Unraveled Wednesday | 5.31.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.31.23

Greetings Unravelers and Farewell May… sigh. I don’t want May to end, it is the loveliest month and I have tried to  savor every moment.

However, June waits for no one and June does bring a bit of a treat. I have my yarn ready and I am setting aside some time tomorrow afternoon to begin a new gnome journey!

Meanwhile, the Skirt Marches On! I have about 3-ish inches to go before I begin the waistband. The big try on happened and IT FITS! Woo! I had hoped to have this finished over the weekend but instead I sat on the porch and read. It was delightful but I am back to trying to get 10 rows in a day so I should have this done soon!

Every year brings a plethora of inspiration with #MeMadeMay I did see some things that I have put on a “wish list” for making. However, I have gotten to the point in my wardrobe that every day is a Me Made Day for me. It is a huge thing for me to put on clothing that I have made… a big thing of self-love for sure! I have one huge hole though… jeans. I really need to face the enormous challenge of sewing myself a pair of jeans. I have the fabric, I just need to get something and make a bit of a muslin so I can get the rise, waistband, fly all worked out. I am a confident sewist, but I have all.the.fears. about sewing jeans. However, I need to get past this fear so a trek to JoAnns to get something I can use for a muslin is in order! Stay tuned!

This week was all about the reading though… oh my goodness. I read some simply delightful books: Hello Comfort of Crows, Sara de Vos, and Queen of Dirt Island! And one sort of “meh” book… sigh. Yes, Trespasses just was not a hit for me. (but, I think that makes it a much more interesting to discuss book and I very much look forward to that!)

I bailed entirely on Cursed Bread it just was not for me and I had a wealth of better books to read!

Currently, I am listening to the long awaited How High We Go in the Dark. (and I have Milkman queued again to listen to again before the Read With Us Discussion!) And at night, I am immersed in mystery solving with Matthew Venn in Ann Cleeves latest, The Raging Storm.

Whew… that is one heck of an ending to May – I read 12 books! A banner month of reading for sure!

What about you? How did your May end?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Yes! To Authenticity | May 2023

Yes! To Authenticity | May 2023

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

This month, Ali Edward’s team suggested a “Day of Yes” but I decided to take it one step further… to make it a month of yes to choices that allowed me to be real with myself and to let that self shine a bit.

It was not easy… old habits are so hard to break. But when I felt like retreating, I read poetry that lifted me. I tuned out the negative voice in my head and stood up for myself… to myself!

It was a good month of nurturing myself in the very best way. And as this month draws to a close, I hope that this month of practice begins to take root. I look forward to continuing to strengthen the positive things by continuing this practice as the year unfolds!

A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing a place to share my progress. I hope this was a good month for all of you as well!

See you all back here tomorrow with some Unraveling!


Late May RIFFing | 5.26.23

Late May RIFFing | 5.26.23

It has been a week my friends. Hard things… so many hard things. So this LONG weekend my plan is to just be gentle with myself.

Rejoicing —

This year my poppy feels like it looks like this and while it is not quite that amazing, this morning there are 17 blooms open with at least 3 dozen more waiting in the wings! Don’t ask me about the remainder of my garden… it has been a rough winter/early spring in my yard. However, I have become a Master Weed Cultivator! HA!

Interesting —

Here in Pittsburgh, we are so blessed to have Rick Sebak… he is our Local Treasure and loves to bring to light all things Pittsburgh in the very best way. He has a new podcast, Gumbands, and I have listened to the first two episodes and I love them. They are brilliant. If you once lived in Pittsburgh – you will love them. If you ever visited Pittsburgh – you will love them. If you ever contemplated moving to Pittsburgh – you will love them. In other words, you don’t need to understand Pittsburgh or Pittsburghese to get them. He has smart conversations with fascinating people…

Fledgling —

This word has been niggling around inside me for the past couple of weeks now. I have been a diligent watercolor student for almost a year now… and yet… stepping outside the lines of the lesson strikes fear into my heart. But my latest class has been all about values… and this has me thinking about the practice of watercolor in entirely different ways! Ways that include trying my hand at paintings that are not “a lesson.” I got a new, larger sketchbook and have been doing a few pencil drawings. My next step is to do some Value Studies and begin the process of taking all that I have learned (it is is so much!!) and making it my own.

Final Friday —

It is the last Friday in May, the start of the long Memorial Day weekend. For me today, I won the battle and purchased some plants to fill a few planters. (Steve thinks buying flowers for planting is the largest waste of money on the planet.) I have some tomatoes that will go into a few containers as well. Nothing says renewal to me than having my hands in the dirt with the hope that what I am planting will grow and flourish. I need some of that renewal badly this weekend.

I hope that your long weekend provides exactly what you are in need of. See you all back here on Tuesday with my May Word update!

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.24.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.24.23

Greetings Unravelers!

I hinted on Monday about organizing my in-process knitting and starting a bit of a Summer KAL… you are welcome to join if you wish! I had an overflowing knitting bag, full of in process knits. Some, sadly, have been lingering around for too long.

As you can see above, I have one skirt that is flying along… big ass rows and all! I am halfway through the decreases and after the next few sets of decreases, I will put it on waste yarn and try it on! I am very eager to get it done because I think it is going to be an awesome addition to my summer wardrobe!

However, I also need to work on this lingering pile of knits…  some of which will make great additions to my wardrobe as well! Here is my List of Lingerer’s that need to get done!

  1. Hermoine Everyday Socks – practically done… just a foot and a toe to go. I’d like to get these tucked away for November, when it will be delightful to pull out a new pair of socks to keep my toes warm!
  2. Ooh La La – I am in the “body straightway” and though the lace looks complicated, it really is not. A single strand of Coast will make this the perfect summer sweater. I am debating with myself on sleeve length… but they will go quickly once I get the body done! And once I get my skirt done, this moves to the top of the list!
  3. Pressed Flower Wrap – oof… I really let this drop off the radar but this will be the perfect lap of knitting in the AC Deep Freeze that is my Living Room…sigh. I am just over the halfway mark, and I know that once I get back to this, it is a mindless but thoroughly enjoyable knit!
  4. Handspun Musselburgh Hat – I am tight on yarn so this knit is all about how many grams of yarn are left to start the “second half.” I am no where near that, so right now it is just mindless round and round knitting but I need to get to it!
  5. Whitethistle Wrap – I don’t expect to get this done this summer, but I’d like it to be well on its way to finished! This one needs attention, the pattern is not one I can memorize… so Thinking Knitting!

Add to all of this the June 1 start of a Gnome MKAL and I have my summer making all set!

Which leads me into One Amazing and Excellent Reading Week! I have read such amazing books… more Sarah Winman… oh, Sarah Winman… how I love you! I have one more Winman book to dig into and it sounds amazing! But first… When God Was A Rabbit… loved it. Every word. Every character. This book was her debut novel, and it does not read like a debut novel… at all. If you are looking for a book to add to your summer reading list… add any of Winman’s books!

I raced through Robert Bryndza’s latest novel. I got an advanced copy from Netgalley and devoured it. It is a thrilling mystery with a good dose of government corruption, and the ending was not what I expected…at all. Fear the Silence is a stand alone novel (Mr. Bryndza also writes the Detective Erika Foster and the Kate Marshall series.) Looking for a thriller you cannot put down… this is it! It will be out in July… so not a long wait at all!

I also listened to Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety and loved it. The narrator is the brilliant Jason Watkins (imo, he made the book!) This is a book about The Roaring 20’s in London… a time period I know little about, but Atkinson makes you feel like you can see/hear/smell the grittiness of it all. I enjoyed it (although I did need to make a character cheat sheet… it is very character heavy!)

My current reads are as follows:

Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses… I am about halfway through (at this writing) and expect to finish it later today. I know a bunch of us are reading it for our next Read With Us gathering on June 6th and I found it fascinating that PBS is showing a series on The Troubles – Once Upon A Time in Northern Ireland. There are 5 episodes which give a really brilliant synopsis of The Troubles, what they were about, and why they happened.

At night, I am reading an advance copy of Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows… I just started it and have no thoughts yet.

In my ears is a Dominic Smith book – The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. I think Bonny mentioned it and I scooped it up from my library. I am about a third of the way in and enjoying it!

Whew… that’s a lot of making and reading! What about you all… what is consuming your week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Sometimes Monday | 5.22.23

Sometimes Monday | 5.22.23

is a good day to check in with myself…

Why? Well it really feels like May is racing by much too quickly! And thanks to our brief, but spectacular, vacation there was no “Welcome May” post and so I am feeling a bit adrift this month. I have accomplished much…


Yes, that but has been hanging over me… leaving me with that feeling that I am forgetting something important. What? I have no idea, but I feel a bit off… so today I am gathering all the loose ends.

Cold weather clothing will be carefully tucked away (the last wintry sweaters will be washed today!)

Next, I have several lingering knitting projects that need to have a plan. I will sort them, figure out where I am, and I am feeling a bit of a Summer Knit to get them all done. Stay tuned… I hope to have an update on Wednesday!

Then comes the Great Catch Up on Temperature Circles… I got a bit behind thanks to that vacation and I have about 22 days to get myself current… so just all.of.May, LOL.

Along with the ‘regularly scheduled’ Monday things means my list is FULL!

How about you? What does your Monday feel like?



A Gathering of Poetry | 5.18.23

A Gathering of Poetry | 5.18.23

I do not recall when I first stumbled across this Rilke poem… but it has become a frequent guest of my morning meditations as I read it, prayer like, to help me begin my day…

I hope this poem finds a spot in your day to lift you as you remind yourself “I am!”

Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Quiet friend who has come so far,

feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29. Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.

Please stop and see what Kym and Bonny are sharing today!

See you all back here on Monday, have a great weekend everyone!

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.17.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.17.23

Greetings Unravelers! Happy Wednesday!

I should be sock knitting, but my days have been a bit hectic. I am behind on my painting class, I am behind on garden chores, my closet is at the implode stage with winter/spring/summer all in a huge muddle…but what I have been doing instead of all that? Why knitting of. course… knitting round and round and round on my Shakerag Skirt!

I have gotten through the lace section, I did the short rows for the back and I am in the “plain knit” rounds before I start the decreases. And so far, I am loving this knit…but I have miles to go before I get to the “try on” point in this knit and so I am trying to knit a round or 10 each day. I am off on the row gauge, so I am knitting more rounds to get to the decrease point. My hope is I will have time today to get there… because less stitches every once in a while will be a good thing! These are long ass rows! Ha!

The reading this week has been delightful though… I was so fortunate to be approved for the latest Dominic Smith book: Return to Valetto. I loved it! It was so so so good! If you like Amor Towles or Sarah Winman… I think you will very much love this book! The writing is brilliant, the characters are well developed, and the story is one that keeps you moving along with it to the very end… and I really was not ready for the book to be over!

I also finished the third installment in the Thursday Murder Club mystery. Delightful, brilliant, and I loved it! I hope there will be another installment sooner than later!

So what am I reading this week? Well, my daytime listen is Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety. I have just started, but so far I am enjoying it. I just picked up two books from the library,
Donal Ryan’s Queen of Dirt Island, and Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses! I need to find a quiet afternoon where I can just sit and read!

My nighttime reading has been consumed by another Sarah Winman book, When God Was a Rabbit… and she might just be my new favorite author!

So there you have my week… what is consuming your time this week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Museum of Me | May 2023

Museum of Me | May 2023

There is always one moment in childhood when a door opens and lets the future in.   — Graham Greene

I have spent a good bit of time contemplating this post. Then versus now… 10 year old me versus 62 year old me.

I looked for photo’s, but… sadly, there are few photos from my childhood. I could find my 6th grade photo… but not one from the year before. But perhaps my memories will be enough… and by leaning in to authenticity… perhaps I will have some success telling a story that is hard to tell.

Ten year old me was an avid reader… books, you see gave me the greatest escape. I could settle into a book and suddenly be miles away. But, really… the only hope I had for my childhood was to simply survive. The “open door to my future” did not come until my sophomore year in high school, when I moved in permanently with my grandparents.

I’ve never spent any time then… or now… immersed in self-pity. Do I wish things had been different for me? Some days yes… (especially, when I have to figure out how to unpack the past and talk about it in any fashion…sigh) but most days not at all and though it has taken me a long time to say this… I very much like the person I am today… a person who still loves to read and most definitely is a survivor!

I think that 10 year old me would love what I am today… a confident, independent woman. I think that 10 year old who had no confidence for so many things, herself included, has found the confidence to say yes to things, and, perhaps more importantly, to say no to things as well..without worries of repercussions. I think that 10 year old me would love that I make myself a priority for some part of each day. I think 10 year old me would love how I am working through this year learning how to be more authentic with myself… a big part of which is learning to temper my inner critic. I think 10 year old me would be amazed that I am like myself…lots! And that I am learning to nurture those moments like the treasure they are!

But there are fun then and now things as well… I think 10 year old me would be shocked at how I now have an entire wardrobe made by me… that I wear regularly and LOVE! (10 Year Old Me thought ready-to-wear clothes that were not “second hand” were a wonder!)

I think 10 year old me would really wonder how I can like to read books that aren’t about horses…(for the longest time 10 year old me thought that Black Beauty was the be all, end all of books!)

I think that 10 year old me might wonder why I don’t spend time outdoors galloping around… or singing silly songs… (10 year old me could belt out all the “jingles!” and I still have perfect recall of all the words of this ditty as well as practically perfect recall of every episode of Schoolhouse Rock!)

I think that 10 year old me who struggled mightily with math would be in awe of my mad math skills today!

All in all… I am so grateful to that 10 year old girl who knew that escape and survive was the best solution then…and to the me now who realizes that it is okay for the past to stay in the past. That while that past made me what I am, it does not make up the minutes of my day today. And that makes then and now so much better!

Thank you for visiting this month… I will be. back on Wednesday with some Skirt Knitting updates!


Friday Finds | 5.12.23

Friday Finds | 5.12.23

Last week’s break was such a good thing for me… mentally. I did not blog and I did not spend much time on social media… the total time I spent was picking photos for two IG posts from Erie. Posting and not scrolling seems selfish as I am writing this today. But being away from social media has given me lots to think about and while I am not at all ready to give up my blog, perhaps I am ready to give up social media.

But while I mull all that over in my brain… I do have some AMAZING finds for you this week! Things that will get you outside, give you things to think about, and perhaps discover something new! Let’s get started:

Thing One —

Tomorrow is Global Big Day! That’s right, another bird count day… an important one because we are at the peak of migration season! Recording the birds you see or hear is super fun… and super easy!  All the “how” details are here so get out there and look for birds!

Thing Two —

This one has been loudest in my brain. I have listened to this episode twice and I have it saved so I can listen again. It is the Emergence Podcast discussion with Jenny Odell about time. I am on the waitlist for her book so I can delve deeper into her thoughts on time. One thing I know for sure, I have been working on incorporating more vertical time into my day… less horizontal time and my gosh, I love it!

Thing Three (a) —

This week, The Slowdown podcast has done something amazing… Major Jackson has spent the week discussing poetry with a guest host… a young guest host! It has been so much fun! I have LOVED the poems the kids have selected, I have LOVED the conversations the kids had about their love of poetry, and I have really LOVED the poetry word games that Major Jackson played with the kids each day. If you have children in your life… queue up The Slowdown and introduce them to the joy of poetry!

Thing Three (b) —

It has been the week for Discovering Youth Poets! Twitter has become less of a hellscape since I discovered Joseph Fasano and his “daily poetry thread” But really, his poetry prompts for kids might be my favorite and have blown me away! And he has a prompt for Mother’s Day!

And there you have my finds for today… enjoy your weekend and Happy Mother’s Day! I will be back on Monday with a new Museum of Me exhibit!

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.10.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.10.23

Greetings Unravelers!

It felt good to have a bit of a break from all things electronic, although I did miss you all. I am trying to catch up on blog reading… a little bit each day. I should be all caught up soon!

My list for the week is looking good… all the laundry is done, so I feel caught up on some things but you know those damned weeds did not take a vacation, so I am still (always?) pulling weeds!

I think (fingers crossed) that I have my last PT session today. It has been so amazing how some simple, targeted things can make such a huge difference! Am I pain free? No, but it is so much better than it was and each week is a bit better than the one before.

Hermoine’s Everyday Socks in Miss Bab’s in Zombie Prom (I think!)

I mentioned that I did more knitting than ever on a vacation… I have a sock and just over a half to prove it! I have not given that second sock much “air time” since I got home because my “night time knitting” has been consumed with Gnome Housing (as you can see above!) Yes!! I have the house done… it now needs some embroidery to perfect it…think ivy covered cottage!) It is a good size! (and I am contemplating a two story version with more windows!!) But before any new housing plans, I have a Mystery Gnome that I am eagerly anticipating!

Before I left for Erie, I ordered some yarn from Holst Garn figuring it would be arriving this week… silly me! Helle Holst and crew swiftly packed up my yarn and it arrived while we were in Erie (7 days after ordering… from Denmark… just saying.) Sunday I began the swatching process… in the round… with a US4 and US5. Once I had knit a nice tube, I steeked it and then gave it a bath. Monday I began Swatch Measuring! (of course my gauge is my gauge and no where near Nell’s gauge… thank god for Knitty Maths!) I think a bottom up skirt might be a bit tricky for fitting (we shall see) but Nell has really great instructions (and even offers to help if you need it with gauge, math, and the fit you want!)  So I cast on on Monday night… a plethora of stitches. I love the start and her way of avoiding twisting your cast on… I feel like this will be a well worn piece in my wardrobe… and I love the color – Tides Nightshade! It feels like a LOT of knitting… but decreasing instead of increasing is a plus! Ha!

A newborn Shaker Rag Skirt…in the perfect denim-y blue!

Reading has been a bit of a mixed bag… some things I loved…Tin Man by Sarah Winman… stop everything and read this book now! As well as Beaverland… so so good! (they were both 5-star reads for me.) One I liked, but gosh does it need some editing: The Covenant of Water. Some things I did not love so much… The Boys and Babel… just did not work for me. But that is okay, because at night I am reading a new Netgalley book: Return to Valetto… I am about a third of the way in and so far, so good. And in my ears whilst weeding is Richard Osman’s latest Thursday Murder Club Mystery…I have just begun, but I have loved the previous installments so I have great expectations for The Bullet That Missed!

So there you have my update… what about you? What is at the top of your list for making this week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

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