My Experience At The Women’s March in Denver

So this past week/weekend were big ones with shifting administrations and the country’s (and world’s) reactions to it. I decided to attend the Women’s March here in Denver and wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences. I was hoping to get a little video collage up but that hasn’t happened yet, hopefully I’ll get it in my next vlog! 

One of the biggest things I noticed being in a crowd of 150,000+ people – easily the biggest collection of folks I’ve ever been in the middle of – was that there was no tension. Usually in crowds – concerts, markets, festivals, etc – it can be frustrating and tense to be so close to other people, being bumped into, unable to see well and having your bubble being taken over by others. People can be impatient and short-tempered. Saturday’s crowd was completely different! 

No one expressed any frustration or annoyance at the other marchers even when there were too many bodies in the city to actually do any marching – we mostly just stood around, reading all the great signs and talking with each other. It was so peaceful and the air was full of acceptance and loving vibes. If you got separated from your group, it was easily the safest place to get lost.

There was chanting and smiles and music and costumes and dogs and singing and laughing and pussyhats everywhere. There were men and women and children of all different beliefs, backgrounds and futures. I think this is what makes this city, state, country and planet great – diversity and being able to disagree peacefully, compassionately and respectfully. Let’s do more of that, yes?

Learning Something New: My Mini Watercolor Kit

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a quick snap of my mini watercolor kit the other day. img_3828

Painting is something that has always mystified me – watching painters do their creating is like watching magic happen before my eyes. I just don’t understand how these things are made. I suppose some folks feel that way about knitting?

I’ve always wanted to try painting but never felt like it was the right time but the other day I just jumped on it, told myself to stop being afraid – what’s the worst that could happen? You spend a few bucks on supplies that don’t get used right away (and we call that a stash in knitting, what’s it called in other mediums?).

I took some inspiration from an extremely talented artist I discovered on IG – Heidi Annalise – and made my kit with an old Altoids tin I’d previously been using to store beads (for my Olive Garden shawl). I bought some empty half pans, 6″x8″ watercolor board, 3 paintbrushes and 4 colors of paint – black, red, yellow and blue (because this was all getting a wee bit expensive and I know from my elementary art classes that with these colors I can, with enough patience, make all the other colors). 14713806_10154689221119343_5750938589890244334_n

My little water container is actually a small jam jar. I cut down the watercolor board to 2″x 3″ sizes to fit nicely in the lid of my tin and hold them in place with a little binder clip so they don’t get blown away.

It’s been so fun to learn something new and with just a little 2″x 3″ card to paint, it’s not so intimidating. I find it very approachable and have been painting a few cards a day, trying out different techniques, color combos and just generally learning how to put brush to water to paint to paper (not always in that order).img_3853

Here are all of my finished cards in order of creation – first on the upper left, most recent in the lower right. I don’t really want to show you the ones I consider inferior BUT I do want to practice what I preach, embrace learning something new and share my process.

What have you always wanted to learn but shied away from? Have you bit the bullet on anything you were interested in? How did that turn out? Please share these stories of success and learning!

Backpacking in Forgotten Valley

With a name like “Forgotten Valley” how could I not want to check this place out? Luckily, it’s located in the Golden Gate Canyon State Park which is less than an hour from my house so it’s a pretty convenient place to explore!

This was a great first backpack of the summer – we’ve got more planned including a 4-night trek in Yellowstone at the beginning of September so I wanted to make sure we started slow and simple. This trip was more about exploring a new area, checking that all my gear made it through the winter, finding out what needed to be fixed or replaced, etc. 

The hike in was only about 2.25 gorgeous miles. Wildflowers were blooming everywhere, the blue skies allowed us to see all the views and birds were singing along every step of the way. After we ditched our packs we hiked to City Lights Ridge – a steeper but very rewarding 2+ mile round trip. From the ridge we could see 360 degrees including our campsite, the pond and homestead and another small loop trail we wanted to tackle after we got back.

Needless to say, the pond and restored homestead were gorgeous. Even waiting out a small bit of rain in our tent allowed us gorgeous views of the valley. The swings on the porch of the cabin certainly provided a perfect spot to start off the day with some knitting.

Do you like to camp, backpack, hike and explore? What are some of your favorite memories being outside?

Making the Most of the Weather

Now that summer is quickly on it’s way to Colorado, we’re trying to soak up every bit of perfect weather we can before it gets too hot. This means a lot of outside time – hiking, dog parking, picnicing, climbing, festivaling and all the stuff that goes along with it.

This weekend was no different. We squeezed in some climbing in Clear Creek at Canal Zone…

I spent some quality me-time at Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge – my first time but certainly not my last…

We played tourist in our own city by renting the Bcycles downtown and trying out some new breweries and going to the Chalk Art Festival.

What are your favorite weekend activities? Do you ever play tourist in your own town?

Springtime in Colorado

The past few weeks the weather has been warming, the grass is greening and the trees are blossoming. Ask anyone who lives in Colorado though you and you know that this is not the time to be putting away your boots and gloves.

Throughout March, April and even May we routinely get late-season snow. This weekend we got another storm and I’m hoping that the blooms pull through! The moisture is good for us, we need more wetness to prevent summer forest fires and add to the snowpack in the mountains. 

Anticipating the weekend’s storm, we decided to head out on Friday for a little bit of climbing before the precipitation started. This was our first time out with our new gear and our first time going out just the two of us (plus Lisa, of course). We chose a nearby spot in Clear Creek Canyon that is usually teeming with people but – probably due to the weather and the fact that it was a weekday – we had the entire wall to ourselves!

It felt so good to get out of the city and smell the plants and rocks and rain. It really does a lot to fill my spiritual cup, you know? Is it springtime where you live? What are your favorite springtime activities?

WIP Wednesday: Back to the Hualpa

Happy Wednesday friends! Spring has arrived in Colorado and the grass is greening, trees are blooming and the occasional rain storm is passing through. I love spring, I love love love it. It’s perfect for wandering through the mountains and taking in the views, perfect for cruising just around the block with the dog and perfect for picnics in the grass a the park.

I finished the basic ribbed beanie over the weekend and have started working on my Hualpa Kimono fronts again. I haven’t gotten too far on these but they do knit quickly so I’m hoping to have them finished in no time!

What are you working on this week? What do you love (or not love) about spring?

Snapshots Lately

The knitting looks largely the same this week and instead of bore you with the same ol’ pictures and “it’s coming along slowly but steadily” routine, I figured I’d share some photos of non-knitting things I’ve been up to!

These first 2 shots are from the Denver Botanic Gardens. Even though it seems a little counter intuitive to go to a garden in February, you can still see some neat things and great color combos! Who else thinks those plants would make for some awesome yarn dying inspiration?

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These last 3 are from my weekend in Salida with my best friend mom. The first was seen in the downtown area, the second was near the alpaca farm and the third was taken at Elevation Beer Company just outside Salida in Poncha Springs. You can see me starting the Peony Shawl (and the sweater is the Joan of Arc pullover which I actually wear a lot – I don’t think the original photos do this sweater justice).

What non-knitting shenanigans have you been getting into lately?

Reflections

The book I’m listening to lately on my commutes keeps emphasizing that your life now – your relationships now, your bank account now, your situation now – doesn’t reflect who you are but instead who you were. This is an awesome reminder for me (and maybe for you?) to keep moving forward and toward your goals.IMG_6523

A lot of my efforts the past few weeks have been focused on creating financial stability and a career I’m in love with. It’s easy to get caught up in “I’m not there yet” or “my emergency account isn’t full” or “eep! taxes!” but the other day I was thinking about where I was this time last year – January of 2015.

By the time 2014 ended, I was so ready for it to be over. It was a tough year. A good year in many ways (bought a house!) but also awfully tough (my dream job ended up not being so dreamy). January of 2015 saw me needing to move (again, after only 3 months) on short notice because my roommate/leaseholder was moving for work. It saw me struggling to make my rent and my mortgage payments because my tenants weren’t paying their rent. I was working 60+ hour weeks to pay the bills at on-your-feet-all-day jobs. I felt like I couldn’t get ahead because dealing with the day-to-day was such a damn struggle.IMG_4913

What a big difference a year has made! This January sees me working with a management company to rent out my house – one less major thing on my plate. I’m rolling over an old 401k into a Roth IRA because it’s better for my future. I was able to purchase a new-to-me car when my old one was no longer reliable – the cost of peace of mind is invaluable. I’m seeking out more writing and editing jobs (freelance and otherwise) because that’s what makes me happy.

It’s such a good thing to remember and keep in the back of your mind –

Where you are doesn’t reflect who you are, it reflects who you were

So where are you going from here? I’m going to keep heading in the direction of my dreams.

2015 in Review

According to Ravelry, I only finished 17 projects this year – can you believe that?! Well, actually, now that I think about it….I can believe it. The first half of the year I was not knitting very much because of my wrist pain. I started seeing a PT for it and ever since I started stretching more, doing more yoga and stressing less the pain has almost gone completely away and I can pick up the needles more frequently! IMG_9605

I’ve lived in 3 different places, worked in only 2 different jobs (apart from my designing and tech editing, of course) and published only 5 patterns. I am loosely hoping to double the number of projects, patterns and blog posts next year. I’ve got at least two in the works right now that just need to be written up, tech edited and tested so I’m on my way.IMG_2375

This year I was able to do more traveling than in 2014 – I didn’t leave the state once during 2014! I was able to go to Virginia to see my extended family, visit Costa Rica and go to New Mexico to watch my brother graduate from college along with quite a few travels around beautiful Colorado. It’s been a big year, a great year and I’m happy to have lived it with the best folks by my side (online and off).IMG_2241

Hopefully 2016 brings more projects, more love and more adventure 🙂

Thanksgiving Snowshoe

Along with winding 17 skeins of yarn (I always bring my swift and cake winder when I visit my momma), Nick, Mona Lisa and I took to the snowy mountains and went for a winter hike before chowing down on Thanksgiving.IMG_2938

I’d never been snowshoeing before (I know, I can’t believe it either) but I absolutely want to go back! I love hiking, I love the snow (and so does Lisa, that dog is hilarious with the snow) and it’s a perfect match when you wear those oversized flipper things with the spikes on the bottom.IMG_2934

Excellent way to work up an appetite, get some exercise and enjoy this beautiful state we live in!IMG_2933

Oh, and get a laugh when the other person falls repeatedly and all you can do is snap pictures instead of offering a helping hand…IMG_2916