Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taking the writing plunge

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer when I grow up. I wrote my first story when I was five, with the help of my grandma. It wasn't a picture story; it was a word story about a leaf that was blown away to Australia. It came out to one single spaced page of my grandma's small, neat cursive.

When I was in elementary school, story writing was a part of every day work. I have my second grade writing journal that has a bunch of five sentence "stories". In middle school, story writing became less prevalent as analytical writing became more important. Instead of writing stories for class, I wrote them for myself. I recall starting a novel one summer. At least, I thought it was going to be a novel. After 20 pages or so, I lost the notebook I was writing in and promptly forgot my mission.

In high school, I turned to journaling instead of story writing. I wrote a handful of short stories for classes, but  rarely just because. My life was story enough to fill seven notebooks of various sizes, written mostly in very small print. My boyfriend and I traded short stories of our alter-egos in 10th and 11th grade, and I wrote a short story for my sex god* when I was in 12th grade. I still wanted to write stories when I grew up, but figured my journals would be good source material (I was right).

In college, I balanced out my journaling and story writing by journaling while I was in lectures, and writing stories while other people were studying. Don't worry, I graduated with a 3.58. Writing was a much more important use of my time than studying for classes I didn't like. (English 421, I'm looking at you. Seriously, how are you going to tell me that Shakespeare's writing was meant to be literature, not dramatic writing?) I wrote mostly short stories, but I started a novel the summer between my third and fourth years. I wrote (with a pen on paper) every night for at least 20 minutes, sometimes up to an hour. Then senior year started, and I was taking 17 credit hours and working two shows. My notebook was set aside for everything else. Second semester was less brutal credit wise, but I commuted two hours to school Tuesday mornings and from school Thursday afternoons and worked the overnight stock shift at Kroger Thursday through Monday. And I was pregnant with Gabriel. Plus I designed the set for a show. I was too busy to keep up with journaling, never mind story writing. I would right a page or two every now and again, but nothing regular.

I didn't pick up the novel again until I was pregnant with Mara. When I moved to Kentucky, one of the few things I brought during the initial move was the novel. I made sure to write a page every night, and finally it was done. Two years later, though, and it is not typed up. I have started typing it, but I feel like something is holding me back. I think I am just terrified that people will read the story, if it is written. I know that is silly; isn't the point of writing a novel so that other people can read it? I am just nervous that something that I put so much of myself into will not be well received.

What does this have to do with anything? In a couple of hours, National Novel Writing Month will begin. The idea is to write a novel, 50,000 words, during the month of November. The novel should be a new work, and should be typed so that you can submit your document for a word count. You can read more about it at

If you decide to join, my handle is BunniPhish (surprise!) - feel free to add me as a writing buddy. My plan is to write the sequel to the first novel. The characters have been trying to talk me into it since I set down my pen for the first novel. I've written a few notes, but most of the information is in my head. I am hoping this challenge gives me the kick I need to get this part of their story down. And maybe, just maybe, if I have the second story all typed up, I will feel motivated to type the first story.

I'll let you know how it ends up in 30 days.

*That person in high school who you fantasize about, but never actually get.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This is why sewing can't happen

I pulled down my sewing machine today with the intention of getting a lot of sewing done. I had a few things to mend - I started by reattaching a collar to one of Mara's shirts that she just outgrew. I looked at the pair of my shorts that needed to be fixed, but decided I was too lazy to fill a bobbin with black thread, so I pulled down Steve's quilt.

I pinned the blocks to the sashing, and started sewing. Then came the "help". Mara noticed I was sewing first. She climbed up on the chair with me. Not content to sit in my lap, she instead climbed behind me and pushed me forward so she could stand and look over my shoulder. Gabriel noticed I was sewing and wanted to be in charge of the foot pedal. He couldn't reach, so we compromised; he sat in a chair next to mine and pushed down my foot with his.

As you can imagine, this made the whole experience very... enjoyable.

This is what happens every time I sit at my sewing machine.

While I enjoy teaching my kids how to do things, sometimes I just want to do them. Without having to stop every few seconds to explain.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Seven - Week 10

No photo this week, but I still managed to wrangle some things:

- 3 bottles of lotion for Mandi (some of which I am almost positive came from her in the first place) (3 things)
-an entire box of paper to be recycled. In my quest to clean out the storage room, I have come to terms with the fact that I don't need every piece of paper from ever. Included in the "to recycle" box: holiday cards that didn't contain personal messages, magazine articles that are no longer relevant, notes and handouts from college classes, and the pages from a notebook I had second semester of my freshman year of high school. I suspect there will be more such things coming out of the storage room as I continue cleaning it.  (1 thing)
- A basket of Becka's things that I took to her place yesterday. Included were tax papers from ever ago, recent mail, a slipper she left here after the most recent Michigan trip, a stuffed pikachu I found in the storage room, and all the white socks I had, because I found half a pack in storage and I hate matching miscellaneous white socks. (3 things)
- A random knife set that is in the donation bag now (1 thing)

This week: 8 things
Total: 124 things

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday 7 - Weeks 8 & 9

I took some time away from the computer the past week-ish to work on a massive charity project. Now I am back to fill in your day with words and pictures.

Week 8

A blue tank top, a black t-shirt, and a Chewbacca toy into the donation bag, and a bottle of lotion into the "to Michigan" box for Amanda. (4 things)

Also, I put six books in a box for Mandi's Christmas present. I try to do this every year - hand her a box of books I don't want anymore. She reads much faster than I do, so she needs books more than I do. (6 things)

This week: 10 things

Week 9
I started cleaning out my storage room.  Believe me when I say it was gross and embarrassing. Frankly, it is still a gross and embarrassing. I am hoping that spending 20 minutes a day working on it will make it much less so. My storage room has boxes that haven't been gone through since I graduated college, and possibly boxes from when I moved out of my mom's house to go to college... These boxes have gone from move to move without ever being opened. I am sure some boxes will have things I will be really excited to see again, but I anticipate a lot of "why do I have this?".

Having spent about two hours total cleaning it, I have already accumulated a large amount of stuff to get rid of this week.

First to go:

A small stack of magazines I found at the bottom of a box. 6 magazines from 2003. Why did I have these magazines? Because at one point I thought I would use them for paper crafting. The thing is, I don't do a lot of paper crafting. I like the idea of paper crafting, but the reality is that it takes away from reading and fiber crafting. A single magazine would be enough supply to get me through several years of paper crafting at the rate I am going. So, even though it was strangely difficult, I took the magazines to recycling Tuesday morning (along with our regular box of junk mail, etc). (1 thing)

A hat from middle school that I may have worn once, but I don't think so. It never really fit. Two stuffed animals - the pink dog is from college, no idea about the other. 4 tank tops and a dress that someone gave me and I never wore, a purple button down that I am unsure the origin of, a long sleeve blue shirt that I stole from my mom's closet in middle school and wore a lot - until I got to high school. All into the donation bag.(10 things)

A bottle scrubber that I got when Gabriel was born, that I promptly lost after he stopped using bottles. It is now in the Michigan box for Katie. (1 thing)

Two bottles of lotion in the Michigan box for Mandi. Two tank tops, an over-shirt, a hat, and a pair of capris that have indeterminate origin, and a bra Becka wore for a month before she outgrew it. (8 things)

(Just so you know, I did find a treasure in the storage room - my hanger of belts and ties! I have been looking for this for the past few years.)

This week: 20 things
Total: 116 things

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review: "Seven" by Jen Hatmaker

You know how sometimes the universe tells you it is time to embrace a concept? Well, shortly after I read the Seven Things blog, Steve's aunt Kim posted something on her facebook about a book called "Seven", mentioning that it was an amazing read (or something... I don't remember her exact phrasing.) Wondering if the two sevens were at all connected, I did what I always do when someone recommends a book - I went to see if my secret lover (known in some circles as "library") had it. Well, my lover had it, but had loaned it to someone else. I asked very nicely if I could borrow it next, and my lover agreed. Then I promptly forgot about it.

A couple weeks ago, my lover sent me an email informing me that the book had been returned, and I could borrow it. During our regularly scheduled date, I picked up the book, put it on my shelf, and ignored it for other things I was reading. When it came time to pick a new book to read, I chose it because it seemed the most likely to stay open in my lap while I knit/crochet. The first night, I cozied up to it with knitting project in hand, and started reading. I have been hooked since.

The book is about a woman's experiment in severing earthly attachment. For 10 months she challenged herself to minimize. She focused on one area a month (taking two weeks off between each month): food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, stress. For food, she ate a diet limited to 7 foods. For clothes, she allowed herself a wardrobe of seven items (not including bras, socks and undies). For possessions, she pledged to get rid of 7 things a day (but far exceeded her goal). You get the idea.

Sometimes she undertook the challenges with only her husband. Sometimes her kids were in on it. Sometimes her friends did the same or related challenges.

Even if you have no religious affiliation, or align with a different religious group than the author, the realizations she comes to about her life and attachment can resonate. The concept of a global movement as she envisions it is compelling. And if nothing else, she tells some really touching stories.

Next time you are looking for something to read, I highly recommend Seven by Jen Hatmaker.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blanket Project Thursday - Week 5

In case you aren't aware, I am in love with this blanket. And it isn't even a blanket yet! Every time I pick it up to work on it, I get all happy. Ready to see how it is coming along? I know you are!

You can see almost all the squares in this picture. It is now only in 3 pieces. Next week, it will be only two pieces. I finished the cabled socks, so I will be making a big square out of that! Yay! I am working away on the socks for me - I'd like to finish them up next week at the latest.

Squares made: 36/776

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Check-In

Hi Sunday!

Blog Stuff: This week feels like a baking week. Are you ready for some recipes?

New from the babies: Mara turned two on Friday. I disapprove. She received a doll today, and she has been carrying it all over. I suspect it will be like her other dolls - she plays with them for a few days, and then cars become way cooler.


Crafty things:
I made an owl for the Nerd Wars Intellectual Challenge. This owl is actually for Mer.

I also finished a book scarf for a barter:
It is double knit, with the gryffindor symbol.

I also started two pairs of socks, and a cat bed, all Nerd Wars related.

I finished reading "50 Shades Darker" by E.L. James. I am still not sure if I like the series; I don't think it is particularly well written, but is is definitely easy to read. The characters seem more like people in this book, and less like caricatures. I recommend the first two books in the trilogy for fluff reading.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Saturday Seven - Week 7

I knew there would come a week when finding seven things just wasn't going to happen. This is that week. This week, my count is 5, and I have no picture.

When I cleaned off the bookshelf, I found 2 V.C. Andrews books I am never going to read. I asked Mandi if she wanted them. She said yes. The books are now sitting in my "to Michigan" box. While technically not out of my house, everything that has previously been put in a "to Michigan" box has made the trip. I will count things going into the box the same way I count things going into the donation bag. (2 things)

I cleaned my room and found a purple fleece hat. I'm not sure where it came from, but it is now in the "to Michigan" box for Mandi. (1 thing)

Becka and Chris came over yesterday. I cut Becka's hair, but didn't get to Chris's hair. Instead, I sent the clippers home with them. I got the clippers a few years ago, and used them for a few months, but they have been sitting in the linen closet since we moved into this place over a year ago. (1 thing)

I found another stuffed penguin to go in the donation bag. (1 thing)

This week: 5 things
Total: 86 things

Friday, October 5, 2012

Where books and crafts collide - in a bad way

There comes a day when the book shelf you kind of use as a catch all for... life... just can't take it anymore. Today is that day for bookshelf 1 of 4 in my living room. This was the very last bookshelf I put together, so it got all the random books that didn't have a place on the other shelves, and over the past several months, I started using the top shelf for my sewing stuff because my sewing machine lives on top of the bookshelf. A lot of random fabrics and yarns, etc, have made their way onto the shelf. I looked at it today, and decided I couldn't take this eyesore any longer.

 This is the stuff that I pulled from the top shelf before I snapped the above photo:

As you can see, books and crafts were stacked willy-nilly, and it made touching anything on the shelf a gamble. I did what I needed to, in order to clean a mess that had outgrown its space - I made a bigger mess. I took everything off the shelves and piled books and craft implements on the dining table and a coffee table. I wiped down the shelves, then started organizing. I set all the stuff that needed to go upstairs in one pile, and made a pile of the fabrics that I am not currently using so they could go downstairs. I decided to keep the top two shelves for crafting, and for my library books so they have somewhere to live. The next two shelves are for books I want to keep. The bottom shelf is books I plan to get rid of.

 Even though the other three bookshelves are in various stages of disaster, having this one nice and tidy makes me feel awesome. Maybe even awesome enough to tackle the other shelves in the next week...

Gabriel thinks the shelf looks awesome, too.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Blanket Project Thursday - Week 4

I started two pairs of socks this week - one for my mom, and my first ever pair for me! The first sock for my mom is about half done. This is as far as I got last night:

You probably recognize the yarn from last week's post. I decided to go with cables after all, and am using the Simply Ginny Socks! pattern by Anna Peck Maliszewski. I decided to modify the pattern to have an afterthought heel because of the gorgeous stripes. This will be my first attempt at this type of heel. Wish me luck!

I've barely started the socks for me:

They are going to be helical stripe socks, which is mostly mindless knitting. I think I am going to sit them next to my computer downstairs for when I am waiting to load into WoW. (Yes, the game has lured me back with its promise of pokemon-type things, and the ability to play as a panda race.)

I used the lighter blue color in the blanket already - it is the big square for the week. I was going to use the skew sock yarn to make a big square, but then I loved the blues and greens too much to wait. I will use the skew yarn next week.

I did use the skew yarn and scrap pieces to make a small square, though.

Squares made: 29/776

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sewing Responsibilities

During our weekly library trip yesterday, I sat down and made a list of all the birthday/holiday gifts I still have to make. I was surprised at how short the list was - I have already finished gifts for many of the people I am making things for. This is because many of the pieces are knit or crochet, and easy to take on the go. Guess what my list consists of now. 

Did you guess sewing? You are right! Between now and the holidays, I plan to sew pajamas for my sister's three kids, a unicorn shirt for my niece for her birthday, and a quilt for Steve (started, but still a lot of work to go). It sounds like so little - only for projects. But looking at the list, I find it daunting. 

Since yesterday was Tuesday, and I try really hard to pull down my sewing machine every Tuesday, I started the shirt for my niece because that needs to be sent out in the next couple weeks. This is as far as I got:

The shirt is made from an old shirt of mine. The horn is cut from one of my niece's old shirts, the mane is from an old sleeping gown of Mara's, and the head is from a receiving blanket that got a hole in it. I am trying to decide if I want to put on sleeves, or make it cap sleeved, or just finish the neck and arm holes in a contrasting fabric. Also, should there be an eye? What about a nostril? Input would be much appreciated.