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Need a pick me up from the winter blues? Check out this list of books and crafts items, for a fresh start!

 
 
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As we embark on a new year, I reflect on 2018, which, for me was both beautiful and transformative. I resolved last year to be a kinder person, and I learned that true kindness is a little more complicated, but ultimately more worthwhile, than I previously thought.

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Food is more complicated than we like to admit. Unlike the words we use to talk about baking and cooking, the words we use to talk about eating are often filled with guilt. I’m trying to redefine my relationship with food, and remember that we all need to feed ourselves, literally, to become the people we were meant to be.

In a summer full of promise and pain, making proved to be a valuable tool in learning how to be open to others while being unapologetically myself. Though my heart might be perpetually in pieces, I've learned how to let go of the anger I once felt, and hold on to the beauty that love brings, even when it is over. The are beginnings still to come, and endings aren't always as sad as they seem. 

 
 

Although it was scary to start, learning to sew again after many years of not doing it helped me to cultivate a love of the craft independent of the finished product. I've hit the ground running in my summer of sewing and I'm seeing that learning new skills as an adult can yield great rewards.


 
 

A long distance relationship taught me a lot about the different forms love can take, and showed me how big the world can be if I am open to its possibilities. I've always wanted to be brave in love, but it is easier said than done. Fortunately, being brave in baking is something I'm very familiar with. 


The narratives that dictate our day are often not those that we chose. Making bread from scratch helps me reconnect with a long history of women, and reminds me that the stories we don't get to hear are often the ones we need the most. I get to choose how I'm known and how my story will end, even when it feels like larger forces are telling me the opposite. 


Everything I’ve learned about myself, and all the ways I’ve figured out who I want to be have been in small gestures like choosing an apple instead of a cookie, or thinking a nice thought about a stranger instead of a judgmental one. We all have to start somewhere, so you might as well start in the morning.


Starting fresh doesn't mean forgetting who you are. Some resolutions might be small, and their resulting accomplishments small as well, but that doesn't mean they aren't important steps Here's to learning new things, taking new risks, and being a little kinder to each other in 2018.


Let me teach you how to make my mixed berry jam, which is both a deceptively simple but delicious treat, and a ritual I use to keep my day to day anxiety in check. Read about how making jam can be the first step towards taking new risks.


Learning to bake croissants taught me how to be brave enough to break my own heart. It isn't easy, and baking patisserie means spending a lot of hours on something that might not work. But hours are just that. And baking showed me what it means to really use them and helped pull myself back up after a series of loses in love. 


Here, I wax poetic about sweaters, try to convince you that knitting is cool (though if you don't already think it is, you might be beyond help), confess my shopping addiction and admit that I once fell asleep on my iPad. 


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Originally from Northern Virginia, I’ve lived in Greensboro, North Carolina for the past three years. I teach college English and am at work on a novel. I taught myself to knit when I was thirteen and though I learned to bake as a teenager my recent obsession with bread and French patisserie is thanks to repeated viewings of The Great British Baking Show. I’m trying to slowly, one sweater at a time, transition to a (mostly) handmade wardrobe. I’m a yarn obsessive, color devotee, and wearer of many a striped garment. My favorite thing to bake is baguettes, and I’ve been brought to tears by crème patisserie on more than one occasion.

— Meredith Luby

 

@mere_berry

Follow me on Instagram for more knitting, baking, and adventures with tiny Jon Snow.