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I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org“>
Buy Handmade! Make Handmade!

This holiday season, I am trying going to make things from what’s on hand – not buying anything new.  This is a bit more interesting (read “challenging”) than I anticipated.  I have SO much raw material on hand – yet still find myself thinking – “well this would be so much easier with some blanket binding – if I stopped by the fabric store – NO – make binding from fabrics at home.”

At first it was about perfection, then about laziness, now it’s about the fact that it tonight is the start of Chanukah, and Solstice/Childrens’ Day is next Monday, and Christmas is in two weeks.  Then comes my wedding anniversary, and then new years’ – all perfectly acceptable gifting occasions (did you read that second to last one, Bill) .

There’s very caffeinated knitting, mad felting and speedy handsewing going on here in Boulder.  (Note: speedy handsewing means drawing a lot of blood – one drop at time.)

Things are still secret, but I will reveal pix soon.  They’re awesome.  And, I am upcycling, recycling, making from raw, baking, and who knows, if we get down to the wire, giving stuff I love away to someone who is drawn to it.

Interestingly, my little MAKE IT journey did start many weeks ago, like late October – but handwork is slow.  Sometimes, as I’m sucking the blood from my thumb after the most recent jab of the needle, I wonder if the giftee is going to like it, if they will even care that I went through the conscious effort NOT to contribute anything except some biodegradable scraps to the ecosystem.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter – just as with any manufactured gift one would purchase to give.  Most of my peeps “get” that I make stuff, and genuinely appreciate the handwork quality.  People who may not know me as well ask where I bought it – a compliment.  In the end, I am walking the walk and having pretty good time – except for the needle pricks.  And, every one of the above mentioned occasions – and then some (next comes Groundhogs, Valentines,  and bunches of other “days”)  that make for great gift giving if everything isn’t done “on time.”

If you aren’t able to sit and draw blood, or have run out of time with your own holiday handwork, or don’t do handwork but think it’s really awesome – PLEASE make or support handmade in your gifting plans. A quick websearch or visit to Etsy.com (if you don’t know what etsy.com is, make sure you have a chunk of time to browse – just sayin’) – that’s all you need to do.  Or, go to a funky little gallery or handmade boutique near you and see what sorts of neato little things you find.

Support your local artists (even when that means YOU), your local businesses, and handcrafters – not just because one of a kind and creative expression are WONDERFUL – but because you can do your little “Copenhagen” bit by reducing the waste stream, shopping local, helping out an artists, and reducing the amount of “stuff”, er, raw materials in your stash.

PLEASE if you have suggestions for the most awesome places on the web to buy handmade or find quick project ideas, leave a comment! And everyone, visit http://www.buyhandmade.org/.  You can take the pledge, and read more about this wonderful network.

Off to draw more blood, sweat, but no tears.  Joy of the season to all – Tara

Nine AM
Children are screaming
I am desparate to escape
I gather up my secrets and go to my room
The decaf ice tea splashes
The bottle of Valium falls from my grasp
Rolls down the stairs
Children screaming in the house
All is well.

august.12.2008

the Valium was very helpful

OKC – Obligitory Knit Content. Yeah, I know. But, gotta get you yarnies’ attention some how. The OCK is that no one has yet decided to purchase the rare gem – Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting. I know you are out there. I know it’s a high price tag, but one day soon you, me and the book will transact. If you want it really bad – as of 8:25 am MDT, there are about 4.5 hours left on the auction. For now Alice and I stay together.

The big new here is that it looked like Boulder was on fire – but scarier still was the reverse 911 call we rec’d stating that evacuations of our area were suggested but not mandatory. Reverse 911 is something you hear about on the news, or in stories, but not on your own phone. Honestly, all it managed to do was scare the crap out of Jack and the other 10ish year olds on the street. We spent about an hour discussing first which Pokemon stuffed toy was most worth saving, and then which was really more important, the Pokemon, baby pictures or the cat. Guess which won – it wasn’t the cat.

Bill seemed to think it was a good idea to occupy Jack by suggesting he pack a bag in case we really needed to leave. In five minutes I hear “Mom, I need another bag.” Just use your imagination to think about what a ten year old boy is going to put into two overnight bags to “save.” There was clean underwear – makes a mother proud.

The photo above from the Boulder Daily Camera is of the “rocks” at Settler’s Park. I very similar view can been seen from the street in front of my house. We live just east of Fourth Street – aka “the Lycra highway,” and the western most street running along the edge of central Boulder. Some places in town have little bits of streets 1-3, but they are dispersed here and there randomly.

The best part of the reverse 911 experience was every single neighbor walking out of of their front doors simultaneously with dazed looks on their faces and the telephones still in their hands. So, we spent a lovely warm and sunny Sunday afternoon watching slurry bombers and news helicopters swarm overhead. It was nice to talk to folks – and a little south of here on the University of Colorado campus another cloud of smoke was hovering overhead – 4/20 – the annual pot-smoke-in. Reportedly 10,000 folks all exhaled together at 4:20. That classic “only in Boulder” story can also be read at the Boulder Daily Camera online at http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008/apr/20/cus-420-pot-smoke-out-draws-10000/

The story below is an excerpt of the fire report from the Camera at http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008/apr/20/fire-burning-settlers-park/

Crews contain Settlers’ Park fire, monitor it overnight
Blaze scorched 1 to 2 acres of land west of Pearl Street

“Some of the more than 100 firefighters who battled a high-profile blaze Sunday, which came within yards of Pearl Street and threatened several houses, stayed on scene through the night to make sure the fully-contained grass fire stayed that way.

Authorities declared the smoky wildland burn was 100 percent contained about 5 p.m., but most crews were still at Settler’s Park past dark to continue to “clean up” and douse any chance of its rekindling.

“There’s going to be a crew of 10 to 15 people stay there overnight to sleep on the fire and make sure it stays the way they left it,” said Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley.

Additional firefighters, she said, will return this morning to continue “mop up” operations.

The fire, which started smelling like an afternoon barbecue about 2:30 p.m. and soon blanketed the Pearl Street Mall with smoke, was first spotted by hikers atop the park’s Lookout Trail. It initially was reported as a burning log, Huntley said.

In total, more than 100 people called 911 in reference to the blaze, she said.

As about 120 firefighters from seven area agencies — including the Colorado State Forest Service — arrived on scene, Boulder police sent out a reverse-911 call to 1,382 homes.

The wildland fire warning went to houses west of Fourth Street, between Canyon Boulevard and Linden Avenue — within a half-mile of the 1- to 2-acre blaze. There were no mandatory evacuations, but some homeowners said they were worried there would be.

“I was hanging out downtown and saw the flames and was concerned about my house burning,” said Fred Noelke, who’s lived in a house just west of Settler’s Park for eight years. “Now we’re just kind of watching it.”

About 6:30 p.m., officials sent a second reverse-911 call to let residents who’d left their homes know it was safe to return.

“But I’ve never seen a fire get this close to town,” said Bill Baker, who’s lived in the area for 15 years. “It’s a little scary.”

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said investigators suspect the fire was caused by human activity because there were no weather events that could have sparked the blaze.”

What, you may ask, do these things have in common? ME!

These three things encapsulate my holiday season. Let’s start at the beginning. And, there will be pictures – Amy says I need to show you everything!

So the Cashmere comes first. I flipped out a little bit and really just needed to make it all about me for a while. First, I made an iPod playlist called “it’s all about me” – making sure I had the right soundtrack for the endeavor. Songs include: Woman King (iron and wine), Wise Up (Amee Mann), Undone (the sweater song) (aahhh-doesn’t it just say it all?) (Weezer), That Girl (Esthero), Singular Girl (Rhett Miller), She Belongs to Me (Bob), Raised on Robbery (Joni – with a little help from Robbie Robertson), Little Miss Lover (Hendrix/Experience) – get the idea?

Then I fibergasmed really hard over the BEAUTIFUL Alchemy Yarns Monarch Cashmere in San Francisco Sky.
monarchsfs.jpg

Wow. And I knit myself a pair of “Wisp of Mist” wrist warmers from Compassionate Knitting.
wristlets.jpg

I really don’t knit much for myself. I usually make most of the sample garments for my books in my size – but that’s just not the same. The original Wisp of Mist (above) were lost (sniff) at Rhinebeck ’06 – in the bathroom between the fried dough and the fried artichoke hearts. I hold it in my heart that they were found by a caring knitter (was it you?) and they are being loved as they should be. Once it got cold, I actually couldn’t live without them – they are REALLY warming. However, the new ones are “somewhere” right now – I’ll find them as soon as we take down the Yule tree. They are so delicious.

Next, comes Mr. Fender. If you haven’t heard – I got a ruby red Stratocaster for Christmas. Now, some of you have been a little surprised – “I didn’t know you did that” – but are you really surprised? You know, it’s difficult for me to be involved with more than one art form at a time – my (neglected) paintings can tell you all about that. So the yarn is a little jealous of the guitar. And, yes, I’ve played on and off since I was ten – and I got really good a couple of times over the past 25 years. So, I plan to do it again. Dude, yarn and a Fender – life is good.

Lastly, Lighting McQueen
Lightning McQueen
– well the Zay-B (aka Zane) turned four on Sunday (1/6). This may come as a shock to many of you who have met him – it certainly comes as a shock to me. This kid grew up so fast (okay, he’s not in kindergarten yet, so maybe he’s not actually “grown up” but you know what I mean.) So, he is a FREAK for anything with wheels. He wanted a “Cars” (as in the Pixar movie) party. I am a cake maven (yes, I do secretly dig Martha). Chocolate cake is something that also goes well with exotic fibers and an electric guitar. I have five cars in my bed right now – parked in a totally straight line and loosely organized by color (Capricorns!).

The holiday season is particularly busy for us – we have Children’s Day (Winter Solstice) – which we were very fortunate to celebrate with The Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and The Sakyong Wangmo Khandro Tseyang – the King and Queen of Shambhala.
kingqueenshmbl.jpg
Tara, Zane, The Sakyong and Khandro Tseyang at Children’s Day in Boulder

Then my brothers in law and sister in law with the wonder twins Emi and Hanne in tow arrived to celebrate the holidays with us. The twins are 10 days younger than Zane (happy bday girlies) and it was really fun to have some girl-power going on. We all painted our nails, and compared our fave Hello Kitty pink stuff. After Christmas, Bill and I celebrate our anniversary just before new years, then there’s New Years (I’ve never actually been to a New Year’s Eve party) and then 6 days after that the ZayB celebrations. Whew. Caught your breath yet? I’m almost breathing normally, this week being almost the end of the season – Jack goes back to school tomorrow – then maybe – well then it’s time to start preparations for the March Mindful Knitting Retreat in Greensboro, VT . (We’re full up – but we have a wait list if you want to contact the Highland Lodge).
hlvt.jpg
The Highland Lodge in Winter

So, if I haven’t answered calls or emails, here’s a little look at why not. I think it may stay a little bit all about me for the rest of the week – then deadlines, kids, obligations and all that stuff will waft back this way. For now, I’m going to plug in this ruby baby and be so happy that amps can really make you sound a lot better than you actually are. Cheerful 2008 – and go get yourself some cashmere, you’ll thank me.

Celebrating two days migraine free, Sunday was like a real day! I miss just hangin’ with my boyz (they’re so cute). Here’s what we did this weekend, probably not too unlike weekends had everywhere. Out to breakfast (yummm, pumpkin waffles), took our annual holiday photo (if you are on our holiday card list, act surprised when you open the envelope), The clouds were just lifting, and the Flatirons covered with powered sugar snow (see them back there on the left?) (nice sweaters, don’t you think? From L to R – Jack wearing Jack’s Aran (child) from Men in Knits, Tara wearing the O’Brien Sweater (unpublished, thus far) from my Graduate Thesis Collection, and Bill wearing Double Crossing Diamonds from Men in Knits. Zane is not able to stay still – we’re just glad he’s in the photo). xmas-pic1.jpg

We got our Buddhist-Pagan-Solstice-Children’s Day Tree, and then I went and test drove a few Fenders (yea, Baby!).
tele.gif
My sweetie digs the lipstick red Tele – something about it matching a Santa Hat.

 

Perhaps today some cookies to bake? I don’t dig cleaning – so anything to avoid that even though the big crew is coming for the Yule celebrations.

 

And did you do any knitting this weekend? One row – that’s all I got. Damn I mean Bless the ravelry, Okay, I really can’t pawn this one off, I’ll own it! Meanwhile, it got cold and snowy – (see said holiday picture – there were well over a hundred sledders in the park yesterday- CUTE). And, have you visited winter knitty.com? Maybe you are reading this because you already have. Mindful Knitting Column – It’s not bad, check it out.

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