9mmIt doesn’t seem like Christmas to me. I am doing some orders – nothing like a few years ago and I am not complaining about that – but I didn’t get a lot of the frantic messages from people to feel stressed out over their orders and it’s been cold but not terribly cold and there have been some flurries but no real snow.

But the big things is my neighbor, Giovanni, did not put out his big Christmas display. It usually goes up the day after Thanksgiving but it wasn’t there and Mr. Honey and I even talked about it. We saw Giovanni, he wasn’t ill. His wife made her rare appearance but nothing…and then one day avemaria

 

There it was. It’s a little different this year – there’s a lot more going on in the windows and the animals seem a little scarce. I’ve always wondered about the snowman being there at the birth. There were times when Santa was there as well but now he hands on the other side of the stairs – being respectful of the family time.

I thought about putting up one of our trees. Believe me, the thought is the closest I’ve come to doing it in years so I take it as a sign my Christmas spirit may be coming back. Mr. Honey and I decided last year to forego the giving of presents and to save that money instead for a vacation trip and we decided to do that again for the coming year. We already have our two destinations in mind: one road trip and one air trip. You know what that means – two yarn shops.

The ‘I gotta have this for Christmas’ orders are all out and I am still a few days ahead of my shipping schedule. Christmas is over as far as I’m concerned and I am now on to Valentine’s Day. I have made a couple dozen hearts and I am making pom-poms for pom-pom flowers. I am determined to do this right.

I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas or Hanukkah and as Kwanzaa approaches, I wish everyone a prosperous and more aware new year.

Black Lives Matter Solidarity March

Black Lives Matter Solidarity March

The pastor sent out a message asking the church to wear black on Sunday and to walk, if one was interested, in the Black Lives Matter Solidarity walk last Sunday in Oak Park.

I was at a dinner Friday night and one of the women very caustically stated they saw the email and deleted. “I’m not gonna walk or wear black. All lives matter.”

Well, duh.

I think it might be easier to say ‘all lives matter’ if you have no skin in the game (forgive the pun) or if you think that by saying ‘black lives matter’ you’re saying the lives of policemen don’t or the lives of whites don’t. Or if you think that mystical, magical land of post racial is with us now.

But no one said that.

I was on the planning committee for that march and the story I shared about why this march mattered to me was this:

When I moved into my house, I moved into Mr. Honey’s house and his house is right next door to the house he grew up in. He has lived on this block his entire life. This street is the only street he’s known.

When I would be in the front yard or the back yard, I began to notice this car and the man inside it would just stare at me. First I thought I was imagining it but nope. Same car; same guy. I pointed it out to Mr. Honey who told me the guy lived four houses down from us but he thought I must have been imagining it, too.

Until the guy started driving down and staring even when Mr. Honey was with me. We were out front doing lawn work when the guy came down and stopped the car. Mr. H. put down his rake and started walking towards the car and the guy drove off – but just to the corner – and continued to stare until we started walking there as well and he drove away.

Now, I can easily dismiss this guy. In fact, I told Mr. Honey I thought it was a waste of gas for him to drive down and I would just go and stand in front of his house so he can stare at me from the comfort of his home. I could label him a sad, poor soul and go on about my business.

Except…

This guy went around the neighborhood telling his neighbors they had to get me out of the neighborhood. They couldn’t allow me to stay. They couldn’t allow a black person in the neighborhood.

Staring at me from a car is one thing and I was never intimidated by that but when he put words to that action and took action by trying to rally the neighborhood, he moved into an entirely new sphere. When was just staring, he was prejudice. The moment he spoke up and moved to garner support, he became a racist.

This wasn’t a moment when all lives mattered because this was, to this guy, about a black life – my black life. Maybe if I stood in front of his house with a sign that says: All Lives Matter…

You can tell me that guy is a jerk; a racist jerk even but the one you can’t tell me is that I had nothing to fear. If this guy had gotten encouragement from even one of the neighbors – this guy was a Chicago Firefighter – and we have policemen who live on the block – if he had a thumbs up from anyone – he could have been George Zimmerman before George Zimmerman was cool.

The scary guy in the room isn’t the one who says: ‘We have to run her out of here.” The scary guy is the other guy who says, “We can make that work.” Followed very closely by the third guy who says nothing.

People are lucky when they have neighbors who keep the music down, will loan them a lawnmower or who will take in their mail when they are on vacation .No one should be lucky to have neighbors that won’t run you out of the neighborhood.

Of course all lives matter but once in a while society allows itself to lose sight of that and a specific aspect becomes detached, not totally on its own. At those times, the rest of society needs to stop and say: “You matter.”

The rest of us need to stop and declare their worth not just for the benefit of the part but for the benefit of the whole. We have to know that equality isn’t the same as justice so saying ‘all lives matter’ may give the idea that everyone is the same but it dismisses the fact that everyone isn’t treated the same and it lets us off the hook when we value certain lives less.

Black lives matter because we need to know they do.

By the way, the guy never changed his mind about me; he died.

No, or i'd be a rail by now

No, or i’d be a rail by now

I still have my $1.40. In my travels yesterday, I didn’t see anyone on the street and I didn’t stop anywhere there was a bell ringer.

Did I mention last weekend at the craft show, a woman paid me for a scarf with ten gold dollars? They will be used to pay this tithe as well as tips when we go to restaurants.

But there is more to my plan than just tithing. I get (as I am sure you do) calls and letters from a bunch of people who want just a little bit of my time to ask for a little bit of my money.

There are many worthy organizations – worthy being a completely subjective thing – not just charities but my university needs some assistance (so they say – though when I left it was Aurora College and the week after I paid off my student loan, they became Aurora University – not a coincidence, I think,)

How does one decide? How do you decide what organizations to give to?  Which ones are worthy of your treasure?

I’d like to know. Maybe we can give a shout out to some places others haven’t heard of.

 

Knitsville is still buzzing with work to do – even though today I took the day off to give the hands a rest. It’s the chance of getting some writing in though mostly it’s been the chance to be a bit lazy. I did get some writing done but not nearly what I should be doing. So I am about to get back to it. I look forward to the rare day when my calendar gives me a complete day off: no knitting, writing or walking. A veg day.

But it’s not this day…so with this bit of writing done, I am on to the next one – I’ll be happy to be back to my sticks and hooks, too. It is my life after all.

 

The reading I do about tithing says the wealth should go back to the Lord or to God, I don’t see where it says it has to go the church. And the two are quite different.

I decided to go back to the beginning of my business and start the tithe thing – giving 10% of what I make back to God on a month to month basis. The first month – well, Dec 21 to Dec 31 way back in 2008 – I didn’t make anything.

But January of 2009 saw me with my firstil_570xN.53467693 Etsy sale.  sold a grocery or tote bag for $14.00.

That mean I have to give away $1.40. This isn’t as easy as it looks. I don’t want to save it and attach it somewhere else, I really want this to go out.

Do I place it in church as part of the loose offering? Do I place it in church with an envelope that has my name on it?

Do I give it so someone on the street or place it in the donation bin at McDonald’s for the Ronald McDonald house? Do I take the time to write and a check and send it off? (Hey, Alyssa Milano, here’s $1.40. Almost three days worth of bed nets.)

It’s not easy deciding where your giving goes when there’s not a lot to be given. I want to make an impact and I want to believe that the dollar amount doesn’t have to be grand in order to make a difference.

I’ve decided to give it to someone on the street or drop it into the Salvation Army kettle – whichever one I come across first.

In knitting news, I have about 20 orders going and though I was hoping for a little more, I am content that it will all work out the way it’s supposed to. Things are looking quite positive.

I am headed back downstairs to finish a hat and get the packages out the door for the day. Choir rehearsal this evening will eat into some of the work day and tomorrow I have th day off so I have to make the most of the next five hours or so.

$1.40 – who know?

9mm

HI! Remember me? I started this blog and then abandoned it.

OK, that might be overdoing it just a little but I have been terribly absent and don’t think I don’t know it.

Sometimes, you have to circle back around when you leave the path and that’s what I did. It’s not like I’m loaded down with orders, either. This time two years ago, I had 80 orders and last year 40. This year I have maybe 15. (I am in slight panic about that.) I’ve been busy. I haven’t been staring out the window – though a quick glance will show some snow on the neighbor’s roof – but not an amount to get Scrooge in a bad mood.

I’ve gotten myself in quite a fix. A couple of weeks ago I went to St. Louis for Leadership Development Days for the UMW (United Methodist Women) because I agreed to take on the position of Coordinator of Social Action for my conference – Northern Illinois – I found myself very excited about it. That’s because I romanticized it in my head – the good I would do. The transformation I would have a part of. It was epic.

Oh my god, it’s overwhelming already. I have to coordinate Lobby Day – a day where we gather, go to the state capitol and talk to our legislators. I thought someone else coordinated and I just spread the news – nope, it’s all mine. Last year, when I didn’t have it – the info didn’t get out in time and there were some people upset. So this, my first official act, has got to be right.

I also believe the reason my shop isn’t thriving is because I’ve put myself in a bubble. Now, that may fly in the face of the success of the past two years where I was nothing but work, but I don’t consider those years as thriving – I was stressed and messed. I would like that volume back – no question – but I did myself harm. I wasn’t thriving. I like busy and purposefulness. I don’t like stress and fear – nothing about knitting should cause stress and fear. I mean, it’s knitting.

I have a theory moving toward belief that if I start to do good as defined by my faith that I will find myself more successful. I think God wants me to move out of myself so I can appreciate and see the blessings I have and to just do more good.

So, as scary as it is – I look forward to it and hope I have the strength and character to do it all well and with eager sincerity.

I’ll start with not being a stranger.

 

 

Just got back from St. Louis and wanted to drop in and say ‘hi!’ Much to tell and hopefully will get to tell you soon!

 

 

 

Who knew an entire week would go by before we were together again? I certainly didn’t. But here we are at another issue of things I liked when looking through Etsy shops:

102720141This beautiful shawl is the work of beyazdukkan

 

Gray Anchor Designs makes these beautiful knotted balls.

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This lovely toddler dress comes from Lucky Lizzy102720143

A personalized notepad from Paper K Studios is always nice, especially if it can be made with your name: 102720144

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Knitting Sea makes lovely items including this scarf:

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If you’re looking for a unique hoodie, look no further than Mungo Cra102720146fts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To keep little ones stylish, try these hair clips from My Little Paula102720147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kvitka Sonze makes these incredible earrings 102720148

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This102720149 blast from the past is courtesy of Chipped Green Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

1027201410And finally ,this unusual ring from Toolisjewelry:

 

 

That’s it for this week. I hope we get together between now and next week. I have some orders and getting into some other things and there is much to share (well, some, maybe not much..)

In any case, enjoy the week. We’re having some nice temps so enjoy while you can!

 

Strolling along the streets of Etsy, I come across these things I like:

101920141This poncho from Sense and Emotions

 

A photo turned into a pillow cover by Brooke Ryan Photo.

 

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A crocheted necklace from White Wolf’s Clouds

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A tortoise chip necklace from Zephyr Vintage

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101920145A table lamp from Bee Jay Kay:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hat and mitten set from Sexy Crochet by Olga

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Blue soap (!?!) from 4 Sisters Farm Soap Company

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Mr. and Mrs. Smiley face from Pillows Rolanda

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A vintage teapot from Callooh Callay

 

Birch bark candle holders from Bragging Bags

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I am amazed at the talent…every time. It serves as a reminder that I can do so much betterin my photography – but I probably won’t…

 

Word..

Word..

For some reason that will surpass explanation, I have decided I need a ‘regular work schedule.’ You know, a schedule like real people have. Be at work at a certain hour, stop work at a certain hour.

I chose start at 7 end at 5. I know regular people have 8 hour works days but I am in management – my time is not entirely my own.

It is day three of this exercise and I must say: it doesn’t suck. I have got to get used to the idea that the day hasn’t ended in its entirety when I’m done. The first two days when I finished working, it was like I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the day – there was sunshine and everything.

I had to harken back to the days when I left the house to go to work and came back home and then made dinner and cleaned rooms and got stuff done. Today, it’s even worse because the schedule doesn’t have me knitting at all.

Gulp. I did a clean up of the living room. Took the garbage that resulted from that to the garbage can in the alley and then took the long way around back to the house. (Did I mention, I’ve been doing these small 1-3 minute walk breaks during the day?) Now, I get to do some writing. This falls under writing and I have a page to write in the book. The goal of a writing session is one page. This is going to take some time to write – I have three books going at once.

There has been a lot of knitting and cowlburntpumpkin3crocheting going on: these two cowls will be added to the shop soon. And there’s a pair of fingerless mitts and a hat.cowlautumn2 Not to mention about five orders I have to get done. On the needles and hooks right now are a pixie hat (order) and the knitted cowl I designed. I will take that with me to knit group and hopefully get that done. Also, another crochet cowl in merlot. I also have to write the pattern for the knitted cowl. So, there’s progress being made.

I think I will have to give it time to adjust to the schedule. I am going to bed a little earlier and getting up between 6-7 and that’s a little strange. But it does give me several hours of quiet that can be productive and the walk breaks are quiet because everyone else is in school or at work. That part works well for me and when the weather is too cold to go outside, I can do something in doors.

Still need to come with something to put into the group shop. It is on my schedule (I love schedules and lists) to do some publicity and promo work for it and when I have that time, I will specifically choose something to make that will be for that shop only.

Hopefully, a schedule will keep me from feeling frazzled during the busy season – and I am hoping to have a busy season – Mama wants to say goodbye to her Discover card.

This week would have seen my Mom’s 84th birthday….rather than remain sad – I choose to remember the beautiful woman she was and make it a good week in her honor. So these are some nifty things that are beautiful themselves:

Infinity scarves are supposed to be hot this year and this one looks like it took some work. You can find it at Blu100520141e Birds Fly Boutique.

 

Smelly Rhino does some nice pet portraits. I like this one because of the face:100520142

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bags won’t be out of my top ten for long and100520143 if I keep seeing ones like this one from Ikabags, they will never be gone.

 

Natural Home Spa offers a 100520144block of uncut soap. Uncut soap. Who knew?

 

 

 

 

Integrity Graphics have personalized prayer journals. Great idea.100520145

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes something makes you stop and say “Hmmmm.” Stevie Nicks on a prayer candle is one of those things. See who else made it in Greaser Creatures wax. 100520146

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also like mugs. I bought Mr. Honey a bunch of mugs because he likes them, too: I like this one from Judi Creates100520147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes this fascinating is that this Elsa gown from axac Studio is the only thing she sells:

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Got to give a shot hot to a fellow hooker. I don’t make slippers but these from Shop Dreams of Crochet, are kinda cute:100520149

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and finally: A Cabbage Kid dreams of being like this girl from Beez Dream:

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I hope your week is a great one and if you still have your parents, don’t wait to tell them you love them. Tell them as many times as you can. You won’t regret telling them; only if you don’t.