16 April 2014

Argh!


That was all melted and starting to turn green!!!

It's snowing again!

08 April 2014

More Beautiful Than Before: the project is a go!

It’s official … the next book has reached the final draft and we are ready to move into production!

CoverImage2

Because this book is available not just as a single, standalone book but also as part of a kit, the up front costs are a bit higher than with my previous projects, putting it a little beyond “oh, just put it on the credit card and we’ll pay it off as orders come in”.

As a result, we are using Kickstarter to accept preorders of the book (as well as other forms of sponsorship, all of which come with some kind of tangible reward, from a small download to an e-book up to and including a full kit and having your name on the acknowledgements page!).

What’s the book about? Well, here’s a look at the back cover:

BackCover

You can find out more by following the link to Kickstarter and watching the video there, there’s also a full explanation of all the various ways you can support the project (and get your copy reserved!).

If you are interested in the one-day workshop based on this book, let me know! I’ll be ready to offer those by early summer. Just leave a comment below, ping me on Ravelry, or send me an email!

31 March 2014

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

If you haven’t yet seen Frozen, I highly recommend it. Even if you haven’t got kids. It’s got a lot of thought-provoking things to say: many of which seemed particularly relevant to me, like the idea that trying to control everything you feel is likely to lead to an unexpected eruption of power that hurts the people you are trying to protect, for instance. Like the idea that love, not fear, not control, is the answer to the pain and confusion.

I loved it. It’s also visually just stunning.

And when I saw that icy crystal gown, I knew there was a shawl design in there.

Cape

Some time with a spreadsheet and a bunch of beads and yarn resulted in this:

Photo 2014-03-31, 12 22 49 PM

Photo 2014-03-31, 12 22 59 PM

It has a lot of beads (close to 300), but it didn’t take all that long to knit, really.

The pattern’s up on Ravelry, if you need one of your own. The first fifty people to use the code LetItGo can have it for free. :D

30 March 2014

The Hangover

I am writing this down because otherwise I am going to forget.

It’s really fun running on the adrenaline. I can do ALL THE THINGS! I am PRODUCTIVE! I feel so ENERGIZED! I love it. I feel like my old self.

Okay, some of the time I also feel jittery, and some of the time my chest hurts, but that seems a minor inconvenience, barely noticeable. Because I am GETTING STUFF DONE! And Getting Stuff Done is, somehow, ranked as the optimal state in my mind.

The thing is … the hangover.

I get all kinds of stuff done. I go and go and go and go … and yeah, in the evenings I have a bit of trouble getting unwound enough to sleep, and maybe I’m a little bit stiff if I’ve done a lot of standing or walking or whatever, and maybe I’m a little bit tense in the shoulders and ankles but it’s not really all that uncomfortable.

Until I stop.

I stop … and I still have momentum that carries me for another day or two. I came home from the festival and did all the unpacking and sorting the day after I got back, because I was simply not able to sit still, even though somewhere in my head I knew I was very tired … I couldn’t feel tired yet, or, even more strangely, I could feel it but at the same time I felt all wound up and unable to hold still. I went to BC, worked hard at the festival for three days, came home and unpacked everything, spent a day running errands, a day sorta resting, then spent two more days felting and demonstrating at the alpaca show – which was lots of fun – and came home and tidied the house and did some work on the computer and puttered around for another half a day because again, sitting still made me feel like I was coming out of my skin.

Eventually, I did sit. I got myself into the recliner yesterday afternoon and worked on my knitting – and made mistakes and had to take out five or six rows and do them over … and then made more mistakes and undid yet another row … but I did, finally, sit. My ankles were all tight (I will be sitting comfortably then look down to see my feet pulled up towards me, rather than just at rest … a sure sign of the increased muscle tension that is a part of PTSD – and, I have just realized, part of my body memory from the old trauma). When I got up to fetch more tea, I noticed how sore my legs and shoulders were, from all the standing and scrubbing of the previous two days. I could feel the weariness, the need for rest … and I could not get unwound enough to rest.

I took my medicine (although I forgot my evening dose and took it later than I should have), I took extra herbal sedation, and I was still awake, shuffling my feet and aimlessly roaming the halls of my brain until two in the morning.

I did sleep – though I dreamed of being chased through my old neighbourhood, hiding in an abandoned gas station, trying to protect a tiny old woman and her grandchild from some sort of evil men – and woke up around the usual time. I didn’t get any extra rest, but at least I got some. I’m staying in my pyjamas as a reminder to myself to take it easy today, and I will go back to my knitting.

But I need to remember how I got here, and what it feels like. Because next time I am tempted to be energetic, to push that rush of productivity and power, I need to remember what the hangover is like.

It’s uncomfortable. I could handle exhaustion – working hard and then being tired afterwards is a good feeling, that nice sense of having earned your rest. But I don’t feel tired, or like I have put in a good day’s work and now can sit back and relax … that’s just it, I can’t relax. Even my meds barely put a dent in the sense of being on edge, scattered, like there is something I need to be doing but can’t quite remember what it is, and even if I did remember, I’d be distracted from it by any shiny thought that happens to trip through my head and I’ll be off on another tangent in no time flat.

Face it: I’m a junkie. I’m hooked on the rush of energy I get from going hard, and like any junkie, I forget just how awful it is to come down from the hit. Worse, I don’t know what doses I’m getting, so I can’t calibrate my hits: my drug is invisible, unmeasured, immeasurable. How much is too much? How much is okay? What’s the not-hangover-inducing-acceptable dose of activity and stress?

Clearly the past two weeks are well over the limit and into overdose: a twelve hour drive followed by three days working on my feet followed by a twelve hour drive followed by a day of cleanup and sorting followed by a day of errands followed by a day of mostly quiet followed by two more days on my feet followed by a half day of doing stuff at home in an effort to unwind … right. Too much.

The five million dollar question is: how much of that could I have done without it costing me a hangover? Half of it? Any of it?

Maybe there’ll always be some amount of hangover when I am energetic. I certainly hope not … but right now, I just don’t know. Maybe what I have to figure out is how much hangover is a reasonable price to pay … a half day of the jitters followed by one evening where I need a bit of tincture in addition to my meds to kick me over into sleep … that’d be okay, I think. That doesn’t feel like it’d be doing any long term damage to the system, or piling up to push me over into the Darkness, as long as I don’t do it too often. But what’s too often? What’s enough?

I need to pay attention to how long this particular hangover lasts … I have some calibration to do.

I also need to talk to my care team about this … which is why I’m writing it all down. In the same way that the only true mystery of alcohol-induced hangovers is why anyone who has had one ever has another …  I need to figure out how to stop doing this to myself.

And how to stop it from being so damnably uncomfortable when I do.

28 March 2014

Another hat

I finished the embellishment on the "Sunday go-to-meetin'" hat today ... A few more leaves and a pretty yellow button.

Then, over about 3 hours, I made the "Annie get yer gun" hat. :)


They could both do with a wee bit more fine shaping, easier to do at home where I have a sink with warm water at the ready, but they can be worn just as they are. Felting is so quick and fun!

The Alpaca People are planning a felting workshop later in the spring. That'll be fun too!

27 March 2014

Wet Felting

You know, I actually like wet felting. It’s a lot of physical work (well, it can be, depending how big the thing is you are felting and how emphatic you have to get with the washboard) but the results are so unbelievably FAST and COOL.

I made this today at the Alpaca Show, at Northlands, in about two or three hours.

It’s straight-from-the-alpaca fibre, carded quickly just to fluff it open so the locks didn’t make the fabric too lumpy, embellished with some locks of different colours. There’s also a funky flower thing on the front which is made from a vessel that didn’t quite work out as planned – plain alpaca fleece embellished with some sparkly stuff I brought from home. I had no sewing tools with me today, but tomorrow I’ll stitch the leaves in place and probably add a button or two or three.

Fun day. More tomorrow!

17 March 2014

No Mess Almost Tacos

A spoon-saving recipe for the weary cook.

Brown a package of ground beef. Drain. Add taco seasoning and water, simmer until the seasoning is nicely integrated with all the meat but hasn’t reduced down completely. It should still be a little on the sloshy liquidy side.

Open a can of refried beans (you could, if you were feeling energetic, make the beans yourself some other fine day and then pressure can them) and mix into the simmering meat and seasoning. Stir to blend it all together.

Grease a casserole dish (my handy dandy white Corningware) and put half the mixture in the dish. Crumble a handful of nachos on top of it all, then layer a handful or two of grated cheese on top of that, and repeat with the remaining beans/meat mix, more nachos, more cheese.

Heat through (microwave for a couple of minutes or put in the oven if you have other things baking).

Serve with a big spoon and maybe a salad on the side. YUM!