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! ❤

Nerdy Pencils Confirm that Brains Are Always in Fashion

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These nerdy pencils made me laugh, starting with “Brains are the new black”!

Etsy NewtonAndTheApple Geeky Pencils

NewtonAndTheApple on Etsy

The pencils come with a catchphrase, each on its own color ranging from black via blues to white:

  • “Brains are the new black”
  • “Dare to be square”
  • “Endeavour to be clever”
  • “Nerd is the word”
  • “It’s chic to be geek”

LOL! 😀 From NewtonAndTheApple on Etsy.

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

Random Beauty: Firefall at Yosemite

Random Beauty, Thumbs Up

Each February, if conditions allow the seasonal Horsetail waterfall in Yosemite National Park in California to flow, the waterfall appears to be set ablaze by the setting sun. And it’s simply breathtaking!

Flickr Jay Huang Firefall Yosemite National Park

Jay Huang via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The event is known as the firefall (apparently as homage to Yosemite Firefall). This photo was posted by Jay Huang on Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Thank you for sharing, Jay!

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

This Is Important, Thumbs Up

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Flickr Quinn Dombrowski Indigenous Peoples Day

Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Columbus Day is increasingly celebrated as the Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the U.S.; for me that’s going to be the case from now on. Furthermore, I’m going to be following, listening and reading more indigenous creatives throughout the year and not just on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

As a Finn, I don’t have any skin in the North-American (or, indeed, Anglo-American) colonization-based racism blame game. (We have our very own problems, thankyouverymuch, and need to do better.)

However, as a citizen of a small nation surrounded by larger ones whose cultures and languages have seemed poised to swallow ours for centuries, I feel enormous compassion towards any groups who have to struggle to retain their identity and who are underrepresented in public discussion or government.

Differences rock, y’all. Our differences are why humanity has come this far as a species. Differences are essential to a vital future.

So, again: Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

The Blog Is Back!

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Hello again, all! What a summer it was here; how was yours?

As it seems now – I’m cautiously hoping! – that this blog’s stalker-follower is gone, I’m going to start blogging again.

Flickr Rosmarie Voegtli Writing Cropped

Rosmarie Voegtli via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

It was a very strange, very stressful situation, as I’m sure anyone who has had to deal with prolonged uncertainty can guess.

How will I go forward from here? I confess that I’m not entirely sure. I’d like to keep more or less the same blogging schedule as before: two posts a week, Mondays and Thursdays, with an odd post here and there when I feel like it, and no posting on selected holiday or vacation days.

However, an entirely unexpected, unrelated, huge project came my way in July, and I’ve been very busy with it since. I’m hoping it won’t influence my blogging, but we’ll see.

If you have thoughts about what you’d like to hear or how often, please let me know!

It’s nice to be back. 🙂

Cake Toppers That Look Like Flowers, Embroidery, Geodes and More

Design & Designers, Food & Drink, Thumbs Up

My Modern Met shared some amazing buttercream cake toppers in an article. They are the work of Leslie Vigil, California-based artist and cake maker. And they are. So. Beautiful! All of them!

Among the most interesting to me were these three toppers that include embroidery-like elements:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Cake Collage Embroidery

Leslie Vigil on Instagram; collage by Eppu Jensen.

Her geode cakes would make great treats for theme parties for N.K. Jemisin The Broken Earth trilogy:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Cake Collage Geodes

Leslie Vigil on Instagram; collage by Eppu Jensen.

There are also a few explicitly geeky ones, like this Groot cake:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Groot

Leslie Vigil on Instagram.

Visit the My Modern Met article and Vigil’s Instagram for more – there are so many designs to love! Almost makes me wish I were in California, too. Then again, I’m sure my doctor would be much happier if I were to stay away, far away, from cakes. 🙂

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today on Tumblr.

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

A New Emma Production Is Filming

Books & Mags, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Great news for Janeites! Just after I blogged about the casting for Sanditon series penned by Andrew Davies, I found out that we’re about to get a new screen version of Emma!

Instagram Autumn de Wilde Emma Day1

Autumn de Wilde on Instagram.

It’s written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde. Neither name is familiar to me, but I do recognize a few names from the cast list released thus far: Bill Nighy plays Mr. Woodhouse and Miranda Hart Miss Bates – if her previous performances are anything to judge by, she’ll be brilliant! Anya Taylor-Joy heads the film as Emma; I have seen her in an episode of Endeavour, apparently, but unfortunately I don’t remember her.

The director-writer team sound new in the field: Emma is de Wilde’s first feature-long project (she’s previously worked as a photographer as well as music video and commercial director), and Catton has only written one miniseries before (based on her novel The Luminaries which won the Man Booker Prize in 2013; she’s the youngest author to win the literary award). That should guarantee a fresh take on the classic!

IMDB lists the movie as filming at this time, and MSN reports that release is expected in 2020.

I can’t wait – the world can never have too much of Jane Austen on screen if you ask me! 🙂

P.S.: Just FYI: this is not an April fool’s joke.

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

Congrats: Black Panther Wins Three Oscars!

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Black Panther won three Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday!

Ruth Carter – so, so deservedly! – won the Achievement in Costume Design, Sweden’s Ludwig Göransson won the Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score), and the Achievement in Production Design went to Hannah Beachler (Production Design) and Jay Hart (Set Decoration).

Instagram The Academy Ruth Carter w Oscar 2019

Ruth Carter with her Oscar. The Academy on Instagram.

My warmest congratulations to all the BP winners! Keep on busting down that glass ceiling!

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

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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.