Happy new year dear readers! I hope you all had a lovely festive season. I did, and spent a lot of time sleeping like a cat. I’ve known a number of kittens over the years, and wondered why they felt the need to sleep so much. I’ve found that naps are quite nice! Sorry if you already know this, but I’ve never been much of a napper. Now I know that I could be!
What I can say about all the sleeping is that it got me to really wind down and rest. September-December is always the busiest time of year for teaching and the last quarter of 2014 was no exception, so the time out was welcome. This can be difficult because my mind is generally very active, but relaxing properly and spending time with my family was just what I needed. It also reminded me of things that I haven’t made time for or stopped to really take in, not to mention how much I enjoy them.
Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about weeding things out, evaluating various aspects of my life and deciding what to do about things that aren’t working as well as I’d like. Some are abstract or philosophical; some are functional or logistical. I like holidays because the disruption or break in routine gives me an opportunity to really get stuck into snaggy things; irksome bits of life like sticky doors, mess that builds up in the same areas all the time, work you want to do more or less of, pursuits that you wish you could…well, pursue. Things that aren’t a major concern, but more noticeable when you’re busy or a little stressed, and the ironing out of which would make you sigh happily or soothe a little portion of your soul. Life’s little wrinkles – how’s that?
One of these little wrinkles is my dressing table. The surface is never tidy because there’s nowhere for me to put things away properly, and the main problem is with my jewellery. I outgrew my childhood jewellery box several years ago: what was overspill is now unadulterated mess. See for yourself!
My Christmas present to myself was a new jewellery box. I genuinely can’t remember how many years it’s been since I’ve needed one, but the search has been ongoing, in fits and starts, for ages. This is partly because I know, or have a very clear idea of, what I want – I just need someone to create it for me. You can see some of my semi-precious necklaces and pendants, which take up a bit of space. Here’s what I found after doing a Google image search for a jewellery box:
Yep, it’s a big box! It’s about 30cm wide and tall, and about 14cm deep. But what made this box special was the storage: not only is there a lot of it, but you can also hang necklaces in the side compartments! I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I’m still marvelling at the simple efficacy of the idea. No more tangles; everything nicely displayed. (The brown sticky tape hasn’t yet been removed – it’s protecting the glass.) It’s such a nice little unit, I feel I should give it pride of place somewhere. Maybe on a mantlepiece or chest of drawers. But most importantly, it is functional and suits me down to the ground. That’s what I want.
I’d also wanted to get stuck into a few books unrelated to work or research – stuff that I wanted to look at, for no reason other than its looking interesting. One of these was Metropolitan Knits by Melissa Wehrle, which has been on my wish list for ages – so I was very pleased to unwrap it a few weeks ago! This book was published in 2013; I remember looking at some of the designs online, thinking how fresh and modern they were. I followed Melissa on Pinterest and was pleasantly surprised to find out that she’s quite a cook – lots of foodie photos in her feed – but then the book went to the back of my mind. Now, it’s very much at the front.
Conceptually, I like the premise of the book. It makes a nice change from my usual (read: Kim Hargreaves) aesthetic. I’ve decided to knit the Atrium cardigan first. Coral or white? I’ll end up making both, but I’ll probably go for white first. I’ll get more wear out of it come the summer. It also means that I can make something I’ve never had before: a white cardigan. I still can’t believe I don’t have one – never even bought one! Soon this will no longer be the case. My other queued projects from the book are the Museum sweater and the Sunday Henley top, but naturally I leant towards the cardigan. I’ll get more wear out of it come the summer.
The last wrinkle to be ironed out over the break was exercise. Various timetabling conflicts meant that I couldn’t do Pilates or ballet, which was/is a major part of my routine. Although I have other means of switching off and unwinding, exercise like this is good for me in many ways. My mind is completely absorbed in what I’m doing – the music, the instructor, how my body is moving – and the focus spills over into other areas of my life. I’m a lot happier when my body is as active as my mind, and my quality of sleep is better too. Walking can only do so much. On a whim, I checked the schedule of one of my exercise haunts last week, and was surprised and happy to see that a suitable ballet class was available at a suitable time! My ballet shoes haven’t had an outing for a good few months, so the first few classes will be sore and ropey, but I don’t care. I can finally do something that’s enjoyed – and needed. Of course, there was time for knitting too – but I’ll leave that for the next instalment 🙂
So I’m beginning the year with fewer wrinkles and more smiles. And maybe a few more naps than before… 😉