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. ❤

Signs of Spring

After Hours, My Spaces

Apart from the ladybugs, which have come out early (and in droves!) this spring, there are other, earlier-than-normal signs that spring is on the way.

Ladybug Convention

Our roses are putting out their first leaf buds…

First Rose Leafbuds

…the bulb greens are peeking out from the ground…

Signs of Spring Bulb Greens

…plus, occasionally, we even see moths:

Signs of Spring Moth

And just yesterday afternoon we were treated to the first turkey tom mating display of the season. Can’t deny that’s a sign of spring!

Random Beauty: Light Diffracts Through Hummingbird Wings

Random Beauty

Christian Spencer has photographed hummingbirds in Brazil’s Itatiaia National Park for years. He’s concentrated on the way light diffracts through the birds’ wings and breaks into a rainbow. The photos are GORGEOUS – here’s just one example:

Christian Spencer Hummingbirds Vitral

Christian Spencer

Wow – the skill it takes to capture the hummingbirds just so!

Found via Colossal. Visit Spencer’s website for more.

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

February 2019 Recap

Newsletters

This February had loads of paperwork, as usual. Fortunately for me, Valentine’s Day came right after I finished my taxes. Time for yummy loot!

Discounted Valentines Chocolates

We usually buy Valentine’s Day candy only after it has gone on sale, so, perfect timing.

What differs from previous years is that I got my tax stuff figured out by mid-month. I’m very pleased by the achievement and have made copious notes to make the process as fast in the future. (I hope!)

Weatherwise, this February was oddly low-snow. We did get a number snowfalls, but they were relatively few and far between. In the very beginning of the month, we had a load of light, fluffy snow, with sun and high winds the following day. The powdery snow fell off the trees in huge, gorgeous, transparent curtains, almost like mist.

Powder Snow Falling off Trees

My photo doesn’t do it justice at all; it was magnificent!

Towards the mid-month, we had another layer. Afterwards, in the wee hours of the morning, the neighborhood turkeys apparently had places to be:

Turkey Track Central

So many different paths all over! There’s also at least one set of fox tracks there. And speaking of foxes, one Saturday, a bright and glorious morning, one came round to check around the bird feeder in our neighbor’s back yard.

Fox at Bird Feeder

It seems that spring is early this year – and you get no complaints from me. Although I could do with less pollen this early in the year…

Sadly, the latter half of February brought two deaths in Husband’s extended family, which cast a pall on otherwise sunny days.

I hope your year is still off to a good start.

A Turkey Visit

My Spaces

One recent morning when I was preparing to go upstairs to my workroom, I heard a rustling, scraping sound that was quite loud and really close. I lifted my head to see a young male turkey standing on our back deck rail:

Turkey on Deck Railing

He stood there for a few minutes and then re-joined the little flock down on the ground. We’ve been seeing the three of them around quite a bit this winter.

My guess is he was looking for birdseed. Our next-door neighbor has a birdfeeder that the wild turkeys often visit. He doesn’t have any on his deck, though; perhaps this young fella was just overly curious.

Cute Attack: Sandbathing Bunny

After Hours, My Spaces

The other day I was looking for something completely different in my Flickr albums, when I ran across this image from last year:

Bunny Sandbathing

It still makes me smile: I just happened to look out the window at a good time to see a wild rabbit taking a sandbath in a shallow depression. The depressions were dug into our yard by a turtle, we think; we see them digging test holes some years. Other years they must be laying eggs somewhere else.

I guess the sand felt cooler to the rabbit than the grass? What an incredible coincidence nonetheless; I’ve never seen a wild bunny do that. It must’ve felt comfortable to have stretched out its back leg(s) like that. Cute attack! 🙂

Soft Fox Crafts: A Short Roundup

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers

My Internet feeds seem lately to be serving me with foxes left and right. Inspired by this serendipity, here’s a short roundup of soft fox crafts.

There’s so much personality in this Fancy Fox II quilting pattern by Elizabeth Hartman:

Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Fox II

Elizabeth Hartman / Oh, Fransson.

LOVE the fox with glasses!

Felt fox cup cosies made by Jaana at Hattaralandia:

Jaana Hattaralandia DIY joulu kettumukinsuojukset1

Jaana at Hattaralandia.

Jaana offers no tutorial, but there’s a second photo in her blog post that shows the fox sleeves spread out for additional details (NB. in Finnish only, and you have to scroll quite far to get to the foxes).

Knitted tea pot cosy pattern by Gina Michele:

GinaMichele Fox Tea Cosy Knitting Pattern

Gina Michele.

Looks so comforting, too, besides being full of awesome.

Finally, cute and awesome crochet pattern for fox slipper-socks – complete with a white tail tip!

Ravelry Divine Debris Meredith_Fox_Slippers_945x1000_medium2

Divine Debris / Ravelry.

Crochet pattern by Divine Debris at Ravelry. Is it finally time for me to dig up my crochet hook? (It’s been way too many years…) 🙂

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

Three Scenes from My Halloween Weekend

My Spaces

The Halloween weekend in our corner of woods has offered all kinds of fall weather, from bright and breathtakingly glorious…

Morning Sun Hits Yellow Leaves2

…to grey and bland, to rainy and windy, and everything in between. One day we quite unintentionally had appropriate Halloween effects delivered by nature (with an assist by us):

Halloween Spider Decor by Garden Canopy Frame

We’ve stripped our garden canopy for the winter season already. If the sun’s just right, we get the shadow of a huge “spider” cast on our window.

We also witnessed an attempted murder…

Attempted Murder of Crows

…but the two crows in question never found enough flockmates to complete it. #BadPuns

Happy Halloween!

Online Finds: Gilded Insect Cookies for Halloween

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Food & Drink, Stunt Double

We do Halloween in a very minimal way in our house. I do, however, love seeing what creative decorations and tips other people have shared. This year, Claire’s gilded cookies top it all:

The Simple Sweet Life Claire Gilded Insect Cookies

Claire at The Simple Sweet Life.

How elegant! And such detail – wow. Learn more from the tutorial by Claire at The Simple Sweet Life.

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