Let’s create!

Well, I was in the creative mood, drawing didn’t work out so well and I needed to dig deeper into the well for the the creative medium.   Never say that any lessons are wasted.  I usually don’t associate the nuns of my childhood elementary school with creativity, but they did teach me the basics of knitting.   It’s now in the category of fiber arts which I love as rug hooking was of my late father’s favorite hobbies and I picked the rug-hooking bug up from him many years ago.  Crocheting, weaving and spinning are also other forms of fiber art and also look very exciting.

So, I do know the basics of knit and purl and cast-ons and cast-offs but what to do with it?   Enter Craftsy, the online video tutorial site.  They had several knitting options but I opted for Knit Lab with Stefanie Japel.  I highly recommend this class as it teaches the basics of knit, purl stitches as well cast-on, bind-off as well as weaving-in, blocking andshaping.   The video allows you to do a 30 second repeat which was essential in learning the long-tail cast-on.   It also shows pictures of other students’ projects which was very encouraging.   Stefanie was very clear and I loved the online option as you can view it as many times as you want.  The first project was a cute scarf which also covered increases, decreases and a few lace stitches.    I also signed on for a free class on Know your Wool with Deborah Robson, another highly informative and interesting class.  I can’t wait to explore the world of fiber arts as well as visit a wool festival which I didn’t even know existed!

Below is picture of my first project.  The plan this afternoon is to sew these together, weave in the tails and block it.

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Corner of Paradise

 

For 20 plus years we lived in the house with the untamed back yard.   It bordered on acres and acres of woods.  Once it was alive with the sounds of children climbing the jungle gym and throwing the ball.  Then the swing set came down, time to be enjoyed by another family.  The inside of the house took precedence over the outside as the sounds of Nintendo made way for the request for the car keys and then finally the close of the door as the second made his way to college.

 

It was time for a new project and the long-neglected garden became the new focus The landscapers were called in and the garden became our new go-to at any opportunity patio.

 

Now it is a haven of peace and tranquility, a splendid place to read, write and share a meal, both with family and with friends or sometimes do absolutely nothing at all.

 

Here is my piece of paradise, 20 years in the making but so worth the wait.

 

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Lowell

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So in keeping with our summer of exploring our own backyard, we took a trip to the Lowell National Park this weekend.   Lowell is a old mill city and became an important manufacturing city around 1820 attracting Irish male immigrant workers with the females coming from the surrounding New England states.

 

The National Park has a visitor center and shows an interesting movie on the birth and decline of Lowell.   Of interest to me was the discrimination shown to the Irish workers and the long hours of the factory workers.

 

A short walk from the center is the New England Quilt Museum  which houses 500 quilts.    While the Visitor Center is free, there is an $8 admission charge the Quilt Museum (2 for 1 for those with AAA membership!).

 

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The highlight of the day was the boat ride through the canals.  The day was bright and sunny and it was a joy to sit back as the park ranger filled us in on the details of the building of the canals as well as more of the history of Lowell.

 

Definitely a trip to recommend for those visiting or those who already live here.  For any of our over 65 friends, you can buy a lifetime pass that will allow access to any national park in the country.    For anyone with a disability the pass is free.

 

Stay tuned for more of the highways and byways of New England!

 

The Joy Challenge

I recently heard author Allison Rimm discussing her book “The Joy of Strategy” on NPR. Allison uses a Joy Meter which is simply “a measure of the joy-to-hassle ratio of a given situation” with hassle being on one end of the spectrum and joy being on the other end. Ten years ago I couldn’t have envisioned a joy meter, the retrospective meter seems stuck a lot more on the hassle end than the joy end. To me that’s what it took to raise a family. And I don’t regret a thing.

So my new task is to nudge that meter further along to the right, a lot nearer that joy end. It’s time to explore those delightful by-ways that I never had time to wander down.

Join me on this blog of rediscovery.