So it turns out I could have offered summer piano lessons this year. But my students claimed they needed a break. And, truth be told, so did I. I have gotten some much needed rest. And I have had time to tackle a few projects that I never seem to get around to when I am teaching.
I have made some progress on my brother's afghan. Intended to be his Christmas present last year, it wasn't ready for Valentine's Day delivery, either. But I have been knitting four rows every morning for the past couple of weeks, and it is starting to shape up. Four rows doesn't sound like a lot. But each row consists of 107 stitches worked on size 17 circular needles - they are HUGE - using TWO strands of worsted weight yarn. Four rows is about all my hands can manage; after that, they need a break. And, as we all know, slow but steady wins the race. At this rate, the afghan will be finished well before cold weather hits.
"Comfy" from Leisure Arts' Big Book of Quick Knit Afghans
I love the "checkerboard" pattern
I am also back to work on my novel. I spent several weeks stuck; I couldn't decide how my story was going to end. Would my heroine meet Prince Charming, get married and live happily ever after? Or would she find herself old and alone, on her deathbed, contemplating a lifetime of terrible choices? Finally, I have worked it all out in my head - wouldn't YOU like to know? - and as I approach the final two or three chapters, the writing is going faster. My goal is to have the first draft completely finished before I resume teaching August 9th; that will give me a couple of months to revise and polish before the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference October 1-3. Honestly? That may not be enough time. The more I learn about writing, the more I understand just how rough this first draft really is. But right now, this is my plan.
And I have completed a dozen or so pieces of jewelry - bracelets, necklaces and earrings - and will announce the grand opening of my Etsy store very, very soon. Here is a picture of one item I will offer: a silver and crystal mother or grandmother bracelet, customizable with one to six names and birthstones on one to three beaded strands. I love wearing mine.
Finally, I have been on a mission to get rid of some of the excess stuff that has been cluttering my home and cluttering my mind. My chief target areas were the kitchen and my bedroom. I wish I had taken "before" pictures. Every horizontal area of the kitchen, including the tops of the cabinets and the top of the refrigerator, was covered with something; my bedroom was filled to bursting with my beading and scrapbooking supplies (even though I haven't done any scrapbooking in seven or eight months), two racks of CD's that I never listen to (because they are all loaded on my computer and on my iPhone), a tiny bookshelf piled sky high with unread books, and a rocking chair (but not enough space to actually sit in it and rock). It took me a couple of days to figure out what to do with everything, but now the scrapbooking supplies are in the hall closet and the CD's are in a large plastic bin under my bed; the rocking chair is in the corner of the living room, where there is plenty of space for sitting and rocking; and the bookshelf and several hundred books from the collection in my music studio will be featured items in my garage sale this weekend. Now there is actually room to walk around my bed - and room to breathe. The atmosphere is so much more calm and peaceful.
Karma loves sleeping under my bed now.
(Okay, he has ALWAYS loved sleeping under my bed.)
The garage is the last frontier, and I have to get through it today, as I have already advertised the dates and hours of my garage sale - Friday and Saturday, 9AM-2PM - and I am determined to make it happen. Whatever doesn't sell is going IMMEDIATELY to Goodwill. Of course, this is a never ending process; there are drawers and closets waiting for me that I won't be able to get to today. But the hardest decisions are behind me and, hopefully, I have at least eliminated the possibility of ending up on "Hoarders."