Selling Like Hotcakes, or an unabashed plug

While everyone about me is doing something constructive with their extra time, I’m sucking on sour persimmons!

Yes, it’s been awhile. My life has been less than stellar, so I didn’t think I would bore you with the details! Everyone is writing about their quarantine time and how they’re effectively handling it by making the most out of the down time.

I have not done this. I signed up for some expensive classes on Coursera and didn’t take them. I mapped out a plan for my overgrown lawn; haven’t finished it. Hell, I haven’t even been working on that many knit or crochet projects. When all of humanity is making lemonade out of the lemons we’ve been handed, I’m suckin’ on the rinds. What gives?

There has been an interesting development in one of my Etsy shops. I have always loved the bear hugging California design. I discovered there’s no copyright, and it’s a freebie. So I downloaded the image, made some changes, slapped it on to some products, and they have been selling like mad! If you want this design, click on the pic immediately below.

Here I am, sporting the beloved shirt. I actually made a local sale while out and about in it!

So, if you know of someone who loves California like I do, if they live here or not, send them this info – please!

In the meantime, I will endeavor to finish one pair of socks – see why I don’t like resolutions made around the New Year? – and I need to show off the quick and easy scarf I made with the cotton yarn I bought in Oahu ~

Yes, I am wearing my bear hug tee as I write, yes, I am tiki-mad and feature tiki designs in my shop, and yes, I am still sporting the quarantine hair!

So what have you been up to?

See you in the funny pages!

Oahu, Snowmageddon, And The Apocalypse – Frig Off!

 

 
Hey, everybody. I hope this belated post finds you healthy and, if not exactly happy, at least not panicked. It’s been almost two weeks since my husband and I have returned stateside, and I have been seriously struggling with how to write this entry. I’m tired of grim; I’m tired of fear; I’m tired and extremely saddened to hear about people dying. I can’t even imagine what those families are going through.

 So…how does one write a light-hearted vignette while ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room? Lets start with crafting – the blog is called Nittin’ Ninja, after all. I did have a few days where I totally ignored anything even remotely crafty, like when I was in Oahu. Understandable there. It’s just when I came back from the island a day early to fight a snowstorm to get home and discover we were without power for three days and all the media shitstorm about COVID-19 had people panic shopping so there wasn’t anything on the shelves. You would think that would be perfect for crafting, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t wrap my mind around anything wonderful or artistic. I felt totally numb.

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We hadn’t even gone home yet from disembarking the plane…
 
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Before shoveling the snow…
 

But…I realized I needed to catch up on my temperature blanket- I was already 8 days behind. I had to keep making my blanket. So I picked it up, and three days at a time, I caught it up – tada! While playing catch-up, I also started work once again on this cute crochet top I had started while in Oahu.

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The temperature blanket that may well have saved my sanity!
 
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The cute shirt as of 03/27 in the morning.
 

And then, to make things feel almost a little more normal – but not really – I received a skein of ooey, gooey, squishy fingering weight yarn I’d ordered before Hawai’i. Yay!!!

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I’d pre-ordered this wonderful skein and totally forgotten about it when I got it in the mail
 

So, still not normal, but definitely better. I do need to mention that while in Oahu I made some new yarn friends.

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OMG – I just remember that I forgot their names!
 
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What – you didn’t think I was going to go into a yarn shop and not buy some yarn?
 

You may notice that there are Christmas decorations interspersed with all the wonderful yarn? The owner, Sylvia Kruse, has merged two concepts here, and strangely enough, it works. Check out her FB page Yarn & Needlecraft Strictly Christmas!I think for the rest of the post, I’m going to do like I did last time and throw some pics out there for you to enjoy and call it quits for today! Aloha!

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On the way to the plane with my hubby!
 
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First-class bathroom! We were able to upgrade both ways! ;-D
 
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I absolutely loved these two attendants, and I told them as much…
 
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…so they very specifically gave me a plumeria to tuck behind my ear when I disembarked! ❤
 
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Started on the plane.
 
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What a spread! (yea, newbie to First Class flying – shut up!)
 
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Whale watching!
 
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I mean…look at that! And the locals are probably so tired of this view!
 
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More Christmas-ey yarn!
 
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Beach…
 
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Drenched after a walk on a trail!
 
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Again with the Hawai’i hair! LOL!
 
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Haleiwa Harbor
 
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Crazy Canadian, Angie! She was wearing a sweater and cowboy boots! Hey, girl!
 
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Mandatory moco loco!
 
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At Dole Pineapple Plantation. Just had to get a picture of the sky, so blue, and the flora, sooo green!
 
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The maze map – we found all the secret stations!
 
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Pearls for my daughter, a June baby.
 
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Fantastic tree in a parking lot – !
 
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And these brilliantly colored feral chickens were everywhere on the North Shore.
 

Mahalo for reading, and stay healthy – please!

Early New Year’s Yarn Resolutions

When you want to make a resolution that will stick, turn to your trusted hobbies…like yarn!

It’s that time of year, when the magic of the season is winding down. With one big hooplah left, my thoughts have turned toward the new year and the much-hated resolution time.  I have written about the futility of this practice before, especially when it comes to life-changing practices. It’s great to review your life and make tweeks here and there, but expecting to lose those extra 10, 20, 30 pounds or write the Great American Novel may be a stretch.  For me, those aren’t the kind of decisions made during New Year’s.  What’s your process, if anything?

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

So I’m making a resolution that I should be able to stick with. For January, I am going to wallow in yarn indulgence and make nothing but socks. I have drawers full of fingering weight yarn that are stuffed. I have nowhere else to put the fluffy, gooey wonderfulness, so I’m going to do what nature intended, damnit!

Having said that, my first two sock projects are being made with worsted and bulky yarn, in that order!

As for sock building technique, I am so married to the concept of cuff down, I don’t know if I’ll honestly ever try toe-up. I know, there are those of you in Yarnlandia that are die-hard toe-up fans and you’re huge advocates, and that’s ok. I just don’t like the increasing part of it – I’m a decrease kinda gal. My focus, instead, will be stranding or the fair isle technique when possible. I have seen some beautiful works of art intricately worked into a pair of socks, and that is my ultimate goal. To get there, I just need to keep practicing, because apparently, I’m not a natural – but that’s never stopped me from doing something I want to do!

As for my online graphics business, I’m still waiting for the “surge” – ! If you’re old enough to know what I’m talking about, bless you! LOL! And I do appreciate any of you sharing the link. It’s the digital version of “word of mouth”!

This shop is for those of you who don’t like Etsy! I know there are a few of you out there. 😉 https://inktale.com/nittinninja

For those of you who prefer Etsy, or just don’t care! Remember, if you’re not into the product concept, please share it so someone who would like it can view it! https://www.etsy.com/shop/NittinNinja

I also plan to do it this year – I promise! I’m finally going to make a temperature blanket for 2020. Tomorrow, I’m going to battle the post-Christmas crowds and make my way down to Joann’s in Roseville – ugh! – and get my yarns.

These are my temp ranges and colors. Didn’t want to get too complicated on either. I’ve seen some charts that break down the temp by five degrees and have 16 different color variations. I will be using the crochet moss stitch and starting on January 1st. Wish me luck!

So there you have it; some resolutions that will be easy to obtain! Yay! What do you have lined up for the next year?

A Cheater Post

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses and closeup
In all the excitement of the travel and what-not, I forgot to mention here that I finally finished the Zweig sweater!

So, it begins. With the crafts season coming up in October, I’ve got to roll! I wanted to post something, so I did a video. Enjoy!

Curses and Blessings

In and out of consciousness – don’t ask why I was taking pics at a time like this!

On New Year’s Eve, a night traditionally reserved for revelry, reflection and resolutions, I sat in the emergency room, feeling utterly helpless, watching my daughter slowly lose consciousness while struggling to breathe.  Puzzled because she wasn’t running a fever, the nurses ran a battery of tests on her after asking a slew of questions to which we (I) responded “no”.  Their initial assessment was a massive infection, but blood work wasn’t backing that up.  They were just about to check for a pulmonary embolism when I mentioned her weight loss.

If, dear reader, you remember a post from a year back, I mentioned that I was losing weight, which I have, and all that entailed.  My daughter took the opportunity to lose weight with me.  She lost weight by cutting back on her sugars, carbs and portions and seemed to be doing fine, except the last month or so, she was looking too skinny.  Everyone was asking if she was eating enough and she assured all and sundry she was – multiple times.  In fact, her answers were getting harsh and snippy because she was starting to feel badgered.  As part of her dietary effort, she’d increased her water intake some time back, so no one was alarmed by the gallon of water, sometimes more, she was drinking every day.  If I had written all these signs on paper and looked at it, I would have insisted she see a doctor.  As it was, and happens so often when you’re too close to a situation, we had no idea.

Wonderful ICU nurses
Some relief found here…

I’m sure most of you have guessed by now the diagnosis the nurses and doctors came up with: diabetic ketoacidosis as a result of uncontrolled diabetes.  Type I or II is yet to be determined. For her sake, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Type II because I’ve heard it’s more easy to control.  What really freaked me out was the how?  Diabetes doesn’t run in our family.  It doesn’t fit in with the information I’ve received all my life.  This was totally unexpected.  I thought it was possibly asthma exacerbated by allergies or a collapsed lung, but diabetes?

Several days have passed since I first started this post.  She was released Friday, whereupon we proceeded to a restaurant that we knew would have acceptable food, and the onerous maintenance and forethought that is part and parcel of her condition kicked in.  I’ve been on diets before, and I actually worked at Jenny Craig in the mid ’90s, so I understand portion control and exchanges, but instead of being focused on caloric intake, she has to carefully monitor her sugar levels and understand the relationship between carbs and metabolism.  Since she’s my daughter, she already knew about this because her mother is a quasi hypochondriac wannabe nurse/doctor who was raised by a medical transcriptionist who listened to doctors dictating patients’ case histories all day long.  *pauses, takes a deep breath*  In other words, I know just enough to be dangerous.    

Life goes on, but for my daughter, it almost didn’t.  Do I have a new appreciation for her? for life in general?  I would like to think so.

How was your New Year’s?

Xanax and Funny Yarn Memes

I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling a bit down I find a good laugh helps a lot.  I understand this sentiment is shared by virtually everyone, but the last several days, I’ve rediscovered just how true that is.  I finally had to give up the ghost on my old Xanax stash as it had been prescribed back in 2007.   Aware of the addicting properties of the drug, I’ve always been very careful how I took them.  Even with the current opioid hyper-awareness – scare – witch hunt – what-the-fuck-ever! my doctor prescribed me several to help me get over a few things in my life.  He said that opioid addiction was one of the things he wasn’t worried about with me.  I definitely wasn’t on my toes, because normally I would have responded with, “So what does worry you?” *sigh* Most likely, it was a good thing I didn’t pursue that.  Anyway, he’s a good doc and also a good chat, because he made me laugh during the course of our visit, and when I did, I literally felt some tension go away.  Nothing in the world like that, so I thought I’d throw in some funny yarn memes to help spread the goodness!

Teehee.....
My Life!!

I can crochet, but I don't want to make things for you!
But I will teach you how!!!

Nittin' Ninja
Soooo me!!!

Nittin' Ninja party-style
Let’s not forget Saturday nights, y’all!

Nittin' Ninja
Ouch!

Nittin' Ninja
hahahaha! I hear the two crafts mistaken constantly! I have to bite my tongue in order not to blurt out their conversational faux pas!

Nittin' Ninja
Oh, yea. House looks like a hurricane AND an earthquake hit it, but wait – this hat is not going to finish itself!

Nittin' Ninja
Only when we’re into the three digit projects!

Pulse. Wow!

A few of you who follow me may be aware of my photography sideline, in a peripheral sort of way!  I used to be a professional photographer, but every time I got a good rhythm going with business and clients, we always seemed to be moving.  That meant every time we relocated, it was back to square one.  Several moves ago, I gave up.  In a fit of pique (meltdown combined with a sense of despair), I donated all my backdrops, studio lighting, and a bunch of other costly photo equipment.  I was done.

My advice to anyone who feels that way – don’t do it!  A year after the great purge, I found myself really missing all those costly items that were tossed away like so much detritus.  Do I want to return to professional photography?  Nowadays, it’s not so much a matter of want, but more like a matter of “can’t”.  My eyes are doing that thing called presbyopia (you’ll learn when you get there, if you haven’t already) and it really bites.  I imagine I could continue to take pictures, but I find myself more and more at the mercy of automation, especially when it comes to the focus feature on the camera.  I don’t like losing that control.  So, as of the last five years, my photography has been more personal or commercial stock photography of items.

Do I still buy gee-gaws for my old Nikon D-90?  Nope.  I get by with what I have right now, that is, until you see this on Kickstarter…

I’m a big fan of low-light assists and remote control.  I may have to climb a mountain or go hiking to get that special selfie!!!  And yes, they have my email to let me know when it’s ready for retail sales.  Can’t wait!

Have you photo hounds found any new technology that’s fun?  Let me know! 😉

So much to say, so little time to say it!

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A lot has happened since my last entry, though none of it has had anything to do with the yarn shop except for the idea that I’m presenting in the YouTube video!  LOL  So, like I ask, talk to me!  Suffice to say, I had a busy few weeks here and I’m trying to put it all in perspective.  The reference book seen in the photo gallery is Knitting Pattern Essentials by Sally Melville.  So far, so good.  I’m one of those kind of people – I’ll read just what I know to get started, then when I get stumped, I’ll return to the book and read what I should have, usually wasting time and resources.  Don’t ask – it’s just my way!!

For those of you not registered on YouTube, I’ve given you the option of a poll:

See you in the funny pages!

International Women’s Day, pt.2: Finding Sally Dawley

After posting the pic of Margaret Thatcher for the International Women’s Day tribute, I felt I should choose another candidate, one closer to home. I just met her two days ago, but her dedication to her cause has garnered kudos and international recognition and my respect.  Her name is Sally Dawley and she is affectionately known around these parts as “The Butt Lady of Auburn”.   This interesting moniker came about in 2014 when she started picking up butts along her daily walk and thus began her odyssey that continues today.

How I came to meet her has its own quirky story.  Don’t worry – I’ll make it brief!  I’m a big Trailer Park Boys fan and have a subscription to their Swearnet website and on their podcast episode #133, they congratulated Sally and asked for help contacting her because they want to talk to her themselves.  That was an unusual request – I’d never seen them do that before.  So, I thought, hey!  I live near Auburn, I’ve got free time, let’s find her!  A cursory Google search came up blank, Facebook zilch and even Duck-duck Go produced no results.  I now understood why the unusual request; she has absolutely zero web presence.  Thankfully, my first action of posting in the Auburn group on FB got me in touch with her.  Thanks everyone!

Our meeting was really unusual, and think about it;  to Sally, I’m some random stranger looking for her, who just wanted to let her know that a group of guys from Canada were looking for her.  Not suspicious at all.  It must have taken a leap of faith for her to call me.  I don’t know if I would have done the same!  When we finally talked the night before meeting, I had to explain that I am in no way affiliated with The Trailer Park Boys (they wouldn’t have me), only a fan who had time on her hands and likes helping people.  Weird, right?  The next morning I showed up at the appointed Starbucks, prepared with my laptop and headphones so she could see what had prompted all the furor.   Sally was amused by what she saw and was definitely game, and I thought, oh, great! mission accomplished.  Then we both looked at each other, and she asked, “What do we do now?”  I laughed and said I would give the appropriate people her phone number…in an e-mail.  She shook her head and explained she didn’t want that kind of information on the internet.  I ended up writing a letter to that effect, where, as far as I know, it’s sitting in someone’s inbox in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When we were fairly comfortable with each other, we went out into the parking lot and, yes, you guessed it, picked up cigarette butts for about an hour.  Well, I got to use the clicker for the most part and she did the hard work.  During that time I found out that not only does she find butts while she’s out and about, she finds wallets, cash, (she’s collected $900 since 2014!), ponytail hair ties, and of course, used condoms.   And don’t worry if you drop your wallet with your credit cards, $1,000 cash and no ID – she’ll get it to you one or way or another.  She’s scrupulously honest that way, but if she finds a stray $20 here or there, the law of “Finders, Keepers” comes into play.

What saddened me and galvanized my respect for Ms. Dawley was that after about 20 minutes of picking up butts, the magnitude of what she was trying to accomplish hit me.  There was always another butt over there, by this fence post, trapped in the sidewalk cracks, underneath a truck trailer, disguised as dead leaf – it seemed endless.  I asked her if she’d noticed any difference in the volume of cigarette butts she was finding since she’d been receiving some notoriety and the city of Auburn had installed ashcans for smokers in public places.  She shook her head and said, “No, not really.”  Then she remarked how unusual it was to have someone helping her.  I was shocked at this point, and clarified if I’d understood her correctly, in that no one has ever helped her.  Nope.  I had heard it correctly.  Then I was really disappointed.  And really proud of her.  A lesser mortal would have given up well before the 1,000,000 mark.  As we were nearing the end of our time together, I asked her what message she wanted to get out, and she said, “For people to stop throwing their cigarettes everywhere.”  Ultimately, she wants everyone to stop smoking, but as seen through the eyes of this ex-smoker, that ain’t happening any time soon.  Besides the fact that it’s highly physically and psychologically addictive, it’s a tremendously personal decision and you’ve got to want to stop.

So next time you’re out on the town, or anywhere, for that matter, getting ready to toss your cigarette because you can’t find an appropriate place to put it, try field stripping.  That way, you’re less likely to find a cigarette butt in the stomach of the fish you caught that morning, you won’t have to worry so much about your dog eating a stray butt while you’re walking them and making them sick, the birds will have less to line their nests with and the landscape in general will start looking a lot better.

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Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

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We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.

Headlights

On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy