Over the years I have made many things for my Oma for Christmas; nothing big or fancy, just little handmade tokens of love, which I know she really enjoys, appreciates, and treasures.
This year I made her a butterfly. She loves butterflies.
(This was actually my second attempt, the first being quite unsuccessful, possibly because I was distracted by watching The Crown.)
It's a little thing, I know, but she'll love it, she'll find someplace to put it in her home, and making something for my Oma is a long standing tradition; she still has the picture I drew her when I was in kindergarten on the basement fridge door.....
Inspired by the yarn in my yarn basket and how well it matched with the quilt on my bed, I began my color block blanket journey back in July.
When I started my blanket I was deep in stash-busting mode, but after crocheting several blocks of color using only yarn from my stash, my blanket was quite oddly shaped - wider than it was long - so I needed to purchase some additional yarn. Isn't this how it always goes? You start off trying to use only what is in your stash for a project but then halfway through realize that more yarn is needed. In truth though, after making this blanket, my yarn cupboard is a little less stuffed, so all in all, even though a yarn store trip was necessary, I am calling this a stash-busting success.
Are you ready to see my blanket laid out in all its glory? Well then, may I present to you my beautiful color block blanket:
Now, in making this blanket, I learned an important lesson about yarn that I feel is my duty to pass on to my fellow crocheters: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton is not the same thickness in all colors. I crocheted eighteen rows of purple, orange, teal, and yellow and the width of all the color blocks is not the same. I did not actually come to this realization until I was working with the navy blue - which is much thinner than the other yarn colors - and by then it was too late to go back and fix the the other color blocks. If you just look at the blanket and don't actually measure the width of the blocks, it is not too obvious, but still, this was not what I was going for. I wonder if this is the case with other yarn types, is it the dying process that changes the thickness of the yarn? Anyone know?
Also, does anyone else keep all their yarn labels until the project is finished and then throw them out?
Lessons and imperfections aside, I am very happy with my blanket. Making this blanket was a very happy journey and one perfectly suited to sitting on the couch after a long day, watching a program on television, and crocheting away. And I do love the large blocks of color and the fact that there were only a few ends to darn in, unlike my Cozy Stripe Blanket which had millions.
During this very full time of the year, I believe it is even more important to be intentional with our time, energy, resources, and spirit. And I am trying. Some things have been easier than others, no doubt, but all in all, I am feeling more present this year, more relaxed. In the end, I want to enjoy the holidays, not merely survive them and come out on the other end a frazzled mess, and by doing the following, I think I am well on my way:
I've kept Christmas decorating minimal. We have our tree up, and a few Christmas vignettes here and there, but not much else. I love the way my decorations blend into the normal decor and look of my house rather than overwhelm it, and I love that it did not take me days to decorate everything. How minimalist I've become...
We got our calendar organized early on and intentionally left some days empty to just relax and see what comes (good thing, because we were just invited to a photo exhibit this coming Sunday that I am super excited about)
Letting go of disappointment and hurt and accepting that all I can control is what I do and how I react to things (not easy, but it does bring so much peace when you just let go)
Christmas cards made and sent by the first week of December. I love doing this every year as it is such a fun and creative family activity.
Getting the shopping done early
Accepting what is not for us. I will probably not be doing any Christmas baking and I am okay with that. I don't love baking cookies and would rather spend my time in the kitchen making other things. And the girls don't seem to miss it. The last few times we baked Christmas cookies, they lost interest very quickly and were off playing together while I was left alone in the kitchen finishing up the decorating and not really loving it...all this to say that Christmas baking is not our thing, and that is perfectly okay.
Taking some time in December to do some things that are not Christmas related. I don't know why, but this is important to me, to not do Christmas all month long and sort of wear it out...is that weird?
Finding encouragement - this post was particularly good.
Being present for the holidays is the best present I can give myself. But then, a year of intentionally trying to be present in the Now rather than rushing on to the next thing has really been the best gift I could have given myself...
How are you staying in the Now and enjoying the holidays?
My focus for the year was Now is Now. Read all my posts about being present in the moment here.
"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."
Bridget: a morning spent rock climbing with your friends, followed by pizza, cupcakes and some very thoughtful gifts...you declared this to be "the best birthday party ever" and that you are "a very lucky girl".
Claire: an actual conversation we had this week
Me: Claire, are you always going to be seven and sweet?