Gifts to SelfΒ 

I believe it’s very important to take care of oneself in form of gifts, both tangible and otherwise. Today one gift arrived in the mail, and I’ve added another for good measure πŸ™‚

The first is a delivery from KnitPicks.com, hurrah! Once again, speedy and well-packed all the way from the US. So chuffed! Practical items: a retractable Clover tape measure and a new pair of thread scissors. Yarn: 8 balls of CotLin which I’ve wanted to try for ages. Patterns: Interweave Crochet Home Special Issue 2015 (clearance) PLUS there was free book coupon on my order day so I also have a copy of The Well-Made Home {Crochet} by Knit Picks! 

My favourite apart from the yarn is my new mug – I love it! Bigger than I expected which is perfect for my morning coffee (my other addiction), and excellent for my afternoon green tea. And emblazoned with very important words of Crochet Wisdom ❀ 😁

My second gift today is time. Time just for me. Sometimes life speeds up and it’s good to take a moment to just STOP. I am now well on top of my iron deficiency but the related forced stop of my running routine really impacted my mental health. Five weeks without my run therapy left me slipping into depression again, with increased symptoms of anxiety, too. So frustrating and disapointing, as I’m now more than 8 months off my meds and had been going so great. 

I am now thankfully in a position where I recognise the signs early and I can see it coming, but nevertheless I was really clawing my way back for a week or so there. However, I’m running again now and have reimplemented my yoga routine, plus I’m swimming once a week while my girls have their lessons. Within a week of running slow interval 5ks every morning with 2 rest days, I stopped waking up under a cloud of inexplicable dread. So grateful! And taking extra good care of myself. 

Taking good care of myself doesn’t mean lavish spending or elaborate outings and plans. Today, it simply means a few balls of yarn for my stash, a new mug that makes me smile, and an afternoon off my chore list to sit on the veranda and listen to the birds. It means crochet, and a good book, and a big comfy, striped sofa dragged outside to its new Spring/Summer home – my peaceful perch for a few hours before I’m back on Mum mode. Bliss!

It’s the little things ❀

Happy hooking, all πŸ™‚

Time Management and the Crochet Obsessive

My ideal would be a parallel universe – one world in which I can crochet all hours of the day, and another running simultaneously where I meet all my other-world commitments, and of course enjoy all the precious, lovely non-crochet elements of my life! Such a universe, alas, does not exist and therefore, I find I must prioritise (sucks!).

But. How much dust is too much? I know I will never regret not having dusted more when I die haha but at the same time, one cannot run a family in chaos (well I can’t anyway). My girls are almost five and almost seven and I am a full time stay at home mum who is suddenly feeling the currents of change and finding just a little more time on her hands. My youngest will be starting school in January and I am now well out of the survival mode of the early years (which included severe depression and anxiety) and moving into a new phase.

This is very exciting but also rather daunting! My youngest is currently only at preschool three days a week during school hours so I have her with me lots still, plus of course there are a lot of hours before 9 and after 3.30! However, suddenly both girls seem to be growing less needful of me with every passing week. The demands on my time are no longer so great and there are finally more hours in my day in which I have CHOICES!? This is most novel! I am no longer fire-fighting, as we used to say in my previous life as a corporate finance analyst – rushing to put out one fire after another and barely pausing for breath. It’s fabulous! But I do find myself…drifting a little. I think, yay! I can crochet now, nobody is here wanting stuff! So I do (sometimes rather a lot), and then I do a little bit of cleaning or ironing and then I get distracted, have a quick look at gorgeous lovely crochet things on Instagram and oops it’s 3pm where did that go and OMG what have I achieved?!

Believe me I am NOT complaining – I know how blessed I am. The things is, after almost seven years of being “on” pretty much 24/7 as a full time stay at home mum of very young children with no family support network and a husband who is AWESOME but who also works long hours, I am just not used to this level of freedom. I’ve reached a point where I need to start thinking about how to structure my days, and what I want them to look like. I’ve been crocheting a LOT , particularly since I started this blog a few months ago, and it has been awesome but that parallel universe I yearn for does not exist and the time has come to plan and prioritise. I don’t want to feel guilty when I crochet. I don’t think I need to work harder – I do work very hard for my family – but I need, as they say, to work SMARTER, so that I have done all the things I need to do before I sit down with my hooks and yarn, guilt free and hooker-happy! Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that better time management will ultimately result in more hooking time for this crochet obsessive. YES!!!

So.

  • A little less blogging , and more defined times for doing so and for addressing correspondence related to Hooks and Hills (I’ve taken the email apps off my phone so I don’t get distracted by the ‘ping’ any more – such a time monster!).
  • Flexible but clear forward schedule in terms of crochet skills I want to learn – I am an ambitious and adventurous crocheter! – book reviews I want to write and patterns of my own that I want to work on.
  • Fixed hours on preschool days for family / family business interests paperwork.
  • Fixed hours on preschool days for home duties, and clear schedule of tasks (thank you Motivated Moms app!)
  • Fixed hours for exercise – vital and sliding a little recently  (run/walking and yoga now replace antidepressents for me).

How do you make sure you get your crochet fix? If you’re a stay at home mum, what are your best tips for managing your time? And how did you go when your youngest started school? For so long I felt like the day would never come and now it seems to be racing at me full speed and it’s a bit…confronting! πŸ™‚

 

Too tired to crochet?!

I’ve been feeling more tired than what I consider normal for quite a while, even for one with two small children that’s training for a half marathon. I finally decided earlier this week to get a blood test just to make sure my iron levels were ok, and turns out my hunch was right, and they are actually very low indeed, which explains a lot! I managed to caffeine through the last of the planned school holiday activities but by 2pm yesterday I was forced into my bed. Felt too weak even to crochet, which says it all! My doctor says the iron tablets should kick in within the week, and if there are any issues with those, I’ll go back for an infusion.

My half marathon challenge is postponed and I am so disappointed 😦 However, there will always be another event, and my primary focus now needs to be on getting back to 100% health. I am feeling pretty shitty and rather sorry for myself right now, I can tell ya! But, it’s a good wake up call to focus a lot more on what I’m eating (not just on what my fussy children are (not) eating!) and I’m very, very grateful that all the other tests (thyroid, kidney, liver, BP etc) came back normal. This is fixable, and I should be back to normal very soon. Blessed indeed to be in such excellent health as I embark upon my 44th year πŸ™‚

I do find it very, very hard to be idle, so these days of complete and utter enervation are extremely frustrating. I really don’t have the energy to focus on much of any note crochet-wise. My crochet corner is a real yarnbomb and not in a good way lol –  projects, hooks, notebooks and yarn everywhere and out of control. Cannot see where to begin / continue anything, is hard to describe this mental fatigue, especially when rectifying things or making decisions also requires physical movement! So I have settled for sitting quietly with the laptop and updating my Ravelry projects by going through my Instagram feed. I am now all up to date and can clearly see what wips I have going on, so I feel tidier in my head if not IRL πŸ˜€

No pics today, I do like a white WordPress with photo pops for colour but today all white I’m afraid – I have some lovely car crochet pics from this week in my Insta though, do head over and check them out (yup getting up to find phone and upload is just a bridge too far I’m afraid). Also I’d love to connect with more fellow hookers on Ravelry – please feel free to friend me (is that a verb?) – I’m just finding my way over there and would love to put it to better use πŸ™‚

OK enough from me, I feel I’m starting to ramble. Happy hooking all, I look forward to being back in it – this cold turkey is very unpleasant for a fix-a-day hooker such as myself! πŸ˜€

 

Hills and Hooks

When not crocheting, I like to spend my free time running up and down the hills to which my blog title refers πŸ™‚ At the moment I’m training for my third half marathon (21k), in September – it’s becoming an annual challenge. Sundays I do my long runs, and now in week five of my training program, the long runs are getting longer – yesterday, 18k. It hurt, and I’m tired today, I can tell ya! However, mentally I feel fabulous and I absolutely relish the challenges I will face in the coming weeks. Here’s a little collage from yesterday. I’m blessed to live in a beautiful part of the world – country New South Wales. Whatever is going on in my life, pounding these country roads and testing my physical limits puts everything in perspective, and I always return home feeling empowered and positive.

And here’s a little collage of my June hooking – I love reflecting on what I’ve learned and created at the end of each month πŸ™‚

I have a history of severe depression, and ongoing anxiety issues. Crochet and running are now my chosen forms of therapy and I feel so lucky to have them both in my life! They each heal and support me in different ways and I am beyond grateful that I can so easily reach for my hooks and hills whenever I need them – and also just for fun πŸ™‚ 

Rainy Day Crochet

Rainy day chaos reigns this Saturday afternoon.  I come to you from inside the abandoned cubby house, hopeful that nobody will join me, and grateful I can’t see the mess out there from in here! 

However, a bit of mess is not the end of the world and a family pajama day never hurt anyone πŸ™‚ My girls are almost five and almost seven, and when they’re not driving me batshit crazy with their fighting, they are very happy with their crafting and imaginery games and I get to hook quite often now – a far cry from the early years, and it’s great!

So today I’ve finished my new project bag, using a pattern by Zeens and Roger and adding my own crochet flowers. A rainy day well spent! 

More Crochet Happy Mail!

Friday is coming to an end here Down Under and I would usually be sharing a finished project. I’m not quite there yet with the Willow baby blanket custom order, which has been a priority hook, but here’s a progress pic. I’m really chuffed with how it’s come together, wasn’t quite sure of it until well into the joining and then starting in on a small hdc (US) scallop border. The relief! Just a couple of ends to sew in now. I’ve loved making it πŸ™‚

In other news, much happy distraction today in form of yet more happy mail! My favourite hooks  – Clover Amour – arrived in new sizes. Woot!

Plus, my first ever crochet subscription box arrived from England and oh! was it worth the wait! So beautifully packaged and so much gorgeousness within! I’ll do a proper review of the box, with photos, once I get into it properly. Suffice to say, I’m thrilled πŸ™‚

Right now though, it’s time to rest, because I’ve been working the hills as well as my hooks this week- it’s the end of week 1/13 of my half marathon training, and I’m knackered! 27km down, and a few hundred to go. Bring it! 

Crochet is my MeditationΒ 

After about six months of intensively using traditonal meditation techniques to build my confidence in my increasing mental wellness (I have a history of anxiety and both Postnatal and Clinical depression), I now find that crochet has become my meditation of choice.

I’ve long been aware of the therapeutic benefits of crochet, and it has been a vital part of my wellness toolbox ever since I learned to hook a couple of years ago, but I was very focussed on learning and healing through (primarily guided) meditation (via Insight Timer). I learned so much during those months, and benefitted enormously both from my practice itself and from the knowledge and skills gleaned during the process. I have a heightened sense of perspective and calm in my daily life that enabled me to successfully wean off my antidepressants back in February and which serves me so well today. 

However, gradually and unintentionally my more formal meditation habits have fallen by the wayside. At first this concerned me – could I manage without? Would my mental health deteriorate again? Should I force myself to do something that I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ any more? – but now I see that my mind remains balanced and healthy; there is no cause for concern. The time has simply come for change, as it always does, and I welcome that. 

I now enjoy my time before sleep lost in a novel – I’ve missed that so much, unable to stay awake long enough to both read and meditate. And I still do meditate, just in a different way. 

I meditate on the veranda in the beautiful Autumn sunshine, with my crochet in my hands. I listen to the birds and rhythm of my hook. My mind is soothed and still. I am calm, grateful and sometimes even joyful. It works for me, so very well. 

Crochet is my meditation πŸ’œ πŸ™‚