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Winter Fibre Camp

I am incredibly envious of everyone who has or will be attending fibre related fairs and retreats around the world. After looking at the photos on Instagram of people arriving at the wonderful Super Summer KnitTogether, I had the idea to have my own retreat of one, at home. I can’t join in on the fabulous social events but I can use my envy to spur me back into the challenge of learning new skills in the crafts I love.

My Winter Fibre Camp is my self challenge to learn some of those techniques in knitting and spinning that I have always wanted to learn, but been afraid to try for fear of failure. I’m planning on using the Craftsy classes that I have bought and also some of the many books and magazines in my collection. I’d like to also share links to related websites that have info and tutorials and find some fab videos on YouTube to share. Hey, I might even make some of my own! Bonus: I might actually start blogging again!

I’m still nutting out all the details and will post more soon. I want to set goals of what I want to learn and a program or timetable of sorts to keep me on track. This will be fun!

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Tweakyness

There may be a few tweaks and adjustments on my blog over the next week. I want to get my old archives from 2000/2001 blogs added to the site plus do a bit of tweaking here and there. If you see weirdness, that’s probably what it is! I doubt anyone reads this any more after my huge period of absence. Time to build the blog up again, whee!

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Lots of Joy

My fabulous birthday present from my darling husband & parents was an Ashford Joy! I’m still getting used to this wheel and I won’t deny that there have been moments of frustration, but I absolutely love this wheel! The frustration comes from the weighted flywheel which wants to stop in a particular position when you stop treadling. I’m getting used to it – it’s like learning to spin again in a small way.

aje_ashford

There has also been progress on the knitting front! I have finished a pair of fingerless mitts and am on my way to completing my Wingspan Shawl. Photos to come very soon.

Wow, I’ve made two posts in less than a month – wonders will never cease!

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Heyup!

Heyup! I am such a sucky blogger. I’m hoping that this time is a charm! I’m hoping to update regularly, at least a couple of times a week, from now on. Hey, it’s July, my birthday month – I can be optimistic!

Since Christmas I have a new obsession: spinning! Yes, knitting is gateway drug. I watched those on the fabulous knitting podcasts take up spinning and felt more than a little intrigued. The end of last year I gave in and asked for a 2nd hand Ashford Traditional for Christmas. Oh my, I love spinning! I’m still a beginner, but I love the relaxation that comes from using a spinning wheel. The treadling and the drafting, so calming.

There has been some colour spinning, I just haven’t added the photos yet! At the moment my fibre consists of mainly 22 micron, undyed merino tops because it is cheap and convenient to learn with. As my skill grows, my fibre stash will become much more interesting.

My birthday present may be an Ashford Joy! Eeee, hurry up Birthday!

spinning

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Knitting Around

There has been knitting! And studying, but that isn’t very interesting, so back to the knitting! I recently finished my first shawl, based on the pattern ‘The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People‘ which is on Ravelry. The shawl still needs to be blocked, but I am very happy with it! I was going to block it last week, but after unwrapping my new rubber mats and being overwhelmed by the obnoxious smell of them, I put the mats in the garage and will wait a bit. The shawl is on the right in the photo below. Obviously I need to learn the art of photographing knitted items. Hmmm.

Yesterday I cast on for ‘Wingspan‘ another pattern that can be found on Ravelry. I am making this with Schoppel’s Zauberball yarn in the Frische Fische colour (left in the photo). I am using it as my dissertation (long project) for Nerd Wars on Ravelry. The colours of the yarn remind me very much of the Sixth Doctor’s frock coat, and as I am on Team Tardis, that fits perfectly! The Doctor thought his outfit was the “height of sartorial elegance” and I think my shawl will be, too!

More knitting to come!

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Making Whoopies

Whoopie Pies

Now that I have more free time while on holidays, I’ve been doing some extra cooking and baking. Last weekend I made Whoopie Pies for the first time. Verdict? Yumm! I used my lovely little whoopie Pie/Macaron tray from Christmas. I filled each hollow a little too much I think as my pies were kinda mushroom shaped, but that made a nice well for extra filling! And they were so very yummy!

Last night I used the leftover stock from the previous nights chicken, corn and zucchini casserole. I added some roasted butternut pumpkin and a generous amount of spinach, blending the stock and spinach before adding the pumpkin. The stock was creamy from added sour cream but after sitting in the fridge overnight it became even creamier. Some of the creaminess was also from the collagen that came out of the chicken bones – very thick and toothsome, as Nigella Lawson might say. Such a yummy soup! Will make again.

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Of Stock, MacGyver and Flu

Typical, get thinking about posting regularly again and then get the flu badly! The last week has been full of trying to get rid of the flu and laying on the lounge chair watching daytime tv – something I only do when I am sick. Yay for repeat episodes of MacGyver! Did you like MacGyver? I loved it…and pretty much everything else Richard Dean Anderson was in, especially Stargate SG-1. If you also like MacGyver, you might enjoy the MacGyver Lexicon.

I am currently making chicken stock for tonight’s Chicken and Fennel risotto! OmNomNom. I should return to cooking dinner lest I burn it!

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Vulnerability and Shame

Ah, Friday. Best time of the week, I think. You have Friday evening, and then there is still all of Saturday and Sunday to come! I am chilling out watching some music videos on YouTube currently. After buying Darren Hayes‘ recent album, Secret Codes and Battleships, I have also been listening to his older albums and his music from Savage Garden days. So much good music!

Thinking on my lack of updating on here, and, well my lack of most creative pursuits, I realised that what stops me is my wanting to always be perfect. Whatever I do MUST be perfect. No mistakes. But really, that isn’t possible (and when I checked this post for mistakes, I had typed ‘that isn’t impossible’ hmm). I may want to keep everything all tightly wrapped and perfectly formed, but life isn’t like that. And living that way, you miss out on so much of life’s special wonders. There is no way to control everything, you need to learn how to let go of the things you cannot control. To do the best you can with what you have. And by ‘you’, I mean ‘me’!

I’ve watched a couple of Brené Brown’s talks (1 & 2) from TED recently, and her research and her message struck a cord. Shame and vulnerability. For me, they are a big part of my perfectionism. I don’t like to feel vulnerable, which is how I feel if I do things that won’t be/aren’t perfect; plus I feel great shame when my results, or even my actions, are the opposite of perfect. I don’t want to show vulnerability or face my shame. But in reality, I need to do both to move forward, to grow. I am inspired by Brené’s statement that “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage”.

It always seems better to wrap up the shame, the things I perceive to have done wrong or not perfectly and cocoon them into a ‘hidden’ ball. But then they just snowball and the layer around them gets bigger and bigger until they start to hinder future goals. Like a roadblock. A landslide. A wound. A splinter.

But how to you learn to not be so caught up in perfectionism? How do you face the shame and let it go? How do you learn to be vulnerable, but go forward anyway?

Some of my thoughts come from waiting for the results from my cataloguing assessment which was completed on Wednesday just gone. A big part of me wants it to be 100% marks or it is a failure. Another recent assessment saw me obtain 42 out of 50. My first thought was that it equalled failure. Not good enough. Silly, I know. But…

Do you also want to have all your creations be perfect? Or have you learnt how to let go of that need to be perfect? Have you discovered how to let go of shame? Please share! You can email me at alyshajane@gmail.com, if you’d prefer to respond that way!

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Catablogging

I really do need to do something about this blog, don’t I? I’m back to study at Tafe and have been very busy with study and learning. The perfectionist in me demands full marks or as close as possible, which means a lot of study! I enjoy it! Pippin keeps me company and helps me notice the important sections! hehe

Pippin and I, studying Marc21

If anyone is still visiting this blog aside from the Googlebot, what did you or do you, enjoy about my writing and blog? Now that I have my schedule more in hand, I think I will get back to blogging. Would the occasional library related post bore you? Or perhaps those are better elsewhere on a dedicated blog. Hummm.

Hello, again! I should have said that first. How have you been, dear reader?

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Librarian Girl

As you may guess from the title, dear reader, I have decided to complete my Library and Information Studies course ( I may have previously alluded to this). I had gone back to web design for a year but found my heart just wasn’t in it and I was completely sick of demanding, rude clients who thought they could take as long as they wanted to pay invoices. Do not want! Some of my current subjects are Cataloguing, Acquisitions, Databases and Information Research. Those are not the exact class titles, but sum up each class quite nicely. When I finish, I would love to find work in the Cataloguing/Archival areas.

Now that design can be for fun, I’m slowly starting to find my creative spirit again, particularly in terms of my own sites. This site will likely change a bit, every now and then, as I tweak the design and get it to look just so. In working on this site, I was browsing through my archives and discovered that on March 20, I will have been blogging for twelve years! There have been a few pauses in there, but hey – I’m still one of the early bloggers from before Blogger itself and even the ability to post a comment on a blog! That dates me a bit, too!

With some travel time each week, I’ve gone back to working my way through The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m almost up to the end of the second book; no spoilers, please! It is amazing how fast time flies once I start reading, I’ve almost missed my stop a couple of times.

I shall post a few photos next post; some of the Kittens who are growing in leaps and bounds (or should that be fluff and meows?) and also some general snaps, including some of my latest stitching project. Mmmm stitching, I think I shall do some tonight!

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Decorating Time!

With it getting close to Christmas, I’ve been thinking about decorations, menus and traditions. Do you have special things that you always do at this time of the year? About now (or sometimes earlier in November) my Cliff Richard music comes out, or rather, my Christmas playlist gets a workout on iTunes. I do have some other Christmas music (including classics from Bing Crosby and co) but my Cliff ones are the only ones on iTunes at the moment. I must dig out my other CDs tomorrow. My current favourite is Cliff’s version of ‘Let it Snow’:

For one reason and another we haven’t put the tree up for a couple of years. I would love to have a tree this year but am worried about the kittens hurting themselves. Lights, baubles, tinsel, tree falling and associated risks. I’ve been toying with the idea of weighing the tree down, so it can’t tip over when climbed (the husbitect has a brilliant plan for tree safety) and making some felt decorations filled with catnip. If the kittens get them – no harm done!

If you also have kittens and cats, here is a page all about safety for felines at Christmas.

I have some vintage and breakable ornaments I’d love to decorate with, but that seems too risky. At least this year. Any ideas on how to use fragile ornaments safely, and out of kitten reach? They can jump up quite high now, so putting a small tree on a high shelf may not work. Oh! Oh! I think I may have it, dear reader. As I was writing this, I thought of our glass display cabinet – surely I can display the fragile ornaments in there. Perhaps in baskets or bowls?

How about movies, do you have movies that you watch every year, at this time? The first that comes to mind for me, is probably one of the most commonly suggested Christmas movies; ‘It’s A Wonderful Life‘. I think one of my absolute favourites, however, is ‘While You Were Sleeping‘. Ohhhhh, I adore that movie! I’ve lost track of how many times I have watched it – it can never be too many times!

I also enjoy those classic movies from Rankin and Bass. You know the ones; ‘The Year Without Santa Claus’, ‘Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer’, ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’. Such adorable puppetry and stop-motion animation. I think I am the only fan around here, so I will likely be watching them on my own, this year. The Kittens will join me!

Now, speaking of Christmas movies, there are two that I saw many years ago, that I can’t find now. The first was about a Snow Goose, and was very 70s with its design and script. It was American, and I think it had a group of male singers who were very ‘Jackson 5′ in style. Ring any bells?

The second is more vague (yeah, I can be even more vague than above!) and was about a Christmas tree. I think its title was something like ‘The Little Christmas Tree’. The tree in question was sad because it was overlooked, and really wanted to be a family’s special tree. I can picture the final-ish scene showing the tree all decorated with lights and baubles. Do you remember that one? It may have been a book, but I’m sure it was a movie, too.

If you can point to information about either movie, you will be a friend for life!

Please do share your traditions with me, dear readers. It doesn’t have to be ‘Christmas’ related – anything that is a special tradition for you, at this time of year. I love learning about other traditions and experiences. Gosh, one thing I have done once, but want to MAKE a personal tradition, is reading Doctor Who books, while slowly savouring toffee sweeties. It was a very hot December that year, and I remember spending much of the end of December savouring my gifted tin of sweets, as I savoured each page of my new Doctor Who novels. See – doesn’t have to be even remotely Christmas related!

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Catnap!

Have you seen the latest Simon’s Cat video? It is titled ‘Catnap’ and you can watch it below! I really enjoy Simon Tofield’s work, he captures Cat attitudes and mannerisms perfectly. My Husbitect bought us the last couple of books in the series plus one of the plushies. I may have ‘Squeed’ when I saw it! If you had not heard of Simon’s Cat before, head over to the official site. You can watch the videos (including the new ‘How to Draw’ series), buy the books and more.