Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of year musings

“I teach the world how to treat me by the way I treat myself, and the way I present myself.”
Kristine Gasbarre
At this time last year I still lived in Washington state, was working at Home Depot and Marv was down here in his new job. The place was still on the market and being apart was hard on both Marv and I . Seems strange that so much as happened in this last year.  Sold the house, moved down here, bought the new place and did a lot of changes to make it our own.
 Now we are living here in Arizona, I am now a full time crochet designer. Yeah! There was nothing wrong with working for Home Depot but this is better.  We go hiking out in the desert regularly and I am slowly adjusting to things down here.
 I do miss the green of Washington. I will always hold a special place in my heart and maybe someday we shall return. But I have learned not to dwell on the things I don't care for, but to think of the positive things in my life. For a while it wasn't easy, as everything was so unfamiliar. But slowly we have added things to our lives that fills in some of the gaps left open by our move.
 I am so happy to be working at my designing as much as I can and want. Believe me I probably put in more hours in a week doing this than I ever did at job I got paid wages for. But it is a labor of love for me and I hope it always will be. Let me rephrase that, I will continue working at this as long as it is a joy. I swore that I wouldn't let becoming a professional kill my joy for my crocheting, even if I have to back away from being a professional designer. I made that mistake once of letting my passion be killed by turning it into a job. I swore, Not this time. But so far I am keeping a nice balance and I think that is the key. I will take on enough projects to keep my name out there, but not so many that I can't create just for the sake of creating. There has to be that freedom to let my ideas flow or the joy won't be there for me.
My goals for the next year are to try an put one item at least each month on my website. Need the motivator. We will see how well I do on that one. Otherwise I am going to flow with what comes my way and enjoy the process.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beginnings and endings.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Albert Schweitzer
Been working hard here on my project. I am at the plug away stage of the piece. Where I keep putting one stitch in front of the last one made until I start to see some real progress. This is my thinking time also. I know a dangerous time too.
This piece will give me lots of think time.
I was thinking about beginning and endings of projects. I am not sure which is more thrilling.
Beginning a new project or finishing up one. Each has it's own attraction.
When I start a project there is that sense of adventure. The uncertainty of whether the project will work out or not. I get so excited and giddy when I pick up a thread and hook for the first time to try and make my ideas take on reality. It's one of the moments that keep me designing.
Finishing up a project to is exciting also. I am like the kid in the car. ARE WE THERE YET!  Because I truly want to see if my idea worked up anything like I imagined. It can be a proud moment or a humbling moment, depending on how well the piece turned out. Again one of the moments that keeps me designing.
It's the middle part that makes this a tough job at times. There are thousands upon thousands of stitches in some designs and each has to be put in before the next one can take it's place. But they are the meat and potatoes of the piece. Without these stitches there can be no ending. This is the heart of the creating process
Well enough rambling
I promised pictures. These pictures are of the hike we took on the day after Christmas. The short easy hike that turned out to be longer and harder than we were led to believe.
This is the cliff face above the parking lot. The patterns are so fascinating.

This was the valley the lowest part of our hike

This was a formation we could see for miles before we got there.

More cactus skeletons. They are so lovely even at this stage. In fact I find them more interesting like this than the actual cactus. But then I love the patterns and strength they show here.

Climbing up here. Caught Marv in my vista shot.

This is the Miners Needle. Marv caught me and Pip in this one. Pip always takes point. That is his job.

Another shot of the vista and Marv on the trail

Same view basically as earlier only much higher up.

Love coming across one the springs in the area. The tinkle of the water was the best music of the day.

This is Miners Needle from the backside. We have climbed quite aways up at this point.

This is the back side of the Weavers Needle we have taken pictures of on other days from the other side.

Me heading up the Bluff Spring Ravine. A very peaceful part of our hike

Here is a vista shot from the beginning of our hike.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eary to rise! Thanks Elsie and Pippie!

“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
My day started early this morning. The animals decided that I had no business being the only one in bed at 5:15. Marv had to go in early and there is no way they were going to let me sleep until the alarm. They do love me I think, but you got to wonder at times. So I have already put a good days worth of stitching in and it's only 10:30 in the morning.   I did put my time to good use and have been stitchin as soon as I had gotten my first cup of coffee to keep me company.Making good progress on this project.
I am going to take some time out here and take down the tree. Time to have my house back to it's normal look and feel. Shouldn't take me too long. It always takes longer to put up than take down. Sort of like frogging. The stitches come out so much faster than they go in.
Then it will be back to work on this design. My goal is to have it done by the end of next week.  It isn't due for a while but I do prefer to have my projects done well in advance. Then if there a problem I can get it take care of long before it's due. I once had a project bleed when I washed it and I ended up redoing at the last minute. All night crochet sessions are not fun. As much as I love my crocheting. doing it in that manner is less than desirable.  I got it done and delivered in time but I never want to go through that again.
I did promise pictures of our Christmas day hike

Trail on the other side of the inlet and a lovely view

Looking down one the of the canyons the lake goes into

Love looking at these rock faces The patterns fascinate me.

A View of one of the points. We walked out on this one later in the day

Pip enjoying the trail. He loves these hikes.

One of the many interesting rocks on the trail. Again the patterns of nature intrique me.

A cactus skelaton. Again nature making lace. Humbles me.

This is called ship rock.

More patterns in nature. This is a moss bank. The colors and pattern were so lovely that day.

Another view of the Ship rock.

This tree just called to me. I love the soft muted colors and the graceful curves of the tree.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our wild weekend

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”
Our holidays were quiet around here. Family is far away and none of us could afford to be traveling. So it was just Marv and I this year. We decided to play it low key and just concentrate on doing things to keep ourselves active and not dwell on being so far away.  We managed to keep ourselves quite busy the whole weekend.
On Christmas Eve day we bowled in the morning, than we hiked at the Salt River. One of our favorite areas to hike around. I will post pictures of that hike today. Then came home and had a quiet Christmas eve watching some of our favorite Christmas movies. I love watching the warm sappy ones. But I am such a push over for feel good movies it's not funny. Call me the eternal optimist....
Christmas we went up around Saguaro Lake and hiked a trail up there. It was lovely though my alto phobia kicked in a few places. But I managed to talk myself over the tricky parts. Proud that I managed. It was so lovely other wise. Perfect weather everything. Home to a great dinner and then kick back and relax. I will post pictures from that hike tomorrow.
The day after Christmas we bowled in the morning  and then headed up to the Peralta trail head. We planned on a fairly easy hike. Boy were we naive. That hike was a definite climb, which takes much longer, so we were out much longer than we expected. It's a darn good thing we try and prepare for worst case scenarios as this was not good. We ended up making it back to the trail head about a half hour after dark. If we didn't have our headlights we would have been in serious trouble. But with them we were able to make our way down the last few hills without too much trouble.  But it is not my intentions to get caught out like that again. Scrambling down a mountain side in the dark is not my idea of a good time. Otherwise the hike was lovely and we saw some gorgeous country. Though again my alto phobia kicked in and I just had to keep telling myself  Don't Think. DO! I know I am not going to fall off the mountain. But my tummy refuses to believe it. Poor Marv, putting up with my fears. Do enough of these hike I might just get used to it or at least my tummy might begin to believe that I won't fall off.
I didn't push on my crochet work over the weekend. But I did actually make some pretty good progress on a project. Now I will set that one aside while I do the project that I just got the thread for. It has a deadline so I will feel much better when it is all done. I am normally done well in advance, but I am one of the people that has to be early in anything I do. So I will get this one done and then put the one I am setting aside back on the hooks. Though if I need a pack around project I will grab it as it's easier to transport.
Well I promised pictures of our Christmas Eve day hike.
The River is definitely down at the moment. We could have easily walked across if we so desired. The colors were gorgeous that day. The trees are in there winter phase around here. Wish I could find these sort of colors in my crochet threads. Softly muted tones that relax the eye and soul.

Earlier this month we actually had some good rain. We are seeing the results of that rain in green. You can bet your sweet potatoes I am soaking it up while I can. This sort of scene just soothes the beast in me.

I was trying to capture the reflections of the mountains in the river. It was so calm and quiet. We were about the only ones out walking the river that day. We saw a few people fishing but that was it.

This is one of the reasons I love hiking this area. There as some great areas like this that just tickle my fancy. I always expect a hobbit or two to wander out of a scene like this. That and the lacey canopy. But then I am sucker for Lace!

Another River shot. Such soft muted colors again.

Another shot of the green grass. I will have to remember these days this summer when it all dries up. It does come back though, and yes there is green down here. Just not when I am used to green.

I love the intricate work that nature weaves in a tree.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I"m in Hot Water Now!!!!

“The whales do not sing because they have an answer, they sing because they have a song.”
Gregory Colbert

We had a new hot water tank installed this morning. Opted not to replace the tank less hot water heater. We just weren't that impressed with it. Maybe it hasn't been working right all along. Don't know ! But it wasn't worth taking a chance that that was the problem and why we didn't care for it. So we chose to play it safe this time. I certainly don't want to change these too often in my life.

I must admit if felt so wonderful to sink into a tub of hot water this morning. Feel so much better for a long soaky  bath.

I finished the shawl I have been working on also. It's on the blocking board right now. I would say I was pleased with it. But I am beginning to feel like I am repeating myself. Will finish writing up the pattern tomorrow or Tuesday.
Going to just let myself crochet this weekend without worrying about pattern writing or anything else. I have something to work on that won't require to much concentrating and that will be my project for the weekend. I must have something to crochet though or I would start climbing the walls and driving everyone ( Including myself ) nuts.

I did sign and mail out a contract this morning. Which always makes my day. Makes me feel like maybe, Just maybe I am doing okay at this designing thing. I do know that I would be creating no matter what. That is just who and what I am. I couldn't stop myself if I wanted to. But it is nice to be recognized and valued for what I do.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crazy week

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”
J.M. Barrie
I know I haven't posted for a few days. But life can be pretty demanding sometimes. and this was the one thing I could let slide for a few days.
I did get my craft room somewhat organized. Well at least it's cleaned and doesn't all jump at me when I walk into the room. It's actually quite pleasant to walk into now.
Then I cleaned out my thread cabinet the next day. I knew I had a lot of thread, but MY OH  MY!!!  do I own some thread.  Though I am rather top heavy in some colors and rather light in others. At least it's all organized by size now so I can quickly see what I have available to  work with.
The week end was spent finishing up our Christmas shopping. All done except one item. That one is actually for me and I am still looking for just the right one I want. Will post more about that later. Marv told me to pick it out so I get what I need and want.
Monday was spent cooking. Rare thing for me. But I had a get together with some other Crocheters on Tuesday and I needed some goodies to take. I am no longer very domesticated. I rarely do the homey things like really cook......
Tuesday was awesome. I have joined a group of crocheters up in Prescott, Az. What a great group and a lot of fun to talk about crocheting and to share the passion with. Worth the time it takes me to drive up. It's only once a month so it's kind of a treat to have an outing. Had a marvelous time as usual. Still would like to meet fellow crocheters down here. But not having to much luck yet.
Though I did strike up a conversation with a nice person in the aisle at Joann's on Saturday. She was checking out the thread section and had the same sort of look in her eye that I get when I am checking it out. Knew we had to be kindred spirits. We are going to get together after the holidays and chat.
Now as you can see I haven't been sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Not that I would ever do that, it would be more crocheting my little heart out. But I haven't had much time for that. Though I almost have this shawl done.
But on top of all this my hot water heater went out. So I have been without hot water since Sunday afternoon. They are trying to decide what the are going to do about it. 
We bought the home warranty insurance when we bought the house so we shall see if it was worth the money or not on this. But I am sorely missing my hot water. Sponge bathes  just aren't the same........ But we are surviving. I am just hoping that they get it solved before Christmas.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oooh I can find my craft room!

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made,
What's a sundial in the shade?”
Benjamin Franklin
I spent the day working on organizing my craft room. Something I have only dabbled at since the move. Just haven't been inspired for what I needed or wanted to do in there. But I figured I needed to get some organization going as I am tired of not being able to find things I know I have.
I made major strides today though and I am actually very pleased with what I did. I think it just might be beginning to come together for me. I created a corner in which I can work at pattern writing that looks out at the mountains. So now I have two places I can work as the mood hits me. Sometimes it's nice to see the world as you are working and other times it's better if you can shut it out a bit. Now I have both types of spaces. One totally business like and the other more laid back with the mountain to look at and my plants surrounding me.
The biggest problem today was trying not to get distracted while sorting things out. I did add about 3 more items to my to do stack. I kept coming across sketches I have done of ideas. Some are definitely worth pursuing.
I have also managed to get some time in on the shawl. Very happy with not just my progress, but with the look I am getting. Should have it done by early next week at the very latest. Love it when an idea turns out like I expect or should I say hope for.
Tomorrow I plan on sorting out my thread cabinet. It's all still in the boxes I moved it all in. Need to see what I truly have and make it more accessible. Then maybe, just maybe I can cut down on some of the clutter around my desk. Part of what I want to do is separate some of my projects threads and put them all together with the sketch and prep work I have done. Then I won't accidentally use something I have plans for. Been known to happen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Rainy day just cries crochet day

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Today is a wonderful rainy day here. I know most people don't like the rain but I do. I like watching cleanse the world. I like hearing it on my roof. I love snuggling in where it's warm and dry and letting the world pass me by.
So I decided I needed a project that would let me slip into my reflective mode and enjoy the day. I could have finished up the doily, I have a small project that I need to work up one more time to tweak it a bit and finish writing up the pattern. But instead I chose a shawl pattern that has been calling to me. Something that I could just get into a rhythm on and let my mind wander. Must admit it was the perfect choice and I have made great strides on it and enjoyed my rainy day. We don't get them that often down here that I will pass up the rare opportunity to enjoy one.
I did promise pictures from Sunday's hike.
Weavers Needle was our companion on our walk a good part of the day.

Another shot of the Weavers Needle. Love these vista views. The truly humble a person.

I love seeing some of the shots Marv takes. Reminds me why I love him. We both appreciate the beauty in the small things as well as the large. It's always a joy to find these shots when I go through the pictures of the day.

I am always amazed at the scupltures that nature creates and the power of time to create this sort of work of art.

We did a loop of over nine miles. This is where the loop started and where it ended.
Like life we came full circle.

We always get a bit tickled to see water in the desert. Back home we take it for granted. Down here it's special.

You can see here where water has run down the face of the rocks and is making it's own chute.

Marv enjoying the day

Me having a great time!

One of the many rock formations that  abound in this area.

Another Rock pile. Showing the power of nature. I am sure these were once one rock.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend of hiking

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”
William Shakespeare
We wore poor little Pip's toes off this weekend. But oh he loved it.
We spent Saturday up on the Salt river. We saw the eagles nest. But not the eagles. We hiked all over the area and had such a grand day. Pip just loves going to the river. I think it's his favorite. He loves to dip his toes in and wade about. He doesn't go in to far though, touches his belly and he's out.
It was an ideal day for hiking. We soaked in the quiet and the beauty of the area and came home thoroughly exhausted. Of course we had gone bowling in the morning so it was a very full day all in all and it was a pleasant tired.
Sunday we got even more adventuresome. We decided to do the nine mile loop from the 1st water trail head in the Superstitions. Terrain is definitely a bit rougher there. But we had super weather again for our excursion. Pip led me the whole way. He always take point and at times he just sort of pulls me along. Sometimes at the most inopportune moments. But he does love the trail. He is getting good about signals and seems to understand left and right. I tell him to take the left fork and he does almost every time. He is starting to understand that when I say PICTURES he's to come back and sit by me, not keep tugging and making my pictures study in blur. He definitely understands take point and takes off down the trail ahead of me.
We did almost 10 miles yesterday, with a lot of it up and down. Saw some awesome vistas and rock formations. We only saw one other person in the morning. Did see a few more as were heading back in. But solitude for the most part. We are slowly building up our trail endurance. Though the hills can take it out of you rather quickly. We are already trying to decide what trail we will be doing next.
I did manage to get some crocheting done this weekend. Almost have the doily redone in colors I like much better. Just have 2 rnds on it to go. I saved that project for in the car when traveling about. I worked on another small design in the evenings. I should finish that one up today.
Here are shots from our Saturday Excursion. I will post pictures of yesterdays tomorrow.
This is the veiw from one of the parking lots. Unfortunely the trail was closed to protect the eagles nesting up there. Will do this walk later this year when it opens back up.

This is the furtherest point we went to at one end of the river. We headed back into the desert from here to get back to our starting point.
Birds nests in the bluff across the river

Pip and I decked out in our trail gear.

We returned to our starting point and then headed down the river from there for a little ways. This is the other end of the river where we ended our days river jaunt.  It was starting to get late as you can tell from the afternoon colors and long shadows. We will go further this direction another day.  

Afternoon sun on the hills as we were headed back 
As I said Glorious Day!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An almost hook less day. OH MY!

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
Pablo Picasso
It seems so strange not to have spent at least a few hours of my day with hook in hand. But today it was devoted to other aspects of the craft and other things that needed doing.
I did get my latest design blocking this morning. And the only crocheting for the day so far was while I was blocking the piece. I had it almost half way pinned out when I realized I had attached a motif to the wrong spot. Made the piece lay funny. Thankfully it done in motifs so I simply snipped out the offending motif and made a new one to fit in it's place. I get to the other end and find the same exact mistake there too. Have no idea where my brain was that day. So again I snip out the offending motif , but then had to snip out one more when I accidentally snipped another motif when I snipped the join. So you guessed it I had two more to make instead of one.
The funny part is I never unpinned the piece, I just scotched myself around to get at the proper angles so I could work with it pinned to the board. It must have been quite the sight to see me on the floor gyrating around trying to get where I needed to be to fix my piece. What we do for our art. Thankfully there was no one around to see! But I had to laugh at myself.
The rest of the day I have spent getting packages ready to ship. Some to publishers and all the presents I needed to ship out. That pretty much took care of my day. Hopefully this evening I will get a chance to pick up a hook.
I just need to decide what is going to get my attention now. I have so many things I want to be doing. It is so hard to decide sometimes. There is an afghan on my immediate list, a couple scarves, a doily, a runner, couple different shawl designs I really want to do. and that just the tip of my iceberg. Think I will have to draw straws or something here.
So far my garden is surviving this cold weather we are having, I bundle them up at night to keep them warm. I am seriously considering a small green house so I can control things a little easier around here. But in the meantime. I have everything tented.  I would hate to lose them now. My poor little stubby tomato is actually sending up leaves. It's a variety that I can't find anymore of so I am giving it a chance to make a go of it. It survived the varmints it deserves a chance I think....

Friday, December 2, 2011

Catching up with myself

“Plan for the future because that's where you are going to spend the rest of your life.”
Mark Twain
Tomorrow is my birthday so today is one of those days that you stop and think about where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
I would have to say I am fairly pleased with where I am right now. I am enjoying the joy of being a Crochet designer. It does satisfy my soul to be doing something creative. I would like to see my self keep growing in that sense.  I am enjoying where I am in my relationship with my hubby. He is still my best friend and biggest supporter. So lucky in that sense.
As far as getting older, Well I just don't feel it. In my soul of souls, I am still dreaming of the future and as long as I keep looking toward tomorrow, I will never be old.
Today I did finish up my latest project. All it needs is to be blocked. Good thing as the UPS guy delivered the yarn for my next project. So now I can work on it guilt free. Everything else that needed doing has been done at this point. I am pleased with the yarn I ordered. Hopefully it will work up the way I envisioned this design. What I had before just didn't do it justice. So we shall see. I really had to search for what I was looking for. It seemed simple enough, But one never knows what the manufactures will choose for us to select from. We are at their mercy in some ways.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

staying focused

“Its always best to have too much to do. Its better than having nothing to do.”
― John Rix
Oh it's so much better when I work at one project at a time. I am in the process of finishing up on of the projects that I was working on when I was trying to work multiple projects at one time. It just seem to be going so much faster this way. Should have it done either tomorrow or Saturday at the latest. But by focusing on it and it alone it just seems to go together smoother. I know some people can work the other way. I do envy them at times. But I have to be realistic about my style of working and not try and be something I am not.  I am excited though that I will get to cross another idea off my eternal list of ideas. I have so many that are calling to me and making it hard to stick to one project at a time. But it's the best way for me and I will just have to crochet faster if I want to play with the new ideas........ Motivation.!
I did get the doily done that I was working on. All written and waiting for me to send it out to my testers. Just I haven't been feeling my very best so thought I would wait until I get feeling better. Sinus headaches make it very difficult to concentrate.
I did manage to put up the Christmas tree and all the decorations that I plan on doing this year yesterday. Hard to get too enthused when it is just me and Marv. I still need to sit down and write up my cards. But the tree was more than enough on a day when I wasn't at my best. It wouldn't have taken me so long, but I had to locate some of my Christmas boxes. Moving can make finding things rather interesting for quite sometime it seems. I look forward to the day when I know where everything lives around the house. I am still guessing at times where I might find something. I know I own. I know I moved it. I just don't know where I put it.