September

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Autumn seems to be arriving right on time this year, which is so lovely, because September is often peak fire season and heatwaves are not uncommon this time of year around here. This September, however, has been cooler and we’ve even had rain! The leaves on the trees up here in the mountains have a tinge of yellow, so we’ll have some brilliant color very soon. I’ve decided to keep track of what’s been going on for the last few weeks and then just publish a post at the end of the month, so here we go!

In September I finished a most enjoyable series of books called The Lunar Chronicles. I actually read the first one, Cinder, at the beginning of the summer and then requested the others from my library. I had to wait a bit for Scarlet, the second book, and then immediately read the last two, Cress and Winter over Labor Day weekend. I’m not sure how to classify them other than sci-fi/steampunk/fairy tale retellings, but it was a fun series that I highly recommend.

Speaking of fairy tales, I usually also have an audiobook going for my drive to and from work, and this month I finished As You Wish, followed by a screening of The Princess Bride (currently on Netflix). It was charming and fun, and reminded me how much I loved the movie. I highly recommend the audio version of the book, it’s read by Cary Elwes himself, and features many of the other cast members too.

I try to bring my lunch to work most days. I’m always on the lookout for good salad recipes and usually will prep all the ingredients and then eat the same salad for a few days. I found a couple winners via Pinterest this month. First up was Lamb and Dill Meatballs with Horitaki salad. The meatballs were really simple and so delicious. As soon as I was done with the first batch of meatballs I bought more ground lamb for the freezer so I could make them again soon. Basically, everything in this salad is my favorite, so it’s a big winner.

lamb meatball salad

Another new and delicious find was this Moroccan Steak Salad. The prep for this one was more intensive, but worth it. The pomegranate seeds were a nice touch.

steak salad

Here are some of my favorite finds this month:

  • Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way – I’m not an artist, but I decided to start practicing drawing. This is a fun book, full of prompts and different types of paper for sketching. So far I have created some terrible drawings, and a couple that I actually like. I may share more on Instagram eventually.
  • Duolingo <– the link goes to the website, but I’m using the phone app. Twenty-something years ago I was pretty good at speaking Dutch. When you don’t use a language for that many years you get a little rusty. I’ve been practicing with 5-minute sessions and it’s coming back!
  • Hillview Yarns is an Etsy shop recently opened by my friend Vivian. I’ve invested in a few skeins for some hat designs I’ve been working on, and I just love the colors she’s been coming up with, especially her blues and greens. I just got a skein of Socky McSockface for a pair of elaborately cabled socks that I can’t wait to cast on.
  • I’m working on my first sweater made from my handspun yarn, and have another handspun sweater quantity in the works, but I really want to make Mohr from the new Brooklyn Tweed collection.
  • I invested in the handiest piece of jewelry ever: Wrist Ruler (I have the medium leather), also available at Tolt

I like collecting my favorites for the month and just throwing them up here. I think I’ll keep doing this each month.

lovely things

Some things I am enjoying right now:

::Lilacs::

It’s a good lilac year. It was warming up a couple weeks ago, so they grew and bloomed quickly, but then it cooled down and got rainy, so they’ve been lasting longer than usual.

::Book Recommendations::

Modern Mrs. Darcy and her What Should I Read Next podcast

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I’m going through a bit of a reading lull at the moment, but listening to episodes of this podcast is helping to get me enthused about reading again.

::Organization::

Bullet Journaling

I’ve always been on the lookout for the perfect planner, I’ve tried all the apps, and I have lists on bits of paper scattered all over. I think Bullet Journaling is the perfect solution for me. Sometimes I have to-do lists a mile long, but sometimes keeping a calendar seems like overkill for my relatively peaceful life. With a bullet journal I can adjust it as needed. So far I’m finding it helpful to use a page for a weekly spread, rather than daily pages. I also love having a place to keep lists of projects I want to do, and books to read, and recipes I want to try. I even keep a post-it on my current weekly page to use for listing groceries I need to buy. It’s as simple or as complicated as I need it to be, I think it’s really genius!

::Beautiful Knitting::

waiting for rain

My next new knitting project is going to be this beautiful Waiting for Rain Shawl. I have some Lakes Yarn in Fernan Merino Fingering in a pretty silver-green color. I am not allowing myself to cast on until I’m finished with two other projects first. This is highly motivating, however, and I hope to get to this within the week.

lovely things

Some lovely things I’ve been enjoying:

::a good book::

A Man Called Ove, a Swedish novel about an unlovable, suicidal curmudgeon, and the people who make a difference in his life, past and present. I wept at the end of this book.

ove

::a pretty song (and video)::

This is old, but I listened to it on my way home from work and remembered how much I loved it and just put it on repeat for a little while.

::my porch::

I still have a lot of work to do on my porch this summer, we had some big winds this winter that blew stuff around and made a mess. Pots were broken and plants destroyed, but I’ve made this corner nice and comfortable and spend most evenings and weekends here. It’s perfect for knitting, spinning, reading, and just watching the birds. And hanging out with dogs, of course.

on the porch

something new

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If you follow along on Instagram, you probably noticed that I picked up a new hobby. Many years ago I went one Saturday to a knitting group that met in Balboa Park. A woman was teaching spinning with a drop spindle, and I gave it a try. It was awkward and slow and not very fun. I bought a cheap drop-spindle and some fiber and tried again at home, but it just seemed so laborious and still not fun, so I decided that I was definitely not a spinner.

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I have no idea what happened, but all these years later, it suddenly seemed like I should try spinning again. I think it just gradually entered my subconscious and niggled at my brain and I suddenly just needed to get another drop spindle and some pretty hand-painted fiber and give it another go. I blame the podcasts I listen to and watch (Prairie Girls, Knitmore Girls, and The Fat Squirrel, to name a few) for sparking this interest and fellow Instagrammer Quiltotaku for sending me over the edge with her beautiful yarns and spindles.

So I carefully studied YouTube videos and bought myself an inexpensive spindle (which even came with a niddy-noddy!). I combed through all the pretty fiber artists on etsy and settled on a braid of Targhee wool from Pigeonroof Studios, and a tried it one more time. This time it clicked, and I went from parking and drafting to flicking my spindle and letting it go while I drafted my fiber bit by bit. That first skein is full of fat and thin sections, the colors are barber-poling all over the place, and it’s a big, bulky yarn. But it was so much fun and by the time I was done I was completely addicted. I knit it up into a squishy, slouchy hat and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I quickly placed an order for more fiber, this time some beautifully carded batts of merino from Nunoco on etsy. I also invested in a Bosworth spindle that is equally pretty. I managed to spin this second batch of fiber a bit finer and more evenly than the first, I love the gradient shift from pink to gold to green. I’m still looking for the perfect cowl pattern for this little ball of yarn.

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In February I found a spinning class that meets Wednesday evenings, not too far from where I work. It’s through the local adult education and has been meeting for years. The teacher is brilliant and many of the ladies are talented fiber artists themselves. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the past few months. I’ve never had real-life fiber friends, so I can’t even express how happy I am to have found this group. I don’t have a spinning wheel of my own just yet, but there are class wheels I can use during class and everyone has been so generous and allowed me to try out their wheels. I’m saving my pennies and hope to get one before the year is out.

In the meantime I’ve spun more fiber and invested in more spindles and made more yarn. It’s so much fun. BUT. There’s only one cloud in all this. I managed to give myself a repetitive motion injury. My left thumb has developed an annoying pain from flicking the spindle, so I’ve had to set aside my drop spindles. Luckily I can still spin on the wheel during class, but I have to be careful not to overdo it. It twinges a bit when I knit, so I’m also limiting my knitting time just a bit. I’ve learned my lesson, though, and I’m doing what I can to make sure this heals and then I’ll get back to my spindles. I just have to remember to take frequent breaks and not spin for hours and hours at a time.

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my new favorite band

During my long blog break my brother released a new album with his new band. As usual, I love it. I rarely listen to the radio anymore, and why would I need to when I can listen to this great album? It’s available all over the place, including iTunes and Spotify. They’re on Pandora too.

They recently did a cover/mashup of their favorite artists. It’s pretty darn good too.

Buy The Vacationist on iTunes.

 

a good book (or two)

bury your dead

I’m behind on my book-reading goal for this year. I’ve been in a bit of a reading lull I guess. I have been reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny, which I guess you could classify as a “cozy mystery” series, but they’re much more.

Gamache is the wise and gentle head of the homicide division for the Quebec police. His team is tasked with solving murders all over the province, many of which seem to happen in the tiny village of Three Pines, located near the Canadian border with Vermont. The town doesn’t appear on any map, but it’s the kind of place I would like to live (except for all the murders, of course). There’s a cozy B&B, a bistro where the food all sounds delicious (seriously, I can’t read these books when I’m hungry), and the residents are quirky and charming.

I just finished the sixth book in the series (Bury Your Dead), and it was heart-wrenching and just a level above the previous books. A good mystery is my guilty reading pleasure, but these are more than just the mystery. The characters and locales are well-developed, and Penny is a gifted writer. I’m going to have to start rationing the last few books, so I can keep enjoying the series for the rest of this year.

One more recommendation: I recently listened to The Martianon audio. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I’ve never laughed out loud so much while listening to a book, and I’ve certainly never shouted in fear and frustration for the main character like I did with this story. The reader was fantastic, I’m really glad I listened to it rather than reading it. A brief synopsis: Mark Watney is a member of the second manned mission to Mars. It all goes terribly wrong, and he’s left for dead while the rest of the team escapes a violent wind storm. And that’s just the first few paragraphs. What follows is his struggle to survive, and NASA’s struggle to figure out a way to rescue him. There’s tons of science, which might sound boring, but is completely fascinating. In fact, that deserves the first ever gif on heylucy:
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lovely things

zimmerman

This is several years old, but I recently re-read this, about recreating an Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater. You can even buy the pattern (see here for more info). I pulled out Knitting without Tears and reading just a few pages was refreshing and inspiring. If you have any knitting fears, Elizabeth Zimmerman will wipe them away.

speaker1

This is perhaps silly and materialistic, but I really love my little Bluetooth speaker. It’s really light and it’s wireless, so I easily can carry it around from room to room and even take it outside. I have been listening to music and audiobooks everywhere. I looked at a lot of speakers, but I didn’t want to spend two or three hundred dollars. I also didn’t want to end up with something cheap and ugly that wouldn’t last. At $69, this was a little splurge, but a nice compromise. I’m not an audiophile by any means, but I think it sounds great for the size (about 5″ square by a couple inches deep). I also like that it’s not so “tech-y” looking. The “wood” is actually plastic, but you can’t really tell.

Fictitious Dishes: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Have you ever read a book that included a description of a meal so vivid you could practically taste it? I love this project, and have added the book to my wishlist.

lilacs

Spring is my very favorite, but I’m very sad my daffodils were nearly non-existent this year. The lilacs, on the other hand, were magnificent.

lovely things

I want to do more blogging, so I’m going to start with a tiny post of three things I like right now.

This charming instagram stream.

kheisti

Tiny houses.

tiny house

A pretty song I keep listening to.

I have been knitting like crazy lately, so I have a whole lot to say about that. I should be back with more soon!

autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 

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  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 
  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  

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  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.