learning · Life

Do the math

Tonight is about knowing my limits and respecting them. I’m really enjoying knitting the glorious tank in Erika Knight’s Artisan, I just want to keep going and going with it. Trouble is I’ve got to a bit where I need to work out EXACTLY what needs to happen.

It’s been a lovely but long day that started with me dropping off the little one early at a friends house so I could teach spin. A wonderful day with my friend followed out and about with the little ones. Now it’s late, I’ve got to learn some choreography for some other classes I teach and my brain is just fried.

Now is NOT the time to be working on the pattern, especially with my imaginative grasp of maths. Now is not the time for multitasking or trying to get MORE done. Now is to consolidate what I know and leave what I don’t know until tomorrow.

For years I’ve tried to fight this, tried to squeeze more out of the pint pot. On the surface it seems like it can be done. We get lots done, we meet deadlines, achieve, achieve, achieve. Long term we are just stealing from ourselves.

I’ve spent more years than I care to remember being chronically tired; why? I was robbing myself of sleep, by staying up too late, being so wired when I finally turned in my sleep was long jn coming and patchy. Why? Because I felt this level of activity, of getting stuff done could somehow validate me. Prove something; I never actually got as far as thinking what exactly I was proving.

So, I’ll be going to bed in a bit, snuggling up under my glorious weighted blanket (wonderful birthday present from my husband) my sleep is so much better! And I’m working on letting things wait. Not rushing to get things done while missing out on the enjoyment of doing. Knitting has taught me that and I am so very grateful 🙏🏼

Creativity · Designing · Life

Making it

Today while having a tidy up I found the drawing of the Maxi Ear Warmer. I love drawing. And look how it turned out! I reflected, rather smugly, that I am achieving much of what my teen self wanted; although I wondered if my teen self would be particularly overjoyed. True, I am a designer, musician and fitness professional, however my teen self would have wanted ‘famous’ to preface those professions. That fame was as important as the actual thing that earned it. I guess it’s part of being young. Now in my 40’s I’m delighted I can pretty much do what I like. We have enough.

This got me thinking about the idea of ‘making it’, you know when people say they want to ‘make it’ as a singer/designer/artist/whatever. The idea of being a celebrity/household name/whatever for doing something. How hollow, how temporary and how little it has to do with the act of creating something. There are many many artisans /artists etc who pretty much do what they like and have enough to live but whom few people have heard of.

Our little girl has recently started playing ‘pop stars’ with her friends at school. I’m not entirely sure what this entails. And so it starts again. I hope I can help her see that it’s the act of doing that’s the important bit, not the fame that might or might not come as a result. And why is that important? Because when ‘Making It’ is measured by fame and mass recognition by oneself and others it’s too easy to be encouraged to have ‘back up plans’. My back up plans sucked and brought me very little happiness; I wish I’d had the confidence at the time to accept my own judgement as valid enough rather than relying on external recognition.

Life

Small things and big deals

I’m not going to lie, today has been tough. Nothing big or bad happened just a shed load of little things; like a snowball just getting bigger and bigger as the day went on. A long list of things that I didn’t want to do but were necessary alongside dealing with other people.

Days like these I prefer to be alone. This is the real world; I rarely get to be alone and it drains me. So today has been an exercise in celebrating the small things; the swans on the river, the sun on my face, holding my daughters hand. An exercise in reminding myself that these are the important things, the thing to give my energy to, even when I feel I have nothing left. To notice, to be aware. And these small things become a big deal.

I’m alone now. It’s quiet. I have a cup of tea. So do I knit, read my new book or simply just go to bed and restore my energy levels?

Creativity · Designing · Knitting · Life

Extreme Knitting

Today we wound up a family weekend away with a trip to Taunton to see my in laws. And very lovely it was too!

And here’s me, knitting cable in a moving van while playing eye spy – how’s that for extreme knitting! I also worked back stitches through several rows where it became evident I got the stitch wrong. Knitting like a Boss, that’s how I feel (I’d strongly recommend Fearless knitting from Craftsy). It’s rare I feel accomplished at anything. I usually I dismiss it as being easy or meaningless when ever I could feel accomplished so I’m super glad to be able to acknowledge not only the personality trait but also revise it.

Anyway, I finished this gorgeous extra wide ear warmer… I love this yarn. Gutted it’s no longer available; I’ve traveled through all the knitting sights and ebay to no avail. I’m not sure this one will be for sale.., always a good sign when I get possessive…

learning · Life

The eyes have it

I love these little Om charms and, in between booking markets and other admin I’ve been trying to keep up with sewing them on the things I’ve made so far this year (more than I thought!). The sewing on of the charms has been a bit of a challenge; I can no longer thread a regular sewing needle. There, I’ve said it! A definite sign of ageing!

For a while there I was just getting all bad tempered and huffy about not being able to thread the needle and / or find my husband’s reading specs.  Like that was helping any but it’s the sort of stuff we all do I’m sure. And then, like any shoddy workman, I started blaming my tools; the eye was too small. So while searching for a needle with a bigger eye (which by the way wouldn’t go through the little hole in the charm,) I found the ‘pointless needle threader’ that came with the ‘handy’ sewing kit in my Christmas Cracker.

I remember my Great Gran using one of these needle threaders, I remember her saying she couldn’t see the eye of the needle and as a child I didn’t get it; I could see it clear as day so I’d thread it for her. Suddenly that ‘pointless needle threader’ isn’t pointless at all.  So much of life and how we perceive the things we come across and up against is dependant on perception and context and by changing how we look at things we can change how we approach them. Also that so much of the emotion and frustration and effort we put into that emotion and frustration is ultimately pointless.

So after taking a nice big swig of Calm the F**k down tea and taking the time to accept the situation and then find a solution to the problem, I wonder why I so frequently start my ‘problem solving’ in such an unhelpful way.  The answer is easy, change doesn’t happen over night.  In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, ‘Practice [or change] becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time without break and in all earnestness’.

Just as in anything, we don’t get things ‘right’ straight away. we fail, we struggle, we reflect and attend to that which needs to change.   Slowly but surely with a kind eye the fact that now I know I’m being totally unhelpful in achieving whatever it is that I’m trying to do and then attend to the what it is that needs to be done means that I am on the way.

Life

Let’s hear it for the girls!

It’s International Women’s Day. We get a whole day dedicated to us and the wonderful, brave, resourceful beings that we are. Yes, these are all qualities that men have too but today’s about us…❤️

So anyway I’ve spent today with some pretty awesome women, like the beautiful ladies in the aqua aerobics class I covered today, giving it their all. It used to be my class before I gave it up to pursue my Oh My Makery dream pretty much a year ago. It was lovely to see them all again. You know if I’m honest I really do not enjoy teaching aqua aerobics; jumping up and down on concrete in a humid 30 degrees C, the acoustics of a biscuit tin and a head mic with an intermittent fault …. Yey.

Each Thursday I would teach spin followed by aqua, and each Thursday I would be filled with dread and loathing of the coming aqua class and then the magic happened. The ladies would turn up. Contrary to popular opinion they were not all in their 60’s in skirted costumes and flowery swim hats, however the ones that were rocked! No, ladies if all ages, shapes and sizes would come along and that dreaded 45 minutes would be transformed.

Where am I going with this? Well for me, this proved week after week that you could be happy even though superficially you were doing something you didn’t think you enjoyed IF you choose to see the beauty in others, the light that shines in all of us and connects us…

And today on International Women’s Day I have had the opportunity to reflect upon this in the presence of wonderful women and also to feel proud of myself and how far I have travelled this year,

Namaste 🙏🏼

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These boots were made for walking!!!

Last week I was planning… this week I’m catching up with all the stuff that didn’t get done over the busy pre Christmas period.

It’s killing me, returning a big pile of overdue library books, getting my hair cut, taking the cardboard mountain to the recycle centre, dropping off several bags of stuff at the charity shop… blah blah blah…. I just want to be DOING, MAKING…. 😱😱

The saving grace of this ‘admin day’ as I’m calling it is putting my much loved boots in for repair, and the cobbler says they can be fixed AND I get to pick them up on Saturday. YEY!

I know though that all of this is necessary, clearing the decks ready for the work to come. Later today I will be able to look through the quotes for my projects without all those ‘things to do’ distracting me. So however much it feels like I’m ‘not getting anything done’ or that I’m ‘standing still’ which are my 2 main frustrations, I know that I am. I know that progress does not always look like progress and doing doesn’t necessarily mean progress. And above all if there is one thing I need to learn it is patience!!

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Sometimes we all do…

IMG_1192

People who know me know that sometimes I can get a bit ‘stabby’, They know that I am far from being some kind of serenity guru.  So if you’re reading and enjoying my blogs, thank you, I appreciate it and you need to know that things get under my skin… first world things. Like……

  1. People who don’t say thank you – like how hard is it? Two. Words.
  2. When people seem to go out of their way to be unhappy, like the guy who used to come to my  Body Pump class, stand directly under the speaker and then complain the music was too loud Every, Single. Class
  3. When people wait until the lights have turned green before even thinking about getting into gear.  Seriously, it’s not a surprise is it?!

Now some days these things don’t bother me,  other times they do. And then I have to have a word with myself.

  1. Sometimes I don’t say thank you.  Some times I have so much on I forget those 2 words.
  2. Although I have NEVER been able to send something to my printer and then walk away and come back to it being printed, I still merrily click print, walk away and then get really cross when I come back and for some mystical reason the thing has stopped printing.
  3. Sometimes I don’t get into gear on time, Sometimes I’m miles away, in a world of my own.

While I’m having a word with myself, I remind myself that all of this is so petty anyway, none of it really matters. What I also remind myself is that underneath we all have our struggles, I am no more or less flawed than anyone else. When it comes to sharing ideas as to how to live a calmer and happier life, I am in as good a position as anyone.  I know how it feels to be a bit ‘stabby’,  I know some things that can help.  And then I reach for my knitting.

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Enough is a feast – part 1

IMG_5286I will start with a story

I was lamenting that I needed to go shopping for clothes, something I really don’t enjoy and a friend suggested I go to a well known budget fashion store as everything there was so cheap you could buy more.  Like some how it was better to have three of the same top.  I’m not going to go into how well made the stuff might be, or how they come to be made so cheaply, the real question is ‘for what purpose?’  What do we achieve by collecting more of stuff we don’t actually need?

That is one of wonderful by-products if you like of making.  It brings us closer to the truth of things. If you a have knitted each and every stitch of a sweater, it is thus imbued with a value.  If a small hole appears, you fix it, you don’t throw it away.  Once you have hand knitted a thing, other, non hand knitted things can also hold that value.  That’s not to say I don’t buy a cheap sweater, but I do so with knowledge, I buy only what I need, I repair things.  In addition, once you have hand knitted something, you don’t usually go knit half a dozen more because the yarn was cheap.  You spend your time wisely, knitting stuff that you will love.  And it doesn’t stop with hand crafts.

Another story – I was having a tea party and  decided to cook some millionaires shortbread, you know, shortbread, covered with caramel, covered with chocolate. It took 2 packs of butter, over half a large bag of sugar and a of couple cans of condensed milk. They were lush. I enjoyed every mouthful.  But each mouthful contained a truth.  After physically putting all the ingredients together it was impossible to not realise, to not know exactly how full of fat and sugar these wonderful little sticky melt in the mouth  moments actually were. That’s not to say you don’t eat them, but you eat them knowing, really knowing the truth of them.

Modern day life means that we are often disconnected from the truths of our life, the clothes we wear, the food we eat.  We buy throw away clothes,  eat pre-prepared meals, have the heating on full in winter so we can wear a t shirt around the house, we waste stuff, we lie to ourselves about the impact of this on our lives. By getting closer to the truth of things we can better know ourselves, which may not always be comfortable, but it also brings with it a freedom. Making stuff, not just knitted stuff, brings with it the opportunity to get closer to these truths and with that a simpler life. And for me, that has to be a good thing.

So that’s one of the many reasons I make things I love, why I unravel things to make more things I love, that I think others will love.  It makes life better.