My Favorite Things

I responded to a friend’s internet challenge, to post a list 3 positive things a day. When another friend started as a result of my challenge, I committed to an additional seven.

Here’s the first batch of positive things, and I hope they brighten your day.

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Day 1:

  1. I’m grateful to my son who mowed the yard even feeling crappy and in intense humidity — it was a pleasure to drive down the street to home.
  2. I’m happy that I knit. I could give all 21 slots with a knitting related post.layout2_r1_c2
  3. I’m with Kim that cats make me smile. The world is better place because of our feline companions.

Day 2: 

  1. My garden has given us fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as lots of Tomatoesonvine2basil.
  2. I am lucky enough to have a granddaughter.
  3. Evenings are getting cooler in Asheville–so much less need for AC, and more chance for open windows, bird song, and breeze.

Day 3:

  1. machine-bestI appreciate breathing…all through the night. I got a loaner C-PAP machine and sleeping is true rest again. What a joy!
  2. I woke early this morning, and one of the first thoughts was “what am I grateful for?” — I attribute that lovely waking to this challenge, which has re-focused my mind on the positive in life.
  3. I’m grateful for metaphoric and literal “off buttons.” There’s a time to walk away from drama and ugliness (as well as a time to act) and knowing when that it lifts a weight and frees the mind and heart. That’s a miraculous thing.
  4. –Oh, and a bonus 4) — I’m grateful it’s Friday after a good week at work.

Day 4:

  1. beautiful bird croppedBirds — when I step out my back door each time I leave the house, there are always birds there — in the trees and scrub, on the feeder, winging by. Bird song and that exquisite flash of upward wing never fail to make my own spirit soar. What a gift that is, through good and bad times, just a bird can make me smile.
  2. Jon Stewart is always guaranteed to make me laugh. He reminds me (in a good way) of my late husband, Dennis, who also could always make me laugh.
  3. barilla3Good Gluten-Free Pasta is no longer a contradiction in terms. There are several mainstream brands making gluten-free versions and this puts some old favorite dishes back on the menu.

Day 5:

  1. zen051Celebration (1)Friends! I could leave it at that, but especially the unexpected close friendships of adulthood. Good friends laugh and grieve with you, make meals, trade favors, secret jokes, and masses of understanding and acceptance. God Bless Good Friends.
  2. With said friends, we drank a bottle of cheap (3.99) red wine that was good!
  3. There’s a new produce stand in my neighborhood. An enterprising older man from the Islands, or even perhaps Africa (lovely lilting accent, gracious and warm manners) has taken a vacant building and desolate lot over — he’s put up a large roofed area and has tables and tables of beautiful fresh produce. I stopped for the first time yesterday and bought 4 tomatoes for $2! We talked about things for a bit and then he gifted me with a giant organic tomato and wished be a great evening.

Day 6:

  1. I love the way Facebook helps reveal social connections and make them visible in ways I never paid attention to before social media. The spread of this lovely challenge and the interesting variations it has taken fascinate me. Like an old-fashioned game of telephone, spreading the message changes the message and the messenger.telephone game (237x136)
  2. When I stop and think of it, I realized I have been much loved in my life — many of those have left the planet now, but the love doesn’t go away. It lives in me and my memories and I can continue it on by loving others. What beautiful magic that is!
  3. It’s Monday morning and I feel no dread or sorrow or anger at the prospect of going to work this morning and the rest of the week. That’s a blessing — if you’ve ever experienced those feelings in response to work week, you know. It’s also a privilege to have meaningful work in a pleasant setting with good co-workers. It’s one I pray every worker can have. When I center myself around the thought of how blessed I am to have that, I feel the glow of gratitude and joy seep through me and a smile spread across my face.

Day 7:

  1. Gorgeous George

    Gorgeous George

    Pretty much the whole internet agrees with me that kittens and cats are an endless source of fascination: more personality and energy packed in those springy bodies than can be contained, so it leaks out in extreme cuteness and apparent wisdom. When I need to laugh, a silly kitten attacking something harmless with such zeal can always do the trick. And isn’t it great that there’s no prescription cost, or anything….

  2. It’s the last few days of August and I’m not dreading September. Between world events and personal losses, the 9th month had assumed a pretty bad rep in my mind. This year, it’s pretty much just another month — I’m excited to see fall arriving while I mourn the loss of fresh tomatoes and basil. I see the sky lightening in the morning a few minutes later each day. But I don’t want to take to my bed with the covers over me! There’s a song “Wake Me When September Ends” that used to match my feeling, but now it’s just a song again. Since I loved September and its promise of autumn and new starts, I’m grateful to have it back.
  3. Sisters. I have only one official sister, who I love and adore and hope to continue laughing, playing, cooking, knitting, arguing and hugging for decades yet to come. I also have several sisters of the heart that joined my inner family over the years, and they too are a whole bouquet of graces.


With special thanks to Kim for starting me on this, I say with joy, And So It Is.

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Shop Talk Time

IMG_1656Here are some photos from my Sunday afternoon at the Downtown Market. I added a few choice pieces (including my favorite new knitted project) and neatened up a bit. IMG_1655

IMG_1661I also shared some lovely conversation with a customer who frequently stops in to browse and buy IMG_1654my vintage glass – especially the Fenton pieces. Our paths hadn’t crossed at the market before, and I enjoyed learning more about older Fenton pieces.

I really hope someone falls in love with my fabulous flamboyant flamenco shawl — someone with good taste and money — it’s a mere $225.00, and frankly, given the many hours of knitting in it, I’ve probably under-priced it. Still, I really I want someone to buy it to love and wear, so I didn’t want to go any higher.

A spring finally nears, I’m starting to plan some warm-weather knits — light and lacy shawls, maybe even a few sleeveless garments. Fit is always a challenge when you’re knitting for a customer-to-be-named-later… so nothing too persnickety.

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More Shop Talk

I have some more photos Josh and I took over the weekend. It’s looking more finished now — though there is plenty more to add and I still need more shelves.

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Did I mention I finally named my business?  I’m nearly official (have to bring the dba form to the clerk’s office this week).

Vintage Octobia:

Crafts & Collectibles

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Trading Spaces

ImageYesterday afternoon my son and I spent several hours moving my glassware and knitting to a new space at the Asheville Downtown Market.  I have a long way to go to get the booth exactly like I want it, but I’m pretty pleased with the progress so far.

This weekend will mean some serious rummage store shopping for more shelving; and an evening spent tagging my collection of coin banks, some more craft supplies, a handful of very sweet trinket boxes, and the latest scarves.

This is so much fun!

Cat Burglars and Staying up Late

I’ve been knitting most of the evening, watching old TV episodes on Netflix and finishing an elegant and subdued scarf for Josh. Then I’m making a bright orange wool cap for a friend who works outside on foggy winter mornings, plus something I’ll make out of this lovely Juniper Moon silk/merino blend. and then there’s the primary colored free-form shawl a few ideas for the next scarves and shawls.

Out of the corner of my eye I keep watch for the cat burglars. Ellsworth is the invisible neak thief, creeping in close, head low, with precise foot placement. Delicately, tenderly, he nudges the skein shifting it so he can get a sure grip with his mouth.  He clamps down, pulls back in slow mo, and then dashes for the hall …yard trailing behind him, catching on everything in its path.

Ellsworth can resist orange yarn. While for Smudge, I think the biggest attraction is proximity and a clear line of escape. He wants room to dash off to the other end of the house tearing loose locks of yarn and tangling, — indeed wrestling with it — and claiming it as prey.  Smudge is on the hunt.  Ellsworth is playing a sneak thief version –sealth is the purpose, my surprise the reward.

The Merchant in Me

I think many of us have an inner small business owner– you know, the voice in your head when you’re shopping that tells you “I could sell that,” “mine looks better,” “I wish I were running this place — I’d do it right!”

IMG_1076My inner business voice wants to turn everything I make or collect into inventory. I collect glass, so now I sell some. I knit, and sell that.I love costume jewelry, so I’m selling that now. I’ve thought of marketing my soups and sauces (I make a great tomato sauce), but the food safety requirements mean a professional kitchen. I sell herbal sachets, beads and buttons I’ve collected, and things made from those items.

It’s fun, and occasionally even profitable. Mostly, I break even or thereabouts, but I enjoy the process too much to stop. IMG_1068

This year I have selling space at the Downtown Market in Asheville — an amazing collective or artists, crafters, collectors, and re-purposers who fill the cavernous space with color and plenty. ]Beautiful, funky, eclectic, arty, frugal, and just plain fun goods are displayed in booths and cabinets. It’s a most wonderful browse with something for everyone. I’ve got mostly glass and knitted items, with a smattering of craft supplies and small craft items.

I’ve been putting items up on E-bay and Etsy too.  I love selling things nearly as much as I love buying things.  Keeping the balance is the tough part. My little house can’t continue to be a giant inventory stash! I’m slowly trying to lessen the density of clutter by selling some of these things, only keep finding new things to add to the mix.

IMG_1087I tell myself all it needs is some organization, but that’s really not enough. There is simply too much stuff! My solution is to sell more, buy less. Knit more, using my existing copious yarn stash. Craft more from existing supplies. And sell, share, or barter as much as I can.

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Come in and browse around the shop when you’re in Asheville, and check out my Etsy shop and E-bay items when you’re in the mood.

…And in the meantime, enjoy what’s left of 2013 and be safe, warm, and happy now and next year.

Blessings to all.

Let’s catch up a bit…

  • I finished school this week!
  • I have a new job (well, still new-ish) that I really enjoy
  • The cats have grown like mad
  • They are proficient and sneaky yarn-thieves.
  • I’m selling vintage glass, some jewelry and my knitting at the Downtown Market in Asheville. Also on E-bay and Etsy.
  • Christmas is just around the bend and I’m almost there too, these days.
  • Life is good.
  • I’ve missed blogging and plan to resume.

Blessings to all.

Cats: The Next Generation

So, a couple of years ago I posted about Lady Grey destroying a skein of yarn (When Loves Collide). She’s still with us, but her two partners in destruction, George and Topaz, have passed on to kitty Elesian Fields…where there are miceys and voles and very slow squirrels, along with endless skeins of yarn and people to trip at will (and of course, a few fish for George).

The next generation of cats is here now: Smudge, a lovely grey mackerel tabby with a white nose accented to with matching smudges of black; and Ellsworth — all black and very sleek with the loudest purr ever. EVER.

Smudge is following in the yarn-napping tradition. Here is exhibit one: his first snarled skein.  He does his spiritual fathers proud.

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knitting = connecting threads

Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them. This process eventually results in a final product, often a garment.”  (Wikipedia, 2012).

I’ve been knitting — a lot. For years I’ve knit with large needles and gorgeous, worsted to bulky yarns of all descriptions. I’ve made scarves, shawls, shrugs, hats galore, afghans, even leg warmers. I’ve felted handbags and coasters, christmas ornaments and hats.

What I’ve never done before is lace knitting. I’m on my third project, still a tender beginner at this but I realized a small but important connection beyond the magical interlocking of yarn: I’m finally knitting like my mother did.

I remember baby blankets and sacques, reindeer pullovers and fancy shawls, Barbie sweaters and even a delicate white angora shrug. All done in tiny exquisite stitches.  Even, meticulous and delightful to touch. I always thought it was just too slow and painstaking. I was a speed knitting. A hat in 2 hours, a scarf overnight. A baby blanket for next week’s shower — plenty of time!

This year suddenly I wanted to, not conquer, but join in with lace.

It started from the yarn (doesn’t it always start there?) I had fallen in love with the magnificent variety of fingering weight merino being hand- and kettle-dyed. There’s some seriously gorgeous yarn out there these days. I found myself buying smaller and smaller needles to do the fine yarns justice. First I blended with a strand of equally gorgeous mohair/silk blends (the pouf let me keep the needles larger). But they were too loose and didn’t have enough definition. So I stuck with hats of worsted weight merino and browsed endless lace patterns on Ravelry.

Now I’m addicted, and I see my mother’s hands as I knit.

Here are pictures of my first couple of projects. The purple shawlette, in Malabrigo sock 100% merino, was the first. The middle one is waiting to block and I’m not sure where it’s hiding. But number 3 is the lime green Malabrigo laceweight merino. I bought the yarn ages ago, couldn’t think why when I got the color home, but it’s exactly the weight I wanted to experiment with and it’s working up more beautifully than I expected.

The pattern is a travelling one, where each repeat springs out of the last, magically, I think. This is what made me see my mother’s hands. She loved this kind of lace knitting, vines, leaves, ferns, complex (way more than this) and graceful. She would have totally gone coo-coo over today’s luscious yarns with their saturated colors.

Hey Mom, socks are next!