Monday, July 23, 2012

So what AM I doing now?

Not only is there life after corporate America but it is GOOD!  I am loving the self-employed status even though I am working harder than ever and having to learn to juggle from a different sort of perspective.

I've started more than one business for a variety of reasons and oddly enough they are working out really well to do at the same time.  I say odd because normally it's best to give your full attention to starting one business - at least so I hear.  The first is a thrill to me because I am getting a chance to do my little part to help small to medium size businesses compete with bigger fish and I love that, I really do!  We (ConĂ¡ch Solutions, LLC) are a mobile app provider and perhaps you can tell I'm excited to be doing it?  I have a partner for this business (Jaime Gardner of High Plains Communications, LLC).  So that's one and it rocks.

Then there is the continued blossoming of Lara's Creations of Colorado.  Functional art, yes, although this one to some extent I am launching more in phases so I don't bite off more than I can chew!  Meaning it's focused on functional art but right now it's limited in scope.  Phase one is going extremely well and is all about hand dyed yarn.  Semi-solids, yes but especially my very special ColourWaves (check out my pages above for more info).  There's a glimpse of phase two in in the store in the form of some lovely wood pens/pencils.  Phase two also includes custom wood darts......

So there's a nutshell overview of what I'm up to on the business front and I'm having a really great time with all of it as well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

And so it begins......

Today's post is a bit fact it's downright rare.  I'm closing one chapter of my life and opening another.  Tomorrow I will turn in my pc along with my badge.  No longer will I be considered an employee of IBM.  This is a wonderful thing.......but as with any such change there can be some bittersweet mingled in.  I'm not going to go off on a diatribe about how IBM is not the company it once was.  This isn't about "them" - I could as easily state that I am not the person I once was.  It is my hope that I'm a better one......and a certain fact that I could be better still.

I wrote a farewell email and why rewrite what I already did?  So in another even more rare move, I shall simply paste the email here.  Yes, some of it will be meaningless to those on the "outside" and that's ok - it is my hope that the gist of it will come across.  Tomorrow it will be time to share more of the future but for now I will say it's bright indeed and I'm excited about it!  One part of what's to come is hinted at in today's picture.....

Here's the farewell:

It’s been said before and many times – perhaps too many but never the less…..:

“Parting is such sweet sorrow…..”

Indeed it is.  It might not be too much of a stretch to say in some areas it’s the ending of an era.  Certainly it is for me at any rate.  So many have gone before, some I’ve kept in touch with and some of you perhaps not so much. 

The time has come to move on to other things.  As many of you know, my last day with IBM will be June 30, 2012.  However, my close-out meeting is schedule for 1130am MT tomorrow (6/29) and I will be offline before that.  This will end an “era” that started 20 years ago with a small handful of you and many others in the years since.  It’s a long time and the changes have been many.  Some good, others perhaps not.  This one may be a bit of both.  I’m looking forward to many new and exciting challenges, things to do & things to learn and yet I’m leaving behind folks who will be missed. 

There have been thousands of memorable moments, challenges overcome and experiences shared.  There’ve been changes in jobs (ok not so many of those in the last 14+ years!) and changes in lives.  The IPODC I started with long since ceased to exist when it evolved into split organizations.  Apparently the memory of my Friday morning batches of chocolate chip cookies lasted far longer!  So did the candy jar.  The Federal Systems Division that became Loral that became Lockheed…..sounds similar to a well known nursery rhyme, doesn’t it?   A rain storm that destroyed roofs and made much of the Boulder site off limits – especially to someone like me at 7 months pregnant!  (that beautiful baby is now 18)  BOSS (Component Broker) development & sales that evolved into a key (and again renamed) part of Websphere.  Specialized Solutions and “we can and will do anything.”  BPS and its many changes in people, systems and more.  We almost made planes, trains and automobiles for some of our “trains,” planning sessions and issues but perhaps need to substitute skiing for the autos (yes, you guys know who you are ;-) ).  Visits to the long closed conference room “M.”  Other conference rooms filled with snacks and a revolving group of people while we refueled for working long hours on crazy software rollouts & migrations.  Rarely without issues but often with humor and at least good company – always with some bonus chocolate to help us through!  Sunshine & Tiger – those who know the reference need no explanation, those who don’t, sorry you just had to be there, hehehe.  Kids growing, changing and in my case even blowing things up a time or two.  Thankfully the house survived, even if the microwave did not!  Deaths and births.  My youngest child was born in my time at IBM.  My middle child has gifted me with a beautiful and sweet daughter in law.  Together they and our family have been blessed with my first grandson (over a year old now- want to see pictures? Lol).  My oldest child paves his own way now but remembers visiting the cool place Mom worked.  Changes indeed.

References to cran-apple martinis (yum!) and copious amounts of other alcoholic beverages and bribes have abounded through the years – if we’d consumed a 10th of what we joked about we’d all have floated away at best!  Although we certainly had “some” from time to time and a good time to go with it.  Recipe swapping and potlucks with fabulous food sharing.  Crazy achievements that shouldn’t have been possible and yet somehow we did them and then we did it again but better…..the list goes on and on.  Back then excellence was expected, delivered and above all appreciated.  Awards and recognition abounded in years passed and were a treasured delight after a long slog through what often could have been (and sometimes was) described as hell – no matter how satisfying coming out successful on the other side was!  Or maybe it was the parties we had to go with them where we could take a breath and savor a successful implementation and lessons learned with good food & good company.  Automations, innovations and collaborations.  Creativity and creative co-working.  And let’s not forget the humorous but educational team presentations of Specialized Solutions!  A tiny sampling of the many memories worth keeping.

It has been my honor, privilege and often great pleasure to work with, learn from and laugh with some of the best and brightest in the world in my time with IBM.  Wonderful times with wonderful people.

Thank you for sharing them with me!

Friday, June 22, 2012


This weekend Bad Cat Designs is announcing her summer project.  Since her groups are always fun, her designs, fabulous and the chance to learn and help others always comes up, well how much more do you need to know?  Keep an eye's sure to be worth joining!

While you wait, I strongly suggest you check out the gorgeous new Knit Red book.  There's a Bad Cat Design in there and many others.  A wonderful cause, fabulous, well written designs and gorgeous photography.  What more do you want?

(Picture linked from BadCatDesigns' blog)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grand fiber fun!

This weekend is the annual Estes Park Wool Market and I had the pleasure of attending.  It's been awhile since I've been able to due to one thing and another so there were a few changes.  It's grown for one thing.  There were many folks I knew from year's past and new ones to meet.  Naturally there was fiber in a vast array of forms.

Surprisingly (to me) there were fewer hand-dyed vendors this year and none doing anything like a ColourWave.  Hand-dyed lace weight in general was limited.  Good to know.  Nevertheless and no doubt of little (ok, none?) surprise, I was able to find some lovely goodies that just had to come home with me :-).  In fact there were many I left behind!

Shown in the photo above is my unspun fiber loot and oh what loot it is!  The balls of undyed roving are Polworth which I have had in mind to try ever since Bad Cat Designs posted about her adventures with it awhile back.  The center bag of brown roving is one I have resisted the lure of for years and finally now I gave in - 15.4 micron Paco-Vicuna from Deer Valley Alpaca.  Incredible stuff, so very soft and hard to come by!  I offer you a close up below from the lovely 75% Silk/25% Angora & Angelina roving I picked up from the lovely and kind Sharon of Woodlake Woolies

Pictures do not do these fibers justice - I wish you could feel them, they are all so soft and delightful.

Lest you be shocked at the astonishing will power (I failed to show, lol), let me reassure you, I did indeed buy yarn! And such lovely yarns, petting and special projects will be necessary to do them justice.

 Jeny of Jeny Originals talked me into the lovely skein of kid mohair/silk/nylon in a lovely blue hand paint shown above and the luscious deep green, silky soft skein of Silk/Merino/Sea Cell shown below!  Brooks Farm Yarn had a lovely variety of fingering and worsted weight yarns that were glowing with color.  I found a couple of skeins of "Ellie" that had to come home with me, the slate blue in the center above and the coppery to green shown below.  Textiles A Mano had some gorgeous cashmere & silk blends along with some silk that I resisted but I did give in to the water-color skein above in La Jolla yarn.

Finally, the piece de resistance of the yarns, I met the wonderful Ron & Theresa Miskin of the Buffalo Wool Company and just had to give in to the lure of the gorgeous sage green skeins shown above of their "Lux" yarn. Buffalo down, cashmere, silk & tencel adds up to a soft, strong & shiny, lace weight yarn.  Of course it had to come home!  Ron & his father worked together to start the original Buffalo Gold line and they know their fiber properties very well.  Absolutely lovely stuff and if you get the chance you should try it.

A fabulous way to spend a day and throw the budget out the window.  It was worth it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Special Bulletin

The first published and available for purchase pattern in Lara's Creations ColourWave yarn is now available!

Thanks to the wonderful design talents of Bad Cat Designs, you may now purchase the Wisteria Cowl pattern from Ravelry:
Check it out!!

The yarn to purchase it may be custom ordered in any of the ColourWaves shown in my store or in a semi-solid.  (See the links to the right).  New colors are coming or tell me what you like and we can come up with something new together!

A note about the yarn - The Bad Cat used "Basic" which is a lovely 100% Merino lace weight.  I have two additional yarns of the same weight right now - Squish! is a 100% Superwash Merino and Starlight is a sparkly blend of Superwash Merino (75%), Silk (20%) and Stellina sparkles (5%). If you have questions about substituting yarns, please ask.

Happy Knitting!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A new beginning

In the years since I last posted - yes, shockingly it's somehow been literally two years - so many things have happened I sometimes thought of simply deleting this blog.  Clearly I wasn't updating it.  Clearly I wasn't going to......and yet......

So many things to share but perhaps the time has come back around now and the things to share have new meaning in the context of new beginnings.

A new beginning for my blog coincides with the very recent opening of my Etsy store (more on that later).  That's certainly a beginning.  Then there's the move my mother made back to Colorado - not my new beginning you say?  Well that's true in one way but since she moved (temporarily) into my house you might rethink that one ;-).

There are several others as well.......including the fact that after 20 years in one capacity or another, I shall be changing jobs soon - or perhaps moving from my "job" to my store (quick, go buy something to help with that, will ya? lol).  It's complicated.

Of all the new beginnings in the last few months, oddly enough the fewest are new knitting projects.  Don't get me wrong, the siren call is there - but go look at my store and remember that I'm still working full time for someone else as well - perhaps it will make more sense!  In spite of that I've still knit a great deal in the last two of the most notable is my Back to the Garden shawl designed (of course) by Bad Cat Designs and knit in a yarn that I converted from a Colourmart beauty into a ColourWave beauty.  The original yarn was stunning and fabulous to work with.  I'm delighted I had the chance to use it and it's no hardship to me to know I have enough leftover already dyed that I can knit it into a scarf ;-).

I'll add more specifics later - such as the Ravelry link and so on like I used to.  

For now......I'm relearning the updates to the blog programs.  It's time for me to get back to regular updates for my blog.......time to learn to use Facebook more, both for my own contacts and for my new business page ( - please join/share for shop news).  Who knows?  Perhaps tomorrow's new beginning will be Twitter!

For the shop itself, I've gone with Etsy for the moment.  Feedback, especially including your experience is quite welcome.  Check it out:

In the mean time........shall we start something new?  hehehe

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Once Upon a Time.....

.......there was a lady named Lara. She was a crafter of great variety but also a mother, daughter, granddaughter, friend, an employee and many other things. Sometimes she shared her projects and perhaps a few stories on a blog. However, other times life kept her a very busy lady and if you only followed the blog, she appeared to have poofed into some mysterious disappearance and who knew if she would ever return?

In short - yes, I'm still around and have been living life with all it's ups and a few downs to go with it. Thankfully, I also have those crafts to enjoy and they have not been as neglected as the blog! Christmas and New Year's came & went since my last post. Valentine's Day was enjoyed by many. On Ravelry - where I have been slightly more visible these last weeks - the Ravelympics began and ended. As a team captain and a team member I also spent quite a bit of time on Ravelympics as a matter of fact and while I did not manage to complete everything I signed up for in the mad insanity of enthusiasm and hope when planning for events (ok, work also played a disruptive part) I DID cross the finish line with two projects (more coming soon), did considerable spinning on a third and even managed to complete more than half of a shawl I plan to wear to my son's wedding late June. Soooo many things to share but we must start somewhere, right?

Therefore - to begin - I give you a glimpse of first of Seed Pod Socks, started and completed since my last, long ago post - finished, in fact, even before the end of December!

Pattern: Seed Pod Socks - Bad Cat Designs
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet, 2 skeins
Needles: US1 / 2.25MM

These were fun to knit and I will no doubt knit them again......and in spite of only one in the picture, the pair really is finished and has been worn!

Next - finished December 30th - you might recall the lovely Misty Moonlit Midnight (Tallin Sunset) shawl I began some time ago. As a related side note, I do hope my resident photographer is able to assist with some modeled pictures of several projects - including these - sometime very soon.

Pattern: Tallin Sunset, by Bad Cat Designs
Yarn: Handdyed Merino Lace (Stonybrook) by Fearless Fibers, used ~1,115 yards
Needles: US4 / 3.5mm
Beads: Megatamas, 3mm crystal AB beads from Earthfaire

As with all Bad Cat Designs, I feel you can't go wrong knitting this! The pattern was great fun and the yarn was lovely to work with.

I will be back - perhaps even later today - with more on Ravelympics .......