Sunday, October 19, 2014

Family Movie Night

"A portrait of family, once a week, every week, for a year." 

We don't often watch television or movies, but when we do there's always a discussion afterwards. We like to critique and explore motives, actions, characters and their development, conflict and struggle, reasoning and consequences, and many more themes. We don't just look with our eyes, we observe with our minds. It's always a learning experience-one of my favorites. I've often contemplated including movies and television in my homeschooling lesson plans for the future. I'm still undecided on my decision, but as far as I can see I still have plenty of time to think on it.

25 x 25: #10

25 x 25 Progress Update

Caution: This is a lengthy post. I have a lot to say sometimes.

So I've been realizing some things lately. 
One of these things is that I should probably do a progress report update on my 25 x 25 goals every 3 months or so. I'll get right to it-here's what I've accomplished so far:

3. Learn how to make at least 3 traditional Ecuadorian meals. 
I made some Locro de papa (with some modifications/compromising.) I would like to try making Locro again using all the traditional ingredients. I have also made plantains many times now (I liked them so much after the first time and they are so simple to make!) 

4. Discover my go-to birthday cake recipe that I can turn to for years to come.  
Mother made a delicious apple cake with olive oil and red pepper garlic honey. I think it may be a winner but I haven't had time to try and replicate it yet...also I would need to find some more of that delicious honey, which I have not seen anywhere.

5.  Learn how to sew averagely.
I have spent some time practicing sewing before so I have a little experience. I haven't spent much time sewing since I put together this list but I have spent a little time trying to learn more about my sewing machine and how to use it properly. I watched this video from Craftsy and attempted to fix whatever was making my machine jam up so much when I used it. I'm very new to sewing with a machine so my needles kept breaking and the machine kept jamming. After watching the Craftsy video I tried changing my [thread spacing?], and sewed up a kerchief that I had messed up on before to test it out. It worked great! It didn't give me any problems at all, which I was so relieved about. Hopefully it stays that way for a good while. Without the frustration of using the machine it makes me want to get back into trying new things.

8. Spend more time with my mother in her garden. 
I have spent time with mother in her garden (here are my posts about this.) However, not nearly as much as I should. This is in part due to the fact that the dirt is so bad here and our funds are low to fix it up like it should be. Not much grows in the back and that which does grow in the front gets taken right from under our noses. If you follow me on Instagram you may have heard about the tragic loss of the big juicy melon my mother worked hard to grow. It was dug up from right next to our doorstep. On another occasion, we caught someone trying to take some of the mint planted out front. So, what with mother's discouragement at the gardening circumstances and the very inconsiderate taking of our plants, mother hasn't really been working on the garden that much. Hopefully this summer we can have another go at it.

9. Spend more time with family while I still can. Check.

10. Complete a 52 Project of my family. 
I began this right away because I was too anxious and didn't want to wait all that time for the new year to come around. I am currently about halfway through it. You can see my 52 Project posts here.

11. Enjoy my independence and appreciate alone time while I still have it. Check.

12. Learn to be more patient, understanding, confident, and forgiving.
I have learned to be more confident, bold and brave. Patience is a work in progress still, forgiveness comes easier now, even though it's still hard to express my forgiveness. I'm always afraid I'll get taken advantage of if someone knows I've forgiven them. Which might just mean I'm not truly forgiving to begin with[?] I have been working on being more understanding, which helps me to forgive more. The hardest of these for me right now is being patient.

13. Learn to be able to just drop everything and take a break when I need to. I think I've accomplished this. I should be sure though, so I won't say I've learned it yet.

15. Learn how to play guitar (at least like an amateur.) Oh, the ever elusive guitar learning. This one is a long standing goal of mine. I've wanted to learn for at least 6 years now, and have practiced minimally without following through every time (due to multiple reasons.) My latest endeavor involved an agreement between Treasure and I, who agreed to give me a certain number of lessons. Well, let's just say that didn't pan out. I started to attempt to learn by watching YouTube videos, which was going pretty well compared to the first time I tried this approach a couple years ago. I'm at a much better place in my life right now than I was then, so I think that helps immensely with my concentration and level of effort I put into learning. However, I haven't picked up the guitar again in over a couple months (following through can be very difficult when you have so many hobbies and so little free time.) I know, enough with the excuses already. The good news is that I think I've retained what I learned much better this time so I should be able to pick up right where I left off when I have another go at it.

16. Learn how to size knitwear (finish that Craftsy course. And this one.) 
This was a big focus of mine over the summer. I watched a good deal of Shirley Paden's video classes on Craftsy and even started to design the top I wanted to try making. I picked out the yarn, did an art project with my sisters that revolved around designing a garment, and calculated all the measurements (whether they're correct or not is another story.) I did not find time to start on the top and have since contemplated changing the design. Who knows what I'll end up doing. Part of me thinks I should work on things for smaller individuals to master techniques first and then tackle the bigger projects. The other part of me is all for diving in to the challenge though. That's the reckless part speaking though, so I'll probably just put it away and work on little people clothing until I've gained more skills. And until I've watched Shirley Paden's class and Faina Goeberstein's all the way through (paying very close attention to the math parts, which is my least favorite aspect, but one of the most important!) 

17. Start selling patterns on Ravelry. 
 I haven't exactly sold anything on Ravelry yet, but I did put together a little kerchief pattern that I published as a free pdf download on Ravelry and featured here on the blog. It has also been featured on Lion Brand's facebook page (a surprise to me!) and was added to the Knitting Pattern Central library and All Free Knitting. Which was pretty darn exciting if I may say so myself. It's been a bit scary, and it's definitely been a learning experience.

19. Finish one of the novels I'm writing.
I labored over this one the whole month of August and came close to finishing a [very] rough draft of one of the novels I'm writing. There was much rethinking, restructuring and revising, and then September came and snatched away my free time. I am very thankful for the time I had to work on it though, and for this book that was given to me a long time ago (that I should have started reading a long time ago.) 

21. Step out of my comfort zone to actually speak Spanish instead of just knowing how to. I want to teach my kids to speak multiple languages so this one's a must. 
This is still a big struggle of mine, though I have found that it comes easier to me when addressing children. 

22. Exercise more to help with my asthma. Start jogging regularly and develop a workout routine. And STICK WITH IT. 
I was doing well with this one at one point. Over the summer I would bike to work and back 3 times a week, which was very good exercise and it was doing my lungs well. I was jogging regularly on the weekends, (getting Tree Girl or Treasure to come along with me if my beloved couldn't come over during the weekend.) That was a task though, seeing as they're not too enthusiastic about jogging with someone who is prone to exercise induced asthma and jogs at the pace of a turtle when their breathing gets bad. Now that my beloved is staying with us we have made a pact to exercise on a regular basis together. So far it's been going well!

23. Make a memory quilt for my beloved as a wedding gift.
I have cut out some scraps from various articles of old clothing, though I have much more clothing to go through. That's about as far as I've gotten on this one. 

25. Decide where in the world I might like to settle down and raise a family (at least a top 10 list of places that appeal to me most.) 
I have a list, Tree Girl has a list (because of course we're supposed to be next door neighbors for the rest of our lives,) my beloved has some preferences. Right now Alaska, Washington, and Oregon are at the top of my list, and I'm interested in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. I'm also interested in British Columbia and many parts of Europe, though the whole expat thing is pretty daunting to me at this point (mostly the whole process of getting papers, besides that everything else seems pretty exciting to me!) Ecuador is another place that interests me seeing as my beloved's ancestors are from Ecuador. 

Here's what I haven't really touched on so far:

  1. Learn how to flip pancakes the correct way. 

  2. Learn my favorite family recipes by heart. And how to can, preserve, pickle and dry foods.
  6. Learn how to make a quiet book.
  7. Grow at least three edible plants (successfully) and make individual meals using each plant harvested.
14. Learn how to drive (yes, I'm almost 22 and still don't drive.)
18. Try my hand at freelancing.
20. Learn another language to add to my list (Italian, German, Hebrew?) I've been toying with the idea of trying American Sign Language lately. 
24. Travel somewhere. (Anywhere I haven't been before would suffice really.) 

Thus far I think I've been doing a good job! My goals until the next update (which should be in about 3 months), are:

  • Spend more time in the kitchen and start a recipe book to put down my favorite family recipes.
  • Continue to exercise on a regular basis.
  • Start speaking Spanish on a regular basis with my beloved. 
  • Work on my patience.
  • Cut out more squares for my quilt.
  • Practice sewing more.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Small Town

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town

This family right here is my small town. My little space of comfort and solitude. Even with all the shouting and yelling and arguing that we all tend to get ourselves into (ohhh yes, believe it), this is still the place I feel calmest, most at peace, most connected, most like a community.

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
This is the place I'm not afraid to be myself in. The place I'm not afraid to get up on stage and sing out in front of, or dance like a complete ham. We make each other yell, we make each other angry, but we make each other laugh just as hard, and we make each other think even harder. We can be blunt, we can be harsh, we can be loud and stormy, but that's what makes us stay real. Real with each other, our emotions, our surroundings, everything we take in. Because after the storm we can be calm, we can be quiet, we can be gentle and patient, and we work together. We tough it out to rough it out. And in the end, we're still here standing in this small town, because we weather the storms together.
Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town

Song-ography: Small Town, by John Cougar Mellencamp

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Challenge #7-Complete! 
Knit something bulky. Complete a project using any bulky weight yarn.

Introducing Anwen. I was not able to block it in time for posting the photos today, but besides that it's finished! I knit a rose to act as a buttonhole and put the button through. I used double moss and stockinette stitch throughout the pattern. Ever since I found the fast and easy hooded scarf pattern on Ravelry by Wendy D. Johnson my mind was filled with many different hooded cowl/shawl/scarf ideas. This was just one of them!
I used US size 15 mm needles and Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Cranberry. I think I used 2-4 skeins (I can't remember the exact amount, should've saved the wrappers!)

For my next challenge I thought I'd try learning a new technique. So here it is!
Challenge #8
Get acquainted with short rows. 
Learn how to knit short rows and
complete a project involving the use of this technique. 
Complete by: 11/22/14

Loads of Laughter

"A portrait of family, once a week, every week, for a year." 


Mother makes even the most mundane chores look like fun. She has a gift for that. She'll turn the most boring or tiring minutes into comedy hour and before you know it you're enjoying doing the laundry and time is flying by. That teaches me a good lesson; if she can do all this without complaining after everything she's been through then I sure as heck can too.

25 x 25: #10