Friday Finds | 3.18.22

Friday Finds | 3.18.22

Whew, Friday… it seems like eons since you were here!

It’s been a week… of all the weather (at least here in Pittsburgh) and all the heartbreaking news. We were happy to join in this week in making a donation for Ukraine to Brother’s Brother. Even though it feels like what we donate won’t make a difference, this delightfully reminded me that if we all drop something in the bucket… we can collectively make a difference.

Things that helped me get through this week…

Sewing:  My goodness, was it a very good distraction. I am not through my sewing pile, but I have made some good progress.

On Monday, someone commented to me about me making the Agnes pjs out of linen and wearing them more than at home. What?! Sorry but there is zero chance of that ever happening… LOL At least not while Sew House Seven’s Free Range Slacks exist!! Those are my Pjs You Can Wear Out Of The House pants! Really, I have sewn 3 pairs and am in the process of making a 4th pair as I type! They are the most comfortable pants ever (although not for sleeping) but for everyday wear they are my perfect pants! But if you are wondering what might be the perfect pants for you… The Foldline has you covered with their Trousers Issue. And if you sew, you should absolutely subscribe to their weekly news letter. It contains such great pattern reviews and such useful information!

Listening: I discovered a new podcast last week… NPR’s Book of the Day. Small, bite-sized podcasts about books. What could be better? I have added a book or two to my “read soon” list. Thank you, NPR!

On top of that, audiobooks – this week I have been listening to Olga Tokarcuz’s Flights. I think it is always good to read books that remind you really how not smart you are. It keeps one humble. And Olga is keeping me very, very humble this week and yet, I cannot stop because I keep hoping that I will connect the dots. Ahh, the hopes of the reader, right? lol

Inspiration: I really like reading about what other makers are doing and recently Katrina Rodabaugh shared some new things she has coming… classes – even an online class in which I am I am very interested. I also have loved her sharing what she has been reading each week! (if you don’t get her newsletter, it’s really a treat!)

And for some close to home inspiration, Tuesday night I am attending an event (IN PERSON!! What???) at the Carnegie Library: Chutz-Pow! Super Heroes of the Holocaust. I am excited to listen to Wayne Wise and Marcel Walker talk about their comic book series!

That is all I have to share this week. I hope you all have an incredible weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!

 

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.16.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.16.22

Greetings Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday! Perhaps you remember that test knit I did last month. Well, I can finally share it with you all!

I present MaryJane Mucklestone’s Lakeway Beret! As always, it is a joy to knit one of MaryJane’s patterns and this one is a color work masterpiece! I felt like I was painting with yarn as I knit away. I simply love the natural colors that MaryJane selected! It has quickly become my favorite hat! Light weight and so warm! In the rush to knit so many other hats, I had forgotten how easy fitting a tam is… and how it does not give you “hat hair”!!

Lakeway Beret in the sunset

All the details are here on my Ravelery project page. (sorry about that… beware the flashing icons as you sign in)

Aside from that, I have picked of Vera’s sock again (as you can see above!) I have the heel turned and am working my way down the foot. A finish is likely this week! Woo! (just in time for it to NOT be sock weather! hahaha)

And over the weekend, I spun up a bit of yarn to finish my Hitchhiker. It works well, I think.

It practically matches my “starting yarn”!

But this week my focus has been on sewing – pajama sewing specifically – Monday I finished started and finished the pants. Tuesday I started the top and will hopefully finish up the top today. I have the hard bits to go… the collar, the facings, and those joyous button holes! Those pajama pants pattern alterations though… perfection! They fit perfectly and I can’t wait to wear them. They are so soft and comfortable… and NO SIDE SEAMS! And that fabric… well those are from a really lovely sheet set that I got more than 20 years ago from Meijer’s in Holland, MI – at the time they carried a line of products from Katie Brown… these sheets were just divine (and I am pretty sure I bought them when they were on clearance) but then I got a different sized bed and they got packed away. I could not get rid of them because they were in such great condition. And I am so glad I did not because they are just the perfect pjs!

All ready for a collar and facings!
Complete with the original tag!

I have enjoyed sitting at my sewing machine this week. (Good thing, because I have lots of sewing still to complete! HA)The reading this week was so delightful! Two brilliant finishes! I have slowed down my reading a bit, and I am honestly enjoying it so much more. I love giving myself a bit of a pause as I read to digest what I am reading. As well as a bit of a pause when I finish a book to savor the joy that the book has brought me.

These Precious Days: EssaysThese Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is only the second book I have read by Ann Patchett, but I think I need to read all of her books!

These Precious Days is a collection of essays… and if a writer can connect with someone talking about something the reader has not done, has not experienced… and make the reader feel like they are there… or even better… makes you think that you might need to try something new, that is truly good writing.

That is exactly how Patchett made me feel… even though I had not done (or had no interest in) some of the things she talked about, she packed my bags and brought me along… and I had so much fun.

I highly recommend this book! Really… you need more Patchett in your life!

Cloud Cuckoo LandCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What an incredible story!!

I had my doubts as I started out…it took me a bit to figure out the characters and the times, but once I figured out who was who and when they were. I just followed the trail that Doerr led me on… twists and turns, for sure… so pay attention, but you will not be disappointed in how this ends.

My favorite character… Zeno. Oh my gosh, Zeno! And Omeir… he really worked his way into my heart.

If you want to go on an epic journey with a book, about people who love a book… read this book!

I highly, highly recommend!


And there you have my making. What about you? What is filling your week?

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


Thoughts for a Monday | 3.14.22

Thoughts for a Monday | 3.14.22

Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truer words were never spoken, no? The weather certainly brought that point home in my neighborhood this weekend,,,with an exclamation point! We have had rain, snow (the official total is 8″ but I think we got a bit more than that in my neighborhood), ice, winds, more winds, and even a bit of a warm weather teaser to usher all that crazy weather in. I am hesitant to say this… but it was a balmy 29° F this morning for Sherman’s walk. Yes, balmy! After a weekend that spent too much time in the single digits I will take a balmy 29°!

But really, I am not complaining about the weather. I am hopeful that this mornings peace talks are more serene and perhaps even fruitful (although, I am not holding my breath) my heart and prayers are with the Ukrainian people.

I tried valiantly to ignore the savage reality this weekend and engaged in The Great Pattern Cut Out. Yes, I cut out patterns… pajama’s (hopefully a wearable muslin… in wait for it…a vintage set of sheets, HA!), two sweatshirts, and another pair of Free Range pants. Lots of cutting… oof.

I don’t have a table big enough to cut on, so yes, I commandeer a good portion of the living room floor and begin the process. Hopefully I am getting bonus points for practicing this tricky move that Kym showed us last month! FYI… I can’t do it yet, but I am trying!

And when I needed a bit more than that, I discovered sew-ga thanks to Bernina’s We All Sew. FYI… Head Rolled Hems and Seam Rippers are excellent to get the kinks out after you have been hunched over fabric, pinning out patterns for hours.

And now I have my work cut out for me (literally, lol) for the week. I am starting with the muslin and will move on from there. Why the muslin you ask? Well… button holes, oy. I want them over and done with…ugh! One thing I have been able to do with this pattern is what I hope are some very good pattern alterations (thanks to excellent finished garment measurements) I have very high hopes for a very wearable muslin that will need little to no alterations!

I hope your Monday is productive! I will see you all back here on Wednesday with a knitting update (and perhaps even a sewing update! Ha!)

 

 

Museum of Me… the travel edition | March 2022

Museum of Me… the travel edition | March 2022

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Yes, today we are heading to a destination that feels light years away. Back to my pre-children life…and specifically, What I Used to Do At Work!

Once upon a time… after I was a struggling waitress, and before there were kids… I used to be a travel agent.

This was back in prehistoric travel times when travel agencies had specific computers that you could access an airlines schedule… via each individual airline (AA, UA, USAir, etc… each entity would set up an office with a terminal… yes, one of those very same clunky old things they had at the airport counter back in Olden Times)

I actually went to “travel school” at the Herman Miller Headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan (taught by the lovely woman who was, at that time, responsible for all their corporate travel). It was curiously a lengthy course, 6-weeks as I recall and it was not free! I think it cost in the area of a whopping $150 (which in the mid 80’s was a good bit of money, at least on “waitress pay!”) Anyway, I remember being more than a bit overwhelmed. Not only was there oodles of things to learn, it was the first time I ever worked with a computer. And there was so much memorization… the most important of which was all the airport codes. (Life pre-Google required a lot of brain bandwidth! lol) If you did not know the airport codes, there was no way to look them up on the computer. Really. So LOTS of memorization and yes, there were tests… about which I remember stressing over… greatly. But I passed and went on to use almost none of the things I learned in the 6-week course (outside of the airport codes) because back in that galaxy… technology was moving at warp speed. (Yes, beam me up Scotty speed!) Within a couple of months of being hired by Pathfinder’s Travel (which is still in operation and owned by the lovely, lovely, lovely gentleman who hired me) the airlines moved from having a “terminal” in our office to allowing travel agents to access their system directly via a DOS computer… (So all the things I learned for ONE airline, I now needed to learn for ALL the airlines… or at least all the airlines that serviced the airports in my area.)

I did a mix travel coordination for both corporate travelers and leisure travelers…both fun but very different clients! However, neither was the reason why any sane person would go into the travel industry. One went for the perks… which back in prehistoric times were really awesome. My office had a regular cache of dozens of tickets – honestly, more than we could use in the time allotted – and they were replenished on a regular basis.

This did not include accommodations, but a couple of phone calls and you could pair a free ticket with free or greatly reduced accommodations, car rentals, and touristy things like museums and this was how I saw a small bit of the world. Literally. Which for a girl from Holland, Michigan, living in a family that did not vacation… anywhere… it was so amazing!

NYC, Washington DC, California. Florida. Washington, Idaho, and a large chunk of Canada. Japan. British ruled Hong Kong. Mainland China (a mere two years after they opened up for tourist travel… which is a story all by itself). The Netherlands, England and Scotland are just some of the highlights of my “work benefits”.

Most of this travel I coordinated with Rachel, Heidi and Sam’s dad… before we had Rachel, Heidi, and Sam… he would be working and if there was a free ticket and I could join him away I went. I liked this kind of travel…last minute, no itinerary, no group… and most of the time it was really just me… he’d be working and I would be on my own. My gosh, good times.

I have had the incredible fortune to stay at places like  The Roman Camp in Callendar Scotland (my gosh, it was divine), The Grand Hotel in Amsterdam with all it’s incredible history, The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, and The Hotel Intercontinental in Kowloon (where we had our own butler… what?!?) with a view of Victoria Harbor at night that was just magical. And I have seen Kabuki Theatre in the Ginza and stayed in a hotel next-door to the US Embassy in Tokyo (When Walter Mondale was the ambassador!)

Sometimes the perks of being just a travel agent were incredible… and they helped build some of the most amazing memories ever. Like the time I went to a koffee house in Amsterdam, but really wanted to be in a coffee house, and the lovely lovely people who enjoyed my faux pax… and just gave me coffee… yes for free. Or the time I decided I wanted to visit the Ueno Park Zoo in Tokyo…during morning rush hour…but how incredibly helpful every single person was to this very naive American…. so helpful that even the rush of workers coming up from the subway all made space for me to make my way down the stairs. Added to those memories were the life skills I learned… how to exciting it is to step outside your comfort zone and be immersed in new things.

Good times… such very good times. (And all before cell phones… yes, you read that right, before cell phones!)

Once we had Rachel… work soon ended. I did not “earn enough” to cover daycare expenses and thus began my life of Being  Just a Mom for a good number of years.

And when I finally did go back to work, the travel industry had changed dramatically (with a significant reduction in those perks) and so I set my feet on a different pathway… with fond memories of what once was my my life in a galaxy far far away.

These days, the extent of my travel is limited to a quick trip to Erie… or an annual trip to Michigan. Would I like to do overseas travel again? Yes! There are so many places I’d like to go and see.

A huge thanks to Kym for these Museum of Me prompts!

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

 

 

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Happy Wednesday, Unravelers!

I do not have a whole lot of making to share with you all this week. I do have an almost finished gnome (the hat needs a wee bit of steam.) But my March Never Not Gnoming installment is finished. Oh, Gnome You Didn’t. Meet Gnellie…and my back story for her is that she is the younger sister of Gnutmeg (the family resemblance is amazing!) and her Gnana gnits and spins – thus her darling handspun scarf! Ha! Confession time… I have not had so much fun knitting as I have making these Gnomes. I am contemplating my April installment. (And for those wondering, yes I have knit Gnellie before – for Steve’s mom… I am so happy to have my own Gnellie on my mantle now!)

I have also been slowly adding “teeth” to my Hitchhiker but I have not picked up my second sock at all this week…and that means there have been no mistakes made! haha!

It has been a quiet week of reading here as well (sort of) I somehow forgot to cancel an audiobook hold when the physical book came through… so imagine my surprise when I got the notification that The Sentence audiobook was available! And loving Louise Erdrich as much as I do the opportunity to listen to her read The Sentence was just too great to pass up (perhaps forgetting to cancel that hold was not a mistake at all!) I loved “reading it with my ears” as much as I loved reading it with my eyes. I also spent quite a bit of time immersed in poetry this week… and that, my friends, is never, ever a bad way to spend a week.

UnravelingUnraveling by Brandon Leake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have listened to Unraveling several times now and each time I hear something new…something moving, something sacred, something that causes me to stop and think.

I had no clue who Brandon Leake is (He won America’s Got Talent) but his poetry is moving. Perhaps even more so because Brandon reads his poetry.

My favorite of Unraveling… Breonna. It is such a beautiful tribute.

If you are looking for a fresh new voice in poetry, I think you will enjoy this collection of poems… very much.

I want to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for this ARC of Unraveling.

(P.S. if you want to watch Brandon recite Breonna, you can watch him here starting at 4:15)


What about you? What is keeping you sane this week?

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


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