2012 Project: Sky Scarf

I learned to knit a few years ago and loved it, but between work, writing and life I hardly ever have any time to do it. So I’ve decided to ease back into knitting with a 365 knitting project. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but this is project that should be fairly easy for me to keep up with.

Lea Redmond of Leafcutter Designs developed this conceptual knitting project that allows you to record a year’s worth of skies in a scarf. Each day I’ll check the sky and then knit one row across (and one back) that reflects the colors I see. Bright blue strands for bright blue days, light blue for light blue days, white and light grey for their respective cloud colors and dark grey for dark and rainy days. Lea uses two two strands of lace-weight yarn for each day, so a partly cloudy day would be a blue and a white together in one row. At the end of the year I’ll have knitted a five-foot-long scarf. Knowing Seattle weather, I expect a scarf with a lot of grey at the ends and blue in the middle, but the weather may surprise me.

I picked up most of my yarn for the project at my local yarn store, Seattle Yarn, but I had to order the dark grey online. While I wait for it to arrive I’m tracking my sky colors. I’ll post pics once I have a bit of it knit.

For more information on the sky scarf and a copy of the pattern, visit Leafcutter Designs. I found out about the idea from this post on Whipup.net.

Hello 2012, or What I Was Up To In 2011

Hello, internet, I’ve missed you.

Last winter I started off the year with the belief that I was going to blog regularly.  I thought that if I expanded my blog topics to include, well, everything, that I’d never run out of things to blog about.  What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t a shortage of topics that was keeping me from blogging – it was a shortage of time and desire to blog.  That said, I’ve really missed having a place to talk about all the new and great things that have been going on in my life.  So, without further ado…

In 2011, I:

  • Turned 35 years old
  • Finished first drafts on not one but two(!) novels
  • Bought a house with my husband – our first!
  • Moved to West Seattle
  • Went to my first (and second) writing conference
  • Went on my first writing retreat

So it was a pretty big year of firsts for me.  Most of my summer and fall were spent house shopping and making the new house a home.  Now we’re all moved in and I’m thrilled we won’t have to move again if we don’t want to.  I love the new house!  It’s little but it’s really cute and is perfect for us.

I have named 2012 as “The Year of Making Things Happen.”  One of the things I hope to make happen this year is this blog.  Another is my photography – I’ve got a lot of unprocessed photos that I’ve started to clean up, so look for those in my flickr feed soon.  I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking and baking, so I’ll be posting recipes and such here also.  As for the rest of my time, I’ve got two novels to revise and prepare for submissions to agents, so it’s going to be a busy year for me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2011: New Year, New Attitude

Lighting Up the Needle

It’s pretty obvious that in 2010 I was a serious blog slacker. My slackage was due in part to simply being busy, between the move, the new city and the day job. The other part was that I just didn’t know what to post. True to its name, this blog has been a through a couple of iterations, wandering from one topic to the next – kinda like me. Over the last year I started to feel like maybe I was “blogging wrong;” that my blog needed to have a defined topic with defined and targeted content. I’d fallen for the idea that the point of blogging was to cultivate a readership and to develop a brand. The problem is, I don’t just have one thing that I love over all others. I don’t have a brand. I’m just me, with all my various interests and competing passions.

While I might not have been blogging much over the last year, I have been doing quite a bit of reading (and lurking) in the blogosphere, and I’ve come to realize that there’s no right way to blog.  There is a wrong way – to try to be something you’re not.  Well, I’m not going to do that.  I’m bringing this blog back to its roots, and I’ll be writing about anything and everything that appeals to me.  From this moment on, this is a blog about photography, books, writing, pop culture, cool technology, Seattle and life in general.  Oh, and anything else I might come up with. At times it may lean more toward one topic than another (I’m working to finish a novel, so there will probably be quite a few posts about that), but I’m not going to limit myself anymore. Crazy no-plan blogging, here we go!

As for personal branding, I kinda like Maureen Johnson’s take on the topic. If, like me, you’re struggling with all the new “instructions” on how to be a person on the internet, you should check out her manifesto.

Thanks to all you authentic bloggers out there for helping me find my way back.

Happy New Year!

My Halloween Reading List

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the modern incarnation with kids in costumes, trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns, but I also love the history of the holiday, the idea of thinning of the veil between the world of the living and the dead, and the centuries-old honoring of the balance between death and life. Here are a few of my favorite Halloween-related books:

Title: The Halloween Tree
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Paranormal, All Ages
Publisher: Knopf

This is my all-time favorite Halloween classic.  I re-read it almost every year.

From the jacket copy:

“join the sinister Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud as he takes eight trick-or-treaters on an unforgettable journey to find their missing friend, Pip.  Travel through space and time, from the tombs of ancient Egypt to the gargoyles of Notre Dame cathedral, all the way to the cemeteries of Mexico on El Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead!  Is Pip still alive?  And if so, can hid friends save him before it’s too late…”

Title: Bunnicula, A Rabbit Tale of Mystery
Author: Deborah and James Howe
Genre: Paranormal, Kids 8-12
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Bunnicula is the first in a series about a pet rabbit that is suspected of sucking the life out of vegetables. At least that’s what the series’ narrator, Harold the family dog, believes. Harold, the puppy Howie, and the smarter-than-dogs cat Chester, are completely convinced of Bunnicula’s vampiric ways, and have all kinds of adventures with the cute little veggie-sucking bunny. The illustrations by Alan Daniel are fantastic and really add to the feel of the book.

This series was a favorite of mine growing up, and isn’t any less fun now that I’m an adult. I especially love the notes from Howard’s editor, the relationship between Howard and Chester, and, of course, Bunnicula himself.

Title: The Mystery of Grace
Author: Charles De Lint
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Publisher: Tor

This isn’t your stereotypical Halloween tale. Grace Quintero is a girl who died too soon. Now she’s stuck in between worlds, and she can pass back into the living world only one night a year – Halloween.

From the jacket copy:

“Grace works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. A few blocks around her small apartment building is all her world – from the grocery store where she buys beans, tamales, and cigarettes to the library, the little record shop, and the Solona Music Hall. Which is where she meets John Burns, two weeks too late.”

So those are my faves. What are you reading this Halloween?

Cheers to You and Yours

Merry Christmas Seattle

As not just a year but an entire decade comes to an end, there’s a certain feeling that one should look back on the last ten years and reflect on the highs, the lows and the changes. And while I have a lot of great memories with friends and family and I’ve grown immensely as a person in that time, I don’t want to spend time looking back. I’m looking forward to the next ten years, to finally getting back to the east coast and seeing all my friends out there (love you guys!), to exploring my new home state and region of the country and to making new friends and sharing new experiences with all my friends and family, old and new.

Cheers to all, wishing you health, happiness and inner peace in the new year and the new decade. May the best of your past be the worst of your future.