Hello March | 3.6.23

Hello March | 3.6.23

March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.
L.M. Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery’s quote seems to fit perfectly how March arrived here in Pittsburgh. February departed with tiny leaves emerging on slender branches that seem eager to welcome spring! The Song Sparrow Song Wars pierce the morning quiet of my morning walk with Sherman. I am also savoring the sunshine we have had since March blew in!

So, Dear March, I have some things I’d like to accomplish this month… it is not an extensive list, but rather one that is steeped in reality… you know, the reality that screams that I am not the much younger version of me who could do more with no body ill-effects. Sigh.

  1. Spring Clean the house… half a room at a time. I cleaned my closet *and* did the spring cleaning in our bedroom (note, I did not do the blinds, sigh) and I paid for it all day on Saturday. So I am breaking down the spring cleaning to avoid the “paying for it” portion. Getting older is truly not for the faint of heart!
  2. Sew… yes! I have a modest list of “spring supplements” for my wardrobe. Again, this will be a gradual process… starting today when I wash my material. I got some gorgeous sweatshirt material from Blackbird Fabrics and I have plans for a couple of Toaster Sweaters!
  3. Mammogram… which I have scheduled for later this month! (I am thankful for last month me for not procrastinating on this!)
  4. And a visit to the Sports Medicine Doctor for my hip pain. Oh my gosh, I can only say that after #1, I am even more eager to see her! And can I just say how excited I am that she is a Doctor of Osteopathy!! Holistic care is exactly what I am hoping for here. I am open to any and all suggestions she might have and I am especially hoping for some PT. Kym gave me some hope last week and I am eager to move from the living in pain to moving beyond the pain days!
  5. Speaking of eager… I am very eager to join the Read With Us Gang and discuss The Shipping News later this month! This will be the first book I have read twice before discussing! It is a book that is full of so many fascinating characters, I think it will be a fantastic discussion! (Hint… there is still more than enough time to read The Shipping News – it is available on Hoopla and you could join us!)

And so, Dear March… welcome!


Friday Finds | 3.3.23

Friday Finds | 3.3.23

The First March Friday… is very March-like. We have winds heading our way… and rain. And windy March days always, always brings Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup With Rice book to the forefront of my mind. I especially love the poem for March:

Or you could just listen to Carole King sing it here!

So bring on those winds… I am ready! Ha!

I did find some really wonderful things recently that I thought I’d share with you all. Little things that crossed my path that made me stop and look, listen, absorb, and yes… share!

First, I discovered a new, entirely delightful podcast from Colorado Public Radio – Terra Firma, which is hosted by CMarie Fuhrman. It falls very much into the Very Good Things Come in Very Small Packages category. Once a week, 7-10 minutes… and listening to it brings the very best kind of pause… you know, the one where you are having an insane day and you just need a breather. I have found this to be the best stress buster ever!

Second, I stumbled upon Candice Hicks by accident… and what a happy accident that was! Either way, I am utterly fascinated with this embroidery series she did: Notes For String Theory. This is so The Magic Of A Blank Page… no?

My final find was a boon for me, but I thought you might like it as well! Eons ago… and I mean eons… like back in the very early 2000’s, Chico’s sold an amazing linen shirt. They were spendy… $75 for a shirt was a lot for me… then especially. But I scrimped and saved and bought two of them – a glorious mustardy-green and a basic black. And they were truly workhorses. I still wear those shirts but they are looking… well, worn… especially the mustardy-green one that I wear most. For a couple of years I have been looking for a shirt pattern that emulates that shirt… the fit and the details. I feared I would have to attempt to make a pattern from one of my shirts… not a thing I really wanted to do because of all the pieces of a shirt. Well, Muna and broad inboxed me this week with their Tarawi Shirt pattern. It is *almost* identical. The shirt tails are the only thing not the same, but changing that would be so simple! The thing I love about Muna and broad was this sentence from their email: “We really wanted your body to be included!” Their patterns have the largest size range, multiple bra-cup sizes, and yes… even arm sizes… to ensure that you can sew something that fits your body.

And there you have it, friends… a few Friday Finds to start your weekend off! Have a good one and I will see you back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.1.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.1.23

Greetings Unravelers!

It’s Wednesday. It’s March. And I have some making *thoughts* to share!

I have been contemplating that gorgeous corduroy I got some months ago… that I have done nothing with. I had the idea that it would work for this pattern and I even made a muslin. But, I don’t like how the muslin fits, at all. But!! I have been spending lots of time thinking about what that corduroy wants to be and I have an idea in my head, but my endless Googling patterns has not found anything that matches what is in my mind… so I am going to make my own pattern. I know! What?!? I am contemplating making a sewing pattern… who am I?!?

I am still knitting… of course! But I have not knit a stitch on the handspun sweater. I am going to take Kym’s advice and give it a good soak and blocking before going any further but I have not gotten around to it… yet.

Instead, I have been working away on my Base12 Hitchhiker! I am 30-teeth in and loving it. I am about to transition to another color change and it is pure joy knitting!

I also started Gnedward… he needs a beard, some arms, and FEET… and he is going to have the best story! Stay tuned!

I have also been diligently practicing my “broken edge” watercolor techniques… every morning. I rewatched videos from Rick Surowicz. I watched YouTube videos of other watercolor painters. I bought some inexpensive brushes and got to work! The new *cheap* brushes and practice have been paying off! Yesterday, the brushes, the paints, and my hands all worked *together* with my brain! Haha!

So… lots of making thoughts and even some making!

Reading has been amazing! I finished my second listen of Dani Shapiro’s Signal Fires and I am positive that this will be the best book I read all year. It is so incredibly good! If you are on the fence about this book… get off it and go pick it up! Really! It is a MUST READ!

And thanks to Signal Fires, yesterday I started listening to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and I purchased Edward Hirsch’s The Night Parade. Really, when a book you read sparks you to read another book (or two) that is a good book!

At night, I am well into James Comey’s soon-to-be-published book; Central Park West: A Crime Novel. I am reading a copy from Netgalley. It is a fast paced book, a murder mystery in NYC including an assistant district attorney in the SDNY office. I am about halfway in… but of course I have thoughts. I expected it to be better, actually. I will finish it but perhaps my expectations are too high for Mr. Comey’s writing abilities. I don’t know, but there you have it.

And that is is for me today. What about you? What making thoughts are you having this week?

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

An Authenticity Manifesto | February 2023

An Authenticity Manifesto | February 2023

Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. — Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet.

I hinted Friday that this month turned into a delightful adventure. But it certainly did not start out that way!

Initially, I got very excited about having a manifesto and my excitement expanded with the list of manifesto’s that Ali Edward’s team put together. I initially settled on this manifesto and I was feeling very “done and dusted” for the month. And then I tried to recall something… anything… from my selected manifesto and it all that feeling of being done disintegrated. I pulled out the print out of Brené Brown’s Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted but even with diligent reading, I was struggling to retain and, more importantly, recall it if I did not have it right in front of me.

It then occurred to me that only a manifesto that I spend the time to think about, create, and use as a reminder will actually accomplish what a manifesto should. I needed to make it my own and memorize it so that it becomes part of my days.

I started by making two lists… one of I Am things. And one list of I Want To Be things. And first and foremost I reminded myself of the wisdom of Rilke… to live the questions, because I have lots of questions, uncertainties, and so many self-inauthenticities. Yet Rilke’s gentle reminder that if I am living the questions, gradually I will discover that I am the answers, the certainty, and yes… An Authentic Self!

So I present My Authenticity Manifesto:

Or course my I Am list was miles long… so I did some editing. I think this I Am list is important, because so many of those things I did not always use as a way to identify myself. Many of them are things that I worked at for a very long time…but, as Rilke says, I eventually became the answer.

I selected these I Am’s to remind myself that the I Want To Be list is entirely possible… if I just keep going, trying, imagining, doing!

And so I have settled in with my word nicely. Is there work to be done? Absolutely! But I am so excited that I have 10 more months to be with my word.

I am also thankful that Carolyn provides us all a space to share how our word is progressing. I always find so many ideas and inspiration in the OLW community!

See you all back here on Wednesday!


RIFFing to bid February Adieu | 2.24.23

RIFFing to bid February Adieu | 2.24.23

This week has been a Weather Roller Coaster… we have had temps in the 70’s and the 30’s. Let me just say that this mornings 30° felt bitterly cold after yesterday’s 72° and I was so glad that I had mitts tucked in the pockets of my coat for Sherman’s morning constitutional!

With just four more days of February, I really need to harness the looming closet chaos and rearrange my closet for “Transitional Wardrobe” season… you know the one where the temperature can fluctuate greatly from day to day. So you know what I am doing this weekend! Ha!

Reading… Again —

Signal Fires. Yes, I finished it this week. Yes, I immediately restarted it. This book! The threads that Shapiro begins to pull together as the story progresses… oh my. The writing is so, so good! The second time through, I am paying more attention to the threads and am in awe of how brilliantly this story is crafted. If you have not put this book on your “read soon” list… why not?

Inspired… by ME —

Yes, yes! I have all month long been thinking about my Authenticity Manifesto! Contemplating a manifesto for my word was the prompt from Ali Edwards this month and at first I was all wow… okay! And then I sat down to consider putting one together and it all my initial enthusiasm fell apart. BUT!! I did not let that defeat me! Instead I have spent the month contemplating things and before long I had ideas all over a page of my morning journal. I am eager to share this with you all on Monday, but I just have to say that my word that was feeling not quite right in January began singing to me in February. And this, my friends, is the joy of having a word to carry along with you during the year!

(in)Famous… Gifting —

I took great pleasure this month in matting and framing a couple of my watercolors to gift. I have long loved giving people things I have made, but they have always been wearable items… hand knit socks, scarves, mittens, hats, shawls, cowls, etc. But to give someone something they can hang on a wall is a first for me! I had no idea when I began this new craft how much I would love it! I have been practicing the techniques I am struggling with every morning… a sort of swatching, I suppose. It’s amazing what you can improve with just 15-20 minutes a day of practice! (There is a huge life lesson there… one that I should apply to so many things!)

This is one of the paintings I gifted this month. Who knew that rocks and water could be so delightful to paint!

Fearless… Cooking —

One thing I have become very adept at is adjusting recipes for what I currently have in my fridge and pantry, but that was not always the case. I believed recipes needed to be followed to the letter and if I did not have something… well, most times I did not make it. But, I had a daily routine of calling my nana while I was making dinner and she was a wonder… she could make something incredibly delicious out of practically nothing! And… she was a Master of Recipe Substitutions! So in our conversations, I would say “well, I was going to make this, but I don’t have any of that.” and she’d ask, well do you have x? y? z? and generally I’d have one of those. She eased me into learning how to make good substitutions… a thing that has served me very well over the years, and most especially in Pandemic Times! Ha! Well I used those skills again this week! Kym posted a soup recipe that looked amazing, but I had no kale (okay, I never have kale!!) but I am here to tell you that it is just as good with a can of diced tomatoes and a half of an avocado diced on top! Delish!

This soup was absolutely wonderful… even on a very warm evening!

And with that, dear friends, Happy Friday! Let the weekend begin!! See you all back here on Monday with my February word update!

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