This blog has now moved to http://www.christabelseneque.com
See you there!
This blog has now moved to http://www.christabelseneque.com
See you there!
Combining full-time work with part-time study was always going to mean cutting back on my leisure time, and in practice this has meant less time spent:
1. knitting, baking, reading recreationally, and doing other creative activities that I would normally share on the blog;
2. searching the internet for the interesting and inspiring;
3. participating in the blogosphere, whether reading, sharing, or commenting;
4. blogging, full stop.
I am, however, spending more time checking in on twitter and following any interesting threads that pop up.
If you’d like to chat with me there, I’m @cseneque. See you soon!
I realised today that I don’t actually enjoy crocheting. I like the speed and the end product, but I see the creation of each crochet stitch as a step towards my goal rather than a pleasurable process in itself. I’m not sure why I love to knit and do not love to crochet, and I’m also not sure why it took me so long to realise it. I have a tendency to just ‘put up with’ things, and it’s taken many years for me to realise (with help) that my feelings of comfort or discomfort are not insignificant.
I had a similar epiphany earlier this year, and decided to change my study from psychology to communications, majoring in creative writing. It took me two decades to realise that self-doubt and fear, rather than protecting me, were just stopping me from developing skill at something I enjoy.
I have knitting and food to share, and silly pictures of Sydney, but there’s plenty of time for that. In the meantime, let me know: have you had any epiphanies lately?
My mosaic for 2011 includes the crafting I completed (a good mix of accessories, garments, and blankets), along with representations of other activities that stole my time: printmaking, reading, and food.
In 2012, added to these diversions and worthy distractions, will be a much larger demand on my time: study. I have enrolled in off-campus tertiary education, and will be doing a single unit at a time while continuing in full-time employment. So far I’ve only enrolled in my first unit, because I want to make sure I can juggle work and study without burning out, but my plan is to gradually work towards the completion of a Bachelor of Behavioural Studies (Psychology) with Swinburne University, facilitated by Open Universities Australia.
Wish me luck!
A minimalist mindset will transform the way we make decisions about the stuff we have, and the stuff we bring into our lives. – Francine Jay, The Joy of Less
Last night I sorted through some of my stuff, and ditched a bunch of it. Five big garbage bags full. It was a liberating feeling.
I’ve always been a hoarder. You don’t need to see pictures, and you don’t need a description of the worst of it: what too much clutter looks like is different for everyone, and what I’d been experiencing lately was less a physical problem (although lack of space was also an issue) than a mental/ emotional sense of urgency, of weight, and of stress.
But getting rid of things indiscriminately isn’t a long-term solution for me; what I want is to change my mindset and my relationship to things. I feel like I’ve only just started this process, but it has the potential to be a big life change for me, the way that changing careers and adopting veganism have been in the last few years for me. A game-changer.
If 2009 was a year for experimenting with plant-based fibers, 2010 saw a narrowing of focus in terms of craft and yet a broadening of my other interests.
I spent time this year rediscovering my love of the written word, and added to that an interest in the graphic novel.
I delved into the worlds of twitter and facebook–maybe a bit too far–and decided to step back a bit for my own sanity.
I launched the inaugural Compassionate Craft Week, made a shawl for a friend, and cupcakes for the RSPCA.
I watched my younger brother marry, the first of my siblings to do so.
Early this year I successfully applied for a more senior position in my workplace, which meant a payrise along with greater responsibility and the accompanying stresses.
I joined in on the Vegan Month of Food and discovered some wonderful new favourites.
I committed to the ‘no shampoo’ method of hair care, got through the unfun initial detox period and will never go back.
I was spoilt with amazing live music, and invested time in some really good TV on DVD.
Recently, watching this video and beginning to read Bitchfest rekindled my passion for equal rights for all human and non-human animals, with feminism forming an integral part of this worldview.
This was the year I connected with the half-sister I’d never met, and I feel much richer for it.
All of which means I’ve had less time to craft, but the bulk of my crafting time has been spent on larger, more long term projects like sweaters (3 adult sweaters!), shawls (my first and second shawls ever!) and a blankie. Add to that three new designs–all accessories, all featuring cables–and a generous sprinking of charity knitting, some quick crochet, and an oddball project or two, and you have my year.
How was 2010 for you?
(Uploaded by milagrochan0404)
This Christmas, instead of traditional festive cards for my coworkers I decided to make some holiday-themed sudoku puzzle cards to print onto coloured card.
I resisted Sudoku puzzles for the longest time due to the misguided notion that solving them somehow involved maths, but just love any kind of word puzzle, and for some reason changing the Sudoku digits to letters just made it click with me in a way that boxes full of numbers never would.
Happy Holidays! x
Whatever you may think of Jamie Oliver‘s take on food and social change, the man knows how to make a risotto. The basic risotto recipe in his second cookbook is one of my family’s go-to meals, easily veganised and customisable to any ingredients on hand. My Mum made a particularly delicious version recently, and I interrogated her for her secrets.
This version uses red wine rather than white, and an extra half a glass than called for in the recipe, which adds a bit of extra moisture to compensate for the absence of cheese at the end. She used Nuttelex instead of butter, and Massel chicken-style stock.
Celery omitted and spring onions substituted for yellow, ’cause that’s what we had. Mushrooms and zucchini were sauteed separately and stirred in after most of the liquid was absorbed. Topped with shaved almonds and cracked pepper.
Really good, even as leftovers for lunch. I’m definitely planning to make one of these myself.
On the weekend I bought an amazing vegan doughnut muffin from the Animal Rights Advocates stand at Perth’s own Cruelty Free Festival. It was tender, sweetly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, with a crisp outer edge dunked in cinnamon sugar. I haven’t had one of the unhealthy deep-fried variety in over two years, and these few bites of perfection were sweeter than even my fondest memories.
Of course, when I got home I had to find myself a recipe and whip up a batch or two.
Apart from my usual subs of soy milk for the cows’ milk, Nuttelex for butter, raw sugar for white, and wholemeal flour for white, I used ground flaxseeds mixed with water to replace the egg and (as others have done) used more than the called-for amounts of topping ingredients when I ran out half way through coating the muffins.
Quick, cinnamony, and healthier than getting out the deep frier. What more can a gal ask for?
Knit for a silent auction on behalf of a dear friend participating in the 2011 Hands Across the Water bike ride.
Knitting has a long utilitarian tradition, and particularly since the second World War has been interwoven with a philanthropic streak. In making this shawl, I wanted to use the best of knitting’s rich history to create something meaningful in aid of this wonderful cause.
This shawl is handknit using a cushy vegan cotton/ elastane yarn handpainted in a tomboyish, earthy range of colours. The shape and structure is similar to the traditional Shetland hap shawl, with its undulating lacy border and cosy garter stitch centre. This combination of yarn and stitches creates a hardwearing accessory with elegant lines suitable for everyday use and special occasions.
More pictures here.