Not much time to blog right now. . . my sister arrived yesterday!


(I dragged her out for an early morning walk on the Kal-Haven Trail to see the trillium blooming.)  (She's a very good sport.)

Here's a quick TGIF:

T - Thinking about . . . spending the next several days catching up and hanging out with my sister.

G - Grateful for . . . family time.

I - Inspired by . . . laughter and good conversation.

F - Fun times . . .  we're heading to Chicago for a few days (and super excited to see Hamilton while we're there).

I'll be taking a bit of a blog-vacation next week.
Catch you on the flip side.

Sewing. So Much Faster Than Knitting.

I'm, basically, a tunic-and-leggings kind of gal.  It's what I wear about 90% of the time.  Often with some sort of sweater thrown over the top.  So when I first heard about the Knit & Sew Uniform book (published by Madder), I got myself on the pre-order list right away!

A variations-on-a-theme book of patterns for tunics (the "sew" part of the Uniform) and cardigans (the "knit" part of the Uniform), the whole concept is really perfect for me.

I whipped up a tunic for myself over the weekend.  


I opted for the tunic version with pockets, no sleeves, and the rounded neckline.


I pretty much love it.  (Although I have a few issues with the placement of the darts.  And from what I see from photos of other finished Uniform tunics, this is pretty typical. They're just . . . too high.)

The size options are good.  The directions are very clear.  The sewing is straightforward.


I gave myself contrasting pocket linings.  Mostly because I like pops of color -- and a "surprise inside."  But also because I wanted to cut down on the bulk of fabric over my middle section (ahem).  (Because who wants four layers of heavy-ish linen over their middle section?)  So I used a lightweight cotton print for the pocket linings.


I also used the cotton for the armhole bias facings.  Again, pop of color.  AND it really cut down on the bulk around the armholes.


I'll probably make another tunic, as I really want to try the split-hem variation.  But I'm going to have to think about those darts for awhile first.  (It's such a pain to move darts.)

One thing is certain -- don't expect to see a completed knit Uniform cardigan around here anytime soon.  Someday, sure.  But not this summer.  

(Sewing.  So much faster than knitting. . . )


Focus: A Mid-Year Update

(Okay.  So it's not mid-year yet, but close enough.)

Way back in January, I explained that I had chosen the word FOCUS to . . . well, focus on . . . for the year.  

I quoted Ferris Bueller.  

I told you that I wanted to focus on what I might be missing -- at what I'm not seeing -- because I've been too busy looking at what I'm already seeing.

I told you I wanted to . . . adjust my focus.


Now I'm here to report back . . . that I'm doing just that.
Adjusting my focus!

And it's kind of fascinating, actually.

Early in the year, I worked out five basic elements to . . . focus on.  (I crack myself up.)

  • Re-thinking my priorities.  (Where do I want my focus to be?)
  • Hacking away at the unessential.  (Paring down.)
  • Ending the distractions.  (Identifying my focus-pullers.)
  • Being mindful.  (Staying focused.)
  • Paying attention to the "space between." (What am I missing?)

Although I'm thinking about all five things all the time, I pretty much started at the top of the list.  And I'm working my way down.

Initially, I did a lot of thinking about how I wanted to be spending my time and living my life by setting priorities and making some hard desicions.  I'm definitely living a more streamlined life now.  I've pruned out a lot of the unessential -- commitments, activities, stuff.  I'm saying NO more often than before, but also saying YES when it makes sense.  My actions are lining up with my priorities.

Right now, I'm taking a hard look at the distractions in my life.  Initially, I thought this would be easy.  But . . . well . . . not so much!  Turns out I'm easily distracted.  I chase shiny objects, and seek out rabbit-holes.  I like daydreaming.  And going off on tangents.  But I'm definitely making progress at figuring this one out.

So, here at (nearly) mid-year, I think I'm onto something:  This FOCUS thing . . . is working!

"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.  The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus."
                                                                                                                --- Alexander Graham Bell




Sometimes Mondays

. . . look like rain.


But that's just fine by me!

It's so good for my thirsty, growing garden.

And wet soil makes it much easier to pull weeds.

And it gives me a perfect excuse to run around in my chicken boots.

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
                    --- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday Fish Wrap

I've been gathering a bit of this and a little of that for a couple of weeks now.  That means . . . it's time for another Friday Fish Wrap.


(Someone dropped some paperwork off to me yesterday -- inside this bag.  It made me smile and brings me joy.)


When I was a kid, I was totally intrigued with and terrified by two natural phenomena:  quicksand and volcanoes.  How naive I was -- to think that these might be real threats in my daily, adult world!  Somehow, I imagined them as much more prevalent, something that I might actually encounter as I moved through my days.

It didn't take me long to learn that there were actual threats -- but not from quicksand or volcanoes.  Adult-Me, though, got totally sucked in to news and footage of this week's Hawaii volcano situation.  (Talk about a rabbit hole.)

There are some amazing videos of what the lava flow from this volcano looks like.  Plus . . . Science!  I have been exposed to all-new science terms -- words like "volcanology" and "volcanologists," "active vents," and "lava lakes."  It's pretty fascinating, actually.  

(For a brief time in my early college days, I considered a career in geology.  Then I found out I still needed to take chemistry.  Quite a bit of chemistry, actually.  And that was the dealbreaker for me.)  (So funny  . . . because then I married a chemist.)  (And then I gave birth to one.)  (But those are stories for another day.)

Anyway.  Check out this video from National Geographic.  The lava flow is really awesome.  


Sunday is Mother's Day.  Last year, I really struggled with my first Mother's Day sans mother.  It's still hard a year later, and probably will be forever.  But it definitely feels more . . . settled . . . for me this year.

I think it helps that I created my "Mom Garden" full of my mom's favorite flowers.  It's been rewarding and powerful to have this physical space that binds me to her in a tangible way.  This week, her beloved tulips are the shining stars in my garden!


I planted the bulbs last fall, and this is their first year to bloom -- just in time for Mother's Day.  (Hi, Mom!)  

On Mother's Day, I will plant a new dahlia in my mom's honor.  (My mom loved dahlias -- and she planted them in her garden in memory of her own mother.)   I used to give her a beautiful, new dahlia every Mother's Day.  I think I'll just continue doing that.


The New York Times has recently acknowledged - and rectified - a major oversight in their obituary department.  Yes, it turns out that since 1851, the Times obituary section has been dominated by white men.  (Surprised?  Nah.)  To rectify more than a century of negligence, the NY Times has begun adding the stories - and obituaries - of remarkable women who . . . well . . . didn't make the cut when they died.  

Click in to Overlooked to read the obituaries of women the Times should have published in the first place.  It's fascinating.  So many women.  I can't even imagine that the NY Times of the time didn't feel these obituaries deserved to be written.  (But, really.  Of course I can imagine this.)  (Can't you?)

Ida B. Wells.  Charlotte Brontë.  Henrietta Lacks.  Sylvia Plath.  Ada Lovelace.  Ruth Wakefield.

(Talk about a rabbit hole!)  (These women are amazing . . . and - before now - overlooked by the New York Times.)


It's that time again!  Time to play Summer Book Bingo.  Mary has, once again, master-minded the whole thing:  setting up Bingo cards, rules, and 98 (!) categories.  Click here to whoooosh right over to Mary's blog to print out your own Summer Book Bingo card and start reading.

Although I'm not playing along this year (it's a FOCUS thing . . . ), I've already signed on with Mary to be the official Captain of the Cheerleading Squad!  I'm looking forward to watching the rest of you rack up the BINGOs this summer.  Go, Readers!


Have you Knitters seen this shawl over on Ravelry?  It looks cool.  It looks fun.  It looks wearable.  And . . . it's FREE!


It's Spring!  Finally . . . pretty much everywhere . . . Spring has sprung.


Time to quit with the hygge?

Not so fast, my friends!

Here are 10 ways you can keep up the hygge all through the summer:

  1. Open the windows
  2. Give your home a thorough spring cleaning
  3. Change up your bedding (goodbye, flannel!)
  4. Switch out your curtains (or . . . get rid of them altogether)
  5. Bring the outdoors in with plants and fresh flowers
  6. Lighten up -- pare down the tchotchkes for the season
  7. Accentuate your home with natural elements (a bowl of lemons, maybe?)
  8. Pack away throws and cushions to keep things simple and comfortable
  9. Bring the inside outside (think drinks-on-the-patio)
  10. Keep the candles (always with the candles), but change up the scents


Finally, a couple of updates:

  • Jenny is doing fabulously!  She is back to her happy, diva-self -- and she thanks you all for your good juju.
  • My red shoes from last week?  They are these.  Although I could pick these up locally, they did not have the red version I wanted.  So I ordered from Zappos.
  • I ended up not signing up for the KnitStars thing.  Although I think it sounds like a very well-done series --  one where I'm absolutely sure I'd learn a lot -- I just think the timing is not right for me.  (Again - it's a FOCUS thing.)
  • Several people have asked about the mug I've shown here from time to time (it's one of my favorites).  I don't exactly know where it came from, but I've had it since just after the Women's March in 2017.  Here's a photo of the mug in a more readable format (just as it's headed into the dishwasher last night).



And . . . that's a wrap!  A Friday Fish Wrap!

Have a great weekend, y'all.





Makin' Stuff

Now that my dining room is finished (you just can't belive how nice it is to type those words), I've got a few other projects going on. (For rainy days like today, y'know?)

1 - Some are ongoing.  


(And, yeah, I'm sparing you yet another photo of the still-not-finished-but-growing-in-the-expected-manner shawl.  But there is a pile of evidence that I'm making progress.)

2 - Some are just beginning.


(But promise to be pretty quick and easy to complete.)  (Although it looks funny in the light, the fabric is a nice chocolate brown linen.)

3 - Some are being resurrected.


(This is an Alabama Chanin swing skirt -- half finished.  I put it aside over a year ago because I really don't like the color.  It's called "denim," but really looks pretty purple.  Vicki suggested over-dying, so I've dragged it out again.) (I can also see that I learned a few tricks at the AC workshop last fall, so this old work looks kind of messy.  But, oh well.)

I've always got something going . . . to keep my hands busy.

How about YOU?  What kind of stuff are you makin' today?


Head on over to Carole's to read other Three on Thursday posts.

Happiness Is . . .

Resting and recuperating at home.


Good news from the vet.


And having your bestie nearby again!


I thank you for all the good juju yesterday.  It helped!  Jenny did well with a very nasty surgery.  She got to come home last night, which no one really expected.  And so far (keep your fingers crossed) we are having an easy time with her recovery here at home.  (Her surgery comes with some potentially . . . messy . . . side effects.  So far, so good.)  

I think no one is happier to have Jenny home than JoJo!  She moped all day yesterday, and was just not quite herself.  She even slacked off with perimeter control, which she sees as her Most Important Role in our pack.  (Trust me, this is BIG.)

Happiness is . . . hanging around with your pack!

Hungry Dogs

As I write this blog post this morning, my dogs are looking at me with the mournful eyes.

For they are very hungry.

S-t-a-r-v-i-n-g, in fact.

And I am not feeding them.


Because this diva . . . 


is scheduled for some rather serious surgery in a couple of hours.  (Please send the good juju.  She is 11, and we'd like to keep her around a while longer.)

My hungry dogs remind me of this perfect Mary Oliver poem, from her Dog Songs book.

The Wicked Smile
by Mary Oliver

"Please, please, I think I haven't eaten
for days."

What?  Ricky, you had a huge supper.

"I did? My stomach doesn't remember.
Oh, I think I'm fading away.  Please
make me breakfast and I'll tell you 
something you don't know."

He ate rapidly.

Okay, I said  What were you going to
tell me?

He smiled the wicked smile.  "Before we
came over, Anne already gave me my breakfast,"
he said.

Be prepared.  A dog is adorable and noble.
A dog is true and loving friend.  A dog
is also a hedonist.

Flowers are Magical

"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful.  They are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul."
                                                                                                    --- Luther Burbank


Now that SPRING has decided to show up around here (thank you!), I'm scrambling out in the garden.  There is so much to do out there . . . that sometimes I just spin around, not knowing where to begin.

But then I just begin.

Clipping and pulling and raking and digging.  (And sometimes shaking my head . . . as in where did that come from???)

After three big days in the garden . . . my nails are crap, my arms are totally scratched up, and my back is tired.

BUT.  I'm also better, happier, and more helpful!

Flowers are magical -- and gardens, indeed, are medicine for the soul.

Happy Feet

There are so many things I'm happy about this week. . . 

  • Finally seeing some leaves popping out on the trees.
  • Sunshine . . . alternating with some good, soaking rains.
  • Fresh air and open windows.
  • Bird joy!
  • Flowers.

But you know what makes me really happy?


New red shoes!

I hope you all have plenty of opportunity to kick up your heels . . . or put your feet up . . . or BOTH . . .  this weekend.