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November 2017

October 2017

Go Your Own Way

(Here's a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)

(Yeah.  I know you're already humming it.  But click and watch.  It's vintage Fleetwood Mac.  1977.  And it is kind of awesome.)



Arrows is finished.


And I really, really love it!

First, I just loved the concept of the design when I first heard about it.  Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows.  Not a mystery . . . but an adventure!  Second, I loved digging through my yarn stash and choosing colors that would work together.  (I had this funny notion that I'd use up a lot of stash-yarn.  But, nope!  I still have PLENTY left. . . )  Seriously, I pondered the colors for a couple of weeks before I even started!  Next, I loved the knitting.  Pretty basic and simple (although you do need to count and keep track of rows) (a challenge all by itself, for me at least), but soothing and relaxing and always interesting.

But what I loved best was the deciding HOW, exactly, I wanted to make my own arrows!


I loved the . . . unfolding.  The process.  The making-it-up-as-I-went-along.

It was powerful.

And creative.

Like I was the boss of my own knitting!


Open up.
Everything's waiting for you.

Go your own way!


Click here for Ravelry details.


I want to thank all of you for weighing in and sharing your thoughts about my Border/Not Border decision.  In the end - as you can see - I opted for . . . Not Border.  After blocking, it just didn't seem to need one, structurally.  And the edges are naturally quite nice, thanks to a slipped stitch at the beginning of every row.  And - probably most importantly - I decided Not Border because the lines of the shawl are already very strong -- and a border would actually pull the focus from those already-strong, directional lines of the shawl itself.  

So.  Not Border.

And also Not Tassel. 

I did make some lovely beaded tassels.  They looked so cool and I thought I'd love them.  But I didn't.  It took only 5 minutes of wearing the shawl-with-tassels before I cut them off.  I guess I'm not a tassel person after all.  (Kind of like I'm not a pom-pom person. . .)


Winds of Change

I'm just going to pretend I didn't see it.


That little snowflake icon showing up next week on my phone's weather app.

But there it is.  The winds of change are blowing -- and it's time I heed the warning.  After all, Tom will be shutting down the cabin for the season this weekend.  There was a light frost on the ground yesterday morning.  I needed to use the seat-heater in my car on my way home.  I've worn socks and shoes every day this week.

It's time . . . 

to get the garden ready for winter

to plant my bulbs

to pull out the woollen hats and mitts

Here we go.


Hey!  Check your calendars.  We'll be flipping over to November next week.  And you know what that means?  NaBloPoMo.  I'm planning to do a blog post every day (even though I'm going to have a big travel challenge there for a week; yikes), and I'm hoping you'll join me -- in reading and in posting.  (C'mon.  It'll be fun.)


Enjoy the weekend!


Finally . . . Some Fall Color

We've had some really odd weather this year.  Our summer was cool -- but very dry.  It never rained, and I don't think we even had one thunderstorm.  Then, at the very end of the summer, it got super, super hot for weeks.  But still no rain.  We were declared to be a "drought zone."  Until a couple of weeks ago, when it rained 8" in one day.  And has been rainy-ish ever since.


And our fall color?  Very mixed up!

Because of the drought, the leaves started crisping up and falling off the trees -- without changing color.  Then some of them started to change . . . but stopped when it warmed up again.  Now, after the rains came, the leaves are back to changing.  But there are still a lot of trees with green leaves.  (And usually, by this point in October, we're WAY past our color peak with mostly bare trees.)


The trees are Very Confused!

But I have noticed that the colors on the trees that ARE changing . . . are different this year.  More saturated.  Deeper color.  Less bright colors like yellow and orange; more dark colors like gold and burgundy.  And - I'm noticing more frequently than usual - multiple colors on the same leaf/tree.

Here are three trees in my neighborhood I am especially enjoying this fall:


1 -- These leaves - on a "weed tree" against a fence near my neighborhood elementary school - are just stunning!  The tree is full of leaves of varying colors -- some golden, some burgundy, some a glorious mix . . . and some still green.  I drive by nearly every day, and each time I am WOWed.


2 -- These leaves are on my across-the-street neighbor's maple tree.  Usually, this tree just gets that kind of standard, run-of-the-mill yellow leaves.  But this year?  They're doing this!  It's quite stunning -- and completely unexpected.


3 -- And then there are the leaves on my redbud tree.  They are doing exactly what they usually do . . . just a bit later.  I love watching this tree - right in my own backyard - turn into a lemon-lime masterpiece.

How are the leaves doing in your neck of the woods?  I hope you're able to enjoy this most colorful season.


Today's post is part of Three on Thursday.  See what everyone else has to say over at Carole's!

A Re-Raveling Tale

Several years ago, I knit a cardigan (this one) using Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  It wasn't fancy.  Just a regular old throw-it-on kind of cardigan.  As in . . . throw-it-on over your pajamas when it's chilly in the house in the morning.  Or throw-it-on to go wander in the garden on a fall afternoon.  Or to walk the dogs.  You know.  That kind of cardigan.

But, while Shelter is a lovely yarn -- rustic, light, warm, comfortable -- it breaks easily.  And I had made the mistake of seaming with it.  When I went to throw-it-on last fall, I noticed several holes in the seams where the Shelter had just given out.


So I did what I often do with mending projects:  I folded it up and stuck it on a chair in my guest room.

To fix.


(And let's just say there was no throwing-this-on last year at all.)  

As the weather started turning cooler last week, I decided I didn't want to go another season without this cardigan.  I broke down and got out my mending-tools.


And set to work.


And in less than 30 minutes . . . 


we were back in business!

Let the throwing-it-on commence.


(And just in time.  Because it is suddenly cardigan season.)

As for what I'm reading?  In print, I have Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (my latest book group selection, and - surprise - I'm really enjoying it).  In my ears, I have The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish . . . and it is excellent!  It's quite long (almost 600 pages/24 hours), but well worth the investment of time.


Today's post is part of Unraveled Wednesdays.  Head over to Kat's to see what everyone else has to say!

Let's Go to the Movies!

As I've blogged about before, Tom and I challenge ourselves each year to see all of the Oscar-nominated movies before Oscars night.  (Because it's a whole lot more fun to watch the Oscars when you know the movies, y'know?)

It's a tough challenge.  Because once the nominees are announced (January 23 this year), it's really hard to find and see all the movies before The Big Night (March 4 this year).   But we have a strategy:  We start following likely contenders in October . . . when the movies begin their first runs.  By the time the nominations are announced, we're usually already in good shape in terms of seeing most of the movies.  (Last year, we had actually seen all the nominees for Best Picture, Best Director, all actor/actress awards, and all the writing awards far in advance of the Oscars.)

And it's fun!  We hardly go to the movies at all . . . except for what I call "peak movie season".  Which starts right about now -- once the major fall film festivals (Venice, Toronto, and Telluride) are over, and all the contending movies begin flooding the theaters.

Our strategy?  I do a bit of research, and then I create a list. . .


I read summaries of the films-to-watch coming out of the festivals, and then I check out some of the sites that follow the movies.  Then, I research the theater release dates of the movies -- and watch for them to come to a theater-near-me.  It helps to know what movies you're looking for ahead of time -- so you don't miss those more obscure films or any of the early-releases.  And many of the best/supporting actress/actor films are not the same as the best picture nominees, so you need to cast a wide net if you're going for maximum exposure.

Our biggest challenge this year?  We've lost a local theater that regularly brought in limited-release films and not-so-mass-market films.  We are left with only the big chain theaters now -- and so we may be scrambling a bit more than usual this year to see some of the less-hyped movies.

We officially began our movie quest last weekend -- when we headed off to see Blade Runner 2049 -- which is getting Oscar-buzz for cinematic excellence, supporting actor potential for Harrison Ford, and possibly best picture.  (I think that's a stretch -- but recall Mad Max Fury Road a couple of years ago. . . )

If you're interested in playing along, I'll be glad to share my research (release dates, etc.).  I can tell you that the movies with the most Oscar-buzz out of the fall festivals  - the  more likely best picture nomineesinclude Call Me By Your Name (look for it in theaters after 11/24), Lady Bird (in theaters after 11/3), The Shape of Water (limited release 12/8), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (limited release 11/10).*

In the meantime, Tom and I will be catching up on some already-available-for-rent movies (on iTunes, for example) that get mentioned for best/supporting actor/actress potential:  The Big Sick, Get Out, The Beguiled, Wonder Woman.  And we may try to catch Battle of the Sexes in our local theatre while it's still around.  Even if none of these movies turn out to be nominated for anything, we'll still have a good time watching.

So.  What do you think?  Let's go to the movies!


* My wild-guess this year?  After all the Hollywood drama over the past couple of weeks, I'm looking for independent and/or women-directed films to get a nod this year.  Just weighing in early here. 


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


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.)


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.  


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!



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.


F -- Fun

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


TGIF!  Enjoy your weekend, everyone.


Three on Thursday: The DIY Edition

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


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.


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


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.


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.)



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.


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.


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:



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 . . . 


(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).


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