Friday, December 31, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - 2010 Year End Wrap Up

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday, the New Year's Edition!  This is the place where Fiber Artists come together once a week to share their adventures in Fiber Arts so...what are you waiting for?  Join in and start sharing. If you blog then link your post here and if you just enjoy reading the blogs then share your adventures in the comment section. Most of all, please comment on the blogs you visit.  Give feedback...bloggers love feedback!


This week I am going to share the last of the Christmas gifts that I made but couldn't post until the gifts were given.  I am completely amazed at the transformation I've made in the last year with my skills (yes, I'm patting myself on my back).  A year ago I would cry when I knitted because it released so many painful emotions and now I knit with enjoyment.  My spinning, knitting, dyeing and felting skills have blossomed into a fiber arts passion that can only be fueled with more knowledge and fiber.  It's hard to believe that I didn't have any of those skills two years ago.  Really!  I learned to knit in February 2009 and it was late April 2009 before I even touched a drop spindle.  Yikes!  So you see what I mean when I say I've come a long ways.  As far as fiber arts goes, 2010 was an amazing year for me and I am looking forward to what 2011 will bring. Oh, Santa brought the family a Cricket loom so I can promise posts about weaving in the near future.

Now to share the last two gifts I created.  The first is a felted messenger bag that I made for my niece.  Her favorite color is purple so I created this purple and black  bag.  It's more of a purse than a messenger bag but I left the strap nice and long to go over the shoulder to hip.  I added a braid of handspun yarn wrapped around the felted strap for additional texture.  I really liked this purse and want to make another one like it because it really is sassy.  She also got a pair of Alpaca socks and a felted bracelet that another Alpaca owner made using Alpaca and recycled leather.

Finally, as promised, if an item wasn't finished I said I would let the recipient pet the yarn and WIP and sure enough, my aunt was able to touch her soon to be finished cowl when we had our family gathering.  It's using the Key to Warmth Pattern that I gave away in the contest last week.  I finished it on Tuesday so I was only a few days past Christmas and I promised I would give it to her before the year ended so guess who I'll be visiting today.  I am very impressed with myself (again) for finishing this so quickly.  It was a fun knit and even though I own one that KellyJ knitted for me now I want another one in another color. Yikes!  It really is an addictive pattern.  I used an Elle Rae Merino/Camel yarn for the base color in black then paired it with a handspun yarn I created at Fiber Expo in October from one of the Art Batts of Wonder I sell.  The vendor stalled next to me at the show insisted that I keep the yarn as a single and I wasn't feeling it because I don't knit with singles but when deciding what yarn to use for this project, it called out to me.  I was delighted how well it knitted up and the clarity of color because of it being a single.  Now I wouldn't consider making a wearable garment out of 100% Alpaca singles due to the structure but having it as an accent yarn I felt pretty good about knitting it up.  I may have to borrow the cowl back from my aunt one day because it really is gorgeous and the photos don't do it justice.  Also, you need to get your hands on it.  Squishy soft and delightful.  I hope she wears it a lot.

Now that the Christmas knitting is over, I shall take some time to spin more.  I've been neglectful to my wheel this last month and I miss the rhythm of the treadle and drafting.  May you end 2010 on a wonderful high note and begin 2011 the same way.  I will stay home with my family and spin, knit, weave and be merry.  Now, what were your adventures in Fiber Arts this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Who's Yard Is It?

 It's Munchkin's Yard but...
the cat's name isn't Munchkin, it's Friend.  
Munchkin and Lego are the dogs barking at the barn cat.  
I think we may need to rename the yard.


 Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas from Vietnam

Many years ago long before I was a twinkle in my father's eyes, he served our country in Air Force during Vietnam War.  During his time in Vietnam, he sent gifts back home to his family for Christmas and one of them was finally received today.  Sister Bear got a silk kimono that her Papa had bought long before he knew he would ever have a beautiful granddaughter.  He bought it for his sister, Janet, when she was in high school living back home and unfortunately thought his younger sister was much smaller than she really was so when my Aunt Janet received it, it was way too small for her to wear.  She kept that gift, in its original box, for all of these years (over forty years) because her brother had given her something special.  She never knew what she would do with it and ended up not having a daughter of her own.
This year my aunt was cleaning her house and came across that box and decided that Sister Bear was old enough (and the right size) to appreciate this gift from her Papa.  Aunt Janet waited until all the rest of the family members had left our get-together to sit down with just me and Sister Bear and told us the story of this gift and the importance of it.  I'm not sure Sister Bear totally gets it but I do.  It's hanging now to get the creases out.  I'm not sure how to clean it since it's been in a box since 1968 or so but this gift from my aunt and my dad is a wonderful surprise to be cherished.

 

In a few weeks or even a month, Sister Bear is going to forget most of what she received for Christmas as most children do but this gift and the beautiful story will forever be remembered.  She carefully hung it up in her room while her other Christmas gift clothes are in a pile on the floor and it's right where she can see it.  She didn't say too much as Aunt Janet gave her the gift.  How could she as both Aunt Janet and her mother were sniffling with eyes full of tears?  She will in another day or so because that it her way.  As our family adjusts to Dad not being here with us, this gift was a nice way to remember and share positive stories and memories about a wonderful man instead of feeling sad that he is gone.

In other Very Merry Christmas gift giving memories, here are a few of the recipients of my knitting who seemed pleased with their gifts.  The cowl I've been secretely knitting for my aunt is on it's last pattern repeat so I promised her it would be finished and blocked before New Year's Eve.  Argh!  I am taking a break from knitting after I finish this cowl because I have knitter's arm again but it was totally worth it to see all the rock star projects I finished and to see the happy recipients.

My brother has found a new way to wear the All Keyed Up Kelly J hat to make it totally masculine and Allison finally got her Sassy Angora Beret which, I hope, she liked.  If not...I can't worry about the not now, can I?  I'm taking a break from hats because I've knitted way too many of them in the last few months.  I'm on a cowl kick as soon as my arm feels better but in the meantime...my spinning wheel is feeling neglected.  Really, I woke up the other night and I swear it was standing at the foot end of my bed saying, "Feed me fiber, Seymour!"

So...here's hoping you had a wonderfully festive family gathering with none of the bahumbug's of Christmas.

Oh, I already contacted the winner of the Fiber Arts Friday give-away.  If you read the comments then you know who the winner is or...I already contacted you.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Christmas Give Away

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday, the Christmas Edition!  This is the place where Fiber Artists come together once a week to share their adventures in Fiber Arts so...what are you waiting for?  Join in and start sharing. If you blog then link your post here and if you just enjoy reading the blogs then share your adventures in the comment section. Most of all, please comment on the blogs you visit.  Give feedback...bloggers love feedback!
 KellyJ and the WonderWhyGal modeling the Key to Warmth Cowl
Photograph Courtesy of Beth Pulsipher Photography
Today is Christmas Eve and many Fiber Artists are hustling and bustling to finish their final touches on their homemade gifts.  Me?  Well, what's done is done and what isn't won't be.  Yeah, say that five times fast.  In the spirit of Christmas I have a gift for you.  In the last few weeks I have been posting photos of the various hats I've knitted using KellyJ's All Keyed Up Pattern which I truly love.  For anyone who is interested in learning colorwork but is intimidated, this is the pattern to start with and it's rather addictive.  She knit me my beautiful cowl and has been a maniac knitting the cowl for the ladies who work at her yarn store, Your Local Yarn Shop.  Now there are a bunch of us here in Michigan wearing this sassy design using a variety of yarns and colors.  I have to admit, I'm partial to mine because it uses my handspun yarn.
 Lanette, Melissa and Linda all modeling their Key to Warmth cowls.
Photos courtesy of Your Local Yarn Shop FaceBook Page

So...I am offering this pattern, The Key to Warmth Cowl, as a give away for you today.  All you have to do is leave a comment with a way to contact you.  I'll go one better, leave a colorway you would love to knit this cowl in and you might be surprised to have some of my yarn included in the gift. Did you think I was going to knit this for you?  Obviously you haven't been reading my blog long enough then (said with a smile and a giggle). Really?  I'm a slow knitter, remember. Oh, I will draw the lucky winner by random number this Sunday.  So, Merry Christmas to everyone.  Wishing you a wonderful day with your families and hopefully some time to knit, spin, weave, felt, sew, etc.  Now, what adventures have you had in Fiber Arts this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Santa Claus

Happy "Wordless" Wednesday!  
I took Sister Bear and Brother Bear to the Holiday Nights at Binder Park Zoo this week where they enjoyed making crafts, visiting animals, unlimited carousel ride and visiting with Santa.  My kids still believe in Santa and I want them to enjoy the magic of the holiday for as long as possible.  A friend of theirs whispered to me that she already told her Mom and Dad that she didn't believe and it broke my heart.  There is an innocence lost when the excitement of waking up Christmas morning to see if Santa listened to your wishes is gone. 

I have taught my children about the true spirit of giving and we practice that year around.  They know the holidays are more than just receiving gifts.  They have been raised to understand the greatest gift is giving and not receiving and I have to admit that one of my gifts from them is watching their excitement as they tell Santa their deepest wishes knowing that I may have made a couple of them come true.  I am tickled to see them sneak their handmade gifts into my stocking even though I helped them make the gift not minutes before.  I want them to believe in the magic of Christmas because as we grow older our minds focus on the hustle and bustle and the true meaning of the holiday is gone.  They were still excited to see Santa and I was happy.  I have to admit that the line for the balloon clown was longer than the line to see Santa and that made me sad...so I went over and chatted with him a bit while the kids waited for their balloon animal.  Well, I've provided yet another long winded Wordless Wednesday.  Merry Christmas to all...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Angel Got His Wings...

Did you know every time a person registers to be an Organ Donor an Angel gets his wings?  You don't believe me, do you?  You should because I know of a bunch of organ transplant recipients who will tell you about their angel.

Today I attended a Memorial Service for my dear friend, Lenny.  I know I paid a tribute to him the other day but...I wanted to share a few more thoughts.  I actually looked forward to the visitation.  I know that sounds strange but I haven't been able to attend the meetings of my Transplant Support Group in a long time because that Saturday always conflicts with other happenings in our life.  With the meetings being an hour away, it's not easy to just pop in but, I digress.  I looked forward to the memorial because I want to say hello to his family (some I've only ever heard about but never met) and I want to see some dear friends from our support group.

You see, the Transplant Support Group I belong it is for people who have had an organ transplant, are waiting for a transplant, are a supporter of a transplant patient or are a donor family member.  My friend, Bill, still attends the meetings even though we lost his amazing wife a few years ago.  He is still out there promoting the amazing gift his family experienced and he goes there because we all loved his wife and he knows we understand when he needs support.

When I walked into the memorial service the first people I saw were friends from the UofM Transplant Support Group that my Dad also belonged to.  Many of them didn't hear about Dad's death until long after his memorial and they only knew me by my maiden name (because we've been attending the meetings that long) and didn't know how to reach me.  Well, now they know that I'm the Wonder Why Gal and that I'm all about Fiber Arts and Alpacas.  We shared stories about Dad, Lenny and our times together at the National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games.  Really, if you ever get an opportunity to attend these games, you should.  You will have a better respect for living life to its fullest. 

I had so many wonderful hugs given to me today and I gave so many too.  You don't understand (or maybe you do) what the bond is for families that have been touched by the Gift of Life.  There were so many lung transplant recipients there today which made me happy.  I looked around the room as family members and friends shared stories of Lenny and my heart swelled with love.  Every person had a different variation on the same story...Lenny was an Angel.  Just a few days ago, I told you the same thing.  A room full of people sharing the same story of a man who was truly giving and always put others first. I didn't feel sad being at the service.  I felt the need to celebrate my friend's love of life so I did.  It's actually one of the healthier attitude moments I've had in a long time.  Today I celebrated my friend who loved life and always put others first and it felt wonderful.



Dear Lenny-
You were a good egg!  Thank you for all of the memories and laughs.  You were a friend to our whole family and a treasure to our support group.  I could say so much more but will limit myself to this,  rest in peace and know you were loved.


Love, Andrea

I can't express to you how much the Gift of Life has meant to me or my family.  For someone who always has something to say, I struggle to put into words what it meant to have all those extra years with my dad or to meet amazing people like Lenny.  No matter how sad or dark I might feel, there are people out there struggling to live and sometimes they don't live long enough or have the strength to receive the Gift of Life.  I am so fortunate to know so many people who have.

I go by many titles in my life but I will forever be proud to say that I'm the daughter of a Double Lung Transplant Recipient and that I am a Registered Organ Donor.  Maybe it's because it's Christmas time and that darn, It's a Wonderful Life plays on loop or maybe because Lenny really was a living angel put here on earth to give strength and exemplify strength but there was a theme today and this week and I swear, I did hear a bell (or few) ring.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The week before Christmas and down at the farm

 











Twas the week before Christmas 
and down at the farm
The knitting was frantic while
The Alpacas ate hay in the barn.

The felted stocking were still drying
So was the freshly washed fleece
While the little Bears were spying
In search of their Christmas treats.

The Fiber Artist had patterns to knit,
Yarns to spin, gifts to felt and so much more
Yet the clock worked against her
And her knitting arms were sore.

When out in the barn there rose such a clatter
She sprang from her knitting to see what was the matter.
Then what to her wondering ears did appear
But Six Alpaca attempting to sing Christmas Cheer.

At first it sounded like only humming
Of course, they're Alpacas, that's what they do.
Yet their sounds created a sense of peace and love
The Fiber Artist had searching for all year.

She whipped off her gloves and crouched down in a stall
Where she received Alpaca kisses from Sexy Rexy.
And was sniffed by all.
Alpacas are herd animals which should remind each one of us
Spending time with loved ones is the Spirit of Christmas.

So the Fiber Artist returned to the house
Put away her knitting and felting
Gave hugs to her Bears
and spent the remainder of the weekend with her family.

She heard the message of Christmas, loud and clear
That it all started in a manger on a cold winter night.
So why not continue in an Alpaca Barn 
With humming, family and moonlight.

So Merry Christmas to all
You may not get knitted gifts this year
But know that my intentions were good
And I've finally found Christmas Cheer!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Knitted Gift Giving

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  This is the place where Fiber Artists come together once a week to share their adventures in Fiber Arts so...what are you waiting for?  Join in and start sharing. If you blog then link your post here and if you just enjoy reading the blogs then share your adventures in the comment section. Most of all, please comment on the blogs you visit.  Give feedback...bloggers love feedback! 

This week I've been busy working on knitting Christmas gifts for my family.  Now I'm in a pickle because some of them have actually started to read my blog which means they might figure out they are getting for Christmas.

I've also run into another problem because everything I knit for myself ends up being gifted to someone else (which means more gifts to give, right?).  It does support my theory that any gift you give should be one that you would want to receive yourself yet every day I wear my Alpaca handknit handspun hat that Holly B made me last year (which is also really cool that she gave me such a great gift especially since I keep giving my knits away).  This hat, another great knit from the KellyJ All Keyed Up Pattern, used my handspun yarn from an amazing Alpaca named Whirlwind and a great Ella Rae yarn that is a Camel/Merino blend that I purchased at Your Local Yarn Shop.  Now, the Alpaca, Camel, Merino mix is totally amazing and it feels great.  I would easily keep this hat for myself but...if all goes good, I will be wrapping it up for ______________.

I had planned on casting on some fingerless mitts for _________but I'm just not in the mood to knit them so I shall cast on a cowl I've been wanting to knit.  Even though I really want it for myself, I'm sure it will find a home with someone I love. Now, my spinning wheel is going to stay lonely for another week or so because I really need to finish knitting the rest of my Christmas gifts. This Mini Mosiac Ornament is also a great gift idea but I have a feeling it will stay on my tree as a gift to my family.  I did create a Secret Santa gift for this pattern where I purchased the pattern then gave the recipient the required yardage of my handspun yarn plus the bulb.  Of course it was going to a knitter...and isn't the knitting part of the fun?  Oh yeah, I'm also the worst Secret Santa giver either because I sit bouncing off my seat as they open their gift then keep saying, "There's more!  Theres' More!" Speaking of, "There's more" I had better get back to knitting because Christmas is only a week away. So, what adventures in Fiber Arts did you have you had this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where's My Clarence?

I was having a George Bailey moment yesterday.  Yes, I was wondering ""What if I had never been born".  Here I thought I was doing great but my depression or sadness or whatever you want to call it got the best of me.  Yeah, my little Bears let me know in a bazillion different ways why I am needed here but when you feel beaten, broken and like the whole world is against you, your mind tends to play games.


It's a Wonderful Life is not my favorite Christmas movie nor does it make the top ten but I find myself drawn to it. My "Clarence the Angel" didn't appear to show me what life would have been like if I hadn't been born because he didn't need to.  Instead, my "Clarence" came in a different form today.  You see, no matter how hard you think life is at times, it can always be worse (how's that for cup half empty?) 

I have my health (sort of) and I have my family which means I have the most precious gift I could possibly wish for.  Anyways, today I found out that my dear friend, Lenny, died in Hospice care on Monday.  He was a lung transplant recipient, like my Dad, and he meant the world to me.  Lenny had a single lung transplant at U of M many years ago and he was a wonderful friend to my Dad.  We were both part of the same Transplant Support Group at Allegiance Hospital in Jackson and I was honored to be a part of both the 2006 and 2008 Team Michigan for National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games with Lenny. He was even my date for the 25 Year Club Cruise.  My children adored him too.  They always looked forward to our Transplant Support Group meetings so they could visit with Len.  He only had one hand due to a work injury.  His other hand was a metal claw which the kids thought was rock star awesome and he totally fed them a fun line of bull which only instigated the questions.

I always gave Len a rough time because he drank way too much coffee and I always told him that his Kidney's were going to fail him and not his lung.  The funny thing is that his transplanted lung isn't what failed him.  That donated lung remained strong.  His native lung (as he called it) decided it didn't want to keep up.  I'm going to miss him.  I would call him periodically to check in and see how he was doing.  For the longest time when I would call, he was always concerned that I was calling to tell him something bad about Dad's health when I was just calling to let him know that I cared.  He was an inspiration to the transplant process, organ donation awareness and as a friend. 

I woke up today in a different frame of mind.  My angel, whom I call Rex, must have visited me in a dream because he was on my mind as I woke.  He reminded me that no matter how beaten down you feel that you must still put on that smile and fight away the sorrow.  He reminded me that I can find inspiration in the smallest acts and that no matter what, I am loved. He told me I'm a fighter and a hard worker and things will work out...they have too!  Really, that Dad of mine has found a way to communicate from beyond (or else I'm really going mental).   Little did I know that his buddy, Lenny, had joined him already. I can only imagine what the female angels are feeling right now with those two on the prowl (yes, inside joke but loving none-the-less).

So, Lenny, I know you will get your wings.  There is no doubt in my heart.  You have already been an angel here on earth.  Your smile, jokes and hugs will be missed.   For over Ten Years, Lenny enjoyed the Gift of Life.  Organ Donation saved his life and also brought him into mine.

Give So Others Can Live, Register to Be An Organ Donor Today.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Hogwarts Express

Brother Bear wanted to show off our Christmas Train which I thought we named the Polar Express but Brother Bear informed us that it was the Hogwart's Express. 

So...off to Platform 9 3/4
Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

What do Bears do in the Winter?  They hibernate, of course.  Ok, so my Bears don't understand the whole rest and relaxation idea but if they are outside building snowman then I can knit inside while watching them through the window. I can surely make up for their lack of hibernation, can't I?  No?  Of course not!  Too many chores like taking care of the Wonder Herd and they have decided that they weren't leaving the protection of the barn so the last two days I've had lots of under the overhang cleanup and my once clean stall mats are now being soiled. (whoa, get of load of that last sentence...oh well, I'm leaving it as is) I have to admit, if I were an Alpaca, I wouldn't want to use the outhouse either.  So...enjoy my Icy Winter Wonderland collage. 
We went through lots of hot cocoa and marshmallows as we played outside and then rested inside with movie marathons.  I even accomplished some knitting but the best part was enjoying the Bears enjoying the snow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy 10th Birthday, Sister Bear

Ten years ago, today, I learned what being a mother meant. You are my angel, little bear. 
Happy 10th Birthday, Sister Bear!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - All Keyed Up

 Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  This is the place to share your adventures in Fiber Arts and also learn from others who love to blog about Fiber Arts so...what are you waiting for?  Join in and share with Fiber Arts Friday!  This week I'm All Keyed Up!  I've been on a major knitting streak and spinning streak and felting streak.  Ok, ok, you got me!  I'm a Fiber Addict.  Seriously, I've completed three knitted hats in one week.  Two of the hats I knitted I cast on this week.  That's a major accomplishment for me.

I knitted the All Keyed Up hat by KellyJ using my handspun and Lamb's Pride and it is rock star with the perfect blend of my Alpaca and the Mohair/Wool Combo.  I am keeping this hat for myself.  Oh, wait?  You love the hat?  Well, you are in luck because I will be selling the pattern at the Buy Local Art and Gift Fair tomorrow along with the pattern for the matching mittens and cowl.  KellyJ used some of my handspun and knitted the cowl (in the time it took me to knit the hat) so that I'd have another display of what her amazing pattern and my wonderful yarn make together.  I really do love this pattern because it lets everyone think I know what I'm doing with colorwork when really I don't.

My beautiful Sister Bear has taken my Vampire Knits Werewolf hat and now owns it.  Apparently, she wears it much better than her mother.

Finally, here are some of the purses I felted this week. I will have them to sell tomorrow too.  Aren't they amazing?  Of course they are.



Now, share your adventures in Fiber Arts!

Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Cranes, Fly South

 The other day as I was driving back to the farm, I had to stop at the side of the road.  In a neighbors field, there were at least 40 cranes just resting.  Didn't they know it's snowing?  Well, as I stepped forward a wee bit closer, I scared them.  oops!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens...

November was a sad reflective month for me.  It was full of pain, sorrow and anger as I finally came to terms with my grief over losing Dad...and I finally have.  Apparently I may have lost a supposed friend or two, at least according to the silent treatment I'm getting, but I can't control what or how other people act or react.  Here I am, in December, and I am now ready to focus on what I can control and what I have rather than what I've lost or never had.  

I am constantly saying my mantra, "I'm Postive! I'm Strong! Gosh darn it, I'm an Awesome Alpaca Farming, Zombie Slaying Fiber Artist!"  I have my children saying a positive affirmation every morning too. Not the same one, obviously, but their own.  Why?  We are saying this because someone has to believe in us.  Someone has to believe in me and I want my children to believe in themselves.  We hear so much negativity throughout the day.  "I can't!"  "Don't!"  "You Shouldn't"  "NO!" 
 Grumpy, Brother Bear and Sister Bear decorating the tree
There is enough self-doubt inside of me that I don't need someone else adding too it so...I'm starting each day with positive and it's hard.  It's hard to change behavior, especially the negative.  It's hard to think before speaking.  It's hard not react to every situation but I need to take "it's hard" out of my vocabulary.  I need to take the negative out.  I need to show my children how to handle situations in a positive way.    Stress should not rule our lives.  Look at me!  I've let stress fill me so full that I broke and now my thyroid is paying for it. I need to find peace.  I need to find that peaceful place inside of me. 

I'm finally eating healthy for the first time in my life.  My life that revolved around food now revolves around life.  When I get sad I can no longer reach for comfort foods.  Does this cause me to lash out in anger?  Sometimes.  Those who truly know what I've been going through understand that my crutch is no longer there.  I'm on a journey to finding myself.  There are things that I know I must change and thankfully, I have support from my family and a few friends who understand that I am having irrational moments but those are the same people who talk to me about it.  Those are the people who help show me perspective on how to change and find enlightenment.  With everything going on this last year, I've reached this point with no anti-depressants and no therapy.  Should I have had one, either or both?  Maybe but due to other circumstances that I can't control, I wasn't able to so this road has been rocky.  Anyone who has known me also knows that I don't like taking rocky roads or the road less traveled, intentionally.  I am now in unknown territory and it scares me to death.  I don't know what to expect from day to day but I now know that I will wake up with a positive attitude ready to face the day.   I won't let myself down.  I won't let my Bears down.  I will be positive and strong.  I will ask for help when needed.  I am learning that I can't do everything myself and I do need help. 

One of my favorite songs is My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music and I wake up every day thinking about my favorite things because that is what will motivate me to be positive.  That is what will remind me not to give up or give in.  I am truly sorry if I've said or done something that has upset some people but I am also willing to say that I am trying to evolve and mature.  I will make mistakes but I will always be honest and speak from the heart (even when I should keep my mouth shut).

Anyways, I am doing the best to be the best person I can be and sometimes I will mess up but I intend to pick myself up and try again.  I am looking for the positive in everything.  I need to look for the positive. When I start to doubt myself, I've been starting to list the things that make me happy and motivate me to be strong. These are a few of my favorite things:

Sister Bear's giggles and laughter
Brother Bear's smile and giggles
Hugs from my Brother Bear and Sister Bear
Grumpy Bear
Quiet time reading a book with my Bears
Family Time
The hum from my Alpacas
The gentle clucking and nose kisses from Sexy Rexy or Kaboom (my Alpacas)
My Miniature Schnauzers trying to drink my coffee in the morning
Spinning yarn on my Lendrum
Watching the Bears play "Tag, You're it!" instead of just Tag.
Listening to Brother Bear play in his room making character noises for his toys
Sister Bear's stories
Silver White Winters that melt into Spring
These are a few of my favorite things...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

After spending forever knitting the Sassy Angora Beret for my niece, I needed a confidence hat.  I don't know why that beret got to me.  I love Angora and I love berets but the combo of both just punched me hard.  I'm going to knit that darn hat again but definately not in Angora.  Anyways, I've been wanting to knit the wolf hat from Vampire Knits for quite some time and thought I'd cast on because we always need another UFO (unfinish object) in our queue but something strange happened.  I knitted the hat in a day.  Holy Paca Poo!  I haven't completed a one day project in ages and that hat was exactly what I needed to get my knitting back into gear.

I intended to knit the hat for myself since it's out of my handspun but I have a couple of bears that have been circling it.  I guess that's what I get for letting them model it for photos.  This was the first hat that I added ear flaps on too.  I've very excited about that because I did it all by myself with no help.  The sewn on ears weren't quite what I wanted but...still doesn't look bad.

This afternoon I cast on another KellyJ All Keyed Up hat and I'm already on my second repeat.  I even got some spinning done.  Where did this new energy come from?  Well, two more hats and a pair of fingerless mitts and I'll have my holiday knitting complete so I can work on two cowls plus that sweater which has been in time out for awhile...maybe I don't want to be too industrious.  Yeah, I do!

Oh yeah, here's the beret...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Memories of Dad

These are the moments that I will forever cherish. 

Dad,
I know that you are at peace and no longer struggling to breath.  I miss your laughter, your smile, your support and your love.  I even miss your humor. I miss your phone calls and our daily conversations. I have been through a lot of soul searching the last few weeks and I am ready to be at peace. I can no longer wonder what if or why because it's not healthy for me. I need to be strong for myself and my family.  I will still cry and I will always remember but...I am ready to let go of the pain that knots in my stomach and tears my heart apart every day.  I can't bring you back but I will keep the memory of you alive for everyone to know what an amazing person and father you were.  Today will not be about grieving because I have spent the last year grieving and finding no relief so today will be about celebrating your life.  I will give your grandchildren an extra bunch of hugs and read to them extra long.  I will share your stories and be true to your loving spirit.  Most of all, I will love my family and show that love to them.  This you taught me...love.  Be at peace, Dad, and I promise that I will do my best to be at peace too.

Love,
Andrea