Friday, October 20, 2017

The Two Year Mark

This past Sunday, I drove to Calgary to spend several days with my daughter and her family. Jessica was graduating with her degree in accounting and I wanted to attend the convocation and celebrate with her which meant...

... looking after my grandsons while Jessica and her husband went out for dinner together. The boys are two and four and it was so fun to watch them play together, to get woken up with snuggles and kisses, and to attend my oldest grandson's karate and swimming lessons. I also...

... spent a day with my friend Mary. While waiting for our table at lunch, we went to a nearby consignment shop that carries brand name clothing. I didn't buy this sweater even though I loved it but only because the colour just wasn't right and the content was mostly synthetic so I couldn't over-dye it. I did...

... get these pictures and will combine Drops 69-9 and Drops 56-21 to knit something similar. Mary and I shopped, had lunch, and then knit at a local yarn store where I bought a similar weight of yarn in purple. That's more my style.

The drive home was an adventure. Due to heavy traffic, it took me an hour to get from my daughter's to the highway. I stopped for breakfast and journal writing in Canmore and stopped again in Banff to visit some galleries and the Christmas store. The weather was great there but...

... further along the road there were wind gusts, heavy rain, water pooling, snow dust, and then slushy snow as well as LOTS of construction. In one 75 km period, I was stopped five times for over an hour and a half in total. It's a good thing...

... I had my knitting along. This is the second sleeve of the second child's size 18 month cardigan that I'm knitting from the yarn that I first knit into two shawls when I flew to Winnipeg and back last month. I didn't like the shawls. The knit was too loose. It's better here. I knit one cardigan using only the variegated yarn and one using a combination of the variegated and a grey yarn. There's one piece left to knit and then I can block the pieces and sew the cardigans together. Photos then. Knitting and sewing in children's sizes is something I find quite relaxing. It's a way to play and experiment with no expectations of fit or flatter. It's also a great way to use up scraps of fabric or yarn.

Last night, I helped my friend Wendy set up her new studio. I kept telling her it was something I'd love to help her with and that it wasn't an imposition at all - that it'd be something I'd really enjoy. I don't think she believed me at first but after we'd put the main furniture pieces in place and were talking organization and decor, she said she could see my enthusiasm. YES YES. She's an amazing decorator so I can hardly wait to see it with all her touches.

It was two years in September since I moved to Salmon Arm. Wendy was my realtor but I'd known her for quite a long time before that although we were more acquaintances than the good friends that we're becoming. It was nice to know someone when I moved especially as I had never moved anywhere as an adult before and had no idea what to expect. I realized other day that the two year mark is significant.

At two years, you're not new anymore nor are you completely integrated. While I've met lots of interesting people and some - like Wendy - are becoming better friends, there's no one I'd call at two in the morning in an emergency. Two years is long enough to develop some patterns that could become ruts if I'm not aware and it's long enough to have tested out some groups but not necessarily to have found the ones you want to belong to. I'm thrilled with my two knitting groups that meet weekly and now I'm looking for some once a month opportunities. Yesterday, I attended a trade fair for the Women In Business association to see whether I might like to join that. The monthly luncheon with discussion appeals to me and the members I talked to seemed quite impressed with the group so it looks good so far.

Two years is also long enough to see who is going to keep in touch and make the effort to come visit and who is not likely too. That can be sad and it's reality. One thing I am learning as I age is how to be more graceful about the relationships lost that I had hoped to keep and to realize that even though I may have multiple things in common with someone, it doesn't mean the relationship is going to work and apparently two years is also long enough to have tried a few groups that didn't work and to have discontinued Some relationships that weren't going anywhere good. AND...

... two years is about right for getting settled and finding a daily/weekly routine that feels comfortable. While I still have some work to do finishing up the renovations, I am looking forward to this stretch of time between now and Christmas when I can get into the studio and really enjoy being creative. I have a purse, a t-shirt, and a necklace pending along with a sweater for myself to finish knitting and another one to start, a dress to cut off, a skirt to copy and take-in, and LOTS of potential pending. Although I'm experiencing the ebb and flow of emotions around moving and the reality of this two year mark, it's more an awareness and hasn't changed how happy I am to be here and working in my studio.

Talk soon - Myrna

- helping Wendy with her studio

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Time Success

It's ten o'clock on Thursday night and I am only just now sitting down to write this post. Ideally, I'd have written it much earlier in the day and that's not the way things went. What I did write earlier was a five page letter to my youngest son. He asked if I could write down what we talked about in a discussion earlier this week and it was surprisingly intimidating for someone who likes to talk and give advice as much as I do. I wanted to make sure that he knew how proud I am of him, how amazing he is, and how - as annoying as it is to hear this phrase - it will all work out it the end, no matter what it may be.

One of the things I talked about was that my highest priority is relationships. I believe that life is about relationships and I work on my relationship with God, with myself, with my family, and with friends in that order. After that, everything else is stuff. This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving as well as Howard's birthday and our entire family was home which I really enjoyed. My oldest grandson told his parents that he likes Grandma's house best. It's because everything is on one level and he doesn't have to go upstairs to go to bed but I'm choosing to interpret that as Grandma's the best - VBG.

I love this picture of my youngest son and my oldest grandson playing in the dirt of my unfinished walkway. Huge amounts of time and energy in my life have been spent attempting to recapture the childlike play that used to come so naturally. One way I play is by realizing that no matter what I'm creating, it's not earth shattering, it's not a life and death event. It's entertainment. An experiment. A learning process. This thing that I am making can succeed, it can fail, or it can evolve and I will still be warm, safe, loved, clothed, and fed. Some of my most favourite projects are the secondary ones that came after the primary failure. I've found that by letting go of expectations, I've been not only more successful but I'm having far more fun.

In May, I started renovating the house... and then the yard... and then the suite... and life has had some ups and downs that I'm still navigating. I have definitely not had nearly enough time in the studio. And it shows. I'm somewhat itchy, anxious, crabby BUT... this was the week to get back in the flow. As a warm-up, I'm working on pajamas for my grandson's Christmas presents. I have both pairs of pants finished and one top minus the buttons, buttonholes, and slip stitching. I hope to finish the second top this morning and the handwork at knitting this afternoon.

I'm visiting my daughter next week and I want to take their Christmas presents with me. She is graduating with her degree in accounting and has invited me to the convocation. As my friend Barb said, it's a huge accomplishment especially as she's done it through correspondence and night school, while maintaining a home and a marriage, working full time, and having two children. YES YES! I'm so proud of her.

One of the women who works at Starbucks is having a baby boy in the next few weeks. Her nursery is painted yellow and turquoise. I don't own any yellow yarn so I used left over yardage of grey, green, and turquoise yarns to knit this size two cardigan. The buttons look brighter in this image than they do in real life. They actually match the stripe which means...

... I can use this image in the photo editing course that I am taking on Craftsy. I signed up for four different photography courses to improve the quality of my images. I took these sweater photos outdoors in "open shade" which means in an area that is shaded by an obstacle nearby but has open sky above.

I took the images of this pendant I just made for my friend Wendy outside with a white piece of paper as a background and an overcast sky. So far, I am getting better results with outside versus inside images so I'm researching lighting and a photo set-up for the studio to improve the indoor images and I'm working to develop the skills to edit the pictures.

THANK YOU for the feedback on last posting's questions. I've done a lot of thinking about what I want to do going forward. While I want to maintain my tone and style, I definitely want to improve my writing skills and the photos on my blog. I'd like to update the format so it's somewhat more glossy and just have fun putting every post together. One of the photography workshops I'm taking is about narrative photo essays and that's basically what each post is. My primary objectives are to share what I know to support and encourage others and to connect with the community that loves what I love. That's not going to change.

Some other things might. I've realized I do not want to teach interactive on-line workshops. I've done that before and when I'm completely honest with myself, I don't want to be that "on" anymore. I want my focus to be on developing my skills and abilities and sharing what I'm working on... which is more than I can keep for myself... so I may start offering pieces for sale. And I'd like to do more writing which may also take the form of something to sell. We'll see as time goes on. As far as formal teaching goes, I would like to teach two or three times a year at a retreat, weekend workshop, or event of that kind so I'm quietly setting that intention in the background as I continue to do my best in the present.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the delight of changing thread in the serger with first time success