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Country Home Knitting | My Newbie Knitters Journey


I seem to start so many of my blog posts with the line "it's been a while since I last posted" but it really is a long time since I last shared anything with you on here. It's not been that way intentionally I promise!
How have you been? What's new in your world?

I've been having a ridiculously busy time at work lately as some of you may know that I work part time in a primary school and I happen to work in year 2 (6-7 year olds). We've just gotten over the SATs and are enjoying the start of our week long half term break.
Work usually comes with drama - or at least it does where I work unfortunately - that's why I've not been actively posting on here.

However I have been working my through some crochet projects and I've even started to learn how to knit! If you know me then you'll know that I began crocheting because I couldn't grasp the art of knitting. I will do an additional blog post on How I Got Started With Crochet, but for now, I'll say that for 3 years I've crocheted on and off - the last year more so since having Mr R in my life - He really does bring out the best in me. Evidently because I've recently taught myself to knit! 

In hindsight I think that crocheting has actually helped me to pick up knitting easier and wonder now why I didn't try this way year ago. To think of all the projects I could of created :) Still I get to enjoy making them now! 

I'm going to share with you my very beginners journey of knitting with a few pictures I've taken to document the journey. Initially I had this idea to create swatch squares of all the knitting stitches I learn -complete with all their imperfections because they are a HUGE part of my journey also. Then I was going to sew all these swatches together to make a complete blanket in a patchwork style. I still might do this but will have to remember that this is my plan because I might end up choosing colours of yarn that don't compliment each other very well otherwise :/ 


This was my initial attempt of the Alternating Welted Leaf stitch - if you manage to zoom in on the picture you'll see that whilst there are some shapes resembling the welted leaf within the small sample, it actually didn't quite work out very well. So I frogged it and went back to the drawing board - or knitting needles as it was in this case. 

Next up... 


This is the Staggered Eyelets stitch, and although there is a couple of tiny mistakes in the swatch, I am very pleased with this and fell completely in love with the pattern, and with knitting. This swatch actually made me go an order knitting needles, and look for patterns and work out pattern ideas for blankets and shawls - and that was it, my mind was running away into knitters heaven. 

This stitch combines the following stitches; Knit, Purl, Knit 2 Together (K2TG), Yarn Over (YO). It's worked in multiples of 4 + 3 but you'd need to add extra on for creating a border for each side. This is a project I'm going to be working on so I will have the pattern written up for you on here hopefully soon, once I've gotten my yarn in either Mint, Lemon or White. My intention is to knit a Mint or Lemon baby blanket, put it away for when Mr R and I have out first born to go with the cardigan my Auntie Tracy knitted for me in time for when I was born! 

At the moment I'm working on a basic Knit stitch - otherwise known as Garter Stitch ombre inspired blanket. I'll share more when there is more to see because at the moment there is only about 4 rows, so ultimately not much to see right now. 

I'd love to know if you've ever tried to knit and if you are a seasonal and experienced knitter, what was your first ever project? 

Country Home Lifestyle | Taking The Wabi Sabi Approach

Thank you for stopping by Our Country Home Comforts
We're at the end of the first month of a brand new year and the typical search for the NEW ME starts to wind down a little now and we can begin to lose any sort of motivation and momentum we had a month ago. I can hardly believe that this time 1 month ago we were all excited about starting a new year, new page, new chapter. It's crazy. 
Personally, I've found January hard and I've not been able to really get into the excitement that everyone else has appeared to have. It can be really disheartening when you scroll through your social media feed and see how everyone else "appears" to have it all together can't it? I've felt the complete opposite and decided to take time out from social media for a while. I don't know how long it will last but I know that I need to re-discover where my happiness lies. 
Initially, I'd told myself to take January out and even just plod along in the background until March/April time but I resisted and I actually regret it now. Sometimes we need to listen to ourselves because most times we do have our own best interests at heart. But fear can get in the way, and it's not always the BIG fears, it can be the little silly ones such as; 
  • if I take time out then people will forget about me
  • if I take time out I'll get behind (whatever that means to us)
  • I need to keep going otherwise I'll never get anywhere
  • No one else is taking time out
  • This time of year needs to be fast paced and super productive
Really silly in the grand scheme of things. Mr R smiles softly and gently shakes his head when he hears me say things like this, and softly says "This is why I'm not on social media, it's not always good for your mental health and wellbeing". He's right. So it's about finding a balance.



I have long been fascinated with happiness + positivity, happily embracing them into my own life and trying to spread a little joy wherever I go. A friend of mine asked me over Christmas just what does it take to find that happiness and positive perspective – as I’m known as Little Miss Sunshine- in our circle/clique (not sure if it’s a sarcastic thing or not 😉 ) and when I told her the ways in which I found it in the past, and how I’ve been struggling myself lately, she said I should share them on my blog and share my happiness and positive energy with more men and women. Her theory was that by my helping you become happier, I would become happier still!
So here I am, and here you are – brought together synchronistically via our very own personal pursuit of happiness. Don’t you just LOVE the way that fate works?!
I’m just a happy girl next door kinda girl. I’m your normal, typical English Girl with BIG dreams,  trying to be happier + find more happiness + positivity in a world that can be so fear filled, sad, + cruel, not to mention stressful + pressured based + competitive.
So, my intention is that through a series of lifestyle posts here I will share my tips, tools and tricks to happiness + positivity and everything along the way that is useful in life, and in return, you’ll become happier more positive readers and people in life. 
The idea is to have a positive knock-on effect. I’ll also share with you my up and down journey – because life is up and down – but it is all a matter of perspective and it’s what we do with what we have that determines how successful our pursuit of happiness is. So let's get onto the approach I'm going to try and take.
What the heck is Wabi Sabi?
Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that encourages us to accept life for what is, perfectly imperfect, unique to each of us individually, and a philosophical permission slip to be yourself, DO your best whilst not having to BE the best whilst working towards a life that is not filled with unattainable goals of perfection. 
It’s a sort of ‘let you off the hook’ to be more self accepting and less judgmental + competitive. For me it means being ‘good enough’ in my life rather than striving to be the expert + top dog in everything I do. It’s a way of quitting with the people pleasing + unrealistic expectations we have allowed to become controlled by. 
Ways I'm going to be more Wabi Sabi; 
  • Practice acceptance in my crochet crafts - this will probably be a tough one for me as I really am a perfectionist at heart. I have a hard time of accepting stitches going wrong after I've devoted huge chunks of time and yards of yarn into them. I'm not a fan of 'frogging' my projects because in the moment it seems like admitting defeat. But having them discarded and hanging around only reminds me of my 'mistakes and failures'. This is a thought pattern I need to work on and I will update you on how I do this
  • Focus on a maximum of 5 key projects across my life and know that I am good enough - We hear that saying that sometimes 'Less is More' and I really need to embrace this. I tend to focus on doing EVERYTHING and getting nothing done. I think I need to remind myself of what my Dad used to tell me; "Do one thing at a time and do it properly". It always worked for him and it makes sense in this fast paced adult life we live. I've been trying to be; Teacher, Crocheter, Blogger, Creative, Business Woman, and Mentor. I can't wear all those hats at the same time. It's silly to try. 
  • Practice what makes me happy - I can slip into the tendency to be a people pleaser, I hate to let anyone down. But Mr R shows me how doing that is only letting myself down and that hurts more in the long run. I've lost myself a little and taking the social media break is my chance to re-focus and re-capture who I am and what I love to do. 
  • See the beauty in imperfection - I see a lot of people not being perfect and they are fine with it, in fact they are more than fine, they embrace it. I'm terribly british in the sense that I aim for perfection and anything else is not good enough. When I say this I say it not in what others do, but in what I do. I need to embrace the imperfection of everything and see it as the beautiful thing it is. Life. 
I'm very early into my Wabi Sabi approach so I will update as I go along and share what's working for me and what's not. The important thing is I'm trying, and I love to find new ways to be happy and positive. 

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the Wabi Sabi approach to life, or if you have any tips on how I can follow through with the ways I'm approaching my life right now I'd appreciate them. 

Speak soon lovely, 

Dawn 
xXxX 


Country Home Books | Cover Reveal for Heidi Swain

Good morning my loves, 

Today I am here very excitedly to take part in a cover reveal for not only an absolute fabulous author, and I do mean fabulous, but also someone who has become a friend, and whom I love dearly. 

Heidi Swain is BACK with another book for 2019 and if you're anything like me, you just need more Heidi in your life! 

I remember my first ever book by Heidi that I read - Summer at SkyLark Farm  and since then I've devoured every book Heidi has written and loved every single one of them. 

Shall we look at the cover first or shall we look at what Heidi's new book for 2019"Poppy's Recipe For Life" first? Hmmm let's see what Poppy's Recipe for Life is all about first - I like to tease ;)


About the book…

Treat yourself to a glorious novel full of food, sunshine, friendship and love

Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.

She's moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.

But the unexpected arrival of Poppy's troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …





Well that sounds so intriguing! The things I love about that blurb is that it involves a cottage and I love love love cottages and the countryside (hence why I have this blog I set up with my man), I love stories where characters follow their passions whatever they may be especially if they're creative in some way and I think we can all agree that cookery is very creative (and something I perhaps could learn from Poppy to dazzle my family and man). I also want to know more about this Jacob and why Poppy's brother is coming to the community. 

OK... let's have a drum roll for the cover shall we... 

**DRUM ROLL**

**DRUM ROLL** 

**DRUM ROLL** 

**DRUM ROLL** 

**DRUM ROLL** 



Ta-Dah!!! 




WOW!!!! Honestly! WOW!!! 

This book cover is so beautiful! It's got the spring/summer colours, the brightness is encapsulating, and ....wow.... can I read it now please? 

Ok, so whilst I get my breath back from that gorgeous book cover, let's get the details on where we can pre-order our copy NOW 

Amazon buying links…

Paperback

E-book


*Thank you to Heidi Swain and Books and the City for allowing me to take part in the exclusive cover reveal for this book*

**First published on my book blog A Page of Fictional Love**

Country Home Lifestyle | The Art of Keeping Promises

Hi Lovely,

How are you? I do hope that you are well. I'm currently sat here with my little cup of lemon tea (it's one of my favourite drinks aside from tea, coffee, and a nice cup of Ovaltine - chocolate of course) and I started thinking about all the promises we make not only at the start of a new year but in general. Each year. Every day. For our entire lives. Do we actually keep them or most them? Or do we become so overwhelmed in life that we tend to let things slip and slide even though it's the exact opposite of our intention to do so? (This lemon tea has a lot to answer for!). So I just wanted to explore this a little with you here. I'm not sure I'll come to any conclusions but it's something I want to discover a little more. 



I like to think that I'm good at keeping promises, I know I keep secrets when people ask me to (Still no fanfare accompanied by my handsome Mr R's picture - see I'm GOOD) but does that mean I'm good at keeping my promises all-round? I think I'm in honest here and that's the point to all this I'd have to say I'm not as good as I'd like to believe that I am, or that I'd like to be. 

I make promises probably just like you all the time, I think I must make at least 2-3 a day! that's like over 1000 promises in a year! So, at 30 years old, and let's say I started making promises at 3 years old - you know to eat my food, to go to sleep, to be a good girl, to stop trying to chew paper (yes I had a thing for paper - now I'm a book worm and stationery addict!) then that's roughly 27,000 promises and counting! Have I kept those 27,000 promises I made? 

I doubt it. 

As an overachiever and a recovering perfectionist (control freak!) - Mr R really helps me to let go much more often and easily than I ever did before #LifeIsBetterWithMrR (see why I have that hashtag now?) - I should feel really disappointed with myself for not keeping those promises - you know all 27,000 of them that I can't even remember 27 of them let alone 27,000! But I don't. I've learnt to accept that despite my mum calling me an Alien (because everything I did was perfect and I was the perfect child - Making up for it now ain't I mum?) I'm just a normal human being that isn't ever going to be 100% perfect at everything in life. We all are in the same boat here.

That has to be my hardest lesson to date. Always achieving highly at school meant I entered adulthood with so much self imposed perceived pressure to do everything with perfection. The promise to be perfect. The perfect student, the perfect accountant, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect teacher, the perfect work colleague, the perfect employee, the perfect blogger, the perfect crafter, the perfect crocheter and oh my word are you as exhausted as I am right now?! It's just not possible.

Accepting a degree of imperfection in our lives, I believe can help us to accept that we're not always going to be able to keep promises we make. Promises that could be as simple as writing up a blog post when we say we will (I'm sorry - I'm a creative and I tend to work best when I'm inspired - not pressured), sending the photos of your crochet projects + home reno inspiration you promised to send (I'm sorry Mr R - I don't forget and I always remember to send you the photos - eventually! :* ), or even to pick something up from the shops when you go only to go home and realise you've forgotten even though you told yourself a million time all day long "Do NOT forget to pick that thing up!" (Sorry Mum!!). 

We're so overwhelmed these days with information and our lives is it any wonder we forget these simple yet deeply meaningful acts of community and togetherness in the form of promises? Not really, and I've come up with 3 simple steps to The Art of Keeping Promises and I promise I will get to those in a minute. But first, we've discussed the promises we make and keep and don't keep for others, but what about ourselves? How many times do we let ourselves down? And what about the impact that has on our own sense of self esteem and self worth? 

I am the first person to prioritise keeping promises to others and to forget about the ones I made to myself. I'll put off a workout session in order to ensure I've done things for mum, I'll put off writing a blog post in order to chat to my friend, I'll put off reading in bed to calm me in order to fuss and cuddle Magick (my cat!) I'll even put off my NEW practice of bedtime yoga for the same reason. 

But why? Why do I think it's okay to treat myself with such a lack of disrespect and treat everyone else with the utmost respect? It's definitely something I need to look at more and work on - writing this has really made me "See" it. Isn't it strange that I feel shame for admitting my faults? It's that acknowledgement that I'm not perfect, and having to realise that again, it's an unrealistic expectation to have - to be perfect 100% of the time

There are many many reasons why Mr R is my hero and why he is SO good for me, I truly believe he is not only the Man I adore but the best friend I'm lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with, but one of them is that he really teaches me how to be better. By better I mean more self accepting, more realistic, more in control by being less in control. He doesn't miss a gym session (often) and that's because he's made a promise to himself since he was 16 years old and he's kept that promise for XX years! He has in my eyes self acceptance mastered - he'll likely disagree - but then again he disagrees when I tell him how utterly wonderful he is - and he is! 

So... the bit you've been waiting for (Thank you for following my waffling thoughts) - the 3 steps to The Art of Keeping Promises; 

1) Cliche - but don't make promises you can't keep! 

Seriously, don't set yourself and anyone else up for disappointment and failure by making a promise you know you either won't be able to keep or are unlikely to keep. This does you own self esteem no good, and it does nothing for the person you made this promise to - they will feel let down, not good enough in your opinion to have a promise kept, they will likely (if this is a long term letting down constantly) not ask you for any help and it could damage your relationship. 

2) Keep a note of your promises

Just a simple note in your Google calender, a corner of your diary, a scribble on the kitchen/home office noticeboard, a post it to the mirror (my favourite) of what it is you've promised to do, when, and for whom. As long as you don't overextend yourself and make a promise to everyone you know multiple times a day, and they are realistic and doable you should be able to handle this! 

3) Admit When You Can't Do It

This can be the one that trips us up on so many levels but it is probably the MOST important one to do. If there is something you can't do, admit it. It's not a weakness to admit that you can't do something, despite what some people in this world will have you believe. For instance, Mr R and I regularly have dates and things planned, can we both keep to the scheduled events? Most of the time yes, but when we can't for one reason or another we ALWAYS let each other know. If he can't make it because of training for work or a disaster at the house then he tells me, and yes of course i'm disappointed, so is he! But he told me, I was aware of having to change plans, and honestly, having the person in your life who is honest with you to the point that yes you may feel disappointed for a short time, but you get over it. And you do feel that bond of trust grown between you and the promisee - is that a word?! 

There you have it - my 3 steps to The Art of Keeping Promises. I hope you've found them helpful, given yourself a little reprieve from self punishment for failing so much to keep every single promise you make, and of course I'd love to know which one of the three steps you're going to try and be mindful of more often in the comments below. Honestly, I'd just be touched if you read this and survived the long post! 

Thank you for stopping by, I shall speak to you soon, 

Love Dawn xxx

Dreams | New Year, New Goals, New Plans


Hello my loves, 

Happy New Year from Mr R and I!!! 

I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that we are finally in 2019 after such a long wait - well it certainly feels that way doesn't it? 


I don't want to do one of those super overly happy posts about how amazing 2019 is going to be because we all know that it's just like the tide - it ebbs and flows for all of us - which is what makes us really appreciate the happier times in our lives. What I do want to share with you all though is a few of my own personal plans and goals I have for my personal life and this little growing blog baby of mine. 




On 1st January I did my usual sweep of my blogs - this one and my book blog (A Page of Fictional Love) and I was honestly blown away by both of them but more so this one because it's the baby of the blogs and because it's the one I started with my partner's input, so it really does feel like our little online baby. 

What started as a little lifestyle project of a blog that was full of hopes and dreams for it's growth - truly it is like our child because we have such high hopes for it - has steadily grown over the past few months and literally gained over 400+ views within the F I R S T   F O U R days of 2019!!! I mean that's crazy growth right there for me! For this little baby!

When I noticed this growth which I know to so many bloggers would be nothing, to me it was everything and I suddenly felt frozen because I didn't know what to write on here or how to set the tone for 2019. So I had to have a little time to plan a few posts and then come back and write this one and then instantly hit publish. I didn't want to back out of the plans I've got for it. So what plans do I have for me and this little blog baby of ours? 


My Personal Goals: 


  • To blog 1-2 times a week 
  • To learn new crochet stitches & techniques each week so that by the end of the year I've learnt at least 52 new stitches/techniques 
  • Learn how to crochet amigurumi 
  • To read a balanced mixture of self development/positivity books, women's fiction, and young adult books 
  • Learn more about mindfulness to manage my stress levels
  • Learn how to create crochet patterns
  • Crazy goal here but....Learn how to knit (I don't know what's gotten into me but I feel like I'm in the swing of crochet now and I want to push myself further) 
  • Focus more on my own self care, health + fitness and wellbeing so that I am in the best shape; mentally, physically and emotionally, for a healthy pregnancy
  • Enjoy every moment with Mr R because every moment is precious and a memory to treasure + share in years to come with our little ones (when we have them) 
  • Enjoy a mini break abroad for the first time in my life with Mr R (I love that he'll be the one I christen my passport with!)

My Blog Goals: 

*some of these goals overlap and run into my instagram account + also possible other forms of social media*

  • Hit 10,000 views by December 2019
  • Have 2000 instagram followers 
  • Have at least 52 posts on here by December 2019  
  • Write crochet tutorials up on here in a simple way that is quick & easy to follow 
  • Expand and grow my Etsy Store (Country Home Comforts) and have regular crochet stock added every month! 
  • Write more lifestyle posts on here 
  • Collaborate with at least 3 brands and feature them on this blog 
  • Launch a YouTube channel featuring my crochet + lifestyle 
  • Have 500 YouTube subscribers 

Some of those goals may not get reached or may surpass the goals I've set but either way I'm going to do all I can to ensure that I try my best this year, and that's good enough for me. I'm a huge believer in dreaming BIG and then making actionable plans to make those dreams a reality. 

Have you set yourself any goals this year? Do you already have plans in motion? I'd love for you to share in the comments below and tell me all about them. 

Take care until next time, 
All my love,
Dawn-Tracy xxx