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There’s Something About Minis Part Deux

After 4 months of swing shift, R. Darling’s schedule has changed to day shift again and we are all trying to adjust.  This means more family time (yay!) but less time for catching up with my own stuff (boo!).  Summer is always a tough time for me when it comes to blogging, and apparently springtime is not much different.  Though you will most likely be hearing less from me for a while, never fear.  I’ll still be slugging away behind the scenes.
 
A two week recap on the Thinning The Nest Project:
 
Week 18 (May 3, 2012):  Gave away another pyrex dish & lid to my Mom, using travel size contact solution, threw out some old face powder
 
Week 19 (May 10, 2012 – this week): Goodbye Gallon Size Bag O’ Corks!
 
Nothing crazy or life-altering here.  A while back the makers of the contact solution we buy (Clear Care) decided to add some extras to the big Costco sized box we buy every month.  One of those extras is a travel size bottle of solution.  Pretty cool if you are traveling a lot, but with a 2 year old and not much extra in the bank, we aren’t going anywhere any time soon (except for maybe crazy).  I decided to start using some of these before they either expire, or bust out the bottom of our “junk” drawer in the bathroom.  As for the face powder, I’ve had that stuff in my makeup case for going on 9 years now.  I guess because it was powder I just hung onto it, figuring I’d find a use for it someday.  I try it periodically and it never seems quite right.  So this time, instead of putting it back in the drawer, I just chucked it.  It kind of felt good!  And I’m pretty sure I won’t miss it. And the corks, you ask?  They came in a vase I bought at an antique shop (which, it turns out, was NOT an antique & was made in China; not that I really cared).  I wanted the vase for something else, so dumped out the corks and decided I could find a good use for them eventually.  Someone on the Random Acts of Kindness Group on Ravelry was looking for corks, so they’ve now been happily rehomed.
 

Knittymunchkin Loves Minis Too!


 
A while back I mentioned that I was a little excited about minis.  I also mentioned that if I started talking about my “tub o’ minis” and complaining that the lid wouldn’t shut, I might need you to stage an intervention.  Um.  Houston, we have a problem.  Wednesday this week I went to Target and bought myself a bigger tub for my minis.  Granted, we are nowhere near rubbermaid tote proportions, but the collection is growing at an astonishing rate.  And um, there might be more to this addiction….er….situation.  I started growing a little collection of orphan minis from the swaps I’ve been in.  Minis in dark, crazy, stripey, boyish colors that just didn’t belong in my girly Beekeeper’s Quilt.  What to do, what to do?  Well, what any nutjob like me would do: Start a Sock Yarn Blanket for my sweet baby boy!!  Gulp.  I need another years-long project like I need more yarn, but what can I say?  There’s something about minis……
 

The Beginning of The Madness!

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Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 17

Week 17:  A couple dishes, some yarn from stash
 
I know, I’m a day late again.  No de-clutter drama this week to discuss, and no de-hoarding fireworks either.  I gave my mom a couple pyrex dishes with cracked rubber tops that we had replaced with new ones recently.  So it wasn’t exactly an exodus, considering I gave away two dishes and ended up with four new ones.  But at least I didn’t keep the old ones too!  I also took a glass frying pan (!) out of the cupboard to put into the Goodwill pile.  I’ve used it maybe six times in the past 10 years and R. Darling didn’t even know it existed until I showed it to him to make sure he didn’t want it before I chucked it.  Baby steps!
 
Onto more exciting things…..
 
I love my sandbox!
 
Here at Chez Funkytown we have a new obsession:  The Backyard.  Every morning now I wake to Knittymunchkin chanting Outside! Backyard! Outside!  It’s adorable, but here in the Pacific Northwest it stays cool in the mornings most of the year. Sometimes even downright cold when you’d least expect it.  Even the most scorching afternoon may be preceded by a dawn filled with frosty condensation pouring from your mouth as you chase an active 2 year old in the yard.  All I really want to do is curl up on the couch in my pjs with a hot cup of coffee. But like a good Mama, I try not to squelch his desire for fresh air and the great outdoors. This morning found me freezing my keester off in the early dawn as a bundled up Knittymunchkin careened around the yard and I tried not to shatter my teeth with all the shivering I was doing.  I managed to find a really old (we’re talking circa 1991) pair of fingerless gloves that my parents sent with me when I went off to college in Upstate New York.  I put them on and they were scratchy as all get out.  This would not suffice.  That means I need some good fingerless mitts to keep my digits toasty, but my fingers free to accept cups of sand “coffee” and plenty of “pretty flowers” (dandelions).
 
Berroco Ultra Alpaca in "Verdigris Mix"
 
I’ve never actually made myself a pair of fingerless gloves before.  I’ve made a bajillion (it seems) as gifts, but never any for myself.  I checked my queue and there were only three patterns in there, two of which I deep-sixed back to my favorites.  The only worthy pattern remaining was Commuter Fingerless Mittens from Knitty, First Fall 2011.  Good thing I have a ginormous stash to “shop” from!  I pulled out some Berroco Ultra Alpaca that had been gifted to me a few years back by my good friend Kathy (blog-free; the one I made the squares for here).  I am a few rows in and I am loving this yarn!  Where have you been all my life?  In my stash, actually.  Just waiting to be discovered. 
 
I forsee more of this in my future. Both the Ultra Alpaca and the frosty mornings outside…

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Snot Rocket

Yes, that’s right.  My precious angel has recently infected me with the crud and both our noses are dripping like your favorite ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day.  I guess we’ve been pretty lucky.  It’s April after all, and this is our first bout of the year. Of course Knittymunchkin is made of rubber and you can hardly tell that he probably feels terrible, between his cold and the last two teeth that are trying to push through.  If only I could be so cheerful.  I just want to lay in bed watching trashy movies and sleeping for, oh, the next week.  Not happening.
 
Anyway, it’s Thursday again.  I have missed the last two (three, if you count my pass week).  But just because I haven’t posted, doesn’t mean I haven’t been chipping away at my goals.  I think the exercise of trying to write about it once a week has done its work, without me actually having to go so far as to bore you with my tales of semi-reformed hoarderliness.  That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to write about it, I just may not wax as poetic about it as I have up to this point (you don’t get off that easy, puh-lease!).  The emotionally charged items I expect to give up now and then will still get their due, but things that go by the wayside more easily will hopefully receive a little more brevity on my part.
 
So.  The Update:
 
Week 13 (March 29, 2012):  Pass from Week 7’s massive offload
 
Week 14 (April 5, 2012):  Candle & Bath stuff brought out of stash & put to use, pre-pregnancy jeans with hole in goddess grotto (ha ha) thrown out, 30 minutes of declutter every Tuesday established
 
Week 15 (April 12, 2012): 10 balls of yarn sent out via RAK, almost 1 lb. of dishcloth cotton scraps sent out via RAK, stickers sent out via RAK, sweater pledged via RAK underway, book mailed out via Bookmooch
 
Week 16 (this week): Book to Bookmooch
 
I’ll admit it.  The jeans were a little hard to part with.  I loved the way they fit when I was skinny; key phrase: when I was skinny.  Realistically, as much as I would love to fit into them again, I never will.  It’s a sad day when you feel defeated by your waistline.  My brain raced with reasons to keep them: the hole’s not that big, you can hardly see it, you could wear them to garden, you might fit into them again someday, they’re so cuuuuuuuute.  I gulped and threw them in the trash.  Immediately I felt the irrational urge to fish them out.  Instead, I walked away and found something else to occupy my mind.  And then….  I totally forgot about them.  Huh.  So that’s how it’s supposed to work!
 
That same week I was reading an article in SHAPE magazine written by the experts who counsel the people on “Hoarders”.  There were lots of tips in there on how to cut down on your clutter and get more organized.  I was particularly struck by the one that said you should set aside thirty minutes on a specific day each week to de-clutter.  It sounded like a great idea.  Now that I have a lot less structure in my days, being that I report to Knittymunchkin instead of a 9-5 workplace, I find it a lot harder to focus and get things accomplished.  You’d think somehow it would be easier, with all that time in my day, but it really isn’t.  Time with a two year old vanishes faster than you can say “Elmo”.  So scheduling specific organization time seemed like a great idea.  I chose Tuesday evenings for my new plan and so far it has worked really well.  Thirty minutes is long enough to get something done, but not long enough to feel like you are chained to a specific task.  The first week I could actually see the top of part of my desk again after just one session.  I’d realistically like to do this more than once a week, but for right now one session is about all I can commit to.  Still, it helps!
 

Little Bubbles Baby Set - Yoke


 
I mentioned that in Week 15 I pledged a sweater via the Random Acts of Kindness Group on Ravelry.  Every month you can post a wishlist and this month I posted on my wishlist that I needed a knitting recipient.  I had two kits for the Little Bubbles Baby Set from KnitPicks, and I never got around to knitting them for Knittymunchkin.  Now that he’s too big for the biggest size, it’s kind of a lost cause to make it for him.  So someone answered my request and I’m knitting this for her 5 month old.  Hopefully, by the time I finish it it will be the perfect size for her :)  The colors I have aren’t sold anymore (or shown on the pattern page) but I love them.  Knitting this makes me wish I’d had more time to knit things for Knittymunchkin before he was born.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll save that second kit for the grandchild I may have one day.  I know that’s planning pretty far in advance, but it would be worth it to have it when the time is right.  Uh oh. Maybe I really haven’t made any progress!
 
Off to sniffle in bed with a book for a while.  Hope you are all staying healthy & happy!

5

Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 12

Week 12:  One measly book

So it’s really Friday.  Thursday blew past me in an instant and I didn’t remember I was supposed to blog until it was way past my bedtime already.  It was another lame week in the downsizing department.  I sent one book off to Bookmooch, pulled some yarn out of stash to knit my Mom a birthday present, and sent out another RAK with some sock yarn minis in it from stuff I had stashed.  Not bad I guess, but not earth-shattering either.  We did have our taxes prepared this week though, and I decided to itemize our Goodwill donations for last year at the suggestion of our accountant.  Tax season for 2009 was the first time we’d ever used an accountant (always used TurboTax and did it ourselves) and I must say, it was worth it to us to pay the modest fee in return for the advice he gave us.  Anyway, seeing the itemized list of what we gave away last year was pretty eye-opening.  According to the Turbo Tax calculator for donations, we gave away something like $500 worth of stuff.  I know I’ve got a lot more to donate for this year, so seeing that total made me feel motivated for this upcoming year.  I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Sorry for the lack of photos today, but we just got new internet service and my desktop computer isn’t hooked up yet.  So I’m using R. Darling’s laptop just to squeeze out this post halfway on schedule.  I’m also calling in my pass from Thinning The Nest Week 7 for next week.  Monday the 26th is the third anniversary of my Dad’s passing and I’ve been really sad this entire week.  I don’t expect that next week will be much better.  Every time Knittymunchkin does something adorable or hilarious, or reaches some new fantastic milestone, it breaks my heart that my Dad can’t be here to see it.  There are days where it seems like forever that he’s been gone, and others where it feels like I just lost him yesterday.  So I’m laying low, knitting, reading, and trying my best to sleep.

Until next time…..

Hug the ones you love and tell them how much they mean to you every day.  It’s really the most important thing you can do :)

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Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 11

Week 11:  Odds ‘n Ends, i.e. total lameness!

I’d love to be able to tell you that between this Thursday and last, I got my sh!t togetha and cleared all the clutter out of my entire house, knit 4 sweaters, 5 pairs of socks, and a dozen hats.  Or at least that I took a bad-ass vacation to the beach.  But alas, none of those things occurred.  The weather was beyond bleak.  Several days Knittymunchkin decided he needed to wear his “jammies” all day and while the rain pelted, the snow fell, and the wind buffeted, we cranked up the heat and watched just a little too much Sesame Street.  It was one of those weeks.  I felt about as forlorn inside as the weather was outside.  But I did manage to read and recycle two magazines, gift four Martha Stewart magazines to my friend John, and use up a laundry detergent sample that has been sitting in the laundry room exactly as long as we’ve had our washing machine (circa 2008 or 2009).  I also used up a deluxe sized sample of Philosophy Purity Made Simple that I received years ago (2007?) with a Sephora order.  I’ve been keeping this wash in my travel stuff for years now because it’s such a nice portable size, yet there is always enough for several days.  Well with my skin freaking out lately, I decided to try anything I had in my sample stash that might calm things down a little.  This seemed to do the trick, though Troy bought me some Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel that I positively adore, so it’s not so bad that I finally used up the Philosophy stuff.  I also pulled some yarn out of my stash to knit another square for my friend Kathy that I mentioned last time.  Not much to be said for this week, but I’m chipping away at things slowly.  Ever so slowly…..

It was a good mail week though!  I received back yarn from two different swaps and I can’t wait to add them to my Beekeeper’s Quilt.  It’s always nice when there’s something to look forward to in the mailbox.  Here’s a few of my favorites from the Sweet Georgia Swap in the Blankiemania Group on Ravelry.  I sure wish I could join Round 2!  These are just lovely….

Sweet Georgia Swap Round 1 - 2012

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Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 10

Week 10:  More RAK’s!
 
Thursday again, and I’ve officially procrastinated at least an hour before writing this post.  I think I’m getting a little burnt out on my project.  Not so much engaging in the new behavior of getting rid of things, but the documenting of it all.  When it’s just piddly things here and there from week to week, it’s still progress, but it’s not a story.  While that’s fine for getting myself organized, it’s not much fun for blogging.
 
So, I’ll keep my weekly accounting short and sweet and then move onto better subjects.  This week I sent out three more RAK’s and it felt really good to be able to make someone else’s day!  Technically, I can only take credit for two of them.  I sent off a needle gauge, some extra cable needles, and some stitch markers to a beginning knitter in Massachusetts.  She has since received them and seems thrilled with her new goodies, which makes me smile inside.  The second RAK was mailed off to a super sweet gal in Canada and consisted of a bit of my stationery odds and ends.  I probably have enough stationery to write letters until I’m 110, especially now that very few people send real correspondence anymore.  She and I have conversed a bunch between my initial contact and the actual mailing of her gifty and she was kind enough to gift me a couple patterns in return.  I think what I love best about RAKing people is that I get to meet some really nice knitters along the way and have the pleasure of getting to know them and chat with them.  Knitters are so awesome!
 
The third RAK really belongs to my super knitty pal Troy.  When we went on our super-fab knitty weekend to Seattle in mid-February, he dumped a giant bag of sock yarn at my feet and told me to take whatever I wanted.  I might have pinched myself a little to make sure it was real.  And then of course, I got high on yarn fumes and ended up taking ALL of it home with me!  That’s something you all don’t know about Troy.  Not only is he one of the most generous people I know, but he also buys super nice yarn!  And then he doesn’t become unnecessarily attached to it.  Except for the really good stuff ;)  Anyway, I felt a little guilty taking all of it and told him I’d be sure to send some of it off as RAK’s.  So this was me making good on that.  I sent a starving college student (in microbiology, no less!) some very pretty red sock yarn in honor of her birthday this month.  So here’s to you Troy!  Thank you for making two people’s days!
 
And now…..  Some actual knitting!
 

 
My generous and kind friend Kathy (blog-free) who I have been “virtual” friends with for quite a few years now, is turning 50 this month.  And to celebrate her birthday, she is doing something completely and totally awesometastic!  She is collecting squares in black and bright colors to put together into a blanket which she will then donate to Pine Ridge Reservation.  How wonderful is that?  She kindly asked if I might be able to make her at least one square and I gladly agreed.  How could I say no to both helping my friend celebrate her birthday, and to doing something for charity?  The pattern I used is the Checker-Square Garter Dishcloth and it’s free.  Not only that, there’s no purling!  And while you do have to pay attention to what row you are on, it’s only for every other row, and it knits up quickly.  I hope I can make at least one more before Kathy’s deadline on March 22.  I think I can :)  I’m sure Kathy could use any squares she might be able to receive.  If anyone reading is interested in contributing (and is a Ravelry member) you can find the details of her request here in the Amazing Flying Squirrel Karma Team Group on Ravelry.  Happy Birthday Kathy!!  Here’s to 50 amazing & wonderful years, and many many many happy returns!

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Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 9

Week 9:  All about yarn!

Yeah, so somehow it got to be March 1st already.  And somehow it is also Thursday again.  It keeps creeping up on me and I keep thinking I’ll be prepared, or at least a little excited about having something to say.  Nope.  Still have the blog-writing blues.

So today it will be short and simple.  This week I sold a ball of yarn: 350 yds out the do’!  That was a nice feeling.  For about 5 minutes.  And then I went and spent all that dough on a swapless mini swap.  Oy.  This mini business is turning into a serious problem.  I’ve also been stalking the Random Acts of Kindness Group on Ravelry again.  It’s been surprising me how many things I have right now that I can actually gift to people.  I love the feeling of doing something nice for someone else!  I’m afraid that’s a little addicting in itself, so I have to cool it.  It’s not like I have tons of extra cash for the packages I’ve been sending at least once a week (between swaps, books & RAK’s).  But perhaps the goal of ridding myself of something once a week has something to do with this new obsession.  As a side bonus I am using recycled packaging and recycled tissue paper etc. to wrap and send everything out for the most part.  A clutter-clearing bonanza!  Anyway, I found a very sweet lady who was looking for some Patons Grace.  I happened to have two balls in my stash, one in the “Rose” colorway and one in “Tangelo”.  I loved the colors and would have been happy to use them up for something, but I’m pretty bad with one-skein projects (never can seem to find any good ones) unless they are hats or mittens.  And I’ve got more than enough yarn for those!  So I gifted her those two  yarns as well as a straight needle roll I got as a freebie from some magazine about a billion years ago.  This feels pretty great!

I did get a little discouraged earlier this week when I went on a magazine hunting expedition through the house.  While my yarn is pretty well organized, my magazines are only half-heartedly so, and it is sometimes a challenge to find a specific issue of something when I want a pattern.  The issue in question was Interweave Knits, Fall 2009.  I have become obsessed with the Slanting Gretel Tee pattern and have just settled on the perfect stash yarn for it.  I looked for it in all of my “usual” nooks and crannies, to no avail.  So this meant a lengthy dig through the dark recesses of the sty that is THE GARAGE.  I suited up for extended deep box-diving and held my breath.  It was so depressing that I can’t even begin to describe it without maybe shedding a little bit of a tear.  Boxes and boxes of stuff I need to go through.  With what time?  I know.  It’s disheartening.  But after about 7 boxes, I hit paydirt.  Magazine unearthed!  In the process I also grabbed about 8 fitness magazines from 2008 that were stuffed in the same box, totally unread, and unceremoniously dumped them in the recycle bin on my way back inside.  So it wasn’t really sizable progress, but it was better than just stuffing them back in the box, right?  A little at a time.  It’s all I can do.

And because I can’t seem to find a picture of either of the yarns I RAK’d, I’ll have to leave you with a completely different off-topic shot for the day.  Check out these supa awesome buttons I bought at this etsy shop recently (the shop owner is a total sweetheart)!  It’s totally counter-productive that I bought them, since I have no idea what I’ll use them for, but I had to have them.  They make me happy!

Sugar Skulls!