Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Well, not *everything*

More than once I've heard from people that I share everything on-line.

The truth is, while I do share a fair amount, I don't share everything. In fact, there is a lot that I don't share.

Obviously, I can't tell you about all the things I don't share, otherwise, I'd be sharing them (yeah, I know how that works!)

Sometimes it's easy to know what I'm okay with sharing and not sharing (topic a: never, topic b: always) but other times it's hard to know where that line is. The line may change on a daily basis and sometimes the line is fuzzy. This can make it tricky.

There are certain topics that are absolutely, with-out-a-doubt off-limits for this blog. These are things that I wouldn't share with you even if we were face-to-face. Yes, I've got my secrets and I've got skeletons in the closet. These are often topics that even I'm not comfortable with. Things I'm still trying to figure out, or process, or deal with (or avoid dealing with as the case may be). These are things that I don't think could add to what I've already built on this website.

Could that change someday? I suppose so. It's highly unlikely.

I also don't share stories about my family and friends without their permission. I don't tell the stories I feel that belong to my husband or children without asking them first. And if they say no? I respect that. I'm sure you may have noticed that I often talk about my 12 year old around these parts ... it's because she always says "Yes! You can blog that." The other children will almost always say "no, please don't share that." and so I don't. Same with my husband. To me, it's a level or respect. I wouldn't want them putting stories I am uncomfortable with on-line either.

I will share generalities if I think I can offer a learning moment, or the moment affected me (positively or negatively). And I will talk about encounters with near strangers (like, when I was bald from chemo and people stared - I wrote about that but didn't single anyone out). I have written about words spoken that were hurtful, or hard to hear, or I wish would be re-framed, if I think it can help someone, but I would never say who said it. You'll never see me say on here "Well one day my Aunt Sally said the most awful thing to me ever!" (no, I don't really have an Aunt Sally) because a) it is not my intent on this blog to shame people or b) parent others. If I share it's because I want people to see things through my eyes, how some words can make me feel.

I do talk about my cancer a lot. I try to throw in some things about parenting with cancer as well in a way that my children are comfortable with. When I was diagnosed there wasn't much out there to help guide me on how to help my children through this, or how to juggle it all. I hope that the couple of posts I've written might someday help someone else out when they are looking for help or advice or ideas.

I try to not rant on this blog. Sometimes I do though.

I try to add a good mix of heavy with light-hearted content. This blog did start, after all, as mostly a craft blog. And I don't want to lose that side of me. It's not my intent to be a cancer blog - not because there is anything wrong with that - it's just not where I want to be personally. I read many of them. There are so many talented bloggers out there whose blogs are amazing and have great content and are cancer blogs. It is just not my preferred niche.

In fact, I don't really think I have a niche. While it started out as a niche for sharing my knitting, this blog has grown and stretched and changed as I have needed it to. I write about parenting, cancer, knitting, sewing, what I've read, the weather, things I watch on tv, places I've visited, etc, etc. I love having the ability to come here and blog about whatever is on my mind.

And at the end of the day, that's what I need this blog to be: a place for me. If I can't be comfortable here, then there is no point in continuing on. Somethings I will hold near and dear to my heart always, some I will always be willing to share, some things depend on how the others around me are feeling, and what is okay and good to share one day, might give me anxiety to share the next.

So even though it sometimes feels like I'm sharing EVERYTHING here, I'm actually not. I'm sharing exactly what I'm comfortable with. It might be more than other people would want to share and it might be less than what some others are comfortable with. But it is right for me!

P.S. As a side note: Have you ever thought about starting a blog but aren't sure? Rebecca J. Hogue, PhD(ABD) (who I met on twitter) is starting a class called Should I Blog. The first one is starting this month. It's aimed about blogging about your cancer experience, and I think it will be a good class. One of the class topics inspired this post, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the class goes! You should join if you're wondering if blogging is the right move for you!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Knit Gifts

I love nothing more than to knit people gifts, so when I was given a chance to review More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, I jumped at the chance!

The book has been out for awhile, but I hadn't yet had a chance to look it over. I've read Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (also by Hoverson) and knit from it, so I figured it was a good chance I'd like the More book as well, and I was right!

 I loved so many of the projects in this book that I really think I could make most of them. Of course, I think they'd make great gifts or they'd just be nice to keep around this house as well! The projects range from knitting for baby, to children, to adults, to things to put around your house.

The projects are arranged by how much time they will take to make. The first section is less-than-2-hour gifts. Then the 2-to-4-hour gifts. Each section goes up by two hours until the last section, which is more-than-8-hour gifts.

I skimmed through the patterns and found them to be well written with clear directions. Just to be sure though, I decided to whip up one of the smaller projects - a lovely book mark.

I received this green yarn in a swap years ago, but it's just this little bit and I never knew what to make with it. When I saw the linen bookmark in the book, I just knew that my little hank of green yarn had been waiting for this pattern.

The bookmark was easy to make, the directions were simple and clear. And it took me about an hour to knit it. Since it came from the less-than-2-hours section, this was perfect. As I was snapping pictures, my daughter came up and was admiring it, and so in the spirit of the book, I decided to gift her the bookmark!  
The pictures that accompany the project directions not only show you what you are making, but are simply gorgeous.

At the end of the book, Hoverson includes some creative ways to wrap your gifts. I thought this was a fun addition to the book and one way it stands apart from most knitting books I've read.

I think this book would be a welcome addition to any knitter's library. I can definitely see myself making many of the patterns in this book.

*Note: I was given access to an e-copy of this book via NetGalley
with the expectation that I would review the book. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 Goals: February Update

Since it's the last day of the month, that means that it's time to go over the goals I've set for myself this year!

This is really more for me than for you. It's a great way to help keep me on track and good motivation to get things done!

1. Make a granny square every weekday of 2015: Still going. The pile of squares is getting bigger and bigger!

2. Read 40 books, with 30 of them being from the Rory Gilmore Reading List: Four books this month, and three were off of the RGRL. That puts me at 10 books with 6 of them from RGRL!

3. Organize three years worth of digital pictures: Yep, still working on the pictures. It's been fun to look back and see them. I got through 4 months of picture, which is good, because some of the months coming up have a LOT of pictures in them

5. Finish a train embroidery project: Still chugging a long on this one! I stitch and stitch and I only get small sections done at a time, but I'm working on it!

6. Make money from my knitting: Not this month, but I have finished a LOT of projects on my to do list, and once those are done, I'm hoping to get some jobs!

7. On the blogging side of things, it's to blog twice a week: Still not doing two a week on a regular basis! But I think there less days between posts and I'm posting more regularly than last year, so forward progress? Also, I have 17 posts in 8 weeks. So technically I'm averaging twice a week, even if I'm not actually posting twice a week, so that still counts, right?

8. Also related to blogging, I need to be a better commenter on other blogs: Yep, still doing a good job on this!

Overall, I'm pleased with what I'm doing. In addition to this, I've been doing a much better job of not letting laundry pile up, and I've got a pretty good schedule with the cleaning down. I've also worked on organizing the kitchen and feel like it's in pretty good shape. Which is good. I've never been so organized in my life. I still don't have the energy to accomplish a million things each day, but it's amazing how much I can get done just by doing 3-5 things each day!

How about you? Still going with your 2015 goals and resolutions?

Friday, February 27, 2015

House of Cards

*As a reminder, I am part of the Netflix Stream Team. I am being compensated for sharing about Netflix with you. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Do you know what today is? Today is February 27.

I have been counting down to this day.

Today, well, early this am, the next season of Netflix's original show House of Cards comes out.

And so, I will attempt to watch as many episodes as possible to get through them all.

I LOVE binge watching things. And I especially love binge watching House of Cards!

I watched the first season when it came out, in a few weeks.

Last year, I watched the second season in a week. I considered it my Valentine's Day gift to myself!

This year, I will attempt to do the same thing.

Here's how I've prepared:

  • I've already warned my family that momma will be a bit preoccupied until all episodes have been watched.
  • I've got drinks lined up: water, tea, and Izze.
  • I've got a secret stash of chocolate. And a box of Girl Scout Cookies just for me. 
  • I've also got chips, veggies, hummus, and other yummy snacks on hand as well! 
  • I've planned simple dinners that will allow me more watching time. 
  • The tablet and computer will be charged since I will stream it through one of those devices.
  • My headphones have become unlost (related: I always lose them! Why are they so easy to lose?) so that if I can watch if someone else wants to be in the same room and not hear it. NOTE: Not the children though. This isn't a show I'd watch with my children in the room ... I mean the husband or the granny!
  • I've got two knitting projects to keep my hands busy as I watch. 
  • I rewatched the last episode of season 2 last night to remind myself of what exactly was going on
  • I've already noted who of my friends will be watching as well so we can discuss, discuss, and gasp in awe at what happens together.
Speaking of friends, I have a "date" with a friend in New Jersey. We're going to video chat and watch the first episode together! I'm so excited to do this. No one else in my house watches this show so it will be fun to have someone to watch it with. It'd be better if she were coming over in person, but I'll take the video chat.

I'm just so excited to see what Frank and Claire have in store for us!

Now pardon me while I run ... I'm sure I can squeeze in one more episode right now!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

World War I Quilts

*Note: I received this book through Net Galley, with the expectation that I would review it. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own! 

In World War I Quilts, Sue Reich takes us on a journey of the quilts of the rather short time period.

The book is a mix of information, gorgeous pictures, and newspaper stories from the time of the Great War.

The book opens by telling us what the quilt trends were going into the war: red work, tobacco flannel, crazy quilts, etc. These were the quilts women and med were making in America at the time.

But then comes The Great War and the Spanish Flu, and things take a different course.

When we think of women making things during the war, we often picture them knitting socks or rolling bandages. Which many did. But there was also a great deal of quilt making going on.

Quilts were made and auctioned to earn money to get supplies, send care packages, help support the local Red Cross. Quilts were made and sent to soldiers when they could be. Quilts were a way to be creative and to help out.

The quilts pictured in World War I quilts are gorgeous. These quilts that were handmade, hand embroidered, machine pieced, machine stitched. There were crazy quilts, red work quilts, many quilts with the Red Cross symbol. Women were busy stitching their quilts together ... stitch by stitch.

And not just women. Men participated, boys participated, girls participated. The whole country came together to do what they could to support the troops on the battlefront.

Many quilts were made by groups and quilted during quilting bees.  Though, the Spanish Flu paused this as people were encouraged to not be in groups. The Spanish Flu also had some devastating consequences: many quilts of the time were burned in an effort to stop the spread of the flu further. I was unaware of quilts (and clothing and other various pieces of cloth) being burned and I kind of want to weep about how many lovingly-made quilts were lost this way.

After the war, quilts continued to be made. These were known as Poppy Quilts (yes, like the poppies we wear for Memorial Day). Poppies became an important motif in many quilts, and some were auctioned off to support local VFW's.

In addition to the information presented in the book, there were many photographs of some gorgeous quilts. I think I could flip through and just look at the pictures many times and still never tire of them. A couple of them, I'd love to print out for my own creative inspiration wall as well!

I also thought the newspaper snippets were so interesting as well and added an extra something to the book. They gave me a good understanding of just how important these quilts were to so many, how much good they brought to people, and allowed me to see how whole communities rallied around these quilts. I also appreciate any documents from the time period when reading historical books!

I really enjoyed reading this book and learned a few things I had been unaware of previously. Now that I'm through it, my fingers are itching to start a redwork patriotic themed quilt. Naturally, I'll have to finish the million and one other projects I've got started!

If you'd like to see a couple of the quilts in this book, head on over to Reich's website!