Thursday, September 20, 2012

Organization

I have been on an organization kick.  It used to be that I could tell you where any item in my house was, I just knew where things were, where I put them, what bin or cabinet they were in.  But now it seems like this organization has slipped away.  And that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but some days I spend so much of my time LOOKING FOR THINGS.  I get frustrated, and just don't feel at peace being disorganized.  So I am working toward a better level of organization for myself.

One project was our living room cabinet.  Our house is an older house, built in 1950.  Has no storage except in the basement.  No real closets except small ones in the bedrooms.  We bought this hutch to go into our living room for things like computer accessories, paper, envelopes, general office supplies, candles and things that are used in the living room.  Just to make life a little easier.  We don't have to hunt in the basement every time we want to light a candle or find a power cord.  Now I didn't take a before picture, but before my organizing effort I would not have wanted anyone to look in this cabinet.  We had not cleaned it out in a very long time, it just needed to be cleaned and organized.  So here is the after picture.


Isn't it beautiful.  Now I am loving my new bins from Thirty-One.  No I am not a consultant, I just love the products.  They hold up so well and I can store so many things in them, they come in different sizes to fit what I need.  The products I used in this hutch include the Large Utility Totes on the bottom shelf, in Spirit Purple, although they look at little blueish in the picture. They hold my printer paper on the left, the center two hold moon circle kits, and the one on the right holds things for our computers, cords, manuals etc.  

The All in One Organizer, on the next shelf up.  Although it is sitting sideways so you can't see it as well, it is next to my candles on the left.  I have it in a bird print which is no longer available, but they have so many new colors to choose from.  I am using this organizer to hold mailing supplies.  I don't do a lot of actual mailing but occasionally I have to mail something so this has padded envelopes in it, regular envelopes, a little paper, and then stamps, pens, and tape in the end pocket.  

The black and white print on the right, third shelf up, is the Black Parisian Pop, and I have two things in that print, the one toward the center of the shelf is the Little Carry-All Caddy and next to that are two Mini Utility Bins .  The Carry-All Caddy is holding pencils.  YES PENCILS.  How in the world did I end up with SO MANY PENCILS.  Must have been a back to school sale.  I just love office supplies, LOL.  One Mini Utility Bin is holding cell phone stuff, cords, manuals, cases, etc.  The other Mini Utility Bin is holding misc. cords, to DVD players, car chargers, walkie talkie sets, telephone cords, battery chargers, etc.  

One step on my mission to organize my house....just a little bit.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shell Afghan

I crocheted this small afghan while we were traveling, to take up the time when I am not driving, which is a lot since my husband likes to drive.  It took maybe 8 or so hours or work, not bad.  Like I said it is small.  Larger than a baby afghan but smaller than most for an adult.  It is like a lap afghan size.  I made it for a toddler, in pink and purple baby yarn, so it is soft.


Below you can see a close up.  I haven't been able to find directions online, but I am sure if you look through the masses of patterns on Ravelry you will be able to find something similar or exactly like it. 

Chain 126
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across, turn (125 sc)
Row 2: Ch 3, sk next sc, *5 dc in next sc**, skip next 3 sc, repeat from * across ending last repeat at **. Skip next sc, dc in last sc, turn.
Row 3: Ch1, sc in first dc, ch 2, sc in center dc of next dc group [ch 3, sc in center dc of next dc group] across, ch 2, sc in last stitch (which is the first ch 3 of row 2) turn.
Row 4: Ch 3, 5 dc in each sc across, ending with dc in last sc, turn.  Repeat rows 3 and 4 until it is as long as you want.  Then you will crochet 5 dc shells evenly spaced at the ends and beginnings of each row plus the un-crocheted side of the initial chain.  


Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Rights of Women:Two Powerful Speakers

Here are two women who express my feelings, in the short and sweet version, eloquently.  First Madeleine Albright, in an interview titled "Madeleine Albright: 'I Can't Understand Why Any Woman Would Want To Vote For Mitt Romney'"
In part the article says "...But for all the talk of Romney's trouble among women voters, no Democrat has put it in the terms that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did in an interview with The Huffington Post on Monday.

"I'm not sure I'm going to state this exactly right," she said, sitting amidst a sea of convention-related activity and daytime wine drinkers in the Westin hotel lobby in downtown Charlotte. "But I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of. I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important. And frankly, I don’t understand -- I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat -- but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney."
Albright then revised her pool of rationally thinking female Romney supporters to include his five daughters-in-law, an obvious but hardly generous expansion. Even with the rhetorical flair, however, Albright's comments reflect a genuine disturbance that many Democrats -- women and men -- feel about the tone of the discussion of women's issues during the course of the campaign.
The former secretary of State, who has been an outspoken advocate for women in the workplace, said she found the assertion by Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) that a rape victim can shut down her body to avoid pregnancy to be "one of the more outrageous" comments she's witnessed in her 75 years.
"It was appalling and disgusting," she said. "But if I may say so, the things that he said in one form or another are in the Republican platform. So [while Republicans are] saying he is a nutcase and they have to move away from him, they did not move away from their platform."..."
If you want to read the entire article you can find it by clicking here: Madeleine Albright 'I Can't Understand Why Any Woman Would Want to Vote For Mitt Romney.'
And one more is Sandra Fluke, she gave such a wonderful speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Here is a part of her speech, and the part that makes me cry every time I read it:
"...We've also seen another future we could choose. First of all, we'd have the right to choose. It's an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance; in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives; in which we decide when to start our families. An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women. And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here—and give me a microphone—to amplify our voice. That's the difference.
Over the last six months, I've seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we'll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn't apply to our bodies and our voices."
You can read the whole speech by clicking here: Sandra Fluke Speech Text
Or even better, watch it:

I find these two women amazing!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Knitting Socks #8 Decreasing for the Toe and Binding Off

Now you have a sock with a foot that measures 2 inches shorter than your foot length.  The last two inches will be the toe.  You have 14 stitches on needle one, 28 stitches on needle 2 and 14 stitches on needle three.  We will be decreasing with every other round now:

Round 1: Knit needle one until you have three stitches left un-worked, knit the next two stitches together (decrease) and then knit the last stitch on needle one (you now have 13 stitches on needle one).  Knit one stitch on needle two, SSK the next two stitches (decrease), then knit until you have three stitches left un-worked on needle two, knit the next two stitches together (decrease), and knit the last stitch on needle two (you now have 26 stitches on needle two).  Knit one stitch on needle three, SSK the next two stitches (decrease), then knit the rest of the stitches on needle three (you now have 13 stitches on needle three).  A total of 4 stitches decreased for this round.

Round 2: KNIT

Repeat rounds 1 and 2, decreasing 4 more stitches with each round 1 you work.  Stop when you have 5 stitches on needle one, 10 on needle two and 5 on needle three.  Your last round will be a decrease round (round 1).

Now you will knit the stitches from needle one onto needle three, leaving you with 20 total stitches, 10 stitches on each of two needles.  And it will look like this:

And the picture above shows you how you will be holding the two needles.  You can see the tail yarn is on the upper (or back depending on how you are looking at it) needle, to the right.  Cut the yarn leaving about a 1 foot piece of "tail" to use when binding off.  

OK now we are going to bind off.  Thread the "tail" yarn onto a darning needle.  


Holding your work as pictured above you will use your darning needle as if it is a knitting needle and the first thing you do is insert the darning needle into the first stitch on the bottom (or front) needle as if to knit and slip that stitch off the knitting needle.


You will pull the darning needle and yarn through the stitch, pictured above.  


Next we are going to use the darning needle and insert the needle into the second stitch on the bottom (or front) needle as if to purl, and leave that stitch on the knitting needle.  


Pull the darning needle and yarn through the stitch (but remember to leave that stitch on the knitting needle) pictured above.  


Now we move to the top (or back) needle.  Using the darning needle, insert the needle into the first stitch as if to purl, and slip that stitch off the knitting needle.  


You will pull the darning needle and yarn through the stitch, pictured above.  


Now take the darning needle and insert the needle into the second stitch on the top (or back) needle as if to knit.  And leave this stitch on the knitting needle.  


Pull the darning needle and yarn through this stitch but remember to leave the stitch on the needle.  We have now decreased one stitch on each of the two needles.  You will keep alternating from the bottom (or front) knitting needle to the top (or back) knitting needle and repeat this whole process.  

First stitch on the bottom (or front) you insert the needle as if to knit and slip it off, then the second stitch on the bottom (or front) you insert the needle as if to purl and leave it on the knitting needle.  Then move to the top (or back) needle and the first stitch you insert the needle as if to purl and slip the stitch off the knitting needle.  Second stitch on the top (or back) you insert the needle as if to knit and leave it on the knitting needle.  REPEAT until all stitches are taken off the needles.  The last stitch you will not have another stitch to leave on, you will just insert the needle into the bottom (or front) stitch as if to knit and slip it off, then move to the top (or back) needle and insert the needle as if to purl and slip it off.  

Using your darning needle just bring the extra yarn to the inside of the sock, turn the sock inside out and weave it into the stitches so it can't be seen on the outside but the yarn is secure and snip the extra yarn.  I do not knot the yarn when I am making socks.  I just wouldn't think it would feel good to be walking on a knot.  If you weave the tail in well it will not come undone.  I have not had any of my socks come undone.  Now weave in the extra yarn at the cuff of the sock, where you started, into the inside of the sock and snip it off and you are DONE!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Consensual Living and Teens

I am hoping my words make sense here, I was thinking as I was driving and wanted to spill it out on *paper* before I forgot the details.

At the coffee shop this morning I happened to be googling different things, one was Consensual Living, just to see what people are saying these days about the concepts.  I happened across a post from a mom, I am not sure if this was her blog or a post on a parenting forum, really I had to get going so didn't read beyond the original post and a few of the comments.  This mom had read the Consensual Living web site, a site created by me and two other moms also living consensually in NC.  The mom quoted a couple of short blurbs from different essays.  She had the premise correct, that children and adults live together and all feelings, wants, needs, thoughts and ideas are held gently with high regard.  No one person's wants/needs out weigh another, and when conflict does arise a solution that is agreeable to all parties involved is worked out, finding the common preference (that's the short of it).

But at the end of her post she mentioned that she asked her daughter for her thoughts on Consensual Living, I was thinking I read that the daughter was 5 but could have been a little older, it was pretty young though.  And the daughter said that she thought the kids would be bullies, the mom (poster) agreed, and also added she didn't know how they would cope with life when they were adults.

I wanted to comment on the post, but couldn't find the comment button, and really needed to head out.  So thought I would comment here, on my own blog.

As a mom of two boys, 15 and 18, I can tell you that my boys are not bullies, and in my experience with other families also living consensually, their grown, and younger, children are not bullies either.  Actually I have found the opposite to be true, these children are very respectful and considerate.  They have a sense when things are not consensual and, if involved, work toward consensual solutions.  I can't tell you the joy I feel when I see my children in a situation where there is a conflict of some sort (usually it is concerning something they want to do, and maybe someone else wants to do something different), and to see them helping to identify what each person wants, and work within the group toward an agreeable solution, where every one's wants are met.  It is the opposite of bullying, which, by definition is "a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people."

We see very little bullying in our circle of friends, most of whom live consensually or lean toward that style.  And actually we see very little bullying in our extended circle of friends either.  But the bullying we have seen has been by people/children who have very little autonomy, few choices in their own lives, are told what to do, how to do it, when etc.  It seems they have so little control over their own lives that they need to control others.  But as I said I have very little experience with bullying, so my perceptions are not based on a large scientific poll but rather a few isolated incidents.

So as a mom of older teens I want to assure anyone out there that my children, raised in a consensual household, are not bullies, and have a great grasp on life in general and their interests and passions more specifically.  They are happy, joy filled individuals who understand how to problem solve in all different types of situations, and how to work toward the win-win solution.  They understand AND implement this in their own lives.  So no need to worry, they have many coping tools in their tool belt and know how to use them.

Then
Now