March 2020 Recap

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What a difference a month can make!

I’m referring now mainly to the covid-19 epidemic that has finally reached Europe and North America, although here in our corner of Massachusetts the saying usually also applies to the weather and nature.

I’ll first address the former.

Please be aware that even if I continue to post about casual, light topics, I am acutely aware of the human tragedy associated with the situation. I am not lacking in compassion; on the contrary, I am protecting my risk group family and neighbors while actively taking care of my own mental health. (And worrying about family members who work in health care, but I have to keep a really tight lid on that in order not to panic.)

I turned Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy off until April 06, 2020, because both Husband and I are at elevated risk for severe illness and because Massachusetts Governor Baker issued a stay at home advisory. On April 07, after hearing from the authorities again, I will reassess the situation. This way I both follow the Massachusetts recommendations on physical distancing and protect myself and my customers from inadvertent exposure.

I’m very lucky to be able to do this, and I realize others may not be. Husband and I have, accordingly, spent a bit more than usual in our local food joints when getting takeout and placed mail orders online. (The latter I hesitate to do much, however, to reduce the risk to postal workers and other transportation employees.)

Speaking of risk groups, we have also checked that our elderly immunocompromised neighbor has people to check on him, but are keeping an eye out, too, just in case. (Everything is, thankfully, fine.)

I am noticing more stress than usual, but I wouldn’t really say I feel stressed out; that feels somehow too big a statement. At the same time, I’m having a really hard time working, so I’m allowing myself to hang out on social media more than usual and not beating myself over not being as productive as on a normal day.

Thankfully, observing physical distancing doesn’t stop us from socializing online or over the phone. Connecting with my family in Europe has helped so much; even us introverts are social animals. 🙂

Overall, March continued the mild weather we inherited from February. There was very little snow, mostly in the beginning. On the last week of the month, we were even treated to the first turkey tom mating display of the season, a little ahead of the usual like so many other things this spring.

First Rose Leafbuds

Very typically of this winter and spring, too, and funnily just after posting on the blog about signs of spring, snow happened. We got about an inch, but it didn’t last beyond three days. Since then, just about all the leaves are about to come out, and the first flowers have!

First Coltsfoot 2020

First Tiny Wild Flowers

At the moment I’m concentrating on home projects, physical activity that allows me to keep a safe distance from others, planning, and activities that support my mental health. I’m especially heartened by how people are pulling together, organizing help, supporting each other, volunteering, donating. And, of course, by cute animal videos! Here’s one of my current favorites:

Harlequin Baby Bunnies Days 1-25 by Emma Grey on YouTube

Stay safe. ❤

P.S. Please, for the sake of everything that’s holy, treat others like you would like yourself to be treated – kindly. Including Asians!

Signs of Spring

After Hours, My Spaces

Apart from the ladybugs, which have come out early (and in droves!) this spring, there are other, earlier-than-normal signs that spring is on the way.

Ladybug Convention

Our roses are putting out their first leaf buds…

First Rose Leafbuds

…the bulb greens are peeking out from the ground…

Signs of Spring Bulb Greens

…plus, occasionally, we even see moths:

Signs of Spring Moth

And just yesterday afternoon we were treated to the first turkey tom mating display of the season. Can’t deny that’s a sign of spring!

Quilling Artist Sena Runa: Update

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers

I’ve shared quilling artis Sena Runa’s work before, but that was five years ago. (Yikes! Where does time go?) It’s high time to do an update.

Since I last posted, Runa has moved to Lisbon, Portugal. She also published a book, Quilling Art, and a second one, Quilling: 20 Beautiful Designs, will be out this summer. Congrats on both!

Like before, I’m only posting three of my favorites, but Runa is so productive it really is difficult to pick only from among her recent work.

World map (selection):

Facebook Sena Runa World Map

Sena Runa: World Map

Tardis – naturally, bigger on the inside!

Etsy Sena Runa Tardis

Sena Runa: Tardis

Welsh Dragon:

Instagram Sena Runa Welsh Dragon

Sena Runa: Welsh Dragon

Which one’s your favorite? I think I prefer the Tardis. 🙂

See her Instagram and Facebook accounts or Etsy shop for more!

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

March 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Here are some of my reads for the month:

Reading Pile March 2020

From top to bottom: Megan O’Keefe’s Steal the Sky, then The Impossible Contract by K.A. Doore, and the non-fiction work Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Aleksievich (which is amazing!). Back to fiction with The New Voices of Science Fiction edited by Hannu Rajaniemi and Jacob Weisman and, finally, Mazes of Power by Juliette Wade.

Have you read something especially fun or rewarding lately?

Letter Tiles Make a DIY Floor Better

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

While browsing my inspiration binders for solutions for another problem, I rediscovered this nifty floor treatment from ReadyMade magazine June/July 2010:

ReadyMade June-July 2010 p88

Robin Reimer; photo by Kritsada Panichgul. ReadyMade magazine, June-July 2010, p. 88

As a word nerd, I especially appreciate repurposing letter tiles for this project (likely from Scrabble). Right outside an exterior door may not be the best place for wood tiles, though, but I suppose thorough finishing would take care of that.

The only problem if I were doing this kind of a project might be the urge to arrange specific words here and there and getting carried away with it! LOL! 🙂 😀

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

New to Me: Happy Plant Pots by Abby Ozaltug of CeramicSense

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers

Canadian potter Abby Ozaltug makes such happy little plant pots you cannot help but smile! Below are two of my favorites.

5AM:

Etsy CeramicSense Abby Ozaltug 5AM

Abby Ozaltug at CeramicSense on Etsy

Bella:

Etsy CeramicSense Abby Ozaltug Bella

Abby Ozaltug at CeramicSense on Etsy

Bella really reminds me of cute British sheep! 🙂

Plant pots aren’t Ozaltug’s only specialty: she also makes figurines, ornaments, wall art objects, wind chimes and various dishes for organizing your life.

Visit CeramicSense on Etsy or Instagram for more of her playful ceramics.

Found via Colossal.

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

Ombre Dip-Dye Effect on Storage Baskets

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Ahh, I simply love the ombre rainbow-ish effect on storage baskets by Kara Whitten at Kailo Chic!

It’s apparently made with liquid fabric dye, but I guess you could achieve a similar look with paints and a brush.

Kara Whitten at Kailo Chic

I have two larger baskets that could use a refresher, and Kara’s project has finally given me inspiration to jump into it! It’ll be different, though, for instead of a fabric embellishment, my baskets have pebble inserts. I’ll share the results when I’ve finished; it’ll soon be warm enough to paint on the back deck.

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

February 2020 Recap

Newsletters

If there’s one thing I’d rather NOT recap, it’s being sick. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened this February: the whole first half of the month was cough-y and achy. And I was tired; so tired.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I’m so glad flu shots exist, for this bug was hard enough without having to deal with the full force of a nasty virus.

Despite being wiped out, I was able to return my first tax document of the season. It was a week later than planned, but still very much on time, thank goodness! (And this is exactly why I prefer to start on my paperwork ridiculously early!)

Tax Time Prep

The two-week flu pretty much threw everything off sync. I’d just caught up when I got sick again after Hubby (who was also sick) was well enough to go back to work. Understandably, my sewing was almost non-existent, just a little mending for myself. I certainly wouldn’t want to inadvertently mail this virus (these viruses?) off to anyone else along with my products.

I was able to watch several new-to-me series and movies while sick, so that was a plus. One definitely worth recommending is the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. Excellent, excellent acting, writing and filming; such high stakes and drama almost entirely without guns or violence, and certainly completely without the disgustingly thoughtless gunplay so prevalent on U.S. television.

On the wild life front, we had a fox visit our yard one day. We’ve seen one now and then over the years, but always from further away and only in passing. This time, though, Mr. Foxy took a couple of laps around the house, stayed right outside our kitchen window to enjoy a scratch under its chin, then loped off across the road to visit the neighbors.

Grey Fox Visiting

It was fascinating!

We’ve also had turkey visitors come round the latter half of the month.

Two Turkeys Visiting

These two were a part of a flock of three. The next day we had twelve(!) and the day after that six or so. They’ve clearly been somewhere else for the early winter. I wonder whether we’ll be seeing more of them from now on?

Among my minor home organizing projects, I inserted tension rods vertically inside one of our narrow lower kitchen cabinets to make slots for the big cutting board, the baking sheets and the splatter screen et al. not in the picture).

Tension Rod Cabinet Organizer

It’s so fantastic not to have them fall around the cabinet anymore. 🙂

I really hope you have been well this February!