Saturday, 21 February 2015

What Hannah Made has Moved

hello readers and visitors...
this blog has moved to a new platform under a new name. This blogspot space will no longer be updated. please visit the new blog,, and be sure to bookmark that address so you can keep up to date with new content.
see you there!
xx Hannah

I MADE it to the end

Hello faithful friends and long time followers of What Hannah Made
It's been a long and winding road filled with adventures and ramblings and breakfast and occasional crafts. But now dear friends, its time for this chapter to end.

I started What Hannah Made as a way of figuring out some stuff in the post-university freak-out of 2013. It was a project for me to explore the things I really liked doing and put them in a public space.
It became a lot more than that. It exists in it's entirety as a record of 2 years of life and lessons and nonsense and a record of writing as catharsis and in some cliche way finding a voice that is my own. It tracks the many ups and downs of being in my early twenties which is weird and wonderful in hindsight. The posts got a lot more personal towards the end there and I can read most of them back without cringing too much.
In lots of ways writing for me has always been about the process of figuring out the skin I'm in. By the time you can articulate it in words you are shedding it. Writing online is like shedding that skin and taking a photo of it. And posting it online. Its strangely personal and it isn't -  it no longer feels like me, just versions of myself that I have learned from and through. But I think there is beauty in that too, something relatable about it.

I was wanting to write but finding the structure of how I had set up WhatHannahMade too restrictive. I am taking the parts of it I enjoy the most - the rambly writing and the occasional recipe and the adventures over to a new online home. I hope that you will join me there for more stories about strangers I meet and things I ponder at 2am and the occasional poems and parties and pretty things.
OH and better spell checking. (yes seriously)

Thank you for the adventure.
See you on the other side xxx

new home:

new home:

new home:

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I MADE some boy friends

Here's the thing about guy friends. You kind of make them by accident.  At least I seem to.
There is something about their personalities and character that draws you in.
Something about the way they hold themselves.  It might be the way that talk about their nieces or the look they get when describing their recent travel. The way their hands move when they describe what they've been working on or the way they know how to make a room full of people laugh. They way they talk about their favourite band, their faith, their friends. Something about them that sparks. It's hard to describe why and how ANY friendship starts really but for me, it usually feels like a spark.
From what I know, good friendships with males will always have an element of teasing.
There are days when they jokingly make you realise that you are more ridiculous than you thought, days when they point out something so true and real and hilarious about yourself that you didn't really realise until they said it. And you have kind of a hard time forgetting it.

In the beginning, there are small moments and simple conversation. Light and easy and interesting. These soon grow into questions about your family and friends. One day you find yourself asking after their friends who you have never been formally introduced to, but whom feel as familiar as the cast of a regular sit com; characters you know a lot about without having ever having met them.
Then come moments of truth. There are conversation about past loves and present dreams, of fears and friends and faults and farewells.
There are trips and trials and text messages heavily coded with in jokes and innuendos.
You start seeing things that remind you of them, you begin to hear certain phrases in their voice, hear their laughter and their comebacks before you finish the joke.
There are beers in the sun and nights on the run and staying up far too late talking about everything and nothing.
There are messages that simply say "look outside, the stars are particularly good tonight."
There are moments of alcohol enabled honesty, of saying more than you meant to, of overthinking in a direction you shouldn't. There are words you wish you don't say, car doors closed quickly, silent exits from second story bars. There are solemn "I'm sorry" s. There are moments of clarity and reason and reality.
And there are moments of absolute grace and gratitude.

And still there are days.
The kind of days where they show up so unexpectedly, days where the remind you that they are on your team, days when they remind you who you are, even as you're struggling to articulate who your growing into. There are bad dance moves on long car trips and burgers at midnight. There are silly Skype calls from faraway places and inspiration that stretches across oceans. There are tipsy hands held and holidays taken and these relationships, these friendships feel like home.
They feel like the best gift you never knew you were getting. Every single time.
These friendships that started in the most unlikely places; between pages and across dinner tables and in quiet corners of parties, in back yards and under kitchen benches and while making bagels, these friendships come to hold a particular place in the landscape of your life. Of my life.
They are the friendships in which I have often learned the most; learned about what it can mean to be human, about males and females, about social psychology and souls and about myself.
These friendships have fortified and fed me both creatively and spiritually. They are the unexpected sparks that have lit up corners of this craziness for all these years.
These friendships, so unique from one another and so solidly fragile, they have felt and continue to feel like the biggest privilege. They feel like everything right, only if for a time.
And time is a funny thing, for I have found that time comes to mean something a little different for these kinds of friendships. Because there is sometimes only a little of it; a summer or a season or a week of sunny afternoons. There are some friendships that are bright and beautiful and brief, over as quickly as they began, and that's actually okay. You learn to live with the ebb and flow, what comes quickly must sometimes go. But not always. Sometimes these friendships last so much longer. And there is bringing them home to your family, there are speeches made at parties and unexpected postcards and you look back and realise they have been present at all the pivotal points.
And I guess that's the biggest privilege and pleasure of all.

People sometimes warn you against these friendships. Worried that you will fall for one of them, or they for you. I'm sure its a topic that will be debated for centuries: If guys and girls can truly be friends. I'm no expert, and I can only ever speak for me, but what I know is this.
I owe so much of who I am to the guys in my life who have kept it real. I know that I wouldn't really be the same, and that because of it, I want for every girl to have guy friends and every guy to have girl ones. I want for those who are already lucky enough to have them to take a moment and understand just how lucky they are. I didn't get that for a long time but I more than understand that now.
I know that not every girl can be so fortunate. I know it and I'm grateful.
I also know that many of them who read this will tease me for writing it because it's cheesy.
I also know I don't really care. ( Because I know you guys actually love it)
This one is for the bros. You know who you are. Thank you x
(I'm so sorry this post is missing pictures! will update when I get a film developed. Apologies. )

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

MADE my Week Wednesdays

Hello friends! here are some things that are making my week this week,

1. Treats.
Its been a crazy couple of weeks, so busy and stressy at work and iv'e been feeling pretty blah. Decided to give myself a little tlc this week and treated myself to some little luxuries. Bought a new lipstick, did a face mask, ate some chocolate, got my nails done. Felt a million times better. (and like I need this necklace. You can get yours here)

2.Berlin Art Parasites. I've become a little jaded about facebook recently, but this page is the best. Incredible art matched with amazingly fitting quotes. Its inspirational, daily.
This piece: 3D-printed hermit crab shells by artis Aki Inomata 

3. Fed Up.  I watched this week and it shocked me. Absolutely insane and well worth watching. 

4. Minimal Wardrobe inspiration.
In a wierdly adult move (and attempt to curb my spending) I have been thinking about clearing down my wardrobe, and investing in some really good quality basics and simplifying life a little bit in the getting dressed department. This week i've been reading about the project 30x30 on Georgia's Blog and this blog and this blog. While I am NOT and refuse to be a fashion blogger, it's got me thinking....

5. Time to ponder. Ive been waking up at weird times of the night and scribbling in notebooks and tapping notes into my phone on busses. I miss blogging. More haphazard thoughts and things I made coming soon.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I MADE a great escape

I started feeling it a little while ago. This niggly, restless feeling. This dry, scratchy feeling like something was just not right. It came to light when a friend of mine took two weeks off work to recharge, on the basis that they felt they weren't performing at 100% at their job. It made sense. one of my favourite quotes from Author Austen Klein : go away so you can come back

 So I did. I took time off work, grabbed some friends, booked a house and ran away for a three day weekend. We didn't go far - we didn't really have to. We drove over the hill to the Wairarapa  with the intention to chill and relax and made plans not to make plans but to go with the flow. We drunk a lot of famous Wairarapa wine, we ate gourmet food and home made cake and foreign candy and we drunk lots of tea. We played word games and listened to music and watched movies and talked about life and love and lots of stuff in between. We laughed a lot, we wandered a little, we dreamed about houses we might one day own, we joked about not going home. And we filmed some of it!
I've fallen a little out of love with my digital camera at the moment (it has everything to do with the fact that I use it mostly for work) So I shot 35mm film and video all weekend. And the shots are shaky and the lighting is all over the place and I edited it together and I love it because it reminds me of how great the weekend was. I think that that's okay - it feels organic and imperfect and that's kind of how memories are made anyway. Will be planning mini adventures more often I think!

The Great Escape from What Hannah Made on Vimeo.

Also - Thanks so much for the huge response to my last post. You guys make my day when you take time to connect and send me messages and share my scrambled brain dumps disguised as blog posts. Thanks you, truly humbled by your kind words. You all are builders and not breakers for sure x Han

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

I MADE it home with some heartbreakers

I rode the bus home today. It's a trip I take almost every day, but tonight was different.
Tonight was a particularly cold and rainy Monday night, the kind that feels darker than most and the rain comes in sideways with the wind and everyone is sort of wincing. You know those nights?
People are running across wet roads and huddling under poor excuses for shelters and trying to be decent and patient with other passengers while actually just desperate to get on the bus. The number one was late and sticky and people just kept piling in until we were all packed in there like sardines. Tight and touching and sort of damp.
I'm always amazed by my fellow commuters. How is it that we can be in such close proximity to one another yet be SO good at avoiding eye contact and conversation. Close and yet so very distant. 
I came face to face in the aisle with a young boy, about 11 or 12 would be my guess. This kid had a fluro rain coat on, backpack almost as big as him, thick glasses and a hat pushed so firmly down on his head that his eye brows were having a hard time keeping it off his eyes. I later observed that this was the fault of his mother; the lady (with an equally large bag) travelling with him. 
And this kid was singing a song about the periodic table. 
I shared a smile with a fellow passenger as we watched this kid recite the elements, in no particular order. 
Hydrogen, Neon, Oxygen, Calcium, Arsenic.
Giggle. Emphasis on the Arse.
More giggling. 
I giggled too.
His mother shushed him. I asked him if that was his favourite, to which he nodded and continued to recite all the ones he knew. 
The bus heaved to at the next stop, passengers moved down the aisle, people climbed on while the bus spat out others onto the wet pavement. 
Carbon, Sodium, Iodine.
Polonium, Arsenic. More giggling.
More shushing from mother. 
This was a particularly pleasant and chatty child. I overheard about his day, the things that had happened in his life, the way his teacher had spoken to their class, the things he was looking forward to about tomorrow. 
His mother shushed him again. Push the hat down.
More shushing.
It soon became evident that this mother was rather embarrassed by her child's nattering. I listened to her interrupt her child over and over, urging him to speak quieter, to speak to her and not the whole bus.

If I'm honest, I started to dislike her a little.
I started to watch her and listen to her more than I had been observing her delightful child. I watched as her eyes darted around the bus as her son spoke to her. I watched her shush him, again and again. I watched her hear her son's volume but not his words. Her child was not loud or obnoxious, and no one on the bus was bothered in the slightest. His arsenic routine had even gained a few smiles from strangers. 
More shushing. Are you getting annoyed now? I was. 
Passengers shuffled. Breaks squeaked and rain continued to slush against the windows.
The bus emptied as we got closer to the Bay and I found myself sitting opposite these two characters.
And then they broke my heart.

I was staring out the window watching the lights make patterns on the glass when I tuned into their conversation once more. It had moved on from the elements.
I listened to this son tell his mother about how he was excited to one day be a fire fighter, but if he couldn't be a fire fighter, then he figured a paramedic would be okay too.
His mother told him to speak a little quieter.
And then she proceeded to tell him that both of those jobs require a person to be good under pressure, able to work in a team and to be able to listen to instructions, all of which he could not do.
I am not exaggerating. That's exactly what she said.
She then very helpfully suggested that if he wanted something with flashing lights he could consider the road marking team. "You know, those guys who use traffic cones and mark the roads?"
Her young son sighed exasperatedly.
"I'd never do that. I want to help people."
His mother shook her head. There are other ways to be a hero she said.
And then it was my stop.
And I couldn't stop thinking about this poor kid as I made the final walk home in the rain.

Do you know how Arsenic kills a person? I didn't. I looked it up though.
In my limited understanding of anything scientific, I have learned that it's extremely poisonous. It can be hidden in substances and consumed without knowledge. It does not take a lot, but it causes multiple organ failure. Arsenic poisoning is extremely painful and causes death unless detected in very early stages.
Not so much giggling.
 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.           James 3:7-8
My heart broke for this kid. My siblings and I are fortunate to have parents who believed in the beauty of our dreams, blindly at times, but firmly in conviction. They instilled in us from a very young age, that we could be and do whatever we wanted in life, as long as we worked hard at it and put our minds to it. They did not promise us that any dream was easily attainable, nor did they guarantee that things would be without challenges and obstacles. They did not promise us that life would come without failure, but they always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and goals.
They never suggested a lesser dream, or that we be content with a mediocre life.
There are times in your life when you wish you had spoken up. I wish I had told this kid that I thought a paramedic was a great career choice. I wish I had told him that I could see his genuine heart to help people, and that I would want him driving the ambulance if I was in trouble. I wanted to tell him that sometimes, exposure to poison is unavoidable, but if he detected it early, you could learn how to filter it out. I wanted to tell him to speak louder, and not quieter about the causes that he cared about. To live a life that is not spent silencing your ideas and hopes and dreams and stories, but that he would live out loud. That he would continue to make strangers smile.
I wanted to thank his mother for challenging me. For reminding me that my words can be honey or poison, and that I can be a builder or a breaker. I wanted to ask her that if she may consider the effect that being a source of public embarrassment for her will have on her child. I wanted to thank her for reminding me that it does no harm to listen to children, for they often have incredible things to teach us.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I MADE it to that uncomfortable place

This is the single most difficult thing I have ever undertaken. I think. 'This' being the vulnerability conundrum.
Lets talk about it. (and by that I mean write it out, because things rarely make sense unless I do this. And you can read it. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter actually- drop me a line!)
Also have you heard this song? Its fitting - it sounds like how I feel when I have to feel like this.
Okay I'm avoiding the subject. To the point!
(sidenote: I'm not entirely sure this post has a point. It's mostly just a thought train, you can skip this post to the next one with a cute baby if you want to)

Deep breath.
A while go I wrote a post about resolutions and about how I am trying to do this thing called vulnerability and how it's a difficult but (i'm hoping) worthwhile pursuit.
Truth be told the above quote in the picture is one that I kind of hate. "Get to the place where you are comfortable being uncomfortable" What is that about?! Is anyone ever comfortable being uncomfortable? The quote sounds sillier the more I read it. Its frustrating because it implies that this is a simple thing - just to get to that place. But you and I know that it is not.
Getting to that place is so difficult, and no one really tells you how to get there, where exactly that is, what it will look like or how hard that trip might be.

I decided that I wanted to learn to be more vulnerable when I realised that it was the quality I most admired in those I loved.
I think vulnerability is a quality that sits quietly somewhere in the moments when the facade falls.
I can't think of the right words to adequately explain the strength and beauty of vulnerability I saw in others but I know that I saw it. I know that I felt it. I know that I was moved by it.
I saw it in the faltering yet firm words of my mother as she changed the course of her life and sailed into uncharted waters, guided by love and her heavenly father.
I saw it in the moments when he told me he was scared, and didn't know how to stop feeling so.
I felt it in the moment when I knew she had lost something she could never get back.
I read it between the lines of an email from her in a faraway land, cryptically written yet raw with vulnerability and uncertainty and the desire to trust despite the great unknown.
I heard it in the way his voice changed when he forgot he was playing a role, if only for a two hour car ride.
I felt it in the way she hugged me, the way she forgot for a minute when she held me that she was meant to hold it together.
I still have a hard time trying to describe it.
In our weakness we are strong. That, I think is the heart of it. In our vulnerability we are exposed, and it is terrifying and confronting and at the very same time it has a weird way of binding us together. Its beautiful.
I'm learning that vulnerability has a lot to do with letting go. And letting in. And falling. And faltering. And failing. And understanding that we are flawed. And embracing. And processing, and giving yourself and others permission. And being authentic. And learning to be okay with the inevitable messiness that is being human.

I'm learning that vulnerability is difficult.
I'm beginning to think its difficult for the same reasons that lots of things are difficult. Writing, loving one another, sharing your art, sharing your life - these are all difficult because cost you something. Time, truth, effort, the resignation of your self importance. The dismissal of your ego, the risk of ridicule, the risk of rejection. Risk in general. Tough. Brave. Difficult. Beautiful.

I'm learning that vulnerability takes time. It often feels like a two steps forward one step back operation. Letting people in is scary. Manually overriding every self preservation instinct and alarm bell that goes off takes practice. There are days when your fight-or-flight instincts will take over. You will fight and hurt and say things you don't mean. Or you will run. You will walk out of conversations and cars and lives and you might never find a way back. Risk. Costs. Consequences.

Some days after fighting and flight-ing and failing to be brave, you find yourself questioning why you ever thought that vulnerability was a good idea. And then it happens. You connect with someone, you let someone in who desperately needed the warmth of your soul, if only for a moment. You fearfully face a seemingly impossible challenge alone, only to find the strong arm of friendship supporting you, an arm built in those moments of honestly and vulnerability. Not alone at all.
Troubles halved, Joy doubled.

This may be my rambliest, most confusing blog post yet. Sometimes writing things out crystallizes and orders my thoughts, other times its like emptying a pocket of my brain and seeing the miscellany of half thoughts collected on my travels. This is the latter. I apologize if it's been weird. I'll make a cake or something soon.
But this is often where I get to be vulnerable. In writing. And on this semi-permanent online platform.
And I have learnt a lot and thought a lot and been open a lot on here and as a result had the most inspiring and moving conversations that were triggered by ramblings on here. I'm so grateful for those moments.
And I'm so privileged to have friends taking similar tracks to that uncomfortable place. Its a joy to walk together. So in vulnerability and fleeting moments of bravery, let us try to get to that place.

Edit: I few gorgeous friends have read this pot and sent me this Ted Talk by Brene Brown and it's exceptional. Far more concise and structured and brilliantly spoken than this, and funny! I highly reccomend it. Link here