finding the rhythm

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the rhythm of life (yes, here comes one of those rambling posts in which I bare my heart). Not the all-encompassing stages of life we all go through but the day-to-day pace of our hours, days and weeks.

Going travelling for three weeks has thrown me off my daily and weekly schedules and that’s a good thing. Being thrown out of the treadmill has enabled me to take a step back and look at my life more objectively than I could while I was in the middle of it, running. I usually see things more clearly after I’ve been away for a while.
When I look at my life from a distance I see myself running like a hamster in a wheel, rushing, trying to catch up, barely meeting my own expectations and constantly falling behind on the grand goals I set myself.

It’s not a picture I cherish.
I don’t want to be that person. I look at her and see someone trying to do too much and stumbling.
rhythm. little home by hand blogI strive to change that and it’s SO HARD. I fall back into it almost the minute I get back from travelling.

I look at other small business owners and all they make, the new lines of work they launch, the marketing they do, the picture they paint of a life submerged in creativity and I want it, all of it. I look at photographers doing beautiful, styled photoshoots that look more like works of art than just a pretty photo and I want to be like that. I look at people sewing and knitting and gardening and crafting a life and I want that too. Too many wants. Too many lives to live at once.

I feel this burning desire to succeed creatively, personally and professionally. And I start racing after it and life rushes by in a blur and I realize I have been too busy looking at my to do lists to actually enjoy the moments as they pass.
taking a breath. fotografie kristina koehler(photo from a recent photoshoot)

And it’s not how I imagine my life. I want to find joy in the little things, to live simply, to enjoy a sunshiny day, a cup of tea on the balcony, an hour spent knitting, to cherish the here and now and the beauty of it. A slower, more thoughtful rhythm of life.

In the last two weeks I’ve been trying to preserve a bit of slow, to not get sucked back into the crazy whirlwind of commitments, self-imposed deadlines and chasing the clock. I make myself do one thing at a time and accept that it means other things don’t get done or get done much later. I lapse into busyness lots of times during the day but I try to pull myself back, to take a deep breath and let it go. It feels good and I am happier and less stretched thin at the end of the day, more whole and less shattered (isn’t it funny how we use words like ‘shattered’ without giving it a second thought? I realized now that I can literally feel ‘shattered’, split into a million pieces all stretching in different directions when I have too much going on at once).

I’m stumbling to find the right words to express myself here but I guess what I mean is:
Find your pace. Cut yourself some slack today.

wait for it

Some of you may have noticed I have been a little absent from the internet, though I did my best to schedule some stuff ahead of time to not disappear completely.

In June I was travelling through Canada with a friend for nearly the whole month! We covered over 5000 km (about 3200 miles) all over BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. A wonderful, exciting, exhausting road trip that I will blog about soon.

Canada. Little home by hand blog.I’ve been home for a week but catching up on both office work and photo work (the shop is open again), getting rid of that annoying jet lag and getting back into the pace of things takes time. I am trying to preserve a bit of slow, of laid-back, of letting go and taking time, something 5000 km of car time on endless canadian roads definitely teaches you.

It will be a while before I’ve sorted out the thousands of photos from our trip and before I’ll be ready to write it up into coherent blog posts.

how to carry your knitting everywhere – make a knitting bag

Since starting my next sweater I’ve been knitting away like crazy. I don’t like leaving my knitting stuff all over the place though (hello playing kitties!) and realized I needed a bag to put everything needed for this project in one place.

Enter the knitting pouch. I sewed it up in about an hour. Oh, and it took me an hour to decide on the fabrics before that. Choosing fabrics makes me all emotional, ha.

make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.I used this easy peasy tutorial for sewing a zipper pouch and made up the dimensions myself (meaning I sort of eyeballed everything and crossed my fingers it would turn out ok – I’m such a sloppy sewist!).

make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.I love how it turned out! It’s big enough to not only hold the current project but also extra yarn and needles plus the instructions and scissors. Basically it’s a great way to keep everything in one place and take your knitting with you while travelling (and that’s a teaser, just wait for my next post!).

make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.Do you have your own project pouches? Do you take your knitting with you everywhere or are you a strictly-at-home knitter?

 

the secret to even knitting

Ever wondered why your back and forth knitting was so uneven? I know I did for years…

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.Maybe this is something only I struggled with but I could never get it right and it was getting incredibly frustrating. Knitting in the round (as with socks) the knitting would look lovely and even but whenever I had to knit back and forth (alternating knit and purl rows) the knitting would be loose and ugly.

With the new cardigan I started it it was becoming a real problem.

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.The wrong side was even worse.

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.I needed to start fresh anyway so I decided to try and vary my knitting technique. I wanted to see if I could find out what was causing the problem. I had tried this before without success but now it finally worked! It turned out that the problem was my purl stitches and the solution was ridiculously easy:

With every single purl stitch I need to give it a little tug right at the end after slipping the stitch from the needle. So, make my purl stitch, slip it from the needle and tug to tighten. I can’t believe it took me so long to find this out! It immediately turned my knitting from the hot mess above into this:

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.Amazing, right? Again, I might be the only one with this problem but finding the solution made me dance for joy with a silly grin on my face so I had to share!

It gave me a huge motivation boost too so I have been knitting away like crazy for the last few days.

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.Did you ever have this problem? Or find your own solution to a knitting issue?

 

weekend by the sea

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I spend a few days each year in spring on the dutch island Ameland with friends and this year was no exception!

(If you want to read up on the last few years, here’s 2013, 2012 and 2010)

Let’s go for a little picture tour, yes?

ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.We went later than usual this year, since last year it was actually snowing and we wanted sunshine and warmth this time. The weather god smiled on us and we had glorious weather nearly every day.

We wandered and biked around the island, bought fresh fish and local eggs and had a wonderful time.

ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.The island has such a variety of landscapes – beach, dunes, woods, flat fields – that I could spend days just biking across, stopping in a beach cafĂ© now and then for the famous dutch fries and apple cake.

ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.Even seeing these photos I want to turn right back and hop on the ferry again!

If you’re not tired of landscape shots yet there are some more stunning beach photos on my photo blog (such luck with the light one evening!) and I’ll be putting up one more landscape post on there in the next few days.

decorating with succulents

We are all in love with succulents, right? Since writing this post on repotting succulents last year mine have been growing along nicely but some started to look spindly in their pots. Time for a succulent makeover!

decorating with succulents. little home by hand blogbalcony garden. little home by hand blog.decorating with succulents. little home by hand blog

I brought all indoor plants out to the balcony for a good repotting and makeover. The smaller succulents would be sweet grouped together in a pot, so I put together little succulent scenes.

By the way, do you see the sad spider plant on the right in the photo above? My cats love to nibble at the ends…

decorating with succulents. little home by hand blogdecorating with succulents. little home by hand blogdecorating with succulents. little home by hand blogAll nice and new and ready to come back inside. I’ve heard it’s good for indoor succulents to spend some time outside in the summer but it’s not warm or dry enough yet and they’ve actually done very well being inside only in the last few years.

balcony garden. little home by hand blog.The balcony garden is doing pretty well too! The strawberries will be our first harvest. We’ve already had a taste of the tiny wild strawberries and the big ones are getting ready too.

balcony garden. little home by hand blog.balcony garden. little home by hand blog.balcony garden. little home by hand blog. The sugar snap peas have flowered and started to produce and the little apple tree seems all set to produce more than last year’s one apple.

balcony garden. little home by hand blog.balcony garden. little home by hand blog.balcony garden. little home by hand blog.Kale is my new favorite food to grow on a balcony, so easy and fast!

The only thing giving trouble is the salad. It’s growing extremely well but is having problems with thrips or whiteflies. Anyone have a non-toxic suggestion to get rid of these? I would be eternally grateful.

balcony garden. little home by hand blog.balcony garden. little home by hand blog.I caved and bought some flowers too. The ones I am growing from seed are taking their sweet time and I needed a bit of color to liven things up a bit.

Now all that remains is to wait for summer so the tomato and pepper plants will get a dose of warmth and sun and hit a growth spurt.

3 great ways to relax at home

How do you relax at home? Do you cook, watch a film, do something crafty?
cat on the couchI’m feeling a bit worn out lately, ready for a few days away to clear my mind and replenish those energy stores running low. Until my next vacation however I have to rely on my tried and true best ways to relax at home.

I’m an introvert in the sense that I need to spend at least a couple of hours a day quietly by myself. I have a job where I am around a lot of people all day which I absolutely love but it is also draining and by the time I get home I usually crave some alone time.

I want to share my top three favorite ways to relax at home with you.
knitting a cardigan
Make something
Sitting down comfortably (that involves at least two woolen blankets for me) and creating is a great way to let go of all those thoughts swirling around and making you dizzy and antsy. I have tried meditation without success but when I knit or sew I am in the moment and just concentrate on being present and enjoying the rhythm. I often find myself taking the first really deep breath of the day then, slowing down and letting go of pressures and responsibilities.
knitting a cardiganI have just started knitting my second cardigan (this one) and feel a real physical urge to sit down and knit all the time. I figure it’s a healthier addiction than coffee or cigarettes ;)

Read a book
Escaping to a different world from the safety of my couch (can you tell how much I love my couch and those woolen blankets?) is something I look forward to every day. I couldn’t not read. Sometimes it’s blogs, sometimes it’s a simple tale for a few days (love the ‘Daisy Dalrymple‘ series) and sometimes it’s sagas that stay with me for months (hello Game of Thrones). I need my stories.
urban vintage bookI just got the prettiest german book in the mail last week from Midsommarflicka. I won a giveaway on her blog and loved receiving this gorgeous ‘Urban Vintage‘ design guide. It’s like Pinterest in book form!
urban vintage book
Give the cats a cuddle

Granted this works best when you actually have a cat on hand but it also works with dogs, hamsters and any furry, warm creature in your home.
cat on the couch There is nothing to make you forget the outside world like a sleepy cat, snuggled up close to you and warming your legs, purring and snoring without a care in the world. Animals live in the moment completely. I know some people can’t relate to that but my home would not feel the same without these softfooted graceful beings.

So, how do you relax at home?