Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Idea: Talent Does Not Exist

Over the past 6 or 8 months, I've had almost no sewing or knitting time whatsoever. For a while I was able to just muscle through knowing that eventually things would get better and I would have time for myself again. Well, life doesn't really work that way, unfortunately. After so long with almost no creative outlet at all, it's suddenly bubbling out all over the place. My creativity has been prodding me big time searching for a way out. In my spare moments here and there, I have turned to watching online videos. I started out with Creativebug, which is always great, but one day I happened to see a video by Josie Lewis and I've been completely hooked ever since. I bought her book and have made a goal to work through all the projects. I've watched almost all of her youtube videos, which include tutorials as well as opinion pieces and whatnot. She is lovely and I enjoy the few minutes each day wen I get to watch her talk about something artistic. 
Last night, I came across this video and I just had to share it. I think anyone who makes anything with any regularity will agree with this idea. I certainly do. It's something that I wish I could just shake people and make them understand every time someone tells me, "Wow, I wish I could make things like you do - you're so talented!" It sounds vain, but this video will show why it's really not vain. Do I have talents, sure. But do I believe they just fell from the sky and I could magically do some of the things I do? Absolutely not. I worked hard for YEARS at the things I do. I sucked just like anyone else when I started out, but I was determined to learn whatever it was (sewing, knitting, fancy baking, film photography, singing, etc, etc...) so I just stuck with it and eventually, I improved. All you have to do is want to learn something and dedicate yourself to the task - it will take a while, but you will get better and eventually you will be as good as the people you admire. It's a simple idea, but definitely not simple to put into practice.

I think that once you've seen this happen in your own life - where you made a decision and stuck it out until you got good at something - that makes it easier to do again with the next interest you have. I am always inspired by things I see others doing, and occasionally I decide I want to do that too. For me, this means that in my flux state of my creativity, I've been able to explore the work of others and give things a try. At the moment I am determined to learn brush calligraphy - I started the class with The Happy Ever Crafter last year, but I fell out and gave up. This year, I have gone farther than ever before and I plan on going all the way. I have to say, this one has taken more self control because it really is not coming as easily as I hoped, but dang it, I WILL be able to do this! I'm also dabbling in painting and collage thanks to Josie Lewis book (which is great, you should check it out). All these things just take consistent practice, and I enjoy the little time I get to devote to each when I can. Eventually, I will be able to sew again, but at least I have a few other creative outlets in the meantime :)

What do you think? Do you agree that talent doesn't exist?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Outfit Along 2019 - Hello! I'm Still Alive!

Hello, All! Man has it been a long time - I've never gone so long without blogging since I started in 2009, and while the initial reasons for the absence are still unshareable (but getting ever closer to the epic share post), I've also bought a house and moved in the interim putting many of the things I love on hold for months and months just to keep myself going forward with all the "have to dos" of my life. BUT I am in my house and look forward to not moving for at least 5 years or so, meaning I can start thinking about making things again. In fact, all I can think about lately is making things since my wardrobe is getting pretty tatty and/or ill-fitting. I'm spoiled now - I can't go back to hours of shopping only to have poorly made clothes that don't fit my body. Aside from the odd Target t-shirt or thrifted bathing suit here and there, I have had no new clothes in this whole time. Craziness. Anyway, I am ready to just back on this sewing horse and love my clothing again. Very apropos to the announcement of this year's Outfit Along today. 
If you've read this blog over the past few years, you'll know I've participated in the OAL since it's inception except that I skipped last year (again due to the wonderful but unshareable info I'm witholding, lol). Here are my finished posts from 201420152016, and 2017, all of which I still wear on occasion (or wish I could but are now too small). I've been trying to pick what project to start my sewing habit back with for a couple of weeks and just can't seem to decide with the vast choices available. Thanks to today's OAL announcement I will be able to narrow things down much better :)

In previous years, the Outfit Along has always had 1 group knitting pattern and 1 group sewing pattern the tutorials were based off of, yet you could still choose something different if the suggested patterns were not for you. The idea was just to complete 1 knitted item and 1 sewn item that coordinated from June 1st to July 31st and make yourself an "outfit". I've used the suggested patterns here and there but if that pattern wasn't my style I went with something that was more me. This year though, the overall theme has altered a bit. This year's focus is on finishing works in progress (wips). At least one of the items for your project must be an old wip and the rest can be new if you choose. This works out perfectly for me because I've felt guilty for a while about how long my poor Dahlia cardigan is taking.
In 8 days I can celebrate that project's anniversary - exactly 1 year since I started it :/ Disgraceful! I used to finish 5 sweaters a year. So sad. Anyway, I've really wanted to finish this up and now i will have a small fire lit under my butt to get it done and a reasonable timeline in which to do it. I may have majorly decreased/non existent knitting time but I only have the last 3rd of the front of the body, the sleeves, and the seaming left to do. Now that I have a deadline of sorts, I know I can squeeze out the necessary time.
I don't have my sewing projects picked out to make this an "outfit" yet, but I plan to work entirely from my stash on this project, technically making everything I make qualify as a wip by the new rules since I plan my projects when I purchase the fabric and patterns. So now I just have to narrow down what will go with the coral Dahlia cardigan and run with it. I'll report back once I've picked my projects :)
Now that this post broke the ice with my dusty 'ole blog, you can expect to hear from me every now and then., including the couple of projects I've made since last September but never blogged. Sadly my output won't be what it once was, but I plan to share some of my home improvement projects as well as other endeavors I've taken up in my absence. I hope you can stay in touch! And if you are still here after all this time, thank you so much for still keeping my little blog on your radar :)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Year In Books - 2018

Another year, another reading challenge. This year I managed to beat my goal of 50 books by a whole 2 books! lol There were some really good books on the list this year. But first - here's the nice Goodreads infographics :)
And now for the books themselves :) As always, I've linked all the reviews I managed to post (and as always, I only managed to get about halfway down the list with reviews). So here is what I read this year:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
4. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
6. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
7. Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher
8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
9. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
11. The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin
12. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
13. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
14. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
15. Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich
16. Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
17. Thérèse Racquin by Émile Zola
18. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
19. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
20. Circe by Madeline Miller
21. Howard's End by E.M. Forster
22. Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy
23. The Odyssey by Homer
24. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
25. Les Liasons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Lasclos
26. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
27. The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner
28. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
29. At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
30. Calypso by David Sedaris
31. The Martian by Andy Weir
32. How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood
33. I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
34. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer + Annie Barrows
35. Women & Money by Suze Orman
36. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
37. The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
38. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. Five by Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald
40. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
41. Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébay

42. The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke
43. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
44. No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
45. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
46. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
47. Artemis by Andy Weir
48. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
49. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
50. The Green Mile by Stephen King
51. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
52. The Love of the Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Out of the 52 books I read, I gave 4 of them 5 star ratings. The best books were:
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Secondhand Time
  • East of Eden
And the easy winner on this list for me is East of Eden. Wow, what a great book. I can't believe I hadn't heard it spoken of more on the big lists of books you should read. This really makes me excited to read more Steinbeck next year, to say the least. I also finally read something by Stephen King (I know, right?), and I knocked Crime and Punishement and Gone with the Wind off my list. All in all I'm happy with the mix of books for fun and books with purpose.

So that's my year in books :) I definitely recommend some of these. To get my full reviews or my star ratings (if you're interested), head over to My Goodreads Profile. Now I get to start on the next 50 books for 2019 :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Year in Yarn: 2018

1. Little Giraffe - The very first thing I made of the year - started on December 31st even :)  I just love this little pattern - it's such a cute giraffe, and I enjoyed getting to practice my colorwork. This will be a fun heirloom toy.
2. Accidental Baby Beanie - This is what happens when a baby is teeny tiny and you use a "newborn" size pattern. It turned out quite large. Also this was "accidental" because I meant to make a bonnet, not a beanie. Whoops.
3. Recoleta - My only finished sweater of the year! So weird! I really like this now that it's cool enough to wear it. The yarn is super soft and warm and the pattern is very pretty. This was an enjoyable challenge to knit at the time.

4. Bonnet 1 - I made an actual bonnet this time, but it would up huge again. Ah well, it still looked cute in the pictures, right? (It's the darker purple one).
5. Cat Butt Coaster - This was a last minute gift for my Mother in Law for Mother's Day. It went over well, lol.

6. Bonnet 2 - This was an actual newborn sized bonnet made as a photo prop for a friend, but I'm a bad friend and have yet to give it to her. Ugh. I should really do that.
7. Turkey Butt Hatt - This will have a whole post very soon. I had to make another turkey butt baby hat this year and it turned out great - just like the first one :)

Sadly I did not have much knitting time this year, so I have several items that are still WIPs:
Lady Russell Shawl - this is becoming my constant project. It seems that once a year I will pick it up for a while and then set it aside for something more exciting. I guess I'm really just know a shawl knitter. So maybe one day I will finish this...
Ducks in a Row - this is the sadest wip, lol. I started this last January! Shameful! I really buckled down and had plans to finish it for Christmas, which I would've done had it not been for the wood pieces I need cut. I'm still waiting for my brother to cut my dowel pieces so I can finish the assembly. Hopefully this happens soon.
Copycat Jaywalker Socks - So sad with these - I had most of one sock done when I discovered that I accidentally continued the stitch pattern all the way around the sock, meaning there was a bumpy ridges just under the center of the ball of my foot. Not good. So just last month I decided to yank it out to the heel. So these are even less done now than they were in this photo, lol.
Dahlia Cardigan - Man, I want to get this finished. I'm really so close - I'm mostly finished with the body and then I just have the sleeves and finishing. I'd really just like to be able to move on from this, lol. Hopefully soon.

And that's it! Isn't that crazy? I really do miss knitting, but it just isn't going to get to happen for a while. Ah well. Someday I will get to knit again.