Sometimes Monday’s | 8.2.21

Sometimes Monday’s | 8.2.21

Are beautifully overcast and almost chilly enough to need a sweater!

This morning it feels like a switch has been turned off as August ushered in some much cooler nights. This paired with the now noticeably darker mornings and earlier darker evenings brings the knowledge that summer is not here to stay.

(Outside of my gardening woes) It has been the most glorious summer I can remember in quite some time. The pace at which I have been savoring summer has been perfect. I am not rushing to the “next thing” and while I am very disappointed in my gardens lack of productivity… my attitude of “it is what it is” is helping ease that disappointment. One thing I love is puttering in the garden in the early morning hours and productivity or not, that is where I like to be.

The outside time has brought another treat this summer… I have been enjoying the antics of a pair of Hairy Woodpecker’s brood of chicks and their unceasing demands for “more food…NOW”! Watching their parents fill the hungry mouths has been a delight!

One thing growing that has been on “hyper-growth” this year are my herbs… particularly my basil! And while I am sad that Kym is not having the same success… I am thankful that she shared a link for Basil Bombs. That bushy plant is about to get “de-leafed” and my freezer is waiting for those little green treasures. I don’t have an ice cube tray but I think I can make it work with “snack sized” ziplock bags.

One final very good thing from the weekend was an Amazon delivery that has brought things into focus… lol. Yep, I got an Ottlite and have been doing some stitching this weekend. What an incredible difference *seeing* makes! This stitching project is eons old (and I think it might almost qualify as an antique!) But, I made some very good progress yesterday once I got the right distance figured out! This is my “trial run” to see how it goes, and if it goes well… I have my eye on a couple of patterns from Etsy. (namely this and this)

And that is all I have for today… I will see you all back here on Wednesday!

The Good, Bad, and Downright Disappointing

The Good, Bad, and Downright Disappointing

Or, a “Currently” update…

I have not done a “currently” update for a very long time. Too long, maybe. Anyways, one has kind of been rattling around in my brain so I thought I’d share a bit. Sadly, it is not all of it is good… but that is often life, right?

Remembering — I read this morning that Senator Levin died and it reminded me of an interaction I had with him a very, very long time ago. I was at a gas station filling up my car on my way to work in Saugatuck. Senator Levin and his brother pulled in and while Sandy filled up their car, Senator Levin engaged in conversation with me. I, of course, recognized him and was kind of awestruck that he would talk with me. In our conversation, he asked for a recommendation on a place to eat. I asked him what he was hungry for… fish was the answer. I gave him a couple of options and he asked me where would I go… I gave him my response and he said that’s where they will go then! Such a great man with a legacy that will live on.

Tackling — This morning I have queued up a YouTube video on how to do horizontal mattress stitch. Honestly, it feels a bit daunting with all the “steps”  because you bind off X stitches at the beginning of the row for X rows… which creates a series of steps. If I knit this sweater again, I will contemplate doing some knitting math and do some short rows to create the shoulder slant, which would allow me to bind off the row in its entirety (making seaming easier, I think…)

Reading — This week has been a banner week. First, I was finally “next in line” for Uncommon Ground and I stayed up a bit too late reading the past two nights – my plan for today is to get those shoulders seamed and then knit some mindless stockinette and read! Yesterday, I completed my Summer Book Bingo card with the finish of Ian McEwan’s Saturday. A brilliant way to finish my card… I just love his writing. And it is a book that will “sit with me” for some time.

(not) Growing — This summer will likely go down as the worst year ever for growing things. My vegetable garden has been a serious disappointment this year… I planted beans, some peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, and zucchini. Lots of things that are just not producing anything. Half of the zucchini have produced nothing… and this morning I noted that one plant has two zucchini starting… so maybe? The summer squash provided only 3 squash… and it appears there will be no more. Normally, I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with but it looks like I will be lucky to get a dozen tomatoes from 6 plants. I am holding out hope for some beans (to date, I have picked 5… that’s right, five beans) because I have blooms (again) so maybe this time I will get some beans. The peppers have had flowers, but no production beyond the flowers. One might think that my problem is bees… or the lack thereof. This is not the case… I have bees galore! So I am not certain what the problem is and Steve is now complaining about wasting water on a garden that is not producing.

(over) Grown — We made a decision earlier this year to not trim the bushes in the back yard in the spring, but rather cut them back significantly this fall. I worried about how “unkempt” the riot of bushes would look like, but I never imagined that those untrimmed bushes would be the source of some surprising visitors this summer! I usually hang a couple of hummingbird feeders, but had not gotten them out yet when the warnings went out about not feeding birds this summer… I was disappointed, because it is just so much fun to see hummingbirds from our porch. But, I never imagined the volume of birds that would flock to our Rose of Sharon… time spent watering in the yard is a joy with all the hummers zooming around. I have seen more of them this summer *with no feeders* than I ever did with feeders. This has caused me to reconsider garden beds and things that need pruning to “look good” … some good food for thought for the fall and winter!

Counting — Nine weeks from today we leave for Michigan. And while it seems like eons away… I know it will be here sooner than I think. I just can’t wait… although I have some trepidations about the trip (thank you, Delta Variant) My fervent hope is that both PA and MI will continue to stay out of the “red zone” as they currently are!

And there you have my “current” thoughts. I hope that you all have a great weekend and I will see you back here next week!

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.28.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.28.21

This week you have a nicely folded dark square of knitting paired with a lovely start of a new project… not what I expected but it is what it is….

I know I said last week that I would have my Shakerag Top finished and while the *knitting* is done… it still needs seaming and edge finishing. My hurdle??? Doing *this* while also doing *that*… sigh. Apparently I cannot count or walk and chew gum at the same.time! So having to rip back the back and front to correct the *this* and *that* bits meant that I do not have it finished. (Can I blame this on The Olympics… not really… this was 100% Knitter Error!!) But…before seaming (and because of the likelihood of errors) I really need to block out the shoulders before I seam them…bringing this to the “finish soon” category! However, since I got the knitting portion done I did cast on for my second test knit cardigan… GUILT FREE! Bonus in that this is the PERFECT Olympics watching knit! (big hint… it is a lot further than this picture shows!)

Now… how about a little reading update! Only one bingo book this week…BUT!!! I have just one square to go to a completed bingo card! Whew!

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is this book a literary masterpiece? Hardly, but it is so comfortable… it is just the most wonderful “feel good” novel. Light, cozy, and thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Summer Book Bingo Square: Debut

The Sisters SweetThe Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A curious, twisting tale of two twin sisters who’s lives are overtaken by the machinations of their parents. This book starts out brilliantly… but the middle section of the book needs some heavy editing. It drags quite a bit… it was so slow going that I almost bailed on it. And suddenly the pace picks up and WHAM… it is finished and you are back where you started… sort of. I think there could have been less of the slog-ish middle and more of a transition to the ending. I did enjoy the peek into life post-WWI in America leading up to the Depression.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.


That is all I have for today… I hope your recent making had no unraveling!

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


Release | July 2021

Release | July 2021

FOMO (fear of missing out) is the enemy of valuing your own time. — Andrew Yang

This month, Carolyn encouraged us to have fun…and I spent a good bit of time thinking about how to work fun into my word…release.

So I started by filling in my clouds with what filled my day… things I liked and things I struggled with…

Then I gave things stars that improved my day… and the starless clouds all seemed to have the same recurring theme… FOMO.

And while not all the things that got starred are “fun”… they are absolutely necessary which inspired me to contemplate how to insert fun into the mundane daily tasks of housework and cooking… no solution yet…but I am thinking about it!

I did find some “quick and easy” (?) solutions this month and I am happy to report that those changes brought success… or at least started me on a path to solving the problem!

News Fix: I have found that listening to NPR’s Up First six mornings a week is MORE than enough news for me for any given day. I did not die by not checking news at ten am, or at noon, or at 5 pm…who knew! lol Steve consumes more news than I do and in July and if something earth shattering happened, he told me. (okay… he also told me news that was not earth shattering as well… but those tidbits provided some humorous topics for dinner conversation!)

IG/Twitter Doom-scrolling: I had fallen back into the “boredom trap” of doom-scrolling Twitter and IG… I am telling you this is a hard habit to break! I tried a different approach as July progressed…I stopped “carrying my phone” with me, but rather I am leaving it sit either on the kitchen counter or the dining room table. This way I have to physically get up to do any doom-scrolling and that is helping tremendously. Full disclosure… I do wear an Apple Watch so I am not entirely “disconnected” but so far, this seems to be working well for me.

Blog Reading/Writing/Email Hell…which often leads to Endless Internet Surfing: I set a timer on my phone when I sit down at the PC in the morning… the amount of time is still in flux…but, when the timer goes off… so does the pc… and I have not died. At.All. I am still working on a way to make blog writing feel fresh and still seeking solutions to that sticky topic. Sigh. Despite that huge hurdle…the timer has helped me see clearly just how much mail I do not need to read… look at… contemplate… etc. so I have begun “unsubscribing” to a plethora of things and it feels amazingly good!

Reading: Finally… reading, which only got a half a star (while reading for myself always, always gets at least one star!!) My big hurdle this summer… book bingo, and it pains me to say that. It seemed to me that I spent more time “reworking” squares to fit what I was reading versus picking a book to fit a square. I have one book to finish for a cover all and that feels like the biggest relief ever. It was an important lesson in how I should listen to that small, quiet voice instead of allowing that shouting FOMO voice to drown me out.

And there you have release for July…

I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us and for all her work on putting together things to make me think in new ways.

See you all back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!

A Q and A Post | 7.23.21

A Q and A Post | 7.23.21

Happy Friday as we welcome the last week of July.

The week has had the rug pulled out from under it a bit which is, sadly, going to push back our trip to Michigan… until October. I am trying to stay focused on the positive but there is not much positive in any of this… my ex has had a recurrence of a TIA incident that seems more severe than the last ones, he has had two deaths in his family, and his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. So a reshuffle of my schedule is happening and I am looking for the silver lining…or trying to look for it.

I have been thinking about what to post about today, but my brain is not offering any brilliant suggestions. But… then it occurred to me that YOU all had some great questions recently and I thought that the answers to these would be a great way to close out the week. (thanks to the question askers and to Carole and Kym for planting this questioning seed!)

So…I have answers to your questions!

Maureen asked:

How do you have time to read?? So jealous. Sadly my reading has seriously declined now that I’ve taken up knitting. I have not mastered knitting while reading but I can knit while watching podcasts/TV. 🙂

Dear Maureen! First…WELCOME to the world of knitting! Yes, it is the best “time-suck” on the planet… well, besides reading that is! I don’t know anything about your local library… but I am extremely fortunate to live in Allegheny County PA. Why is that a good thing… The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh! I am so fortunate that they have a vast array of audio books to borrow… and I borrow LOTS of audio books. You see…knitting and reading are the best things to do together…and listening to a book allows me to knit. Listening to a book also makes the mundane tasks of daily life more palatable as well! I hope this tip will help you increase your reading as you knit!

Vera asked this:

“Looks like you’ve had another great week Kat (except maybe for that middle book…LOL). I just love your Moon Coasters – so pretty. What did you use in the center of them (for filling)? Or is it just the fabric stitched together? In either case, they are lovely.

Now, I answered Vera via email… but it occurred to me that you all might be wondering the same thing. I used a couple of scraps of cotton batting left over from some placemats I made. I inserted the batting after I stitched the side seams. I also think a piece of cotton flannel would have worked equally well (maybe even better if you do not want any “loft” in your coaster.)

and this:

“Looks like you have some fun and interesting projects for the week. The cocktail sounds interesting, but I’m not sure about the condensed milk part of it…I know it’s only a half oz or so, but man I dislike that stuff so much!!!

I love this question because I despise sweetened condensed milk as well… but there is a magical thing about it…it doesn’t curdle when you combine it with lime juice. Half and half or heavy cream will curdle… instantly, so they are non-starters for this cocktail. But still… I was skeptical of how this would taste, but even using just a couple of teaspoons of the condensed milk gives the drink the creaminess needed to counter the tang of the lime. Do not fear the condensed milk in cocktails! (at least in small quantities!)

Finally, Bonny shared this comment that I thought was necessary to talk about:

I love your coasters and think they might be too pretty to place glasses on that will drip condensation on them! I’ve never read Beach Music, but am keeping it in my mind as a possible listen when things calm down here a bit. I think I’ll give Matthew a pass. 🙂

This…. we all need to break free of not using things that are too pretty. I am right in this camp… It’s too pretty, it will get stained…But if not now….when? Last year in my Year of Intentional Living I realized that life is short (and boy did this week put an exclamation point on that!) It makes me feel good to use a simple little coaster that I made. It tells me I am worthy. It says that I think that making things a little nicer is a very good thing.

So yes… I make things to use them in my daily life. And I celebrate that fact! I hope you do too!

That is all I have for this week… I will be back on Monday to share my July update on my word! Have a good weekend everyone!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.21.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.21.21

Summer making is just so good!

I have two “Moon Rise” coasters completed… and they are perfect! A combination of hand stitching and machine stitching… I appliqued the moons on, then I sat at the machine for less than 15 minutes to sew them together. Then I spent an afternoon reacquainting myself with hand quilting. I have one more pair to complete… but maybe not. These would be a wonderful gift to send… so there might be more of these in my future!

On the knitting front…. I have achieved the Great Sleeve Divide and I am motoring along on the back as I make my way to the shoulder decreases. Gosh is this a fun little knit! At the rate I am progressing, I predict it will be finished for next week’s update! (then I will be guilt free to start a second Test Knit!)

I do have a reading update this week (and just two squares left on my bingo card!!)

I finished my ‘re-listen’ of Pat Conroy’s Beach Music. If it is at all possible, it was even better than the first time I listened. I cleared my “book shelf” and just immersed myself in the story. I did not do any “power listening” where I listen for 6+ hours in a sitting… but rather I listened over the course of twelve-ish days… so about 2.5 hours of listening a day. This slower pace allowed me to catch more nuances of the brilliant story. I am including my review from my “first read” of this brilliant book. No Bingo Square, but just pure reading enjoyment.

Beach MusicBeach Music by Pat Conroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did not think it was possible that I could like a book more than I did South of Broad, but then I read Beach Music. This book made me laugh out loud and also brought tears to my eyes as Jack collected the stories of family members and shared them so incredibly beautifully. Long live Chippy the Dog stories, GRRRRR! GRRRRRR! The tender brilliance of Pat Conroy’s writing has left an indelible mark on my heart with this story.

GreenlightsGreenlights by Matthew McConaughey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Read for Summer Book Bingo… or I likely would not have picked this book. It is humorous… but a bit much at times. Moral of the story… don’t be too stuck on your own greatness…and I still think McConaughey is a good actor, however his writing skills leave much to be desired.

Summer Book Bingo Square: (Auto) Biography

Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book stopped me in my tracks….so.many.times. I listened to several chapters more than once. Wilkerson completely unravels how society is built… its biased construction… and yes, that we in the US are large participants in the caste system. It is painful to take in most of what she shares… but it has invigorated me in finding a way to actively work towards equality for all. This is a must read book!

Summer Book Bingo Square: Chosen by a celebrity bookclub (at any time)


And that is all for me today… what about you? What are you happy about this week?

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


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