Thursday, 9 February 2012

Simple pleasures

My husband is an early riser and just before he leaves for work, he wakes me with a kiss and a hot cup of coffee. This gives me fifteen minutes to drink my coffee in bed, to wake up and collect my thoughts in peace before I have to get up, get my kids up and start the daily routine. My husband's gesture and these 15 minutes are precious to me and make me so happy. I actually find myself looking forward to them before I go to bed! Neither of us remembers why he started doing this, but I certainly don't want him to stop!

People who know me know that I am a very positive person. My life has had it's ups and downs, easier than many certainly, harder than others, perhaps, but finding joy in simple things has always helped me stay positive. There is a male cardinal eating red berries in the hedge outside my window this morning. The red of the bird and the berries is striking against the snow.

Since I have joined the Internet world, I have many other simple pleasures. I have met extraordinary people and I look forward each day to logging on and finding out what is new in their lives, what thoughts or achievements they have to share.

I have recently met an extraordinary young woman named Taylor Lynn. She has a blog called Perfectly Sensible Nonsense. In the first post that I read she describes how she feels compelled to change the world, to make a difference. Do you remember that feeling at 16 or 17? The intense desire to say, "This has to stop!" ? Teenagers have an unparalleled ability to see injustice around them. They are different from adults for two reasons. They experience the sadness and frustration of injustice for the first time while we, as adults, have been aware of it for so long and, they are unfettered by adult logic. Whereas it is easier for us to  enumerate all the reasons why "nothing can be done to change the world," they believe fearlessly that they can.

With all of the social problems around her, Taylor Lynn rightly wondered where and how to start. She made a fantastic choice, helping girls and women feel beautiful without make-up, not a small task! Good for you, Taylor Lynn! You can read about it and encourage her here!

Taylor Lynn still says that she hopes to make a difference some day. I have assured her that she already has. If you have read about knit-a-square and the KasCare Foundation, you know that the smallest gesture,  not can, but does make a difference! Your response to my Knit-a-Squillion challenge has been overwhelming! I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to see us all making a difference!

Today, I want to thank four more people who have added the Knit-a-Squillion button to their blogs. Please visit their blogs. They are all lovely and inspiring!

Valerie at Everyday Inspired
Isobel at Coldham Cuddlies Calling
Taylor Lynn at Perfectly Sensible Nonsense
Melinda at Inspiration Earth who also blogged about the challenge and has crocheted some beautiful squares with her daughters, one of whom is Taylor Lynn!


I also want to thank all the wonderful people who have joined us to knit, crochet or otherwise spread the word. You are all  making a difference!

Sonya, Norway
Simone, USA
Mariette, South Wales
Sarah, Texas
Belinda, Texas
Stephanie, Georgia
Donna, California
Carolyn, New Hampshire
Shelly, Ontario
Lynne, Hawaii
Jordan, Ontario
Sharon, Florida
Karen, Colorado
Casey, California
Lisa, Tennessee
Rebecca, Ontario
Samantha, Ontario
Tiana, Illinois
Jessica, South Carolina
Candy, New York
Dayle, British Colombia
Amanda, Georgia
Elaina, USA
Sarah, Belgium
Tami, Texas
Kristal, USA
Lynette, Illinois
Julia, California
Cathy, Quebec
Sophie, Quebec
Geneviève, Quebec
Marie-Eve, Quebec

Isn't this incredible?! I think that 500 mark by June, is very do-able, don't you? There is another very, very simple way that you and your friends can help. I just received the the new KAS newsletter, KasNEWS. The KAS Facebook page has 3,016 fans they would love to reach 4,000. So please,  head over there and LIKE!

Maybe these aren't simple pleasures after all, but they certainly help brighten my day! What simple pleasures do you cherish in your day?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

All good things must come to an end!

The tenth (and last) secret of the Laidback Knitters

Connect the Dots
It really is a small world...
from local to national to the international community of knitters

I am sad that we have come to the end of this series. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the book as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. The authors chose a fabulous way to end their book. It is the "bottom line" secret, the "what it's all about secret." Connecting, belonging. Knitting (or any crafting) is a social activity. Regardless of all the things that can separate us, the shared joy of our craft binds us together. We are a true Gestalt - our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.

We have so many choices today, that I think it is harder to not belong to a knitting group than the opposite! In most places knitting groups are common, but thanks to the Internet, the possibilities are endless, Ravelry, knit-a-longs (KAL), online courses. Yarn companies and charities also have their communities and this is where I have found my place. At Knit-a-Square all the dots came together for me. A woman from Australia connected with 5000 people in 40 countries to knit for the orphans of South Africa. It is astounding. As one fellow knitter said to me yesterday, "knowing that any time of the night or day someone in the world is knitting for and thinking about these children is heart warming." I couldn't have said it better!

Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza end their book with a beautiful and poignant story that must be read not retold. If you are like me, it will bring tears to your eyes. My sincere thanks to these two women for having written such a beautiful book. It has touched me and changed me. I encourage you to read it. It will mean something different to you.  That is the incredible power of the written word!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Knit-a-squillion update

I will be doing regular updates on our part of the Knit-a-Squillion challenge  to keep us in touch and motivated. I know that together, we can make this happen!

You already read last week how generous my friends Lynette and Sonya were to blog about Knit-a-Square. I then had a new Etsy friend invite me to do a guest post on her blog. Alyssa and her sister Ashley make beautiful accessories for babies and children. Please stop by their shop Kadydid Designs and visit Alyssa's blog. She's sharing a recipe for raspberry white chocolate muffins today. I definitely have to go back and try that!

You see that I have made a button (thanks again to Sonya!) to spread the word about the challenge. You don't have to knit or crochet to add the button to your blog. Spreading the word is as important a part of the challenge as making squares is. So I want to thank those of you who have added the button to your blogs, Sonya, Alyssa and another new blogging friend, Carolyn, who has a beautiful blog on Wordpress. Thank you all so much! If you have grabbed the button, please let me know, so that I can share your blog here!

One of the things that inspires me the most about Knit-a-Square is that it is a family organization. Mother and daughter, Rhonda and Erin, live in South Africa. They were devastated by the plight of the children, but they didn't throw up their hands and say, "It's too big of a problem. We can't do anything." In 2008, they shared the horror of the situation with their family in Australia, wife and husband Sandy and Roger, daughters Kalai and Cressida and Sandy’s, mother, Zanny. Together they came up with this extraordinary idea.

In 2009, they received 54,000 squares and 4,000 knitted garments, just one year after having the idea. Today we, and I proudly say we, because however we help, we are a part of KAS, we are more than 5000 people from 40 countries in the world who knit, crochet or donate time or money to help the orphans of South Africa. No one will ever convince me that a problem is too big or that there is nothing I can do! What the McDonald family has done is extraordinary!

Kalai, Sandy and Cressida McDonald

It is natural then, since KAS was begun and is still run by a family, that a whole community has developed around the Knit-a-Square mission. If you have visited the website you have seen that in addition to all kinds of important resources, there is an ezine, The Square Circle, written by Sandy McDonald to keep us in touch by stories and photos of the children of South Africa. There is also a very active Circle Square forum filled with wonderful and friendly people that you can join.

Mary Anne is one of these lovely people that I have met in the Square Circle forum. She blogs about KAS and other crafting and has been crocheting squares for the children for some time. After she sent her last package to South Africa,  Rhonda sent her an email thank you letter. Yes, the Rhonda who is at the heart of KAS sends personal notes to everyone who writes to her! Isn't that amazing?  In Mary Anne's post that you can find here, she shares Rhonda's letter with us. Thank you, Mary Anne for letting me share it with my readers!

So, let's get going! Knit, crochet, felt, donate, spread the word! Tweet, Like on Facebook oh, and there is a group on Ravelry too.

Will you join us? Let us know !
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