Learning to Knit

Many of my friends have expressed an interest in learning to knit. I’m going to do my best to share what I know, and it all begins with the videos I used to teach myself.

There are many more videos out there now than when I began learning to knit a few years ago.

This video series from Studio Knit shares everything you need to know to get started with knitting. Start with video one and watch the entire playlist.

Several other knitting channels I enjoy are The Casting on Couch and Very Pink Knits.

A scarf is a wonderful beginner project because it provides you with an opportunity to practice the basics of knitting. I would suggest starting with a scarf. It’s a great project to work on while watching Netflix. Here’s an awesome video for starting your first scarf.

If you’re looking for a new project or hobby, I would suggest knitting. At first it will be overwhelming. There’s a lot of language you may not understand. You will understand the more you practice and get engaged by watching videos or visiting knitting blogs or sites, such as Ravelry. Don’t give up!

Feel free to ask me any questions as they arise. I will try to answer them the best I can, or I will try to find the right resource.

Happy knitting!

 

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January–in June

I found this post from awhile back. I found it resonates with my previous post, so I wanted to share it. 

It’s been awhile. I haven’t gone anywhere, but I have been working hard to finish a few large goals. My writing on here took a backseat for awhile.

2017 was a whirlwind of a year for me. In March, after years of struggling with high-functioning anxiety and panic attacks, I finally decided to take a huge act of self-care and step into therapy.

Time in Therapy

I never considered therapy because I was too ashamed of my anxiety and panic attacks. I thought that if I did everything “just so,” then I’d be happy and anxiety free. Even though I know this is not rational, it was still the illusion I perceived. When something–anything–fell out of balance, I’d lose it. I’d struggle with my sleep, eating habits, and be debilitated with panic attacks. I’d have headaches, back aches, all over body aches. I’d struggle with mental clarity. I’d struggle with “brain fog.” I’d lose my excitement for life.

The biggest lesson I learned during my time in therapy is that my life needs to be sustainable. It’s not about keeping everything in perfect balance; it’s about doing what is right for me.

The hardest lesson I had to learn during therapy was that I try to do too much to make myself feel better. I want to feel better, so I apply everything I can to feel better, and then I experience burnout. Following the burnout, I begin to feel ashamed and the negative thinking cycle continues. I want to keep everyone happy and everything in balance, so I give my all and wake up still feeling ashamed.

My therapist was able to provide many truths just through our weekly writings to one another (thank goodness for online therapy!). Some of it made me cry. Some of it made me feel relieved. All of it opened my eyes and provided me with clarity and space to work out my feelings.

Sustainability

I’m going to make a blanket statement: we take on too much. Either because we love it or feel that we have to. Regardless, we take on too much.

When life becomes “too much,” we experience burnout. But that’s the end of the cycle. There are little bumps along the way, little signs, pointing toward it. But we don’t want to give up. We don’t want to relax.

Since it is January, my social media feeds are filled with resolutions, diet plans, changes and goals for the upcoming year, and all the new exercise regimens to follow.

I’m over it. Honestly, I don’t think any of that is sustainable.

So, sustainability is my goal for the year. I was going to write a list of things that will allow me to have a more sustainable life, but that in and of itself would be a list of resolutions. For me, sustainability is coming back to my true center, which is love.

Instead of a list of resolutions, I make a commitment to myself to upkeep a sustainable life. This could mean many things, which makes a list obsolete. Instead, I will choose to believe that when I do not “feel good,” I have stepped out of love and into fear. When I feel good, I have returned to love.

 

 

 

 

Update

I’m still here, and now I’m in the process of waiting. I’ve finished everything I need to do to begin student teaching in the fall. I’ll be working in second grade.

Since my last post, I have learned two important things.

First, just because you really want to take the similar path as others, you might need to deviate from the norm, and that’s OK. This is what happened to me.

In January, I knew there were two major things I needed to get done in order to be ready for my internship. First, I needed to pass the same Praxis test I last wrote about.

I never did pass it. I was faced with a new option: taking another test that was accepted as a substitute for the portion of the test I couldn’t pass.

I passed that test with flying colors.

Second, I am learning what it means to wait. Right now, I need to enjoy my summer break, rest, and wait for the fall. This is my time for reflection and for rest.

But it is challenging.

I feel like I am on the horizon of change, looking out over an ocean, and taking a few relaxing moments before jumping in.

I’m still here. I’m waiting. I’ve worked hard, and right now, I need to relax.

 

 

That Praxis Test

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me luck yesterday while I took my Praxis! I had planned for this to be a long Facebook post, but I felt it belonged better on my blog.

I took all three at once (math, reading, writing) and passed the reading with flying colors.

But I didn’t pass the math by 8 points. I was a little upset I didn’t pass, but then clarity hit and I cried because I was surprised and happy that I managed to just get the score I did.

For anyone who knows me well, you’ll know math has never been my strong point or anything I was ever interested in. I spent years failing math and thinking I just “wasn’t good at it,” but that’s not true. I aced math in college and for having not been around math since college and studying for the test since October, I have to say I was amazed I even managed to not pass by 8 points. I know that when I re-take the test I will pass it.

And math has become interesting to me. I am fascinated by how it’s being taught and I actually understand it more now than I did when I was kid. I even have a book about mathematics on hold at the library. I am no longer terrified of it.

Hard work pays off. Support helps. You all are awesome. Next time, when I take that test, I won’t allow any fear to creep into my head. I will study even harder and have that test be the only thing I have to think about in the testing room, not two other tests combined with it.

Basic Apple Cider Recipe

mulledcider

Happy Halloween everyone! I’ve had a blast celebrating it this year. First I attended a friend’s spooky Halloween party where I was dressed up as Inside Out’s Joy. I had never had so much fun creating a look.

Then last night I went to a 80s High School Reunion Murder Mystery Party. Is it bad that my outfit came mostly from my closet? I didn’t need to buy anything! I went for the big 80s hair and neon pink makeup. I felt a little sad when I washed it all off later that night. Long live the beautifully terrible 80s.

For the past few years on Halloween I’ve made mulled apple cider. And every year, I search the Internet for a recipe. I have no idea why I don’t write it down. It’s always the same. I stand looking into the Crockpot wondering what I put in there with the apple juice. I usually have cinnamon and oranges standing by, waiting patiently to be plunked into the juice.

This year, I decided to spice it up a bit more (pun intended.) I decided to search, once again, through the Internet for a mulled cider recipe including other spices, and here’s what I’ve learned: they’re all different. There are HUNDREDS are ways to make mulled apple cider. And I think it’s wonderful, even if it means I can’t find just the right basic recipe.

So I’m adding my own recipe to the mix of other wonderful cider recipes people are probably searching. I’m calling my “basic” because I decided to buy the spices listed on the back of a complete mulling spice package (I already had half of the spices at home.) If you’re one of the many searching for a basic recipe that mixes fresh and ground spices, well, I’m your girl!

Enjoy.

Basic Mulled Cider Recipe

1 64 fl oz apple juice or cider

2 cinnamon sticks

3 orange slices

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

pinch of black pepper

4 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp allspice

1 star anise

pinch ground cardamom

  1. Pour apple juice or cider into Crockpot and add spices. Stir and cover with lid. Serve when hot.
  2. Keep leftover juice or cider in it’s original container. Will keep in the fridge overnight and probably for at least a day after.

“Big Magic,” A Book Review (Sort Of)

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book about creative living called “Big Magic.”  I don’t want to spoil what “Big Magic” is, so I’m leaving it to you to find out. I recommend it to everyone–because we’re all creative people, in our own way. What this book will teach you is how to become brave with your creativity, not care too much about it, learn to trust it, and then enjoy it.

I loved how she explained throughout the book that we shouldn’t choose the way of the creative martyr or tortured artist, but to consider a new way of taking on creativity: through the eyes and energy of a trickster: playful, fun, light.

Here are a few quotes from the book I wrote down to keep as a reminder to be unafraid of creative living and learn to work with trickster energy and not the martyr:

On fear:

” We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. This is common knowledge, sometimes we just don’t know what do to about it.”

(Isn’t that the best explanation of fear ever?! I thought so.)

On hiding behind your weakness or fears:

“Fear is boring because it is the same everytime: leads to nothingness. Because it’s the same thing everyday.”

She admits that sometimes we need fear (the kind that, keeps us from danger), and that it is inevitable–fear will always be there. Instead, she suggests allowing it to come with you and creativity, but that it has no power. You’re the one in charge. It just gets to sit there and watch. There’s a wonderful speech she writes to fear and it’s too long to type again here.Go get the book. Look for it. Copy it down and pin it up on your wall.

On trusting your creativity:

“Why wouldn’t your creativity love you? It came to you, didn’t it? …Creativity drew itself near, it wanted a relationship with you.”

“I don’t with for passion to strike. I keep working because I trust that creativity is always trying to find me, even when I have lost sight of it. ”

On the sacredness of your work, or not caring too much:

“What you produce is not necessarily always sacred, I realized, just because you think it’s sacred.”

“It was just a thing–a thing that I had made and loved, and then changed, and then remade, and still loved, and then published, and then put aside so I could go on to make other things.”

On being brave enough to be OK with interesting:

“Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding…That’s the moment when interesting begins.

Every part of this book was insightful. I learned so much and now that I’ve returned it to the library, it’s going to go to the next person. I hope they are as touched by it as I was. I hope they decide to be brave and embrace their creativity.

And just a thought of mine: YOUR CREATIVITY IS NOT USELESS. It’s something you’ve been curious about, created, and have either kept it for yourself or have shared it with the world (which I hope you do!) But it’s something you made. Creativity came to you specifically to start and finish that project. It is never useless.

Make it Vegetarian: Thai Chickpea Pizza

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I found a recipe for a Thai chickpea and vegetable pizza from Veggies Don’t Bite while scrolling through Pinterest last night. I’ve had Thai chicken pizza before, and I knew that it could turn it out as a vegetarian dish.

Instead of making the peanut sauce the recipe calls for, we went to Trader Joe’s and settled on their Satay Peanut Sauce.

My boyfriend and I also decided to sprinkle the pizza with Parmesan cheese before putting it into the oven.

The outcome? Delicious. I loved the chickpeas as a topping and think I’ll try adding them onto my normal vegetarian pizzas every now and then. The only change we’d make for the next go around would be to add more of that delicious peanut sauce.

If you’re bored with your pizza night, try this recipe. It was fantastic!