December 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Some of the books in my pile this month include the following:

A Pocket Full of Rye and 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie plus How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories are not very festive or seasonal, but for some reason they’ve felt especially satisfying; I guess because she always gets the perp(s)?

What kind of stories have you enjoyed this December?

Online Finds: Recent Favorite Christmas Crafts

Arts & Crafts, DIY

For me, the holiday season officially started at the end of October this year when I played through my Christmas playlists for the first time. I’ve had Christmas on the brain since then, especially crafts, even if I haven’t exactly had ample crafting time.

That hasn’t stopped me from stealing a few minutes here and there to browse for inspiration. I meant to pick one favorite. But. You know what? I can’t pick one, so I’ll just share a bunch of my recent favorite Christmas crafts.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Amber Kemp-Gerstel at Damask Love made holly berry twist ties:

Damask Love Amber Kemp-Gerstel Holly Berry Twist Ties

The twist ties take just floral wire, green felt, red felt balls, glue and wire cutters. The perfect topper for a handmade gift and very, very pretty.

Dot Hutchison shared her SIL’s crafting success on Twitter:

Twitter Dot Hutchison Sesame St Martian Xmas Stockings

The adorable Sesame Street Martian stockings were apparently crocheted, with a pattern found on Pinterest.

Menucha at Moms and Crafters crafted with felt as well, but she glued shapes on the outside of tea light holders for a mosaic look:

Moms and Crafters Menucha Felt Mosaic Tea Light Holders

Here is an absolutely GORGEOUS arrangement of cascading bauble ornaments by Tanya at Dans le Lakehouse! And hanging sounds easy, too: tension rod and thread.

Dans Le Lakehouse Tanya Cascading Baubles

Claire Armstrong at Pillar Box Blue made mini wreaths made from acorn caps and felt balls.

Pillar Box Blue Claire Armstrong Mini Wreaths

So cute!

Here are colorful, cute, small felt tree ornaments:

Say Yes Felt Tree Ornaments

The tutorial is by Liz Stanley assisted by Stephanie Gardner; crafting and sewing is by Gaby Viglas.

Last but definitely not the least, Kara Whitten at Kailo Chic used paper mache cones to make ombre tiered trees with a gold accent:

Kailo Chic Kara Whitten Ombre Xmas Table Trees

Acrylic crafts paints in different colors and a gold pen are all you need. So, so beautiful!

Do you have a favorite holiday project, new or old? Do share!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

November 2020 Recap

Newsletters

Since starting to wrap up my business activities in October, my November has seen the end of them: I no longer have even a bank account in the name of Playfully Grownup Home. Just the tax return next spring, and then it’s all gone.

Speaking of all gone, I sent my overseas Christmas cards really, really early – and most of them have already arrived, too! Because I’ve been hearing that package deliveries are likely to be delayed this year, I made little handmade presents that can be mailed in an envelope, like these colorful heart bookmarks:

I’ve continued our home projects from this summer. Here’s a work-in-progress photo of one:

The two refinished bookcases are now waiting for the paint to cure, then we can refill them.

Fortunately November did have a number of warmer than average days, so I was able to paint more than I thought. For instance, I was able to finish doors for the china cabinet I did in October. As soon as the cabinet body and shelves cure – plus the doors, of course – we can reassemble it, too. That means we should have a functioning dining room again well before Christmas. Yay!

I had a couple of misses in my reading pile this month. Could be I was just in the wrong mood for the two books? Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories, however, were for some reason especially satisfying; I guess because she always gets the perp(s)?

And these new-to-me novels, T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Helen S. Wright’s A Matter of Oaths, were just delightful each in their own way.

Our resident chipmunks have clearly retired to their nests to hibernate; we haven’t seen any of them in a few weeks. Otherwise, Mother Nature did bless us with very colorful fall foliage:

I just love living in the woods. 🙂

Towards the end of the month, the next World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands, was released. Husband and I’ve been playing it quite a bit in the evenings. We got our first pair to level 60 in less than a week – not too bad considering how busy we’ve been this fall.

WoW Shadowlands Maldraxxus NElf Sword Gained

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Keep a safe distance. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤

November 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Some of the books in my pile this month include the following:

From left to right: Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple collection The Thirteen Problems and, finally, An Import of Intrigue by Marshall Ryan Maresca.

In addition, I’ve already read with great enjoyment The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore, the last in her Ghadid trilogy.

Last month I also mentioned two tv series which Husband and I recently got to watching. We fell out of love with Outlander just before the end of season 1 since the draaaama just wouldn’t eeeend, but The Brokenwood Mysteries we’re still very much into.

Got anything to recommend, either on the page or on the screen?

Modern, Colorful Updates for Matryoshka Dolls

Colors, Design & Designers

Traditional designs get updated from time to time – for a good reason: they’ve already stood the test of time. Here’s a new version of matryoshka dolls (also known as Russian dolls or stacking dolls) I found while browsing an old magazine:

Budget Decorating Feb 2008 p20
Budget Decorating magazine, February 2008, p. 20

I was looking for something else, but these dessert plates were so delightful I had to stop and browse Etsy a bit. Below are a few of my favorite matryoshkas.

Tanya Fortmoon’s abstract matryoshkas – I’m not a great fan of the specific abstract decorations themselves, but the faces of the dolls are priceless.

Etsy Tanya Fortmoon Abstract Matryoshka
Tanya Fortmoon on Etsy

So happy and expressive!

Oksana at VseruKami made these cute Eva robot dolls from Wall-E:

Etsy VseruKami Oksana Wall-E Eva Robot
Oksana at VseruKami on Etsy

Yulia at FirebirdWorkshop painted super cute, ADORABLE sloths!

Etsy FirebirdWorkshop Yulia Sloth Matryoshka
Yulia at FirebirdWorkshop on Etsy

Although, as sloths go, these by Tanya Fortmoon are even cuter!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Free Printable Floral Calendar for 2021

Arts & Crafts, Bits in Spaaace!, Colors

Brittany De Leon shared her adorable, colorful floral calendar for 2021:

Printable Calendar for 2021

(Free for personal use.)

After the 2020 we had, I’m all for something pretty to look at every month. Thank you for sharing, Brittany!

Visit Paper Trail Design for more.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

October 2020 Recap

Newsletters

Well, October 2020 was the month I shut down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy. Bittersweet? Oh yes! But it’s time to move on, and I still feel good about the decision overall.

I do have a number of backend tasks to finish, like inventorying so that I can take care of my tax obligations so that I can close my PGH bank account.

I’m well on the way, though, despite good weather that tempts me outdoors and/or to paint.

We seem to have a very colorful fall this year. I’m glad; it’s another little everyday thing to enjoy.

As I mentioned earlier, Husband and I started some furniture refinishing this summer, which is new to both of us, so we’re working slowly but steadily, doing research when needed. In hindsight I should’ve left whitewaxing (which I did in July, August and September as well as October) for the latter part of the year, since the wax is very, very low odor and easy to clean, so I could’ve done it more easily after the weather turned truly seasonal than paint projects.

Anyway, in addition to the smell and need to ventilate, the pieces we’re painting are more problematic to schedule, since we both need nice weather for our respective tasks (sanding out on the back deck and painting inside with the windows open). We’re making do, but the progress has been spotty, especially with the drying times between coats. The house looks like a huge mess, with piles of supplies and partially or fully painted shelves and other pieces drying in between coats or curing. Oy vey! But that’s what it is; at least we’re finally starting to see results from all of our hard work.

For example, refinishing this china cabinet is almost done.

After sanding, I applied 2 base coats of white (leftover wall paint; this photo is partially through the first coat) followed by 1.5 coats colonial blue chalk finish paint.

This is my first time using chalk finish paint, so we’ll see how it turns out. The directions say no sanding needed, but I can’t quite trust that, so we did. Plus, because of the very knotty pine, I wanted the two coats of white. If I were after a truly opaque finish, I would’ve painted on a third coat, but I actually quite like the slightly transparent effect. I only have the glass doors to paint, then wait for the paint to cure.

I’ve also done a little sewing (a table runner and a quilt repair) and translating, plus hung two black and white photo posters I had made from our Hadrian’s Wall vacation a number of years ago.

Gamingwise, since the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands prepatch dropped, I’ve re-mogged almost all of my toons. This is my current favorite: Blood Elf rogue.

Dealing with my chronic conditions has been a bit more challenging this month, but at least one of them seems finally to be settling down again. Also, fortunately, our home town covid-19 numbers have remained reasonably low even with cases on the rise around us.

I’ve felt a little better after both of us had a flu shot, partly because so many other people clearly are taking advatage of the vaccine even though it can only create partial immunity against SARS-CoV-2. We’re still staying home apart from necessary errands, and not planning on any holiday visits this year.

Speaking of errands, one day as Husband was taking care of business and I waited in the car, I happened to turn my head to see in the car next to us… a goggie nose at the window! A sleepy goggie nose at the window! A content, sleepy goggie nose at the window!

Awww! Little things like this keep me buoyed through the trash fire that is 2020. (It will pass, it will pass, it will pass…)

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Get a flu shot. Keep a safe distance. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤