Here is my very-early-Spring-in-Michigan version of #blueskyblooms. . . 


Yep.  It's a taken-from-the-inside shot of an amaryllis -- but blooming against a blue sky outside the window!  That's about as good as it gets here in Michigan in late March.   But I'll take it.  Blue sky and sunshine FTW!  (Even though the wind is blowing cold and the temperature is only 35 F right now.) 

It's Friday; let's TGIF!

T - Thinking about . . . pulling the details together for a couple of trips in the next few months.  

G - Grateful for . . . no more snow piles in my yard!

I - Ignoring . . . that "soft" deadline I set for my taxes.  (Sunday.  Yeah.  Just not gonna happen.)

F - Feeling . . . super ambivalent about March Madness, but will probably watch a few games with Tom anyway.  (But how about those pink shoes on the University of Michigan team?  Fun, huh?)  (Here's the story behind the shoes.)

Happy Friday to all of you!
See you on Monday.


Don't forget to check out this month's Stash Giveaway.  Comment by 7:00 pm EST tonight (Friday) if you're interested!

Instead Of . . .

It happens every. single. year.

Tax time approaches.  I am a CPA (or. . . I was when I worked).  Our taxes are not very complicated.  And yet . . .


I put off doing them.  
But I WILL do them.  
I ALWAYS do them.  
(I've given myself a "soft" deadline of - gulp - this Sunday.)
(Like I said. . . "soft.")

Yes, people.  We have some major procrastination here!

What am I doing . . . instead of doing our taxes?  Well.  Pretty much anything.  But mostly:


Procrasti-painting.  (But my new cow is much better than eye-patch-cow, non?)


Procrasti-cleaning.  (My kitchen needs a good scrub-down after Tom's beer making yesterday!)


Procrasti-knitting.  (Pleaseohpleasehelpme . . . I've got another binge going.)

How about you?  Are you a procrastinator?   If so, how do your procrasti-activities manifest themselves?  
(And please don't rub it in that you-filed-in-January-and-already-spent-your-refund.)


Jump over to Carole's today, for more Three on Thursday fun.


Don't forget to check out this month's Stash Giveaway.  Comment by Friday if you're interested!


Tuesdays Are For Wellness

Last week, I wrote about recent my eureka-moment . . . that to live my best life, I need to focus on wellness.  Since then, I've been doing some researching and some reading, and y'know . . . there's a lot of information out there!  And a lot of it is worth sharing. (Especially because, based on your comments, I think a lot of you are interested in wellness, too.)


Tuesdays around here . . . are for wellness.
(At least, for the time being.)


There are many books and articles and websites based on wellness and self-care (because "self-care" is really having a moment these days).  There is lots of information -- and much of it is focused on the self-care-as-pampering concept.  Now I do think that a bit of pampering does the body/heart/soul good, but I think there's more to self-care and wellness than pampering!  I'm looking for a more holistic approach to wellness.

I discovered an organization called the National Wellness Institute, and they define wellness as follows:  Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.  

Now THAT's what I'm looking for!

Further, the National Wellness Institute describes wellness as having six interconnected dimensions:

  • Physical - Maintaining a sound body through regular exercise, proper nutrition, sleeping well, monitoring personal health, and avoiding harmful habits
  • Social - Connecting and contributing to our environment and community, and understanding our personal impact on both environment and society
  • Intellectual - Engaging with creative and stimulating mental activities
  • Spiritual - Searching for meaning and purpose in human existence, and aligning our actions with what's truly important to us
  • Emotional - Becoming aware of, accepting, and expressing our feelings, and understanding how they impact our daily lives
  • Occupational - Contributing our unique skills, gifts, and talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding

I really like this dimensional concept when it comes to wellness.  It makes sense to me, and helps me understand the various moving parts that contribute to . . . living my best life.  Over the next couple of months, I plan to do a kind of "deep dive" into each dimension to examine how my own activities, habits, etc. measure up.  I want to figure out which dimensions are working well for me -- and which could use a bit more attention.

How about YOU?  When you look at the six dimensions, where do you think you're doing the best?  And - just off the top of your head - where do you think you might need to pay more attention in your own life?

[The National Wellness Institute states that "wellness is a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential."  Hmmmmm . . . sounds kind of intentional now, doesn't it?]


Don't forget to check out this month's Stash Giveaway.  Comment by Friday if you're interested!


Sometimes Mondays

. . . provide evidence that time really does fly!

Winter really does seem to drag, y'know?  So even though I really know that time is passing, it sort of feels like it's not.  But when you set out to do something once a month on a certain day (say . . . the 3rd Monday of every month), well.  It seems like time really IS passing.

Which is all a prelude to say that . . . it's time for another of my Stash Giveaways!  This month, I've got a couple of lovely and very fun skeins of sock yarn.


I picked up both of these skeins at the Michigan Fiber Festival a couple of years ago.  The dyer is from Grand Rapids, but doesn't seem to be actively selling through her Etsy shop anymore.  

The bright pink skein . . . 


is called "Party On, Wayne" and features various shades of pink, grey, and some lavender.  The fiber content is 70% merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% nylon.  Yardage is approximately 400 yards, fingering weight.  (The color is fairly close to actual in the photo, although the grays pop a bit more in real life.)

The bright blue skein . . . 


is called "Rock Out With Your (Pea)Cock Out" and features very peacock-like colors -- shades of teal-y blue and green, shades of lavender to purple, and a touch of gray.  There are also black "nepps" throughout.  The fiber content is 85% merino and 15% Donegal nepp.  Yardage is approximately 400 yards, fingering weight.  (I'd say the color in the photo is pretty much accurate.)


Let me know in the comments - by Friday - if you'd find joy in either (or both!) of these skeins.  I'll choose a winner for each skein on Friday (through a highly scientific, random draw-a-name-from-a-hat process), and will contact the new joyful owner(s) for their addresses by email.

Thanks for letting me share the joy!

(Tell your friends.)

Important Lessons

I've been taking watercolor classes for a few years now.   Watercolor is very challenging for me.  (Watercolor is challenging for most people, so that helps a little.)  I'm much more comfortable drawing.  (Because slower.  More controlled.)  (Also erasers.)  But watercolor?  It happens fast!  And beginners have very little control.  (And, well.  No erasers.)  

The only way I'm going to get better . . . is with practice.  Lots of practice.  I'm trying to paint or sketch at least a little bit every day.  And sometimes I combine my drawing with my painting.  (This is ink plus watercolor, for example.)


I'm getting better.  I'm getting more confident.  But . . . it's going to take a lot more classes and a lot more practice before I'll be able to sit and paint the landscape around me!

Here are a few things (three, in fact!) I've learned that help me keep going with my watercolor painting:

1 - Materials make a big difference.  High quality paints, brushes, and paper really help to make painting more comfortable -- with better results.  (Just like knitting.  And sewing.  And gardening.)  It's also helpful to remember that . . . it's just paper, y'know?  (They make more every day.)


2 - Look for improvement in each attempt.  I paint a lot of real clunkers, y'know?  Stuff I'd never post here -- and likely wouldn't even bring to show my (very supportive) classmates and instructor.  But I've learned to look for the good parts in any failed attempt.  At this stage, I have a tough time putting all the elements of a landscape (for example) together in one painting.  Usually, I'll like the clouds in one attempt, the reflections in another, the water in yet another.  Someday, if I keep working at it, maybe I'll like everything.  But for now . . . I look for something positive about each piece.  (In this one, I really liked the grasses. Even though the rest of it just . . . well . . . sucked.)

IMG_5681 2

3 - Maintain your sense of humor.  Last week, we were working on cows.  My quick watercolor sketch was going okay . . . until I (repeatedly) wrecked one of the eyes.  The poor thing looked blinded; totally dead in one eye.  So I took it to class like this . . . 

IMG_8069 2

We all had a good laugh.  But I'm ready to try again.  On better paper.  With a better drawing to begin with.  

IMG_6806 2

If it works out better this time, great!  And if not?  Well.  I'm sure I'll learn something from the process!


Be sure to visit Carole today, for more Three on Thursday posts.




Old Dog New Tricks

(For a soundtrack to accompany today's blog post, click here.)

Last month, I wrote about finding the sweet spot in my knitting.  That place . . . where knitting meets intention.  My attempt at trying to make things that I (or someone I love) will wear.  
And keep.  
And love.

And I'm here to report that I did it.  
(In the words of Alanis Morissette, sometimes . . . you learn.)


A perfect little layering piece.  It's exactly my style.  In exactly my colors.  And since finishing it last week, I've already worn it 5 times. (In fact, I'm already plotting making another one.) (It's that perfect.)

Definitely in my sweet spot!


(All the Ravelry details here.)


About That . . .

Back in January, I wrote a post about how I came to choose my word for the year (intention), and in that post, I made the rather bold statement that I wanted to . . . live my best life every day.

And ever since then, I've been asking myself . . . what does that even mean???
And ever since then, I've been thinking about it.


Because I don't mean that living my best life is sitting in my garden with a glass of wine and a book, sighing with contentment and thinking about poetry and travel and my next spa treatment.  (Although that does sound pretty good.)  

Rather, living my best life is more holistic for me.
Longer term.  
I want to live my best life not just today -- but every day.  Now and into the future.

For me, living my best life = feeling good.  
Being healthy, grounded, balanced, challenged, connected, engaged.  
Living with a fullness that comes from . . . a holistic sense of being well.  

"Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit -- the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being."    ---Greg Anderson

Eureka!  That's it!

I've discovered that a focus on wellness (in an overall sense) will help me live my best life . . . today and every day.

So.  Strap yourselves in.  We're going on an adventure. 
(I hope you won't mind.)


And We're Back . . .

"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."
                                    ---Mark Twain


Beginning the week . . . 


(but not entirely thrilled with the time change).  

How about you?


The stained glass windows in my bathroom are glorious when the sun shines!  That's rare in the wintertime, but oh-so-fabulous when it happens.


There are times when the days are full, and there's just not much to say.
Like now.


So I'm taking a little self-imposed blog-break.  

Not sure how long I'll be gone -- but I'll be back for sure by next Monday.
Enjoy the rest of your week.