Thursday, February 8, 2018

A vintage box filled with...

So what's in the box? That beautiful vintage tin box. Inside the box, my friends, is a happy colorful project of mine. Stacked grannies in colors and cream. Just collecting them in a box is half the joy. Actually this whole project has been pure joy from the start.

In need of some color play on a grey autumn day, I started this project sometime back in September. Or maybe it was October, I'm not so sure anymore. You see I have this big round basket filled with my very last bits and bobs of Tilda yarn (Oh how I love Tilda yarn... I do have some odd colors left in my shop if you fancy, check the color chart in my Yarn Shop. It is 50% off original price) and I had this urge to make something cheerful and fun with it. I didn't want to make it complicated, just have some fun, and the classic granny square NEVER fail to cheer me up.  I had a pretty clear mind of what I wanted: 3-row colorful grannies mixed with 3-row white grannies. Mixing them together in a patchwork design... I got started. And then I got distracted by new ideas, Christmas and all that and the project landed in a basket on hold. That was until Sandra at Cherry Heart blogged about her Battenberg Blanket.

As it often occurs, Sandra and I tend to be in symbiosis at times with ideas, WiP's, thoughts and reflections... And so even this time. Her cute Battenberg Blanket is based on a similar idea as mine. Same, same but still so different, different. We giggled a bit behind the scenes about this coincident - again!!! - and Sandra encouraged me to show what my project looks like and so I dusted off the yarn basket and took out my neglected Granny Patchwork project. And so here it is!!!

Sandra is making 3-row solid granny squares in wonderful colors from her great collection of mini skeins, matching them with 3-row solid white granny squares in a patchwork design. She has also come up with a great Modular Join Tutorial which is a join-as-you-go technique for her blanket. She is so clever dear Sandra. Amen to that. However, my project looks a bit different and I will sew my squares together. Yes I know!!! What on earth have I done to myself??? But you know what, I'm so excited about this project that I can't wait to get started on the sewing. This fusion of crochet and patchwork is just really REALLY making me excited. I just hope it will come out as I imagine it in my head.  I'll show you more another time. Until then, enjoy the eye candy.


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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Objectives of 2018

White tulips in January • Falling in love with Mille Colori from Lang • A finished shawl 
Walking in January • Winter Wonderland in Sweden • My paradise in Sweden
The Olivia shawl • White tulips and a blue Olivia shawl • Olivia shawl pattern writing

Well, January just passed by in a swish,  don't you agree? And the goal to publish a January round up from my Instagram (follow me there for snippets on @myrosevalley) on the last of the month was a big failure. Better luck next time I say. :)
   I like January because I like a new start. January is good for reflection, looking back and looking forward. Putting behind what needs to be put behind. Learn from mistakes made. Making plans for a lighter future. Make lists of dreams and how to reach them. I feel that I need all of January to do just all that. And I LOVE starting on something new. I'm looking forward to this new year with new opportunities, new conversations, new connections, new original creations, new challenges and new destinations.
   Even though I love to make plans and lists, I'm not much for New Year resolutions or giving promises. Maybe because I find them hard to keep. However, for 2018 I have put up some objectives to work towards:

After watching Paddington 2 with my kids (LOVE both Paddington movies!!!), we had a long talk about how we can become more "Paddington". So what do I mean when I say Being more "Paddington"? We agreed that it is to be polite, honest, generous, always try hard to get things right and seeing the good in people. We might not always succeed, and we might mess things up but it is the good intentions that matters. We are not striving for perfection but I believe that with a little bit more positivity and by trying harder to see the joy and beauty in our imperfect world we will feel more happy and grateful for what we have, what we strive for and what we actually complete.

This relates to my arthritis and chronic pain issues. No one but me can change this. I can't take pills for it. I can't rely specialists to take it away. I need to do the work. I need to be more kind to myself. This body of mine has quite a few miles on it, it has given birth to three children... it is in desperate need of a service and some maintenance work. Action has been taken. I have gone back to the Cross Fit gym. I'm stretching. I'm walking. I will start swimming. I have established a regular exercise routine and slowly my pain is diminishing. I'm getting stronger. Physically and mentally. My motivation is different. It is not about appearance. It is about fitness. My ultimate goal is to be able to run and do the skipping rope by Easter. For now that is impossible as I can't do any activity which involves the slightest impact on my spine. If you want me to write more about my journey to fitness, let me know. I would be happy to share if it can inspire you.

Yes. I will be more present in my own reality. The phone is put away at a certain time and computers are turned off instead of being on sleep mode. My real life friends deserves phone calls and hand written birthday cards instead of sloppy wishes on Facebook. My Mum and Dad deserves more frequent phone calls and updates. I want to give my children more undivided attention, the kind where I actually look at them when they talk to me. The kind where I am an active listener. I'm not saying I never do, but I say I can do it more.
   I watched a movie the other night about a divorced father who had his son every other weekend, They always went to a zoo or a park or a museum, having sweets, gifts, treats... One weekend the father had a work challenge and needed to get on Twitter for work. He asked his boy for help to sign up and to show him how it works. The boy helped him and when they set it all up they talked about this and that, and the boy said:
"I like this. Just hanging out. You and me. "
"But we go to the park and stuff and hang out." the father replied.
"Yes I know, but I mean just chilling. Like now. We are just like talking and doing normal stuff." 
Yes, We don't always have to DO things. Most often we just need to be more present. And listen. Listening is a great skill to work on.

I guess this is the most concrete objective of them all. I want a job. My kids are older, independent. They don't really need me around anymore. My Rose Valley is a side business. Something that provides for my hobby, keeps my creative skills alive as a graphic designer, photographer and writer.  But it doesn't pay for the bills. It could, if I put in the hours, but as mentioned above: I want to be more present in my own reality.
   I miss having colleagues. I miss being appreciated outside my home. I want to learn new things. Grow. I want a new challenge. For a while I've been looking for work without any greater success. It is easy to get negative and wanting to give up. Looking for work is not an easy job. Rejection is a self esteem killer. However, instead of beating myself up because of my age, gap in my CV, the lack of University Bachelor or Master degrees or that my French is not 100% fluent, I'm going to figure this out. I'll find employment. I just have to focus harder, maybe take a course. Maybe apply for jobs that I don't think I can get? Who knows? Maybe I'm overqualified for the jobs I'm applying for? Maybe I need to believe in myself more and start telling myself I can do more instead of less? Raise the bar instead of lowering it? 

To sum it all up, it looks like 2018 will be a year where I focus on well being, growth and personal fulfillment. It sounds a little bit self centered, but I think it is time for me to take some place, be the elephant in the room and shine a bit. I'm looking forward to that. What are you aiming for in 2018? Do you have any objectives to share?


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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winter Wonderland Sweden

I'm not sure what to add. The photos speak for themselves... We spent our last 48 hours of our Sweden visit over New Year in this incredibly charming village Järvsö, only 3 hours+ drive north from Stockholm.  Lets put it this way, all my kids wanted to move there!!! And me too! That is how much they loved it. Luca Bo entered the hill when the lifts opened and I didn't see him until they closed after the last run. I strolled around in the cute village, looked at the beautiful Swedish houses, dreaming away of living in one... Preferably with a big veranda... Oh yes. A big glassed in veranda on a red house with white corners... Geraniums on the window sills in summer, fairy lights in winter...

Hot crépes and chocolates has never tasted better than on the hill by a burning fire. Being outside all day gave us all rosy cheeks and the crisp air filled us with energy. We stayed in the cutest little red cottage with bunk beds. Just perfect. Our surroundings looked like a picture from a fairy tale... Driving back to the airport through this divine landscape actually felt like driving through Narnia. I would love to come back for a longer visit. So much more to see, to do, to experience. So tasteful. So traditional. So refreshing. I'm not surprised by the slogan used to advertise this location: "Järvsö - Always. Beautiful. Nearby. " It sums it up. We will be back, I'm sure.


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