May 2020 Recap

Ahem Ahem!, Newsletters, Thumbs Up

At the end of the month, Massachusetts moved into the first stage of gradual opening. Accordingly, I’m happy to announce that Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy is open!

2019 Nov Dec Green Blue Collage

Please note: Due to the difficulties and delays in shipping internationally, at this point I will only deliver orders to the USA.

(I’m very sorry to have to do this, but as long as it’s impossible to tell how long shipping will take – or whether an order is going to reach its destination at all! – I can’t in good conscience inflict that kind of stress on my customers.)

From May 25, the first non-essential businesses were allowed to open, as long as certain precautions were in place. I have to say that, of all the business-related paperwork I ever expected to have to fill out, this wasn’t on the list: Massachusetts state Covid-19 Control Plan template form.

Covid-19 Control Plan Form

Fortunately for me, since I operate a one-person microbusiness, the procedures were really easy. I did write an outline of how I work during the covid-19 pandemic. If you’re so inclined, please have a look and let me know if you have any concerns.

Also during May, the Massachusetts confirmed cases finally, FINALLY, leveled! It took about 2 months, a month later than originally predicted. The hospitalizations graph had been trending down for longer than that, though. We’re not out of it yet, but I’m so happy and relieved we’re seeing definite signs of improvement!

The mild symptoms I mentioned in the April recap are unfortunately still with me, plus my eyes have started to itch. As far as I can tell this means they’re allergy- or asthma-based, so I’m not too worried, only inconvenienced. Other people are also reporting a bad allergy year, so it’s not just our neck of the continent.

May is also when the nature here absolutely, definitively moved on to spring: we’ve seen so many critters and birds come out to enjoy the sun, including this wild bunny hiding amongst tall grass:

Bunny Hiding in Tall Grass

We’ve puttered around the garden since it warmed up and finished some long-running outdoor projects. (And mowed for the first time.) My latest one is trying to transplant some wild violets into what I hope will become a natural bed by the backyard flagstone landing.

Violets Transplanted

I love our violets. You can’t really see it in this photo, but there are both white and purple ones. They’ve been especially welcome this spring, as are the other flowers. The best thing about them, though, is that the violets came along for a ride with some raspberry canes we got from Husband’s grandmother, who is no longer with us.

Foodwise, we’re managing with 2-week grocery runs, although at times it means ex tempore solutions and trial and error. Husband experimented with store-bought puff pastry and unsweetened apple sauce. Voila – an apple puff pastry loaf with pearl sugar on top.

Apple Puff Pastry Loaf

It was as delicious as it looks – instead of just sugar, you could taste the ingredients. This will be a keeper.

Stay safe. I know it’s more difficult now, 2 months into our new covid-19 world. My urge to go out to eat, go see a movie or visit the library like in the Before Times comes and goes. Mostly I’m okay being at home. I’m missing the ease of getting physical media from the library most of all. Maybe soon! ❤

Don’t Panic Mirror Decal for Towel Day

Design & Designers, Geek out!

This year, here in the U.S. Towel Day or May 25 is also Memorial Day (which is always the last Monday in May).

As the unofficial start of summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to do something geeky and vacationy.

Made of Sundays Dont Panic Mirror Decal

Made of Sundays

We’re as of yet undecided – quite understandably – of what exactly we’d like to do. But just like the peeps in Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, we won’t panic while exploring our options. 🙂

(The mirror decal photo is by Made of Sundays – visit their site for more!)

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

Square Sofa Pillows in a Loose Rainbow Continuum

Colors, Inspiration

Do you remember the eye-catching arrangement of round velvet pillows on a sofa I blogged about earlier? Here’s an almost identical one, but with the more typical square pillows:

DSponge Kate Pearce Green Sofa w Rainbow Pillows1

Kate Pearce via design*sponge

DSponge Kate Pearce Green Sofa w Rainbow Pillows2

Kate Pearce via design*sponge

From the home of Kate Pearce and her husband Billy in New York state, featured at design*sponge.

Remarkably, like the previous arrangement I shared, these pillows are also made from velvet. One of them is also embellished with huge tassels – I’m not sure it’s needed since the whole is so striking, but they do draw the eye further in. And isn’t that dark green velvet sofa scrumptious?! Yum! 🙂

Visit design*sponge for more photos. Make sure to see the sunroom floral rug – another gorgeous choice!

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

May 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

I’ve wanted to order more books for a good long while, so two weeks ago I finally did. And while waiting for the shipments delayed by the coronavirus situation, I’ve been re-reading some books from my own shelves.

Reading Pile May 2020

My new books are on the top of the pile: Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun, and Network Effect by Martha Wells. The re-reads are both by Genevieve Valentine: Persona and Icon.

I’ve also already re-read Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. It’s my favorite among her work, and a great comfort read!

Anything you’d recommend? Please let me know – I’d be especially interested in hearing what you like to read multiple times and why.

Online Finds: Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

Polokkarit is a 25-year-old folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. They recorded a polka performance that respects physical distancing recommendations.

(P.S. Beware of one blurred-out NSWF moment – I’m kinda flabbergasted that they left it in.)

Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine by Polokkarit Kansantanssiryhmä on YouTube

They tell a bit about their polka video on YouTube:

“At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of ‘Polka in Quarantine’, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.

“The whole production of ‘Polka in Quarantine’ was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 29 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, ‘Polka in Quarantine’ also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.”

Love it! It’s also nice to see glimpses of familiar places in the background.

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

Massachusetts Still Remains at Home

Ahem Ahem!, This Is Important

Last week it was announced that Massachusetts has extended the stay at home advisory and the closure of non-essential businesses until May 18, 2020. Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy will, therefore, also remain closed.

 

Heart Banner Pink HB005a

I confess there are days when I get really frustrated and annoyed. I want shops and businesses and services to open. I want to travel. I want to visit the library, go out to eat, see a movie with Husband, and I want to do it now!

The rational part of my brain knows that I’m just reacting to the uncertainty. This will pass. It’s just a matter of when, and of how many people will suffer as a consequence of our actions as a community. Massachusetts is currently working on a plan to ease restrictions; we should hear soon what is deemed safe for now.

I’m lucky enough that even though I have chronic conditions, they’re (typically) under control. Having them, however, and having family working in health care, makes it clear to me that those of us who are able to must take every protective measure we can for all our sakes, and especially for the sakes of those who are in the high risk group. So I stay at home, and keep physically distancing when out.

Stay safe. ❤

Happy Star Wars Day

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Stunt Double

This oldie but goodie is awesome not just on Star Wars Day: this observatory was painted to look like R2-D2.

Facebook Hochschule Kaiserslautern R2-D2 Observatory

Hochschule Kaiserslautern via Facebook

The paintjob is the work of Professor Hubert Zitt at the Zweibrücken campus of Hochschule Kaiserslautern (University of Applied Sciences), Germany. (For an article in English, see e.g. My Modern Met.) The observatory was transformed with a bit more than a lick of paint by the Professor, some students of his, his father-in-law and a professional painter.

I cannot imagine how long it must’ve taken them, but the results are great!

As an aside, my linguist brain was tickled to find that in Germany, it is customary in formal situations to address lecturers with their full titles. For example, years ago when I helped Husband with his research, he was called Herr Doktor Professor in his German correspondence. I just love the variety of language use! 🙂

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today.

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

April 2020 Recap

Newsletters

Still hanging in there? I hope the answer is yes!

Husband and I are still sheltering in place, for the Massachusetts stay at home advisory is still on; the next reassessment date is May 05, 2020.

April 10 marked a month from Massachusetts’ declaration of emergency, and covid-19 cases were predicted to peak around the 20. (I still haven’t seen statements whether they definitely did or not.) It has been exhausting, and I’ve slept more than usual. This past week my mood has settled, though, which tells me I’ve moved on to adaptation. I’ve even felt quite happy at times, which feels odd in the middle of a pandemic.

I continue to be thankful that we ended up in Massachusetts and that we found this fantastic house in the woods; having a lot with trees keeps me sane. Some people are ocean / lake folks; I’m a tree gal.

My concern is I’m currently having mild symptoms. I’ve spoken with my doctor, and got advice and info; I also know where to go for testing if the symptoms get any worse. For now, though, we hold.

Workwise, I’ve only been able to do the absolutely minimum Etsy paperwork. And blogging, that seems okay (not easy but okay), but I haven’t touched fabric in what feels like ages. It’s a really peculiar, feeling a block stopping you from doing a particular type of activity but not others, and I’m even able to partly look in from the outside and analyze my reaction. I haven’t solved the block yet, though.

Instead, I’ve switched to home projects to keep active and engage my mind. For example, Husband and I organized some of his bookshelves. Here’s a blue section…

Shelves in Blue

…and a study in scarlet:

Shelves in Red

Below is an example of a lovely, colorful bean mix that became very yummy baked beans.

Colorful Bean Mix

The weather has cooled down and is supposed to stay below typical till the end of April. We even had a mid-month, middle-of-the-day snow squall, and a few days after that we woke up to a white ground.

Apr 16 2020 Snow

You can’t quite say that we saw more snow during the first half of April than the whole of March, but it’s close. This seems to be the last of it, though, but there’s a lot of rain in the forecast. Bummer.

We’ve nevertheless been able to do yardwork and go for walks in our neighborhood when it’s nice. Puttering away in the yard reveals all sorts of details you don’t pay attention to in the winter. Like an old bird’s nest in a rose bush:

Old Birds Nest in Rose Bush

Our backyard friends are back, too. Here are two bunnies enjoying the new grass:

Backyard Bunnies Are Back

Trees are really starting to put out leaf buds, and spring flowers are finally out in force!

Apr 2020 Flowering Pear in Bloom

Our flowering pears are absolutely loaded with white blossoms. Ahh, I just love spring! 🙂

Stay safe. ❤

Awesome Solar System Throw Pillows

Design & Designers, Geek out!

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

ReadyMade August-September 2010 p32

Pillows by Heather Lins, photo by Cameron Sadeghpour. ReadyMade Aug-Sept 2010, p. 32

Solar system throw pillows by Heather Lins; photo by Cameron Sadeghpour for ReadyMade magazine Aug-Sept 2010.

I found this while browsing inspiration for a pillow project. This doesn’t quite do it for my present needs, but they’re awesome nevertheless.

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