I’ve decided to take a step back from blogging. As such, I’ve decided not to renew my domain name (oneliferecorded.me). If I do come back to this blog, you’ll be able to reach it at anleese.wordpress.com. Until then, feel free to take a look at my Instagram (@theangelaleese).
I have all sorts of excuses why I haven’t blogged in awhile. Use of Instagram for sharing photos and stories. Trying to connect with people more in person. Lack of desire to get anywhere near a computer after a work day spent on one.
But, really, I just haven’t felt like blogging. And that’s okay, right? Ya’ll haven’t come at me with pitchforks, demanding I post more often. I do this blog for fun and self-expression and, okay, sometimes it’s for the likes and new followers.
I would say that 2017 was a year of ups and downs, for me and my work and my family and, well, the nation. (Don’t worry, I won’t elaborate very much on that last one. Let’s just say I see it as more of a downward motion with occasional bright spots.)
I started the year with a giant plate of cinnamon rolls at a favorite brunch spot and spent the rest of the day clearing out and organizing our closets. We also went to Rose’s Luxury for the first time in a little bit. (Yes, Lizzie spent the first few days of the year at her grandparents’.) Lizzie got really into painting, taking advantage of her new easel. I took another ballet class – the only session I actually completed for the year, though I did start too others. We all went to the Women’s March on Washington – even Lizzie was a happy camper, despite the crazy crowds. I made a lot of envelopes and pom-poms. Maybe hundreds of each. We helped with robotics again, though I mostly stayed home to watch Lizzie.
We went to the National Zoo with the family of one of Matt’s high school friends on a drizzly day. Spent a long weekend in Florida with my parents, including lots of playground time and a trip to the Everglades (my first, can you believe it??). I visited the new MGM resort for a friend’s birthday. We started a fun activity of hallway bowling.
Lizzie started her second round of swim lessons, still with us on the pool with her. She did really well, though didn’t end the class being unwilling to be in the pool without us. Her second haircut was just as easy as her first. We got a good amount of snow. Well, enough snow for Lizzie to “help” make a snowman.
Matt went to South Africa for work – the cards were brought back for me. Lizzie attempted a soccer class – this accurately shows her feelings towards it. We went with some friends to a DC United game. We spent a lot of time our new hammock. Lizzie participated in an Easter egg hunt with church. Matt celebrated his favorite time of year -strawberry season! My parents came for a weekend and we spent a day in Annapolis.
I had a major sinus infection but it was over by the time we had our annual Cinco de Mayo party. Neighbor Sara joined me at Maryland Sheep and Wool. We spent an evening at Great Falls and a weekend in Shenandoah. We had dinner and played board games with old friends. Lizzie ate the first of many, many popsicles for the summer.
Lizzie spent lots of time outside or in our porch with E from next door. I made some fun creatures. We spent 10 days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We re-did our basement (finally!).
We spent as much time outside as possible, including fireworks with neighbors, trip to Shenandoah with friends, and a visit to Florida (where Uncle Rob took us all the zoo).
Lots of time with the neighborhood families. Matt and I spent the last half of the month in England and Wales. (For more info on the trip, see my Instagram from August.)
Going through my photos, it’s all about Lizzie’s friends’ birthday parties and a random Saturday afternoon spent painting in the porch. I’m sure other stuff happened, too, but that’s certainly what kept weekends super busy.
Birthday party next door and TWO Shenandoah trips – one for our usual fall weekend and another, as a day trip, when my parents came to visit.
Another birthday party, Lizzie’s first college football game (Maryland vs Michigan). We had Thanksgiving with Matt’s parents and aunt and one of his coworkers. Everyone who had Thanksgiving next door came over for dessert. Of course, zero pictures of that but here’s our leftover turkey ramen from the next day.
Lizzie had a great Prince and Princess birthday party, where she and her buddies decorated foam crowns. We took her on her first Santa Train. She’s still scared of Santa but loved being on a real (non-Metro) train for the first time. We got a little bit of snow. The girls – Lizzie and neighbor’s – attempted to make gingerbread houses with non-structural components. Celebrated Christmas with my in-laws and without my parents (long story). Lizzie fell in love with Legos.
Looking Forward to 2018
Let’s just leave this for another post, okay?
Do you craft projects tend to grab onto a particular color palate and not let go? For me, lately, my colors have gone to rainbows.
It started when Neighborhood Fiber Company started offering their Marriage Equality colorway (for the third? fourth? time). I bought two kits of the gradient (DK and Sock), happy to both support the benefiting LGBTQA orgnization and have some of the wonderful, vibrant colors. I’ve now used them for a handful of projects – and still have a good 1/3 of the DK left!
(These photos are all of me wearing the items versus my usual slightly nicer shots but I’ve been feeling lazy.)
This was a really meditative knit. I worked on it during conference calls at work and occasionally at home in July. The recipient was complaining that she’s always cold – hopefully this has kept her warm!
Lizzie’s Rainbow Scarf
I really just sort of made this up as I went along, roughly following the Tale as Old as Time pattern. My project page for it (here) has all the details. Made using the NFC DK weight.
I think I may be almost over my inability to do colorwork. This was made in DK and I just sort of made up the pattern (and the crown shaping, hence the wonkiness of it!).
I turned back to an old love this summer, after many years away: cross stitch.
I started back with when a friend was posting her embroidery in Instagram. My first pattern back was one I’d bought two years ago and never made. I manged to finish a bit over half of it before we were heading off to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I guessed that I would probably finish it while there so it wasn’t worth bringing with me. Of course, I forgot about it entirely until I was going through my pile (yeah, a pile) of cross stitch stuff in my office.
(Pattern is Crafty Manifesto by Satsuma Street)
On the Teton/Yellowstone trip, I manged to finish another Satsuma Street pattern, Blue Village. I’d started it just before we left so it was maybe 90% complete on the trip.
(Blue Village, when it was almost done being stitched)
When I finished with Blue Village, I was on my trip and still needed something to work on. I had managed to find two great kits at park gift shops – one of Grand Teton and another of Old Faithful. I decided to start on the later, as it was smaller in size and not completely filled in.
(Yellowstone National Park kit finish)
I was loving the big projects, so I immediately (this was early July) started on the Lovely Little Washington, DC pattern from Satsuma Street. This is still a WIP but I haven’t touched it in a few weeks.
My current big project is a surprise for my brother and sister-in-law so I’ll just post a link to it. (Click here.) It’s about 80% complete, I’d say.
Lastly, I do work on smaller things, mostly projects that take an evening or two to make. These are mostly combinations of patterns I find online and fonts from Sublime Stitchery or another book I have or got from the library. I have a another one I’ve made but it’s not family friendly (picture is here).
(Made for a friend who is LGBTQ and, well, pretty awesome.)
(Made for my husband’s coworker who is obsessed with squirrels as they don’t have them in his native Australia.)
DO you cross stitch? Any favorite patterns?
There’s a concept used in my industry, probably from a business book no one can remember the name of anymore, known as Lessons Learned. When you finish up a project, the team gets together and thinks about how things could go better the next time. Sure, some whining happens, but the focus is on how you can do things differently to make it all go better next time.
Lessons learned apply to crafts, too.
I learn something with every project. Sometimes it’s something little, like that a particular yarn likes to split so the lesson learned is to use a needle with rounded, rather than sharp, tips. Sometimes it’s something you can’t believe you never thought to do differently.
My Harvest sweater left me some major lessons learned. Lessons I thought I had learned before.
Thing is, my sweater doesn’t fit me. I chose the wrong size to make. Got gauge, followed the directions. Doesn’t fit.
Yep, I wrote a whole post about measuring yourself and choosing a size. Yet, I made the wrong one for me.
I chose the size exactly the same as my chest measurement, measuring around my widest point in my chest. This means that there was zero ease.
Lesson One: Cotton does not stretch
Next time I work with this yarn or another cotton, I should add at least and extra inch to account for the fact cotton does not stretch. (And maybe add a bit more if I intend to throw it in the dryer when I’m too impatient to let it dry flat.)
Lesson Two: Remember your body type
Unlike the standard person sweaters are designed for, I have broad shoulders and, well, a small chest. In the future, I need to account for this.
Amy Herzog has an amazing blog series called Fit to Flatter which is also available in book form. In the post on choosing your sweater size, she describes how to take a better measurement than the tradition chest one. I won’t rehash what she says, but the lesson from Amy for me is that I often need to knit a size or two larger than the pattern calls for.
I tried on the sweater and even wore it a few times before blocking it. From the start, it felt tight across my shoulders and I couldn’t quite close it. After blocking it via washer and dryer, it is not at all flattering. And, worse, it’s just not comfortable. Here’s a photo I took of me trying it on, about the only photo I have of me wearing it. Notice how it won’t close, yet bunches at my armpits. Signs of a poor fit.
Don’t worry, though, the sweater will not be relegated to the back of my closet. I’m lucky to have a friend for whom the sweater is a perfect fit. It’s actually winging its way across town (so more like fighting I-66 traffic) to my friend KO to keep her warm on chilly days at work.
I will knit myself another sweater one of these days. And I will remember my lessons learned. (Either way, I’ll blog about it, you can be sure.)
Our final days were spent in the area everyone goes to – by Old Faithful. I won’t lie, this was my absolute least favorite part of our trip. It was crowded and you had to really work to get away from people. That said, it was really neat to be able to see the world’s most famous geological feature.
One tip – if you climb to the second floor of the Old Faithful Inn and walk to the newer area, you’ll eventually get to a covered porch. From there, you have an excellent, likely totally private, view of Old Faithful. We discovered it by staying just on the other side of that porch and went back multiple times to watch eruptions.
The Prismatic Springs are a series of, well, springs located just down the road from Old Faithful. They’re famous for the large, multi-colored springs. Yes, it’s crowded and unless you go after the new overlook opens, you can’t get very close. I’d say this is skippable if you’re able to walk the entire 4 mile round-trip to the Morning Glory spring in the Back Basin. Think carefully before visiting.
No more words from me, just lots and lots of photos of gysers from the back-basin, home of Old Faithful.
Just before you exit the park into the town of West Yellowstone is Mammouth Spring. I don’t even know how to describe it, other than out-of-this-world strange.
Well, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed this little view into this most famous of US National Parks!
The second segment of our Yellowtsone visit was based out of the Teddy Roosevelt Lodge area. Much less populated with tourists than other parts of the park, this was the sight of the very first National Park lodge. We stayed in the cabins – you can’t actually stay in the lodge itself, it’s just a restaurant and small gift shop – and enjoyed the less populated area.
Best Picnic Spot
Just a few miles down the main road from the lodge was this great picnic area. With a very clean composting toilet and plentiful picnic tables, we had our breakfast there eavery morning we were in the area.
I’ll admit half the reason I remember the name of this part of the park is I kept thinking of Lavar Burton. I know, not the same name, but it did make the Reading Rainbow theme song get stuck in my head for a few days.
The valley is known for its excellent chances of sighting animals, particularly bison and pronghorn, but occasionally wild swans (yes, really), moose, or other critters.
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember Tower Falls at all, just that we went there. But, hey, look, a photo I thought to label right after we got back!
Matt’s dad and Lizzie walked with us on the short part of the basin train (about 1/2 mile) but left Matt and I do to do the 2 or so mile loop ourselves. It was crowded on the first part of the trail but very quickly thinned out to almost no one after that.
One Old Tree
Not far from where we were staying was this petrified tree. It’s not a great thing to see, but certainly worth the short drive.
Chuck Wagon Dinner
Somehow, Lizzie managed to figure out what it meant that we were going on a chuck wagon dinner our last night in the Roosevelt area. It’s what it sounds like – you take horse-drawn carriages (with 40 of your closest friends with you in said carriage) to a remote area where “cowboys” cook you a chuck wagon-style feast of steak and the fixins’. They sing cowboy songs and tell corny stories. She was excited about the experience and even more excited when it was happening.
(Meeting one of the horses, wearing my hat)
Next time – we wrap things up by Old Faithful