Sunday, September 19, 2010

My fancy deal of the day

Anyone who reads this blog KNOWS that I love a good deal.  It's genetic.  My folks are amazing bargain shoppers and they have passed down the bargain gene to me.

So I mentioned winning $20 on My Coke Rewards the other day.  $20 gift card to Sears/Kmart, not bad!  I also wrote five reviews for things I've bought at Kmart, and had Bryan do the same, so we should each be getting $5 gift cards for that.  That's $30 bucks right there for doing verrrry little.

I was planning on getting a sofa slipcover or something... super exciting, I know.  Then I spoke with a woman yesterday who told me to take a look at LandsEnd, and mentioned that they are now a part of Sears/Kmart.  She said she got a good deal on a rain jacket from them recently, and that I should take a look at their selection.

I did.

And I found this:

Fancy!!!  $50 for a 650 fill down jacket!  And it's water resistant! With pit zips!!

I almost got this one:

This one looks similar to Patagonia's down sweaters, and the price is AMAZING.  However, the SnowRoller has a warmer rating, and supposedly should keep me warm in -30 to -5 degree temps, whereas the SnowPack is -10 to +15 degrees.  I like that the SnowPack is super lightweight, but I think I'll be able to wear the SnowRoller by itself as well as under my hardshell, which is awesome.  Both jackets pack into their own pockets, which is very nice. 

So I got a 650 fill down jacket for, essentially, $20 (I got free shipping too).  I haven't gotten my Kmart cards yet, but I wanted to make sure I got this deal, so I ordered it today in the blue you see above.  I almost went for gray... I sort of have an obsession with gray.  But my hardshell is gray, and blue will show up a bit more in the snow.  I also like the darker chevron in the front - it has a cool retro vibe.

So that is my fancy deal of the day.

Thoughts on Legacy, Grandmotherly Pursuits

I learned how to crochet sometime around 18 or 19 years old.  I can't remember if I was just finishing high school or if I was in college.  A friend of mine at Caribou Coffee, Avis, showed me how to do it.  I went to Michaels, bought a crochet needle and some yarn, and did my best.  I think I started doing it the way she showed me, but somewhere along the line I sort of messed up.  I started doing it my own way, which works really well for me, but it's not the "traditional" way to do it, at least here in the States.  Someone told me that the way I do it is similar to the European way?  I have no idea.

Throughout college I almost always carried a crochet needle and yarn.  I loved the repetition, the soothing feeling of the yarn slipping through my fingers.  I enjoyed crocheting while having tea with a friend, while watching television, even while listening to a lecture (although professors didn't like that very much).  I realized that crocheting didn't distract my attention, it made really concentrate on the moment.  It was extremely cathartic.

Once, after dating a certain boy for a bit, I pulled out my crochet project as we sat in the car on a long drive.  He told me that knitting and crocheting is a grandma thing to do, and I think he was actually embarrassed.  It was really strange, to tell the truth.  I could see where he was coming from; a lot of people are taught to crochet by their grandmas (just not me).  But is that a bad thing?

My Grandma Nelson, as we called her (her first name was Mayadelle and so that's how I think of her, because I love that name so much), was a wonderful quilter.  She made such lovely things.  She would make a quilt for every grandchild that got married; she had passed on by the time I got married, but I was given a quilt made by my great-great-grandmother Flynn.  That is a really fantastic story for another time, however.  The things I've learned about my great-great-grandmother recently are just beautiful.

Grandpa and Grandma Nelson (Bob and Mayadelle)
How amazing is that car of theirs?  And my grandma's gams??
Grandma Mayadelle also painted.  Her watercolor work was just lovely.  She started taking classes in her 70's, which I thought was such a great thing to do.  She made such nice things.  She was such a sharp dresser, too!  I inherited a really wonderful Oscar de la Renta blazer from her; as you can see, she was super tiny, so it doesn't exactly fit me the same way it fit her, I'm sure.  My grandpa would tell the story about the first time he took her to his church; she wore a red dress and a red hat, and turned a LOT of heads.  After service, my grandpa's brother came up to him and asked, "So, does she have a sister?"

Grandma and Grandpa and I believe the toddler is my aunt Linnea
Crocheting, knitting, quilting, and cross-stitch are all 'grandmotherly' pursuits, I suppose.  They've been practiced for generations, with precision and concentration.  Generations of women have created beautiful things with their own two hands.  That alone makes me want to practice these talents.

I recently signed up for a DMC cross-stitch 'mentor' kit and it came in the mail yesterday.  So last night I taught myself how to cross stitch.  I am in the middle of making a little ladybug as we speak.  My mother-in-law cross-stitches, and she has some really beautiful patterns that she's shown me.  I'm thinking I'll do some traditional cross-stitching, as well as some strange stuff you normally wouldn't see... like, maybe, dinosaurs?  It could be fun.

I'd like to learn how to can, as well.  My dad and my sister-in-law, Stacey, can can (I know I am SO FUNNY it's just ridiculous).  My grandma Mayadelle taught my dad, and I'd like him to teach me, sort of pass it down through the generations.  There's just something really beautiful and fulfilling participating in something that hasn't really changed all that much in hundreds of years.

Who WOULDN'T want to be like these two?
Anyone else a fan of these grandmotherly pursuits?  Any fellow crocheters/knitters out there?  Cross-stitchers?  Canners?