Moving Day!

There’s a new place to hang out with me!  You can now get a whole lot more of me again over at Imagined Landscapes.

I don’t know if you’ve felt it coming, but this blog has been winding down.  Partly because the kids are older and more private about their days.  Partly because what I’m passionate about is pretty much all knitting these days and I’ve felt a bit weird dominating this space with my creativity when I’m not including homeschooling content.  This space hasn’t felt entirely mine anymore, which is odd, since it is my space in a very real way.

I’ve been working on the website between creating new designs (#4 & #5 are in testing now!) and painting the house.  It’s been a full summer, but a happy summer.  It feels good to have a space that is first and foremost *mine*.  I have thought and acted as a mama for so long, it’s exciting to be branching out on my own.  Sandra starts university this fall, and there is a similar feeling of starting my life, wondering what I want to be when I grow up.  Happily, I also get to buy school supplies!  It wouldn’t be September without a trip down the pen aisle.

I’m also switching over most of my social media accounts, too.




Will all of the old PrairiePoppins accounts and this blog be closed?  No.  I’m leaving them open just in case, but my energy and passion are definitely in the new ones.

So, over there you’ll find more of Sarah the person and a little less of Sarah the mama. Come visit me. The space feels a bit empty without all of my friends.


World Cup

We bought Stadium Passes about 3 minutes after the tickets went on sale last year. This was months before they even did the draw to see who played where. We knew we were in at the front of the list with a promptness like that (we hoped!) But Category One is a very broad category. About half the stadium. Eventually we got our seat locations. And we learned who would play in the 7 games we’d see. 

Our seats were primo. 9 rows up and behind a team bench. When the Nigerian coaches kissed the ground after their goals, that was right in front of us. 

Yesterday was an amazing start. 2 fantastic games with 4 strong teams. The level of soccer on display was really impressive. We saw the Nigeria-Sweden game and the U.S.-Australia game that followed. 10 goals. 

The stadium was packed with Anericans who’d made the trip. It was probably half American. Impressive soccer love for North America and impressive support for a women’s team. 

5 games left in the next 7 days. 

(We are thinking of doing something a bit deliciously mad: going to the semi-final in Edmonton. We’d only have two days to do it, though, because of Sandra’s work, and it’s a ten hour drive. But the semi-finals!) 


Big Day

Introducing our graduate!

Surprise!  It was for her.  We staged a surprise graduation party for her during our family reunion this weekend.  I’d borrowed a cap and gown from a local high school.  It was fantastic.  Just ceremonial enough to make the occasion grand, spiced with the adrenaline of surprise.  She loved it.  We loved her.

One of the perks of homeschool grad is that you get to keep the cap and gown around for a bit and can do things like eat leftover homemade Black Forrest cake for breakfast while wearing them.  It’s an occasion, after all.  (One of the other perks is the total lack of dress drama that her friends are going through.)


It is amazing to think that she’s done.  Graduated.  An adult.  

I’ve struggled all week to post about this.  I think because I feel a pressure to make a Big Moment of this blog.  Yet, as with so much of homeschooling, graduation is not so much a Big Moment as a fantastic process of evolution and growth.  She’s done because she wanted to work 4 full months at the research station like university students do rather than the 2 months she did last year.  She’s done, not because a test told her, or a ceremony, or a diploma, but because she’s moving on to other things.  It happened before we could mark it with an occasion.

It’s a big deal, but not a Big Deal.  She’s incredible.  She’s done this part.  It’s all been an adventure and it will all be an adventure.  It’s life.  Her life.  She’s got roses and a diploma we invented, and she’s got plans.

Organized Creativity?

Sometimes life is like filling a bucket, and other times you’re a lit fire.

(paraphrasing Yeats)

I’ve been enjoying the first months of 2015. Yes, I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of a truly fiercesome homeschooling burnout. But by recognizing that and taking time away from Should and her twin sister Ought, I’ve made space for good things in my life.

I’m a project-based personality. You want me to help you with an event (no matter how big), rather than ask me to be the dependable person who holds the keys for opening up each day and does the filing. Oh, I can do those things. I will just slowly grow to hate them and have no pleasure in that sort of quiet predictability in my work.

But life is both predictable obligation and fantastic projects, so how to manage it all? How do you fill the bucket while you’re on fire? And how do you reignite the flame when you’re struggling to carry heavy buckets?

A few things hit my radar at just the right point this year. The first was an idea from Yoga Journal. In a piece about about turning passion into a passionate career, the author wrote about focusing on three. For each week ask yourself, “What are three big things I could do to move forward?” Each day, try to pick three small steps that move those three big things forward.

I’ve not managed to do this consistently or, better said, rigourously. For me, the real benefit has been in having the questions. “What can I do to move my dream forward today?” is a great question. For one thing, it reminds me to work at it. For another, it’s a forgiving and realistic question. Given the time, energy, and headspace I have, what can I do today?

These three things can be little. They can be obvious. Some days my three things include “browse Ravelry” and “knit”. I learn a lot from looking at what other people are doing and how they are doing it, and connecting with people online is a big part of that research. Knitting, well, that’s the spark to the fire for this design passion, isn’t it?

The contest for A Playful Day’s Designalong came just as I had signed up for a small business course. That month was jammed to the max with idea after idea, and realization after realization.

It was all a lot to handle, and I was starting to think that I would go mad with all the slips of paper with To Do lists and ideas jotted down on them. What if I misplaced one? I have tried to go digital, but it just won’t jive with my process. Apparently, my thoughts are analog. That’s when I started to realize that a lot of people in my online life seemed to be talking about Bullet Journals.  I checked it out, expecting a System that I would have to fit.  Instead, it’s almost ridulously intuitive and straight-forward. Bullet journals are a perfect blend of daily lists and themed lists, with a super simple mechanism for making sure items don’t get lost.


I’ve got three books – a bullet journal, a sketch book for designs, and a notebook for writing out what I’m doing as I knit a design. The last two live with my knitting, the bullet journal comes with me everywhere.  And I can sketch in it and make notes in it, too, and then transfer things when I have time.

Right now, these seem to be a perfect balance: asking questions that get me in a headspace to move forward creatively, and finding ways to track all the answers.  How do you manage to manage it?

Imagined Landscapes


That, my friends, is my logo!  And my business name.

The plaid cowl – soon to have a new and official name – is nearly ready.

I have a few rows left to knit of the sample, and the new silver that Jenni of Fyberspates sent is doing delicious things with the green and slate colours.

I’ve even got a guest post coming today over at A Playful Day.  It’s a little bit of a behind the scenes look at the process so far and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Oma’s blanket

My Oma is rather known in the family for the wonderful cream-coloured cabled afghans she knits. 

This is one of a pair she knit for my mother. 

I’ve gone through her patterns but I can’t find this one, or the ones to make the ones in our house. I’m thinking of reengineering them someday. They have such a timeless beauty layered over with feelings of love. 

you’re my favourites


All the people who voted for me and supported me are my favourite people today! You guys are wonderful! You helped me win.

I’m so excited. This contest was something that inspired me to turn hopes into goals, and ideas into plans. That fire to accomplish things alone has been worth participating. The outpouring of support that accompanied it was just…super!

Thanks to the generous, creative woman behind A Playful Day podcast. If you’re interested in knitting and not using the internet to hang out with A Playful Day, you should be. She’s got a great blog and a wonderful podcast. I’m really grateful to her for putting this contest together and I’m looking forward to her advice.

Right now I’m working on typing up the first draft of the pattern, well, after I finish running around doing a Muppet-inspired happy dance that involves a lot of arm flailing. It’s funny, but I bought Kate Atherley’s book “Pattern Writing for Knit Designers” when it first came out a few weeks ago, and now I feel that emailing her the pattern to tech edit is going to be like handing in a final exam to Professor Knitter! Did I read the book, absorb its principles, follow the checklist?

I’m really excited to talk to Jeni at Fyberspates and decide what colours I’ll use to work up the final cowl because her company will be providing yarn support for the pattern. (My family keeps giving me a funny look when I say, “Yarn support”. It isn’t a bra, it’s yarn from a company to knit up a design.) It means that I will be getting luscious yarn from the U.K.. And that means a very good mail day, indeed!

I’m grateful for you today. Thanks, everyone, for being awesome.

Press the Start Button

I wonder how the word venture differs from the word adventure exactly. Both imply beginnings and risk. I’ll have to go investigate the etymology after I tell you about my new venture.

I am starting a business designing knitting patterns, and possibly dyeing yarn. This may seem to be a bit of a contrast or possibly even a total roadblock to my ‘no goals, be happy’ mantra for 2015. But I’m not setting rules about this or business goals. I am moving forward, doing what makes me happy about the process. This is very different than the ’12 pairs of socks in 2012′ goal.

Aplayfulday podcast is running a design contest in which the prize is quite substantial help turning an idea into a published pattern: tech editing, social media support, and hand-dyed yarn to knit it in. She announced it just as I was starting my homeschooling sabbatical and it seemed right to play along.

Sandra and I headed off for an outdoor photoshoot today. In the winter, yes. Canadians are hardy. I climbed a pile of frozen garbage that fortuitously happened to be below a fetching green doorway that hovered in a yellow brick wall. Sandra held a metal camera while wearing fingerless mitts.


We had a warming trip for lattes and scones. It let us look through the photos and critique what was going on. Why was I always squinting? The cowl needed to bunch less in that way. Oh, check out those cool shots, let’s head back and make them even better.


I’m writing up my pitch. Sandra’s working some kind of voodoo magic in Lightroom. The possibilities are vast.


Right now, I’m having trouble distinguishing between venture and adventure.