Now that the puppy is getting older, more mature and more laid back, I feel like I have a lot more time, or energy, – somehow more than I had before – to explore my creativity. I’ve been setting goals for myself lately to not just use this extra energy to explore and practice my photography hobby, but to also have more fun with it. Sometimes the more structured and planned out photo sessions, like this one, can be really stressful. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and get the right shots before the sun goes down, I get too cold, I get too frustrated and lose confidence in myself, etc., and it can really take the fun out of it.
I’ve caught myself saying the title of this post to myself and those around me nearly every time I pull my camera out. I’m encouraging myself to take it slow, take a chance, and not worry about getting something worth sharing with anyone. Just doing it for me. Strangely, I feel like this push to be creative, more than striving to be good, is inspiring me to grow as an artist, even after a lifetime of exploring this hobby.
Coat Old Navy
Button Sparkle Collective
Photos by me and Matt Harrison.
I would never have picked this coat for myself. I purchased it as one of ModCloth’s Stylish Surpirses a year or two ago – so I didn’t know what I was buying until it arrived at my door. If I remember correctly, it was offered as a surprise from the outerwear category. I figured, no matter what I get, $15 is an amazing price for outerwear; and hey, I might get lucky and get a warm winter coat.
When the package came, I was excited by the weight of the box – it had to be a coat or boots. When I opened it, however, I was crushed. I hated it. The towel-y texture of the coat, the obnoxious gold buttons and the tacky faux fur trim just weren’t my thing. Figuring, by the look and feel of it, the coat had to, at least, be warm, I tried it on. My mind was immediately changed. Putting this coat on felt like stepping out of a warm bath and into a heated bathrobe. I coyly approached the mirror to see how it looked. I looked like an aging Hollywood star from the golden age, now playing the villain instead of ingenue. I felt like Bette Davis. I loved it!
This is now one of my favourite coats. It’s so warm and cozy that I can only wear it on really cold and stormy days like this. I was actually disappointed during this past mild winter because I had to wear my lighter and less glamorous winter coat nearly everyday.
Sunglasses The Bay
Earrings Designs by Amber
Portraits by Matt Harrison, other photo by me.
I went thrift shopping for second hand sweaters recently and was somewhat shocked to see just how poorly people were taking care of their knits. Many sweaters, no more than decade old, were falling apart while those made of similar materials from 20 and 30 years ago were holding up just fine. I had to turn down several cute sweaters that had clearly been washed and even dried (gasp) with the regular laundry and then hung up in the closet. These sweaters with pilled, stretched and distorted to within an inch of their lives. Luckily, I still found plenty of well cared for pieces to choose from.
I wasn’t always a good knit respecting person. When I was a teenager I threw my knits into the regular wash without thinking, but I always pulled them out to dry, sometimes flat, sometimes on the clothesline – though I’m sure my brother just tossed them in the dryer when he was on laundry duty. I only started folding my sweaters instead of hanging them a few months ago when I realized it was the best way to avoid stretched out sleeves and shoulder dents. Here’s what I’ve learned since coming to respect the wool, cotton and acrylic yarn of my sweaters, knee socks and knit tights.
How To Wash Knits
- Sort your knits like you would your other laundry, into at least two different washes: lights and darks. This is especially important with knits as your lighter coloured items will pick up fuzz and pill in the darker colours with age.
- Use a laundry detergent compatible with knits/delicates, I use Woolite for everything.
- Wash on a gentle or wool setting (I wash my knits with my dresses and other delicates) with a low spin so your wool doesn’t get stretched.
- Remove promptly before weird creases can set in.
- Dry flat no matter what the care label says! Never hang a knit to dry. (I use a clotheshorse drying rack with a flat top.)
How To Store Knits
- Once dry, fold up your knits and store them in a drawer or on a closet shelf with good air circulation. You can hang chalk in your closet to decrease humidity or cedar chips to help prevent moths.
Knits will take a little bit of damage every time you wash them, so try to wear them a few times before tossing them in the laundry basket. Follow these steps and your knits will look new for years!
Tights Shopper’s Drug Mart
Necklace Craft Arts Market / Sweetheart Jewelry Box
All photos by me.
I’ve had my eye on these Pretty Polly extra thick winter tights since the weather first started turning cold. I’ve picked up a few of the brand’s tights and stockings at my local drug store and they’ve all become quick favourites. The high quality and cute, yet practical, designs are everything I’ve ever wanted in tights. When I saw the entire Pretty Polly rack at my local Shopper’s Drug Mart on clearance this past weekend, I quickly grabbed the last pair of 80 denier Heatsense tights.
These tights claim to be made with special yarn that helps retain body heat in the cold, on top of being luxuriously thick. I decided to test them out on a frosty January morning. Putting them on, I could tell they were unlike other tights. The fabric is very soft and heavy and has only a little less stretch than regular tights. They were almost too warm when I was running around the house all layered up after a hot shower. Stepping outside into the soft winter sun, I barely felt the cold. It was almost like wearing thin jeans. After about 45 minutes of walking around my neighbourhood and stopping by a local park on a frosty, just below zero (Celsius) morning, only my toes were cold. My legs were cozy and comfortably warm the entire time.
When it gets colder, I will probably layer these tights with boot socks or, because they are so thick and opaque, I could probably wear merino wool liner socks underneath and no one would know. I’ve heard tell of 200 denier fleece lined tights made by Pretty Polly. If I ever come across them, I would buy them in a heartbeat!
Coat Old Navy
Tights Shoppers Drug Mart
Camera Bag Amazon
Button Sparkle Collective
I sure hope they aren’t going to stop selling these tights because they are truly amazing. It’s nice to see them in person before buying but if they do stop offering them, the tights can still be found online through the Pretty Polly website.
All photos by me.