2013 Year in Review

It’s January, and time for a year end review! 2013 has been a good year for me. I became a full-time nanny an part-time crafter, started blogging, and got back in touch with a few long-lost friends. I began budgeting, keeping track of my money, and making a plan for paying down that mountain of student loans. I joined the WV Reads 150 challenge, and read 32 adult books and 25 children’s books for a total of 57. I finished up 22 knitting projects, 15 embroideries, and 6 machine sewing projects. I got to visit friends, family, and homesteads in Missouri, West Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire. I had a completely beautiful holiday season filled with more love and acceptance than I could possibly have wished for.

In personal development, this is the year that I feel like I’ve really come into my own. I made an effort to spend time around people who are positive, encouraging, and believe in what I do, and tried to give negative, draining, critical people a wide berth. I’ve made an effort to let go of past insecurities, failings and incorrect beliefs about myself, Four Agreements style. I’ve tried to spend my time doing things I truly enjoy – life is too short for books you aren’t interested in, art projects that feel like obligations, and work that isn’t bringing you joy. I’ve learned that it’s ok if your goals change, and that of course what you needed or wanted at 21 isn’t going to be what you need or want at 32. I’ve learned, and will continue to learn, how to be enough.

Of course, there are still things I’d like to work on in the coming year. Budgeting and taking care of my health are ongoing goals, like they are for most people, along with finding your best work/life blend. And we have a lot of changes coming up in 2014 to look forward to. I’m looking forward to a few more adventures.

“Times change and so must I… We all change when you think about it, we’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good. You gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.” -Matt Smith as The Doctor.

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October Updates

The month of October has been completely slammed for me – but mostly in a good way.

Early in the month, our fair city had The Greater Boston Yarn Crawl featuring 15 shops all around Boston. My friend Deborah and I hit up or regular shops as well as a few others, and I got some awesome hand-dyed yarn called Sun Also Rises from Toil And Trouble. All her colorways are inspired by literature, but despite its name, Sun Also Rises reminded me of Ponyo, everybody’s favorite little fishie by the sea.

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Ben and I also did a weekend overnight with Charlie and Alex while their mom & dad went to a wedding in New York. The four of us had a great time! We had a ton of fall fun playing Monster Mini Golf on Saturday and going to the EcoTarium on Sunday.

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In the middle of the month, Charlie and Alex got a brand new bunny they named Bunnysaurus Rex. He’s an English Spot and lop mix, and the boys’ mom and I have been building him an epic house for the living room. It’s 2’x6′ and features an interior with a ramp up to a mid-level shelf and another ramp up to his “rooftop garden.” The top level will have a plug to keep him from escaping when all of his people are out for the day, and a wooden fence to allow him to safely explore the upstairs. Both levels will have padded floors to protect Rex’s feet and the wood will be sealed with high-gloss paint to protect from any errant puddles. Of course it will have all the regular bunny amenities such as his litter box, water bottle, hay trough, hiding boxes, and plenty of toys. I’ll get some photos up of the finished house in the next week or so.

The end of the month is of course, Halloween. Ben and I like Halloween just fine, but for the last few years we’ve both been to swamped to do much about it. And we live in an apartment complex that doesn’t lend itself to trick-or-treating, so we didn’t even buy any candy this year. But after looking at pictures of people making costumes for themselves, their kids, and their pets all day on Facebook and Reddit, I decided our bunnies needed some costumes. At 3pm I broke out some stash yarn size 3 needles, and black scrapbook paper and around 11:00, THIS was the result. I was pretty pleased with myself.

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So in addition to all of this, October featured my usual nannying schedule of one 65-hour week alternating with one 30-hour week, and my regular knitting projects – a hat for Samantha’s Monkey, a. Minion hat and Daniel Tiger’s blue Tigey for various Halloween costumes, and a pair of mitts for my new HH Etsy Shop. And wouldn’t you know it, the Red Sox were in the World Series, and I needed something with which to taunt Ben’s Cardinals-loving brother. Trash-talking ensued, and thus was born a pair of Loser’s Granny Panties, suitable for wearing on one’s head to the winner’s delight.

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So the downside of all this business is that in the past six weeks, two of them have been spent curled up on the couch feeling miserable. This week I realized that it was probably a recurrence of whatever it was last time and went to the doctor. Sure enough, a sinus infection that made my asthma go nuts has resulted in both being sick and being pretty exhausted all month due to not being able to breathe properly. But I got all fixed up with with a whole pack of medicines, and while it’ll take a little while to be fully recovered, I’m well on my way, and that’s good news too.

Charlie’s “Orange Jenny Knitting Socks”

A few weeks ago, Charlie requested a pair of “orange Jenny knitting socks” to go with his “green mommy knitting socks,” and of course, I was only too happy to oblige. They’re made from Crystal Palace Panda Cotton Prints in Red Cinnamon from the “Kid Stuff” pattern in Two At a Time Toe-Up Socks. the pattern includes a formula for making socks to a child’s foot measurement.

Charlie loved them so much that he refused to take them off for two days!

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Meow’s New Sweater

I babysit a four year old girl named Raina, and her favorite thing in the whole world is her stuffed kitty, Meow. Well, Meow was starting to look a little worn in, and we decided the best thing for it was a new sweater! Raina selected her favorite colors: purple and more purple. And she wanted Meow’s sweater to have a big letter R for Raina, so everyone would know that he belongs to her.

I had to take some measurements because Meow’s arms stick directly out of his front, so a regular doll pattern wouldn’t do. I worked out the front and back, and made sure the armscyes are big enough, and then I made a little button flap over the shoulder to make sure the sweater would go over Meow’s sizeable noggin.

Raina has now requested I make another sweater in reverse colors for Meow’s Cousin – the backup stuffed kitty her parents bought in case anything happened to the original – and I’ll start the measuring process over since Meow’s Cousin has a bit more stuffing on his bones.

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Summertime!

It’s summer time and definitely time to get back on the blogging wagon. Since my last post, we’ve had Father’s Day, my 32nd birthday, mine and Ben’s second anniversary, 4th of July, and we’re rapidly approaching Ben’s birthday on Wednesday. I’ve been knitting, nannying, and even learning a bit of crochet. I finally saw all of the Harry Potter movies, read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and of course, added to my to-read and to-knit lists.

But before I get too far ahead of myself, it’s high time for an update on my Owlie Socks! They were tons of fun to make and I highly recommend the pattern.

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Snowed In!

Well, The Storm has us hunkering down and cuddling up. Governor Patrick declared a snow emergency for the state and ordered everyone off the roads at 4pm, which is a great idea because the roads were almost impassable by 2:30. Here at the Humanist House, we still have power and heat, but no intentions of heading anywhere for at least the next twelve hours. I’m working on another Shawshank sampler and my Owlie socks – but only after frogging them back to the middle of the cuff and nearly starting again. I decided I didn’t like such a tall cuff and discovered a bit of a problem with the heel turn that I wanted to think about a little further.

One week from today, I’ll be back at Boston Conservatory as head of wardrobe for the Winter Dance Concert, and I’m hoping to have my current projects finished up by then so I can think a little more about a few machine sewing projects I have on the horizon.

In the meantime, I’d like to share this website with you: Toward The Stars features fantastic gender-neutral and stereotype-breaking toys and clothing for girls, all of which encourage education, independence and confidence. I really enjoyed looking throughout their catalogue and I’m definitely looking forward to purchasing some of these onesies one day.

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Photo from Toward The Stars

Welcome!

Welcome to The Handmade Humanist! I’d like to start out right by sharing my current WIP (work in progress): Julie Elswick Suchomel’s Owlie Socks in Grape Soda. This great yarn is a soy and bamboo mix that’s unfortunately now discontinued. The pattern is a simple cable design that features twisted stitches and incorporates beads for the owl’s eyes. I chose 6/0 Czech glass beads with a purple center and transparent body to mimic the shape and reflection of a real owl’s iris. I’m really enjoying working on them in the evenings while Ben reads Harry Potter aloud.

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