Friday, 31 January 2020

January, done and dusted!

Hello lovely, Lovelies and Happy Friday!

Can someone please tell me where January went? Were we not just celebrating the Silly Season and galavanting about the countryside enjoying our holiday festivities? On social media I see loads of memes joking about January being 12 months long and I guess if you're skint after all the gifting then it can feel that way, right? However, for me at least, it seems as if time is flying by uncomfortably quickly! I've been deliberately trying to sloooooooow right down and that helps but I've identified one time stealer, aaargh and it's CROCHET!

For example: when I read a book or even a magazine, especially if it's all-absorbing I'll look at the clock and see that time has barely moved forward. Much like dreaming, when you're pulled into a compelling narrative, time expands. When I crochet, I may have completed a few short rows which to my mind took " only a few minutes " yet, the clock has whizzed forward two hours! Time is tricky, that's for sure.

As a recovering Chronically Very Busy Person with the Attention Span of a Fruit Fly, I've identified a few things that definitely help to slow down my perception of time flying by:

๐Ÿ’šDo one thing at a time and do it until it's completed ( SO MUCH harder than it sounds especially for Multitaskers ).
๐Ÿ’šPrioritise Tasks. Feeling overwhelmed and rushed for time...steals time. Learn to delegate. This lesson is hard but very important, especially for us Women who often feel that we need to do everything or it will never get done. If no one will help, lower your standards.๐Ÿ˜„
๐Ÿ’šIf possible, take an afternoon nap ( this gifts you an extra few hours into the night, which extends your day tadaaaaa! ).
๐Ÿ’šWeather and shelter permitting, eat breakfast, lunch or dinner al fresco ( savour and enjoy your meals outside...NO CELLPHONES, unless you're a Doctor ).
๐Ÿ’šStep away from social media, especially if you're not purposefully engaging. Mindless scrolling is a time stealer!
๐Ÿ’šCreate pleasant daily rituals. I like to light candles and tea lights, even in Summer.
HERE are 127 Ideas if you can't think of any.
๐Ÿ’šAdopt or participate in a physically engaging exercise ( gardening counts! ). Have you noticed how it takes three whole hours to get through a gruelling half-hour routine? But you don't have to suffer. I walk every day and my hour-long walk stretches out like a rubber band because I'm fully engaged with and exploring the environment. Back in my car, driving home, my rubber-band time warp snaps back to reality. I realise only an hour has passed by. Walking for the win!

I want to say "Stop Crocheting" because time whizzzzzzzes by when you do ( I can't count the number of pots of burnt rice that attest to this )...but ...well, that's never going to happen, right? All the more reason to cut back on time stealers and adopt time makers.

On this topic of slow life, if you worked through The Artist's Way then you will love this book by Julia Cameron called Walking in This World. Both books changed my life so they come Highly Recommended.

Taking a few moments to appreciate our walk. A time slowing sound bite.

Stopped and spotted, on our walk, this extraordinarily beautiful exotic trumpet-like flower! I wouldn't have noticed it if I was hurriedly marching along. 
Can anyone identify it? 

Some of you Lovelies may have seen my little post on Instagram about painted stones? I especially choose places to "hide" them on our walks, places that are not terribly easy to spot. It must feel like a  ๐Ÿ’ฅBig Surprise๐Ÿ’ฅ to find one or it's no fun for the Finder, right? Making these slowed time.

I forgot to take a pic of the first one I hid ( it's been claimed! ). Today I'll see whether STAND TALL found a home. If it has, then I'll hide another. You probably think I'm bonkers but I am getting an inordinate amount of fun and pleasure from doing this!

On another floral note, I made a garden nook on my verandah using a pallet. I kill houseplants so my personal challenge is to not murder ( with love ) these shade-loving beauties. Wish me luck. Making this little nook and taking care of it, is a time- slowing mindful practice. I still need to get some pretty pots! Then delegate the task to Mr HooksnTales of attaching the pallet to the wall seeing as I'm not sure my late Father-In-Laws walking cane will last as a prop. But having known the stoic man, it will probably last forever!

The Flowers I Chose.
Bottom Left: 1 x Alstroemeria ( aka Lily of the Incas or Peruvian Lily ). Second and Top Shelf Left: 2 x White + 1 x Pink Begonias, Right: 2 x Fuschias. The rest are recovering- almost- murdered indoor plants which I am willing back to life.

Then I added a few little bits of kitchenalia and other thingies to the display.

You're probably wondering if I'm ever going to talk Crochet? In a sense, my floral world is all about crochet and crochet is about the floral world seeing as Flowers are always what inspires me most.

If you've been on other social media you'll have seen my post about the Scheepjes Secret Garden yarn? Oh my, I absolutely loved working with this yarn while hooking up a simple Granny Square blanket. It's a cotton-silk-polyester blend in gorgeously romantic colours! Sadly, it's only available here in South Africa from Be Inspired and way too expensive for my purse. But I was gifted one ball of each colour which made me feel terribly lucky and rich inside. ๐Ÿ˜Š

And on that note, our new GIVEAWAY is this pretty and interesting pattern by Jane Crowfoot called The Janis Floral Wrap. All you need to do to participate is leave a comment below in the comments section, with your Ravelry name! Easy peasy!

๐Ÿ’—To the three Lucky Winners of our last Giveaway, CONGRATULATIONS! ๐Ÿ’—

In my next blog post, I will be able to share some more information on the upcoming Green Tea Throw ( yarn + colourway...and a sneak peek! ) which will be released, in full, on 1 May 2020.

Lovelies, I wish you a wonderfully slow and luxurious weekend.
If it starts getting hectic, take a deep breath, say NO, make yourself your favourite beverage and remind yourself that self-care is just as important as any other care required to preserve something precious.

๐Ÿ’— Jen

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Happy January, Happy New Year, Happy New Decade!

Hello, Lovelies!

I know, I did already do all my Happy New Year social media posts so I KNOW you know I wish you all, dear Yarny Friends, a VERY Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, Joyous and Contented 2020! Can't say it too many times these days... we need all the good luck, good thoughts, good words and good deeds we can get, right? I, for one, am launching myself into this new decade... well "launching" may be a bit exaggerated ( my dodgy knee ) feeling determined to make every day count for something.

For me, this means:
๐Ÿ’™ Not wasting time worrying about things I cannot change (my default setting is dialled high on Worry).
๐Ÿ’™ Making healthy choices every day (not just occasionally). This means, getting enough sleep, cutting down on social media, walking EVERY DAY, eating even more sustainably (plant-power whoohoooo!), cutting out plastic from my life ( a huge task, right? ).
๐Ÿ’™ Reading "world" News only once a week ( I need to know if an asteroid or tsunami is headed my way )!
๐Ÿ’™ Reading a good fiction book at least once a month (suggestions welcome).
๐Ÿ’™ Drinking top-notch coffee (life is too short to waste on instant nonsense ever again).
๐Ÿ’™ Turning my frown upside down (so much harder than you'd expect considering what's going on in our poor old world).
๐Ÿ’™Journal regularly (it's either that or a Therapist). To get myself motivated, I bought an inexpensive journal and made Nisha witness my good intentions. Anyways, those Owl Eyes will guilt trip me into doing what I said I'd do!

It's been very hot and humid over the last few days and Roxy and I have headed out to our beloved tree-lined Alphen Trail every day. Read more about this LOVELY walk HERE. The river looks like a skinny snake now as it wends its way towards the ocean. We begin our walk at Quince where they make the best coffee I have tasted in a long while. I'm not a snob on any level but have conceded that I am indeed a Coffee Snob. Quince has spoiled me and now I can never move house seeing as they're my Coffee Dealer and only 73 steps from my front door. Roxy is becoming a Very Good Girl at restaurants. Believe me when I say that in the past she was NOT a Very Good Girl but rather a little Monster on the lead and would try and pinch people's carrot cake right off their cake forks!

There are a number of these swings placed along the river bank and you can't see it in the image above but some of these swing out over a 10metre drop! Roxy and I like to climb up and down these steep embankments looking for treasure. Usually, it's just some pretty dried wild grasses, a colourful leaf or some interesting branches but yesterday.....oh, my! I literally yelled out loud "I'M SO LUCKY!", like an excited child! I found this painted stone and when I turned it over there was this! It's a thing. I never knew. I love this idea and if you like, you can join the CT Rocks! Group and start planting your own stones. I'm definitely going to paint a few stones and leave a pleasant surprise for someone else.

Finally, you're probably wondering when I'm going to get around to talking Crochet! This year I'll be releasing the Green Tea Block and Extension in May. MAAAAY I can hear you shouting, that's sooo faaar awaaaay! Thing is, I am admitting defeat...I simply cannot function in full crochet mode through our hot and humid Cape Town summer months. I've tried. I was even pregnant through three Summers just to prove I could do it. It must be age creeping up on me, or global warming, but my capacity to tolerate extreme heat has diminished year on year and it's now at 0%.

HOWEVER, I can manage smaller projects and as many of you may have already noted, Bloemfontein Rose is out of retirement, rewritten, resized and accompanied by a full Video tutorial!
I think last year I mentioned that bringing the older patterns out of retirement was on my project radar and now I'm going at them, all hooks blazing!

Last of all is our first Giveaway of the roaring 20's! I fell in love with the Norway Spruce Blanket by Rosina Plane. Isn't it lovely? Not to mention it will add to your crochet skills list, right? All you need to do to stand a chance of being one of our 3 x Lucky Winners is find the little clue in the pic below which points us to a future Holiday. If you can guess which one that is, then leave a comment in the comments section below and don't forget to add your Ravelry name! Good Luck! ๐Ÿ€

Thank you so much for stopping by and see you in Crochetland!
๐Ÿ’— Jen