2020 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Year of Projects 2019-2020 Round-Up!

June has been quite the month here (I have written a couple of posts prior to this one about what's been going on) and I'm so glad to have arrived at the final Sunday of the month for two reasons:  
  • There's just something that feels really good about turning the calendar page after some hard things.  It's a new beginning of sorts - and who doesn't love a new beginning.
  • The annual YOP Round-Up post is my favorite post of the year.  It's interesting to look back and see what I've done crafty-wise over the course of the last twelve months because I always find a project or two I've completely forgotten about, and when motivation is temporarily waning, it reminds me that I haven't truly been as unproductive as I may be feeling right now.  

While I have a feeling I've missed some things, here's a look back:.

I have enjoyed getting back to cross stitch:

And I've discovered how easy and fun Helical Knitting is:
I really need to do more of this...

I've also enjoyed some quick and easy projects:

As well as more time consuming projects:

And as always, I enjoyed making scarves:

And this year added scarf/shawls to the mix:

And in my on-going quest to use up my huge stash of cotton yarn, I knitted lots of dishcloths again.  This is just a sampling:

Also, I finished a langushing toddler sweater (now ready to gift to a toddler some day):

And lastly, I mustn't forget my Sacred Space blanket:

A kind of funky, just-for-fun project:

I have a feeling (with hub's healing from knee surgery and eventually getting back to clearing out MIL's home after her recent passing) life is going to be slowing down my crafty times for a while, but who knows...  If can get back to thinking of crafting as a soothing activity it may provide refreshment.  At the moment, it's just feeling like one more thing to do.  Nothing soothing about that.

While June has been a doozy, maybe just turning the calendar page will get me over this hump I'm experiencing.  Here's hoping a new YOP Year provides many of us with a needed lift in this year that has been anything but normal.

To see what other YOPers are up to (and especially if you'd like to consider joining us), click on the Year of Projects graphic below:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Waiting is hard...

Hubs and his knee are recovering after his knee replacement.

Hospital visits (here, anyway) come with lots of restrictions.  Yesterday I was allowed in the surgery waiting room while hubs was in surgery, but once he was done in recovery I only had about 5 minutes with him outside the elevator doors before they wisked him to his room for the night.  I won't see him again until I pick him up - possibly tomorrow?  I know it's the time we're in, but that just seems crazy to me.  Anyway...  I figure I put in a full day waiting from 9am 'till 6pm yesterday. And then I just drove home.  

A bit numb. 

Definitely relieved. 


Nothing normal about it, for sure.  And all the others waiting for their loved ones in surgery spent their day in the exact same shoes.  





You know... I truly do embrace masks for the protection they provide during this COVID time.  But I hate the same masks for the isolation they create.

I ripped mine off as I stepped out of the hopsital doors and breathed in gloriously fresh air.  It had been a beautiful day outside.  They should make outdoor waiting rooms...

An hour later I had picked up a supper and was finally home. I spent the rest of the evening texting friends and family and responding to questions, in between hubs and I calling each other numerous times until about 10pm.  I know I had the easy part, but it was a long day...

And now today, having nothing pressing for the first time in weeks, I feel like the weight of this last month has finally overcome me.  Raw emotion is just under the surface.  I can feel it.  If I could melt into a puddle I would.  I have a new apprecation for the expression, in fact.   I'd cry, but I'm afraid if I start,  I'll be weepy all day.  Best to just suck it up for now, I think.  Something to make me laugh sounds good.  But I see this morning the news is still bad.  People are still insane.  And somehow, in the craziness, the world goes on.

And a text from a friend reminds me...  I am truly fortunate.  A younger couple is separated by the wife being in the very same hospital hubs is in, but she has lung cancer.  She's suffering right now from heart failure and renal failure.  The husband is afraid he may not see his wife alive again.   The hospital does have end-of-live provisions for visitors, so I don't know if he had just gone home exhausted, afraid she might not make it 'till he got back there.  I don't know.  I only know their hearts are breaking.  And the heartbreak is more brutal due to this COVID time.  

My situation is easy in comparison.  Which is kind of silly to say - because there's no comparison.  A new knee is all good.  

One more night (at least) for hubs in the hospital.  And then I'm on duty again - picking him up, getting instructions, bringing him home.  I think being on duty will be easier than this waiting is.  While a new knee is all good, waiting is hard.  So... for the moment, I'm writing this and will visit a bit with my blogging friends.  

Mid-week I wrote Sunday's YOP end-of-year post.  That felt good to do.  And it's good to have it done.

And while there's plenty, still, I could find to do, I feel too distracted to manage anything much.  So I wait, knowing that this feeling will pass.  

I hope you have a good weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Loss and life...

I've been absent from blogging for a bit so this is a catch up on what has been going on in my corner of the world for the last couple of weeks.  

Two weeks ago my mother-in-law passed from this life after suffering a stroke.

Some may recall we celebrated Marcene's 89th birthday back in early March.

And then a week later she suffered a heart attack.  She had some health issues (who wouldn't at 89?), but no one suspected that her heart was problematic. 

Then, just as she was getting back to some kind of normal after her heart attack,  the whole country (well, actually most of the world) went on lock-down and life hasn't been the same for many of us since.  Marcene was kept safe from COVID over these last three months, but the effects of the social distancing were painful for her.  It's a hard reality - experienced by many people the world over.   Even so...  we were all glad she was in her own home during these first three months of COVID-19 and could manage with the help of her grown children and wonderful neighbors.

But living alone after my father-in-law died two years prior, life had become a struggle for Marcene (both physically and emotionally) and while she is missed dearly, no one would want her to be struggling with her physical ailments and heartache still.   

Last Monday was her funeral.  A beautiful day in all respects.  In this time of COVID the family decided to have a small private funeral (about 20 persons) and it was perhaps more sweet for it.  Afterwards we enjoyed a casual catered meal at my brother-in-law's.

Marcene lived what appears on the surface to be a fairly quiet life of service and hospitality.  But I've come to realize in recent years, I don't know the half of what all made up Marcene's personhood.  For example, only in her later years did I come to realize what a social creature she was.  And how much she seemed to love a gathering.  While we always wished (and begged) her to sit down and enjoy the "party", all of that only seemed to make her more determined to busily tend to it.  Knowing more now, I wonder now how much anxiety may have played a role in that.  We just never know the whole story, do we?  People are all multi-faceted, complicated creatures.

Marcene graduated from high school in 1949, and then nursing school.  At 21 she married her sweetheart, Bernie (who was almost 28) and soon they were blessed with children.  

Picture of my husband as an infant with Marcene (age 23) and Bernie (age 30).

Marcene with her first-born (my hubs) in South Dakota

In 1957 the family relocated from Rapid City, South Dakota to Indianapolis, Indiana where Bernie (an Electrical Engineer) took a job with Western Electric.  Soon they became a family of five: 

Come on, somebody say Cheese!

Marcene always found ways to serve in her community and church.  She was a Maker before being a Maker was a thing.  She sewed many things - clothing and household items among them.  And before macular degeneration made sewing too difficult in her later years, she made many quilts (with her quilting guild, and personally - as gifts).  And she made lovely banners that decorated her church.  

At her funeral, and in e-mails and cards we're still receiving, everyone seems to comment on a blanket or quilt they were given that Marcene had made.  One day someone stopped by her house when SIL and I were working in the garage.  And in expressing her condolences, this woman mentioned that her now grown police officer son enjoyed the blanket Marcene gave him as a child.  Marcene's blankets and quilts are legendary!

Marcene and Bernie were collectors of invalid feeders and Horatio Alger books.  They enjoyed going to conventions where they mingled with other collectors.  When Bernie retired, he took a temporary job in Singapore and they lived there for nearly a year - forming friendships that continued to the very end of Marcene's life.  She was still attending luncheons with these folks before COVID.  The pair enjoyed square dancing in their younger years and going to watch live theater as they grew older.  Bernie and Marcene were quiet about their faith, but they were strong Christians, often letting us know they were praying for us (and others).  They both lived long, full, and purpose-filled lives.


Most days over the last two weeks one or both of us (hubs and I) have been working with his siblings at their mother's house, beginning the huge task of clearing out a lifetime of accumulations.  It's going to take some time - probably months. 

Hub and I have worked hard over the last week knowing we'll be less available for a while after he has knee surgery.  Yep!  That's coming up soon and will be here and over with before we know it!  

Tired from all the recent activity and labor, I'm (sort of) looking forward to being at home again for a few weeks, making home cooked meals again, and maybe getting back to some crafting.  My craft room has been so quiet the last few weeks, I'm finding myself needing a push to get back in there and work on something.  My crafting mojo has entirely flown the coop.

Some might enjoy knowing this: A lilac colored blanket I made for Marcene three or four years ago when she had to go into a nursing home for rehab after back surgery is now in my possession again.  The blanket later comforted my father-in-law while he had a short stay in a nursing home, just before he died two years ago. The blanket then went back to Marcene's house where she enjoyed it some more, and it has now come back to rest here in my home.  I've been snuggling under it when I've come home tired after a long day of working at Marcene's.  

I've grown very contemplative over many things in these two weeks -  among the things I've been thinking about anew is the many ways we bless others with the work of our hands.  

Often in ways we'll never fully realize in this life...

The picture above doesn't fit in anywhere, but I love it.  I'm thinking it's from the mid-1980's.  I love everything about it.  Bernie looking sharp, but casual.  His relaxed personality coming through.  Marcene casual, but perfectly coiffed and sporting a beautiful leather purse and carrying a blazer.  It seems she always wore a blazer or had one with her.   I also love the old building in the background, and what appears to be a rusty car on the other side of the fence (or maybe it's a rusty pole on the fence).  I love the colors.

Or maybe I just love the picture because 
I can imagine Bernie and Marcy together again in heaven.  

No more pain or loneliness 
or worries of this world are theirs. 


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Inner Light Scarf...

I have a finish!

During the hottest week (so far) of the year I finished my Inner Light Scarf made with 100% merino wool:

The yarn was purchased last summer at a local yarn festival from Knitting Notions (a hand dyer from Nashville, TN).  I bought two skeins of the Azalea color off her clearance table and only after I got home did I realize I had bought two different dye lots.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to alternate the skeins every two rows and they ended up working together really well.  This pattern makes an asymmetrical scarf  (or shawl) that I imagined I would wear  once it cools down again - something like this:

It's so warm, though, I'm pretty sure it will be reserved for wearing under a coat or jacket when it's really cold, so I'm not sure how much of that pretty lattice design will ever been seen. But I'm super happy with it.  I am so warm-blooded anymore I can't seem to tolerate much of a scarf, but this one made in fingering weight yarn, I'm thinking will be pretty perfect.

This was a pleasant and pretty easy pattern to crochet.  I have at least one more scarf/shawl pattern from this designer and I look forward to giving it a go soon.  The size of this can be made larger or smaller depending on the intended wearer, and how they might want to wear it (e.g. someone small could wear it as a shawl, or it could be made larger to fit any size):

Having finished this asymmetrical scarf, I went looking for ways to wear it.  I found this; and it was kind of fun watching this gal play with hers.

And that's a wrap!