My name is Amanda Lee. I am a teacher, knitwear designer, yarn dyer, wife and mom. I wear many hats, but don’t we all?
I am a Wyoming native, and I am not kidding, I am often asked, “…and in which state is that?” Well, for those needing a geography refresher, Wyoming is a mid-northwest state boxed-in by Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Idaho. Yup, that’s Wyoming, that square state. Most people know of Wyoming because of Jackson (Jackson Hole) and Yellowstone National Park. However, those are just a small corner of it. Wyoming is sparsely populated and towns are really spread out. We are known for open skies, far-stretched scenery (which does not include a lot of trees) and cowboys.
So am I a cowgirl? No, but don’t mistake that for my lack of respect for the lifestyle. Ranchers/Cowboys (cowpeople? haha) are very hardworking and independent. It is a sun-up to sun-down job, and I want to share my appreciation of their integrity before I tell more of my story. I’m actually raised by a cowboy AND city girl, so I had an interesting upbringing. I am a mix of a hard-worker that appreciates blue collar work and an open-minded thinker that craves diversity and social scenery.
I am a worker-bee, and I feel like I need to be contributing to projects during downtime. What is downtime? I am talking about Netflix. Ha! To sit and veg makes me very antsy. I need to have busy hands or a project. I used to sew or make jewelry when catching up on my shows (when and if I had the time before motherhood), and now it is just not very transportable. It is more of a challenge to multitask such hobbies. So after having my daughter, I taught myself how to knit.
Knitting started out as a hobby, and now it is a lifestyle. Not only does it keep my hands busy, it fills my hunger for creativity. Designing is my favorite part of knitting. I am often dreaming up ideas of new knits, and I can visualize and write out an entire pattern before even knitting it! I often knit my designs after writing my pattern and correct it as I go. It is on my mind constantly, and it is definitely what I love most about this craft.
So what do I do outside of knitting? A LOT! Yes, knitting takes up a lot of time, but it’s actually a small fraction of my day. I am a mom, which is my first and number one passion. Meeting my daughter’s needs is an all day, nonstop job. Moms know. It is one of the greatest things in the world and also the most exhausting (and I mean that on ALL levels of exhaustion). To me, being a mom is having an attachment of oneself…that is also entirely independent…that one loves more than anything…that can also frustrate and test the living *&%$ out of one…and all of that is experienced every hour. It is a rollercoaster, but I am blessed and happy to be a mom.
I also teach…but not as much as I used to teach. I am a former elementary teacher, and I taught grades 5, 3, K and pre-K. When I had my daughter, I planned to stay home for a year…then that turned to 2, then 3, and all the way until she began Kindergarten. It was/is very important to me to have had the time to raise my daughter, and as a teacher, I saw the success and confidence of my students that had a parent that stayed home. Anyhow, I started to dip my toes back into teaching with part-time work this year. After already building Lovely by Lee and trying to balance both a part-time teaching job, running a full-time business AND mommying – it was an overworked and stressful year. Teaching is going to be put on the back-burner once again, but I am very passionate about building independent thinkers and increasing children’s confidence.
In teaching, parenting and overall life, my strongest coping strategy when times get rough is to laugh. I LOVE LAUGHING! While I’m not the funniest myself, (it is just super awkward and uncomfortable when I try), I have an excellent sense of humor. I find playfulness in a lot of life’s lessons, and a good laugh is always necessary.
My husband and I are bikers, bikes as in motorcycles. Now, before I make myself sound bad ass, I only ride passenger. And sadly, since becoming a mom, our rides are now only once a year. However, it is one of my favorite things to do. We are sandwiched between the Black Hills of South Dakota (Mount Rushmore/Sturgis Ralley/Needles Highway) and the Big Horn Mountains (which speaks for itself). There are gorgeous places to ride near us, and touring the Black Hills on the back of a Harley on a hot day is so great!
It is time for me to admit that I do not like cooking or baking. I loathe it. Ironically, I am obsessed with watching cooking shows. I know a lot about food, and I love food. Halfway between getting my education degree, I swapped majors and planned on going for a dietician degree. It was hard for me to choose between the two, but it ultimately came down to deciding against the prep-work of cooking. The science of food in the body is very interesting, and I’m fascinated with the various ways to cook and flavor food. I prefer healthy eating and *gasp* I don’t drink soda or eat a lot of sweets.
With that, I do enjoy beer and wine, and more so, I enjoy drinking it in social outdoor settings…as it outdoor seating, patios and rooftops. It is honestly one of my favorite things to do. People watching, chatting with friends and relaxing in an outdoor setting is a stress-reliever, BUT I don’t get the chance very often. Why? First of all, my hubby and I rarely get a date away these days. Secondly, there are very slim social settings like that in Wyoming. So what I meant say is that I love a vacation or get-way weekend in which I can enjoy a beer with outdoor seating. 😉
Lastly, and for the purpose of ending this LOOOONG blog post, I love going on walks and hiking. I love scenic places, especially the mountains. Nature is amazing to me, but even just a neighborhood stroll puts a smile on my face.
This is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ introduction to me, Amanda Lee. I hope you’ll contact me on Instagram/Facebook and share a bit about yourself.