I hope that you are doing well and enjoying the season. Many apologies that I have been absent for so long, but over the past several weeks, I’ve had to step away from Squirrel Picnic to take care of some business. First there was the business of completing two big projects that will be featured next year in the magazines Crochet! and I Like Crochet. It was an exciting experience for me and I can’t wait for you to see these new patterns.
There was also a matter of the heart to attend to. This year has been a challenging one for many of us. For me, it was marked by unrelenting pressure (from myself) and misguided ambition. I pushed myself beyond my limits to produce and market The Big Acorn Race while working full time and continuing to provide patterns and comics here on my blog. And while I have a lot to be grateful for and much to be proud of, I can no longer deny the fact that I am also completely and utterly burned out.
Looking forward to 2017, I’m reluctant to make any resolutions or set-in-stone plans, except to say that I plan to follow my heart, care for the people I love, and simply be happy. After the bizarre and difficult journey of 2016, my mind, body, and spirit are craving some r&r. More than anything I want to be able to look back next December and remember 2017 as the year I found contentment. My new year’s resolution? Just keep it simple.
In order to do this, I’m afraid I must step away from Squirrel Picnic for a long while. Thank you, everyone, for all the support and encouragement you have given me over the past four years. It has been a great honor to meet you all and get to know you better. Being a part of the crochet and blogging communities helped me to open up in a way that I never was able to before. Meeting fellow crocheters and designers and lovers of cute things from around the world helped me feel connected and not so alone. You have inspired me and challenged me to learn and grow, and I will forever be thankful for this experience.
It would be hard for me to predict when you will hear from me again here, but if you’d like to follow my journey you’ll be able to find me on Instagram. And perhaps someday Hodge and Podge will return with new adventures and projects for you to enjoy. Until then, I hope you, too, find many opportunities in the coming year to do the things that make you happiest. Keep exploring your world, making new friends, trying new things, creating memories, and sharing your talents. Most importantly I wish you a year filled with love and plenty to smile about.
December 14, 2016 at 12:50 pm
Wishing you all the best. I enjoy your posts and hope you will be back eventually once you are well rested and recuperated. Have a lovely Christmas x
December 15, 2016 at 8:19 am
Thank you, MrsCraft! Your encouragement and understanding mean so much to me. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well!
December 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm
Hugs to you for embarking on this recharge journey don’ deny yourself the things you need to be you. I’ll admit I’m selfish and don’t want to lose you but I know you’ll be back and it’ll be magnificent. Here’s to finding your new path and becoming the wonderful you already are. New paths and new wonders await! Good luck and lots of love.
December 15, 2016 at 8:17 am
Hi Chris! Thank you so much for your kind words and for understanding the difficult position I am in. It’s hard sometimes to recognize that you have to let go of one thing to try to balance the rest. I will surely remember your words in the future. It’s nice to know that I can always come back and that when I do it will be with my whole heart. 🙂 This is an exciting time! Thank you so much for cheering me on! Best to you as well. ❤
December 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm
OH! you will be missed! But, take care of yourself!!
December 15, 2016 at 8:14 am
Thank you, tassie! I have enjoyed sharing this journey with you. Thank you for all your support and friendship over the years. I’ll miss you too!
December 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm
Good luck & most of all enjoy your self
December 15, 2016 at 8:13 am
Thank you, lucyannluna! Best of luck to you as well!
December 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm
I’ll miss you. I wish you well in your endeavors. Be Happy and Know you are loved by many. Thanks for all you have shared with the rest of us. Forever your friend.
December 15, 2016 at 8:13 am
Hi D’Ann! I’ll miss you too. I haven’t decided what to do with the Year of the Sock group. I’ll be around at least through the end of the year. I’ve started my December socks and am keen on finishing them! I plan to leave it open so the group can continue to explore sock crochet. If you’d like to be a group moderator let me know! Patricia and I would love to have you on board. It’s been so much fun getting to know you better both here and in our group. You’ve been a great inspiration to me. Thank you as always for all your encouragement! You are a wonderful friend and I hope we keep in touch.
December 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm
I’m going to miss Hodge and Podge and their adventures. The book is on my Amazon wish list so with any luck I’ll get it for Christmas. Glad to here you will be taking time for family and yourself. Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.
December 15, 2016 at 8:05 am
Hi Andrea! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m going to miss you too (as will Hodge and Podge). I hope you enjoy the book and have a joyous Christmas and new year!
December 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm
Thank you so much for all the smiles you have gifted me with. You will be sorely missed. Take care. All my love, Nancy
December 15, 2016 at 8:04 am
Thank you, Nancy! I’ll miss you too.
December 14, 2016 at 11:01 pm
This is a courageous decision and I congratulate you to it. At the same time I am sad that I will not read more about the adventures of Hodge and Podge (for the moment). The last few months I’ve often thought about of closing my blog and I have not yet found the courage to actually do it. It is so much work and it take many hours until a pattern is finished. During this time you really miss the life. To run a crochet blog takes at least 2 – 3 hours a day. You have my greatest respect for your book and all your work. I laughed a lot of time while reading your articles and I was amazed about all the ideas you had. A blog with Amigurumi starts mostly as a hobby, a place where you want to show the things you have made. But then, when you found people who are interested and comment and follow – it becomes a second working place.
Enjoy your free time, fill it with good conversations and things you always wanted to do! I thank you with all my heart for the great stories and those crazy ideas which inspired me.
I wish you all the best, Karin
December 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
Thank you so much, Karin! ❤ Your words are not only from personal experience but from the heart as well. You can truly relate to the pressure and struggle to continue blogging. You are right, it can be a full-time job itself! If I do someday return to Squirrel Picnic I hope that I will be able to adopt a less stressful approach to it. I don't really know where this need to post every week came from but it is exhausting. What ever happened to quality over quantity? I have loved following your blog. You have such great ideas and you give your talents and imagination so generously. I especially love seeing all the dolls with their clothes and their houses filled with tiny, impeccable handmade furniture. So creative! I hope that you are able to do what I could not and find a way to continue blogging so that it stays fun and exciting and satisfying for you. You have such talent. I do hope you are able to make it work so that you don’t burn out like I did. But also know that closing your blog isn’t so bad. It doesn’t have to be forever. I’m reserving the right to someday return to Squirrel Picnic… just when my head and heart are ready. I’m so glad that we were able to meet through this awesome crochet blogging community. I hope we stay friends for a long long time!
December 15, 2016 at 11:16 pm
Thank you so much for your true words. At the moment I just wait and see what happens. I have lost the fun of writing patterns and all the likes and shares do not count as much as before. This year I have already slowed down and was more relaxed about posting. Next year I want to start a crochet course for the women in my town and go back to real life 🙂 I hope this course will help them to relax and forget about the difficulties in Greece for a while. The situation in Greece is very hard.The unemployment rate is about 27 percent. One third of all Greeks have no access to medical care. There is no unemployment benefit and no social assistance. It will be just a drop on a hot stone, but at least we will have fun and maybe we can sell the things we make and donate the money.
I am also curious where your path (without blog) will lead you and I would be very happy to hear from you again! I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!
December 24, 2016 at 11:31 am
What a noble pursuit to teach the women in your community! I think women gathering to stitch together, especially in hard times, must go back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It’s so neat to think that across the globe, we all gather together to share our common handicrafts. It’s such a healing and empowering activity and I hope that your group will be able to bring each other strength and encouragement as you face the difficult economic times in Greece. I am inspired by what you are doing, and I hope to be able to use my crochet skills to benefit my community someday soon. Perhaps that’s where it will lead me. Whatever happens I hope we can keep in touch as well. You are such a dear friend, Karin. Lots of love to you! Wishing you all the best this holiday season and in the year to come!
December 14, 2016 at 11:29 pm
(sniff) Wishing you the best in your much needed and well deserved sabbatical. Thank you for being a part of my blogging life for the past four years, and of course for leaving your mark on The Nest with your beautiful rendition of Rainbow Donkey that I still proudly display on my shelf (and sometimes get to act in skits on my blog!) I’ll definitely miss ol’ Hodge and Podge (give them some scritches for me please)….
December 15, 2016 at 7:52 am
Thanks, Bill! Meeting you is one of the best things that blogging brought me. It was so much fun to team up with you for Rainbow Donkey. Thank you for the inspiration! Now I hope to have more time to spend over at your blog, reading your posts and joining the party! Honestly I marvel at all the time and effort you put into what you do. I can attest, blogging is not easy and it is not for the feint of heart. You do it all so effortlessly. I hope you continue to spread your unique and humorous view of the world throughout the world for many years to come. I certainly will be watching! Thanks again for being my squirrel friend! ❤
December 15, 2016 at 3:49 am
Best wishes Jennifer, for 2017. I have enjoyed your blog and do hope the r&r helps you.
December 15, 2016 at 7:47 am
Thank you, Marjie! ❤
December 15, 2016 at 7:02 am
Wishing you every success for the future x
December 15, 2016 at 7:46 am
Thank you, Mrs. P.! The same to you. ❤
December 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm
I saw how much you put your heart into all your projects this last year or so and, although I’ll be sad not to see your regular posts on here, I’m glad you’ll be taking more care of yourself in 2017, Jennifer 🙂
Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher, crafter, and friend, and I hope you and yours have a wonderful christmas, and that your new year brings you everything you need and want 🙂
December 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm
Katy, you have been one of the longest and most loyal supporters of Squirrel Picnic. Thank you for believing in me and for encouraging me. With your crochet endurance, I am inspired! I am looking forward to following your crochet-along inspiration. You always find the best ones! (I’m just so happy that you joined mine.) You know, I hope to finally finish my Sophie this month if I’m lucky! (www.instagram.com/squirrelpicnic/) But I’m also changing email servers this month, so you might hear from me there too. We are living in a strange world. I don’t even know what to make of it. But I know that you and I are of the skeptical sort and we will be the first to discover the right way… right?
December 25, 2016 at 8:53 am
Happy Christmas Jen & Family 🙂 x x x
Sorry it took so long to respond, Hun – I’ve b een quite ill this last few weeks, and today’s the first day I felt like looking at my emails – and wishing I hadn’t with the volume there! (gulp!) Lol
Do let me know when you finish your Sophie – it’s one pattern I’m determined to tackle – someday! Lol
I have to admit to not having booked any crochet-alongs so far for the new year, as I’ve still not finished 3 I’d already started this year, due to my hands being bad, but I will be looking at everything that comes up, in case something grabs me – as you said,I love my crochet-alongs! 🙂
I have to admit to being a bit ashamed that I haven’t kept up-to-date with posting about all the stuff I have already finished making so far, though that’s few-and-far-between recently 😦
I did make a Dragon for a close friend’s grandson that I’m very happy with, so I hope the pics I took of it come out okay, and made acouple of cute, purple, teddy bears for my friend and her husband (which I forgot to take a pic of!), so I don’t feel like I’ve totally abandoned my crochet habit as yet 🙂
I do hope you have an amazing 2017, Jennifer – so take good care of yourself, now 🙂
January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am
I’m so sorry to hear that you have been ill. But as always you are keeping mighty busy. I wish you all the best and plenty to smile about in the new year.
I’ll be sure to send you photos of the Sophie when it is finally finished. It might not be until the end of the year at the rate I am going! Best of luck with all your projects. You inspire me with all that you do and with your great spirit and fine sense of humor. Love and hugs to you, my friend!
December 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm
Will we still be able to access hodge and lodge for their various fun little patterns?
Sent from my iPhone
December 15, 2016 at 9:57 pm
Circe, Thank you for your question. Yes, these patterns will continue to be available.
December 16, 2016 at 1:52 am
Thanks for letting us know, Jennifer. You can be very proud of your achievements. I hope you thoroughly enjoy your change of seasons and I look forward to staying in touch via Instagram. Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you, your family and, of course, Hodge & Podge and the gang, xxx
December 24, 2016 at 11:33 am
It’s so good to hear from you, Anna! I have enjoyed getting to know you through this blog over the past few years and I look forward to continuing our friendship on Instagram. I always love seeing your artwork. You are so talented! Thanks for all your support and encouragement. Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
December 16, 2016 at 11:48 am
After seeing all your posts and projects and enthusiasm, I will be sorry to see you go, but wish you all the best. 🙂
December 24, 2016 at 11:34 am
Thank you, Carol, for your encouragement, support, and well wishes. 🙂 All the best to you as well!
December 17, 2016 at 9:26 pm
What fun we have had! The three amigurumi amigos! It isn’t over, it is just changing direction. For some reason I keep thinking of this. Probably cos I am making a frog out of left over clutch yarn for my Bojutsu Sensei. Yep! You read it right. Bojutsu. 😀
I hope to compete next year. While my opponent is laughing his head off, I shall sweep in and be victorious! A cunning plan. XXXX
Merry Christmas and lots of love from me and that boy! Just say OINK!!
December 24, 2016 at 11:46 am
What a journey we have shared these past few years. One of the blessings of blogging is that it brought me in contact with you. From sending your amigurumi to visit me and star in a New Year’s comic to testing the patterns for my book, you have been there for me every step of the way and I will always be so grateful for your help and support. You are such a dear friend! And you are an inspiration too! How cool that you are taking bojutsu! You go girl! You will be victorious for sure. I hope to hear more about your achievements in the martial arts. I’m so excited for you! Please do keep in touch. And thank you for sharing that video. I love this song! It made me imagine you and I taking a road trip. What a hoot that would be. You can be Kermit. I’ll be Fozzie. Don’t you think? 🙂 Lots of love to you, my friend. Merry Christmas and happy new year!
December 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm
LOL! It made me think of a road trip too. Stoping along the way to do a bit of yarn bombing. Hanging little hearts in trees I am, every where I go. XXX
January 4, 2017 at 11:00 am
That sounds lovely!
December 20, 2016 at 7:13 am
I just wanted to drop in and let you know how much I understand and support you! I can completely understand you needing to take a break for a while, and I also just wanted to give you and the whole Squirrel Picnic gang a HUGE thank you! I would never have had the courage to start blogging or to do half of the creative projects I do now if it hadn’t been for your incredible encouragement over the past few years. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me personally! From Andy and Liv’s comic, to letting me mail you a (nervous 😉 ) skunk, to letting me be a pattern tester for your book, you’ve impacted my life in more ways than you could ever know. Thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart, and thank you from Andy, Liv, and Beatrix! Biiiiiiiiig hugs!
Oh, and I also wanted to let you know that I recently started a Christmas chapter story on my blog, and there’s a character named after you! That chapter just went up today, so if you want to you can check it out here. 🙂 https://dolldimensions.com/2016/12/20/the-search-continues-a-doll-dimensions-christmas-carol-chapter-4/
Thank you so much again! ❤ ❤ ❤
Grace, Andy, Liv, and Beatrix
December 24, 2016 at 11:56 am
Thank you, Grace, for all your kind words. And you are so welcome. You have also helped me in more ways than you can know. It was a lot of fun working with you on the Beatrix comic, and I am so grateful to you for testing the patterns for my book. I couldn’t have done it without you! You are such a sweet, thoughtful, and talented young lady. I know that you will do amazing things in life, and I can’t wait to see where your pursuits take you. I have signed up to follow Doll Dimensions! I am super excited to read your dolls’ diaries. What a cool concept! And I am so honored that you named one of the dolls after me. That’s so cool of you — I’m beyond words. Keep following your heart, exploring the world with curiosity, and sharing your talents. I know you will go far! Please keep in touch. Meeting you and getting to know you better has been one of the biggest highlights of my blog. Hodge and Podge and I are wishing you and the gang all the best this Christmas and in the year to come! ❤
January 1, 2017 at 4:35 am
The wife and I noticed your blog and and wanted to say hi to hodge and podge! Please allow me to encourage you to keep writing and never abandon this site. I develop mobile apps for bloggers, and if you are ever curious about having a mobile app version of this blog, I would love to help. We appreciate the hard work you have put into this blog and wish you all future success in business and in life.
Thank you for your time, it is the most precious thing we all possess.
January 4, 2017 at 11:08 am
Hi Jacque! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. That means so much to me. I do hope that one day I am able to return to Squirrel Picnic. Rest assured that in the meantime Hodge and Podge are up to their usual antics. 🙂 I will keep your offer in mind and be in touch with you if I decide to provide a mobile app for the blog. Thanks again for reaching out to me. Best wishes!
January 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm
Crocheting has always been a therapy for me. I’m glad to hear of your happiness.