Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Intentions

One of the creative dynamos I admire is Nikol, sometimes known as "Thrifty Knitter" and founder of Yarn School. Who else but she could buy some old forgotten school buildings in the middle of rural Kansas and turn it into a creative mecca for artists of all kinds, including fiber artists and musicians? That would be her!

Anyhow, each year, Nikol creates what she calls an Uber List for the year - and as best I can determine, this is a list of things she wants to accomplish throughout the upcoming year. The list isn't exactly a set of New Year's Resolutions, but seems to fall somewhere on the borderline of yearly goal setting and practical annual "to do" list - a super-duper list or as she says "Uber List." Adapting this format for myself, I want to set intentions to get OUT of the passive mindset and spring into action to create a more interesting and fulfilling life.

So here are my beginning plans, and I'll be adding items throughout the year as I get an in-depth vision of where things are going and where they NEED to go. A lot of things are very fluid right now and need to stay that way - but they need to be moving in the right direction.

De-junking and decluttering: For every new clothing item I bring into the house, give away at least one item, to a thrift store, charity shop or whatever. Same thing with yarn and books. Instead of buying magazines, read them online or download the patterns. (Exception: This does not apply to Spin-Off - which I always treasure, save and pour over again and again). Organize yarn room and fiber storage closets. Destash what I no longer love.

Artist's Way is the Way - write Morning Pages to start journaling again on paper. More importantly, once a week, go on an "Artist's Date" where I explore new activities that are fun, creative and unique - that spark my soul. Find weekly soul-enriching activities that can help me emotionally, creatively and spiritually recharge.

Become a Mentor for my daughter and move out of the Parent with a capital "P" mode.

Spend more time with people and less time online. Since getting my very own "smart phone" recently, I can see why the masses have become attached to these things - and why I sometimes see people texting other online people in the ethers, while ignoring the In Real Life people sitting right in front of them. Thank goodness I am not on Facebook, what a time sink that is, right? Ah hem, but honestly, my personal addiction is Ravelry and it's getting out of hand. Though it's a great online tool and database, it has become an emotional pacifier. Nuff said.

Follow Weight Watchers new program, or whatever method works for me to get about 1,200 calories a day until I reach a healthy weight. Don't just rely on frozen meals as I did before on Jenny Craig, but really learn to cook healthy and frugally. Eat at home and at the dinner table, with family time - to talk, share and nurture one another instead of eating constantly at restaurants or in different rooms in front of the TV.

Consistently exercise each and every day. This is for both physical and mental health. If joining a gym doesn't work out, then find a weight bearing and stretching routine that I can do at home, and develop a routine that I can do consistently. I did really well exercising last year on the treadmill - keep this up but expand to some weight-bearing and stretching exercise as well.

Take a vacation - a real "couples" vacation with my sweetheart. A significant vacation and really UNWIND and reconnect with him. This one is already in the works, and I hope we get to take several mini getaways throughout the year.

Wear my pedometer every day. Aim to walk 10,000 steps per day. I seem to be much more active and fit when I do this.

Watch my language - speak less and act more. Avoid gossip, backstabbing and careless use of speech. Hurtful putdowns, sarcasm and bad tone of voice should be recognized for the poison that it is. Kind speech and thoughts lead to kind and gentle actions. Strive to be "soft centered."

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


As I told many of you a few weeks ago, I was not planning on using a "guiding word" this year as I have in years past. But yesterday, when I was doing my yearly contemplation and meditation, I was given a word, "Turnaround."

I am not sure exactly how I am going to use this word - but I know it's what I - and my whole family - needs to do. I am feeling like a victim with many personal things that have hit me hard this year and hurt. Hurting has taken a toll physically, financially and emotionally. Knowing I'm not alone and that MANY people I know are hurting, and hurting much worse than myself, doesn't make it easier. But I can only control the way I react to the events that have occurred and fight like the dickens to turn things around for myself, while lending support to those who need it.

So in 2011, it is my intention to turn my attitude around - to kick my own *ss and stop whining. Do an about face - buck up in my attitude, and do whatever needs done to make things better.

I am NOT a helpless little reactionary victim. I am a strong, smart woman who, with God's help, can solve problems, make things better, turn my failings around and be a better person. I can do whatever I need to do, and I will do it.

Now please, universe, don't see this as an invitation to hurl more *rap my way - because I will duck too when that is the smartest thing to do.

Have a good year everyone - now I'm going to go solve some problems and make a new plan. And while I'm thinking, I'm going to be cleaning out and organizing a few of these out of control messy rooms around my house - such as my craft room.

EVERYTHING is going to get an overhaul around here, especially me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ultimate Gift

At this time of giving, as many of us scramble to find just the right gift for our dear ones, while trying to stay in a budget, it occurs to me that the most precious gifts are ones that we can't give.

I subscribe to Daily Word - a Unity publication, and I get it online each day in my mailbox. Yesterday's message really hit home with me. At this time of year where many of us feel so frazzled and overwhelmed, I find solace and insight in these Daily Word reminders. It's amazing just how much the "word" of the day hits home. It's uncanny at times!

Yesterday's word was Grace. The message from this day is so 'on point' that I'm going to carry this little print out in my purse as a reminder that no matter what happens, I can choose to respond rashy, out of my frazzled human mindset, or I can pause a moment, listen in my spirit to find that place within myself that experiences Grace. Here is an excerpt of the affirmation they provided for the day:

"As I respond to a difficult situation with compassion and understanding, I am expressing God's grace. I am allowing the holiness within me to surface and to flow effortlessly from me. As I embrace adversity, remain strong under pressure or look for the good in a difficult situation, I am acknowledging that all is not at is appears. By experiencing all things with love, I draw forth the grace of Spirit. The gift of grace is powerful and strong. Grace is part of my being, and I am at peace."

Though I'm not in control of what gifts I'm given, I CAN control what I give to myself - the important gifts don't cost a thing, but are most precious. So what if I did that - gave myself that gift of Grace? It's a choice. Today, I have the where-with-all to unwrap that gift.

What inner gift do you most need to give yourself right now?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Fun with Corespinning - Art Yarn

Ever since reading Diane Varney's "Spinning Designer Yarns" book that was recommended by my first spinning instructor, I've been wanting to learn more about how to spin "Art Yarn" or sometimes called "Designer Yarns." I missed a chance to take a class Camp Pfluffypluck with Lexie Borger because at the time, I was a rank beginning spinner and wasn't ready yet.

So then last fall or winter, I bought Jacey Boggs DVD of Sit and Knit. I've been watching it periodically as well as reading everything I can find on how to spin art yarns. Over the past few months, I've been playing with the techniques such as making corespun, cocoons, coils. To be honest, I'm not even sure which is what all the time!

But I've been messing with these techniques and seeing what I can come up with. The first shot here shows the singles I spun from some multi-colored Targhee roving that I bought a few weeks ago at Yarn Barn. I corespun it on some laceweight yarn.

The second shot shows how the fiber looks when combined with the novelty commerical thin yarn I plyed it with.

Finally you see it finished and skeined up. It's a bit loosely plied but I think it will be okay. If it knits up well enough, I'm going to knit a vest. I may need to make a few more skeins of the stuff, but first I need to be sure I like the way it looks knit up in a swatch or "sample."
In January, I am going to take an art yarn class with Jacey Boggs. I'm really excited - not only because I get to learn the techniques, but since the workshop is being held at Harveyville, where Yarn School is held twice a year, I'm sure it will be a blast! I've taken classes from Nikol but never been to Harveyville yet.
What I discovered is I'm starting to understand WHY people make art yarn. Even if they don't want to use it in their knitting because maybe it's too wild, garish and "over the top", nevertheless making the yarn itself is so fun and creative, it makes you feel good just making it. Even if it never turns into a wearable garment. But I'm hoping this yarn will. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ahhh . . . . Can I Just STAY There and Never Leave?

Usually when I go on business trips, I don't mind them, and realize they are a built-in part of my job, but not necessarily fun. As a rule one hotel quickly starts to look like another. This week's trip to Colorado Springs was an exception. While there, I stayed to The Broadmoor. It felt more like a working vacation than anything I've ever experienced. From the moment I stepped off the shuttle, it felt as if I'd stepped into a resort from the early 20th century.
In fact, if you've ever seen the romantic movie, Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, the Broadmoor has that kind of old World elegant ambiance and charm. Nestled into the mountain as it is, with both a lake and mountain view, combined with the fact that their Christmas trees and lights were ablaze for the winter season. Ah, simply breathtaking!

Oh my goodness, this was hands-down the most beautiful hotel with the most exceptional service that I've ever experienced, bar none. My stay there was remarkable. Whew. The staff working there clearly love their jobs, regardless of what role they play. No one is "just" a door man, a desk clerk, a housekeeper - they are representatives of a hotel they serve with pride. Imagine if I took that same sense of pride and pleasure in a job well-done that this staff displays? Good idea - I'm going to add that to personal goals I'm working on right now. How can I work even more intently, but with pleasure and a focus on total quality and a sense of the importance of what I do each day?

Also, the trip reminded me that all of us have "magical places" that we each savor. No matter where I stay in Colorado, I am amazed at how the mountains refresh me and renew my spirit. Colorado is really a place that tunes up my love for life.

Even though the bed was luxurious and extremely comfortable, I found myself staying up late at night so that I had time to read, write, soak in the bath, meditate, pray and reflect on the year drawing to a close, and the new one fast approaching. I luxuriated not only in the serene environment and sense of place, but in the chance to go within myself and reflect. So the balance of work/play/relax made me realize the importance of aiming for that balance in my everyday life to create a happier daily existence back home.

Wow. Even though I am back, I brought home a little $8 mousepad featuring this lovely scenic hotel. So whenever I get frazzled or harried, I can recall sitting by the cozy fire or walking on the lake path gazing up at the breathtaking mountain. It's another place that I will always treasure for the serene person I allowed myself to be while in that sacred space.
Quote: "You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience." - Teilhard de Chardin
What place creates magic within you?