At long last we have arrived at the cusp of my favorite season… autumn. I live all year for autumn… and though I have learned to live happily in the moment of *now*… my heart is always longing for autumn! This week we have had some lovely “teasers” with cooler days and nights and I am so ready! I am sorry Summer, but I am really over baking hot days, endless sun, and all.the.humidity! And I’d be ever so grateful for some days of soaking rains… all day soaking rains! Yes, September brings lots of hopes for so many things!
So let’s get RIFFing, shall we?
a REAL goddess —
The Goddess in action!
I don’t know about you all, but this week I have had a laser focus on the US Open! Why you ask?
One word… Serena! (and personally, I think all players should be in self-designed twirly, sparkling tennis attire!)
As of this writing she has played just two games, but both were both so incredible! She is sparkling from head to toe… and taking no prisoners! And I am here for every single bit of it! (She played again Thursday evening… doubles with Venus! Sadly, they lost… but what a match it was!)
This is Week Six (and the last week) of my Beginning Landscape class. This week the Watercolor Gods smiled on me as I feel I did better that I had in any previous week. I know I still have miles and miles to go on learning, but small bits are beginning to click. I have roughly 3 weeks before my next class begins and my plan is to go back and redo each and every lesson… begin again, as it were… with my newly acquired skills! That means 2 lessons a week and I am so excited to “do them all again!” Is there anything in life better than inspiring yourself? I think not! (If you doubt that… see the Goddess above!) And no photo’s here… I shared both paintings on IG!
Finding (my inner sewist) —
Autumn is looming and I really need to sit down at the sewing machine and actually do some sewing! I have things cut out… patiently waiting… to be assembled into garments. In the same thread… I have a garment in mind that I want to make. I have looked for patterns, but have found none that check all my boxes… so I am going to make my own pattern for a simple a-line denim jumper/tunic. And…. I have another Grinch-y Advent Calendar to make for Olivia. (I need to get black flannel and an assortment of colorful buttons…) Anyways, this is notice to me that the coming “Unraveled Wednesday” posts should be all about the sewing… NOT the knitting!
Finding (visibility) —
I saw this tweet yesterday and was intrigued by the photo… Ruth Marcus and Strega Nona? What?
I am gifting you all the article so you can read as well. It very much struck a chord with me having made the decision some years ago to stop coloring my hair… the invisibility factor for women of a certain age (and older) is very real. Ruth goes on to address how a woman looks… you are damned if you are gorgeous (See the Sanna Marin nonsense) and you are damned if you are not. Women have to think about tone of voice, inflection, what they are wearing, hair – as in appropriately colored hair. This is not a new thing… I am sure you have all heard the adage about Ginger Rogers “doing everything that [Fred Astaire] did…backwards and in high heels.”
Some days it really feels like that for every step forward, we are knocked dozens back… but maybe, just maybe… Ruth has cleared the pathway for us all a little. Maybe we can all pick up some of Strega Nona’s bad-ass-ness, which in my mind… is a very good thing! (And in case you are wondering, yes… I absolutely have read the Strega Nona books to my kids… they are so awesome!)
And I think, Ruth is the perfect Goddess Bookend for this blog post… two amazing women how showing us all how to be the most amazing badass women!
And with that, I am out of here! I will be back on Wednesday with some fun unraveling to share! Have a great LONG weekend everyone!
This week has felt very disordered to me… a not very weekend weekend, a missing day on Monday, and then trying to catch up with what day it is… I am really glad that the week is over! But before I close the curtain on this week, I have a few things to share!
First up… I got notification from my gastroenterologist that the polyps were benign and she will see me in 5 years! Whew! That is an enormous relief… I have a family history that is heavily laced with colon cancer and this news was a very good thing!
Next, I am painting way more than knitting these days…what? I know… but it is true! I am feeling very good about what I am learning. This is week five and, of course, there were new things to learn this week! The goal… to not have my deciduous trees not look like cotton balls on a stick. I won some, I lost some… and I especially like my hard edge trees.
I am getting a very good feel for the amount of moisture will do for a painting. Now, that does not mean I have a good handle on that moisture, but at least I am able to recognize issues, lol! And I was inspired to try another go at the little barn image. So a little free hand sketch… some Arches paper (I don’t have any Arches paper in 11×15… but I am going to get some!) and I found the sweet spot for my sky wash!
I also did better, IMO, with the grassy area. Layering is still a bit of a struggle but I am eager to practice every day! I am loving painting so much, I have signed up for a fall class with the same teacher and I am looking forward to more challenges!
Finally… perhaps my favorite thing of the week is that today is Sherman’s birthday. He is 10 years old today! (60 years in dog years based on his weight) I cannot imagine what life would have been like these past 10 years without him. He is my bright spot of each and every day. I absolutely would not have survived Pandemic Living without him. I have never had a dog with so much personality…and I love him so much! This weekend will be full of extra snuggles with him as we celebrate this milestone for him!
He looks grumpy, but he is the biggest softie on the planet… grey face and all! Happy Birthday, dearest Sherman! (who really just wants to know where his next treat is! Haha)
And that is all I have to share with you all this week. Have an amazing weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday with my August OLW update!
This week I am doing a TGIF-like post… sort of. I think you will get it once we get started! Some weeks Friday feels like, well… just another day in the week. This week, it feels very much like a Friday… and that, my friends, is a very good thing!
This week saw a changing of the poet… the Poet Laureate, that is. From Joy Harjo to Ada Limón. Two poets I love deeply. I have been spending my mornings in Ada’s The Hurting Kind… one poem each morning to end my meditation time. It is such a lovely place to be… immersed in Ada’s poetry. But this change over has made me want to do the same with Joy’s poems… I had borrowed latest book of poems, Poet Warrior, from my library… but I think it merits some meditation time as well so I will be purchasing a copy for my poetry library. NPR’s Book of the Day podcast shared this lovely interview on Wednesday, it is worth the listen. Likewise, hearing Ada share how she learned that she was selected as the 24th Poet Laureate is an equally inspiring listen (and includes a poem by Joy Harjo!) It makes me a bit sad that Ada will be moving on from The Slow Down, but change is the one constant in life… and so I will embrace her replacement with great joy!
In (case you missed it) —
Change seems to be a common theme most days and there was another big change this week. And the minute I heard of it happening, I knew it was going to be a giant disaster for the City of Pittsburgh. If you are not a Steeler fan, you might have missed the insane news this week that Heinz Field will no longer officially be Heinz Field. Heinz did not renew their Naming Contract. Now, remember what I said about change being constant? Well… all bets are off in Pittsburgh. This is the city that does not do change well! LOL But no one tells it better than the Pittsburgh Dad does!
And for those of you who do not get Pittsburgh, sorry… much of this won’t make much sense to you. However, this Michigan Girl is LOVING that a Michigan company is the new Name Sponsor for Acrisure Stadium!
(in a galaxy) Far, Far Away —
This week had me blown away by the images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Fascinating. Awe. Wonder. These are just some of the adjectives to describe my feelings as I looked at the pictures! However, perhaps the most inspiring is Gregory Robinson… the son of a sharecropper… the man who made all those images possible! (You can hear his interview this morning with NPR’s Steve Inskeep here) Of course, NASA has a blog for The James Webb Space Telescope where they are sharing images and information. It is my new daily check in! Ha!
Okay, maybe not fresco’s per say, but I have signed up for some more watercolor classes which start later this month! This one is an actual class with actual homework. I know! I am so so so geeked! Anyways, I soon will be posting my homework to a private Facebook Class Group for us to see each others work. I am really rather eager for this… as I love learning things from others. This class will go through the end of August. I very much like Rick Surowicz’s style of teaching and I am really looking forward to all the things I am going to learn! (For those interested: I have signed up for the Beginning Landscapes Class)
And there you have my RIFF on TGIF… have a great weekend all! I will see you back here on Monday!
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?
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!
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!!