Getting Unstuck

Getting Unstuck

A day at a time, the log jam is loosening and the ideas are flowing. The sun is coming back, energy is returning, and I am pulling myself blinking from the retreat of hibernation. For my own mental and emotional health, this year needs to be less about driving myself and more about reducing commitments, taking care of myself, and finding my passion again. It needs to be about healing.

Want a Friday Night Date with a sweet new book?

Want a Friday Night Date with a sweet new book?

One cold winter's night in 2013, I was sewing myself a summer dress (because that is completely logical, right?), and for the first time ever, I used the couture technique of setting my zipper in by hand.

And as I sat and hand-stitched my zipper, I wondered what might inspire someone to self-teach themselves to be a top-level designer.

How long would that take? And why would they do it?

Thus, the spark of an idea for The Friday Night Date Dress was born.


This has been a mind-expanding week for me on multiple fronts. Some of it has to do with what I am learning to teach the class on online marketing next week, and some of it has to do with what I am learning as I work through my grief (referenced in my last post.)

It has been good. And busy. And tiring. My head feels bigger. My heart feels softer... and much bigger.

It is early spring, after all--the season for things to grow.

In anticipation of spring, and because my old ones are in sad, sad, shape indeed, I covered some pillow forms with some cheerful fabric a couple of weeks ago to brighten up my living room. I had had the pillow forms in storage for at least four years.

Every time I see the bold yellow and black and red and white prints covered in dandelions, owls, polka dots, and stripes, I smile. They are all just so darn cheerful! (Now if only I could make my couch look as good as my throw pillows!)

(The red stripes are on the back of the "owls pillow," which was actually a much-loved pillow I just recovered.)

So no matter how long one has been stagnant, new things can be learned. New horizons can be seen. And little things can help make life better.

Happy Thursday, friends. What small (or big) things brought you joy today?

Let the Holidays Begin! PLEASE!!

This week, I have been having some serious deja vu moments harkening back to last December.

Like how the last week of school in 2013, I had all three school-aged children home sick at various points for most of the week, rounding it off with my husband catching it too (which he now denies), just before the holidays. What a lovely way to begin time off. This year, Jabin has had a weird stomach-cramping lethargy all week, and Jude is now home with the bug, too. Last year, Jude and Noah both missed their school Christmas concerts--after I had stayed up into the wee hours making angel and shepherd costumes for them. This year, it looks like Jabin gets to miss, since his is tonight. I am praying that Noah and Levi and the parents all manage to stay healthy. This bug looks like a nasty one.

(I don't think I ever got around to blogging the story behind these costumes, or even posting photos to the blog, so here is what kept me sewing instead of blogging last December--photographed several months later, obviously!)

Last year's shepherd costume - at least I'm not making another one of those this year!

Cool "Boy Angel" costume. Right?

Last December I spent the better part of the month writing the first draft of The Friday Night Date Dress. (Then did nothing with it for months and months. Ha!) Well, I got the revision back from my editor this past Sunday, and have been going through it and "fixing" things ever since. Given that it is my first real novel (okay, okay, it's only a novella), I am quite pleased that the suggested changes were mostly grammatical, with only a few comments about strange turns of phrase and one or two scenes that needed heavier revision. There were no comments about major plot points that needed revision or anything, so I am just thrilled. This is my first time through the process, so everything is an estimate at this point, but I am hopefully only weeks away from publishing this baby!

And, as is typical in December, I am working to finish a knitting pattern to put out by Christmas (don't think that will happen) or immediately after for the "holiday bored knitters rush." I was trying to hit the "last-minute gift-knitters rush" with a quick, bulky bootcuff-and-mitten-set pattern, but with everything else I am trying to juggle this week, I think that might be pushing me beyond my limits. (No photos of that yet, sorry.)

Sure, there are some differences between Decembers 2013 and 2014--like, instead of being in the minus thirties for three weeks straight at this point, with only a few hours of sunshine here and there, we have had a remarkably mild and snow-free December. It was actually above freezing for a few days! We can't see green grass like they can in Calgary right now, but not having to shovel twice a day has been wonderful!

Hanukkah began last night, and with its much later arrival, I am feeling much better prepared for it. I am looking forward to using up some garden potatoes to make latkes once this stomach bug flees the house!

The other major difference, at least to me, is how busy I still am in the office. December is the month I usually relax, escape my chair, and do crafty stuff that I want to do, not have to do. Last year, I made myself a summer dress. I was hoping that I might manage a winter dress or even a sweater for which I've had supplies for a year during this month's hiatus.

Except, I don't think I'll get the hiatus. Between revising my story and getting it publishable, finishing a pattern, revising the musical, and--this is the big one that has me totally freaking out--finishing with building my new Winters Distributing store (which, although it will be lovely and customer-friendly when I am done is a huge. freakin'. ALBERTOSAURUS of a project that there is just not enough time to finish before Magento Go closes my other one down in 6 weeks), my butt has been glued in my office chair many more hours than I wish it to be. And when I'm done all that? There is always my office work to finish so I can do taxes! Whee!!

(Plus, my next story to work on, my next pattern, my next...)

And here I am, blogging. :-)

Happy Hanukkah, friends! I'll be sure to check in any time I need an escape for sanity's sake! (Among other reasons, I'm sure.)

Stay warm!

The Superhero in the Family

I know I have referenced these before, but I don't think I have actually posted photos. Jabin doesn't usually wear pyjamas to bed, being a little hot-body--even in the dead of winter, undies usually do the trick. However, for his birthday, he requested that I make him some pyjamas that double as a costume of "The Flash".

So, of course, I did.

I soon discovered that The Flash's own mom must have loved him a lot to agree to put all those lightning bolts on his costume. Because the only way to do them is to stitch them by hand.

Jabin's uncharacteristic seriousness in these photos is because he was trying to look all heroic. :-)

Thanks So Much

What a perfectly miserable start this week is off to, weather-wise. It started blowing in from the north on Saturday night, and hasn't let up since.

The missing window pane in our screen door made for an interesting view to greet us this morning. Yes, Jason actually cleared the deck just before bed last night!

Inches and feet of the white stuff later, piled high around vehicles and houses and the wood pile, I find myself being very thankful for my warm stove.

And for the little man I get to hang out with today.

But that doesn't mean I don't indulge in a little wishful thinking... I spent the weekend working on a new sun dress, so it will be all ready when spring comes around. Nearly finished, now...

At least when it is this cold, and the draft from our single-pane windows makes me reach for a warmer sweater, the frost is really pretty.

I'm going to do my best to enjoy December this year... after all, at least the sun rises every day, unlike some places farther north of here where friends of ours live. Its brilliance may be frozen into grey monotony by constant cloud cover and falling snow, but it rises.

However, I'm still looking forward to when we get to see it again...

Happy Monday, friends.

Transformation Complete!

This was a fairly busy weekend for the Winters' household, but a very good one, full of visiting and tea and making memories.

Once a year around this time, I host a party. Well, I admit to taking a few years off while we lived in our previous trailer, due to lack of a good home for entertaining. This house is actually fairly well set up for entertaining, due to the large open kitchen/living room/dining room space--as long as there aren't children trying to rough-house in the middle of it.

So on Friday, I sent all the male Winters' to a friend's for the night (where they suffered through playing video games for 4 hours) and had around fifteen wonderful, beautiful ladies to my house to drink tea, visit, eat, and enjoy an evening without children. (Well, one Momma had to bring her little guy, but he was pretty well-behaved, and sweet to have around.)

Saturday, my dad made the trek up through the snow (which was no concern, thanks to his new Blizzaks--"It's like somebody gave me four-wheel drive!") to visit with this branch of his lineage.

Last Thanksgiving (2011) when he came up with my brother, he had brought me a Husky Oil golf club cover with a simple request: that I make him look like Harvey the Hound, beloved mascot of the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team. It seemed a simple request, and I knew it wouldn't take me long, so I said, "yes." However, it never really seemed to be top priority, only rising to the top five of my "to-do" list in the last few weeks as I knew his visit was approaching. I managed to do the necessary research during that time, but only actually did the project on Saturday while we were visiting and drinking caffeinated, hot beverages. ('Cause, BABY, it's getting cold outside!)

So, in a few short hours, I managed to take this:

And turn it into this:

A pretty good match for this:

Meanwhile, Dad set up the new "Game of Life" he had brought us with his grandsons, and we had a rousing, 3 1/2-hour game. (The first one always takes longer, doesn't it?)

It was so fun watching my boys spend some quality time with their Papa.

Now, already 1 day into the "weekday" section of the week, I sincerely hope the rest of it doesn't fly by like the first two-sevenths, because I hardly know what happened to them.

Upcoming events:

The boys start karate lessons tomorrow. It will be the first time since we were in Mena in 2008 that they have taken karate. At the time, Jude was the only one old enough. They are so excited, even Jabin has been counting down "days to karate", almost completely forgetting what happens the day after, which is his birthday!

My baby will be SEVEN!

Costume Diary: Captain Jack, part Two

Well, the pants are done. They turned out okay, if strangely saggy in the backside. The only problem is, as Jason said, "I don't feel very piratey."

I have to agree with him. So, our costume titles may be reduced to "18th-century gentleman and lady going to a masquerade ball." :-D

Of course, that is making the major assumption that my gown will be done by then. Which is not looking extremely likely at the moment, since I am still working out the kinks in the first and simplest part of my costume--the chemise.

To be Continued again...

Captain Jack, Part One