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Violet Valentine is Open for Business on Etsy!

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Hooray!  I finally did it!

After talking about it for years, I have finally opened an Etsy shop.  You can find Violet Valentine here.

I am still working out the bugs, but I have many sets of handmade stitch markers listed, a few notion pouches, and a few knitting bags.  I hope to keep adding to the inventory as I make things. The focus will be mainly knitting and crocheting accessories for right now, but I expect to add some new types of items in the not-so-distant future, as well as destash some of my knitted items or crafting supplies.  So check back often!

As always, thanks SO very much to everyone who stops, visits, comments, or otherwise supports me, the blog, and all my endeavors!  You have no idea how much your support means to me and how instrumental you have all been in helping me realize some of my creative dreams.  Infinite thanks to each and every one of you!!


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In The Land of Autumn-Fall

Outside it is the Land of Autumn-Fall. Inside, it is just the beginning of Maketober.

I spent all Saturday canning. Let me tell you, canning is not for everyone. You stand on your feet for hours, lift heavy things, do a bunch of mindless repetitive stuff, sweat a lot and – if you’re like me – burn yourself a few times. There should be a way to count this as some kind of workout, right?

It was a beautiful autumn day on Saturday. October is truly one of the more spectacular months here in the Pacific Northwest and it almost angers me to have to spend a day inside canning. But when you have apples sitting in your garage for two weeks waiting to be processed, you do what you have to do. Don’t get me wrong. I like canning. I like feeling that connection to women in my past. My Mom and second Mom Vicki (whom I miss dearly) canned during my childhood and I have warm memories of the smells in the kitchen, their chatter, and the wonderful things we consumed all winter long from those colorful jars they so reverently stored away for the time of need. I remember helping them from time to time, but then drifting off out the screen door to some more enticing childhood adventure. I vaguely understood, but did not appreciate, all the time and love they put into the food we ate.

For many years I did not think about canning. I went to college, then grad school, but didn’t feel the desire to make a home anywhere. Shortly after my husband and I were married, Vicki passed away from cancer. I’m ashamed to say I was an awful “daughter” and lived in denial for a good portion of her sickness; until it was too late to sit with her and get to know her, provide her some comfort. I was so selfish. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life. But I found a way to make peace with this broken bit of my heart. I honor Vicki’s memory every time I can something in my kitchen.

It started with Pickled Beets. These were my favorite things from Vicki’s kitchen (my Dad’s was her blackberry jam). She would give us crates of canned goods at Christmas time. Foods she had cultivated from seed to jar. Always a labor of love: grown with love, made with love, given with love, and received with love. I craved those beets, those gifts of love, when she was no longer with us. To feed my hunger and honor her memory, I decided to make pickled beets using her recipe. I’d like to say that I had a transcendental moment the first time I made these, but I’d be lying. It was messy, hot, frustrating, and yet ultimately rewarding. And every autumn when I make pickled beets, I get one step closer to forgiving myself, because I know that I honor Vicki every time I do. Somewhere she is watching over me and loving me despite the way I failed her so abysmally when she needed me most.

The beets will be coming in tomorrow and I expect to spend the upcoming days pickling. Saturday was Caramel Apple Butter, a first time recipe for me. Like Vicki, I make these with love. And every Christmas, with that same love, I gift them in baskets to everyone in our family. Thank you Vicki, for leaving me with this lasting legacy. It is truly priceless.

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Happy Maketober!

No, you didn’t miss this on the intrawebz. “Maketober” is not a thing.

Not unless you are me and you are freaking stoked that it’s October!

September was just a blur. Will it feel like this every year when school starts, or is it just because we are first-timers? After weeks of adjustment (on my part and Knittymunchkin’s) I feel like we are finally starting to hit a stride. Just don’t ask me where all the “extra” hours go that I’m supposed to have while he’s in school.  Because I really don’t know. The house isn’t any cleaner, I’m not any more rested, and there is actually little to no knitting being accomplished. The TV is never on, and the dog looks sufficiently un-walked. I just don’t know how moms with jobs do it.  I’m barely keeping up as it is. Then again, I’m writing this post instead of cleaning something……

Yesterday I walked the dog to the bus stop to pick up the kiddo. The warm autumn sun caressed me, the searing electricity of a summer sun having mellowed to the gentle gold of autumn sunshine; everywhere burnished honey. I savored the crunch of leaves underfoot, thinking of potato chips, and wondering how my son could imagine he heard a train in their rustling as he shuffled through them earlier that morning. I love this time of year. It inspires me, turns me inwards towards creativity, and unleashes a nesting instinct always simmering restlessly inside my soul. I want to make things! I want to change things! And that’s why I’ve decided to welcome October as Maketober here at the blog.

This month:

I will make a shawl with friends (Jess & Troy)!

Pattern & image source: Ravelry link

I will make myself healthier…. by continuing with our Back to Fit program (we are ending week 5 today).

I will make someone’s warmer….. by giving away the hats I knit for charity. The original requester has all the hats she needs, so I am left with a stack that do not have homes. My husband is in a unique position to distribute these for me and I plan to always have a few for him to take in his car with him when he goes to work (his idea – and a fantastic one!).

I will make myself breathe…. This is harder than it sounds for someone like me.

I will make my dream a reality…. It may not happen this month, but every small step I take towards opening my Etsy shop has a part in helping me achieve my goals.

I will make food…. I cook every day, but this month I will do the last (most likely) of my canning for the year. Pickled Beets are as precious as the crown jewels in our family.

What do you think?  Will you make-along with me this month?  I’d love the company whether you’re crafting or simply visiting & reading :)