It’s all a matter of perspective

January 5, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Posted in charity knitting, Christmas, country living, faith, family, free knitting patterns, health, Holidays, knitting, relationships, weight loss | 15 Comments

[Good News! The photos that have been missing from my earlier blog posts are now back. So sorry for the delay.]

Fireflys Christmas TeddyPlease say hello to my new teddy bears … they arrived on Christmas morning. Thank you Mom and Dad, and Carol. These are two-too sweet. Another thank you to Dale … the cypress ball ornament was a dear surprise in the Gracious Parcels box you sent.

Viewpoint is an interesting thing. So often what you experience and feel and see around you is a matter of your own perspective and attitude.

Today it is just over 50 degrees, rainy and a bit foggy. For me, this is winter. In Los Angeles, this would be a very cozy winter day. If I were in Los Angeles and it was rainy, a bit foggy, and about 50 degrees on Christmas day the weather would put me very much in the mood for the holiday. It would be, for me, the equivalent of a white Christmas.

Okay, so I’m not in LA any longer. I am in upstate, western New York. Here, on this day, there should be a gathering pack of snow on the ground and the temperature should be something down below … I think well below … 30 degrees. For people who have lived here all or much of their lives, this isn’t a winter day at all.

My ignorance is bliss, and so I am having a wonderful moody winter day. I love the dark light from the heavy cloud cover and the look of the wet streets. It isn’t so cold that I have to wear several layers of clothing inside, but it is cold enough to make me think it is a fine winter day, according to my meager standards for what a winter day is.

So often we resist whatever our current circumstances are. It is either too much snow, or not enough snow, too warm, too cold, too this, or too that. We humans are quite picky, really.

Fireflys Christmas TeddyI say this: why not change your mind about whatever circumstances you are experiencing. If it seems too cold, look outside and hug yourself and say, “My what a gloriously cold, cold day. I love it!” If it is too warm for your mood, change your mind. Tell yourself it is a beautiful day. If you would rather be at home knitting than at work doing whatever it is you do … change your mind. Tell yourself you love you job (no matter the reality) and that you would not want to be anywhere other than where you are, doing just what you are doing. If someone who normally irritates you passes by and does whatever it is they do to annoy you, change your mind. Smile at that offender, consider him or her to be a good friend and companion. Tell yourself you are happy and maybe even a bit delighted to see them.

You can change your mind. I can change my mind. We can do that, the two of us.

It might seem terribly simplistic and pollyanna for me to say these things. But that’s okay. Those who choose to look at it that way will not have as pleasant of a day as those who take heed. I wish the nay-sayers well, and I smile what to them might seem an idiotic smile and say, “Hello, good day my friend.”

Who is the idiot, afterall? The person who finds and makes and defines their own happiness or the person who goes along with the unhappiness machine that trudges along and plods along in life, looking for people to pick up and give a free ride to.

After my last blog, a number of people left comments asking to know more about choices I had made a while back in living a healthier lifestyle. I do not claim to be any expert in this area whatsoever, nor do I claim to be the slimmest and most fit person around, because I certainly am not.

Thank you DaleHowever, I did manage to lose 42 pounds a few years ago and have mostly kept it off. Sometimes a few pounds return to say hello, but I am able to get them to leave again and even take a few friends with them at times. So, over the course of my next several blogs I will try to remember to share some of the successful actions that worked for me.

The first thing I think, is to just start noticing what you’re doing. By that I mean, if you have some extra pounds on you, start keeping track of what you’re eating. Everything. Make notes over the course of each day, in a little notebook or something. Don’t leave anything out. You will gain two benefits from doing this: 1) you will have a written record of what you’re eating so that you can conciously cut out certain things that most obviously lead to extra pounds, and 2) you will probably start eating less simply because you are paying attention and taking note. That alone can be a powerful thing.

As for knitting, I am currently working on three projects.

First of all, I am completeting sewing together the squares for the first Gracious Parcels blanket. That task is taking longer than I had realized it would, but the blanket is looking quite wonderful. When my family was out here, one afternoon we all participated in arranging the squares together. I spread 49 squares out on the floor and we played around with different color harmonies and disharmonies until we had a layout that everyone seemed to feel good about.

For me, sewing the pieces together is very special. As I join the squares I think of those of you who sent them my way, and this symbolic joining together of us all into one blanket, each knitter contributing her parcel(s) to the entire piece. I also think about the lady who will be receiving this blanket and the comfort it will bring her. She is a Habitat homeowner who has been through a terrible time over the past few months. A medical condition resulted in her losing her job and later, her car. I don’t know what the holidays were like for her and her family. However, within a few days she will have this warm blanket made of well wishes from people from all over the country, and at least one square from Europe. The tags and personal messages will certainly give her encouragement.

It is a good start to a very worthwhile project.

Fireflys Hand Knit Teddy Bear Scarf Pink TeddyAlso on the knitting front is a little teddy bear’s scarf I knit for my mother. She needed it for a teddy bear she sent my sister for Christmas. It is a cute little pink thing I want to share the pattern for. I used Plymouth Yarn’s Dreambaby D.K. in pink, with two size U.S. 3 dpns. I cast on nine stitches, then knit six rows in stockinette stitch, ending with a knit row.

Then I knit one more row. After that, I used a seed stitch (k1, p1, k1, p1, etc.) on each row until the entire scarf measured about 22 inches (depends on the size you need for a doll or bear). Then I made sure to be on the wrong side (purl side of the stockinette stitches) and I knit one row.

Then, I knit one more row and continued in the stockinette stitch until there were seven rows total in stockinette. Then I cast off.

The stockinette rows give the scarf a delightful little curl at the ends. It was a sweet post-Christmas project.

Lastly, my son loved the hat I knit him for Christmas and asked if I would make a scarf to match it. So, I am making him a scarf from the same yarn, using the 3×2 rib as is on the “brim” of the hat. A photo will be available of the scarf and the Gracious Parcels blanket on Monday.

I suppose I have covered quite a bit of ground today, and must end off now. I hope you have had a wonderful first week’s start to a great new year. Mine has been quiet and a little bumpier than expected, but that’s okay. I make happy.



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  1. Hi Firefly!

    You are so right why can’t we just change our minds and do the “right” thing. I’m all for it! I read your blog and thought what a simple thing to do and a good one! If we all did that what a better place it would be.

    The bears are a delight to see! The scarf is very adorable.

    I know the woman that is about to receive the blanket will feel the love that comes with it. She will be in my prayers, that’s the least I can do.

    Our weather sounds quite similar. Rainy & warmer than normal in Indy but for me it reminds me of where I grew up in rural Mississippi. It makes me think of my mom, dad and sisters and that’s a great place to be.

    Have a happy day!


  2. Hi, Happy New Year to you!

    Is it just one blanket that you are making, or will it be an ongoing project? I was a little tied up with writing, baking and general Christmas preparations until now, but I should have more free time in the next couple of months.I’m sorry if you’ve already covered this in a previous post, but I’ve had a memory like a sieve in the last few weeks, and I can’t remember!


  3. How funny…this morning it’s 50 degrees, overcast, and it sprinkled a bit. I thought to myself, “what a glorious winter day”. Ha-ha. I thought it would rain, but it looks like the clouds are breaking.

    And yes, I hear you. Every…word. 😉

    I love how you knit miniature accessories for everything. So cute!

  4. OK, so I’ve just found the post which was, admittedly, clearly signposted on the front page of your blog! Duh! Also, I’ve found a conversion chart on the interent which means that I now know that your worsted weight is what I in Britain know as Aran. I’m nearly up to speed! As soon as I hear whether you need more squares, I’ll be good to go!


  5. Love the bear scarf as I have a bear collection too. Next to the cypress ball on your tree is a knitted stocking, if you are so inclined would you please share where you found the pattern. I would love to knit some tree ornaments for next year. Love today’s blog, so true, your life and day is what you make so make the most of it, everyday is a present, make the most of the gift you have been given.

  6. firefly…words of wisdom to be sure. Each day is what you make it.

    Here in New Jersey we are having basically the same weather as you. Unseasonably warm! Today is rainy, gray and a bit foggy. Perfect for either reading, knitting or blogging.

    I look forward to Monday’s photo of the Gracious Parcels blanket. Oh my … sewing 49 “parcels” together is bound to take time! May your fingers fly over your task at hand!

    Have a great soggy day!

  7. Enjoy your winter. Some people just are not used to the difference it throws them off of the norm and as much as people say they like change, they really don’t.

    Have a fabulous day in the warmer than normal, wet day.

    I hope the blanket sewing goes well and the lady who receives it feels better knowing that she matters in the grand scheme of things.

  8. Today it was grey and foggy. And made me think of my relatives in Italy! (see my post today if you want to know why, I won’t bore you) So you can find a silver lining if you think about it!

  9. You are a good influence for me, firefly. This morning when I went to put my swim bag in its usual spot, another lady had put hers there. I at first got that little bit of ‘annoying’ in my tummy, but then I thought – ‘I don’t own that spot’ and put my bag in a new spot. It felt better than allowing the ‘annoying’ feeling to fester!
    About life changes – they are usually simple, but once started and stuck to they work. I gave up sugar about three years ago – no baking with added sugar, except for bread and then you need a bit to activate the yeast. Two years ago, I started having no second helpings of anything – that means I do not eat larger first helpings either. They have worked for me and they were simple to put in place. The sugar change was also something I needed to do, as I did not feel good when I ate sugary things and I have two brothers who are diabetics!
    Good for you on making changes – with a bit of effort, you are right, they will work.
    Thanks for helping me to see that moving my bag was not the end of the world and I lived through it!

  10. I love the thought of self-brainwashing instead of getting hung up on annoying little (or soemtimes not so little) things that you can’t change. It brings to mind that old saying about creating your own happiness.

  11. Firefly…what an inspiration you are! Each time I read your blog my day seems to be filled with an incrediable amount of warmth and graditude for the life I have been so richly blessed with.You always have a way of somehow bringing that to my attention!I wish you a wonderful new year and thank you for putting the picture of the sweet gum ornament on your blog…it really touched my heart!

  12. Happy New Year Firefly! I read your blog before going to bed and you make my heart smile. I agree with your thinking. You have a magnetizing way about you and to think of the awesome invisible force drawing us toward you. Splendid!
    Love your bears and all the pictures you share. They are soothing to my soul. What did you decide to do for the flowers on the nap blanket you made? If you make another blanket, I would like to make some squares..I need some pattern examples as I’m new at knitting and it may take me awhile to do an exact 7 inch square. All the help I can get would be appreciated. 😉 I can’t wait to see the blanket.

  13. You are just what the doctor ordered! I was feeling very bad today emotionally speaking. I see the little bear that called to me to come live with you has made some lovely new friends! You are so right! We need to make ourselves happy by trading a not good thing for a good thing. Mind you, I’m going through things I can not much control, but I think I can definitely find some humor in there somewhere if only I look. Maybe that’s why I saw your post today when I really needed it. Good thing I was off my routine yesterday! Have a wonderful weekend!

  14. Hi Firefly, just popping in to say how much I appreciate all the sharing that you do with patterns, words of encouragement and I love your bear collection. I also collect bears and love to dress them up in my latest fashions. I hope to set up my own blog someday once I learn the technology as I would love to be part of this wonderful community. Many people thought, including myself that the internet was a sign of evil but I now see that it can also be used for incredible goodness through sharing our daily lives and encouraging each other through the comments. I totally agree about finding joy in all circumstances. Fortunately for me I have many supportive friends to help me, especially my husband and children. These times have taught me to enjoy the most simple pleasures in life, simply because I choose to dwell on the positive, rather than the negative. It is simply a mental exercise which must be practised to overcome “stinking thinking” as they say in AA. Thank you once again, you are a blessing …Irene in Wpg.

  15. The snow looks so beautiful, it is lovely the way it has rested on the table and leads up onto the chair. We are starting to get warm weather for our summer, I love winter, just wished it snowed where I live.

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