TGIF

This day . . . has nearly gotten away from me!  Quick!  TGIF before it's over!

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T -- Thinking About

Yoga.  I am doing a lot of thinking about yoga (as in . . . driving Tom crazy with my thinking about yoga).  For a variety of reasons, it's time for me to find a new yoga gig.  But after 10 years, that's a hard move to make.  I'll work it out.  But for now, I'm thinking about it.  A lot.  (And happy to have my own home yoga space.)

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G -- Grateful For

I've been procrastinating helping my dad with a few things at the Secretary of State's office (people living in other states may relate better if I call it the DMV).  He just needed to do an address change and change the title for his car.  Little things, sure.  But things that would take a whole afternoon, given the normal lines at the SOS office.  

BUT.

I decided to try the new online advance appointment system recently introduced by the SOS.  Worked like a charm!  We were in and out in less than 15 minutes!  Front of the line!

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I -- Inspired By

Still thinking about that border/not border on my arrows shawl, but definitely wanting to add beads and tassels.  Guess what I discovered?  Kalamazoo has a cool little bead shop!  I paid a visit earlier today, and WOW!  What a potential rabbit hole THAT place is . . .  The staff there was super friendly and helped me pick out and prepare some beads for my shawl.  I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to use them, but I certainly am inspired.

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F -- Fun

Tom and I have a date tonight . . . with Mary Chapin Carpenter!  Can't wait.

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TGIF!  Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

 


Three on Thursday: The DIY Edition

Have you seen those adorable little succulent pumpkins popping up everywhere this fall?

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I've been to two fall-themed "events" this past week, and both of them featured the little succulent-pumpkins as decor.  I took a close look . . . and then decided to make some for myself.  

You can, too!  Here's how . . . in three easy steps.

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1 - Grab your materials!

small pumpkin
spray adhesive (not shown in photo above)
sphagnum moss (available at craft stores like Michaels)
assortment of succulents (I just snipped them from my garden; you can also pick them up at garden centers) (you just need leaves; no roots)
other fall flotsam and jetsam (milkweed pods, interesting seed heads, acorns, etc.)
non-water-soluble glue (I used tacky glue for my first attempt and a hot glue gun for my second; you just want it to hold when you get it wet)
spray bottle (for watering your finished project

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2 - Attach things to the pumpkin!

First, use spray adhesive to attach a handful of sphagnum moss to the top of your pumpkin.  Next, using the tacky glue (or a hot glue gun), attach succulent parts to the sphagnum moss.  I started with some of the bigger pieces (the hen-and-chick flowerette, for example) and then filled in with some of the smaller leaves and stems.  Hold the pieces in place for a bit to make sure they adhere well.  I filled in with some sedum flowers after my succulents were in place, and I added a bit of fall flotsam (that's a milkweed pod in there) for interest.

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3 - Spray it down with water!

When you're finished, just spritz the succulents with water.  You'll want to do this every couple of days.  If they're kept moist, the succulents will actually take root in the sphagnum moss.  When the pumpkin begins to rot, you can cut the top off (with the sphagnum moss and succulents intact), and just transfer the whole thing to a pot.  (Disclaimer: Theoretically, this should work, but I have not tried it yet.)

Ta-da!

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It took me about 30 minutes start-to-finish to put this little guy together.  The first one (shown at the beginning of the post) took a little longer because I didn't know what I was doing yet, and I used tacky glue (which took longer to set).  My hints:  less is more (don't crowd too much stuff onto the pumpkin); start with the bigger items and then balance it out with the smaller things; and use a glue gun if you have one (because quicker).

Try one!  They're so cute and festive - and really simple to do.

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Click here to see more Three on Thursday posts.

 


Nearly Finished . . . and Needing Input

Okay . . . I know I'm really testing your limits here.

Because I'm going to show you Yet Another View of my arrows project.

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This time, you'll notice the major portion of the knitting is finished (but it is not yet blocked, as evidenced by the candle-weights).

I've got to tell you . . . I have LOVED knitting this thing!  It's mindlessful.  It uses up stash yarn (but not as much as you'd think).  It allows for creativity.  It's FUN.  And it looks cool, too.

But I am at a critical juncture.

And maybe y'all can help.

Does it need a border?  (The pattern calls for attached i-cord or single crochet.  I'm thinking a NO on the attached i-cord because it seems too heavy, and besides . . . it would take forever.  But I could be on board with single crochet.)

And, if yes, what color?  (I could do a border using any of the yarns in the shawl -- or I could really shake things up and do something totally unexpected.)

I'm not convinced, though, that it needs a border.  (Because I slipped the first stitch at the beginning of each row, it is quite neat just the way it is.)

Here are separate view of each wing . . . just to help you make suggestions:

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So.

What do you think?
Border?  No border?  Color of border, if border?
(I'm also thinking . . .  tassels at each end . . . maybe with cool beads . . . Thoughts?)

Also, just to whet your appetites . . . 

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(Something new to look forward to in future unraveled posts!)

As far as reading . . . I'm still struggling through the new Nicole Krauss novel, Forest Dark.  To all you fellow fans of Krauss' The History of Love . . . this one will not measure up.  In any way.  (And you will be disappointed.)  I also just finished The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith.  I found this one after watching the author's TED talk.  Good book!  Especially if you're interested in crafting a life that matters (which seems to be a theme of mine these days).

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Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled Wednesdays.  To see what other bloggers are knitting and reading, click here.)

 


All Things Must Pass

Garden Buddha has been sitting sentinel in my garden for 6 years now.

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Sitting in the middle of a dying fall garden or nearly hidden by summer blooms; covered in winter snow or surrounded by spring crocus . . . my Buddha is a constant in the garden.  I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing the sun shining on my Buddha.  He brings a peaceful presence to my garden every day.

But.  All things must pass.

We've decided to re-locate the path that leads through this garden bed.  Which means . . . Buddha needs a new home.

Yesterday was his moving day.

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Tom prepared the ground in his new location, loaded him up in the wagon, and settled him into his new space.

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(You can see that Garden Buddha got an upgrade:  waterfront property!)

I think this will be a perfect location for him.  He'll appreciate the calming water and the shade of the larch tree.  And, while I'll miss seeing him out my kitchen window, now I'll be able to keep my eye on him from the living room.

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In honor of Garden Buddha's move, Tom has written a poem.  (Haiku, of course!)

Buddha relocates
Garden eminent domain

He remains sanguine


Sometimes Mondays

. . . look like leftovers!

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Last Friday - a beautiful fall afternoon - I headed to my favorite nursery to check out trees, pick up some perennials for my newly-retained front gardens, and refresh my containers with mums and pansies.

I filled my car to the brim.

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Once home, I unloaded everything, but planted nothing.  It had already been a long day, and I was tired.  It could wait until Saturday.

But.

It rained and Rained and RAINED all day Saturday.  We had nearly 8" of rain!  

I'll be planting today instead.
My kind of leftovers!


Still Hanging In There: A Three on Thursday Post

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm still actively working out in my garden.  Not with as much vigor and enthusiasm as in the spring, surely.  But I'm still out there every day.  Shifting and pruning and lamenting and, yes . . . celebrating.

This has been a tough year, weather-wise, for my garden.  Until just this week, we've been in a drought here in my area.  Pretty much no rain all season.  Our summer wasn't too bad heat-wise -- and, in fact, it was on the rather cool side.  Until mid-September.  And then all hell broke loose (as in hot as hell).

My entire garden fried.  The lush, green foliage looks like potato chips now.  Fall blooms lasted about 2 minutes in the heat.  If plants didn't wilt, they just shriveled.  It's been . . . Not Good.

Still.  Flowers are magical.  They continue to bring joy.  Here are three things blooming in my garden even now . . . after a really wacky weather growing season.

1 - Autumn Joy Sedum (now showing with potato chip hosta leaves in the background. . . )

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Some of my gardening friends wrinkle their noses at my Autumn Joy sedum, considering it "too common" for their own gardens.  I say FOOEY!  It's hard to find a more hard-working plant in the fall garden.  It looks lovely for months -- and attracts bees and butterflies like crazy.  It even looks great in the winter, because it's dead seed-heads catch the frost and snow in delightful ways.  I'll never plant a garden without it.  

2 - Toad Lily

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I was sure my toad lily wouldn't bloom this year.  Toad lilies are shade plants -- with the most delightful fall blooms ever.  They look so exotic and fussy.  But they're not . . . as long as you give them what they need:  shade and water.  I've been pushing the envelope in terms of shade with this little guy for a couple of years now -- ever since we chopped down the cherry tree (a black cherry that was split and dying and in danger of falling on the house).  But this year?  WAY too hot; WAY too dry.  (You can see the burned leaves in the picture.)   Still . . . I've got some blooms!  (And I have plans for a new tree to bring back some shade to this corner of my garden.)

3 - Rozanne Geranium

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This plant is another of my "workhorse" plants.  It does a lot of heavy-lifting in my garden all season long.  Although this (kind of crappy) photo doesn't really show it, this plant is a mound about 3 feet across (yeah, this one is on my divide-and-transplant list) and FULL of blooms.  In fact, it starts blooming in May and never quits!  It's still blooming - and attracting bees - even now.  It winds in through neighboring plants and helps them look lovely, too.

Even though it's been a tough gardening season, I'm still enjoying some color and blooms out there - even in October.  

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Today's post is part of Three on Thursdays.  Check in over at Carole's to read other Three on Thursday posts.


Unraveling on a Wednesday

Knitting continues to be kind of sporadic around here.  I mean . . . I knit a little nearly every day, but most days it's very little.  There are so many other things to do!  

I'm still busy out in the garden, for example.  Because the weather still allows it -- and there really is no frost in sight at this point.  So, hey!  Let's do some transplanting, huh?  And let's use those "bonus rocks" (from the re-built retaining wall) to create the garden border I've always wanted.  And while we're at it, let's get a head start on moving the garden path before winter!  (So full of ideas. . . )

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(I suppose someday winter will just . . . arrive.  And catch me off guard.  But for now?  Dig in!)

All of that . . . prelude . . . should serve as a warning that I've got nothin' much to share with you in the unraveled department this week.  Just another shot of my slightly-longer arrows project.

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As for reading, I just finished listening to Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo.  (The audio version is wonderful because the narrator's Nigerian accent just adds to the reading experience.)  I'd been waiting for that one on Overdrive for months and months, so I had to put my current Audible read - Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss - on temporary hold (because I can listen anytime. . . ).  I'm not sure I'll get back to it anytime soon, though, because I can see I'm next-in-line for another Overdrive audiobook!  (Deadlines always win.)

And then this arrived yesterday . . . 

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When I first heard that a new Mary Oliver poetry anthology would be available this fall, I thought I'd put it on my Christmas wish list this year.  But then, as summer progressed, I decided I need Mary Oliver and I need her NOW.  So I pre-ordered.  It arrived yesterday and I am thrilled!

How about YOU?  What are you knitting working on and reading?

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Check in with the rest of the "unravelers" over at Kat's!


A Bit of Flailing About

The funny thing about writing a blog is that sometimes you have a lot to say, and sometimes you just . . . don't.  And sometimes you are thinking about a lot of things that you'll eventually say, but the thoughts aren't quite organized enough to say them yet.

That's where I am.

A lot of ideas percolating.  But not quite ready for blogging.

So here's a pretty picture of a bloom from my garden while I flail about for a while.

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(Because things are still limping along out there in my garden.  Although we've had a few fall-ish days, it still feels like an extended summer for the most part.)


Three Things: Art Prize Edition

On Tuesday, Tom and I headed to Grand Rapids for Art Prize.  (If you haven't heard about Art Prize, you can learn more about it here.  It is an awesome event celebrating art for all.) 

We saw so many cool things.  Three of my favorites:

1 - Oil + Water by Ryan Spencer Reed

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The artist took the original photo at last year's Dakota Access Pipeline protest in North Dakota (Standing Rock).  This stunning work now looks like an oil slick . . . in the middle of the Grand River . . . with a powerful message about clean water, climate change, and the struggle for native rights.  Read more about this fascinating piece here.  

2 - SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) by A+J Art+Design

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This installation (also in the Grand River) make the connection between water -- and the people who cross it to find shelter, safety, freedom, and prosperity.  Tom counted 23 figures -- and, indeed, each one represents approximately one million refugees in the world today (22.5 million).  Read more about this powerful installation here.

3 - Enmesh by Leroi DeRubertis

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This piece was actually my favorite of the day.  It's difficult to photograph, and even more difficult to describe!  Try to imagine . . . twisted wire "drawings" connected and hung from the ceiling in front of walls . . . moving and creating shadow images on the wall behind.  There was a wall of faces, a wall of hands and hearts, and a wall of full-body figures.  It was amazing!  Read more about the work here -- and be sure to watch the short video to see the installation in motion.

If you're ever in west Michigan during the three weeks of Art Prize, make sure you stop in Grand Rapids.  It's always worth the trip.

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Stop in at Carole's to see more Three on Thursday posts.