Tag Archives: challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

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On a really cold morning I caught this glowing sunrise.  It really warmed up my day.

On a really cold morning I caught this glowing sunrise. It really warmed up my day.

Look beyond the cold and see the beauty around you.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Tuesday, ‎December ‎18, ‎2012, ‏‎10:34:06 AM

This is my picture for the wordpress photo challenge.  If you would like to participate click the link below.

In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means BEYOND to you!

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Apply Yourself!

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WordPress Daily Blog Prompt: Apply Yourself

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

I am actually doing this right now.  I enjoy knitting but I tend to do what is easy.  This year I have been trying to improve on my knitting skills.  I actually started in December when I made a lacy dishcloth pattern I saw on ravelry.  That was challenging for me and I ripped it out and started over several times.  I even researched and learned how to do a new cast on and how to kitchener (weave) the ends together so there was no obvious seam.  After I was finished with that I was so pleased with myself and hungry to learn more.

It helps to be part of a group that is doing the same thing.  They might not all be knitting something challenging but there are always people more seasoned than you are that can offer a learning challenge.  My group is a dishcloth group on ravelry called Dishcloth Weekly Knitalong.  They are not just a knitting group though.  They also have crochet patterns and there are several crocheters that participate.  Each week they post a crochet pattern and a knit pattern and each person can choose which to work on.  Many people do both patterns.  

Now a dishcloth group may not seem like the ideal group to learn new things and it wasn’t the obvious choice for me but after joining I learned the advantages of learning on a small scale.  I am learning more challenging techniques but I don’t get so overwhelmed because the project is so small.  If I had started out trying to make a lacy shawl instead of the lacy dishcloth above I might not have stuck with it long enough to finish.

I am currently learning Intarsia knitting.  This is a technique where you are adding blocks of color within larger areas of color without carrying yarn across the back.  The pattern is a simple pattern with staggered blocks of one color on a different colored background.  I have 10 bobbins of colored yarn dangling from my washcloth so the difficulty is not in the knitting but in keeping yourself from getting all tangled up.  I am SO VERY GLAD I do not have a cat!  Oh and I am using these bobbins that I printed free online from Wild Olive.  I just adhered them to the side of a cereal box with Elmer’s spray adhesive and cut them out.  I like the spray adhesive because I don’t have to worry about the layers of paper separating as I use them.  They work great and they are really cute!  She also has smaller bobbins for thread on her website.

I printed mine on pink cardstock and made some others on blue cardstock so I have boys and girls.

I printed mine on pink cardstock and made some others on blue cardstock so I have boys and girls.

Learning Intarsia knitting
I started out with my bobbins lined up all neatly in a row but that didn’t last long.  At first I fought with them constantly tying to keep them all untangled.  I finally just gave up and concentrated on knitting until I finished that section and then snipped them off leaving the ends to weave in later.  It is so much easier if you just try to forget about the tangled mess and just knit but I’m a little OCD so it makes my blood pressure go up.

I’m getting there though and it is not as stressful now as it was when I started.  I am now about half way finished!

This is the first pattern I’ve ever worked that involved a chart.  So that is something new I’ve added to my repertoire already.  I now know how to read a charted knitting pattern, at least a simple one.

It really isn’t as hard as it seems.  It is just more awkward.  When you add in new threads it is very loose so you have to be careful of the tension.  As you end one color you just pull the next color yarn under the old one being dropped so they get twisted.  That prevents holes from forming in the knitted fabric.  Even though some of the stitches are lose in the beginning you can just tug the lose ends in the back to snug them up and the front will all look like one smooth fabric.  I love how it looks and even though this is a very simple pattern I can just imagine what could be possible!

I have already found another pattern for a potholder using intarsia knitting and it has cute little chickens and eggs.  I knew my sister would love it because she is crazy for chickens.  I don’t get it really but that’s her thing and I’d love to make something I know my sister would love!  I’m going to change the colors to match her kitchen.

That pattern is free by Drops and is called 0-626 Easter pot holder with pattern in ”Paris”

Here is my project at the halfway point.  Lookin’ good!

Learning Intarsia Knitting (half way now)

Learning Intarsia Knitting (half way now)

Here is a video I used to help me get started. It explains how to get started where most videos show you how to do it after it is about half way completed. When she first starts talking in the beginning it sounds really overly complicated. Don’t listen, just watch her do it and then go back and listen. It makes more sense after you’ve seen it being done.

The 1st day of the rest of my life

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“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” – T.S. Eliot

Today was interesting.  I have been fighting this stomach thing and I couldn’t get to sleep all night.  My neighbors had a grand time with the fireworks and around 1 am I was wishing they would stick the next batch in their ears before lighting them.  They must have read my mind because they quit soon after.  I have powers like that.

Well, I tossed and turned, went to the bathroom, tossed and turned and went to the bathroom…. repeat that about 20 times  and by 4 am I was exhausted.  I finally fell asleep but I have no idea when.  I slept most of the day but now I feel a lot better!  I’m so glad too.  Since then I’ve been working on my journal and getting started on my New Smash journal I got from Michael’s Arts and Crafts.  I’m thrilled about that by the way.  I’ll be taking a picture to add here later.

I went back to my “To-Do List” for 2012 and my Goal List which I made with Google Drive (well it was called Google docs then).  Google Drive is really awesome by the way and it’s free.  If you are not familiar with it you should check it out.  It is a great word processor program that runs completely on the net.  All of my files are all saved on their servers so it doesn’t take up room on my pitiful little laptop computer.  You actually don’t even have to save because it is automatic.  Of course, I can save the files to my computer if I want to though and I can choose what type of file to save it as… html, open document, docx (microsoft word), pdf, Rich Text, plain text etc.  You can also email it as an attachment which is handy.  It is very easy to use and I just noticed I can add/change fonts!  There are a ton of cool fonts available to choose from.  There is also a handy app for iphone and android which makes me very happy.  I tend to save patterns for when I’m crocheting or knitting something and then if I’m not at home I can just open the file on my phone.  Nifty!

So I updated my lists and printed them up so I can add them to my Smash journal and I’m about ready to start working on that.

I’ve decided to participate in Home Storage Solutions 101’s Declutter Challenge where they have a daily task and you de-clutter every day for 15 minutes.  I learned about this last year but I was already doing my own thing and I hate joining something half way though.  I have some OCD traits I guess and my kids tell me I’m like “Monk“.  I love Monk.  What is so wrong or funny about being like Monk anyway?  I don’t get it.  Anyway, last year this site was just doing their 52 week challenge and I just can’t not start at the beginning of something and with “Week 1” dated as the 2nd week in January I decided to skip it.  I can’t read book series out of order either even if it doesn’t matter.  So this year they are also doing a Monthly calendar thing which will be posted on the last day of the previous month.  There is a small task to complete for each day for 15 minutes.  the whole idea for this system is you can do a lot in just 15 minutes.  You can download this calendar as a pdf file but after downloading that file I just hit Control + Print Screen and then pasted and saved it as a .jpg file using my cheesy little Paint program that came on my laptop.  Then I saved it as my desktop and now I don’t have to worry about losing it or spilling something on it.  Pret-ty han-dy!

Here is the link for the January Calendar and you can download the calendar as a PDF file there.  You can click below and save the .jpg version if you’d like.

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I just read that the small 15 minute missions on the calendar and made to correspond with the weekly (52 week) challenge so it can be beneficial to do them together.  Of course I don’t always follow rules so I’m going to just do my own thing today.  The “mission” for today was to create a spot to put donations and such.  I already have that so I’m going to clear off my little table by where I sit on the couch.  I have a bunch of little stuff in containers that I like to keep handy there  – like a little flower pot I have full of various colored pens, adhesive and other stuff I use when I work in my journals.  I’m going to be watching some young kids starting next week I don’t want anything little or pointy in reach.

Well, since I’m feeling so much better I think I am going to get busy.  It is almost midnight but I don’t feel like sleeping.  I hope everyone had a great 1st day of 2013 and if not, a good 2nd, 3rd or 4th…. etc

Ringing in the New Year: 2013

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This is kinda written in response to the wordpress writing challenge although most of it was already pondered upon and pressed….

Writing Challenge: New Year’s Resolutions (Doompocalypse Redux)

Feel free to join us. click the link above to read about the challenge.
(Imagine there is a space here)

I don’t really do the resolution thing… at least not the way most people do.  I do a couple of different things.  First I have my list of goals to work on throughout the year.  Not a lot of things – just 2 or 3 tops.  I write them in the front of my journal so that I see them every time I open it – which is usually every day or more often.  I keep track of some items in my journal and journal about my progress.  I don’t like to make “resolutions” that are fast forgotten.

I also make a “to do” list for the year.  This list is pretty extensive and more of a wish list sometimes.  Sometimes I just can’t afford to do some of the things on the list or I need help – like with painting a room in the house.  It is okay though.  This is the time of year when I look at what I accomplished,  cross off what I can and add a few more things.  What didn’t get done just stays on the list for the next year.  The idea in this is that when I get to the end of the year I don’t feel like it was all wasted.  When I flip through my journal or look back at my blog I know my time was well spent.  It wasn’t always that way.  Sometimes I would get into this rut of just waking up and going to work, coming home tired and going to bed.  That was because of my health.  I was working so hard I didn’t have any energy to spend time with my family.  Now I enjoy listening to my kids talk about their days or music or whatever.  I can sit at the table and have dinner with them.  Time is precious and needs to be used wisely.

Anyway, my basic goals are always to lose weight and to get organized.  Surprise, surprise huh?  With my health problems I have a hard time exercising.  When I’m in pain I don’t want to move so I gain weight.  My doctor says says that it is important to exercise as much as possible and that it will actually help with pain.  She’s the doctor so I’m doing my best to follow orders.   I cut some things out of my diet and managed to get some health issues under control that way (which is pretty cool I think).  I managed to stop gaining weight but didn’t really sustain any real weight loss.  I’m just grateful that I’m not still gaining.  This year that is my biggest focus because it isn’t just a matter of how I feel about myself anymore.  Being overweight sets me up for all kinds of other health risks, including diabetes which runs in my family.  My mom died of a heart attack and I’m going to do everything I can to avoid that happening to me.  I’m using a website called MyFitnessPal.com  to track what I eat and it really helps a lot.  I’ve made some friends on there that are in the same boat I am.  They are also trying to lose weight while dealing with chronic pain.  It is amazing to have such an amazing support group that will cheer me on but also understands when I’m not feeling well.

I’m about to set a fresh new goal for this year and take new measurements.  I think I’m going to break my “wish”  for my overall weight-loss into smaller attainable goals.  I think if I lost 10 lbs I would feel pretty darn good and that would give me some “FIRE” to keep going.  So I’m going to do that and just keep working on smaller goals.  Of course exercising every day, even a little, is a task on my list.  Sometimes it just isn’t possible but I’ll do what I can.  I got some advice from a friend of mine that I am working on trying too.  He said to eat what I want but only half.  That is a new concept for me since I grew up being told to clean my plate.  I hate to see anything go to waste so I eat it all.  So I’m going to work on that and put half away for another meal.

Last year, one of the things I added to my list was so stop using the “f word” meaning fibromyalgia.  I thought that I should not talk about it and only focus on positive things.  It didn’t take me long to realize that was not the right thing to do.  Sure, I need to focus on positive things but this is part of me and acting like everything is normal is not the answer.  I realized that there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand what fibromyalgia really is.  Many people and sadly even some doctors don’t believe it is a real thing.  Well, what I feel is real and if there was a solution I’d be first in line.  I really think it is more likely that it is a symptom of something they haven’t yet figured out.  They need to do more research to find out and that means more people need to know about it.  That is when I decided to add that blurb about fibromyalgia to the top of my blog.  I also thought maybe if other people with fibromyalgia could see what I accomplish with this than others will be encouraged.

This past year, in working on my to-do list, I was able to get a lot of de-cluttering done.  Now I am going to keep going on that.  I found this website that has a calendar for each month.  Each day there is a task to work on for 15 minutes.  I think I’ll give that a try and see how it fits in with the areas I want to clean.  Mainly I just need to use some of the things I’ve bought for crafts and let some things go. I have a LOT of yarn.  I’m decided to use that yarn to make blankets for Project Linus.  I’m the coordinator for my area and I’ve had a hard time keeping it going.  I have decided to make working on Project Linus my 3rd goal this year.  I’m going to work on getting people to help out and make lots of blankets.

Last year one of my goals was to finish what I started.  I tracked down some unfinished projects and finished them!  That felt really good!  I also concentrated on finishing one thing before starting the next.  Some people call it multitasking but usually I just end up with a bunch of unfinished stuff.  I did get a lot more done this year and knit, crocheted, and tatted several things.  I also read a bunch of books!  And the books I read have been passed on to others or donated.  I’m also not buying new books but getting ebooks instead.  These little things all make a difference.

So I have my new journal – two actually.  One is a journal to write in daily and one is a smash journal.  I like to use smash journals for projects and pictures.  My main goals are already written in the front and I’m ready to get started.

Of course I have my new list of Twenty Wishes that I want to work on too.  It is interesting to me how this list seems to incorporate many of the things on my yearly list but it is much shorter.  I got the idea for that list from a book.

Now to start working on my lists instead of making them!  Here’s to a good 2013!

Nay to doomsayers!

My newest poem (I fixed the link)

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Have you ever found yourself lying in bed unable to sleep with words rattling around in your head….  only, those words don’t quite work.  They can’t quit make the page.  I keep a pad of paper by my bed because occasionally they do and I’ll write something I am really proud of.  That is usually how they find me.  Yeah, THEY find ME.  I don’t write poems, they write me.

Here is my latest poem, ironically, about the process itself.

It is called Birth of a Poem