Sunday, October 24, 2010


Over the past week or so, my mind has been occupied by Craftland. It's a big order that I am hoping could open some new doors for me. In addition to knitting as many hats as one woman possibly can, I've been racking my brain trying to come up with an original idea for the swag bag that they give out during their opening night party. Something that represents me, but is more than a business card/post card. Both of those items cost money and I am not at a point in this little business building adventure to be spending that kinda dough. Another hurdle, Craftland requested anywhere from 20-300 items, kind of a big range, right? I threw the idea out to my Facebook fans and lots of great ideas came back (booties, post cards, cuffs), but they either cost too much or there were not enough hours in my day to knit them up. Then on Friday during recess, it came to me. Knitted leaf ornaments. Whether knitting a hat, scarf, or sweater, I always, always, always end up with a golf ball size of excess yarn. Too little to make anything, too big to throw away. So, I end up tossing them into a basket and hoping that I will find some sort of use for them. Low and behold, they hold the perfect amount of yarn for a knit leaf! In addition, the leaves are so quick to knit up and are the perfect representation of MB by Brigid. These swag bags are given out of December 2nd, making the ornament idea perfect! Here is where I take a big sigh of relief and get back to knitting leaves and hats.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Heart Handmade Art

Last night I took a little trip down to Boston to check out the We Heart Handmade Art event put on at the West Elm on Brookline Ave. The idea was that the store would be open late and it would feature select local Etsy artisans that you could purchase from. I kinda figured that it would be a little event that only other Etsians would attend. I was wrong. The place was packed. Packed with trendy, well-dressed urban dwellers. Which made me realize that I am no longer any of those things. I forgot to put on make-up before I left. I mean, "Hello?!" I was going into the "big"city and I forgot to put on makeup? Worse? I wore my Danskos. Nothing says, "Hey, guys~I don't live in the city. I live in the country where we have more farms than Starbucks and mom jeans are much more common then jeggings" more than Danskos. So that really boosted my confidence.

But, I digress, back to the event. It was hoppin'! There was a dj spinning and free wine and fancy appetizers (think shot glasses of tomato soup with mini grilled cheese). I had a slow start when I first arrived, I think that it was probably because I was experiencing a serious case of sensory overload. I found it a little tricky to find the Etsy sellers amidst the people and the furniture. But once I acclimated to the pounding bass I was able to navigate with success.

I'm not sure how many sellers were there 10? 12? Your typ
ical mainstream selection; a few jewelery designers, a couple stationary artists/ print makers, a photographer, a painter, a handbag designer, and a fine artist. I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed with the lack of creativity in their choices. Not that the chosen artisans weren't amazing, believe me they were, it was inspiring. But that there didn't seem to be much innovation there. Everything was lovely and classy but in my opinion, that doesn't represent the Etsy that I use.

That being said, I did make a few purchases. I got this amazing bangle from Frosted Willow and some cheeky pencils from Earmark Invitations and a little paper birdie from West Elm all of which pleased me greatly.
And then it was time for me to go, because, let's be honest here, we all know that I was freaking out about being out late and not at home furiously knitting for Craftland. Secret's out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Frustration

Yesterday, I scooted out of school after the last bus took the kids away. I had plans of productivity running through my head. Mostly because I didn't feel like I got enough knitting done over the three day weekend. See, there's lots of inventory to build up right now and knitting is not exactly the fastest kid on the playground, so it is kind of slow going. Which can be frustrating.

When I got home yesterday I finished up a bow-tie scarf I'd been working on and another pom-pom hat and then I stared dumbly at my yarn. I tried to start another hat, then I looked at my stash, then I did my dishes, then I looked at my stash, then I cleaned the bathroom, then I looked at my stash. I was completely uninspired, I couldn't get anywhere. It's kind of a desperate time to be unproductive, uninspired, and unmotivated. (Am I starting to make up words here? Just go with me, ok?) And so I gave up. I put down the knitting needles, I turned off the tv, and I curled up in bed with a book.
I've been really pushing myself lately. And trust me, I know how ridiculous that sounds given that we are talking about knitting not The Middle East Peace Treaty. But I really want to have a lot of inventory for the Craftland show with enough left over to do a few local craft fairs with enough left over to have a functioning Etsy shop with enough left over to start thinking about consigning at another store or two. But, I only have two hands and so many hours in a day. Basically, I need to cut myself a break.
Today after the busses left, I hopped in my car and took the long way home. It is full on autumn here right now. You know, the perfect autumn where the weather is warm but crisp and the trees are these amazing, awe-inspiring colors, and and the sun is bright and you are just happy to be amongst it all. Yeah, that kind of autumn. The kind of autumn that shouldn't be taken for granted. And today I didn't take it for granted, I soaked it up, and when I got home, I knit again.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Sweaters

Please excuse the look of my blog while I work on creating a more pleasing design despite my significant limitations with blog technology.

Last week I received an order from an old friend whom I had lost touch with over the years. Natalie and I met in elementary school and remained friends until she transferred to a different high school. We spent a lot of time together as children. I have fond memories of us being old enough to walk to "The Center" for ice cream and spending New Years Eve listening to the top 40 countdown on 96.5 with our tape recorders poised for recording our most favorite song. Now she is a lawyer and married with a beautiful 15 month-old daughter. Reconnecting was one of those times that you are actually thankful for Facebook, not cursing its insane time-sucking ability. To say that I was excited to start working on this sweater is an understatement.

The thing about knitting a sweater is that it takes time. Time that sometimes
leaves me bored and time that sometimes finds me fascinated. While knitting this sweater I couldn't help but be fascinated. I am at this point right now where I am really enjoying seeing my childhood friends as grownups. I feel so proud to be part of their history and to watch as each of them paves out their future, especially as many are having children. Plain and simple; I just think that it is so cool. So as I knit up this cozy sweater with flower buttons, I couldn't help but think of the old Natalie as a kid and the now Natalie as an adult with a fancy job, a beautiful wife, and an adorable baby and hope she knows about the love and memories that went in to making Baby E her sweater.

The second sweater is for my favorite two year-old. The one you see and hear the most about in this blog. I had moved up here just before Sadie was born. While her mama had swollen ankles and her dad couldn't wait for her arrival. I had the pleasure of meeting her early on in life and become a very consistent part of her day-to-day life. I've seen her learn and change and discover and protest and laugh and love on a regular basis and feel so lucky to get to be there for all of it. When her mama dropped the not-so-subtle hint that maybe Sadie would like a vest for her second birthday, I got to thinkin'. Last year she got a bright yellow hoodie, but this year Sadie has a favorite color and it ain't yellow. So a purple vest it was. And I'm pretty sure that this isn't what her mama had in mind, but sometimes Sadie needs someone to girl it up for her. So, I bent the rules a little and added a little femininity to a typically masculine piece. Hopefully she too will know the love and stories that went in to making it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Staring At The Sun

Guys, don't panic, but I am pretty sure that I just saw the sun. It was so surprising that I actually had to take a picture of it. All sarcasm aside, it has (is) been a very long week and I blame it on the rain. I really think that Milli Vanilli were on to something with that ditty that cannot be denied despite their lip syncing crimes. It shouldn't feel like a long week. I had to leave work early on Monday because I had a delightful case of Conjunctivitis and tomorrow is an In-Service/No Students day, plus I didn't have any late meetings or tutoring this week. It should have just breezed by, but it hasn't. Since Tuesday, every morning feels like it should be Friday. Better yet, it feels like it should be Saturday and my alarm is going off by mistake. And I think that it's because the sun took the week off. So many days of clouds, cold, and rain. Every person and child that I know had a terrible case of cabin fever this week. And I will tell you that it is way too early for cabin fever. We have 19 months of winter ahead of us. 19 months where we are trapped in our houses. 19 months where we curse our decisions to live in northern New England. 19 months where we only leave the house and get into our cold cars when it is absolutely necessary. Yeah, I might be exaggerating, but that is how it feels. And right now, it's fall and we should be outside each afternoon playing and walking and taking cleansing deep breaths and conversing and engaging with our neighbors. So sun, let's straighten this out. We need you to stick around for a bit. We need you to remind us that this season, that right now is why we live up her. How about we make a deal? You stick around for a few days and I will complain a little bit less this winter. I swear.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Sights

In between as many Pom Pom hats as possible for The Craftland Show I've also been trying to take in as many fall sights as possible. I mean, does it get better than this? The weather is crisp, the trees are an amazing inspiration of color, and there is just so much to do.

Before heading to my dad's on Saturday, I made a quick trip to the farm down the road to pick up a dozen fresh apple cider donuts for him. These donuts are where it's at. I long for them year round, but they are only available during apple picking season. But, I digress.

The nearby farm that sells them is kind of like the Disney Land of farms. There are hayrides and pumpkin patches, acres upon acres of apple trees, raspberry bushes to pick from, corn fields, tractor rides, scarecrow makings, the list goes on and on. So, the place gets packed up early. Luckily, I got there early enough to be avoid the crowd and take a few shots before the chaos.
Doesn't that look like a Cinderella Pumpkin with Starfish?!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back-up Career

If this teaching thing doesn't work out for me, I've decided that I can become a plumber. All I need is time, patience, and youtube. I recently had to replace the innards of the toilet in my apartment. That only took one trip to the hardware store, but three youtube videos. Once completed, I my chest was puffed with pride.
When I let my dad know that I was coming home for the weekend, he reluctantly shared that his faucet had broken. Truth be told, this faucet has been broken for three years. It's just that now it really doesn't work. No problem, dad, I'm on it. I mean, I now have mad plumbing skills. Sort of. When I came home on Saturday morning, I hopped online and found a youtube video that would walk me through the whole process. I got right to it. Except that the wrench I bought home was too small. Off to
the local hardware store I go. Grabbed me a 10" wrench and came home. Back at it. Guess what, still too small. Off to the local hardware store again. Grabbed me a 12" wrench and came home. Guess what, still too small. At this point I
needed a break. At this point, my father pretty much gave up on me and accepted the fact that he was going to have to spend $200 on a plumber.

Fast forward to this morning after breakfast at my cousin's restaurant. I manage to convince my father to let me give it one more go. We made a trip to Home Depot this time. Found me a GIANT wrench that just had to work. We got home and round three began. Or was this round four? After reminding ourselves of the ole adage, "righty tighty, lefty loosey" we did it. Ok, I did it and he watched. And by watched, I mean micro managed. Regardless, the faucet is now in working order and I am busting with pride while he is experiencing a level of shock and awe that he is unfamiliar with.