Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mrs. Lovett, I Presume

As it happens, along with my latest crafting endeavors, I have decided to make a concerted effort to cook healthier for my family. While there's nothing "wrong" with what I've been making, I have recently come to the (now obvious) realization that as long as Gaven helps me cook something, he will eat it. This INCLUDES green vegetables! *insert collective gasp here*

The first step in this healthier regime is simply to make more from scratch. It is no longer enough for me to have the knowledge and ability to do something. Now I will actually apply that knowledge. Seriously, I've started making my own yarn, so what's cooking a whole chicken more often? Or making a good breakfast in the morning? Well, okay...the big breakfast will take a few weeks to become a daily phenomenon, as it is I have to wake up at 5 just to shower. But it will happen! I will make it!

A huge part of this "return to homemade" plan is reverting to things that I learned from my grandmother...affectionately known as Nan. Her and my grandfather ran a functioning farm for years and years. She made everything from scratch. She was the one who watched me while my mother had to work up until I was school aged. It was with Nan that I picked vegetables with in the garden to make dinner with. She taught me to mend my own clothing, basic sewing skills, and basic cooking. And strangely enough, one of my fondest memories was helping her to make her own hamburger, mincemeat and sausage.

Yeah, a lot of people may say 'ewwwww', but when you're 5 and get to turn the big hand crank on the meat grinder, you feel pretty special. Therefore, it goes without saying that meat products are going to be one of the things I will be making from scratch. I didn't ask for that meat grinder for Yule a few years ago for nothing! Now it will finally get to work. I will know what goes into it and can control the amount of fats and types of meat.

In the end, I am simply trying to cut back on processed items in my families food. How hard will it be to MAKE more cookies instead of giving in and just buying a bag? Not hard at all, Gaven loves to help me bake and he learns from it too. How difficult is it to make my own crust for chicken pot pie? It's not difficult in the least. And how hard is it to make my own sausage & hamburger? Once again, not hard at all. Now if Nic will just stop referring to me as Mrs. Lovett whenever I take out the meat grinder I'll be off and running! On second may do well to keep him on his toes...and Helena Bonham Carter is my favorite, after all :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crafting Addiction #113 - TAKE ONE!

I'm screwed. I have found that I LOVE spinning. It's relaxing and it's fun and it's COLORFUL! I ended up getting quite impatient while waiting for my drop spindle to arrive, so I made myself 4 instead. I also went to the local yarn shop (Spinning Yarns) and purchased some beautiful, amazing, soft purple roving to spin. And spin I did. And after getting some quite chunky areas I am starting to even things out. WOOT! For me :-) I am not anywhere near done my 4 oz of roving (and you have no idea how much 4 oz of wool's A LOT of wool). But so far this is what I have:

Like I said's a bit uneven (yes..a BIT)...but it's soft and wonderful too! And when I make something with it (that will undoubtedly be lopsided), it will be wonderfully awesome too!

Now for the 'screwed' part. That whole theory of me not buying so much yarn because I'm spinning? Remember that? Uh....well..... turns out I actually buy more. Yeah, I know. Shush. But how I can NOT! I recently became a member of and that's been my downfall. There are so many projects that are beautiful and fun and silly and useful and pointless! *sigh* But look what I made! It's officially my very first FINISHED crocheted project! Ready?

Yep! It's a Golden Snitch! And happily I have a son who loves Harry Potter as much as I do, so I can get away with this without the weird looks from other adults! Unless they know me all, really.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spin Me Right Round

In my quest to create I mentioned my new found love for crocheting (yes, love...despite some of the language I use while actually doing it). I have been knitting since I was little and am quickly finding that I believe I enjoy crocheting even more and am learning it quicker than I ever did knitting. With this discovery I set out to find an online crochet group to match the quilting one I belong to and love.

First of all, I couldn't find one I liked. Most of the groups I found had little to no activity since 2008, not good for answering questions. Soon I became sidetracked on my quest. It seemed that almost every group I looked at mentioned that it welcomed crochet fanatics, knitters and spinners. Spinners? Really *said in the voice of Ace Ventura*. And my crafting world exploded.

In the course of a few hours I went from first entertaining the notion of possibly trying to make my own yarn to purchasing a beginners drop spindle kit. I somehow came to the conclusion that it was fate when the shop I bought it from was in Maine ( I tell myself that my possible new addiction to spinning fibers (you can't imagine the colors!!!) is okay because if I decide to continue to make my own yarn it will offset the amount of yarn I actually purchase. In theory. But then again Communism works in theory. Don't judge me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

As of late, I have found myself becoming anxious more often, even stressed out. Now, it's easy to ask how someone like me who balances having 2 small sons, a husband, a full time job, a side business selling my own homemade herbals and candles, another side business doing online tarot readings and taking 4 belly dance classes a week (insert some sporadic performances as well), could ever get stressed out?......... Okay, so maybe the problem is more apparent to others than it has been to me. Fine. I get it.

I decided to use the beginning of the new year to take a good, hard look at what I'm doing and what I WANT to do. What I've found is that it's been far too long since I've been able to create something beautiful simply for the sake of creating something beautiful. I discovered this with the completion of my last two quilts. I loved making them. Every step was a joy for me, a quilter who hadn't even touched her sewing machine in MONTHS because I haven't had time. Just setting foot in the fabric store made me feel lighter.

Cutting and piecing the fabrics gave me a sense of happiness that I haven't felt in a long time. Watching something you make with your own two hands come together is a feeling like no other. And with those two quilts down, I already purchased fabric and have plans for at least 4 more. Something that I will follow through with, without a doubt. My father-in-law even put together a sewing room for my mother-in-law and myself. So now, on weekends, that's where I'm spending much of my time. And let me tell you, when it's snowing a windy out, there's nothing I like can think of that's more enjoyable than quilting in a room with ample table space and a wood stove!

During the weekdays, when I don't have access to my sewing machine, I have submitted myself to my newly discovered love of crocheting. After years of trying to figure it out, I have grasped the basics and am running with them as far as I can. I have a baby blanket and a baby sweater in the works and both are actually working according to the patterns.

It seems to be that creating is in my blood. It doesn't matter to me what it is, whether it's a beautiful meal, a crocheted cardigan, a quilt, a dance, or even this blog. Working with my hands, guiding the fabric through the sewing machine, feeling the yarn slide through my fingers, serving my family a meal, or feeling a veil gripped in my hands while I practice's all creating beauty and it's all a part of me. This is what I had lost sight of and what I needed to regain into my life. So if I have anything resembling a New Year's Resolution, it's simply to create. To add little bits of beauty into the world, both through creativity as well as random acts of kindness, and to me, those two things go hand in hand.