Friday Fish Wrap

Friday Fish Wrap

Here we are . . . the last day of August.  

The next time we meet, Labor Day will be behind us, and we'll already be a few days into September.  So.  Let's wrap up the month - and the season - with a Friday Fish Wrap.

IMG_6381

Since it's nearly September - and the beginning of a new school year - let's talk "school supplies."  

Specifically . . . calendars.

I know many people love their digital calendars (and I do use one, too), but when it comes to planners - like for real planning and note taking and lists?  Well.  For me, nothing beats paper and pencil!

I used to be a devotee of the Planner Pad system, but once I stopped working full time, it just seemed too formal for my less-hectic lifestyle.  I switched over to basic bullet journaling (which I do using a Leuchtturm1917 notebook) about 4 years ago.  I've developed a system that works really well for me.  

IMG_6383

But . . . 

The call of planners and journals is strong!  I can't resist shopping around when it comes to planners.  

If you, too, are looking for a new way to get yourself organized - and you like writing things down and crossing them off - check out this article from the New York Times reviewing the various types of paper planners that are out there.  Yeah - it's long.  But it's an extensive and thorough review with plenty of links.  And at the very end (scroll down and down and down), they even talk about "the competition" (those planners they looked at, but didn't quite make their final cut).  If you're looking to find the perfect planner, this is the article for you.

(Me?  I'm thinking about trying the Traveler's Notebook.  I welcome input from any of you who use that system -- and I know a few of you do!)

==========

Feeling pressed for time?  Sick of being busy and overwhelmed?  Wondering how you can create a little more . . . white space . . . in your life?  Well. Here's an idea for you.

Courtney Carver (of Project 333 fame, and author of Soulful Simplicity) is offering a free, 21-day course to help you challenge your busyness and make time for what you really want.  She calls it the "Busy Boycott" -- and you can learn more about it here, and sign up for it here.  

Probably the biggest lesson I've had from my FOCUS year (so far) is that . . .  it's easy to fill your time and your days with things you don't really care that much about!  If you don't take charge and focus on what matters most TO YOU, you'll have a hard time ever shaking the overwhelming, too-stretched, out-of-balance feeling.  (And if you're feeling like you don't have time for a "busy boycott"?  Well.  You probably really ought sign up.)

==========

Monday marks the final day of Mary's annual Book Bingo challenge.  I've had fun watching the bingo-action from the sidelines this year, and I'm always impressed at how many books people read when they're going for a bingo challenge! 

So.

Now that Book Bingo is finished, what'cha gonna read???

Here's an idea to help you figure that out:  A list of 13 new books coming out in September.  I'm looking forward to reading two of them especially (Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, and Transcription by Kate Atkinson).  (Seriously, both of them have me a bit giddy with anticipation.)  

And here's a fun article about August's most art-ful book covers.  (I thought this would be especially fun for those of you Book Bingo players who needed to match your knitting to your book cover!)

==========

Speaking of books . . . ten years ago now, when I was putting the pieces of my life back together after my chemo ended, I picked up a very pretty book while browsing at the book store.  It was an unusual size.  It was heavy.  And it was gorgeous!  I bought it as soon as I saw it.

That book was the Alabama Stitch Book -- the book that introduced me (and much of the rest of the stitching world) to Alabama Chanin.  I think I wore the pages out, just looking through it over and over and over again!  It was fascinating to me.  And inspiring.  And also totally intimidating.

IMG_6385

To celebrate that 10-year anniversary, Alabama Chanin has re-issued their original book -- The Alabama Stitch Book -- now with a new cover, and an updated introduction -- but with the same inspiring gorgeousness inside.  They're even re-releasing some of the original designs from the book in kit form -- including the first Alabama Chanin project I ever made:  the Rose Shawl.  (Here's mine, first posted back in 2014.)

If you've been curious about the whole Alabama Chanin thing (or maybe you're interested in giving it a try), this is a great time to pick up the first book -- and some fun kits!

==========

Attention all Peaceful Knitters!  

Christina Campbell (of The Healthy Knitter blog, and "founder" of Project Peace knitting) has just announced a timeline for this year's peace knitting project -- including a special pattern release on September 21 - the International Day of Peace (also Carole's birthday) (just sayin).  Project Peace begins on November 15, and it appears there will be multiple designs to choose from for this year's project.  

See Christina's timeline and get more information about this year's project here.  Mark your calendars!

==========

Finally, I'll leave you with something slightly silly, but entertaining enough to keep two sisters emailing all morning.  

Ever wondered if your pinky finger holds special powers???  Like, for instance, revealing secrets about your personality???

Well.

Wonder no more!  Click here to read all about it!

(And my sister and I?  We discovered that our pinky fingers are different on each hand!  On one hand, we're Type B personalities - but on the other hand, we're Type C.) (How about you???)

==========

And . . . that's a WRAP!

Have a great Labor Day weekend (here in the US), and a wonderful late summer weekend everywhere else!
See you on Tuesday.

IMG_6044

 


Friday Fish Wrap

"The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer ... like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning."
                    --- Natalie Babbit in Tuck Everlasting

IMG_5640

Yes, my friends.  August has arrived!  I know many of you lamented the "end of summer" in posts this week (shoot ... Mary can't even find patio furniture in stores anymore!).  But I'm here to tell you that there is PLENTY of summer left!  (Unless, well . . . maybe not so much if you're a teacher or a student.  But for the rest of us, plenty!)  

So I challenge you all:  Get out there and enjoy it while it's here!  Step out . . . into the summer.  Eat some ice cream.  Get your feet wet.  Ride a bike.  Read outside while you sip lemonade.  Just DO . . . the summer things you don't want to miss!  

And now, let's have a Friday Fish Wrap.  (Click here if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about.)

==========

I base much of my fiction reading queue on three literary prizes each year:  The Women's Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award, and - my favorite - the Man Booker Prize.  These three lists provide me with endless selctions to read!  I rarely read all of the books on the longlists, but they do provide a deep well of books from which to choose.

The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist came out last week -- and there look to be some great titles in the mix.  I've already read one - Snap (highly recommended), and I'm at the half-way point of another - Warlight.  Three more titles are battling it out for read-me-next-please honors - Sabrina, From a Low and Quiet Sea, and The Overstory.  And there is one I can't wait to get my hands on - Washington Black (because I love Esi Edugyan's writing so very much) (but it won't be published in the US until September).  There's one I'm gonna skip right over, though - The Mars Room (because I just don't enjoy Rachel Kushner's books and life is too short. . . ).

Check out the list and see what you might want to read this year.

==========

IMG_5668

==========

Speaking of books . . . Harry Potter is celebrating his 20th anniversary next month.  (Here are some fun facts about the Harry Potter book phenomena.)  New covers, people!  (And they look pretty cool.)  Much hoop-la.

My daughter and most of her friends did a bit of freaking out when they heard the news. Because How-Can-Harry-Potter-Be-Already-20-Years-Ago-Mom???  Erin tells me that, for the first time, she now feels . . . old.  Erin - who was always the exact same age as Harry when the books came out - grew up with Harry Potter.  Literally.

Ah. Time.  (Reality bites.)

==========

740-maggie-kuhn.imgcache.rev9963f263bcf6ba1962a572d025232f12.web.740.475

Speaking of time . . . in the better-late-than-never department, I read a little blurb in the New York Times this week about Gray Panthers founder, Maggie Kuhn (who died in 1995).   Her story (which, of course, I didn't know. . . ) is fascinating!  The NY Times blurb piqued my interest, so I went searching more.  Here's a nice little bio if you'd like to learn more about her, too.

"I made a sacred vow that I would do something outrageous, at least once a week."
                --- Maggie Kuhn, age 85

==========

Pat0075_01_880x1322

Back when I was in high school, I had this pair of denim OshKosh overalls that I wore all the time.  (I know; they were A Thing.) (Thankfully, it didn't last long.)  

Anyway.

I used to embroider things all over my overalls, so they were Very Unique.  (I wish I had a photo to share, but I do not.  We just didn't photo-document every little thing back then. . . )

Anyway.

The other day, I came across a treasure chest full of free, downloadable embroidery patterns here.  (The photo above is one of the free patterns you can download.)  There are tons of fun designs there, and it's safe to say . . . my embroidery-crazy-overall-wearing former self would have had a field day.

==========

And, finally . . . as much as I hate to admit this . . . THIS is pretty much always the state of my desk.

IMG_5694

I straighten it up and organize it often . . . but THAT (above) is my desk's normal state.  Its angle of repose.  Every day.  All the time.

Lucky for me, I just read about a study at the University of Minnesota that concludes that . . . messiness can be good for us!  According to professor Kathleen Vohs, "Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.  Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe."

(Note that she is talking about "messy" - not "dirty" - environments.  There is a a difference.)

So.  That's my story.  And I'm sticking to it!

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
                    --- Albert Einstein

==========

And . . . that's a wrap!  Have a great weekend - be sure to have some summer fun.  I'll see you on Monday.

IMG_5639

 


The Friday Fish Wrap

So many minor news items crossed my desk this week that I decided to round 'em up and . . . wrap them all together for you.  Yep.  It's time for another Friday Fish Wrap!

IMG_2668

First, just a Public Service Announcement.  Don't forget to turn your clocks forward an hour on Saturday.  Generally, I don't like giving up an hour.  Ever.  But, somehow, I always seem to adjust to the spring-forward time change quicker and easier than I do the fall-back time change.  I'm not sure why that is, exactly, but it probably has something to do with my own personal bio-rhythms.  (Maybe?)

Anyway.  I dislike this time change.  But I will definitely appreciate that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.  (I'm trying to focus my attention there.  And not on the fact that it will be darker and colder when I wake up in the morning.)

==========

Last week, I mentioned that A Wrinkle in Time was my favorite book as a child.  I re-read it (again) this week, and found it to be as delightful as I remember it to be.

The movie-version opens today, and I've been reading some reviews to help me decide whether I want to see it (and risk bursting my childhood Wrinkle-in-Time-bubble) or not.

Merlin_134683871_0e39cdf2-5eac-4459-aed4-2d01058bd72d-superJumbo
Reese Witherspoon and Storm Reid in “A Wrinkle in Time.” Credit Atsushi Nishijima/Disney

I'm leaning toward . . . going to see it, I think.  It sounds like the movie follows the book for the most part . . . with a few rather significant changes.   Change isn't always bad, though.  And some things about the story need to be updated for the audiences of 2018.  (The book was written in 1962, and while some things have stayed the same, many things have not.)

Besides, I think I want to embrace and support the first big-budget, blockbuster movie directed by an African-American woman (Ava DuVernay)!  I think I'll wait a bit, though.  Until some of the hub-bub settles and the crowds thin. 

(Besides, this weekend we're off to see Black Panther.)

==========

I've always intrigued by color . . . and the way we perceive color.  When I was a kid, I used to wonder if everyone else saw "blue" (for example) the same way I saw "blue."  I mean, it was apparent we all identified "blue" as "blue" when we saw it -- but I was curious about the perception.  Was "blue" the same "blue" for me . . . and for my sister?  Or my friends?

So it was kind of . . . interesting . . . that I married someone who is color blind.  Tom has trouble with reds and greens (which, as far as I can tell, he sees as what I would describe as colors along the grey-scale).  Now, Tom identifies "red" as "red" -- but it's definitely not the same "red" I see!  (Because, like . . . he has trouble picking out a male cardinal at our bird feeder.  And he needs to get pretty close up to tell that a poinsettia is "red.")

All that is a preamble to this story I found this week from The Atlantic about the color of tennis balls.

Tennis-ball-984611__340

Because . . . yellow, right? 

Apparently not to everyone!  (This kind of links back to that viral thing about what-color-is-this-dress back in 2015.)  (We were all so innocent then, non?)  (Just sayin.)

Anyway.  Interesting.
(And, for the record . . . I see yellow tennis balls, and think the dress is gold and white.  Tom sees yellow tennis balls, too.  But he thinks the dress is blue-ish and brown-ish sort of.)

==========

Fun things I found this week that you don't want to miss:

The Women's Prize for Fiction longlist was announced yesterday.  (They always announce the longlist on March 8 -  International Women's Day.)  (This award used to be called the Orange Prize.  I still call it the Orange Prize.)

The #the100dayproject begins April 3.  I did this last year, but don't plan to play along this year.  Check it out and see if it's right for you.   (I can say no and still be a good person.  I can say no and still be a good person.  I can say no and still be a good person.)  

Knitters, don't miss out on March Mayhem over at Mason Dixon Knitting!  The "superfancy bracket" is a true Thing of Beauty.  (Also an incredible rabbit hole of pattern-dreaming delight.)  (A most excellent diversion if you're procrastinating doing your taxes.)  (Ahem.)  Voting begins next Thursday, March 15.

==========

Back in the days before I had kids, I used to think Mister Rogers was . . . silly.  I mean, really.  How could "modern-day" kids find any entertainment in a slow-talking, kindly gentleman in a cardigan? 

And then I had kids.

And we welcomed the calm and loving presence of Mister Rogers into our home every afternoon.  Just when we needed him most.  When we were frazzled and tired and over-stimulated.  Mister Rogers became my hero!

So.  I will be heading to my post office later this month to pick up my own supply of Mister Rogers postage stamps!

13xprogers2-blog427

Yep.  Mister Rogers (along with - admit it, now - kind of creepy King Friday) is getting his own postage stamp

==========

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

Have a great weekend, y'all.


It's Time for Another Friday Fish Wrap

Well.

I woke up to More Snow.  As in . . . Lots More Snow.  Like we're talking  . . . Full-Blown Snow Day.

IMG_2351

(Garden Buddha says so long . . . for now.)

But snow days are good days for knitting sleeves and watching the Olympics and reading books, y'know?  (Just make it stop by March.)  And they're great for putting together another Friday Fish Wrap.  (Click here if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about.)

==========

First, my amaryllis blooms continue to bring me great joy.

IMG_2321

This is my only bloomer at the moment, but I have three more waiting in the wings -- two that are getting second buds, and one that has three stalks/buds -- but hasn't bloomed yet at all.  (Some of them are very slow.  I need to remind myself of this fact every year, it seems . . . when one of my new bulbs is off to a slower-than-expected start.)  I was hoping to have continuous amaryllis blooms through January and February, and it worked.

==========

I've been practicing mindfulness and daily meditation for a couple of years now.  I've discovered practices that work well for me, and I notice more and more the benefits of regular meditation.  Every once in a while, though, I stumble across something new and wonderful that adds either a new dimension to my practice, or that helps me understand it all in a new way.

This book . . . 

IMG_2358

is a game-changer when it comes to understanding mindfulness and meditation.  Down-to-earth.  Science-based.  Practical applications.  This is a great introduction to mindfulness -- especially if you've always thought it all was a bit too . . . new age-y and mystical for you.  

It's also great for folks who've been meditating or practicing mindfulness for awhile.  I had no intention of purchasing this book, but picked it up to check it out at the bookstore.  After skimming through Chapter 2, I knew this book had to be part of my personal library, though.  (Seriously.  Chapter 2 kind of rocked my world.)

The book includes links for the various guided meditations described in the book, which is an extra bonus.  (Apparently there is an app in the works as well, but I haven't seen it or tried it yet.)

Speaking of meditation apps . . . 

I did find a new meditation app that I especially like.  It's called Insight Timer - available for iPhone or Android systems (and it's even free).  I've tried a few other meditation apps, but this one is my favorite.  It has a huge library of guided meditations, music, and ambient sounds that you can choose from, and it covers all types of meditations (seated, walking, waking, etc.) and a variety of topics (intention-setting, sleeping, stress, beginning/introduction to meditation, etc.).  You can also use it just as a timer -- with ambient sounds or bells.

If you're thinking of trying to develop your own meditation practice, I highly recommend this app.

==========

Have you watched any of the Olympics yet?  Tom and I tuned in to watch a bit of the curling last night, and I'm sure we'll be watching quite a bit as the games continue.  Check out this guide to figure out when your favorite events are taking place.

==========

I love Making magazine (brainchild of Carrie Hoge, now in partnership with Ashley Yousling).  

IMG_2360

It's a lovely magazine about . . . well, making stuff!  Knitting and stitching and sewing and gardening and cooking and all kinds of making.  It's a high-quality publication, and the photography is just gorgeous.  They're now taking subscription orders for volumes 5 and 6 (apparently No. 5 is about color, and No. 6 is black and white; should be interesting).

Carrie and Ashley have also just started a Making podcast.  Their first episode is available, and they plan to broadcast weekly.

==========

When I choose a "one little word" each year, I like to surround myself with visual reminders of my word.  Sometimes I order jewelry to wear; sometimes I find art pieces.  I just find it helps me keep my word in mind . . . if I see it every day.

IMG_2363

(For example, this year I ordered this little decal with my word.  I'm planning to afix it to my laptop -- but you can see I haven't quite done it yet.)

I usually find and order my word-items on Etsy, but this year I also heard about this site.   They stamp any word (or intention) you choose on a disc, and then place them on a necklace, bracelet, or key chain.  You can even order a metal-stamping kit to create your own word pieces.  If you're looking for a way to display your word, this is seems like a great option -- and the prices are reasonable, too.

==========

In the time it's taken me to put together this post, Garden Buddha has been almost entirely covered with snow.  So, yeah.  It's really coming down out there!

IMG_2355

That's it for this Friday Fish Wrap.

Have a great weekend!

 

 


The Friday Fish Wrap

Once upon a time, I had a Real Job that I really loved.  Every Friday, I used to put together a weekly email wrap-up for my board -- just a quick little weekly update with interesting things happening at the foundation, tasty tidbits of information they might like, links just in case they wanted to dive a little deeper.  Really, it was just a lot of random-but-interesting This and That.  When I sent it out each week, I referred to it as the "Weekly Wrap Up" in the email subject line.

At a meeting, one of the board members commented to the group how much she loved the "Friday Fish Wrap" each week.  Everyone just kind of looked at her blankly.  Then she went on to describe my "Weekly Wrap Up" email.  We all laughed.  But from that moment on, my "Weekly Wrap Up" became known as the "Friday Fish Wrap."

Eventually, I gave up and just called it that in the email subject line each week.  (Some things just take on a life of their own, y'know?)

So.

That long introduction is an explanation for this post:  a collection of This and That.  The blog-version of the Friday Fish Wrap!

==========

Let's begin with some cheerful blooms . . . 

IMG_1991

I've got quite a lovely line up of amaryllis blooms in my living room right now (and three more plants almost ready to pop).  They are especially gorgeous this year, and especially this one (possibly my favorite of all time) . . .

IMG_1980

It's called 'Fantasy' and it's from White Flower Farm.  It is really stunning.  I've never seen anything quite like it.

==========

Moving on, here's something kind of fun that I learned about at my book group last night.  I was the hostess, and one of the wines I served was 19 Crimes.  

IMG_1998

By now, I'm sure you are all aware that you can collect the corks to create a complete list of the crimes committed by the 19 criminals featured on the labels.  (Sorry, Mary.  I checked through my crime-collection of corks, and I have none of the ones you're missing.)

But.

Did you know there is also an app to go with 19 Crimes wine?  If you scan the label with your phone, the criminal on the label comes to life - and moves and talks to you à la Harry Potter.

It works!  (Although it does seem to be a bit . . . touchy.  Just sayin.)  It's a fun party-trick.  Give it a try.  
(And let Mary know if you find corks # 3, 7 10, and 12 to complete her collection.)

==========

Speaking of hosting my book group . . . I wanted to make a fun dessert that was a bit unexpected -- and that could be tolerated by one of our members who is currently experiencing a troublesome health issue.

I wanted . . . something smooth and custard-y and not-chocolate . . . and delicious.

I found this recipe for Butterscotch Budino.  And WOW -- so perfect!

IMG_2002

(This is actually one of the leftovers this morning.  They looked much more elegant arranged on a cake plate last night.  I should have taken a picture - but didn't.)

Anyway.  I've not made custard before, and was actually quite intimidated by it, but this recipe was pretty simple (with good explanations as to timing and visual clues).  If you're looking for an unexpected dessert -- that is super tasty and that you can make ahead -- maybe give this one a try.

(These little treats were also a great addition.  I put a little dollop of whipped cream on each budino, and stuck these cookies in like a little straw.)

IMG_2003

==========

Wondering what to knit next?  Need a new scarf?  Want to try a new knitting technique?  Charmed by interesting color combinations?  Look no further!

Vicki and Mary are hosting a friendly Knit-a-Long for Parallelogram Scarf (from the latest Mason-Dixon Field Guide) beginning this Saturday.  You can find the details here.

(I won't be joining the KAL, but I will be cheering all participants from the sidelines.  Go, Team! Go!)

==========

 As you may recall, February (coming right up) is also known as the Month of Letters!

2018-LetterMo-1

I'll be participating again this year by sending a handwritten note, letter, or card each mailing-day in February.  As always, if you'd like to exchange letters with me, send me an email with your mailing address!  (See the Email Me link in the sidebar, or just comment that you'd like a letter and I'll email you back for your address.)

==========

Earlier this week, I was shopping at Michaels and I came across this Washi tape collection in the clearance bin. . . 

IMG_1996

I declared it the Most Awesome Washi Tape ever!  Well worth the $5.99-marked-down-even-further clearance price.  Fun, non?

==========

And . . . that's it for the first-ever Friday Fish Wrap.

Have a great weekend!