Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy New Year (basically)!

Forget January 1, my new year starts on my birthday, July 23rd. There are a few perks to this method:

1. Gyms aren't overly crowded (Not that I go to one anyway)
2. It's the middle of summer (duh)
3. I probably didn't stuff myself with holiday foods for the last month (but possibly lots of cheese)
4. I can totally make the day all about me (and Gretchen) without feeling guilty

For those who know me personally, you all understand that I'm not big on celebrating my birthday. So when it comes around, I often get people asking me what I want/want to do for my birthday, and I never can answer it (not seriously, anyway). I don't respond well to gifts; they make me feel guilty. I try to plan parties, but end up cancelling them because I realize that I would just be doing it for my friends. Then I feel guilty for not planning anything because it was probably their only chance to see me during the year, and then I feel selfish, like I don't deserve any well wishing (let alone gifts) and the cycle repeats. 

I'm sure I have pointed out my state of Introversion. Summertime doesn't change my hermit habits unless it's a music festival. Which brings me to the initial point of this post. 

Since the beginning of this calendar year (or rather, the last half of my year), I have gone through a lot of changes: leaving the city and moving in with DB, writing for a music website, working part time at a bookstore, going off of my anti depressant, staying sane after going off of my anti depressant, learning to drive stick, starting my first garden, keeping said garden alive... you get what I'm saying. The Adjustment Period is palpable. But holy Isis, the progress I've managed to make in my personal endeavors tends to leave me a little bit speechless. 

I can officially consider myself a published writer. Hell, a music journalist. The fantasies that played through my head as I watched "Almost Famous" over and over again are slowly coming true. I've conducted interviews with incredibly talented people, gone to many shows for free, and attended a music festival I had been dreaming of going to for years at no cost. I applied to work at a bookstore because of my love for reading, and with the knowledge that I would never get that degree in Library Science. And I got the job, and it's more rewarding than I thought it would be.  

So my Etsy shop is at a very slow pace right now while I work on new designs, and reconfigure what I want it to represent, but that's okay. And I'm pursuing a band at a slow pace while I improve my vocal abilities because I want the versatility of a great metal vocalist, and that's okay too. Because I'm doing yoga, and my cat is happy, and DB and I talk all the time about what we want out of life, what we want from each other, how we can make our situation better, more fulfilling, 

I don't know. For so long, I've tried to complicate my life with the idea that I needed to hurry and accomplish everything now. Yes, I want success. I still want to write novels, I still very much want to be in a band that goes as far as our dreams can take us, I still want a shop that allows me to use my hands to create and fill a small spot in someone else's heart.  But see, here's the thing. It's okay to be hungry without the desperation. My desire hasn't died, the blind urgency has. And I think it's because perhaps the Universe is trying to tell me, "Hey. Hold on. I know you've got those dreams, and Ima let you finish, but dude. Look at that garden you've tended. There's kale, and cucumbers, and rosemary, and peppers, and more. And it's delicious. Look at that man you live with, the one who is willing to give his last cent to make sure your dreams come true. Is that not real love? Look at how you've gotten a foot into the music industry, through your writing. And while you're at it, look at the moon, and the stars, and notice how healthy you are, and how anxious you aren't. Enjoy every part of it. You know all too well how fleeting life can be. Follow the path to your dreams, but don't forget about the scenery on your way there. And don't forget to create memories with the little things."

Apparently, the Universe is pretty wordy with me. I assume they modify the message to fit the recipient. With Ernest Hemingway, they were probably like, "Hey, man. Write." And he was like, "Got it."

So anyway, Happy New Year to me! Now go enjoy yourselves. 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thoughts on Acceptance (or, how Pet Love reduced my stress)

In the past, I've been guilty of setting my expectations too high. Usually, I can push myself to reach them, and it feels wonderful. But I'm no superwoman, and I know I'm not alone in that, er...delusion. I also know that I can get caught up in the expectations of others, with no regard for my desires. So when something doesn't go right, when obstacles come up that I can't easily avoid/hurdle and certain goals aren't reached, I knock myself off of my own pedestal. Then I stress about what a failure I am, and my creative flow is halted. 

It wasn't until one day, while wallowing in my own self-pity, and sitting in my office, that the solution hit me. I was watching Gretchen in the backyard, laying on the pavement. She looked to the left and the right, stood up and stretched. It was so...languorous.  She took a few steps into the grass, and then dropped to her side (not as graceful as you'd think), stretched her furry little limbs out, and rolled around on her back, making those little cat-chirp-trill noises. You know the ones I'm talking about. And while on her back, she looked toward me in the doorway as if to say, "Hey. It's fucking wonderful here." My cat swears a lot.

Seeing her happy is probably one of my favorite things to witness everyday. Some may not agree with the love I have for her, because she's "only a cat", but she has been with me since I moved out on my own while in Chicago. She's seen my deepest depression, slept at my head during my months of anxious-ridden nights, and brought me out of terrible moods with her ridiculous antics. I love this cat like my own family. I can't say she's like a child, because I don't have any, but I care for her well-being and her happiness the way I would for any of my family. 

Watching her enjoyment of simplicity reminded me that it was that simplicity that made me fall in love with this place and leave the city. It was that simplicity I was striving for. Dude, why wasn't I like her? Probably because I wasn't taking it in at all; I was punishing myself for not getting more work done by chaining myself to my desk and forcing items. I'm such a terrible self-boss. 

But not only that, I wasn't applying that simplicity to my work. 

So I set aside my daunting pages-long (and I mean pages, people) list of potential shop items, and decided to focus on one type: Purses. I began sketching designs, doing arith-knit-ic (like arithmetic, but with stitch counts and more hair-pulling), and created my first prototype in two days. TWO DAYS. Like, that was it. I don't even--whatever. Anyway, I took notes on possible changes and variations, and am now working on prototype number two. Once I've created a (few) design(s) I'm satisfied with, I'll then move on to another product. 


I then approached my blogging behavior. I had been setting these crazy goals for myself, based on things I read by others with small businesses, but not following through with any of them. Cuz apparently I thought I needed a planned blog with various posts to draw people in, despite it not feeling natural to me at all. And then I came across this perfectly timed blog-post about creating your own place in the online maker community, and had a total 'Duh!' moment. 

Because the truth is, I will never have a regular blogging schedule. This blog started as a place for me to just share whatever the hell I wanted (hence the url, KitchenSinkGumbo), and I tried to turn it into a planned, well-manicured addition to my shop. But the two were never meant to go together, and I won't force it now. Sometimes I'll plan out posts, most times I won't. Some will be about the shop, some about other projects I'm working on, music, my home, style...whatever.  All I can promise is that the things I post will be 100% me. Unless otherwise noted. ;)


I don't know, I guess the takeaway from this is: I'm not a machine. I should have my own idea of success, based on my capabilities and values. I should be living up to my own (realistic) expectations, not someone else's. So if I'm not churning pieces out like the Etsy seller up the street, it's totally cool. As long as I'm happy, man.   


Monday, April 21, 2014

Home Cravings

So, now that I'm getting used to not waking up to the sound of the El or sirens at all hours of the night, or the neighbors "gettin down" in the apartment below me, I can finally start Nesting. And yes, it deserves a capital N, because you have no idea how our house looks right now.

When I talk nesting to DB, his thoughts immediately go to renovation, not decoration. And while that's super important, and I would love to change the kitchen counter, recess the speakers into the ceiling and do something about that heat register, decoration is well...cheaper. And more fun for me.

A few things I'd like to do in the immediate future:

Japanese Stoneware Teacups

Cappuccino Cups!

DIY Rope Basket

Chunky Knit Throw Pattern
  •  It just doesn't make sense to me to have a Japanese style cast iron teapot, but no stoneware teacups to go with it. So, a trip to Teavana (but more likely the website) will be necessary to remedy that situation. 

  • I'm not sure how many years DB has owned his Espresso/Coffee maker, but we just used the espresso side for the first time last week. We're slowly becoming coffee snobs, and I love it. I've already gotten him preferring French Press, and now I'll have us spending weekend mornings together like I've always dreamed: With cafe au lait, reading the local newspaper and eating french bread with preserves. So duh, I want my 6oz cups and matching saucers now. I want to turn our kitchen into a cafe. DB doesn't know it yet, but he'll thank me when it all comes to fruition.  

  • More than buying cute things, I've been wanting to add touches of myself to our home through my own handiwork. Maybe a DIY rug for the front door or kitchen? I really want to get some baskets to help organize things in our place too--mail, cords, periodicals, drum stick remnants, Gretchen's outdoor conquests, etc. But at the top of my list is knitting a living room throw. I want to find a nice chunky yarn in an accent color that would go with almost anything in our living room. A deep green or burgundy, maybe. 

It feels really great to be excited about the our home. To be honest, I'm still getting used to calling the town and the house my own. I still catch myself saying things like, 'In DB's neighborhood', or 'his house'. I don't know when I'll get used to it, but I'm hoping that Nesting will help push that along. 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Woman Cave

Yes, women can have their own caves, too.

Everyone talks about the 'man cave', the room created from the age-old idea that a man needs to have his own place to relax and decompress, because the wife and/or kids take up the rest of the home, or something.

Well, when your Drummer Boyfriend holds band rehearsal in the living room two nights a week with a band that you're not a part of, that idea goes out the window. I get a woman cave, dammit.

Having an office was already part of the deal with me moving down here, but it has managed to turn into a little bit more than that. As of right now, I tend to get plenty of time to myself with DB working during the day, and my staying at home, working on designs, and looking for (the ever elusive) online work. Although I do spend a good chunk of it on the living room couch, catching up on Star Trek, animes and Charmed, and knitting/sewing/crocheting/writing, I often end up gravitating back to my office (to do the exact same thing). I assume it's because I'm surrounded by my projects in this room.

And on the days when the band is over, I pretty much live there until they leave, with DB popping in the back to say hi during their breaks and asking if I need anything.

I must say, moving down here has allowed me to really enjoy my solitude. And as a result, I cherish every moment I get to spend alone with DB. Sometimes I wonder if my solitude is a hindrance, though, since I'm already an introvert. But my progress with shop designs, prototypes, writing (yes, I'm writing again!) and yoga (I can touch my toes now!) keep me from really worrying about it.

Soon enough, I'll post progress pics of my woman cave/office/Fiber Lore HQ. It isn't too impressive right now, but DB and I have been discussing the design of my super long work desk. It's gonna take up a wall and a half. Think: plumbing. wood. other stuff that we haven't yet discussed. Legos? I don't know. Goddess, I need to focus.

I have to keep in mind that we still have to stuff to get from the city, like my futon (for midday cave naps, of course), my record player (Jim Morrison and Fugazi are getting antsy) and dressform (where do I hang my prototypes?!)

Meanwhile, check out a concert review I wrote for Flashwounds! I'm a published lady now!


Monday, March 3, 2014

A Big Move for a Big Dream

Maybe not, like, a Really Big Dream, but...

Here's the skinny (or...shapely?):
1) Last week, I gave my two week notice at my job
2) This week, I'm packing up all of my belongings and
3) Moving from the city to the burbs. Well, more like country. Can you call it county if you live in a town, but are pretty much surrounded by farmland once you leave the town (which takes all of like, 5 minutes)?

This was already being planned, but DB and I moved up the move date significantly. Like, by 3 months, whatevs.

It's going to be exciting. And scary, and weird, and ohmygodwhatdoidowithmyself? Because the other part of this event--the Major part, really--is that I won't have to work full time. I can pick up some freelance work and focus on my personal aspirations 100%. That means the shop AND my writing.

I'm not one of those women who grew up wanting to be a stay-at-home wife or anything, but if the pieces are in place, and I can stay home to focus on what I REALLY want as a career with the only 'catch' being that I keep the house in order, then, my friends, that's no catch. That's a perfect situation for me.

Don't get me wrong, moving in with DB is a Huge deal, and I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think we were ready, or we both weren't on the same page. There's so much to consider: finances, routines, PS3 vs xBox 360, getting around, making the home something you both want to live in. We already know each other's home habits, and if I didn't see DB as my best friend, I wouldn't be able to go through with it. It's just all fitting into place, and I'm incredibly grateful to be moving forward with him as well as having an opportunity to pursue my dreams full force.

Over the next few months we'll also be doing a lot of purging/spring cleaning to create my home office, and to truly make the house something we have both created. I'm thinking about posting those adventures, since he and I are cut from the same DIY cloth.

BUT ANYWAY, that's why I haven't been online. My entire life is changing a wee bit. Thankfully, I'll have plenty of booze and open fields to cope with it.

After this week, I will have virtually no excuse not to update this site (or my shop) on a regular basis. Or do yoga. Or do Zumba on my xBox. Or play my bass. Or finish my freaking novel. Or cook dinner. You get what I'm saying.

Yes, I'm writing this blog post while at work. What? It's my last week.


PS: In other news, I had my first SALE!  \o/   \o/   \o/

Friday, February 7, 2014




Fiber Lore has opened for business!

Obviously, it's still a work in progress, but aren't all businesses?

Oh my goodness, I don't even know how to feel right now. Wow. this probably shouldn't be a big deal...I mean, it's no Brick and Mortar, and inventory is still small, but...

It probably has more to do with the fact that I planned for this for over a year. It's something that I am really taking seriously. I'm following through on an idea. That doesn't happen enough in my life. 

This is the start of something bigger than the shop, guys. This is the start of, well...

Me. Grownup me. At 27. I'm getting it now.

Anyway, blah blah blah, I'm all excited and shit, so go take a look now! :D  \o/


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Virtual Weekender Bag

I don't know, the title just sounded cool.  I love reading Friday/Weekend wind up posts, be it DIYs To Try or favorite blog reads, or 'Forensic Evidence Friday' (I made up that last one. But it would be super cool, right?).

But it's Wednesday, you say.  Ha! A girl can get her weekend started as early as she wants, my friend. Party-pooper.

So I figured, as a fellow aspiring blogger trying to make her posts less erratic, I would share a few things to occupy your (early) weekend if you feel so inclined.

1. This post, a letter to an aspiring writer from a freelance writer/blogger. It's great advice for any creative endeavor, to be honest. There are definitely some things I hope to keep in mind as I begin running my shop.

2. Start reading a book, maybe?

3. Live vicariously through librarian woes (if you haven't noticed, I'm kind of freakishly obsessed with becoming/knowing/touching librarians)

All right, it's back to the grind for me. I did so much photo editing yesterday that my pupils have turned into computer screens. But I'm so close to opening. SO CLOSE.