I have always loved calendars. I love picking one out each year. Writing special events and appointments down, I keep it in a spot I will always notice. A few years ago I started a New Year's Eve tradition: I take down my calendar and go over the year just lived. And this year, 2013, was one for the books. I don't think I've had so much excitement, or extended my family, and felt so loved as I have in this year.
January~ As Jubal and I continued to plan our wedding, I also worked on dye samples, new yarns, and figuring out how to build up my Etsy shop from part-time to full-time. And it was during this month that I was given a tremendous opportunity to teach at Squam Artworkshops :: Taproot Gathering that took place this past September. The year certainly started off with a bang.
February~ More wedding planning took place, and I became most obsessed with wedding flowers and table settings. I always knew the obsession would kick in, but I tried hard to keep it at bay. Then it was all I could think about. Pretty boring for anyone who had spent time with me, as all I had were flowers on the brain. We did take some time away from the Maine winter too, and I traveled with Jubal to his hometown in California to see his family and so he could attend a work training. Spending time in the Bay Area and with his family is always such a treat, and I know I am so lucky to be able to do this.
March~ Became a bit of a flurry of shopping, meeting with wedding vendors, packing for a three-month trip, and checking out. Sweet, sweet bliss mixed with excitement for the coming month, mixed with anxiety about the Big Day and our crazy retreat. It was also a month of parties, get-togethers, last days at my part-time job, birthday dinners, and such an unreal feeling.
April~ The first of April started with celebration of welcoming family and friends as they trickled in from all over to help us celebrate our day. On April 6th, Jubal and I married, and the following day we left Maine to spend our honeymoon in a cottage on the west coast of Ireland.
We found our way to our cottage that first day, lit the first peat fire in our stove, and took a nap while the harrowing west wind came over the bog. We were so struck with how surreal it felt to have arrived. We made it through dating and finding each other, deciding to marry, planning a home, planning the wedding, and now planning this trip. We were exhausted, and I don't remember when I'd slept so well as I did when we had first arrived to the cottage with the red door in Doonagore village, near Doolin.
(wedding photos: Jennifer Searles Dumont
May~ We found our groove and delighted in driving all over Ireland to visit pubs, shops, museums, farms, random castles appearing on the horizon, and much much, so much to our pure delight, we witnessed the Burren come alive with the most sweet and delicate wild orchids. Such a treasure and blessing to witness such natural beauty.
We made new friends and spent time with old ones. Everywhere we went, we were our own version of a sponge -- soaking up every detail, color, historical fact, vernacular, dessert, and sounds that we could.
June~ It started to sink in we had to leave at the end of the month. I packed even more in including a trip to the middle of the Aran Islands. I cannot pick one amazing moment of those three months. But if I had to, if I really did, it would be that side trip to Inis Meáin.
Leaving at the end of the month, I looked back on all that we had done, but mostly on all that I had thought about. I left feeling so grateful, refreshed, and inspired to do so many things on our return. The thing is, as much as we both were ready to go home to our home, our island, our state, our families -- we so badly wanted to stay. It was a very weird place to be. It was my fourth trip to Ireland, and each time I've gone, I didn't want to leave. But this time, this time, I felt such a strange pull that was ten times stronger than the last trip. I think it had something to do with living so near to that ancient bog that had seen and held so much.
July~ We settled right back in and it felt as if we had never left. Getting back to our familiar things felt very sweet. I saw friends, family, and took a watercolor class at a nearby farm. Jubal got right back to work and even traveled for a bit. I returned to Medomak for my fourth year to teach fiber arts classes with my good friends. It was a wonderful week, as always.
August~ Jubal had to travel again for work, and I became more used to taking care of things in his absence. We held a yard sale. I harvested my first indigo crop of the year and held a small indigo dyeing party. My sister, mom, and two good friends came to learn about the process and dye a few pieces -- something I look forward to doing again next year. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to taking advantage of our garden beds and the Peaks Community Garden to grow more dye plants. Also, my youngest niece came for a sleepover for the first time. We had the best time, and I didn't want her to leave.
September~ My interest in foraging for mushrooms flourished, and a new obsession was born. Jubal and I attended a fun fungi fair in north-central Massachusetts to learn more. Then I packed up my pots, samples, books, aprons, and nerves and drove deep into the New Hampshire woods to teach natural dyeing at the Squam Art Workshops. It was a wonderful time of self-discovery, new friendships, and explorations. I also forged a new connection for a project that I've been working on since, and which I hope to share more about in the future. I attended the Common Ground Fair (again) where I picked out two fleeces for myself and pumpkins for Jubal. He makes a killer pumpkin pie. My oldest nephew came to stay for a sleepover for the first time, I taught him how to skirt a fleece, and he taught us how to pick up a chicken. We adopted two hens from neighbors the week before, and we didn't have much of a clue. I also held my first natural dye workshop at the house, which was a lot of fun.
October~ For 20 years I have dreamed about learning to play the fiddle. I finally decided it was about time I try. We took a small road trip up north to visit friends, and did more mushroom foraging, and it was particularly fun for Jubal as he had never been that far north in Maine. I spent more time with family and friends too.
November~ We took another road trip, but this time to Prince Edward Island. A wonderful scenic trip and more time with family and friends. Also this month, I hit an all time record high for sales in my etsy shop.
December~ Early on in this month I decided to spend more time trying to take things slow. The holiday season can make me feel crazy, stressed and like I'm not doing enough. I made a conscious decision to do less in the way of my shop and blogging so that I could do more in the way of creating more holiday cheer around our home and make time for friends and family. I wanted to soak up every moment of December by watching Christmas movies, listening to music, baking, trying new holiday crafting projects, and taking more time to really enjoy a season that could whirl right by.
Looking back on my year, I feel I am so blessed, and am inspired to unfold even more possibilities for 2014.
And speaking of 2014, I'm so happy to share with you some fun plans I have in store for my shop, 44 Clovers, my blog which will soon be a website that Jubal's been building, and workshops that will be on offer here on Peaks, local shops in Portland, and beyond.
Thank you, 2013, and all that you've blessed me with.