Happy New Year!

On New Year’s Day I had a good think about starting a project where you make something every day, (or plan something small that you can catch up on at the end of each week, when you invariably end up behind.) But I know better than that really, don’t I? So instead of committing to a plan, I started crocheting circles. I’lI make them whenever I want to do a little bit of crochet, or want something portable to take out and about, then I will turn them into circles in a hexagon, or rectangle, or square, or star, or… and join them together at some point. I REALLY like using variegated yarn, this obsession is not wearing off now and it’s been a couple of years. I plan to transform them with a single plain colour. Probably. That could change, as I wonder about maybe using other variegated shades for contrast, so the overall effect of the whatever it’s going to be would be mismatched and rather glorious. Glorious is a big word, but it’s a fresh shiny new year, so let’s be optimistic and enthusiastic.

After reading some one-word posts and resolutions in which people are already sounding rather desperate and negative, ready to concede defeat, I’m not making resolutions to be broken. I’m not planning to count anything (books, calories, steps, pounds etc etc…) or set big goals. I’ll make considered choices as I go. There’s enough happening in life as you go along, without beginning the year with a huge list of shoulds. No pressure, stress or things to fail. Hurray! Who’s with me?

This week there’s been a lot of wind and rain, but also a few good periods for walking. I’ve been here, there and rather busy, but have made time to walk. Look at yesterday’s sunset. Beautiful.

I stopped counting my mileage last spring, knowing after recording it for 3 years or so, that I average 1,000 miles walked a year. I did have a look at Strava and see that I walked 50 miles over Christmas. I knew I had tried to move most days, I didn’t realise it was quite so much. Those 2 mile jaunts around to look at the Christmas lights and catch glimpses of people’s trees add up!

Witney was looking really lovely on Wednesday afternoon.

It’s Epiphany today and the last day of Christmas. The lights and sparkle everywhere have been so welcome. I’m going to keep my three cosy red tea light holders out of my decs box this year and I’ve got star shaped fairy lights along the mantelpiece. January and February can be grey and grim, but there are ways to brighten up home and keep some sparkle.

I whizzed up some whole spices to top up my curry powder jar. I ground it all quite coarsely, those homegrown dried chilies are definitely still looking flaky, but it’s a perfect blend of flavours and will cook down well. If you’re feeling a bit low I recommend making a spice blend up to use in soups and curries, or as marinades. Buy a grinder and some whole spices to make your own blends. There are loads of blend recipes online. It’s cheaper in the long run than buying those titchy jars, especially if you buy larger packets of whole spices from an Asian Supermarket. You feel really productive and you get the flavours you want, adding more, or less of what you prefer. The kitchen smelt amazing afterwards, it’s very cheering.

These orchids stopped me in my tracks at the garden centre. How fresh and vibrant! Garden centres and nurseries are still managing to provide lots of colour and brightness. They’re usually warm too!

Meatless Monday’s (as I call it, most say meat- free) spicy bean & tomato soup. Fancy it? Diced onion, carrot & celery cooked slowly till softened, smoked paprika & chilli powder added and cooked for a minute, stir so it doesn’t burn, add a diced yellow pepper, a can of chopped tomatoes, 750 ml ish of veg stock, mixed herbs, can of drained black beans, can of drained kidney beans, a squeeze of tomato purée and a good simmer. Perfect!

Then a day or two later I browned 250g pork mince, cooked a little more smoked paprika and chilli powder, added the soup leftovers and threw some petit pois in at the end. Served it in bowls, with strong cheddar on top and called it Chilli!

Usually my leftovers get turned into soups/stoup (Hugh FW term for something halfway between a soup and a stew.) This was the reverse process and worked very well.

By Welsh artist Lizzie Spikes – Driftwood Designs

Too good not to share. I’ve put all the names and dates of the different moons on my calendar. So today is called Stay at Home moon. I don’t mind if I do. Sounds perfect. I’ve had a bowl of soup for lunch and my second piece of Christmas cake. (First slice of today I mean, only my second of Christmas!) I’ve started to Declutter Christmas (feels appropriate to be capitalised) as it’s time. Christmas cards are in a pile to read through and look at once more. I’ve dusted after taking away cards, Christmassy tins, a bowl of mini baubles, a wicker star and more. The Poinsettia has been watered a little, it hasn’t lost its leaves yet… Now the bauble boxes are open on the sofa, waiting to be refilled. I am feeling unusually regretful about the de-Christmassing this year; usually I’m ready to dust and put everything to rights, however this year I fancy keeping everything up until Valentine’s Day! I’ve really loved our Christmas tree. But all good things must come to an end.

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What are your plans for the weekend? Have you got any new recipes to try, new books to read or a walk planned? What about crochet and knitting; have you fallen for the make-something-everyday plan and kept it up, or failed after just a few days?!

16 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. Crocheting another blanket in rainbow gradient, ordered the yarn for the new Attic24 blanket. Pastels and I don’t do pastels so a real change. Reading Good Omens again, trying to recover from first flu and now chest infection. Only trips out since second week of December have been GP twice and day in hospital once.

  2. Your crochet plan sounds fun. I have decided to join Lucy of Attic24’s CAL and have just started by making a tension rectangle. I do have a couple of other things that I haven’t finished so not sure of to put them on the back burner or try to do them all together.
    I agree with you about resolutions. I never make NEW YEAR resolutions. If I think I want to change something in my life, I just start it when I decide it’s a good idea. I am sure it works better that way.

    • Definitely, I really agree with this proactive attitude. You’re setting yourself up for failure so much by making lots of resolutions, so much so that there is Blue Monday on the third Monday of every January; because people feel that they have failed their resolutions, the indulgences of Christmas have hit, they have less money etc.

      Your blanket plans sound good. I’ve just read Lucy’s latest post about the blanket.

  3. I started the one word idea last year. Balance..it worked well for me as I got used to being a widow. This year I have chosen Divest as I know some behaviours and attitudes are impacting me negatively. I think the thing about starting in January is it’s a fresh start each time. Success depends on not setting oneself up to fail with impossible goals. I like the structure it’s giving me at the moment. I have many meatfree days too and make meals from beans, tomatoes’ onions etc. Hope you enjoy your crocheting, take it slow and steady. Happy New Year.

    • As you know I enjoyed your Balance posts last year and look forward to following your progress this year. If it works for you, then that’s good. So many people seem to fail very early on with these things and then make themselves feel terrible; miserable and guilty.

      Sadly I can’t craft anything other than slowly, and not too often unfortunately. I long for the days when I used to spend an afternoon crocheting on a rainy Saturday (like today) when the rugby was on in the background etc, but at least I can still do a little. I recently read of a hairdresser who had to give up because she couldn’t use the scissors anymore. That’s far more detrimental to her life and earnings. I count myself lucky in comparison.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment about New Year Resolutions. I do have some notions about what I’d like to achieve in 2023 – but not resolutions. I think that I shall start the New Year with knitting. My wrist warmers proved to be popular gifts so I shall start on some for next Christmas.

  5. I don’t do Resolutions either just roll with things, no disappointment at the end of the year or whenever. Why put the pressure on yourself? I am also with you about removing all the Christmas Decorations – it always seems so dull afterwards. I have had a massive tidy up and given clothes to The Clothes Bank and Books, DVDs and CDs to The Garden House Hospice. A nice feeling to the start of the year.

  6. Your photos of the town with all the lights are so pretty and uplifting, must have been lovely to stroll around there. I don’t do resolutions either, it’s enough for me to try and get to the end of a day with some sort of success let alone an entire year. Your veggie soup sounds really fantastic and makes me want to rush out and buy the ingredients – but I know that impulse will pass in the next hour or so. And even if I bought them, they’d end up going off. I really have got terrible about preparing meals, just live on fruit, eggs, a bit of fibre and a lot of coffee these days. Pathetic (but easy!!!)
    I love your little circles. Before you know it, you’ll have quite a pile.

  7. Your circles are very pretty, I love how they have sections of colour. Well done on all the walking. I am limping a bit at the moment (trapped nerve or something I think) but still walking about the place with the dog. I do love winter, especially the coming home after a blustery walk bit. CJ xx

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