November 2020 Recap

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Since starting to wrap up my business activities in October, my November has seen the end of them: I no longer have even a bank account in the name of Playfully Grownup Home. Just the tax return next spring, and then it’s all gone.

Speaking of all gone, I sent my overseas Christmas cards really, really early – and most of them have already arrived, too! Because I’ve been hearing that package deliveries are likely to be delayed this year, I made little handmade presents that can be mailed in an envelope, like these colorful heart bookmarks:

I’ve continued our home projects from this summer. Here’s a work-in-progress photo of one:

The two refinished bookcases are now waiting for the paint to cure, then we can refill them.

Fortunately November did have a number of warmer than average days, so I was able to paint more than I thought. For instance, I was able to finish doors for the china cabinet I did in October. As soon as the cabinet body and shelves cure – plus the doors, of course – we can reassemble it, too. That means we should have a functioning dining room again well before Christmas. Yay!

I had a couple of misses in my reading pile this month. Could be I was just in the wrong mood for the two books? Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories, however, were for some reason especially satisfying; I guess because she always gets the perp(s)?

And these new-to-me novels, T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Helen S. Wright’s A Matter of Oaths, were just delightful each in their own way.

Our resident chipmunks have clearly retired to their nests to hibernate; we haven’t seen any of them in a few weeks. Otherwise, Mother Nature did bless us with very colorful fall foliage:

I just love living in the woods. πŸ™‚

Towards the end of the month, the next World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands, was released. Husband and I’ve been playing it quite a bit in the evenings. We got our first pair to level 60 in less than a week – not too bad considering how busy we’ve been this fall.

WoW Shadowlands Maldraxxus NElf Sword Gained

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Keep a safe distance. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❀

Happy Halloween!

After Hours

Of course there’s a full moon on Halloween in 2020.

Sergey Kochkarev on Flickr

As much as I’d like to blow off steam and get a break from the stresses of life, I’m staying in this year. Instead of giving out candy as usual, we might leave a grab-it-yourself bowl out on the porch for trick-or-treaters, but that’s it.

Happy Halloween! Stay safe. ❀

October 2020 Recap

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Well, October 2020 was the month I shut down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy. Bittersweet? Oh yes! But it’s time to move on, and I still feel good about the decision overall.

I do have a number of backend tasks to finish, like inventorying so that I can take care of my tax obligations so that I can close my PGH bank account.

I’m well on the way, though, despite good weather that tempts me outdoors and/or to paint.

We seem to have a very colorful fall this year. I’m glad; it’s another little everyday thing to enjoy.

As I mentioned earlier, Husband and I started some furniture refinishing this summer, which is new to both of us, so we’re working slowly but steadily, doing research when needed. In hindsight I should’ve left whitewaxing (which I did in July, August and September as well as October) for the latter part of the year, since the wax is very, very low odor and easy to clean, so I could’ve done it more easily after the weather turned truly seasonal than paint projects.

Anyway, in addition to the smell and need to ventilate, the pieces we’re painting are more problematic to schedule, since we both need nice weather for our respective tasks (sanding out on the back deck and painting inside with the windows open). We’re making do, but the progress has been spotty, especially with the drying times between coats. The house looks like a huge mess, with piles of supplies and partially or fully painted shelves and other pieces drying in between coats or curing. Oy vey! But that’s what it is; at least we’re finally starting to see results from all of our hard work.

For example, refinishing this china cabinet is almost done.

After sanding, I applied 2 base coats of white (leftover wall paint; this photo is partially through the first coat) followed by 1.5 coats colonial blue chalk finish paint.

This is my first time using chalk finish paint, so we’ll see how it turns out. The directions say no sanding needed, but I can’t quite trust that, so we did. Plus, because of the very knotty pine, I wanted the two coats of white. If I were after a truly opaque finish, I would’ve painted on a third coat, but I actually quite like the slightly transparent effect. I only have the glass doors to paint, then wait for the paint to cure.

I’ve also done a little sewing (a table runner and a quilt repair) and translating, plus hung two black and white photo posters I had made from our Hadrian’s Wall vacation a number of years ago.

Gamingwise, since the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands prepatch dropped, I’ve re-mogged almost all of my toons. This is my current favorite: Blood Elf rogue.

Dealing with my chronic conditions has been a bit more challenging this month, but at least one of them seems finally to be settling down again. Also, fortunately, our home town covid-19 numbers have remained reasonably low even with cases on the rise around us.

I’ve felt a little better after both of us had a flu shot, partly because so many other people clearly are taking advatage of the vaccine even though it can only create partial immunity against SARS-CoV-2. We’re still staying home apart from necessary errands, and not planning on any holiday visits this year.

Speaking of errands, one day as Husband was taking care of business and I waited in the car, I happened to turn my head to see in the car next to us… a goggie nose at the window! A sleepy goggie nose at the window! A content, sleepy goggie nose at the window!

Awww! Little things like this keep me buoyed through the trash fire that is 2020. (It will pass, it will pass, it will pass…)

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Get a flu shot. Keep a safe distance. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❀

Announcement: Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy Is Closing

Ahem Ahem!

After a lot of thinking, I’ve come to a decision: I will close down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy on Wednesday October 14, 2020.

The absolute last day to order anything via Etsy is, therefore, Tuesday October 13, 2020!

On Tuesday October 13, 2020, I will turn the shop off at 9 p.m. EST.

2020 Oct PGH Collage

I’ll only turn my Etsy shop back on briefly on Wednesday the 14th to mark orders as sent through the Etsy interface, so that you can track your orders.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to be able to offer a going out of business sale of some kind, I cannot since Massachusetts regulations are too strict for me to comply with.

I will keep the Playfully Grownup social media accounts (Twitter and Tumblr) at least for a while and continue to blog here, but less often. I will likely also continue sharing photos on my Flickr account.

As sad it is to end something longstanding, I feel good about my decision, and am looking forward to new challenges.

September 2020 Recap

Ahem Ahem!, Newsletters

This month, in addition some smaller projects, I custom-made two new table runners, designed to be either used alone or layered with each other.

Two New Table Runners in Fall Colors

I’m in general not big on seasonal decor, but these I think are nicely fall-ish. Since the stripy runner has dark green, burgundy red and gold as well as brown and orange, it’s also usable at Christmas time – versatility is even better.

After a lot of thinking, I’ve come to a decision: I will close down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy on Wednesday October 14, 2020. You may remember that last month I was wrestling with the timing. It’s now decided, and, as sad it is to end something longstanding, I feel good about my decision.

The absolute last day to order anything via Etsy is, therefore, Tuesday October 13, 2020!

I will turn the shop off on Tuesday the 13th, at 9 p.m. EST, and only turn it back on briefly on Wednesday to mark orders as sent through the Etsy interface so you can track your orders.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to be able to offer a going out of business sale of some kind, I cannot since Massachusetts regulations are too strict for me to comply with.

I will keep the Playfully Grownup social media accounts (Twitter and Tumblr) at least for a while and continue to blog here, but less often. I will likely also continue sharing photos on my Flickr account.

At the home front, we’ve had a bit of a covid-19 scare. I developed mild symptoms during one weekend. Fortunately, I was able to get tested that same day and results the day after. (Negative!)

The downside to my corona scare was having to re-schedule both my dentist’s and flu shot appointments. The next open ones were almost a month away (oddly both on the same day despite being by very different providers and in opposite directions). The good thing, however, is that people are actually taking advantage of the flu clinic. A sincere Thank You!

The Massachusetts covid-19 numbers seem to have started downwards (the graph plotting new confirmed cases for the past month peaked on Sept 08), so we’re probably just past the consequences of July and August summer gatherings. Unfortunately, despite that, hospital admissions, ICU cases and intubations are all up, including admissions at our local hospital.

I find it stressful, but have come to grips with the fact that I can’t change the behavior of others, only mine (which I have). To spare myself some grief, I’ve limited my news intake and doom scrolling, and am concentrating on other projects.

For instance, I finished my basket-weaving project: I made 8 bins out of recycled brown paper bags.

Baskets from Recycled Brown Paper Done

They look quite handsome even if I say so myself, certainly for a first try. I also whitewaxed a wooden bowl and painted a step stool.

I also started painting a basket and rearranging a couple of rooms, but haven’t finished yet due to busy. Some days are like a death by a thousand papercuts, but I manage. At least the library just announced they’re moving into phase three of reopening, with many, many more curbside pickup hours than before!

The weather has definitely turned more fall-ish, even though some day temps still rise to summery readings. And there are still flowers! Just one reason to love wild flowers – they’re adapted to the local seasons.

Unknown Pink Flower Plant

We don’t know what this plant is, but it probably came to our yard as a transplant thanks to some birds or ground critters. It’s pretty whatever it is.

Husband and I also had an absolutely wonderful family event (and I’m not talking about myself): we had CHIPMUNK BABIES!!!

Our resident chipmunk (whom we named Chipper and headcanoned to be female) is a mother! Chipper herself is missing from this photo, but we saw her earlier returning to the hole and the three babies with her cheeks full.

Chippers Three Babies2

And later I was able to snap a few photos of Chipper herding her brood:

Chipper and Baby

We absolutely did not know Chipper was female. At best it was a guess on the basis of how careful she was whenever she was about to leave her hole. Mostly, though, it was a fervent hope amidst the trashfire of 2020 that was based on her maybe perhaps if-we’re-very-lucky and I-could-be-wrong-but-doesn’t-she-look-a-little-thicker-round-the-middle because it-would-be-so-fabulous-during-this-awful-year.

Babies would explain the change in her behavior we observed late this summer, too. The kids are all gone now, and even Chipper seems to have abandoned her hole. (Chipmunks do rotate their territories every few years, so this seems normal.)

Never did I ever, EVER think I’d end up living anywhere where this was a possible life event! And it certainly couldn’t have come at a better time.

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❀

August 2020 Recap

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Unfortunately, Massachusetts reopening was put indefinitely on hold due to an increase in confirmed covid-19 infections. We’ve therefore remained at phase 3 since mid-July. I’m worried – the numbers have remained steady at a higher level for at least a month now, with no change in sight.

If we’re lucky, it’s just the fall weather…

Sunset with Clouds

I had labwork plus my annual physical this month. They had to be rescheduled from spring, and although I thought I managed well with the additional protective measures at the doctor’s office, I felt utterly worn out both after the bloodwork and after meeting with the GP. (In no way is it due to the staff or my GP; all of them have been absolutely wonderful through this pandemic. I couldn’t be happier with my doctor!) Clearly I personally am suffering from some sort of a second wave of coping difficulties.

I’m also struggling with my work. I’m going to be honest: sales have been terrible for a long time. Due to that – plus an upcoming major life change – I’ve known I’ll have to close down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy some time during 2020; just the exact timing has been undecided. Now I’m wondering whether it should be sooner rather than later…

At the homefront, though, things are much better. Husband and I did a whole slew of home projects, and all of the prep work from July really paid off. We hung a wall shelf, updated our backsplash, moved some furniture around and refinished a few small tables plus an old desk. For the latter, we used pulls and handles saved from Husband’s family’s old camp up in Maine before they tore it down.

Hubby Old Desk Finished

It’s great to be able to keep a little piece of his family history with us and give it new life. (That yellowed bench to the left is also going to be whitewaxed as soon as I get around to it.) We’re currently in the middle of refinishing another table, and building a low-profile wall shelf out of a 2×4.

I also moved some plants around and learned how to weave baskets out of recycled brown paper bags following Ananda’s tutorial at A Piece of Rainbow.

Basket from Recycled Brown Paper

And it works! By that I mean that even I can do it! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

My tester basket had a few problems, but it was enjoyable and fast enough that I made more. I did add a handle, also recycled from a commercial bag. The idea was I can set up a row of these on a shelf and pull them up (or down) when I need to access the contents.

There was also good food, and a lot of it!

The Claw

Local(ish) lobster has been quite cheap, so we’ve splurged a couple of times. This one lobster literally had a claw as big as my hand.

Also, this year we got to actually enjoy our strawberries. Usually the resident critters get there first…

Strawberries and Bunny Pellets

…as you can see from the photo above. (In the background, our first strawberries. In the foreground, bunny pellets.) I’m astounded that they did NOT eat the strawberries, having sat this near!

And wild flowers keep blossoming, like these Asiatic dayflowers:

Asiatic Dayflowers Closeup

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❀

November 2019 Recap

Newsletters

First, here’s the obligatory seasonal self-promo tidbit:

This year I tried a different approach to the holidays sales: the earlier you shop, the bigger your discount. Shoppers have just today and tomorrow left to save 25% on orders of $29 value!

Starting the day after tomorrow, December 01, shoppers can receive 15 % off their orders (same $29 minimum).

Click here to shop: Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy!

2019 Nov Dec Green Blue Collage

Remember, the December sale runs only through December 10, and I’ll close the shop for the season at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

That’s so soon, yikes!

In my personal life, too, things are a bit busy, so the Thanksgiving break was very welcome. Each year, never mind how early I try to start my Christmas prep, December always sneaks up on me. πŸ™‚

Xmas Cards

Although perhaps I shouldn’t say β€œalways”, for I do have a rather respectable start already. It’s just that the staff at the Finnish post office threw everyone a curveball this November and went on strike. Even having my cards and packages wrapped and ready doesn’t guarantee that they’ll make it there this year; they might arrive as late as early January 2020.

Simple Gift Wrapping

Fortunately almost everyone is now online or has a phone with texting, so I can at least send holiday wishes electronically, although the packages cannot be helped.

For Thanksgiving – which for us this year was a delightful friendsgiving – I refreshed my rose hip bouquet and added red apples into the bowl as well. Husband made spiced, mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potato this year, and it was good. We might adopt it as a staple.

Thx Rose Hip Bouquet

And even if there’s less light, November definitely has its share of natural beauty, especially around sunset.

Red November Sunset

Blue November Evening

I just love the moment when everything looks blue (sininen hetki in Finnish, literally ‘blue moment’).

How was your November?