I really do enjoy the month of December but holy cow can it fill up! It's only the 10th and it feels like a whole month has passed. It hits like clockwork, December 1st rolls around and all I can think about is chocolate and mint. All the time. Then one day I woke up and I needed to have this.
I knew all I would need is peppermint candies, my favorite chocolate, and my mom's brownie recipe. It's smashing the peppermint pieces up real tiny and adding some yummy chocolate chunks in any brownie recipe that will make you real happy. I need to make these again real soon.
I had a great dinner date with one of my best friends, Bristol early last week. She suggested a place I hadn't been yet, The Empire, Chinese Kitchen. Something I rarely do anymore is walk around Portland. But this night I knew I needed to and I was so glad I did.
And this dish, this dish here, crispy pork bun. I just could not resist. It was heaven. Also, I haven't eaten so much in these last ten days.
Last week while packing for a quick trip to Michigan for a family wedding, I came up with a new idea to help make this month feel less hectic and more enjoyable. Knitting, stitching, and dyeing has been one of my most favorite things to do and has been the main focus of my work as of late. Because I love doing all these things and more, I find it can be so easy for my mind to go over board and before I know it, I've set insane expectations for myself and my shop. A few weeks ago for the Black Friday Shopping Weekend, I took a bit of a risk and put a huge sale on for my etsy shop. The response actually blew me away. It was very successful for me and the goals I set for myself. I felt motivated even further for the month of December. However, I felt like some thing was still missing. During that time I started to figure out how to plan and implement a creative line and schedule for releasing items. In the end, I knew I wanted to feel less hectic and more on top of things so that I could relax and sit back and enjoy the holidays and other life happenings. Not looking for perfect here, just time and space to do other things that matter just as much and that can fuel me completely. Things like painting my kitchen and entire downstairs, more time with friends and family, reading and playing the fiddle, and painting.
Insert here very quick, super fun and ultra efficient trip to Michigan and back. Last Thursday Jubal and I left for a family wedding. As Jubal's family is far flung, any chance we get to spend time with any of his family is gold to both of us. I know I am a very fortunate girl to have married into such a fun loving bunch! We explored a tiny bit but mostly hung out, practiced a few surprise musical numbers for the happy couple, and caught up. I got to spend time with each person which was my favorite part of the whole weekend. And all the cake.
Lights of Detroit.
Crazy light tunnel at the Detroit airport.
Layered cookies served with cream AND milk. They had me at "cream and milk"
The happy couple cutting their delicious 3 different layered cake....
To which we ALL enjoyed immensely!
All weekend I thought about the muppets. We all had rooms in a line next to each other. There was even a murphy bed in someone's room and at one point during our musical practice, someone shouted, "we should take this on the road!"
So last night, we did just that, watched the Great Muppet Capper. It was shorter than I remember and now I know where my childhood fascination of fancy telephones came from.
So back to work, my latest line of Scrappie Bears. Knitted from a variety of hand spun wool fibers, and various dye methods such as koolaids, plant dyes and acid dyes.
The newest additions for the holidays. Balsam bellied birds. I made several last year using a different sewing method and more embellishments. This year I went a slightly different route and made more using the machine and adding a scoop of dried balsam inside the bellies. I'm offering them in groups.
Latest hat on offer knit from a hand spun merino and other fibers and dyed with acid dyes.
My pine studies. How I loved doing these and really look forward to doing more embroideries very soon.
That was just a little distraction of my latest additions to the shop. That decision I mentioned came about from doing something that I do well, over load myself. It's so easy isn't it? Too bad that our minds much less the hours in the day can not keep up with all of the thoughts and ideas that excite and thrill us and keep us going. But thankfully, I write every single one of them down. But I usually don't need to because if I don't make them come to life, they do become loud enough in my mind and sometimes visiting me in my dreams if I don't make them come to life.
Back in November, I came across a link through soulemama talking about making our holidays less hectic. I followed the link to here where I found Laura and a 28 day challenge to slow down your holiday season and enjoy it more with your loved ones. Every day I've been receiving an email from her with a new challenge and it is always very simple like Light a candle, know how you want to feel, read a holiday story. Now I don't have kids, but that's ok, the days when it's about kids, I like to think anyway what I would do if I did have kids. There's nothing really to each challenge except taking a few moments every day to think. That's when one day last week, a tuesday or wednesday I think, we received the challenge of taking 3 things off your to-do list. I thought 3 THINGS?? WHY NOT 1? Then before I knew it, it wasn't hard after all. Because I work for myself and LOVE the work I do~ creating and thinking and creating more, trying not to do that or some of that was harder than you might think. I have to say, I am really good at putting off regular house cleaning so I can create more and though I'm the only one it seems to bother, it has been on my mind~ how I need to spread out everything I want to do. Then a thought popped into my head. The thought of not adding any more to the shop or blogging for the month of December. It took only a few minutes for me to realize it's just what I wanted to do. But not so I could do less but so I could form a new discipline in making room for other things.
It has felt like a weight has been lifted. I've been trying to figure out how to fit it ALL in. And now I've found a way to simply make room for more with out going insane.
So with all this said, my shop will still be open all through December and beyond. I'll post again in my blog in January. And between now and then I'll be working on several new projects such as;
dyeing (w/ barks, mixing orange, my fermented lichens!!) ~spinning (my brown Icelandic, white Finn and Shetland fleeces!) ~ Putting together classes (dyeing class collaborations at our favorite Portland crating spots) ~self maintenance (walking, yoga, pilates, fiddle, painting)~ and a very special project like none other that I've tackled before which I can share later.
I'm really excited about this coming month and all the possibilities. Keep your eye out in January for fresh Maine raised and plant dyed yarns and new class offerings!
Do you want to stretch out the season and make it last? Try taking 3 things off your list too and see how it makes you feel. I'd love to hear what those things are if and how if makes you feel in the end.
Happy Holidays and until Next Year!