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!

TGIF | 7.9.21

TGIF | 7.9.21

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. — Langston Hughes

The hot, muggy weather returned which meant I was spending extra time watering the vegetable gardens so when some summer storms rolled in, it was so welcome…for the vegetables and me! Ha! And that rain brought some amazing nights of sleep… there is nothing that compares to listening to it rain at night. It is the perfect sleep track!

Thoughtful (contemplation) —

But thinking about humor like that refreshing summer rain has been more of a challenge. Although, those thoughts work well with things I need to release… perfection and control. Those two things are the bane of my existence and I fear I will never, ever be able to let go of them. But, this month I am going to try to use humor, levity, and purposeful lightness to try and release my stranglehold on them. Kym shared the most excellent (and very familiar) quote this week: “Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.” — David Foster Wallace. I wrote it in my journal and on my weekly calendar pages for the remainder of the month. I am going to force myself to remember just how hard it is to let go… but it can be done!

(so much) Good —

I saw this last night on television and it just made my heart sing! I thought you all might need a little heart song this morning as well! I will be excited to watch both Megan and Sue in the Olympics next week!

Inspirational (making) —

This week kicked off the #dawnmakealong… and I have followed the hashtag on IG and my plan is to pick a project (or two?) and *actually get it done* this summer! One would think I would pick a knitting project… but, you’d be wrong. I think I am going to start with some coasters… and hand stitch them. I like the thought of it being a slow project (but not so daunting that I won’t be able to finish it!) Once those coasters are done… I will see what inspires me from what other makers are doing! If you have been looking for some inspiration and want to work on a project from Dawn, let me know… we can cheer each other on!

(thoughtful) Finishes —

This week the idea of slow really settled in for me. I am working away on my pastel drawing… but I did not get it finished this week. And… the world did not end! I know, I was so shocked! Haha! There are only 24 hours in a day… and there is a garden that I love to spend time in, there is a test knit that I gladly committed to completing by a specific date. I finished the body knitting yesterday… up next, getting my crochet steeks in and then knitting on the button bands. Even with today’s grey day, I am confident that I will more than meet the deadline to complete the sweater. Why, I might even have found buttons by then as well! Anyway, the idea of slowing down has really taken root and it is working! I am slowing down and not feeling I need to rush to the next thing… I don’t feel like I have to hurry and finish to start the next thing… I am just loving the current thing… so very much!

That’s it for me this week! I will be back on Monday! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Good Things | 7.16.21

Very Good Things | 6.25.21

“How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss

Today I am one with Dr. Seuss. It is the last Friday in June… and all I can do is wonder where the heck the month went?

But it is still June for a few more seconds and so let’s slow down and savor some things that stood out for me this week.

First up, a very good listen… Ibram X. Kendi and Ari Berman talk about voter suppression.  Voter Suppression is my new “constant worry” and if it is something that worries you as well…. the latest episode of Be Antiracist has some frank conversation and even some things to think about, to read, and ways you can support groups that are fighting voter suppression! PA is not immune to voter suppression and there is a bill making its way through the State Congress that will make it more difficult to vote here and despite the promise of a veto from our governor they forge ahead. Sadly, 48 states have a 389 restrictive voting bills that have either passed or are in process so chances are that this will have an impact on how you vote as well.

I had a very slow (and yes, painful) journey with my summer art project this week. Full disclosure… this little pastel drawing was just a bit of a much bigger photo I found online. It has more wrong with it than it has right… but I am proud that I did not give up, I did not start over, and I kept working at it. I am even going to try again next week because each day as I worked on it I could see how I could have improved it…what I should have done…placement on the page, etc. So… here is my first attempt… I hope next week’s attempt is better in all aspects!

Tomorrow starts the Tour de Fleece… which ironically coincides with the Tour de France, LOL. Generally, it’s all about how much you can get spun during the Tour… yards and yards and yards of singles that are then extrapolated into miles… in other words, it can be as competitive as the actual Tour! Not so for me this year… I am going to worry less about my “mileage” and focus on savoring these gorgeous batts that I got from Hipstrings! They are so soft! I am going to set aside 30 minutes each morning to do some spinning meditation at my wheel. I am not on any “official” team, but rather this will be a solo ride of discovery!

Finally… a wee little Animal Crossing update. This week I achieved a big milestone! I have managed to “cultivate” all the different colors of flowers! My practically impossible final flower… the elusive Purple Pansy sprouted this week!

That is all I have for this week. I will be back on Monday with an update on my word! Have a great weekend everyone!

 

TGIF | 6.11.21

TGIF | 6.11.21

I don’t know about you, but the days are racing by… how is it the 11th already? Yikes! I want summer to slow it right down… take your time! What’s the rush? Right?

And with the idea of things racing on past, this weeks list of things are things that are all about slowing down!

Triumvirate (of knitting) —

Go me for figuring out the perfect way to stay excited about summer knitting….have 3 projects underway! LOL I have my “Night-time TV Knitting” (Shakerag Top) and two different shawls. One very neutral shawl (Anne Hanson’s Mystery Knit) to fill a hole in my wardrobe and one that will likely be a gift (Ysolda’s Shawl)! These three things are keeping my attention and when I pick up each of them I am so happy to be doing something different in each one! AND… with three projects in the works… it is a slow process. I am savoring the slowness.

(in-person) Gathering —

Starting next week, weather permitting, I am joining with an outdoor book club that will meet at the Carnegie Library over the next four weeks to talk about Good Talk! In the past I have steered away from graphic novels, but this one has my rapt attention. It is brilliantly done and yes, it is entertaining. But it also is making me stop and think. I can’t wait to participate in the discussions!

(on) Impulse —

Back when I was looking up fabrics that my daughter sent for Hats for Winston, I stumbled across a “pre-order” of some fabric that I just could not walk away from. It was one of those 100% impulse purchases and I promptly forgot about it. Because… pre-order…right? And I really had no “idea” for what to make with it, but that did not deter me from my impulse buy either. Well, it arrived this week and wow! First… I had no idea it had shiny copper metallic balls of yarn on it. I thought they were “peach-colored” in the image I saw, lol. So I bet you think I don’t like it right? Think again… I absolutely LOVE it! It is just the perfect Impulse Buy if ever there was one. It is now slated to become a pair of pants… elastic waist with wide legs and I am thinking ankle length would be perfect. These will be the perfect summer into fall pants!

Find (inspiration) —

The other thing that arrived this week was a box of soft pastels that Amazon suggested to me. Why they made that suggestion, I have no clue but my response was “okay, I’ll try!” I am going to step out of my comfort zone and open the “High School Art Class” drawer in my brain. I am hoping this will fill the making well inside me as well as inspire some creativity. I have no clue where this will lead, but I will share my journey with you all!

And that, my friends, is a wrap for this week! Have a lovely languid, slow weekend and I will see you back here next week!

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