Monday Questions | 11.8.21

Monday Questions | 11.8.21

(a weekend update, and an answer!)

Debate over the Vintage Mixer continued on Friday evening and we made a plan for Saturday morning. Our plan… if and when it became too full to move around and still maintain safe distancing that would be our key to leaving. We arrived a little after the doors opened, hoping to avoid the initial rush of opening, but we still got hung up in a bit of a line. And from roughly 10 am to noon we had a wonderful time. We looked at so much fun stuff! We people watched all the “Vintage-dressed” people! (They are just so fun!) We had a beer and some Pie Bird Potato and Leek Breakfast Pie (yes, beer for breakfast!) and we did a tiny bit of shopping before it became almost impossible to move at all. It got so busy and so full. I have to confess that the female portion of the attendee’s seemed to have major issues with keeping your mask on correctly, despite there being signs EVERYWHERE about covering your nose and mouth. The men did not seem to have this issue at all, and frankly… I was a bit outraged at the women (can you say stupid??)

I was sad that I did not see a number of vendors that had previously attended… and most notably, Rick Sebak was not there.  And we only bought 2 things! But what fun things they are! We got a set of vintage cocktail glasses and a very old little cast iron pug. I have plans to put out the Dickens Village this year and I thought this little pug would be perfect companion for Fezziwig!

Last week, Patty expressed curiosity about my Cinnamon Syrup making so I thought I’d share my little concoction with you all! Years ago I found a recipe on Pinterest for Cinnamon Syrup but it was way too sweet for my taste… so I tweaked it quite a bit. My recipe: 1.5 cups of water, 1 – 8″ length cinnamon stick or 3 small sticks (note… I buy cinnamon sticks from Costco, they are larger, fresher, and less expensive that the regular grocer – but they don’t always have them in stock) and 3/4 cup brown sugar (not packed… just loose scoops). Bring the water with the cinnamon stick to a boil and once it is boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot and let it steep for 20-30 minutes. Remove the sticks and add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Voilá, the perfect hint of cinnamon-y sweetness to add to your coffee. (And if you froth your milk and sprinkle it with a tiny bit of ground cinnamon, you have yourself an incredible treat!)

And finally… my question of the week involves those ever-present stacks of paper that live in a house. Sadly, Steve and I are both paper collectors… but different sorts of paper. I like to print out recipes because I can make notes on them, but the kitchen drawer is overflowing and so this morning, I am culling the recipe herd and only keeping the ones we really love and I will be putting them in a new recipe book. Steve’s paperwork is a bit more “all over the house” than mine – he is a receipt and coupon hoarder. He doesn’t know it, but they are all going in the trash this morning… but how long do you all keep receipts? (and I am not talking grocery or fast food receipts… and yes, he keeps those too… sigh) I am talking ‘big ticket’ items, warranty items, etc.

But really, I want to know… how do you battle the Paper War?

That’s all I have for this morning… the stacks of paper are calling!


100 Days of Hope | Week 11

100 Days of Hope | Week 11

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson

I am ending this 100 day journey from winter to spring where I started, but with a new understanding of hope.

Hope exists in us, it is always around us, it is whispering to us. And if we sometimes pay attention we discover that like the increasing minutes of light… hope grows more hope!

Perhaps it is easier to be hopeful when your friends and loved ones are getting vaccinated. Truly, I did not realize what a weight I was holding waiting for the vaccination damn to break. Today more than 100 million American’s are either completely vaccinated or are on their way to being completely vaccinated. And while I am sure there are a plethora of idiots like Rand Paul… I will feel less stressed encountering the maskless. (and watching Dr. Fauci take down Mr. Paul just made my day!)

Perhaps it is easier to be hopeful when there is an hour and 37 minutes more daylight than there was on December 21st. But I really enjoyed the gradual changes that happened in the world around me… from a hushed, quiet winter to a spring full of exuberant birdsong! From snow covered ground to snowdrops blooming! From cold winter winds bringing  snow to open windows welcoming the warming winds and spring rains!

Cicadas are the ones that can really teach us about patience and hope! (Also a fun fact…17 years ago there was no iPhone)

Last thing… The New Yorker magazine tweeted this article written by one of my favorite authors, Paul Auster, this morning. He wrote it in 1995… and it is very much read-worthy!

So on this last Friday of winter, I am less despairing and so much more hopeful…and maybe I have put a pencil in my pocket, just in case!

Have an amazing weekend everyone! See you all back here next week!

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.24.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.24.21

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Greetings Unravelers! It’s the very last Unraveled Wednesday in February! And while we certainly had a wintry February here in Pittsburgh – the snowiest one since I moved here 7 years ago! My thoughts are turning to changing season knits. However, I have been giving my new knits a good work out and they are doing a good job of keeping me warm! And I am sure that the weather will be suitable for wearing my latest finish for a good bit of time before it is too warm for it.

This week the online classes for MDSW were available and I signed up for a couple of spinning classes with the hopes of improving my spinning skills. These classes qualify for Bucket List Classes as well! First I signed up for a class on Twist taught by Maggie Casey. Twist… the hardest part of spinning. I hope to learn how to better control how much twist I want in my yarns. I also signed up for a class on spinning Columbia Sheep with Judith McKenzie. April looks to be an incredible month for learning! Which is a good thing because I finished another skein, and while it absolutely needs a bit more twist in the plying, I feel like my spinning is in a rut… I spin my default spin every.single.time. Sigh.

This week, however, I have a finish!! This sweater was a long time in the making, but she is done and I can’t wait to wear her! I started this sweater way back in October of 2019 and I finished it yesterday! Notes on the knitting… I should have knit the body a wee bit longer, sigh. Ripping back and adding a couple of inches is not something I am even considering though because of that strand of mohair. And, of course, I needed to wind another skein of yarn with just 10 rows to go in the second sleeve. It will be getting a nice soak this morning and I hope to have some glamour shots next week!

I do have a generous amount of the Briar Rose Fiber Angle Face left over to knit something else with. This was the largest hank of fiber known to the Knitiverse… a sweater plus is a very good bargain. Sadly, I don’t have enough of the mohair to strand with it. But there is a matching hat (Ravelry link) that will work with the mohair I have left!

I also had some unraveling this week… the fabric for Steve’s sock from last week just seemed a bit loose to me… so I ripped it out and will cast on again later today with smaller needles. Good thing I was not very much further than the photo from last week!

The reading this week has been just lovely… the perfect companion to sleeve knitting! Nothing like a good mystery to keep you engaged, right?

The Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope, #9)The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vera and a murder…what’s not to love? This latest installment in the Vera series does not disappoint. I have so enjoyed watching the development of characters as this series has progressed. I highly recommend this series!


The English Assassin (Gabriel Allon, #2)The English Assassin by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In The English Assassin we are invited to learn more about Gabriel Allon… and what we learn makes him even more interesting. This story unfolds with a journey and a death (of course, lol) and how it progresses is fascinating. I learned about Switzerland, art, and music. I highly recommend this series and I am eagerly awaiting the third installment in this series.

That is what my making week looked like, what about you? What kept you company while you were making this week?

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

Leland for Winston

Leland for Winston

Started: August 3, 2020
Finished: August 20, 2020
Yarn: Blue Ridge Yarns Footnotes – parts of two sets
Pattern: ML Egan’s Leland
Needle: US 3 and US 1
Gauge: Pattern gauge: 28 sts and 40 rows = 4 inches. I did not get row gauge, so I am following the row instructions for the smallest size.
Size made: 6-12 months

Project Notes:
This pattern was a pleasure to knit! The instructions were clear and how it is written made it easy to adjust to fit my row gauge to the pattern. I did not have enough of my “accent yarn” to finish the collar/button band, so I used the blue from the body for the final row and bind off. The button were from my Nana’s button box!


Unraveled Wednesday | 6.10.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.10.20

It seems that in all things, I have this idea that whatever it is I am making will go quicker than it does in actuality.

However, at long last, I have a finished Ranunculus! It needs a nice wash, but I should be wearing it before the week is out! AND!! Just in time because the 90 degree temps have arrived in Pittsburgh this week! And it will be the perfect sitooterie sweater! Yes, thanks to Scott Simon, I learned a new word this week and I am wanting to use it all the time! I mean shouldn’t we all have a sitooterie of our own?

No, I have not started the TTL MKAL… yet. I did wind one skein of yarn, but have yet to cast on.

And no, I have not finished Larissa Brown’s Lunar Phases shawl either. Sigh…

However, I can’t stop thinking about this, or this, or this, or this!

Do you see a pattern here? Yeah, me too… I can’t settle myself on one project. Perhaps I need to change it up and do some sewing to  cleanse my palette! Ha!

Summer reading continues to be awesome though.

Disappearing EarthDisappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story pulled me in from the first paragraph and it took me on a journey full of unexpected things. I expected something different, but I was far from disappointed! What a beautifully written and engaging story. I know nothing about this area of Russia and I was fascinated with the people and the story. I highly recommend this book!

I also finished Mourning in Malmö late last night and I have yet to write my review. But with that finish, I have another bingo!!

Pink Bingo Titles: Shadow Pass, New Poets of Native Nations, Mourning in Malmo, The Crane Wife, American Dirt.

As you can see, I have a plan for where I am going and I have some ideas for “set in the state where you live” but I am on waitlists for several books that will fit this category at the library… and first up will fill the square!What about you? How is your reading moving you this week?

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

April Promise | 4.3.20

April Promise | 4.3.20

Another week, another un-Friday! March was the longest year of my life and how is it only April 3? However, I am managing to keep my mind occupied and away from activities that allow it to stray to worried thinking!

First, Steve thanks all of you for your birthday wishes! He wants you all to know it was the perfect day – a day at home that was all about him! He is the one person who is not stressed about sheltering at home – it is his favorite thing ever! The cake was incredibly delicious! (although next time I will halve the frosting recipe) It is moist and reminds me of brownies…but so.much.better. This is absolutely a recipe I will make again!

This week I spent lots of time happily noticing that despite the insanity that the world is these days, spring is blind to the uncertainty and slowly, steadily, each day it shares a new promise. My forsythia are a riot of yellow, the bridal–wreath has a veil of white lace, any my saved-from-the-dump lilac has dozens and dozens of dark purple flower buds! I have rhubarb leaves unfurling, the raspberries are getting new leaves, and the garden is calling to me. (I am ignoring the bushes that are screaming to be trimmed, and the yard that needs to be mowed – another month at home allows for the luxury of being able to take time to get the least favorite tasks done, amirite?)

I really tried to stay focused on small things. diversions, distractions, and remembering to breathe. The following are some things that have been the most pleasant distractions this week:

I discovered Patrick Stewart reading #ASonnetADay He is brilliant and I have loved every lovely word of them, but the best is when William Shakespeare retweets them!

Baking was truly a life-saver for me this week. I baked lots! I savored every step from making to the clean up – which for me was always the least fun part, but this week I welcomed the task! I also spent time tending my sourdough starter! My question for you all is this: Have you baked banana bread this week? You are not alone! (and if you didn’t, this is the bandwagon you want to get on ASAP!)

Poetry remains my favorite distraction and I have found on Shelter in Poems:

This week, there were so many moments of unexpected kindness…and I am profoundly grateful for each one.

And, finally… later today, I will begin the first clue of Romi’s Mystery Shawl!

I would say “let the weekend begin” but in these days of the never-ending weekend, it seems a moot point! I will be back on Monday and hope that you are all staying home, washing you hands, and flattening that damned curve!

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels


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