Something new is in the works

It is with much excitement, giddiness and fanfare that I announce I've joined in on the Junque Rethunque adventure. This was a business that my sister and mom started a few years ago. As you might imagine, it went a bit by the wayside when my mom was diagnosed with cancer but it's been revived. My sister has been dreaming of owning her own shop for quite some time and has also been talking of starting out small with a flea market booth.

I texted her to check with some local shops yesterday and by noon today we had a space at a fairly new but very awesome flea market. We're quick like that.

We've been dreaming big ever since we signed up for the booth. However, unlike so many others, when we dream big, we go big. Our booth will consist of vignettes of vintage and vintage inspired items. It won't be full of junk mocking you will it's clutter, but instead will invite you to take a moment (or two) to browse. Perhaps you'll find something to add to your collection at home or maybe you'll find something that will inspire a new collection. Oh, look over there, it's some vintage lingerie lace perfect for your next project and go ahead and pick up that package of wooden spools just dying to be used for something. It's okay, we won't tell anyone ;)

So, come January, it's on at the Fayetteville Trading Post. Just look for the "Junque Rethunque" booth - you won't be sorry you did.


Happy December

So all of you Amazon junkies (you know who you are) have you seen this? No, your eyes do not deceive you. Amazon has released what they call "Universal Wish List". This amazing new wish list is a way to add your Etsy favorites (or Art Fire or similar) to your Amazon wish list.

Let me preface this by saying I'm not all about the getting at Christmas. Those who know me know that I've been playing the part of Mrs Clause for the past few years. However, it is fun to get a present you WANT and not just one that you might like. My largest complaint about Amazon has been that all of my wish list items are commercial items. If I want something handmade and from Etsy, I have to put it on my Etsy wish list which only 2 people in my family seem to know about. Now I can just add those favorite items from Etsy on to my Amazon list and presto, the entire world can shop without worry that I will love my present.

So go one, go all, run over to Amazon and start adding all of the items from my shop... er... from everyone's shop to your wish list so those of us who play Mrs. Clause can feel good about shopping this year.


My Greatest Fear

Before I traumatize you with a terrible story, I'll show you my latest yarn. It will break your heart (it broke mine).

Enough yarn.

I came to a point tonight when I found myself facing something quiet ugly.

It was hideous... scary... frightening... not for the faint of heart... and definitely not for the eyes of babes.

I reached the end of my crafty rainbow. I tried knitting and was left uninspired. I tried making a wreath and was disgusted with my progress. I even tried to reorganize my yarn and was left halfheartedly stuffing yarn into a tote and hiding it under a table. Yup, I'm done crafting for shows this year.

I have one show left on Saturday and while I have a good amount of stock left, I wanted a few new things but that's not going to happen. I want to knit for myself, spin yarn for myself, bake for myself and making things to sell does not aid in that desire one bit. It was very easy for me to decide to be done. It's nice when messages are clear like that.

So, for now, rest because come next week, it's time to get started on the handmade Christmas list.


Happy Dance

This is me... happy dancing all over the place.

Okay, so you can't see me dancing, but I promise you, it's good. I created my first newsletter tonight. If you didn't get one and want to partake in the 15% discount then fill out the appropriate information over here --------------------------------------------------->

You'll be sorry if you don't.

Just sayin'


A Promise

Dear soon to be 30 year old self...

...I promise to stay true to myself, even if that means finding myself again

...I promise to let my mouth be the voice my mind so desperately needs

...I promise to do better about finding you handmade tortillas more than once a year

...I promise to stay busy being creative even when I want to sit around watching tv

... I promise to continue learning

... I promise to provide you with many opportunities to buy new shoes

... I promise to stop and pet the Schmoo cat on the head at least 4 times a day

... I promise to try and stress out less (I said try)

... I promise that my 30s will be even better than my 20s.

I promise.


I need help.

There. I said it. That wasn't so bad, was it?

I typically pride myself in my creative organizational skills but I've hit a wall with my latest project. My jewelry supplies used to live happily on my sun porch. They were all nicely stacked and tucked away on shelves underneath a vintage sewing table just ready to be pulled out and made into some lovely, sparkly goodness.

However, now they live stacked on a wobbly shelf in my guestroom closet. They lurk there in the dark just waiting to lunge at me the next time I open my closet. The jewelry supplies no longer way to be made into lovely, sparkly goodness but instead hide, unloved and forgotten.

I'm left without a great way to display my supplies within easy reach (no thanks to IKEA for having the perfect shelf in their showroom and then not having it in stock on the way out of their store) and so I must turn to you, my blog reading pal, for help. I need some ideas and inspiration for jewelry supply storage for small spaces. Of course I know the obvious answer "go get yourself some shelves" but I'm look for not obvious.

Please post some ideas (pictures are a bonus) and I'll love you all forever.


Peeking out from the piles

I'm purposefully taking time to peek out from behind the piles of boxes and books and other crud to say that I'm still alive. I've been in my new place for the past two weeks and still it looks like we JUST moved in. The Sweet Boy mentioned that this is the first place we have lived where we haven't been unpacked almost instantly.

Yes. I will agree with that. We have failed miserably in the unpacking department.

But, in my defense, I haven't been unpacking just to unpack. I've been purging. Each time is getting the question "Do you belong in this house? In storage? In my life?". I refuse to keep things just to keep them. If I don't display it or use it, why keep it? To look at it when I unpack it from the next move? No thanks, time to reduce my collections. I've blogged about this a few times this past year. Since my mom has passed away, I've been bringing things that mean something home from her place and my goal is to not add an item to my life but replace an item. One in, one out. I know the saying is usually one in, two out, but I'm still working on that. I'll get there one day.

The Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Festival is just a few days away (eeeek!). I'm kind of not ready. Okay, I lie, I'm COMPLETELY not ready. I have my yarn ready to go but my knitting isn't quite where I want it to be. I give myself until 3PM today piddle around and unpack more boxes and then I sit down to knit until I pass out tonight. I've also got to put some spinners fiber bundles together. Those will be easy... I think.

At least my crafting area doesn't look like this anymore

It looks more like this

Progress! Okay, off to be busy.


Newness all over again

Mugs in a window I'll be leaving behind

It seems like just last month we moved into our current house. I was so excited as it really is the cutest house in town. A lot has changed since moving here. My mom was diagnosed with cancer, fought for her life and then lost that battle. My brother moved out of the country and I fear daily that I won't get to see him for a few years. Rocky became a great uncle and then I became a great aunt (you'd think we were old or something). I received the promotion at work that I had hoped to receive for so long. I started my woolly business of fabulousness - WoolyHands. We traveled... we laughed... I cried... we smiled... we enjoyed and now it's time to move on.

My simple goal for life at this moment is to not have to rent a house forever. I can't promise you I want to buy a house, but I certainly want to be able to buy a house if it strikes my fancy. You just can't do that this day and age without a deposit. To be honest, you can't just get a deposit put together this day and age either. It takes planning, preparation and sometimes scaling back. So, we shall scale back. 2 people do not need a 3 bedroom house on the edge of the historic district. It's been fun but it's time to be serious. We found a lovely 2 bedroom condo just ready for us to move into. The bedrooms are very large (larger than we have now), the crown molding is new, the appliances aren't that old and it has a fire place. Yes, and honest to goodness working fireplace.

OH - and I'll be saving more each month than I'm paying for my car. Yes, scaling back has its advantages.

I'll be honest with you. I'm very sad to leave our house. It almost makes me cry but I see many advantages to moving across town and those make me more happy than I am sad. Life carries on. Things change. People move. It's what we do.

We're a nomadic bunch.


At this moment, everything is perfect

It's raining a heavy, late summer rain out my windows. Inside my oven are cookies upon cookies. At this very moment, it seems that everything is in love with each other.

I've said it before, but this time I really mean it, tomorrow will be the end of a very tough couple of weeks at work. I'm not sure what this keeps building up to. I'm being challenged in ways that are new to me and I'm left frustrated at the end of the day (typically a very long day) and further behind than I was that morning. Surely this is not what everyone who tries to advance their career goes through... is it? Are we all left to deal with difficult situations/people/places/things? Do we all feel like we're thrown a problem that has no solution?

I know that I'm headed in the direction I want to go. Everyday I love my job but everyday I'm left frustrated and tired. I'll get there and I'll be amazing on the other side. It's just going to take some tough licks along the way.

Thankfully, along the way, there are rainy evenings spent indoors baking chocolate chip cookies. Along the way there are days spent behind some knitting needles creating cozy things to keep me warm during the upcoming winter. Thankfully, along the way, there are lazy afternoons spent cuddled on the couch with the Sweet Boy and the Schmoo napping. And thankfully, along the way, there is family and best friends encouraging me as I go.

So all of this to say, even amongst the crazy, the frustrating, and when you feel you just can't take another step, there is always that late summer rain to wash away the negative and bring forth the sweet moments. Take time to dwell on the sweet and forget about the other.


A Glimpse of Autumn

Believe it or not, the days are beginning to get shorter. The mornings have actually been a bit chilly this week. The mega stores have hauled out fall themed decor items and it goes without saying that Hobby Lobby already has their Christmas stuff up (I think they do that in July). Believe it or not summer is coming to an end.

I'm never one to be sad about that. As much as I love living in the southern half of the United States, I'm not a huge fan of hot. This summer has mocked me with day after day of heat indexes above 100. I've been left inside, lethargic, not interested in playing in my wool and yarn piles. I haven't even wanted to cook... or garden... or anything. It's just been too hot.

The shorter days are something I welcome with more than open arms. I'll even let those shorter days be an extended WANTED guest.

Shorter days mean I can haul out piles of yarn, oodles of knitting needles, and pages after pages of patterns. It's time to start knitting again. Knitting can be one of two things. It can either be completely relaxing or it can leave me ready to stab the next person that asks "haven't you been working on that row for hours now?". Thankfully, the beginning of the cooler weather is dedicated to knitting scarves and cowls for the Farmers Market and the seasonal craft shows. Typically those are routine and hypnotic. Not much room for error with rows like "knit, knit, knit...".

We'll reserve the stabbing responses for November and December when my pattern attempts become more involved as I attempt to find the next best gift pattern.


Those are some fine looking pickles

Did you miss me? I bet you did. I even cried a little when I remembered I hadn't blogged in ages. I probably don't need to say I've been busy with summer type things. It seems taking a break from updating blogs is a trend amongst bloggers this time of year.

However, I will say it.

I've been busy with summer type things. Let's see... I went on a trip to Philadelphia for a full week and I think that was JUST what I needed. A week long vacation allows you to be relaxed. You don't need to rush out at 8AM each morning to cram as much as you can into a day because you have many more days left to do stuff. The Sweet Boy and I slept until we decided to wake up, walked my brothers dog, ate breakfast each day at this cute diner just around the corner from my brother's house (in front of a cemetery too... I always go for the quirky), picked up coffee at the local Starbucks (don't you judge me, Starbucks is always good, you can count on that and they have humongo cups of caffine) and then we'd head out to do stuff.

What stuff, you ask? Well, toured Eastern State Penitentiary ('cause it's creepy), hung out in Historic Philly (you know, the birthplace of These United States), walked a BUNCH, ran through the Italian Market Rocky style, visited museums, rode buses to NYC, chilled with EVERY European on vacation at the Museum of Natural history (who knew they were all on vacation in NYC while we were on the East coast), took a train back to Philly, ordered pizza a few times, and walked to the local custard stand a few times as well.

We had fun and Delta lost our luggage. So all in all, it was a successful trip... right?

Oh, Delta found our luggage but it was 24 hours later... at least they found it. I wouldn't want them to have a bad name because of my blog post (they also broke two of our bags, one which we intended to carry on but they force everyone to gate check bags just so they can throw them around and break them, they also made us stand in line for 45 minutes until to close that line for everyone except people flying to Paris and then made us go stand in another long line - but I don't want them to have a bad name because of me).

I don't like Delta.

Besides vacation, I also joined forces with my sister and put on the best estate sale Goshen, Arkansas has ever seen. I don't lie. It was the best.

I also made the pickles in the picture above. Okay, so maybe they aren't done yet, but I've started them. I think they are going to be delicious... more delicious than any pickle I could buy at Walmart and we all know Walmart has a ton of pickles so I think that is an accomplishment.

And last, but not least, I bought a car. For those of you who have known me for a while, pick your chins up off the ground and quit being so dramatic. I couldn't drive around the little Civic that could forever. I figure 10.5 years was long enough to drive the coupe, it was time to move up to a big girl car. I bought a 4 door Civic (and don't tell my dad, but I bought a new one - sorry, couldn't find a used car with as good of a deal as the new one).

So, there you have it. Vacation, selling tons of stuff, making pickles and buying cars. It's been a full summer. I'm ready to find those lazy days of summer everyone talks about. If you have a few extra, send them my way.


The Shelf of Ugly

I'm only going to show you a part of the shelf because it is not deserving of being fully presented to the blog world. This shelf... this ugly shelf... this $20 build it yourself shelf... is finally going the way of the yard sale.

I've owned it for almost 10 years which is 7 years too long. It was a fixture in my college apartment and unfortunately, has been an eyesore in my young adult house. However, I've cleaned it off and moved it out.

You see, I've got a HUGE estate sale to prepare for in three weekends. It is my personal goal to pull everything from my house that I want to include in the sale out of hidey holes, back rooms and from under beds and price it to sell. I don't want it back but I'll take a few dollars in the mean time.

"What about that kitchen I was going to organize?" you ask? Shush. It's not done. I was sidetracked. How dare you bring that up. I'm sure the organization of that kitchen will aid my yard sale pile effort. I'll report back on that in a month. You can wait until then.

Shame on you for bringing that up.


I have a very good excuse as to why my blog hasn't been updated (and why my kitchen didn't get cleaned out like I had planned). I've been busy.

See? It's a great excuse.

Actually, I have been busy. Besides the usual work stuff I went to Houston for a few days for a conference. Woo... conference. Woo... Houston. Actually, the conference was about 43 kinds of fabulous and Houston could have been worse. If the conference taught me anything, it taught me that there is an entire world of opportunities for me as I build my career. Guys, and entire WORLD. It also taught me that IAAM conferences have better food and drink than any of the other conferences I've been to in the past.

I think I gained 3 pounds.

Hopefully I'll get back to crafting and cooking and gardening soon so I can post about things all of you are interested in and not just work.


Things Said

Here's a snippet from a conversation with the Sweet Boy that I'd never though I'd overhear:

Sweet Boy to his best friend "We'll all three have to travel to Austin in the next year so you can see how cool it is"

Sweet Boy's best friend "Maybe next spring?"

Sweet Boy "Sure... but Erin and I will probably go again before that"

Ummm... did hell just freeze over? Is the Sweet Boy actually looking forward to going back to Texas? This conversation was had during a discussion about moving there. I know, that's shocking enough for one lifetime in itself, but his giddiness in taking more than one trip there in the next year just leaves me confounded.

Completely and utterly confounded.

The Little Kitchen that Could

See this mess above? That's one half of my kitchen cabinets (yes, I think I have the smallest kitchen in town). Those cabinets are a wonderful thing. Open so I can show off my lovelies.

There is one small problem though.

I'm not showing off my lovelies. I'm showing off my free cups from concerts, scratched up Tupperware, mismatched dishes, booklets from appliances and koozies for gosh's sake. KOOZIES. So tacky.

(note: I do not mean to offend any lovers of koozies out there - they are wonderful when on a boat or around a camp fire - but in a kitchen, they are a major mistake)

I've been pretty good about completing a home organization project each weekend. I've organized my wool work space, hung cabinets for my yarn add ins, folded towels nicely so they don't clutter up the bathroom shelves, brought in cabinets to hide my non-yarn crafty stuff... perhaps this weekend will be project kitchen cabinets. I claimed my mom's set of nice plates and glasses after she skirted on out of here almost a year ago (I'm sure she's glad someone loves those dishes as much as she did... she worked VERY hard to get them all, going from Dillards to Dillards all over the DFW metroplex in search of each piece). I love those dishes and have been overly upset with the fact that I have no where to display them. I've even gone so far as to try and find room for yet another large piece of furniture on which to showcase them.

And then it came to me. Don't display them... use them.

Ah, the simple realizations in life. That should have been an easy solution but it has taken me weeks and months to come up with. I blame it on my cluttered brain.

So, this weekend I shall attempt to retire the Tupperware to find room for the nice, adult type dishes and then have an after picture that is much nicer to post to this blog. This would be easier if fun, bright colored Tupperware didn't represent my mom so much. Darn you plastic, brain cancer giving dishes.


Sorry about that...

Sorry that my last post was so mundane. In fact, I'd put it on the same level as a conversation had over stale oatmeal with a roommate you don't really like the morning after you've had a bit too much to drink and can't remember where you lost your left flip flop.

I'll try to make up for it in future posts and hopefully you'll forgive me and continue to check in for excitement, wit and humor.

Whatchoo Doin'?

I've not been an outstanding blogger this summer. Oh well, can't go back and fix it. However, I can say that I've been busy spinning yarn, rearranging (over and over) my crafting room, shopping at flea markets and finding the COOLEST things for my jewelry shop, pretending to clean out my mom's house (if you count bringing home the occasional piece of furniture or keepsake as cleaning) and sleeping in when I can.

Okay, so I've been doing more of the last one than I have been doing of the rest.

The days that make up mid-summer seem to be lazy ones. The heat makes me want to stay in bed, the recent cloudy days don't help and if I do make it out of bed the long, hot days certainly leave me in a state of equilibrium. I want to spin yarn, but I don't want to. I want to photograph my jewelry for the big IdyllHands relaunch, but I don't want to. I might have to try the timer method to get a few things done :)

It doesn't help that I've got 2 trips planned over the next month. One to Houston (wooo.... Houston) for a business conference and in exactly one month I'm heading to Philadelphia with the Sweet Boy to dog sit my brother's pup. If you thought my countdown to my trip to Austin was redonk, prepare yourselves for even more ridiculousness. I absolutely cannot wait for a week long getaway to the East coast. Nothing like the honking of a horn, blasting of a siren, and crowds of people to give me some much needed time away.

At least I do have some yarny progress to show for my absense from my blog - see, yarn:


43 Kinds of Awesome

This video is exactly 43 kinds of awesome. Enjoy.



Guys, I'm not sure if you've realized it yet, but it's HOT outside. The only remedy for the heat is a snow cone.

It doesn't matter what flavor.

Just as long as that flavor is topped with cream.

Because snow cones need cream.

Trust me on this one.

I went to look at a house today. The location was so-so, the view was spectacular, but it was clearly built for college roommates. Small living room, eh kitchen, no dining space, 4 tiny bedrooms, 2 tiny bathrooms (one of them doubling as the utility room) and absolutely NO storage space. I don't know any adult that doesn't need at least some storage. So, I'll mark that one off of the list.

And why am I looking at houses if it sounded like we had one all ready for us? Because... I've decided I think I need to stay in town. Anyways, the house out in the country was starting to sound like it was a little too close to what could turn into drama at some point.

I'm also really giving my house a good deep cleaning and some slight rearranging this week in hopes that a shiny house will make the Sweet Boy and me fall in love with it all over again. One thing is apparent, we might have the best deal in town, even without good parking options. Ah well.


Big news... I think

Oh my, it seems I've forgotten to come post my big announcement here on the blog. Last week I received a promotion at work. I've gone from Booking Manager to Booking and Events Manager. I've also gone from supervising no one to supervising 6 someones.

Am I crazy to accept that? Maybe.

Am I overly excited to FINALLY be stepping into some big girl shoes at work? Heck yeah.

As the Booking Manager I managed the master calendar at work, handled client events (concerts, recitals, receptions, etc) and... yeah, that was it. It was a big job, but I had been doing just that job for 6 years. I needed something else. Now I'm doing those two things and also managing the special events for Walton Arts Center and running Front of House activities. I can't even express my excitement in words.

I'll be getting my hands dirty learning new stuff and I am loving it so far.

In other news, the Sweet Boy and I might be moving 11 miles out of town come August. We need to go see the house first but it comes with a drive way. A drive way is something I've learned to cherish in my 2 years at the house I'm in now. Don't get me wrong, I will miss the heck out of this house, but I won't miss the parking issues. It's almost like I live in Chicago based on the parking alone. But I don't. I live in Arkansas. I'd like to have a parking space.

Oh, and I'm 29. 29 year olds shouldn't have to fight with 21 year olds for parking. Sorry, it just shouldn't be that way.


In which I REALLY see the light

After many hours of playing with my new light box, I have come up with a series of pictures with this look:I think that's it! I think Idyllhands has a new look. I purchased the fabric in the background to make pillow cases out of... but I can buy more. I think the combination of the yellow McCoy pottery against the green and white of the background is fabulous. And the small book underneath mellows it all out and provides an anchor. Soooo.... what do you think?

In which I see the light!

I've been wanting to construct a light box for well over a year. I've put it off, found sunny places to take pictures and have made do without one for long enough. This weekend I tasked myself with making a light box. They are cheap and sounded relatively easy to construct.

"Sounded" being the key word there.

It was certainly cheap. $.99/poster board (I purchased 2). I had the printing paper used for difusing light, so that was basically free. The light bulbs for $4 for a pack of 4. The lamps were already in use around my house, so again, free. So, $6 for an entire light box.

But it wasn't not easy. You see, poster board is pretty flimsy. Flimsy poster board turns into a nightmare when you're attempting to stabilize it and stand it up. In retrospect, I should have used the tutorial that utilizes an actual box but this will do for now. I like that I have a lot of flexibility to photograph from the front and from overhead.

So, now I have a light box. I think it's the first step in vamping up both Woolyhands and Idyllhands. I figure it's worth starting with the basic selling point... the pictures. At least I have the flexibility to work on pictures at night instead of just waiting until the perfect 2 hours in the middle of the day (restricting photographing new items to the weekend). Now the fun starts... what backgrounds show I use? What is the perfect white balance? I have a feeling I'll be playing with my cameral all week.

I've already started playing with my jewelry... see?
Anyone else have homemade light boxes out there? If so, which tutorial did you use to make them? Please sure in the comments, I'm sure this isn't the last of my home made light boxes.


A Love Letter

Dear Doubletree Austin,

"I am not even sure where to start with this. I booked my room at this hotel through Priceline. I was delighted to get a Doubletree room as I have stayed at other Doubtletree properties in the past and have always been very pleased with the service and rooms. I've also been pleased, in the past, with how I had been treated by Doubletree, even though I was a Priceline customer. I had called a week or two ahead of time to confirm that I did have a king, non-smoking room and that everything was set for my vacation. Imagine my surprise when, upon check in, I was told I was in a king, smoking room and the only other room available was a murphy bed room (who even has those anymore?). Nothing could be done and the person at the front desk could have cared less that this wasn't what I had confirmed. Knowing that a refund wasn't possible, I went to my room. I was shocked. Not only did it smell horrible, it looked like the room time forgot. I've stayed in nicer Days Inn than that room. When I go to the Doubletree Austin website to view the rooms, I see nice, Hilton rooms with nice bedding, nice furniture, modern at least within the last 10 years. This room had a tropical bedspread, broken furniture, a vinyl headboard, coffee table that didn't match, cigarette burns in the carpet, a couch that was beyond well used... need I go on? It was terrible. Frustrated, I called the front desk again - yet, nothing they could do. So I called Priceline. After 10 minutes they were able to get me a refund. At least I got that, but now I was in a bind of finding a room, on my budget, during Memorial Day weekend. It wasn't easy. I am so disappointed with every aspect of my time in this Doubletree. IF you are going to sell rooms through Priceline at the 3.5 star level you have to give the customer a 3.5 star room, not a 1.5 star. Basically you are selling a lie when you do that. I will not recommend this property to anyone."

I wish I had more characters - because I had more to say. Hopefully their GM will read this, be horrified and call me because I have SOOOO much more to say. I don't like to be duped and I'm not stupid enough to sit back and let it happen. Sorry, I might be a budget conscience vacationer, but I'm also one who reads the fine print. If I buy a 3.5 star room for $50 I should get the same 3.5 star room someone paid $160 for.

The end.



My trip to Austin is behind me.

And I'm sad.

Sad because this amazingness is over:

But also sad because I've had the hardest time leaving that town this trip than I ever have before. Not sure if I'm ready for a change, ready to get back there, ready for more opportunities in life, ready for more options for things to do on a Thursday night... just ready. That thought scares the heck out of me. I'm comfortable where I am. I have a great job. I have a nice house (rented of course). I'm near my sister who has become a best friend while living here. It's a small town and I know where I'm going here.

But that's just it. I know exactly where I'm going here. There is no thrill. There is no "what will I be doing next year". There is no adventure. Maybe I'm ready for something different. Maybe I'm ready to stand behind 5 doors and have to pick one and each one of them will lead to great things. I can't even find 2 doors here, let alone 5.

Perhaps it's time to take that next step in life and move back to the big city.

Oh, don't worry, I'm not changing course just yet. Things at work have been very good lately, exhausting, but good and I'd like to see where that is going for now. Plus, the sweet boy is still working his way through college here... it might be best if he keep doing that instead of be uprooted. But... we'll see, all in good time, we'll see.

Good news though, I'll be back to my crafty self by tomorrow. I feel the need to get my hands into some wool and do it fast. So, my blog posts will soon have pictures of tempting wool and lovely yarns again. It's been too long...


Two of my favorite things

I have many favorite things. I have favorite stickers, favorite yarn, favorite decorated clothespins (quite useless but very quote), favorite songs, favorite flowers, favorite sock monkeys... lots of favorites.

Towards the top of my list of favorite things are food and wine. I'm not the kind of person who eats to sustain myself, but I adore good food. It might make me a bit more huggable than Heidi Klum, but I care not. I enjoy a good plate of pasta, a bite of fresh mozzarella, seared tuna medallions, grilled asparagus, and... well, I need not go on. We don't have all day... and I really don't need to comment on wine - that stuff is just good.

While this month might have been completely killer in about one million different ways, tonight will hopefully make up for some of it. I will be going to a wine dinner at a local restaurant and the menu starts with "imported cheese and meats".... um, yes please.

There are some other things, all of which are delicious, but this dinner had me at cheese. What can I say, I'm a cheese eatin' fool. The stinkier the better, in fact.

So, while I haven't had time for my other favorite things this month, at least I'll be able to partake in a couple of my favorite things tonight before heading off to the Texas Hill Country tomorrow. So, pray I don't drink too much tonight or tomorrow will be a very, very long day.


My finger is healing up nicely. That's one perk to taking your vitamins and drinking lots of water I suppose. The downside to the healing is that I can no longer play the "poor pitiful me, lookie at what I did to my finger" card. There are always ups and downs to every situation.

I've had a couple of nights home this week and I've found myself cleaning. I haven't been able to keep up with laundry, organizing, cleaning, and keeping a nice house for the past 5 weeks because I've been so busy. For those of you who know me well, then you know this has probably been more traumatic for me than my fight with the kitchen knife last week. Once upon a time, back in 9th grade (or so), I woke up a clean, neat person. I'm not sure what happened from the day before, but I quit being a messy kid and started being a clean human. I've been that way ever since and messes bug the ever lovin' heck out of me.

So, with my nights to myself, I've been cleaning and getting my life back in order. After all, I'm leaving state for a few days on Friday and I can't leave a messy house. I am my mother's daughter, after all.

Oh, and I've been cooking too. I received my first CSA box last Thursday and inside were some delectable goodies. There were strawberries, leeks, green garlic, spinach, kale, turnips, spring greens, a head of romaine and some chervil. It has been a lesson in cooking things I'm not used to cooking this week. I was most pleased with the turnips. What I didn't toss in my mouth while cutting up were boiled and sauteed into a sweet and salty side dish that just might be my new favorite thing. Who knew I loved turnips so much. I still need to work on the greens though. They were edible, at best.

Hmmm... after reading the first part of this blog post, I realize I've not said much that is very interesting.




I've got nothing. Sorry about that. Maybe I'll have something exciting next time.


Oh Hai, Knife, you're sharp... or reasons why you should sharpen your kitchen knives.

I cut my finger open tonight. YES. Open. I apparently have a kitchen knife that won't cut through the peel of a lime but will do a good job of slicing straight through my finger nail and a good 1/8 of an inch into my finger. Nice picture I've painted for you... eh? I'd like to say I was slicing into a lime for a tasty margarita or vodka and cranberry - but no, it was for work. Yes, my "career" work and I was at home. *sigh* I've reached that point.

"What point is that" you ask. You might think it's the point of having nothing better to do that I bring work home. But actually, it's the point of having TOO much work to do during the day and it's either come home with some work or stay at work with some work. I chose to come home as I'm starting to forget what being home feels like. Good thing, I'm not sure I would have made it out of work without bloodying up the back hall. Thankfully I only contaminated one lime and had 19 more to work with. Ah, it will make for a good story later.

And no, we're not hosting a bar at work tomorrow. We're opening the Artosphere Chamber Music Series concerts at Cooper Chapel and we'll be serving sparkling water with slices of orange/lemon/lime (your pick) during intermission. It's going to be fabulous, even with a bandaged hand :)

I think I've reached the "crazy about her job" stage of life. Yesterday was the first day I've had away from work for three weeks and this morning I was thinking "You know, it's not really been that bad". I have most of Saturday off but that's it until my trip to Austin.

My trip to Austin to drink margaritas, eat superb Tex-Mex, dine on real Texas BBQ, lounge in the Hill Country sun, enjoy time by Town Lake (I'll never call it Ladybird Lake... or whatever the new name is), roam the UT campus, cry upon my first site of the UT tower in over a year and at the Austin skyline that I love so dearly, eat Amy's Ice Cream, try and poke turtles in the turtle pond on the UT campus, drive over the 360 bridge (at least 4 times), get overly excited at every single Longhorn that is plastered across the back of the cars, breathe in the Texas air, and just remember why I love that town so much.

Oh yeah, and to see these guys:

Sorry, more videos, I can't help it :)

I'm at 9 days until go time. 9 more days... I can make it.


It's not that I've been ignoring my blog... it's just that I've been busy. Oh, and my screen on my laptop went out a few nights ago (which makes it hard to blog regularily). I've got a new screen coming and once I have time to sit down for an hour and replace the old one, I'll be back to my normal, social media haunting self.

So, until then, I do hope you'll survive. If you don't think you'll make it, you can pretend you're hanging out with me this month by visiting the Artosphere website.




After a weekend of restlessness, I finally found something to do today.

I made a necklace.

I haven't sat behind my beading table as much as I used to. Not sure why. It's tedious? Maybe. It wrecks my fingers? Usually. I've lost my jewelry mojo? Probably. I could be any number of things, but today I sat down and made the necklace shown above. Maybe one of these days I'll actually photograph it "for real" and list it over at Idyll Hands.

I'm not sure what's been up lately. I've been restless like a 14 year old with nothing to do. Too young to go drive somewhere, too old to play with her Barbies. Remember that age? I used to cry myself to tears from boredom. Yes, I was a bit dramatic, who wasn't? I'll prep everything to card some batts and then tire of the activity. The same goes for knitting since I finished my shrug. I'm hoping the recent boredom will go away when the Sweet Boy and I hop in my little Civic and head south to Austin at the end of May. Maybe some good Texas sun and a bit of the Austin Freak Flag is all I need to perk up a bit.

Or maybe I just need to head out into the yard and find a sunny spot to nap in. Perhaps a bit of sun will do it.


And one more...

Okay, I'm completely stuck on finding amazing covers of "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" now. I ran across this one today:

Ignore the crazy footage (you know how everyone on YouTube thinks they are music video producers these days) and just listen to the lovely. Dianna - I posted this one for you! Okay, not really, that's a lie, I posted it for me but I did think "HEY, I wonder if Dianna has heard this".



And so they begin

It's been months since I've woke up from tornado nightmares during the night. In fact, it's safe to say that it's been since before my mom passed away. The dreams I used to have weren't scary, just stressful, very very stressful. I wake from them feeling lost, without a safe place to hide, and disoriented.

The break from those dreams ended last night. I woke in the early hours of morning with my mind racing. I couldn't tell if I was upset from the nightmare or because I had the nightmare. It's funny when I think about the actual dream, but I can safely say that I wasn't laughing about it at 4AM in the morning as I lie there, on my pillow, unable to drift back off to sleep.

Interestingly enough, today's feelings reflected those in the dream almost to a "T". I'm left at the end of the day worried, apprehensive, and way more stressed about the next month than I have been leading up to today. Work is going to be a bear. I'll just leave it at that.

I've spent the evening trying to think of something to do. Yes, the entire evening has been spent pacing the house, pulling out projects, deciding not to do the project and putting back the project. In an attempt to de-stress and relax I'm left frustrated that I have nothing to do. I absolutely hate when I do this to myself.

I decided to sit down and stop forcing myself to find a relaxing activities. Instead of doing something creative this evening, I've spent minutes upon minutes watching old Elton John videos on YouTube. I stumbled upon a Heart cover of this (Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters has always been one of my faves of his):

I really like it so I thought I'd share.

Maybe I'll go dust off the piano and play a bit before bed. Tomorrow I'll start the day off with a 5K walk in the name of colon cancer and perhaps will clear my mind a bit.


See this???

I knit it. With my own two hands (well, and 2 different sizes of knitting needles and some yarn). I can't remember a time I've been more proud of something I knit. This took time, it took learning techniques I hadn't used before, and it took frustration.

Lots of frustration.

It's not perfect, I messed up a bit in the lace work but I'm still going to wear it. I'll just make another one. Kind of a "before perfection and after practice" study.

I said I'd knit a shrug and I did. In fact, I'm just going to go ahead and call this a sweater... for summer. So hey, I knit a sweater. Hooray for being a grown up knitter! And hooray for being done with a project that actually took concentration. Now back to some no brainers for a while.


Gardening... at last

I finally found myself squishing dirt between my hands, carefully moving earthworms out of the way of my little shovel, and digging holes today. I took some time, and the opportunity to work with damp earth, today and worked on my herb garden.

When I moved here, I brought peppermint, lemon balm and spearmint with me. Last year I planted some oregano and chives (both of which came back up this year). Earlier this season I planted rosemary, sage, thyme, chocolate and apple mints. So all I needed to add to it was some catnip, cilantro, Italian parsley, dill, Genovese basil, and Purple Opal basil. The seeds were from last year, so I hope they sprout. If not I'll just head down to the local nursery and buy more. I didn't want to throw these away if they were still good.

I've also started some squash and melon seeds today. It's far too late for peppers and tomatoes from seeds, but squash takes off. These seeds are a few years old... so we'll see if they sprout. No biggie if they don't, it's more an experiment than anything.It felt so good to get back out into the garden. I love designing where I'm going to plant thing. I love using broken pots buried in the ground for visual interest (and mint containment). I'm always scavenging for rocks in other parts of the yard to add height to my beds... it's just refreshing to get to do that again.

But now that I'm finished for the day, and showered, I'm thinking I should get back to that knitting.


A Day Spent Indoors

The view from my window today was a wet one. It rained most of the day only letting up long enough for me to steal away to grab some groceries. I had planned to work on my back patio to get it ready for spring and summer cookouts, but instead I sat on the couch and knit on my next project.

I'm knitting this.

Remember, in my last post, when I mentioned that I would knit my first shrug in the next couple of months? Well, I'm actually sticking to that statement. It's my first "grown up" project. It's an actual garment AND it has lace work in it. Wow, I know, I'm shocked too. After 5 attempts to get through the ribbing (I do ribbing all of the time, so I'm not sure what my hang up was) I finally got to the lace pattern and it's been smooth sailing since. However, the combination of small yarn and small needles have left my hands cramped up about halfway through the project. So I'll call it a night for now. Perhaps I'll finish it before the work week starts.


The Chair Finds a Home

The antique chair and quilts from a few posts ago found a home in my bedroom. They look perfect next to my antique dresser. However, now that I've cleaned and organized my bedroom to make room for the chair, I can't ignore how terrible those floors are. If I owned this house, the floors in the upstairs bedroom would be the first to get some attention. I just wanted to throw that out there, so you know I'm not a floor hater.

My circular knitting needles also found a home tonight - see:
My brother is coming in from Wisconsin on Tuesday and will be hanging out in my craft room (ahem, guest room) so I thought I'd work on straitening that room up too. My bedroom can't have all of the fun.

And in crafting news, because I haven't had a TON of that lately, I've decided that I will knit myself a shrug within the next couple of months. I had one on yesterday and someone asked if I knit it. I'm such a bad knitter (not like I knit poorly, I just tend to buy things that I should knit because it's easier) and had to answer with "No, I got it at..." UGH, I bought that shrug that is made to look hand knit. I'm terrible. I found a pattern and hopefully will find some time in between working and... well... working to get some yarn and get started. Wish me luck.


The rest of the story

And finally I present to you my new carding station. The empty drafting table from the previous post has finally been inhabited with fiber, tools, buttons, jars, ribbon, a scale, and my drum carder. The world is happy again and you all can go on about your business.

I haven't used it for carding yet, just for labeling my new yarn for the Farmer's Market. I'm waiting on a few goodies to get here in the mail and then I'm carding up 7 sets of Woolyhands Batt Club batts for April. I love my theme idea and hope it plays out in real life like I see it in my head. If not, I'll do something else - that's the joy of creating.

In case you lurk in social media world and have noticed I'd been MIA lately, it's because of this - ARTOSPHERE. I've been working on scheduling the Chamber Music Series and the film series. It's been a beast of a project but I think we're almost done with the hard part and then I can sit back and enjoy my hard work. While I didn't select or book the artists for this series, this was the furthest into programming I've worked so far in my career. I scoped out spaces, chose the schedule, arranged the concert times, will help design how the concerts look to the patrons, arranged the description/artist bio sheet that our Marketing team will use to promote this project and other small things that all add up to a BEAST of a project. I'm very, very proud of it.

I should be, it's a big deal for me! Hopefully it will be a big deal for Walton Arts Center, too.


Weren't Sundays a day of rest?

This came home with me today:And because of that, I'm too tired to be witty and smart in a blog post - so please forgive me.

Today was spent making room for this barristers cabinet and a huge, wooden drafting table (seen below). The cabinet is for storing fiber (and since I have more than this massive thing will hold, I had a come to Jesus moment on the floor of my guest room - I have to STOP buying fiber). The drafting table is for my carding station. After making room for those, I cleaned out a VERY stinky fridge, I dug up a ton of daffodils, brought the furniture home, planted the daffodils, and moved my fiber into the cabinet and onto the table.
It was a long day. I'm in pain and I'm tired but it was worth it. Finally my guest room has real furniture instead of plastic and metal fold away furniture. I'm so grown up.


All of the comforts

I've blogged recently about what makes a home... I need to add to that list. Comfort makes a home. Big houses will always impress me with their great rooms, huge kitchens and massive bathrooms, but I need a home that hugs me.

My last house was very old and of the period where ceilings were VERY high. This was great when I invited Big Foot over for dinner, but the rest of the time I was left feeling like someone or something was always lurking in the dark corners, spying on me when I was sleeping, waiting to spook me when I went downstairs in the middle of the night to use the restroom (never get a house with the bedroom upstairs and the restroom down, it doesn't make any sense). It wasn't until I moved into this house when I realized "OH - that darn ceiling was too high" because this house gave me a hug. The ceilings were lower, the woodwork darker, it will forever be known as the hugging house.

A house that hugs deserves things of comfort in return. Comfort is a collection of vacation pictures hanging on a wall, artwork drawn by siblings all framed and on display in the living room, it is cute little tea towels hanging artfully in the kitchen and old pottery jugs painted by my grandma working as things to prop doors open. Comfort is a extra soft bed lined with pillows and blankets just beconning for you to take a nap in it, it is a soft kitty napping in the sunlight, baskets of yarn just waiting to be knit, and it is a pile of family quilts, folded nicely in an antique chair. Comfort is a lot of things.

I've found myself grasping for things of comfort since August. My soul has been hurt and needs comfortable things to land on at night. It needs the constant hug of my house and it needs the constant love that pictures provide. I gravitate towards things that remind instead of things of new and each time I do that, each time I bring another piece of comfort home, my soul smiles a little bigger.

Sure, it's just a home with a chair full of quilts, but it's comfortable and it's a place where everything feels like it should.


When Farmers Go To Market

The Fayetteville Farmer's Market starts back up on Saturday. I wish I could explain how happy this makes my little heart, but there aren't enough words and I doubt I have your attention for that long (at least I'm honest with myself regarding blog readers attention spans). But know that it makes me very, VERY happy.

I've been spinning yarn all winter in preparation for the market to start back up. Based on this picture taken tonight, I'm doing okay as far as stock goes:If you're in the NWArkansas area, be sure to come out and support the local farmers and crafters. If you aren't in this area, just be sad you're missing out because it is a fabulous market.


The White Flag

I'm sitting here behind my spinning wheel, defeated and waving my white flag. I recently told a local couple that I would give spinning their poodle fur into yarn a try. I washed it, dried it, carded it and started spinning it. All went well for about 10 minutes and then the crazy allergies set in. I got itchy, sneezy, and my eyes teared up. I moved forward refusing to believe I was allergic to something so soft.

I gave it another go tonight and the same thing happened. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to let those that requested the yarn down, but I just can't see myself spinning 500 yards of poodle yarn at this point. It's driving me batty.

I am so disappointed. I do not like letting people down... not... one... bit. This is actually making me a bit sick to my stomach. I think if I try again, it will be better, but each time I pick the fur up, I'm left itching for the next hour. I guess you can't win them all. I'm going to give it one more go tomorrow night - we'll see how it goes but I'm not optimistic. It spun up into such lovely yarn - this really is sad :(

I'm almost embarassed more than anything. Basically this project went like this:

"Hey you, I like your yarn"
"Oh, my yarn? Thanks!"
"So my fiance and I have this standard poodle and we think it would be funny to knit a sweater for him out of yarn spun from his fur"
"Oh, that is the best idea ever"
"Think you can do it?"
"I can do anything, I'm kind of fabulous like that."
"Great, we'll be in touch"

And then they were in touch and the rest is sad, allergen filled, history.


*double sigh*

You see, this is really bothering me.

So much so that it warrants a "triple sigh"


Erin's new Mountain Dulcimer

See this...

I play it now. Wait, no, I own it now. I did strum on it for a bit but it's horribly out of tune and the instructions on tuning it that came in the case aren't clear, so I'll work on that via YouTube this weekend.

I'm hoping you all have heard of a dulcimer. Probably the more common for sound recognition would be the hammered dulcimer because it's so distinct, but I consider the plucked, or mountain, dulcimer to be more folksy and "of the mountains" and I'm uber excited to own this.

You see, once upon a time I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after college. I knew I wanted to go on to do some graduate work but wasn't sure in what area I wanted to study. Music History was an option on my list and I had it narrowed down to Music of Latin and Central America or music of the Appalachians - or bluegrass/mountain/Hillbilly (yes, I said Hillbilly - but I also capitalized it) music. I've veered off of that path of study, but still love the folksy music. Maybe I'll get a banjo next? We'll see.

I shall leave you with some rockin' videos featuring this fun new addition to my collection:


I've got nothing

I seem to have lost my blog voice for a bit. I'm not quite sure where I last left it. Probably somewhere between being snarky about something at work and writing a really good email to AT&T letting them know how I feel about them (it wasn't a love letter). Besides losing my blog voice, I've seemed to have lost the ability to latch on to an interesting topic and run with it.

Yeah, I've let you down.

I think a while back I said something about work not challenging me as of late and just as soon as I clicked "public post" I got a HUGE project at work. Karma, you listen, you're a good friend. The project is huge, fabulous, awesome, educational, sexy, huge, amazing, important, and did I mention huge? Yeah, it's that kind of project that if it doesn't get done, it will be a big deal... big, big deal. Well, with that huge, sexy, amazing project comes exhaustion by the end of the day that I can't event explain. There are no words to describe how fast I fell asleep last night and I quickly feel myself getting to that point tonight. *yawn*

The nice part about it is that I'm exhausted because I used my brain and hopefully my expertise today instead of being exhausted because I moved at a sloth like pace all afternoon. Yeah, things are looking up. It is so funny how that works sometimes. My sister mentioned that perhaps it's a sign that I am in the right place after all? I'm not fickle, just a firm believer that sometimes doors are opened when you least expect them.

And now for an update on the state of things away from work. I previously discussed torso issues and how they were annoying me and worrying me and doing what issues do best. The good news is that those torso issues aren't related to cancer or something serious like that. However, the bad news is that means we still don't know what is causing them. This is frustrating. I change the way I eat for the better, still sick. I get more rest, still sick. I turn around three times and stand on my head, still sick. I keep hoping that I wake up one day and the symptoms are gone. That is how they came so why not have them leave that way? I'd be okay with it.

And one, last itty-bitty thing. I've started a batt club in my WoolyHands shop. It's kind of a big deal so go check it out here.


Having a hobby is hard work!

I've mentioned before that people often are amazed that I have time to have a hobby that I participate in consistently. Usually, I'm not amazed. It's just what I do at night instead of watching TV (or while watching TV if I must be entirely honest). However, sometimes I'm left without any time to spin yarn or play with wool and just finding 5 minutes to label some yarn is a challenge.

Let me be the first to say (or maybe the 2nd to say) that having a hobby can be hard work. Okay, perhaps having a hobby that produces some income is hard work. Producing income is not an occasional thing. We're not having a yard sale one weekend and bringing in $800. I'm relying on my hobby to pay for itself and make a profit at the same time. You can't do that with one weekend a year. A hobby like this takes time, daily, to keep up and sometimes that time just isn't there.

I've struggled in the past two weeks to find time to spin, card batts, and work on jewelry like I've been planning to do since January. This isn't a "Man, I have to spin yarn but don't want to" kind of thing, this is a "Man I want to spin yarn but the laundry/day job/garden prep/paying bills is getting in the way" kind of thing.

Perhaps someone needs to make a public service announcement. It might go something like this: "Attention ______ residents: There are new findings to support that having a hobby is not a luxury - it's a burden. If you have, at any time, purchased a lot of craft supplies only to have them go sitting in your closet, unused, because of something that Martha Stewart made look easy, please call J. Craft, Craft, and associates as you may be entitled to a large cash settlement".
I hate to use the word burden, but really, isn't it? I fill up a room in my house with my income producing hobby only to apologize for the fuzzy mess when I have guests that need to stay in my craft, no make that, guest room. I spend hours organizing my beads at my jewelry table just to make the back room neat enough to vacuum. I'm often burning an entire dinners worth of calories just toting my spinning wheel and baskets of wool around my house to find a good, sunny spot to spin yarn in. Hah, and you thought I did this for fun!

Well, you thought right. I love it. I love my little income producing burden, eeek, I mean hobby. When I complain that I had to clean up my wool room, secretly, I'm bragging that I got to spend hours documenting all of the fiber I've acquired. My fiber room and jewelry making spaces are to me what the big money bin in Ducktails was to Scrooge McDuck. They are a symbol of my wealth. I'll never say it's easy to keep up my hobbies, but I'd shudder at the thought of not having hobbies to keep up with.


What Makes a Home?

I recently overheard someone talking about my house and my decorating style by saying "Erin really makes it feel like a home in here" (this person doesn't live here nor is their sole purpose in life to say things that make me feel good). Since hearing that, I've walked around my house looking to see what it is I do to make it feel like a home.

Is it shelves full of books?

Walls covered in family pictures?

Art created by my siblings on display?

Collections of things here and there?

I couldn't place my finger on one single thing and it dawned on me... I'm like my mom. If there is one way to describe her decorating style, I would say it was "comfortable/eclectic". She didn't hone in one style but rather combined a mish-mash of things that all just worked together. While I don't see my mom's house when I walk into my small home, I do see her influence. I have pottery from the 70s mixed with pottery from the 40s. My napkins don't match but are all floral. I have a very modern rug mixed with a table and lamp styled after the 20s. All of these things wouldn't go together in concept, but they all just work.

My latest addition to my home was the lamp and table in the picture above. They came from my mom's house and when I stuck them in my car (carefully, mind you) I had no idea what I was going to do with them, I just knew I wanted them. I've loved that lamp since my mom brought it home when I was in high school and that table was just quirky enough for me to lust after. I brought them home and set them in my dining room. I pretended they weren't there, in the middle of a room they didn't belong in, while I searched out their perfect location. When that location wasn't found right away, I tried to ignore them while going on about my business, but they sat there, calling after me. "Erin... find us a place... we want to help you make this space a home". It wasn't until hours later when I was sitting on the couch when I realized that they would have a space in my living room. Furniture was shifted and then moved again and finally, the table and lamp sat center stage. They were perfect in their new spot.

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to put a lamp in my living room. Instantly that room hugs anyone who enters. Perhaps it was the room that was waiting on the right lamp to come along. Thankfully my mom bought that lamp 13 years ago - little did she know it was perfect for this house.


Tons of things to do...

... but not a lot to say.

My mind is going 500 miles a minute, to 14 different places, and I'm hoping my body can just keep up. Shall we take a brief peek into my brain?

I've been heavily consumed in the thought of going back to school. That thought scares me as much today as it did on Monday when I started thinking about it. I suppose I'll have to think about it some more. I hope to have some time next week to call an old friend who is currently practicing Music Therapy and hopefully she can shed some honest light on the school she went to, the program and being new in the field. I can talk all day long to advisors at schools. They have been doing Music Therapy for years... years and years. However, I want to talk to someone who's only been out of school for a bit. Someone who's still fresh, still learning, still excited. Needless to say, I'm more excited about that phone conversation than I've been about any conversation in ages.

I've also been finding 'keep me busy' projects to do in the office as I've been sitting with more free time on my hands. I've been helping out my old (by old I mean, ex) boss in our Programming Department organize the local musicians for the upcoming performance of South Pacific. Have I mentioned lately that I love musicians? They are quirky, picky, snobby, goofy, nerdy, smart, and passionate and I love, love, LOVE them. I've geeked out a bit (quit laughing, we all geek out and if you say you don't then you're lying... or you're boring) getting to work on this project. I've been playing with sheet music, with musical scores, with CDs and have come away from it with paper cuts, dry fingers, permanent marker stains on my hands, and a deep, deep appreciation for what these musicians do for Walton Arts Center. They learn music - LOTS of music - in a very short amount of time and then perform it 8 times from the deep, dark dungeon that is our pit. Sure, they get paid, but still, I'm kind of in love with all of them.

I've also been consumed with spinning yarn and getting ready for the Fayetteville Farmer's Market to begin in April. I'm kind of geeking out about that too. I love the market season for shopping reasons and for selling reasons. The thing with hand spun yarn and selling in person is when someone spies a yarn they like, it really doesn't matter the price, they are going to buy it. It's nice that I'm not the only person in the world like that. I suppose yarn is like art in that sense. It's one of a kind, if the yarnie doesn't buy the yarn when they see it, it's likely never going to be there again. I'm not going to lie to you, selling yarn is easy. However, spinning it does take finesse (I wouldn't want to fool you into thinking my job is completely easy). Actually, I've got so much yarn spun if the market were to start tomorrow, I'd be good to go. I just need to get a banner/sign made for my booth.

And last, but certainly not least, I've been dealing with torso issues since July. I call them torso issues because parts of my torso have been tormenting me and I don't want to go into details ('cause tummy issues aren't fun to read about). I went to the doctor who referred me to a specialist. Guys, when people say there is nothing wrong with our current healthcare system, then I'd like them to explain why it took me 5 months, yes, 5 months to see a specialist? That is 5 months where my issue could have been so serious it killed me while I waited. Thankfully it wasn't. So anywho, I saw the specialist they gave me some pills. Those pills didn't work so they gave me some more. Those haven't worked. My sister, who is a fear monger, sent me some scary stories of woman (some dead now, some not) who's situations sound eerily familiar to mine. That part where I said some are dead now left me worried, very worried. So another call to my doctor and I get to have a procedure done on March 22 which will hopefully rule out some other issues. I don't say I hope they find something because there really is only one thing they can find with that procedure and that one thing is not something I'd like to have, so I prefer rule out.

So anyways - yeah, my mind is all over the place. I'll just end this post with the classic TGIF, because Lord knows I need a weekend right about now.


I'm a musician... doesn't anyone understand?

Do I even understand? Let me say it again... I ... am... a... MUSICIAN. Yes, I play piano (fairly well), I play bassoon (also fairly well), I have attempted to play guitar (not fairly well) and I can get through scales on a few other wind instruments. So why am I working behind a desk?

That is a good question.

When I was just out of college, I knew I wanted to do one of three things with my life. Work in the performing arts (either right away or after getting a MA in Arts Admin), teach music history/appreciation at the college level and make it halfway interesting (something many professors fail miserably at) or become a Music Therapist. I still think I was incredibly lucky to land a job at Walton Arts Center in the programming department just a month or so out of college which allowed me a chance to try my hand in one of those three areas.

Okay, so it's not really a desk job, or it wasn't really a desk job. I used to get my hands dirty doing artist hospitality for oodles of famous types. I used to run artists around town in my little Honda Civic (ask me about the time Ira Glass sat in my front seat for a whole 20 minutes). I used to greet artist's managers upon their arrival to the theater, find stuff they needed, made everything happy and great and then do it all again the next day. I used to do that stuff. Now I sit behind a desk. I do lots at my desk. I talk to a lot of people. I work with local non-profits and educational groups on concerts and events. I manage a very busy calendar for a very busy performing arts venue. In fact, I learn a lot, every day. I really do like my job. However, I miss the hands on.

Or at least I tell myself that. I have to stop and ask "Erin, do you really miss the hands on or is there something else, something way back there, that you miss more? Perhaps it's the music? Erin, do you miss the music?"

Yes. I miss the music.

In fact, I miss the music so much that watching students learn music, watching someone perform music, just listening to music brings me to tears. My fingers ache to play a tune on the piano. I'm itching to pull out my bassoon and blow. I'm dyeing to lay pages upon pages of black and white sheet music in front of me and get lost in a forrest of musical notation.

Is it time to mark working in the administration arm of the arts off my list and look towards another area? That idea scares me. It scares me down to my core. I'm not sure why - I miss college and have been wanting to go back ever since I left it. So what scares me? Am I afraid I'll find the Erin I lost years ago?

Perhaps. Hopefully she's still there and hopefully she's patient, because change like this takes time and I'm not quite sure this Erin is ready to go that direction.


Stash Busting

Let me go ahead and admit I have somewhat of an issue. When it comes to spinning fiber, I have no monetary control. I can't give my money away fast enough. The highlight of my day is often finding a big, squishy envelope in my mail box. Those packages fill my heart with fibery warmth and fill my spinning bobbins with lush, lovely yarn.

Typically this doesn't bother me. I have mad skills (typically I'm more modest about myself) when it comes to selling yarn and fiber and I'm able to end each week with a profit even when I've been let loose on a fiber shopping spree. However, lately the fiber has been stacking up and stacking up. I blame this entirely on the fact that there isn't a need for a large farmers market in this area during the winter. It's a tragedy really and as you see, it's not my fault. I don't have a place to go unload my yarn every Saturday so while I keep spinning, the fiber keeps piling up.

Even though I take no blame for the current condition of my fiber stash and the current sad state of my PayPal account, I will do my best to fix both sides of the issue. I found a group on Ravelry challenging each other to spin 10 yarns before buying any more fiber. It seems I run with a large crowd when it comes to fiber purchases. There is a boat load of addicts just like me. Thankfully, that large crowd of fiberholics also provided a good support group. Many times this week I've almost strayed and purchased some locks here, a batt there, a braid of top over in that place... but alas, I have been strong. I have many other on my side cheering me on.

I've spun 7 yarns so far. There are plied yarns, singles, crazy art yarns, corespun yarns, corespun on wire yarns, and yarns that have no category. I can't seem to find the dent I've made in my stash yet, but I know it's there. Hopefully when I get to 10 I'll have a hole on my bookshelf large enough to have a good reason to go buy more fiber to fill it.

HEY - don't look at me like that. Turn around, look at your bead/fabric/paper/whateverelseyoucanthinkof stash and then admit to yourself that we all have a craft supply hoarding issue.

Uh huh... that's what I thought.

Now don't you feel bad for looking at me like that?


The State of Things

I'd like to just start this post out by pointing out the lovelies above. Have you ever seen such a lovely, colorful and fresh pile of wool in your life? I can't stop peeking into my fiber room to make sure this scene is still just as lovely as picture above.

I've had the house to myself since Wednesday. With the thought of having full control of the house for a few days came big plans to clean, put away, organize, dye wool, spin yarn, cook gourmet meals with seafood, watch the rest of Firefly, watch other things that the Sweet Boy isn't in love with, sleep in, and freshen this place up.

It is now Sunday afternoon and I've only managed to do the following - watch Firefly, dye wool, sleep in... and yeah, that's it. I am in the process of putting away piles of stuff and dusting so in another hour or so, I can add that to the list. Oh, and I opened the windows on the sunny side of the house. While it's a bit brisk outside, it is refreshing to get some fresh air in this place.

My biggest accomplishment today, and the reason I came here to blog, is the emptying of the last two boxes that have been hanging around since I moved here (in August of 2008). These boxes contained things that I wanted to put out, so they didn't belong in the basement. However, the things I wanted to put out weren't exactly important enough to uncover quickly. So they sat, they were moved around, they were hidden under a bed, they were pulled out, they were put back, and most importantly, they were ignored.

But I shall ignore them no more. They have been unpacked, books have been put away, pictures hung, and the boxes broken down. I feel like this might be my greatest accomplishment in a long time. I feel better knowing those boxes are no more. They were lurking and taunting me every time I laid eyes on them. You see, I've been a fairly neat and organized person since I was about 15. Clothes get put away as soon as I wash them, piles don't exist, and dishes always get cleaned. Well, that was the case until a few months ago.

Since August, things have piled up a bit. I've lost the drive to keep a neat and tidy space. I've not been interested in filing important papers. I've just been happy sitting in a state of equilibrium. All I can blame it on is the loss of my mom. While I haven't struggled with depression after that loss (trust me, I dealt with the grief for almost a year while watching my strong, independent mom rely on her children to take care of her), I have felt a bit apathetic towards many things. We all deal with things differently and I've dealt with it by being a bit messy. Maybe that's why going through the piles today has felt so good. In a way, I'm dealing with that loss. Perhaps Mom's been lurking, unseen, making me feel a bit guilty, albeit in a subtle way, about the messes. That would be just like her. She wasn't keen on messes.

Hopefully she doesn't go look at my flower garden, she'd be mortified. We'll discuss that later.


No, I didn't mean to break your heart...

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while (we're talking back when I had Ramblings of a Generic Female) know that I am a huge fan of Barenaked Ladies. Okay, okay - true, I'm a fan of quite a few groups and musicians, I won't deny that, but Barenaked Ladies is the band that I could go on a picnic with or shopping with or could skip across a field of wild flowers and end with all of us falling down, laughing uncontrollably and telling those "remember when" stories that so many of us are good at telling until the mosquitoes come out at night reminding us that it's time to go inside.

There is something personal, touchable, relatable about these guys. They reply to your comments on their fan pages, send you autographed CDs because you're worth it, and send you santa hats with the phrase "Barenaked for the Holidays" across the front because they are thinking of you that Christmas. In concert they connect with the audience by telling stories of their antics in town the night before. They always have a favorite place to eat in whatever town they are visiting and since you just ate dinner there the night before, it's almost as if you dined with Tyler, Ed, Jim and Kevin... right?

Okay, so perhaps all of that is a stretch (but they did send me a santa hat one year and I'm pretty sure they didn't send them to EVERYONE in their fan club... right? That hat was just for me... right?) but I can state that the Barenaked Ladies have probably provided the background music for every major milestone in my adult (and a year before my adult) life. Stunt provided the background music for early make out sessions in the car with that one boy (don't you judge me). Maroon got me through a couple of years in college and Pinch Me is still my fave BNL music video. And let's not forget that my mom went with me to see BNL when they toured after the release of Maroon - my mom was cool like that. Then Everything to Everyone came out right around the time the guy that I swore I was going to marry and grow old with dumped me. Other than that crazy chimpanzee song (not my favorite piece of theirs), I could almost match every song on that album to something in my life during that last semester of college.

With all of that said, I'm 98% certain that I could make a soundtrack to my life (well, the dramatic part of my life that started when I was about 17 years old) with only Barenaked Ladies songs. Hmmm... that actually sounds like a halfway interest project.

However, a little over a year ago, some tragic news fell upon my ears. One of their lead singers, Steven Page, would be leaving the band.



er, music life...

as I...


it had...


I was in shock. How could they do this to me? I mean, don't get me wrong, I adore the rest of the band, but I REALLY adored the band as a whole and as a whole included Steven Page. I even made a shirt for the last BNL concert I went to that said "I traveled XXXXX amount of miles to see Steven Dance" because I am that in love with him. How could he leave the band, how could he.

(go here, listen, and then tell me how you could NOT love that guy: Steven Page - "Break Your Heart")

I've mourned a bit over the past year (okay, I've mourned a lot - this was terrible news). And pretended to ignore whispers that they were doing a new album. I had decided that the band was dead to me. It ceased to exist without Steven Page. Then I accidentally stumbled upon a live video on an obscure Canadian bloggers site of their new song "You Run Away" (yes, I stumbled upon it on accident... it's not like I'm stalking them) and part of me woke up. Part of me started to bloom again. Could this new song really be that good? What was this feeling inside of me? Was it warmth? Was it possible to like, no love, this new some as much as I did after listening to it once?

(you can listen to it here... press play, you know you want to)

Yes, it was possible. I loved it. I love it still. Is it entirely possible that my life's soundtrack will continue in the fashion that it started, with the Barenaked Ladies leading the way? Yes, it is entirely possible and thank goodness because it was looking a bit rough otherwise.

Their new album comes out on March 30 (guess who's pre-ordered it) and I'm planning an entire trip to Austin entirely because they are performing there in May (and maybe because of the BBQ and Tex-Mex). I have my priorities, maybe you should find some too.

PS - any other BNL fans out there sing their Christmas version of "Deck the Halls" when you hear of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young? Yeah, me too.