Ten on Tuesday: 5 + 5 Edition

Sep 20

Carole asked to hear about five things we enjoyed this summer and five things we’re looking forward to this summer. The pickle will be limiting each part of the list to only five, but here goes:


  1. I enjoyed my family reunion road trip in May. I had the pleasure of visiting with cousins I hadn’t seen in around 20 years, and the road trip included a stop in Cleveland (and lunch with the ever-inspiring Shannon), and a sojourn in PA to see Kentuck Knob and Falling Water. Wow. Wow. What amazing homes!
  2. I enjoyed a day at the beach. Alas, only one, but a good long dip in the ocean melts away my worries and anxieties. Maybe next summer I’ll get there more often!
  3. I enjoyed developing my sewing skills. I sewed a LOT this summer, and I learned from every single project. Details on those garments soon.
  4. I enjoyed the beautiful foods of summer, like strawberries, tomatoes warm from the sun, blueberries, and more tomatoes.
  5. I enjoyed long, lovely days and evenings on the porch, especially when it was filled with good conversation, stitching, and music.
  6. I’m looking forward to soups: tomato, butternut squash, potato leek, all made with bounty from the summer that’s waiting in my freezer to warm the cooler evenings of autumn.
  7. I’m looking forward to brisk air and colorful leaves while I hike the dogs in our woods.
  8. I’m looking forward to wearing cozy new sweaters I’ve been stitching.
  9. I’m looking forward to making so many projects from the newly-released Drop Dead Easy Knits–I swear, every project is calling my name (Keynote Pullover is up next for me!)
  10. I’m looking forward to Rhinebeck. I can’t wait to see all my favorite peeps in October!

How about you? What did you enjoy this summer? What are you looking forward to this fall?

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Ten on Tuesday: Holiday Weekend Edition

May 31

waterThe long weekend seemed longer than usual! Carole asked about weekend fun, so here’s my list:

  1. Visited Shakespeare’s First Folio at Amherst College. Yup, Folger Library created a project that sends First Folios all around the country. You can see when it is visiting a space near you on their tour list. I sorta want a concert shirt for this one.
  2. Got hissed at by an opossum while hiking with Oskar and Coco. (I hate that this one is being laughed at, but I wanted you to understand the experience. So let’s pretend it isn’t in a cage and that both human and dogs are walking away with Great Respect.)
  3. Reached day 150 of daily (at home) yoga practice. I am so glad Sarah told me about Yoga with Adriene. I really love Adriene’s practices and sense of humor.
  4. Cut out a Sorbetto tank. The pattern is well written and free! It’s great for any level, and cool variations abound.
  5. Made the yummy Smitten Kitchen broccoli slaw. Even though I did not win a prize with it at my recent family reunion, it is a prize-worthy dish!
  6. Napped.
  7. Picked out my yarn for the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2016–I’ll share my pick in another post. Are you joining in on this annual delight?
  8. Sipped cold beverages on the porch. I did not, though, have my first G&T of the season. Maybe next weekend. Honestly, it was so hot so quickly that all I wanted was water!
  9. Visited…a working visit with my MotherShould? co-editor, an impromptu visit with my friend Leah during which we talked about poetry (I’m still writing it–nearly done with my second round of Rananim workshops with Sawnie Morris), an informative visit with my folks–my aunt has created a beautiful family history album, and she sent dad a chunk of it that includes some great pictures, and a fun visit with my mother-in-law, who loves to laugh, just like her son does!
  10. Picked out the dress I’m going to make for my brother’s wedding in September. Let’s just say Alabama Chanin had a sale, and I snapped up supplies! It’s a good thing Vicki had her color cards at the ready to help me figure out what I wanted!

How about you? What fun did you have this weekend?

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Ten on Tuesday: Dessert Edition

May 24

pieNothing to get me back in the blogging groove like an invitation to talk dessert! Carole asked for Ten Favorite Desserts, and I figured with summer on the verge–which means Open Porch Wednesday on the verge–which means a weekly excuse to make lovely desserts–I’m bound to find some great new ideas by reading everyone’s posts today!  Here are my faves (for summer, natch):

  1. Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake (it’s from her cookbook, but the link is to the recipe). Once local blueberries ripen, this cake is my go-to. It’s super easy to make and, if there should be leftovers, is amazing the next day!
  2. Cherry Clafoutis. I use Julia Child’s recipe. I pit the cherries, though friends who grew up in France claim they ought not to be pitted. Adding almond extract replaces the flavor the pits render.
  3. Homemade ice cream. I splurged on the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid a few years back and have never regretted it. I usually make vanilla (with my homemade vanilla extract) and add fresh fruit toppings. Sometimes I get fancy and make sugar cookie cups to serve it in!
  4. Sour Cream Lemon Pie. I cut out the recipe from my paper years ago–if you want it, let me know and I’ll send you a copy. It requires turning on the oven, but only long enough to set the pie. It is so refreshing on a hot evening!
  5. Fresh berries. Really, isn’t that what summer is about? Just pick, wash, cut as needed, and eat!
  6. Watermelon, Lime and Mint salad. I rough chop the melon, cut a bunch of mint from my garden, and squeeze a lime or two over it all.
  7. Green Smoothie. I know, it sounds too healthy to be dessert. I make a basic one: 2 cups water, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 large ripe banana, 1 cup mango, 1 cup pineapple, lots of powdered ginger. Super delicious and satisfying.
  8. Homemade Popsicles. This cucumber mint recipe looks like one to try this summer!
  9. Lemon Bundt Cake. I like this with raspberries or blueberries and a touch of fresh whipped cream!
  10. Cherry Pie. I don’t have the pie making chops Carole does, but I’m working on it! In the summer, cherry is my fave. I’ll be making rhubarb pie (no strawbs) for my dad soon, and if my oldest brother is coming over, I’ll bake blueberry. Pie with fresh fruit in it always rocks!

How about you? What are your favorite (summer) desserts?

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Ten on Tuesday: Favorite Things Edition

Feb 23

bookI do love lists of favorite things–both writing my own and reading yours–so when Carole sent out this week’s Ten on Tuesday prompt, excitement abounded!

  1. Yoga with Adriene. After too many years away from a regular home yoga practice, my friend Sarah suggested I might like these videos. Adriene is generous with free videos and does a really good job explaining poses in a way that means I often don’t have to look at the video. She’s funny, too.
  2. UNM’s Rananim online writing workshop. I’m taking poetry with Sawnie Morris. My original intention was to develop poetry skills to write better prose (the poets always write the prettiest sentences, don’t they?), but here’s what I learned: I love writing poetry! If you’ve been wanting to take an online writing workshop, I recommend Rananim. The next semester starts in April. Join me?
  3. Better Call Saul. Did you love Breaking Bad as much as I did? My vet recommended Better Call Saul, and we tore through it during the deep freeze weekend recently.
  4. Alabama Chanin Host a Party. I’ve gathered together a group of awesome stitchers who are going to sew swing skirts with me. The lovely folks at Alabama Chanin answered about a zillion questions from me and made organizing the party a breeze. I can’t wait for us to start stitching!
  5. Wurm hats in Stonehedge Fiber Mill Crazy. Last week I met up with Gale at Knit New Haven, saw a few Wurms (New Haven’s au courant knitting project) in Crazy and succumbed. You should probably call and order a skein.
  6. Strommen Bruk Hamar sewing box. I bought a small one–probably for a child–on ebay last year. It traveled down from Maine and was in rough shape. Earlier this month Neal made restoring it his project. I nearly swoon every time I open it!
  7. A Trail Through Leaves by Hannah Hinchman. Even if you’re not into drawing and nature journaling, the book is filled with beautifully written observations and excellent illustrations. My pal Jan recommended it to me, and I am so grateful. Hinchman’s nature journals reflect what I hope to create.
  8. Warmer air. Sure, it has been a mild winter, but it ain’t over yet. We had that snow and deep freeze last week followed by a warmer weekend. Every minute I get to sit on the stoop or porch–no matter how bundled up I am–is a favorite minute!
  9. Craftwork Somerville. I’m taking the Folk Dress workshop with dear, talented Cal, and I can’t wait. It isn’t just the awesome selection of classes, though. Amy Lou’s newsletter is chock full of cool info. You should probably sign up for it.
  10. Textillia. I joined right away as soon as the site launched and am slowly learning my way around it. Picture our beloved Ravelry for the sewing crowd.

How about you? Tell me about your favorite things!

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Ten on Tuesday: More and Less Edition

Jan 05

Hike 2016Carole’s prompt this week is, of course, perfect for the early days of a freshly minted year: list five things you want to do more of and five things you want to do less of this year.

  1. 1. More community. Since 1992, I’ve started most years with a New Year’s hike. The location and people change, yet it remains one of my favorite activities of the year. What I love about it is the chance to get to know a variety of people, to share an adventure with them. And more of that sounds good to me!
  2. Less anxiety. Is it age? Is it circumstance? What ever the reason, more often than I like, I find myself frozen, heart pounding, palms sweating, breath short, unhelpful thoughts circling in my head. A whole lot less of that will make me happier.
  3. More spirituality. My divorce from religion left me at sea about how to embrace my inherent spirituality. The yoga and meditation practice I mentioned last week helps. A lot. Noticing helps, too, especially when I’m noticing interesting trees or patterns or creatures on my daily hike. And increasing my attention to my spirituality and beliefs makes a big difference in breaking the anxiety.
  4. Less negativity. From swearing over inconveniences that do not warrant such language to letting news headlines spiral in my head, I want to learn to reframe the negatives. Because, face it, avoiding them altogether may not be realistic.
  5. More indulging my curiosity. Curiosity is one of the core driving forces of my life, and I plan to embrace it even more. Instead of just wondering about everything from what birds are at my feeder to why language develops the way does, and then letting the thoughts pass, I’ll investigate the most interesting ones, at least a little bit.
  6. Less carelessness. Know what I spent time doing yesterday and will do again today? Pulling back ribbing from the cast-on edge of a sweater. Know why? Because I was careless and made the back ribbing longer than the two fronts and sleeves. Enough of that!
  7. Less eating sweets. Oh, boy, do I love me a cookie! Or a sliver of pie. Or…whatever it is hanging around in the treat drawer. I don’t overindulge, but I indulge with little tastes often, which I fear adds up to something close to overindulgence.
  8. More green smoothies. I started drinking green smoothies over the summer, inspired by mysmoothie lovely colleague Leah. Not regularly, though. Which is silly since they are so good and good for me. So more of them to come. Like, daily more.
  9. Less procrastination. I first wrote that as “less planning” because what I mean to say is I do a lot of thinking and dreaming about a task or project when I more often should simply start it. Sooner started, sooner done, right?
  10. More making. Last year I started along the path of a me-made wardrobe. This year I plan to make more of my clothes (and don’t worry: that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning my minimalist wardrobe, but that I’m replacing worn or no-longer-used items with those I make. And it also means that I want to make more items for our home, from potholders to curtains. And that I want to make more meals instead of ordering take out when I’m tired. Making makes me happy, so why not embrace more of it!

How about you? What do you want more and less of in 2016?

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Ten on Tuesday: 2015 Review Edition

Dec 29

in knittingToday Carole invited me to reflect on Ten Things I did in 2015 That Made Me Feel Proud:

  1. Launched MotherShould? with my friend and colleague Catherine. I’m proud of the writing I’ve done for the site and of the content we’re getting from other writers.
  2. Revised my novel and worked with generous, smart Cari Luna to determine what to do next with it.
  3. Sent out my first agent queries. While I have no problem creating, I often fail at finding homes for my work.
  4. Took excellent care of my dogs. Losing Tilly in April was rough, but I feel proud of the care she received, right until the end. And I continue to feel proud of the almost-daily hikes I take with Oskar and Coco.
  5. Celebrated my tenth blogging anniversary–extra credit to you if you remember when I blogged at Wearing Black in New Mexico. I feel proud that I’ve kept blogging for a decade, and I’m so grateful for the friends I’ve made through blogging.
  6. Got serious about sewing garments. I took two pattern drafting classes with my dear Cal (who is an amazing teacher, in person AND online!), and I made several garments. I feel proud of this new dimension to my Ethical Elegance project.
  7. Started a daily yoga and meditation practice. Okay, so this is a brand new thing that I feel proud about. And it all started because Allegra posted a picture of a mala she made. I asked her to make one for me to help me with challenges I face, and she sent me a beautiful mala, which has lit the fire for this practice in me.
  8. Developed my calligraphy skills. I have a lot to learn still, but I made a good start taking a Copperplate and an Uncial class this year. I have a multi-media poetry project in the works, and lettering is a key part of it. selfie
  9. Purged excess craft supplies. Oh, don’t you worry about my being snowed in without a new knitting project possible. This year’s birthday gift from Neal was a transformation of my office to a studio. I wanted a space not dedicated to work, but dedicated to creative play. That meant clearing out a lot of unused yarn and fabric and donating a ton (that might be literal) of books. It feels amazing to pare down my supplies and really know what I have.
  10. Maintained a daily creativity habit through my #2015 Postcard Project. I have loved making and sending the postcards all around the world, and I’ve learned a lot about techniques and media I enjoy using. Stay tuned for an entire post about all that!

Your turn. What did you do in 2015 that makes you feel proud?

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