August Riffing | 8.12.22

August Riffing | 8.12.22

August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

We finally got some rain this week and that rain ushered in some cooler weather as well. Ahhh! A break in the heat and humidity was very welcome… even if it is brief! But the days are also visibly shorter, and despite my trying to ignore that fact… it is a reality. Autumn is creeping into my thoughts… and while I love that… I am going to keep my thoughts firmly in these days of summer.

Reclaiming  —

I mentioned last week that I was feeling very finished with my word this year… but this week, I took all the ideas that Ali Edward’s team shared and actually began again… just like I did in January, but with my August self. And a new thing popped out this week… one that was incredibly unexpected and most welcome! I noted that my mental health is less, well… mental-health-issue-y… I noted that I am sleeping better. I am worrying less. And this week… well I inhaled so many deep breaths of August! An unexpected Full Bonus… days (weeks? months?) full of better mental health, not at all what I expected but I am welcoming it in and I will spend the rest of the month making a bit more space for me.

Ignoring —

For those of you who pay attention to blog schedules… you might note that the second Friday of the month is Museum of Me post day. The post for this week was, for me, an impossible one to prepare (and I was truly at a loss in trying to figure out a replacement exhibit.) I tried. And so I gave myself permission to let it go and move on. (See above) Perhaps someday I can revisit this post suggestion (A photo from your childhood/youth that most capture the YOU of today) but I hope that you will go and see what all others have shared!

Focaccia (making) —

In my quest to bake, one thing on my list is to bake a good focaccia. One that has a crisp crust that surrounds a light crumb. I have been reading lots of recipes all over the internet. I also spent some time reading my Peter Reinhart Baking Bible and decided that my starting point would be his focaccia suggestions… and I began yesterday. It has been slowly rising overnight in the refrigerator and later today I will get it tucked into a pan. It is a lengthy process… but I am here to learn! Thus far, my dough is doing exactly what he said it should which gives me hope. Maybe you will see some focaccia slices on our happy hour table tonight! (Which will absolutely be OUTSIDE! It is glorious out today!)

Finding (time) —

Carole mentioned something she was doing this week that struck a cord with me. And while I am not using a habit tracker, at the beginning of the month I made a reminder on my iPhone in a similar fashion. She wanted to do more knitting… and she is succeeding! My thing I want to do more of? Spinning! Every afternoon a little reminder pops up on my iPhone asking me if I have done any spinning today… if I haven’t, it is my cue to go sit down for a few minutes and spin a bit. Before I know it, 15 (or more) minutes have passed and my bobbin is getting fuller as the week has gone on! It is funny what a little reminder can do… and that makes me wonder what else I could be reminding myself about! (Perhaps a morning reminder telling me that I am more than worth it… whatever the it is!)

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.10.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.10.22

Greetings, dear Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here we are moving quickly through August…how on earth is the the 10th already?

Anyway, I have some knitting to share with you this week. I managed to get the back of my sweater completed and I am working on the front now. The rows go quickly when you are doing short rows, don’t they? I will be well on Sleeve Island next week! Woot!

I also have finished my August Gnome. (and there is a NEW MYSTERY GNOME coming in September!!)

Marly with his Fiddlehead Fern hat and stand out beard!

Marl Meets Gnome FTW! If you are looking for a quick project that is not super fiddly, this is the gnome for you! I am calling him Marly… because he absolutely is that! Eventually, he will sit in my office where I paint and I am hoping that his whimsy inspires me to not take myself too seriously, to lighten up, and remember that painting is fun!

I know that last week was a slim reading week… it happens, right? This week however… I have all the finishes!

The Memoirs of Stockholm SvenThe Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know how this book crossed my radar, but I am so glad it did! I quickly fell in love with Sven. I so enjoyed how this story moves from 1916 through the late 40’s and all of Sven’s adventures!

**Spoiler Alert** Eberhard, the dog, dies and it is heartbreaking.

Yet through all the hard times, Sven’s friends and family remain a constant for him. I love the letters to his sister, Olga. I love that his niece, Helga comes to stay with him with her daughter. But most of all I love the relationship he forges with his great-niece, Skuld. Sven, “Uncle” Tapio, and Skuld become the most lovely little family. And as Sven shares his memories, I could not help but be drawn in to their rich, warm world.

I highly recommend this beautiful story!

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: StoriesToday a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories by Hilma Wolitzer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book came on my radar thanks to a friend (Bonny)… and I thought that a collection of short stories would be the perfect before bed reading. It was, very much!

I found that I could relate to some of the stories more than others, but Wolitzer’s writing is snappy and on point (even in 2022!)

If you are looking for some “potato chip” reading… this is it!

Build Your House Around My BodyBuild Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not stopped thinking about this story since I finished it…. for me, the sign of a very good book!

This book appeared on my radar when I saw that a friend (Margene) had read it… and my library had an audio copy!

It is a mystery. It is a ghost story. It is a revenge story. There is time travel. There is so much folk lore. And so many layers… and Kupersmith unwraps them masterfully! I did not want to stop listening!

I originally gave this book 4-stars, but because I cannot stop thinking about it, I have amended my rating to 5-stars. And really… read this book!

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family KeepsakeAll That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Originally, I struggled to get into this story… I was listening to it and that format just did not work for me. So I got on the list for the ebook and waited.

In between I read The Love Songs of WEB Dubois and I think that was the perfect book to prepare me to settle in to read All That She Carried. They fit well together and the change in format to reading with my eyes worked much better with this book. There are images to see that make the reading more powerful.

I do very much recommend!

The Rising Tide (Vera Stanhope, #10)The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Get your wellies on and grab your umbrella and come along with Vera as she and her very able crew work to solve another mystery.

This mystery takes place on Holy Island and, of course, I wanted to know more about this curious place where the tides can obstruct the causeway…either keeping you in, or out.

A weekend with friends and a suicide opens this story for us. Or is it a suicide? Vera has her suspicions!

I love Vera so very much. She is so lovable. Cleeves does a masterful job of drawing the reader into Vera’s team as you all work together to solve the mystery.

I won’t share more and won’t give away the ending… but it is brilliant! I highly recommend this latest installment to the Vera Stanhope series!

I want to thank Netgalley, Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for providing this ebook for review.

That is all I have to share with you today! What about you? What are you binging on this week?

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

Sometimes Monday | 8.8.22

Sometimes Monday | 8.8.22

Is for catching up and contemplation… and I am hoping that my catching up will be easy. I need to wash kitchen floors and clean bathrooms and, if the rain holds off, give Sherman a bath. (Hint… wet dog on wet day is not a good combination… ever, lol)

Some of my contemplation surrounds my painting class. I finished my homework on Saturday and shared in the private FB group… again first to post. And finally on Sunday, a few others shared their homework. I really like seeing what others did with the same lesson… so I can learn from how they interpreted the lesson and from the discussions that happen over each others paintings.

Here is my painting. It is the only image I painted and I am wondering what I am missing because one of the people who posted their homework to the FB group shared that the painting was her 8th attempt. I am not looking for ooh’s and aah’s on my painting… I just am wondering what I might have done differently if I tried this same painting 8 times. Perhaps the answer will come to me as I am scrubbing the kitchen floor… lol.

And with that… it is time for me to get those catch up chores out of the way so I can finish my August Gnome… stay tuned, he will be revealed on Wednesday!

Happy Monday all!




August Riffing | 8.12.22

Another Friday RIFF | 8.5.22

Welcome to the first Friday in August! I have had an incredible week. So read on and see what I did this week!

Refocus and Recenter —

I have changed up my morning meditation time a bit. My time now includes reading a couple of Derek Walcott poems, ignoring the darker mornings, and setting my focus on August days. Ignoring the heat is a challenge, but then I look at all the tomatoes turning red and the heat does not seem quite so bad. So rather than wishing away the month… I am going to focus on the good things that August brings.

Likewise, I am going to recenter myself and my word. Last month my word felt very finished to me and I was contemplating five months more of…. coasting? Silly me! Enter the brilliance of Ali Edwards and her OLW Team of Word Super Hero’s! I watched the videos (yes, more than one) and took a page of notes about Beginning Again. August me… not January me… re-centering my word right now. Best phrase of all the videos… Welcome to the deep breath of August. I am taking that as my mantra for this month as I contemplate what beginning again looks like with all the work I have done this year! One week in and I am already seeing new possibilities for full!

Itty-bitty steps —

That would be me…as I paint…or don’t as the case might be. I did watch the second painting lesson but, more importantly, I listened. Surowicz not only shows the how of painting via the videos, he shares the how and the why in his words. This week’s takeaway… plan where you are going to go before you pick up your brush. Wow! Yeah. That struck a huge chord with me… huge! Linking ideas and actions are not things I thought about with painting! Good things to think about especially in light of my homework critique that I watched on Tuesday, it was good but…there was that moment when he talked about the importance of planning which I did not understand until I watched the new lesson. Light bulb moment for me!! I have several things that I wrote down to practice this week but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and budding painters! (Please forgive my twist there, dear Robert Burns) If you guessed that there was no physical painting practice this week, you’d be correct. However, there was lots of thinking about planning and I have made time today to put the practice on paper! I promise to share next week.

Fluff into yarn —

What did entirely occupy my time this week? Plying up the singles I spun! And ply I did! On my new Starling! My goal was to spin thin… consistently… and for the most part, I did! Consistent singles makes plying so much easier. This skein took me roughly 3 hours to finish and it all went on ONE bobbin! It is getting a bit of a soak this morning, and I have no idea what the finished yardage will be but it will bloom and shrink a bit in the finishing. I am not sure there will be enough to knit a sweater, but I really love the muted colors of this skein! Stay tuned!

Friday Libation Ideas —

Every so often Happy Hour Libations seem… well… in the all.too.much.the.same. category. So this week I have been contemplating something different…something with Aperol! Last night we sampled my take on a Paper Plane. Oh gosh… so good! Citrus-y. Refreshing. Lightly herbaceous. So perfect for a hot humid August! Tonight though, I have another cocktail on the horizon inspired because I have a basil plant that is overly abundant right now, so for tonight’s sipper, I am thinking about trying a Basil Daisy. I will share how it turned out on IG later today!

And that is all I have for this week, I will see you all back here on Monday. Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.3.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.3.22

Greetings, Gentle Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday! I have a very brief update today, but one full of good things!

One sock is *almost* done! I have two “stripes” to go and then I just need to work out the heel depth, which should be easier than it was on Sam’s sock… since the recipient is conveniently located! Ha!

But what I have been spending my time doing is some spinning and I have three full bobbins to show for it! Two are ready for plying, which will happen later today! And then I will get back to working on my sweater spin… I have a good plan and hopefully will have the spinning done this month. My sweater spin… the fiber is from Hipstrings. It is their Buoy Signature blend – BFL/Shetland/Manx Loagtan and it is a joy to spin! Katie gave me some incredible inspiration on what to knit… DRK Everyday Sweater!

Spinning inspiration… a project and a new toy… exactly what I need to stay motivated on this project!

That’s right, this week I have a new addition to tell you all about. Several months ago I put my name on the list for a Starling… and last month, my name was called! Woot! I absolutely love my Sparrow but the bigger capacity of the Starling is much desired. Can you say ply all the singles? Wooo! The biggest bonus of these two e-spinners… they *both* fit in my Räskog cart! Seriously. That is the smallest footprint ever for two wheels and all their accessories!

No finished reads this week… but I am immersed in two fantastic books. first Ann Cleeves latest Vera mystery… which I got from Netgalley. It is classic Vera and so very very good. I am almost done and still have not figured out who did it!

And I am just over halfway through a most curious book… Build Your House Around My Body. It is not at all what I expected… a mystery, a ghost story, and so much more! I am on a very twisty and winding path… and I am loving it!

What about you all? What are you loving this week?

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

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