March 2019 Recap

Newsletters

Since finishing my tax paperwork early (yay!) I’ve spent a lot of March working on various prototypes.

For one, after searching for an 8-point star pattern in vain, I tried making one myself. Getting the proportions how I wanted while retaining the symmetry turned out to be more challenging than I thought.

8-Point Star5

While this particular project is still ongoing, I also started on a storage bag one. I’ve got one potentially usable detail down and am still working on the rest. In contrast to previous years when I was still doing battle with paperwork at this time, it’s been lovely to be able to sew!

Inspired by Nikki’s tutorial at Tikkido, I made two bookmarks as gifts: a unicorn and a lobster. The images I found with an online search. The unicorn’s tail is made from cotton yarn and floss, the lobster’s antennae from wool yarn.

DIY Bookmark Unicorn

DIY Bookmark Lobster in Book

I don’t own a laminating machine, so I used a couple of layers of clear packing tape.

March started with an odd stop in the progress of spring. February had seemed to bring us an early spring with fine weather, but then we got several dumps of snow in succession. The last big one came on March 10th, and seems indeed to have been the last one.

Hopefully Last Snowfall

Husband and I took a short spring break trip to southern Ohio to see friends. I loved how much further along spring was there!

Spring Flowers in S Ohio

Unfortunately, I also got sick during the trip and have spent ten days (and counting) nursing a very stubborn cold.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I hope that’ll be it for the rest of the year. At least it gave me the chance to read.

How was your March?

Hopefully Last Snowfall

My Spaces

This winter hasn’t been at all bad, weather- and snow-wise. Nevertheless, I notice myself yearning for warmer temperatures and especially AN END TO THE BLASTED SNOW:

Hopefully Last Snowfall

The view above is from yesterday. It started snowing in the morning and continued through afternoon. Bleah. Ohwell; I dare say it’ll end soon enough. In fact, don’t you say in English that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?

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.

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!

December 2018 Recap

After Hours, Newsletters

Now that I’m back to blogging, here’s the December 2018 recap.

Honeycomb Candle

Unusually, the first snow of the winter fell before Thanksgiving. It didn’t quite melt by the end of November, but for the most part the ground was bare and the weather warm for December.

We put my Christmas ornament projects to use. This year we decided on a rainbow-colored tree.

2018 Rainbow Tree Collage

During our break we cooked, ate well and rested, of course…

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

…not forgetting to go outside either.

January Sunset

I really scored at my local public library this Christmas: ALL of the Downton Abbey seasons and ALL of the (so-far released) seasons of Call the Midwife were on the shelf!

Xmas Binge Watching DVDs

Woot! 🙂 And we had a lovely, lovely period-drama-filled break.

Unfortunately, 2018 was a complicated year in terms of health. I won’t go into detail, but the situation is serious enough to have changed doctors, made my first visit to the ER and been introduced to the CT, EEG and MRI procedures. In addition, due to some baffling complications I haven’t been fully perky and/or upright for nine months. (Gosh, such a long time!)

I had hoped that continuing my treatment regimen AND enjoying a thoroughly guilt-free, restful Christmas would enable me to show these complications the door and wish them good riddance, but sadly that hasn’t yet happened. So, I’m going to have to continue with a lighter creative work load while taking care of myself.

What are you wishing most from 2019?

November 2018 Recap

Newsletters

Both the latter half of October and the first half of November were rainy and felt very dark. I had to wait for good photography weather for a while, but finally I was able to list the three pieces of rainbow-striped wall art I made earlier this fall.

Rainbow Stripe Wall Art 3x
Rainbow Stripe Wall Art 3x on White

There were quite a few brilliantly bright days there, too. Funny how they seemed to get lost among all grey, though.

What a Murder

We got first snow on November 15th this year. What a surprising treat!

Snowy Nov Backyard 2018

I noticed myself yearning for candles, Christmas lights and bright colors very early.

Colorful Inspirational Books

I even accidentally wore red and green at the beginning of the month! 😀

Red Socks Green Pants

I also did some crafts, using up some ribbon ends that are too short for anything else plus other bits and bobs to make tree ornaments. Here’s a test piece I adapted from a hair bow project:

Ribbon Ornament Test Piece Finished

Having made sure I can do it, of course I wanted more colors! I didn’t have enough of colorful ribbons, though, so I cheated and added a few short pieces of fabric. They look quite good, though:

Ribbon Ornaments Finished

Normally we don’t start decorating for Christmas this early, but this year, for many reasons, we wanted to. Especially since the Thanksgiving weekend was the last gloriously sunny stretch in a bit.

Xmas Decor2 2018

How are you getting on with the rest of the year?

February 2018 Recap

Newsletters

This month started with finalizing and submitting the first tax-related return of the year. And there was much rejoicing!

And there was much rejoicing (yaaaaaaaay) – Monty Python & the Holy Grail via Malarsk on YouTube

I also had the (ahem) joy of hanging on the phone with my bank to try and solve a month-long issue. Fortunately their team did eventually solve the mystery glitch. I am so thankful – YAAAAY for tech support!

I’ve been working on small piecing / quilting prototypes (think placemats or table cloths) made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Unfortunately, a third type of paperwork issue slowed me down – I haven’t been able to proceed as fast as I’d like. That’s part of the creative life, though.

We only had two significant snowfalls in February. The morning after the first one, the yard looked like cotton batting or wadding. (Boy, I do indeed have a quilting brain on!)

Latest Snowfall Looks Lumpy

While sewing, I’ve been enjoying vocal folk hop by Tuuletar in my native Finnish. Blog posts on the group here and here.

Tuuletar Debut Album Tules maas vedes taivaal

And we saw Black Panther, and it was glorious!

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.