TWiP: the least I could do

This Week in Pictures

This week, particularly the early part, was pretty much dominated by my surgical procedure, but we’ve already talked about that, so no need to discuss it any further here.

In other news of the week, Aidan turned 15 on Thursday (yikes!) and I got a new laptop. This, in fact, is my first blog post from the new computer. So far, so good.

Remember last year when I dumped a cup of coffee into my old computer? Yeah, those were some good times right there. It was like the gift that kept on giving, because that little incident caused my CTRL key to work intermittently, as well as the right-click mouse button on my track pad. And over time, complications from taking the laptop apart to drain it caused the left corner of the screen to come unhinged. Sometimes using that computer could be comedic. And I’ve been doing it for a year.

It got worse when I started using Lightroom to edit my photos. My whole system was brought to its poor little crippled knees.

So replacing the laptop has been on my radar for quite some time, but I’ve been too reluctant to part with what little cash I have. I finally bit the bullet when Neil found me a great deal on eBay this week. It’s been perfect timing, too, because I have spent a lot of time sitting around recently, between my recovery, antibiotics that make me feel blechy, and good ol’ monthly cramps. I’ve had time to copy my important stuff over and poke around Windows 8, too.

Ok. Enough nerd talk from me. All of the aforementioned laying around has not been conducive to hosting a proper birthday party for my teenager, so we’ve been doing the “low-key supper-and-cake” circuit with the grandparents. On Thursday (his actual birthday) we took him out to the local diner, just the four of us. Last night it was Chinese food and ice cream cake at Neil’s parents’ house, and tonight it is sandwiches and brownies at my parents’ house. I’m on the hook to make the brownies this afternoon, which is the least I could do.

Actually, it may very well be the least I could do.

This entire week, as a matter of fact, has been full of me doing the absolute least I could get away with doing. I’m looking forward to getting my act together again. Like, soon.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: 2015 51/365 – Lunch leftovers, duly labeled.

Sunday

2015 52/365

365: 2015 52/365 – I usually like to take my 365 pictures in the morning, but then something like this happens and makes me glad I waited…

Monday

Instagram: Getting my iv in before my procedure. Good times.

365: 2015 53/365 – Monday night: painillers and early to bed. Surgery went well (thanks for all of the positive energy thrown my way).

Tuesday

365: 2015 54/365 – Tuesday morning breakfast: vitamins, antibiotics, painkillers, a Larabar, a hot cup of Tazo Zen tea, a comfy blanket, and Downton Abbey on the DVR.

Wednesday

365: 2015 55/365 – With this Frappuccino I celebrate: 1) Getting out and about after 2 days in my pajamas. 2) Excellent biopsy results. 3) The soothing feel of a frozen drink on a sore throat. 4) A pink and gray blanket on the hook. 5) An outside temperature above freezing. 6) Starbucks Rewards, which got me my drink for free :-)

Instagram: Hey, there, Instagram. Sleep tight 

Thursday

Instagram: Why, yes, I *do* have Clarkesworld wrapping paper. Doesn’t everyone? 

Instagram: The husband stole my phone…

Instagram: The birthday boy 

365: 2015 56/365 – Sometimes you just want a drink with a cherry in it :-)

Friday

365: 2015 57/365 – Birthday party number two, this time with cake :-)

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Twenty days

Squircle

It’s been 20 days since I posted anything in this space that wasn’t a Weekend Favorites or TWiP post. Thank goodness for those TWiP posts, actually, because they allow me to easily share what is going on around here even when I am too busy (or uninspired) to write real content during the week.

It keeps me from having to feel too guilty about letting things slide for several days.

So, it’s Wednesday morning. I had minor surgery on Monday to remove a growth on the back of my tongue. The biopsy already came back and all is well, so hooray for that! But the whole anesthesia thing really throws me for a loop. I get nauseous, and I spend about three times as long in recovery as all of the other patients before I feel well enough to put on my clothes and get in the car.

I’m pretty much back to normal now, although I am still dealing with a fairly sore throat (which is to be expected). And I am in a space of simultaneously wanting to get back to the Real World, and wanting to continue to take it easy a bit. So far I’ve compromised. I’ve taken a shower and gotten dressed for the first time in three days (yay! Real World!) but I’m not in any hurry to get anything else done at the moment (yay! Taking it easy!).

I really do need to start some laundry and do a spot of food shopping, but that can wait until the afternoon.

For now, I’m going to fire up the DVR and watch the Parks & Rec episode I missed last night, and work on a little bit of crochet. I’m making another blanket, and I’ll be sharing the pattern here when I’m done 

Nice chatting with you this morning!

TWiP: Snow, snow, go away

This Week in Pictures

Last week on TWiP, our intrepid crew was holed up in Boston waiting for the blizzard to pound them.

Actually, there was very little intrepidness about it. We were in a very nice hotel, and we watched the snow blow around from the warmth of our room, or the big window down the hall. In fact, we never once breathed the outside Boston air during our stay. In some ways, it seems a shame to drive four+ hours and then hang out in a box all weekend. But, really, it was such a comfortable box, and it had a nice view. I have no regrets.

We ended up staying until Monday and waiting out the storm. Our ride home was uneventful, thankfully, and we arrived back in New Jersey just in time for another snow storm. School was canceled on Tuesday as a result, so we got in an extra day of vacationing. That was nice.

I don’t know if you remember the cabled sweater I’ve been working on. You’ve gotten several glimpses of it in the course of these TWiP posts. I’ve been mostly taking my time with it, but I was very excited to have a weekend away with no commitments, during which I could have a knitting marathon and maybe even finish the darn thing. I had about a sleeve and a half to go. I even made sure to bring my tapestry needle so I could sew all of the pieces together when I was done.

Do you know what I forgot to bring?

Yarn! 

Brilliant, right? I had prime knitting time and I couldn’t use it. As it turns out, another big project fell in my lap, and I found a totally nerdy way to fill up all of those spare hours. All was not lost, and I am happy with how I spent my time.

But it means that my sweater is still unfinished. And I haven’t worked on it at all since I’ve been home, either, since I realized that a crochet project I thought had a late May deadline really ought to be finished by late March. So I’ve had to switch gears to blanket-making.

That blanket really deserves a post of its own. Hopefully this week!

I would love to finish those sweater sleeves before spring, but let me be clear: I am not requesting that the Winter weather stick around longer just to accommodate my knitting schedule. If it comes down to that, I’ll just wait and wear my new sweater in the fall, thankyouverymuch!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: There is nothing like a crazy-bright hotel bathroom to really accentuate all of those grays you didn’t realize you had. I mean, I knew I had *some* but not this many!

Instagram: So guess who has two days of prime knitting time ahead of her, and didn’t remember to pack an extra ball of yarn. Sigh. I totally could have finished this sweater this weekend.

365: 2015 44/365 – Saturday afternoon: I took my zoom lens down the hall to a large window for a different view, and some close-ups of the city.

Sunday

365: 2015 45/365 – Sunday morning: another hotel window shot. It’s gotten snowy around here.

Instagram: The blizzard from the 8th floor. Visibility is about as bad as they predicted.

Monday

365: 2015 46/365 – I enjoy having a weekend away now and then, but it’s always great to get home and hang out on the couch with my favorite blanket and my favorite sweetie.

Tuesday

365: 2015 47/365 – More snow. Can’t seem to escape this stuff.

Wednesday

Instagram: Getting a growth removed on Monday. Today it’s pre-surgery blood testing. Yippee.

365: 2015 48/365 – We’ve been home for two days, and the suitcase I shared with the boys was still not unpacked as of this afternoon. I’m very on top of things ;-)

Thursday

Instagram: Sometimes while you’re waiting for the clothes to come out of the dryer so you can fold them, you have an idea that you just need to drop everything to try out, and some books that you just need to flip through to help flesh out your idea…

365: 2015 49/365 – I’ve been working on a new blanket idea since the fall, but I keep being unhappy with it and starting over. I let it sit for a few months, and now I think I *finally* have a color scheme and square design that I like.

Friday

365: 2015 50/365 – I got tired of waiting for the kid who said he wanted to be the one to take the tree down, and started dismantling it today. Yes, you read that right. This is our Christmas tree. On February 20th.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

TWiP: Food, glorious food

This Week in Pictures

To look at this week’s mosaic, you’d think this week was all about food. Junk food at that!

It was almost even foodier than this, as I tried to Instagram my supper tonight (it’s Friday night as I write) but the lighting was all wrong and I gave up. I’m sorry to say, you’ve been deprived of seeing the delicious curry chips I ate.

We’re in Boston right now, waiting for a blizzard to bear down on us. Neil is attending Boskone and we are along for the ride as usual. Most of the times we go with Neil to one of these things, we get out and explore the area, but Boskone isn’t like that for us. For one thing, we’re only there from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, and there’s not a whole lot of time to make plans. But more importantly, I tend to get lost driving around Boston – it’s a frustrating exercise for me. And walking is often not an option because it’s usually really cold. It’s no exception today. My phone is telling me it’s 13F degrees right now. And that’s the warmest I’ve seen it all day!

So, we usually expect our February weekend at Boskone to be entirely hotel-based, and the weather outside doesn’t matter all that much. Except this weekend a blizzard is on the way, and we may just find ourselves stuck here until Monday. I kind of hope that isn’t the case, but if hanging out in Boston another night is what it takes to get home in one piece, then we’ll do it.

I hope those of you that are in the path of yet another Winter storm this weekend stay safe!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: 2015 37/365 – Saturday night: celebrating my sister’s birthday with coffee and delicious brownies.

Sunday

365: 2015 38/365 – Sunday: solitaire and less-than-healthy snacking in my pjs. This went on a lot longer than I would like to admit ;-)

Instagram: Sunday seems as good a day as any to break my own rule regarding sugary drinks.

Monday

365: 2015 39/365 – I spread salt on the path this morning, and I think I’ll run out and do another round before the wintry mix starts coming down again. Fun.

Tuesday

365: 2015 40/365 – Oh, Lightroom, you are killing me over here. The system is crawling.

Wednesday

365: 2015 41/365 – I may not be able to put off replacing this basket any longer…

Thursday

365: 2015 42/365 – I haven’t finished decluttering my bedroom yet, but I’ve done enough that I really like being in here. I often have my breakfast while sitting on the bed with my laptop now.

Instagram: My son has been asking me to make bacon for a few days, and really, who can blame him?

Friday

Instagram: Welcome to Boston, eh? Picked a great weekend to travel…

365: 2015 43/365 – Boston’s Friday night rush hour from the hotel window. The airport is in the distance.

Instagram: Blue hour.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

TWiP: Little round things

This Week in Pictures

Bowls and mandalas seem to dominate the latter part of the week. Little round things. They make me happy.

This week started out with fruit crisps, visiting family and a snow day.

I’d say more, but it’s Friday night, my decaf coffee is getting cold, and I am really, really chomping at the bit to slip into my pajamas and settle in with a good mystery and some knitting. I haven’t worked on my sweater since Sunday afternoon – it’ll never be finished at this rate!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: Flipping through the latest Artful Blogging and I suddenly want to throw on an apron and bake a fruit crisp, thanks to @theclevercarrot. I also want it to be summer, but there’s not much I can do about that.

365: 2015 31/365 – Frozen blueberries and blackberries from last summer.

Sunday

Instagram: Coffee with my sister☺ @donnazone

365: 2015 32/365 – Still knitting this sweater. Today, there’s a family Super Smash Bros tournament happening in the background.

Monday

365: 2015 33/365 – Snow Day! Or, more accurately, Icy Winter Mix Day!

Instagram: The color of my lips during the 1990s #decluttering

Tuesday

Instagram: The sweater I am knitting can wait. I suddenly need a crochet mandala for my night stand

Wednesday

365: 2015 34/365 – I decluttered my night stand, and then I thought it could use a crochet mandala. This is my first attempt. It’s a little bit smaller than I’d like (and the ends aren’t woven in yet).

Instagram: I finished last night’s mandala, but it was smaller than I’d like. So I made this one, which is a better size, but I’m not sure about one of the colors. I’m too picky, LOL!

Thursday

Instagram: Oh, I really don’t think I am getting out of this store without one or two of these adorable little bowls (aka my kryptonite) in my cart.

365: 2015 35/365 – I resisted a lot of things at Target this morning, but little bowls and M&M’s were not among them.

Instagram: You probably guessed how the Lisa Finds Cute Bowls at Target story would end…

Friday

365: 2015 36/365 – Dear New Vacuum, You suck. Sincerely, Me. PS. I think I love you.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Nineties lips

A few weeks ago, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and as much as I didn’t really want to be spurred into action, it did inspire me to go through my wardrobe and fill up four huge trash bags for donation. That, in turn, got the rest of the family going through their clothes and generating another four bags. Our closets have some breathing room now. It’s really nice.

[ I have to tell you, that’s an affiliate link up there, and a few are coming up below, too.]

I’m not committing to the KonMari method (from the book) in terms of decluttering the whole house in one big swoop. But I did use the method to get the ball rolling with my clothes. From there, I’ve just let the urge to declutter this spot or that spot occur organically.

Cleaned out my makeup drawer.

This means lipstick, people.

The top drawer in our bathroom cabinet was stuffed to the gills with make-up, perfumes, lotions, and jewelry, about 90% of which I haven’t used since I left my day job. 15 years ago. Eek.

Cleaned out my makeup drawer.

In those years, I have pared down my beauty routine considerably. I don’t wear much in the way of make-up, and what I do wear is either homemade or as natural as I can get. I threw everything away except for my current favorites, most notably Burts Bees Lip Shimmers. I have a small stockpile of the discontinued Papaya, which is my favorite one.

I don’t use lotions anymore. I have coconut oil for that. I threw most of the old ones away.

And my favorite perfumes these days are natural enough to be sold at Whole Foods. I’m told they have rigorous standards for what they will carry in their beauty aisles, so I feel ok buying something I see there. Lately my scent is Gin Blossom from Love and Toast.

I didn’t throw away my old perfumes. I stashed them under the sink. I don’t want to wear them every day, but sometimes a girl just needs a splash of her old signature honeysuckle scent, you know? Who cares what might be in it!

Cleaned out my makeup drawer.

I wish I had thought to take a before picture of the drawer. Trust me, it was filled to the top. I did think to photograph the lipstick, though.

Cleaned out my makeup drawer.

I was impressed that I still had so many tubes of stuff I haven’t worn in so long! I was also impressed that they were almost all the same color, give or take a pinch of brown or a pinch of pink here and there.

Cleaned out my makeup drawer.

I’m so happy with my new drawer. I was even able to move the powdered deodorant off of the counter top and into the drawer. I prefer it there. And who doesn’t like more counter space?

04_stuff_01_ul

I’ve also decluttered my nightstand, and I’ve been working on the top of my dresser, too. My bedroom and bathroom have been horrifying for far too long. I’m so glad to see things changing! I took “before” pictures almost two years ago when I thought I couldn’t stand any more of the clutter. Turns out, I had two more years of ignoring it in me. Who knew?

I can’t wait to share those pictures with you. It’s insane. But first, I have just a few more little corners to take care of!

Summer in Winter

Making a Wineberry Crisp

I spent my Saturday morning as I often do: sipping a hot beverage and reading something interesting. Often it’s Awake tea and blogs, or some other kind of tea and a good book, but today it was coffee and Artful Blogging.

I love that magazine. I wouldn’t say that the articles are all that ground-breaking. In fact, I often think that if I read one more “How Blogging Changed My Life” or “We’re All Part of Such a Wonderful Community Where Everyone Shares and Cares” article I might scream (even if I do sometimes share those rosy feelings myself). For me, the beauty of Artful Blogging is in the photography. I do still read the articles, but it’s generally the author’s images that grab me first, and the words second.

So this weekend, I was flipping leisurely through the current issue, stopping now and then to follow somebody on Flickr or Instagram as they caught my eye, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by this:

This Artful Blogging made me want to bake.

I was suddenly struck by this intense need to bake a berry crisp.

Now, let me tell you how unusual this is. For one thing, Saturdays rarely see me dressed before Noon. For another thing, my cooking and baking mojo were last seen somewhere in 2011, I think, and these days my oven is primarily a vessel for curing polymer clay crochet hooks or heating up frozen french fries.

And yet, here I was, 9:30 in the morning, hopping in the shower, getting dressed, and throwing on an apron to bake something that I wasn’t required to bake. And I was doing it with enthusiasm, as opposed to resignation.

I put on some Innocence Mission, which for some reason I can’t explain, feels like baking music to me.

I took a bunch of pictures, because from the moment I found myself showering before lunch time on a weekend, I knew I was going to blog it.

Making a Wineberry Crisp

2015 31/365

Making a Wineberry Crisp

Making a Wineberry Crisp

You realize just how worth-the-effort it is to squirrel away a handful of Summer berries, when you are standing in your kitchen on the last day of January, holding a freezer container to your face, and breathing in the smell of the farmer’s market from seven months before. Oh, those strawberries – so fragrant!

Along with the strawberries, I had also saved a small bag of farm market blueberries and blackberries, and some wineberries from the yard. Six cups of luscious Summer fruit went into the bowl.

I returned what was left of the strawberries and the wineberries to the freezer, and got to work on my crisp, snapping pictures, and humming along to the music.

What a lovely morning. And at the end of it, I had a rare Winter treat that I didn’t have before.

I even cleaned up after myself promptly, before the dishes could get crusty with dried oats and sticky juices. That is something that happens somewhat less frequently than it should…

Making a Wineberry Crisp

Making a Wineberry Crisp

Making a Wineberry Crisp

New blue kettle

Do you spy my new kettle? When I asked for your tea kettle advice recently, I had not realized it would spark a week of such angst for me. I spent days upon days dithering over such questions as: electric or stovetop? glass or stainless steel? gooseneck or regular spout?

And then I pulled myself together, realized I was not trying to do anything more fancy than boil a damn pot of water, and ordered pretty much the same thing I had before. Which had always done a fine enough job for me.

New blue kettle

I bought a blue one. I consider the main color of my kitchen to be blue with pops of red accents. I’ve aquired so many red things over the years, though, that I think the kitchen was starting to look like it was red with pops of blue accents instead. This kettle is one step toward restoring the balance of color power around here. And it boils water pretty well, too, so there’s that.

Making a Wineberry Crisp

Making a Wineberry Crisp

As it happens, my kitchen inspiration this weekend came at a very good time. My parents were visiting in the afternoon, and I actually had a little something homemade to offer them, instead of my original plan: standing in front of the refrigerator saying “ummmmmmm?” until we all decide we weren’t really hungry anyway.

31_crisp_01_ul

P.S. Just in case you have a stash of summer berries and have also had a sudden urge to bake, here’s my recipe (although I used strawberries instead of peaches this time – it’s very versatile – use what you have!).

P.P.S. The images that caught my eye in the magazine were from The Clever Carrot and it appears that they came from this blog post for buttermilk blueberry muffins.

TWiP: Winter

This Week in Pictures

Well, looking at this week’s pictures, it would be hard to deny that it’s winter. Between the snowy days, the icy garden, the knitting, the soup, the cozy warm clothes… yes, definitely winter.

I’m writing this on Friday night (as I often do) and the wind is blowing pretty hard outside. I am not a fan of wind. It’s easier to bear now that our most dangerous trees have already been toppled by previous storms, but I can’t help but feel a little bit nervous. We still have a few small trees that could conceivably land on the cars in the driveway. If you know our history, you will understand why I have trouble shaking thoughts of that possibility, no matter how remote.

I think maybe I’ll just crank up the TV tonight and drown out all of that howling outside.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: Well, good morning, Winter wonderland!

365: 2015 24/365 – A little Saturday afternoon knitting on the bed.

Sunday

Instagram: Note to self: this place is a madhouse on Sunday mornings!

365: 2015 25/365 – Tonight for supper: a cup of alphabet soup in a vintage cup.

Instagram: Spur of the moment coffee date with my teenager ☺

Monday

365: 2015 26/365 – Snowflakes on the front steps.

Tuesday

365: 2015 27/365 – So, not exactly the two feet they were telling us to expect, but at least we got a day off out of it :-)

Wednesday

Instagram: It doesn’t happen often, but some mornings I actually enjoy my workout enough to stay longer and do more. That is its own reward, although it’s even sweeter when I come home to find a bonus reward in my mailbox. Think I’ll enjoy this new Artful Blogging with my coffee ☺

365: 2015 28/365 – Coffee grounds.

Instagram: Cozy time.

Thursday

Instagram: I’m feeling the chill today. I’ve got two shirts, leggings, and wool socks on under this. Layers, FTW! #selfportraitthursday

365: 2015 29/365 – I got a box of the new purple Ball jars, which would be really cool except for how streaky they are! The blue and green ones from previous years look like the glass is actually that color, but these look painted, and poorly-painted at that.

Friday

Instagram: Boy dropped off? Check. Waiting for train to pass on way to gym? Check.

365: 2015 30/365 – Icy.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Sewing, take three

Remember the red gingham shirt and all of the great advice you gave me? I very much appreciated our conversation about that, and all of the suggestions you had. In the end, though, I decided that I wasn’t feeling experimental enough to implement any of them. (Not now, anyway. I may revisit them!)

I really just wanted a red gingham top with 1/2-inch checks, that would be lightweight and flowy, and that I could wear easily under sweaters.

In the end, I decided to leave the flannel top as-is. It is wearable, even if it doesn’t evoke the feelings I had originally wanted it to evoke. Instead, I decided a trip to the fabric store would solve the problem. My local shop has very lightweight gingham for less than $4/yard!

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any 1/2-inch checks at all. The choices were 1/8, 1/4, and 1 inch. I already have tops in red 1/8″ checks and navy blue 1-inch checks, so it seemed like my best choice would be some other color in the 1/4″ size. I chose black, although I would have definitely gone for orange if they’d had it.

More sewing.

This new shirt falls right back into my comfort zone, with the elbow-length sleeves I’ve done before, and the same lightweight fabric I’ve used in the past. It sits on me just as I’d hoped the original red flannel one would have.

It’s perfect, if you don’t count the fact that it’s the wrong color or the wrong size checks 

More sewing.

I’ve put away the sewing machine now, so unless I happen to stumble upon the perfect lightweight 1/2-inch orange gingham fabric in my travels, consider this itch scratched!

New scarf

By the way, check out my new scarf. Look at the size of this thing! It’s 24″ x 108″, which is a fabulous size. I can wrap it around three times and still have enough left dangling. I love it.

I feel like I’m a little late to the Scarfshop party. I saw so many blog friends buying them a few years ago, but I never managed to buy one myself, until now. They come in so many beautiful colors, that I am a little bit surprised with myself for getting a gray one. If I ever buy another one, though, it’s totally going to be “mint.”

And, oh, now I wish I hadn’t looked at the website, because I see they are on sale. At full price it was easy to say that I wouldn’t buy another one this season, but now? Very very tempting…

A mint scarf would be really cool with an orange gingham top. Uh oh. I feel an online shopping trip coming on! 

TWiP: Repurposed content

This Week in Pictures

Some of you have left comments recently telling me that you enjoy this weekly feature. Thank you! Me too 

The beauty of it for me is this: I spend time each week taking these pictures, writing what I am up to, and sharing on social media, which is nice but where does it leave my blog? At its busiest, this blog was the hub for everything I was up to. I miss that, but I don’t really have time to write full-blown posts every day anymore.

The perfect solution seems to be this one. I can repurpose that material I’ve been publishing all week, and keep my blog updated in one fell swoop. I love it!

And it’s great for those weekends when I’m too busy to write introductory blurbs (not the case, incidentally, on this particular weekend – right now I’m sitting on my bed, sipping coffee, listening to music, and looking out the window at the snowy trees).

On those overwhelming days, it’s perfectly acceptable to just say, “I’m so busy! Look at what I did all week:” and leave it at that.

Anyway. All of that to say, I love this feature and I’m glad some of you do too!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: 2015 17/365 – I spent the day at a very enjoyable family gathering, during which time I probably should have taken my camera out of the bag. But I didn’t. So my daily picture is instead of what I did after the party: pajamas, pretzels, knitting, and an episode of Midsomer Murders.

Sunday

365: 2015 18/365 – Ice storm this morning, complete with warnings from the local OEM to stay off the slippery roads. Personally, I have no problem hanging out at home in my pajamas all morning…

Instagram: It’s an icy Sunday and nobody’s going anywhere… Who wants a sugar cookie?

Monday

365: 2015 19/365 – Well, despite my best efforts not to be moved, that “magic of tidying up” book made me fill up three big garbage bags of my clothes and shoes to be donated yesterday. I can’t remember the last time my closet space was used this efficiently.

Tuesday

Instagram: Hello, Tuesday morning.

Instagram: OK, maybe I didn’t fill the *whole* trunk, but I do think I am sufficiently stocked up for the next little while. 

365: 2015 20/365 – The USPS sort facility in Kearny NJ *finally* spat out a package I’ve been waiting for. That place is like a black hole for First Class Mail sometimes…

Wednesday

Instagram: Adventures in justification: sewing is the least important thing on my to do list, but I *can’t* get out of my gym clothes and do all of the other stuff on the list until my new shirt is ready to wear. Therefore sewing must come first. 

365: 2015 21/365 – One last shirt sewn today. That’s three new ones total for this season. I think it’s out of my system now. Whew.

Instagram: What? Doesn’t everybody take selfies perched on top of a cabinet to get the best light? PS. Finished #sewing my new shirt. PPS. The USPS finally delivered my new Scarfshop scarf yesterday 

Thursday

365: 2015 22/365 + Self Portrait Thursday – This is probably my last new shirt before I put the sewing machine away.

Instagram: Love that blue hour 

Friday

365: 2015 23/365 – You know you have a problem when your paper straw collection requires an organizational scheme.

Instagram: Me: we’re Instagramming! Him: you’re Instagramming, I’m tolerating. #teenagers

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Watching water boil

Our stovetop tea kettle sprung a leak. I had no idea they could even do that! Putting aside, for a moment, the question of how icky the insides of that kettle might be (and by extension, the water I have been making my coffee with [ugh!]) I am left with a dilemma: what do I replace it with?

BW 25/30

I’m pretty sure Neil had this kettle before he had me. We’ve been married almost 20 years, so I would have to say it’s been a pretty good workhorse up until now.

I figured replacing it would be a fairly simple task: I’d hop online, pick out a cool color to match the kitchen and be done with it.

But no. There are a million different kinds of kettles out there, people! And they’re made out of a million different kinds of materials (porcelain, enamel, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, glass…), and those are just the stovetop kettles. Kitchen counter space being at a premium, I was all set to get another stovetop kettle, but I’ve been reading reviews and it sounds like electric might be a better way to go. They are more energy-efficient, they boil more quickly, and you can get ones that control the temperature so that the water is the best temp for your particular type of tea or for coffee. That appeals to me, since I like all kinds of hot drinks.

Morning 6/31 - Restocking

No matter what kind of kettle I pick, though, they all seem either super spendy, or they have terrible reviews. So before I drop $50 on a gadget to boil water, please can we talk about this?

Specifically, how do you boil water? Do you like your current method? If you use a kettle, is it stovetop or electric, and can you recommend the brand/style you have?

I did not expect replacing the tea kettle to be a “major purchase” but I was really surprised by the prices I was seeing. I have to be reasonably sure I am getting something that is going to last a while and will be a good fit for my kitchen. Thanks for helping me! Right now I am boiling water in the microwave, which is do-able but not ideal.

TWiP: Stitching

This Week in Pictures

Some weeks I don’t seem to get anything creative done. This is not one of those weeks. I’m knitting a sweater that is coming along nicely in the evenings, and by day I’ve been sewing.

For me, sewing at this point is really more about the finished product than the process. I don’t really love doing it, and once I’ve stitched up everything on my current list, I will be more than happy to pack the machine away again.

But then, I’ve always been somewhat of an end-result kind of person, impatient to be done with the process of making. It’s actually very surprising to me that I could enjoy knitting and crocheting so much. I mean, there are certainly faster (and cheaper) ways to get sweaters and blankets. I suppose as long as there are new stitch patterns to try, and new puzzles to work out, it will continue to captivate me.

Sewing, though? I think my sewing heyday has come and gone. At this stage, I just want to make things that are super easy and require as little fussiness (and as few pattern pieces) as possible.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some everyday-life snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: 2015 10/365 – Neil and I found the down comforter in the attic last night, and this morning I woke up under a fluffy warm cloud.

Instagram: Tea and a book, under a fluffy down comforter. Happy Saturday morning ☺

Instagram: Good mail day

Sunday

365: 2015 11/365 – It’s Sunday, and I think it’s going to be all about the knitting today. Got a new sweater on the needles, and I’m eager to see the pattern progress.

Instagram: I love how fast it goes with bulky yarn

Monday

365: 2015 12/365 – I brewed up a new CD to listen to in the car.

Tuesday

365: 2015 13/365 – Fifteen inches has gone pretty quickly. I love it so far. Cables are cool :-)

Instagram: It’s official. @guster wins for coolest-looking CD.

Wednesday

365: 2015 14/365 – I’m really not in the mood to put this stuff away. I have to keep reminding myself that there can be no sewing in the dining room until the Christmas stuff goes away. I have fabric for two new shirts calling my name, so I think that may be just enough incentive…

Instagram: The good news is that the Christmas stuff is off of the dining room table. The bad news is that I’m about to clutter the place up with my sewing machine and assorted paraphernalia… #shortlivedcleanliness

Instagram: I think a red gingham flannel shirt will hit the spot nicely…

Instagram: Of the gingham and the floral, I made the floral top first. And then I changed out of my dumpy clothes so I could wear it. Now I wish I had somewhere nice to go

Instagram: That moment you realize there is such a thing as too much gingham. #sewing

Thursday

365: 2015 15/365 – I sewed two shirts yesterday, and I’m happy with this one. It fits in with my usual cold-weather uniform, plus it will work well in the summer with a pair of shorts, too. (P.S. Look at me, joining 2015 with the skinny jeans and boots, LOL!)

Friday

365: 2015 16/365 – Almost done with the back of my sweater (and my second ball of yarn).

Instagram: I *had* to have this fabric for kitchen linens. Its only taken me three years to sew four napkins

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr. (Or Instagram, too!)

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Do you remember last week when I said that I was going to try to also include my Instagram favorites? Well I figured out how to do it, but there was something I didn’t take into account: I favorite things very differently on Instagram than I do on Flickr.

When I favorite an image on Flickr, I do so specifically with the intention of sharing it here. If I like something but don’t consider it appropriate for the weekly mosaic (for whatever reason) I will choose to comment on the image rather than favorite it.

But on Instagram? Well, I am very free with the little heart button. I tap that thing for anything and everything that catches my eye for whatever reason, regardless of whether it meets the criteria for Weekend Favorites. That type of behavior is not going to work on a weekly basis. Just take a look at what this week’s mosaic would look like if I used all of the Instagram photos I liked:

Weekly Favorites - Instagram

Yeah. That’s a little bit out of control. It’s 102 photos, by the way.

Admittedly, this has been a very active Instagram week for me, and it won’t always be like this. But still. I’m re-thinking the sharing the Instagram favorites. That’s just Crazy Town!

You need many fewer images, if you have any hope of appreciating the beauty of them. They’re just too mushed together this way.

For now, let’s just stick with Flickr as usual…

Images

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week on Flickr. Click on the titles below the mosaic to get a better look at the images and see more from the photographers who made them.

(Follow me?Flickr | Instagram)

Weekly Favorites - Flickr

  1. lemon sugar by friend 2 friend via Flickr
  2. Grand Canyon ❤ by Becky~Sue via Flickr
  3. untitled by jessica wilson {jek in the box} via Flickr
  4. Trying to make good on my “learn to crochet” resolution, … by TheFairView via Flickr
  5. 42012 by interchangeableparts via Flickr
  6. 42005 by MossyOwls via Flickr
  7. 7/365 – 15 by moo o’hara via Flickr
  8. Sala De La Musica_viewable by Edith Levy via Flickr
  9. 42009 by kelly ishmael via Flickr
  10. untitled by m i c h e l e j e n s e n [photography] via Flickr
  11. 42012 by kelly ishmael via Flickr
  12. A Late Afternoon Gondola Ride by pollylew via Flickr
  13. 159 | 365 by angiel via Flickr
  14. Macro Monday – Fruit by moo o’hara via Flickr
  15. How to seed a pomegranate by katerha via Flickr
  16. Polymer Clay necklace by Cecilia Leonini, Polymer clay ImpastArte via Flickr
  17. 12-365 – 15 by moo o’hara via Flickr
  18. Covered vase by jaelsjewels via Flickr

Links

Here are a few interesting things from around the web that grabbed me this week:

  • The Fabric Economy of Facebook Groups – from whileshenaps.com. Did you know that there are FB groups that function like online stores, and you can buy fabric through them less expensively than other venues? Abby Glassenberg heard about this and investigated further. In this blog post she shares what she learned, and wonders about the implications of buying fabric on Facebook. I can’t help but wonder if this phenomenon is limited to fabric or if there are similar groups for other types of craft supplies.
  • Liberate Your Art 2015 Postcard Swap – from Kat Eye Studio. I love this idea. You send in five post cards featuring images of your art, and receive back post cards with other swappers’ artwork on them. It’s open to all media. I think I might do it.
  • the creativity club – an idea from elsie marley. Meg says, “This isn’t supposed to be stressful, or another thing on your list. This is just something to mess around with, play with pens, cut some paper, make something without a freakin tutorial.” Sounds like fun. I’m in! #thecreativityclub

I will have to think about whether I want to change the way I do favoriting on Instagram so that I can include those images here, too, or whether I’ll just keep things as-is and stick with Flickr. Or, maybe I can come up with a third option. It’s something to think about anyway.

Have a lovely Friday!

Sewing outside of the comfort zone

Sewing two new shirts

So I shared part one of this story, in which I sewed a shirt that made me very happy. Here now is part two, in which I sewed a shirt that leaves something to be desired.

I got it in my head recently that I wanted a red gingham flannel shirt. My inspiration pieces were things like this.

Experimenting.

The thing is, I have never liked the way I look in button-down shirts with collars. I thought maybe I could try to re-create the look but in a more loose and boatnecky kind of way.

This, mind you, is a very different silhouette than the shirts I was using as inspiration, but in my mind’s eye it still worked really really well.

Experimenting.

In addition to experimenting with flannel, I also wanted to try making the sleeves long. Simplicity 3835 comes with short sleeves and elbow-length sleeves, but nothing long. So I measured from my elbow to my wrist and added that many inches to the bottom of the elbow-length sleeve pattern piece.

New gingham flannel shirt.

That’s about the only part of this experiment that I can really say makes me happy. These sleeves are perfect.

The shirt as a whole, though? Big thumbs down from me.

New gingham flannel shirt.

For one thing, I think this fabric sewn up in this style looks more like pajamas than a shirt. In fact, if I had more of this fabric, I’d probably make matching bottoms and call it a day.

Also, I don’t know if it’s the camera angle or if it’s this shirt, but geez – I seem kinda busty. I’m sure that’s not helping things.

I tried to find some way to wear this that didn’t make me unhappy, but I had no luck.

New gingham flannel shirt.

By itself, it just looked frumpy. With both of the sweaters I tried, it was still unattractive, plus trying to get long flannel sleeves into the arms of a light sweater is no small feat – too much friction!

I feel like my best bet is to shorten the sleeves to at least elbow-length. I think that will help a bit, but it’s a shame because I am so happy with the way the sleeves look (as long as you ignore the rest of the shirt).

I might be able to take it in on the sides and make it more body-skimming, but the truth is I really like the loose, drapey nature of this pattern. I just wish it looked more loose-and-carefree and less frump-city.

What do you ladies think? Is this shirt a lost cause? Or can you imagine some way that I can turn it into something I will like wearing?