Monday, December 27, 2010

Crochet blanket inspiration

I want to crochet a colorful rainbow blanket and came across a few ideas. Here are some that have inspired me.

A stripe blanket.

An updated granny square blanket.

I love the bright colors and different sized squares on this one.

Look at all these crazy colors! I love it!

I also kind of like this honeycomb style.

I need to find a crochet book that explains how to make lacy granny squares. This blog post was what got me thinking I'd like to try making a blanket in the first place.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I draw with a marker

Someone recently asked me why I only draw with a pen (a Sharpie usually). I'd never answered that before and no reason has ever formed into anything concrete. I just do. Do you ever hear your words coming from somewhere in your heart before you can answer with your brain? That happened to me. I learned why I do it and it's a durn tootin' good reason!

If I draw with a pencil it gives me the chance to erase what I don't like and I'll wear that eraser down to nothing before I ever draw anything. It will never be "good enough." When I draw with a Sharpie I have to work with my mistakes. It seems like backwards reasoning, but I feel less tentative about drawing with a pen. I know there will be something I don't like, or a stray line, but I don't have the pressure of needing to fix it or make it JUST RIGHT. It was nice to realize that.

Sometimes what ends up on the paper is nothing like what I thought I was going to draw. Going with it changes my creative thinking into a way I wasn't expecting. I think it helps my mind be less rigid and sometimes I like what comes out! I'll see something on the paper I would not have otherwise.

This is where I get all philosophical and roll my eyes at myself, but I have to point out this comparison. I think it helps me deal with life. I have to take what I have and turn it into something that works for me and make the best of it. There have been plenty of times I've been upset about the way something turns out only to realize later that something even better came out of it. That ALWAYS seems to happen. (Recently I was upset about not getting a job I was SURE I'd get. Because that didn't happen, I now have the opportunity to go to school and get BETTER jobs. Suckers!)

Drawing with a Sharpie is my reminder to myself that there is no such thing as perfect. And really, there's no need to be upset when something doesn't go my way.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Office/craft room inspiration

I'm getting fed up with how my side of the office looks. It's messy and unorganized and not at all how I want it to look. I'm collecting inspirational photos and websites and to more easily keep them in one place I'm going to keep them here. First up, is this one.

Paper Owl Mobile

Look what I found! This is an inspiring website full of things I'd like to make. First off, I think I need an owl mobile! The other day I bought some poster board with gold on one side and silver on the other just because I loved it. I think I've found its purpose.

Made by Joel: Paper Owl Mobile

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I think I'm being followed

I'm not saying I'm any kind of trendsetter because it can't possibly be true that people are looking at me for inspiration. How much of a coincidence is it that I find myself liking certain things then suddenly I see it everywhere? Am I just subconsciously picking up on trends in the early days and liking it because it's different and something I haven't yet seen? Then it explodes and EVERYONE likes it and I assume people are copying me? That's more likely. Whatever it is, it keeps happening! (And I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this.) I think I should start paying attention and flood my wardrobe with things I love before they get too popular.

Part of me is excited when I finally see something I like in the stores but then I quickly become annoyed that I look like everyone else. I don't want to be trendy. It seems to me that people keep taking my unique finds and making it the thing.

I have a thing for owls, especially the 1970s style figurines. I scour thrift stores but never quite find what I'm looking for. At a garage sale a couple years ago I bought a figurine of 3 owls. Not quite from the 70s but it's a stylized soapstone carving from the Eskimo village of Nuvuk Canada. After I bought a little Mexican black pottery owl I started seeing owls everywhere. Home decor, clothing, journals... I still like owls but it annoys me that everyone else does too. I think it's a fading trend.

Recently I found myself oddly attracted to pink. I like wearing that "feminine" color because I often feel like an outdoorsy tomboy and I like the juxtaposition. I think it's surprising to see me wear it. Well, look what I saw today. Apparently Pantone calls it honeysuckle and it matches the pink nail polish I'm wearing in my efforts to be unique.

You know what else I like? Sparkles! and Glitter! and Iridescent Colors! especially in nail polish. That's a little harder to find... Or so I thought. I guess I know what I'll be seeing all over the place.

I'm just going to say right here that I bet we'll be seeing a lot of gold lamé soon because I've been having an inexplicable urge to wear that tacky stuff.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey you!

Does it feel weird to anyone else to address envelopes to your parents using their first names? Using "mom and dad Haley" doesn't feel quite right either. I ended up addressing the envelope to M & J Haley. I'm on a bit of a kick calling people by the letter of their first name right now, so that's what felt most right.

This would be solved if I could send them an email instead, but they are not Internetting people. That's ok. Sometimes I just want to sit down and write a letter anyhow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is Kathy Hilton your friend?

I saw an interview once with Kathy Hilton. She was asked if she would tell another woman if she had that dreaded foundation line at her jaw. I don't remember anything else about the interview or who was interviewing her, but I remember Kathy's answer. She acted indecisive and said, "Well...I suppose if she was a friend I would."

I think of that nearly every time I'm putting make up on! I rub in my foundation and hope I don't have The Line because if I did, Kathy Hilton wouldn't tell me. I'm writing this down in hopes that some other thoughts will take over now.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thinking happy thoughts

Riding my bicycle makes me happy. I ride so that I know how the trees smell after a rain, so that I know when the leaves erupt in fall color, so that I see the first tiny blooms of spring, so that I know the moon’s cycle, so that I can hear the whispers of Mother Nature.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What are you proud of?

Sometimes when I'm feeling low and am not happy about the way I handle things, I like to think about what I've accomplished.

I am most proud of faking it until I believed it myself. Not THAT kind of faking it! ;) I am an introvert and once upon a time so shy that I would burst out crying if asked a question in elementary school. The thought of speaking out loud in FRONT of people horrified me. It’s taken 38 years, but gradually I have learned to break out of my shell. It still feels fake sometimes and my back gets drenched with sweat, but I can talk to strangers in small groups and smile, and actually enjoy it now. A little. I am married to a gregarious extrovert and at parties I try to keep up with him (at my own pace of course) and I can do it! Maybe everyone outgrows painful shyness and this is nothing unique. Either way, I am proud of myself because I never thought it would be possible to do anything other than hide in the corners.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Does this scowl make me look gay?

I love short hair. I mean super short hair. It's easy to care for, easy to color, and works under a bike helmet. It doesn't use much shampoo and doesn't actually NEED to be washed often.

I've seen a bunch of cute actresses lately with really short hair under the headlines of such words as Gamine, Feminine, Sophisticated. I know I'm not going to look like them with their same hair cut but I always find myself telling my stylist "yes! perfect! go shorter!"

Once I leave the magical lighting of the salon and see myself at home, out from under the cape, I find myself like this:

It's a good cut and my stylist did exactly what I asked her to do. I just have to remember that I don't have a feminine or delicate face so a super short 'do like this isn't going to make people call me a gamine. More like butch. Not that there's anything wrong with that! How much make-up I wear is directly related to how short my hair is, and I'm wearing WAY TOO LITTLE make-up here. Excuse me while I got put on some lipstick.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am us, we are me

Here's a little something from Free Will Astrology that I saved from a few years ago. This always makes me feel peaceful and connected.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The water you drink is three billion years old, give

or take five million years. The stuff your body is made of is at least ten

billion years old, probably older, and has been as far away as 100,000

light years from where it is right now. The air you breathe has, in the

course of its travels, been literally everywhere on the planet, and has

slipped in and out of the lungs of almost every human being who has ever

lived. There's much more evidence I could offer to prove to you that

you're an infinite and eternal creature, Leo, but suffice it to say that

you're much greater and older and bigger and wilder and freer than you

have ever imagined. The experiences you'll soon have will give you a

deeply felt sense of how true that is.

Tea time!

I used to run a tea factory in my backyard in the fall. I'd pick the fallen leaves selecting only the finest for tea and put them in my wagon collecting bin. Then I'd fill it with water and let it sit for a few days going out to stir it. As the leaves brewed I'd add special herbs and and sprinkles in the form of grass clippings and rocks. My tea had the most delicious earthy scent, which is still one of my favorite scent memories from fall. I love smelling that each year right around now. Wet Seattle is the perfect place to smell that fall tea.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hurry up, white guy

I was waiting for the red hand to change to the white guy allowing me to cross the street. I had pushed the cross button several times and since this cross walk is not at an intersection, it is on a schedule of changing when certain unreachable conditions are met. It takes forever. I stood there for a while before the white guy finally appeared.

I thought it was funny that another woman joined me wanting to cross and the stars aligned allowing the light to change seconds after SHE pushed the button. On the whole walk across the street and back home I was thinking that she thought I was stupidly standing there waiting for the light to magically change and all I had to do was push that little button. See what happens when the button is pushed? It changes!

Then I smirked to myself - how silly it was that I was thinking that. And who cares if that's what she thought? Right? But you know I totally cared.

Play things

My cat goes nuts for my ear buds. As soon as I put them down he comes out of nowhere wanting to bite and bat them. I think he likes the texture but I wouldn't be surprised if he likes the taste too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Politics and Semantics

I am going through my old myspace account before deleting it and I thought I'd post some of what I wrote over there to this blog in order to consolidate. This was from March 22, 2007.

A week ago I saw a sign on the library door that read:



At first I had to reread it because upon my original scan I thought it said that libraries will be closed on "historic low usage day." Since I had never heard of that day I knew it wasn't a holiday. Then my second thought was that it had something to do with electricity (low usage/low wattage), which is odd that I didn't automatically assume it meant low library patronage. Those thoughts rushed through my mind so quickly that I realized neither was the case almost as fast as I wondered it.

I'm fascinated by the wording on this sign. The note is saying that the library will be closed on Easter, but why didn't they just leave it at that. "All libraries will be closed on Easter, Sunday April 8." Why the explanation that on Easter, not many people visit the library system? Is the city-run library system distancing themselves from a Christian holiday by saying that BECAUSE people won't be using the library (as history dictates) they won't be open? That day just HAPPENS to be Easter, a Christian holiday? As if they could just as easily choose any other day to be closed that's not historically well attended? Is Easter the real reason the library will be closed, but they can't say they are closing for a religious holiday? If the library admitted to be closed in observance of a Christian holiday could they be sued for not also observing a Muslim holiday, for example?

I thought about all these questions on the drive back home and for the past week and still haven't decided what reason is most likely true. Any of them could be. All of them could be. Now I'm back to being impressed by the wording. It is briefly perfect and fully educational. I can't think of a better way to say all that information. "Not many people come to the library on Easter, which is Sunday April 8 this year, so the library won't be open." Too wordy. "We are not saying we are or are not celebrating Easter, but we won't be open because in the past people generally don't visit the library." That obviously won't do.

Any shorter way I think to write this leaves out a vital bit of information. "The library will be closed on April 8 due to low attendance" - WHY? What's going on April 8? "The library will be closed on Easter" - When is Easter? As already mentioned, are they celebrating a Christian holiday?

Good job, Seattle Public Library. I wonder how many other people are as impressed with this sign as I am. Other grammar nerds, no doubt.

My humor

I find this definition for "eye" kind of funny:

A nearly spherical hollow organ that is lined with a sensitive retina, is lodged in a boney orbit in the skull, is the vertebrate organ of sight, and is normally paired. –Merriam Webster's Medical Dictionary

(normally paired, if you're lucky)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

ENGLiSH, the offical lanoguage!

I have had enoungh of these rediculous "offical" signs with poor ENGLiSH, butchering the lanoguage. I did'nt know so many people we're celebrating feedom, hating socilism, and wanting to impeah Borak Oboma. No one likes liers and its' terrible when things aren't wroking right, no exections. Most importantly, lets keep that sactity of marriage so this is not a repeat of 1930's Gemany!*

*All these misspellings were taking right from signs on this Teabonics Flickr stream.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mighty Life List

Inspired by Maggie Mason of, I've decided to make my own Mighty Life List. Some people call it a bucket list, but that sounds too dull and morbid. Things to do before I kick the bucket? No, I'd rather it be a list that reflects living and enjoying those things I've always wanted to do. She calls it a Mighty Life List and I can't think of anything better. I like the idea of feeling mighty and accomplished!

I know there have been times when I've said outloud "I want to do that!" but until now, I haven't really taken it seriously. I'm making a list of those things I want to do. Some are going to take so long to accomplish that I almost don't want to put them on the list. I don't want to feel intimidated. I also believe that when you put desires out there, mysterious things happen in ways you couldn't have planned.

I'll add to this list as I think of new things, and cross them off when I do them. Hopefully I'll write a post about the activity.

Sometimes I write things on lists that I've already done, just so I can cross them off. I'm also doing that here as a little bit of extra motivation. (Except, I can't figure out how to strikethrough words, so I'll put the done things in italics for now.)

skate in a roller derby game
take trapeze lessons
ride the conference bike, pictured above
learn to change a bicycle tire

The evolving list:

- Shoot a gun at a gun range

- Speak French fluently

- Travel in Europe for at least a month

- Bicycle across several states

- Go zip lining

- Visit the petrified Ginko forest (just a short drive away!)

- Learn common and Latin tree names for those in my area

- Snorkel with fish in clear water

- Make a quilt

- Knit or crochet a blanket

- Take tango lessons

- "Sky dive" in a vertical wind tunnel

- Vacation in Mexico when the Monarch butterflies return (early November)

- Whale watching from a boat

- Learn to play poker (this one is mostly just so I understand poker references. I'm not expecting to enjoy it.)

- Learn to make a website

- Learn calligraphy

- Have a baby

- Be adept at basic bicycle maintenance

- Know how to change a car tire

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hey Ladie's!

Oh how I love making fun of printed typos. I've been keeping my knitting supplies in my roller skate box, and it wasn't until this morning that I noticed this offensive use of the apostrophe.

When I see things like this I think about all the people who had a hand in making and printing this box. Didn't anyone notice that ladies should NOT have an apostrophe? They probably even had to pay extra for the additional character.

There will always be a job for grammar nerds like me. I just wish they would have called me before printing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Two weeks of winter

I never thought I'd want my February vacation destination to be just outside of Buffalo, NY. I never knew I would meet a man from Lockport, NY and love his family, either.

The first time I visited was a September, when things are usually cooling off and the leaves are starting to turn color; when they put away shorts and start to wear thin sweaters. When I arrived I breathed in expecting crisp air and instead got a big gulp of heat and humidity. I was prepared for weather in the 60s and I spent my week sweating in my corduroys and hoodies. Looking back, I don't know why I didn't just go to the local store and buy a pair of cheap shorts and a tank top.

Two years later, in 2008, my husband-to-be and I visited in late October to get married in Niagara Falls, NY. It was scarf and long sleeve weather that time but due to the hot, dry summer that preceded, the leaves were still mostly green. One of these days I'll get out there for a real east coast autumn - I've heard the locals brag about those.

After seeing a hot summer (I consider that September "summer") and a cooler autumn, the next logical time to visit would be winter, right? Naturally. My husband and I have talked about moving to the east coast, that dreaded east coast, the place I've always been warned about due to the winters. The place that turns desert dwellers into stone. I'm only considering it because I like his family enough to think it might be ok to have my blood turn to ice for half the year. I thought it would be wise to visit Western New York in the middle of winter to see if I could take it. Plus, don't tell anyone, I kind of like the snow and wanted to see Niagara Falls when it's fluffy with snow and ice.

Fast forward to February 2010. The Farmer's Almanac predicted that the middle 2 weeks of February are typically snowy with temperatures in the mid 20s to low 30s. It just so happened that my father-in-law has a week off from teaching for winter break for one of those weeks. Tickets booked! By another lucky chance, the time we scheduled to visit coincided with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I watched a lot of Olympics!

Wouldn't you know that in Lockport NY, they not only have CBC, but also CTV! I was able to watch the Canadian Olympics on a Canadian channel. I was happy that I didn't have to rely on NBC for the coverage. My husband summarized it perfectly with his impersonation of the dialog you'd hear on NBC, "Well Bob, they just need to put the pedal to the metal and pull out all the stops here. This team needs to give it everything they've got and go out and really win that thing!" American sportscasters are excellent at talking without ever saying anything.

What's the Olympics without a little booze? OK - A lot of booze. New York doesn't have government controlled liquor stores like Washington and the prices are unbelievably cheap in comparison. When we first arrived we went to the liquor store and bought $70 worth of scotch, brandy, and tequila that would have easily cost twice as much in Seattle. Oh, and the reason we bought so much booze? The things we bought on our last trip, things we were expecting to still be left-over hanging out in that back cabinet, guess where they went? My adorable mother-in-law, who doesn't drink, decided to mix everything together. She thought since they smelled the same she might as well save some space and mix them all together. Even after relentless teasing from Adam, she thought that saving space trumped him being "finicky about his booze."

I had a wonderful time sitting by the fireplace with a scotch in hand while looking out the window at falling snow. I went for walks in the snow and shoveled the driveway. Even though I was on the opposite side of the country from Vancouver, I felt closer to the athletes as they competed on the snow and ice when I was able to look outside and see the same. I thoroughly enjoyed my little bit of winter. I loved it for two weeks and as I congratulate myself for making it through, I wonder if I could really take it for four or five months. I had no trouble in 20 degree weather but I know it gets much colder! In just two weeks I got tired of the effort it took to get dressed for the outdoors.

Now that I'm back home to an early spring in full bloom, I'm realizing that the East Coast is starting to appeal to me in the smallest way. I find myself looking at the plum tree in the yard and pretending the white puffy branches are covered in snow instead of blossoms. I wish I could have stayed in New York with my in-laws to ride out the long winter and rejoice with them when their trees begin to bud. I like watching them crack open and seeing the blooms peek out, noting how much bigger they are than the day before. It almost feels unfair that I fast forwarded to spring in Seattle and missed that wonderful transition period. I guess that means the next vacation to Lockport, NY will be in the spring!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Speak your mind

I'm celebrating myself with a nice little shot of tequila. I did something tonight that I'm so proud of, something that has been years in the making. Won't you celebrate with me and share my excitement?

I'm generally terrible at speaking up for myself. I've been shy all my life and my nature is to keep quiet. I don't like to speak up and be uncomfortable, but mostly I'm concerned about making others feel awkward. I'll go out of my way to keep the peace, not rock the boat, cause no tension, but I don't like the way I feel about it. Although it makes me want to throw up to speak up, I can tell in my gut that keeping quiet is not always what I *really* want to do.

There's a bumper sticker I've loved from the first time I saw it over 10 years ago. The saying has become my mantra every time I try to talk courage into myself. "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes." I used to keep quiet rather than speak up because I would be embarrassed if my face turned red, or if I cried. Let me just admit that I am a crier. Pampers commercials make me cry. I operate on high emotions and my body's reaction to fear, anger, and happiness is to cry. Since reading that bumper sticker I've decided that it's ok to blubber through something I really want to say. It still happens sometimes, but lately I've come out of those experiences with only a shaky voice and not so many tears!

Tonight I feel like I had a bit of a graduation into what I've been trying to be. I went to a yoga class through the experimental college offered at the local community center. In the first 10 minutes I knew it was not what I was looking for. It's been a few years since I've gone but I'm more advanced than the class. I felt like I had walked into a class in a nursing home that taught seniors how to stretch. There's a difference between yoga asanas and stretching your hamstrings by pulling on your leg. About 15 minutes into the class I was thinking of a way to get out of it.

I paid $60 for a 6 weeks class and even though that's a good deal I knew I would not be going back to the class. For an hour and a half I considered packing up and leaving and losing my money. Was it worth $60 to avoid a confrontation? As soon as I realized that I could attend 4 good yoga classes at a studio with that money, I knew I had to speak my mind and let my voice shake.

After class I waited for the other 6 people to leave and approached the teacher. In my sweetest voice I said, "Is there a way I can just pay for this class? I won't be coming back." I actually spoke my mind without mincing words; I stated what I wanted and had a clear head about it! This is such a huge deal for me!

I stuck to the point and brought tangents back around to what I wanted to say. She pointed out that she had to thoroughly explain the moves and go slow so new people wouldn't be left behind. I told her I support people learning yoga but because I was past that stage I needed a more challenging class. I think she might have started to get a little defensive and told me that sometimes it takes time to get used to the style of a new teacher. I let her know that her teaching style didn't affect my decision - it was simply too basic of a class. When she let me know that she would not be going over the same asanas every week that gave me another opportunity to get back to my point. That rate of asana introduction was too slow. In an hour and a half we did 8 stretches. I could see that line of conversation continuing and I didn't want it to. I ended it with, "So how much do I owe you for this class tonight?"

It was then that she went about giving me back $52. I kept a clear head and stayed focused on the point. I was able to be nice about it AND state what I wanted. Later as I've been thinking about this, little doubts have started creeping in. "Was that an OK thing to do? Should I have just stuck with it?" I had to remind myself that I was doing something FOR me and not something TO her. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I hated every second of it, but I DID IT! I have made one little step toward living my life for myself and standing up to speak what I wanted. Extra points for me - my voice didn't even shake!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Inspired by a windy Seattle day

Flags snap
Gulls hover over teal water with sharp white peaks
Clouds glide behind dancing trees
Leaning into the wind tasting Puget Sound