September 2018 Recap

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Apparently I want to open each month’s recap with β€œI can’t believe how fast this month has flown by” but even so, September really has gone fast.

For banned books week this year, I read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Current Reading The Hate U Give

This month’s other reads were thought-provoking and absorbing, too.

I made a canvas hanger cover prototype. Choosing the fabric took a little doing – I initially wanted a tightly woven medium-weight cotton, but most that I got my hands on were a little transparent. A cotton duck to the rescue, then.

Canvas Hanger Cover HC015a

The placemat prototypes I started in February and finished earlier this summer are in use, being tested. (And I finally remembered to upload the photos!) Some of the details work, but others don’t, so at least as is they cannot be produced. (Yet.)

Quilting Both1 Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

The weather in the beginning of the month was very summery still, including some extremely muggy days. Approaching the end, we got fall temps with plenty of rain – very welcome both. I was worried for the water table during the dry summer months.

Husband and I carved time for a mini-getaway to visit the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As I grew up on a flood plain (VERY flat!) I found the mountains absolutely ah-mazing!

Mt Willard Crawford Notch Valley

On the gaming front, we broke in a new-to-us board game, Pandemic. It’s a collaborative game where players race against time to cure and, if possible, eradicate four diseases. It can be very unforgiving if the luck of the draw is against you, but a lot of fun!

Pandemic Breaking Out New Boardgame

We played WoW, too (although not quite as often as I would’ve liked), and got our first characters leveled to 120. Yay! πŸ™‚ I’m leveling a human first for strategic reasons (gaining rep faster for allied races).

I also broke out some tastes of home: tar-flavored liquorice candy.

Tervaleijona

Now we’re enjoying seasonal weather and starting to plan the end of the year in detail. I can’t believe it’s almost October!

August 2018 Recap

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With August, the work year returns to normal for those of us with connections to schools and the academia. As usual, there was a flurry of activity.

Printing More Thank You Cards

To top it off, Husband and I did some home improvement projects, so my sewing time was extremely limited. I did manage to sew some headbands for myself and as gifts.

First Try Headbands

I used Cat’s tutorial as a starting point, and made a few alterations. Luckily I had large enough Marimekko unikko (poppy) fabric pieces to kill two birds with one stone: reduce my remnants pile and make gifts. Two of them are scarf-style which I figured out myself, only to discover patterns online. Ohwell. πŸ™‚

In addition, the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, was released. I took my druid out first.

WoW BfA Heart of Azeroth Aug 2018

Juggling everything on my schedue AND adding new gaming content, even if I couldn’t play as much as I would’ve wanted to, meant I barely had time or the brain power to read. (Apparently I tend to put all of my media consumption, regardless of the shape the media comes in, into the same time slot. Hm. I’ll have to consider changing the tendency.)

Provenance by Ann Leckie turned out the most enjoyable: family, inheritance, culture and politics with a little action sprinkled in. I’m so looking forward to September; things should calm down and I hope to get more time to read again.

Did you read or watch anything worth recommending?

July 2018 Recap

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Traffic at my Etsy shop typically slows down almost to a halt in the summer months. This year was no exception.

Beach Feet Up

Rather than putting my feet up, though, it it allows me to do more time-consuming tasks like brainstorming and planning. I can also spend time experimenting with techniques and ideas plus make prototypes, or concentrate on home projects.

For example, I got back to the pieced placemat prototypes I started in February and worked on in March. I was a little too optimistic then; instead of being able to finish them, I got bogged down by tax prep and sundry spring paperwork.

I’m still very pleased with the pouches I made to use up some canvas leftovers, though. πŸ™‚

Canvas Pouches Collage

On the personal side of life, we had Finnish and Canadian friends visit for a few days early in July. There was much rejoicing, and oh, so much good food. We celebrated Canada Day with HUGE lobsters!

Canada Day Dinner Jul 02 2018

It was incredibly warm and sunny – the raspberries ripened early.

I also started the very last of my Legion-related questing in WoW before Battle for Azeroth.

WoW Legion Silithus Warlock Crucibles Promise Jul 2018

I’m glad I took the time to play this month, for I have some scheduled busy waiting for me in August.

What’s your best July memory this year?

June 2018 Recap

After Hours, Newsletters

This month, I tested a bucket bag pattern to make two canvas pouches. They have a round bottom, which allows them to stand upright when empty.

Green and White Canvas Pouches Done

The canvas has a really great, understated floral pattern outlined in white. I added a coordinating green and white polka dot accent (a better view here). I just need to finish the documentation and take more pictures, then I can list them in the shop.

I use similar baggies to organize my socks, undies and bras when traveling, and find them very handy. These ended up really cute, even if I say so myself. πŸ™‚ I’m also finishing another, slightly taller pair from teal floral canvas.

Otherwise, I spent most of my sewing time adapting patterns and making clothes for myself. Last year, I made a bunch of tops mostly out of linen…

Top Pattern Fabric Cut

Clothing for Myself Tops 2017

I already picked apart the grey top’s neckline to re-do. πŸ™‚

So, this year, to go with the tops, I adjusted a pajama pants pattern into two (day) shorts variants, one without and the other with a side seam.

Apart from creating a pattern that fits me well, it was great to use some of my leftover fabric with the first few test pairs. Some were highly experimental, others used up bits and pieces that by themselves were too small to make anything. At times I had to be very creative to make a whole pair of shorts!

Then I wanted to add pockets to the shorts without a side seam. That lead to more experiments…

Experimental Pocket Done

I may have gone a little overboard – I now have five new pairs of shorts! Also, I want to make a pattern for a pantskirt (with pockets, naturally) and add pockets to a dress pattern I like. Good grief, I may have unleashed a pocket monster! πŸ˜€

Speaking of pantskirts – is that the English word commonly used? The Finnish term I grew up with is the same word for word (housuhame). I did also find the translation ‘coulottes’, but I don’t have a good enough of a grasp of that or pantskirt. Coulottes does ping my medieval or Renaissance-era brain, but that may just be the ex-SCAdian in me talking.

As usual, I took a few days off to enjoy the midsummer, and it was glorious. For one, wild roses in our neighborhood were absolutely loaded with blossoms this year.

White Roses Blooming

The only interference came from the trees:

Washed-out Pollen

A-choo!

On the other hand, blossoming allergies meant I had a great excuse to stay inside and play more WoW. πŸ™‚ I set the game aside last month, but now I wanted to get back to mop up last quests and achievements before the Battle for Azeroth expansion is released in August.

WoW Legion Warlock Weapon Imbued Jun 2018

Both spring and summer were late this year, but we finally have pleasant summer weather. I hope it is enjoyable wherever you are!

May 2018 Recap

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Whoa, another month has come and gone. Here are some of my May highlights.

At the beginning of the month, I listed a bunch of heart banners in Playfully Grownup Home at Etsy.

Heart Banners Done

Otherwise my sewing time was spent adapting patterns and making clothes for myself. I’ll try to remember to post a pic in June.

Sewing Ideas for Myself

There was also quite a bit of bureaucretese to slog through, among them the new EU GDPR. Basically it doesn’t change any of my business practices since I don’t use or store any user information beyond what’s needed to operate my Etsy shop and this website, nor do I spam my customers or blog followers with newsletters. It did, however, give me the chance to put my practices into clear terms, which is a positive.

Spring in our corner of Massachusetts seemed very condensed this year, but beautiful nevertheless.

Wild White Violets

I’m looking forward to June!

April 2018 Recap

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I started the month with a bang by finishing my tax returns two weeks ahead of time. It was great to be done (especially since I discovered a mistake in a previous return and had to do extra work to correct it).

In fact, I was so overjoyed that I decided to run a sale for my shop. As one does. πŸ™‚

WX003b 2017-01

My work schedule was disrupted by multiple doctor’s appointments. I did, however, donate a heart banner in rainbow colors for the annual Con or Bust, Inc., auction.

Rainbow Banner on Door Frame

I also made similar heart banners to sell. I aim to list them on Etsy at the beginning of May, as soon as I finish calculating prices and documenting plus photographing them.

Spring this year has been a little shy. We got snow not only on April 15…

Apr 15 Snow

…but also on the 19th – good grief! This past week, the temperatures finally, finally seem to have risen to seasonal AND stayed there in our corner of Massachusetts.

We have a bunch of early wild flowers that blanket our lawn. Last year, the tiny, tiny white ones were all out before mid-April…

Tiny White Wild Flowers en Masse

…but this year we had to wait till well past mid-month. Phew! I’m so looking forward to many more warm days in May!

March 2018 Recap

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If February felt a warm and spring-y, March 2018 really came in like a lion: in the first half of the month, we had three major winter storms. There was widespread damage both from flooding and snow-laden trees crashing down all over New England. It was very pretty, though:

A March Snowstorm After

Husband and I got off easy, all in all – apart from copious snow-shoveling, our immediate area didn’t suffer badly. The only blackout in our neighborhood lasted less than 24 hours, and damage on our street was limited to one downed wire (with no street plowing, however, because the truck couldn’t get past it). Plus some fallen trees in the woods, but that’s normal.

In connection with the International Women’s Day, I discovered letterer, illustrator and designerd Risa Rodil. My tinkerer heart absolutely beats for this poster of Shuri from the movie Black Panther:

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster Shuri Improved

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

β€œJust because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”

Speaking of hearts, I’ve been making prototypes of small heart ornaments. So far I’ve only made singletons, but I’m hoping to find a handy way to string them up as a banner.

Prototype Hearts Hung up

I was really exited about our spring break trip to visit family in Virginia. For a while I was worried we might not be able to make it – our flight left the morning after one of the major snowstorms. Luckily, the airport was running more or less normally by then. (The crews must’ve pulled an all-nighter – thank you!) It was fantastic to be able to enjoy the warmer weather plus first leaf buds and blossoms in the valleys.

VA March Break Crocus

Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains nature was, understandably, not as far along, but the views were still very beautiful. We happened to visit on a clear, bright, sunny day – the vista went on and on!

VA Blue Ridge Mountains1

And while stopping for lunch in Charlottesville, I saw this sticker on a post near the Downtown Mall:

Charlottesville VA Sticker on Post

β€œWarning! Fascism free zone.

β€œThis is a no go area for all fascists, racists, sexists and homophobes.

β€œYou have been warned!”

It wasn’t even the only anti-bigotry expression we saw. Clearly the city was deeply affected by the death of Heather Heyer in August 2017.

Instead of designing and sewing, most of my mental capacity this month has been derailed into dealing with taxes. I belatedly found an error in my 2016 return, and had of course to check all previous ones to see whether it tracked further than that. The end is in sight, though – almost done with the amendment and the 2017 return!

February 2018 Recap

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This month started with finalizing and submitting the first tax-related return of the year. And there was much rejoicing!

And there was much rejoicing (yaaaaaaaay) – Monty Python & the Holy Grail via Malarsk on YouTube

I also had the (ahem) joy of hanging on the phone with my bank to try and solve a month-long issue. Fortunately their team did eventually solve the mystery glitch. I am so thankful – YAAAAY for tech support!

I’ve been working on small piecing / quilting prototypes (think placemats or table cloths) made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Unfortunately, a third type of paperwork issue slowed me down – I haven’t been able to proceed as fast as I’d like. That’s part of the creative life, though.

We only had two significant snowfalls in February. The morning after the first one, the yard looked like cotton batting or wadding. (Boy, I do indeed have a quilting brain on!)

Latest Snowfall Looks Lumpy

While sewing, I’ve been enjoying vocal folk hop by Tuuletar in my native Finnish. Blog posts on the group here and here.

Tuuletar Debut Album Tules maas vedes taivaal

And we saw Black Panther, and it was glorious!

January 2018 Recap

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This year, one of the new things I’m trying is a month-end recap for my activities. It’s not meant as a newsletter as such, but maybe a newsletter light. I aim to list some of the highlights for each month with plenty of photos, as mine is a visual job. πŸ™‚

Here are the more significant things from January 2018.

Preparing my tax returns is always an involved process, so I start as early as possible in the beginning of January.

Inventorying Green Fabrics

As part of tax prep, I check my inventory. That is a year-end task that takes quite a bit of effort, energy and elbow grease. On the other hand, every time I go through my stash I’m reminded of a fabulous fabric or another and get inspired.

I also need to submit documentation for assigning property taxes for my business. This is the first tax-related return of the year.

2018 Jan Tax Work

Work was slowed down by snow storms in late December and early January. The 2018 winter storm Grayson brought some 13″-15″ / 33-38 cm of snow for us. And this on top of the first two snowfalls of the season, about 10″ / 25 cm total, that didn’t have time to melt.

2017 Dec End After Snowfall

I was afraid we’d end up with snow up to our nostrils (like a few winters ago). Fortunately it doesn’t look likely anymore, although February might yet surprise us.

I also got a Jane Austen 10 GBP note of my own! Fansquee!

And, heartbreakingly, while I was reading her Tales from Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin passed.

Current Reading Tales from Earthsea

Her passing was such a bittersweet moment, bitter because she won’t be producing any more work. However, the many tributes serve to remind us of her intellect, inner fire and vision. I’m most fond of Le Guin’s Earthsea stories, some of which I’ve read and re-read in Finnish and in English over the years. I’ve only managed one of her science fiction books so far, though. Time to rectify that.