My World, Currently

My World, Currently

Reading: After being on the wait list for eons at the library for the second Tana French book, I got the loveliest email late yesterday that it is now available. So, I downloaded it this morning and will start reading it today! I also was stunned to get an email this morning that a book suggestion from Mary for my Book Bingo list came in also. Gah! I have not downloaded it yet… But I did add a few more books to my summer book bingo list. I basically have mapped out my summer reading and I could not be happier. I shared Book Bingo with some friends at church on Sunday and I was thrilled to get an email yesterday filled with excitement about book choices!

Watching: Not much, really. I finally caught up with Call the Midwife and Homefires on PBS. There are things I want to watch, but have no burning desire to sit down and watch them. I had been an avid watcher of The Leftovers on HBO, but this final season has been a huge disappointment. So much so, I am not certain I will finish watching it. Perhaps a plan of 60 minutes in the morning riding the stationary bike and watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime will accomplish two things at once? Stay tuned!

Listening: My audible book library is chocked full of good things to listen to and all of them are on my summer reading list. I am slowing down on Moby Dick to finish it on Memorial Weekend (and thus giving me my first square!)

Knitting: It seems like every year about this time, Knitting Ennui strikes. I am restless and not much interested in any of the projects I have going. It is indeed a sad state of affairs. However, last night I might have found the cure…I got some yarn to sample from Love Knitting – a lovely cotton from Sweden “MillaMia” and they sent three colors. Hmmm, a method to their madness? I have never knit any creatures so I was unsure how much I would like it. But, I cast on Alex the Mouse to test out the yarn and the pattern last night. So far, so good! I also have finally (almost) finished half of a pair of socks for Steve. I will be finalizing my summer knitting projects today and will share my list tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Eating: All the asparagus, really – all of it! Janoski’s shared yesterday that this is about the end of it. Will there be more next week? I do not know, but they can keep these amazing strawberries coming, please! They also had the most gorgeous Swiss Chard yesterday. The eating is so good in my neighborhood right now!

Loving: So many things!

  • To start out – the weather, although we had a couple of days in the 90’s, for the most part it has been the perfect spring.
  • Next up, the variety in my garden this year – we have 10 different varieties of tomatoes, 3 varieties of peppers, beans, some kind of squash (thanks to no plant labeling but they are either zucchini or summer squash) cucumbers (thanks to a happy accident at the greenhouse) and we added in a new variety of rhubarb this year! In the perennial beds, we added in some new plants this year as well; all of the deer resistant variety. So far, so good! Although the bunnies are making quick work of the cone flowers and they also love the leaves on the lilies! All this gardening makes me so happy!
  • Last, but certainly not least: my stitching! I could not be happier than I am in the few moments I spend each day stitching. I have also been watching Vicki and Kym stitch such beautiful Alabama Chanin garments. I am absolutely intrigued. Perhaps over the summer I will stitch up one of these and see how it turns out and I bet Steve has an old tee shirt I can use!

And, finally: Selling LipSense… and loving it. If there is something you’d like, message me and I will be glad to help you! (Also, I have been using their skin care for over a month now and if you want to hear about the changes it has made, I would be thrilled to share with you!)

That is what is currently my world. What’s in your world right now?

Monday Rewind

Monday Rewind

I would love to be able to push a button and go back to Friday. This weekend was one of those weekends that you just don’t want to end. The weather was perfect, including the slow, soaking rains on Sunday! The only “gardening” I have left to do is to fill the containers for the porches and the patio. It would have been nice to get that done over the weekend, but time ran out.

By Saturday morning, the poppies were in full bloom. Their cheery red catches my eye every time I go to the kitchen, and stopping to look at them is the best detour of the day. And, the perfect contrast of petals and the purple center is so stunningly beautiful. As Kym says, flowers are indeed magical.

I worked more on my Book Bingo list, invited a couple more people to join, and then began to work on my “Summer Knitting List” of things I need to finish, and things I want to knit. Both lists will take some dedication to make headway on so, I spent some time looking for audio book options on my Bingo list. I was quite successful at the library which I hope means that my summer knitting and reading will be successful!

I did hit a bump in the road on the KAL knitting project. Pro-tip… dropping a stitch with super slippery yarn (read not wool) is a very bad thing. Not noticing the dropped stitch for half a dozen rows is devastating to the knitting. I tried, unsuccessfully, to pick the stitch up but in the grey light of Sunday afternoon reality spoke clearly in my ear – rip back and start over. Reality is right – this is gift knitting and so I ripped back and will start again today. For the record, I am blaming this incident entirely on the fog that is brought on by allergy medicine. Thanks, Zyrtek… NOT!

I know this should be an “unraveled” story for Wednesday, but I am hoping by Wednesday I am as far as I was pre-mistake-discovery. So, if I could rewind this, I would have not knit this on Saturday and worked on simpler projects with wooly yarn!

And that is all I have for today! How was your weekend?

A Summer Count Down Friday

A Summer Count Down Friday

Hullo, Friday!!

Who else besides me, looked at the calendar and got excited that next weekend is Memorial Day weekend?

This weekend is the kick off to so many good things!

  1. Summer
  2. Book Bingo
  3. My Summer Knit Along

In preparation for Book Bingo I spent a good bit of time yesterday on Goodreads and on my library website looking for books for my squares and I have most of them plotted out. One book has a mile-long waiting list – so that moves to the “purchase” category. Two books have a short waiting list and I got on the list now so I know I will be able to get it before Labor Day! All the others, I am golden on and this is a very good start, don’t you think? I still am pondering a few categories: A Banned Book (outside of the US), a Biography of a royal (which royal will I pick?), About art/artist(s), and recommended by a family member (I am hoping my Blogging Family will chime in and give me a recommendation!!)

Today, the real prep work for Summer Knit-Along begins. I will be going through my projects I want to get done and put them in some kind of order. Unlike last year, where I had lots of things with little bits to finish, this year I have things that are either barely begun or not begun at all to finish! I am hoping that the pairing of knitting with Audiobooks will help kick the knitting into overdrive! And, as you can see above, the KAL knitting is moving along smoothly – I love the fabric this stitch pattern is making! This is not my usual yarns to knit with either, but I love them all stranded together and I am ready to wind another ball of the bamboo yarn.

And, that brings us to summer. We got the rest of the vegetable garden planted yesterday and we had a few surprises…we thought we got zucchini and summer squash, but we got an “unknown squash” and bush cucumbers. Yeah, bravo on my reading skills…NOT! Our neighbor gave us a dozen tomato plants – some of which got in the “deer proof garden” and a few will be testers in a couple of new beds that are not deer proof. This will either be wildly successful (okay, I know I am fooling myself here!) or the deer will get some treats of heirloom tomatoes, but can they possibly eat them all? Perhaps a bit of sharing is an okay thing to do…amirite?

I also have some perennials to add to the bed we did last year. Some things did not make it over the winter, but as you can see – the Foxglove certainly did! It is just loaded with blooms! I probably should have divided it earlier this spring…but, I can’t wait. I also moved a yarrow plant from the front beds that was just not thriving at all. I am hoping this move will be good for it and it is happy in its new home!

So, with lots of things to do today, I think it is time for some links:

That is all I have for this week! See you back here on Monday – have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. Please don’t forget to share your book recommendations! XOXO

Letters to Myself

Letters to Myself

This week’s topic for Think Write Thursday is: what piece of advice would you give to the five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Twenty-one-year-old you? Right now?

This topic was my idea and as I began to write this post, I was amazed by the range of emotions I had. I expected this to be an easy post to write, but it turns out this is more challenging than I thought. So, here is the advice (and encouragement) I have written to myself:

Me at age 5 (really, my fifth birthday)

Dear Five-Year-Old Me,

You have the best imagination! It’s really okay to pretend, no matter what anyone says to you. Sometimes life is scary, and it is perfectly okay to pretend it is not! And, sometimes the best thing ever is going to work with your grandpa and learning how to hammer nails into scraps of lumber. These times will be some of your best memories.

Okay, not quite sixteen – I counted the candles and I think this was 15…

Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me,

It’s totally okay to feel awkward at times – unsure of whether you want to be on your own and making your own decisions or wishing someone would just tell you what to do! It is also okay to try ideas on and see how they feel and then change your mind! But, the reading… don’t ever stop reading!

Dear Twenty-one-year-old Me,

Bravo to you for getting through this year. It was not easy. And learning that being “grown up” and making “grown up decisions” are not the same thing. However, even though right now it does not feel like you made the right decision – I promise you that you did. What you learned is that you can trust yourself to make the right decision even if it hurts. And, what you hoped for did come true – sometimes good things do come to those who wait!

Me… yesterday.

Dear Kat,

It is far too easy to be critical of oneself, and incredibly difficult to love oneself exactly as you are. Today, I would like to remind you of things past and show you how much of the younger you still is a part of you now. You have learned how to direct your imagination into creative pursuits. You are comfortable with being awkward now and you no longer wish to be told what to do. And, your love of reading is still a vital part of you. You know that sometimes the best decisions are also the hardest to make and that while those decisions can be unbelievably painful – you know that you can survive – and more importantly, thrive! So, dear Kat – I would like you to spend more time loving yourself and less time being so critical. You really are worth it.

If you would like to see what others had to say about this week’s Think Write Thursday topic, you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and me for Think Write Thursday, you can sign up here! We would love to have you!

Unraveled Wednesday, May 17

Unraveled Wednesday, May 17

Summer has abruptly arrived here in the Pittsburgh area. Temps climbed into the 80’s yesterday and are slated to climb into the 90’s today. This has created a sense of urgency for the garden, but I won’t be transplanting young plants in that heat. They can wait shaded on the porch until later in the week when the temperatures are more moderate.

On the reading front, I finished The Lake and I loved it! Look for a full review next week! I am back to The Girl in Green by Derek Miller and I am enjoying it. I also have printed out my Summer Book Bingo Card. If you want to join in, you can get all the details here from Mary.

I was so excited to learn that my local Knit Night group is no longer meeting at the world’s worst knitting shop! The shop owner for unknown reasons has cancelled knit night at the shop so they are now meeting at my favorite library on Tuesday nights. Last night was my first night back at the new location. I am still working away on the Air Soft Shawl but I am at the point of repeating rows and staggered increases – it is not a “mindless knit” right now. So, knitting it seemed like an exercise in futility (or frogging…) so I knit on the KAL since my kit arrived on Monday. I was unsure how I’d like knitting with such big needles (you cast on with a US17 and then knit with a US15 for a good bit) but it seems okay, if albeit a bit awkward managing those needles until the fabric grows a bit. However, I love the texture of the knitting and I learned a new stitch K1-rb (Knit 1, row below) This stitch creates an elongated stitch and has a lovely texture. I have a bit more to go until I switch to a smaller needle.

That is all I have for this Wednesday. What are you making and reading?

Weekending, May 15

Weekending, May 15

Weekends are over just too darn fast, aren’t they?

Anyways, here we are and it is Monday and I was not ready to say goodbye to the weekend!

Saturday, we headed down to Mt. Lebanon for the return of the Farmer’s Market. New vendors this year meant that we had a bit of a Whiskey Tasting with Wiggle Whiskey (yes, before 10AM) and we also had a Maple Syrup tasting. Okay, stop the presses – that maple syrup was so good we bought a gallon of the stuff. Because, you know, we might want to bathe in it or something. Now, I am by no means a maple syrup connoisseur, but I know that I do not like any of the mass produced, high fructose corn syrup varieties available at the super market. This is made locally and it has a slightly smoky taste due to the fact that it is cooked over a wood fire. It is so good. Really. And, they ship, hint hint! Oh, and the wonderful gentleman who was there let me know that his mom is a knitter, so really can it get more perfect? Perhaps if they had sheep, and maple syrup, and knit…but 2 out of three is not bad!

We did a good bit of walking after taking our spoils to the car. The rhododendrons were all in bloom and even though it was an overcast day, the riot of color everywhere was stunning.

We also did a good bit of garden prep work. All the “deer netting” has been replaced and I will be transplanting my young plants out to their new beds over the course of the week. I am a bit worried about planting so close to our “safe time” (which is Mother’s Day) but the forecast is calling for a super warm week, so maybe I am okay. (Says the person who has been burned by this every single year since moving here…)

Mother’s Day was quiet, which was fine by me! I am almost caught up on Call the Midwife and am in the semi-mindless repeats on the Brambles Shawl. And, I made my favorite dinner – fresh asparagus, wrapped in Speck and roasted in the oven – topped with a couple of poached eggs.

Also, a blogging note…no post tomorrow but I will see you back here on Unraveled Wednesday!

How was your weekend?

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