Thursday, 31 December 2020

Happy 2021!

 Dear Hooks 'n Tales Friends,

   I'm so thankful to you all for making 2020 bearable for me. I've really enjoyed reading the comments and stories that you have shared. We truly are a connected community of crocheters. It's no small achievement we survived 2020 without losing our marbles. Perhaps we have lost a few but no matter. If you're reading this, and feeling a little dejected, a little hopeless, worried, or fearful BUT you're still up every day, taking that shower, dressing for the day ahead, making beds, preparing meals, boiling a kettle for a fresh pot of coffee or tea, feeding your fur-babies or human babies, doing laundry, watering your garden or not killing your house plants, working full time or part-time, taking care of elderly family members, planning school-lessons or any number of mundane yet necessary daily tasks...then you are a bright and shining STAR! If you're not managing even the basics, I completely get the struggle and I want you to know that you are beloved and appreciated no matter how you show up for each day. Keep in mind that a star still twinkles no matter how close or far it is. Shine on.💗

  2021 will bring unique challenges still. This horrible Pandemic isn't going away anytime soon. Regardless, hang in there and shine your light. Last year I asked what your New Year's Resolutions were for 2020? Many of you Lovelies replied that you never make them! In retrospect, just as well, because all good plans made by mice and men definitely did go asunder in 2020. I'm big on planning but what 2020 taught me is that it's good to plan but even better to adapt. I'm training myself to take each day as it comes then see whether I can get through it without having a hissy fit if things slide sideways. I feel too that we are all shedding old skins. There was us pre-2020 and then us post 2020. We have all changed, I think? I am sad for what we have lost; our pre-2020 lives, for some of us our jobs, our health, and dearly loved family members and friends. I have had to dig deep to scrape up some courage so that I can welcome 2021 as a wonderful opportunity, a rebirth, filled with budding possibilities and fresher perspectives. For me, The Chrysalis Throw will always be representative of this historic time.

  This short poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson has been a daily encouragement for me. Perhaps more of a war-cry! I've printed this out in large type then taped it to the wall in front of my work table. That way, every time I look up I'll be reminded to not sweat the small stuff. To worry less about what the future may bring and take care of each day as the gift it really is. This too: " You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days" - Alain de Botton. 

2020 has made a bit of a Philosopher of us all, right?😊

" Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day of the year,

He is rich who owns the day, and no one 

owns the day who allows it to be invaded

with fret and anxiety.

Finish each day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt 

crept in.

Forget them as soon as you can, 

tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit

to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This day is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on yesterdays "

Please stay safe, take care of yourself, and don't forget deep, deep breaths.💗

💗 Much love and warm HUGS!


PS: Lovelies, let me know what you will take and what you'll leave behind from your journey through 2020? What are your wishes for 2021? Don't forget to leave your Ravelry name. I'm giving away 20 copies of The Chrysalis Throw today! 

Monday, 14 December 2020

Silly Season Ramblings....

Happy Monday, Lovelies ( before I forget...THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your comments on the previous post. I love reading them all and only wish I had four more hands to reply to everyone! ).

I hope you are all keeping calm and sane while we wearily continue navigating our little boats of Life through the swells and troughs of 2020?  It feels very much like we're battling through something, doesn't it? Last night I was lying in bed and that movie with Robert Redford popped into my mind. The one where he's solo in a sinking yacht? I was thinking about how we're all, in some way or another, finding ways to survive these unsettling times. Podcasts and Vlogs have been a lifeline for me and really stepped up to provide much-needed daily entertainment and inspiration. Here's my shortlist of favourites. Do you have much-loved Podcasts or Vlogs that you could recommend?

💙 Arne and Carlos.

Oh my hat, these two, besides talented, generous, and full of incredibly informative snippets, are unintentionally incredibly funny too!

💙 The Last Homely House.

Hosted by Kate who lives on a farm in Northumberland with her four Cats, Hens, and a Goose.

💙 Paul Cooper's, the Fall of Civilisations.

Fascinating, informative, and brilliantly detailed narrative. Highly recommended if you're into History.

💙 Eight Miles From Home.

I never miss a Vlog detailing the nomadic life of this amazing couple Jay and Sascha and their adorable little "Moana" in the flesh called Story Ember. They restore my faith in Humanity.

Routines and rituals have also helped keep me grounded. When my boys were much younger their Dad was shot and paralyzed in a botched car-jacking. As you can imagine, it was a deeply distressing time for us all. What helped most were our daily routines which, even though internally I was buckling, kept us going! Simple disciplines of waking up and immediately heading to the kitchen to boil the kettle for our morning beverages, laying the breakfast table, stirring a pot of oatmeal, feeding the Dogs and Cats, filling the washing machine with laundry, and preparing the morning lessons for my homeschooled brood. These rituals forced me to stay in the moment rather than crumble into a soggy ball of despair and fear. Over time these routines became deeply ingrained survival tools, which I'm thankful for now. I'm reminded too that there are no mistakes, only lessons.

These days, without the distraction of small children, I'm still up at 4am! I make a lovely cup of coffee and get back into bed to read the daily online newspapers on my tablet. At 5am it's snack time for the furry-brood. By 6am I am at my desk answering emails and checking for messages on social media. At 7am it's breakfast then a walk about the garden to check on "everyone". This morning I noticed that an ailing banana plant I moved a year ago into a sunnier position, has finally flowered! 

My day continues in this more or less orderly fashion. In a way, repeating the same routines each day is like living and breathing a Mantra. There is calm to be found. And if you are easily amused as am I, humour in spades too.😆

Our weekend visits to Kalk Bay still satisfies in so many ways. It's a ritual that rewards the effort of getting up early on a Sunday! The bakery had just opened, the bread was still warm, the coffee excellent ( oh, the joys of consistency! ), the staff predictably jovial and welcoming. Their routines raise my routines and make me want to do better! We've been frequenting this bakery for 18 years! They have yet to disappoint. A pleasant, slow amble along the harbour wall jutting into a sparkling seascape would have been enough but then this... three large seals dropped in for a visit. They are so like Dogs!

As usual, I'm off on a tangent! Let's chat crochet. If you've purchased Part 1 of the Chrysalis Mystery Make-Along then, as we speak, you'll find Part 2 in your Ravelry Library! I am having so much fun designing this Mystery-Along so I hope you'll have fun too and that it will keep your mind away from more troubling thoughts? I'm completely second-guessing my colourway of course. I'm not feeling so blue these days, more golden orange and salmon pink! Luckily many of you are amazing colourists and I've added a few images to the Ravelry pics album. So, if anyone is stuck for a colourway do head on over HERE. 

Noelene and I are running a Festive 12 Day Advent Quiz Competition over at the Workshop. There are prizes for answering simple and fun questions so if you're keen for a laugh and maybe winning a little prize, do head on over HERE.

I hope those of you Lovelies who commented on the last Blog Post and were picked by the random picks generator have received your free copy of the Chrysalis Throw Mystery-Makealong? Today, there are another 5 copies up for grabs, so don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you comment. Good Luck! 💗

It's 9am now and that means shower and make myself presentable ( to the grocery delivery person and the fur-kids). Who else? I have barely left the house since April! 😆

Wishing you all a lovely calm week ahead! Avoid drama and demagogues, which will only make you feel worse. Stay safe, wear your mask and shine on!

Jen 💗