When I went to write this blog post, it dawned on me, that for the past couple of years I have only written Spring and Summer posts. I can't really say why I seemed to have missed two seasons out of the years. It was certainly my intention to write 4 seasonal posts a year. Maybe I find these seasons to be the most busy and stressful of the seasons. It sometimes takes all that I have just to get through them, let alone write about them. Maybe I'm over thinking things, and I'm just plain lazy.
Actually, this post has been chopped, changed, written and re-written. I questioned my own sanity at one point. Weirdly, for saying I have a blog which I share to anyone who chooses to read it, I'm a very quiet and private person. I plod along in life being a mother and a maker of things. Life ebbs and flows, and every now and then it gets turned on its head for good measure. To tell you the truth, I have felt so discombobulated and out of sorts recently. I have mainly put it down to being peri-menopausal. It's the darndest of things. My hormones seem to be all over the place. I just don't really feel like I know myself at the moment. I'm all over the place and it unsettles me. I'm trying to accept this time of change, but I am feeling frustrated with myself. It's also quite hard to get others to understand just how much this season of life affects you. I think it's always been seen as a bit of a joke, and only others who have, or who are currently experiencing it can completely understand it. There are more celebrities discussing it quite openly now, which is fantastic. Do you know, I had never even HEARD of the peri-menopause until I started to get symptoms. I knew I hadn't hit the menopause but felt all of these tell tale symptoms. This whole wealth of information was found at the touch of a button, but I had to go searching for it for answers. It beggars belief really that something so profound in women is discussed so little. Anyway, that's just my experience. Others may have faired better. Suffice to say, I have been acting weird and feeling weird and it has made me really quite grumpy and frustrated to feel a lack of control. I am a control freak by nature, so I find it doubly hard. I'm sure the Bears have been finding me a little testing. It's almost like I have had to deal with their adolescence and mood swings, and now they have to deal with mine. I go from feeling like the crappest mother in the world, to feeling like I actually did a decent job in a space of 0-60 seconds.
Trying to get a handle on all of these physical and emotional changes, I really began to analyse myself. It's not something I think I have ever done. You get up in the mornings, you are you, then you go to bed. And Repeat. Anyway, I realised something about myself that had not crossed my mind ever before and it was sort of a revelation for me. I felt like things finally made sense. Doesn't change anything, but it clears a lot up and sort of organises the compartments in my mind.
Two thirds of the Bears are fully grown adults, and Baby Bear is catching up quick. I absolutely adore having grown up chats with them, but I mourn the loss of feeling so needed. Big Bear flies the nest in a few weeks and the dynamics will change. I'm bracing myself. Of course, I'm over the moon the time has come to start spread wings, but it's bitter-sweet and it's hitting me hard feeling so out of sorts too. I know so many others share similar feelings, so I take comfort in not feeling alone, when sometimes I feel very alone.
Usually when I feel like I am on some very fast roundabout, I have a very urgent need to just retract from pretty much everything in my world. I call it 'going down the rabbit hole'. I came off any social media, burrow down and just concentrated on my little bubble. When I am not feeling myself, I find the lure of social media almost too much to bear. The fake perfectness does absolutely nothing to help me get through how I'm feeling. When I'm in a better frame of mind I can quite happily brush it all off and see it all for how it is. As soon as I start to feel like things are spinning around too fast, then I know to start cutting myself off from everything and just concentrate on the things that really count in my life. I also actually find that the social media detox is great for rediscovering myself. Sometimes I find, I get so caught up in someone else's daily dream that I forget it's not actually mine. Just by stopping and remembering what it is that I actually love, I end up going down my own path and the joy it brings is second to none. I have, however, discovered some slow living vlogs on You Tube that I find really calming and inspirational. They have helped to remind me to slow things, take my time and just enjoy the simplicity of the small pleasures. That is what I have been doing, and that is currently where I am up to in my life.
Autumn came and went, and with it followed the mildest Winter. I actually planted up spring bulbs for like, the first time ever when I was actually supposed to. I was super proud of myself. The Winter has been so mild that they have come up really early. I have not really bothered with the garden these last few years. It's honestly the size of a postage stamp, yet still I really struggle to manage it. I just don't think I'm green fingered enough. About 10 years ago, we had one of the wettest winters, spring and summer. A wave of blackspot descended upon my little Town. It landed most heavily in my garden, and to this day, my roses truly suffer. I have tried everything, bar completely demolishing the garden to eradicate the fungus. I get so disheartened when I try something and it totally bombs. It happens way too often for my liking. I'm a defeatist. Failing at something really doesn't spur me on to try harder to succeed. I just think "okay I'm done, what's next?"
My tastes seem to be changing. Well, when I say that, I think I mean I so desperately feel in the need for a complete change. I'm a pastel girl at heart, with the odd bit of vibrant thrown in when the mood takes me. Lately though, I just need empty and pretty much all white. It could possibly have something to do with the present situation I have found myself in these past 18 months. I'm just craving serene and neutral. I tried to make a start on my dresser. All pastels came off and white dresser was teamed with white crockery. Plants were added for a touch of contrast.......but safe to say.......a little bit of pastel made its way back. Only a hint though. I was quite pleased with myself at my restraint. I now want all the walls painted soft shades of white. Everyone rolls their eyes at me.
I actually need to summon up the energy and willpower to detox my house. I attach sentimental value to pretty much everything and I need to just learn to let go a bit more. I think it will help to declutter my brain. That is sorely needed.
(Bye Bye Pastel Dresser)
The outside office was installed before Christmas. I was so grateful for that. Finally I could see light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic has certainly turned life topsy turvy. The house had been so jammed pack full of office stuff, with no actual office space, that when it was all finally moved, I didn't want anything to get in the way of finally having space to breathe. Unfortunately, that was the middle of December, when trees and decs and all lovely manner of stuff usually gets crammed into a house. I just couldn't face it to tell the truth. The Bears weren't bothered about not having a tree or any decs so that made me feel a little less guilty. I snuck a few little bits onto shelves that I had bought in the month, but nothing was brought down from the loft. It felt weird, but also liberating. I did miss my yearly ritual of getting up super early whilst the rest of the house is still asleep and having my first cuppa of the day in silence.....just the twinkly lights on the tree and me.
Christmas came and went. Lovely highs and not so lovely lows. It was what it was. It came in a whirlwind it seemed, and left in one.
The family saw the New Year in with a lovely dose of Covid. Only Big Bear managed to escape it. We had all been vaccinated as much as we could be for our ages and it was actually fine for us all, just colds, so we were lucky. Some are not so.
I had started another blanket back in the Autumn. I just loved the look of...
As per usual, I saw it, and straight away decided that I was going to make it. I just don't really stop to think as to whether I actually NEED any more blankets, I just dive straight in. I never learn.
I did my usual, not sticking to the pattern, and made work for myself, only to realise if I'd just skipped a bit then carried on, it would have been just fine. I really can be a crochet muppet sometimes. Anyway, I liked how it was coming together. I actually really like straight forward squares that you just crochet together in an easy fashion. Maybe it's because I seem to be drawn to hexagonal motifs that really are the WORST to put together. So time consuming and tedious. But I do love the end result. My Beatrix Potter Blanket is one I have got so much joy from. It really set me on a path for the patchwork look. I actually have to confess to getting the wanties to making another hexagonal crochet blanket but with even smaller hexies. I know it would absolutely drive me batty to make it...........but I also know that the end result would be beautiful.
Back to my current blanket. I was desperate to use the King Cole Forest Aran yarn. I just fell in love with most of the colours and wanted to use them all together. I wasn't keen on a couple of the shades and needed to bulk the blanket out with another couple of shades to get a good balance throughout the blanket. I mixed Sirdar Saltaire in the Fern and Squirrel colour ways and like how they blended in. I was going to make all the circles first, then square them off, then lay the colours and crochet it all together in one big finale, but decided to actually do one strip at a time and get each strip crocheted together first. I just thought it actually might spur me on rather than just seeing piles of motifs growing.
I decided that this was to be the final crochet project before I actually knuckled down and learnt properly how to knit a pair of socks (I don't know why it just scares me so?). I have enough blankets now. I gave a fair amount to charity last year but still have a lot in the house. Socks. People always need to wear socks. Can you have too many? I'm sure avid sock knitters will say maybe yes, but if I start from none, then if I learn, I can make quite a few before I need to quit those too. I think 1000 pairs of socks would roughly equal the size of one of my blankets! I still haven't perfected the art of a small blanket.
I have some You Tube sock tutorials book marked, and I think I have the needles now to move forward. I just need to finish my blanket and psyche myself up for the knit lingo. I tell myself I taught myself to crochet, I can teach myself to knit socks.
At this point I will insert an edit:
I got 3/4 of the way through my blanket and was making great and speedy progress......then I lost a whole bunch of made up squares. They must have been packed somewhere before Christmas when we were packing and moving things to the office. Getting Covid after Christmas and generally just feeling discombobulated, I really couldn't be bothered to go hunting through stacked tubs. To date, the blanket is half finished, and another blanket pattern caught my eye in the meantime. I'll save that for another post. These knitted socks are elusive.
Spring has arrived and I am in need of piggy backing it, tapping into its boundless energy and upbeat positivity.
I'll let you know how I get on with that.