The Autumnal Equinox occurred last night at 9PM and it is as if Mother Nature flipped a switch… the arrival of autumn did in deed bring autumn-like temperatures! This morning it was a very chilly and hushed silence talking Sherman for his morning walk. No birdsong, no crickets chirping… just one sniffing pug to break the stillness of the morning.
It seems like a good day to do a bit of RIFFing… so let’s get started:
I saw this tweet this morning and my heart broke a bit. I know what my fall/winter is going to be full of… finishing reading her Wolf Hall/Thomas Cromwell series.
We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald. This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work. pic.twitter.com/d8bzkBBXuH
My new painting class began yesterday and I have spent much of the month focused on the “sequence” of watercolor. From saturation of the page, keeping a wet edge, layers, damp and dry work. And to make things remarkably clear for myself – I have done a variety of “neutral” paintings. And on Wednesday… it all began to click! And I did what I feel is my best representation of all these skills combined. Good thing because the first thing Mr. Surowicz mentions in the first lesson of the new class is how important a “shades of grey” study is before you begin a new painting. I did some work to get my watercolor paper ready to paint, but today I am going to do a rough sketch (or two) in my sketchbook and do some value studies before I begin the “big painting” and I am so very excited!
Finding (answers) —
This week, Jane asked me a very good question: “I’m trying to think how many oz. of fiber it takes to spin enough yarn for a sweater” …
Such an excellent question and I thought I’d share how I make a determination about that very thing. Way back in my very early spinning life I asked that very question. The short answer given me was to “weigh a sweater I wear” and that will give me a rough idea of what I will need. Seems simple? If you think that is a clear as mud… you are not alone. For me, figuring out “how much yarn will I need for x project” was the greatest mystery of spinning! Until I discovered Felicia Lo, that is. Felicia is the magic behind Sweet Georgia Yarns and she is an avid spinner! She also blogs… and her blog is one of the best resources I have found to answer all the “mystery” questions of spinning I might ever have! Anyways, she gives a very clear and easy to understand method of determining how much yarn a sweater might take… that would be any sweater, any gauge, size inclusive, and how much “extra” to calculate. (Actually, this method would work for ANY item you want to knit… not just sweaters!)
I hope this helps you, Jane… as well as any other spinning knitters out there!
Friday (Jabs) —
Yes, that’s correct… later this morning, I am heading down to Rite Aid to get a couple of “jabs”… the new and updated COVID booster (thank you, Pfizer!) and a flu shot as well. I have sort of cleared the deck for the weekend, just in case I am feeling a bit puny from said jabs… but I am so thankful that scientists have made our lives so much better thanks to the wonder of vaccines! (And I am still in awe of how it is possible that I have yet to catch COVID!)
Have a great weekend everyone! See you all back here on Monday!
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!
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!!
Allergies to dust and grain, maladies, remedies and still these allergies remain. — Paul Simon
Spring is … wonderful … well, except for that little allergy thing that happens every year. I have some generally mild allergies to tree pollen and usually I can count on 5-7 days of itchy eyes, a scratchy throat, and – of course – a runny nose. This morning brings Day Fifteen of the most horrible spring allergies I can remember in … well … a long-ass time! So I did a quick Google search yesterday to see if my Off-The-Charts allergies were a one-off, or not… (really, I should have included a box of Kleenex™ in the above photo because we spent so much time together! lol)
So this weekend was all about not thinking about my allergy symptoms (and not rubbing my eyes, gah!)
My Mind Over Matter things… knitting, that water color class, and some Word contemplation (this month Ali Edwards is having us look back and look forward a bit, which is such an interesting way to consider my word at the “mid-year” point!)
First up… Knitting. In my Year of Never Not Gnoming, I began my June Gnome (a repeat of Gnombleberry that I had previously knit for Steve’s mom.) I have Gnombleberry’s body done… as well as the start of his “backpack”… which I am going to change up a bit and make it a cross-body messenger-style bag I think. Stay tuned.
Next… that watercolor class. I have watched the “make thumbnail sketches” video twice. The first time, I just watched what Rick Surowicz did. Wow, is he fast! LOL Anyways, the second time watching I picked up my pencil and managed to get two thumbnail sketches done in the time he did four. The first is perhaps too detailed for the watercolor process and the second might be a bit closer to how Rick did his four. The best thing about a video class… I can play the video’s over and over and over if I need to. I am working on letting go of my desire for perfection… but gosh, the struggle is real. Haha. Today I am going to watch the value study video … likely several times.
And that word work… I have made some notes from each month that fell into the “out of sight, out of mind” hole. A mid-year reflection is exactly what I needed to gather up some pieces I do not want to lose!
Finally, another list… and boy, I really wish that this would be the last ever list like this that anyone has to make:
That’s right… 10 cities, 10 mass shootings, 15 dead, 60 injured…during the weekend.