January 26, 2012
Week 4: A Big Down Comforter!
This week was simple. There were no massive emotional fireworks, no sentimental mooning around, no digging deep in order to find the courage to purge. It was all about simplicity.
Several years ago, when my Father-in-Law worked for Tempur-Pedic, we were able to get a fantastic deal on a California King sized adjustable Tempur-Pedic bed. We call it our “old people” bed because we have a remote that adjusts the head and feet up and down to whatever setting you desire; just like that bed on TV that allows the “old people” to get in and out more easily. I should be embarrassed to have an “old person” bed. Except that it kicks ass. And I can say I have a remote for my bed. Conjures up all kinds of crazy images, huh? It does have a massage feature…..
Anyway, the thing about Tempur-Pedic beds is that they run hot. I figured that would be a blessing considering my feet never seem to thaw out all winter long and I have been known to wear sweatshirts on a 70 degree summer afternoon. In a word, I’m cold all the time. That first winter we had it we put on the big down comforter and snuggled up underneath the covers, only to find it really did run hot and we were sweltering. Being too hot at night is nearly as miserable as being too cold. So we bought a new comforter that was a bit lighter and pretty soon I slept like Goldilocks – just right. But I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the old comforter. Maybe we’d have a crushing winter hurricane and need to huddle under it for warmth someday. You never know. But after several years of never once needing that other, heavier, down comforter, I knew it was over. This week we gifted it to my Mother-in-Law and her husband. Things have been a bit tight for them this winter and I know they are keeping the thermostat low to save on energy bills. They were thrilled to get it and we were thrilled to help out. Now everyone is snuggly warm at night! If only every week could be this easy……
Little Red Bicycle Mini-Skein Club - December 2011
Here’s a little eye-candy just to remind you that yes, this is still primarily (supposed to be) a knitting blog. I know there’s been a scarcity on that subject here lately and I feel pretty bad about that. I’m still finding it really difficult to blog even the once a week I promised to do at this point, so Thinning The Nest seems to get all the focus. But I hope that can change sometime in the coming months. I’ve been knitting, really I have! I just need to find some time to talk about it. Don’t give up on me yet! I’ll get there, I know I will :)
January 19, 2012
Week 3: A bunch of random crap!
The last week has been amazingly, stressfully busy. We decided to re-finance our home and that means some dude has to come through here, take a bunch of photos, peer through the mess of toddler toys, paraphernalia of half a dozen hobbies, wear and tear of 12 years and 2.5 dogs, and ultimately decide if we just lost our pants on a $550 appraisal or if we will be saving ourselves $200 a month. Can you say panic attack? This is probably a non-issue for normal people. You know, people with style, no yarn hoarder in residence, and a housekeeper. But man, I cannot wait until this is over and done with! Tequila is ready and waiting. Wait, I’d better have one of those right now….
With all that in mind, I’m afraid this week’s Thinning The Nest is a bit weak. Yes we did throw out about 30 lbs. of recyclables (hooray for trash day coinciding with the clean out!), and about 6 huge garbage bags of stuff, but I don’t feel right counting that since it was mostly R. Darling’s stuff. Though we are partners in crime in getting our act together this year, I know that I need to make more of an effort than I have so far and my goal in getting rid of one thing each week was to force myself to come to terms with my own piles of crap.
So this week I did get rid of a couple small things. I chucked out a spent glass candle holder from Bath & Body Works that I was ridiculously planning to repurpose into either a pencil cup or a nifty vase. It was super cute; orange with white etched out dots. I have a thing for stuff with dots on it. But when you used the candle up 3 years ago and the stupid candle holder is still waiting around to be cleaned out and put to a good use, you start to think it’s probably never going to happen. I grew up in a family that never threw anything out. “I can use that for (insert super useful household item here)”, was our motto. Most of the time that never happened. So I’m giving it up, even if it’s like pulling teeth to throw something out that’s useful. I doubt I’ll even miss it. I just had to go through the exercise of telling myself that, and really believing it, before I could let go.
I also tossed out my trusty BedBug. I bought this at a
Crap Craft Fair in Pullman when I used to live there. It kept my toes toasty on many a cold, snowy night, with R. Darling 385 miles away. I thought at one point that I’d sew oodles of these and make lots of money and live in my pajamas in a house on the beach for the rest of my life. Or at least pay my bills. And then the Jack Russell met the BedBug. And they did not mix. The Jack (unsurprisingly) won the tussle and poor BedBug has some pretty deep teeth marks to show for the encounter. I admit. It was hard to let go. I absolutely do not know why. Maybe it just reminded me of my life in Pullman? This must be where those psychologists they always employ on “Hoarders” come in to tell me that I am certifiably nutso. Whatever the reason I couldn’t let go, it is now on its way to the garbage can. Any minute now. No really. Right.Now.
Another one of my (many) issues with stashing things is that I absolutely cannot bring myself to use things that are “too nice”. This includes yarn, beauty products, clothing, sometimes even food. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. I’m not getting any younger. I could die tomorrow. And then that something that’s “too nice” for every day would just be wasted. I need to remind myself that if I really love something, chances are I can buy more of it if I really want to. But I’ll never know how nice (or not nice – I’ve been sadly surprised on this before) something is if I never use it. Some things definitely have an expiration.
One of the things I loved about the Hazel Knits Sock Club was the fantastic swag Wendee always included in her packages. A couple years back she included this Bee Bar from Honey House Naturals. It has been sitting in my nightstand for a really long time now and I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. I’m not much of a lotion person when it comes to my hands. I hate that goopy greasy feeling and I wash my hands about a billion and one times a day so it seems sort of pointless. But wintertime always wreaks havoc on my hands and I find myself needing to at least apply it before bed to stave off real damage. This week that hasn’t been enough. So I brought the Bee Bar into the kitchen and every once in a while, would put a little across my rough, cracked knuckles. It wasn’t greasy and smelled fantastic. Knittymunchkin kept holding his knuckles out for some too – it was super cute :) I’m happy I’m finally using this! It’s a great product, it’s helping me, and I’m using it up. Win, Win, Win!
Oh and the yarn? That was a superbly generous, wonderfully kind gifty from my ever-thoughtful friend Amy! She heard I was working on The Beekeeper’s Quilt and offered to send me some scraps. Only these aren’t scraps, these are like quarter skeins or more! Thanks so much Amy! I can’t wait to use them :) And a huge thank you to Betty too for so kindly sending me some lovely yarn to add to my blanket (whole, new skeins!)! I am so excited to have little reminders of each of you to add to my project. And once again, I am blessed to belong to a community of knitters. You are all the best!
January 12, 2012
This week’s Thinning The Nest is sponsored by: Knittymunchkin!
I found out last summer that one of my former co-workers is expecting a little boy in March (almost exactly 2 years after Knittymunchkin’s original due date – if he wasn’t in such a hurry to arrive 5 weeks early!). We were given three HUGE rubbermaid totes full of baby clothes by one of R. Darling’s co-workers when Knittymunchkin was born, and I remember how amazingly helpful that was for us and how grateful we were to receive it. Though R. Darling does well with his job, money always seems to be tight with a newborn in the house. So I thought, what better way to pay some of that good karma forward, than to do this for someone else. Many of the things that Knittymunchkin has worn have been through several kids, lots of spills, and assorted newborn/toddler antics. So there isn’t a whole lot that’s still in good shape. But once I started collecting things I was happily surprised to see the pile of stuff I was able to get together for her. Four giant bags of things, and more to come! Technically these aren’t out of the house as of this Thursday, but they will be by tomorrow, so I’m counting this as my week’s accomplishment.
Because nothing says "Welcome Baby!" like stuff in a Harley bag!
Week 2: Four big bags of baby things! Done!
I read an article in Better Homes & Gardens last year about this family that tried to see how little garbage they could produce in one year. At the end of one year they had perhaps a small handful of detritus to show for themselves. Impressed, I read the article wondering how they could possibly do this. There were some interesting tips in there, and a lot of things that I didn’t really think I could feasibly do myself without a lot of inconvenience. I know that sounds crappy, but there it is. Sometimes convenience just trumps saving the planet (if only for a moment or two). But one of the things that really struck a chord with me was their suggestion to take photos of sentimental items instead of actually saving those things and having them take up space. Most especially when you just store the objects rather than using them frequently. One of my biggest problems with clutter is that I am too damn sentimental. I want to keep everything. And I mean everything. I have letters that I received from pen pals in middle school for crap’s sake! So I like this idea. And I think it would work for most things.
Knittymunchkin at 20 months
I thought it would work here. I mean, there’s the photo. I don’t need the sweatshirt, right? But when it came to this face, and my memory of this day, I had a moment of weakness. That photo can’t show me just how tiny this little bit of fleece was when I look back at it 20 years from now, when my son is 6’4″ like his daddy and this day is a distant memory. So I’m afraid to say that little sweatshirt was rescued from today’s Thinning The Nest stash. Let’s face it. I’m weak. But I’ve still got some time to let go. If I can :)
January 5, 2012
Happy New Year!!
I spent the final evening of 2011 watching a Dirty Harry movie with my sweetie (one of the items on my 101 in 1001 Days/Day Zero Project list). Midnight found us still awake, a rare occurrence on a New Year’s Eve in a household with a toddler and two sticks-in-the-mud in residence. We watched the fireworks at the Space Needle on TV, kissed, and went to sleep. A sweet, but ordinary way to end 2011. I felt a bit glad that the old year was going to bed too.
The start of a new year does not typically inspire me to make a bunch of resolutions. I know myself too well. I mean, how many years has it been now that I told myself I was going to knit with what I already own and do my best to avoid adding to the SABLE¹ stash that’s been slowly, insidiously, spreading from room to room? Instead, I make token attempts to better myself by phrasing my plans in vocabulary that makes it impossible to fail. I say things like, “I’ll work out more”, instead of “I’ll work out 30 minutes every day”. Something I read once said this technique is the best way to get those resolutions to stick and I’ve done it ever since. No, I save those big, specific, life changing plans for my birthday in September. That’s the real beginning of my year.
But 2012 is here and there is just something about it that I can’t put my finger on. I want to make changes. I want to do the right thing this year. The prospect of 2012 is making me incredibly optimistic. Maybe it’s because there’s a 12 in it (my favorite number), maybe it’s just because I am finally mentally ready. Whatever the case, I’m going to put my best effort forth and see where it gets me.
Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 1
I’m sure you’ve heard of people “feathering” their “nest”. There are whole industries that capitalize on our need to make our homes more homey. The problem with my nest is that there is just too much crap in it. It’s starting to feel a lot less homey and a lot more like a storage unit with cartoonish piles of things falling over on themselves. So, I am resolving to make a change. Every week I plan to throw out, donate, gift, use up, or sell at least one thing. I imagine that these will sometimes be fibery things :) Each Thursday will be my “Thinning The Nest” day and I will do my best to post about my pledge every week. It doesn’t sound like much, but that would end up being at least 52 things by the end of the year. As long as I can resist bringing 52 more things in, then I will be making progress. It’s worth a try! I imagine some weeks will be better than others. But you have to start somewhere and this is my somewhere.
As I mentioned last time, I received an iPad for Christmas (because I’m spoiled like that!). This means that my Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food magazines have free apps for subscribers that allow me to download onto my iPad the last 4 or 5 issues of each. So this week I passed on about 10 magazines to my friend John who is very straight (his pronouncement, not mine!), very much loves Martha Stewart, and very much loves being in his kitchen. One of my major problems with clutter has always been cooking and craft magazines. There is always something I want to cook or make in each of them, but I just don’t have the time. So they sit there, piled in the way, moving from room to room as I clean one spot or another, never really going away and never really getting used. It felt good to give these away and know that someone else was going to get to enjoy them. And I get the benefit of retaining the info I want to keep in a slim little package the size of a book, rather than a messy stack of magazines that I’ll never have the time to get to anyway.
Week One: Magazines! Done!
Oh and the yarn? It’s Hazel Knits
Artisan Sock in “Strawberry Lemonade”. I joined another swap for mini-skeins on Ravelry. Technically this doesn’t count as destashing because, even though I’m using yarn from stash and not purchasing, I’m going to be getting the equivalent in yarn back (only in mini form). It’s kind of a cheap form of entertainment. I’m getting new (to me) yarn without having to pay anything but shipping and the amount of time it takes me to make minis. Totally worth it if you ask me!
Hope your New Year is off to a great start & that your resolutions (if you made any) are well under way! Wishing all of you much success, joy, and peace this upcoming year :)
¹ SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy; for those of you not in the know, i.e. those of you who have even a modicum of self control :)