October: Be present with a photo a day…

#bepresentSeptember’s almost over, and Fall is officially here!  After enjoying the Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse this week, I am inspired to embark on another Photo Challenge.  This challenge will be throughout the month of October and will be celebrating all things Fall and all things October. It is only fitting, as October is my favorite month{more to come on this topic} and so many good feels occur during those 31 days.

Unlike most Photo Challenges, I will not be making a list of various photos that I want to capture. Instead, I am going to focus on being in the present and capture whatever moves me each day.  To be in the present, means to slow down and focus on what is happening in that precise moment without thinking of the past nor daydreaming of what will come.  It is to focus on the emotions, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the weather or landscape, and really feeling all of the senses in their entirety.  By making a list of photo ideas, I would be creating a preconceived set of photos that I would be aspiring to capture throughout the month.  That is the exact opposite of what I want to accomplish.

I am looking to do one thing this month, to fully experience October.  This Photo Challenge will be in conjunction with my Being in the Present, both of which are on my list of 30 Things to do Before I’m 31.  Join me on instagram using hashtag #bepresent or just follow along!

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A date with Dracula

Shh...the ballet is about to start

Shh…the ballet is about to start

Imagine a live performance that has no words, no yelling, no singing, no dialogue, just amazing symphonic music and perfectly choreographed dance. A live performance where the audience has the choice to interpret how they want based on the dancing and music. An afternoon to get dressed up, enjoy some wine with a great friend, and get lost in a story. How had I never discovered the ballet?

This year I had the opportunity to attend The Colorado Ballet performance of Dracula. I had only ever seen The Nutcracker performed by The San Francisco Ballet when I was much younger. I do not remember it. As part of the 29 Things to do Before I’m 30 list, I decided that Dracula seemed the perfect story to enjoy.

Dracula itself is a hauntingly sad story. One that I had never read before, which may have made the ballet that much more enjoyable. I did not know what would happen next or how things would end. It gave me reason to use my imagination, which any good performance can do.

The Colorado Ballet performance of Dracula

The Colorado Ballet performance of Dracula

Ballet may be one of my favorite forms of art at this point. I enjoyed everything about it including the costume, the simple stage setup, the incredible music, and the emotions that emerge based on such music. The dancing was really what I got lost in. Each dance captivated me and left me waiting for the next choreographed move. The fluidity that the dancers showed, and the way the costumed flowed was such a beautiful sight. The fast tempo dances with multiple dancers allowed for feelings of happiness, celebration, or agitation. The slower more thoughtful dances between two individuals were ones of watching an intimate exchange that caused feelings of love, struggle, or deep sadness depending upon the music. Some of the most enjoyable dances during Dracula included those of struggle or fighting. Who would have thought that a fight choreographed into dance would be so breathtaking. Such a play on emotions. It was absolutely irresistible. To say the least, I will be attending the ballet much more frequently.

Knittin’ baby pacifier clips…

Knitted Flower Pacifier Clip

Knitted Flower Pacifier Clip

This year there are many new lives being brought into this beautiful world, which gives me a great excuse to start knitting baby goodies!  Recently I helped host my sis-in-law’s baby shower, which really got my mind going.  There were so many fun ideas that came to mind that it was hard to settle on just a few.  Time is precious after all.  I wanted to knit something adorable for my new niece, but also something functional.  After all, I am all about the functionality of things to align with minimalism.  I settled on a simple flower pacifier clip.

This past year has honestly been such a blur in the best way possible, but there was something missing…my knitting needles.  I dabbled with a few cowls and scarves, but nothing new and nothing that was fun or exhilarating.  (Not typically a word associated with knitting, I know).  What I needed was to test myself with something completely new and without pattern.  Often times the idea of “free knitting” can be intimidating to some.  No pattern to guide you, no instructions on what yarn and what needle size to use, no stitch counters to be used.   Well I don’t know about you, but for me that sounds just about right!  If you have ever read a pattern and you understand how to read yarn packaging, then essentially you can create just about anything through “free knitting”.  Do keep in mind that the end product often can and always does create something that looks more organic in nature.  For instance, in my petals above, not one is alike.  I did not want them uniform simply because in nature no flower petals are alike.

Detachable pacifier for easy washing

Detachable pacifier for easy washing

This pacifier clip only took about two hours to knit up, which should have flown by faster if I was not so out of shape, so to speak.  I did make the pacifier itself removable for washing by sewing in a rubber circle that secures the pacifier into place. Overall, it was a great foundation for me to use when I create these clips in various designs.

I had fun flexing my hand muscles and getting back into the therapeutic rhythm of knitting.  I look forward to the Spring, setting up my studio, and peacefully meditating through creation.  But…most importantly, I can’t wait to meet my niece soon and see her rocking this pacifier clip in the near future!

 

 

 

#17: Carve a pumpkin…

IMG_2941This is far far overdue and not even close to Halloween time, but I wanted to share as it was part of my 28 Things to do Before 29 accomplishments.  I carved a pumpkin for the first time since a kid living with my folks. 

IMG_2936Halloween is by far my favorite holiday so I decided to really decorate and get into this year.  After I took the Mr. to his very first ever haunted house, I managed to get him into the spooky spirit, too.  After decorating the porch with a few skeletons, witches, and other deadly ghouls, we set up our carving station.  Our kitchen table transformed to a paper towel covered butchers table.  We were fully equipped with a carving tool set, pattern books, spoons to assist with the pumpkin seed scooping, a cookie at hand, and the oven pre-heated for the seed roasting!  Let the festivities begin!

 

IMG_2985Our first pumpkin turned out perfect!  It was both frightening and meticulous.  Unfortunately, one thing we did not know, was that squirrels love pumpkin.  Within a week our first carved pumpkin had a hole through the back with fermenting pumpkin and mold growing.  Squirrels gladly took their bites and felt their high, night after night.  We started over, choosing a more difficult pattern this time around and ended up with another pumpkin that was more fun than frightening with a witch flying on her broomstick!  This complemented our porch wonderfully.  

IMG_2960Hours before trick or treating was to begin, I painted my face for Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos, candy skull style.  I made us both dirt for desert and had bowls over flowing with sweets.  We waited for the trick or treaters.  And waited  And waited.  We had maybe 10 kids in total and it was a bust.  Majority of these children were more scared of my face than excited for the candy.  Maybe next year will be better.  We live facing a street that is extremely dark and not many front porches face it.  Next year I will add lights and possibly music to draw in the trick or treaters!  Either way, it was a fun day.  

 

And we were able to enjoy our pumpkin seeds…

IMG_2934

Roasted pumpkin seeds

December Photo Project {12.5}

12.5 - "But Mom, I like this new home just fine! Why do we have to move again...?" {December Photo Project}

12.5 – “But Mom, I like this new home just fine! Why do we have to move again…?” {December Photo Project}

I should preface by saying that the Future Mr., myself, and our kids (animals) are in a transitional living situation.  That being said, today we went house and apartment hunting!  It was fun (and interesting) to be able to drive around my new city and check out the various neighborhoods.  We saw some terrible places that reeked of smoke, others that were equally sketchy with already broken windows, and then we discovered some lovely places that instantly stole our hearts.

We are extremely fortunate in that we have the ability to take our time and leisurely find the perfect home.  We are discussing what it is we want in a place and things that are definite deal breaker.  We both have things that are important us and others that we can let go.  For instance, for myself, I love natural lighting.  I love huge, open spaces containing multiple windows.  The kitchen is another thing that needs to be open enough for me to spend most of my time in.  Some additional benefits, for myself, would be an area for a garden, and of course a studio space where I can weave, sew, and dance around.  The Future Mr. on the other hand views a basement as a must.  This would be for his man-cave.  I want him to be able to have a space where he can play video games, hang his sports memorabilia, and utilize his beloved weight bench.  Overall, it is fun to have these conversations and look for a place together.  One that we ultimately will be starting our new life in our new town, together.

Once we returned home and were getting ready for bed, I noted that our kiddos seem very content having just moved across the country.  Ofia seems to never the bed…literally she is on our bed 23 hours a day.  Ellie likes the colder air and seems to be settling down a bit.  I know that wherever we end up, we need to make sure we are meeting the needs for them as well.  A yard for Ellie would be great, but if that is not an option then something near a park is a must.  For Ofia, window sills must be available.  A basement for her litter box wouldn’t be opposed either!

Here is to happy house/apartment shopping!  What a perfect holiday present it would be for all four of us to settle in for the winter =)

December Photo Project {12.4}

12.4 - Somewhere in the mountains {December Photo Project}

12.4 – Somewhere in the mountains {December Photo Project}

Since moving to Denver, the weather has been anything but winter-esque!  It was a white-out blizzard the day we left Hollidaysburg, and now? 60-70 degrees during the daytime!  We took a trip into the mountains to get a glimpse of the snow and feel the cool winter weather.  When we arrived we were let down, once again…NO SNOW!  But look at the bright green lingering on.  Those mushrooms even have dew on them.  Lovely.  That is all I could say.  Lovely.  

Tomorrow we plan on going elsewhere in the mountains, still on the hunt for some snow.  More to come! 

December Photo Project {12.3}

12.3 - Denver City and County Building {December Photo Project}

12.3 – Denver City and County Building {December Photo Project}

Tonight was a beautiful evening with a light chill in the air and enough holiday lights to brighten any mood!  The Future Mr. and I went driving around, blasting Macklemore tunes, and stopping only to walk around downtown to admire the holiday lights.  This was my first night really taking in the downtown all lit up.  I was taken aback by the beauty, the wonder, and the psychedelic? Well…it is Denver after all. The City and County building is not represented in its entirety here, as the building’s lights subtly change colors every few seconds.  Not unsimilar to those crazy lamps with the monofilament that slowly changes from neon red to neon blue constantly.

Let the holidays lights shine on!

December Photo Project {12.2}

12.2 - Knitting + tea

12.2 – Knitting + tea {December Photo Project}

Today was a mixture of unpacking, adjusting to the time difference, going to the movies, and coming home to watch football.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted and in much need of some downtime.  No better way of taking a break than to brew up some organic peppermint tea, snuggle on the couch with Ofia, and get lost with needles and yarn.  

December Photo Project {12.1}

12.1 - Wash Park, Denver {December Photo Project}

12.1 – Wash Park, Denver {December Photo Project}

Today is December 1.  Today is the beginning of the next chapter in my journey that is life.  Today I live in Denver, Colorado, which is different than yesterday.  Today I began a photographic journal to share with all my first 25 days of of my first month (and favorite) in my new town.  I am participating in this month’s December Photo Project by creating a new photo everyday for the first 25 days of December.  

I felt it to be fitting that I would start off this month, and my new beginning, with my feet.  My feet represent not only my literal move in motion from one place to the next, but also metaphorically.  Who knows what will come to be!  

Never Too Early to Cozy Up {and knit}

A sampling of my finished “gals”.

I have been a little frazzle minded these past few weeks with much going on!  In the frenzy, while I was obviously not writing, I’ve been knitting and felting!  As the weather is well under way towards snowflakes and bitterness, I like to keep myself cozy (and sane) with a mug of java, a great movie, and a new knitting pattern that I designed.  I find it to be therapeutic and meditative with its tedious and repetitive nature.  

Meet Mackenzie: she’s cozy, large, and likes to wrap twice around her wearer’s neck.

Knitting is one of those crafts where there is a set pattern and an expected outcome. I go into each knitting project knowing exactly what I want to accomplish and what my finished product will be.  Each piece that I create is my own design and pattern, making each piece a OOAK.  The organic or unexpected aspect lies in the materials that I find myself drawn to.  I love how natural fibers, such as wool, bamboo, and cotton often have a mind of their own.  They are materials that one can manipulate only as much as they will to be manipulated.  That is one of the thrills of working with such materials.  I always know my expected outcome, but there will remain a little mystery in how the piece will finish out.  It is not un-similar to nature, how the fibers that are made from it always are alive and actively sprouting their own uniqueness and beauty.

Say “bonjour” to Lola. Lola is nuno felted with organic merino wool onto silk. She is a lovely, seamless cowl.

For everything mathematical and precise that knitting is, felting is the complete opposite.  With felting, each piece ends up however the fibers want to end up and less so how much I want it to.  Felting takes those natural fibers and shrinks them.  With shrinkage, there is never an exact amount or outcome.  To me, that is what gives felting its beauty.  I can guestimate, based on math and previous measurements, what can be expected, but it will never be exact.  Each and every piece that is felted, or nuno felted, will be unique.  No one is alike the other.  How fun! 

So I like to knit.  And I like to nuno felt.  What have I been creating?  Mostly warm and snugglies for your neck, shoulders, and head!  For those who are in Lincoln, Nebraska, my pieces will be on display for you to touch, try on, snuggle up with, and take home at LUX Center’s Warm, Wooly, and Wearable fiber arts trunk show.   This special winter inspired event is one night only on Thursday, November 15 from 6-8pm.  Don’t miss out!  Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend.  I will be instead, rejoicing my last day of work and packing with The Fiancé! (More to come on that topic soon…)

 For anyone else, check out my etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/GoatsandGrain.  

Happy Winter Days!