Macro Monday | 6.3.19

Macro Monday | 6.3.19

Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly. – Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

I would like to say I am excited to join with Carole and Vicki in Macro Monday’s – but excited is not quite the correct word, and though I am very excited to be participating with them the better word for my photography is hopeful…as in I am hopeful that my macro photography will improve as the weeks pass.

Macro photography is hard, and I am on the bottom of the learning curve – the very bottom!

Friday’s tries were not fantastic – I think it was just too sunny (Really?? With all the rain this week, I never imagined I’d be saying those words!)  I did, however, start to get a feel for the settings necessary for macro photography. (There is so much I just don’t understand about all the numbers of photography, but I did find this really great video which gives a good breakdown of Macro Photography – in mostly ‘layman’s’ terms!)

If only the bees had been still!

Saturday morning’s tries were a bit better – and I am reminded that early morning light is really a photographer’s best friend! It was misty, and cool, and damp, and virtually breezeless – and my practice improved ever so slightly – as did my understanding of my camera settings.

This was my favorite of the photos – and while there is lots not right with it – I did manage to capture the beads of water tremulously hanging from the Coleus leaf!

Sunday was just too windy to do any practicing, but I am hopeful that this week will give me lots of opportunities! And, so I am sharing the “best of” my photos from the weekend. I can see incremental – albeit small – improvement. I hope your weekend was the same will each day improving upon the last!

Have a good Monday!

May: Over and Out

May: Over and Out

May has felt unbelievably long to me – at times it has felt like it has been on pause with the days running into one another. While I know and am trying to remind myself that there have been plenty of very good May days they seem to have been drowned out by the very challenging days of unexpected expenses, arguments, and upsets.

As this month closes, it feels like it has been ages since I was in Michigan – so, I am sending May out the door with a pictorial reminder of just how wonderfully it started:


Have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Monday!

P.S. A dear reader shared the most wonderful link with me this week which is perfectly timed to help us start PRIDE month. I did not know that 73% of the LGBTQ community have been harassed online due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. If you want to share this link with friends, please feel free to do so! No one should feel at risk or harassed ever.

Three on Thursday | 5.30.19

Three on Thursday | 5.30.19

I am joining with Carole and friends today to share a few things with you today!

Thing One:

The volume of rain has me singing this song from the Winnie the Pooh movie. Thankfully we have not yet had any of the flooding that some of those in Western PA have. Yesterday my phone received one alert after another with a multitude of weather warmings. Unbelievably, there is more rain in the forecast for today…

Thing Two:

Sadly, it does not surprise me that few people have read the Mueller Report. However, I am righteously angry that most of the members of congress have not read it…I have read it – every.single.page. I do not have a law degree and I had no problem understanding it. Yes, there are some parts that have been redacted, but that does not impact the understanding of the report. So, Dear America – be like Justin Amash and read the damned report! (And, if you don’t want to read the report his twitter feed is a virtual CliffsNotes™)

Thing Three:

Finally, a good problem to have: It is always a risk to put things on hold at the library, because if they all become available at once – you have a flood of books to read. That happened to me this week! I have 9 books to read in 21 days, most of which I have been waiting for a very long time, so wish me luck! Lol

What about you? What’s on your list today?

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.29.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.29.19

Greetings Gentle Unravelers!

I would love to be able to tell you that I have made progress on finishing my Marsa Alam however, it remains untouched. I am beginning to feel twinges of guilt about this fact, but the guilt is not enough to have spurred me to pick it up and knit.

Rather I have knit on my Tegna and have done a surprising amount of knitting on it! I began the holiday weekend with the body at roughly 10 inches and I ended the weekend with the body growing to 14 inches and I started my third ball of yarn! It seems that an easy to pick up and put down project worked well over the long holiday weekend and my progress shows that. My plan is to knit the body to 16 inches and then begin the divide for the sleeves, so I still have some “mindless” knitting to go before I get to that point, but I am closer than I was last week!

My reading was not bad this week, thanks to a couple of good audiobooks and hours and hours of garden work!

I finished listening to The Great Believers which I thought was very good, incredibly moving but long! I think there were some parts that dragged a bit for me which could have been solved via better editing. Still, I gave the book 4-stars.

I also listened to The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. It was a very quick listen. Quick but full of things to think about and more than a bit scary. I found much of this book to be a wakeup call – or rather, the-alarm-is-now-screaming-at-us-to-wake-the-eff-up!! The book is read by the author, which I appreciated tremendously. If you don’t think global warming is real – don’t bother with this book. However, if you are concerned about climate change and its effects on our future – I highly recommend this book! 5-stars.

The Widow’s of Malabar Hill was also in the finish column. I really struggled to get “into” this book at the start. It did eventually pick up though – I like Perveen Mistry and enjoyed hearing about India in the 1920’s. 3-stars and I will try the second book in the series and hopefully it will not have such a slow start!

Finally, Ali Smith’s Spring… WOW. I mean just wow. This book grabbed me from the first sentence, and it carried me along barely letting me put it down before I finished it! 5-stars and I cannot wait for the final book of this series!

That is all I have for this week, but what about you? What’s on your radar this week?

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Focus Realized | May 2019

Focus Realized | May 2019

Dandelions don’t tell no lies. – Mick Jagger

Nor does focus or the lack thereof!

May found me challenged with my focus. I learned that my focus was very much a routine-based focus. A change to that routine (i.e. vacation) and my focus was like a blown dandelion – at the whim of the winds that were blowing.

It was not a very good feeling. But, with all things – faltering causes learning and understanding, and simply put, sometimes it is okay to be unfocused!

It was not the best feeling, I admit – but it has made me appreciate all that I have learned and all that I have worked through since I began this journey way back in January.

Just like dandelion seeds, which sprout quickly, I found that getting back to feeling focused was far easier than I imagined, and I learned that it is okay to be unfocused occasionally too.

And then at the end of last week, a wonderful surprise arrived – a beautiful visual reminder of my word. Thank you so much, Honoré! You can see that it helped me focus on what was important yesterday!

 

Make it Monday | 5.27.19

Make it Monday | 5.27.19

My weekend thus far has had a good bit of “making” and weekending activities – there has been planting, and gardening, and grilling, and time with family (or at least phone time!) and friends. I stopped at JoAnn’s and got LOTS of fabric so some sewing is on tap for this grey Memorial Day.

I also created the most wonderful Rhubarb-Thyme Collins! It is so good and so refreshing! And, the rhubarb is in all the farmer markets in my area so if you try this recipe, please let me know! (if you are not a gin fan, I think this would work equally well with vodka, or with no alcohol at all to make a delicious Rhubarb-Thyme soda!)

Rhubarb-Thyme Collins

2 parts Rhubarb-Thyme Syrup (recipe below)
2 parts fresh lime juice
4 parts Dry Gin
Sparkling water

Combine syrup, lime juice and gin in tall glass over ice. Stir well to mix. Top with sparkling water and enjoy!

Rhubarb-Thyme Syrup

2 Cups rhubarb, chopped (about 8-10 stalks)
2 Cups sugar
2 Cups water
4 sprigs of thyme

Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water in saucepan and bring to boil. Once mixture is boiling, turn down heat to medium and stir occasionally. Cook until rhubarb has softened. Turn off heat, stir in thyme sprigs, and cover. Allow to steep for 7-8 minutes. Strain out to separate the liquid. Cool and refrigerate. The syrup will last about 12 days in refrigerator.

In all my making – I did not want to forget that today is Memorial Day:

On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live. – Eric Burdon

Memorial Day is not only the “Official Start of Summer” or a long weekend filled with planting flowers, gardening, grilling, and spending time with family and friends, (or making!) And while these are all great long weekend in summer activities, Carole has posted a wonderful reminder of what today is really about! Please go and read her words and allow them to wash over you – let them fill you – and hold them in your heart as you go through your day.

I am going to pause today and spend some time thinking about Carole’s speech and about all those who have served and are serving.

Have a very Happy Memorial Day!

TGIF – A Holiday Weekend Edition!

TGIF – A Holiday Weekend Edition!

The weather forecast seems to be attempting to put the kibosh on a glorious welcome to summer:

But I am not going to let the weather stop me from having a good weekend!

In the plus column – I did indeed get my Charity Shawl completed and blocked! Which means I can ease back into my regularly scheduled knitting – which includes my Marsa Alam and a pair of toe-up socks! I have never knit a pair of socks toe-up so this is an entirely new experience for me. I am not sure how I feel about the process compared to my usual sock knitting method, but I will have a better idea once I have gotten to the heel. I am also a bit concerned about the cast off, but hopefully my typical stretchy bind-off will not fail me!

Thinking about:

Sewing! I finished my Rose muslin yesterday. I had made some alterations to the pattern – I shortened the length and I knew I would need to shorten the rise but I was unsure exactly how much to shorten it. And even though I did not quite shorten it enough, it is still a wearable muslin! I used some fabric I got at IKEA a couple of years ago. My original plan was to sew a cushion for the window seat at the top of our stairs, but that never happened and so I thought it would work well for a muslin and it did! The pattern directions are well written and very clear. I tried the pleat option and it was surprisingly easy!  I think the gathered front looks nice as well so I will get some fabric this weekend to make another pair. I think these would work with fun prints, linen, and even a lightweight denim! AND!! They are super comfortable and I predict these will be the Pants of the Summer!

Gearing up for:

The start of Summer Book Bingo! That’s right – any book finishes beginning tomorrow can count for a square! I am ON the “Made into a TV series” square with the first book of Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series – A Great Deliverance. I have high hopes for this book as the reviews on Goodreads are stellar! I started it Wednesday night and should easily have it finished this weekend! It is not to late for you to join in as well! Book Bingo makes summer so much more fun!

Inspired by:

PatternScout! I love this idea of remaking things and giving them a new life. Also, I really love her pattern suggestions – especially the Burda Knot Front Blouse! And, I truly love her “Monologue” especially this: “This hobby has given me so much confidence…creatively and about my body.” YES, so much yes!!

Fun, fun, fun:

I am going to harvest some rhubarb today and have plans to make a batch of Rhubarb-Thyme Syrup. This will come in handy as an addition to some beginning-of-summer-inspired cocktails this weekend – I am thinking about something new with gin. Stay tuned – I will share the recipe next week!

That’s all I have for this week – have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend and I will see you all back here next week!

Three on Thursday | 5.30.19

Three on Thursday | 5.22.19

I am happily joining with Carole and friends this week to share some “ah-ha” things in my world this week!

Thing One:

Tuesday was local Primary Election Day in PA and turn out was sad… so sad. However, despite the horrendously poor turn out (we only had 82 voters in our precinct) the numbers were most interesting! The Democrat turn out beat the Republican turn out – in fact it was almost double! But the horrendously poor turn out meant I could spend more time talking with the people who voted! I met the gentleman who was Michael Chabon’s teacher and advisor when he was a student at Pitt! We talked about books and shared some “new to each of us” titles. It was almost the best moment of the day. The only better moment was the gentleman who was born in 1918 who came to vote. He still lives in his own home, he is very ambulatory, but his eyesight is “not what it once was” and he was happy that his son in law (who lives next door to him) drove him to vote. We should all take a page from this amazing 101-and-a-half-year-old man – voting is indeed our right and a privilege and we should exercise that right every single time we can!

Thing Two:

Book Bingo is on – and I “reset” the card twice and ended up with this one – lots of “ah-ha” things on here! And, I think it will work for my “Summer of Classics and New to Me Authors”!

Thing Three:

My final ah-ha moment this week was when I realized yesterday that this weekend is a LONG weekend! Now, I am hoping that Steve will be able to at least leave work early on Friday and our long weekend can be a little longer!

That is all I have for today – did you have any “ah-ha” moments this week?

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.22.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.22.19

Greetings, Unravelers!

I am writing this post on Monday while sipping my second iced coffee of the day. Tuesday will find me working the poll for PA Local Primary Voting Day. And, despite my thinking that it will not be at all busy for us – I still don’t think I will be able to get a blog post done on my phone. (Because, you know for certain if I was planning on that, it would be busy! Lol)

Anyways, I am taking the shawl to knit, and I have high hopes of finishing it! Once that is done, I can get back to my Marsa Alam. I did find one glaring error in my pickup of stitches for the neckband so I will have a tiny bit of unraveling to do. But it will be quick to rip out the neckband and redo it and then get started on the sleeves.

Juliann asked me on Monday if my weekend included any sewing. Sadly, it did not (nor did Monday!) I did get the pattern jigsaw puzzle put together and the pattern traced out, but then the reorganization of my sewing/craft room preempted any actual sewing. I hope to spend today cutting out the pattern and sewing up my muslin. I will update you how that all goes later this week!

As for reading, I have had no finishes this week and I am feeling a bit a drift in my reading – usually about now I am planning out my “Summer Book Bingo” books and I am definitely feeling like something is missing because of it! But I do have a plan for my summer reading – which includes reading some classics, and some authors I have never read before. New things can mean new reading excitement! My first book is by Eleanor Roosevelt – It’s Up to the Women – I thought this title was most timely for all the nonsense that is going on right now and a good place to start!

I have no set number of books I want to read but, my over-achiever success from last year is niggling in my brain…although I am not sure I want to repeat that feat! I would rather read more challenging books versus speed reading through a summer. Super long books – fine by me! Books that make me think – bring it on! The summer is all about expanding my reading horizons!

Last summer I read Anna Karenina and it was good, but I did not think it great – Carole suggested that I read War and Peace so that will be up soon in my listening queue. I also have Joe Wilkins novel in the above stack of books that I think I saw on Kwizgiver’s blog, which I am eager to get started!

I am listening to The Great Believer’s – all 1,097 minutes of it. I am almost 1/3rd into it and I hope to have it finished for next week’s post. (fingers crossed!)

I am also reading The Widows of Malabar Hill on my Kindle™ and I will bring that with me to work the polls on Tuesday, so that might be in the finished column by the time you are reading this!

That is all I have for today – a whole lotta not much, amirite? So, inspire me Unraveler’s – what are you making and reading this week?!

Oh, and what classic do you think I should add to my list?

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Post Script: As I said, I wrote this post on Monday morning and by Monday night the Reading Gods had pity on this Summer Reading Fanatic. Mary will be hosting Summer Book Bingo! You can find all the deets here and you will find the rules here and can print your bingo card here! And, yes… I still want you to tell me what Classics I should add to my summer reading!

A huge thank you to Mary for putting this together! XO

Weekending | 5.20.19

Weekending | 5.20.19

A normal weekend – that is what I wished for and I’d say that was exactly what I got!

FriYAY Happy Hour made me very happy – we sat outside, and it was so lovely! And, can I just say that my new favorite drink might be a gin martini… that Bombay Sapphire is amazing stuff!

Saturday was full – so full! A trip to Costco, some yard work, and I then I decided to reorganized my “craft room” to accommodate sewing machines being out all.the.time! It took all afternoon and a good chunk of the evening. It just needs a few odds and ends put away, which I hope to finish up today. Fortunately,  dinner was super simple! Fresh asparagus and some amazing shrimp we picked up from our Costco trip – Steve grilled all of it and it was just so delicious.

My son sent a picture of the dog he is fostering – Sam (the feet, in case you did not know, lol) and Bowser (on the left) feel completely at home with Shakespeare (who Sam is calling Shake) – or maybe it is Shake that feels completely at home with them. I have my fingers crossed that I will soon have a new grand-dog to love!

Sunday morning, Steve did some more yard work – and really – all the heaving lifting yard work! He moved our fire pit to its new home…which allowed for the patio heater to move to its new place. We just have a few final things to finish up and the summer living areas will be all set. The temps got a bit warm and muggy on Sunday, so we cranked on the AC – which thankfully is now fully operational!

We closed out the weekend with a simple Sunday Happy Hour (inside this time and with AC!) in preparation for the GoT finale… no spoilers here, so I can’t tell you if those eight questions were answered! Sorry!! However, I will say that I was very happy with how the series ended.

My weekend hope that remains unfulfilled was to finish that blasted shawl, but I barely knit a stitch all weekend! However, I am working at the PA election tomorrow, which is a local primary election so sadly, it should not be too busy so I am hopeful to finish it then!

How was your weekend? I hope it was awesome!

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