Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Broke Up With Pinterest (but we're still going to be friends.)

I think it was around Christmastime this year when I started to feel disillusioned with Pinterest.  Money was tight, the whole family was sick, and I started to feel resentful when I saw other people's ideas.  So I told Pinterest that I needed some space.  I hadn't been feeling happy with it lately, and I needed some time to figure out what I wanted from our relationship.

Later, reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I started thinking about an idea discussed in a book- participating in life.  Like you probably do, I've enjoyed the amazingly fun and inspiring time-suck that Pinterest can be.  I've gotten some great ideas.  I don't think that Pinterest is a bad idea, but a great resource.  The problem is that I spent so much time being inspired, that I stopped doing.  

So after our break, Pinterest and I sat down for a chat.  "It's not you, it's me," I said.  "I am spending so much time being caught up in your world, that I'm not doing enough to create my own."   I'll admit, it was a little sad.  "I'll miss you, and we can still be friends... but I need to pin less, and create more."  

In that time, I've started using what Pinterest has to offer with more restraint.  It's still my favorite place to search for recipes and tutorials.  I use it almost everyday to save an idea for a future project- but I don't go there to just to hang out anymore.  I told Pinterest that was no good for me. It was discouraging and not a good use of my time.  And Pinterest understands.

Now Instagram and I need to have a Define The Relationship talk soon...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Selfish (in a good way) crafting

A friend on Instagram and I were talking about January being the month of selfish knitting.  Following the holidays, it's nice to remember what you want to craft for yourself, and give yourself the gift of permission to make something as nice for yourself as you made for others in the last few months.  There are so many things I want to make this year, I hope to make a 'for me' project each month so that I can keep working toward the goals I set.  Burned out on knitting a bit, after working up lots of baby sweaters, a few hats and my boy's vests for Christmas, I really struggled with each new knitting project I'd pick up.  So I put the yarn aside and tackled an embroidery project I'd had my eye on.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out, and it really was a nice break.

Ready to knit again, I joined in a knit-along-group on Ravelry, and am working up a pair of fingerless gloves. I finished one Sunday evening, and hope to have its match finished by the end of the week.  It's exciting to be knitting for myself again.   Up next is a pair of mitts and matching hat commissioned by a friend- and then Aidan has started asking for some gloves.  By that point, they might be finished in June.  

This week, though, I'm taking a break from taking a break from crafting for others, and will be collaborating with a friend on a quilt.  Tomorrow we'll be sewing like mad and hope to have the top pieced by the end of the week.  I've been cutting the pieces this morning, think it's going to be beautiful.

Are you taking a month of selfish (in a good way) crafting this month, or are most of your efforts to be shared?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

To Aidan for his 6th Birthday

Dear Aidan,

I know this is late- many things from me will probably start like that- but this year, your birthday was a little crazy.  You spent the night in the Emergency Room, and our one and only birthday picture features you opening presents with a sick bowl next to you, just in case.  You had a high fever and could barely stay awake.  In the ER, they treated you like royalty, because you were so sweet and polite.

This year with you has been one of my favorites, and one of the scariest.  You started school, are learning to read, and losing teeth.  You are all big kid now, and the moments you want to snuggle like you did when you were little are all the more special for this.   You love making things, and the art table is the most common place to find you in the house.  Science is another favorite- you are still quite the budding paleontologist, and I saw you trying to explain a concept of evolution to a classmate when I visited you for lunch.  She threw up her hands and exclaimed "not again, Aidan!"

I don't think your dad and I could be any prouder of who you are than we are.  You have such a huge heart, and a capacity for empathy and kindness that I am so grateful for.   You are eager to help those around you, to make their lives brighter.  You are the best big brother to Colin, sharing so kindly and patiently with him while he learns.  He admires you so much, and I am often moved to tears by the love you two have for each other. I think your souls must have been friends for a long, long time.

This year, my wish for you is very simple- that you continue to be who you are: open-hearted, curious, and enthusiastic.  These qualities are exactly what I hoped you would have, and will enrich your life so much.



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Embracing the New Year

Prompted by a question from Aidan a while ago, I looked up the reason that leaves change color in the fall.  It's a visual manifestation of the process in which the chlorophyll returns to the trunk and branches of the tree to help it survive the winter.  Like the trees store up sunlight to use in the long winter months.  The symbolism isn't hard to see that.  We had a hard December, and maybe I didn't have enough stored up sunlight to see me through it.  I'm grateful for family that supports and forgives when I fall short.   I'm grateful for an opportunity to start new.

I love the feeling of New Year's Day.  I've always enjoyed it, but I find that this year, I'm especially glad to heave a sigh of relief, hang the new calendar, and put the last year away.  Maybe it's because we had a December filled with sickness and disappointment, but my wonderful husband took down our 'tree' (a makeshift creation of lights, ribbon, and tomato cages - even tree cutting was out this year) the day after Christmas, and seeing the decorations go didn't make me sad at all.  I was ready for something new.

A new start doesn't have to wait for a new year, but I think it's a great time to create intentions and set goals for the coming year.  I didn't make any real resolutions this year; resolve can fail.  I have chosen a word for the year to embrace and focus on, sort of like a year-long mantra.  My word is steady.  I want to steady my temperament- to work on keeping calm better in frustrating moments when they can't be avoided.  Steadying my efforts toward goals is another direction I'm taking my word in-  Less stops and starts, less going all-in to lose steam all too soon, more slow and steady wins the race.

I like to set goals on a weekly or monthly basis rather than for an entire year, but two things that came to mind when thinking about the new year were to read more, and "less planning, more action."  I want to bring to life some of the ideas I put on Pinterest.   To that end, I've set a goal to read one book a week, and I've started to give myself deadlines for projects I'm working on. Making a steady effort, I think these things will lead to some great things in the coming year.

I hope your January is bringing you good things, and that the goals you want to reach are coming into sight.  I read an article in Artful blogging by the author of Wit and Whistle  that said her blog has helped motivate her to lead a more creative life.  I want to use this space to do the same for me.  I hope you'll come back to read more about it.  I'd love to hear about your hopes and goals for the new year, especially if you have a word you've chosen.  Please share.