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Thursday, January 3, 2013

New year, new possibilities

Good morning to you! And Happy New Year!

It's January, and everything is sunshine and roses at my end of the universe!

January is that one and only month of the year that feels open to me. I mean, I actually have free time.

I spend time with my kids (as much as they'll take of me). I read novels. I peruse design, landscape and decorating books. I day dream about the garden to be planted in spring. I sit by the fire with a cup of chai tea, and just watch the dancing flames. I make candy, a thing I always want to do in December, but haven't the time. I craft like a crafting fiend (seriously, beading is addictive. I can stay up half the night working on a bracelet.) I cook those meals that take all day to prepare, like boeuf bourginon. I organize every closet that I'm allowed to touch. And I delight in the lengthening of days, each and every one of them, longer than the one before. Two extra minutes per day are supremely important to me.

There is a feeling of luxury of time that seems almost decadent to me in January. I slurp every minute up, dribbling a wasted moment with abandon on my chin. I am swimming in this abundance of free time. So many opportunities at hand, and finally the time to pursue some of them.

So far this month, I have spent oodles of time with my 3 kids, read one novel, emptied out one entire closet, made myself a bracelet, made a batch of candy (please don't tell my dentist). And in just a couple of nights, the new season of Downton Abbey premieres on my local PBS station. Oh, decadence, here I come!

The novel. I have two absolutely favorite authors, Jane Austin and Agatha Christie. I am a frequent patron of our library's large print section. I'd rather read the large print than put on glasses! Every time I go in to the library, I check for available novels by my fav authors, in large print. Anyways, the novel I read was an Agatha Christie.

My empty closet is in preparation for redoing all the organization in there. Our house has rather small closets. Go figure. It's a full-figured home, yet all the closet space is petite. Our home was built in the 70s. Perhaps they thought we were stepping into the future, when we'd all wear disposable clothing.

Making the most of our closet space really matters. I've allowed too many non-essentials to hang out in my tiny bedroom closet. As much as possible, I'd like to use what we have here (some shelving in the garage and attic), for increasing storage space. But I'd also like it to be attractive. I guess what I'm saying is, I don't want the stacked, cardboard milk boxes as my storage for blankets and sweaters any more. Sooooo, I'm trying my hand at very simple hammer-nail-wood thingy stuff. I keep telling myself, I can do this!

I spent one morning at the local closet and storage store, picking the brain of one of the employees. With pen and paper in hand, and a drawing of my available space, I was able to get some really great organizational ideas, for nothing more than the cost of time.

Candy -- why make candy in January? Aren't we all trying to lighten up after the holidays? Yes, I know. But it was just one batch. And the air is much drier here in January than December, which is better for most candy-making. And, and, and, you got me, no more logical explanations on why THIS was the time to make some candy. I just wanted some candy, without spending much money! So there, I blame my gluttonous side.

I have also been reading summaries online, of the plots and characters in Downton Abbey, so I won't be lost for a moment when the new season begins. This is one of my favorite shows. It's the best of all worlds for me -- soap opera-like character stories, beautiful costuming, and fantastic architectural sets.

2013 has come in with a bang for me! I am excited as ever for this new year. New hope, new possibilities, new design projects, a new garden, and new friendships and conversations.

Tell me, what are you most looking forward to in this new year? What's at the top of your list?


  1. Look at what you've already done with only a couple of days into January. You play the same way you work--with gusto.

    I find large print books hard to read sometimes because there is not as much white space on the page and the rhythm of reading is difficult. Did you find any of these things when you started with large print books. Did you get used to them?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Hmm, the large print books haven't presented this problem for me yet. I think I'm just so glad to find a book that wasn't printed with blurry ink, in teeny tiny letters. For me, the large print are better than glasses. I have one pair, but I get dizzy if I move my head with them on. I only pick them up for seeing specific items, like when beading, or reading the fine print on a label. I have wondered if other people got dizzy when first wearing glasses, and if this was something one just got used to.

    2. I've had prescription tri-focals for several years. Most of the time they are propped on the top of my head because they make me dizzy when I change the direction of my gaze. I wear them for driving and reading, really anything that I'm focused on for a period of time but if I'm walking they get pushed to the top of my head. I asked my mother if it bothered her when she got glasses, She said she just got used to it. I haven't yet and doubt I ever will.

    3. HI frugal spinster,
      That is very interesting. I was beginning to feel like I was the only one who felt dizzy with glasses. And now I fully understand the long chains for glasses, to wear around the neck. I hope that I can some day adjust to wearing the glasses to read at least. Thanks for your comment. I understand my issue better now.

  2. Sewing! My mother bought me a NEW sewing machine. So far I've repurposed two roman blinds into one for the kitchen window - no more old tablecloth held up by three clothes pegs - and made my daughter a skirt. Several projects in the pipeline. Thank goodness Christmas is over and I can get on with what I really like to do.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I love the last line of your comment, "thank goodness Christmas is over. . ." I feel similarly, thank goodness Christmas is over and I finally have free time again!

      I'm hoping to reclaim my sewing machine this month. My daughters have had it in their room for several weeks, working on their Christmas gifts to each other. I have a project I want to tackle next week after school starts back up.

      What make of sewing machine did you get? I'm hoping to just give my very old machine (31 years old) to my girls, and replace it with a newer model that could do some things more easily (like buttonholes). Good luck with all your projects!

  3. Welcome back to blogland! Sounds like you are fully rejuvenated! Fresh air and laundry are the themes here so far. It's finally been dry enough to get out cycling and walking, and to deal with an enormous backlog of dirty washing - having no dryer is tough when it's rained so much. I too have an urge to try and conquer fudge-making this month, then I might know what I'm doing next Christmas!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Mmm, yes, I remember well drying all our laundry, and the complications with living in the soggy pacific northwest. I would run out of places to "hang" the damp laundry. Belinda at Frugal Workshop told me about a great extra clothes rack she used. She took two kitchen chairs, placed them back to back a few feet apart, and put a broomstick across the backs. This she used to hang clothes on hangers, to dry.

      Good luck with your fudge-making. And don't get discouraged. I think it was Thomas Edison who said that his failures were actually lessons in learning how NOT to make a lightbulb, and that he knew he was one step closer to conquering this invention! Sort of like life, learning how not to repeat our mistakes.

  4. I canned back 10 pints of ground venison/beef, along with getting my pumpkins also canned back (16 quarts with that!) what I am looking forward to... mmm, some peace. Actually I have a few projects in the pipe (making beanbags for a neighbor, consolidating food stores, teaching my son to skate and having him teach me the finer points of sledding!) Other than that, thinking of the garden and what makes the most sense to plant this year. Have a wonderful day!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Wow! You've been busy with the canning! It will be nice to have that canned meat and pumpkin later this winter, I'm sure.

      I can hardly wait to get back into the garden this year. Although I'm planning the vegetable garden, what I look forward to most is the ornamental areas.

      Hope your day is wonderful, as well!

  5. I worked at the bakery so much more in December than I usually do that my house has been terribly neglected. I need to get everything back in order.
    I finally ran out of laundry detergent from the mega box that I bought at Sears and am going to give the home made version a try. The sun is shining so maybe I’ll even dry the wash outside today (I haven’t done that in a while).
    I’m stitching up polar fleece hats to distribute to homeless people.
    I’m thinking hard about what I want to do with my blog this year. I hope to be a less sporadic poster.

    1. I imagine the bakery was really hopping from Thanksgiving till New Years! Doesn't it feel good to get back to some of the more routine chores? It always makes me feel normal again, after a flurry of holiday activity.

      Those hats sound wonderful, and I know they will be greatly appreciated. The Salvation Army north of us, where I occasionally work the dinner line with a group from our church, has a table of hats, mittens and scarves every winter. One gentleman told me that a having a hat was what made sleeping outdoors bearable in winter. I count my blessings. I could not imagine what it would be like to be homeless.

      Good luck with planning for your blog. Looking forward to it!

  6. Alas, we seem to be having another mild winter! What I would love would be a good dumping of snow (not the scary blizzard type--a good 5 or 6 inches would do) on a day I can stay home and bake to my heart's content.

    I decluttered closets last year so I feel for you, Lili! By the time school is out for summer I want my bedroom decluttered and rearranged and my desk decluttered. Maybe the basement, too. Somehow all the time I spend de-cumulating seems to create a vacuum in my home in which other things get sucked in.

    Are your glasses prescription or drugstore reading glasses? When I wore glasses all the time (before Lasik--done on a single-girl's budget!) every time I got a new prescription it took me several days to adapt. I now wear reading glasses some of the time but they are only meant for reading (books, computer monitors), not for anything else, and you will get distorted vision from them if you look at anything other than what they are intended for. I went to the opthalmologist last month and he told me something interesting--you need to purchase a slightly weaker prescription for reading a computer monitor than for reading a book (for instance, I would use a 1.25 diopter for computer and a 1.50 for books). Probably more information than you wanted to know! :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      Thanks for the info on glasses, especially the bit about computer screens vs. books. Mine are just drugstore reading glasses, not prescription. So, that's very good to know about wearing them for anything besides reading. So far, all I can manage without, developing nausea, is putting them on for just a moment while I take a better look at some print or a beading or sewing project. If I try to even wear them for a page of reading, I find myself very dizzy. I wonder if prescription glasses would be better in that regard? But thank you, I appreciate your input.

      With de-cluttering, for me the problem is I live in a family of 5 accumulators (myself included) and only one de-clutterer (again, me). Keeping up with everything coming in to the house is an extraordinary task! I have to work at it almost every day.

      One item I am tackling right now, is getting us all to hang our jackets in the entry closet when we come in. My only problem with this is when I'm going out, I can't seem to find my coat, until of course after several minutes of hunting, I remember that I hung it in the coat closet, where it belongs!

      Good luck with reorganizing your bedroom. At the very least it will give you a fresh look to the room, and at the most it will be more functional to you as well. A win-win!

  7. You're right. January is "that" kind of month.

    I read two books hubby got for Christmas I've not been able to get into my crocheting for that very reason.

    Like Lisa I've been doing some canning and I have more batches planned.

    I think what I am most looking forward to this year is holding my first grandchild. :-)

    1. Hi Shara,
      holding your first grandchild, I think that tops the list! What an exciting phase you are entering into. Do your son and his wife live very close by? I know it is something of a drive for you to see them. I was just wondering if you'll be able to drop in often enough. What a wonderful time for you!

      Enjoy your reading and canning! And maybe with a new bundle on the way, you'll be inspired to crochet again soon!

  8. I received a Singer Prelude. It's wonderfully smooth compared to the Singer I had before which belonged to my Grandmother. It's quite basic, just does a zigzag stitch, buttonholes, crescent and other edges but that's a huge improvement over what I had (any stitch I liked as long as it was straight). Also it's soo easy to thread the two parts. I'm very thrilled.

    1. Thank you for the information, Jessica! I will check that one out. My machine is just a very basic one. Forward, reverse and zig zag are about it. It's supposed to do buttonholes, but that feature has never worked very well. And the zipper foot falls off constantly, so I tend to shy away from zippers, or else sew them in by hand.

      Have fun with your new "toy"!


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