Taking Stock #3

 

The new backyard...so many trees!

The new backyard…so many trees!

Making : our new apartment into a cozy home
Cooking : chicken noodle soup
Drinking : coffee, lots of coffee
Reading: about the metaphysical properties of basalt
Wanting: to bask in the sunshine
Looking: at my plant in the window
Playing: Nightwish – Greatest Hits
Wasting: some wilted Romaine lettuce from 2 weeks ago
Sewing: the hem of my work pants…again
Wishing: I could magically summon my slippers from the other room
Enjoying: a bowl of java chip ice cream before dinner
Waiting: for the laundry to be done
Liking: sharing an office with Nate
Wondering: if I’ll get a call about that marketing job
Loving: Nate and Lola and the kitties
Hoping: this holiday season isn’t as crazy as the last
Marveling: at the tiny places cats can hide
Needing: to eat healthier
Smelling: some sandalwood incense
Wearing: a super cozy fuzzy sweater, recently rediscovered during the move
Following: so many new people on Twitter, it’s almost too much to keep up with
Noticing: how all our stuff still fit comfortably into a smaller apartment
Knowing: that autumn is fleeting and winter is coming
Thinking: about making Halloween treats
Feeling: a little chilly
Bookmarking: apartment decorating ideas
Opening: the blinds to let that sunshine in

Check out Taking Stock #2 if you want to know what was going on at the beginning of the year.

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From Hobby to Business and Back Again

KN LogoThe News

I started Knitting Naturals as a small business–a way to make and sell my hand knit creations–with the intent to fully work from home and live the dream life. Well my friends, when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which is why I’ve been transitioning from a business back to a hobby, which is how this all got started in the first place.

You may have noticed that items haven’t been listed in the Etsy shop, and the blog has undergone some subtle changes to reflect a more casual style. I’ve been selling off my stock of items to local customers and plan to be fully back in hobby-mode by the end of the year.

Travel Tissue Holder in Trellis Stitch

Why?

Because after giving it my all for almost 3 years, I realized something very important–this isn’t what I want to do with my life. I love knitting and I love sharing my creations with people, but the business was just barely staying afloat, my health and relationships were suffering, and I was forcing myself to knit. And I don’t want to force it. Knitting was my stress reliever that turned into a stress inducer, and that just seemed wrong to me.

Gray Fingerless Gloves

Future Plans

I’ll still be knitting (and crocheting and doing other crafty projects) and I’ll share the results here on the blog, because I like to share 🙂 The Etsy shop will stay in vacation mode for an indefinite period of time, but any past customers are more than welcome to message me if they’d like a special order.

I imagine I’ll still make stuff for family and friends, but mostly I’ll be enjoying the freedom of being able to make whatever I want whenever I want. Whether that’s a pile of blankets or some complicated sweater that’ll take me months to finish, I get to enjoy making them at my own pace.

I’m looking forward to sharing many holiday projects with you as the seasons change, and I’m already working on another blanket for the pile!

Until next time, happy crafting!

26 Things About Me For My 26th Birthday

Yesterday was my 26th birthday–yes, I’m now in the second half of my 20’s and on my way to the big 3-0.

Happy Birthday!

So in celebration, I thought I’d share 26 random things about me!

  1. I have a dog and two cats.
  2. My favorite dessert is anything with chocolate.
  3. But I could probably eat fruit for all 3 meals because it’s delicious.
  4. I walk about 60 miles a week.
  5. I’ve been to London, Madrid, and traveled around Uganda.
  6. I don’t really know what my passion is or how to find it.
  7. I have a strange fascination with rocks and geology.
  8. I feel most comfortable in the kitchen or on the couch.
  9. I still have the popsicle stick wishing well Mom and I made as a school project.
  10. I love to organize things. Sometimes I reorganize drawers, closets, or the freezer just because.
  11. I enjoy walking barefoot through cool grass.
  12. I’ve never held a job longer than 2.5 years.
  13. My favorite books series is Harry Potter, followed closely by Lord of the Rings.
  14. I think I’d do pretty well on a trivia game show.
  15. I truly believe that downsizing and de-cluttering can change your life.
  16. I have highly vegetarian eating habits.
  17. I don’t like condiments except BBQ sauce.
  18. I’m terrible with directions. TERRIBLE.
  19. I love roller coasters and amusement parks.
  20. I enjoy being by water, but I’m not a strong swimmer.
  21. I want to visit all the National Parks.
  22. Going to college was totally worth it, even though I’m not really using my marketing degree.
  23. I have a strange mix of creativity and practicality in my personality.
  24. I actually have fun exploring ways to be frugal and resourceful.
  25. I move about once a year, and really don’t mind the constant change.
  26. I’m still excited about the possibilities and endless potential the future holds.

Photo Credit, Steven Bratman

Challenge Yourself and You Will Not Fail

Ducks on the Pond

I stopped looking at my phone and started looking out the window.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I try out quite a few challenges. (Maybe you don’t notice, and it’s just me over-analyzing things, but whatever, I’m going to talk about challenges anyway.) By challenges, I mean new projects or experiments, like the challenge that One is Enough. In the past year or so I’ve tried:

Some of these are about my diet, or my hygiene, or just my lifestyle. Each has it’s own set of guidelines, with some being more specific than others. Using no shampoo just required replacing shampoo and conditioner with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, while the E2 28-Day Challenge included a detailed meal plan and book.

vegan breakfast

Vegan Breakfast – toast with hummus and veggies + grapefruit

They all have one thing in common though–they were experiments. They each presented me with something new to try, to measure and observe, and to draw conclusions from my experiences.

When I try a new challenge, I often tell people about it (friends, family, or the internet) and report on my progress. Because of this accountability, I sometimes feel I have failed if I decide not to continue whatever new habit the challenge is encouraging. Especially when I stopped using shampoo. I tried that for months and tried to convince myself and my family that it was working and had great benefits, just like all the other people online who tried it and loved the results.

no shampoo challenge

Me after using no shampoo for a few weeks

The truth was that I found it too much work and even after months and months of tweaking the baking soda to water ratio, trying lemon juice vs. vinegar as a rinse, and struggling to look decent on non-wash days, I was unhappy. I mean, yeah, it kinda worked, but it wasn’t the AMAZING results I’d heard about. So ya know what? I use shampoo now. Yes, I’m terrible.

After getting past that feeling of failure at so many of these challenges, I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter as long as I learned something.

  • I learned that baking soda and vinegar just don’t fit into my personal hygiene regiment –but I do use a more natural shampoo to wash my hair only every few days so the natural oils keep my hair healthy.
  • I learned that paring down to just 100 things wasn’t practical for my current life situation–but I am more conscious about the amount of stuff I have and what comes into my home.
  • I learned that being unplugged for a whole day once a week hindered my progress on my business–but I do spend less time endlessly checking emails and Facebook and generally being unproductive.
  • I learned that I’m not able to maintain a healthy and balanced vegan diet–but I do incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet than I did before and have plenty of new recipes in my repertoire.

Challenging yourself to something new helps you grow as a person and expand your horizons. It can change your perspective and help you gain new habits. You will not fail if you learn from the experiment–and that’s a fantastic thing!

So if you’re interested in some new challenge you heard about, try it! You may think “I can’t do that” or “That’ll never work in my house” or “Maybe I’ll wait until next (month, week, season) to start,” but go for it now! The worse that can happen is it doesn’t work out in the long-run, but you may just learn something valuable in the meantime.

Good luck!

you can do it!

Photo Credit, Steven DePolo

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’m still working on Project 333 and so far it’s going well! Perhaps that’s a post for another time 🙂

One is Enough – When Quality Matters

A while ago, I read Courtney Carver’s One is Enough:mini misson post on paring down to just one of certain items (like 1 pen, 1 cup, 1 plate, etc).  It intrigued me, and got me thinking about how to apply the practice to my own life.

Photo Credit, Sarah Reid

Certainly, this approach requires that you place a high emphasis on quality. I wanted to discover the benefit of having just one item, but if I’m only going to have one, it had better last a long time and hold up to heavy use because I don’t have any other to fall back on. So I chose the best of what I had, or if I needed a new one, I got the best I could afford. I now have just one of the following:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 belt
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes
  • 1 slow cooker
  • 1 television
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 baking sheet
  • 1 pair of heavy duty scissors to cut through everything
  • 1 reusable glass water bottle
  • 1 vacuum (we used to have a few hand-held ones that we didn’t replace after they stopped working)
  • 1 printer that we share
  • 1 coffee travel mug

Even though I use to have multiples of these items, I don’t feel deprived by only having one. In fact, I find it a lot easier to clean, store, and organize now.

Photo Credit, Christian Schnettelker

Sure, I still have trouble with this idea in some areas–I can’t wrap my head around just using one coffee cup because I have a strange love for mugs. But I say take it one step at a time, and tackle what you can handle. Maybe my next task is to have just ONE to-do list on my desk. The piles of post-its just are driving me crazy!

I’ve found living with less to be a wonderful and freeing experience, and I want you to join me in that feeling. I still have a long way to go, but the journey is all part of the adventure!

What do you have just one of? Do you find it’s enough? What will you challenge yourself to get rid of?

We Moved!

Yup, we moved! In a flash we packed up everything and trekked it to the new place in a total of just 3 days.  Packing was a whirlwind, but unpacking has been a different story, hence the radio silence on my part for the past week and a half or so.

The big news is that I now have a dedicated craft room/studio!

craft room

It may not look like much right now, but just wait.  Organization still needs to happen big time, but having my own space for Knitting Naturals will really help me grow the business and develop new designs. This is what I’ve been looking forward to!