My semester has just started, heralding a season of hurried meals, late nights spent hunched over my laptop, and the compression of all of the various things I need to do over the course of the week into a very small slice of time. To make matters more complicated, I’ve signed up to teach some classes at my local knitting and fabric shop. With my free time visibly shrinking from the calendar pages, I thought I’d pause and reflect on a few things that have brought happiness to my home lately.
Finishing things. This crochet ripple blanket has sat nearly-finished in my WIP-basket since early summer. I pulled it out over the weekend and it only took minutes to weave in the ends. I’m always shocked by how quick finishing can be, and apalled at my propensity for letting things languish. It has started a good trend in my craft room!
Warm orzo salad with beets and feta. I don’t think I can sing enough praises for Food52. Whenever I’m in a food rut or wondering what to make for dinner, they bail me out with their simple, perfect recipes. We’ve eaten this salad sprinkled generously with feta; I top mine with a hit of oregano, and Scott with red onion. It’s a perfect work lunch, eaten hot or cold!
Framing things. Maybe you’re familiar with this scenario: see a cool print on Etsy or Society 6. Mull over its purchase for a few days. Decide that you simply can’t live without it. Receive it, and immediately stick in a drawer, closet, or keep in its wrapper leaned up against the wall. I decided to break the cycle and start framing some of these prints, and not only does it validate the purchase – now it’s being used and enjoyed! – but makes our rented apartment feel more like a home. 3M hooks and craft store frames are the best!
Trying to celebrate the simple things. How do you juggle work, life, and/or school? And, more importantly, what do you choose to savor the moments in between the busy?
I’m very lucky to have good friends. Scott and I share a set of best friends, a couple with whom we went to college and who stayed on in Boston longer than any of our other friends had. Over the years we grew increasingly close, a friendship born out of the intimacy of living with one another and nurtured by hikes, camping trips, and many, many meals cooked and enjoyed together. Katie was my maid of honor and is a constant inspiration to me: she is an incredibly successful and motivated chemist who made a bold career change; she is dedicated to fitness and attends multi-weekly krav maga lessons; she is an amazing cook who shares my passion for desserts; and she picked up her life and moved across the country to pursue her goals.
That last bit has been tough. A friendship sustained by weekly visits and evenings shared laughing and growing together has evolved into late-night Skype sessions and rambling emails. We don’t see each other as often as we’d like, but we try and visit when we can (we just booked our trip to California for February!) and seem to pick up just where we left off each time. When Katie visited Colorado recently, she mailed me a package of fabrics from a local shop. It contained those lime stripes pictured above along with a gray and white chevron – perfectly packaging up our shared taste in clean, graphic prints. Armed with fat quarters of each, I knew I had to make something for her, so that her time milling about the store for something to send her friend wouldn’t have been in vain. I paired them with some of Lizzy House’s adorable hedgehogs from my stash, knowing that Katie, an animal lover, will find them charming.
I stitched lots of love into this bag, chanting “please move back, please move back” the whole time, hoping that the little hedgies would convince her of everything she misses from back east. But I know that her life is one of adventure and beauty right now, and that, more selfishly, her time across the country is temporary. The bag was the perfect small piece on which to work while watching Downton Abbey Sunday evening, a comfortable ease into the week ahead – and the promise that more crafting would happen over the course of the week (I stil have to stitch up the drawstrings, after all). And the Toast wrap? I’ve got about 50 stitches left to graft before giving it a good block.
The crafting urge is strong these days; I’m trying to squeeze as much as I can in before my semester starts in a few weeks!
I’ve been chugging away on a Toast wrap since the beginning of December. It’s part of my commitment to use what I have, digging deep into the stash for some balls of Knitpicks Stroll — unoriginally, in the exact colors used in the pattern photos (but why mess with a good thing?). Here’s hoping I can finish this one up this weekend. It’s foggy and cool in Boston, the kind of hazy weather that encourages stretches of time spent with knitting in lap, a cup of tea by your side.
As a crafter, it embarrasses me to report that I contributed very little in the way of handmade projects to my wedding. I long dreamt of the handknit shawl I would wear over my dress, or the handkerchief I would embroider for Scott, but as I’ve mentioned, it was a busy, busy year. The planning of the wedding sped by and, thankfully, resources like Etsy exist to help round out the little details (I’m also very lucky to know resourceful, crafty people who can whip things up in a pinch!). These bits helped us cut costs on decor, but also lent a special, personal touch to the atmosphere. I hope that sharing might provide some inspiration or allow someone else to benefit from what we found along the way. Pictures and details after the jump! Continue reading “Our wedding: the handmade details.”→
The first picture that I took with an actual camera in 2012 was in July, when my family traveled to New Hampshire to celebrate my birthday and Independence Day. We climbed a relatively small mountain, but the trek was so steep that we questioned many times whether we would make it to the top. We were rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding region, and got to watch the beginnings of a magnificent rainstorm. It was a perfect escape from school, work, and wedding planning, and was so restorative. More stories about 2012, after the jump.
Oh, Instagram. How you’ve allowed me to document the minutiae of my life for the last year. These pictures may not mean much to you, but they’re the shining moments from a very busy year – reminders that amidst chaos, I got to experience incredible moments.
I don’t follow many people on Instagram, but would love to have more crafty pictures cropping up in my feed. Leave your IG username in the comments if you’d like to share! I’m ephie_jg.
When I woke up this morning, I felt the yearly compulsion to dust off my blog and publicly announce my goals for the year, and noticed that last year’s New Year’s post was still on the first page. It’s a painful reminder of how I let an entire year slip through my fingers because I couldn’t figure out how to successfully manage my time or say no to people. All of my energy was sapped keeping people happy, often at my own expense.
Despite how busy I was, and how little it felt like I saw Scott or my family, I did accomplish a few things (to be recapped in a post in the next few days). 2012 will be remembered for a monumental high, and a devastating low.
Skimming the internet these past couple of days, I noticed a new trend cropping up in the announcement of New Year’s resolutions: they were being called intentions, instead. I really like that. To me, the word ‘intention’ connotes a mental commitment to something; that the act of doing comes from a place of purposeful thought. It also feels more fluid than a resolution, which always feels like a declaration to me – something unchanging and firm.
All of that said, this year’s intentions are not unlike the resolutions from years past: simple, straightforward, and with a goal of uncluttering life. This year, I’ll be focusing on:
Using what I have. Yarn, fabric, food – it will be a year of examining what I have before looking outward for what I don’t.
Strengthening my existing friendships through more regular visits (all of my friends live far away!), and letting them know I’m thinking about them (through email, paper letters, etc.).
How I consume, and how I participate in consumer culture. We have already begun culling our stuff – more on this later.
A perennial favorite, always hampered by my growing Netflix queue: less TV, more books.
Moving my body. Whether hiking, walking, exploring, or riding my bike – I need to get off of the couch and back in shape.
Being more adventurous! Traveling! Going to loud rock shows! I need to kick my predilection towards anxiety and just do things.
Eating (and drinking) better. More clean, whole foods, and fewer post-class visits to Taco Bell (I’m so embarrassed to admit that).
Spending my time thoughtfully. This means, sadly, less Pinterest/Ravelry/internet-vacuum time.
Paying down my student debt and getting in control of my finances.
What are your intentions for the year? Goals? Resolutions? Whatever you choose to pursue, best of luck in your endeavors – and have a wonderful 2013!
Today at work I recycled last year’s calendar and put up a fresh new one. As I pressed the thumbtack into the wall, it finally hit me today – not Saturday at midnight when the ball dropped, and not Sunday morning when Scott and I celebrated the new year with a nostalgic Greek breakfast – that it is now 2012 and time really is going completely on warp speed. It doesn’t feel like 2011 existed for me. Everything was rushed: I raced my way through finishing school; I graduated and hurried off to a summer vacation; I immediately began graduate school upon my return; I fell into a new job on top of my old one and time ticked on, a little bit faster than usual. I don’t want to wallow in the reality of all of that, in the adult-ness and the routines and lack of control. I want to move forward.
I want to savor this year.
I want it to feel like time is languidly snaking by, and I realize that I’m the only one that has the power to do that. It means taking walks in the sun (or snow, if we ever see any this year) on my lunch breaks. It means waking up a few minutes earlier in the morning so that I can have a cup of tea at my table instead of sipping furiously at stoplights on the commute to work. It means filling my evenings with as much quiet and comfort as possible to restore my sanity before repeating everything all over again the next day.
My list of resolutions for this year is long and the goals lofty. I’ll save that list for another day. For now, I thought it would help to jot down my crafty resolutions:
Knit 12 hats in 2012
Finish all UFOs
Finish a quilt
Sew at least one useful, wearable garment
Sew one holiday gift/month
Knit one Christmas ball/month
Design one thing
Take my time
Knit/crochet/sew from pattern sources/materials I already own
Be happy with what I have, and look away from the shiny
That last one will be the most difficult. But it’s a challenge worth undertaking.
I finished all of my stockings (there were two more). I knit my fingers off and was able to give some knitted gifts at the last minute. I created a self-imposed sweatshop and sewed up some goodies for the grams. It was a great, albeit rushed, Christmas, and I look forward to the new year!
Here’s hoping that you and yours had a wonderful holiday season!