Three Day Weekend!

It’s always nice to have an extra day in my weekend. This weekend I went to the City Market at the Whitewater Public Library. I had my books and crochet items and my niece took her jewelry she’s been making.

Winter before our tree came down

The day did not start out great with about 6″ of snow falling overnight. But we took her SUV rather than my car. Her vehicle is higher off the ground than mine so it made sense since our road wasn’t plowed yet.

I figured this sale would be a wash. The weather sucked and people were still digging out. But I was wrong. There wasn’t great traffic but we had about a hundred people come through. Many of them said they walked rather than drove which completely makes sense. Thank you to them for braving the snow and weather!

Most of my day was spent on going to the City Market and then spending time with my niece after. She dug through some of the rocks we have here. We also talked a lot about how to improve our set up.

By the time she left, I was wiped but one of my customers asked for a custom crochet item so I went to buy the yarn for that. We ran a couple of errands before we came home for the night. My hope was I would spend the rest of the weekend at home getting work done.

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Nope. I ended up going out yesterday morning to Michaels for yarn shopping. They are having a buy 2 get 1 free sale on their yarn. Now this is a time when I’d like to have a stash of money. I bought yarn for two blankets and a couple of other projects but it’s a great deal especially when you’re looking at the Bernat Blanket. Between coupons and the sale, I paid only about $6.66 a skein. This is a great deal.

After I purchased the yarn for the custom project, the person contacted me and wanted something different so I had to go buy different colors of the Lion Brand Hometown yarn which I used to make a hat. This yarn is soft, warn and bulky. Bulky means it works up quick. I was able to finish the project in about an hour, maybe a bit less.

After that I worked on a scarf made with Loopity Loop yarn. I do not recommend this yarn. It’s by Big Twist and some of their yarn is wonderful but I’m a lot disappointed with this. So the premise of this yarn is that you don’t need to know how to knit or crochet but can just weave through the loops to create different things.

First this is a new technique to the person but there are no directions to go with it. Other brands have done this by putting instructions on the inside of the label. I had to go to their website to find directions. Not hard but time consuming.

Second this is time consuming. With my crochet hook, I can take the same size yarn and create a scarf or blanket in half the time this weaving takes.

Third we initially bought one skein thinking that would be enough to make a scarf. From the ounces, I would have thought so but know. We ended up back there on Sunday and buying two more.

This leads to my fourth grumble about this year. Regular price is $11.99 on these. So if you want to make a long infinity scarf from this you need approximately three skeins making your scarf cost almost $36. That is ridiculous. I can buy a skein of Bernat Blanket for $10.99 at the highest and make a scarf out of that in an hour or so. Making it much more cost effective to buy the Bernat yarn.

It always makes me sad when have high hopes for a yarn. The quality of the yarn is good, sturdy, soft, warm. But the other features are just absolutely disappointing.

I finished my day yesterday with some paid editing and then editing of my own by rereading / editing one of my own books. I do this by pulling it up on Kindle and highlighting the text I want to change.

Mom and Aimee (I think)

Today has all been computer work, catching up on emails, posting things, checking social media, and a few other things. Before the day is done, I’ll probably spend an hour working on my mother’s photo albums. There are so many of them and it would be nice to get a few cleared out. I’ve got four or five ready to let the family know and a few others that are in maybe piles but I’d like to get through first sort of all of them. This will allow me to pull the ones I already have electronically.

Once I get that round of sorting done, it will be a matter of picking an album and going through to see what needs scanning. I’ve already got a HUGE box of those albums. It’s going to be a time consuming project for the next year or so. I haven’t even looked at the slides – hundreds, possibly thousands of them. Those may have to be dealt with separately / differently.

End of the Year Hustle

The family got through mom’s possessions.  We got them divided up, organized and sent off to the appropriate sibling or charity.  This includes the difficult task of dividing up her jewelry.  Saturday was a very long and emotional day.

Now I’m working on gifts and projects.  I had five student worker gifts to make – can’t say what at this point.  Since Sunday I’ve gotten four of them done.  I’m hoping to make the last one tonight.  I’ll take pictures of them as they are new patterns and then ask my husband to please wrap them. 

This is the rest of my immediate needs for crocheting:

  • 3 baby bibs – moved up because the publication changed the date for the issue they’re going in
  • gift for my daughter’s boyfriend – again can’t say
  • blanket for the woman who organized my blog post
  • slipper socks for my niece
  • scarf and hat set for a client
I think these are the immediate needs.  I am still working on a blanket for my niece which I may submit to the publication – I may be too late for the issue.  I have to check since they rearranged dates of issues.
I’m hoping to get all of these done within the two weeks.  After I get these done, I’m going to think about making things for the markets I’m hoping to participate in.  However, I have a lot of writing things to get done as well.  
I’m sure I’m going to be bouncing back and forth between tasks.  It’s all a balancing act for me to keep moving forward in both of these areas.  
I’ve been feeling too scattered so I wrote up a to do list for my writing.  I need to break down some of the tasks into pieces so I can check them off but I’m hoping with the list, I’ll be able to focus a little better and spend less time bouncing around and more time accomplishing things.  
Work is winding down for the end of the semester so this means I can think about more things.  I’ve also got a long eleven days off over the holidays.  I’m looking forward to this as I’ll actually have about three days in the house alone.  I’m hoping those will be productive days for writing.  On the days where I’m sharing the house with other people I’ll work on things like posting patterns on Ravelry or marketing as that is easier to be interrupted than writing.  
I’m also hoping to start going through some of the photo albums of my mothers.  This is going to be a task as there are dozens of them if not hundreds.  Without a doubt there are thousands of pictures to look through, determine if they are good enough to scan, and pick the ones the family will be interested in.  My mother was a prolific photographer who snapped shots of everything.  Collectively, we’ve already decided we can’t keep them all and there isn’t time to scan them all.  Still it’s a big job and will take time.  I’m hoping to take a few hours on one of my days off and work through a number of them.  
After I get done with the pictures, the next thing will be the slides.  This is going to be time consuming as well.  Both my parents took a lot of pictures.  This means I’ve got lots of slides to go through from the beginning of their marriage to about the 70s (I think).  This will be slow going as well.  
All of this should keep me very busy through the end of the year.  I’m hoping to rest a bit during my eleven days off and come back to my day job a little less stressed.  I’m also hoping to get quite a bit of work done while I’m off. 

It Is Done

This morning at 2:15 I finished the afghan!  After work, I had a headache so came home to a dark room.  It felt good to just have quiet and dark.  I was a bit annoyed because I thought I wouldn’t be able to work on the afghan. 
However, after supper my head felt better so I picked up the afghan.  I only intended to work a bit and then go to bed early as I’ve had a couple of nights with crappy sleep.  Instead, I watched Torchwood and crocheted until the afghan was done. 
I’ve made a late start today but I’m okay with that because the afghan is done and I can move on to the next crochet project.  Before I start the next crochet project, I’m going to spend some time on the computer working on production for some of my books. 
Suzanne got me pictures for the next poetry book cover.  I have to take some time to see if they will work.  She sent me multiple pictures.  This means I have to pick the ones I think will make the best cover and play with it to see if it will fit the requirements and work up into a good cover.  I generally make four or five and email them off to people for opinions.  Once people let me know what they like and don’t like, I eliminate until I’m down to THE cover for the book. 
This all takes time and is one of the most time consuming.  It is also one of the most difficult decisions I make when it comes to my books.  Suzanne provides me with some amazing photos and I have a hard time narrowing it down to just one.  There are a multitude of decisions like font style and color, placement, size, and so on that all affect how the book looks.  Since there are almost limitless options for these decisions I try to be consistent but it still helps me to have other people’s opinions. 
Don’t think I’m indecisive.  I have a good eye for color combinations and other stylistic features but too often I’m just too close to it all.  This is where other people’s opinions help me.  It isn’t just a matter of them choosing cover A or B.  It is a matter of telling me what works and what doesn’t work in the covers. 
Suzanne and my daughters are the four people I trust most but I’ve also asked other people to.  The interesting thing from this is generally one cover stands out as getting a consensus of being the front runner.  For Secret Past, I had opinions from at least a dozen people and they all liked the one cover – the one I went with – the best.
This means my day will consist of cover design, errands, and starting a new crochet project.  It will be a full day but hopefully a productive one.  Finally – the neverending afghan – is DONE!!!