Unraveled Wednesday | 4.22.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.22.20

I am plugging along on making. The knitting is going well (as expected) however, the crochet…

I do like the “end result” but boy. Who knew my very agile knitting hands could suddenly be all thumbs with crochet. Things I am struggling with: Holding the yarn in the “other” hand (I did not think this would be such a challenge since when I knit color work I use both hands), counting (this is not intuitive – and I have miscounted a number of times which means… RIPPPP! lol) where to “insert” the hook (some instructions say “the back of the loop” but others instructions leave it up to me… oy.) I am following the instructions for leaving a short tail, but how do you “weave in the ends” ??? That looks like it should be tons of fun… NOT! Hahaha! On a brighter note… I only have about 50 more “circles” to go!!

Mary asked on IG “when do we get to see the whole thing??!!!” Okay, I present the whole thing… or at least the start of the “whole thing” I have lots more days to go and lots more stitching to do! You are only seeing about a third of the linen to be stitched.

In the best possible making department…My oldest daughter announced on Monday that they are expecting!

So that means TWO new grandbabies this year! Heidi and Christian are expecting in early July and Rachel and Erik will welcome their little one in September!

It was a mixed bag of reading this week. One book I abandoned at about the halfway point, Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel just was “not for me” at all. I enjoyed Station Eleven, but this was very disappointing. And, Staying At Home does not mean reading bad books.

Smilla's Sense of SnowSmilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved so much about this book, but the ending. Smilla was divine – really a brilliantly written character. She is moody, brash, and questioning…everything. This is just really a book I want to tell everyone to read, but the ending… So, if you like the journey better than the destination, you will enjoy this book.

 

The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book pulled me in from the first chapter and it was an incredibly exciting journey! This book made me think of so many “what if’s”!! I loved January Scaller! There is a tiny part of me that would love to discover that there are doors in my world leading to so many possibilities! I highly recommend this book!

Hot MilkHot Milk by Deborah Levy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book crossed my radar via an IG post from a librarian – it was one of many books available via Hoopla. So I tried! This book had potential and I really hoped about half way through that Sofia would grow up and become likable. Sadly, for me, she did not.

That is all I have for today! If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!

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Macro Monday | 4.20.20

Macro Monday | 4.20.20

Over the weekend, I got out the big camera and took a few photos. Okay, I took dozens of photos but only a few “turned out.” And, yes, turned out – as in to (accidentally) happen in a particular way…the effort was there but having not used the big camera for a long time my skills are exceedingly rusty! And the wind on Sunday was not at all beneficial – but the early morning light was perfect. Are the pictures perfect? No, but I love the shadows on these lilac blooms. I love how they open individually – each on its own schedule. And the fragrance. It is heavenly. That wind that played havoc with my picture taking worked diligently to waft the lilac aroma around… and that was most appreciated.

I know some of you had snow last week. But there is a poem for that… and it is simply perfect! (really, go listen!) Today in my gratitude list I am including Maxine Kumin for her beautiful words. Yes, that was a lovely rabbit hole to traverse on a Sunday morning!

There was some mystery knitting (clue two from Larissa Brown is done and clue three from Romi is in progress.) And, I bought a thing! And started!! And struggled! I will share my progress later this week.

In an effort to conserve vermouth (yes, that is absolutely a thing in my house right now) It was a vodka and soda weekend. However, I am happy to report that Trader Joe’s Cranberry-Mandarin Orange sparkling water is the perfect thing for a vodka and soda! No sugar, and the perfect hint of flavor in the soda – not too much and not too little!

Finally, today is my son’s favorite day of the year. I confess, I laughed at some of the suggestions in this Rolling Stones article on how to participate safely from home!

That’s it from me today! I hope you all had a great weekend!

TGIF | 4.17.20

TGIF | 4.17.20

Breathe the incense of sun on prairie Offer peace to the sky — Heid E. Erdrich, Peace Path

It has been a week and then some. I think what I am missing most is the “normalcy” of the week – that is, normal work schedules, normal routines, and looking forward to Friday. I don’t know about you, but the days are a jumble to me with each one feeling like the last and the next. I feel a bit like I did when I was a child on summer break in the month of August. You know when the days felt endless and school would never start!

And, yet there have been pockets of “good things” in my days and so perhaps a bit of TGIF is in order!

Thankful

Yesterday was our “monthly” trip to the grocery store for much needed things (fresh produce, for one!!) We headed to Trader Joe’s and again there was a line, but for the most part a well-spaced, masked line! The limit to inside access has been even more reduced to assure that we can all be properly distanced from other shoppers. The store was immaculate and well-stocked. But it the best part was the simple kindness of the other shoppers and the Trader Joe’s staff – both were a balm to my weary spirit. The bouquet above was a gift from Trader Joe’s for helping to bag my groceries. I did not realize how much the simple interaction with strangers was something I was missing. I am basking in the glow of those simple things today, and so thankful!

Generosity

I have been amazed at the simple forms of giving that have been showing up around the internet! From free things in all sorts of places to helpful tips and tricks for all sorts of things – there are some in the universe working to balance out the unfairness of these days. I thought I’d share a few of the things I found this week with you all! First, Made by Rae just posted an excellent tutorial in which she shows clearly how to measure for pants that fit – even in the rise! I spent some time this week “cranking out” face masks and learned that not all faces are made the same. I found this pattern fits a variety of sizes and includes a “nose wire” option! Milk Street Kitchen has made all their online classes available through the end of April.

Inspiration

This week has had some lovely inspiration! This morning the patterns from Making No. 9 / Simple showed up on Ravelry! And curiously, crochet items have been calling to me (because of Sarah’s gorgeous blanket and Mary’s 100 Day project) But then Churchmouse Yarns sent this and I have a case of the “I want this bad” (also I love that they are also echoing the joy of Sarah’s blanket with One Big Granny Square! (Perhaps the pillow is a good place to start? Lol) I cannot crochet, but I would really love to learn. I tried a few years ago, but it was truly a struggle and I gave up but maybe this is the thing I need to keep my brain focused right now!

Finally, poetry

Poetry has become a daily necessity for me. And this morning’s poem – Peace Path from The Slowdown moved me greatly and I immediately checked out a book of her poetry from my library. (and yes, Heid E. Erdrich is Louise Erdrich’s sister!)

That is all I have for this week… I hope your weekend is full of weekend things! See you all back here on Monday! I am pulling out my “big camera” and hope to get a photo I can share. Carole and Vicki… how about some Macro Monday!?

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.15.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.15.20

This week there was a good bit of unraveling. Sigh. Yep, I almost gave up on Romi’s Mystery Shawl (the top green “blob” above). Clue two is a real challenge! (Or perhaps the challenge was that Pear Martini + intricate lace knitting = a colossally bad idea) However, I stayed the course, ripped back, picked up the correct number of stitches (which was a miracle in itself!) and tried again. I have completed the first repeat of chart one, and will continue working through the chart later today.

I have finished clue one of Larissa Brown’s Lunar Mystery knit (The stripey half-circle above) and I am in love! It was a joy to knit and she teased us with some hints for this week’s clue and I.can’t.wait!

I also finished a pair of socks (who on earth am I???) Yep, Coopknits Mystery Socks are done and I love them. The fit is great and there was just enough patterning to be more than just plain socks!

If you have been following my 100 Day Project on IG, you might be thinking, well that’s all kinds of boring. But I am happy to say that what is in my head is flowing nicely into my stitches. I have two corners almost completed and will begin on the other side shortly. Working from the “outside” of my linen to the inside seemed to make the most sense. So look for some more interesting bits coming up!

I am back to slow and steady with my reading, so only one (brilliant) finish this week. And while this might not be a book for everyone, it certainly made me stop and think.

On Earth We're Briefly GorgeousOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

They say nothing lasts forever but they’re just scared it will last longer than they can love it.

Haunting, poignant writing. I listened to the author read his story, and I think that helped me stay engaged with this, at times, very painful story. If you have read Vuong’s poetry, his writing will be very familiar. This felt more like poetry than it did a novel, and that is not a negative statement… the writing was just so beautiful.


I have to say, I love that Goodreads has been providing lots of reading inspiration! This curated list has oodles and oodles of things on it! And it is incredibly handy for SAH Book Bingo! As you can see, I am making some progress on my card. I managed to fill in a number of books from last week on this card! And I am doing it a bit differently this year. I have printed off my bingo card, and am using it in conjunction with my Travelers Notebook™ and if when I move on to another card (cards) I can just turn the page and keep going!

That’s all I have for this week, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below! Thank you!


Sometimes Monday | 4.13.20

Sometimes Monday | 4.13.20

Means a complete “brain dump” – yep, that’s right… today I am dumping out all the things rattling around my brain that I have been trying to remember for “future posts”…

Also, cocktails on Monday need to be a thing when we are back to “normal,” whatever that might be!

First up, the weekend highlights:

  • I had a few brief moments of mourning over the weekend when I reflected on not being in Michigan for the holiday as we had planned. Virtual conversations are just not the same as in person ones. However, Vivi with her Chicks is epic! My daughter says she wants to be “with them” in the barn all.the.time!
  • Church via Zoom is also not quite the same as being together in person and “Apart but Together Easter Breakfast” would have been greatly improved with “smell-i-vision” because bacon! (And someone was having Pecan Pancakes!)
  • An Easter without music is not quite the same, but I did find some Spotify channels to “sing along” with…much to Steve’s pleasure, lol (or is that displeasure! Ha!)
  • A new cocktail was created, and it is a huge winner! (there was some necessity for this as the vermouth stock is dwindling…)
    • 1 Cup Dry Gin
    • 1/2 cup Pear Ginger Puree (recipe follows)
    • 1/3 cup Domaine de Canton Ginger Liquor
      • Ingredients for Pear Ginger Puree:

        • 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Pear Halves, diced
        • 1 ginger root, sliced (you do not need to peel it)
        • 1.5 cups water
        • A scant 2/3 cup of cane sugar

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Once boiling turn heat down to simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 15 minutes. Remove the ginger pieces and pour the pear liquid into a blender. Blend until pears are pureed.

To make the cocktail, add ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled coupe glass and enjoy! (makes 2 substantial cocktails!) I froze the remaining puree in ziploc bags for future cocktails!

Now that the “weekend” is out of the way, let’s begin the brain dump portion of this post!

I saw this somewhere in the Blogisphere last week, sorry I don’t remember where (maybe Kym??) I have read it multiple times and have printed it out and put it in my journal. The words are the perfect reminder of how all this should change us.

SAH Book Bingo is sparking all kinds of excitement in my reading! I love the planning part especially, figuring out what books will work for a square. Need some ideas? Look no further! 500 Page book square? This has some incredible ideas (and I have read lots of them!) Let me know if you need a suggestion or two from this list!

Looking for things to fill mystery squares? Goodreads has compiled an excellent list here! (and again, if you need some suggestions – please ask me!)

NPR’s interactive list is a treasure trove of good things! (and it goes back several years!)

And finally, this poem by Carl Sandburg seems like the perfect thing to end this Monday post with.

If it is raining where you are, I hope you can stay safe and dry!

April Promise | 4.10.20

April Promise | 4.10.20

Another week… another Friday…and joy of joys, it is snowing in Pittsburgh this morning. Yes, that’s right… snow! On all the tender new leaves. On the lilac blooms. On the magnolia blooms. Sigh.

Today is day four of my 100 Day Project and these moments of creatively stitching have been rays of sunshine in my day! You can follow my journey via Instagram, which I think is the perfect platform for sharing my days progress. I am happy that the plan in my head is flowing beautifully into my stitches.

I will begin the first clue of Larissa Brown’s Lunar Fade MKAL later today AND!!! Clue Two of Romi’s MKAL will drop today as well! And tomorrow the final clue of Coopknits Nimue socks will be out so this weekend will be all knitting, all the time!

To avoid any new temptations, I have been **trying** to avoid Ravelry this week. Key word…trying! LOL It seems that it was a “cloudy” week there! Did you see Cloudesley and Cloud Cover? Yeah…they are awesome, and both have been rattling around my head a bit. I also cannot get Mary’s inky navy sweater out of my head and I might have identified a “hole” in my warm weather wardrobe! However, I have not begun looking for any inky navy yarns…yet.

It was a week of lots.of.baking! Yesterday I made these brownies…and yowza, they are so good! And today I am baking my first loaf of sourdough bread! (I have my fingers crossed that it rises!)

If you, like me, are doing all kinds of Zoom get togethers… I found these tips and tricks to be exceedingly helpful!

I listened to an excellent Life Kit this week all about focusing while reading, which has been a huge struggle for me recently!

That’s all I have for this week! Have a good weekend (and Happy Easter, if you celebrate!) See you all back here next week!

Three on Thursday | 4.9.20

Three on Thursday | 4.9.20

I find myself remembering the days of the week by my “blog calendar” and have felt the need to spend more time here, which is not a bad thing. Today I am joining Carole and friends to share three things with you today.

Some years ago, Kym introduced me to National Poetry Month, which, I confess, I did not know existed. I did not read poetry. My maternal grandfather did though – he not only read poetry, he had so many poems memorized! My favorites that he would recite were Trees by Joyce Kilmer, and Fog by Carl Sandburg. I know these poems, but did not really “get” why poetry. That is until Kym. Today I am going to share three things that I hope will draw you into the lovely world of poetry. I have found great comfort in these uncertain and unsettled days in poetry.

Thing One:

I did not know about the Griffin Poetry Prize (there are International and Canadian Winners). The 2020 Shortlist was just announced. I have added several of these to my “poetry wish list.” They also share a poem of the week!

Thing Two:

I just finished reading Susan Stewart’s Columbarium, a lovely little tome of incredibly moving poems. I have read it through three times now and each time I discover something new. But, every time I have read this book Dark the Star has called to me.

Dark The Star
by Susan Stewart

Dark the star
deep in the well,
bright in the still
and moving water,
still as the night
circling above
the circle of stones
the darkness surrounds.
Dark the wish
made on the star,
a true wish made
on the water’s image.

There’s no technique in the grass.
There’s no technique in the rose.

Thing Three:

This is perhaps my favorite poem of all time. I discovered Derek Walcott via Kym’s blog. His poetry is the best discovery ever.

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


Happy Thursday everyone!

 

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.8.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.8.20

Greetings Unravelers!

I forgot to share yesterday my temperature chart, but it deserves a mention. One stunning thing I noted… Pittsburgh only had 4 days in the first quarter where the high temperature was in the 20’s.

Let that sink in a minute. Yes, that is right in 3 months, we had just 4 days in the 20’s. Every month had some temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s… yes, January, February, and March had days that got that warm. If I had not been tracking temperatures, I might not believe it.

This week I blocked my Nymphaladia (which is not yet on Ravelry) and wove in the couple of ends. I love the dramatic change from Monday’s photo!

I also began work on the heel turns on my mystery socks! I don’t think there is one single thing in knitting that brings more wonder that the simple process of turning a heel, and suddenly that flat flap begins to take form and a sock is born from a tube and a flap! I was a bit shocked to see that the color matching sock yarns were dramatically off in matching. Yes, one skein had a significant bit less of the green dyed part. So, these will be off-kilter socks but perhaps that is just what I needed to remember this off-kilter time!

It seems I have finally broken through the Reading Dam with gusto! My read’s this week were all noteworthy! Also, in case you missed it Mary is leading us all in SAH Book Bingo which began April 1st! I wonder if I can fill three cards between now and Labor Day? Anyways, Book Bingo is one of my very favorite things and I hope you join us!

American DirtAmerican Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There has been lots of discussion about this book… and much of it revolved around “don’t read it.” However, I am a Rebel (aka Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) and being such I felt compelled to read this book. I initially gave this book 4-stars but in thinking about the book for a few days, I really think this is a book deserving of a 5-star rating.

The story’s main characters, Lydia and her son Luca, survive a horrific event and must flee their home in Acapulco. This story revolves around that escape and the people (good and bad) that they meet in their journey.

I was moved by their journey, by their hope, by their determination, and especially by some of the people they interact with. The writing is wonderful – engaging – and it pulled me in from the first sentence. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was excellent.

Look past the hype and the naysayers and read this book! You will be glad you did!

The Unquiet Dead (Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak, #1)The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book one in a series always is a bit of a challenge as you figure out the characters, their backgrounds, and how they came to be together. Rachel and Esa have wonderful potential. This story tackles a devastating time in history (the Bosnian War Crimes) and did so incredibly well! I struggled at first to keep things straight, but thankfully reading on the kindle makes remembering details easy. I am eager to read more of this series.

Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner's Guide to Holy WeekEntering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week by Amy-Jill Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book with my small group, and we watched Amy-Jill’s companion video series. If you want someone to give you a remarkable history lesson on Holy Week – this is the series for you! Levine’s insights and knowledge are wonderful. I learned so many things and my book is full of notes. I highly recommend it!

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and LossLate Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first, I did not think I was going to like this book at all, especially when I read a woman belongs in her husband’s church – yikes, that was cringe-worthy for me. But, I pressed on and am I glad I did!

Every day the world is teaching me what I need to know to be in the world. In the stir of too much motion: Hold still. Be quiet. Listen.

YES! I needed this reminder. I also needed to shed solidarity tears with Margaret as she sat in the pediatrician’s office with her newborn baby, tired – exhausted really, with a hungry, crying baby, trying her damnedest to breast feed with mastitis. Thank god for doctors that listen and remove the guilt and free you to be a better parent. “The best mother is a happy mother,” she said. “Give that baby a bottle.” AMEN!!

I loved her bird stories, her childhood stories, her parents stories, and how she looks at life. It is not perfect, but my gosh – it can be so beautiful.


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


Looking Back | March 2020

Looking Back | March 2020

Only those with tenacity can march forward in March. — Ernest Agyemang Yeboah 

I needed an abundance of tenacity last month, which felt like the longest year of my life. Truly. It lasted forever, but I made it through to the other side and for that I am grateful!


The Best Part of the Month 

Hands down it was the ever increasing daylight hours. The month would have been much worse if all this was happening in the dead of winter. And we even had some sunshine in Pittsburgh, which was a very good thing!

Something New

Does “shelter at home” count? Hahaha! (It should since we were doing it for almost half the month!!) Pittsburgh, or rather Allegheny County began sheltering at home on March 17th which also saw the first “quarantini” of the month. And speaking of drinking, there was a significant increase in weekday drinking, but I am not sure if that is really a good thing, lol. AND Sourdough made its appearance!

Best “Oh, Wow” Moment/s

The birds! Forced forsythia in the house! Sourdough starter success!! I also finished a pair of socks (the 13th), and Nightshift (the 24th!) Also… being comfortable in my own *sans makeup* skin enough to memorialize it here!

What I did Well and What I can do Better

I am not sure I did anything well (unless you count drinking, ha!) this month. But one thing I am going to make an effort to do is to **remember to take a daily photo and video** which apparently one consistently forgets when they are on home quarantine!

What about you? Did you have a stand out March Moment? Please share!!

Sometimes Monday | 4.6.20

Sometimes Monday | 4.6.20

Starts with a trip down the loveliest rabbit hole!

Clara started it, but that led me to this and this and finally this! These kids… PURE JOY (and you can believe me when I tell you that because joy has been a scarce commodity in my life these days!!)

Perhaps, a trip down a rabbit hole is the perfect thing for today since I spent much of the weekend with things on repeat!

I could not get enough of this and I listened to it several times on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Which led me to “Google” Pádraig Ó Tuama and I discovered he has a twitter account! (My twitterverse just grew infinitely richer!)


I finished Clue One of the Genius of Romi! My brain loved every bit of everything I thought I could not understand – that is until I broke it down and just did what the direction said to do, and not worry about that next step until its turn. (I am knitting this with a heavy-lace weight yarn and a bit of a smaller needle than the pattern calls for, but oh my do I love this start!)

I also did some “repeats” knitting and finished a long lingering UFO* (I saved the pattern in 2015 and I think I cast on shortly thereafter, but never started a project page.) Today, a good soak and some blocking to reveal the beauty! (My yarns are about a half a ball of Zauberball Crazy – in the colorway that the designer used, and almost an entire hank of Lorna’s Laces sock yarn.) There was something entirely satisfying about knitting alternating repeats of welts and wedges.

I hope you enjoy these rabbit holes! Happy Monday!

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