is what I said). Karaoke and dancing were a big part of each evening, so my net loss was 2 pounds. Not Bad. So now, back on dry land it is time to put my hair up and get back in the saddle. The work horse is hitched to the post outside.

The boys did not do as much damage as usual. That was a relief. I have restocked the pantry and fridge, cooked some meals for the week ahead, run a few loads of laundry and happily hope to knit tonight.

Oh yes, the knitting on board did not go as planned. It was 90+ degrees in Cabo, that was true. There was plenty of down time in the deck chair. I carried bags of yarn aboard with me. Yet, somehow my knitting took a backseat to the spa treatments, steam room and the previously mentioned wine. I love red wine and laughter.It is a good prescription.

I gave myself permission to skip the craft show this Saturday. Just verbalizing my lack of preparation has reinvigorated my desire to go do the best I can with the stock I have. Whatever I have leftover is going to be a good start on next year. With the fire occurring when it did, I was unable to felt my bags and set them out to dry for fear of the smoke odor. I can present what I have and enjoy the day. This new "let go" attitude is so weird. I love how it throws everyone off to see me be so blase. An interesting post cruise side effect is a sensation that overcomes me randomly. I suddenly feel almost dizzy. Off-balance. It puts you in the frame of mind to expect the unexpected. With that in mind, I venture forth...