Nov 28, 2012

reading: A Day In The Life Of A Minimalist

I've been privately courting a little love affair with The Minimalists for just under a year now. It's all one-sided of course ... they are not in love with me the way I am with them, but I am loathe to call it "stalking" because ... well, because I loathe the word!

After being introduced to the pair via  Colin Wright (as a suggestion for some Hats On People folks), I kept right on reading. Their blog, their books, their tweets ... anything I could get my hands on. Here are two dudes doing the whole minimalism thing just a bit differently than the myriad other folks trying to bring you the idea of "own less, live more" on the internet.

And they do this difference well. Yes, the espouse letting go of all the crap in your life, but theirs is a message of purpose and meaning. It's not just "get rid of your stuff so you can make money writing about getting rid of your stuff"; they talk about passion, about focus, and about the easiest way to truly be the best version of yourself.

It's all the stuff we all really need to hear, we just didn't know what station to tune in to.

After publishing several non-fiction books together with Ryan, Joshua Fields Millburn presented his first solo non-fiction work A Day in the Life of a Minimalist to the world, and to rave reviews! I snagged a Kindle copy and devoured it - here are my favorite bits.

>> the entire chapter "I Don't Need Much"

>> the entire chapter "18 Minute Exercises" - reminds me of 30-day shred, which I am in the throes of battle with.

>> Your purpose gives you the leverage you need to keep going, especially when you reach a roadblock. Without this leverage, it’s easy to get excited about a new idea but quickly fall flat on your face because you no longer know why you wanted your outcome in the first place (i.e., you’ll lose interest). You might have that initial ambition, but you must also find enough leverage to take you the distance.

>> Gift-giving is not a love language any more than Pig Latin is a Romance language. Rather, gift-giving is a vapid, pernicious cultural   imperative   in our society, and we’ve bought it (literally) hook, line, and sinker. We’ve become consumers of love.

>> “Of course it’s unreasonable, dummy!” The older man snapped back. “Being unhappy and discontent is completely reasonable within our society. We see it every day. Being reasonable means lowering your standards. Being reasonable means doing what everyone else expects you to do. Being reasonable means living an average life. But I’d rather be extraordinarily unreasonable and content and happy. I’d rather live a meaningful, albeit unreasonable, life. Get unreasonable and everything’s possible. Forget about being   reasonable— being reasonable got me into the same pile of shit you’re in now.”

>> We are but dogs, leashed by fear, thrashing in the collars of our own obligations.

>> There will, however, be a new kind of authentic marketing in the future. As we consumers continue to get wiser, as we realize we needn’t be fooled by the manufactured unrest promulgated by pop culture, we will begin to find value in genuine people and brands who actually have our best interests in mind. Thanks to the Internet, this shift has already started. There are brands like Charity Water who actually want to help people. There are individuals who want to add value to people’s lives. There are organizations who want to commit to contributing first, not focusing on money as the primary driver for their actions.




View my full reading list here.

Nov 20, 2012

15 months with Owen

(loves to brush his teeth. for like 30 minutes.)

it blows my mind that in a few short days my little man will already be 15 months old! it feels like just yesterday he wasn't constantly moving everywhere, crashing trucks into things and making a mockery of everything we ever thought parenting would be.

i am reminded CONSTANTLY of this one thing: i wanted a boy.

and yes i did, and man am i grateful! this kid is just ridiculous. he starts at 5:30am (6:30 if we can talk him into sleeping in), and moves and talks non-stop until his body forces him to take a nap at some point. then he moves in his sleep, and when he wakes up he's on the go until he crashes at like 8pm.



owen has more hair than three other kids his age, resulting in one of the funniest trips to the kiddie-salon i've ever had! zach was out of town, and i thought it wouldn't be a big thing, so off we went for his second hair cut. i wish someone else had been there with me to take pictures of the stylist sitting on the floor trying to cut his hair while owen threw an UPSIDE DOWN TANTRUM. in my arms.

ridiculous.



a few weeks ago, zach was out of town for five days. we spent most of it watching tv, or pretending i was a human jungle gym.

not our best week, but we survived.


 sartorial shoe choices were all his!

his feet have grown out of every pair of shoes he owns, and we had to go a size up in jammies because while his feet grew too large for the size that fit him, he can't live without his footie pajamas! so now all his jammies look ridiculous on him to give room for his size 6 feet!



uncle james gave him a recorder, and he figured out how to play it within 10 minutes. now we have an official one-man band - he's got a drum, a guitar, a piano, a recorder, and various tambourines and shakers. we love to make music all day long!

favorites:
  • grilled cheese
  • fish sticks
  • milk
  • brushing his teeth
  • putting things into and out of boxes.
  • jimmy neutron
  • our new couch!
  • reading as many books as he can get his hands on
  • waffles drenched in syrup for breakfast.
  • go-go squeeze applesauce, squeezed directly into his mouth until it's full, and then laughing until it comes out of his mouth!
  • pouring his drink onto the floor and then laying on the ground, licking it up like a cat.

a boy, indeed!


Nov 14, 2012

the tiniest hat of all


pattern: Ideal Preemie Hat pattern by Keya Kuhn (ravelry link)  
yarn: stash yarn, probably sport weight
needles: size US 5 / 3.75mm dpns

last weekend, while sitting around my friend Wendy's table, our friend Paula asked me to knit a little blue hat. the hat, she explained, was for a co-worker who is currently six months pregnant.

baby hats! i love to make baby hats!

i began to ask Paula all sorts of details, like what the mom was naming her son, did she want ear flaps or bear ears or .... and Paula interrupted to say, no. this was not that kind of hat. the mom-to-be had just found out her little man has a birth defect that means two things - one, she will deliver incredibly prematurely (like, by the end of next week at the latest); and two, that he will not survive.

Paula thought it would be nice for this little man, and his heartbroken mama too, to have something handmade for his far too short time with her. a little something to show that he is so loved, that he is so special, and that he is cherished. a little hat for his little head for the far too little time his mama gets to hold him.  

is your heart breaking? because it's hard not to share this without tears.

so i set to work, finding a little ribbed hat pattern for a preemie. something simple (so it is there, but not the focus), something small (because he will be so small) and something soft.

and while the pattern name doesn't fit the purposes, the pattern surely did. the hat is perfect for this little boy and his brave mama.

i never thought i would knit a hat like this, but i am honored and proud to have made it. this hat has made me re-think the skeins of pink and blue baby yarn in my stash, and the types of hats i can make with them. and it has opened my heart to the grief that comes along with motherhood. you can bet i've been squeezing Owen a bit tighter the last few days!

Nov 8, 2012

a cable knitting trick


I've been in love with cables lately, working cabled hats on repeat for both the shop and for charity. And while I love a good cable, I hate ... HATE ... having to tick off rows on paper (or even a row counter) between cables.

And then it dawned on me. I could simply knit the number of stitches on the current cable for the row I was on, and I'd never have to tick off a row again!

 Confused? The photo above should help. For this cable pattern, there are six rows between a cabling row. So I'm on row 2 currently, and had to set down the hat. So I knit two stitches on the next cable (you can see those two stitches on the right-hand needle), and then set the hat down.

When I come back to it later, I just look at the number of knits on the right-hand needle and know exactly where I'm at! This way, I don't have to worry where I'm at in the hat (any of the cables in the row will do) and I don't have to carry a row counter or pen/paper with me anymore!

Nov 5, 2012

4 simple goals (before 2013!)

(image from A Beautiful Mess)

Way back in September, Elsie shared her Four Simple Goals to accomplish before the end of the year. I remember reading the post, and I remember thinking it would be fun to do the same type of thing.
Now it's November, and I'm finally getting around to it! Better late than never!

1 // Complete or delete all open project pages on Ravelry. I currently have 41 (!!!!) open project pages in Ravelry. Some are holiday presents, some are in-process hats, but all need to either be completed or deleted as the ball drops! Especially if I want to reach my goal of 400 hats by my birthday.

2 // Cook five "new to me" meals. This doesn't have to be hard, just grab one of the million recipes I've been pinning and try it out. We need some variety in our diets, having reverted back to old faithfuls like pizza and tacos far too often!

3 // Read three more books. I've been having so much fun diving back into reading again, and have a list as long as a river saved in my Amazon Wish List of books I'd like to have on my Kindle. But before I start asking folks for Amazon gift cards for Christmas I'd like to clear a few more off my "to read" list.

4 // Exercise at least once a week. People, it's starting to get silly. I can do one of those "10-minute, full body" workouts I've been pinning; I can do the 30-Day Shred dvd that scares me every time. I'm not looking to lose weight or fit into old jeans, I'd just like to feel comfy in my skin as we head into winter layers.

//

Truth be told, I'm already excitedly plotting my 2013 goals, and looking ahead to when I can put up Christmas decorations, have presents under the tree, and maybe see a few snowflakes. A few small goals like this will help keep me focused until then, and carry me into the new year with some items checked off my list!

4 simple goals (before 2013!)

(image from A Beautiful Mess)

Way back in September, Elsie shared her Four Simple Goals to accomplish before the end of the year. I remember reading the post, and I remember thinking it would be fun to do the same type of thing.

Now it's November, and I'm finally getting around to it! Better late than never!

1 // Complete or delete all open project pages on Ravelry. I currently have 41 (!!!!) open project pages in Ravelry. Some are holiday presents, some are in-process hats, but all need to either be completed or deleted as the ball drops! Especially if I want to reach my goal of 400 hats by my birthday.

2 // Cook five "new to me" meals. This doesn't have to be hard, just grab one of the million recipes I've been pinning and try it out. We need some variety in our diets, having reverted back to old faithfuls like pizza and tacos far too often!

3 // Read three more books. I've been having so much fun diving back into reading again, and have a list as long as a river saved in my Amazon Wish List of books I'd like to have on my Kindle. But before I start asking folks for Amazon gift cards for Christmas I'd like to clear a few more off my "to read" list.

4 // Exercise at least once a week. People, it's starting to get silly. I can do one of those "10-minute, full body" workouts I've been pinning; I can do the 30-Day Shred dvd that scares me every time. I'm not looking to lose weight or fit into old jeans, I'd just like to feel comfy in my skin as we head into winter layers.

//

Truth be told, I'm already excitedly plotting my 2013 goals, and looking ahead to when I can put up Christmas decorations, have presents under the tree, and maybe see a few snowflakes. A few small goals like this will help keep me focused until then, and carry me into the new year with some items checked off my list!

Nov 1, 2012

the day of the chicken



our little chicken had so much fun last night collecting candy in his pumpkin bucket! while he wouldn't wear his chicken hat very long, and i didn't get a single picture of him with it on, Owen loved hanging out with his cousin Maddie (Elmo) and sharing candy with dad.

best. night. ever.