Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve...

I spent New Year's Eve in my childhood home with my parents, our dog, and our cat. Oh yeah, there was a snowman involved as well. It may be the lamest New Year I have experienced to date. Here is a photographic retrospective of the evening. I hope your night was more exciting.


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Reaching the New Frontier

2013 promises to be an interesting year. It isn`t going to have the obvious excitements of 2012--I don`t expect a new baby this year and travel plans are restricted to small local trips. Life is going to happen predominantly on the home front--the new frontier of hearth and yard and doorstep. It`s a place so often overlooked in favour of worldly adventures, but this year there will be time for home. My official membership in the world of public employment ends January 28th, along with my maternity leave. After much deliberation I resigned from my job and will be a full-time homemaker, and (with any luck) photographer and artist.

Interwoven into my role as a mother and keeper of the home are opportunities for new pursuits and exploration. I suddenly have a chance to investigate the things that drive me--art, craft, music, photography, writing--in a more serious way. It now seems possible that these things can make up a portion of my livelihood and slowly take shape into a creative, home-based career. That`s the master plan and 2013 is going to be the year for getting the gears turning. My little boy acts as solid inspiration on this front. He isn`t afraid of anything. He takes risks almost hourly as he figures out how the world works. He jumps into everything with complete abandon because he hasn`t yet learned the meaning of negative consequences and though he frequently face plants, he gets up immediately and tries again. I hope that I can absorb a bit of his youthful bravery as I reach out to grasp the life I`ve dreamed of but been too afraid to pursue.

So here`s to my favourite little explorer and a year`s worth of new beginnings.


Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Crafts: Fern Glade Hat

It's been a long time since I had a finished project to showcase. This one was actually done in August, but I didn't get around to photographing it until now. The pattern is Fern Glade (found on Ravelry) and while I had some gauge issues that made this hat slightly too large it worked out decently in the end.

Fern Glade 1. Copyright Andrea Paterson. Amaranth Road Studio. 2012.
Fern Glade 2. Copyright Andrea Paterson. Amaranth Road Studio. 2012.
Fern Glade 3. Copyright Andrea Paterson. Amaranth Road Studio. 2012.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

West Coast Christmas

Christmas Express. Copyright Andrea Paterson. Amaranth Road Studio. 2012

December 1st heralds the official beginning of the holiday season in my world. While I've already played some Christmas music, put up a few decorations, and addressed my Christmas cards, December 1st means that all holiday excess is now fair game.

I get stalled, however, by the holiday season in Vancouver because the weather is just so inhospitable to Christmas cheer. The lights have gone up, the horse drawn cart rides are operating, the malls all have a Santa, but the relentless rain puts a literal damper on things that complicates my ability to be jolly. I need snow flurries, a nip in the air, and the desperate craving for hot chocolate that comes along with chilly nights and frost covered mornings. The twinkle of a Christmas tree just doesn't jive with the drumming of rain on your window. Christmas needs the soft focus of blinding snow, the stillness of ice, the tinkling, jingling, shattering, sounds of crystal snowflakes, the heavy trudge of boots. Most of the magic comes from the winter capacity for reflection and refraction. Snow breaks up the light into diamond rainbows, and as the world freezes every molecule slows down physically, mentally, spiritually. It's the cold that forces us to sit still for awhile, drink good wine, share in the company of friends, turn to the old fashioned whimsy of wood fires, chestnuts, and the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Tradition allows our minds to settle as we embrace familiar ritual and song.

Vancouver doesn't smell like Christmas. Christmas is supposed to smell like pine needles and the metallic scent of snow on the wind. Vancouver smells like rotting leaves, mould, and damp earth. It's a very organic smell, a lively one, but not Christmasy.

A few years ago Vancouver experienced a freak winter storm. People could barely leave their houses because the city was so ill-equipped for real winter. It's one of my happiest Christmas memories from this part of the world! Family was visiting from Australia and my husband and I would walk the snowy streets to his parents' house each day to participate in holiday festivities. We didn't want to drive. It was too hard to dig out the car and the roads were treacherous. So we pulled on our boots and hats and scarves and warmest coats and braved the swirling snow. It was a wonderland. The old trees held offerings of snow aloft on their branches. A brilliant silence wrapped us up like a silver fox fur stole. We drank our fill and warmed our toes by the fire, not worrying about over-imbibing because we didn't have to drive home.

This year it's raining and 11 degrees on the 1st of December. There are lots of thing to love about Vancouver but the soggy Christmas season isn't one of them. I'll have to content myself with pictures and dreams of snow dusted lands until the next glorious freak winter ensnares us on the West Coast.