Monday, 31 December 2012

Roundup 2012

Well well well... Here we are at the end of another year.  I didn't think that I would last 2 years on this here blog, but I'm glad I did.  This year was pretty busy, and had tons of changes and events for me.  And let's not forget the personal growth.  And the friends I made.  Here are my favorite posts from this year:

I also enjoyed these posts I wrote:

And from around the blogosphere I enjoyed:

It was a great year for blogging.  Here's to another in 2013!  Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Ringing in a new year

I love the idea of New Year's Day!  A new start, time to make good on all those things you've been promising yourself.  It seems so hopeful to me.  And I'm a girl who loves hope.  So naturally, I see New Year's as a time to re-imagine what the upcoming year could be. 

I have a secret superpower: I am able to make and keep my new year's resolutions. 

Ok, its not really a superpower, its just knowing yourself enough to know how to set some realistic goals.  I don't usually set goals that impossible, no need to make myself feel like a failure.  Instead, I choose a few things that I want to improve about myself, and work on those.

Also, I make my list of resolutions really pretty so that I can hang them up on my bulletin board to remind myself what I'm working on.

This year, the list is kind of short, but still a challenge:

My resolutions are never overwhelming, and always something I think I can achieve.  So, this year I will:

1. Find an active hobby.

I have many hobbies that are stationary hobbies.  I love crafts, and knitting and sewing-- but not much movement happens there.  I need to find an activity that I like, that is active.  I run, but I don't ever enjoy that.  As a result, it is easy for me to go 2 weeks (like I have over the holidays...) not running.  I need something that is sorta social, active, and kinda fun.  And I need to be able to do it in the winter. 

Why an active hobby?  I think of it as a kind of test for myself.  I am starting to really like my body.  and one challenge for me is to take my body and do something active with it where other people will see me.  I run alone, inside, on a treadmill.   I want to love my body as it jiggles and wiggles while I'm moving. 

2.  Do one new thing.

This resolution is vague on purpose.  I don't really know what that new thing will be.  But, I really like to challenge myself, and I haven't done that recently.  I've been wanting to do something that scares me for a while.  No I'm not a masochist, I like trying to conquer some of the fears I have.  And one way I can do that is by facing them.  One year, I walked on the glass floor of the CN Tower, to face my fear of heights.  Its 1, 122 feet off the ground.  It did it.  And I felt awesome after I did it.  So I would like to do something like that again.  Maybe something to do with spiders...

3. Be self- affirming.

Honestly, this one will be the hardest.  I am the queen of self- depreciation.  I make jokes at my expense all the time.  And I never stop to think what it does to my state of mind.  Isn't that awful?  I seem to worry about everyone else's feelings but my own.  And then, when people don't consider my feelings, instead of being about to move past it, I fall apart.  I figure, that if I started to be nicer to myself, maybe just maybe, I can handle when other people are not as nice to me as they could be.

This is the resolution that will need the strictest game plan.   How will I know that I am being self-affirming?  Should I do a checklist?  A routine?  I may keep a journal, and write one thing I like about myself everyday.  I'm not sure how I will set it up yet. 

Do you have any practice that you use to protect your feelings of self appreciation?  I would love to hear about them...

Monday, 3 December 2012

12 posts of Christmas: Handmade Gifts

Dude.  I love Christmas.  I'm not talking about the religious aspect of the holiday, I'm not into that part.  I'm into the gift-giving, meal-making, goodie-baking, fun-spirited aspect of the holiday.  So, in honor of the holiday season, I'm going to have 12 posts dedicated to the things I love about Christmas.  


Isn't giving presents the best?  I love giving my friends and fam pressies, but often people are weird about it if there's no special occasion.  Every once and a while I will find something that I HAVE to buy for a friend, and they would give me a hard time about getting them something.  With some friends its goes so far as I wait for their birthdays, and then give them all the things I found along the way.   What happened to us as a society, where a friend can't give another friend something to perk up their day without bringing on the Inquisition?

ANYWAYS, one of my favorite things about Christmas, is that I can give gifts, and no one gives me the third degree about it.  One of the things I love to do is make the gifts I give to people.

I've always been crafty, but I never really gave handmade gifts at first.  I didn't have many people in my life who appreciated all the effort and time that went into making something.  So I kept most of the early things I made.  But I'm a knitter, and you can have entirely too many hats, scarves, mitts and sweaters so, one Christmas I gave away something I made.  And it was a hit!

There is a practical side to handmaking your gifts too.  A few of our Christmases were heavily budgeted for me and D as I was unemployed, then underemployed for a couple of years.  I made almost every present I gave that year.  Not only were they not costly, they were deeply personal to each person who received a gift.

Of course, pulling off a handmade Christmas takes a lot of planning.  I started thinking about Christmas gifts I wanted to make in August.  I searched for patterns, and started making gifts even if I didn't know exactly who they would go to.  And, if I made something and liked it too much to give away, there was time to find something else to make, or to make another one.  Not that I have ever done that, or anything.

For gift giving, I tend to stick to small things- hats or mitts and the like.  This way I don't have to worry about sizing, and you can never really have too many of either of these living up here in the "great white north."

Here is one of the gifts I made for a friend this year (Oh I hope she doesn't read this blog...):

I didn't knit this.  I was on a weaving kick for a while, and this is one of the scarves I made.  A friend commented on how much she loved it, so she's getting it for Christmas!

Another gift I've made for this year:

A Sunflower Tam!  I love this hat, and I have one for myself.  A great thing about being a knitter is that knitted gifts are in high demand usually.  But I have given other types of crafty gifts too.  A few years ago, I made some quilts for my grandmother, my mother and my mother-in-law; and I have made quilted makeup bags in the past.

But it really doesn't matter what kind of handmade gift you give; its really just the fact that you took some time, and thought about someone enough to give them not only a present, but you time too. And this is how I know that handmade presents best represent what I am trying to give to my friend and family; because I am always grateful when someone will spend their time on me.

What handmade gifts have you given? Why did you give it?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

12 posts of Christmas: DIY Star Ornaments

Dude.  I love Christmas.  I'm not talking about the religious aspect of the holiday, I'm not into that part.  I'm into the gift-giving, meal-making, goodie-baking, fun-spirited aspect of the holiday.  So, in honor of the holiday season, I'm going to have 12 posts dedicated to the things I love about Christmas. 

I love my tree.  Every year, D and I have an argument about what colors we are going to decorate the tree in.  He likes multi-colored lights and tinsel; essentially he likes it if the tree looks like a carnival threw up on it.  Each year I lobby for something a little classier.  Up until this year, I lost the battle.  It was fine though, I like decorating the tree and having it up, so it didn't really matter what it looked like to me.

But this year... D reminded me that we made a deal; if we did the tree how he liked it last year, he would let me choose the colors this year.  So I went for the classy white-lighted, red and gold decorated tree.  And it looks so nice!  There was one small problem, we didn't have that many red and gold ornaments.  We had tons of balls, but not anything else.

Well, thank goodness I'm crafty y'all.  I made most of the ornaments on the tree.  These ones are my favorites though.  They are fast, cheap and you can make them in any size and color you want.

And who doesn't love a tree full of stars?

These paper stars are great.  They are light, and pretty easy to make.  They are really fast too, so you can make 10 of them in no time. 


Fancy paper (one sided is fine)- cut into 4 inches square. 
Glue, I used white glue
Folder if you are using card stock

How to:

Turn your paper over (right side down) and fold your paper in half diagonally.  With the decorated side of the paper facing up, fold in half length-wise and width-wise. 

Turn the paper over again (right-side down) and mark just over an inch on the non diagonal seams that you folded.

Mark the same distance from the edge, all around your paper.

Cut along the seams to the point you marked.  You should have four cuts in your paper.  Fold the corners in towards the diagonal folds.  Do this for all four corners.  On ever other triangle, put some glue on, and over lap the triangles to create the points.  While you are waiting for it to dry, repeat these steps again to make the other half.

 Glue the halves together back-to-back to create an 8 pointed star!  Let it dry.

To hang the stars, I used a needle and some invisible thread and poked a hole in one of the points.  Ready to hang, and perfectly matched for my tree. 

I also made a bunch to hang off of gifts and stuff.  I've made these before, but larger and hung them from a window.  They are a pretty handy craft!

I'm thinking or crocheting some snowflakes or something...  What kind of ornaments have you made for your tree?