July 2020 Recap

Newsletters

As Massachusetts covid-19 recovery progressed nicely, we moved into phase 3 of reopening in mid-July. Due to our town’s guidance, the local library cannot yet open for browsing, but curbside pickups have been increased and the interlibrary loans are operating again. That’s awesome!

Sadly, due to the 4th of July holiday, people were apparently getting together, and we’re seeing the increased statistics now. I’m kinda dreading the next three or four weeks, since we’ve had a couple of heat waves recently that reportedly (for I wasn’t anywhere near them for sure!) drove people to beaches in large numbers without proper precautions in place… Egad! The virus hasn’t gone anywhere, nor is it likely to any time soon if this kind of irresponsible behavior goes on.

With regard to Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy, I’ve had some time off since summer is always a slow season. Lately, though, I’ve pondered on having a Back to School sale, but that just feels crass at best, cruel at worst. What would you say about a Getting Ready for the Fall sale instead?

I’ve continued home projects indoors: I’ve sewed two sets of cafe curtains and a table runner, plus whitewaxed a wooden kitchen cart worktop and several small drawer units.

Whitewaxing Kitchen Cart Top

Husband and I painted half of a bathroom and are currently in the middle of painting another one. Next month we’re scheduled to paint a wall in the kitchen, so we’re definitely staying busy and safe at home.

We haven’t seen many wild turkeys this year, but apparently there are a few around.

Turkey Mamas and Chicks

These two turkey mamas may have joined forces with another one since this photo was taken, for one day we saw a gaggle of three adults with eight chicks.

And, oh my goodness! Our resident chipmunk really loves sitting on the gastank lid, either observing the nature around, or just loafing, or scritching itself thoroughly, or eating. But this – I have no idea what’s going on here!

Chipmunk Yoga

It sat like that for minutes, so the pose wasn’t a part of a quick stretch or anything.

An interesting viewing project Husband and I did was to go through the whole of the U.S. Civil War documentary by Ken Burns, and added to it a number of both fictional and documentary films on President Lincoln. Funnily enough, it all started after I found our library had a copy of the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. (It was, as expected, not great, but still surprisingly good for a bad movie.)

Speaking of the library, I’ve also gotten a delightful amound of reading done. The loveliest read this month was Aditi Khorana’s standalone fantasy novel The Library of Fates in an Alexander-the-Great-meets-India -inspired world. Highly recommended!

Current Reading The Library of Fates

As always, be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤

June 2020 Recap

Newsletters

Massachusetts covid-19 cases went down enough so that we moved to phase 2 of reopening this month. Yay for less death! It meant e.g. that restaurants could open their patios and non-essential shops were allowed to open with restrictions and safety measures in place. (I haven’t gone yet myself.) The best is that we were able to get our first curbside pickup of library materials. The process is slower than browsing shelves yourself, of course, but I’ll take it!

If all goes well, as it still seems, we might be starting phase 3 early to mid-July. That would mean opening movie theaters with moderate capacity. Movies and dinner out afterwards are things I miss most (now that libraries are available), but I confess to being over-careful; I can’t decide yet when I might feel safe to go.

I continue to deal with mild respiratory symptoms on and off. Namely, it’s a cough that comes and goes, but it still seems to be merely asthma-related. My allergy symptoms have, thankfully, subsided for now. I am usually due another bout at the end of the summer, so I’m going to take full advantage of these coming weeks when I don’t have to deal with plant reproductive matter. Ahh, life is good when you can smell the summer!

I’ve heard of people having many more nightmares this spring – no surprise there. A bit inexplicably, I still haven’t had a single one. In fact, the other day I woke up in the middle of filling the dishwasher. It’s a “You know you’re middle-aged when” moment, I guess! 😀

In any case, fingers crossed (U.S. way) and thumbs up (Finnish way) that people continue to behave in ways that will repress the virus!

I’ve had energy to plan and do crafts again. In May I made a piece of heart wall art in rainbow ombre. An in-progress photo is below, but you can see the finished piece at my Flickr account.

Ombre Rainbow Heart Art WiP3

This month I have, among others, made a smaller heart art piece as a gift, refreshed two photo frames, whitewaxed a small wall shelf and ordered lots of materials for other projects and updates.

Whitewaxed Wall Shelf3

Foodwise, we’ve had a good month, including this amazing floral focaccia made by a friend:

Flower Focaccia

She did a bakeathon to raise money for Black Lives Matter and other good causes. Our focaccia is not just beautiful but so tasty – quite possibly the best I’ve ever had.

This June we have also been treated to not one but two baby bunnies visiting our backyard with some regularity. It’s amazing – I’ve never seen wild rabbit young live, let alone on my yard. Earlier they looked very much like plushies – a fluffball topped with another fluffball for a head…

Baby Bunny by Raspberry Bushes

…but by now they’re starting to look like big bunnies:

Baby Bunny Starting to Grow

They’re still Very Smol. What a treat! ❤

We also may have a cardinal nest somewhere nearby, for we keep seeing both a male and a female cardinal around. And another visitor we don’t see every year is a snapping turtle.

Unfortunately, June in our corner of the state has been abnormally dry. It’s also been so hot that apart from sneaking in yardwork on some mornings, a lot of the time we just skip all except the absolute musts. Husband has given up on trying to plant a garden this year, and we may have lost a crop of grass seed, as the rain that was supposed to arrive a few days after sowing never materialized. I feel so bad for the crunchy grass, wilting plants, birds and small critters. (At least, if I’ve got it right, grass has evolved to withstand bouts of drought.) We actually set a shallow dish outside this year under the shadow of a rosebush to help the little critters stay hydrated.

Be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤

P.S.: Note that due to the 4th of July holiday, I will have another short blogging break. Happy Independence Day to my readers in the U.S.! See you back again the first full week of July.

Happy Midsummer!

After Hours, Ahem Ahem!

True to my Finnish roots, I’m taking a few days off to enjoy the midsummer. It’s especially important for me this year when it’s practically impossible for Husband and me to visit Finland to see my family and savor the summer.

Moonrise Jun 2008

While the black nights here in the south are exotic to me (Massachusetts is south to me – I grew up only two hours away from the Arctic Circle), they’re no match to the magic of the white summer nights in the north.

Both the Playfully Grownup Tumblr and my personal one will keep tumblin’, however, and I will keep an eye on Playfully Grownup on Etsy. I’ll resume posting here on Thursday 25th.

Hyvää juhannusta! Glad midsommar!

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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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! 😀

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. 🙂 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!

News Hiatus & Minimal Social Media

Ahem Ahem!

Since there will be a lot on my plate this summer, I’ve decided to go on a news diet for a week or two.

I will check in at least once a day for messages, though, so no worries – I will remain in touch, if just a little slower.

Layers of Clouds North of Boston 2008

I will continue to read my two-Finnish-news-sites-with-breakfast dose, but I won’t go out of my way to read any more than that. I’m sure some of it will leak in regardless; the point is to get my work brain back in balance.

So, with that in mind, I’ll probably be posting short, photo-heavy posts here, and probably won’t hang around on Twitter or other social media.

In the meantime, I hope your June has started well!