A bit of whimsy | 7.1.22

A bit of whimsy | 7.1.22

Hello, July. I am so glad I am filling my days with some whimsy so I can avoid thinking about the looming July holiday that this year won’t feel like something to celebrate at all.

Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to be themselves. ― Betty Friedan

I am glad that SCOTUS is in recess until the first Monday in October. Very glad. Although I did get a bit teary-eyed when I watched Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson become the first female Black justice! I am eagerly looking forward to her dissents!

But let’s bring on the whimsy, shall we?

My inspiration

And my interpretation…

The watercolor painting continues and this week I finally “broke out” some actual watercolor paper and taped it to my brand new gator board and even started painting! Yes, I am done fighting curling corners… oh boy. My inspiration this week was a photo from Presque Isle on Lake Erie. As you can see… the learning curve on color mixing is steep but I am not giving up!

A bit of whimsy for the bathroom!

There was non-gnome whimsical knitting this week as well. I had unearthed a bag full of the long discontinued Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. I think I originally bought all that yarn to knit this washcloth which was originally published in Melanie Falick’s Weekend Knitting book. But I thought it might be perfect for the Bodhi Leaf Washcloth from Ease and it was! I have knit two (one is in the shower currently) and I have plans for several more. I also knit one from linen, but it is very small. I have not tried it yet, but I think it would be a good facial exfoliator. This knitting is in the Super-fast Gratification category… I can knit a Bodhi in less than an hour. Really. Cast on to weaving in the two ends… in under an hour and I can easily get two cloths from a skein!

Finally, some garden whimsy… or perhaps necessity? I present one bee watering station!

Ignore the weedy yard… there is little to no grass, but wow! Can we grow weeds!

I took the plant saucer who’s planter had broken and filled it with a couple of scoops of pea gravel and voilá! A place for bugs to drink! I have seen bumble bees, tiny butterflies, as well as a couple of large wasps all partaking! (Okay, maybe I am not so happy for the wasps, but they seemed to have no interest in myself or Sherman… they were just thirsty!) I have to fill it a couple of times a day… the evaporation rate is fast but repurposing things for the win!

And there you have it… some whimsy for my week! I hope you find some whimsy this weekend. I will be back on Monday! Have a good long weekend everyone!

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.29.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.29.22

Ooo, the making this week! I have one finished pair of Anakin Skywalk!)er socks for Sam! I finished the second sock up yesterday. The heel… oh my! I like it! I did some short rows before knitting the heel decreases. It worked so well! (and I hope it will fit Sam perfectly!) They are drying from their little spa treatment and will be in the mail tomorrow heading to Wisconsin!

Anakin Socks for Sam!

I cast on a pair of Chewbacca Socks for Steve yesterday afternoon… J6 Hearings are the perfect thing to knit to! Haha! (Although I had several WTF moments… I mean throwing dishes? Really?) I am cruising through the toe increases and will do a 3×1 rib for the body of the sock. I am hoping heel placement will be easier toe up… I will let you know how it goes!

A slow reading week… just one finish. A book that is coming out in September by Ian McEwan – Lessons. It is full of everything one loves about McEwan novels… discomfort – check, compelling story – check, thought-provoking – check! If you like McEwan, you will thoroughly enjoy this book but you will have to wait until September for it! Sorry about that!

LessonsLessons by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love McEwan’s writing and his latest book does not disappoint. I was drawn into the at times uncomfortable story from the opening pages. Okay, maybe it is more than at times uncomfortable… I was uncomfortable for Roland for much of the story.

Dear Roland.

We meet Roland in an awkward moment, his wife has abruptly left him and their child – Lawrence, who is a frequently crying baby. And the story then goes back a decade or so to an 11 year old Roland heading to boarding school. And the story progresses from Roland’s memories. The memories are what provide the most discomfort, as Roland is sexually abused by a teacher at the boarding school. This abuse happens over a long period of time. There is no way this abuse would not have an impact on a person, and this baggage Roland carries with him for the remainder of his life.

McEwan anchors us into the story with the historical timeline. We experience the Bay of Pigs, a divided Germany, Thatcher policies, Brexit, and yes, even COVID. The story is well written and so engaging. I cheered for Roland… I wanted him to step away from his baggage. And when he begins to see what effect it has had on his life and make a new path forward… it is exhilarating!

If you likeMcEwan, you will love Lessons! I highly recommend!

I am grateful for the digital ARC of this book that I received from Knopf and NetGalley in return for my honest review.


That is all I have for today… what making is inspiring you this week?

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


See you all back here with some whimsy on Friday!

Filling my days… | June 2022

Filling my days… | June 2022

This month kind of felt like a cheater month… I carried May along into June and did no new work on my word. (although the end of the month saw me full of FRAGE thank you, Nadia Bolz-Weber for defining my feelings so eloquently.) Knowing that was coming made the month feel like something was hanging over us all…and sadly, that feeling of more impending doom has not abated. And so you will see that this month I did no work with my word. I coasted on May’s work. Although, I did make a synopsis of where I have been with my word, and this was the exactly what I needed this month from Ali Edward’s team.

I have spent half the year, thinking about what filling myself means…what does it look like as I navigate life. I spent time thinking about being full versus being empty and I realized that there needs to be some empty in my life to appreciate full… and that led me to contemplating being content with what I have… realizing that I do not need every new thing to fill my days. Perhaps the best of all was the idea of stepping outside the frame to see the whole picture and that was such a joyful discovery!

Which brings me to May… and slowing down. I loved it! (Thank you May for providing the perfect thing to carry along with me!)

So a bit of my slow down June:

I took a new approach to gardening this year… no big veggie garden. But rather a few tomato plants in containers… which are doing incredibly well! This is good on a number of levels… first, I don’t mind being the “solo gardener” my containers of a few tomatoes and my few flower containers. The second bonus is that there is no longer the “water argument” with Steve. He complained every single day about how much I watered the garden. These containers are turning out to be the perfect way to fill my garden longings!

Next, I have been setting aside about 45 minutes each day to practice painting. Sometimes, I just watch a video, sometimes I play with colors (this is where I need the most work… oh boy, lol) and sometimes I actually paint! This is absolutely the best thing I am filling my days with and I have no plans on stopping. (FYI, for all of you who are looking for a bit of inspiration… Rick Surowicz has a plethora of free classes on his YouTube page. You are welcome!)

Finally, I am embracing a “rules free” summer of reading and that also feels so good! So reading, yes and lots of it! But it is all stress-free reading…which is exactly what reading should be!

As always, I want to thank Carolyn for providing a landing place for us all to share our progress. The Blogging Word Community is one that inspires me every single month!

See you all back here on Wednesday with some making (and reading, of course!)

A bit of whimsy | 7.1.22

A Bit of Whimsy | 6.24.22

The wee break I took last week inspired a new way of thinking about blogging…much needed inspiration.

Welcome to A Bit of Whimsy!

I am a person who is incredibly serious. Joking around is not easy for me and I don’t spend enough (any?) time creatively playing. However, I am working on including more lightness in my days.

These whimsy posts will help me be accountable to adding some playfulness to my week! (And if you find that you need some whimsy in your life, I invite you to join me!)

You must not ever stop being whimsical. ― Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

Okay, Mary Oliver… I am lisenting!!

One thing I did not imagine when Sarah Schira launched her Year of Gnomes was the whimsy that it would bring to my days. Silly me… can a gnome be anything but whimsical? Previous gnomes were fun, but this with this month’s gnomes – whimsy took over!

You might have seen Gnombleberry and Gnewt on IG, but here is another look at them. I stepped outside of the pattern and created something that fit me… a poem reading gnome with an over the shoulder bag. And a wee pocket for Gnewt… who is not at all certain that poem reading is for him, but he is going to try! It was all so much fun!

**Details for those interested. I knit the bag per the pattern instructions then I pinned the bag where I wanted it to sit on Gnombleberry and knit a single I-cord. I threaded the I-cord on a darning needle and went through all layers of the bag to create the folds you see. I knotted the I-cord and secured it with a stitch or two under the hat brim to make sure it stays on the “shoulder”. I used florist wire in the arm to bend it how I wanted. Gnewt’s pocket had zero fore-thought… I determined where it looked best once I had attached his arms and then picked up three stitches, and knit them in stockinette for 4 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row. I used the tails to stitch it to the body. And stitched Gnewt’s hand into the pocket to keep it secure. Look for more gnome creativity in the coming months!

The other very whimsical thing I have been engaging in is watercolor painting. It is very much a work in progress… and the struggle is very real. But I am sharing my latest attempt… the lavender in the tiny Patrón bottle. I am learning every time I pick up the brush and for now – that is a comfortable start. FYI… highlights and watercolor are a true challenge for me so the wee bits of highlights you see here are courtesy of a white Gellyroll pen which shows up more in the photo than it does in the painted image. But… I am learning!

Finally, the last bit of whimsy for this week came courtesy of Krista Tippet and The Pause.

And there you have my whimsical beginning! Now, I am heading out to spend some time soaking up the peace of the wild things (while pulling the gajillion thistles that pop up seemingly overnight in my gardens!)

Happy Friday everyone! See you all back here on Monday with my June word update!!

 

 

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.22.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.22.22

Someone needs your actions to inspire [their] actions. Never forget, your little broken cake is someone’s daily meal! Care to share you[r] little cake! ― Israelmore Ayivor

One thing that I truly love about this blogging community is how we inspire each other… sometimes in totally unexpected ways. Recently Kym has provided such inspiration for me and boy did I need that inspiration! Recently she has shared the stories of three different knitting projects….The Problem Child, The Poor Relations, and The Prodigal Son. Boy could I relate to what she shared… I have a problem child, a poor relation, and a prodigal child!

My problem child was a much simpler project than Kym’s…those twisty cables are gorgeous and I applaud her for moving that problem child back into the knitting rotation. Worthwhile knitting most certainly. My problem child however did not fare so well… sigh.

Awaiting a new life…

Yes, this was once my Problem Child… a now frogged Vanilla Sweater. It was one of those “impulse” purchases… I mean what is not to love about Rauma Finull Garn? It is great yarn! The Vanilla Sweater though…. umm… not so much.    This sweater began languishing early on as I began to have serious concerns about having enough yarn to finish the blasted thing. And in the uncertainty of that problem, I headed to Ravelry to see if anyone had a skein or two of the Rauma yarn in the same color and dye lot of my yarn…while I was on Ravelry, I took a gander at finished Vanilla Sweaters… and oof. Suffice it to say that this is not a good look for errr, women like me…a woman a certain age, with a certain physique…

Now, I believe that a person can wear what they like. Truly. But I also believe that women (especially me) are expert at deceiving ourselves…you know what I mean? Like me thinking that a shapeless sack will cover a multitude of my perceived issues and really, a shapeless sack just looks like a shapeless sack.

And so the Big Rip happened. I need to wash the yarn to un-kink-ify it. But once that is done, I will have a SQ of yarn to knit something new with! Problem Child is no more! Haha!

A couple of weeks ago I went through my yarn stash and found a container with a couple of projects inside it. I set it aside until I could determine what to do with those projects. Thanks to Kym, that happened last week because it contained a Prodigal Child *and* that Poor Relation!

POP circle-squares… yet to be blocked!

First up, that Prodigal Child… Meet POP! I don’t know how this fell of the knitting radar, but it did… for a long-ass time. More than 10 years of time! When I unboxed POP I had 13.5 squares completed… and I only need 20 squares to put the damned thing together! And so I began by finishing that in-process square…sigh. However, 10+ years ago Kat and Today’s Kat do not knit even remotely close to the same gauge. At. All. So after ripping out that in process square four or five times to find that old gauge. But once I figured it out, those squares… they are Potato Chip Knitting at its finest….15 squares and counting! That Prodigal Child is feeling the love!

A rather bland Spectra…

Next, those Poor Relations. I honestly don’t know what to do with this thing. It is a Stephen West knit… and I think I just ran out of steam on the knitting of all.those.wedges. And, in looking at the photo, perhaps my color choices were not the best. This is also eons ago old (even older than those poor POP squares) so I have some serious concerns about that gauge issue. This will probably be frogged and repurposed.. soon. In all of this look back, it is interesting to see what I thought looked good together then… lol. Oy. Sign that girl up for a color theory class, pronto!

And there you have the knitting that Kym Inspired! A huge thanks to Kym for providing that inspiration!

Now, how about a bit of a reading update. (And thanks Carole for the Perfect Summer Reading Inspiration this year!)

I have just two books to share this week. Both curious stories, both I enjoyed and yet… disliked. I know. Curious stories!

MonogamyMonogamy by Sue Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that made me think… and I have – lots – since finishing it. I found the adult characters to all be very problematic. I am trying to figure out if Sue Miller’s title selection is sarcasm or a hoped for ideal.

There is no monogamy in this book. Graham is a serial cheater but tells himself that because he loved Annie last, that makes it okay. Annie flirts with cheating early in their married life, but not having sex does not mean not cheating, imo.

And yet, with that backdrop, Miller weaves a fascinating story. The characters are flawed, but that makes them seem so believable to me. She writes richly about those flawed characters… so richly I felt like I could see and feel the things she describes. And then there is all the food! Gah! This book will make you hungry… and I love how she pairs comforting food with uncomfortable scenes.

I originally rated this book 3-stars but my prolonged thinking about it has caused me to raise my rating to 4-stars. I very much recommend this book!

The Known WorldThe Known World by Edward P. Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a hard book to read… there were a good number of moments of discomfort during my reading. I listened, and I am glad I did because if I had been reading with my eyes, I might have skipped over some those discomforting bits.

But my entire thought process about this novel changed in listening to a short interview with the author, Edward P. Jones at the end of the book. Before I listened to Jones, I was just going to give this book 2-stars but instead this for me is a very solid 4-star book and one that I will be thinking about for a very, very long time!

This is a painful story about slavery… and specifically how a black man became a slave owner.

My review will reflect my changed perspective after listening to Jones. The story starts out in the Land of Hunky-dory… William Robbins, saintly slave owner, tutors Henry Townsend – a free black man – in how to run his own plantation. In William’s Hunky-dory Land… every one is happy, the slaves love being slaves! I know… except this is something that I think white people do all the time… perpetrating the idea that “status quo” is best for all.

And then reality rears her ugly head… which is what happens in this book. Henry cannot understand why the slaves are unhappy. And that story of reality, is painful to hear… but thinking about it with a changed perspective has so many correlations to today. An eye opening novel that is incredibly timely today.

I highly recommend it!


And there you have a bit of a making update from me this week. I have more to share, stay tuned for a fun update on Friday!

But what about you? Who inspires your knitting this week?

If you wrote a post to share today please leave your link below and thank you!


Sometimes Monday | 6.20.21

Sometimes Monday | 6.20.21

I pondered doing a “what I did on my blog-cation” last week… and I will share, soon.

One thing I did not do until late last week was open my laptop. Nope, I did not look at it once and it felt so good. I realized that in not looking at my laptop also increased not looking at my phone…another win, imo. I needed a dose of digital detox… ahh!

But here we are on a holiday (if you click this link, Google will remind you of the holiday, lol) … or at least the day of no mail delivery and on the cusp of summer solstice…as someone pointed out to me last week that I jumped the gun a bit in my thoughts that summer was starting last week but who was not ready to usher in summer early? Surely not just me, right? lol

I did spend some time pondering Juneteenth over the weekend. I read some poetry… and I rewatched this several times…a good reminder of how fragile freedom is. I also listened to this and I was reminded how much I appreciate Tracy K. Smith and so I tumbled down this lovely rabbit hole. I tried to stay in Digital Detox Land over the weekend but was not as successful as I was earlier in the week… sigh.

One thing I did discover was that a break from “normal” was a very good thing and I hope to bring some of those things with me into this new “back to normal” week…at least, that is my hope! And so I wish you all a very happy Monday!

I will see you all back here on Wednesday!

 

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