Goodbyes are never easy

I can’t tell you how many times I have started and stopped writing this post in my drafts since I began my forty-second trip around the sun. To put it simply, I am giving up Domestic Extraordinaire.

For nearly twelve years I have called this space home and my tagline “I do it all. I never said I do it all well.” was easy; I could talk about anything under the sun and who cares if I am not an expert I can just point to the header. It always got the laughs and those who understood the struggles of trying to fit in their whole lives would nod and sigh happily knowing they had found a person in which understood.

If I was being honest with myself, this little corner of the inter-webs started dying off when my girls, who were nine and twelve when I began writing in this space, turned into teenagers. The stories I shared weren’t just my stories and I found out that too many people were reading. I know that sounds ridiculous that too many people were reading; but they were my neighbors, my family and others in my community. And it honestly freaked me the eff out. This is the part where I tell you that yes I actually say freaked me the eff out.

People had opinions about what I wrote and suddenly I began censoring myself to the point that the words didn’t flow out of my fingers as freely as they once did. I wanted to share, but learning that your new boss and the lady down the street spend hours on your website was a bit unnerving. I expected them to read, I just didn’t expect to hear about it.

Soon people in my real life were referring to my children with their blog nicknames of Giggles and The Chicken. I was having a hard enough time navigating the reigns of “normal” teenage life but adding an audience made it even more of a struggle. And when I struggle I tend to shut down, or at least I did as that’s something that forty-something Heather has been working on.

I started this space as a place to release my creative energy as a writer, I love telling stories and they flowed easily from my fingertips until one day they didn’t. I would try to rekindle the blog here and there, but it would fizzle out each and every time I tried. I would blame follow through but I realized in January that it was actually this place and that tagline that was stopping my fingers from doing the talking. I wasn’t trying to do it all anymore; doing it all nearly killed me.

A few years ago my anxiety and my asthma decided to wreak havoc on my life and my whole world came crashing down around me. It was during my recovery I decided to push everything aside and selfishly just focus on me. I had to resign from my “dream” job, I lost most of my independence, and I wasn’t even sure who I was now that my girls had both grown up and left the nest. Add in estrangement from my biological father and his family and you have yourself one major midlife crisis or something like that.

I had no idea who I was or who I even wanted to be. When things started to look up with my recovery my husband broke his back in a freak trampoline accident. I wasn’t sure how much more I could bend without breaking and for the first time in my life I just handed my life over to the Lord. My mantra became You Got This with Jesus. I felt my faith deepen in ways that I would never allow it to before, I truly surrendered.

And then He called me out on the water.

For months before we actually moved out here I kept hearing songs about water, devotionals were about water, it was like everywhere I turned God was preparing me to get wet. Then one day when my husband got home from work and told me that he wanted to move out to the island. And with much more ease than I have ever had about anything in my life, I told him I would give him one year. I joke that I am living my husband’s great grandfather’s dream of living on the island but in all honestly I can’t imagine living anywhere else nine months out of the year.

As I was still recovering I had two states of being; when I was working and when I wasn’t. Each day I spent hours on the beach when I wasn’t working combing for rocks and beach glass while listening to praise and worship music in my earbuds and just talking with God. My life was simple and was just what I needed. The normalcy and routine that I missed growing up was found here last season. This time helped to calm my heart and quiet the voices continually shouting in my mind and allowed me to figure out who was me.

Soon enough the weather changed and we had to close up the cottage and I found that I was an anxious ball of nerves at the thought of coming back to the mainland. I didn’t want to leave my routine and those who encouraged me to just be myself. This tiny little community understands that each person brings something unique to the table, oh how I wish that all places could be like my little island family.

Once we were settled back into the mainland house I found that I was still an anxious ball of nerves but it was because of all of the things that surrounded me. I put myself to the task of ridding myself of all of the things that were cluttering up our lives and our house. We had three bedrooms upstairs and most days we could barely get into the rooms because I just couldn’t let stuff go.

January brought a new year for our home.

We could finally get into all of the rooms in our house and everything felt so much lighter because I was letting go of so much of the past. January also brought back my desire to knit again. After finishing up a hat that was nearly done for almost a decade I realized how much I missed knitting. Soon I was knitting hat after hat making up the patterns as I went along. Designing these hats quenched a thirst in my soul that I didn’t even realize was there.

With the rooms usable my granddaughter and I began doing projects in my craft room. She was intrigued by the spinning wheel and each time she saw it she would try to make it work. I tried to put her off as I hadn’t spun in over a decade but my granddaughter wouldn’t give up. Because of her continued insistence I restrung the wheel and took it out for a spin. (Yeah, I couldn’t help it) She enjoyed watching it work but quickly moved onto the next thing she wanted to do. Although after she left I spun for over an hour that night and there hasn’t been a week since that I haven’t treadled for at least a few hours until (Th)Robin Sparkles came to live with us.

(Th)Robin Sparkes

Before the boats started running again I was able to
  • Get our house to state in which I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have people over; although I am still not a fan of the pop-in as I get all flustered because I thrive on routine. (My boss and I have a good laugh each time I tell him I am working on being more flexible and rolling with the unexpected)
  • I found a renewed love for two of my hobbies that I gave up initially because of injuries but later didn’t pick up because I wasn’t sure if I was knitting and spinning because I wanted to do them or if I was seeking love and acceptance from those in my life that I thought I wanted to love & accept me.
  • Start designing knitting patterns. When I was knitting hat after hat I started researching and sketching and then designing knitwear patterns that will showcase stories of the island that I love and its people.

I am sure that I had you until bullet point number three and then you probably asked why you haven’t seen said patterns? And the honest and most simple answer is that I haven’t been ready. I knew that Domestic Extraordinaire wasn’t the place to share them but I also knew that I wasn’t ready to give her (Domestic Extraordinaire) up yet. I felt like I was failing her and ultimately I didn’t want to fail myself.

The week after Forty-Two happened I was voice messaging a friend who lives several time zones away and it dawned on me, I had to give Forty-Two permission to let Domestic Extraordinaire go. And with the same grace that I give to others around me, I gave myself permission to let this blog go.

This is the last post for Domestic Extraordinaire, she’s lived a good life but her time has come to an end. Right now I am working on my new site and hope to have it up and going in the next few weeks. On the new site I will share yarns; whether they be from my wheel, my knitting needles, or from my heart. I hope you’ll join me on my new adventure and since you’ve made it this far, let me share with you a little sneak peek.

Heather Spins A Yarn Logo

Many thanks to Zoë for taking my hodge podge of ideas and knocking it out of the park!

 

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Why my January mantra became Just Finish it Already

After months of living on an island, which I swear I will talk a bit more about soon, there was an adjustment period of getting reacquainted with my house and all of the things in it. Before we left for the season I started purging and staging the rooms in their new roles. Fellow emptynesters will understand as the rooms in their homes become these weird stained voids of life in the house where life once was. (I mean don’t get me started on that weird hard stain in the carpet that was smack in the middle of where the Chicken kept her bed that sat directly on the floor.) Suddenly you have rooms for all of these things that you’ve had to tuck into corners or in high spaces so that the kids didn’t ruin them because you would get back to them Someday.

Well friends, my Someday has come.

One of the things that I have been working on as I figure out Who Heather Is is doing stuff that brings me joy and living my life apologetically. Crafting, whether it be crafting words, relationships with people, or just crafting things brings me joy. But I had a hard time of letting go of that joy and so things sat unfinished because I couldn’t bear to give them away for fear that they wouldn’t be good enough. Case in point Moo the Unicorn aka Rainbow Cuddles the Unicorn by 1DogWoof

This poor unicorn has been in a partially bald larval state for nearly two years. I was excited to crochet my second toy and thought it would be perfect for the granddaughter’s first birthday. After I finished the body and head I let some mistakes I made in the parts that were done stop me from making the legs. Fear that somehow my granddaughter would some how reject this unicorn if the legs weren’t all the same size and looked just like the pattern kept me from finishing it for over two years.

I’m happy to share that Moo is no longer in her larval state and is happily living her best life with the granddaughter in a room with a slide. And many more of the projects that I had started are getting their finishing touches. I have a baby blanket that I am putting together for my soon to be here great niece from squares I created while sitting in waiting rooms while my mother had therapy after her strokes. The love and prayer in each one of those stitches that will wrap around that little babe just has me feeling all of the joy. She won’t care that the squares aren’t even, she will just feel all of the love.

If you check out my Instafeed I will share the things as I finish them because I want 2019 to be full of FOs of Joy! (FO stands for Finished Object)

Now for my notes on the pattern with some affiliate links, disclaimer which means if you click and buy I get rewarded and since I am new at this I am not even sure how. But onto the supplies: I used the recommended Red Heart Yarn in colors white and petal pink for the body. I did the curlies all over for the mane and tail and used Red Heart Stripes in the Retro colorway so I didn’t have to worry about getting multiple skeins of yarn. I followed her directions and the pattern was very easy for a beginner pattern reader and toy maker to execute. My issues came from my inexperience and my lack of stitch markers when I was making some of the pieces. I would probably make this again and I have made several patterns from this designer. Check out her site and her Instafeed if you love fun crochet projects.

What are you working on? Be sure to let me know in the comments and don’t forget to follow me over on Insta, I love getting to “see” all of my pocket friends.

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The Agony of the Untold Story

Do you think that there is so much sadness in the world because so many of us are writers unaware? I think Maya Angelou said it best when she said that “there is no greater agony than being an untold story inside of you.”

I’ve learned over the years that I really like to talk, which is not surprising to anyone that knows me. What may be surprising is that I am painfully shy and extremely anxious in new situations which is why I excel at sharing my stories here. But then one day the stories that defined me weren’t just my stories and so I began to sit on my hands and not tell my stories at all.

And friends, let me tell you that it hurt a lot to let my voice go silent.  When people would ask what I did I would mutter something about being a writer or a content creator and then make excuses and downgrading anything I wrote. It was like I was ashamed of my story or I wasn’t worthy of sharing it.

Thankfully I had friends that prodded me along, and kept encouraging me to share my stories and telling me that people needed to hear what I had to say. But since I stopped writing everyday I became easily overwhelmed when I would sit down to actually write the words and so I didn’t.

A friend posted a photo of a running poster and talked about a calendar that Jerry Seinfeld made up to create a chain by creating one joke a day. After a while it wasn’t about the writing of the jokes, but not breaking the chain. I looked around online for giant calendars to create my own chain calendar but realized that I needed more.

I love quotes and I happened to have a 24 x 36 inch frame just hanging around the house that was screaming to be put up on the wall in my craft room. It has one of my favorite quotes and behind the quote are circles that you can color in or ‘x’ as you write each day. As you can see there are no x’s on it right now, but thanks to this post I am going to go up to the craft room and get the chain started.

Would you like to have your own copy of the print? If you click here you can download the file to your computer and print it up at home or you can send it off (I sent mine to the local Staples in town) and get it printed as a blue print, I paid under $6 for mine.

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