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Author Archives: msparkles

About msparkles

My greatest dream is to travel the world and be a best-selling author. At the same time.

Writing Time

As some of you may know, NaNoWriMo (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) is coming up in November, and I’m starting to get more than a little nervous/worried about it.

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a month-long writing ‘bootcamp’ of sorts, in which thousands of people all over try to write an entire novel, or 50,000 words, in the month of November. To reach 50,000 words in the month, you have to write an average of 1,667 words a day, which is just over 3 1/2 pages, single-spaced. That’s a lot of writing every day.

I have attempted to do NaNo exactly twice, and only remember my story from the most recent attempt in 2013. I got about 12,000 words written before I simply ran out of story. It wasn’t really that I ran out of things to write on the story, per se, it was more that my novel-to-be needed research that I didn’t have time for, some character charting that I didn’t start early enough, and I had just started a new job so things were a little crazy.

I still consider 12,000 words on a single story to be a fantastic achievement, but it was by no means a ‘book’ or even really a novella. It probably would’ve staggered on for another 10,000 words or so and then petered off into abysmal, Metamorphosis-esque existence, and since I’m no Kafka, I decided to ‘kill my darlings’ and let the story go.

This year, I’ve set a slightly more realistic goal than 50,000 words. Since I’ve never written and finished a story longer than about 12 pages, I’m going to try to write a novella as my first real endeavor into authorship. So far, I have an idea, a couple of names for characters, the first half of a plot line, a couple of possible subplots, and absolutely no idea for an ending. I’m also pretty sure that everyone is already tired of me talking about writing and it’s only October, so apologies in advance.

If I tell you I can’t see you in the month of November, that’s why; I’ll be writing. I’m tired of not really feeling like a writer because I haven’t actually finished anything that resembles a hard-back book. It’s time to actually put my English degree and my knack for retaining weird facts to good use.It’s writing time.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Project Fall

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to think about what I can post on here that will get me back in the habit of blogging. I had a couple friends give me some ideas, went through a couple other blogs to see how they handle regular posting, and then thought about how frequently I even have things worth posting on here.

I’m not going to promise any kind of regular weekly or monthly post – I’ll only disappoint – but I do want to try to post more often, and about things that I like writing about but people are also interested (as those frequently don’t overlap at all. I can be boring).

So, for this post, I wanted to share a little about what I’ve been working on, crochet-wise and in my free time. I took a pretty long hiatus from crochet because I moved and all my stuff was hidden in drawers or bags or mixed in with other things, but recently my little sister helped me organize what has basically become my craft room in my ‘new’ apartment (quotation marks because I’ve already been there for six months).

I finally have a storage system that I think will actually work set up for my miles and piles of yarn. My parents bought me this gorgeous shelf and some canvas storage bins for my 25th birthday, and the little bins are perfect for yarn.

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Once I got organized, I was ready to start crocheting again with a vengeance. My first undertaking was a Pokeball, in honor of the release of Pokemon Go’s release in July. I am slightly obsessed with the game and have spent many hours wandering around catching Pokemon and leveling up. The game also helped me get to my step goal for my job’s monthly fitness challenge, since I did a lot of walking for both things.

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Since fall is coming (hooray!), I decided to take on some fall-ish projects. My co-workers and I are having a department fundraiser for our Christmas project at work, so I volunteered to make a blanket for the sale (a horrible decision, really). Blankets take a lot of yarn and a lot of hours, and I’m afraid I won’t finish in time even though I have another two months before the fundraiser (it’s a lot of crocheting, okay?). The cool thing is that, for the first time ever, I made up my own pattern. I had used the same pattern to make my mom some cotton dishcloths, her favorite, and she really liked it, so I just expanded the stitch and kept going. Here’s the potholder and the blanket (hopefully you can tell which is which).

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One of the girls at work just had a baby! He’s super adorable and tiny, and for the baby shower (which we haven’t had yet) I wanted to make him a stuffed animal. Since the shower and his room are elephant-themed, I found an adorable pattern for an elephant on Pinterest and just changed the color and a couple small details. I finished him on the day the baby was born! I named him Babar, after one of the greatest kids’ books. I think he’s pretty cute.

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The last thing I’m working on right now is a shawl for myself, which is coming along but not even close to being done (and, of course, I ran out of yarn last night). I’ll post a picture of that when it’s a little closer to being completed.

Anyway, that’s my adventures in the crochet world for now. As fall gets closer and Christmas starts looming, I’ll probably be crocheting a lot more to get presents made and sent. Until then, I can focus on my own projects. I’ll probably be making another hat before too long, and my friend Grace has inspired me to learn to knit so I can make a cute cabled hat or seven.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Problem With Prose

I was talking to a friend last night and the subject of writing came up. I realized, halfway through the conversation, that I haven’t posted anything on my blog in over a year. The more I thought about it, the sadder I got – writing is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and yet I’ve barely written anything in more than a year. I’ve dabbled in some poetry, written a couple drafts of stories (which I quickly discarded), and even slowed down on my reading of others’ writings. How sad!

It’s not that my goals have changed, really. I still want to be an author someday. I still want to see my name on the spine of a book, or beneath an article on a well-read publication. I want to hold my own book in my hands and give it to someone else. I want to receive a paycheck for something that I’ve created myself, something truly original. Those are still things I want to see happen.

It’s not that I think I’ve somehow gotten worse at writing. Sure, I haven’t had a good idea for a story in a long, long time, but I still think that I can write that story once I get the idea for it. I still think my writing style is unique and interesting, that my words are creative, and that I have the ability to construct an intriguing world that others would be interested in reading.

It’s more that, over the last year, my priorities have changed, not my goals. I still have the same dreams, the same ideals, and the same standards for myself, but now they seem harder to reach and like they’re part of a future that’s a little farther away. I have a ‘real’ adult job working for a ministry that I love. I have an apartment that I sometimes like and sometimes drives me crazy. I have friends that mean everything to me. My family is incredibly important. (those last two have always been important, but losing my best friend really puts perspective on how important these people are)

I spend most of my time now working. A lot of my free time is spent worrying about adult things like having to have my own healthcare next year, if I can afford rent, when I should take out the trash, and what I can eat that is affordable and still good for me. Being an adult is really hard, guys!

Most of my creative energy goes into crochet projects. I’m currently in the middle of a blanket (using a pattern I created myself, yay!) and a stuffed animal for a friend. I’ve been more than a little obsessed with Pokemon Go, but I mean, c’mon, who isn’t obsessed with that game, am I right? When I’m not doing that, I’m probably napping. I seem to nap more than most toddlers I know…it’s a problem. I also picked up the ukulele and am trying to teach myself how to play it. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

I’ve said/written/thought/promised this more times than I care to count, but I’m going to try to write more. I want to finish so many stories that I started a long time ago; I want to spend more time reading; I want to do so many things. I will do my best to fit them all in, and hopefully this blog will not be neglected for so long next time around. We’ll see, I suppose.

The problem with prose is that you have to have a good idea to feel like it’s worth writing down. The problem is that you have to have time to write. The problem is that I just haven’t made myself sit down and write. Hopefully, those are problems I can fix. I’ll certainly do my very best.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

More Stories.

It has been a very long three months. A very long, hard, sad three months, with a lot happening in my life.

I’ve been trying for a very long time to figure out how to put into words the things I’ve been feeling, dealing with, and thinking about. It’s odd to me how easy it is to think something how hard it is to say it out loud.

In any case, I’ve had something that’s been pressing on me that I’ve wanted to put into words, and this is really my best attempt.

God is amazing. I’ve been taking things for granted for far too long, and even after everything that’s happened in the last three months, six months, year, two years since college, I still haven’t quite learned this lesson.

I think that sometimes, when we ask God for things, He teaches us the lesson by making us learn it the hard way. I asked for patience when I graduated college, and I’m still waiting on the ‘right’ job. I’m still waiting on the ‘right’ man. God is teaching me to be patient by teaching me to wait.

So maybe when I ask God for friends, He shows me how incredible the friends I have already are; He shows me to appreciate what I have my showing me what I could be missing? I don’t know, maybe that’s a bad takeaway, but that’s one of the things I’ve been thinking lately.

In any case, I’ve started wandering around downtown Ville, standing in front of tall buildings and trying to feel small. I know that sounds weird, but for some reason, the feeling of smallness is comforting. It makes me feel like everything I’m living through is really only a passing breeze, strong enough to make my step falter but not nearly strong enough to knock me over. The ‘tiny’ feeling is something that makes me feel like there is, in fact, a bigger picture, a bigger thing God is working on in my life. That maybe, just maybe, I’m standing on the ground floor, and there’s a light on up on the fiftieth floor and someone is waiting for me to make it up there.

It’s a nice feeling, that there’s more than just me. It’s nice to think about sometimes, when you’re overwhelmed and feel like everything is crushing you.

I’m ready to get off the ground floor. There are fifty more stories waiting to be visited, fifty more stories to be lived.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Crochet Fever.

I realize that this is one of the longer posting dry spells this blog has experienced. I also realize just how sad that is. Honestly, though, you should be thanking me. See, my life has recently begun to revolve pretty much entirely around Starbucks. I like telling stories about my job, the people I work with, and the crazy customers we have, but that doesn’t mean that everyone likes to hear them. Especially when I tell them all the time.

And I hate to do this, but I have a Starbucks-related story. And some (mostly) shameless self-promotion to do.

All it began with a K-hook and a project.

See, I’ve been crocheting since I was teensy. My mom taught me when I was in 7th grade and I hated it with a fiery passion. Then, I got to college and my senior year, my roommate was a crochet fiend. She was a master and I wanted to make the things she did (namely, a giant, Harry Potter-themed blanket). So, I picked my hook back up and try-tried again. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to even tie the knot to start something, but then I was suddenly making hats, scarves, and finding any pattern I could (and making up a couple of my own).

Skip forward a year, and I’m still crocheting. I’m a little more advanced, a little more adventurous, and wear at least one handmade item every day when it’s cold enough outside. I’ve made and sold a couple of things, but I haven’t had a whole lot of ‘business’. Then I started working at Starbucks. One day, I took in a blanket and a hat I was working on. Suddenly, everyone was watching me crochet, asking me questions, and asking me to teach them.

So, a couple weeks ago, I sat down with four of my coworkers and taught them some basics for making a simple scarf. One decided it wasn’t for her (more business for me), one decided it was definitely a side project, one hasn’t started a project yet, and the other–Kandice–has taken my lessons and run with them. Kandice came to work one day wearing a hat I made her and the next wearing a scarf she made herself.

Part of me regrets teaching her. Now she’ll make her own stuff, make things for other people. She picked it up so quickly, though, that most of me is just proud. I helped start that obsession. It’s an addiction, really; I’m pretty sure paying for yarn is why my paychecks look so small…

I actually had to buy a new hook today for a project; not because I didn’t have the right size or because I’d lost the one I needed, but because the hook I had had been whittled down by the yarn, had lost its shine, and was sharp on one end. I keep wounding myself with it when I try to use it. It’s exciting and sad at the same time that I’ve used one hook THAT much.

But here’s the self-promotion:

I make and sell all kinds of goodies! I recently started making slipper boots. I’ve made several pairs (one for myself) and I really really like them. Here’s a picture so you, too, can admire them Ialong with a link to my Etsy page):

https://www.etsy.com/listing/213313854/thick-crocheted-slipper-boots-womens-us?ref=shop_home_active_1

K go there and order stuff. Also, if you use the code MSHIZ right now you get free shipping, which is cool. I mean, I think it’s cool. You can think whatever. No pressure. But you should go there. And favorite things. And order. I already said that, but do it anyway.

OK promotion over. Thanks for bearing with  me.

Also, crocheting lessons are made by appointment only. 😀

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Whip Creamed.

Starbucks Story Time!

(this particular brand of story is going to be happening a lot)

So about a week ago, it was JT’s last day on the schedule. He had put in his two weeks and his last day had rolled around. Kyla, Chelsea, and I didn’t work with him, so we decided to ‘celebrate’ his last day and send him off with something to remember us by.

Which means we were planning something slightly evil.

In order to veil our prank ideas, we invited JT to a Doctor Who marathon after Starbucks closed and he was off. We bought sparkling grape juice and toasted ‘old songs and ancient times’ (not really) and played nice.

Now here’s a little information you need to know. When I found out JT was quitting, I told him I was going to spray him with whipped cream on his last day. I had planning to work with him and use Starbuck’s CO2-filled whipped cream cans, which would certainly make things interesting, but when I didn’t work with him on his last day, Chelsea and I decided to just buy cheap-o whipped creams and get him when he left work. Upon having the idea of a Doctor Who marathon, we revised our plan yet again. The evening went something like this:

11pm: Arrive at Kyla’s house, all in one car, meaning we all had to leave at the same time.

11:30pm: Realize we left the whipped cream in the car and it will be very difficult to get it without him noticing as we all leave. Begin texting each other while JT remains blissfully unaware.

12am: Chelsea ‘needs something out of Molly’s car’ and leaves to grab ‘something’ and put it in a convenient spot for when we leave.

12:15am: We all get up to leave. The girls take advantage of JT being a gentleman and holding the door open and each grab a can of whipped cream as they walk to the car. JT doesn’t see it and starts walking. Suddenly, whipped cream is flying and within seconds JT is covered.

Chelsea, Kyla, and I were laughing so hard at his reaction. He was completely surprised by it. Needless to say, it was quite satisfying. Then we made the mistake of putting our whipped cream down–and not noticing when JT picked them up. After we thought we had ‘gotten’ him, suddenly WE were the ones being attacked. I got an earful of whipped cream, Kyla and Chelsea got sprayed, and JT refused to give the cans back until he was back in his own car and on his way away from us.

I found out today that JT is actually not quitting; he decided to stay.

I’m a little scared that this whipped cream battle is not over, and now that he’s back at work, I have a feeling that the war will continue in more and more hilarious and devious ways.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Chasing Aprons.

I just wrote half a blog post and then deleted it.

That’s a good introduction to this story, right? Kind of sums up my state of mind right now. AKA a little bit Not All There.

It’s a good place to be at exactly midnight in the middle of the week.

I’m also hungry.

Story time! (Chelsea, forgive me for this one…I have to)

Yesterday at work, things were going as per usual for a closing shift. It was later in the evening, not quite to closing but getting darker outside. Chelsea is one of the only other people that works at Starbucks that still hangs out there a ridiculous amount whilst not on the clock. That being said, it should come as no surprise that, on her day off, Chelsea was camping out at the counter at the end of the bar, entertaining and being entertained by those of us working (me, Peyton, and JT).

I don’t even remember what I was doing when this guy walked in. Name changed for the sake of Facebook stalking privileges, let’s call him Chris. Chris knew JT (or just bonded over a steaming cup of Joe, either way) and JT introduced Chelsea to Chris and got them talking about something or other. After initiating the conversation and getting them both thoroughly involved, walked away with a weirdly smug look on his face.

I asked him what was up and he did the most ridiculous little-girl squeal, little victory dance, and said “Chelsea made a FRIEND!”

I may have lost it just a bit. I started laughing, not quietly, and Chelsea noticed JT’s dance and my hysteria. “What?? What happened?” I shook my head, trying to silently communicate that it involved the guy sitting next to her. About thirty minutes later, JT made some very scrupmtious pastries and took them–on a single plate–to Chelsea and Chris. I pulled Chelsea away from her New Friend and told her what JT was doing (in case she hadn’t gotten it yet). Needless to say, she was a weird mix between mad and thinking it was funny.

A while later, Chelsea asked me for a favor; she wanted me to fling a piece of the pastry JT had made at him, covering him in whipped cream and croissant.

I agreed.

Really, he deserved it, right? Right.

I proceeded to the back, flung the pastry, and ran.

JT came around the corner, slightly amused, and shook his finger at Chelsea. She just laughed, then picked up roughly half of the pastry and chased JT into the back with it, showing it into his hair, his apron, anything–and then slipped and fell, getting herself creamed as well.

We decided that JT was as bad at setting people up as Amy, one of the shift supervisors who constantly nudges everyone to date, get married, and have multiple children RIGHT NOW. So really no nudging involved there, more like shoving. The very first time I worked with her, she told me that one of us girls had to snatch up the guys before someone else did.

The difference between Amy and JT, however, is that Amy is serious. And she also really wants all the baristas to date and marry each other. She wants it to stay in the family, basically. Bless her. We decided that instead of chasing skirts, Amy tells the baristas to chase aprons. I can see an excellent Adele parody in this; “Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing aprons?” It’s a beautiful disaster in the making.

This story is actually kind of a Normal Shift for us. We keep things interesting, to say the least. It’s a fun place to work.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized