I started knitting a honeycomb stitch cowl neck (the pattern is free over here) in early December, using beautiful three-ply chunky wool yarn in a gorgeous raspberry shade that I purchased from a charming farm-based shop called The Philosopher’s Wool, located in Inverhuron, Ontario. We chanced upon the store while cruising around the countryside during our stay at a nearby cottage last summer. I love knitting cowls and have a small collection of them in my wardrobe. I keep coming back to them because a) they are quick to knit, b) fun, and c) can really showcase the yarn and the stitch used.
I used to knit larger pieces and have a few favourite sweaters in my wardrobe that I made for myself. However, these days I prefer to knit accessories. The reasons for this are: a) a sweater would take me probably about a year to complete, since I don’t currently have enough time to dedicate to the activity and b) I’m working on making my wardrobe more minimal. From a practical perspective, I don’t need many hand-knitted sweaters, but I love to play up an otherwise grey, brown, and black outdoor winter wardrobe with splashes of colour and pretty accessories.
Since early December when I first started working on the cowl, having spent those 30-60 minutes per week on the project and completed it on March 8th, I would estimate that the project took me a total of eight hours to complete. This estimation is solely done for entertainment purposes, as I don’t usually count the number of hours a project requires. Instead, I choose interesting projects on which I enjoy working, and for which I can use gorgeous yarn.
You may notice the pattern is for a longer cowl that can be wrapped around the neck twice. I chose to make it shorter, simply because I prefer shorter cowls that showcase the stitches. Since I used chunky three-ply wool, the stitch on my cowl is more open than in the original photo. I also used a cable needle to knit this piece, but you can get away with a third straight knitting needle, if you wish.
I’m curious… Do you have a project (and it doesn’t have to relate to knitting) to which you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate, yet you persist to work it into your schedule whenever possible? How do you stay motivated?
In other news…
Now that the weather is a bit warmer and spring is trying to make its way over the threshold, Pawel has been working in the garage workshop again, creating new pendants. This is the latest piece, to be added to our website within the next few days:
Over the winter, Pawel has been daydreaming of sandy beaches, but since we haven’t had a chance to travel, he has been living vicariously through our travelling family members and friends. In lieu of the usual souvenirs — and sometimes alongside a few treats — they have been bringing back small samples of sand for us. Pawel has been taking macro photographs of the sand and creating a map of the sand’s origins.
The sand project is a work-in-progress, so check back to see various new photographs of samples that Pawel will add to the site as he receives them from generous world travelers.
I have been meditating, off and on, for the past 17 years. I would love to be able to say that throughout those years, my practice hasn’t wavered, that it has stayed consistent. But as with the myriad other fluctuations that come with life’s events, my practice has waxed and waned, stagnated, and at times did not happen for months at a time.
Early in November, I made the decision to deepen my practice and make it to my meditation cushion on a daily basis, for 15 minutes each day. I could write about the profound ways in which meditation continues to transform my experience, and the ways in which my view of my inner and outer world continues to evolve. Those words would either be received with enthusiastic ‘YES’ nods from those who share my experience, or might not make much sense to others. I do encourage you to give this meditation ‘thing’ a try and see what you make of it. Like me, you might find it a bit frustrating at first and leave it for a short — or a long — while. I do encourage you to stick with the practice, because that’s exactly what it is, a practice. As with any other practice in life, your meditation will not always be flowery and light, but the roots we plant by sitting each day continue to deepen, inviting us to delve further into the raw honesty of our experience. That experience itself is not perfect or pretty, but that is precisely the magic of being here. Everything else falls away as we recognize the answers that have been before us all along.
I also encourage you to try different forms of meditation. I tend to practise mindfulness meditation, but another form to which I come back when I feel some anxiety about a situation is japa, the repetition of mantra. For japa, I use a mala with 108 beads. As I allow each bead to slide between my fingers, I repeat a mantra, for a total of 108 times. We started making malas a few months ago and have added them to our webstore over the past weekend, after previously only showcasing them at craft shows.
The beautiful mala pictured above is made of Bayong, Whitewood and Sandalwood beads, and the pendant is made of Orangeheart, with turquoise inlay. The image in the centre is of the elephant deity Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.
My Reiki teacher introduced me to the Ganesha mantra in 2008, and that chant has led me to further explore japa meditation. While giving birth to our second child, as Pawel held my hand and our two midwives worked at the foot of the bed in our bedroom, I silently continued to chant, Om gam ganapataye namaha, over and over again. As the pain I felt due to the baby’s posterior positioning intensified with each contraction, I continued to chant and trust that all was going to be well. Our Ganesha malas were inspired by this and other incredible, honest, deep experiences we have been fortunate to live through.
Each of our malas is unique and was designed and assembled by yours truly. As with all our other pendants, the ones on the malas were crafted by Pawel. We hope you will enjoy them.
We’ve even made our jewellery easier for you to enjoy with our special big holiday sale. For the next two weeks, any item in our webstore is 25% off, and we will cover the shipping anywhere in the world when you place an order of a minimum of $100. This is the perfect time to purchase unique gifts for the special people on your list.
It happened about a month ago on a rainy Monday night. I was feeling cold and tired after a day of rushing about, taking care of mundane tasks, ending my day by teaching a late class at a local studio. By the time I arrived at home, I was very ready to tuck myself into bed with a heated blanket.
And then I remembered. I made a promise to my fellow knitters to post a photo of my finished project. Years ago, upon first joining Facebook, I immediately found a group dedicated to the knitting obsessed. The private group has since grown to have some 31,400 members. And the tribe continues to grow, sharing various works in process (WIPs), unfinished objects (UFOs), and finished projects, of course.
Any dedicated knitter, crocheter, or crafter of any kind will immediately understand the excitement and the urge to celebrate a fresh-off-the-needles piece, the stitches of which have just been cast off. Some of us wait until after it’s been blocked to take that final exhalation, have a celebratory glass of wine, and snap a photo to post on social media.
On that rainy evening, I asked Pawel to take a quick photo of tired me wearing the vest I had made as a gift for my mom’s birthday. In fact, I needed two photos — one of the front of the piece and another of the back. The tired version of me also neglected to think of just how critical I would suddenly start to feel upon seeing the photos.
“Oh, I’m wearing my yoga clothes with a hand-knitted vest,” I complained loudly. “And my hair doesn’t look great. Take another one!”
Our quick snapshot was followed by about 10 other snapshots, of which I had to choose two photos to share.
“Should I even bother sharing these?” I asked myself over and over for probably about two minutes before finally taking a deep breath and clicking ‘post.’
I received many compliments on the piece and I suspect not many of the members noticed the yoga clothes I’m wearing in the photos.
With another cringe, a month later, I’ll share the photos with you now.
Do you ever feel nervous about posting photos or stories on social media? Or, has sharing become second-nature for you? Please leave a comment to answer these questions, or to share your stories.
“I’m going to do it,” I enthusiastically announced to Pawel about a month ago. “Now is a great time to go ahead with a project like that. After all, there might never be a ‘perfect time’ to pursue it.”
As always, he supported me in my plan. Without deadlines, I could spend the entire day hovering in the land of daydreams, without producing anything. A deadline was going to be great for me.
Fueled by this spark of optimism, I headed over to the NaNoWriMo website and created an account. Then, I came up with my plan of action, choosing the month of October to prepare the plot, character development, and other details of my novel in preparation for the first day of November, when I was to sit down and write approximately 1,670 words. The idea of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is simple: sit down every day from the 1st to the 30th of November and write a novel. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but after November 30th, I would have written 50,000 words.
The month of October turned out to be an interesting one, and without going into too many personal details, I will say that the only time I managed to carve out for writing was the weekly online writing class I’m currently taking through Firefly Creative Writing Studio, as well as a few minutes, here and there, to work on the homework projects assigned.
About a week and a half ago, I started to have doubts. I confided to Pawel that I was no longer feeling the rush of excitement at the prospect of sitting down every day to write a certain number of words.
“I have been running off my feet since the beginning of September. When am I going to make the time to take on another project?”
“You’d have to write late at night, after the kids have gone to bed,” was his simple reply.
“But I can’t keep my eyes open or think clearly past 9 p.m. on most nights.” I stated this without a hint of complaint in my voice. This is a fact to which I can finally, after many years of denial, confess with ease.
And that’s when I realized that I would need to back out of the NaNoWriMo idea. Feeling deflated, I headed over to the website and with a loud sigh, deleted my account.
The wave of relief that flooded a few minutes later was a surprise to me. Was I not supposed to feel sad and disappointed that I had let something drop? Instead, I realized I freed up my time to focus on what has already been set in motion and on which I have been working, in my own subtle way, for a while.
Then, I read a post last week on Facebook, by Elizabeth Gilbert, that helped me to make clear sense of my feelings regarding this failed project. In her post, she writes about living her dream and letting go of what did not serve her. In E. Gilbert’s words:
“I was thinking today about all the other paths that I did not take in life, no matter how shiny and appealing they may have looked. I’ve had the possibility of living so many different kinds of life that could have been a dream for somebody else. I never choose those lives. I’ve never lived the dreams that other people wanted for themselves — nor have I lived the dreams that other people may have wanted for me.”
It has always been my dream to write a novel. But at this point in my life, I am not prepared to sacrifice my much-needed sleep to work on this project every day for a month. You may judge me for this, dear reader, and I am also okay with that.
Instead of taking on a project that might push me past the Type-A edge, I am choosing to focus my energy during the month of November on leading new yoga classes that have just been added to my schedule (I will update our website with this information shortly), playing outside with my family, recommitting to my daily meditation practice, working on Christmas gifts that I am making, and getting as much rest as possible.
As for my novel, I have found a medium that I think will work well for me. I have one more writing class in the series, scheduled this week, and to keep my creative momentum on the go, I have made a commitment to continue to reserve the same evening each week, the same two hours, to sit down and write, write, write my heart out. It might take me two years to finish my book at this pace. That’s fine. I’m setting my own deadline.
As E. Gilbert continues in the same post:
‘Ask yourself this question, whenever you are given any choice or opportunity. Ask: “Will saying YES to this path bring me closer to the source that brings me to life? Or will it take me further away?”‘
So, here’s to being more gentle with ourselves and choosing to move away from stress, continuing to challenge ourselves, but in a sustainable way, without ever allowing ourselves to deplete our precious reserves.
I’m curious to know how you create the delicate balance between setting challenging deadlines for yourself and working diligently while also making more space in your life for what truly matters. If you would like to share your ideas, please leave a comment.
I promised to teach you to knit. So, allow me to begin by sharing our first instructional knitting video in a series of three. In this week’s video, I provide you with a quick tip for choosing the perfect yarn for your first project, show you my favourite cast-on method and teach you the basic knit stitch using the Continental method of knitting. If you have any questions, please do leave a comment below.
In the second video, to be released on Oct. 17th, I will show you the purl stitch, the lovely sister of the knit stitch. In the first video of the series, to be released on Oct. 24th, I will show you a few variations with the knit and purl stitches, to allow you to play and practice, and teach you how to cast off your first project. To be the first to receive an update in your email inbox as soon as the video is released, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Over the past weekend, unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to spend much time on my knitting projects. That was the case for a couple of reasons: (1) Thanksgiving dinner and (2) preparing for an upcoming craft show.
We hosted Thanksgiving this year. Usually, Pawel’s parents host the dinner at their home, but I decided to take on the pleasure this year. I realized this weekend that it was a good decision, as our younger child was feeling under the weather and we wanted to stay close to home, instead of having to drive for 45 minutes there and back.
In any case, our family in Canada is small, and since my parents had a prior commitment and my sister celebrated Thanksgiving with her partner’s family, it was just the four of us, Pawel’s parents, and Pawel’s sister.
We had a lovely dinner for seven people, if I do say so myself. 😉 Here are the photos of the dishes I prepared:
Butternut squash, pumpkin and cranberry soup. The cranberries were an intuitive last-minute addition to the soup and I must say, the tart fresh cranberries mingled well with the sweet taste of the pumpkin and squash.
Field greens salad with apples and fennel, with a dressing that I whipped up intuitively. The secret ingredient was raw honey.
Roasted harvest vegetables.
Roasted brussel sprouts. These are a favourite of mine and I could eat them as a snack anyday! If you have never tried roasting brussel sprouts, simply toss washed and halved brussel sprouts (with the core trimmed and the outer leaves removed) with EVOO or coconut oil and sea salt. Spread them evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 400F, turning them once after the first 15 minutes. If you are a fan of kale chips, you will probably like this dish.
Slow-cooked lamb roast with cranberry sauce on the side. My mother-in-law always prepares turkey for Thanksgiving, and although we love it, I wasn’t in the mood for turkey this year. Lamb is a big favourite of ours and the cranberry sauce paired beautifully with it.
And of course, apple and cranberry pie for dessert. Although I love pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin, and make great pumpkin spice muffins, I have never enjoyed pumpkin pie. It’s just not my favourite. Instead, we go for apples and cranberries in this delicate flaky pastry.
You may be wondering about whether I followed my usual Ayurvedic eating and food combination rules with this meal. The answer is no, because I do believe that it’s okay to venture off our usual path every once in a while. Instead, I focused on cooking and baking with love and chose the best ingredients while allowing my intuition to guide me to play with a few flavour combinations. The result was a good one for our taste buds and for our bellies.
And now, we’re back to preparing for the Made by Hand Show, to be held next weekend in Mississauga. We will showcase several items that have never been featured on our website.
Does it not feel as though this year is just zooming right past us? Here we are, in October, and just this evening, as I was putting my summer clothes away for the colder months, I realized how quickly the seasons appear to be transitioning this year. Thankfully, Pawel and I were able to make the most of the summer months, starting with backyard barbecue dinners in early May, camping during the last weekend in May, and many other interesting daytrips and getaways all through until the end of August. And although the month of October is my favourite month of the fall season, I know that it, too, will make a swift grand exit. Hey, at least we’ll get to say goodbye while dressed in costume!
Since this is one of my favourite months of the year, I am determined to make the most of it. I will continue to explore all the luxuries of this beautiful golden month; I will continue to create; and I will seek to be inspired every day in order to inspire others. It feels as though this year has been a roller coaster ride for many, and we all deal with challenges. Yet, I want to make life sweeter. Every day. Who’s coming with me?
To go along with the above theme, I will share with you a recipe for a fantastic sweet and heart-warming soup. I first experimented with this soup two winters ago and its simple and delicious flavour brought me home to comfort.
Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup
2 medium-large sweet potatoes or yams
1 tbsp butter or ghee (to make the soup vegan, you may use EVOO or coconut oil)
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, chopped
7 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1. Wash and bake the sweet potatoes for about an hour at 350F (preheated oven). Using a fork, pierce the potatoes to ensure that they are soft enough. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool before peeling them and chopping into 1-inch cubes.
2. In a heavy-bottom cooking pot, melt the butter / ghee / oil on medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook for a few minutes on medium heat, until golden and soft.
3. Add the chopped sweet potato and carrots to the pot and continue cooking for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the salt, turmeric, bay leaves, and cinnamon (if using). Continue cooking for another minute, stirring constantly.
5. Add the vegetable stock or water and bring to a boil. Then, cover the pot and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
6. Allow the soup to cool. Then, discard the bay leaves, and puree in batches in a standing blender or use an immersion blender. The consistency should be completely smooth.
7. Serve and enjoy!
I served this soup for lunch last week with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. On the side are two mini pitas with avocado and sea salt on top, with baby spinach, homemade sour cabbage and carrot slaw, and a drizzle of EVOO.
If you are in the Toronto area, visit this wonderful show to purchase unique handmade products. It’s a great opportunity to start your Christmas shopping early. We will be at booth 110 and look forward to meeting many of our clients there.
Best wishes for a colourful and sweet first week of October,
It all started with a creative writing exercise during which I was asked to write a vignette about my hair. Sitting at my sewing machine table that doubles as a writing desk, I smiled to myself as I typed the first words of my personal hair story. Here was a Pandora’s box, opened wide. At the time of writing the story, I was determined to let my hair grow. I wasn’t going to touch it until mid-December, when I was planning to return to a salon for a simple trim that would keep me looking presentable and avoid the awkward in-between stage that is inevitable with the growing out of hair. For a reminder of how my hair looked a week ago, refer back to last week’s post.
My hair and I have been the best of friends and we have been sworn enemies. A few times, I painstakingly grew my hair long only to get bored with it, walk into a salon and confidently say to a stunned hairstylist standing behind me and facing me in the mirror, “Just chop it off!” Okay, maybe my words weren’t as bold. Instead, I would sigh and say, demurely, “I think I want to go short again.” It feels liberating to have the old hair drift onto the sleek hardwood floor. There is something akin to a feeling of true pleasure as I would take a deep breath, look at my reflection in the mirror and realize how fantastic my hair looks. After each dramatic transformation, it looked — and felt — like a different person was gazing back at me. I would walk out of the salon, standing a bit taller, and catch myself constantly bringing my hand up to my freshly cut hair to play with my new short style.
The last time my hair was long, in September 2011. This photo was taken in San Francisco.
And then, I would get bored with it. Suddenly, everywhere around me were images of gorgeous women with luscious long locks. Long hair envy. That’s what it is. Likewise, after years of growing my hair, I would get that old familiar pang upon seeing a pretty gamine pixie cut on someone who looks perfectly chic. I would turn to the person next to me (usually Pawel) and say, “Oh, I really want to get my hair cut short again.”
This is what my hair looked like on most days, as I would wear it tied back in a bun. Nothing to write home about.
And one more photo from that SF trip, just because I’m feeling nostalgic. See what I mean? Boring, pulled-back hair.
Each journey to growing my hair has been long and arduous, taking years. My first short haircut, in 2004, was inspired by Meg Ryan’s hair in You’ve Got Mail. In 2008, I decided to get a chin-length cut on a whim. Unfortunately, I went to a terrible new salon and the hairstylist was a bit over-enthusiastic when I told her I’m comfortable with having my hair cut short, so I ended up with a shorter style than I had expected to see. Nevertheless, I loved it. And in 2011, I did it again with an inverted bob, donating 10 inches of my hair to be made into a wig. Since then, I have been attempting to grow it, only to get bored with it once my hair reached a shoulder-length bob style.
Long hair is easy to hide on a bad day when we don’t have much time to style it. On most days, I would wear my hair in a ponytail or wrapped in a bun. Short hair is practically impossible to hide, especially on a humid summer day when I leave the yoga studio following a sweaty class looking every bit like a mad scientist, with curls sticking out in every direction. And yet, short hair is easier to style and looks fabulous with a great cut. So, what to choose? That was my embarrassing inner dialogue, and yes, I will confess — blushing all the while — to thinking about my hair too frequently, obsessively.
So, I decided to step into my grown-up shoes and make a decision about my in-between hair. I called the salon and booked an appointment.
Et voila! The result is a pixie cut that I personally am very happy with.
So, I will keep my hair short for the next while and enjoy it to a hilt (an expression that I will shamelessly confess to have adopted from Audrey Hepburn). Thankfully, Pawel has gotten accustomed to my hair antics and is no longer shocked by my inch-long hair. At the end of the day, it’s just hair and I love to feel great.
While I was growing up, my mom, who is an excellent chef but doesn’t enjoy baking all that much, would sometimes get the baking bug and make a rustic apple cake. She passed on the recipe to me, and it’s actually a simple traditional Russian recipe for an apple cake that goes beautifully with tea on a chilly Autumn evening. We made a few substitutions to the original ingredients.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup milk (almond milk would also be great in this recipe)
1/2 cup butter, melted (feel free to use coconut oil)
3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (be sure to use tart apples that will remain firm while baking)
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Melt the butter in a saucepan and use a small amount of the butter to grease a baking pan (we used a pan that is 8 by 10 inches in size).
2. Whisk the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs, milk and melted butter together in a separate bowl.
4. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then, stir in the chopped apples.
5. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake on the middle rack for approximately 30 minutes or until the cake appears golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool. Slice and serve with a cup of your favourite tea.
Over the past weekend, Pawel finished this beautiful piece, inspired by the goddess Pele.
Both Pawel and I are big fans of mythology from different places around the world. The story of the Volcano goddess Pele is truly fascinating. And really, who isn’t interested in the magic of volcanoes? Right?
Do you have a story about your hair that you would like to share with us? How about a favourite recipe that features apples? Or, you can simply let us know what you think of the Pele piece, or any other material from this week’s blog post.
Now that we are mostly feeling better, we have been going outside every day to enjoy the changing landscape and enjoy the crisp chill in the air. Apple-picking is a favourite fall activity for our family. The boys always get a thrill out of running through the orchard and choosing the juiciest apples they can find. So, on Sunday, we dressed warmly and headed to our favourite organic orchard to pick apples.
Upon returning home with our delicious bounty, I was filled with inspiration to get in the kitchen and cook something seasonal and heart-warming. More on that below.
In Ayurveda, the fall season is governed by Vata, which is composed of ether and air. It’s no surprise that for many of us, this season also signifies the start of the cold virus. The lazy, lingering summer days are rarely strictly structured, keeping us up late at night and encouraging us to take cat naps in the hot and hazy afternoons. The following fall season signifies a complete change in energy. Suddenly, everything moves faster as we try to get back to our regular routine, sometimes anxiously struggling to keep up. This sudden change in routine can be incredibly stressful for the body and the mind.
As someone with a dominant Vata dosha and a bit of Pitta, I love the fall season for the relief it provides from the humid and hot summer days. However, I get cold very quickly and when it seems to me like most people around me are walking around in September with short-sleeved t-shirts on, I can be seen wearing a cozy sweater. I no longer feel self-conscious about this. I do what I need to do to take care of myself.
What else do I do to take care of myself, following the lessons of Ayurveda for the Vata season? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ll share with you what I do, and please feel free to borrow these ideas for your own self-care, particularly if your constitution is mostly Vata.
I go to sleep between 9 and 10 p.m. every night and wake up at 5 a.m. This ensures that I get 7-8 hours of sleep on most nights. In the morning, after oil pulling and brushing my teeth, I drink a tall glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice and then exercise for an hour (yoga, cardio, pilates, or weights). After I shower, I do an oil massage before sitting down to have breakfast.
I eat at approximately the same times every day: breakfast at 7:30 a.m.; lunch at 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.; dinner at 5-5:30 p.m. I consume a lot of healthy oils (avocado, coconut oil, EVOO) and hot, unctuous, mostly liquid foods such as steel-cut oats with cooked apples and cinnamon, soup, vegetable stews, etc. I still eat my greens (kale and spinach are great), but I either sprinkle the leaves on a hot bowl of stew/soup or consume a salad massaged with a lot of oil (see above) immediately prior to eating my soup/stew. I eat cooked/roasted root vegetables with — again — lots of oil. Why is oil consumption so important? The air and ether qualities of Vata mean that during this season, we have a tendency to feel dryness. We need the moisture, both on the surface of the skin and on the inside of the body.
If you, like I do, eat meat occasionally, I would suggest eating salad (at room temperature), followed by lean meat at lunchtime. Our digestion is strongest from 10 a.m. to 1-2 p.m. As such, my substantial meals are breakfast and lunch. Dinner for me is small and simple. Usually, I will have a bowl of soup with a toast of sprouted grains topped with avocado and sea salt. Eating dinner before the sun sets is also ideal, because our digestive system slows down after sundown. Of course, since the sun starts to set earlier these days, it’s best to try to eat dinner at around 5 p.m., if possible.
Interested in additional information on self-care during this season? I love this website and use it frequently as a great resource.
So, to summarize, this is a time to sloooooow down and get grounded, luxuriate under warm blankets, eat grounding food with healthy oil, and get plenty of rest. What about exercise? That, too, should be more grounding at this time. Long walks are excellent, as is a yoga practice with slow, deliberate Vinyasa and standing/balance postures held for a few long breaths. Restorative yoga is excellent right now.
A couple of years ago, shortly after our younger son was born, I felt I needed to get outside and move, but I also craved rest and relaxation to get me through the long days of taking care of our two children. And no, that pattern has not changed. Here is a video I made during that time, a how-to of one of my favourite restorative yoga postures, Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose):
Feel free to use a few blankets and cushions in lieu of the bolsters and blocks, if you do not have those at home. Relax and breathe in the pose for about 10-15 minutes.
So, back to the weekend… Here is what I cooked using butternut squash and the beautiful apples we picked on Sunday:
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP
We started with a few basic ingredients:
Then, we chopped the onion and sauteed it with ghee while continuing with the preparation of our apples and butternut squash…
We reserved the butternut squash seeds and roasted them later on a baking sheet at 300F for about 30 minutes. I didn’t add any oil or sea salt to the seeds this time, but that’s a great option, if it’s the way you like your pumpkin/squash seeds.
Cook the squash and onions in a large soup pot, and then add the apples, a teaspoon of sea salt, and a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground turmeric.
Add enough distilled water to cover the chopped squash and apple, and then top with another 3-4 inches of water. You can use vegetable stock in lieu of the water.
Bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash is completely tender. Allow to cool a bit before using a blender to create a smooth consistency:
Yes, our soup was steaming hot while we blended it, simply because we were hungry and our children kept asking when dinner was going to be served. I would highly recommend allowing the soup to cool before blending it.
To serve, we sprinkled the soup with cinnamon, but those roasted seeds were also great. We garnished the soup with the seeds for dinner the following day.
1 tbsp ghee (coconut oil or butter can also be used)
1 medium-sized white or yellow onion
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and chopped, with the seeds reserved for roasting
2 apples (choose firm, tart apples that will hold well together during the cooking process)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Enough water to cover the chopped squash and apples, plus 3-4 inches on top. An alternative is to add vegetable stock.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think!
Our final update is regarding our latest product finishes. We are preparing for the Made by Hand Show and creating new, unique, interesting pendants for you.
Knitting-inspired pendant, made of Purpleheart wood and crushed shell inlay.
SUP-inspired pendant, made of Red Amboyna Burl, with turquoise inlay.
We do like insects! Praying mantis pendant, made of Purpleheart wood with crushed shell inlay.
As always, please leave a comment to let us know what you think of our new products, this week’s recipe, yoga pose, or about whether you enjoy the fall season as much as we do. If you did take the Dosha quiz (link above), let us know what your Dosha is and how you cope with weather changes.
I was always the conscientious student throughout high school and university. I would manage all my assignments perfectly, planning for the entire semester after the first day of classes, to ensure that the rough copies of all my assignments would be completed well in advance of the dates on which they were due. That way, I had plenty of time to proofread them a few times and ensure that they were polished and as impeccable as they could be before handing them in. I stayed committed to one project at a time, working meticulously, and took pride in my work.
Several years later, as a crafty business owner, my true scatter-brained artist persona has emerged. I could blame it on my scattered lifestyle. After all, I do spend at least 12 hours a day taking care of two very busy and often rambunctious boys who keep me on my toes. But truth be told, I just decided to…
Many knitters will readily admit to having several work-in-process projects (WIPs) on the go at one time. I have been knitting regularly for the past 12 years and before now, managed to keep to one project at a time. Oh yes, I spent many hours knitting and purling while salivating over the next piece I was going to take on. But I abstained from pursuing it until the first one was complete. Perhaps it’s my INFP personality and Vata constitution that make me feel easily overwhelmed. But lately, I decided to set all Type-A organized behaviour aside and decided to let myself work on whatever I feel like pursuing at the moment.
That way, if I get bored of working on something and there’s pretty yarn in the corner that’s loudly calling my name, I can simply leave the original project aside and migrate to the new one.
A few of my current WIPs.
Sounds perfect, until I start to feel knitter’s remorse, for only a split second. I decided a couple of years ago to not allow myself to feel guilt over projects.
Besides, my straying never lasts very long. I just take short breaks to work on adorable projects, like these mukluk slippers that I knit for my older son. They only took about three hours to make, and he was excited to try them on. Here he is, modeling one of his ‘Harry Potter socks.’
And then, I get back to my ‘bigger’ projects with renewed enthusiasm. So, perhaps there might be a method to what feels to me like utter crafty madness.
Pawel also works on many woodworking WIPs at a time, and assures me that he definitely feels a bit overwhelmed with it all from time to time. So, at least we’re on the same page. 😉
We’d love to hear from you! If you’re a fellow crafter, let us know how many WIPs you work on at a time, and whether you also run into similar ‘dilemmas.’ Leave a comment and let us know!
P.S. I do not currently sell the items I knit. However, I am working on an exciting Dharma Wanderlust branch project that involves knitting and other passions of mine. We will inform you of it soon.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Pawel and I had the pleasure to being a vendor at the Toronto Yoga Conference and Show last weekend. This was our first show since our official launch a year ago. Heading into the show, we kept our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts open to the different possibilities. Generally, we consider ourselves to be open-minded and open-hearted people who love to explore new ideas and can never find enough time in the day for everything about which we’re passionate.
It also follows that we embarked on a new journey of exploration not even after but during the course of the show. Every evening, while driving home, we discussed the day’s events and shared our ideas. And it just so happened that we each immediately agreed on every single point that the other person raised. How about that for a married couple! 😉
Now, to explain how we arrived at the current entrepreneurial point in the life of Dharma Wanderlust, allow me to backtrack. In 2008, Pawel first started playing with woodworking. He transformed our one-car garage into a workshop, purchased a few machines, and went to work! Pawel started with wood turning, and later started to play with a scroll saw, making puzzles. Our children love to play with the puzzles he made for them!
He may have just been experimenting, but everyone to whom he showed his work was thoroughly impressed with Pawel’s precision and craftsmanship. I encouraged him to continue working on this new hobby. And of course, he made a few beautiful items for me. 😉 Among my favourites are a gorgeous pen he turned for me, as well as this beautiful vase with three Purpleheart flowers inside:
This piece travelled with us to the yoga show and many clients asked whether it was available for sale!
And because I’m absolutely obsessed with faeries, this is another gift Pawel made for me:
To continue my story… About two years ago, Pawel wanted to take his passion for woodworking a step further and created an online shop called Creations from G. This shop allowed him to showcase his creativity. He was already making yoga-inspired jewellery at the time, but he also turned impeccable wine bottle stoppers, and they were highly popular!
Somewhere along the line, we decided to create Dharma Wanderlust and felt that our clients would be interested in seeing only yoga- and nature-inspired jewellery, as opposed to an entire range of items. So, we put aside our other interests and moved toward jewellery.
Allow me to be frank and vulnerable here. I have always been a girl of many interests. Even in high school, I spent my free time taking voice and dance lessons, practising yoga and meditation, sketched and painted, designed and sewed clothes (including prom dresses for a few friends), knit, and wrote (I started to do freelance writing when I was still in high school). When it came time to choosing a university major, I was torn between which passion to pursue: fashion design or journalism. I was accepted to both schools, which didn’t make the decision any easier for me. 🙂 I did end up majoring in journalism, but all the while, I continued to knit, dance whenever I could, and spent more and more time focusing on fitness and yoga. Throughout that time, I received a lot of criticism from people who told me that it’s time to choose just one serious occupation, as opposed to ‘dabbling’ in this and that. Those comments affected me more than I realized, became a source of uncertainty and took away from my self-confidence.
So, naturally, when Pawel and I chose to start Dharma Wanderlust, I felt we would not be taken seriously if we were to offer a variety of products.
How wrong I was!!!
Since launching Dharma Wanderlust, we have enjoyed great success and our jewellery is now featured on the retail shelves of local yoga studios. We are proud of our work. In the background, I have continued my personal exploration and have learned to accept my myriad interests. I now know that it’s perfectly okay to continue to pursue various interests at the same time. I wouldn’t want to hold myself and my partner back by restricting our self-expression.
At the show last weekend, we came to the realization that our main focus has always been on HANDCRAFTED work, as opposed to jewellery. We are not a jewellery company. We are an artisan business. That is the future of Dharma Wanderlust: handcrafted, unique items made with love.
As a couple and business partners, we are always growing! We don’t believe in staying in one place for too long, settling for what has been tried and tested. We believe in choosing adventure over stagnation. We love to travel, and even when we don’t have a chance to pack our bags and go someplace new, we make our own adventure in other ways. Our personalities are multifaceted. We enjoy a variety of books, activities, and our friends would say that we have more hobbies than we can manage. And we’re okay with that. Most of those activities involve crafting, working with our hands, and always creating, creating, creating. That is who we are.
We put all our love and passion into creating beautiful items for you to enjoy. We have been listening to your suggestions and have combined them with our own interests. The result will be Dharma Wanderlust travelling in a few new directions. We will continue with our yoga line, of course, but will also introduce new items for a wide audience, based on our other interests and our true passion.
We are currently working to re-design our website and will add MANY additional categories to the existing jewellery line. We are excited about these changes and are looking forward to sharing them with you as soon as they are ready.