Skip to content

Sundrenched

February 24, 2014

IMG_5873

IMG_5897

IMG_5885

IMG_5956

IMG_5954

IMG_5938

IMG_5865

Time away from home, on adventures big and small, is an essential part of what brings me happiness.  This may be a bit ironic since I  consider myself a homebody.  And yet I regularly need a break from our routine, a breath of fresh air, and new sights to help clear my head, bring my priorities back into focus, and jumpstart new daydreams.

And that’s just what our most recent trip to Florida did for me. At first, it was all about playing in the sun and spending time together. As our trip stretched on and we really settled in to the un-rhythym of family life on the road, it hit me.  So many of the things that stress me out, cause me worry or upset, don’t matter. They just don’t!  Sure, this is easy to feel while on vacation, that’s half the point of getting away!  But I am feeling this acutely right now, and want to hold on to it for as long as possible.

My other vacation revelation has to do with work.  Life goes on all around us, whether we’re there or not. Both of our jobs were moving along smoothly without us. This took some careful pre-plannig, but we were able to leave and not look back (for the most part) for 10 days.  It’s not necessary to check email after hours, work on the weekends, or be preoccupied with work while at home.  I can’t help but wonder what we can both do on a weekly basis to maintain this feeling and separation.

And during those 10 days, we had nothing but each other, and that truly is all that matters. I fell more in love with my wife, our family, and our life on this trip. And that makes me insanely happy!  And being happy means I have more energy for friends, work and family, hopefully without too much fretting over the small stuff.

So even though I woke up at 3 am and feel bone tired this morning thanks to a 3 hour time difference, I am so grateful.  Grateful for the time and the ability to take off into the sunshine for 10 days. Grateful for an adventurous family that helps push me outside my comfort zone. Grateful for the uninhibited, playful excitement of my 4 year old.  And yes, grateful for the warmth of the sun and a brief reprieve from the cold, wet, grayness of our winter.

Yarn Along: A Spree

February 5, 2014

IMG_5790

From Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

I have been knitting and reading up a storm this winter. Something about the weather sends me to the couch in the evenings for knitting, curled up in front of the fire watching something on tv with my sweetie. And then to bed early to curl up with a book.  There has been plenty of both the past couple of months, and it feels really good.  Good to take care of myself and make time for the things that bring me comfort, peace, and creativity.

Currently I’m reading The House Girl. It’s a rich story of the complications of two women, generations apart: life as a young slave, and life as a young career woman.  There’s a lot of complexity to the story that I’m really enjoying, even early on.  I can’t wait to see how it all ties together.  Some other recent reads that have been a treat: DivergentLove Walked InBelong to Me.

My fall sweater has been seeing a lot of action recently.  I started this as part of a Stash knit along, but it got set aside in favor of another sweater and holdiay projects.  The Anzula For Better or Worsted is a dream to knit with; once I start, I don’t want to touch anything else!  So now I’m pointing my laser focus at it and trying to get the pieces finished asap.

And yet…I just wound up yarn for 4 new projects.  We’re heading out on a sunny vacation soon, and I may have gotten a bit carried away.  But you know what? Each of these projects has been on my mind for ages, so why not have the yarn, pattern, and needles ready to go when the mood strikes?!  I’ll probably take 2 with me on vacation.  Or 3. We’ll see.

Making & Mothering: My Podcast Interview + 10 Tips for Simplifying Motherhood

November 19, 2013

Image

I recently had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bloggers and internet friends in real life.  It was sort of surreal looking at one another in the flesh after years of reading her blog!  We got to spend some time fondling a gorilla, slurping lattes, and talking about our respective mama-hoods and business lives.  And amid all of that, Kathy mentioned that she had recently started a podcast and would be interested in interviewing me.

Say whaaaat?!

I love podcasts.  Knitting and parenting podcasts are my jam.  They have kept me company while cleaning, painting, nursing, cooking, driving, exercising, and knitting.  I look up to the women I listen to every week, for their bravery at pulling up the mic and sharing themselves.

When faced with the opportunity to be on a podcast myself, I was simultaneously excited and terrified.  It turns out I was in good hands.  Talking with Kathy is easy and fun, and it really felt like a phone call with a good friend.

We talked about my new passion, exploring making and mothering.  It’s a topic we’ve been exploring over on the Stash blog with interviews and guest posts with some pretty amazing women (click here to see them all in one place).  To get to speak about this subject from a personal standpoint had me feeling vulnerable and empowered at the same time.  I’m no expert on parenting, and I certainly don’t do things the way I want to 100% of the time.  But I do the best I can, and I am constantly learning and evolving.

If you’re so inclined, head on over to Kathy’s blog Bliss Beyond Naptime and listen to my interview!  The time flew by so quickly that we didn’t get a chance to delve into all the things I was ready to talk about.  Kathy asked me two big questions that we could have kept talking about for hours.  Below I’ve shared more of my answers that we didn’t necessarily get to in the interview.  I hope you enjoy!

>>> <<<

Image

For me, I’m never more connected to my creative spirit than when I am creating.  Knitting is the main way I feel that connection, but there are infinite ways.  Find yours and give it everything you have.  Some other sources of bliss that rejuvenate and nourish my soul:

Baking—did you know I went to school to be a pastry chef?

Being out in nature—gardening, walking/hiking, the beach. Being near water. Love living in the PNW!

Reading–love to bliss out on an amazing story (fiction or otherwise). I make time for reading by enforcing and early bedtime for myself. 

Travel—doesn’t have to be big, but I find that about every 2 months or so I need a change of scenery and routine.  We also take a lot of daytrips as a family, and our staff at Stash try to take a field trip every couple of months.

Grooming!—long baths & self-manicure sessions help me clear my head and invite in all sorts of amazing ideas. Maybe it’s the polish fumes, but it works!

Friends—a good long talk with a girlfriend is so important.  My social life has been one of the things to take a hit since starting my business, and this makes me very sad.  Whenever possible, I try to reach out to my friends and touch base.

Image

How have you simplified motherhood so you can carve out the time and energy to follow your bliss?

  1. Changing expectations of self.  I don’t have to do it all, nor do I want to.  And I don’t have to do it like She does.  We’re all different and doing the best we can as women and moms. This was a hard transition to make when I became a mother, and again when I started running Stash.  I’m learning to put my energy into the activities that make me feel most myself, as well as a loving mother, creative business owner, fun and supportive spouse.  It’s like my biz mentor Marie Forleo says, “if isn’t a hell yes, it’s a hell no!”  Letting go of other people’s expectations.  This is hard—I tend to take things personally and am very sensitive.
  2. Routine: Getting rid of what doesn’t work, add in more of what does & repeat. Children love repetition and routine.  And guess what? Busy adults do, too!  We have a family rhythm that works really well for us right now.  My daughter eats the same thing (with minor variations) every day for breakfast and lunch. I used to worry about her becoming a picky eater, but I’ve let that go in favor of knowing she always has healthy choices I don’t have to think so much about.  We save new foods for our nightly family dinners and when we’re out of the house. 
  3. Present moment.  When I’m at work I’m 100% focused on Stash.  When I’m at home, I attempt to be 100% focused on my family.  I don’t work from home when my daughter is here.  This is a big challenge, but one that has enabled me to notice, appreciate, and soak up the special moments in my everyday life.  It also helps me feel a bigger sense of gratitude for the little things: friendly customers, soft yarn, belly laughs, silly faces, and a thousand other things.
  4. By encouraging solo play.  Kathy was the first person who I ever heard lay it out so clearly, bluntly, yet lovingly: I don’t play with my kids.  I felt that this was the way for me intuitively, but I felt a lot of guilt around it.  For my daughter and I, our play is reading, cooking, or creating together.  We have a craft room where we’re free to get messy and have fun, and we read together every single day. We also have a lot of family dance parties to blow off steam and reconnect at the end of a busy day!
  5. House cleaner!  I used to have a weekly cleaning schedule.  It helped me feel productive and like I was contributing to the household when I wasn’t working full time.  When my daughter was born I gave myself the gift of letting go of the deep cleanings.  Once a month someone comes in and cleans the house top to bottom.  It’s amazing what happened when I let go of worrying about scrubbing the tub or mopping the floors!  We still clean, but our standards have changed and it’s very liberating!
  6. Free days and family dinners.  No matter how busy the week is, we know that we will be having dinner together every night.  This is a huge priority for all of us, as it is often the only time we’re all sitting down in the same place at the same time.  We also do our best to not schedule more than one outside activity on the weekends so we have time together and each parent can be free to pursue passion projects. All that routine does get a little monotonous! Keeping weekends free allows for more spontaneity and fun.
  7. Bedtime and quiet time Ever since my daughter was an infant, we have held bedtime and naptimes sacred.  Not only does this mean we’re all better rested, it means we all get our own downtime, too.  When I stayed at home, I would only let myself do housework type things for a few minutes, the rest was for soul-filling activities.
  8. Less work I’ve also slowly simplified my work schedule so I have more room to dream and hunt inspiration for my life and my business.  There is this antiquated notion that entrepreneurs have to work 24/7 in order to be successful.  I regularly only work 24 hours a week  As much as possible I separate my two jobs as entrepreneur and mama so that each can have my full attention.
  9. Bonus Day My daughter goes to preschool on one of my days off! I usually do a little bit of work to keep things running smoothly, then I take care of what need to in order to fill my bliss cup back up.  It usually involves not getting dressed, writing a blog post or two, reading, knitting, and cooking up something yummy.

What are your sources of joy and rejuvenation, dear mama?  How do you take care of your creative self while also being the mama of your dreams?  Do share~I’d love to hear from you!

Yarn Along

September 18, 2013

yarn along photo

 

Over the weekend I finished both the book and knitting project I shared last time.  Both were a real treat!  Before I even bound off my shawl, I started plotting my next 2 projects.  The golden-yellow yarn in the back is a swatch for a sweater; I’m on the fence about this, so should probably finish off the swatch and block it already.  Next, I pulled this rainbow yarn from my stash and cast on a quick hat.  You know, just to have something ready to go.  I wouldn’t want to be caught without a portable knitting project!  After knitting the brim in a strip and picking up stitches for the body of the hat, this will be perfect potato chip knitting.

The book’s a quick read as well.  I have already watched season one of Orange is the New Black on Netflix and loved it.  It is rare that a television show have so many rich and nuanced female characters in one show.  The book is Piper Kerman’s account of what led up to and including her spending a year in federal prison.  She is respectful and empathetic for the most part, even when describing unimaginable treatment by the prison staff or the circumstances of her fellow inmates.  I find it fascinating and upsetting all at once.  I’m learning a lot about one person’s experience, and it is shocking to me how people are treated in prison. After having seen the show first I keep wondering how much from the show parallels her real life experience.  I’d recommend reading the book first, maybe, so there isn’t that fact/fiction comparison.  Although it would probably happen in reverse, too.  Either way, I recommend both, so choose your own adventure!

> > >  < < <

As an aside, I’d like to mention that we have a shiny new Stash blog with a great interview with knitting designer Susan B. Anderson.  You should head over and enter to win a copy of her most recent book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys!

> > >  < < <

This Yarn Along post, as ever, is inspired by the lovely Ginny over at Small Things: ”Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?”

Yes, do tell! What’s on your nightstand and project bag this week?

 

Yarn Along :: Circus Stripes

September 4, 2013

Image

Follow me on Instagram as soniaruyts

A few weeks ago, it was light when I woke up.  Lately, it’s been just on the edges of a deep darkness at the same time.  And just like that, summer began its slow shift into autumn.  I’m trying to spend time reminiscing over all the fun, truly summer activities we got to enjoy instead of mounring its inevitable end.  At the same time I’m enjoying the tinge of cool that is creeping in around the edges of each day.

This has me thinking about ways to cozy up my home and dreaming of sweaters to knit with a golden yellow yarn I have stashed for such a purpose.  For now, though, while the days are still quite warm and the evenings a bit brisk, I’m curling up with miles and miles of garter stitch and a journey to another place and time. While continuing to daydream about sweaters, of course.

Image

Night Circus and Happy Street by Veera Valimaki {my Ravelry notes are here}

Image

Both the book and my project capruted my imagination the very first time I saw them.  It took me a while to decide to spend time with either; I tend to shy away from some of the best patterns and books simply because it seems everyone else is already been there.  I had always admired Color Affection by the same designer, but didn’t do it for that reason (nearly 10k projects!).  And here I go mimiking her more recent pattern by using the same color palette.  Oh well.  It’s a bit mysterious, a bit candy crush, and very fun to knit.

The book has been a real treat to immerse myself in.  A mysterios traveling circus.  A challenge between two powerful, magical people.  Fabulous settings, costumes, and illusions fill the pages, and I am hooked.

> > >  < < <

This Yarn Along post, as ever, is inspired by the lovely Ginny over at Small Things: “Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?”

Yes, do tell! What’s on your nightstand and project bag this week?

Growing

July 29, 2013

IMG_3983

IMG_3976

IMG_3987

The garden is growing.

IMG_4051

Sweet bunting in The Fibre Co. Acadia

IMG_4054

Lobelia in Anzula Cloud

And so is my knititng.

IMG_3906

IMG_3964

IMG_4042

IMG_3994

But most of all, this summer my little girl is growing.  She’s made that indescribable crossing from toddler to small child, and there’s every indication she’ll just keep going from here.  She’s a joker, an artist, a storyteller, and a joyful liver of life.

The way she is lives so fully in the present is truly teaching me what it means to live in the moment.  I am reminded to give her my best as often as I can.  The rest of it: the laundry, the crumbs on the counter, even the running of my business, can just wait a minute.  Because who would want to miss that look?  Not me.

This Moment:: In Concert

July 5, 2013

IMG_3777

 

Inspired by Soule Mama:  {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 202 other followers