2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I love stats (but hated it in school!) and think that this summary is fun.  Thanks to ALL of you who read, commented, liked and followed to make it all work.  🙂

Friday after

Good morning all!  I hope you had a nice Christmas if you celebrate it, and an uneventful Thursday if you don’t! Ours was quite nice, at Mom’s with all siblings and almost all nieces and nephew – missing brother C’s two girls who were home with their mom in PA.  C announced that he and his girlfriend, D, are newly engaged.  No date set yet, but I am sure that will happen soon.  She is a nice woman, and has survived several family gatherings, so she knows what she is getting into!

I told my sister C about the little pop-up shop in town here, and she gave me some of her beautiful cards to take over there.  She is interested in selling her pots, if they are interested in carrying them.  I have the one beautiful vase she just gave me to show in addition to her cards which have nice shots of her work on them. (She got them at moo.com for a very reasonable price, in case anyone is interested in such things.  No fee paid for this promotion.) She didn’t seem to be too interested in knitting for them, but I will ask all the same,  Her muffs are fabulous, and her hats are great as well. She told me that she got invited to  participate in a holiday pop-up shop, but it was right at the time she had two other big events, and she didn’t have the energy or inventory.  We both need to be better prepared next winter.

So, the list…

This morning, A and I are going to head up to Bangor.  We have errands to run, picking up a few odds and ends for her family, with whom we will celebrate on Saturday. Also, I want to see if the little yarn store that carries the bulky wool I use for the button hats is open, so I can restock.  And, there is a new restaurant we want to try for lunch.  All of this while avoiding the mall area – not possible, I am afraid.

When we return home, we will just have quiet time at home, with perhaps a nap or a movie int eh early evening.  And knitting, of course!

Hey, do you want to know what I sold?  So far, a hat and a necklace.  When I stopped in yesterday afternoon, the manager told me that my remaining hat was likely sold as a woman wanted it, had forgotten her credit card but was coming back.  It was still out so that others could see it, if someone wanted it, then they would call the first woman to see what was up. I got my first check, and it felt good.  Good to know another one is coming next week, too!  the necklace was a sort of exciting sale, because a man bought it for his wife for Christmas.  In fact, said she “had to have it.”  Yeah!

The manager, Sonya, says she wants to pop up again this summer when the cruise ships come in, and so I will keep on knitting – thinking about what is appealing in spring and summer.  I have a few ideas.  🙂 And of course, now I am looking at other shops in more bustling towns and wondering if I have the nerve to walk in to them cold.  Time to check out those card deals at moo, I guess.

Have a fun Friday!

I SOLD SOMETHING!

I don’t even know what, but I am so excited!!

A is home this week, and came back from running errands to say the shop called, I sold some things, should they mail the check?  And did I have more hats? (So I assume the hats sold, but I don’t know if that is all or not.)

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, I HAVE NO MORE OF THOSE HATS AND NO YARN TO MAKE MORE???????

I have a closet full of yarn, but none of it bulky. That hat is bulky yarn held double.  I wonder if that is the same as worsted held tripled?

I guess I will dig around tonight and come up with something – I can make some different hats out of worsted, and see what happens.  How lucky that I ordered two skeins of the soft wool/angora blend I discovered this fall, and they have already arrived.  So I can make a lovely little beanie with that and some worsted. The really nice part is that I can whip up a hat or two in an evening (OK a long evening) so I might have a few for A to drop off tomorrow.

I need to start looking at other shops which are open for more than a few weeks. Maybe I can put things in a few more places.

I can’t believe I sold something!!! In a  SHOP!!!

Downsizing Christmas

Just as I am downsizing my job, so am I in the mood to downsize Christmas. I just feel like it is time to reduce stress, and taking Christmas expectations down a notch feels like it would help.

But A really wanted a tree.

If you remember from past years, you know we go a bit overboard on the tree. What are cathedral ceilings for, if not to allow for huge 12 and 14 foot trees?

the tree, going up

This year, we won’t need a step-ladder to decorate – even I can reach the top of our “little “tree!  It is just about 6 feet tall, and it is A’s project this year.  She will decorate while I am at work this week.  She is on vacation, but I am not, once again! (only 6 more work days for those of you keeping count.)

minimalist tree up

I can’t wait to see what she does with it!

Just so you know I am still me, I spent all weekend on the Christmas cards – first batch of 35 will go out today, many more tomorrow.  Here’s another teaser for you – I always put a little hallmark on the back of my cards – sorry for the blurry photo – the angel is silver ink, and doesn’t show well with a flash, and it’s too dark to see it well without.  🙂  I add a “sarah” or “sal” in the middle, depending on how I am known by the recipient.  🙂

hallmark 2014

Have a good day!

oh, oh, OH!

I am so excited and nervous, too.

choosing 1

There is a holiday pop-up store in town which sells locally made products and crafty things.

I went in yesterday, and saw they had a wide variety of things, but nothing like what I make.  I spoke to the woman running it, told her what I made.  She was nice, but said they really don’t need more jewelry, but to drop off my card.

I went in today with  all I have made – two hats and 8 necklaces. And my card, of course.

red ribband complete

She said, when I showed her, “You are right, I have never seen anything like this before.”  She asked me about my yarn, then agreed to take the lot. She said that the quality of my work, yarn, beads and buttons far exceeds most of what people bring in.  She loved the button hats, and adored the necklaces.  We got them tagged and up and now we will wait and see what happens.  I am glad to have them in there for today, which was already looking like a busy shopping day.

gold ribband

The store will stay open through the 2nd, and she said she has the option to stay open until the 11th – so it is a small window, but we will see what happens.  And now she has my card, so if she pops up anywhere else, she will know about me.  I had no idea the shop was popping up, but she has been there a couple of weeks, apparently.

Very hard not to drop everything else I am knitting and make more necklaces and hats!

amethyst and tan rippled

Christmas card making

For the past ten or twelve years, I have made my own Christmas cards.  And during that time, I have ranged from making millions hundreds of cards of different styles to making a basic pattern and changing it up with different colors and papers to making all of the cards identical.

Each method has its benefits, and I don’t have a favorite. (That’s the fun of being a Gemini, right?  Always of two minds.)

This year, I am really pressed for time, so there will only be two designs, very similar.  There would only be one, but A and I disagreed on which photo we preferred for the base.  So, I am making half with her first choice, and half with mine.

I spent the evening last night playing with the paper-cutter to cut out all the photos I printed on linen textured paper and while I did that, my beloved Cricut cut out dozens of the sentiment.  Sometimes Cricut and I don’t get along (it tears paper if everything isn’t perfect) but I used good quality paper and a new cutting mat, and had good luck.

Cricut

This morning, I picked out all the little bits of paper and got the Cricut cuts ready to use.  Almost ready to assemble! Just have to determine where and how much sparkle to add.

I might be mailing by Monday!  Woo hoo! I can catch up, I know I can.

Friday before Christmas list

Good morning, all!

I am excited that it is Friday at last.  Whew – long weeks at work, but soon that will change.  🙂

Today I desperately need a hair cut – I look like a shaggy mop. I also need to wrap up the few Christmas presents we are giving, but more importantly – I NEED TO FINISH THE CHRISTMAS CARDS!

I have been puttering on them this week, and that is not getting it done.

Then there is laundry, and the post office – a package is there waiting for me!  I always hope it will be some intriguing surprise, but lately it has just been materials for tax prep season.  I suspect that is what is there waiting, but I still hope for a surprise bundle.

The grocery store – a true chore now that they have finished remodeling the store, and it somehow feels smaller and more crowded and has less of what I use than before they “improved” it.

I also might *need* to go to the bookstore or library for next month’s book.  If I can recall what it is. I have an email here somewhere…

Have some pictures to post here for you later, knitting updates, of course, and stories to tell about my week, but that might wait until later this weekend.

I also need to put together my order for Halcyon yarn.  I have a gift certificate that is burning a hole in my pocket.  They have some silk I want to get to make a couple of necklaces for a friend and her daughters… and there is NO POINT in paying the shipping on such a small item, I should really see what else I need from them. 🙂

A pretty random, normal day.

Here’s a random thing –

I think we might not get a Christmas tree this year.  Not sure how it happened, just don’t seem to have the energy for all that work, even though I do love a tree in the house.  I might change my mind again.  Isn’t it good that A is so patient and flexible with me?  🙂

It’s Monday, and already I am thinking about my Friday list

I have 9 more days of working at this job.

I am pretty sure I quit several weeks ago.

This morning my boss told me they are still trying to sort out how to get all my work done, when I am gone.  And they think they will hold off on making any permanent moves until the end of January, when they will call me and see what I think.

What I THINK?  I think that at the end of January I will be hip deep in organizational details and tax law, and won’t have a moment to think about all the parts of what I do now that have nothing to do with taxes. I think that they are really counting on the fact that I didn’t MEAN to quit.

Which, of course, is true. I tried to get a long leave of absence, sabbatical -like.  They thought that was bad for the organization (and likely, they are right.)  They said no, I said fine, then I guess I have to quit.  I gave them a date.  I said I would work part-time doing the taxes, then I would be completely done in April.  That I need some serious time off, but that I am open to discussing options IN THE SPRING.  Not the end of January. Now they seem  to think that might mean writing some grants this winter, or doing some research.  I did agree to do the annual report if they can’t get it done any other way as there is a contractual obligation there, and I can use last year’s as a template, work on it at home in my own time and be done with it when finished. I then suggested three people who could do it for them. But that is not the same as writing grants, and it is not ongoing, open-ended. It is not HARD.

They seem to think that by the end of January, I will be rested and ready to return to work. I will let them think that and call, and I will again explain to them that I really don’t even want to think about the future or my job or anything until at least a month after tax season.  More like two.  I am tired, burned out, and cranky with it.

Yesterday A and I were watching a sappy movie, in which the heroine has  boyfriend who sits on the couch and plays video games all day while she works.  He ignores her when she gets home from work.  A said to me “That happens once, and I am out of here.”

Ut-oh.  Note to self – if you sit  on the couch and knit all day, make sure that you at least put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher first. And pay attention when she gets home.

I am looking forward to having time to putter away with long to-do lists and nothing that MUST get done in a certain time frame.  I am looking forward to having that darned pool up and full of water when summer gets here.  I am looking forward to being able to clean a little bit of the house each day and keep it tidy.  To really finishing organizing that craft room, a bit at a time. To exploring ways to make money with the things I make (not a living, maybe, but something).

I am NOT looking forward to fielding calls from work asking me to do odds and ends of the job that I left because it was too overwhelming. How is that a break and resting?

So.  Friday.  A whole day.  What will I start?  What will I get done? I had better go start my list, because I am looking forward to it!

Friday List

First off – a note to the powers that be at Word Press. Please, could you add an auto save feature? Yikes – I just lost a whole Friday list post.

I’ll try to remember it all. 🙂

So this morning, I am waiting for the bug man to come do his regular quarterly visit, and then I will call Crimson Crow so we can meet in Ellsworth. Lots of chores to do there, and of course, some fun things, too. A visit to the Craft Barn is in store, if, after I check supplies I find I do not have 6 pieces of 12 x 12 brown paper. My challenge will be to leave with not much nothing else. I will do the grocery shopping while there, at the big store, and then head over to Reny’s for some Christmas shopping. We do a Christmas is for Kids program at work, and A and I try to help out with that each year. This year there were two kids who went unclaimed by all the other donors, so I am shopping for a couple of 4-year-old boys – should be pretty easy! Crimson Crow mentioned a trip to GoodWill, and of course, we will need lunch! Should be a good day.

There will be knitting involved somewhere along the way, of course. I have already done my sock knitting this morning, but I have two other projects on the needles right now – the Estonian Lace scarf, and the lace cardigan. Here’s a photo for you – both projects in progress – amazing the difference needle size and yarn weight make! I love them both in their place – no way would I ever get through a lace weight cardigan, though I would love it when finished. 🙂

lace projects

I have done some thinking, and reached a conclusion – this is my last pair of socks this year. I am slowing down the sock knitting, to make it last. 🙂 Twenty six pairs of socks! Wow, I never would have believed it. I was hoping to knit up my sock yarn stash, three skeins!!!! Did that ages ago. I am no longer afraid of socks, and I will likely keep knitting them, but at a much slower pace. So, this pair will linger on my needles. Actually, it will only be one sock that will linger, I will likely finish the current sock tonight or tomorrow. Part of what is driving this decision is that I have no more sock yarn, and am not ready to spend some of my precious yarn stash cash on more sock yarn at this point. With the changing finances ahead, I know it will be a while before it builds up to this level again.

Back to my list for today…

I will do a load or two of laundry, and the usual local chores, Post Office, etc.

If I have the patience, I will try to figure out why the new printer doesn’t see our Wi Fi, but even if I don’t crack that nut, I will start printing the photos for the Christmas cards (it prints fine with the cable). Yesterday I worked on cards at work, and it got me in the card making mood – yeah! At last! A says we are getting our Christmas tree on Sunday, and so the holiday things are coming together at last.

That’s about it – lots to do today because we are going to spend the day with A’s sisters and aunt tomorrow. So I had better get moving.

Have a good day!

Christmas traditions and decorating

Last week toward the end of the carol sing at Mom’s, Cousin M lay on our Gram’s wonderful deacon’s bench, which graces Mom’s music room.  She was looking up and said to me “doesn’t that little piece of reflected light on the ceiling remind you of Gram’s house?”  I looked and it really did – the light was bounced off a small mirror on the table, reflecting light up through the angel-abra so that shadows of angels were on the ceiling.  It really was simple and pretty.  I couldn’t figure out WHY it reminded me of Gram’s, but I had to agree with M, it definitely was a special vignette.

I usually put up the Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend, but this year is different – it was so crazy that weekend, and I have not got my decorating mojo going.  But this  weekend I DID get out the candles for the windows, and the paper snowflakes for the porch door, and Gram’s Danish Angel mobile for the living room ceiling.

Last night I stood in the kitchen and looked out toward the living room.  And I knew why the angels on the ceiling at Mom’s reminded us of Gram.  Her simple little mobile always turned gently in the light, and the angels flew above our heads.  Gram may not be with us anymore, but her pretty little angels still are.  As are the wonderful memories she created for all of us with her simple, special decorations and traditions.gram's angel mobile

Of course, she also had a TREE and GREENS and GARLAND, none of which have I done yet.