I've Knitted My First Pair of Socks

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Like 'em? ;)

This project took me a few months (!) from start to finish. So much longer than I've anticipated. But that's how it is when you're learning something new. 
  • You have to go through each step several times (at least) before you can memorize it by yourself. 
  • You have to wait for someone to show you the next step (or get lost in the Google's rabbit hole). 
  • You make 14215125 mistakes. You rip and re-knit 99 times. 
  • Life happens and you don't have time for silly things like knitting, so it gets sidetracked for a week or two. 
  • You procrastinate when you have to figure out something new, cause you don't feel like "thinking" that day. And another. And...
  • You finally finish it. Then you spend a week tweaking the stitches to make it look perfect. Then you realize that you CAN'T make it perfect.

But you know what? I wouldn't trade all those hours of making mistakes learning for anything. I enjoyed the process immensely. It relaxed me. It was my meditation, my stress-reliever, my medication. I've learned to be patient (knitters must be the most patient people on Earth!). I've learned to let go of perfectionism. And most importantly, I've learned to make socks. ;)

So this is my first pair, but I actually made my first sock last year. One sock unfortunately isn't enough to memorize the process and remember how to do it after several months. But while completing my 4th sock, I can proudly say that I finally know how to knit socks without needing a reference. Well, almost. :) And it gets so much faster with every new sock! I'm curious how much time it's gonna take me after a few pairs. 

This is Mr. Socks. My first sock. He brings candy to good children. I had one when I was a kid (made by my crafty grandmother) and I wanted to continue the tradition. 

He brought Slovenian chocolate today! <3

Brunette from the Sixties [Last Minute Carnival Costume]

Monday, March 24, 2014

Traditional Slovenian carnival costume: laufar (runner) from Cerkno. Source
Americans have Halloween, we have the carnival. It marks the last time we can gorge ourselves with donuts before Easter. 
Yummy doughnuts filled with jelly. I like them much better than the American variety. Source
I like to dress up, but I always forget to make a costume - oh the perks of being a serious adult. This year was no different, but I somehow decided to come up with something the night before. I rushed to the shop in hope of finding some masquerade props, but I didn't have much luck, everything was sold out. However, I've found something curious in the hair accessories department - faux bangs! I couldn't help wondering who would dare to wear those on a regular day, but they were perfect for dressing up.

Inspiration: The brunette from Blow-Up (1966), one of my favorite movies. Source
A quick Google and wardrobe search later and I've become a girl from the sixties - the simplest costume ever. 

Ice-Aged Slovenia (with awesome photos by Iztok Medja)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

All photographs in this post are taken by Iztok Medja. You can see other breathtaking photos from this frightful event in its intended beauty on his own blog

It will be a month since Slovenia had been struck by a winter storm, heavy with icy snow, and many Slovenians are still dealing with the consequences, although spring flowers are already in full bloom. I have a spooky feeling whenever I go for a run in the woods, which are so damaged that you could almost see through them. I still can't completely shake off the premonition that a branch of a tree or an electric cable is going to fall on my head - but it sure helps to pump up the adrenaline. :)

Frozen everything
During and after the weeklong storm, numerous Slovenian cities didn't have electricity. My village had been without it for four days, which is pretty hard to imagine in the 21st century. My family was lucky enough to crash at friends who received electricity for at least several hours a day. It would be a catastrophe otherwise because we run EVERYTHING on electricity, even heating!

There is not much left of the trees (but lots of "free" wood for gipsies :))
When the storm began, my boyfriend was staying at his family's holiday house and he couldn't get away for a few days, because there was so much snow he literally got trapped. He sure had a lot of time to meditate. :) And I think that it was quite a meditative experience for many of us, because we where forced to slow down and unplug.

We miraculously found time to nurture relationships or deeply emerge into our own thoughts
Was winter so fierce in your country/state too?

2013 Recap (Melancholic but Optimistic!)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Whoa. Last year was a hard one. As much as I wanted to take my blog to the next level toward the end of the year, I failed at posting even occasionally. I guess I'm not too good at upbeat writing when I don't feel that way, so I prefer to stay silent. However, new year brings new beginning, right? I wish to turn my blog to a little different direction this year. More "lifestylish". It will be still handmade oriented, but not only in a crafty sense as it was intended at the beginning. You can bring handmade-loving mindset to all areas of your life, from dealing with stressful emotions to cooking from scratch. It really is a specific way of living your day-to-day life.

But first, I wish to conclude last year in a brief summary.

Struggles - because I'm only a human being 
  • dealing with deaths of two very dear people
  • unintentionally taking upon a role of a mother (although I don't have my own kids)
  • hospitalized to treat depression and adjustment disorder
  • fear of strangers and open spaces after being sexually assaulted
  • unemployment 
  • quitting university because of  major problems with concentration
  • constant moving between three different residencies
  • weak physical health
  • enormous acne outbreaks
  • dealing with a close person's alcoholism
Because of all the struggles, it was hard for me to cope with everyday life and I couldn't even imagine working on things that need a bit more effort - like completing my degree or starting a small business. 
On the other hand, the struggles of the last year made me stronger. Although I wasn't productive in the sense of obvious results, I didn't spend my time idly.

Cool stuff - because I try to learn from my experiences
  • overcame deep depression
  • reduced psychiatric medication
  • overcame social phobia and made new friends
  • found a boyfriend who respects me and loves me the way I am
  • made a huge progress in personal growth (but still so much to do!)
  • adopted two kittens
  • ran my first 8k
  • almost cleared my acne by implementing a healthy whole-food diet
  • learned new housekeeping skills (through a lot of trial and error)
  • learned new cooking techniques and started to enjoy preparing food for the first time in my life
  • learned to knit the continental way (and completed my first sock :D)
If your year was full of struggles like mine was, don't give up! When you look back, I'm sure you can find a lot of good stuff too! Even if it was a hard one, you are smarter and stronger now. I hope you are proud of yourself! I know I am after finishing this post. :D

I wish us a better 2014. Less stress and more peace. And lots of "me" time! ;)

Vegan Mom-to-Be: What to Know When You're Expecting

Monday, December 2, 2013

As a herbivore I've been wondering what to do with my plant-based diet if I decide to have kids. You may remember that I used to be against starting a family of my own, but now that I've met the "right" guy, I've changed my mind! But this is another story... I often get weird looks because I avoid animal products and I'm afraid to even think about doing all the explaining when getting pregnant. Not to mention all the research I'd have to do. So overwhelming!

I have a great guest post for you today. It concisely answers the most common questions about pregnancy on a vegan diet and it's a useful guide for a herbie mommie. I'd strongly suggest to read it even if you're not vegan - it will give you a better understanding of this strange veganism if you're concerned about your pregnant friend's diet. The world would be a better place if we wouldn't judge others' dietary decisions because we have a different opinion about nutrition. ;)

Vegan Mom-to-Be: What to Know When You're Expecting

I’m a vegan. My family and friends all think I’m nuts, of course. Most of the people I spend time with are a little more. . . traditional, I guess, than I am. While it’s usually not a problem, they often don’t understand my diet choice. After all, I would have to be crazy to live without meat and cheese, right?

But, for the most part, though they don’t understand it, they’ve always supported me. When I’m invited to family events, someone is always careful to point out the foods I can eat and the ones I should avoid. And when we go to restaurants as a family, everyone is careful to choose spots that have options I can eat. They love me, so they support me.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay
And then I got pregnant. Ohhh my. Almost invariably, whenever I broke the news to some well-meaning relative, one of the first things out of their mouths (after the “oh-my-gosh-that’s-so-wonderful”) was, “oh, well, I guess now you’ll have to give up that vegan-thing”. I think secretly they were relieved.

But, I was prepared for the arguments. I’d done my research. Many, many vegan women have strong, healthy pregnancies and strong, healthy babies. You have to be very careful, of course, to make sure that you’re getting all the right nutrients, but it can be done. And first and foremost, have a conversation—or even several—with your doctor and maybe a dietician, to make sure that you know exactly what you need to watch out for.

Here are the things I’ve learned that I need to keep a close eye on:

Vitamin B-12

Since B-12 is found pretty much exclusively in animal products, you’ll need to get it from a supplement or fortified foods. It’s possible that your prenatal vitamins will have sufficient B-12, but not certain, so ask your doctor if he/she thinks you should take additional supplements, or if it would be sufficient to simply add B12-fortified soy milk or cereals.

General Mills and a host of other brands offer a surprising amount of vegan-friendly cereals that are high in B-12, such as Fiber One, Corn Chex and, my personal favorite, Kix. I have to admit, during the early stages of my pregnancy, soy milk just wasn’t appealing at all, so there were plenty of times when I at my cereal dry, but the nausea wore off after awhile (which I was grateful for).


This is especially important during early pregnancy. Folate can be found in dried beans, some vegetables (especially green, leafy ones) and in orange juice. Since many of these items are common in a vegan diet, you may be getting plenty of this, but you may want to consider adding supplements or consuming more folate-fortified foods.


This is the thing my friends and family seem to be most worried about. Will I have enough protein to keep me and my baby healthy? The reality, however, is that protein is relatively easy to get from vegan sources. Legumes, like lentils, tofu, soy, chickpeas and kidney beans, are all rich in protein. As are whole grains, such as wild or brown rice, whole wheat, barley, Quinoa and couscous.


Calcium is the other nutrient my family is sure my unborn child would be deficient in. So I reassure them, to the best of my abilities, that I can find calcium in some vegetables, such as kale, broccoli or collard greens. Calcium can also be found in soybeans, adzuki beans and navy beans. Blackberries, oranges, black currants and figs also contain calcium.

Iron and vitamin C

Iron is actually an easy one to come by from non-animal sources as well. The trick here, is to also make sure that you’re adding more vitamin C to your diet, in order to make it easier for your body to absorb the iron.

Vitamin C, of course, can be found in oranges, kiwi, red and green bell peppers and tomatoes. Iron is readily available in dried fruits, collard greens, legumes and Jerusalem artichokes. Since iron is one of those nutrients that women are often deficient in, even before pregnancy, you may need to also add an iron supplement to your diet.

I’m a big tea lover myself, but after learning that teas with high levels of tannins (such as black tea) can tip the scales and cause iron deficiency, I had to reduce my intake, or at least add lemon to it to reduce the negative effects.

I enjoy my vegan lifestyle. It makes me feel good and does my body well, and mostly without the need of supplements. These are only some of the nutrients you may need to keep a careful watch on, but with the help of your doctor or dietician and a little extra awareness yourself, it’s entirely possible to have a wonderful, safe pregnancy and still maintain your vegan lifestyle.

Virginia Cunningham is a health writer, fitness enthusiast and mother of three. Her writing allows her to share her personal experiences and tips about all things health, including personal wellness, holistic medicine, exercise and more.

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