…and Forward on 2022

As I write this post, it occurs to me that I’m not really sure what I expect 2022 to bring. I suppose we’ll see some change (some good things and some bad) and we’ll also find ourselves wondering if anything has really changed at all. One thing that the last two years has really taught me is that nothing is truly set in stone and if you’re willing to pivot you’ll have a better time.

In 2022 I:

  • will spend more time in the garden. Whether it’s planting vegetables or sitting around the fire at night, I want to make sure I enjoy all the hard work and time we put into cleaning it up last year.
  • will spend as much time outside as possible actually, doing all the things. It’d be cool to get a mountain bike for the summer months, but we’ll see.
  • will read books because I want to, not because I set a numeric goal. This was a good goal last year and I think it should stay on the list.
  • will spend more time by the water. Even if that water in question is found while enjoying a walk in the woods.
  • will design and publish a baby sweater! Hey it could happen.
  • will make. Whether it’s via my knitting needles, sewing machine, loom or some other method, I will make things with my hands.
  • will keep trying new things. How else am I to discover things I didn’t know I would like?
  • will journal and/or sit with myself more. I am just as important as those around me and should treat myself as such.

The interesting thing about getting older is that my desire to push myself as far as I can go isn’t as strong as it was when I was in my early 20s. It’s not that I’ve become apathetic, it’s that I’m learning to slow down and enjoy what’s around me. I’m learning not to beat myself up when I don’t meet a goal and to think about why that goal wasn’t met (and even whether or not I care). So while I’m tempted to add things to the list such as “travel to new places” or “finally hike Mt. Washington for real”, I realize that having less specific goals means that there are many different ways to meet them.

Looking back on 2021…

It crazy to believe that 2021 is over, it feels like time slowed down while speeding up. We’ve been back to in-person work for a few months now and even though the pandemic is still something that affects our day-to-day lives it’s safe to say we feel like things are starting to normalize. Time is still broken, but honestly, I think I’m ok with it. It’s nice to enjoy the small moments and to imagine ways to start incorporating bigger ones.

In 2021 I said I would:

  • hike Mt. Washington. I think this year will be the year that this finally happens, we’re starting to run out of excuses. We pushed off hiking Mt. Washington in favor of shorter hikes closer to home. This doesn’t mean I’ll never hike Mt. Washington, it just means that this year didn’t end up being the right year for us. Though we gave up long day-hikes this year, we found ourself in the woods more often because we didn’t need as much time to get away.
  • camp a lot. In fact it would be great if this was the year of camping. I’m talking load up the car and go somewhere new. I’m talking pack a bag and camp off trail. 2021 is going to be the year of the woods that 2020 started off being before the house distracted us. Nope, didn’t camp at all. This makes me a little sad, but it was so rainy this summer! By letting this specific style of vacationing go, we found ourselves taking more day trips places an hour or two away. Plus, my husband enrolled in a firefighter certification course and, though it ate up a lot of our weekends, I couldn’t be prouder.
  • knit more sweaters for hiking. I knit one last year and am obsessed with wearing it instead of a jacket, for something that’s not bulky it’s so warm! instead, I cranked out baby sweaters, so many of my friends expanded their families this year! That and I started sewing more garments, so while more hiking sweaters are still desired they took a back seat this year.
  • be finishing off one of our bedrooms as a nursery. Which in itself is a crazy concept that we’re wrapping our heads around slowly because it’s always been an abstract idea. Don’t expect anything until someone sticks me with a covid vaccine though! This got done! We finished off the nursery! We’ve also started on the hallway, which means that in less than a year and a half we’ve fixed up most of our house! Also, it just occured to us that no contractor was hired to help us, which makes the final results even more mind blowing.
  • be growing vegetables that will make it to edible format. I can feel it, it’s going to happen this year. Unfortunately, this is another thing that didn’t happen this year. So much energy was spent on other things this summer, but I’m thinking that next year we’ll have the capacity to complete more hobby projects around the house.
  • not try to read 100 books. Last year I found myself pushing through books that I wasn’t into because I had a number goal and limited time to reach it. This year I want to read books that I like and abandon ones that don’t hold my interest. Or at least save them for a day that I’m in the mood for them. This goal was so much better for me than last year’s I read over 70 books and don’t feel bad about the ones I put down for various reason.
  • daydream about running in person races and patiently wait for them to start happening again. Or at least try to be patient. This happened! Hubby and I ran the New England Dog Jog in May with Loche and had such a fun time! It felt so good to be “surrounded” (staggered start and all) by other people working towords a common goal. We also had plans to run an October race but I pulled a muscle and needed to let it heal instead.
  • probably knit my niece something kitchy, because eventually she’ll care what she wears. This year, I made my neice three cute little sweaters and a poncho. Plus I sewed her a summer dress! Not sure if I’ll collaborate with my sister as a holiday gift this year, I’m starting to want to knit what I want when I want to again.

In 2021 I:

  • Got married! We tied the knot wearing whatever we wanted to in our backyard. For me, this meant a sundress and no shoes.
  • Worked hard on setting healthy boundaries.
  • Planned and instructed a learn to code python series.
  • Joined the Wonderland Yarns team as a collaborator and ambassador.
  • Was a 2021 maker for Blue Sky Fibers
  • Took a few sewing classes and made garments that mostly fit
  • Upcycled a chair

Happy 2021 from our family to yours!

This holiday season marks the first of many being celebrated as husband and wife.

Though 2021 brought some of the unknowns from 2020 with it, we couldn’t be happier to have spent it together. We look forward to what 2022 will bring, including welcoming an addition to our family in the next few months.

We hope that your year has been as wonderful as ours and that next year continues to be full of hope, love, and joy.

A newly married interracial couple sitting on the grass. He's kissing her cheek and she's looking down and smiling.

An Ode to Winter

A young woman and her dog running through a field covered in three feet of snow.

Where July brought cool rainy weather, August as stomped in with tons of mosquitos, high humidity and a heat wave. As I sit on our deck appreciating its screens, I can’t help but remember that winter was a few months ago and will return before I know it.

Winter, where my husband and I will bicker about how warm to set the thermostat and how many layers are acceptable inside (I stand by you shouldn’t need to wear shorts in your own house! Grab a sweater!). Where we will try to be patient as we wait for enough snow to go cross country skiing and snow shoeing. When the hiking trails will have less people on them and when hitting a trail without a good pair of microspikes leads to turning around and a disappointed dog.

Yes, the heat is high and the humidity sticky. Yes, we’ve made a game out of who can kill the most mosquitos while taking the dog for a walk. Yes, part of planning a hike means hitting the trail by 6:30 am and the thought of using our outdoor firepit is slightly laughable.

True, we long for the days that we can pull out our wool sweaters and curl up together under blankets. But to summer’s credit, when those days come we find ourselves longing for long summer nights and listening for the peepers to make their annual appearance. We laugh about the days when we were sweating as we rub a little warmth into our hands and try to remember what it felt like to struggle to walk down the street without melting.

So as I sit on my porch enjoying yet another freeze pop, I appreciate the feeling of being warm while remembering what it’s like to be cold. Knowing that before I know it, I won’t be able to sit out here and will be remembering what it’s like to be too hot.

A young woman and her dog playing in a field covered in three feet of snow.

Ode To Winter by: Matthew Holloway

Ode, ode to the winter
What music plays to sonnet
While a world drifts to sleep
Leaves curl and flowers bow
Birds take flight to a further place
A touch of frost creeps in
Stealing the landscape of its colour
Soon all shall be held motionless

In the still of a winters season
Now in all its changing
The beauty and perfection of life
Is left open to be witnessed
Savoured by the eye of an artist
To feed the soul, nourish the heart
This melancholy season
This changing landscape
What beauty it reveals
In an ode to the winter

Crafting Breaks

Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you don’t feel motivated. Sometimes you’re waiting on supplies. Sometimes you’re just not feeling it. Whatever the reason(s) you have for not crafting are valid reasons and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking a break.

I’m someone who brings her knitting everywhere, last week I left the house multiple times without packing my knitting. I have fabric that I’m excited about, I didn’t turn my sewing machine on once. I warped my loom with some beautiful yarn, wove a handful of rows and then put it down. None of these things mean that I’m giving up making, they just mean that I needed some time away.

When your craft becomes part of your identity, it’s hard to step away. It’s also hard not to feel guilty about stepping away. This past week, I’ve taken more walks and snuggled my dog instead of knitting during a movie. I enjoyed the space created by not having my ironing board out.

When my last sewing class met I made a comment that I thought I was sewing the dress pattern at the wrong time. That my pandemic brain needed something different. Isn’t it funny, that we can be kind and supportive for other people and then struggle to be just as kind to ourselves? This week I was kind to myself by not knitting. By not sewing. By not weaving. I’ve allowed myself to be tired and uninspired instead of forcing myself to knit one more row.

This happens to me from time to time and I usually end up excited about something when my break is over. If you’re in a crafting rut or lull, be kind to yourself. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a maker, it just means that you’ve been making hard!