Wednesday, September 29, 2021

And Just Like That

And just like that, it's fall. Last year this blog was instrumental in getting me through those crazy days of everyone in the house 24-7, online schooling and going nowhere. While things are certainly not back to normal, they are normal-ish. The kids have gone back to school and daycare full-time (albeit with masks), birthday parties are back on, and I continue to work from home. 

If you scroll down to the previous post, you can read about the mystery of the turnip. That mystery has been solved! The turnips were part of a cover crop that the farmer across the street sowed in his field over the winter. That field eventually turned into a sunflower field, where I sold some flower arrangements over the summer. That led to the creation of my new flower farm, Gemini Flower Farm! This endeavor should be taking up most of my "free" time next summer, and a lot of the fall and winter while I prepare, seed, and buy a bunch of stuff.

Not just a ton of crafting has been going on, since I've spent a lot of time outside gardening, and for a while, trail running (since I completed a half marathon this past weekend.) I also have a goal to read 100 books this year, so I've been sneaking in paragraphs whenever I can. I'm currently at 75 and I think I can make it! There are definitely times I don't want to read or want to give up on a book, but I'm so close I can't give up now; I'd have to start all over again next year.

There has been a trip to the Chesapeake Bay, visiting the cousins in Williamsburg (and a trip to Busch Gardens), a solo 40th-birthday trip to Washington, DC, a girls trip to a lake house, and many library trips since it finally reopened. Now it's autumn, so the requisite pumpkin acquisition, leaf peeping, and pumpkin spicing of everything can commence. I want to start an unpredictable fall tradition. Maybe we can construct a tree-like structure out of sticks and decorate it with cured meats?

Friday, February 19, 2021

What's On In February

As the masters of off-season travel, we went to the beach in February. Isn't it gloriously deserted? We stayed in Ocean City, but drove up to Henlopen State Park in Delaware to walk around. It turned out to be a nice as it could be in February, nearly 50 degrees and sunny. There were some brave souls in the water in wetsuits, but I'm not sure why anyone would want to torture themselves like that. I would would be reluctant to get in the water even on the warmest of days. Bad things happen in the ocean. That much is evident by the terrifying things that wash up on the beach. Also I just read a book about a man who survived 438 days adrift in the Pacific ocean.

Back on home turf, there has been snow on the ground for nearly 3 weeks. The previous winters have been fairly mild, but not this one, which out of spite decided to keep us even more locked up in our houses because a full year of that hasn't been enough. Even the kids are tired of it. 

I finally finished my needlepoint, which I thought "wouldn't take all that long", but ended up being over a year in the making. It's from a kit I found unopened in a thrift store, dated 1977. That should explain all the orange.

After a several-months-long slump, I started making art again. It's been so cold and dark that I couldn't make myself go upstairs to my art desk, which is somewhat necessary for more messier paints. Recently I've been interested in learning about urban sketching, but lacking an urban place to go sketch, have mostly been copying photos from magazines. This would horrify urban sketching purists, I'm sure. I have never liked drawing or been happy with the results, but after watching several videos and online classes, I have an idea of the process which has made drawing much less stressful. I can also draw from the couch which is a huge bonus! I'm going to keep at it and with time ideally I'll see improvement. 

Once a month I have a Zoom call with my creative friends, which is always a good kick to get working on something. Below are two watercolor pages I did during January's call. 

I am literally counting down the days until Spring. I need the ground to unfreeze so I can start digging my garden expansion!

Friday, January 15, 2021

2021 Word of the Year

The "word of the year" thing has been going around for quite some time, but I feel like this year it really has exploded. It makes sense because who wants to make actual resolutions or plans when we don't know what this year will bring?

My word of the year is "Simple". I've always been constantly busy with projects, that's just who I am, but maybe it's ok to not do all the projects. I've come to the point, with knitting especially, where I don't need the end product. I could probably wear a different knitted accessory for months without repeating! Lately I have been focusing on just knitting one thing at a time, and choosing projects more for what I would like to work on, rather than the end result.

I have been decluttering for several years now, and I'm reaching the point where there isn't too much left to get rid of. There is actual space in all (well, most) of the closets. I continue to let stuff go as I find it. It's not so much dramatic Marie Kondo-style cleanouts anymore, rather dealing with things once I realize they're not being used. 

The other day I went on a walk and saw a bunch of turnips and potatoes sprouting in the field. They are sitting on top of the ground and growing, which means that someone must have tossed a load of root vegetables. But why?? There is a story here, and I wish I could know it.

I finished my giant scrap shawl, which you can glimpse draped over the chair in the top photo (more pictures coming once it's blocked.) I started a pair of Lotus Mittens in Knitpicks Palette. Palette is actually a pretty decent yarn for colorwork, and it's not that expensive. It is 100% wool so it's not the softest, but for mittens and hats I find it quite comfortable. I should have read the notes on other projects before starting these, because the pattern as written is incredibly long, and I have small hands to begin with. I decided to eliminate the third lotus motif, and am just winging it when it comes to the top of the mittens. We'll see how much I regret that when I get to the second one.

That's all I have for now, and here's something good I read this week: A Soft Manifesto by Cortney Cassidy.