Best Nine of 2015: Pretty Much Sums Up My Year

My #2015BestNine Instagram Photos

Yup, these nine Instagrams sum up my year pretty well. Here’s why:

Top Row (left to right)

  1. I made a lot of stuff on paper this year, including this doodle (which is also one of my favourites). I dabbled with watercolours, pens, stamps and collage. I intend to spend more time with most of those in the coming year (it’ll be my third #yearofmaking, you guys!).
  2. Halloween, Star Wars, family. Yup.
  3. My kid “graduated” from daycare and started kindergarten. This is a photo his daycare gave us. When asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, he answered, “I want to write books like Mommy. Books for kids.” *sniff*

Middle Row

  1. I started baking challah this past fall. Instagrammers seem to be into it for much the same reasons I am: bread baking is fascinating, and challah has the added benefit of being braided. It’s like my yarn-loving hands were made to make it.
  2. I saw my grandmother over the summer on a hot day when I was wearing a sundress and she called me a sexy bitch.
  3. See #1 above.

Bottom Row

  1. Our little vintage trailer. I think this photo was from before our Superlong Camping Trip, when we were still in the throes of getting it ready. I sewed new curtains for it, a blanket for the kid, and a quilt for us. The trip was, hands down, the highlight of our year.
  2. I started weaving, and I think I love it. I haven’t actually managed to take this first go off my Cricket loom yet, but I will. I also picked up a wee tapestry loom, which I have high hopes for in 2016.
  3. Aaaand, the wee trailer parked in front of our house after we returned home from our trip. We’re already planning to spend a couple weeks camping in it in July, and I hope we manage to take some weekend trips this spring, too.

This was a year I spent a load of time making things out of yarn again after a somewhat lengthy hiatus (helped in no small part by my first Year of Making, during which I took on a load more crafts). It’s also the year I got solidly back into my reading groove. I spent a fair bit of time messing around with collage, and with carving stamps. I developed a great beginner collage class (which I’ll be teaching locally again this coming spring, and which I intend to adapt to an online class), and I recently also agreed to teach a beginner stamp-carving class (I’ll also adapt that one into an online format, for I have this new online-class site going, and I intend to fill it up so it becomes the kind of summer camp for grown-ups I’ve been dreaming about making).

Looking Ahead

I’m not entirely sure yet what I want to focus on most in 2016. I’m sure I’ll figure it out over the next week or two. I’m excited about getting the Camp! site set up fully and populated with great classes/adventures, and I’m also excited about a writing contract I recently signed on for, which is entirely outside the art and craft industries and will hopefully be a fabulous opportunity to sharpen my writing skills and do a bit of editing, too. Yes, I think 2016 will hold a lot of writing and a fair bit of teaching, which is a nice combination to look forward to, for sure. What are you looking ahead to in the coming year? Any big goals? Small ones?

And hey, happy New Year!

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Google Photos is Out of Control

Look what it does automatically sometimes, you guys. It picks a snapshot and dolls it up. I don’t even think it picks randomly – it chooses based on some kind of all-knowing Google AI that knows. It knows when I’ve taken a photo of a tree with pretty fall leaves. In over a month of having my phone pics automatically back up to Google Photos, it has never done this with, say, a photo of my knitting, or an accidental blurry snapshot of my shoes.

It knows.

Google Photos is magic, you guys.


Werkers on the Road: Dispatch the Second

I can’t believe we’re already over two weeks into our trip. This past week has been a whirlwind of theme parks and family visits (and also having to replace the brakes on our truck and the door handle on the trailer), and now the whirlwind is over and we’re heading back on the road, camping in our wee trailer for the next few weeks. National Parks, here we come!

duct tape wallet

Before we left San Francisco, my ten- and thirteen-year-old cousins taught us how to make duct tape wallets. I can’t wait to make more!


On our meanderinf drive down the California coast, we loved stopping to see the elephant seals.


This display at Legolamd was thematically appropriate, don’t you think?


I was so excited to take this photo with my Instax camera that i didn’t even think to take a digital one.


We went to Disneyland California Adventure in epic rain. YOWZA.


And we went to Disneyland in gorgeous weather. Phew.


We’ve discovered that Owen is a total thrill-seeker! This is what four rollercoaster rides and three times on Splash Mountain looks like.

I don’t know when I’ll have reliable wifi again, so I have no idea when I’ll be able to post my next dispatch. Follow along on Instagram for quicker updates when I have cell service!

#yearofmaking #2: Week 4

Forgive my tardiness in recapping the fourth week of my 2015 year of making. Last week’s newsletter was about the treading of water I do when I’m waiting to hear about a major project (and keeping the time that project would take free from other commitments), and I’m very pleased to report that last week was my last of treading water, because this morning I got the news that the project is on. Yippee!

And that means that suddenly, my brain is clear, my thoughts are free-flowing, and I’m finally able to push through my ever-growing to-do list. Starting with showing you the fruits of my fourth week of making this year. This was the week I became totally obsessed with The 100 (watch it if you aren’t already) (seriously), and doodled obsessively, too.

Did you start a year of making on January 1st? Any themes come out of your first month? (And hey, there’s no time like the present to start. A year is 365 days even when you don’t start counting in January!)

#yearofmaking #2: Week 3

Over the course of the third week of my second year of making, my days ranged from one extreme on the make-o-metre to the other. On one day I spent a couple of hours making soap; on the next I spent a few minutes cutting that soap. One day I made cookies with my kid. The next day I spent an hour making bath fizzies with him (not pictured, but a post on that is coming) and I also spent an hour and a half making dinner (and I didn’t hate making it, and it was freaking delicious – both of which are rare for me). The deodorant was a quick thing to make, but I’m thinking about it daily as I assess how effective it is. The knitting is for a soap experiment (more on that when it comes to fruition). And yesterday’s making has no picture, for I spent the day in a pain-free haze of weird migraine aftermath, so my making yesterday consisted of acquiring some ink pads for stamping.

How’s your making going? I just re-read a great post by Austin Kleon on focusing on doing something small every day. That’s what a #yearofmaking is all about, and he says it better than anyone.

(For some worksheets and nudging along the way, the Year of Making ebook is always available. A yearlong project can start on any day at all!)





deodorant on recipe


#yearofmaking #2: Week 2

I’ve spent this week pretty much hibernating in a vaguely introverted stint of recuperation after a month of houseguests. I didn’t think I was making very much, given that I’ve also been working and I read an entire YA trilogy, but after collecting these photos, I see I’ve actually been making quite a lot. Below, you’ll see the first Pyrex I’ve destroyed in the making of soap, the soap that resulted after I briefly mourned the loss of the Pyrex and oils involved and poured fresh oils into a stainless-steel pot instead of glass, pancakes, the first meal resulting from my newly acquired copy of Mark Bittman’s truly enormous How to Cook Everything Fast, some crochet, and my bullet journal.

How’s your daily making going?

(Remember, it’s never the wrong date to start a year of making.)