Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lately

Hello! Happy Saturday. Thank you for the comments on my vacation posts. Now that everyone is back in the normal routine, I feel like I can get back to regular blogging. We had a good week. I think everybody was ready for the return to normalcy after the holidays, and a vacation. I made healthy meals all week. I love this time of year. I've never experienced a January slump, personally. It has always been the exact opposite for me.


I'm nearing the end of this project, a blanket for our friends' baby. He is expected in late February. I'll be mailing the blanket to his parents in Massachusetts in a few weeks. I've really enjoyed making this blanket. It's a not-so-giant granny square. I think it will be about 30 inches without the border, which I'm still deciding on. I'm happy with the colors and this kind of crochet is so soothing. It feels good to make something for a new baby.


After we put away the Christmas decorations, I felt relieved to have the house back in order, but there was a bit of let-down too. All that color and sparkle, gone in half an hour. I treated myself to some pinky-red tulips at the grocery store this week. They added color and cheer. Tulips are my favorite flower and my wintertime spirit-lifter.


I had a clean-out of my kitchen cabinets. This one was particularly problematic and I think it's much better now. We bought the short plastic glasses and the small plastic bowls at IKEA for the kids; our previous ones were trashed from years of use. We donated numerous bags of clothes and household items this week. Do you see the open space on the top shelf? I think I finally have room for a ceramic teapot, something I've always wanted. The best part? I can finally crochet a tea cozy, another long-time fantasy. It's all coming together.


The small Bears got new sneakers this week. The GB has her first pair of lace-up shoes and she mastered shoe-tying after a few days of intense practice. She was so proud of herself. I clearly remember learning to tie my shoes. Do you remember when you learned?


I've started a potholder wall in my kitchen. All four of these are vintage, the three larger ones being Christmas presents I bought for myself, for the Bear to give to me. I bought all of them from various Etsy shops. The small round one came from a local antiques mall. The colors look a little Christmassy, but my kitchen has lots of red in the decor. I'm going to make a few more potholders myself to add to the display. I've been collecting patterns, but I need to buy crochet thread first. I've crocheted with pearl cotton but never thread. It looks tricky.


Back in the fall, I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine for the first time. I'm an avowed Martha-phile. I absolutely love her. I would often thumb through this magazine in the store but I didn't buy it because it seemed a little extravagant. But I found a very good subscription price and decided to treat myself. The first two issues, November and December/January, came just before Christmas. I've enjoyed them so much. I've decided to set a challenge for myself this year. I'm going to try to make one recipe and/or one project from each issue this year. Would you like to join me? You don't have to use this magazine, it could be one you love, or a website, or Pinterest, and you don't have to sign up. I think I'll share my progress at the end of each month. I'd love having you play along.

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Some January thoughts: I don't have a word for the year, because I find it a little confining and nebulous at the same time, and I don't ever make resolutions at the new year, for a lot of reasons, but I've decided to have an emotional clear-out, along with the household ones. In short, I care too much about situations that don't deserve it. I need to focus my energies elsewhere. I have so much to be happy about in my own life and it's time to lose the baggage. For me, 2015 is about being healthier inside my own head.

So...I joined Instagram this week. Yep. I'm not a big social-media user. I used Facebook for years, but it lost its shine for me eventually.  I'm not interested in Twitter right now, but I love Pinterest. I decided that Instagram was worth a try; I like to take photos with my phone, and it does look like people are having fun over there. I can quit very easily if it's not for me. And of course, it could never take the place of blogging, so don't worry about that. I'm here for the long haul. I'm literally barely on Instagram yet, but if you'd like to find me, I'm thistlebear. I've installed a clickable button on my sidebar with my other social-media icons as well.

I've been listening to Sam Smith a lot lately. This guy! So many shivers and tingles. LOVE.

One of my intentions for 2015 is to adhere to the "little but often" school of blogging. I think I want to be here more. Longwindedness comes easily to me, brevity less so. But blogging makes me happy, it's as simple as that.

42 comments:

  1. I love your vintage pot holders, they look amazing hanging on the wall such a great idea. Good luck with making some to add to your beautiful display.

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  2. Those tulips are a cheery sight and really do lift the spirits. After Christmas I tend to go for whites and blues and enjoy the freshness of it all for a while. Good luck with Instagram, I love it! Facebook hasn't really worked for me and Twitter I find is great to catch up on things happening in London but that's as far as it goes. However, like you, I love blogging and catching up with 'the regulars down the pub!' so to speak :-) Have a wonderful weekend xx

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  3. Strange - I tried to remember when I learned to tie my shoes, but I just can't... No memories whatsoever...
    Good to read I'm not the only one who thinks a house looks dull after clearing the christmas stuff !! I miss all those twinkle lights everywhere... To avoid going "cold turkey", I first clear out only the real christmas decorations (tree, and everything that has to do with santa/reindeers/etc...), but I keep the "wintery" deco (snow/snowflakes & stuff), and leave some of the twinkle lights... Hey, january is still winter, isn't it ;-)))
    I'm looking forward to see a tea pot cozy !! I have several teapots, but have never succeeded in making a cozy - so difficult to find a pattern that "fits" one of my pots...
    Instagram is fun - you'll love it ! It is less interactive than Blogger, but the advantage is, it is faster (well, for me it is... Writing a blogpost can take me some time...)
    Have a lovely weekend !!
    Xxx

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  4. I have plans to go through a pine cabinet in our dining room which is full of dishes we mostly don't use. The idea of doing it scares me a bit but it needs to be done. I keep thinking "I'll do it today" and then think of something better to do. I need to just do it and stop procrastinating!! Maybe. :oD

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  5. Those tulips are so cheerful and gorgeous - I can't wait to buy a bunch for myself! I love your potholder wall! That is such a great idea to display them where they can be enjoyed more. I am now following you on Instagram... Yay! I've always been a Martha Stewart fan, too... love her.

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  6. I love the colours in your blanket Jennifer, just perfect!

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  7. I'm thrilled you are going to get a teapot, everyone should have one! but I'm not sure you need a shelf for it, mine is in constant use, so I just keep it next to the kettle x
    ps love the monthly magazine challenge idea

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  8. Your new Ikea cups and bowls made me realize how old ours are - they're so faded by comparison! Love the pot holders; I look forward to seeing the ones you make and, of course, the new teapot! x

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  9. Those tulips made me happy! They are my favorite flower too, maybe because they make me think of Spring.
    GB's shoes are so cute. Yay for her!

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  10. I do remember learning to tie a bow - I guess that is close enough! Your pot holder display looks great, bright and cheerful, and fun to made additions to. Goody re Instagram - I have joined you already :))

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  11. A lovely colourful post! That's a lucky baby to have your beautiful granny blanket. X

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  12. :) I'm making a tea cosy for a friend at the moment. I'm very pleased with it so far.
    I wish I could find space for a potholder wall. Yours looks very pretty. X

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  13. You're on IG?? Yay! *runs for phone*...

    Love your simple new year changes in your home lately, tulips always make me ridiculously happy. We have those same IKEA plastic bowls and cups and use them all the time, they're so handy. The blanket is lovely, what a thoughtful gift. Xx

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  14. Lots of the same here too Jennifer. No resolutions as such, or words to live by, but I'm enjoying the January energy. It's a lovely cleansing winter month of beautiful light and open countryside. I always have an anxious New Year wobble when I worry about what lies ahead, but mostly I'm happy to get on with it all. I've had a bit of a declutter too, bags to the Sort-It (recycling/re-using) Centre and charity shops. I love your idea of making something from your magazine every month. I often make things I find on other blogs, so maybe I shall have something to join in with. I'm happy that you're thinking of being here a little more often, your posts are always a lovely treat. Enjoy your Sunday. CJ xx

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  15. That baby is going to be very lucky to have such a lovely blanket. Decluttering gives you such a good feeling, well done.
    Anne xx

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  16. I'm on instagram too Jennifer so I'm following but I'm rarely on there I never have the time to do everything I want to. Good for you with the decluttering, I'm really going to try and do this on a big scale in my home this year. I think it's a lovely idea to have a pot holder wall in your kitchen they look really pretty but much too nice to use of course. I love the baby blanket granny squares are so soothing to make, have a lovely Sunday. :) xx

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  17. Love your positive mindset, Jennifer, alongwith that beautiful blanket. Lucky Baby! I;ve started and frogged a 'ripple' blanket three times this week! Think I've lost my crafting mojo somewhere over the Festive Period!

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  18. I feel that in past years I have always had a slump in January, and I did feel a little down after Christmas, but then once the decorations were away and we returned to normal life on Monday I have been feeling really get up and go and ready to move on and do new things and really live life. Strange how that goes isn't it. I am glad that you don't have a slump and that you are getting on and enjoying and living life too. I cannot wait to see your tea cosy as I am sure that it will be fabulous. I love your crochet projects. Good on you about the moving on with things too. That is really hard to do - I know! - and it isn't something that comes overnight, but by being aware and working on it and looking to the positives in life you will get there I am sure and as long as you are happy and the bears are happy that is the most important thing of all isn't it. As you say, you cannot live others lives for them or make then what you would want them to be for yourself or for the other person, sad but true. You will do it I am sure. I hope that 2015 really will be your year!! xx

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  19. A very cheery start to your New Year I think.....I'm loving that crochet, I've just got another 10 ros on mine....then it's onto finishing a quilt....onwards and upwards! :) xxx

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  20. Lovely positive post. I still love your blanket. I'm trying to pluck up the courage to start a ripple blanket but it seems so hard!

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  21. Nice post, Jennifer. You are very wise to let go of the baggage. You have a lovely family, and that's what you need to focus on. I've just followed you on Instagram. I'm a new user myself and I am enjoying it so far.

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  22. Space? In a kitchen cupboard? Unthinkable; unheard-of!
    And well done to you for making it! I'm glad you like January and feel happy. I, however, do get a January slump and it's good for me to know that it doesn't happen to everyone!

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  23. I quite like January, it is a slow month, which I enjoy. I must have been born being able to tie shoe laces..... back when I was little there was no such thing as Velcro closures. I feel old just now! I could do with a bit of a kitchen cupboard clean-out! Some of mine are just randomly filled and it is not easy to find stuff. I must checkout Instagram soon, my daughter uses it but I am not familiar with it yet. Have a lovely week Jennifer. x

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  24. I've always liked January too. The time for new beginnings, a clean slate and the whole year ahead! :) I'm off to find you on Instagram now!
    Jess xx

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  25. Hi Jennifer! Wish you a healthy, happy, peaceful year for you and your family. Your tulips brighten up my screan!
    Olympia

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  26. I'm glad to hear of someone who doesn't have a January slump, I'm always a bit down after Christmas with the bleak days ahead of us, though I know that spring will be here before we know it. I love the colours in your blanket, your friend will be thrilled with the gift.

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  27. I also don't have much problem with January slump.. I like the homeyness of the month.. crocheting by the fire, relaxing after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I adore the colors in your top photo! I got my 2nd guinea pig done and am almost done with the gold washcloth. :-) ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  28. Oh man I love those vintage pot holders!! They are just sooo beautiful!!!! And I am with you on creating once a month like that!! I will have to figure out a plan or right down some ideas! Martha is amazing and those ice mushrooms are fantastic! Here is to a cleared out 2015!! Love me some Sam Smith! He has an amazing voice! And your blanket....stunning!!!! Now you have me thinking about Instagram?!?!!? Let us know how that goes!! Happy week you! Nicole xoxo

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  29. Such pretty red tulips - what a perfect pick-me-up for your kitchen in January. I still have a lot of work to do on "losing the baggage" with other people. I find it really hard to let go sometimes. I think I have the mindset that I'll give the person another chance or that maybe things will get better. Instagram...I just followed you. I'm melriley62 if you'd like to follow me.

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  30. Beautiful colours throughout your post Jennifer....I am on instagram but rarely there lol
    Still trying to get myself motivated in life ☺

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  31. Such a lovely colourful post, and I'm with you on Sam Smith !
    Kate xx

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  32. Lovely happy post Jennifer! We have those Ikea bowls and cups too...they are perfect for children.
    I love Sam Smith too.
    Marianne x

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  33. We have tulips in a jug too, yellow ones. We all need something cheerful and colourful in these grey January days. I've just finished making my first crocheted pot holder. I used cotton yarn; I've never used crochet thread either. I remember my mother and grandmother only ever using crochet thread for the things they made. Do tell us how you get on with yours. Have a lovely week! x

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  34. Hey Jennifer,
    I'm oliverkit4 on instagram, although my usual phone is broken at the mo, so I haven't been on for a while. I shall look you up when my phone is fixed (when I get of my arse and take it to the phone shop). I look forward to your little and often posts.
    Leanne xx

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  35. Lovely tulips and very cute pot holders. Happy for you that you joined Instagram. What a lovely way to make a quick post about yr everyday life. Have fun and happy new year to you

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  36. Just catching up and loved reading this post. You have some wonderful plans for the coming year, and I am glad you will be blogging still as well as enjoying Instagram. Love the idea of clearing out both house and emotional clutter.....you are right to let difficult things go now. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead.
    Helen xox

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  37. Hi, I shall definitely be joining you in your 'one a make month challenge'!! I wanted to make several small bits for the children's stockings this last year but by the time I had finished the gifts I had planned for everyone else I had precious little time left. So I hope to make them one stocking present a month this year!!!

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  38. Yes this seems to be the year for people deciding not to carry things that don't belong to them anymore, and let go of toxic relationships where possible. Your family need to you to be clear and happy for them. I love your vintage pot-holders! a great idea. X

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  39. I think that is a great idea cleaning out the baggage you don't need to carry around. I think we could all be healthier if we do that. Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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  40. Those tulips are stunning! And so is that blanket... what a lucky little baby :-) x

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  41. Tulips are my favourite chher-me-up flower too, and yes I do remember learning to tie my shoe laces.

    I love the idea of a monthly magazine make, I can't promise to join in often though but I'll give it a go. IG though, I've tried but it's not for me, I don't have enough time for what I want/need to do as it is. Please don't get swallowed up by it like so many others have ... I understand the atraction, but it just ain't blogging x

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  42. Gorgeous tulips! Such a positive, colourful January post, which gave me quite a lift. I don't usually slump in January, but this year I'm finding it hard to get going again. I don't have a smartphone, so Instagram is out for me, which means, like Annie, I hope it doesn't distract you too much from blogging. :-)

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