TGIF | 8.27.21

TGIF | 8.27.21

In a week of disturbing incidents… so many… too many… I thought a bit of a calm might be just the thing. Just a bit to allow us to take a breath… so we can remind ourselves to breathe.

Thinking about not thinking —

Because this week thinking is a bit overwhelming. What I have done instead is gather all the woes of the week in my morning meditations and then released them to move forward with my day. They are not all magically gone or fixed, but doing this frees me to move past those big things to function…and breathe…during the day.

Geeked —

For September!! (Hello, LAST Friday in August!!) These late August days have been a bit much. Days on end of heat and humidity are just…wearing. Ten minutes in the garden and I am dripping wet. I am anxious for less humidity, cooler nights, and open windows! Yes, I am very thankful for central air… but gosh, I am so ready to turn it off!

Inspirational —

Lots of things are filling my head in these late August days… one of the main things is FALL KNITTING! I mean, is there anything better in life? I think not. I have been making some notes about an altered shape Pressed Flowers. Up next is to order some yarn to begin this exciting journey!

The next thing that I have been unable to get out of my head is the #SeaGlassTee tag on IG. I have gotten to the point of getting a container to start pulling together all.the.yarn.scraps. No “start date” or even if there will be a “start date” but I need to see if this is even a possibility. Stay tuned.

The final thing is a new pattern that dropped this week from Sew House 7 patterns… Romney Gathered Dress/Top…yeah, and I have some very drape-y fabric that I think might be perfect for it!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sew House 7 (@sewhouse7)

Fact-Checking —

Steve sent me this and I was not quite certain it was correct. Because I can think of lots of presidents who are infinitely quotable and Grant does not usually make that list. And, lo and behold, it is! Tucked inside that speech: “…Grant remarked that “if we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason & Dixon . . . but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side & superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other.” He went on to say, “Encourage free schools and resolve that not one dollar of money appropriated to their support . . . shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school.” How eerily true Grant’s words are!

 

See you all back here on Monday!

Good things, with a side of food for thought | 8.6.21

Good things, with a side of food for thought | 8.6.21

An overly full week is winding down. Stress seems to be intent on becoming the center of our lives… and I pondered in my morning meditations if my fighting against the stress was causing more stress than acknowledging the stress and moving on around it. (I am pretty sure I just answered my question… but still, the struggle is real.)

This week, Mary helped me with the word I have been feeling about COVID numbers…. Fraught. All.the.fraught.feels. I confess I am struggling to muster any empathy for those who are causing the “Pandemic of the Unvaccinated” and I overheard my neighbors pride in not being “Fauci Sheep” – they are maskless and proud of their unvaccinated status. They are not alone on their stupidity… my county is now in the “substantial zone”. I hope I am preaching to the choir here, but if you are not vaccinated – please, please, please! Speak to your family physician and ask them to vaccinate you (or explain what the vaccine is, what it does, and – most importantly – what it won’t do!)

Despite the Stress Battle and Fraught Feels, I did manage to carve out some time for a few good things this week…

My woefully sad patio pots have started to show some improvements. I would say that we must have gotten some bad dirt, but my herbs are going like gang busters and they are in the same dirt… so I am not sure what’s up with the pots this summer. But, at least there has been some growth!

My freezer has a 7 “basil bombs” tucked away for a summery reminder in a wintery meal! I also am hoping that I will be able to harvest one more cup of leaves before summers end to steep in some vodka!

I have been wearing my new sweater and I am LOVING the versatility of it. It is perfect over a pair of wide-legged pants and is also works well over a tunic and leggings. I have made a notation in my April ’22 calendar to cast one on for next summer! (That was my huge AHA moment this week… making notes for my future self on projects I want to make, but not right this instant!) I had been toying with the idea of swatching for another sweater with Tides… however I am not getting gauge, but perhaps that is a good thing. I have some sleeves to finish and it will be so lovely to have not one, but two new Lopapeysa’s in my wardrobe later this year!

I had been struggling with my “Summer of Pastels” and I hit a wall in my creativity… I was stuck. Really stuck… I looked at this every day last week… and added nothing. But this week I took a deep breath, picked up a piece of chalk and began again. Sometimes only for a minute or two, but those minutes helped get over the hurdle. Is it perfect? Nope. But I was reminded of something important… quitting does not ever help. I feel back on track this morning and I am eager to start a new piece! (you can see the image I used for inspiration here)

The final good things that occurred this week were inspired by Dr. Kendi’s podcast. I listened to two episodes this week that have given me some new things to think about. (My inspiration this week… Repairing the Past and Prison and Police Abolition)

And that is all I have for this week! I hope your weekend is full of good things and I will see you back here next week!

The Good, Bad, and Downright Disappointing

The Good, Bad, and Downright Disappointing

Or, a “Currently” update…

I have not done a “currently” update for a very long time. Too long, maybe. Anyways, one has kind of been rattling around in my brain so I thought I’d share a bit. Sadly, it is not all of it is good… but that is often life, right?

Remembering — I read this morning that Senator Levin died and it reminded me of an interaction I had with him a very, very long time ago. I was at a gas station filling up my car on my way to work in Saugatuck. Senator Levin and his brother pulled in and while Sandy filled up their car, Senator Levin engaged in conversation with me. I, of course, recognized him and was kind of awestruck that he would talk with me. In our conversation, he asked for a recommendation on a place to eat. I asked him what he was hungry for… fish was the answer. I gave him a couple of options and he asked me where would I go… I gave him my response and he said that’s where they will go then! Such a great man with a legacy that will live on.

Tackling — This morning I have queued up a YouTube video on how to do horizontal mattress stitch. Honestly, it feels a bit daunting with all the “steps”  because you bind off X stitches at the beginning of the row for X rows… which creates a series of steps. If I knit this sweater again, I will contemplate doing some knitting math and do some short rows to create the shoulder slant, which would allow me to bind off the row in its entirety (making seaming easier, I think…)

Reading — This week has been a banner week. First, I was finally “next in line” for Uncommon Ground and I stayed up a bit too late reading the past two nights – my plan for today is to get those shoulders seamed and then knit some mindless stockinette and read! Yesterday, I completed my Summer Book Bingo card with the finish of Ian McEwan’s Saturday. A brilliant way to finish my card… I just love his writing. And it is a book that will “sit with me” for some time.

(not) Growing — This summer will likely go down as the worst year ever for growing things. My vegetable garden has been a serious disappointment this year… I planted beans, some peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, and zucchini. Lots of things that are just not producing anything. Half of the zucchini have produced nothing… and this morning I noted that one plant has two zucchini starting… so maybe? The summer squash provided only 3 squash… and it appears there will be no more. Normally, I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with but it looks like I will be lucky to get a dozen tomatoes from 6 plants. I am holding out hope for some beans (to date, I have picked 5… that’s right, five beans) because I have blooms (again) so maybe this time I will get some beans. The peppers have had flowers, but no production beyond the flowers. One might think that my problem is bees… or the lack thereof. This is not the case… I have bees galore! So I am not certain what the problem is and Steve is now complaining about wasting water on a garden that is not producing.

(over) Grown — We made a decision earlier this year to not trim the bushes in the back yard in the spring, but rather cut them back significantly this fall. I worried about how “unkempt” the riot of bushes would look like, but I never imagined that those untrimmed bushes would be the source of some surprising visitors this summer! I usually hang a couple of hummingbird feeders, but had not gotten them out yet when the warnings went out about not feeding birds this summer… I was disappointed, because it is just so much fun to see hummingbirds from our porch. But, I never imagined the volume of birds that would flock to our Rose of Sharon… time spent watering in the yard is a joy with all the hummers zooming around. I have seen more of them this summer *with no feeders* than I ever did with feeders. This has caused me to reconsider garden beds and things that need pruning to “look good” … some good food for thought for the fall and winter!

Counting — Nine weeks from today we leave for Michigan. And while it seems like eons away… I know it will be here sooner than I think. I just can’t wait… although I have some trepidations about the trip (thank you, Delta Variant) My fervent hope is that both PA and MI will continue to stay out of the “red zone” as they currently are!

And there you have my “current” thoughts. I hope that you all have a great weekend and I will see you back here next week!

 

A Q and A Post | 7.23.21

A Q and A Post | 7.23.21

Happy Friday as we welcome the last week of July.

The week has had the rug pulled out from under it a bit which is, sadly, going to push back our trip to Michigan… until October. I am trying to stay focused on the positive but there is not much positive in any of this… my ex has had a recurrence of a TIA incident that seems more severe than the last ones, he has had two deaths in his family, and his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. So a reshuffle of my schedule is happening and I am looking for the silver lining…or trying to look for it.

I have been thinking about what to post about today, but my brain is not offering any brilliant suggestions. But… then it occurred to me that YOU all had some great questions recently and I thought that the answers to these would be a great way to close out the week. (thanks to the question askers and to Carole and Kym for planting this questioning seed!)

So…I have answers to your questions!

Maureen asked:

How do you have time to read?? So jealous. Sadly my reading has seriously declined now that I’ve taken up knitting. I have not mastered knitting while reading but I can knit while watching podcasts/TV. 🙂

Dear Maureen! First…WELCOME to the world of knitting! Yes, it is the best “time-suck” on the planet… well, besides reading that is! I don’t know anything about your local library… but I am extremely fortunate to live in Allegheny County PA. Why is that a good thing… The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh! I am so fortunate that they have a vast array of audio books to borrow… and I borrow LOTS of audio books. You see…knitting and reading are the best things to do together…and listening to a book allows me to knit. Listening to a book also makes the mundane tasks of daily life more palatable as well! I hope this tip will help you increase your reading as you knit!

Vera asked this:

“Looks like you’ve had another great week Kat (except maybe for that middle book…LOL). I just love your Moon Coasters – so pretty. What did you use in the center of them (for filling)? Or is it just the fabric stitched together? In either case, they are lovely.

Now, I answered Vera via email… but it occurred to me that you all might be wondering the same thing. I used a couple of scraps of cotton batting left over from some placemats I made. I inserted the batting after I stitched the side seams. I also think a piece of cotton flannel would have worked equally well (maybe even better if you do not want any “loft” in your coaster.)

and this:

“Looks like you have some fun and interesting projects for the week. The cocktail sounds interesting, but I’m not sure about the condensed milk part of it…I know it’s only a half oz or so, but man I dislike that stuff so much!!!

I love this question because I despise sweetened condensed milk as well… but there is a magical thing about it…it doesn’t curdle when you combine it with lime juice. Half and half or heavy cream will curdle… instantly, so they are non-starters for this cocktail. But still… I was skeptical of how this would taste, but even using just a couple of teaspoons of the condensed milk gives the drink the creaminess needed to counter the tang of the lime. Do not fear the condensed milk in cocktails! (at least in small quantities!)

Finally, Bonny shared this comment that I thought was necessary to talk about:

I love your coasters and think they might be too pretty to place glasses on that will drip condensation on them! I’ve never read Beach Music, but am keeping it in my mind as a possible listen when things calm down here a bit. I think I’ll give Matthew a pass. 🙂

This…. we all need to break free of not using things that are too pretty. I am right in this camp… It’s too pretty, it will get stained…But if not now….when? Last year in my Year of Intentional Living I realized that life is short (and boy did this week put an exclamation point on that!) It makes me feel good to use a simple little coaster that I made. It tells me I am worthy. It says that I think that making things a little nicer is a very good thing.

So yes… I make things to use them in my daily life. And I celebrate that fact! I hope you do too!

That is all I have for this week… I will be back on Monday to share my July update on my word! Have a good weekend everyone!

Good Things | 7.16.21

Good Things | 7.16.21

Hullo, Friday! Like clockwork, you arrive bringing with you the weekend, which might be the best constant ever.

Last night my “new” book club finished Good Talk. It seemed most fitting that we met in the Lincoln Gallery for our final discussion. The conversations around this book have been enlightening and so very helpful. I am eagerly anticipating our next book, which will likely be Caste.

I don’t love FB, but every once in a while something amazing shows up there and this week brought a two-for! First, this story showed up and I could not get that story out of my head! I started Googling and discovered this article which included information to donate fabrics to these amazing men. (scroll down to the bottom of the article for that info!)

The second good thing that showed up was a post by a spinning “friend” who was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the size of her stash and she wondered if there would be any interest in joining forces to “spin down our stash” in the second half of the year. Ummm, YES!! (and so many people said yes! lol) More spinning in my life is never a bad thing. I have a sweater I want to spin for so this is exactly what I need to get that done! (if you want to join this group, let me know and I will send you the link to the group)

Finally… I have worked for two weeks on a pastel drawing… and this week I think it is finished. I put some final touches on it this morning and signed it. Oh boy… it is not perfect. I learned so much about my limitations with pastels… but I kept working and I learned some work arounds… and that is always a good thing.

That is all I have for this week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Pin It on Pinterest