Friday 26 January 2018

Right Now

  • I'm trying to get my head around the fact that January is almost over
  • My feet are cold
  • I am baffled by the fact that someone stole stationary supplies from my desk at work - why?
  • I am psyching myself up to wear a swimsuit on the weekend. It's Bridget's birthday party on Saturday and as per her wish we are going swimming. I want to celebrate her birthday, I do, I'm just not excited to put on a swimsuit in January.
  • The days are getting a little bit longer - have you noticed?
  • I have a craving for brussel sprouts - how weird is that?
  • I need to remember to make a hair appointment....
  • I'm designing my own crochet pattern for a scarf and after only a handful of botched attempts, it is going well and looking just like I had envisioned.
  • I'm wishing for spring, like I do at this time every year
  • I'm enjoying the sun and blue skies outside my window
  • I'm happy to be at home on this beautiful day
  • We just got home from skating and it was awesome
What are you up to right now?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 24 January 2018

A Big Chunky Blanket

I made a big, chunky, granny stitch blanket.
I hadn't really intended to make another blanket, as we certainly have enough in the house, but this blanket seemed destined to be made: the yarn was on sale for an incredible price, the colors coordinate with my living room perfectly, I had been thinking of working with chunky yarn which I've not done much of, and the free pattern on the label was the perfect project. See, meant to be; it would have been disgraceful for me to walk away from all these positive signs.

The yarn is Caron Tea Cakes. I love that this yarn is variegated and that the colors blend from one to another as you crochet so that when you're done you have a gorgeous, multicolored blanket without many ends to darn in; that's what I call a win-win.
I stumbled across the yarn at Michaels around the beginning of December when they were having a huge yarn sale. The yarn section of the store was full of ladies picking out yarn and chatting with each other about their projects. One lady told me all about how she was going to crochet octopuses for her grandchildren for Christmas and she wanted me to help her pick her colors. It was so inspiring to be around so many people who were excited about yarn; that does not happen every day.

Like I said, the pattern for this blanket was on the yarn label. It was a simple pattern - easy to work on while watching Game of Thrones - and I even learned a new-to-me trick. Because it is a rectangular blanket, you start by making a chain and then crochet your groups of three around the chain. Having the solid chain in the center keeps the design straight. I've often made granny square blankets and the center has gone off and not been straight at all, even after blocking, which really bothers me. Starting with a chain adds some stability, its' a little tip I'll have to remember.
It's been very cold and damp around here lately and having an extra blanket in the living room has been welcome. Pajamas, this blanket wrapped around me, a cup of tea, and my next crochet project in my lap - this is what my evenings are all about. Life is good.

Yarn: Five Balls of Caron Tea Cakes in Oolong
Pattern: from the label

Monday 15 January 2018

Three Things

Hello Monday!

Three things that are making me happy today as I start the week:

A day off work. I sometimes have to work weekends at my job, and it is not my favorite. On the plus side, I do get two days off during the week in lieu, which is not all bad. I have several hours to myself today while my family is at school and work - time to get caught up on some house stuff, do some errands, and then hopefully fit in a little crochet.

Loose leaf tea - I have been converted, tea in bags is just dust in comparison. Brewing tea from loose leaves has changed my life. It's delicious.

Recommitting to clean eating. It is a lot of work to plan meals and chop veggies, but I feel so much better physically, and feel more content with how I am providing for my family, that the extra effort is worth it.

What is making you happy as you start another week?

Wednesday 10 January 2018

2017: A Year of Crochet

Before we get too far into this year, I thought I would take a look back at all the things I crocheted in 2017. I did this last year and really enjoyed the trip down memory lane, seeing all that I made collected in one place - it was quite satisfying.

Making things has always been, and will always be, an important part of my life - I truly can not imagine my life without a work in progress (or three) sitting in various baskets around the house or on the end of the sofa. This year I did a lot of crochet, quite a lot. Crochet is by far my most beloved hobby and I love each and every moment I spend with a hook in my hand.

I began the year making my Attic 24 Weekend Bag which I planned to line with some fun fabric but never did - need to add that to the list. I then finished my Autumn Doily, crocheted some succulents to put in my beloved elephant planter, and finally adorned my yarn wreath.
With time off work in March, I got a lot done: a handy crochet bowl, an arctic critter, pattern testing a unicorn, and some simple coasters.
April was just as productive: Mr. and Mrs. Cactus, Charlotte the Bumble Bee, the Maybelle Blanket, and a snail in a pear.
I'm surprised by how much I got done in the summer, considering all the gardening that I did and the time I spent outdoors: an apple and worm as a teacher gift, a chemistry set which was another pattern testing opportunity, Olive the Owl, and Oscar the Fish.
With the arrival of autumn, I cuddled up indoors and crocheted a bit more: a kerchief scarf for Claire, rustic pumpkins, my summer blanket (finally finished), and Spot the Ladybug.
To brighten the grey days of November, I made a rainbow purse and then got started on a little gift making, an angel for Claire's piano teacher.
My goodness I made a lot this year and looking back at it all makes me so proud and happy. There are so many happy memories in these makes, and looking at the pictures, I remember so many details of where I was and what else was happening while I was crocheting. Absolutely wonderful. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be creative and to crochet everyday.

If you are interested in seeing last year's crafty round up you can do so here.

Now I'm off to work on the first few projects of 2018.

Long Live Crochet!!!!

Monday 8 January 2018

My Perfect Cup of Tea

One scoop of tea leaves (I am in love with Earl Grey from Davids Tea), hot water, steeped for exactly four minutes, and I always use my favorite mug. I wrap my hands around the mug, sit down at the kitchen table and inhale the sweet smelling steam. Slowly I sip, usually while working on a little crochet, and I relax. I feel the tension leave my body, I breathe is perfect.
It is really the little things, the simple things, that bring happiness to our days, isn't it. I heard an a commentary the other day about how there is so much chatter in the world, and especially on social media, about "living a big story" when maybe, just maybe, we should focus on living our simple everyday lives, recognizing and appreciating the small moments that truly make up the fabric of our days...I could not agree more.
I am not one for lofty resolutions and goals at the beginning of the new year (and I do not need any organizational systems or a gym membership), but I do have this intention: to focus on appreciating the everyday moments a little more, to pause and be grateful for them - a cup of tea, a conversation, a hug, a quiet walk, making dinner....the little moments that make up my days. It's not like I have been ignoring these things, but I just want to acknowledge them a little more - not with a parade, but in my heart and soul. I have so much to be grateful for.
I'm going to go now and make myself another cup of tea (the leaves are good for at least three cups #nowaste) and crochet while I watch the snow fall, thankful that I'm not out on the roads. Have a lovely day, friends.

P.S. Photos of my houseplants are included here in celebration of the fact that they are alive and simple feat in my home, under my care. That being said, fear not, my children are alive and thriving. 

Thursday 4 January 2018

Taking Stock

 A new year, the perfect time to take stock of where I'm at right now....

Making: a menu plan for Bridget's birthday brunch
Cooking: double batches of dinners so I can freeze some for later
Drinking: Earl Grey tea
Reading: this book
Watching: the squirrels jump onto the bird feeder
Deciding: to cut back on sweets
Hoping: it warms up a bit so we can go skating
Enjoying: quiet days at home
Liking: not getting up in the dark to go to work
Loving: breathing deeply
Pondering: how to get more calm into my days on a regular basis
Listening: to podcasts - quite possibly the greatest thing
Considering: what my focus should be for the new year
Buying: a new winter coat - finally - I made a career of this
Browsing: my cookbooks for healthy dinners to start off the year
Wishing: my feet were warm
Wondering: if a 1:00pm yoga class on Saturdays would work for me?
Marveling: at how cold it looks outside; cold has a look
Waiting: for this book to arrive in the mail
Cringing: at the state of the girls' playroom
Hoping: for a dinner out sometime soon at my favorite restaurant
Needing: a haircut (I say this a lot)
Smelling: my beeswax candle on the kitchen windowsill
Wearing: my lululemon pants and grey sweatshirt - my home uniform, it seems
Noticing: where my mind wanders when I do mundane tasks
Knowing: I need to 'let go' of some sadness and hurt
Prioritizing: self care and self investment
Sorting: as I go, not focusing on any one area right now
Thinking: about what to do with all the crochet things I have in my house
Celebrating: how much I overcame in 2017
Disliking: how cracked and dry my hands are
Feeling: peace, calm
Hearing: the wind whip around the house
Embracing: the value in my every day rituals
Accepting: that some things are what they are and I can not change it, best to just move on

I've been off work for almost two weeks now, and after the busyness of Christmas, I have been enjoying a much slower pace, more time and space in my days, and an overall sense of calm and relaxation. It has been marvelous to just be in the moment and do what I enjoy rather than always checking things off a list and rushing on to the next thing. I've had time to think about this space, to ponder what I want it to be and the direction I want it to go in....and to make a few changes to the design (do you like it?) I'm excited about the new year and feeling ready for a fresh start, a focused perspective, and making a few plans.

Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for being here. I hope 2018 brings you much happiness.

(writing prompts courtesy of Pip