Thursday, May 05, 2016

Big Stitch 2 - All the Way from Ireland!

I signed up for the Big Stitch swap way back in February.  And I made my star mini-quilt and sent it off on it's way to Australia at the appropriate time

Then yesterday, I walked home from work and could see something sticking out of the mail box several houses away.  Unfortunately, I had to run a couple of errands with Savvy and Texter, one of which was to pick up Lady K on her last day of 'school' until August.

But when I got home, I ripped into the package.

It was from Annette in Ireland!

A cushy package, all wrapped in orange with wonderful purple ribbon (which will be repurposed into bookmarks for my journal, I'm sure).

Inside of the package was this...

A lovely tote with a caterpillar on the front.  Actually, I am considering him a 'bookworm' and will be using him to carry my library books in (just a few of them at a time, they wouldn't all fit).  

Little hexies for the body and embroidered legs and branch.  And she has only been sewing for a couple of years she says!  Great work.

Nestled inside my tote were three smaller packages.

More purple ribbon and green tissue paper, all of which will be repurposed.

A wonderful little pin cushion, a butterfly pin out of wool, a fat quarter of rooster fabric and a lovely card.  

The pin cushion is on my sewing table already, the fabric I will hold out and ponder for a bit and the butterfly will go on my lanyard for the library.  I need to show him off on a regular basis.

This was a great swap and I am loving my gifts.  Thank you Annette in Ireland!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Score! and PlannerCon?

Ok, Texter and I will proudly admit we have a 'stationary' problem.  Turn us loose in an office supply store and we go crazy.  A new planner?  We are rolling around in ecstasy.  Pens - forget jewelry, give us multiple colors!  So when I walked into Staples the other day and found this on sale for $5, I was thrilled.

A big, thick notebook of three different styles of paper separated by dividers.  Approximately, 5.5 X 8 inches, it's chunky goodness.

Then the next consideration was how it would handle some of the markers, pens and such which would be used in the book.

I have to say, the Bic Cristal (ok, so I originally spelled it wrong) is my go-to, inexpensive writing instrument.  While I have some other colors, black and blue are my go-to colors.  And by 'ink pen', I mean a fountain pen. 


PlannerCon 2017!

Yes, a convention devoted to all things planner....planners, stickers, pens, pencils.  Ok, it's like office supply porn on steroids!  And Texter and I want to go.  Really, really bad.  As in I have already scoped out the drive.  So we will see how things go and how much school she can miss that semester.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

April Review and May Goals

I love the pink and green play of this picture.  And it reminds me of my peony quilt, which still needs me to find some flannel backing for it.  One day...

Anyway, my goals for April were as follows -

  • Send of sample of novel for Miscon Critique did
  • See if any rooms still left for Miscon or if we are 'commuting' again (affordably is a big factor too) did, and we only have the first night right now, so one less round trip to drive
  • Start planting at my community garden spot - not yet
  • Lead a book discussion for the library at the Historical Society did and had a great time with the 4 people there
  • Catch up on the RSC16 and Modern HST samplers RSC16, yes, HST, no
  • Get my April Bee Hive square out on time did
  • Finish sewing on Harley Quinn cosplay - started but not finished
  • Start a cosplay for myself for Miscon - not happening
  • Meet my walking goal each week - hahahaha
  • Work 'with' my planner - getting back in the groove with a simplified planner layout for May
  • Writing for Camp NaNoWriMo - giggle
  • Set up family tree folders - nope
  • Gather 'orphan' blocks into one box - nope
  • Help out at Tizer more days - went 2 days
  • Celebrate CJ's birthday - got him a present (which I haven't had a chance to look through yet), but he's pretty low key with celebrations 

    For May, I simplifed my planner, which ran out in April.  And, hopefully, we have all turned the corner with illnesses.  While I actually completed more than I thought I had (once again), I really want to 'pump up' my output.

    My May goals are focused around Miscon 30 at the end of the month and the garden, so here they are:

    • Harley Quinn costume done (hopefully by the end of the 1st week)
    • Bee Hive swap block done and mailed
    • HST/RSC16 blocks done 
    • Attend Miscon writing workshops
    • One item of clothing made
    • Gardens planted
    • Use planner more 
    • Write!
    • Get my walking in daily
    • Finish reading the book and write up review for a book blog hop

    The undone items from April are getting rolled over to June, since Miscon is my focus this month.  I can't wait until the end of the month - Robin Hobb, Jim Butcher, J. A. Pitts, Patrick Rothfuss, to name a few authors, will be there.  Not to pick out the books to have them autograph that weekend!

    Sunday, May 01, 2016

    Week in Review - April 24 - 30

    This week has been a chilly, grey, damp week.  Which is actually great for Montana, but I really, really want to be out in the yard, playing with my plants.  As you can see, there are some things which really, really need to be out in the garden!

    So I did do a little indoors transplanting to make me (and my plants) happy.  

    As far as the rest of the week went...
    • Lady K's 3 year check up (about a month late)
    • Books finished - 4
    • Steps - 43,908 or 63% (but I didn't have it on Saturday while doing gardening)
    • Posts written - 3
    • Garden help at Tizer Gardens
    • Letter out to new French penpal
    • Set up planner for May (new design, less 'stuff')

    This week...
    • Help get my community garden tilled on Sunday
    • Plant my CG (community garden) spot
    • Bee Hive swap block - fabrics selected, cut out and sewn up
    • Work on Harley costume
    • Finish up book and work on blog hop post for it
    • Hopefully, my first time on the water with my kayak

    Well, off for more coffee, breakfast and then into the garden!

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Home Cooked - Anya Fernald

    When I first opened this book I was struck by the 'un-pretty' look of the pictures.  And reading the introduction and where Anya Fernald is coming from, I had my doubts as whether or not this would be a cookbook I would like and use.

    Right now there are at least two dozen sticky notes sticking out of the pages on recipes I want to try.  

    The food is more 'rustic Italian' or 'peasant food' and not beautiful presentations to delight the eyes and not the mouth.

    I can't wait to make my own 'bone broth', but will probably not make my own lard.

    The recipes are simple and easy.  Fernald does give a couple of 'make-ahead' ingredients to add to which you can store in the fridge or freezer.  

    Think I'll go give the biscuit recipe a try....

    "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Mandala Monday

    Enough said!  This has to be one of my favorites in a long time.  This might have to be printed off and hung on my bedroom wall.  The colors would blend nicely.

    Sunday, April 24, 2016

    Week in Review - April 17 - 23

    Spring has sprung, whether Montana is really ready for it or not!

    On my way to work I pass by little patches of spring color.

    And the weather has been alternating between 70's for a few days and then back into the 50's and rainy.  But since we can use all the moisture we can get, I'm not going to complain....much.

    Lilacs (my personal favorite) will soon be in bloom.  Wait! No! Peonies are my favorites!  And I am posed like a buzzard awaiting a meal over my friend's, CS, peonies.  When her's get up a bit more, I have been promised a peony or two to put in my yard.

    Even a good Southern favorite can make it in Montana!

    So besides taking pictures of spring blooms, I did manage to get the following accomplished this past week...
    • Worked at Tizer on Tuesday in the greenhouse and brought home some of the 'babies' I planted about 6 weeks ago which are huge!
    • Sewed up my RSC16 blocks for April
    • Started on "Harley" and have the top finished
    • Knitted 4 rows on my Knit and Swirl Sweater (that's about 2400 stitches)
    • Finished three books
    • Walked 48,962 steps or 70% of goal
    • Wrote 7 posts

    • Created the cards and posters for the Staff Picks display at the library  Need more books on it though.
    • Received a letter from a new pen pal in France

    So for the coming week...

    • Send out my Big Stitch 2 swap gift
    • Send letter to my pen pal
    • A couple of days at Tizer Gardens for Volunteer Days to get it ready for opening
    • Make up more Staff Pick cards
    • Start on Texter's birthday present
    • Work on "Harley"
    • Lots of reading.  Have a couple of major reviews I need to get out in the next few weeks.
    • Repot seedlings into cups
    • Working on weeding my community garden spot

    So now, someone (Lady K) is announcing she is hungry and wants toast!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016


    I love getting snail mail and have for, well, decades.  

    In the late 70's, early 80's, I had penpals in Australia, England and the Soviet Union.

    Now I mainly just participate with Postcrossing.  Very non-commital.  Postcard out, postcard in.

    Sunday, I sat down and caught up on some special requests from Postcrossing members for Montana postcards.

    First, I had to clean off my desk of all the 'stuff' which had been piled there.  I sorted through piles and stacks and did some 'chores' and got the desk down to a manageable and usable status.

    I sorted out the postcards I had to send and the ones I have received over the past few weeks.

    This postcrossing member went overboard and I got 5 postcards.  I had to chuckle over the Tupperware postcard.  They are everywhere!

    Sometimes, the journey isn't always smooth for the postcard, as seen by a huge chunk (the stamps it seems) off the card.  But I get everything from famous paintings and city scenes to humorous ones.

    I also recently participate in Liberate Your Art.  You create six postcards and send them in.  Over a few week period, you get six postcards back, all with original artwork on them.  I sent out a postcard with one of my mandalas on it.  I went through to get them printed and think I will be making more to send out.  Often, with postcrossing, I get requests for 'art' postcards, rather than tourist-style postcards.

    Three of the postcards were created with photography and some manipulation in Photoshop (or something similar).  Three more were artwork created by hand.

    All my postcards I receive are taped to the back of my bedroom door and the front of the bathroom door.  Then at the end of the year, I'll take them all down and put them in a box and start over again with the new year.  Already, my doors are getting a bit full.

    Sunday, my assistant had to create her own postcard to mail.  So loaded with stickers and 'colors', there will be a postcard sent to her grandfather and step-grandmother.  She loves looking at the postcards as they come in.  I have a future snail-mail-participant.

    But the 'mailing' item is now off my to-do list for the month.  Now I need to get a list of all the counties in the world and a list of states, so I can check off where I have cards from.  Guess I will start the 'postcard-from-every-state-and-country' challenge.  The hard one is already achieved as I have a postcard sent from Antarctica.

    Now to finish up a letter to a friend back in North Carolina and wait for my 'new' penpal's letter from France.

    Note:  For anyone with children interested in Postcrossing, I can highly recommend it.  I have been a member for years and never had a problem with it.  Great way for kids to learn about the world.

    Sunday, April 17, 2016

    Non-Mandala Monday - The Little Paris Bookshop

    I will start my review of The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George with a warning.  As you near the end of the book, find your favorite chair or reading nook.  The one where you can snuggle down, the warmth of the late afternoon sun on the pages.  A place where as your throat begins to close up and tears water your eyes, you can stop and sniffle in peace.

    I first picked up this book because it was one of the library's book group picks for the spring.  It had several positives in just the title - bookshop, Paris - so I jumped in.  

    At first, it reminded me of the The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauemeister.  Jean Perdu, the owner of the literary barge anchored in the Seine, dispenses books like medicine, prescribing remedies for what ails the reader.  However, at 50, Perdu's life is less than ideal and circumstances force him to take another look at the past 20 years of mourning for the departure of his lost love, Manon.

    With a traveling cast of characters, Perdu becomes unmoored, literally, and travels the canals and rivers of France, searching for the meaning to his life, both past and present.

    And luckily this is my copy of the book, so I can turn down pages of passages which hit home with me.  One I can share without it being is spoiler, is from one of the traveler's, an Italian and his worldview.

    "One: eat well. No junk food, because it only makes you unhappy, lazy and fat. Two: sleep through the night (thanks to more exercise, less alcohol and positive thoughts). Three: spend time with people who are friendly and seek to understand you in their own way."

    Another character, Samy, added a fourth rule, "Four: have more sex."

    I was happy to note at the end of the book is a list of the books mentioned and their 'cure'.  Some of them I will be happy to give a try.  After all, if Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy can be a remedy for sense of humor failure, then the other books must work too.

    There is also a listing on some of the recipes in the book.  There are two lavender ice cream recipes which will be given a go-around here in the near future.

    Nina George has managed to take me on a magical cruise through the warm air of Southern France.  One I really don't want to leave.  One where I want to travel to and find Jean Perdu and his bookshop. 

    NOTE: "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."