Here we are in 2016! I've been spending some time thinking about what I want the year ahead to hold-- something I try to do at the beginning of every year. When I look back, I'm always surprised by how many things from my list I accomplished, seemingly without trying. Maybe what I'm starting to learn is that honing in on what's important and writing it down to cement those intentions IS doing something.
Five aspirations for 2016:
Learn to draw-- I draw. A little. My hope is that a bit of instruction and some good old-fashioned time spent practicing will help drawing feel more natural and fun. Of all the books out there, this one comes most highly recommended. Plus, I love the idea of working on a guided exercise for 20 minutes each day for a month. Totally doable, right?
Deepen my tea knowledge-- I started writing Teaspoon Social because I wanted an excuse to really dig into tea and an outlet to share what I learned and tasted. It's important to me to keep learning and growing, to expand my palate and my knowledge. So in addition to tasting countless cups of tea this year, I will be reading some of the terrific tea books out there (like this one, this one and this one), taking classes, and visiting with knowledgeable shop owners and other tea folks.
Simplify-- I'll give inspiration credit for this one to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Tiny House Nation, and my own major closet clean-out of 2015. I'm ready to comb through what we've accumulated in the 5 years since we moved into our house and pare back to the things that make me happiest and are the most beautiful and useful. I smile every time I open my closet now, and I want that same feeling when I open my kitchen cupboards, glance over at the bookshelves, or go in the linen or coat closets.
Bake-- I've always loved to cook. I sometimes follow a recipe but most often I don't. I start off with an idea and then taste and add as I go. This creative and freeform process has always appealed to me. Since that approach does not work well for baking, I wasn't a fan. Until recently, anyway. I've somehow gotten to a place where if I could, I would bake everyday. This year, I want to up my game by doing lots of baking, using recipes and learning techniques from bakers I admire (Claire Ptak, Dorie Greenspan, and Heidi Swanson, to name a few). And in doing so, I hope to perfect a collection of just-right tea treats, simple cakes, breads, cookies and more.
Host better-- In my house, the kitchen and dining room are one open area. I was smitten with the kitchen at first sight, and it's been serving me well since. But the dining room has always needed a little love. I've decided it's going to get some this year-- a fresh coat of paint, a cozy rug, furniture updates, and finishing touches like better lighting and mirrors to reflect the glow. I'm already planning the afternoon tea I'm going to throw once it's complete! Not to mention lots of dinners...
What has you inspired this year? Happy 2016!