January

After making the decision to not set myself unrealistic goals and targets for 2018, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a spectator of everyone else’s goal setting!

January can be tough. Beardie and I started a tradition a few years back of having a break mid-January to celebrate the anniversary of when we met and to have a rest and something to look forward to in this long grey month. So last weekend we spent a few days in Grasmere enjoying beautiful views and lots of warm hearty food.

At the beginning of January my Instagram feed seemed to be fairly evenly split between those who were jumping head first into the new year – exercising, dieting, setting work and life goals and those who were crawling into the new year feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated and unwell.

For me the first couple of weeks were definitely a crawl. I came down with Pityriasis just before Christmas, which meant I had a few weeks of very little sleep and generally feeling a bit crappy.

Now that we’ve had a lovely relaxing break and I have (mostly) recovered from Pityriasis, I’m feeling ready for 2018!

Although I’m trying to plan less this year, I’m really missing having goals to motivate myself – so rather than goals I am working on ‘habits’. I find it difficult to get started with a habit, but once I’m in the habit of doing something and can feel the benefits than it’s much easier to keep up.

So I’ve made myself a habit tracker (it’s not pretty so I won’t show you…but eventually I’ll do something pretty like this) and I’m working on getting into a routine with things I think will make me healthier and happier.

They’re all things which I’ve been doing sporadically for a while, but I want to become part of my everyday routine – such as ten minutes of meditation, arm and wrist exercises to ease my RSI and switching on flight mode at 10pm. Hopefully when I get into the habit of doing these things everyday (or at least every week-day) then they will just become part of my normal routine and won’t feel like a chore.

I hope you’re surviving January! x

Direction

Some of you may have hopped over to read Beardie’s blog last week where he talks about not completing the minimalism game. His initial feeling was that he had failed – and this got me thinking about something I’d heard on one of The Minimalists podcasts where they talk about goals.

It’s amazing how often I set myself up to fail by setting myself goals – many of them very unachievable! I like to have a plan and I like to know what I’m doing and where I’m going – but if things don’t go to plan I’m thrown off course and often feel like I’ve failed.

In the podcast I mentioned above – Josh talks about setting directions instead of goals. So rather than saying “I’m going to Scotland” you would say “I’m going to head North”. That way – it doesn’t matter if other priorities crop up along the way and you never made it to Scotland – you will have headed in the direction you intended to go.

While you’re reading this, I will be on the last day of my holiday and hopefully I will be super relaxed! Whenever I go on holiday I always pack lots of knitting or crochet. I had already started planning my knitting goals for this holiday when I thought – why do I do this?! I always come back from holiday with very little knitting done because I’ve been too busy snoozing, reading and swimming…and then I feel guilty.

So this holiday I have no goals. The direction is towards relaxation and I will do whatever I feel like doing…even if that’s nothing!

So I might do some work on my Softyak cardie which has slowed down on the progress front…

Knitting & Roses - Jem Weston blog

Or I might finally finish this sock…

Or I might start Christmas gift knitting…

Or I might just read and snooze and swim.

And that will be fine!

 

Back to Reality 2017…

It’s time for my annual back to reality blog!

This year, getting back to reality has been a little different for me because I now have a ‘proper’ job to go back to as well as the various freelance projects I’m juggling. I won’t lie – this felt a little overwhelming on Tuesday – but I soon got back into the swing of things!

I’ve always seen Christmas as a time to switch off, wind down, recharge and put a full stop at the end of the year. And 2016 was definitely a year that needed a full stop. I knew that I had some work to do over the break, but I had planned simple things that would still allow my brain to go into low power mode for 10 days!

I mentioned in a previous blog that 2016 wasn’t my favourite year ever. And it really managed to throw a few more niggley things at me in the last couple of weeks…the clicky thing on the oven broke, I accidentally defrosted the freezer, the washing machine sprung a leak, I had a really bad cold (followed swiftly by another bad cold), and Princess Leia…. it was just a crap end to a crap year! So the only way to respectfully mourn the passing of 2016 was to watch Charlie Brooker and eat chocolate in pyjamas.

 I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a shiny new year ahead! I’m really enjoying the Moody Blanket Knit-along and loving seeing your squares too. I’m working on an exciting new project this year…I will tell you more in a few months, but other than that – my goals for this year are based around doing less, taking one day at a time, being realistic and looking after myself.

Wishing you all a very healthy and happy new year! x

 

Spring Cleaning (my goals!)

DaffsSpring and Autumn are definitely my favourite seasons so I’m in my element at the moment. The daffs are blooming, the cats are managing to get out and run around (Noodle is scared of weather) and Monty Don is back on the telly!

I know it’s only March, but I thought it would be a good time to look back at the goals I set myself in January. I actually think that spring is a much better time to set goals, think ahead and get focussed – so it’s a good time to re-check my list!

I only set myself a few goals for the year and they were-

  1. Allow myself more time to wind down in the evenings so I sleep better. No working after dinner (unless I have a deadline!), no looking at my phone after 10pm.
  2. Divide projects up into categories (ie – garment knitting, gift knitting, decorating & DIY, sewing, quilting) and only have one project on the go per category. Focus!
  3. Give myself a holiday allocation and try not to feel guilty about having days off.

Number one and three are going okay, but they are things that I always need to remind myself of. Getting enough sleep and taking time out is essential for all of us!

Number two is where I really need to do some spring cleaning. I have added a few categories to the list, but I think they’re all essential! What do you think?

One: Garment knitting (ie, garments for me).

I’m doing really well with this one! I’m sticking to one garment at a time, which means that I finished knitting Wave and I’m well on my way towards finishing Brona. I’m not always in the mood for knitting dark blue fluffy 4ply so Brona is going a bit slowly as I keep drifting off to other categories. But hopefully I’ll be showing you the finished jumper soon.

Two: DIY

Again I’ve been pretty focussed with this one. I’m decorating the bathroom at the moment and I just need to make some hooks and a new shelving unit then I can move onto the next project – putting up shelves for yarn storage wherever there is wall space!

Three: Sewing

This category is currently dormant! I got as far as tracing and cutting pattern pieces for my Merchant & Mills coat, but haven’t taken scissors to fabric yet.

Four: Quilting

I started a new patchwork cushion! It’s looking rather wibbly and has come to a bit of a standstill, but it’s lovely to do when I want a rest from knitting Brona. I’ll show you when it’s finished!

Five: Crochet

I didn’t put this on my original list of categories but I think it’s acceptable to have some crochet on the go alongside knitting? I crocheted and felted a bathmat for my newly decorated bathroom and I’m thinking about starting a chevron blanket.

Six: Gardening

This really needs to be separate to DIY doesn’t it? I can’t really plan that many projects for the garden because the garden dictates what needs to be done. Monty Don said something about a garden not being a place – it’s a journey. I think he means it’s not something that you can finish, it will always be travelling/changing. This is the beauty of gardening – there is always something new to enjoy! My big garden project this summer will be to build a raised seating area with steps – I’m really excited to get started!

Seven: Gifts

In theory, this could fit in with some of the categories above – but I decided it needs to be separate! I just found out that both my partner’s sister and a close friend are expecting babies in September, so baby knitting is on!

So that’s my categories spring cleaned! If you catch me working on more than one project per category at a time, or trying to add in a cheeky extra category – please feel free to reprimand me (work knitting doesn’t count by the way!).

Do your new year goals need a spring clean? x

Back to Reality 2016!

Knitting

I do love my job – but getting back to reality after Christmas is always hard work! Mainly because when I have a week off I slip in to my natural night-owl rhythm and feel sort of  jet-lagged when I have to get back into routine.

I decided to look back at my blog from this time last year, and it was very similar to the blog I was planning to write today. I talked about not being very good at just sitting and relaxing – I like to be making, decorating or doing something, but at Christmas I find it difficult to settle on one thing and get things finished.

I posted six pictures of half finished projects and I’m happy to say most of them are now done! I finished the second mitten just before Christmas, Beardie’s scarf was done in time for winter (although it’s not been cold enough) and my Captivate cardie was finished earlier in the year. The granny square which I planning to use as an arm cover for my sofa ended up becoming a cushion and I’ve decided that the hexi blanket will stay the size it is!

The major work in progress is still my never ending rag rug! I’m actually getting close to finishing – so hopefully I’ll be blogging about that soon. Why I decided it needed to be two metres wide is beyond me! I am somewhat over-ambitious apparently.

So this year I don’t mind too much that I didn’t actually finish anything during my time off – because I did get a lot done and I know that everything will be finished at some point. I started decorating the bathroom, painted two sets of shelves, sorted out all my frames and pictures, spent a lot of time rag rugging, re-watched Star Wars episopes 1 to 6 (don’t bother with 1-3!) and saw The Force Awakens three times.

Alongside that I also found time for some knitting! I’ve neary finished my Wave cardigan by Kim Hargreaves – I just need to pick up and knit the neckline and sew it up. I’m looking forward to steaming it as it’s rather crumpled. I finished the back of my Brona jumper and started the front. And I impulse bought some faux-fur from Knit Nottingham and started a scarf!

Hopefully this time next year I will be able to say all these projects are finished!

In last years blog I also set myself three goals for the year:

  1. Do a bit more ‘nothing’. My new mindfulness book and weekly pilates lessons should help with this.
  2. Don’t start any new selfish making projects until I finish some. Focus!
  3. Give myself a holiday allocation and try not to feel guilty about having days off.

I’ve mostly stuck to these – apart from the not starting new projects until I’ve finished some! The third one remains the same but I’m going to tweak the first two:

  1. Allow myself more time to wind down in the evenings so I sleep better. No working after dinner (unless I have a deadline!), no looking at my phone after 10pm.
  2. Divide projects up into categories (ie – garment knitting, gift knitting, decorating & DIY, sewing, quilting) and only have one project on the go per category. Focus!
I hope your first week back to reality has been good? Most people seem to use this time of year to re-asses and make plans. This is great but can also be overwhelming. We’ve got a lovely shiny new year ahead of us and I’m sure all the important things we want to do will get done. At some point! x