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Archive for November, 2006

Yarns are up, I have a Shopping Cart!

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

threadbearfallfestireneandtrish.jpgMy friends, I did it! All of the yarns I have in stock are on my new shopping cart. I have 9 colors of Tip-Toe Sockyarn, 6 colors of my Cushy ColorSport DK weight washable merino, and three laceweight skeins in two different fiber contents. I also am offering three skeins as “oddballs,” either short skeins or one skein that does not match any other I’m currently offering. All nineteen of my patterns are up as well.

For all orders, no matter how large, I’m charging $1 shipping. The more you buy, the more you save.

And until December 20 I am offering a free pattern to anyone who buys $45 or more in yarn, patterns or both. If your order totals $45 or more, just write in the comments as you check out, which pattern you would like me to send. If you don’t write in the comments I’ll figure you found my site in another way besides this blog.
The site? It’s at:


My old yarn site is still up (though horribly outdated) and I’ll need to reroute links to the new pages this week. However, for you who know me and can get to the shop, this is where it’s at right now.

Tonight I’ll be adding Fabulous Heftones CDs to the offerings, and when I can find that jar of Chunky-Funky buttons I made and put aside for this project, I’ll be adding those as well. I have plans to photograph the tiger stripe socks after my Saturday show, and I have some garment “finds” to share soon, wonderful garments I’ve allowed to follow me home like puppies… and whenever I can start painting sweaters they will make it onto the site as well. I have one lonesome kazoo that might make it up there as well when I get time.

One step at a time, right? But most of you ask about the sockyarn. It’s up!!!

The photo is from Threadbear’s store sale in October, it shows off some of my colors well.

Music to Strengthen the Heart

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Brian bought me the Ladysmith Black Mambazo “Long Walk to Freedom” CD for my birthday. This one includes many songs I know from other CDs I have of this band. It’s different in that these are new recordings of those songs. They include guest musicians Zap Mama, Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Joe McBride and more. I’m listening to it as I proceed through my morning. While baking breakfast, finishing up the shopping cart, checking email, choosing clothing…

I love this stuff. I’ve been indebted to Paul Simon since the Graceland album, for waking me up to South African music of that time (I love Mahotella Queens just as deeply as I love this band). African music changes and new bands start every day, and I’m not as familiar with newer acts, but this particular style of vocal harmonies continues to soothe my heart.

I keep getting choked up. The music is so heart-ful, so perfect for showing off my favorite instrument, the human voice. It is the most wonderful thing I can think of hearing at this moment.Sometimes we can be rich just by living fully in the moment. One CD and I’m as close to heaven as earth can provide…

You Folks Are the Best

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Thanks to everyone for the birthday and blogiversary greetings. I feel so happy here in our online community! Home. I had a wonderful birthday, Brian took me out to dinner and then to Dagwoods for open mic. I got some photos which I’ll get to you but they may be after my Saturday sale, if I”m realistic.

Then I did so many things on Wednesday! I hit all three of the shops where I regularly teach, plus Foster center, plus dance rehearsal. Then I went home and worked on the shopping cart which is waiting for merely 9 photographs but not done yet. I have to do a mailing for my Art For the Soul, should have done it today but will have to do tomorrow morning.

gerritbig.jpgBut the only thing I did Wednesday that really really mattered, was to take a photo of this wonderful child:

gerritclose.jpgGerrit Nikolaas slept through all the fuss over him. Adorable. Totally sweet while sleeping, I assure you. We know he must have fussy times, but I can not imagine it from the short time we had together.

Here is a closeup, I know you want more than one shot :

If you want to read more about Kristi and Noel and the Dutchicans (Dutch/Mexican babies, they made up the term), click on over to Sarah Peasley’s Handknitter blog.

My Fourth Blogiversary

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I don’t know who made up the word “blogiversary” but it stuck in my head when I read it once or twice. I realized very late in the day that my birthday is also my blogiversary. I’ve been blogging since November 28, 2002. Four years!

My system tells me that this is blog entry number 1729. I never really thought of myself as a writer much. I’ve always been one of many words, for sure, and many opinions. Sometimes I have more opinions than are really my share and occasionally that embarrasses me… but because of those opinions I’ve always wanted to write a column. Without a degree or job history in writing or journalism, it was not going to happen easily if at all… so a blog was an incredible opportunity. I could hire *myself* to write a column! Imagine that!

I realize that some others don’t think of a blog as a column. For me that expresses my approach. Perhaps that is why I write about so many topics. I have this opinion that many things in life can be classified as art… dance, cooking, gardening, even raising a child is perhaps the most difficult creative act anyone can execute.

I have so many people approach me as an artist with words to the effect that “I’m not creative, but you are.” (This can imply somehow that I’m superior in some way, which puts a barrier between me and the speaker and makes it hard for us to be real with one another.) Nonsense.

It took me until I was in my mid-thirties to realize that I was an artist. I bought into the idea that drawing and painting defined who was an artist. I do not draw or paint… at least not realistic “objective” artwork. I do decorative painting, for sure. But since I don’t feel comfortable making traditional art renderings on two-dimensional surfaces, I thought that meant I was not an artist. I had a long, confused, emotional process of discovering that I had not given myself credit for a long time.

I dance, I sing, I write (poetry mostly when I’m unhappy, this column since my life turned around), I adventure with food and I appreciate others’ gardens. I am relatively good at photographing, at least at snapshots. I use the computer to create artwork, in fact PhotoShop has helped me do several artpieces that I could not have created if I needed to draw instead of use a computer.

I enjoy costuming myself, be it for stage or every day. Yes, choosing clothing for the day can be an artform! Surely you know someone for whom self-costuming is a primary creative activity.

I love to embellish found objects. This can mean embroidery and beads on a purchased beret, or it can mean fabric paint on a cellphone or nail polish on a palm device. I always loved to work with textiles, mostly sewing until my divorce (my previous life before I met Brian) in about 1990-91 at the age of 32.

After that lifechanging event I started working with polymer clay and I still did not consider myself an artist. Eventually I called myself an artist of the “one song canary” type, where I used “only one artform.” Nonsense, I was sewing at the same time, and doing decorative painting in my home. But I did not see these “domestic” activities as art.

I guess you could say that “creative endeavors” and “art” are not exactly the same, but for my purposes at least for this column I don’t separate them. I think that when people say they are not creative, that I am, they do themselves a huge dis-favor. They are not honoring the artful things they do accomplish.

Nearly everyone is creative in some way. Just because I did not work in two dimensions, just because my artful output was not frameable for hanging on a wall, just because I was mostly working in three dimensions, and mostly within a “domestic” framework, I discounted my artfulness. I did not allow myself to see the artist that I was, that I’d been since childhood.

So ColorJoy! “Art as an everyday attitude” became my blog’s name/subtitle. I encourage you to allow the thought that your dinner that you made might be considered artful, to realize that planting flowers or choosing what clothes to wear, all might be artful activities. Consider that you might just be an artist yourself, if you don’t limit your mind to what might or might not be in the rigid category of “art.”

I’m very fortunate that at this point in my life I make a living as an artful person. I write, I design, I teach (also a creative activity), I sing, I dance, I dye yarn and garments. I make polymer clay buttons and kazoos. I do unusual one-time artpieces such as the knitted self portrait.

I occasionally do “soft block printmaking” which is also sometimes called “eraser carving” and is related to something called “mail art.”

But even when I was teaching full time as a computer software trainer, I found it extremely important to save time out for one creative act per day. Sometimes it was rubberstamping images on the envelope as I paid my bills, but I made sure to do something each day.

My life has come a long way, I can not even express how different I was fifteen years ago. I barely recognize my former inner self, and it’s a good change. And now I have this blog, and you friends out there. I’m very grateful.

Photos: 1) A Hershberger Art Kazoo tm, polymer clay on metal; 2) Embellished palm device, 3) Digital collage from 3 photos I took, 4) Me as Eudora, my dance persona, dancing at New Aladdin’s restaurant, 5) Soft block print of my friend Elizabeth’s cabin in Vermont (the image originated as a photo which I then scanned into Photoshop, transferred to a soft block, carved and printed). Of all these artforms, only the print fits my previous/traditional sense of what artists might do… now I see them all as different facets of the same gem, so to speak.

The Best Laid Plans…

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

My Monday did not go as planned, though it went just fine (other than still no shopping cart). I did start by making teff muffins (teff is a grain grown widely in Ethiopia and I was commemorating my trip 2 years ago). They were *good!*

keychainsockmidway.jpgThen I opened the shop for Rae and stayed a number of hours there. She recently gave me a mini-sock-blocker keychain to put my store key on, and so when I was at the shop I knit a mini sock for the blocker.

Of course, I had to use my own First-Time Toe-Up toe and then I wanted to make an afterthought heel, and I wanted stripes on the foot and fairisle checkerboard patterns on the leg. I had to do it my way which meant at one point I had a LOT of needles in the piece at once.

Never mind you never knit with more than two points at a time, it sort of amused me how funny/difficult it could look to someone who was not in the middle of the project. Rae came in when it looked the most ridiculous and she made me take a photo of it. Trust me, the blockers come with a pattern that does not require this mess I had, I just wanted to do it my way. I’m 3 years old going on 48, I guess.

keychainsock.jpg(The knitting did not take very long, not an hour, I’d say… but the working in of ends in a sock that was small enough to fit snugly on my index finger took almost as long as the knitting. I did a little duplicate stitch on it when I got home as well, because I wanted to change the balance of colors on the top of the sock, and I like to do any kind of embroidery so I enjoyed that.)

There were errands to run at the end of the day and I did not give myself enough time to do them, so I’ll have to do at least one tomorrow. However, I get to sleep in and then I plan on making some sort of pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. I have a little time alone so I’ll hope to get back to the shopping cart during that quiet time.

In the afternoon, my helper will come and we’ll wind yarn and label it for the show this Saturday. She’s not staying too long, because when Brian gets out of work we are going out on a date. There’s a Chinese restaurant where I can eat a few things, so we will go there.

After dinner we think we might go over to Dagwood’s pub and have fun with the open mic there (hosted by friend Jen Sygit). It will be a fun birthday date.

kenyanshirtlynnturquoisesmall.jpgToday I wore clothes and jewelry I bought in Africa. I wanted to remember the richness of that trip I took 2 years ago today. It made me feel good to wear an outward sign of the trip. I’m a lot glad I went, I probably won’t go again but I can dream…

Photos: 1) Minisock on blocker/keyring in the middle of my most messy knitting moment, with many needles in the sock at once, 2) Finished minisock keyring, 3) Open mic at Dagwood’s last August, 4) Shirt I got in Nairobi, Kenya. This one I was prepared to do without and it’s the one I’ve worn the most. The vendor literally chased me down the sidewalk after we left the shop, and my hostess negotiated a price that was so low I could not say no. I’m glad they chased me!

Dancers in Africa

Monday, November 27th, 2006

I can’t resist. I have photos of dancers in all 3 countries I visited. Here is a dancer in a fancy Ethiopian restaurant in Addis Ababa:

Here are dancers doing traditional dances at a wedding on the beach in Mombasa, Kenya:

Dancers entertaining at the food court at a fancy mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the week before Christmas:

Dancer at the Marriott on the Nile in Cairo, a few days before Christmas, 2004:

I’ve shown all these photos here before in the last two years, but not together on the theme of dancing. I hope you enjoy them.

Gratitude: Friends

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Old Friends

I spent about seven hours Sunday with my friend Susan. What a luxury! It was so heartwarming and comfortable to be with her, to finally see her home and meet her sons. When I got there, her mother was there. I met Susan and her mother (and sister Beth) I was in 3rd grade or earlier. Yes, really. That was a long time ago, since I’ll be all of 48 years old on Tuesday.

I also still stay in touch with one other friend from elementary school, Jo. Jo is the mom of my Godchildren, Michael and Sara (who I wrote about last Wednesday for her birthday). Jo and I met in either Kindergarten or 1st grade.

I realize that many people don’t stay connected with anyone as long as I’ve known these women. It is not as if they are in my every day life, but they remain a connection to my history. And these women knew me when my life was not this good. I’m glad they stuck it out with me. Having them in my life makes me richer.

Opposites Attract?

Susan and I are both creative souls, who can not ignore our creativity without losing ourselves in the process. However, Susan is as intense/focused as I am intense/distracted.

I get much accomplished by going in spirals, so to speak. I do part of task A, get distracted by B, get up to make tea and start C in the kitchen, go back to the desk and remember A again. Eventually A is completed and I might add a D or E to the rotation. As if it was really in order… It could be A, C, E, B, C, etc. It’s sort of chaos but because I stay focused on working and going forward, I keep on plugging and everything gets done.

Well, also I’ve learned to use my computer and palm device to keep me on track when I forget. I set a lot of alarm clock functions, to remind me to change gears at key times. I am determined to keep going forward, and the determination seems to be my best friend.

Teaching is Definitely “My Thing”Thank goodness that when I teach, I’m really focused and I know what to do, I have only one thing I’m there for and I am really very good at it. I am grateful every day I teach, that I finally found something that is so right for me.

I started working for pay in front of a classroom in 1994, teaching computer training classes. I’d been volunteering and also teaching informally at work (Hey, Lynn… how do you do X on the computer?) since 1978 when I did volunteer work for a young woman’s group at Central Michigan University. I didn’t realize for a long time that I could do this thing I loved after work, as my actual work. I’m really happy with how things have evolved that way for me.

Winding Down/Good Food

When I got home we had a wonderful meal by thawing something I’d made last week. Aaah, I’m starting to reap the bounty of cooking ahead of time! Make 2 meals, freeze one, and a meal next week becomes easier. I’m delighted. (It was cornish game hens, carrots and parsnips… very tasty, better than chicken. If I have to eat meat (right now my health depends on it, I can’t eat dairy, egg, nuts or soy without getting sick) I’m happy it can taste that good.

Back to the Shopping Cart

After dinner I got right down to business on the shopping cart. I loaded all six colorways I have in stock of the Cushy ColorSport DK-weight washable merino yarn I have offered since I first started dyeing yarn. This stuff is incredible! It makes good hats, scarves, baby blankets, socks, wristwarmers, and nice drapey sweaters and baby clothes.

I adore this particular DK yarn, it’s so springy that it can be knit from 7 stitches per inch for socks, to 4.5 stitches per inch in a baby blanket. All are good fabrics for that particular item (DK-weight yarn is typically knit at 5.5 stitches per inch for sweaters, I like it around 6.25 stitches per inch for socks).

Family can Also Be Friends

My brother Eric and his wife Diana have been incredible friends to me during this shopping cart development. Diana has tested the cart a zillion times (thank goodness Paypal has an easy feature for refunding purchase money), and Eric looked at it from a non-knitter perspective. He is the best one I know at asking questions without trying to skew the answer. I adore both of them.

Work Friends

Tomorrow I will be opening up Rae’s shop for her until she can get there a few hours later. There is another gratitude… the yarn shops where I teach are all run by incredible, wonderful people (Rob and Matt at Threadbear, Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse and Rae at Rae’s Yarn Boutique). I am lucky to count them as friends, and working for friends is the best.

Anyway, Monday I’ll be taking my computer with me to Rae’s so if we have any slow times I can edit the TipToe Sockyarn photographs. When I get home I’ll then be able to load my last yarn product and start the official opening day of my shopping cart this week.

Tuesday I have my helper coming to work with me mid-afternoon, but I think I won’t have her stay too long (I want a special dinner with Brian because it is my birthday that day)… I hope we can get a few more colorways of yarn skeined up for me to photograph and add to the photos.

My Partner is also My Friend

That’s another friend I’m grateful for. My husband, Brian. He has made this shopping cart experience so much easier for me. The product is a package deal and it came with some very ugly cartoon “icons” on many of the pages. He went in with his programming knowledge and one at a time removed them for me. No complaining, just work. He’s wonderful, and I know how lucky I am.

I’m getting excited about the shopping cart but it’s not quite ready yet. Patience… I’m going to learn it sooner or later.

Photos: More Africa, definitely more about friendship. Monday after Thanksgiving, two years ago, my beloved friend Altu took me home to Ethiopia.

We were 3 weeks total in Ethiopia (five different areas but mostly her parents’ home in Addis Ababa, the capitol city), one week in Kenya (two areas, a resort in Mombasa on the Indian Ocean and Nairobi, a very modern city with an incredible national park literally next door), and one week in Egypt (Cairo except one day in Alexandria).

If taking someone on a major trip like that is not proof of true friendship, I don’t know what is. We came away from that 38 days of togetherness with an even stronger friendship than we started out with. How lucky I am.

So the photos? One street scene from each country we visited. Homes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (laundry day), Mombasa, Kenya (notice boy with balloon), man delivering pita bread on a bicycle in Cairo. The first two I took from moving vehicles with a point-and-shoot low-end Kodak digital camera, using the sports setting.

The Cairo picture is actually a tiny little bit of a shot I got from a distance. He was going so fast that by the time I got out the camera and it turned on, he was a speck on my photo. He was not the only delivery guy doing this, but he was the only one I was fast enough to catch. Whew!

Serious Progress

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

I think that I have my shopping cart in working order. All the patterns are entered in, and one lonely skein of yarn is also loaded. Sunday I am spending much time with my friend Susan Luks so I don’t know how much work time I’ll have but I plan to start in where I left off today, when I get back to this desk sometime Sunday.

Saturday turned out very well. I slept in, made a wonderful quick bread for breakfast, (rye flour flavored with maple syrup, it is so much like cornbread it is spooky), worked on the shopping cart, tested it witn Diana by phone/internet, had lunch, more shopping cart including Diana.

Then my friend April from across the street called. She was sent home early from work and could she come over? Sure! So I had a nice teatime break sharing my good baking with April (we haven’t talked in far too long). In the end she had to go, so I did more shopping cart, then took a hot bath, Brian came home and we had dinner including the nicest baked organic sweet potatoes I’ve ever had. We did a quick trip to the local grocery since I was trying to do laundry but had run out of detergent… then came home, more shopping cart, a little jam session, and yet more shopping cart.

Actually, this morning while I was waking up, eating bread and drinking tea, I was surfing a little and paying some bills, doing a few routine household things. After the grocery store we really cleaned out the refrigerator well, which was satisfying. And now even though we bought a lot of food, the refrigerator is more roomy than before! Woohoo!

I’ve already set out the ingredients I need for a special bread I’m making in the morning to take to Susan’s house. Very yummy… if you ask nicely I’ll post it this week when I get time (between shopping cart stuff). It’s pumpkin bread but with no spices, just vanilla, and a flour called Kamut (a relative of wheat but more nutty and less sticky). It’s really lovely… no milk or egg but it’s fluffy and moist and everything you might want from a sweet quick bread. Diana has asked for the recipe, so has April. It’s a winner. This week, I promise.

Meanwhile it’s time to put the clean sheets on the bed and call it a night. It’s 2am on the dot and I’m expected at Susan’s in the next town over, at noon. And the bread takes about an hour to bake… Goodnight.

The pictures? Well, Altu and I left two years ago this week, for our five-week trip to Africa. 1) Tea Altu’s mother served me in her home, with a special silver teaspoon decorated with an Ethiopian gazelle of sorts (with curly horns, only found in Ethiopia). 2) One of the first places we went was northern Ethiopia. We walked up an incline for 45 minutes to view the waterfall of the Blue Nile. Yes, I really did indeed take this photograph myself. It was that different from here. That gouge in the earth behind him? The Blue Nile at a place where it’s merely a creek of sorts. Ethiopia is hard to imagine even when you’ve been there. I’m so grateful I had the chance.

Please Humor Me

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

lynnnhlogotiny.gifHi. I just need to put this image up where I can see it on a web page. Thank you for humoring me one more time! (It’s my actual hand-lettered signature “LynnH” I wrote in a thick brush-type pen on paper, the shape of which I transferred to a plastic eraser, then carved the eraser as a handmade rubber stamp, stamped it on paper in black, scanned the signature into the computer, and then did an overlay of my colors in a pretty gradation-rainbow using PhotoShop. I did it years ago. No, you didn’t ask…)

Not a Whole Day Off, But a Change

Friday, November 24th, 2006


Thursday was wonderful and Brian made a wonderful roast duck with roast rutabaga (incredibly satisfying) and roast jicama (just fine but I like it better stir-fried or fresh in salad).

sunsetlansingnov06.jpgI didn’t have to cook. Well, I made a butternut squash late in the day which I ate on Friday… and I made some wild rice in the rice cooker but I did it wrong and it didn’t get finished until after dinner was over. We had wild rice for an evening snack, and it was a wonderful treat.

A Bit O’Work

Thursday night we spent some time trying to get my new shopping cart working. You know, “New.” The one I started working on last spring? That one.

It’s much closer to ready thanks to Brian, but I’m still bewildered at how it works with Paypal. Paypal is my credit card processing company, their service is how I take credit cards even from folks who do not have a Paypal account. They are really not clear about telling my customers that (I can see it’s not in their best interest), and I can not figure out how to code that in. I’m working on that and a few other details.

My patterns are all entered into the shopping cart already. Very good. I have categories set up for adding yarns and buttons and kits, and will add handpainted garments (this week that would be tiger-dyed socks) when I can.

Family Meal

Friday we went to Grand Rapids, an hour away. There were 25 people for a turkey dinner with every possible side dish imaginable. It was beautiful. Everyone gets along very well, and the children are old enough to not make much noise. There is room for them to play downstairs while the adults chat upstairs, and it is a good setup.

The day was so gorgeous that the birds were going on this morning as if it was spring! After dinner about eight of us went for a long walk in the very pleasant, park-like neighborhood where my sister- and brother-in-law now live. I enjoyed that walk very much. (The photo here is actually Wednesday’s sunset but we have had clear skies since then.)

A Bit O’Knit

I did not knit a stitch on Thursday but I knit a lot on my ribbed legwarmers and my Louisa Harding socks on Friday. I finished one sock and started the toe of a second one. With the legwarmers, Diana used part of a ball for a few swatches so I started a second one to make sure they are the same length. I’ll have leftovers in any case, the one I stopped early on reaches over my knee right now if I wear it skintight over leggings with no bagging. I’ll really like these, I’m sure of it.

A Quick Shrimp-Pasta Recipe

When we got home I made myself a second meal of the day, which was shrimp, green frozen peas, water chestnuts and rotini rice pasta. Very nice. It was easy, I boiled everything in one pot. Here’s how I did it:

1. Boil water, and while waiting for the boil start thawing fully-cooked frozen shrimp under cool running water, removing tails.

2. Add frozen peas and water chestnuts, bring to a boil again.

3. Add quick-cooking (5-7 minute) pasta.

4. Just as the pasta is ready, turn off stove and put thawed shrimp in the boiling water for just long enough to heat through, not a whole minute if it’s totally thawed.

5. Drain, place in nice wide soup/salad bowl, drizzle olive oil and herbs of your choice (dill is nice) over the mixture and dig in. One pot, and a happy tummy!

More Work

After dinner I went back to the shopping cart. I was able to buy something from myself, so things are progressing a bit. I’ll keep you posted.


I hope everyone found more than just one thing to be thankful for. Today I’m thankful for good food, nice weather, family/friends, wool to knit and Brian Brian Brian.

Thanksgiving Grace (Guest Blogger)

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

sdluks_032405_1088_100.jpgThis Thanksgiving, I received the most beautiful letter from my friend, Susan Luks. Most of you know of her as a fiberartist, a creator of fabrics and garments. However, she is a most wonderful writer as well. She sent this letter to her friends, and I asked to share it with you here. Please visit her website and see her visual delights as well as these artful words: http://sdluks.com

Thanksgiving 2006

Thanksgiving eve… tonight I was thinking that when we say grace at my mother’s Thanksgiving table, we will say, “bless us, oh lord, for these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty…” and I will think for the 9 k’zillionth time in my life: who wrote these words? And then in an instant I will consider the value of ritual, but quickly veer off into the mind space of wanting to be the one who gets to write grace. My mind wander will carry me to a particular point of view, a neighborhood of my mind, where I understand that I am always in the midst of writing grace, always in the midst of witnessing grace, and always in the midst of receiving grace.

When I say that, I am thinking of all the varied and interesting people who populate my world. I am thinking of the incredible singularities of each of you. I am thinking of how many kindnesses I have been dealt over the year, over a decade, over a lifetime. I am thinking of how much I appreciate your time, your presence, and your indulgence of my idiosyncratic heart. I am thinking that this is grace.

What I want to say in thanks giving, in my version of grace, is singular to each of you. You, collectively, will have to believe me that it’s a long list, a collection of the smallest seemingly unrelated and meaningless items, but not unrelated and meaningless to me. I see that what I value most is just this: life lived in paragraphs, sometimes sentences, occasionally single words, and often wordless actions.

I will give you some examples: Nichol popped his head into my office, taking in my desk littered with paper, and said, “can I get you a cup of tea, Mom?” Grace. Mike bought Jacob a guitar so he could learn to play. Grace. My mom called after a trying day to allow me to rant. Grace. Jakes smiled at me as I said “goodnight, sweet dreams.” Grace. Josh joked. Grace. Winalee danced. Grace. Julie and I had breakfast. Grace. You sent me a letter. Grace. You came to dinner and sat and talked. Grace. You showed up at my art show. Grace. You showed my boys corners of the world I can’t bring to them, a baseball game, football game, D&D, how to camp, to fish, to be boys. Grace. You share your talents, your stories, your homes, and your time with me and mine. Grace. Grace. Grace.

On this Thanksgiving when I say grace with my family before the meal, “bless us, oh lord for these thy gifts…” the ritual for me will not be as small as the words, it will be as big as the collective actions of all of you and yours and me and mine. Spoken or not, it will be as big as the collective grace in the world. My wish for you is to find the same at your table.

With a bursting heart,


Susan, thank you for bestowing your own grace on us today. Friends, remember that Susan wrote this (and therefore owns the copyrights for its use) and if you wish to quote her it would be kind to ask first: Susan AT SDLuks DOT com

Happy Birthday to “My Sara-Bara”

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Sara is my Goddaughter. She’s a junior in college this year. Today is her birthday and I’m flooded with memories as I write this.

You know, you can wish for a good relationship with someone but you can not place an order for magic. Somehow Sara and I love one another with a magical connection. She’s in college now, which means I sometimes see her three times a week and then I don’t see her for months. It doesn’t make any difference to our connectedness, we know our relationship with or without visiting one another.

When Sara was young, she would stand in the door and laugh from her belly when she saw me coming. She was so happy to see me that it would just burst out in laughter. Every time she did it, I’d hang on to the moment and understand that it could be the last time. I think she did it until she was about 7 years old. There is nothing like being celebrated in that way!

Sara always called me “My Lynnie.” One day her mother, Jo, called me HER Lynnie. Oh, my… Sara corrected her mommy. “Not YOUR Lynnie, Mommy, MY Lynnie.” Apparently I could only belong to one person and it would be her!

Sara and I have taken two trips together, just the two of us. When she was 15 years old, I took her to Vermont, Montreal, and Toronto. I wrote a travelogue called Marvelous Montreal, if you are interested in that trip.

After her graduation from High School I took her to Chicago for several days. I wrote that as blog entries. The first of a series of posts on that trip starts here.

About a year ago Sara decided she wanted to knit socks. She had three pairs I had knit for her, but the more I am involved in my knitting career the less time I have for knitting items that are not for my work. She made a pair of purple footies in washable merino yarn. Very nice. They were imperfect which was frustrating to her but they fit and they were quite nice indeed. And *my* socks are imperfect as well, but that is hard for her to see.Here’s a photo of Sara wearing her third pair I made for her, then me with Sara starting her socks last November.

My sweet Sara-bara, Happy Happy Birthday to you!

Alaska Seafood “Cook it Frozen” Website

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Diana is a whiz at internet research. She also likes to cook (and she loves me). Therefore, she has taken a great interest in finding me websites to help with my new cooking adventures. Today she sent me the Alaska Seafood (and fish) Cook it Frozen website. Tons of recipes for cooking the fish straight out of the freezer.

I think I’m in love. This is my sort of thing. I bet my mom will be interested, too!

Thanks. Busy, good day.

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Long Night, Lots of Goodies

I stayed up until 3am dyeing more socks Monday night. I got up early, made breakfast, packed a lunch and put dinner in the crockpot (yup, that’s three meals in an hour or so). Went to Rae’s to help out, though she was there for most of the time so I got to do some knitting on a new sock.

At the end of the day Sue R. and Suzanne came in. They got first dibs on the socks I’d dyed (thanks, ladies, for your continuing enthusiasm… you are true friends and I thrive on your support). Then I went home to pack the car for the guild sale.


I was very happy to find a fully-cooked dinner in the crockpot when I got home, so I had dinner (well, I stood up at the counter in between doing other tasks but I ate good food) and packed the car. I got set up at the meeting just in time for the group to find its way to my table.

A Great Sale

Again, thanks to every one of you at the guild who supported me by your words and your purchases. Every little thing matters and I’m very grateful. It was a successful sale for me and worth the couple of 3am nights getting ready!

A True Friend

The traffic in East Lansing and on Lansing’s east side was really challenging because MSU was having a game. I did pop by Altu’s restaurant where she had a large crockpot waiting for me in her car, to borrow for Thanksgiving cooking. I’d say you know you’ve got a real friend when she loans you her huge crockpot without you even asking!

After that little stop, I had planned to go to the post office (where a package from Diana, things she’s knit for me that need felting, is waiting) but I was not eager to sit in backed-up traffic. I proceeded home. I’ll have to felt the bits on Wednesday night instead.

Planning for Tomorrow

Wednesday is busy but early in the day only. I have a private class at 11, then a fairisle sock class at Rae’s at 12:30, then nothing. Well, I’ll go to that post office after all!

Thanksgiving Weekend/Cooking Plans

Thursday I’m planning to cook a whole duck for us on Thanksgiving. (Sorry to the vegetarians tuning in, I really wish we could have Altu’s lima beans but for the first time in years I can’t eat her absolutely exquisite food for Thanksgiving.)

I’m really hoping this duck plan is not a mistake. After all, I am the one who swore she’d never cook a turkey, ever. Well, these days I do cook *pieces* of turkey. I’ve never successfully cooked duck, pieces or whole… well, I tried one once when I was maybe 22 yrs old and it was a disaster I’d rather not remember. Disaster in a fire-danger sense. Bad.

I’m an adult now, though. Do you think I can do this? It’s like a huge cornish hen, right? With more fat? (A lot more fat? That’s what went wrong 25 yrs ago.)

It looks like I have Saturday free. Thursday the two of us will be thankful at home together (the way I like it), Friday we’ll be thankful with Brian’s family (read: lots of people who get along well, including a handful of kids) for part of the day.

Possible Creative Adventures

Saturday I’ll be thankful alone at home. Hopefully with a knitting machine! Altu’s restaurant will be open Saturday so I’ll go visit her at some point but other than that I want to do a big focus day and knit something, anything on that knit machine. I’m dreaming of wool longjohns or leggings, but I have yarn for several sweaters and it would be cool to whip up something simple with that, perhaps.

Or I’ll handpaint sweaters. If I feel like that. If I do that, I’ll have more cool stuff to sell at the Art for the Soul. This would be good. After all, I have a pile of sweaters (several are cashmere) ready to recycle as handpainted artworks, and they are getting impatient at waiting so long for the new look.

There will be even more creative fun on Sunday, as I’m finally planning to go spend time with my friend Susan Luks at her home/studio. Tea and talk. I am very much looking forward to this. It has been far too long in the works.

Relaxing… just for me… right now

OK, I just drew a really hot, really full bathtub to almost overflowing. I think tonight it’s an epsom salts night! My feet are clear that I’ve spent two long nights on a bare, cold cement floor. I’m going to soak all my troubles away…

…and dream of knitting.I guess I’m doing Thanksgiving a few days early. I’m really feeling grateful for the good sale today. Thanks again to everyone who has supported me with kind words and/or purchases of my artful offerings. It’s always a challenge to “be an artist” as one’s job. Days like this make me know I’m still on the right path.

Photos? Go see Diana…

I have photos taken of various things, but they are still on the camera and my bath is calling. Photos tomorrow night, I guess… If you are wishing for photos right now, go visit Diana’s Otterwise blog. Pretty stuff!