Fall 2014 Bucket List

I’ve come to the conclusion that fall is probably my favorite season. So I’m making myself a fall 2014 to-do list. I’m posting it here, and I’ll be updating it periodically on my blog and occasionally on my instagram feed.

  1. Visit Grand Rapids.
  2. Apple picking
  3. Make a homemade apple pie
  4. Pumpkin ale
  5. Long walks
  6. Cozy scarves and cowls…maybe at least one that I made?
  7. Boots and jeans
  8. Caramel apples
  9. Pumpkin pie
  10. Pumpkin spice lattes
  11. Photoshoot in a leaf pile…maybe for a new design?
  12. Fall cookies
  13. A nature walk with the camera
  14. Make a sweater in November (National Sweater Month)

So that’s my fall 2014 bucket list thus far. What should I add?  What’s on yours?

Evelyn Sneak Peak

Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly but surely working on a new pattern. It’s a cowl, and I’ve named it Evelyn. My first design sample is done; actually it has been for a while. And I thought I’d share two snaps of it with the Internet. I’m working on making a second cowl at the moment to make sure that the pattern is accurate, and then I’m hoping to have it ready for publication by late October.

But for now…meet Evelyn! I knit her on size 5 needles with a bit less than a skein of Tanis Fiber Arts puple label in the gorgeous colorway Stained Glass from a December Etsy update.

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Happy Saturday, and happy knitting!

(If you’re wondering, the book in my hands is Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos.)

 

 

My Dream Job

I’ve said for a long time that my dream job would something that allowed me to read books, talk about the books that I’ve read or am reading, and drink copious amounts of tea. I feel like this fits beautifully with the name of my blog. 

People have frequently replied that this sounds like my job as a high school English teacher, the job that I held until recently. I can see how that would make sense. I had a relatively captive audience sitting and theoretically listening while I babbled about literature. But here’s the thing. I want to have conversions where all of the participants are engaged. And I know that many of my students weren’t engaged. That may have been was my fault at some level. I could have AND should have done more to get them engaged in the material. But regardless of their initial level of interest, not all of my students had the same interests as I did. No matter how passionate I am about Jane Austen, some of those kids are just never going to be interested in her. And I want to have conversations with people who WANT to have these conversations, not people who HAVE to have these conversations. 

I like teaching. I enjoy teaching. And maybe someday, I will be a teacher again. I don’t think that I am a teacher right now. I’m not teaching anyone. But this “job” that I’m talking about, this isn’t teaching. This is the creation of some sort of community (either online or in the “real world”) where lovers of literature and culture could meet and exchange ideas. I realize that the Internet as a whole is somewhat like this. And this also sounds somewhat like a book club. 

But I think I want something more than this. I want to have a physical space where people gather and exchange ideas and books. I want to create a space where people can gather to exchange books and ideas. I imagine this to be some sort of hybrid bookshop/cafe/pub. I want to create a haven for people, a place where they can come and feel safe. I want this space to be a sort of home away from home for people, a place where they can come to escape from their troubles and whatnot and just be. I want to create a cozy space, a homey space where people can come sit by a fire with a book and a cup of tea or sit with a group of people and talk about their lives or the books they’re reading. 

I want to create a place where people can uphold one another and enjoy one another. I want to provide people with a place where they can enjoy life. I want a place with lovely old bookshelves and comfortable chairs and delightful people. I want a place that restores and renews. That’s what I want. That’s my dream job. 

Now all I need is the money to make my dream a reality. 

Do Anything

I’m in a state of flux at the moment. My life is not going in the direction that i might have hoped or expected. I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I’m also not sure that’s a bad thing.

I’ve said before that I have a my dream job. Well, I had it, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I don’t anymore. And that’s not the easiest thing in the world to face. It’s very, very hard. I’ve had one of my biggest and oldest dreams taken from me. And now I have to find a new dream.

And that’s scary. That’s big and it’s scary and it’s real. I have to find a new dream. I have to move in a new direction. And I don’t like that. I like being in a comfortable, familiar place. I like doing what I always do. I like knowing what’s coming next. I think that’s fairly normal for humans.

And I don’t have that right now. I don’t have a real plan that goes beyond September. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to be. I could go to grad school. I could (try to) write a book. I could work in a bookstore or a coffeeshop or I could hitchhike through Europe. As one of my former coworkers told me in June, I can do anything with my life.

The question remains though…what will I do? I don’t know yet. As I said earlier, I know what I’m doing at least through September, and I do have some idea of what I’ll be doing until next June or so. I’ll still be reading and knitting and drinking tea-all of those things that I do so well. But now I need to either find a way to turn those things that I do well into a way to earn a living or I need to figure out what else I do well.

So I can do anything. But where will that lead me?

Accountability-Round Two

About two years ago, I wrote a post that was titled “Accountability,” and in it I talked about my crafting goals for my first year of teaching. (You can go hunt it down if you’d like. I’ll sit here and wait while you go look for it.)

Well, I made myself another list…about two or three weeks ago. Here you have it…my list. If you can’t read it, well, scroll down a bit, and you’ll see a typed version of the list.
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1. Finish Katie’s sweater ASAP. (I did this…and I mailed her the sweater…and she received it. So I scribbled it out on the list.)

2. Finish A’s blanket by 8/25. I’m working on that. See?

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Scrunched up baby blanket being worked in the round

3. Finish J’s blanket by 9/19 . I’m working on that. You can’t see pictures of that yet.

4. Sea grass tank ASAP…I’ll get there when I get there.

5. Midnight pullover ASAP…see previous comment.

6. Alleghany Morning by Thanksgiving…I’m sure it’ll happen. (Fingers crossed!)

7. Laramidia in stained glass

8. Ultravioleta by late October

9. White cowlneck sweater by Christmas

10. Light pink folded by Christmas-or late January

11. Evelyn cowl to publication by Easter

This is the current status of the Evelyn cowl project. Pattern notes haven't really commenced.

This is the current status of the Evelyn cowl project. Pattern notes haven’t really commenced.

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  This is what happens when Augustus Waters dies. I screw up an entire row of knitting due to crying.

12. Bold move by April

- Make dad a scarf for Christmas. –> Use stash yarn

-Use slate and ballet slipper. (This has no relation to the previous note.)

 

So, dear readers, this is what you SHOULD expect to see coming (on and) off my needles over the next several months. If it’s not happening, yell at me.

And now, before I leave, here’s the cookie cake that one of my coworkers and I got Insomnia Cookie to make us for Harry Potter’s 34th birthday.

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FO: Water St. Cardigan

My latest finished object is actually a revisiting of a pattern that I’ve worked with before and dearly love-Glenna C’s Water St. Cardigan. I made this cardigan for myself a little over a year ago, and this spring, I decided to make one for a friend. IMG_2074 I’m the model in these pictures because I still need to mail this to the intended recipient. But that’s on my to-do list for the day.IMG_2077I used Madelinetosh Sock yarn in the Cousteau colorway. I love the yarn and the color. The yarn is a good lightweight, sturdy yarn that will be great for the recipient’s lifestyle. And the color, oh my gosh, I love this color. It’s to die for gorgeous. I have another skein of sock in cousteau and a skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina in cousteau still in my skein, and I can’t wait to knit with them. The color is seriously beautiful. IMG_2078 IMG_2080 The pattern is brilliant, and I have plans to work with it again. IMG_2081More details can be found on my project page.

 

Balsamic Vinegar and Pizza?

Yesterday morning, I was sitting at work when an idea popped into my head. I was struck by the sudden urge to marinate tomatoes in balsamic vinegar. And then, I thought that I should also do this with peaches while I was at it. It sounded fun, delicious, and summery.

But I didn’t want to just marinate the fruits and eat them. I wanted to make a meal with them, and I also wanted to use the loaf of Italian bread in my pantry that desperately needed to be used. So I decided to make a pizza (well, really two pizzas) out of them.

I scribbled notes and pondered things while at work. And when I got home, I made these two glorious things. (I know the pictures aren’t great.) IMG_0172

Balsamic Tomato-Goat Cheese Pizza

(makes two pizzas)

Ingredients:

  • One loaf Italian bread, sliced in half
  • Two large tomatoes
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1.5 cups of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • Garlic to taste

Slice the tomato into bite-sized chunks. Marinate in balsamic vinegar for 30-40 minutes. You can add basil here if you like; I think it adds to the taste.

Pour the olive oil over the bread. Then add the basil, oregano, and garlic. Allow this to marinate as well for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the tomatoes over the bread. Break the goat cheese into small chunks and sprinkle over the bread.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before eating.

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Balsamic Peach-Goat Cheese Pizza

(makes two pizzas)

Ingredients:

  • One loaf Italian bread, sliced in half
  • Two large peaches
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1.5 cups of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Garlic to taste

Slice the peach into bite-sized chunks. Marinate in balsamic vinegar for 30-40 minutes.

Pour the olive oil over the bread. Then add the garlic. Allow this to marinate as well for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the peaches over the bread. Break the goat cheese into small chunks and sprinkle over the bread.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before eating.

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