Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On New Year's Eve and Expectations



There's so much pressure around New Year's Eve. Society seems to expect anyone of drinking age to get dressed up and lit up. Add to that the all-important New Year's kiss, and it's a single introvert's anxiety nightmare. I recently read an article in which the author suggested that how you spend your New Year's Eve is indicative of how you'll spend the coming year, so, you know, no pressure there either.

My New Year's Eve is most likely to be a low-key evening at home. There's a pretty good chance that I won't even stay up until midnight. And, on the face of it, it might be easy to think, "Well that's going to make for a pretty boring/depressing year," but I think that would miss the point. I'm planning to make a nice dinner and spend time doing things I enjoy (reading, knitting, maybe some Netflix). I'm not going to worry about what has been deemed socially acceptable for this one particular night. I'm going to have a cozy, content evening, and, really, I think I would be lucky to get 366 more of them. And if I end up going out? That's great, too. Either way, I intend to make plans that set me up for a leap year's worth of contentment.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top 5 Posts of 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, I find myself thinking about the wins and losses of the past year. The past month or so has been tilted towards the loss end of the spectrum (though my holidays have thus far been happy, thankfully), so I thought it would be a fun exercise to determine the top 5 "blog wins" of the year. Here they are:

1. Bonanza of Bat Crafts: Yarn-Wrapped Wreath


This beauty was picked up by both Craftgawker and Brit & Co. racking up nearly 200 views!


2. Style Your Stitches: Vera Cardigan


Confession: I have yet to wear this sweater other than for this photo shoot. It hasn't been cold enough!




Or, "The Little Toaster Oven That Could."




And the beginning of 1000 Things to Be Thankful For.




Here's hoping my Christmas cacti are looking this good next year!

It seems you guys like reading about making things and giving thanks--there will be plenty more of both of those things in 2016, so please keep coming back to visit!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

12 Songs of Christmas: 'It's Christmas' - Coconut Records

This song has been running through my head all day, and thank goodness--"Hotline Bling" had been stuck in my head for days, and it was driving me crazy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Crazy-Easy Peppermint Bark Bites


Happy Holidays, friends! If you are a fan of peppermint bark and easy recipes, then this is for you. Print the festive recipe card below as a little token of my appreciation! For a larger version, click here.


12 Songs of Christmas: 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' - Bad Religion

What I love about Bad Religion's 'Christmas Songs' is that the only thing punk rock about the Christmas carols is the arrangement--lyrics remain untouched, and some songs include verses that most people wouldn't know by heart. A band that calls themselves 'Bad Religion' is bound to have a tendency to be critical of religion, but critical is not automatically the same thing as disrespectful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 Songs of Christmas: 'Joy to the World' - Claymation Chrismtas Special

Growing up, my family watched a VHS recording of the Claymation Christmas Special featuring the California Raisins pretty much every year. 'Joy to the World' is my reigning favorite. For whatever reason, the owner of this video disabled embedding, so you'll just have to click the link!

Monday, December 14, 2015

12 Songs of Christmas: 'Oi to the World' - The Vandals

A perennial favorite I've had the pleasure of hearing performed live. Perhaps especially poignant this year...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Real Talk and 1000 Things to Be Thankful For: 81-100!

This will no doubt be a strange introduction to a post about thankfulness, but I am going through a quite a rough patch. In the span of a week, I lost both my boyfriend and my transportation. (To clarify, my boyfriend just isn't my boyfriend anymore. My car is definitely in the shop and likely a goner.) I muddled through the work week okay, and I was looking forward to checking out a Unitarian church today. More accurately, I had built up going to this church as The First Step Towards Being OK. I always feel cut off at the knees when I don't have a car, but now being denied the opportunity to take The First Step is a pretty big blow. I also have a lot of memories tied up in my car, and I am having a hard time dealing with the idea of saying goodbye. (I think this is something that will either immediately resonate with people, or it won't make any sense at all.)

When things are hard, I have a tendency to internalize them and give the outward appearance that I am carrying on just fine. I don't want to burden anyone (friends, family, the tow truck driver, my mechanic, pretty literally anyone), so I put on a brave face. On the inside, however, I really want someone to notice how sad/anxious/hurt I am and swoop in and make things better. Of course, I usually have no idea what would make things better, but I suppose I think that's the job of whoever swoops in to figure out. The longer I struggle, the more I want someone to notice, and the longer no one notices, the more alone I feel. None of this is a conscious process, by the way; it's just a pattern I stumbled upon while incessantly watching Dressing Your Truth videos.

This led to the thought, "Instead of waiting for myself to go numb waiting for a white knight who doesn't exist, what if I just fixed my own damn self?" Of course, I don't really know how to do that, but actively figuring it out is bound to be better than passively waiting. Continuing to remind myself that not everything is horrible seems like a good place to start. Just a list today, because writing this was tough enough.


1000 Things to Be Thankful For: 81-100
  1. Knowing that I can fix myself just as well as anyone else can. (Still working on how...)
  2. The AAA membership my parents renew for me every year. 
  3. The kindness of strangers and AAA drivers. I have a long and storied history with AAA, and I have yet to be meet a driver who wasn't lovely.
  4. A mechanic I trust.
  5. Friends I can ask for favors.
  6. Enough self-compassion to stop me from beating myself up over having to ask for a favor.
  7. Unseasonable weather, so walking to run an errand or two is relatively pleasant.
  8. The DYT Type 2 backpack I bought on a whim awhile back--pretty and so much more comfortable than schlepping groceries over my shoulder.
  9. Not living so far away that my parents can't help me out in a pinch.
  10. A new-to-me car plan that's been in the works for months.
  11. The ability to coherently call AAA instead of just sobbing in Wegman's. (Putting on a brave is sometimes useful...)
  12. Car breakdowns that occur in a safe place with a comfortable waiting area (assuming a car breakdown is inevitable).
  13. Finally-functional oven.
  14. When that one class is more of a regular mess than a freakin' hot mess.
  15. An afternoon in the kitchen.
  16. When the weather matches your mood.
  17. A back-up plan for when that thing that looked soooo easy on Pinterest turns out to be rather challenging.
  18. Nightly meditation with my mala beads.
  19. Picking out a new pair of earrings.
  20. Anything written by Thich Nhat Hanh. Insta-comfort.

Want to see more thankfulness?
Click here for 62-80.
Click here for 41-61.
Click here for 21-40.
Click here for 1-20.
Click here for the original 1000 Things.

12 Songs of Christmas: 'Alone on Christmas Day' - Phoenix feat. Bill Murray

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ask Not

Whenever things just aren't going my way, Bender's voice puts into my head, and I feel a little better. I'll get back to my things to be thankful for tomorrow, especially since, with my car now in the shop after some QT with AAA, I don't have a whole lot else to do!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

1000 Things to Be Thankful For: 62-80

The past week brought about some major life changes that made me think I needed to take a step back from this project; I just didn't feel like there was anything to be thankful for. But even when it seems like your life is playing out like a punk rock song, there are still things worth celebrating, like...
  1. Songs that perfectly capture the moment, good or bad. (But especially bad--solidarity!)
  2. Saying that you'll stay friends and meaning it.
  3. Mulling over a problem while driving.
  4. Friends who check in on you just because.

  1. Realizing an impulse buy is just right for a task at hand.
  2. The state of flow that comes from preparing a home-cooked meal.
  3. Actually getting a sub at school when I need one.
  4. Having my grades done well before they're due.

  1. When your house plants are in particularly spectacular bloom.
  2. Those moments when social media is really uplifting and positive.
  3. When a package is delivered early.
  4. Moments at work when there isn't anything I must be doing, and I can catch my breath.
  5. The seemingly elusive moments when my students are actually engaged with what I'm saying.
  6. Finding an "ugly Christmas sweater" with a bat on it.

  1. Having an entire afternoon free to make something. (Check out the tutorial.)
  2. Stumbling upon a special event at a (yarn) store.
  3. A really good nap.
  4. Taking off your shoes at the end of the day.
  5. Sweatshirt dresses and blanket cardigans, because I want to feel like I'm in pajamas but look nice.
Want to see more thankfulness?
Click here for 41-61.
Click here for 21-40.
Click here for 1-20.
Click here for the original 1000 Things.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Snow Drift Wreath


It remains to be seen if it will be white Christmas or not, but I'm decorating for one regardless. This wreath was a small investment in both time (about an hour) and money (about $16). Carve out some time to make one, too!

Materials:

  • White foam wreath form
  • Small bottlebrush trees
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • White "furry" yarn, like Bernat Pipsqueak
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors
  • Plaid wired ribbon


Directions:

  1. Arrange and then glue trees to the wreath form. Allow glue to dry.
  2. Glue end of yarn to back of wreath form, then start wrapping. Because you're using a white wreath form and furry yarn, you don't have to be too worried about covering every bit of the wreath.
  3. When you get to the trees, wrap the yarn repeatedly over the base of trees so they look like they're sticking out of a snow drift.
  4. When you have wrapped the whole wreath form, cut a long tail, and then use a tapestry needle to thread it under an inch or so of wraps. Cut yarn.
  5. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to wrap around the wreath form and overlap about about half an inch.
  6. Before gluing the ribbon in place, cut a long piece of ribbon for the bow.
  7. Place the long piece of ribbon sideways across the top front of the wreath. 
  8. Wrap the shorter piece of ribbon around the longer piece and the wreath form; glue ends together at back. Allow glue to dry.
  9. Tie the long piece of ribbon in a bow, adjust the loops, and trim the ends to your liking.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

1000 Things To Be Thankful For: 41-61


It was not a particularly good day today, and, for awhile there, I was much more focused on what's going wrong in my life (and in the world) than what's going right. Given my sour frame of mind, I figured today would be a good day to add to my 1000 things.
  1. Coming home to the smell of soup in the Crock-Pot
  2. Work friends who randomly bring in sweet treats
  3. Students who put their phones away without being asked
  4. Failing that, students who only have to be asked to put their phone away once
  5. Being able to go out to eat essentially whenever I want

  1. Kitchen inspiration for re-imagining leftovers
  2. Reliable transportation
  3. A warm, water-resistant coat
  4. Comfortable work shoes
  5. An unexpected compliment
  6. The ability to accept a compliment without feeling the need to put myself down in response
  7. Days when I get to leave work on time
  8. Health conditions that may be chronic but not scary

  1. Seasonal beers
  2. Burning a scented candle in the evening just because
  3. Sitting down at a table to share a good meal and good conversation
  4. Good conversation, period
  5. The feeling that everything is going to be ok when that special someone grabs your hand
  6. A really, really good chocolate truffle
  7. Watching DL repeatedly throw hair ties in the air and catch them in her mouth
  8. The fact that DL can walk, let alone run around chasing hair ties
Want to see more thankfulness?
Click here for 21-40.
Click here for 1-20.
Click here for the original 1000 Things.