cynthookneedles

A few words about my daily life and crafting journey

BA in Relationship

Dear Blog,

I am terribly sorry that I have ignored you for a few months. This atrocity is absolutely inexcusable, and I cannot apologise enough. However, I do hope you could find it somewhere in your heart to forgive me, as I have been planning my graduation ceremony of a BA in Relationship that I jointly read and practised with my other half, Jason.

We read this Bachelor of Arts together for over 7 years, which commenced in January 2007. It has been a full-time course with core modules such as

  1. Basics of a Relationship (you know, the introductory course that most couples take – Relationship 101),
  2. The Fine Art of Living Together (Relationship 211),
  3. The Fine Art of Love, Respect & Understanding (Relationship 230),
  4. Art & Science of a Strong Relationship I, II & III (Communication 110, 201 & 301)
  5. Adopting Cat I, II & III (a 3-part course of Introduction to Parenting – Parenting 101a, b & c)
  6. How to Handle Families (His & Hers – Families 111 & 112),
  7. Sharing the Joys & Weathering the Storms (Conflict Management 241),
  8. Weathering Mega Storms (Conflict Management 312),
  9. Couple’s Finance I & II (Finance 228 & 311) and
  10. Couple’s Time Management (His, Hers & Ours – Time Management 102, 202, 302).

In addition to that, we have opted for workshops on issues pertaining to our particular relationship, character traits and conditions. For instance, there were

  1. How to live with Asperger’s Syndrome
  2. How to live with and combat (severe) Depression, Stress & Anxiety
  3. Learn when to Duck and Take Cover during PMS (highly recommended!)
  4. How to live with Hormonal Imbalances (His & Hers)
  5. Supporting your partner through different Ailments, Illnesses and Conditions

Truth be told, in the 7 years, while we passed certain subjects with flying colours, we had to retake certain classes that we didn’t do too well. After we reviewed our results together, we have decided to plan our graduation ceremony. It is going to be a 3-part celebration:

  1. Civil Ceremony in UK (end of July 2014)
  2. Beach Ceremony at Koh Samui (beginning of August 2014)
  3. Post-Graduation Dinner Party at Hong Kong (TBC)

I have to admit, just planning, organising and arranging bits and pieces for the two ceremonies are quite hectic, and I wished we have taken a longer preparatory course on that too! But due to the short space of time, we have to work with what we have got, essentially getting extra credit for ‘How to Get Creative with Limited Resources’ (Finance 328 & Time Management 333).

All in all, we are truly excited about the two ceremonies and can’t wait to graduate. With Jason’s permission, I will share some (appropriate) pictures of the ceremonies with you at a later date. Meanwhile, I think it’s best to return to more planning and reviewing the check list.

Wishing you a very lovely Thursday, and if I don’t get to speak with you before the weekend, have a lovely and relaxing one!

Love,
Cynth xox

p.s. It is still early days, but we have been discussing (for quite some time) whether or not to embark on our MA in Relationship, and if so, when we should do it, perhaps you would like to give us some advice on this further education? Anyway, I shall expand on that another time.

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I’ve got a wheel!!!

A very relaxing and fruitful wheel-shopping at Clevedon.

A very relaxing and fruitful wheel-shopping at Clevedon.

After much consideration and choosing, I have finally decided on the wheel to have – an Ashford Kiwi 2, purchased yesterday at Spinning Weal in Clevedon.

I cannot begin to thank
– my friend Sarah for first teaching me how to spin, making me realise the characteristics of different wheels, then pointing me in Spinning Weal’s direction;
– my friend V who was very helpful in giving me pointers on what sort of wheel to look for and where to find beautiful and manageable tops and fleece;
– Sarah at the shop who was very knowledgeable about a wide range of wheels, giving impartial advice, allowing me to test the Kiwi that she teaches with and even giving me a quick refresher tutorial on how to spin;
– my sweet other half J for helping me in finalising my purchasing decision.
(this is beginning to sound a lot like Oscar Award acceptance speech, isn’t it? :P)

Sarah was very nice and threw in 3 wonderful boxes of delicious fleece to start me off with.

Sarah was very nice and threw in 3 wonderful boxes of delicious fleece to start me off with.

It was lovely that as soon as I bought the wheel, J was as excited about decorating, painting and treating my wheel as I was! We used Dark Jacobeans wood dye for the wheel, coffee mixture to stain the Kiwi and edges of the treadles, and treated the wood and MDF with linseed oil into the small hours. I am a very lucky girl to have such a loving partner who assembled the wheel for me.

As soon as it was all done, he requested a quick demonstration. Although it took me a lil while to get used to drafting and tension again, as shown below in the ‘wire-like’ yarn, I think I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of it.

The wood dye and linseed oil are still lingering in the air; I can assure you that they give off pretty strong fumes, but I am over the moon with the results.

 

 

One very fantastically engineered wheel, nicely assembled and customised by me and J.

One very fantastically engineered wheel, nicely assembled and customised by me and J.

A coffee kiwi

A coffee kiwi

It's all about the drafting and tension ... More practice is needed.

It’s all about the drafting and tension … More practice is needed.

Birthday presents 2014

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For the past few birthdays and Christmases, J has given me lovely tools of the art I love most – fibre art; and, it’s no different this year. I got my beautiful presents in the post this morning –  a Turkish spindle and a niddy-noddy – both of which I’ve longed for sometime. Thank you, honey!! xx

Let the spinning begin!

Learning

“When you stop learning, you stop living in any vital and meaningful sense” – Eleanor Roosevelt 

I have always enjoyed learning new things since I was a small child. It was always fun to learn about new culture, new languages, and most importantly, new academic subject (ok, except physics and chemistry).

There was a period of my life when learning was made difficult, and I retrieved within. Since I would like to keep my blog positive, I’d best not dwell on it, so let’s just call it the dark age of my life and leave it at that.

Coming out the other side of it, I found it easier to learn handicraft, and that was when I rekindled my passion in knitting. It was like a long lost friend, we simply picked up where we had left off. The myriad of skills, techniques, yarns, designs and the possibilities of a combining any of the above, are all very fascinating.

In addition to knitting, I’ve also learnt crochet, spinning, and even taken up a few free online course at coursera.org. If you’ve not tried this website, I strongly recommend it to you. The courses are free and they are offered by universities around the world, taught by professors. The subjects available include philosphy, engineering, business, law, history, and many more.

For the strangest reasons, the more I’ve got planned for a day, the better I manage time. Well, it maybe an illusion, but I do my best. The day seems to flow from one activity to another, allowing me to experience different things all in one day. Sometimes I do get into a bit of a flap, but my darling fiancé, who is also my rock, would remind me to slow down and put things into perspective. It really is a blessing that I have someone I can trust and depend on, and that everything seems to work out fine in the end.

As of late, I’ve got reacquainted with iWeb whilst learning how to use a drawing programme, in the attempt to build a website for our company. For a person who’s not particularly tech-minded, I find this quite challenging at times. Nonetheless, I’ll give it my best shot and see what I can come up with.

In the space of 24 hours, there’s only that much one can do. When I manage to squeeze in as many new experience in as possible, it makes the day more interesting. This is all very exciting and I can’t wait to present to you the fruit of my learning efforts.

Knitting = yoga

Knitting is a form of yoga that I practice passionately. It slows the mind down, focuses the attention on each and every stitch, requires the appropriate hand-eye co-ordination, and above all, works best when silence is observed. I do appreciate the social side of a knitting group, where we get together and appreciate each other’s completed work, and perhaps, exchange new techniques and skills we have learnt, but I do enjoy practising this beautiful form of traditional art in solitude.

To knit, one needs a good pair of needles, scrumptious yarn and a well-written and/or well-charted pattern; this is where the fun begins. There are such a wide variety of beautiful things to choose from, and like most knitters, I may end up spending hours upon hours searching for ‘the right one’ before settling down with a project. Yes, it does somehow resemble the search for the perfect partner. The perfect ones can be quite elusive at times, but it is all worth it.

When I find the perfect match of yarn and pattern, it makes knitting both serene and exciting at the same time. Knitting becomes serene when the yarn and pattern work in harmony. I always find knitting exciting for I usually cannot wait to see how the end product looks like. The pleasure and satisfaction of completing a project are also tremendous. This is especially so when the project is to be gifted to a loved one. After all, nothing is more rewarding than to see your loved one smiles as he or she receives the gift you tenderly and lovingly made by hand.

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Some say knitting causes RSI (repetitive stress injury), neck aches and all other pains. This might be true. Like all sports and activities, when it is done in a correct manner, peppered with sufficient breaks, it reduces injury, aches and pains to a minimum. It, however, requires both discipline and mindfulness. When my mind tells me to knit another row while my body is screaming for a rest, I need to exercise a certain amount of discipline to put the needles down, rest and stretch. I have to be mindful and listen to my body for any signs of discomfort when I knit. This helps me become more in tune with my body. With the busy life that I lead, knitting has helped weave my sanity back together stitch by stitch.

Spring is here!!

I can gladly confirm that spring is here! As I woke up today, I was greeted by this glorious sunshine, clear blue sky, and a warm gentle breeze. My wonderful other half J enjoys a good bike ride when the weather is good, so he replaced the inner tubes for my bike (unfortunately, I got a puncture in the back tyre yesterday), made sure everything work well before we headed out.

We grabbed a couple of sandwiches on the way, sat down on a park bench, and soaked up some much needed sun. The park was meticulously maintained. Under a cloudless blue sky, the trees were growing strong; green green grass was neatly cut; bright yellow daffodils were in bloom – together, they painted a harmonious picture that spring has arrived.

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A boy rode his bicycle up and down the path, while his family lied leisurely on the grass. A young couple was chatting merrily on another bench. Three young men brought snacks and beer, parked themselves by the river to enjoy a nice cold beer. As we were finishing our lunch and ready to push off, I couldn’t help but felt thankful that we made time to have a little picnic in the park to welcome a gentle season of the year.

Yarn beneficiary

Colourful, colourful yarn!
What shalt I do with thou?

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Oh yes, and there’s more!!

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I have indeed become a very lucky yarn beneficiary. A dear friend was destashing in preparation for a move, and I was honoured and grateful to be on the forefront of her mind when it came to re-homing her beautiful fibre.

It is my absolute pleasure to start thinking which yarn goes well with which project!! Squeee!

Once again, a million thanks to my sweet friend V. xxx

Gratitude

It’s been a long while since I last wrote a blog. Now that I’m back to blog-writing, I think it would be nice to start afresh with a sense of gratitude.

I’m grateful that I have very loving parents who brought me up well and gave me most I needed.

I’m grateful for all the good friends and fine people that I’ve met throughout the years, especially those who have helped me tremendously when I was in need.

I’m grateful that I’ve found a significant other, who is intelligent, understanding, loving, caring, forgiving and kind. He has a big heart, and he often reminds me to act with compassion.

I’m grateful that I have three gorgeous cats. They’re playful, affectionate and independent; each with very distinct character and personality. It may sound crazy to you, but this is like prelude to parenthood: learning how to grow with something so small, learning how to trust that they can take care of themselves, but making sure that we are here when they need us.

I’m grateful that I have relatively good health. As I grow older, I’ve learnt not to hold grudges, as it’s simply not good for my general well-being. I’m still trying my hardest to have a better sleeping pattern though.

I’m grateful that I’ve understood that most things and most people are work in progress, including myself, so it’s best to be as compassionate and patient as I can.

May we all be able to greet each day, each person and each thing we encounter with gratitude, joy and love.

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