12.31.2009

Two Thousand and Nine

2009 has been an interesting year. It has brought the hardest times for me as well as some of the most hopeful times for me. Time is funny like that. A trending topic on Twitter tonight has left me a bit nostalgic. 10 years ago sounds like eons but when I think about what I was doing, it really wasn't long ago at all.

Ten years ago I was...

I had left The University of Texas after one semester because I wasn't in LHB. Yes, folks, I left a university because I didn't get a spot in their marching band. I was a music major and everyone I had made friends with in my classes were in the band. I went to the games, as a spectator, thinking that would help. However, it didn't and I hated Austin. So the only thing to do was leave to go home to the DFW area and attend UTArlington (or UT Almost). Some might say it was a bad decision - I didn't do well in school at UTA, had a bad relationship with my boyfriend that left me in tears at least once a week, and worked my tail off at a restaurant. However, it was a good decision. I realized what I needed in school and eventually went back to UT and did very well, I realized what a goober I was dating, got to spend more time with my mom (something I treasure now, more than ever) and found myself a bit more.

On this very night, ten years ago, I was waiting tables at On The Border in Bedford Texas (a job I really liked and still miss, at times). I remember thinking that if Y2K was real, what would happen to what few tables were left in the restaurant after midnight. Perhaps those guests were sticking around to see if the computers would implode and they would get a free meal. Needless to say, nothing happened and spending the turn of a mellenium at a restaurant smelling of refriend beans and tortillas isn't exactly my idea of a good time.

I wore clunky, ugly boots 10 years ago. My mom used to say they were ugly (probably not in those words... can't remember which absolutely kills me) but I thought they were wonderful. We all wore them, don't deny it. I'm glad that at the turn of 2010, I'm not wearing those boots anymore.

I was listening to the same music I am today, minus a few bands/performers that have popped up since then. It's reassuring knowing that I was as picky about my music at the age of 19 as I am at 29.

My best friend was Stephanie. It's also reassuring that she is still my best friend. Stephanie saw me through so much since we became friends. She saw me through a bad break up from the Goober boyfriend I mentioned earlier, she saw me through the death of that Goober boyfriend (long story, we'll save it for another post), she saw me through the break up of someone I thought I'd grow old with, she saw me through the death of my mom. It's amazing what best friends will mean to you. (It's also reassuring that I can say I have 2 best friends now and it's VERY reassuring that one of them is my big sister)

10 years ago I was so green and didn't know where I was going in life or what the next year would bring. It's funny how tonight, 10 years later, I'm still that green and still don't know what the next year will bring.


So many people are posting resolutions, goals and plans for the upcoming year. So much has happened in the past year that has started to shape who I am. I'm afraid not spending some time reflecting on that will do me a disservice. I can't even begin to come up with resolutions, goals and plans until I know how everything in the past has added up. Perhaps those will come tomorrow.

I wish you all a wonderful New Years Eve!

12.21.2009

It even has a poof

See this hat? I made it tonight. I made it without a pattern. I made it without really knowing how to pick up stitches to finish off the second ear flap. I made it with a poof/pom-pom without ever really having made one, but today I did.

I'm feeling quite accomplished. Never mind that I still have 3 things to make for Christmas gifts. Never mind that I should be starting the other gifts instead of blogging about this one. Never mind that this hat is so warm it will feel like you're getting a sun burn on your head in the dead of winter (it is for someone who will be in Montana for a while). I'm just feeling good that I finished something that wasn't a scarf, cheater hat, or wrist warmers.

I'm proud of myself... at least for the moment.

But seriously guys, check out that pom-pom!

12.18.2009

People and being nice

Some people are nice, so very nice. I participated in a Secret Santa Swap with the Phat Fiber Contributors and got my swap package today from Jennifer over at DesertGarden.etsy.com. The package is full of some many lovely things - 2 things of gorgeous fiber batts, a bag to hang on my new spinning wheel, some lovely Manos del Uruguay yarn (one of my favorite yarns), an awesome bracelet made by her son, a vintage sugar and creamer set that her girls helped her pick out, and some hand salve for my poor, dry hands. I just ADORE the entire package.

I was taken aback but how thoughtful the package was. Jennifer had carded batts just for me, read my blog to find out that I want to start a vintage sugar and creamer collection, knew I love jewelry, knew I got a new spinning wheel that needed a bag, and just knew exactly the colors of fiber I adore. There could not have been a better package to come home to after a very long Friday. Go check out her shop (linked above) - she has beautiful fiber. Oh, and she has another shop at PrairieStyle with some adorable hats. So check them both out!

Now that I have 2 sugar and creamer sets, I need a shelf. In an effort to not sit around all day tomorrow, I'll make it out to some local thrift stores in search of a shelf to hang in my kitchen with my new and growing collection on it. I love having to go in search of something at the thrift stores. It's like going on a treasure hunt.

And my last bit of news - I'm done with work until 2010. 2 weeks of bliss. I'll sleep in, wear PJs all day, knit, spin, bum around - it's going to be glorious.

12.15.2009

The List Grows

My first art yarn spun on my new wheel... it was easy peasy!

Just a quick update about my new Lendrum. I love it. I love it soooo hard. Not only does it spin easily and smoothly, but I can spin coreless corespun yarns (see above) with ease. I could spin a lot of things on my old wheel, but I couldn't do coreless corespun on it to save my life. It's nice to know that it was the wheel, not me.

It's been a few since I posted my list of things I want to make/do for Christmas. While I haven't technically done anything from that original list, I have done other things that should have made it to the list. I've listed those below (to make me feel like I've accomplished something) along with some other things I've found that look like fun:

Half Eaten Gingerbread Man Ornament

Coffee Toffee (only without the coffee flavor)
Cookie and Cream Bark
Spiced Pecans

I've made 3 of the above things - see, I'm getting lots of things done!

I've got 4 more days of work left before I have a couple of weeks all to myself, well, to myself and to those who I want to see for Christmas. I'm getting more and more bitter by the day so this vacation could not come soon enough.

Oh - good news! I get to go see Manheim Steamroller tomorrow afternoon. We have them here at work for 2 shows and I was soooo worried I wouldn't get tickets. I usually rely (okay, always rely) on employee comp tickets for shows I want to see. I've only once bought tickets and they were for a gift. I got the bad news last week that there would be NO comp tickets for employees for Manheim Steamroller because they are so stinkin' popular and sales are through the roof. Huge bummer. WAY huge bummer. I was looking forward to going and didn't really have the extra moola to buy a ticket. But good news, the Christmas music Gods were watching over me because I've been assigned to sit in on the show as a Senior Manager and because of that, I get 2 tickets. What luck! My sister and I will be going to enjoy some Christmas music. If my mom were still here, she'd be all over this like white on rice. I'm sure she's enjoying it wherever she is.

You can expect me to be in full holiday spirit sometime around 5:45PM tomorrow once the concert lets out. It will be unavoidable and super sappy around here until at least New Years Day. Just warning you.

12.13.2009

on to new things

After all is said and done, after I've packed up my Farmer's Market set up for the last time in 2009, after the last Holiday Boutique show has finished, after my last stint pimping my jewelry and yarn to those doing some last minute Holiday shopping, I've finally found time for some spinning and fiber prep for my online shop. It's not that I've totally ignored it for the past 6 months, but I certainly haven't given it the attention it deserves. I took some time to card fibers while waiting on my new wheel to arrive (it's here - I'm excited, you can go see it over at my Flickr account) and had a sizable update over at Woolyhands today (the favorite of my new batts is pictured above "Frosted Forest")

You should check it out
.

It's good for you.

Santa will add you to his "good" list if you do.

I also managed to find time to do all of the laundry today, make some cookie and cream bark, English toffee, and two batches of spiced nuts. I'm not sure what came over it - the spirit of Martha Stewart? I feel like Superwoman or at least I feel like I could sleep for 12 hours.

By the way, Christmas is less than 2 weeks away? Are you ready? I'm not.

12.09.2009

It's mine... all mine!

It's mine. I bought it. Now I just have to wait for it to get here.

I'll try to wait patiently, but I am not going to make any promises.

I'm not gonna lie, watching for the UPS man each day could get ugly.

It's so nice to have finally purchased it. I've been spinning very happily on my Heavenly Handspinning wheel for over a year but it's time for a big girl wheel. It's time for a Lendrum.

I'm so happy, can you tell?

12.07.2009

Idyll, not Idle, Hands

It's brought up to me, quite often, that Idle Hands are the devil's playground. Yes, I know this, that's why my shop name is Idyll Hands. My hands are poetic, musical, dreamlike - in no way would the devil have time to play around on these hands.

As you can tell from my previous post, I've been bitten by the Holiday bug. I'm ready to create, make, build, and fabricate Holiday goodies of all kinds. I've not been interested in browsing the aisles at Hobby Lobby for decor this year. It either all looks the same or it's tacky. Neither of which I want in my house this time around. I want to display things that are unique, I want to give things no one else is giving, I want things to be memorable.

Unique and memorable require creativity. I've got a lot of creativity but I might have used up my allotment for 2009. Thankfully, there are blogs and flickr accounts with tons of creative ideas that people are willing to share. Those willing to share are going to save my Holiday crafting!

So, without further delay, I bring to you some projects I want to make this year (but probably won't have time to get to):
Stacking Fabric Trees
Little Felt Trees
Needle Felted Bowls

As I find projects I want to make over the next few weeks leading up to the Holiday, I'll post them here... provided I'm not too busy making them to blog!

If you find any cool projects, post them here. I'd love to add more to my list.

12.06.2009

And go!

Today marked the start of my "handmade for the holidays" marathon that will take over the next couple of weeks... scratch that, few weeks. While I'm not going to go entirely handmade for this season, I am going to do as much as I think will be valued. I'm not going to lie, handmade is completely lost on some people - no need to waste my time and energy on them. They get gift cards, but for everyone else, consider yourself lucky.

I have big plans of mini gift baskets to include some tasty holiday treats. I started those today with candied orange peels. As soon as they dry out a bit more, I'll dip the peels in chocolate, put them in jars, and call them done. This is my first attempt at candied orange peels and right now I feel they are a bit sugary but hopefully I can shake some excess sugar off and the chocolate will give them some umph. I'm going to save a few for me, pre-chocolate, to add to some cranberry or blackberry muffins.

The orange peels will get put into some baskets/bags with some other holiday goodies that will get made the week of Christmas (cookies? fudge? cheese balls? - I haven't decided).

I suppose today wasn't the first day I've worked on my handmade gifts. I've been spinning the heck out of some yarn and while it's not yet knit up, it will eventually go into some gifts. So perhaps I've made more of a start then I give myself credit for.

I think today was the first day I've really felt ready for the holidays. Perhaps that is why the oranges were finally tackled. I even put up the Christmas tree (not decorated, but still pretty all lit up in the front window). I'm now fully ready for Holiday baking, decorating, cooking, thinking, dreaming, movie watching, carol listening, and gift wrapping. Good things will come this year, yup, good things.

What are your handmade plans for the holidays? Or do you have any? Sometimes I think it brings a lot of stress (last year I felt that way) but sometimes I think it brings a lot of Holiday spirit. What do you think?

11.30.2009

all I want for Christmas

As I've spent time this past weekend browsing around my favorite blogs, I've begun to make a mental list of things I want for Christmas. I've noticed as I've grown older, or wiser, or more mellow (can't be sure which) that my tastes have changed dramatically. Or, perhaps it's not my tastes as it is my need for things. When I was 22 I needed more than now, when I'm 29. I've got what I need. I'm afraid that when I get married, my gift registries will be full of frivolous things since I've got all of the typical marriage type things already (mixers, sheets, towels, plates, etc).

The same applies to Christmas wish lists. I've found myself drawn to peaceful things, homey things, things for nesting, things to take naps in, crafty things, a few cute things to put on my dinner table in the chance that I have a dinner party with guests one day... just things here and there. I thought this blog might be a good place to start that list. It can be used by those looking to get me a special gift or I might decide to use it when I'm out doing some flea market shopping during the 2 weeks I'm off of work in December. Rest assured, I won't be terribly devastated if no one uses it... just a little devastated (kidding... maybe).
  • Quilts - preferably older (there are a lot at my mom's house, hopefully I'll get some of my favorites but am open to ones not from my mom's house too)
  • Head board for my guest /nap room - again, preferably older (I think naps are best taken in a bed with a headboard)
  • Vintage serving platters - I have a few, but wouldn't hate a few more
  • Wall shelves for my dining room so I have a place to put my collections
  • Bookshelves with glass doors/fronts for my wool collection
  • Smallish hanging pots for my plants I have to bring indoors during the winter (preferably vintage or vintage in style)
  • Vintage sugar and creamer sets (I'm wanting to start a new collection)
Something that goes along with this list, but not as a gift item, is time to clean out my life. I'm ready to go through the bins in my basement and begin to get rid of things. As I begin to bring some things that belonged to my mom into my life, I'm ready to get rid of the things that have no meaning (gifts from boyfriends past, binders full of college notes - why do we keep those?, shoes I don't wear, things like that). I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but I'm serious this time.

Before I was only partially serious.

Happy Monday everyone!

11.26.2009

Giving Thanks


Sweet Potatoes - something to be VERY thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends, blog readers, customers and random people who happen upon this post today. I hope you all have a chance to take some time to really enjoy the day, no matter where you are.

I'll be watching the parade, snacking, cooking, knitting, carding fiber, spinning, eating a HUGE dinner and snoozing. Oh, and I think there might be some football in there but not because I chose it.

Enjoy.

11.25.2009

Things

Yesterday I posted some pictures on Flickr of things that made me happy at the time. I got a couple of exciting things in the mail and I was making a spectacular dinner and those things just made me happy.

Along the same lines, I've noticed a lot of people posting on their blogs or Twitter or Facebook things that they are Thankful for in the month of November. It's a daily posting and it's nice to read. It's also a nice reminder that no matter what is going on, there truly is something to be thankful for.

Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 65 if she was here to celebrate. We'd probably take her out to dinner since it's not Thanksgiving (when our Holiday birthdays fall on Holidays, the celebration usually involves turkey or ham) give her a gifty, watch a movie, you know, fun things like that. Instead I'm at work, posting on Facebook that today will always be her day and reading things her friends and coworkers are posting about her. Maybe she isn't here to blow out her 65 candles, but it seems like today, more than ever before, is truly her day.

I love you mom and happy birthday.

And now, something today that makes me happy or that I am thankful for - having had a mom that was so wonderful that people who knew her take the time to go post wonderful things about her on Facebook. She was so truly loved... by so many. I am so thankful to have had a mom like that.

11.23.2009

Well Hello

Yes, I do manage to finish a big project every now and then. These little fingerless gloves might look small, but this was a very big project for me. I picked out roving from my stash, spun it up specifically with these in mind, set the yarn, waited for it to dry, waited some more, got distracted by a couple of craft shows and things like that, and then I finally knit them up into Toasts. Okay, so they aren't exactly Toasts or even Toasties. They are a combination of sorts - knit with a thumb hole instead of a half thumb thing that I thought looked a bit off.

So there you have it. Aside from being superwoman most of the time, I do find the time to finish a knitting project when I put my mind to it. Now, off to spin more yarn because these are addictive.

11.14.2009

Photoshop makes me a happy girl

Laila, AKA Rawfish on Etsy, shared her photoshop tricks on Flickr. Now I've gone Photoshop happy and I'm not too proud to say it.

Hi, I'm Erin, and I'm a Photoshop addict.

Well, addict is a strong word. I've only made a new banner for Woolyhands and this cute little image as seen here...... but I imagine I'll be spending lots of time on Photoshop this season. There are worse things.

The NWA Boutique show went very well for me today. I sold a bit of yarn, some neckwarmers, a scarf, but mostly jewelry. Sweet, sweet jewelry. I love how you fly off of the table this time of year. I've been working my poor little fingers (and the big ones) to the bone for the past few weeks so I'm only pleased that it's paying off. I have some new colors and beads in my stuff this year and I'm in love. If I'm feeling up to it tomorrow, I plan on taking some pictures so I can show you all of the lovelies.

However, we all know how plans go.

My plans could very well be pushed aside for a trip to Cracker Barrel for breakfast (don't judge me... they have fried applies and hash brown casserole), Hancocks for more plying thread, and Target just 'cause I want to go. So if you don't see new jewelry up in Idyllhands this week, it is because Cracker Barrel got in the way.

11.12.2009

Holiday Ideas

I've got so many different Holiday ideas for my fiber shop swimming around in my head and no time to do them and it's killing me! Okay, I'm making that up, I have plenty of time to do them, just not before my next show which is... uhh... two days from now! I had HUGE plans of sticking just to jewelry for Saturday's show but we all know how HUGE plans go. Yeah, they go right out the window.

Oh well, I'll stick to the jewelry, bring some of my fall/holiday yarns and leave it at that. I still have the two Farmer's Market Holiday Markets (too many markets?) to prepare for and I can unroll some of my ideas there. AND there is always next year. Let's not forget that.

I'm quite excited about the show on Saturday. I've been churning out so much jewelry for the past few weeks and some of my new items sold at least weeks show so I just know this weekend will be great. I've been using a lot of pearl and jewel tones in my new pieces (perfect for the Holidays) and even gold which is not something I've done before. I'm please with how they look for this time of year and am itching to get pictures of the items so I can get them up on Etsy in time for some Holiday shopping.

I don't know where this sudden burst of jewelry making energy has come from lately, but I'm not going to complain. I really didn't want to make jewelry the entire summer and was worried going into the fall still not wanting to. Funny how that changes in anticipation of Christmas.

Now, back to my fibery ideas I started this post out with. I want to do more art yarns than I am. Just small bits of yarn perfect to just enjoy in a glass bowl or to add to a project for some pizazz. The couple of Ugly Yarns that I did for Halloween (art yarns gone bad) garnered so much interest and I even sold some. It would be crazy not to do more but not call the Ugly Yarns. Ugly Yarns don't sound too Christmassy... I'd come up with something else. Perhaps, "Someone Spiked the Punch" yarns or another cheeky phrase. I'm sure it will come to me at some point.

I also want to put together some fiber ornament kits. Basically it would be a way for someone who likes to craft, but doesn't knit or crochet, to use my yarn for other "non-tradition" projects. And no, don't ask what I have in mind because I haven't figured it out, but I will... oh, I will!

I have some other ideas too, but I'm having trouble explaining them in writing. If I get to them this year, I'll be sure to post the ideas and pictures to share with all of you.

So, what have you got planned for the Holiday crafting season? Making gifts? Any seasonal items going up in your online shops if you have them? I'd love to hear from you. Sharing ideas and projects really helps get all of our creative juices flowing.

11.09.2009

Another one bites the dust

Another show down, one more to go. The Handcrafted Holiday boutique that I participated in on Saturday night was a success. The crowd was down compared to last year but I'm really thinking the random warm spell we've had didn't help. People aren't in a Christmas mood when you can practically wear shorts during the day. Where did my fall go?

I have one more seasonal show on Saturday which should be very good. I shopped at it last year (wasn't a vendor) and it looked great and very well attended... here's hoping the same for this year. I'll just have my jewelry at this show, so set up should be a breeze.

I will say that I'm ready for a break from crafting after all that I've done this season. Maybe I'll turn to baking for the weeks leading up to the Holidays instead of crafting... hmmm, baked goods for Christmas presents anyone?

Speaking of baked goods, I never baked those muffins that I was sure I was going to bake a couple of weeks ago... I'm bad like that. Maybe tonight... maybe tonight.

11.05.2009

Did someone say shopping?

Come one, come all to the Handcrafted Holiday special shopping event! Bring a friend, bring 2, heck, bring three and head over to Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios on Saturday, November 7 between 6PM and 9PM to enjoy some great snacks, tasty drinks, wonderful massages and fabulous shopping!

It's a great chance to buy one of a kind holiday gifts for your friends and family (or for yourself... I won't judge). There will be lots of goodies to look at from a few local artists (my sister and myself included).

And trust me when I say that Santa will put you on his good list for shopping local this year! I hope to see you all there!

11.03.2009

Holiday Spin-a-long

And just because I can, I've decided to host another spin-a-long. I had so much fun with the Halloween spin-a-long that I thought it only appropriate to do one for my favorite time of year... the Holiday season! I've posted all of the fun details in my shop. The one difference is that there will be more than one prize awarded at the end! It is the season for giving, after all.

Go here to check out the details and I hope to see you join in!

11.02.2009

Finished Halloween SAL yarns!


Finished Halloween SAL yarns!
Originally uploaded by Ehwin
Goodness - where has the time gone this week? The Autumn months are just flying by and I have hardly taken time to enjoy them! Such is life, right? Actually, I'm lying a bit. I have been enjoying my time spent outdoors at the Farmer's Markets and I took a day of work to make this a three day weekend, so not all is lost.

I'm not here to talk about me, though, I'm here to talk about all of the fabulous spinners who participated in the very first Woolyhands Spin-a-long. There were 13 participants in all and 7 who posted finished yarns in my Flickr group... well, 8 if you count my yarn. Aren't the yarns lovely?

The deal was, each person who posted pics of their finished yarn would be entered in a drawing for a gift batt from yours truly. So, without further delay, I shall announce the winner...


I hate just picking one winner - all of the yarns were great :)

The Halloween Spin-a-long was a lot of fun and I'm gearing up for a Holiday/Winter spin-a-long... so keep posted here to get all of the festive, wintery details!

10.24.2009

Afternoon

There was something about the way the sun shone into the windows today that created a sort of calm on the west side of the house. The beams of light that were cast across my office and fiber studio warmed me to my toes. It was the perfect afternoon after spending the morning at the Farmer's Market (freezing, I might add). It's days like this that really should never end. The leaves falling outside my windows are vibrant shades of gold, orange and red. The call of autumn birds provided a nice background to the sounds of autumn. The Schmoo cat napped on the corner of the guest bed while flecks of dust playfully floated in the sunlight. The scene left me feeling completely at peace with things... everything.

There was just something about the sun shining into the windows.

It inspired me to card up and label 54 mini batts of fiber for the November Phat Fiber Box. That is a powerful thing as I usually dread the labeling part and put that off until the absolute, last minute. But today was different. Today I'm left proud of my samples, completely happy with the outcome, and looking forward to shipping them off to Phat Fiber Headquarters.

There was just something about that sun shining through the window into the mounds of fiber (seen above). You can't even help but feel comfortable just looking at it.

10.22.2009

If I pass... if I fail...

If I drop out does anyone give a damn?

(thank you BNL for providing the perfect lyrics to start my blog with... yet again)

I'm having one of those weeks. I'm not sure if it's because I spent much of last week doing exactly what I wish I could do monthly (sitting at a craft show bringing in the big bling bling) or if it's just the cycle of ups and downs and I started this week off in a down. After typing it out and looking at it, I'm pretty sure it's a combination of both.

Heading back to work on Monday was a HUGE drag. I wasn't motivated to get some projects done, had trouble keeping focused, was easily distracted, and watched the clock in a big bad way. It didn't help that the new carpet in my office (installed Monday) came with a stink that would even kill the H1N1 virus if given the chance. I just didn't want to be there. I felt like doing something HUGE to see if anyone would even notice. Perhaps I'd kick the water cooler over as I walked back or jammed the copier or perhaps I could go Office Space on the community fax machine - yeah, you could say I was in a sour mood. I was sure that had I done one of those things, it would go unnoticed.

But now I'm better. I'm not sure what did it, but I don't feel like screaming when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning. It's always odd how that works. I adore my job, don't get me wrong. I work with great people in a great environment (they even announced that we'll be closed the week after Christmas this year, so extra vacay time for me) I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep this week. A girls entitled to feeling like that every now and then.

It's supposed to be frigid tomorrow - I love this time of year. I better go find a sweater to wear.


10.21.2009

And down.

Prepare for my most random post ever... seriously... did you prepare yourself? Okay, I warned you...

My second year at the Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Festival (my largest and longest show) is behind me. This year was far more successful than last, so there is that. Maybe that makes up for the fact that I still feel wiped out! Okay, maybe that and the extra fiber goodies I bought this week as a treat to myself make up for the fact that I still feel wiped out. Okay - those things and the bag of kettle corn I've been munching on all week. Can't have a craft fair without the kettle corn.

My sister and I worked really hard to make our booth the CUTEST and best looking one there. We thought we succeeded but apparently the requirements for best booth included things like "boring set up", "lack of creativity", "does this look like a set up at the dollar mart?". Now we know. I'm not sure making our booth look bland and boring is what we want to do to win a free spot at next year's show. We'll keep on with our super cute booth because whatever we did, it worked when it came to sales.

My sister even made the words BEST bunting banner (seen above) to welcome shoppers in. I know, I know, it's a shame we didn't win best booth.

In other news, my place of employment has decided to close the week after Christmas so put that with the three days off before Christmas that I already requested, and I'm looking at a 2 week vacation 2 months from now. Let the countdown begin. 2 weeks off to sit in my PJs, bake, spin yarn, knit things, watch Christmas movies, and read cannot come soon enough.

Speaking of baking, I fully intend on baking pumpkin - oatmeal - chocochip muffins this week. I've fully intended on doing so for the past 4 weekends so hopefully announcing it here should push me to actually do it. They make the perfect breakfast/snack/desert/dinner/lunch and I've been craving them since I first made them last year. If you're nice, I'll pass one along to you.

OH, more good news. A client's concert that I was going to have to work on Halloween has been postponed due to a Football game (yeah, only in a college town) so I get Halloween off! Woohoo. I think I'll stock up on Halloween type junk food (and buffalo wings - they go with anything) and sit and watch scary movies with my Sweet Boy. It will be just a couple of days after our 5 year anniversary (from our first date, I know, sappy) so it will be a good way to celebrate. We'll save the fancy going out for another weekend.

I think I've swarmed you with enough randomness for a week. I'll end with a good night.

10.14.2009

It's Craft Fair Time

People from far and wide are beginning to arrive in this area of the country for a week/weekend FULL of craft shows. I can't even think of how many we have in this area starting tomorrow... a lot... I do know that. They all center around War Eagle - a HUGE 4 day show surrounding beautiful War Eagle Mill. This is no quaint craft show, this thing is a city in itself. People, lots and lots of people, wait at the gates each morning until the show opens and then they rush in for the kill.

Me, I prefer a show where people don't have to fight to see the booths, I prefer the Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Festival. This is their 41st year as a festival and I'm very excited to participate again. It was a great show last year, busy, but not so much that it killed me. It's also large enough to pull in some serious shoppers and create a traffic jam miles and miles long. It's also outdoors... I think that is important to get people into the mood to buy scarves and yarn for the winter!

So if you in the NWArkansas area, come on over to the Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Festival Thursday, October 15 - Saturday, October 17 and come find me and my sister. We'd love to see you!

10.08.2009

New Traditions

baked goods at Christmas time

I found myself emmersed in memories of Holidays past last night as I read through my latest food porn magazine (it doesn't matter which one, all of the November ones do this to me). I'm a sucker for all things Holiday. The period of time between Halloween and New Years is, hands down, the best time of the year... any year.

Even thought the holidays this year will be completely different than any other one in the past, I'm still looking forward to them. While I won't be spending Christmas morning with my mom, helping her cook sweet rolls to munch on while opening presents and laughing near the fireplace, I will be spending it with loved ones. I'll be making new traditions - traditions that will take me years into the future.

Perhaps Christmas morning will be quiet - just me and the Sweet Boy (oh, and Schmoo Kitteh... she likes new cat nip toys for Christmas). Perhaps Thanksgiving will be the same. Some might feel a strong desire to spend the first holidays after a parent dies with tons of family, but me, I'm almost looking forward to some solitude. To a quiet time with baked goods, holiday movies, spiked cider, quilts to sit under on the couch, a good book, a craft project to mess with, a quiet walk on a cold evening, yes, I look forward to all of these things, some new, some not.

Don't get me wrong - I adore any holiday spent with family, but this year will be different and maybe what's best for me this time around isn't what was my favorite last year. Funny how things like that change.

And just to end, I'd like to ask that Royal Caribbean Cruise Line quit playing a Christmas song in their commercial, I just cannot stand it. You're totally psyching me out and I must be patient, Christmas is still a few months away.

10.01.2009

I'm Always Reminded

hanging out with a couple of the ladies who reside in the memories of the years I write about in this post. I don't talk to them everyday but I hope they know they have a HUGE place in my life and thankfully help make up the non-baggage memories :)

I am constantly blown away with how a certain song will always make me remember either one event or at least one period in my life. I'm not talking about how "Barbie Girl" reminds me of high school (yes, I agree, that is unfortunate) but how one song always goes with the same memory. David Gray's "Please Forgive Me" always reminds me of Hyde Park Bar and Grill in Austin... alway. Everytime I hear it the first thing I think of is sitting in that restaurant eating those french fries... those glorious fries and hearing this song in the background. The first 4 songs from Enya's album A Day Without Rain always brings to mind driving home from Longhorn Band rehearsal with my windows down the fall of 2001... it never fails.

I'm just amazed how certain memories stick with you like that. It's also interesting how almost every song that comes with a memory like that also all fall within a certain few of years of my life. A time that seems so long ago. A time that molded me into who I am today, but also a time that left many scars... scars that I'm still trying to cover up. It's just hard when my favorite songs and albums come with baggage like that.

However, there are a small handful of songs that reach back a bit further than that. "Closing Time" always reminds me of getting a ride to the movies with a very long ago crush. I'm not sure how I worked that one out, but I liked it, at the age of 18. Funny how that song doesn't bring up the same emotions as the others. Maybe the simplicity of a high school crush didn't do to me what the complexity of 3 years of college did.

Maybe if I listed to newer music I'd have new memories to be reminded of. Yes, I must work on that, new music.

I'm off to do some shopping on Amazon.

9.28.2009

Introducing...

The Ugly.

Yes, I've been known to spin some bad, very bad yarns. We'll see how I like this next time I look at it. It might just be a good conversation piece.

I was sad again today, still missing my mom. I thought perhaps taking a mental health day to just regroup might be good. I've been going going and going for a few months and maybe I just need to sleep in and watch Food Network for a day. However, tomorrow is too busy at work. Meetings, on occasion, require my presence. So then I thought about Wednesday...again, those pesky meetings. So Thursday is out due to another meeting and a reception that requires my presence and Friday there is a lunch that requires the same. Ah well, perhaps next week?

At least I'm heading over to Tulsa on Friday with my sister to partake in some wonderful Dave Matthews Band (live by the way) goodness. Yes, Friday will be a good day.

9.26.2009

Things the make me smile

If you haven't caught on, Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp mornings, the cool fog that settles over the valleys in this area, the changing colors that surround me on my way to work each morning, the introduction of winter squash to the local market, and the smells of spiced everything (apples, pumpkin, cookies, whathaveyou).

I was especially in love with the season this morning as I hung out with my sister at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market. While the crowd was small today (the locals are avoiding the roads due to Bikes Blues and BBQ) the day couldn't have been any better. The sun was beautiful and bounced playfully off of my handspun yarns beckoning shoppers over, the breeze, while cool, reminded me that even if it felt like everything came to a halt for me this past August, things still change and settle as they have forever, the city gardens were still vibrant with color, but with the deep reds, oranges and yellows of the season, yes - today was a gorgeous day.

I thought I'd list a few of my favorite things about the season below.

Fayetteville Farmer's Market (my yarn on display there above)
These caramels from Have It Confections on Etsy
Pumpkins and other winter squash in a HUGE variety of colors
I can begin to wear scarves and cowls in the mornings
Grilled cheese and soup - lots and lots of soup
Opening up the house and turning off the AC
Cleaning up the gardens and getting them ready for winter
Making basil pesto with the last of the summer basil in my herb garden

I think I'll begin listing these items here on my blog as they come to me. It's a great way to celebrate the season with all of you. Please leave a comment sharing your Autumn favorites with me

9.25.2009

Speak for yourself

No really, please speak for yourself.

This sign welcomed bikers and apparently it spoke for all of us (us being those who work at Walton Arts Center). Oh, okay, I'm a curmudgeon. Bikes Blues and BBQ isn't all that bad. It's great for people watching, for ear drum busting roars of the motorcycles as they pass by, and apparently, this year it's good for helicopter tours that last all day. The best part was when the guy escaped from the Washington County Courthouse into the crowds of bikers yesterday right before they sentenced him to 55 years in jail. Yup - he did something so bad that they were going to lock him up for 55 years, but instead he's hanging out just a few blocks away eating BBQ and riding a motorcycle. Ah, it makes you feel all warm and squishy inside.

I have enjoyed the fair food (polish sausage with grilled onions and a funnel cake made up my dinner tonight). It's not all that bad.

On an entirely different note, I find it interesting that my siblings and I have all started really missing my mom at about the same time. I emailed them about her yesterday and it turns out, I was not alone in feeling very sad about mom being gone yesterday. We all mourned her loss, cried about it, hugged about it, and cried some more about it when she left us. However, mourning a loss and actually missing someone are two different things. I'm at the point now where I just wish she'd come home. I wish she'd quit ignoring the phone calls and pick up the phone to talk. I wish I quit missing her when I go for a visit. However, I know that's not the case. I know she's never going to be out digging in her garden when I go visit, I know she's never going to answer with her signature, very happy, "hello" when I dial her number, I know she's not going to agree with me when I'm complaining about something that happened during the day, and I know none of these things will ever happen again.

Aside from crying when I had to take her last kitty to a friends house (thankfully it was a friends house and not a shelter), I had been tear free for a couple of weeks. This week was not one of them. This week I really, really miss my mom.

Okay - sorry about that. How about something on a lighter note? Hmmm... I'll be hawking my handspun yarn at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market in the morning so if you're local, you know where to find me.

9.21.2009

A Finished Object

Remember that yarn I gushed over a while back (see here if you don't), well, I finally found a project worthy of this yarn. I looked and looked for something I'd wear... a lot. I love hats, but don't often wear them as I find myself trying to keep my hair looking nice for work. So a hat was out. Mittens or fingerless gloves were the same way... I like them but don't wear them enough. I wanted this yarn to get knit into something I'd grab almost everyday on my way to work. Well, almost every cold day.

I found a pattern on Ravelry for a "Wham Bam Thank You Lamb" cowl. It was a free pattern, always a plus, I could do it in one evening, again, a plus, and it used chunky yarn, not only a plus but a requirement. I read over the pattern, cast on my stitches and a little over an hour later I had the masterpiece you see above (please excuse my old DMB concert t-shirt, I don't dress up for knitting hour in front of my tv). I'm so excited with how it turned out and with how it features my yarn.

And for all of you shoppers out there at the Fayetteville Farmers Market who pick up skein after skein of yarn and ask "what do you do with 100 yards of yarn" well, this is one project.

9.20.2009

Things that go bump in the night


A few posts ago I announced that I'd be hosing my first SAL (spin-a-long) for Woolyhands. The turnout has been great and I can't wait until the spooky batts make it to their new homes and the creations get posted to my Flickr group. The add ins are a lot of fun and these colors just scream halloween. I thought I'd give you all a sneak preview of each batt and the description that went along with it. They are listed in order from top to bottom in the picture above.

“The Count’s Revenge”

It’s been a year since you escaped the dark woods slightly shaken but unharmed. You’ve almost put that trip to the mountains of Transylvania out of your mind. However, that rustle you hear outside your bedroom window on the darkest of nights is not caused by the breeze, rest assured, The Count is out for his revenge and waits patiently for sleep to fall upon you.


“Witches’ Brew”

You spy a light in the woods, a gathering of voices so screechy they send chills down your spine… “eye of newt… the blood of a frog”? What’s that smell coming from the gathering? Is that brew they are creating meant for you? You try to scream and run away, but you realize, they had expected you’d do that and the spell has already begun…


“Ghostly Whisper”
We’ve all heard it, late a night, a sound from behind you… a whisper of something so chilling, yet from an unfamiliar voice… looking around you hope it came from someone in the room and you realize, as a chill creeps down your spin, that you are alone.

Where did that Ghostly Whisper come from?


“HOBGOBLIN”

Something startles you from your sleep and you wake up to a pitch black room. Not even the dim light from a distant moon lights your view enough to see what caused your rising. Another bump in the night sends a shiver creeping down your spine and you remember a legend you heard as a child about hobgoblins that find homes under your bed and you pull your covers closer…


9.14.2009

Yum Yum Give Me Some

This might be my new favorite way to find out what's for dinner:

Tasty Kitchen

Go there... you can thank me later.

I cooked two recipes from that site tonight. This and this. Both were delicious. Both were modified slightly by me but that's just how it goes in my kitchen. I also sauteed up some green beans Asian style and that was just my recipe - so don't get on to me for the lack of veggies.

I'm not sure why I like the site so well... so far the recipes I've cooked from it haven't been hard and I've had most of the ingredients on hand. As much as I love my other culinary websites, they sometimes aren't quite as "throw it together and love it" as this one is.

Both recipes gained the Sweet Boy's seal of approval. Yay.

9.13.2009

So Organized

My mom had a wooden architect table at her house that she used for beading. I loved it since she found it at a garage sale and it was one of those pieces that you wished you would have spied first so you could have claimed it.

My siblings and I have started the daunting process to figure out what we want to keep of hers and what we'd love to keep, but don't have room for. That table is on my list. No one else has mentioned it yet and I'm really crossing my fingers hard that no one does. I think it would be the perfect table to use in my wool studio as a carding station. It's the perfect height and it is sturdy enough not to walk around the room as I card wool like my current table (a folding table from Sam's Club that I use for Farmers Market) does.

Before I cant even beg my siblings to let me have it, I needed to make sure it would even fit in the space. So this afternoon was "Project: Make Room for the Table". As you can see by the before photo: and after photo: the table will fit perfectly and it really cleans up the space to add another piece of furniture to the mix. Funny how that happens.

I wish I'd get the same bug about cleaning as I do about organizing my crafty areas.

9.09.2009

How I did it

For those who wanted to know my method for hair - it's basically THIS METHOD.

I'm reading a lot of forums where people say to not do this method and only go to a hairdresser. I figured, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I had long hair when I started and didn't cut too much off, so I was safe. I think some people go too far with this hair cut and then they have way short layers on top - never fun.

I made my pony tail by hanging my head straight down (crown of my head facing the ground) and combed and combed and combed my hair until I was absolutely sure that everything was hanging in the right place. Then I made the pony tail right on top of my head and went from there.

Whatever you do, be careful. Cut in small amounts and take out the pony tail and check your progress before going shorter.

Oh, and I take no part in the blame if this doesn't work for you. It's a gamble... I like how mine turned out.

9.07.2009

I wish I had a before picture...

because it would make this picture even more amazing.

I'm cheap when it comes to things like cutting my hair. Well, that's not entire true. My hair stylist runs me about $60+ to get my hair cut BUT I only went about once a year so while it cost a TON to have done, I didn't go back as often as I should have. I would usually reserve my appointment until I was just about ready to shave my head because my hair was so depressing.

I got to that point yesterday. My hair was long, lifeless, void of good layers, and sad. Just a sad head of hair. I wore it up almost everyday because it looked bad down. Not that it was in bad shape. I didn't have a single split end which I consider a blessing since it had been 13 months since my last cut. I owe that to Panteen I'm sure. It just looked blah... blah... BLAH.

Inspired by a conversation with a fellow artist/crafter, I decided to try and trim my own hair. After some research online with tips and tricks to cutting your own hair, I went to work. One shower and 40 minutes later, I had a very nice, layered cut. I lost close to 3 inches (maybe a bit more) but the impressive part is the layers that I created. I'm happy. So happy. AND, I saved $60. Always a good thing.

9.04.2009

Halloween Spin-a-Long

Raise your hand if you like Halloween?

And raise your hand if you like spinning wool?

Now raise your hand if you are a fan of a good, old fashion SAL (Spin-a-Long)???

I'm sure many of you have your hand up if not for all of these, at least for one of these. I have started my very first SAL over at Woolyhands. This Halloween themed spin-a-long will feature some goolishly fun batts in a mix of fibers with some spooky add ins for those who love to spin art yarns. I've had so much fun carding up some various batts and I can't wait to send them out to the participants at the end of this month.

If you've never participated in an SAL, now is your chance. Don't know what an SAL is? Well, you're in luck because I'll let you in on the secret. SALs (or spin-a-longs) are just a chance for a bunch of spinners to all spin either the same batt or a selection of themed batts (which mine will be) into yarn and show them off in a forum of some sort. The fun part about mine is that everyone who posts a finished yarn over at my Flickr group will be entered into a drawing for some surprise spinning fibers. This couldn't be more fun!

I've been wanting to do this for a few months. I participated in an SAL over the summer and absolutely had a blast. Now that I've had a bit of time to devote to my piles of wool, I decided it was time to host this. I just can't wait to see what people spin up with their Woolyhands Halloween Spin-a-Long Batts!

8.29.2009

In a pickle

While browsing through some of my favorite culinary blogs last week, I happened upon a blog post about pickled okra over at Homesick Texan. People who know my fridge well know that I have at least an entire shelf dedicated to all things pickled. I have relishes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, garlic cloves, green tomatos, baby corn, green beans, and so on... and on... and on. Pickled items grab my attention in the grocery store, at the farmers market and especially at the fall craft fairs. You'd think, for as much as I love those salty, sour treats, that I would have tried my hand at pickling before.

You'd think that...

But I haven't.

Since okra has always been one of my favorite pickled veggies, this blog post just stuck out to me. I thought about it for a few days. I obsessed over the bite of the Serrano pepper, the aftertaste of the garlic, the sour of the vinegar, the aroma of the dill, and the crispness of the okra. It stayed with me, taunting me every time I opened the fridge only to be disapointed that these okra were not sitting on the shelf. I had to solve this, I had to pickle some okra and I had to do it this weekend.

A quick trip to the farmers market provided the okra and the dill and another not so quick trip to the mega center down the street provided the garlic and the Serrano peppers. I was all set. Pickled okras were made and now I must wait for a day to taste them.

This will be the longest day of my life.

8.27.2009

The Fayetteville Animal Shelter - a safety net for irresponsible pet owners

My mother recently passed away leaving three beautiful, well love cats behind. Her vet recommended some local rescue groups, all of which were unfortunately full. I knew I didn't want to list the cats in the paper or on Craigslist due to some of the scary situations I've read about in papers of people who treat their "free" pets very poorly. My next option was the Fayetteville Animal Shelter. Because they have a very active adoption program and were recommended to me by the local rescue groups and Humane Society, I thought they would be a good fit for my mom's kitties. Unfortuntely, the Fayetteville Animal Shelter told my brother over the phone that it does not take adult cats. They do take kittens, though, and judging by their website, they take lots and lots of kittens.

Is the Animal Shelter a Fayetteville funded safety net for irresponsible pet owners? Can I put off getting my pet fixed only to have litters and litters of kittens to drop off at the Animal Shelter? Can a responsible pet owner not pass away without having to worry about her beloved pets getting picked up out of the classifieds of the local paper? It seems as though the money I've been donating to the Shelter as well as the tax dollars that the City of Fayetteville direct to the shelter have been going to support the wrong kind of programs. For this reason, I will redirect my donations to other rescue groups that will help out those who actually need it instead of those who are just irresponsible

8.26.2009

Changing


This past weekend was an enjoyable one, considering the circumstances. Saturday was my mom's memorial and the day could not have been more beautiful. The weather was amazing, especially for August. The guests were plentiful, the music good, the conversation even better, and the love and support that my mom's friends and family members have to give amaze me. I also was able to spend some time with family I never see, and while I'd rather have seen them for different reasons, it was so good to spend time with them.

I also went with my sister, brother, his girlfriend, niece, nephew and aunt to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks for their Tomato Fest. It was much like a wine tasting but without the wine and with delicious, plump, and juicy tomatoes. One of the local organic caterers had a booth set up with some caprese salads, peach/tomato/fennel salads, and some other goodies so lunch was fresh and healthy. Afterwards, we spent some time strolling through the gardens and taking pictures (one seen above). My mom would have loved it so the weekend truly was for her. She was dearly missed but felt all around us.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am SO ready for fall to greet me one morning when I step outside to make my way into the office. I'm even ready for my blog to take on a new coat for the season. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure it will come to me.

As I was digging through what was left of my fiber supply for a few odds and ends to card together I realized it was embarrassing how low my stash for dyeing/carding/etc has become. I think it's time to order some more wool... well, I think last week was time to do it, but since I overlooked my lack of wool, this week will have to do. It's not so easy as just ordering wool, however. Do I want to continue to dye top/roving? Do I want to stick to batts? Not sure not sure. And yes, I must decide this before buying wool.

Any advice out there? Do both? Stick to batts for now? What to do... what to do?

8.14.2009

Plumbing - just add it to my resume

Living in old houses comes with advantages and disadvantages. I could list advantages all day (claw foot tubs, high floor boards, built in telephone shelves, doors with skeleton key holes, etc) but in turn, I could also list disadvantages all day (hot spots in the summer, cold spots in the winter, cracked windows, scary electrical outlets, scary basement furnaces, etc).

My washing machine was replaced last week as the old one was doing some crazy things. However, with the replacement came a fountain of water every time the thing would drain. Water would spew out all over as the drain wasn't draining. It was fun for a few loads, but the charm quickly wore off.

A call to my landlord ended with me being quite upset. A clogged drain was apparently my fault and it would be up to me to call a plumber to come fix it. I'm pretty sure that I had only been washing clothes (mostly cotton) since moving here and unless the cat was taking a bath in the washing machine, I couldn't figure out why my drain was all of a sudden clogged. I am also not sure why the landlord didn't want to take a look at it since it started immediately after having a new machine installed. Many, many things confuse me about the landlords in Arkansas, I'll add this to my list.

I'll be darned if I have to pay a plumber to show me his backside while bending over to fix the drain, so I decided to add plumber to the list of things I dabble in for fun and I headed to the basement with a flashlight and untwisted wire hanger. After digging around in the drain for about 10 minutes, I had pulled out a good pile of rusted metal shards and bits of sandy clumps. No hair, no fuzz, no folded up notes that had been left in pockets (not even any money - darn).

Now, I'm hard pressed to say that my laundry created rusted, metal shards and clumps of sand in the washing machine drain. As you can see by the picture above, those drains are old and skanky - I think they did it to themselves. Shall I bill my landlord?

8.13.2009

Longing

I'm not sure exactly what triggered it, but I'm completely, utterly and most certainly finished with summer. The sweet boy and I went to Kansas City earlier this week to ride some roller coasters and eat some BBQ and just to get away for a bit. Perhaps it wrapped up summer for me and I'm ready to move on. Perhaps losing my mom last week has helped to have me ready to close off summer. Perhaps I'm just sick and tired of the heat.

Whichever it is, I do know that every time I start to go outside, I am almost certain that it's going to be a bit crisp in the air. I'm almost certain that I'll see an orange leaf drift slowly to the ground. I'm almost certain that I need to go back in and get some long sleeves unpacked for the season. However, after stepping foot into the mid-August mugginess, I'm almost certain that my earlier certainties are those of a mad woman (or at least someone who is longing for shorter, cooler days).

I think the beginning of fall will allow me to reset. I'll be able to clean out the garden, sweep off the back porch (something I should have done before summer actually got here), clean out my summer clothes and pull out my fall wares. Soups will once again make up most of my weekly menu and the late night sounds of crickets will fade away only to become a distant memory until sometime next year when they start back up again.

The craft shows will start up again allowing me to regroup and figure out which direction Idyllhands is going in next (something I've been struggling with for a couple of months). This is something I'll welcome with open arms. Idyllhands has sat a bit idle (no pun intended), patiently waiting for me to return to my beading table with new ideas. I had plans to retire some designs and overhaul others. All of those plans were well and good until I received two requests this past week for the same bracelet that has not been in my shop for months. Hmmm... a sign that my regrouping is as simple as restocking? Perhaps. All are things I need to figure out... all are things that will happen this fall.

But for now, it's still August. The days are still long, crickets still loud, mosquitoes still biting, and grills still grilling. For now I still have time to be lazy out on the front porch, to eat fresh tomatoes from the vine and to wear sandals without abandon. For now, I still have time to put off the resetting that fall will bring until, well, fall.

However, I still long for and very impatiently await autumn.

8.06.2009

August 6

Mom - you're free now.  Fly high in your single engine Cessna.

I love you.

8.04.2009

Finding the words

mom sitting on her bit of the river - 2004

Sometimes it's so easy to find the right words. They flow out of you faster than you can type and God forbid you find yourself away from the computer (or a pad of paper and pen for you old fashion types) when the words come to you.

I'm not usually one to find myself without something to say. But tonight I find myself needing to say something more than ever and not being able to find a single word... not even a tiny word. Actually, that's a bit of a fib. I can think of a million things to say right now, but what is appropriate? What words, if said, will make me feel better. What words will be read by you and not make you sit there, sad faced, and at a loss of what to comment if a comment is what is warranted. I've be thinking about this for well over an hour.

But still, something is inside me, something I want to scream about, kick about, curse about, cry about, hug my best friends and family about, and just lay in bed and forget about.

Life is a beautiful thing, a beautiful, cruel thing. It's gives you beauty, smiles, fun, beautiful days, happy times, romantic moments, soft touches, kittens (I love kittens), the perfect gifts, Christmas mornings with family, quiet nights in the most comfortable beds on earth, inspiration, creativity, and love. It also takes those things away from you when least want it to. In a moment, those perfect gifts, those Christmas mornings with family can seem only a memory, a very distant, and not obtainable memory. Sometimes life can take those quiet nights in bed, and turn them upside down. Sometimes life can be a cruel thing.

The past 11 months have been a combination of all of the above. My mom, one of my best friends, was diagnosed with brain cancer. For 11 months she has fought and fought and fought. She has put up with shit (pardon the language, we're all adults here) that I wouldn't even wish upon my worst enemies, and she did so with an optimism that I couldn't even imagine having if I were her. Yes, she fought so hard.

I find it hard to think she's not fighting right now. I find it hard to believe that my sweet mom has nothing left to fight with. I want to believe that inside, she's kicking and screaming and she'll get through this. But I know she's tired and I know that perhaps it's time for her to get to sit on the sidelines and enjoy the game that comes next, rather than be battered, battled and played against in a game that seems to be rigged against her. And while tears stream down my cheeks and fall onto my hands while typing this, I know that those tears are a part of life that belongs in the list above.

If I don't post for a few days, it's because I'm spending time with my mom, the fighter, during her last moments in the game.

Mom - I love you. I couldn't have become what I am today without your love, your support, and the amazing way you lived each day.