Unraveled Wednesday | 9.29.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.29.21

Hello, Unravelers!

Last week there was little to no making because we were gone for 10-ish days. (There was some sewing and the elastic waist band insertion and hemming of said sewing is on my list for today!)

This week there has been little to no making because we leave Friday for Michigan for 10-ish days. So there are all the things to get ready to go again… plus some extras for the grands!

So what do I have to share with you all this week? Just a passel of freshly laundered hand-knits! Monday was just glorious here in Pittsburgh and I took full advantage of the day. I washed 10 sweaters and one Clapotis and the best part… I dried them all outside. The winds really helped and by the time I was ready to cook dinner, they were all dried!

Maintaining making is more important than the making, right? This week that’s my story! LOL

The reading this week was just so good!

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #17)The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone is back in Three Pines and life could not be better! Or can it? This installment takes us places Gamache and crew have never gone. It was fascinating watching everyone work out the moral dilemma…for some it seemed easy, for others… well, it was some work.

Timely (although I wish we, like Three Pines, were done with COVID!) and thought provoking.

The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon, #12)The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was much happier with this installment of the Allon escapades! He is working on restoring some artwork for The Vatican… and of course someone dies. And that leads Gabriel and his team on a twisting, turning mission. But are they all connected? You must read to find out.

I liked the ending very much and it appears that Gabriel and Chiara are heading back to Israel for good!

I highly recommend this series!

That is all I have for this week… and sadly next week there will be no Unraveled Wednesday. I will be in Michigan making up for lost time with my family.

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave you link below and thank you! See you all back here on  Wednesday, October 13th!

Release | September 2021

Release | September 2021

Everything in life goes back to the basics. — Kron Gracie

This month’s prompt encouraged us to go back to basics with our word.

Okay. So this month I tried to search out “back to basics” with my word and I had some wins!

This year I have really focused on staying in the moment, day, and yes, season. This was a huge change versus old me who was always focused on what is coming next, and yes…lots of time wishing for “my favorite season“. Not so this year… I stayed in summer right up to that last day. Yes, I was happy that as the month wore on, there were a couple of days that I was very comfortable in a sweater. But the release of summer and welcome to fall was a very happy occasion.

I also released the misguided idea that the only thing worth making is home grown. Case in point… tomato jam. In years past we have had such a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes that I can eat and preserve. Not so this year… but boy were we missing some tomato jam on our happy our table! So I let go of the idea that it needed to be home grown tomatoes and did a riff on this recipe… with a couple of cans of diced tomatoes. (The recipe is easy, it is super-tasty, and fills the void on my happy hour spread!) So… releasing misguided ideas worked very well this month. Likewise, since I knew there would be zero chance of being able to stop at a farmers market in the near future, I picked up a bag of apples from TJ’s late last week… there will be some apple baking this week!

Which brings me to the gardening portion of release… I have ripped out all the vegetable plants and have released the notion that there will be a garden next year. I think a pass is absolutely in order because this was a very unproductive garden year. We did not harvest our investments worth of veggies. So I have written in my planner for next April to pass on the garden and I am releasing a sigh of relief at that idea!

The other thing I painfully released was all my container gardens. Yes, they are all empty and tucked away for spring. We leave Friday for Michigan (at long last!!!!) and I did not want to return to dead, straggly plants to tear out. Yes it was painful, but my mid-October self will thank me for doing that work now.

I don’t know if any of this counts as being “back to basics” but it very much feels like it is. Every day life… living in the moment… about as basic as one can get.

I want to thank Carolyn for providing a space for us all to share our Word Journey. Please make sure you stop by this week and see what paths everyone is on this month!

See you all back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!

Falling into Friday | 9.24.21

Falling into Friday | 9.24.21

It feels like Autumn turned off the summer switch and plunged us directly into fall here in Western PA. Late Wednesday afternoon some storms pushed through bringing rain, winds, and much cooler temperatures. Thursday morning was all about the layers for Sherman’s morning constitutional. I was so happy to have a cozy sweater to put on!

Fall brings the return of some of my favorite things (besides cooler days, that is!) I made a happy discovery on Monday morning when I opened my podcast queue to see that The Slowdown has returned! Yes, it is back with a lovely new host… Ada Limón. (today’s episode is especially moving!) And for all of you Pádraig Ó Tuama fans, he returns with Poetry Unbound on Monday!

I was fortunate to watch Nadia Bolz-Weber interview Pádraig about In the Shelter this week and it was such a lively, fun, beautiful conversation. I have since started re-reading In the Shelter with new eyes and it is helping with those feelings of discomfort, angst, etc that I have been feeling. (The Chapel has been the best thing I decided to do this year. It has brought a renewal of joy to my life. And it is decidedly “un-church-y” and is missing all of that Uber-religious-sanctimonious-fake bs that I have zero tolerance for.)

I might have stumbled on they key to returning my missing Knitting Mojo… I had been talking to Steve about Sherman needing a new sweater … a lighter weight layer rather than the “winter wooly” he has for those super cold mornings. And then, serendipitously, I saw this on IG Wednesday night. I am purchasing the pattern today and I have some well-aged hand-dyed red sock yarn in my stash that I think will make the perfect Fall Sweater for Sherms!

In the realm of Completely Weird and Definitely Wrong I need to talk about my lilac bush. In the middle of August it started dropping a few leaves and then as the month progressed more leaves dropped and it started getting some dark brown spots on the leaves. I did a bit of a Google search and decided that it might have bacterial blight… except that the branches did not wither or die at all so I figured I would solve this problem *after* we returned home from our little vacay. Fast forward to our return from Erie and my entirely de-leafed lilac had a plethora of new green leaves on the top 12-inches of all the branches… like ALL the branches. And this week it began blooming. Dozens and dozens and dozens of blooms. Seriously, easily 6 dozen lilac blooms. It looks like some strange Seussian plant with pale green leaves and a riot of pale purple booms on a long stick. I have no idea what on earth is wrong with it… but if you have any ideas please share! Lilac blooms in October is something I never ever imagined. lol

Finally, I have this urge to bake.all.the.things. and have been looking with longing at all you who have sourdough starters you are reviving for the fall. Sigh. I have never had sourdough starter success. Ever. And I have tried. But I reminded myself that I have successfully baked very good bread… so instead of wishing for something I am not likely to be successful with, I have put “bake bread” on my Monday To Do list and I am excited to renew my relationship with Peter Reinhart. (and some freshly baked bread will be the perfect accompianment to the left over chicken soup I made yesterday!)

That is all I have for this week… I will see you all back here on Monday with my September update for my word. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Unraveled Wednesday | 9.22.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.22.21

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. — George Eliot

Greetings AUTUMN!! (And, Greetings, Unravelers!) My most favorite season officially arrives this afternoon… despite the plethora of pumpkin spice things that have been in coffee shops near us all. I love fall and I am hoping that its arrival brings my Knitting Mojo with it.

Yes, my Knitting Mojo seems to have up and departed and I am a trifle worried about how long it has been gone! I did not do much knitting in the week before we headed to Erie because I had a long-assed list of “to-do’s” that needed to be “all-done” before we left. I did bring knitting on the trip, but the only knitting I did was a few rounds on Sunday when Steve watched the Steeler’s game. Other than that, I did not pick up any knitting at all during vacation.

Yesterday afternoon, when the last load of laundry was in the washer I made myself a nice cuppa and got my knitting…. and nothing. I struggled to settle in with the rhythm of the mindless stockinette and I started to have some worries about having enough yarn…so I started a sleeve to see how much yarn that would take but I only lasted until my coffee was done and I have not picked up my knitting since. I am not sure what the issue is because I have no burning desire to cast on a new project, which is curious because FALL! It is Knitting Season… right? Anyways, if you have any spare Knitting Mojo you can send my way… I’ll gladly take it! (so you get another golden blob photo, yet again!) And today I am chaining myself to my sewing machine to do some mending that desperately needs to be done. And if I can convince myself to stay put, I hope to sew another pair of pants, which hopefully will be wildly successful because of the alterations I made! It should be a much faster sew this time as I have the pattern all cut out and ready to go and I think I will be more familiar with the pattern directions this time around!

It was a slower reading week as well (as I explained last week…vacationing with a non-reader, sigh):

Portrait Of A Spy (Gabriel Allon, #11)Portrait Of A Spy by Daniel Silva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had originally given this 5-stars, but in contemplating the book over several days… I down graded my rating to 3-stars. Book 11 in the ongoing saga of Gabriel Allon seemed to hit a bit of a hurdle (or maybe it is more like a distance runner slowing the pace a bit to be able to finish the race).

I think this book kind of “jumped the shark” a bit… Allon has been taking more of a leadership role… directing from a somewhat safe(r) place, but then suddenly… he ditches all that and the book ends up in a bit of a jumble. Previous books felt more realistic than this one did. If you are reading the Allon series… I think you could safely skip this one and move on to #12.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of PlantsBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this book slowly… over the course of almost 3 weeks… and still, I wished it had not ended. It is, hands-down, the best book I have had the privilege of reading this year. I listened to Kimmerer read it to me and it was excellent! I very much felt like I was listening to a dear friend share her wisdom, history, stories, and yes, her sacred world.

This book tugged at my heartstrings. It made me gasp with wonder and joy, and groan in frustration. As I listened, I could not help but be more in awe of my surroundings (I highly recommend listening to this while hiking in Presque Isle State Park… it really deepens the experience!) I have not been able to stop thinking about her writing and the things she magnificently shared.

If you read nothing else this year, read this book. If you want to better understand our relationship with the world around us, read this book. If you want to set your feet on a path to being a better steward of this world, read this book. I highly recommend it, even if you do not think you need any of those things!

What about you? How’s your Making Mojo doing these days?

That’s all I have for today, I will see you all back here on Friday!

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

Sometimes Monday | 9.20.21

Sometimes Monday | 9.20.21

…brings a return to ‘normalcy’ with the end of a brief, but spectacular, vacation.

Normalcy… what a word, huh? Perhaps not the best since I have been feeling anything but normal these days! I confess that I have been struggling a bit recently… Feeling off-kilter. Unsettled. Unfocused. Just going through the motions. (and yes, likely a bit depressed…which don’t think I would have recognized without having read these wise words)

But I have had some amazing lifelines this week (besides all the fresh air and hiking!) I don’t know who said they had read Braiding Sweetgrass (Jane maybe?) This book has been a balm to my day. The stolen moments I spent listening to Robin Wall Kimmerer were so amazing… it almost feels like I am sitting down with a cuppa to listen to a dear friend share stories, wisdom, and anecdotes. I have about 4 more hours of listening along with my ‘normal’ Monday List (although, perhaps not so normal with what feels like a metric ton of laundry!!)… but listening to Robin will make all of that much more palatable! Ha!

I brought my laptop for the sole purpose of joining the Read With Me discussion of Unsettled Ground… I can’t express how much more a good discussion lends to the enjoyment of a book, and Bonnie, Carole, and Kym have cultivated a very good group of ladies! That discussion had me thinking about Unsettled Ground again in some surprising new ways! Thank you all for making reading so much better!

Another good thing was all that fresh air and hiking! As I shared in my IG postcards last week, we had spectacular weather – yes, we had some occasional rain during the day but it was never enough to deter us and the couple of times it rained harder at night made sleeping in an unfamiliar bed easier! We saw so many birds, which I love! I also saw a few we had not seen before, thanks to a pair of binoculars! (A Green Heron across the bay, a pair of Gray Catbirds splashing in a puddle, and two shorebirds – a Solitary Sandpiper and a Semipalmated Plover!) We perfected our “quiet walking” and came upon a deer visiting a pond. I loved how she did not bolt, but rather just eased away into the forest.

And finally, coming back home! After more than a year of Pandemic Living one might think you get sick of being home and while it was good to be away, it is even better being back home… especially back to my own bed. A good nights sleep also helps combat the off kilter feelings, for sure! (as does the return of a “normal” routine!)

And with that, I am off to get going on that Normal Routine! See you all back here on Wednesday!



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