Christmas has become such a commercialized holiday. People are so concerned about what they are going to get. The day after Christmas is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. How did this happen? When did Christmas change from being about celebrating the greatest gift of God to man and about reflecting God’s love to family and friends and even strangers to being all about stuff?

I used to be all about the stuff at Christmas. Sure, I enjoyed being with the people I loved, but I was concerned with what I was going to get. That changed a few years ago.

I had moved out of my family’s home and was on my own for the first time. Also, I was across the country from my family, and had not seen them in months. I decided to go see them at Christmas, so I booked my flight for Christmas Eve, but told my family I was flying in late Christmas day. I wanted to surprise them by coming in a day early.

My mom cried when she saw me Christmas morning, and the look of wonder, of Christmas magic, on my littlest sister’s face was priceless. That experience really made me look at Christmas differently. I learned that stuff, while it can be really cool, is still just stuff, and that I should instead relish the joy that giving brings.


Today would have been my brother’s 22nd birthday. He would be graduating college in the spring. Maybe he would have a girlfriend, or even a fiancée. Who knows what could have been.

Happy Birthday, brother. I miss you.


It has been 5 long years and a half,

And still my grief is near,

Hiding just behind a laugh

As smile turns to tear.


Some days I feel almost whole:

I am in control.

And other days my raining eyes

Take me by surprise.


It has been 5 long years and a half,

And still my grief is near.

In 5 more years and another half

Will it still be here?

When Things Go Wrong

One of the unalterable truths about life is that things do not always go the way we want them to.

This past Friday evening the studio where I teach voice put on a Christmas recital. I sang in it, and some of my students sang. It’s funny how you get more nervous  about your students’ performances than your own. You want them to go so well and be such a good experience for them. This was not.

My first student is such a dear. She reminds me of myself in a lot of ways. Unfortunately I had thoughtlessly placed the microphone in the wrong spot and when she got up to sing she got a huge amount of feedback. It jangled her nerves so badly that she cried later. I was so proud of her for going on with the performance. I don’t know if I would have been so brave at her age.

My second student did fabulously, bless her, but then my third had microphone issues, and could barely be heard.

What do you do when life doesn’t go as planned? How do you help a little person learn to pick up the pieces and go on? Sometimes being a teacher is really hard. Because I’m not just teaching voice. I’m teaching these kids about life, about how to be themselves and be proud of that, and about how to be a better person. And sometimes teachers have to teach things we’re still learning ourselves.

How to knit a cowl in 10 steps (or fewer*)


Step 1: Cast on a scarf

Step 2: Knit valiantly until the project sucks your soul away

Step 3: Abandon the scarf for 3 years

Step 4: Find project while rummaging through stash

Step 5: Decide to finish the scarf

Step 6: Decide you are too lazy to actually finish knitting a whole scarf (besides, you never liked that yarn anyway)

Step 7: Decide to make a cowl instead of a scarf

Step 8: Pretend you meant to make a cowl all along

Step 9: Hide the evidence Give away excess yarn

Step 10: Marvel at your ingenuity while enjoying your new cowl (or, you know, giving it away for Christmas)

Yes, that is a TARDIS in the background

*Steps 3-5 optional


Look what I made!


A while ago I was talking to one of my best friends and wondered what she would like for her birthday. She requested a tatted necklace in autumn colours. Well, her birthday has come and gone, but that just means I can give it to her for Christmas. I’m smart like that.

I’m thinking about playing with the chain style a little bit. Also starching…. Does anyone have any good suggestions about starching? I’ve never tried it before and I’m afraid it will gum up my beads and make them not sparkly 😦

If it turns out well, perhaps I will make some for my Etsy shop.

To tat or not to tat…




a person who teaches or instructs, especially as profession; instructor.


My coworker expressed an interest in tatting the other day. She crochets at work while I knit (this is the coworker that taught me to granny square). Most people think tatting looks pretty cool, but most write it off as “too hard” or “too small.” Not so, my coworker. She looked at it and thought, “Hey, I bet I could do that.” So yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work I put my shuttles and some crochet cotton in my purse for her.

Excitement and much learning ensued. I taught her the basics of tatting with a shuttle, but then an internet search brought her to ask about needle tatting. She just happened to have a long tapestry needle on hand, so I taught her how to needle tat as well! I don’t think I could have asked for a better student.

Look! A tiny little seahorse!!!

When you’re having fun

How did it get to be December already? I could swear it was June yesterday. Maybe it’s just me, but this has been an incredibly fast-paced year full of (mostly) good things.

December 1 also means Christmas is just around the corner. I’m almost ready. I’ve finished 80% of my family’s Christmas presents (I’m patting myself on the back for that one) and I won’t see my boyfriend’s family until after Christmas, so those presents can be late (procrastinators of the world unite!!! Tomorrow…). I live on the other side of the country from my family, so I am extremely excited to see them in just a few weeks. It’s been too long.


This year has flown and crawled by.

I never knew that tortoises had wings!

It is an incongruous attribute of time

That it loiters while it flees.