You may have heard of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It came out a few years ago and caused a stir. It’s been parodied in the media, and I know an equal number of people who either benefited from or hated the book. The primary take-away from Marie Kondo (her nickname is KonMari): Decide what items to keep and discard based on their answer to one question: “Does it spark joy?” If it doesn’t, you thank the item for serving its purpose and you get rid of it.

After a rainy 24 hours in Geneva, Joseph and I set off on a 4-hour train ride to Milan. We’d been traveling for over a week – from Colorado to Iceland to London to Switzerland – and we were tired. We’re introverted homebodies, and being out and about in foreign countries wears us out.

When we crossed the border into Italy, we suddenly got excited. We didn’t realize how much we’d been longing for familiarity until we got a taste of it. Our train pulled into the beautiful station in Milan that we’ve visited half a dozen times, and we suddenly felt totally at home. Everything changed, like a switch was hit. It was completely unexpected and completely wonderful. I no longer regretted the way I’d planned our trip, spending a week in Italian cities we’d been to before. This week was a refuge towards the end of an exhausting and exciting vacation.

Joseph and I spent months planning our 10th anniversary trip. 7 cities, 7 plane rides, 8 hotels – 18 carefully-planned days. This quick trip to Switzerland was one of our last editions, and we really did it for one reason: we wanted a snowy winter wonderland.

Unfortunately, as happens, our 24 hours in Switzerland didn’t show us the best weather. It was rainy and cold the entire time. We landed on a Sunday and left the next Monday, and we tried to enjoy it as best we could given the weekend hours and nasty weather. There wasn’t much for us to do, especially since the one place on our list (United Nations) had closed for the season three days earlier.

We stayed in just about the cutest hotel imaginable, Hotel Edelweiss. The whole place smelled like cinnamon – that’s basically a dream come true for me! A warm, welcoming refuge to the rainy days outside. I’m a light sleeper, and every time I woke up I caught a big whiff of cinnamon and then easily fell back asleep. It was lovely!

Continuation of my posts about our recent 10th anniversary trip to Iceland, London, Geneva, Milan, Venice, and Colorado. Click here to see all the posts, and click here to see the recent post about our first two days in London.

On the advice of a friend, we decided to spend our last day in London at Windsor Castle. The 45 minute train through the English contryside is wonderful in itself. What a nice break this was after two busy days in London!

We especially enjoyed seeing the childhood home (and current weekend home) of Queen Elizabeth II after watching The Crown! 

My mom taught me to knit and purl when I was 14. Throughout high school I made many scarves (most were red and gold – the color of the Gryffindor house) and a few iPod cases (back when iPods were so big). All with cheap yarn, those two stitches, and my own imagination. My knitting skills grew tremendously when my family got high-speed internet. Suddenly I could watch videos demonstrating different stitches! I could download patterns! I could connect with other knitters and easily share photos of our projects!

Sidenote: The amount of information freely available on the online knitting worlds is phenomenal. I can’t think of any other artistic communities that so readily shares resources. Ravelry is my go-to for exploring patterns and yarns.

Although today I do a lot of other fiber crafts (crochet, weaving, and embroidery), knitting will also be my first love. It feels so comfortable to me. In my 15 years knitting, I never made the leap towards making something outside of an accessory. I was scared of trying out garments. Until two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I started knitting a vest!

It’s amazing to think that a ball of cheap wool could turn into an outfit!