Amanda is a Hamilton, ON based watercolour painter, sewing instructor, knitter, mother, and generally crafty person!

Please feel free to look around and hopefully be inspired in your own making!

2014: A Year in Review

2014: A Year in Review

2014 was a tumultuous year for me (and, I think Jay, too). I started the year as a newly engaged person, full steam ahead on planning our wedding in May and sewing my wedding dress and having bridal showers and practicing braiding my hair. Looking back on that period now, I am mostly glad it's over because wedding planning is quite stressful and everything was a massive collection of to-do lists and thank you card lists and weekends spent on errands to tent companies. 

Then... the wedding! Definitely the best day of my entire year. I just felt so in love and so full of possibilities. So grateful for all the people who came, who we love so much. So much dancing and excellent food! (The shot above we were taking with the two of us through a window in our neighbours hedge... Finn spotted us on the other side and freaked out trying to get to us... he is so cute!)

A month later I found out I was pregnant and was so excited and terrified and excited! Most of that quickly dissolved into exhaustion and the haze of morning sickness in which I spent the rest of my summer. One thing I do regret about this year is those lost summer months. I had planned to spend them in a perfect honeymoon glow with Jay, and instead he basically ended up doing everything for me while I slept 18 hours a day and felt terrible all the time. 

Things picked up finally in the fall and I got (some of) my energy back. Enough to feel excited about the baby again and reply to emails or see people, at least! Since then I have been growing the baby (I am 30 weeks pregnant this week!), painting, teaching at Needlework, and now we are working on putting together a nursery for our baby! 

I think that the end of the year is a good time to review what you are grateful for in the past year and what you would like to change or work on for the upcoming year. 

I'm grateful for Jay. He is an amazing husband and will be an excellent father. I am also grateful for our family (Finn, the kitties, and the baby!). I did feel like this year started out well with me putting lots of time and care into my relationships with Jay and our animals, but since being pregnant things have slipped a bit. In the new year I intend to focus more on doing my share of work with our animals and putting more time into taking an equal share of the work in keeping our relationship strong. I know that won't always be easy, seeing as I am likely to become even less mobile and more achy and irritable in the next few months (and then a sleep deprived and crazy new mother). I just know that I have enough love and attention for our whole family, and I want to be sure that everyone knows and feels that!

I'm grateful for this baby. Last week there was a scary couple days where we weren't sure if I was in preterm labour (and it looked for a short time like I might end up in the hospital over Christmas). There is nothing like some perspective to bring your priorities into order. I may be pretty uncomfortable most of the time these days, but I want nothing more than for this baby to stay inside and keep growing and be healthy until the time is truly ready for her to come out. Everything looks fine now, so I am just focusing on her little wriggles and punches, her heartbeat, and how happy I am that she is safe and growing! In the new year, I think I would like to work more on complaining less and being more grateful for what I have. I really don't want to be a whiny brat about pregnancy. I want to be gracious and happy and excited, instead, because that sounds way more fun! 

I am also really grateful for my extended family (that now includes Jay's family, too!). My mom and sister were my rocks this year, planning the wedding, helping with my morning sickness, and reading so many in depth emails about the development of this baby and how I am feeling. I have also felt closer than ever to Jay's family. I am so lucky that they are all so great and comfortable to be around and supportive! I feel like our relationships are bound to change and grow even more in the coming year, once the baby comes. I want to be as helpful to my sister while she plans her wedding as she was in helping with mine. I can't wait to see all the new grandparents fall in love with our baby!

I'm grateful for Needlework. I don't talk much on this blog about the fact that I teach sewing classes and work once a week in the shop, but Liz and Kate have been the most understanding employers (and friends!) during such a crazy year. They have welcomed me into a whole new circle of Hamilton friends, listened to all my wacky stories, entertained me, and given me hugs when I needed them most. The store itself is my happy place, and working there (although I try to work really hard all the time because they are a small business) hardly feels like working most days. I have also loved getting to know so many customers (who are also now friends!) and chatting to people who come into the store and showing so many people how to make things with their hands. Teaching the intro sewing class there just makes me feel so good, as students finish their pillows and are so proud and beaming that they made something! It's my favourite! 

I'm grateful for painting. This year has been a bit of an artistic struggle. I started out strong and then definitely faltered during the whole early part of pregnancy. I was too tired to paint, or even to tidy my studio. Lately I have been painting more and I've felt a rush of love for it again. I want to keep painting! I know that making painting goals with a new baby coming might be too much, but I do hope to find time and inspiration in 2015 to keep doing what I love. 

I'm grateful for my car (Camilla Caliber). This one is hard to admit, since I still feel a lot of tension about driving in general and am definitely still not a confident driver. I still get lots of anxiety while driving, and feel scared to drive new places. This year I have really focused on trying to push myself to keep driving new places and push my own boundaries. It's the little things like trying a new route home that probably seem so insignificant to other people but so huge to me. I'm glad to have a car and the independence it gives me. Hopefully this year I will be brave enough to take the highway. Ha!

So that's 2014! It's been a whirlwind, but in the best way. 2015 feels like this huge mystery to me, largely because I haven't had a baby or been a mother before, and although I am reading everything I can about what life will be like, it's still impossible to predict what it will be like for our family specifically! Thank you to everyone who kept up with this blog this year and offered your input or wisdom or support... I still love this blog, even though it changes like the wind and has no real purpose or cohesive theme. 

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