Best Nine 2018

Best Nine 2018

Today I am sharing the best of my making. 2018 was a most productive year for me! Ravelry tells me I completed 17 projects – a most impressive number! And, of these 17 items – 9 were sweaters!! It truly was the year of the sweater for me and I plan to work to continue that in 2019 as well!

And, that number grows with my renewed interest in sewing! I made a good number of things for myself and for Genevieve in 2018 – best of all, many of the things I made were repurposed from garments that were too large! I even did a bit of hand sewing with an Alabama Chanin-style top! All in all, I sewed 17 items this year!

But, out of these 34 things, these are my best items of the year:

Today, the making continues! I will be working on finishing a “snowsuit” for Genevieve’s Bitty Baby! Snaps and some elastic are all that it needs to finish it up!

Virtual Advent Tour – Day 16

Virtual Advent Tour – Day 16

Today, in a rare Sunday Post, I am participating again in Sprite’s Virtual Advent Tour! And, with just 8 days until Christmas today is all about Genevieve!

Dear Genevieve,

When your mom was little, she loved Sesame Street!

And, we would all watch The Snowman together – it was one of our favorites!

I hope you like these too!

Love, Nana

Friday Amaryllis Watch

Friday Amaryllis Watch

My amaryllis seem to be off to a better start than last year!

This week I can see lovely changes from the previous update!

We got an early start to the weekend last night! Steve is using his last vacation day for 2018 today!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Three on Thursday | 12.13.18

Three on Thursday | 12.13.18

On a morning when I need to get out the door to finish up some errands, so I can get the Christmas Things in the mail to the kids – your brain goes blank for a blog post, amirite?

So, this morning my things scattered!

Thing One:

If you have not read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels (they are on my list to read!!) and you have not seen the brilliant adaption on HBO (you should… it is so lovely!) Perhaps you will love the Ferrante-inspired street art in Naples! I love how little the apartment buildings have changed. May we all have a Biblioteca Andreoli in our neighborhoods!

Thing Two:

I love the Man Booker long and short lists! And, Literary Hub posted an excerpt from this year’s winner, Milkman by Anna Burns. (I am on the wait list to read this, but I am intrigued!!)

Thing Three:

The New Yorker’s Dan Chiasson published “The Poetry I was Grateful for in 2018” and still, my list grows!

May your Thursday be full of good things! Want to see more lists? Head on over to Carole’s!

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.12.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.12.18

Greetings dear Unravelers!

Another Wednesday means updates on knitting and reading! This week one is sorely lacking, but the other is overflowing!

Such is life, amirite?

I have been doing bits of knitting here and there – I am about to start Day 8 of my ADVENTurer wrap (so yes, I am 4-days behind). But really, I have been knitting on more portable, less pattern intensive knitting over the past week – I have had some meetings and holiday-ish things to do where a more portable and conversation friendly project is better suited. Enter one Sockhead Hat. I almost have 4 inches of ribbing knit!

But, really… it is all about the books this week! I have so much fun to share with you all!

First up, I this article in The Guardian caught my attention. First because I have not read Fifty Shades – and really, I have zero desire to do so. I found Jeanette Winterson’s comment perfect: “Are straight women really having such terrible sex and terrible lives?” Ummm… exactly. But then as I read about the other books – my reading list grew in a most wonderful way! I have added Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino to my read list. Italo first came on my radar thanks to Michael Ondaatje who wrote that The Baron in the Trees was a book he read more than once! I loved The Baron in the Trees and I am looking forward to Invisible Cities soon! I have added a book or two of Janet’s to my read list as well!

I finished several books this week… several really good books!

I am on a bit of a George Saunder’s kick! I read Pastoralia and was rather amazed at this little collection of stories. I generally don’t like collections of stories, but this little book wowed me! The writing is brilliant! I stayed with Saunder’s and read Fox 8 and fell utterly in love with it! These books got 4 and 5-stars respectively! I highly recommend both of them! (My Saunder’s kick is not over yet as I am reading 10th of December currently!)

I simply devoured Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser. Delightful. Moving. Thought-provoking. 5-stars!

In case you need more to worry about, pick up Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk. He lays out the massive ineptitude of the Trump administration in regards to the things that run our country and keep us safe. It is the stuff of nightmares, honestly. 3-stars.

I listened to Stay with Me by Ayobamy Adebayo and it was the most moving book this week! This story is not linear but as the story unfurled, I was wowed, floored, shocked… and the writing – beautiful! This was not what I expected, it was so much more! 5-stars – I highly recommend!

I also listened to Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time. What a fascinating idea… a person who ages s-l-o-w-l-y. Lots of food for thought in this tale about aging, life, relationships, and self-preservation. I enjoyed it tremendously and it got 4-stars.

Finally, I finished listening to the first book of The Dresden Files – Storm Front by Jim Butcher. This was recommended by my neighbor and I loved it! I am on the wait list for the second book in the series – and I think this series will carry me through a good bit of 2019! If you liked The Magician series, I highly recommend this series and I gave it 4-stars!

That is all I have for this week – what about you? What are you making and reading this week?

If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below!

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Virtual Advent Tour – Day 11

Virtual Advent Tour – Day 11

I am so happy to participate in Sprite Write’s Virtual Advent Tour again! This is my third year of joining with Sprite to spread some Advent Cheer as we count down the days to Christmas! Thank you, Sprite for including me again this year!

Today, I want to share with you a bit of a childhood memory – Firestone Christmas Albums.

In the 60’s and 70’s the Firestone Tire store sold the most amazing Christmas albums (for the whopping price of $1.00) and I remember sitting in the car while my mom ran into the Firestone store on Pine Avenue in Holland to get the latest album.

The albums had the best music sung by varied artists – these albums were my first taste at hearing the Vienna Boys Choir and the Columbus Boychoir, and opera singers like Roberta Peters, Risë Stevens, Leontyne Price… and Mary Poppins…err Julie Andrews, Gordon MacRae, The New Christy Minstrals, and Harry Belafonte!

I can remember getting home from school and loading a stack of records onto the stereo (which was the most behemoth piece of furniture!) and singing along with them – for hours on end! Which was made easier as all the lyrics were printed on the back of each album.

I can remember my sister getting so angry with me and threatening me with great bodily harm if I sung one more word! Ahhh, yes… the best of times! Haha!

I knew that I could find some of the albums on YouTube but imagine my delight when I discovered a Firestone Christmas Album playlist on Spotify!! Friday night Happy Hour was a bit happier thanks to this playlist!

The joy of childhood memories – maybe not such simple times but made sweeter thanks to music.

What about you? Do you have Christmas Music Memories? Please share them, I’d love to hear about them!

Mindful Monday | 12.10.18

Mindful Monday | 12.10.18

Bonny stirred my interest last week with her review of Fox 8 – luckily my library had it and on Saturday I picked it up with a few other books, including a volume of Ted Kooser’s poetry (Thanks, Honoré!!)

I have been reading and rereading the poems in Delights & Shadows… and they are wonderful! This is a book I have added to my “need to buy” list!

I share some words for thought today from Delights & Shadows:

A Jar of Buttons
by Ted Kooser

This is a core sample
from the floor of the Sea of Mending,

a cylinder packed with shells
that over many years

sank through fathoms of shirts —
pearl buttons, blue buttons —

and settled together
beneath waves of perseverance,

an ocean upon which
generations of women set forth,

under the sails of gingham curtains,
and, seated side by side

on decks sometimes salted by tears,
made small but important repairs.

Happy Monday!

P.S. The Google Doodle is most appropriate – today would be Nelly Sachs’ 127th Birthday. You can read a sampling of her poetry here!

TGIF | 12.7.18

TGIF | 12.7.18

I have been quietly working through Michelle’s Just Five Things prompts this week. The started out easy with gratitude and I found the lists just flew from my pen! Quiet, warmth, and comfort started out easy enough, but for each of these prompts – that last list was a struggle!

And, then today’s prompt – receive

It took a long time to write anything down and I have been thinking much about the personal struggle I have with receiving.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with my TGIF post…


Thinking About – Receive… from advice, to help, to compliments – these are things that I struggle with. I am that 3-year-old standing there obnoxiously shouting ‘I can do it myself!’ My thoughts today will revolve around improving on being a more gracious receiver!

Grateful For – An early Christmas gift! (THANK YOU, Steve!!) In my prior sewing life, I had a lovely serger, which I used all the time. Sadly, that serger went to the Great Serger Heaven years ago but then one day Mary planted a seed… and voilà – Welcome to my new Brother 1034D serger! I am so glad that Steve noted this Amazon Deal of the Day and then gifted it to me early! It made sewing the Carseat Poncho much easier! The hood was a huge challenge. Perhaps it would have been easier if it was not lined – but my daughter lives in the great white north of Traverse City and Genevieve is in the “refuses to wear a winter coat camp” (Just like her mother was, btw – lol!) I also struggled with making “arm slits” and solved the less than perfect attempts with some smart little flaps! All in all, this is a huge win! Although, my suggestion if you are making one and don’t live in the arctic circle, you might want to line it with flannel! The serger got more of a work out with my Dress No. 2! I used it to finish the edges – and while they are harder to see than Mary’s – I too want to just show everyone how lovely they are! Also…I LOVE the alterations I made on Dress No. 2! I did inseam pockets vs. patch pockets on the front and I also did a modification of this sleeve hack. I sewed the smallest size of the nested pattern I have, and honestly – I could have made it a bit smaller. But, the fit in the shoulders is perfect and it hangs beautifully – I will try and get some shots wearing it this weekend and share them with you all next week!

Inspired By All the RÅSKOG cart ideas! (Thanks, Honoré for the heads up on this idea! The new serger is going to require a bit of a craft room reorganization! So, I have been looking at ideas on pinterest. Maybe this weekend I will drag Steve to IKEA for another RÅSKOG cart!! Haha!

Fun, fun, fun – We are in the midst of a bit of cold weather and that kind of weather just screams for the perfect cocktail… I am going to give these a whirl this weekend – if you watch my IG feed you will see how they turned out later today!

Also, Amaryllis Watch has begun…

That is all I have for this week. And, honestly… it makes me so sad that there are only three more Friday’s in 2018. Have a good weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!

Three on Thursday | 12.13.18

Three on Thursday | 12.6.18

This week, my things are a few links that made me stop and look!

Thing One:

Quince Quarterly!
Sign-ups open today at 11am EST

Thing Two:

NPR shared Tayari Jones favorite books of 2018…

Thing Three:

This morning SwissMiss shared this… which made me stop and think, especially at this suggestion, “Next time I book a trip I might book it around a library I want to see.” Umm… YES! That! And, so I had to Google libraries to visit, which brought up these interesting lists:

So many libraries….so little time! But, really? I hope you are visiting your local library – often!

Want to see more lists? Head on over to Carole’s!

P.S. Sprite Writes still has openings for her Virtual Advent Tour!


Unraveled Wednesday | 12.5.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.5.18

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is snowing in Pittsburgh this morning and my little birdhouse votive candle holders on the Pergola are getting a dusting of snow! Light, fluffy flakes are falling and it is quite lovely outside!

However, if you are not in the midst of holiday making, perhaps you can come over to my house to help me with a few things I foolishly imagine I am going to get done between now and Christmas! Haha!

The Carseat Poncho is almost competed… almost. The hood is giving me some challenges. To line, or not to line… that is the questions! And I think I have them figured out… hopefully the solution in my brain is easy to translate to some fleece!

I also cut out 100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 2 yesterday. And, I have the body together, complete with in-seam pockets! Once that hood is done, I will get the sleeves in and make some flannel bias tape!

I even managed to knit a few rows on my ADVENTurer shawl yesterday as well as some rounds of Peace Knitting!

In the reading department…

I finished the very emotional We Were the Lucky Ones. I simply loved it – it is beautifully written story of the Kurc family that survived the holocaust. They are Polish, and the story is fascinating. This was easily a 5-star book and I highly recommend it!

I also finished The Folded Clock: A Diary and it gets 4-stars. This is a curious read… the writer reads her decades of diaries she finds from her childhood and she is disappointed at how lacking she finds them to be. And, so she decides to begin chronicling her daily life as an adult to see if she can’t improve on the mendacity of daily life. It is a lovely collection of mediations – especially the E.B. White chapter! Oh, and the chapter on rearranging furniture! Her way of writing about “today I” is simple, but brilliant.

And, I re-read Warlight. I listened to the book this time and my love for this book has deepened. I know Bonny shared some of her recent favorites, and I agree with her – it is early to make best book of the year decisions… but Warlight is perhaps my favorite this year! It is a story that lingers in your mind. And, the writing…spectacular!

That is all I have for today… what about you? What are you making and reading this week?

And, as always, if you have written a post to share, please leave the link below!

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