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Where Dwell the Brave at Heart

I have long had a a love affair with young adult literature. Especially of the fantasy variety. Growing up my favorite authors were Madeleine L’Engle, Roald Dahl, Dianna Wynn Jones, Patricia C. Wrede, and (of course) JK Rowling. I still go back and reread some of those old favorites every now and then, just for fun. I love the adventure, the opportunity for gross absurdity, the wisdom, and the fun that is found therein. This is the kind of thing I want to write (though it’s only taken me ten years to figure it out), because it’s versatile. I read them in elementary school and junior, I read them to my younger siblings when I was in high school, and now I am reading them to my son.

We just started reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I only have the US edition of this book, unfortunately, but that doesn’t stop me from changing “Sorcerer” to “Philosopher”. Or “bathrobe” to “dressing gown” for that matter. Gotta instill my anglophile tendencies to Athrun early.) He has been having so much fun with it that he woke me up at 7am on New Year’s Day, begging me to read him the next chapter. One of the books I read while I was sick was Patricia C. Wrede’s Snow White and Rose Red. He asked me to read it to him when he saw me reading it, but reading aloud with a head cold is touch and go at best, but I promised him we could do that one next. It makes my heart sing that he like being read too. It is one of my greatest expressions of love, to be able to read aloud to him the books that hold a special place in my heart.

Apparently, my excitement at sharing Harry Potter with my son is coming out in my other creative outlets as well.

I dyed some merino and firestar with intention of blending it, and pulling some roving off my hackle. I dyed the gold and the scarlet separately, mixing dyes experimentally. I didn’t set out to make 100g of Gryffindor themed hand-pulled roving, but this morning as I was loading my hackle, I realized that is what I had.

Where Dwell the Brave at Heart now available at the Tiny Dino Studios etsy shop.

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My Magic Pink Overnight Bag

I have done nothing shop related for the past four days. In many ways, this is probably very, very bad. And in many ways this has been very, very good. Although my shop has only been open a month and I should probably be spending more time than ever promoting it and bulking up my inventory, I got to Saturday and I just couldn’t. Saturday and Sunday are usually my big production days because I don’t work in the afternoons and I don’t have class. I try to get the house the clean and then mess it all up again by dyeing like crazy. This Saturday, after work, after going to the gym, I fell asleep on the sofa while Athrun, beneficently, played quietly by himself on the floor beside me. While I thank my incredibly savvy four-year old son for being good enough to recognize that I was completely beat, this scenario is not all right with me at all.

I knew, a year ago, when I started planning to open my shop, that it would add a heavy work load to my already over-committed and admittedly stressful schedule. I knew that the upcoming school year, while being my last, might also be my most intense. I also knew that I most likely would not be able to cut back my hours at my day job; it just would not be financially feasible. And never for one moment did I think that I couldn’t get it all done. And I still don’t.

One thing I have had to admit to myself recently is that is it OK to take a break every now and again. I don’t have to work constantly. (And believe me, for about the last six or seven years, that is kind of all I have done.) So, when I was rested enough to hold my own consciousness on Saturday, all my plans of dyeing some more silk hankies went completely out the window. I decided it was time for a break. I let myself off. I have been letting myself off of a lot of things the past few days. Housework. Homework (I did some today, and I plan to do some more as soon as I get this post published). Dyeing. Social-networking (which is the hardest part of the online business for me. I am a complete internet introvert). Instead, I ordered a couple of spring dresses for myself off the internet rather than yarn or roving. I bought a couple of simple card games to play with my son. I got a start on all the books I have bought over the last few months. I finished two books this week. One was The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. This book was fantastic. It has all of the silly elements I have come to expect from Patricia C. Wrede and her Enchanted Forest Chronicles, with all the lovely romance and intrigue one expects from Regency England. Go out and buy all seven books (three from Enchanted Chocolate Pot Series and four from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) from your local bookstore and enjoy. It makes for brilliant spring reading. In fact, I am taking the second chocolate pot book, The Grand Tour, with me on the plane tomorrow, but more on that later.

The other book I finished was Rachel Herron’s How to Knit a Heart Back Home. This is the second romance I have ever read (the first one being the book’s precursor, How to Knit a Love Song), but I have to say I thought this book was simply phenomenal. I enjoyed Rachel’s first book, but I really think she has created a genre all her own in her second book. It had romance, and it had knitting, and it had a beautiful beach town, but it also had a lot of complex character work, a lot of charm, and a lot of humor. That is a lot of stuff to work into just one story. As a fellow creative writing major (and in two months, an official fellow Creative Writer Degree Holder), I really, really just want to call Rachel Herron up and say. “Cheerio, brilliant novel my dear. Beautiful work.” As I neither know her, nor have the ability to play the nonchalant Brit I have always admired, all I can really say is that I wish Rachel Herron was my real life writing buddy. And you should go buy both her books. And her third one when it comes out in the fall. And I am so knitting the sweater pattern at the end of the book. Yeah, her books are that cool.

In addition to all that, I am going on an adventure this weekend. I am flying to Denver by myself. I have never ever ever traveled on my own. I am visiting my brilliant sister, Audrey, who goes to school there, so I am not going to be by myself the whole time, but I am actually getting on a plane on my own and flying for an hour, and landing. No parents, no boyfriend, no kid, no siblings, no high school German teacher. I will be standing in line, by myself, reading my young adult novel and hoping they don’t confiscate my knitting project (the birthday present for my other sister, so it would be really tragic). I am trying not to be afraid, because the traveling part really doesn’t bother me. The fact that I don’t like planes or airports or being more than three feet above stable ground at any time is mostly peripheral. I am really just more amazed that I have somehow made it to 26 without going anywhere on my own. And, I don’t even feel a little bit guilty about leaving Athrun behind. (OK, so I might have teared up a little bit when he was helping me pack this morning and he got upset and cried and said, “But I really wanted to go with you this time too.” And I understand that, since we went to Denver at this same time last year together, he would want to go again, but right now, the logistics just aren’t there.) What this really boils down to is, I need some time to relax. And I am completely psyched to be going, to be doing something different, to be loading myself with my magic (because it has accommodated my tendency to over pack and still be smaller than your standard carry-on bag) pink overnight bag and my sparkly Tom’s onto an airplane and seeing what Denver has to offer. I am hoping these things include a showing of Equus, Jane Eyre (the new film), a few really good local yarn stores, and a lot of good food. I do have my camera and my laptop packed into my magic pink overnight bag, which means I have the intention of blogging my trip, if not the time while I am gone.

I arrive back home Sunday and the whole of spring break stretched out a head of me. If you are keeping tabs on the shop, I would expect to start seeing some major updates and additions about this time next week.

For now though, I finished the cardigan I planned to take on my trip today, and my spring dresses arrived in time for me to pack them. Everything is looking pretty good.