Digging Deep

Y'know, there are just times when the Overwhelm comes for a little visit.  When life just feel a little . . . heavy.  When friends are struggling, or life's realities just kind of swamp you, or you have to do this-or-that that you'd really prefer not to.  (When not being signed in when you really ARE signed in and can't leave comments on friends' blogs is your Last Straw  . . . )

That's when I know I need to dig a little deeper.  
Turn things around.
Listen to what's already there . . .  in my heart.


A gratitude list is usually a good place to start . . .

  • the smell of rain in the morning
  • a cool breeze through the open window
  • a cup of coffee
  • dogs at my side
  • an old pair of flip flops that perfectly conform to the shape of my feet

And, suddenly, the day seems brighter.  
It's those simple things, really, that turn away the Overwhelm.  
Digging deeper . . .  opens the path for a fresh new day.  
(Because, really.  How can old flip flops not turn the tide?)

Happy Friday, my friends.  It's going to be a good day.

Mushrooms Everywhere

It has been really rainy this summer up north -- and especially in the last month or so.  The lake level is higher now that it was earlier this summer (which never happens).  The mosquitoes are out of control.  And there are mushrooms growing everywhere in the woods.

Here are three mushrooms that I found particularly impressive this week . . . 




I love the colors and shapes and textures of the mushrooms.  (The mosquitoes?  Not so much.)


Be sure to pop over to Carole's today . . . for more Three on Thursday fun.


All About the Pockets

Last week, I finished a pair of Alabama Chanin drawstring pants . . . in the knee-length shorts version.


I was a bit hesitant about making pants . . . with hand stitching.  Because, really, you want the butt seam and crotch seam to HOLD, y'know?  But last fall, when Vicki and I visited the Alabama Chanin Factory, I tried on a pair.  And they seemed surprisingly stable.  And super comfortable.  So I decided to give it a go.

This particular AC pattern includes drawstring pants (4 lengths) and a drawstring skirt (also multiple lengths) -- and a variety of pocket options.  I planned to try ALL pocket varieties when I stitched up my shorts.  Kind of a . . . pocket sampler!

So.  We've got side seam pockets . . . 


a cargo pocket . . . 


and patch pockets!


These really are the most comfortable pants in the world.  (And I'm happy to report that with two full days' wear, both the butt seam and the crotch seam are holding fast!)

Now . . . I'm thinking I need a long pair.
(And maybe the skirt . . . )


Be sure to head over to Kat's today . . . to see what else is Unraveling!

Letting Go

We're back up north for a few days.  While it's always nice to get away, this trip is bittersweet.

Sure . . . it's still plenty warm. The leaves haven't started to turn.  The lake is the perfect temperature for swimming.  It's quiet now that the kids are back at school.  Things are very peaceful.    


But change is coming.  The days are shorter.  Acorns are raining from the trees.  It's time . . . to bring the dock in.  And move the pontoon to dry land for the season.  Because the distance between "plenty of time" and "we waited too long" is really short up here.

We enjoyed our last pontoon ride of the season yesterday.  Later today, we'll bring in the dock.  It's time to bid the lake adieu for the summer (although we won't totally close down the cabin for another 6 weeks or so).

I'm a little sad.  Because I like summer -- and I especially like summer on the lake.  But it's time for me to . . . give in.  Let go.  Because fall?  It's nice, too!


How about YOU?  What signifies the true end of summer for you?


Sometimes Mondays

. . . look like a mirror.


"Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed."
                                                                         --- Indira Davi




"Welcome to Friday. In preparation for takeoff, please ensure all negative attitudes are properly stowed. On behalf of your captain, Jack Daniels and myself, welcome aboard. I expect sunshine and good attitudes today for our trip. Enjoy the ride."  


I saw that quote, and couldn't resist.

Happy Fri-YAY, and here's to a fun weekend.

My Very Hungry Caterpillar

For many years now, I've had a thriving butterfly garden.  (See my post from earlier this summer about my garden and how easy it is to plant and certify your own Monarch Waystation.)  And over those years, I've seen many a Monarch butterfly, flitting among the blooms.  But I had never actually seen the Monarchs laying eggs on my milkweed plants.*  And I had never seen a Monarch caterpillar.* Until this summer!  

* (I'm sure they've been there, doing just those things.  But I had never been there to see it.)

In July, I happened to be out in the garden and noticed a Monarch laying eggs.  I was thrilled!  (I posted this video on Instagram.)

And early last week, I found a very hungry Monarch caterpillar.


He's gone now . . . off becoming a butterfly!  I look everyday to try and find the chrysalis, but so far?  No luck.  If I do find it, though, it will be the true triumverate of butterfly gardening:  eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis.  (I'd be over the moon. . .

To celebrate my caterpillar, I thought I'd share three quick facts about Monarchs with you today:

  1. Monarchs can produce four generations during one summer. The first three generations will have life spans from 2 - 6 weeks and will continue moving north. During this time they will mate and have the next generation that will continue the northward migration. The fourth generation is different and can live up to nine months. These are the butterflies that will migrate south for winter.  (My caterpillar falls into this fourth generation.)
  2. In their larval stage, Monarch caterpillars feed almost exclusively on milkweed, and as adults, get their nutrients from the nectar of flowers. The monarch will always return to areas rich in milkweed to lay their eggs upon the plant. The milkweed they feed on as a caterpillar is actually a poisonous toxin and is stored in their bodies. This is what makes the monarch butterfly taste so terrible to predators.
  3. During their migration, Monarch butterflies can travel between 50 - 100 miles a day.  It can take up to two months to complete their journey to winter habitats.

Beautiful, fascinating creatures!  I'm so happy to share my garden space with them.


Be sure to visit Carole today -- to find more Three on Thursday posts.

Baby, Baby

I know you've seen this before (and - hands down - voted for the round buttons), but not in finished form.  The little guy arrived this week, so it was time to get those buttons sewn down snug!


I think baby sweaters are so much fun to knit.  Tiny.  Sweet.  And full of hope.


I hope this little baby has many happy hours of playtime ahead -- wearing this warm little sweater, knit with love.


(Ravelry details here.)


The Seedy Underbelly

Over the last few years, I've been chipping away at what I've taken to calling . . . Streamlining.  I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  And whatever you choose to call it . . . KonMari-ing.  Swedish Death Cleaning.  Simplifying . . . it all comes down to the same thing:  throwing stuff out

I've done the easy stuff.  My closet.  The linen closet.  Kitchen cabinets.  The junk drawer.

Now, though?  It's time to take some Serious Action.  I'm headed to the Dark Side.  To the seedy underbelly of my streamlining projects . . . [cue Jaws soundtrack music] . . . and it's not pretty.


I have this giant filing cabinet.  It's a lovely piece of furniture, actually.  And it harkens back to the days of . . . paper.  Back when I had an analog filing system.  With hanging files and color-coordinated file folders and labels.  And I used it!  I was organized and I kept up (pretty much) with my filing, and when Tom asked, "Do you know where [this or that] document is?"  I could say YES with confidence.

And then. . . it all went digital.  

And now I have a digital filing system.  With organized Documents files and a back-up system and Evernote.  And I use it!  And when Tom asks, "Do you know where [this or that] document is?  I can say YES with confidence.

But I still have . . . all that paper.

And, what's worse is that for far too many years, I double-dipped.  I had the new digital system AND I still had the old analog system.  Except I didn't keep up with the paper filing.  At all.  I just opened a drawer and jammed it in.  Like this . . .


Every drawer looks like this.  Packed to the gills.  And now (as you can see from the first photo), spilling out onto the floor.  And the desk (that you cannot see in any photo).  (So you'll have to use your imagination.)

In fact, I cannot use the office at all.  Because it makes my stomach turn to just walk in to the office and see the . . . paper.  All the paper.  All the paper that I no longer need.  


I have this perfectly nice office.  
With a lot of storage space.  
That is totally unusable.  
Because it is filled with paper that has long ago reached its potential usefulness.
In any way.

For YEARS, I have wanted to tackle this project.  To clear the space.  To make things functional again.  But there has always been a huge barrier:  SHREDDING.  (Plus time.  Always the time.)  (But mostly . . . shredding.)  Because a lot of the stuff in those file cabinets really needs to be shredded before it can be recycled.  And . . . well.  UGH.  It will take hours and will burn out the motor on my shredder and will make me terribly grumpy.

So I try not to think about it . . . while continuing to experience that stomach-turning sensation whenever I walk by the office.


Yes, friends.  I am going in there today.  
I am going to begin.  
I'm going to empty those drawers and create some physical space in the office -- and some mental space for myself.

My secret weapon?  
I found a local, drop-off shredding company that charges 18 cents a pound!

Here I go. . . 

(And how about YOU?  Do you have any spaces in your house that you are loathe to tackle?  Maybe we can cheer each other on?)