Saturday, March 26, 2011

Resting Up

It's Saturday and it's raining and I don't want to do anything except knit and read blogs. Sure, there's laundry to do, the house needs to be vacuumed, I need to finish my taxes, and there are literally 5 boxes of donations for the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project that need to be labeled, but I'm tired! As is customary for me I go through periods where I get extremely super duper out of control busy and, for awhile, I thrive. And then it all gets to be a little too much and I sort of have a break down and cry and really wish for some chocolate (there is a reason I don't buy sweets). And then I take a few days and I don't do a whole lot of anything. Things get accomplished but in small doses. For example, the dishes and the laundry will rarely get finished on the same day during this time. I'm in that final stage right now. Last week I was finishing up the quarter for grad school which meant I had two 15+ page papers due the same night (side note: I finished both but they were shorter than the required length. Got one of them back already and I made a 95 on it. All that stress for nothing.). I was getting ready for the Smoky Mountain Fiber Festival and then, on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (can't remember now, the time line was kind of sketchy) a family thing came up. It resulted in this:

My cousin William receiving a Purple Heart after an attack on his patrol in Afghanistan. You can read a little more about it here. I'm insanely proud of him and the other soldiers, mentioned and not, that were a part of this. We are so ignorant here in America of what goes on daily so we have the freedom to run our mouths, drive our gas guzzling cars, and own half the world's wealth. Obviously this hit me pretty hard. Especially since my cousins and I are very close, they're like my brothers and sisters. By Thursday night I was a hot mess. And then, it was over. I turned in my papers and posted my final discussions for school. I went to the fiber festival and had a great time. My cousin was discharged from the hospital and life went on.

I wish I could say that this past week has been less crazy but it's been just as much stuff, except, different. Different meetings, different job commitments, different deadlines. Still the same busy-ness. But today feels a little more calm. A little more relaxed. I'm sure I'll get stuff done today, just at a slower pace. And that's ok. For now I'm going to read some blogs and knit more on the big blobby blanket.
And not worry too much about the other stuff.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saturday at a (Fiber) Festival

First off I want to say a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who has written comments, tweets, facebook messages, emails, or who has told me in person how excited and supportive they are to hear that I will be striking out on my own in June. It really means a lot to me to have so many people in my corner :) I want to share with you a little of what my life is about to become. Here's some snippets from the Smokey Mountain Fiber Festival held this past weekend in Townsend, Tennessee. Warning: This post is picture heavy.

My humble little booth.
 Left side:
Right side:
My friend and helper Jennifer modeling our cozy little hotel room at the Talley Ho Inn.
This picture is only funny to Jennifer and I but let's just say that everyone at a fiber festival has a story.
Booties that Jennifer made and then embroidered. And then gave to me to sell! Oh, the cuteness!
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Besides those huge balls of Red Heart Super Saver...
Beth one of our next booth neighbors. Beth runs the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival (which I will also be at).
A drop spindle demonstration.
Coldwater Alpaca Ranch which had some beautiful felted hats and lovely smelling soaps and lotions.
Mercedes of Kitchen Sink Dyeworks.
A weaving demonstration.
Handcrafted dolls and stuffed animals. This bear was used in the movie Paul.
Loom weaving in the booth across from ours. We heard the click, clack of her shuttle the whole weekend. It was actually quite a soothing sound. Plus she had some awesome handwoven placemats and table runners.
And, even though I had to finish up 2 papers for grad school and I was super stressed about having everything ready for the show, I was finally able to relax a little and start something new. A baby blanket made from scraps of my aran weight yarn. This will be a charity knit for the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project since I have been neglecting my charity knitting to make swatches for the show.
Now that I have a three week break from grad school and only 6 more (working) days until Spring Break (I'm starting my break a little early because I'm having a tonsillectomy the week before), I can actually knit a little, read some blogs, relax, and breath. It's nice to be able to do that again.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Biggest News

So, the time has finally come to break my biggest news yet! Drum roll please!

As many of you may know I have been an educator for the past 6 years. First in the middle school band setting and then in 1st grade general education. I love kids and I'm a pretty good teacher but the work is stressful and there's always more to teaching than just teaching. Then in November of 2008 I launched Vivid Creation Fibers. At first VCF was pretty small and I mostly just carried stuff online but then it began to expand and I started selling at a local yarn shop and doing festivals. And in 2010 I started the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project. I thought the charity would just be a little Ravelry group for me and maybe a few people who stumbled upon it but in less than a year we had over 100 members. Most recently, in October of 2010 I started grad school full time. So for the past 8 months I've been working full time, going to school full time, running an expanding independent dye company, and organizing an international charity. To say I've been busy is an understatement. It didn't really surprise me all that much when I began to wonder about some of the commitments I'd made and began to reassess where my priorities were. Which has lead me to make a decision.

At the end of this school year (first part of June) I will be leaving my full time teaching gig to focus on my company, the charity, and grad school.

I'm super excited but also a bit nervous, as anyone would be I suppose, about stepping out on my own. This opportunity will allow me to focus more on traveling and doing festivals (I think I'm already signed up for 8 this year) and on getting 501(c)3 status for EEROP. Plus I won't have to worry about staying up late and trying to type up an assignment for class just hours before it's due. I'm hoping and praying that Vivid Creation Fibers will really take off so I don't have to get a part time job but that is still a possibility. Right now I have lots of friends who are willing to utilize my baby-sitting skills and I'm also not above cleaning a house or two for some cash so maybe I can get enough of those side jobs to make it work. We'll see. A lot of it is left up to faith but I truly believe I'm doing what I'm called to. This month has already been really good to VCF and to EEROP and it's not even half over yet!

I appreciate all the support that you as my readers have given me and I look forward to being able to keep in touch and network with you even more in the upcoming months. Until then it's a countdown to June!
A picture of me at the Southeastern Animal and Fiber Festival (SAFF) last year. So ready to start the festival circuit this year!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bigger News

I really meant to post this earlier this week but I guess subconsciously I just wanted to keep you all in suspense :) (And yes, there is still the biggest news to come)

The bigger news is that this summer I will be traveling to Romania! I will be going with H 2 H International and will be working in an infant hospital and several orphanages. I can't wait! It's been three years since I was in Eastern Europe and I can't wait to get back; it feels like it's been too long! In anticipation of going I would like to collect some knitted clothing to take with me. I know that H 2 H distributes hats each winter to the babies, children, and teen orphans that they work with. The Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project has information about collecting matching hat and scarf sets for me to take while I'm over there. I'm hoping there will be a big turn out for this collection!

In other, not so big news:
I finished R.J.'s baby blanket!
I finished some swatches (just need to weave in ends, wash, and block them):
I really finished a swatch (washed and dried and everything!):
Trick or Treat sock yarn
And I got to see some of my roving spun up at the guild meeting Thursday night!
I wish I could say that I have a movie on and I'm snuggled up with some knitting on this rainy, slightly chilly day but alas, I have grad school work to do and a cat who thinks that my arms and computer are her napping spot not my working spot.