Big Sunday Dinners

IMG_1943I put on this list of gratitude tonight, the idea of the big Sunday dinner….or supper, depending on your rearing.

I had a great weekend. As I had promised myself, I binged on “Orange is the New Black,” did an ENORMOUS amount of knitting, got some orders filled….and even experimented with knitting up an elephant, and capped off this lovely Sunday with an idea I’ve always adored. The big Sunday dinner.

I never had those growing up as a kid, and now as the world swirls closer into a strange mode of disconnect, I think Sunday dinners have such an importance. Who knows? Perhaps life is more connected with a big table, loved ones and strangers both gathered to share a big meal, big discussions, big hearts filled, and big smiles on once lonely faces as they walk into another week in a life that can often be filled with fierce detachment and isolation. Perhaps the family bond would be tighter, the neighborhood richer, the community stronger if we all pulled up to a long table and not only shared a meal, but shared our lives, our laughter, our pain, our holding of hands as we give great gratitude at the feast of coompanionship and closeness.

IMG_1940So, with Phillip around, I get the chance to have a big Sunday dinner. We had pork chops, mashed potatoes and peas. Great evening. Perfect company. Perfect dinner. Perfect way to begin the week.

And I get to go to bed grateful tonight that there is such a thing as a big Sunday dinner. Can’t wait to have my own home one day, my little white house, big long table, solidly waiting for company to come join me for Sundays, the smell of a home waiting for laughter, the warm hug of friends as they greet me at the door. And maybe that is the end result of all my knitting and writing. To get there, to that place, where I can share a Sunday dinner with friends and strangers.

Sundays were made for gratitude and enjoyment.

IMG_1939Knit up this little bear this morning. He’s a one of a kind. Made with Lionbrand Fisherman’s Wool for the body, and the last of the Ella Rae alpaca for the sweater. He’s 12″ tall and ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to adopt him, just click here…..

…and while you do that, I’m gonna sneak some left over mashed potatoes, and rest my head. Gonna sleep tonight, thinking fondly of Sundays.

IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

 

On the 12th Day Of Gratitude, My Landlord Gave To Me….

IMG_1929On the 12th day of gratitude, my landlord gave to me….a great feeling of understanding. We had a great talk the other day and all was taken care of. With such a great thanks to you, I get to keep my apartment for another month. So, in this month long journey of giving thanks to all things that come my way, I definitely had to put on my list both my apartment AND my landlord. I am so grateful to have this apartment. After having nothing for so long, I was so happy to finally have a little 10×20 studio for Mario and I to rest our heads. And I was so grateful that my landlord took a chance on me three years ago. I finally had a few dollars to rent a place and no one, and I do mean no one, was willing to rent to a self employed knitter with a cat, but no car. And I was eternally grateful to her just a few days ago when she showed understanding. So, all is well. Other things I’ve added to my list come from a long day of thought, or something that may have happened, and just before bed, I jot down on my little fridge the one thing for that day that I’m truly grateful for. It’s interesting to see the list progress.

IMG_1928And I was asked the other day what a “tortizza” is. Ok! Pretty simple! And a very cheap way to make a pizza. To begin with, I buy flour tortilla wraps (the big burrito size) when they are on sale. So, I usually end up getting 20 wraps for about $2. And you can make sandwich wraps, quesadillas, chips for a salad or chili, all kinds of things. But, tortizzas are a big go to for me. Brush a little olive oil on the top side, toss on some cheese (also, only bought when buy-one-get-one-free), slice up a tomato and BOOM! Place in a 375 degree oven for about 5 or 10 minutes, watching for the sides to crisp up, then take it out, let it rest for  a minute or two and YUM! Slice the bad boy up, and you’ve got a tortizza. It’s also a great way to clean up the fridge. Yup! Got just a handful of spinach or mushrooms, toss them on! I’m growing some basil out back so I garnished with some leaves. Got some red pepper flakes? Some Parmesan? Hell yeah! Throw that on there too. You can pretty much do anything you would with a pizza. Now, one whole tortizza is enough for one person. So, if you’ve got a family of four, let everyone make their own, bake their own, then have their very own. Awesome.

IMG_1893IMG_1888Now, these two little bears have been here for a good week or so. TIME FOR THEM TO GO! Now, the little brown bear is made with Ella Rae Alpaca. SOFT little guy, measuring a good 12″ from head to toe. He is one of a kind and ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to adopt him, just click here. Now, the other bear, whom I call “That 70’s bear” really does have the cutest face, and some interesting coloring. Now, he had a mate, exactly like him, that got adopted last week so he’s a TWO of a kind. (I wanted to finish off the skein and managed to get two bears out of it). He’s also ready to ship with a signed card by me. He’s made of wool and measures 12″ tall. If you’d like to adopt him, click here.

And! I was able to get out my order of 20 books, and managed to save a nice chunk because I ordered in bulk. Again, thanks to you. So! They’ll be here next week and then they’ll be signed and sent off to you! Thank you again! Truly, I am overwhelmed sometimes when I remember how much all of you believe in me, and know that I can do good things and accomplish even greater things….one teddy bear (and one book!) at a time.

Ok! So, that’s a nice update, isn’t it? Nice way to end the week. Phillip is here, and we’re gonna make some sandwiches and scarf down potato chips and, like many of you, are gonna spend our Friday night binge watching the new season of “Orange is the New Black.”

Have a nice weekend everyone :) And I truly mean that. Have a great weekend. (Oh! I know what I’m gonna put on my list for today…..Today I’m grateful for….when weeks end well. :) )

IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

A Few Hours

It’s about 10am EST. Meeting my landlord sometime after noon. Need to finish selling those last copies to get rent caught up, and books ordered. Books are feeling good….landlord not happy with me. So, snag a book. Will write more later.

IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

If Ever a Post Should Go Viral…

….then this is the one.

Marianne Decher suggested I should do a quick blurb about my book so that it could be shared on social media. I quickly took to task and did what was asked. It’s hard to contain in a few sentences five years of this journey from homeless to entrepreneur.

dscf2729Knitting has a reputation for helping relieve stress, but I never thought that it would be the one thing that saved my life. I had taught myself to knit somewhere around 2005, and had used it as a method of therapy for a strenuous time in my life. But, in 2007 picking up the needles had become a manic moment of escapism, spending every waking minute knitting myself away from a job that was slowly killing me. In 2010 I left that job, arrogantly thinking that anyone would be lucky to hire me…..but, I was wrong, and within months I had become homeless.

Living in the woods, 20 miles from the nearest town, I had resigned myself to failure. With no prospects of a job and no transportation, I began knitting teddy bears to sell, using whatever tools and skills I had to provide an income for myself. When my first teddy bear sold I took back my life and made knitting my profession. The same tools I had used for escaping, were now forcing me into a new reality, and within a few short years, I went from homeless…to entrepreneur. “Will Knit For Food” is not only my journey through the craft as I struggled to find a place to live, and food to eat, but how I used the craft of knitting as a means of survival. Through passages that implore optimism and hope, YOU can be inspired to do the same.

And THAT is it in a nutshell. YOU can be inspired to do the same. YOU CAN! There are all sorts of books about knitting on the market, and how to do it, what to do with it, but there are so few books that really capture the life that it can give you. There are very few books on the meditation of knitting, of the contemplative nature of its repetition, nor of its deeply soulful ability to allow you to connect with yourself in times of heartache and danger. And I honestly think my book does that. It shows through my own struggles that YOU CAN SURVIVE.

willknitcoversmallSo, if ever a post of mine should go viral, then this is the one. This is my calling card. This is my announcement to the world at large of who I am, and what my book represents. Now….let’s go finish selling those last 84 copies I need :) Click here to grab an autographed copy. It would be nice to pay my landlord on time for a change.

Goals Never Die

IMG_1436Well, I missed my deadline of selling enough books by 5pm today. But, it doesn’t mean that all of my work was for nothing, right? Goals never die. They may sleep for a minute, get a detour, or even stall for a second to take a breather, but goals never die.

I had hoped that I would sell 100 copies of my book “Will Knit For Food,” by Friday night. Highly ambitious, isn’t it? Well, should ambition be big? Saying I was going to sell 1o0 was better than saying “Sell what I can.” No, I had a goal, a destination, a number I had targeted and was reaching for. By this morning (it is now Monday), I had only sold 12 copies. And I am so THANKFUL for those 12 copies. If I had not told myself to aim big, I probably wouldn’t have sold any, but I sold 12, which is really something to be proud of.

Never waver from belief in yourself, you’ll do just fine. Any and every step forward is a success. Goals never die, only the desire to reach the goal fades away. And my goals are in no way of fading any time soon. So, I’ll shoot for 100 copies again. 100 copies of my autographed book pays for 1 month of expenses, but even more so, it builds a fire inside me to extend past my own limits and self expectations.

If I get those copies sold by Wednesday at 5pm, I can order all of my books in bulk and save big. Not all of my royalties will be eaten up in printing and shipping charges. Then I can take that money and move it towards my future. I can hold true to my dream of one day walking into my own home, with no fear that someone will ask me to leave.

I’m ready to start heading towards the future, ready to stop stagnating, ready to enthrall millions with my dorky smile :) But, I can’t do it without you. In return, I promise to make you proud, promise to do right with this knitting craft and give it some wonderful purpose, and above all, I promise to be here when you need me, to support you and never allow you to let your own dreams fade. Every book that gets sold, gets me closer to that reality. So, 100 copies by Wednesday, with 12 under our belt, that’s 88 steps towards a really bright, optimistic future, for not only me, but for this blog, for all of us that enjoy this craft, and a great moment in crafting history when a once homeless man proved that knitting was more than just a hobby. So, let’s do this together. :)

IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

By the way, I still have these two little bears that haven’t been adopted yet. If you’d like to take one home, just click on his picture. Ready to ship with a signed card by me.

IMG_1893IMG_1888

 

Q AND A, 20 More To Go

So, here is the video you were hoping for. Saturday night I asked people on facebook and twitter to ask questions about “Will Knit For Food.” Here you go! Have fun. I certainly did. Great topics like circular needles vs DPN’s, Alien Sex Fiend and Ayn Rand, knitting for the homeless, and the joy in watching Buck Rogers. Be sure to check out the lizards running up and down the fence behind me. :) Crazy baby gators that they are. Again, have fun!

We didn’t sell 100, but we did sell 9! So, my goal is to have 20 more sold by tomorrow morning. What a great feeling that would be. :)

 

IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

Unwavering Faith on a Friday

Didn’t realize the video was on “mirror” so forgive me! But, Phillip and I did a quick little video talking about my new book, “tortizzas” for dinner, and how you must always hold true to your faith in yourself. Have a quick look. Quite fun! :)

IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

 

Why Not 100?

IMG_1444So, like most people, I wake with a goal. I have something to finish, or something to start, or something to accomplish. This morning while finishing up some bears, I decided while I was knitting, I could be selling books. Then I heard myself ask, “How many? How many books do you want to sell today?” I proudly rose my chin and said, “Why not 100?” Sure! Why not? With the miracle of the internet and a good attitude, why can’t I sell 100 books today? I can prove to myself that anything is possible. As long as it is conceived, it can be achieved, right? And this would be a great lesson in the internet histories that will be bleeped and tweeted out in the future. Yes, you CAN sell 100 books if you put your mind and ambition to it. Not to mention, do you have ANY idea how much selling 100 books would go to help? Not only would an entire month of expenses be taken care of, but I could spend a little more time really finishing up teddy bears. Now, if you already have your copy, tell someone about it. Or! If you know a website where it might be appreciated, let me know about it! If you have promotional ideas, or places where it would best be seen, let me know! Put all your ideas in the comments section. Now, the books will take about 2 weeks to be delivered. I certainly don’t have 100 on hand, so I’ll have to order them, sign them, then mail them out. But, we have already sold about 40 copies since it was released, which is truly not bad. NOT bad at all. But, 100 is better :) Even if you can’t snag a copy, by all means give me some ideas you have. I am so proud of this book because it’s about US, and many of you are mentioned. So, I know in my heart we can accomplish this together. It’s 10am on the east coast. I’m ready to get started :) Let’s have fun! IMG_1439     To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.  If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

oh! I forgot! I still have these two guys left to adopt! Just click the pic of the one you’d like to take home!

IMG_1893IMG_1888

The Gifts of Talent

So, one might question, “What is with this 30 days of gratitude, anyway?” Well, it really is quite simple. I want to soar! I want to be successful, want the Universe and everything and everyone under the sun to know how grateful I am for all that I have and am.

My life stagnated somehow. Now, just follow me for a second.

After knitting my way out of homelessness, I saw a great horizon on the future. I saw the possibilities and potentials of what could one day be a solid life built from hard work, of a comfortable life where I resign myself to giving back all the blessings that have been given me, of a happy, joyous, blissful life.

But, that’s always been the problem….I saw the great horizon over there. And as far as I could tell, it was ALWAYS going to be OVER THERE…..and never here, right here, as long as I always viewed it as some day in the future, it was never going to be a moment in the present. I don’t want to consider horizons, I want to consider the top of the  precipice. And the only way to make that a reality is to realize and remember with great force, that I AM living the great life I had wanted so badly when I was homeless.

I want to be successful. Of course, that term is subjective. Different people have different ideas of success. For some, it’s money, for others it’s a job, and for some success is merely a sense of accomplishment. I think that’s where I fall in. I have accomplished so much, and instead of thinking too large and hard about what I haven’t accomplished yet, it’s high time to sit and remember that I AM SUCCESSFUL. Do you remember that little white house of mine? The one I dreamed about, and hoped for? Do you know why that house wasn’t mine? Because when I saw how much it was, the first thought in my head was, “I’ll never be able to afford that. Never.” I doomed myself. Why couldn’t I have bought my little white house? Because I told myself I wasn’t successful enough to have it. I could never be so bold as to have something so great as a dream fulfilled. A house of my own. Well, that’s a bunch of crap. I have books I can sell, patterns, teddy bears I work up, and a smart, ambitious, hopeful outlook on the world and life, I am a success. I can work to achieve anything at all in the world that I can conceive. I’m going to own my little white house. And do you know why? Because I said so :)

IMG_1886So, it’s day 4 on my list of things to grateful for. As you can see, Phillip came next, after all of you. You saved my life. He, in his own clever way, keeps me creative. Never has a bad thing to say about my work, and always says with such pride to everyone he meets what I do for a living. Then, of course, was Mario. ‘Nuff said :) And today, without a doubt, the next thing I wanted to show gratitude for was the gifts of my talent. I would not be where I am today, had I not been given by the gifts of knitting and writing to feed myself and find a place to live. And I could never in my life consider being  successful had I not your support, the comfort and care of a really great guy, a scruffy cat at my side and two hands always busy with knitting needles. With these things? I can go anywhere, do anything, have anything, be anything that I want. Because of these things I am successful.

IMG_1893IMG_1888IMG_1895IMG_1897I have two bears for you today. The first one, this classic brown one is made with an alpaca/acrylic blend. SO freakin’ scrunchy soft. This is more yarn from Ella Rae that was gifted to me, and sadly, the last of it. So, it is a definite one of a kind. The second bear is this awesome sort of interesting shift of browns and greens that reminds me of…well, I don’t know how to say it, but “That 70’s Show.” I don’t know why, perhaps because it’s just a color combination that was so popular back in the 70’s. When I first started working him up, I was nervous. But, then I saw his little face, and tied on his bow and went “Damn, your handsome.” He’s not ONE of a kind, he is TWO of a kind. I had enough of that yarn (can’t remember the yarn company!) to do another one, which you can see I’m already deeply into and should have finsihed any minute. They are both ready to ship with a signed card by me. Just click on the picture of the one you’d like to adopt. oh! and I was just playing around with this “Mad Man” sort of creature. Not sure where to go next to him, but I consider him my….downtime? Yeah, just something to tinker with to keep the creative juices flowing.And don’t forget to snag a signed copy of my new book! I see great things happening today, not tomorrow, but right now. Every book that sells gets me closer and closer to the next big step in my life. And with a big smile, I say to the Universe, thank you!

IMG_1439

 

 

To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

 

Some Things to Thank About

No, you didn’t read it wrong. It does say “Thank,” and I wasn’t being colloquial, nor speaking in vernacular, nothing like that.

I’ve written this sort of post before. But, this one is a touch different.

I’ve taken radio silence the last week or so. It’s imp0rtant for me to do that on occasion. To slip back for a second and just listen, not talk so much, and just listen. Be receptive. And when you do that, you get a loud message. HUGE, I tell you. You hear nothing else.

The message I got was of a need to truly explore gratitude.

Don’t get me wrong. I am truly grateful for the amazing life I’ve been living. A wonderful life that no one in the world could have foreseen. I was given something precious. I was given something rare and exceptional. And I don’t dismiss it. But, I haven’t really explored it as well as I should.

As I lay my head on bed in the evening, I close my eyes and think of all the brilliance that is to come. But, in order to achieve that, I have to remember, I have to cling to the solid idea that I must be daily grateful for everything I have now.

IMG_1870So, I’ve decided to embark on a 30 day journey of gratitude. I’ve posted on my refrigerator a list. Everyday I’m going to wake up and mark something that I am so grateful for. As you can see, the first thing on my list was you. I wouldn’t have this life, if it were not for you. I came calling, and you heard, and you offered over your love to me. And because of that, I am able to wake from bed every morning and praise the heavens that you found me, that you support me, that you read about this life of mine, and share it with me. If anything, first and foremost, I am grateful to all of you for being here with me, sharing with me your own journeys. So, if you’re up to it, put a piece of paper on your own fridge, catalog for the next 30 days all that you’re grateful for. I’ll be doing the same. And we’ll share with each other. This should be a great experience for all of us. Because every day I look at that list, I’ll add something new….and I have all ideas by the end of these 3o days, some of those things that we add to our lists don’t exist today. We’ll learn about all the things we forget about. OR! Even better….NEW things that have come into our lives that we have to be grateful for.

I can do stellar things with my life. And I plan to! But, for just a minute, I need to remind myself of the beauty and brilliance that has brought me here. And that would be you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to turn the laptop off, pull some Stevie Wonder on, and dance. Life is so much better, YOU feel so much better when you just say thank you!….then dance :)

IMG_1439

 

 

To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” or a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!