Wednesday, June 27, 2012
So I've finally caught up. I've got two new granny squares in my tool box. First, I learned the traditional (ages ago...)
Then, as part of this crochet along, I learned a blocked granny square.
And now as part of week five I've learned the circle within a square and the flower within a square.
These new squares are my favorite by far! I've got a nice little pile of granny squares waiting to become a blanket, but I'm not certain how big the final will be or how many weeks are left in the crochet along. Looks like you'll be surprised right along with me!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
If you haven’t read Grace for the Good Girl and you plan to skip this post because I’m going to spoil chapter eight for you.
This week Emily asked: “I shared the story of the little girl who had to choose between the pencils or the activity book. Which would you choose? Why are you so afraid to discover what you really want?”
First, I’ll briefly explain the story. The little girl was in a bookstore with her father holding two things, an activity book and a set of glittery princess pencils. Her father told her she could only have one and asked her to choose. When the little girl asked which she should choose her father repeatedly said it was her choice and listed the pros of each chose weighing heavily in favor of the more practical activity book.
At this point in the story I knew exactly what I’d have chosen. Daddy thinks the activity book is better [gold star for me for realizing that] I’m going to choose the activity book [another gold star for doing the right thing].
And then the activity book will sit untouched on a shelf. And I’ll be reminded about 10 times a day how much I would have loved those pencils. How I could have used them so many times. And I’ll be a little disappointed, but I’ll pat myself on the back for having made the “right” choice.
And then someone will comment about how the money was “wasted” on the activity book, because I never use it anyway. And I’ll be devastated. Because I don’t like it as much as I should [and there for I’m bad/not good enough]. Because I haven’t used it as much as I should [and I’ve done something wrong/been ungrateful].
The next time I’m given a choice I still won’t choose what I want AND I’ll have more anxiety over the choice. I might even insist that really, Daddy you don’t have to buy me anything. I’m fine without either, I promise.
You know it’s terribly disappointing to know that I have such a hard time articulating what I want. As someone who believe so strongly in creating happiness in your life you would think it’s easy for me to say what will make me happy.It’s not.
Because I’ve given you a large chunk of my happiness. I’ve decided that in order to be happy you have to believe I’ve done the right thing. You have to decide that I deserve to be happy. And even if you’ve done all that – I have to believe you when you say “good job” or when you don’t say anything at all.
That’s an unfair amount of pressure on you. And I don’t even tell you that you have all this responsibility! So how about I do a bit more making myself happy. How about I say what I want and need loudly and clearly and I worry a bit less about whether that is the right thing to want or need, because really there is no right way to feel, there’s just how I’m feeling.
So…would you choose the pencils or the activitybook?
Monday, June 25, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
If you follow me on instagram (buttonwoodcottage) you already know I joined a granny square blanket crochet along – and I’m loving it!
I think I’ve been so focused on pushing my technical skills this year that I forgot to pick up easy projects for a break. I love this project. I finished almost all of week two while chatting with the girls on the side porch and having a glass of wine. Zero concentration necessary. AND I am reveling in the colors. Just look at these colors!
I’m thinking about adding custom granny square afghans to the shop. I’m still marinating on how this would work. Something along the lines of a set price per square with the buyer choosing the number of squares, the colors, and the basic arrangement. Then I build you a custom blanket. Awesome right? Let me know in the comments section if you’re interested (not buying, just if the idea sounds fun to you).
I really love this project! (Can you tell?) I started on the 15th and have already finished the first four weeks of assignments. And here I was afraid I’d never catch up.
Next I’m tackling week five – circular granny squares. Hmmm, I’m sensing a contradiction here. I’ll let you know how those turn out and if I love, hate, or love/hate them. I can really see it going any direction.
PS. If you want to join the crochet along the instructions are here (catching up is totally doable, and completely unnecessary if you want to just go at your own pace).
PPS. Or if you just want to see awesome photos of what others are doing check out this Flickr group or #grannysquaresampler on instagram.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Who loves rules? Loves to break them? Has mixed feelings?
I’m in the “mixed feelings” camp. I love to know what the rules are. I like to have a rubric so I can check off boxes and know how much of a good girl I’m being or not being (and you know I desperately want to be a perfect good girl).
But once I’ve got the rules or the rubric I have a tendency to edit it. I’ll compare what’s on the rubric with my personal values and toss things out the window. Things like…process.
Hear me out! I love to do things right. If you want me to draw you a flower, then I want to give you a perfect flower. But if you want me to draw you a flower by first drawing the stem, then the leaves, and then the petals I might give you the stink eye. Or I might nod politely and as soon as you leave I’ll draw the flower in whatever order I see fit – as long as I think my way is more likely to get me to the goal of creating a perfect flower better than yours.
What a rebel!
Now I don’t mean to be rude. And I’m not convinced that I know best in every situation. There are times I’m perfectly happy to follow direction and do things exactly how I’m told. And then there are times when the process just needs a little bit of tweaking and it could be so much more efficient. Or when the process was designed for someone else and I know if I could be so much more successful if I could do things my way.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
My friend Lisa at Polka Dot Cottage clued me in to this Granny Square Afghan crochet along over on Wise Craft. Now yes I am still working on my summer sweater, but I need a faster paced project for a change. Here's my progress from Friday night and early Sunday morning.
Not a ton, but certainly not bad. This project is a bit of a stash buster so I may need to make a trip to the craft story soon. For now this is the view of my desktop...
The crochet along is currently in week five, but as I'm typing this I've already finished the assignments for weeks one, two, and three! The game of catch up continues...
PS Any clue what I should do with this very colorful blanket when it's complete?
Monday, June 18, 2012
“How are you?”
I had a boss once who told a client to never give anything but a positive answer to, “How are you?” The rationale was something along the lines of: It’s not appropriate to be anything less than fine. In fact, if you want to make friends and draw opportunities to yourself you should be more than fine, you should be fantastic! And you should answer with enthusiasm.
Maybe it was my perspective filtering what she said. I hope so. And I hope other’s didn’t hear the same thing I did.
I cringe thinking about the terrible pressure to be WONDERFUL! Fake fine/fantastic/great/wonderful is a terrible thing. It’s inauthentic. It’s isolating. It’s really annoying when you see it all over someone’s Facebook updates.
In certain context, yes, it is advantageous to outwardly appear to be fine or better. I admit, I’ll often tell you “I’m fine.” (Except for this post where I was honest about having a bad day.) I don’t hide behind fine out of fear or laziness. I hide behind fine because I want to control my reputation. I want to shape your opinion of me.
Because I don’t think you’ll accept me if I’m less than fine.
Pushing the ugly stuff under the bed and into the closet means you can meet, know, love, and connect with the good parts of Kasey, but that’s it. And there are serious limits to what qualifies as “the good parts.” Like, I have to think they are the good parts. But the ugly parts THEY ARE IMPORTANT PARTS.
Imagine a woman who never has a bad hair day, who always says the right thing in social situations, who wears the right clothes, says the right thing, is successful in her job, loves children and chooses the right people to be her friends. A woman who never fails. Do you want to be her friend?
NO! Because she is completely intimidating and - oh man - can you imagine if a perfect person judged you based on the standards she clearly holds herself to? Yikes!
So why on Earth would I try to be that woman?
And why do I, like so many others, feel like I need to be that woman or I’m not enough.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
know that Grace for the Good Girl should not be abbreviated GftGG. It makes a portion of me scream in fury to purposefully abbreviate the book title “wrong”, but GGG looks terrible. I just can’t bring myself to use it.
“In a way, obsessively apologizing is part of the hiding. We sorry our way right out of our own personalities. We apologize for not being fine. We apologize for needing help. We apologize for being emotional, inarticulate, not having answers. Sometimes we even apologize for apologizing.”
I do this and I hate it. HB hates it (and tells me to stop when I’m wound up and start apologizing for being wound up). My parent’s probably don’t like it either.
If someone handed me a list at the end of the day of everything I’d apologized for it would be shocking. The hotel my supervisor wants is unavailable, I apologize when I relay this information. The server is down and a co-worker can’t get to the information they need, I apologize. My mother is cleaning the refrigerator shelf and it shatters while we are on the phone together, I apologize. Friends come over to spend time with me and we discover that between the time I vacuumed the basement and the time they showed up (12 hours?) a pet got sick on the carpet, I apologize. We’re at a restaurant and there are no gluten free options for HB, I apologize.
Do you see a trend here? None of that is actually my fault. Then there are the things I apologize for that are “my fault.”
I’m overtired and hungry so I snap at HB when he asks me for help. I’m stressed out about an intimidating phone call so I’m anxious all day and a downer to be around. I’m holed up in my room working on an important project and haven’t spent any time with my family. All of this happened over the course of one day so I selfishly don’t want to answer the phone when a friend calls and them I’m in a rush to get off the phone because really I just want to go to bed and end the day.
As Emily points out every time I apologize it’s like I’m saying, “Attention everyone! I have a very important announcement to make – I am a human being and I am ever so sorry about that.”
I’m not certain what I’m going to do about this. What I’d like to do is give myself an apology budget. I get 5 to spend a day so I’d better save them up for when I really need them. You know for times when I’ve inflicted real wounds or when I’m empathizing with deep sorrow.
Has anyone successfully kicked the “I’m sorry,” habit? Care to share some strategies?
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I’m having a bad day today. It happens to the best of us. You wake up with a sore neck, spill coffee on your dress pants when you’re running late, or hear disappointing news and then it all seems to be downhill from there.
I tend to bully myself when I feel like I’m having a bad day. I repeat things like, “You’re being ridiculous, there is no reason to be this angry/anxious/sad.” But that isn’t actually helpful. And sometimes neither are my attempts to cheer myself up by doing things I typically enjoy, such as reading a good book or watching a favorite movie.
Today I’m cutting myself some slack. I feel like crud and I don’t need a reason. When I get home from work I’ll take a nap and then do one productive thing so I don’t feel like my bad mood stole a day of my life. But that’s it. No pressure to get over it, feel better [right now], or diagnose the problem.
And seriously, no big plans to change my life so I don’t feel this way anymore [which I do all the time]. After all, this is just one bad day after a series of great ones.
What do you do when you have a bad day?
Monday, June 11, 2012
I sat on the porch with HB this weekend thinking deep thoughts. I am so glad we were able to spend the weekend at the beach with our friends. Those quite mornings alone together were some of my favorite moments. Sitting on the beach or on the balcony sipping my coffee left me feeling life could be calm and happy forever.
And eating a Mallon's sticky bun might be what tipped the scales making the mornings pure bliss.
The whole weekend was wonderful. We ate well, enjoyed the sun, napped in the early evenings, and played mini golf. I didn’t get sunburned and neither did HB. Everyone was low key so we did whatever random thing felt right at the moment. It was just the right mix of fun and relaxing to leave me refreshed and ready to take on the world today.
How was your weekend?
Thursday, June 7, 2012
I'm doing a personal experiment and participating in Emily Freedman's Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life book club this summer. To follow along with the prompts visit Emily's blog here...
"Fear pushes and shoves us around, but Love leads deeply and gently within us. Am I being motivated by fear or by love?"
First, let’s talk about what I am really afraid of:
- Not being able to support myself (emotionally, financially, etc.)
- Leading a meaningless life.
I have made a lot of life choices based on these two fears like: where I applied to and went to college, which jobs I applied to after college, choosing not to move out of my parent’s house, how often I allow myself to live without an agenda.
I would like to make more choices out of love, but I’m not sure what that would look like? At the basic level I think that in order to make choices out of love you have to pursue only things you love and you must do it with your whole heart. So if I love crocheting, I should put all of my energy into designing and marketing my business. If I am passionate about educating youth I should volunteer to go abroad and teach English.
As soon as I think about things I hit a brick wall of “what if…” What if I can’t afford to pay my monthly bills? What if traveling prevents me from saving up enough money to buy a house? What if I’m never “safe” because I haven’t established myself in a career that will support me?
"Don’t try to strangle the good girl all at once. That’s just another form of the try-hard life, the very thing we want to release."
I know that making a sweeping declaration to “change my ways” isn’t going to work. I cannot reprogram all of my habits and address all of my fears simply by realizing things aren’t working. And when I try (I have tried!) I’m hopelessly disillusioned by the end of the week.
Small steps never seem to lead to a big enough change, but changes never seem to be something I can maintain long term. So where is the happy medium?
Sometimes I think I want permission to take a risk so that if something goes wrong I won’t get “blamed” for it. Wouldn’t it be nice to not be responsible for our mistakes? I suppose making a mistake really isn’t all that bad. Owning that mistake isn’t too terrible either. The real problem? I can’t shake the nagging feeling that if I take a risk and I fail it will be THE.END.OF.THE.WORLD. That no matter how hard I work from that point forward I will not be able to recover from that one colossal mistake.
That I’ll never be happy.
Talk about neurotic, right?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Remember these chairs from my last Get on That Already post? Well they've had a bit of work done and are looking much better these days!
Now all there is left to do is recover that nasty old cushion. Or maybe the old ones will work...
Nope, looks like they need some new fabric. Here are a few options I just had on hand. First, the bold pattern.
Next, the floral.
And another floral.
I don't think any of these would get HB's stamp of approval so it looks like a trip to the fabric store is in order...soon!
Monday, June 4, 2012
There are some traditionally “good” things that just don’t work for everyone. So I’m answering Tiny Twig’s challenge and admitting to two “good” things I’ve given up on.
I just can’t fathom spending the money on organic produce. Half the time my family doesn’t manage to eat all the produce we buy inexpensively from our local farmers market. Am I anti-organic? Heck no! But I feel like buying organic is a more advanced form of food shopping I’m just not ready for yet. To be honest, I’m happy if I successful bring the grocery list with me to the store and I actually make the meals I planned to. So I’m giving up (have already given up) on the organic craze.
Kicking my coffee habit.
I know caffeine is evil, but it’s my luxury. I’m keeping my 1 cup a day thank-you-very-much. However if I was ever told by my doctor that it was hurting my health then yes, I’d switch to decaf. But for now the mental health I can from relaxing with my morning cup of coffee and a blog post far outweighs the evils of that one 12 oz cup. (Ahem).