Category Archives: Life

Less than a week

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In less than a week, I will be “home” again for Christmas. Seeing my aunts and uncles, and cousins, eating way too much food, playing board games and laughing till my sides hurt. It always reminds me of Christmases spent similarly growing up, and if feel extremely grateful that the tradition carries forward, including new generations of children (those of my cousins)

What do you look forward to this time of year?

Dates & storms (of the snow kind and knitting kind!)

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Last night my husband and I went on a date to the movies. We went to see the hunger games: catching fire. It was great. I won’t be revealing any big plot moments here, so no worries. The movies, the books are all great. Often, I am disappointed by movie adaptations of books, as well, the images on the silver screen pale in comparison to the way the story plays out in my head. I am partial to books that discuss dystopian societies, but the hunger games trilogy is special. The stories transcend time, in my opinion. All great books do. In the movie adaptations of the first two books, the actors have a definitive way of pulling at the heart strings. Jennifer Lawrence was beautifully cast as Katniss, the heroine of the stories. I love that she is a role model for young girls. Thrust into the spotlight after the success of the first film, she has shown herself time and time again in interviews as being a girl with a strong personality, a great sense of humor, who is also humble – not at all afraid to talk about having a positive self-image in spite of being flawed ( because really, we all are) and allowing people to poke fun at her. She seems to be incredibly real,down-to-earth. I’m no longer a young girl, but I do consider her a role model. I am proud to have her as one.

We thought going to the movies would be quiet as it was calling for a winter storm warning for our area. We were surprised to see that the theater we were in was mostly full. In many of our recent movie experiences, someone ends up talking through the movie, and it is a pet peeve of ours, especially when the person talking is of an age to know better (not a child). The crowd was actually pretty well behaved, and it’s always fun when the audience is engaged in the movie. We ate all too much candy and iced coffee, and walked home in the beginning of the storm that was being called for. It usually isn’t as cold as it was last night, with the windchill it felt like -32degrees Celsius. Crazy. The kind of cold that freezes the little hairs inside your nose. It didn’t actually feel terribly cold until the wind blew. And then each of the snow flurries felt a bit more like tiny shards of ice, but it still looked pretty. Like fields of white glittering sand.

When we got home, I resumed knitting and then forgot all about blogging. Oops. I am closer to being done my Christmas knitting, but not finished yet. I need to get back at it, though, although I am having a hard time moving at the moment because on of my cats is using the outside of my thigh as a pillow, and he doesn’t do this very often. Till tomorrow!

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Reminiscing about old favorites

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Tonight, we watched big top pee wee, which was a childhood favorite movie of mine. The other day I was telling someone about childhood holiday gatherings that included me and a bunch of my cousins piling onto a couch meant for three and watching Rudolph, Charlie Brown’s Christmas and home alone. Another of my favorite movies I enjoyed during my childhood was Pete’s dragon. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, and as I finish up my holiday knitting this weekend, I will be having a movie marathon, and that is top on my list.

I spent a good portion of my day today in our local shopping mall looking for Christmas gifts for my husband and dad. I find shopping for both of them difficult, as they will both tell you they have everything they need. Part of the magic of Christmas to me, is having something fun to open on Christmas and transports you back to feeling like a kid again. I went with a list of not-so-boring gift ideas for each of them, went into store after store and came up empty. I finally found a few things for my dad, and the gift I settled on for my hubby was not on my list at all for him, because I was having no luck on any of the items on my list. I think he will Iike what I found.

Alright, time to get my knit on!

Swants and sweggings.

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http://westknits.com/index.php/2013/11/swants-tutorial

You should have a look at this. It’s a tutorial on how to turn a sweater into not only leg Warmers, but the whole bum covering aka, sweggings or swants. I’m not sure how I feel about wearing sweater leggings, but ask me again during the coldest days of a Canadian winter. Also, the photos are awesome, the dudes in them have a good sense of humor. And, last, but certainly not least, I celebrate the ingenuity of the person who came up with the idea. Brownie points for originality. And brownie points to the person who came up with the tutorial. Win, win, win. And even if you don’t make your own, sweggings or swants, hopefully the photos will make you smile, just a lil’!

Piles of wool before I sleep!

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There is a small mountain of yarn I need to knit through. I won’t be able to do it all tonight, but I’m hoping to have most of it done by Friday. I’m feeling kind of lazy right now, plus there isn’t really that much to show, but I will post a picture when I am closer to getting through my project stack. What (if any) handmade projects are you working on?

Good read and a cuppa chai

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Today is the first day In a few months that I was out of bed before 7am. I went to teach a weaving workshop to that group of homeschoolers. Had a great day with them, palling around in the snow and laughing. Feels good to be home now, relaxing. Unwinding. About to read more of my book and drink my chai latte, fresh from my French press.

9 ways (I like) to Take time to relax

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In my adult life, I was surprised to find that of the people who participate in the holiday season (Christmas & New Years, namely) people tend to fall into one of two groups – those who love the holidays and those who don’t. I am, and always have been a fan of christmas time. it is very much a part of my personality to deeply value time spent with family and friends, cozy sweaters, the smell of evergreens, and the smiles, hugs and kisses exchanged in gratitude for wishes fulfilled. I love it all. Rosy cheeks, the smell of wood fires, the stacks of presents wrapped up and pushed under the tree, hanging ornaments, drinking eggnog and spiked coffee. It reminds me of being a part of something bigger. That love is complicated, but atleast for a short while each year, we push our differences aside, and embrace joy and the positive side of love.

There are a myriad of reasons as to why people may not like the holidays. I can understand when this time of year brings up mixed emotions when if you feel like you are obliged to spend time with people you’d rather not, or you find yourself deeply missing someone who is no longer walking among us, or just when you bog yourself down with the stress of over committing to parties and entertaining, getting dressed up or being worried about over indulging in food or alcohol, not to mention woes about finances or where you will find the time to go gift shopping. I wish I had answers to solve all of these problems. That everyone could experience the magic of Christmas. The solutions are not always black and white and what works for some people, may not work for others.

Even though I love Christmas, I am not immune to feeling stressed this time of year. I find there is certain nervous energy in the air, especially as we count down the days to Christmas Eve and day. Stress does all kinds of terrible things to our bodies, including making us more prone to illness and disease, causing hormonal disruptions or imbalances and disturbances in our sleep patterns. My stress this time of year comes from this ” negative energy” I feel around me, and also because of rules I place upon myself. Since I live so far away from my family in New York City, Christmas time has come to mean either I travel, or need to get my home ready for guests to spend with us, which usually means a deep clean, and some shuffling of furniture/large items to better accomodate guests.

In between my list of things to do – shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry, packing, gift wrapping, etc, I try to make time for myself. Here is a list of ways that I try to reduce stress so I can better enjoy the holidays (or anytime of year, really)

1. Get the bulk of my gift shopping done before dec. 1st. Failing that, avoiding shopping in malls and big box stores on weekends. shopping later in the day (after 5pm, when people are likely eating dinner or putting small children to bed), the stores are usually less crowded.
2. Having a list for any type of shopping I need to do, organized according to store layout. I avoid spending extra time in the store that I’d rather spend at home, and avoid potentially over-spending because I am buying duplicates, or spending outside of my budget.
3. Taking atleast an hour for myself every day to do something special for myself or to do nothing at all.
4. Taking a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts & 6 drops of lavender essential oil (almost) every night just before bed. I soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. It’s enough time to read for a while and get sleepy. I do the rest of my getting ready for bed routine before I get in the bath, so that I can go right to sleep when I’m done.
5. Having a cup of tea or other hot drink (no caffeine after 4 pm for me) and either knitting, or reading while enjoying the warm drink.
6. Doing a breathing exercise any time I feel stressed throughout the day, and right before I go to sleep. Inhale through my mouth for a count of 5, and exhale through my nose for a count of 7 or 8.
7. meditation or sun salutations for 10-15 minutes, ideally done first thing in the morning.
8. Take a nap ( no more than 1 hour)
9. Listen to some music.

What is your favorite way to relax or unwind after a stressful day?

belly laughs

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(Sourced from google.ca, no original credit given)

I am grateful for the weekends where my husband and I get to spend some good quality time together. Over the course of our relationship, that wasn’t always the case. We dated long distance for the first four years of our relationship. Time was precious in the days where the time we spent together was limited to a handful of days out of every few months that we were actually able to occupy the same space. We talked on the phone almost every day for most of those four years. As time passed, it became more and more difficult to spend an unknown amount of time apart. We knew that if we were to last, we’d have to move to the same country. the same city. the same home.

Statistically, most long term relationships don’t survive as long as ours did, or ever materialize into something else. I am happy ours did. I remember when I first moved here that it felt like I was living in a dream that we could actually call the same place home. There was a long adjustment period for both of us, because it does require a certain amount of trust, and independence to make long distance work. Coming together under the same roof had it’s challenges. I think we had an advantage – because so much of our relationship was already based in communication in order for us to have lasted for four years, we were alreay able to talk things through.

I love the photo above. I found it on the internet a few months ago. Laughter and a good nap can do wonders for one’s mood. I slept really well last night, and the night before, and that for me lately has been a rare treat. I was lounging on our bed in the early afternoon today reading a book and my husband came in, lay down on the bed, but in an awkward way, his head pressed into my soft belly. He had his neck bent at a weird angle that couldn’t possibly be comfortable. he was being a goof. I couldn’t help but laugh, a good whole-hearted belly laugh. this continued on for a while, with us making each other laugh. those moments don’t always seem to happen very often. we get busy. tired. cranky. when they do, I cherish them. it connects me back to why I fell in love with this great man.

just one more day a week? is that to much to ask?

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over the next two weeks I will be teaching a group of homeschooled children a weaving workshop as part of their teacher’s desire to add handwork to their waldorf inspired curriculum. I have plans to add some tutorials up here about how to create your own small loom, and then how to work with the loom, but that needs to wait until a0 after the kids have had their lessons, and b) after I get more of my Christmas knitting done. Most of my day today was spent building 8 picture frame weaving looms. the first, was the prototype, to make sure it was doable with the vision I had in my head for how it should work. there were supposed to be six others, one for each of the children in this homeschool group. I had made it through 4 with flying colors. the fifth, including the prototype, cracked, and the nails came loose. this was a problem because the nails need to be able to hold up under a little bit of pressure, to handle the warp threads. my heart sank, and I began to panic, thinking about the details of when and how I was going to get out to the store to pick up another frame, and how that was going to cut in to the time I wanted to spend this afternoon creating a sample so that the kids could see what I’d be showing them to make.

while digging through some boxes in my basement looking for a container filled with finishing nails I had bought for the sole purpose of building my own large scale looms, I came across some picture frames that were the right size for the looms I was building, but didn’t think twice about them because I bought more frames just for this project. when I remembered this, after spending a few minutes freaking out, I realized I had averted a crisis. My hands are sore from hammering in well over 100 nails to create 7 pint-sized looms (8, if you count the one I broke and had to abandon), plus the sanding, and other prep work I did to get them warp-ready for Tuesday, and the sample I created. I’m not really complaining. I like when my hands or feet are a little sore – it’s a reminder of a day well spent. However, in this case, the day well spent with sore achy fingers means that knitting tonight will be slow-going, or a no-go.

I remember while I was planning my wedding, it seemed like for every thing I accomplished and was able to check off my list, there were 5 more things I had forgotten about, or just learned I had to do – and my list grew exponentially (or atleast that was how it seemed). the night before my wedding I was busy doing some project, which in hindsight was entirely inconsequential, and it would’ve been better if I had gone to sleep instead, but I just had to finish this one last thing. and then it was another one last thing. and then another. well, you get the picture. I think that night I got three hours of sleep, and my husband got 2, because he too was working on a project that just had to get finished. (I don’t think 5 years later either of us remembers what those projects are)

for the last few years, a majority of the Christmas gifts I have given have been handmade. I find gift-giving for my loved ones increasingly challenging year after year when they tell me that they have everything they need, or I’m racking my brain trying to come up with a clever, personalized gift that I hope they will enjoy and my mind is as blank as the snow is white on Christmas morning. I can’t help but feel like I die a little inside when family members just ask me to gift to charity in their name. Giving to charities is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like there is a little kid in all of us that delights in opening a real present over the holidays. (assuming of course, that you celebrate such holidays). this is how I came to give handmade Christmas gifts to most of the people on my list. I know it will be something they enjoy, because I get to watch them unwrap it and see their face light up as they realize I’ve made something just for them. no one else has exactly the same thing. I know they enjoy the gifts, because I can see the signs of wear on the object as the months, or years go by. It doesn’t really seem to matter how early in the year I start, about two weeks before Christmas, I am in crunch mode, knitting/weaving/and felting like a mad woman trying to get everything done for get-togethers with different friends and family. it doesn’t help that in those last two weeks of hard-core crafting, I also always seem to add a few more projects to the list, for people who I had absent-mindedly left out of my handmade Christmas gift list. it’s not even like it’s the same people I leave out every year. I just need more time to get it all done!

I would love to have an extra day a week. In those extra 52 days a year, I would be able to use them to do all of the long laundry list of craft projects I have, but can never seem to find all of the time, energy, money, space & proper weather to be able to complete. I get a lot of projects accomplished every year, and I’m not complaining about what I do get accomplished. there is a part of me however, that always wishes I could do more. Like the lamps in our bedroom that I bought from a local sally ann a few years ago and are a shiny shade of gold. I’d much prefer they were silver. I have the spray paint to complete the project, I just need a sunny day that isn’t too cold, or too hot, with no threats of wind or rain or snow. in Ottawa, where the winter seems to last a good solid 6 months, and then add in rainy days and windy days, that leaves very few optimal days for an outdoor spray painting project, or as I like to call it, because it sounds awesome – a lamp revamp!

I say we stage a revolt. or sign petitions. ask a higher power to add in an extra day a week (and if they just won’t budge, what about an extra hour a day?) there is a miniature muffin pan that has been calling my name, sitting on my kitchen counter asking for me to christen it with it’s first batch of miniature cupcakes. I don’t even want to tell you how long it’s been sitting on the counter. you might laugh. or cry? in an extra hour a day, think of all the baking I could get done? and some extra art projects too! surely, that’s not too much to ask for. right?

we all tend to make time for the things in our lives that are important to us. sometimes things are important, but we make excuses for a variety of reasons. Moving in to 2014, I’d like to make a more conscious effort to make more time for my art. it makes me happy. brings me joy. and could very likely turn a profit. but I have to start. having more time to make art means spending less time doing things that maybe don’t matter so much, or prioritize how I spend the hours in my day. I’m sure we can all relate, right? atleast once a week, I think most people ask themselves, “where did today go?” or “where did the last hour go?” or some variation.

the prompt for today over on blogher.com was “what do you wish you had more time to do each day? in a few word, the answer for me is: make stuff.

Roller Derby and 19 other awesome things about this year

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I like to think that I am thankful of things in my life all year long, but there is something about the holidays, namely Canadian thanksgiving in October, American thanksgiving in November, and Christmas (which, I hope you know by now is on December 25th) that makes me feel a little more thankful for all the things I have in my life that are truly special.

we live in a world that moves at an extremely fast pace, and as time goes by, sometimes we forget some of the little things along the way. and the little things aren’t necessarily all that little afterall, but it seems as though it is human nature to replace the things we are thankful for, with things we want or think we need.

2013 has been a transitional year for me, filled with challenges I have never faced before and painful choices, but also there has been a lot of beauty in it too. I would like to use tis opportunity to remind myself of some of the precious moments of this year that I can look back on at the same time next year.

1.  My husband and I saw the 2nd year we lived in a space that we selected together for the first time. It feels more and more like a home every day.

2. I celebrated the 2nd year in a home with stairs, which in my 30+ years on this planet, is the first home I’ve had that occupies more than one floor.

3.  2013 also meant celebrating our five year wedding anniversary, and I can say with confidence, that this is the best year of marriage we’ve had so far. We also celebrated 10 years together, which Is another milestone in our relationship. yay, us!

4. Early this year I made a promise to myself that I would start taking care of myself better, in mind, body and spirit. I have been on a weight loss journey for over 2 years, and have seen results, but very slowly. I started in making a lifestyle change, not adopting a diet. To maintain my weight loss, I needed to change the way I thought about food. This year I made a really conscious effort to eat healthier, using foods that I could recognize all of the ingredients so my body would too. I learned how to make kale chips, spinach chips, different types of smoothies, and did some “experiments” with going gluten free and corn free to see how it affected my health. There were positive changes, and I did very clowly add some gluten back in to my weekly nutrition, but I limit the amount of starch I eat everyday. I feel that I have come very far this year in terms of eating better and making better food choices.

5, Also in the weight loss department, since my progress had been slow, but fairly steady, I decided to amp it up a bit.  In may, I joined up with the Rideau Valley Roller Girls (rideauvallyrollergirls.com) to do their fresh meat program, which is in derby-lingo the training program new recruits do. They make it look easy. It’s not that easy, trust me. Falling and the fear of really hurting yourself as an adult, is very different than the childhood belief of “yeah, I got this!”. At the end of each session, a standardized skills test is given, and those who pass go into the league. Those who don’t, either give it another go, or sadly, give up. When I joined, there were 30+ other women who all had the crazy notion that skating would be fun. Not only skating, but knocking other people on their bums in the process would be fun. When the session came to an end, 14 of us showed up on testing day. Me and one other girl  didn’t attempt the mins  test because we felt we weren’t ready, but we both did decide to give it another shot in the next session.  I did give it another go when the following session was offered, until some health issues were interefering, but I hope to give it another shot in the new year. I struggled with having to give up something, even if temporarily, that I was really growing to love – because of the comraderie between women, that those same women are tough as nails and who wouldn’t want to be a part of a group of women who are that kickass?, because it was good for my body and I was seeing rapid changes in my body (I lost almost 3 inches in my waist line in the first three months), and also because I was learning a new skill. I skated as a kid around a wooden rink, but hadn’t done that in probably 15 years. I had never learned how to skate backwards, or do any of the other fancy things derby girls do. (You should youtube a tomahawk stop, and you’ll see what I mean). I started out in may unsteady on my feet,, err, I mean skates. In our first practice I spent most of the time holding on to the wall and being scared of falling down. Part of a minimum skills test is doing 25 laps of the track in 5 minutes. There is a technique to doing this so that you can actually skate 25 laps of the track in 5 minutes. The first time I attempted it, I did 3 laps in 5 minutes. Part of me felt ashamed, as there were many other people around me who did 22 laps in 5 minutes, which for a first attempt is pretty darn good. I second guessed myself. Wondered what I had gotten myself into and if this was all a huge mistake. I fell twice doing those three laps and required help to get up on my feet again. I struggled for weeks getting over the mental aspect of trying to stand up on my skates again after having fallen down. In derby you fall down a lot, and there is skill in falling to lessen the likelihood of injuring yourself or someone else, and there is also skill in getting back up again, especially if you are afraid that in the process you will fall down again. The second time I did the 25-in-5, I managed 10 laps, which was leaps and bounds better over 3 in 5 minutes. By the end, my legs were shaky and felt like jello. I plan on keep trying until I can pass my mins. This

6. Over the summer, my husband and I kindled a new friendship with some of our neighbours who live just a few houses down from us. We share similar senses of humor, and similar relationship dynamics, and it’s the first time in a long time that we’ve regularly spent time with another couple. We even spent a day with them at the end of the summer going to Calypso Water park. We had been twice before, but it was great to share the experience with new friends.

7, The new friends we have, I will call S and C. S is the guy, and C is the girl. C told me about this class that she had taken in the past called Nia, and that it was something she wanted to try again, and asked if I’d be interested in joining her. My description of Nia is that it’s a lower impact, less crazy version of zumba, it’s been around for 30 years (yeah, I didn’t know that either). It is a blend of choreographed movements that draw from different disciplines of dance, martial arts, and yoga. There are usually portions of the class where emphasis is placed on exploring how your body moves, and the message for the entire class is to move how it feels right for you. Nia came to me at a synchronicity moment this year. Synchronicity is a term used by Julia Cameron in her books The Artist’s way and Vein of Gold and is the idea that if you need something, you put it out in to the world and then your call is answered. I was in the process of making the decision to take a break from derby and I needed something that would serve two purposes in my life – a) something that would keep my body moving and further my weight loss goals and b) something that would speak to me on an emotional/spiritual level that would encourage me to be more introspective. Nia fit the bill on both counts for me. I tried it, and realized later that it wasn’t really for me, but in the process I learned that it is ok to not like something, part of the joy comes in trying new things and figuring out what works and what doesn’t

8. The reason why I decided to take a break from roller derby – those health concerns I was speaking of earlier? it took me some time to realize, but since may, when the only thing that had really changed in my life in that month was skating twice a week for four hours total, was that my sleep was suffering when it hadn’t previously and I am prone to migraines, but it had gotten to a point where I had a migraine almost every day. Something had to give so I could function again. Part of taking care of myself this year, has meant that I started doing acupuncture once a month with a lovely woman who practices acupuncture and naturopathic medicine, two things that I believe very passionately in. I am happy to report that my migraines are back down to just a few a month, which is where they were before.

9. Also related to taking the reigns on my health, I went to the dentist for the first time in a very long time.

10. I also went to the eye doctor for the first time in a very long time. I was given a new prescription and the new eyewear I am sporting seems to also make a difference in the frequency of migraine headaches I have.

11. With the support of my naturopath and some extremely knowledgeable friends, I have also been looking at some herbal supplements to support my overall well-being and health. Alternative medicine is something I have been a big believer in for a long time, and I was finally in a place in my life where I was able to embrace more options to western medical care. Western medicine does also have it’s place in my life, I have had asthma since I was a small child, and I use traditional medications to treat it, especially where I have had no success with alternative care. I believe in an ideal world, both options would be available to everyone, and can help for a myriad of things that there may be no other answers for. This is my personal opinion, and I realize it may be fallible. I am human and haven’t had any medical training.

12. I have been out of work for a while. At first, it seemed like a pain. I feel blessed to have a supporting husband who is encouraging me to find the thing that makes me happy. I have applied for many jobs in recent months, even had a few interviews, and unfortunately things haven’t panned out. While it can be frustrating and stressful, I am trying to think of it more positively – that I am waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

13, Because of waiting for this right opportunity to come along, I have been doing some soul searching. I am thinking about going back to school next year to become a veterinary technician. My dream is to work with big animals someday – farm animals in particular. I have been told often in my life that I have a gift for dealing with children and animals – both tend to naturally gravitate toward me.

14. Because of being out of work for a while, having free time on my hands allowed me the opportunity to spend some time with the children of the family I was a nanny for, shortly after I first moved to Canada and was legally able to work. When I was hired, the family had a 2 year old son, and a baby on the way. When I started work, the boy was still in his twos, and the little girl was a tiny bundle of joy at 5 weeks old. I worked with them for 4 and a half years, watching them grow, change and evolved into great kids. I was able to visit  with them this summer, and also in the fall, and I feel fortunate to still be included as such a big part of their lives. The little girl is 6 now, and her brother is 8.

15. I can’t remember exactly when it happened this year, but both of my cats have become more cuddly. Smee, is the youngest of my zoo, and by far my favorite of our three pets (we have another cat, Finn, and a dog, Wylie) She took to kneading this year and also being a lap cat. Every night without fail, she and I cuddle in our bed. She lets me use her belly as a pillow, and she purrs contently, I begin to drool and drift off to the land of nod. She waits for the right moment where my breathing changes and I’m about to sleep, and she gets up, cleans herself off, still purring, and then lies across the backs of my knees. I turn my head, looking for the cool spot on my pillow and sleep. It’s the same every night, and I love her for it.

16. I had the pleasure this year of stepping foot into a pottery studio and falling in love for the fourth time (with pottery).  Whether it be handbuilding, or throwing on a wheel, the act of getting messy and making things with my hands is meditative for me. With a studio membership, I learned how that studio works, and about myself on many different levels. I learned more about me as an artist, and as a person since keeping my hands busy allows my mind to wander. this isn’t only true for making pottery, the same can be said anytime I am working with my hands – knitting, felting, weaving, spinning, painting, sewing – I love it all. the finished product is part of the reward, but it’s mostly just about the process.

17. Being elbow deep playing in clean mud and falling in love with it for the fourth time in my life, really got me thinking more seriously about selling some of my handmade wares. it was a dream of mine since before I moved to Canada, and moving here made it more likely to be possible. I’ve had many people in my life over the years encourage me to make a living making stuff, but like most things in life it’s complicated. there are fears, and that’s another story in of itself. I keep going back to the idea though that it would be better to have tried it and failed at it then never to have tried it at all.

18. getting to go to the sheep and wool festival was a fabulous experience. I posted about it not all that long ago, so I won’t bore you again with the details. It was great to be surrounded by so many other people who also love everything-to-do-with-fiber-of-the-animal-kind, and it certainly got the creative juices flowing – and got me thinking more about selling some of my handmade wares, and how it could be a real thing I could be successful doing. the experience also made me think more about the future – my life as a vet tech, and that I would some day like to either work on a farm, or hopefully, live on a farm.

19. before I went to new York in October, I had been meditating a few times a week, mostly in the evening, while in bed, in hopes of promoting a better nights sleep. A few years ago, while in a local yoga studio, I saw these beautiful handmade cushions for meditation in bold, graphic patterns, and while I loved them, I really couldn’t love the price. For a sit set, I would’ve been looking at almost $200. crazy, especially for something likely to get covered in pet hair. Since I had been meditating more regularly again, I started to wonder if I could justify the purchase of sit set, and even the less expensive ones were still around $100 before shipping.  while in new York, I was having difficulty sleeping and mediated every night before bed, which made it easier to fall asleep. I decided it would be a far more rewarding experience to make my  own zafu and zabuton (aka, the sit set). I made them both without drafting out a pattern, which was a  big deal for me and they have been the biggest sewing projects I have completed to date.

20 – last, but certainly not least has been reconnecting with family this year. my mom came up to visit over the summer and we went to bluesfest together. I saw her again when I went home in October, which was really great. we’ve also had some epically long phone conversations recently (one of them was almost 6 hours!) which is awesome when I’m missing life in new York, when I need some mom advice, or some love from my mom. I also had an opportunity while back home to reconnect with my cousin, who has been more like a sister to me when we were growing up. we had grown apart in our adult years, and seemingly more  so in the last few years. it was awesome to spend a day with her just talking and catching up. my sister and I are ten years apart,(she is 10 years younger) and we didn’t grow up under the same roof. our age difference, not living under the same roof, and a complicated relationship with our father was not a good recipe for us being close growing up. when I got married in 2008, it was the first time I had seen her or my brother in many years. this year we have had a few good heart to heart discussions, and I’m hoping we can continue that well into the future.

 the idea for this post came from reverb13 (more info can be found at katmcnally.com under ways to play) where the prompts were what precious things have you gathered in 2013? what memories from this year do you hope to keep with you always?

 

thanks so much for reading!