Monday, January 25, 2016

Another hit

I don't remember when I first read The Five People You Meet in Heaven, but it was something my mom and I both read.

When I saw Mitch Albom's new book at the school book fair last month, I thought my mom would enjoy it. Turns out, she was on the waiting list at the library, and was thrilled to receive it for Christmas. 

I think it took her under two weeks to hand it back to me, saying I would love it.  The First Phone Call from Heaven was not as I expected, but it gripped me from front to back. Luckily, I was reading it during finals week, and I did actually have some free time on my hands. 

I'm so bad at giving book overviews without spoiling the ending, so I'll just share my favorite parts:
- it was set in Michigan, so I was familiar with many of the places
- the modern day narrative was broken with short bits of telephone history, focusing around Alexander Graham Bell and his love story
- the main character didn't even know his own story fully
- there was more than one main character
- it did not make any one faith look good or bad

So, definitely worth reading if you've enjoyed Mitch Albom before-- that's my recommendation :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cold Sheep

Ravelry, if you've never been, is a great place for community, conversation, and- of course- yarn. Several of my favorite discussion boards share patterns and host swaps, but as it is January, a popular one is the Cold Sheep (and Friends) group.

Now, you may ask, what is a cold sheep? Basically, it's a crafter's term for not buying any yarn. Every once in a great while (for some of us, more frequently), crafters realize that they have purchased more yarn then they could ever use up in their lives-- this is called SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy). The Cold Sheep group exists to motivate crafters to knit and crochet and spin and weave their yarn into useful/beautiful/warm items.

The group runs little challenges throughout the year- some with prizes, some without- to help its members to think outside the box when working with their stash. My favorite is the You Can Do It! CSAL, which tracks participant's yardage output over a period of time- in this case, three months. For every 1000 yards you use up, you earn an entry into their prize drawing. I find that the motivation from getting a prize entry can help me finish languishing projects.
run_away_square.png
Who doesn't love motivational sheep?
Another group that is helpful for "stashing down" is the KnitPicks (and more!) Stashdown group. Similarly structured to the Cold Sheep group, challenges to use up yarn and motivate crafters to have manageable stashes abound. This year, they are doing 2 big challenges- a "no yarn" tiara and a "weight loss" tiara. I joined in on the "weight loss" one, because moving 6000g out of my stash would be amazing-- and it also allows for some freedom in purchasing new yarn if needed. Of course, the crowns are virtual, but in addition to the larger, year-long challenge, various group members have smaller, shorter challenges that may have real-world prizes.
mt_stash_square.png
One of the group mods made these images. <3

As it is January, and many people make resolutions, these groups could be useful for crafters. I am finding them useful for me, as I am taking this year to reorder my stash and put it into a more manageable, useable space. Avoiding aimless purchases is the first part, using the yarn is the second.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Return

It's been forever and a day since I last wrote. Well, really only about five months. I suppose I let life get away from me. This little space is odd. Many of you, my readers, are people I don't know very well. People that I have never met. So sharing personal details always seems weird.

I've been in a weird place in my life. I'm sure some of you have been there. A place of transition and confusion. Bouncing between depression and "okay", hoping that the number of good days will outweigh the bad. Many of my low days were/are strongly influenced by my near-chronic back pain. Fixing that problem is going to be a journey, but I think I'm on the road to recovery and have the tools I need.


This blog has been a therapeutic place for me, and I'm hoping I can make it that for me again.