CH 301: How is The 2020 Happiness Project going?

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My long lost Barrett Bear kit has arrived!

We’ve passed the halfway point in this crazy year, and it seemed like a good time to catch up with how things are going and how many things I’ve managed to cross off my 20 in 2020 Happiness Project list. There are a few things that recent events have made impossible, but plenty of other things to be happy about, and even some opportunities in the midst of upheaval. I also have a lovely bunch of winners to announce from our #knit20for2020 and Stillness MKAL giveaways!

Show Links:

Knit20for2020 June Giveaway Winners:

Ravelry Winner:

Cuppacha with post #35

Edin Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns

Hazel Knits

Instagram Winner:


Amulet Shawl

John Arbon Textiles

You can find all the details on how to enter the July Knit20for2020 giveaway on Ravelry or Instagram, you can visit this link!

Stitch Mischief


Skein Australia

Winners of the Stillness MKAL Giveaway:

Grand prize winner:
Post 314:

10 Pattern of their choice winners:

Stillness Shawl MKAL

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

Clue 2 Spoiler thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Barrett Wool Company

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish


Píosa by Renée Callahan

House Quilt Block Tutorial


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 301. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty good week. It’s been a little bit up and down and I feel like a few weeks ago, or maybe it’s a couple of months ago, now, I said on the show that I was a little bit fed up with my family. And this week, I feel like I’ve just been fed up with myself, maybe for a couple of weeks. I’ve just felt fed up with not maybe doing the habits I wanted to do and not being able to get my act together, having no focus and just feeling a bit frustrated and fed up with everything. A bit lonely, a bit bored. But in the last day or so, I feel like I’ve sort of regrouped a little bit and I might talk a little bit about that in the main part of the episode.

We’ve been very much enjoying new puppy and she’s settling in really, really well. Little Cindy, she’s a cavoodle. I had quite a lot of questions about what breed she was when I posted a photo, which means that she’s a cavalier spaniel and poodle cross. So that means that she’s hopefully low for allergies and she’s going to be quite small. But she’s sleeping really well at night, which has been pretty amazing. We’re putting her in a crate and that’s in my office, which is sort of a little bit apart from our bedrooms. So I’ve been putting her in there at night and then putting ear plugs in, and she has been going pretty well. I think the last few nights she hasn’t been crying when I’ve left her, so that’s amazing. And she’s been managing to get through to the morning without any accidents as well. So, super happy about that. Fingers crossed that continues and it’s not just like first week sort of miracle. And yeah, so she’s going well.

So that’s been really, really lovely, and I think it’s cheered us all up quite a bit in the family. It’s also caused a little bit of lack of sleep because Sophie and I are getting up quite early to get her out of the crate. So we’ve been having some early mornings and we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine where we take it in turns. So, that’s going pretty well.

So it’s a new month and that means that we have some Knitalong winners to announce. So I will do that first. And we have the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge winners. The first one is for the Ravelry thread and the winner is number 35, who is Cuppacha, Carol. And she lives on Whitby Island in Washington State and she entered with a Edin cardie. A beautiful cardigan. And as I was scrolling through the thread, I noticed that she also had two other entries, a pair of socks and a beautiful shawl. So congratulations, Carol, Cuppacha on Ravelry, and she’s nominated hazelknits for her prize of a $50 gift voucher. And so Carol, if you can contact me either on Ravelry to HellsBells or, and just let me know your email address so I can organize the gift voucher.

And on Instagram we have aviatrix1979, who is Charlotte. She’s based in the UK. She knit a beautiful amulet shawl, which was from the first season of The Shawl Society in John Arbon Textiles. So again, Charlotte, if you could contact me either Instagram or one of the previous methods that I suggested, and just let us know your email address and I can send you your gift voucher.

So thank you to everybody who is participating in Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. I noticed that I had about 80 projects on the Ravelry thread, which was amazing, and I didn’t have so many projects tagged in Instagram. So if you’re working on the 20 in 2020 challenge, you can tag your projects in Instagram and nominate a indie dyer or LYS that you’d like to win a $50 voucher from, and I will draw prizes at the end of each month, beginning of the next month.

I’ve been really slack about organizing the prizes, but I am on it. I will get there eventually. So please be patient with me, but know that I will get there and sorry about that. But yes, I will be better. The second half of the year, I’m turning over a new leaf with my admin and emails.

We also had a really fun giveaway for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl. In the lead up to the first clue coming out, people could post their inspiration for their colors for the shawl or post their favorite still life painting or other still life scene from in real life. And the prize is a beautiful skein of Skein Australia Yarn that I used in this sample, one of the colors that I used in the sample, a Laine knitting diary, as well as a beautiful project bag from Stitch Mischief.

And so the winner of the grand prize is Deesuhr. That’s spelled D-E-E-S-U-H-R. She doesn’t have any details in Ravelry profile about name or location, so I think maybe her name is Dee. Anyway, if you can contact me, send me a Ravelry message at HellsBells or contact on email, and I’ll organize to get that prize sent to you.

We were also offering 10 winners a pattern of their choice from my pattern library. And so the winners are Lynhart, Fynbo31, Knit4Keeps, Quilt and Yarn, gypsycraft, Andystitch, Konkyliedesign, emmoswmr, ceglaw, and NellyJake. We’ve posted the winners also on Ravelry in the thread. So if all those people who’ve won a pattern of their choice could message on Ravelry to HellsBells, and we will arrange for those patterns to be gifted to you.

So, thanks so much for joining in with the competition and all the Knitalongs and everything that’s happening. I always enjoy seeing your entries and comments. It’s always very inspiring and just nice to feel part of the community. So for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl, clue two was released yesterday and I am loving seeing you’re spoiler pictures on Instagram and Ravelry. Thank you so, so much for everybody posting their photos behind the spoiler image, or as a second image on Instagram and in the spoiler thread. It really is lovely for people who aren’t quite up to your pace to not have the surprise spoiled if they’re really keen for that. And so, yes, I appreciate that.

But I also appreciate seeing all your photos of your progress. And I am loving the color combinations. As I said when people were choosing yarn that I really didn’t think you could go wrong, and I was kind of crossing my fingers that that was the case for everyone. And I really feel like I haven’t seen a single color combination that I thought wouldn’t work. I think they’re all working beautifully, and I’m so excited to see that and just getting so much joy from the beautiful colors that people are using. So excited about that and thanks for everybody joining in. I mean, if you still wanted to join in, I don’t think it’s too late to catch up. The second clue has just been released, so if you felt like joining in, perhaps you’ve had a peak at the sneak peeks and like the look of how it’s coming out, then I think you can jump in at any time.

There’s not really any obligation to keep up. I think a lot of people seem to be though, so that’s good. I try to pace it so that people can keep up if they want to. I want to make it achievable. So I hope everyone joining in is having a really fun time with it.

Speaking of Knitalongs, we have the July thread for Knit 20 for 2020 now open. So you can either post on Ravelry or on Instagram using the hashtag #Knit20for2020. And so if you’re knitting anything on the challenge list of prompts, you can post if you finish it in the month of July.

And I’m so excited because I ordered a kit from Barrett Wool Co. which is Susan B. Anderson’s yarn company, and I always thought if I was ever going to make a toy, it would be one of her patterns. They’re just so, so, so cute. And so I ordered a little bear kit and the bear is a polar bear. It has a gorgeous red cardie with heart-shaped buttons, and it’s just pretty adorable. And I ordered that back in April and then obviously mail went a bit pear-shaped. And I think in Australia, I’m not sure when this happened, but I think it was after I ordered the kit, but they stopped doing air freight. So I think any mail going or coming is going by boat. That might be just true of parcels, rather than letters. I’m not sure what really what’s happening, but anyway.

I had kind of almost given up on this kit. I was thinking, okay, it’s just coming by boat. It’s just taking a long time, but I was a little bit worried that it had got lost. And it arrived yesterday. So I was super happy about that. And so now I can work on my toy prompt for the challenge. I’m not sure when I’m going to start that. I have a few projects on the go already, a few sort of personal, non-work projects, including the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish and the Píosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits. And I think a few other deep whip things as well, some socks and so on. So I would like to finish at least one or two of those things before I start on the toy, but I’m just so happy that the kit arrived and it’s gorgeous. It’s so cute. The packaging is beautiful and I can’t wait to knit that.

So, as I mentioned in the introduction, I had a little bit of a revisit of goals and reassessment of my mood and what’s going on this week. So I took the opportunity of it being halfway through the year and in Australia, it’s a new financial year here. So the tax year ends at the end of June. So that was a little bit of a time to catch up on a bit of admin and clear the decks. I’ve decluttered and cleaned my desk so that I have a nice fresh space to work.

And actually it was my birthday on the weekend, last weekend. And the girls gave me some lovely gifts. I had suggested that they go to a particular shop that sells… I like face cream, organic face cream and things like that, and was hoping for some moisturizer. And instead I unwrapped some crystals, a water bottle that has crystals at the bottom, and a diffuser that diffuses essential oils. So that was quite funny and quite adorable. And so that really prompted me to clean and refresh and declutter my office a little bit. So now I have some healing crystals and some beautiful essential oils. Oh, they gave me a candle as well with crystals in it. It was like really crystal, crystal-tastic. So that was really sweet and was also a really nice prompt to do a bit of tidying up.

So I’m feeling a lot calmer. I don’t know if it’s the crystals or just having a desk that I can see, but either way it’s good. And I decided to have a look at my happiness project, my 20 in 2020 happiness project. And this kind of gave me the inspiration for the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And it’s an idea from the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Croft that I listen to somewhat regularly, not all the time, but every now and then I’ll dip into it. And they have this happiness project where you make a list of things to do for the year that will make you happy.

So I’ve pulled out my list and as I suspected, at least four of the things have been sort of kiboshed by the lockdown. We were actually meant to be in the UK right now and going to my friend Amanda’s wedding on the weekend in Ireland, which has been postponed for a year. So maybe next summer we’ll be doing that. But in the meantime, I’ll have to find something else for that item. And also when I wrote this list, there was going to be a trip to Shetland, which I was not 100% sure about anyway, but in any case that was canceled as well. And I also had a relaxing holiday. So I want to just lie on a beach somewhere in hot sun, and I had Bali Villa question marked for that. So also not happening.

And then there was also catching up with my friend who’s in New South Wales, which is the adjoining state to where I am in Queensland. And our border has been closed since the lockdown, but very excitingly, the Queensland premier has just announced that the borders will open on the 10th of July for Queensland. So we’ll be able to go interstate again, which is very exciting. And I’ll be able to see my friend, my best friend.

So I had a few things that I’ll need to basically postpone to next year or cancel or rejig. Some things are happening and some things I have achieved. Most of the things on the list are things that are in progress or I haven’t started yet. So I had create and tend a house plant family. So I have some pot plants that I have been managing to keep alive, so I’m on track with that. I don’t know if I have to keep them alive till the end of the year to be able to take that off, but I’m pretty pleased. The maidenhair ferns are going particularly well. Some plants have not survived, but I have about six or seven that are doing pretty well.

I have my 40th birthday quilt that’s in progress. That is the little houses quilt that I’ve been talking on the podcast a little bit about. And I pretty much have that almost cut out now. I have enough pieces to start sewing up the blocks, and I’m gradually inching towards starting sewing that up, piecing the blocks together. So that’s happening. And I feel like I will have at least the top piece together by the end of the year. Knowing my progress, I probably won’t have it finished, but I feel like if I can get the top pieced by the end of the year, that will be fantastic.

I have my gray hair (don’t care) full transition, which is on track. I have been growing out my color for, I don’t really know exact date I started because I kind of started and then went backwards with bleaching it blonde for a while to try and make the transition easier. But that put me back about six months, I think. So I’m not really sure exactly when I started. I guess I should count it from that time. So probably just over a year, I guess. So, that’s not too bad. It feels like it’s been taking forever. I think I’ve really been trying to start it for more like, oh, I don’t know. I’m a bit confused. Maybe two years, I don’t know. A year and a half, let’s say.

Oh dear. Yeah, so I have a couple of inches left. I’ve cut it quite short. I haven’t really been posting photos of myself for a while because I’m a bit fed up with the transitional step, but that’s happening and it’s on track. Every time I go for haircut, I’m so tempted to say, “Just cut off any color,” but that would make it really quite short. So I haven’t had the guts to do that yet, but I’m kind of thinking maybe next time I might say that. I might just say, “Get rid of any color and just do what you need to do to, to do that.”

Oh yeah. Another thing that I got sidetracked from with the lockdown was joining a music group, an orchestra or a band for the flute. But that is starting up again here now, so I might be able to get into that before the end of the year. So I think a step before that will be for me to find a flute teacher. I’ve been trying to find a teacher since we got back here, but I haven’t really managed to find someone. I did go to a couple of lessons with a couple of different teachers and they were okay, but they were high school teachers. And I just felt like they weren’t really in the groove of teaching adults.

So I’m going to persevere with that and try one more teacher. And I think if that doesn’t work, I might contact my teacher in London and see if she’d be willing to teach me via Zoom, because we were getting on very well. And perhaps with the lockdown, she might have gone more into teaching online. I don’t know, but that’s maybe a possibility, although the time zone between Australia and London is terrible and it seems a little bit ridiculous to me, but I guess I just have to accept my circumstances. And also that online learning to me is actually pretty convenient now because I have more options with time slots if I do that, although the problem with trying to coordinate with London means that those time slots are actually quite limited.

So anyway, we’ll see. Something I’m working on and something that if I can sort out, it will make me very, very happy, because I was going great with learning, taking up the flute again, after 20 years of not playing. It was something I really, really loved. And then I found a wonderful teacher in London and made really, really great progress. And I was so happy because I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pick it up again. And so I was so thrilled that I could. And now, since I’ve been back in Australia, it’s just all being dropped again. So I think I’ll make that a priority as something that gives me a lot of joy to try and work out for the last half of this year.

Sorry. That was a bit of a ramble, but I’m kind of thinking out loud as I’m chatting with you. So thank you for listening. What am I like? Anyway, I’ve got a whole list of things that would make me happy, but I think that would make me really, really happy. So I’m going to focus on that.

So I would love to know if you have a 20 in 20 happiness project happening and let me know how many things you’ve been having to re jiggle this year. It’s been such a crazy year. Oh my goodness. I still can’t get my head around it. And I just hope that people are going okay. I listened to a lovely podcast when I was out on my walk yesterday and it was kind of a productivity podcast. And the guy was talking about just trying to see the opportunity in the situation we’re in.

He gave a really lovely example that I will try and take on board, which is he was home, he has a little kid, and the kids are home from school and he’s trying to work. And his kid came up to him and said, “Can I help you with something?” And he was about to say, “Oh no, no, I’ve nearly finished now. It’s fine.” And then he thought to himself, no, actually this is an opportunity to connect with my son and teach him. So he decided from that moment to take his son on as an apprentice and just take the opportunity to teach him stuff that he knows. He didn’t really go into details, but I thought how wonderful is that idea of just reframing kids home from school? Not an easy situation and reframing it to taking his little son under his wing and teaching him stuff. And I’ve been thinking about that with the girls, trying to teach some cooking skills and cleaning skills and craft skills and trying to do that. So I thought I really like that idea of an apprenticeship. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s my little chatty ramble for the week and I’m going to wrap it up there.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.


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