Some of us city folk have very romantic ideas about what it would be like to retire to some remote location in Maine to take care of a farm and animals and slow our pace. For me, this scenario usually looks most attractive on weeks where I’m overwhelmed, realize I’ve overbooked myself, and find my life a little too full of obligations that aren’t particularly bringing me joy. Knitters and crocheters are especially prone to these fantasies because of our appreciation for the animals who provide our fiber.
However, there are those folks who take the next step and actually make that jump, and as they say, there’s no teacher like experience. Cinnamon Girl of Maine gives in-depth descriptions of her life and challenges on the farm. She cringes at being called “inspiring”, which I’ve carefully NOT done here, and makes the point that this lifestyle is a choice to make when you’re truly passionate for it, as you will need the passion when the romance wears off. And for those of us who really are city people at heart, the point to have a passion still rings true. Pursue yours, whatever it is, and when you need an escape into someone else’s reality, a great blog helps!
Over the holidays, I read Grace Coddington’s memoirs. In case you are not familiar with who she is, allow me to give you what you need to know for the purposes of this post: she is Vogue’s creative director, which basically means that much of the imagery you see in Vogue is directly related to her. In her book, she recounts her growing up years in Wales and how she entered the world of fashion, as well as her working relationship with Anna Wintour. I read the book out of curiosity, but I found myself relating to her much more than I expected. She talks in great detail about how she grew up feeling extremely shy, and how, even today, she still struggles to deal with crowds or having to speak in front of people. She says there is nowhere that makes her happier than being at home with her cats and she has no desire to be running to glittery parties and fashion events.
My daughter struggles a great deal with being shy and doesn’t like to be in front of people. Both myself and my husband have always been “backstage people” too. In fact, this seems to be a common trait with lots of creative people. It is unfortunate that most of the time, kids are constantly being told they need to overcome their shyness, and that society seems to expect everyone to want the spotlight. The truth is, everyone is born with their own personality, and while we do have to work on our weaknesses so that we can succeed, we shouldn’t ever be trying to change ourselves into something we’re not. It is OK to be shy, and in my opinion, a good thing to learn to be happy without needing to be in the spotlight.
For this reason, I try very hard to respect my daughter’s feelings. I don’t push her to be the star of school plays or choir, etc., and I try to be careful to not even imply that she should want the solo parts when she’s just simply happier not being on a stage at all. The funny thing is, I’ve never heard a complaint from her about having to stand in front of her class to deliver a book report or similar things, so I am confident that her shy personality is not to her detriment. It is too bad that in general, society seems to condemn quieter personalities, because the truth is, some of us shy people are way stronger than anyone thinks.
I admire Grace Coddington very much for being at the top of her game, but especially for not trying to change herself into someone else while she was getting there. What a great message for all artists and creative people out there! Celebrate your creativity, put in the hard work, and you just never know where you’ll end up – even if you’re painfully shy!
The writer of this blog calls it minimalism. I call it making more time for the things you truly love to do. Regardless of label, I seem to be feeling a theme this week in terms of wanting routine, organization and simplification. I thought this site was so soothing to browse, plus I love the ideas in the 30-day challenge and couldn’t resist sharing. The wardrobe and styling ideas are also indepth and worth the read, especially considering that us crafty types spend so much time making special pieces for ourselves. If you’re feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed, perhaps it will speak to you as it did to me.
Stories of people who tire of their high pressure jobs and leave to go start a farm or retire to some creative utopia seem to resonate with lots of people. There are numerous books written around this theme which become bestsellers. I admit, when I used to work in corporate America, I dreamed about it too. I’m much happier with my job now, but I still enjoy reading about people who make a big change and meet with success. Bonus points when it involves the fiber industry! Black Bunny Fibers has such a backstory, plus just plain great product! I hope you enjoy browsing around on her site and blog as much as I did. I plan to go back from time to time, and do some shopping when I finally allow myself to start buying yarn again.
In keeping with flu season, I am sick, and today is the fifth day I have a fever and pretty much have to stay in bed. I know it really is time to rest in bed when I’m too sick to even crochet or knit, as there is usually never a day that goes by I don’t pick up a project to work on. However, no matter how sick I am, I can’t sleep round the clock, so for me, reading is the next best thing. Here is my reading list, all of which is light reading, easily picked up again if you doze off in the middle. Take care of yourselves, and if you’re not sick, I think you will enjoy these anyway! Happy, and I hope, healthy reading!
Tory Burch: In Color – Lots and lots of gorgeous photos and color inspiration. Bonus for sick people – not a whole lot of reading, but beautiful browsing!
The Gentle Art of Domesticity – One of my absolute favorite books ever! Read a chapter, read it cover to cover, or again, just browse all the beautiful photography! The best word I can think of to describe this book is “soothing”.
The Knitter’s Life List – This book could also be interesting for crocheters – alot of the ideas about exploring the world of fiber apply to crochet as well. When you’re out of commission in bed, this book will help you dream up new projects to start when you are back on your feet.
Pom Pom Quarterly – I have my boss to thank for introducing me to this lovely little British publication. It covers knitting, crocheting, as well as a variety of related interests, and is a magazine I always look forward to receiving and reading from cover to cover.
I have liked Alpaca Culture for some time on Facebook. They have kept my newsfeed supplied with some of the most beautiful and adorable photos of alpacas I’ve ever seen. It always brightens up my day to see one of their photos in the midst of memes and ads. If like me, you have a romantic notion (most likely perpetuated by the likes of Rachel Herron’s romance novels) of what it’s like to run an alpaca farm, you will want to browse their site before jumping into it. And if you choose to read the magazine, well, hopefully the realities are not too far off from the romance! Enjoy!
There is a good reason besides the obvious why those of us who work in the yarn industry take great pride in our work. If you craft with natural fibers, there is no faking the process. You can’t mass-produce animals or fleece. It is one of those few processes left in the world that is still heavily tied to tradition and custom – in the best possible way. I have always enjoyed reading Piecework, which does an excellent job of researching and presenting traditional techniques. But I just found this magazine, which I am adding to my Christmas wish list. Aside from the fact I can now live vicariously through these world travellers, I think it’s wonderful to get firsthand knowledge of where the animals are raised, as well as the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the people who raise them.