2020 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Taking stock...

Still feeling a bit unmotivated in the crochet department, I decided for this YOP post to take stock of some projects I have in progress.

While they don't look much different (than they did last week), I am still plugging away on my Spicier Lifes:

And about mid-week I got my embroidered pillowcases out to work on:

The most simple of embroidery patterns, I don't understand why these aren't done already.

Looking for something pretty mindless to work on I remembered this Boxes Dishcloth pattern I'd been meaning to make again.   I was pleased to find out the pattern is much easier for me this time around.  

I like this pattern so much. I really should make more of these to have in my "gift box" to have ready for gifting.  They are lightweight, but have a great texture for washing dishes, or even one's face.

And I still have this unfinished Uwila Shawl hanging around:

This one just stops me in my tracks every time I look at it.  A month or so back I decided to not do the cabled owls so I frogged what I had done of that section.  Then I thought I'd just finish it with the whole shawl made in this stitch pattern, but trying to figure out how to figure out how to do that just makes me want to go take a nap.  Sigh.  And that's all the further I ever get.

So I'm putting this away, but not too far away.  I'll keep it handy, but out of sight.  And if I haven't made a decision about this thing, by say...  December,  I'm frogging it.  The yarn is a lovely color and it's scrumptiously soft (Deramore's Studio DK).   I may frog (or finish) it before December, but that is the deadline I'm giving myself on this.  

And that's all I've got on the crafty front.   About Wednesday it turned beautiful weather-wise so I enjoyed a number of long walks the rest of the week, planted some more flowers, had lunch with friends mid-week, and power washed my patio for a second time this spring.  I also spent too much time this week shopping for something to wear to a wedding next weekend only to decide that I will wear something already in my closet.  But I didn't come to that conclusion before I'd found all sorts of fun summer things to add to my closet.   

Someone, please tell me I'm not alone in doing this.   And before someone gives me the advice to shop my closet first, I did!  I always do.  I just never seem to come to the logical conclusion that what I have will work fine until I've exhausted my search at the few clothing stores I tend to shop.   I would consider it a problem, but having some new things to wear for the new season kind of makes me happy.  😏

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Out for a walk...

Between rainy days and hot and humid days most of my walking over the past week has been on the treadmill.   But knowing it was going to be a glorious day, I got myself back out to the wetland area this morning before it heated up.

I know it's probably not obvious what's going on in the far away center of the picture above, but every warm, sunny morning these turtles sun themselves on this log out in the middle of the pond.  I can't get any closer than this because once I start walking through the grass to get closer to the edge of the pond, the turtles jump into the water.  I've ruined several fine photo opportunities doing this.  What a happy spot this must be for them.  Who am I to intrude on their sunbathing?

Actually, their sunbathing is lifesaving I found out in this interesting article with an entertaining title:  The secret to turtle hibernation: butt breathing


I got in 2 miles of walking then headed home to get a shower before meeting some other mostly-retired-from-homeschooling mom friends for lunch.  

It was a good day.  

A muddy Youngs Creek

Sunday, May 20, 2018

When The Crojo Goes...

Something has happened to me over the last couple of weeks.  Except for some weaving in of ends on one of my Spicier Life blankets, and crocheting a quick project here and there I seem to have lost some of my crojo.    I haven't been interested in crocheting much of anything this past week.

I've been thinking it's because I've got these two Spicier Life blankets in progress and that they are going soooo sloooowly.   I've never made a large blanket from DK weight yarn, and my goodness, it takes forever to see progress.   And after evaluating their size last week I realized I'm going to have to add a good number of rows (actually one or two whole sections) to get these anywhere close to being able to cover a person.  I don't understand how these (made according to the pattern) would be large enough for an adult-sized blanket.  

Anyway...  I was feeling just about over them already.  Was beginning to think it had been a big mistake to try to make two of these at the same time.  And I could just barely stand to look at them for the past little while.


But last night I made myself get one of them out and start crocheting again.  And I was pleasantly reminded how easy the pattern is.  And how much I enjoy crocheting them. So I guess I'm back in the saddle again.  

But with a different attitude.  These are projects I may just have to take breaks from, and they may take longer than I originally imagined.  Much longer.  At this point I'm putting aside any expectations of when I may finish these, or if I'll even continue to crochet them side by side all the way to the finish.   But seeing all those colors playing together reminds me that I do love this project.  And someday I'm going to be thrilled to finish them.

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

Meanwhile I'm curious what others do when their knitting or crochet mojo takes a hike.  What do you do to inspire yourself to pick up hook or needles again and get going when motivation lags?

Sunday, May 13, 2018


This was a quiet week on the crochet front, but it ended with happy celebrations of our youngest son's college graduation yesterday.  Ben graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice: Public Safety Management.  It's inadequate to sum up the day with one picture, but there either aren't enough words (or words aren't enough) to express my joy and pleasure that another son has graduated and is excitedly looking forward to the future.

So proud of and pleased with Ben, 
but not just because he's finished his college education - and with honors, too.  
I'm most pleased because he has a solid faith and a heart to serve others.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Moments with Ruth...

Something I consider a gift at this stage in my life is to work (very part time) as an elder companion caregiver for a dear woman who struggles with mild dementia.  While Ruth's condition steals much of the present from her memory, there are many things still deeply ingrained in her mind, heart and soul and when the wealth of a life well-lived spills out, the hearer is always the richer for it.

Recently Ruth was reminiscing about her childhood and told of a time (in the 1940's) when she would regularly travel to a nearby town where young people could audition and then play instruments and/or sing for their Saturday afternoon "Junior Jamboree" radio program.

She told me of a song she sang once for this program called "Believe me if all those endearing young charms" and I chuckled over the long name.  She asked me if I wanted to hear it, and of course I said yes!  Ruth sang it without a hitch.  I was intrigued by the sweetly sentimental words and we talked about what the archaic-sounding lyrics meant.  Suddenly inspired, she suggested that she might be able to play it for me on the piano.  And play it she did.  She was as tickled at her ability to recall and play this song from her childhood as I was to hear it.

I found several renditions on Youtube and played one for her.  She seemed surprised and thrilled to see that the song has been kept alive by numerous singers and musicians.  Here is one beautiful performance:

Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms (by Thomas Moore)

Believe me if all those
Endearing young charms
Which I gaze on so fondly today
Were to change by tomorrow
And fleet in my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away
Though would'st still be adored
As this moment thou art
Let thy loveliness fade as it will
And around the dear ruin
Each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself
Verdantly still.

It is not while beauty
And youth are thine own
And thy cheeks
Unprofaned by a tear
That the ferver and faith
Of a soul can be known
To which time will but
Make thee more dear
No the heart that has truly loved
Never forgets
But as truly loves
On to the close
As the sunflower turns
On her god when he sets
The same look which
She'd turned when he rose.

Archaic lyrics, perhaps, but the message is clear and sweet, and romantic to the bones. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Out for a walk...

Have you ever tried getting your walking exercise in at a cemetery?  I've seen people walking in the local cemetery (as I've driven by), and I've often thought, "I should do that".  So I did!  What a great, quiet place to walk and contemplate.

This was a little worn path from the greenway trail to the cemetery. 
 I'm clearly not the only one who's been through here.


Walking back through the city park, I decided to climb up to a spot where there is a small, old cemetery with gravestones dating back to the 1800's.  

Eleanor was born in 1780!

Ignoring the fact that I can't seem to get a non-fuzzy picture lately on my phone camera, I was completely charmed by this idyllic spot as I walked along the greenway trail 
through the city park.  

What a pretty town mine is in the springtime.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Oceanside Shawl

Yesterday I finished my, what I'm calling, Oceanside Shawl (pattern is called Ruthie's Sunshine). 

I soaked it in warm sudsy water mixed with Dreft pur-touch baby detergent and then rinsed it out.  I don't know if baby detergent was necessary, but it sure left the shawl with a nice barely-there soft scent.  And then I didn't block it, but rather (after rolling it in a towel and pressing out most of the water), I just laid it out on another towel to dry - didn't pin it, or try to open up the stitch pattern.  I felt like it was pretty perfect as it was.

That said, I did want my shawl a bit wider than the original, so I added some extra stitches (an extra V stitch in each section where those appear), so my shawl is probably wider by an inch or two from the original.  My shawl measures 16" x 74".

Also, I did not do as the pattern instructed and crochet half the shawl, then go back and start it again going the other direction (which would make a seam in the center back).  The stitch pattern on this really doesn't not need for that to be done. It looks just fine hanging down on either side, don't you think?  Without studying the stitches closely, you really can't tell that the "shells" go a different direction on either side.

Now... this yarn is interesting.  I've never used it before, so I'll give a little review.  It's Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball in the colorway, Healing Teal.

For the most part I like the self-striping.  And I like the effect of the white cotton thread that is spun into this colorway.  I'm not sure, though, what I think of the unevenness of the thickness of the yarn. There are lots of large slubs which produce fuzzier places in the finished project.   I'm used to this in say, Red Heart's Unforgettable, and, like Unforgettable, it can be a bear to unravel (actually, I think this yarn was harder to unravel).   The cotton thread spun into it also produces a different feel in how it handles. It's hard to explain, but it has to do with both the random thick-and-thinness of the acrylic fiber (which stretches to some degree), combined with the cotton threads which don't really stretch at all.

The short of it is that it took some getting used to.  While it took me telling myself it was okay while I was working with it, now that this project is finished I'm deciding that the cotton thread is a plus in that it adds strength to what appears to be an otherwise un-spun acrylic fiber.  I'm not sure there are a lot of projects I'd use this yarn for.  It makes a nice shawl, so I guess the name of the yarn (Shawl in a Ball) is fitting.

And that's all she wrote!  To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

2018 Yarn Stash-Down:  18.17/100 Skeins

Friday, May 4, 2018

Out for a walk...

On a super windy May day, between the wind whipping me and my (phone) camera, and whipping the trees, I found it impossible to get an in-focus picture when walking today.   But the tree blossoms were fuller and spring is slowly greening here.

Last week:

This week:

Last week:

This week:
Blurry pic, but the Redbud trees are fuller of blossom

And I noticed this little fella on my second lap around the wetland path (actually, he wasn't all that little.  He was nearly a foot long):
It was just him and me out at this spot on this windy day, so I'm not sure what had him in his shell, 
but he was playing bashful.