December 2019 and January 2020 Recap

Newsletters

An early January virus surprise knocked me out for a while and delayed both the shop re-opening and return to blogging. As I didn’t get the December recap posted until now, it makes sense to combine the two months.

It’s getting to be that time of the year again – tax time, that is. I’m prepping already. Even though the federal deadline is in April, I have a property tax deadline for the local authorities in February.

Tax Time Prep

In December, I made a whole slew of recyclable bags as presents, and one of them made me look a more skilled designer than I am: in this cat bag for my niblings, the print matches almost exactly at the French seam.

Xmas Bag Gift Project 2 Closeup

Serendipity for the win!

Reading’s been great:

Reading Pile December 2019

Reading Pile January 2020

Weatherwise, it’s been a ride. We had some beautiful snows in December…

Bright Sunlight Middle of Woods

…then it got surprisingly warm in early January. So warm, in fact, that the first ladybugs came out!

2020 Jan First Ladybug of Year

Then the temperatures swung again. With new snow on the ground and temps well below freezing, I put my brand new mittens to good use.

Kirjoneulelapaset

And speaking of knits, I found the first Christmas stockings that I actually love:

HGTV Magazine Dec 2019 p114

HGTV Magazine, December 2019, p. 114

The image is from the December 2019 issue of HGTV Magazine. Aren’t they gorgeous? As a Finn, I didn’t grow up with stockings, so I find them a bit baffling in general, but these are absolutely lovely.

How was your winter holiday season? What about the beginning of 2020?

Brand New Fair Isle Mittens

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Random Beauty

In early January we had some warm temps, but then the temperatures swung again. With new snow on the ground and temperatures well below freezing, I put my brand new mittens to good use. Aren’t they super?

Kirjoneulelapaset

In a perfect world, the blues would be a little less teal-ey and turquoise and lean more towards grey, but you work with what you’ve got, right?

Thank you so much, M, for knitting them! Lurrrve. ❤

Shop Open Again

Ahem Ahem!

Hello, everyone – how was your holiday time? Relaxing, I hope? Mine was wonderful. Sadly, both Hubby and I picked up a rather feisty virus while visiting family, so I had to postpone re-opening my shop.

However, I’m happy to say that now Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy is open again!

2020 Jan PGH Collage

As usual, in addition to this blog, I have also resumed regular posting on Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter.

Hope your 2020 is off to a good start!

January 2019 Recap

Newsletters

One of the new things I started at the beginning of 2018 is a month-end recap, a sort of newsletter light. Now I’ve completed the cycle with the first recap for 2019. Yay! 🙂

Speaking of cycles, tax time is rolling around again. I’ve been bogged down with tax prep more than usual at this time of the year.

2018 Jan Tax Work

Unfortunately, Etsy changed the way they bill and pay their sellers at the end of last year. The new system has had some glitches which have increased my bookkeeping workload significantly. I can’t wait to be done with the 2018 number crunching and get onto the tax forms themselves because it’ll feel so much easier – something I never, ever, thought I’d say!

Just past mid-January there was a snowstorm, the first snowfall for the year. Then a front of warm weather with rain pushed through and melted almost all of the snow. It was very pretty for all of four days!

One night right after the snow, we had someone scamper across our yard.

Tracks on Snow from Above

There’s a funny gap in the tracks (in the middle of the photo), though, which makes me wonder whether it might be a sign of a fox jumping to try and catch a critter under the snow. Like in the gif below (but probably much less showy).

Giphy BBC Earth Fox Jump

BBC Earth, via Giphy.

I had a small but very satisfying reading pile this month:

Library Reading Pile Jan 2019

From left to right, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by my favorite living author Nora Jemisin, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming. I also read Ariah by R.B. Sanders and Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang. I’m looking forward to the last two Murderbot novellas, too, which I got as Christmas present. Yay, so many great reads!

On the screen, Husband and I were introduced to the tv series Modern Family by a friend. It’s a mocumentary of three generations of a Californian family. We’re bingeing through the seasons and have gotten up to seven, and are still enjoying it.

My goodness, I never would’ve thought that I’d find a mainstream (i.e., non-genre) family drama interesting, but I do. 🙂 Shows you what production values can do – specificially in this case, attention to quality character-writing and episode structure.

Now that I’ve written a full year’s worth of recap posts, it’s time to reassess. Even though it felt difficult at times, I certainly learned a lot and found that I do like an end-of-the-month look back.

I’m inclined to continue these newsletters, but I might dink around with the topics or proportions. Would you like to read more about something or maybe less about something else? Please let me know!

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

Books & Mags, This Is Important, Thumbs Up

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.

January 2018 Recap

Newsletters

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. 🙂

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.

Shop Open Again

Ahem Ahem!

Just a short note: Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy is open again.

Selected PGH Items Cool Jan 2017

I have also resumed Tweeting and regular posting on Tumblr and Flickr.

As you may remember, I had surgery during my end-of-year break. All went well during and for the most part after the operation. (So relieved and thankful!) However, I’m still recuperating and dealing with some unexpected aftereffects and adjustments. Consequently, I’ve reduced my Tumblr posting to three times a week instead of four; I’ll try and keep my blog posting at twice a week. However, I may on occasion skip a blog or Tumblr post. Sorry about that in advance.

How were your holidays?