Some February 2019 Reads

Books & Mags

My February reading has been all over the place. Just look at this representative selection:

Reading Pile February 2019

From left to right: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell, Rogue Protocol plus Exit Strategy – the latest two in the Murderbot Diaries series – by Martha Wells and, finally, Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett.

In my youth, I read a lot of what was then called girl lit (or tyttökirja in my native Finnish). I’ve never read some of the classics in their original English, though, so I gave Little Women a shot. I have to say the young me missed so many of the nuances!

A Study in Honor, however, was the most refreshing take on the Sherlock Holmes & Doctor Watson duo I’ve come across. It was at times hard (and at times boring) to read about Watson’s PTSD, but once I started thinking of that part as formation of personality (like coming-of-age stories) it made more sense to me. Also, I LOVED how many women were present both in the fore- and background! It took me a while to get to book 1, but I liked it so much that the sequel, The Hound of Justice, will go directly to the top of my to-be-read pile.

And I just adore Murderbot! (Don’t let the name fool you!)

Anything you’ve especially liked recently? Do share!

Online Finds: Pixel-Style Heart Scarf Pattern

Arts & Crafts

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s a crochet pattern by Tonya Bush, filled with hearts (as fits the date): a scarf made entirely with corner to corner stitches.

Nanas Crafty Home Tonya Bush Heart Scarf

Tonya Bush at Nana’s Crafty Home.

Reminds me of the pixel graphics of the computer games in my youth. In a completely warm and nostalgic way, of course! 🙂 I personally find heart shapes a little difficult to make with pixels (or quilting, knitting, crocheting, what have you) but Tonya’s are perfect. Plus, I love the shade of grey she chose.

Visit Nana’s Crafty Home for the pattern (free, with ads) or buy an ad-free version on Ravelry.

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

Round Sofa Pillows in a Rainbow Continuum

Colors, Inspiration

Browsing through one of my favorite sites, I found this eye-catching arrangement of round velvet pillows on a sofa:

DSponge Natasha Webb Round Rainbow Pillows

Natasha Webb via design*sponge.

It’s from the 1983 home of Natasha Webb and her husband Anthony. Not quite a rainbow, but perhaps rainbow-adjacent. 🙂 Love the colors, too! The huge tassels are also incredible. Speaking of tassels, the article has more photos, including a bedspread with similar large tassels. Visit design*sponge for more.

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

Past Me Made Current Me Laugh – Again

Behind the Scenes

Past me made current me laugh with this random note:

Random Note to Self

“Who’s scruffy-looking!?”

I found it in old paperwork last year when I was reorganizing my tax papers. (I guess I was feeling frustrated and disheveled after checking and re-checking numbers for a long time.) This year, I found the photo I uploaded to Flickr and made myself laugh again! 😀

Past Weekend’s Theme Song: Ode to Joy by Beaker

Behind the Scenes, Stunt Double

The past weekend wasn’t the best for me. In fact, it was a bit like the Muppets version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” performed by Beaker:

Ode To Joy | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets on YouTube

Just to give one example, on Sunday (my dedicated social media day), my brain refused to brain blog work. Tumblr I was able to do, but blogging was like drinking tar. (Something being like drinking tar is an expression from my native Finnish.)

Ohwell. At least the funny Muppet video made me smile – and, after all, I got a blog post out of it, too. 🙂

P.S. Happy Lunar New Year!

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

January 2019 Recap

Ahem Ahem!

One of the new things I started at the beginning of 2018 is a month-end recap, a sort of newsletter light. Now I’ve completed the cycle with the first recap for 2019. Yay! 🙂

Speaking of cycles, tax time is rolling around again. I’ve been bogged down with tax prep more than usual at this time of the year.

2018 Jan Tax Work

Unfortunately, Etsy changed the way they bill and pay their sellers at the end of last year. The new system has had some glitches which have increased my bookkeeping workload significantly. I can’t wait to be done with the 2018 number crunching and get onto the tax forms themselves because it’ll feel so much easier – something I never, ever, thought I’d say!

Just past mid-January there was a snowstorm, the first snowfall for the year. Then a front of warm weather with rain pushed through and melted almost all of the snow. It was very pretty for all of four days!

One night right after the snow, we had someone scamper across our yard.

Tracks on Snow from Above

There’s a funny gap in the tracks (in the middle of the photo), though, which makes me wonder whether it might be a sign of a fox jumping to try and catch a critter under the snow. Like in the gif below (but probably much less showy).

Giphy BBC Earth Fox Jump

BBC Earth, via Giphy.

I had a small but very satisfying reading pile this month:

Library Reading Pile Jan 2019

From left to right, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by my favorite living author Nora Jemisin, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming. I also read Ariah by R.B. Sanders and Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang. I’m looking forward to the last two Murderbot novellas, too, which I got as Christmas present. Yay, so many great reads!

On the screen, Husband and I were introduced to the tv series Modern Family by a friend. It’s a mocumentary of three generations of a Californian family. We’re bingeing through the seasons and have gotten up to seven, and are still enjoying it.

My goodness, I never would’ve thought that I’d find a mainstream (i.e., non-genre) family drama interesting, but I do. 🙂 Shows you what production values can do – specificially in this case, attention to quality character-writing and episode structure.

Now that I’ve written a full year’s worth of recap posts, it’s time to reassess. Even though it felt difficult at times, I certainly learned a lot and found that I do like an end-of-the-month look back.

I’m inclined to continue these newsletters, but I might dink around with the topics or proportions. Would you like to read more about something or maybe less about something else? Please let me know!

New to Me: The Tempestry Project Knits Climate Data into Textiles

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Geek out!, Stunt Double, This Is Important

Justin and Marissa Connelly co-founded the Tempestry Project with Emily McNeil to save temperature data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Their twist: depicting the data not numerically but as colorful knits.

Etsy Tempestry Project Yarn Medford MA

Tempestry Project on Etsy.

Emily McNeil describes the project:

“One of the ongoing problems inherent in discussions about climate change is the vast scale of the conversation. The Tempestry Project’s goal is to scale this down into something tangible, relatable, accurate, and beautiful.

“The Tempestry Project blends fiber art with temperature data to create a bridge between global climate and our own personal experiences through knitted or crocheted temperature tapestries, or ‘Tempestries.’ Each Tempestry represents the daily high temperature for a given year and location, all using the same yarn colors and temperature ranges.”

 

Etsy Tempestry Project Deception Pass WA

25 years of daily temperature for Deception Pass, WA, ranging from 1948 (top left) to 2016 (bottom right). Tempestry Project on Etsy.

What a great idea – I love the color ranges as pure visuals for one, but it’s also a fascinating way to turn numbers into a tangible item. Not to mention that I love knits!

Now I’m starting to wonder whether we night have similar data for Finland – I might want to make one for the city of my birth then and now.

Visit the Tempestry Project on their website, on Ravelry and on Etsy.

Found via Mary Anne Mohanraj on Twitter.

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

Increase in USPS Rates

Ahem Ahem!

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, the USPS shipping rates increase will take effect. As I ship with First Class mail through the post office, the shipping and handling costs for my Etsy shop are also affected.

USA Forever Stamps in a Roll

New this year is that the First-Class Package Service will move to zone-based pricing. However, like before, Etsy will automatically calculate the cheapest shipping option a seller is offering.

When viewing an item, buyers can enter their country or a U.S. ZIP code on the Shipping & Policies tab to show shipping costs.

Etsy Shipping Cost Screencap

My shipping fees will also continue to include the postage itself and a handling fee (= packing materials, paper and ink).

If you have any questions, please contact me either here or through Playfully Grownup Home at Etsy.

Happy weekend!

Reading N.K. Jemisin in honor of Martin Luther King Day

Books & Mags, This Is Important, Thumbs Up

Today the U.S. celebrates the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of the day, in support of people of color and in protest of the appalling inequality POC continue to experience in the U.S., I’m reading my favorite (living) author, Nora Jemisin.

Current Reading How Long Til Black Future Month

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? is a collection of short fiction from 2004 onwards and her latest book-length publication. I’m not sure whether she’d describe herself as an #ownvoices author. Whatever the case, her fiction continues to entertain, fascinate, and awe on so many levels.

I’m normally not a great friend of short stories (I prefer novels), but this collection is incredible. Not just her writing is beautiful and technically superb; she continues to open my eyes about the world, give me new ideas and hold me in thrall in equal measure.

Jemisin is also the first writer ever to have won the Hugo Award three years in a row, for all the individual installments of her recent Broken Earth trilogy. (The mere thought of it still gives me chills!) No wonder S.E. Fleenor in an article at SyfyWire listed Jemisin as one the most influential women in genre for 2018.

How are you spending your MLK Day?

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