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. ❤

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! 🙂 😀

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. ❤

July 2020 Recap

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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. ❤

Together for 20 Years, Still Holding Hands

Behind the Scenes, Thumbs Up

I had planned to post this last summer, but it got eaten up by the Extended Blogging Break of 2019. Here, belatedly, is a public Thank You to the single most important person in my life.

***

I love the Lithuanian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018, “When We’re Old”, performed by Ieva Zasimauskaitė.

Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old – Lithuania – Official Music Video – Eurovision 2018 by Eurovision Song Contest on YouTUbe

 

I know I’ll never forget that day the first time we met

We’ve come a long way since then and now we do it all again

From your very first smile I knew that I’d walk a mile

See, it’s for real when you know you never wanna let go.

 

These are the reasons I want you to know, oh oh

You make this place feel like home

These are the reasons I can’t let you go, oh oh

Let’s sing a song that we wrote

When we’re old, ah ah

When we’re old, ah ah.

 

No matter what comes our way I feel like you’re here to stay

You were the right from the start and let me inside your heart

After all this time I hate the sound of goodbye, and if you leave I would…

 

These are the reasons I want you to know, oh oh

You make this place feel like home

These are the reasons I can’t let you go, oh oh

Let’s sing a song that we wrote

When we’re old, ah ah

When we’re old, ah ah.

 

Right from our very first kiss I knew it’ll end up like this

I’m not afraid to grow old if I have your hand to hold.

* * *

I loved this song from the very first time I heard it. And although I didn’t quite love him from the very first time I met (or kissed) him, I fell in love with my now-Husband pretty fast. Especially considering that we met during the last week of an international summer school in Ireland, away from home for both of us.

We’ve been together for 20+ years now, first dating across an ocean and later married. It hasn’t all been roses, like human relations tend be, but they’ve absolutely been the most fulfilling years of my life.

Thank you, Husband.

I love you. I’ve learned so much from you. I’m looking forward to growing old with your hand to hold. ❤

June 2020 Recap

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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!

September 2019 Recap

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The biggest work-related news, perhaps, this month is that I was able to start blogging again. Also, this summer I rolled out a trial of free U.S. shipping on Etsy purchases of $35 or more. Let me know your thoughts on either!

Thanks to a huge, completely unrelated project, I didn’t do much sewing at all this summer. At the beginning of September I got back to it, and it felt really good! Among other things, I made two fabric mousepads and a large zippered document pouch as potential prototypes:

Fabric Mouse Pad Floral2

Fabric Mouse Pad Green1

Large Zippered Document Pouch Finished

Husband and I will be strenuously testing the mouse pads in the coming months. So far so good! I’ve also continued to churn out fabric gift bags in various sizes and types. I’m increasingly leaning towards using and re-using them instead of spending money on wrapping paper.

Gift Bags Wrapped

Reading was especially good this month, including this Earthsea omnibus illustrated by Charles Vess:

Current Reading The Books of Earthsea Complete Illustrated

At some point when I wasn’t looking, fall got here:

Red Maple Leaf on Grass

I hope you’ll enjoy the season! I know I will: we have candles and firewood stocked up and ready to go. 🙂

P.S. Happy Rosh Hashanah!