one after the other.

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Almost there, almost to fall. I’m blasting Chopin in the Jeep every morning; my commute is not luxurious by any means, but the music makes it better. Chopin, interspersed with Cherish the Ladies, is a quintessential autumnal soundtrack. The video I shared above is one of my very favorite recordings of a Chopin piece. My favorite CDs have long since lost their cases, so I can’t even truly recommend them. I have no idea what most of the pieces are on the discs; I just listen to them straight through, beginning to end, one after the other.

I don’t have much to say today. I took some vacation time from work, and so I have been drifting. It’s nice to spend a day floating through- visiting bookshops and thrift stores, sipping on lattes and talking about everything with my mother. Take a long & deep breath- release. Suddenly the world isn’t piling up on my shoulders and I can actually take a look around me. The late summer light is perfect, slanting over trees and casting shadows in places that normally are illuminated. I can only see the light like this on a day turned off from the world.

Until we meet again~

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finer things.

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There’s not many things in life more pleasurable than reading in a garden on a fine summer afternoon. Near my office is an arboretum, one of my most favorite places on the planet. I spent some time there Tuesday after work, lounging on a wooden bench and reading On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah under fluttering poplar trees. Accented with the song of cicadas, my hour-and-a-half there was some of my most well-spent time this week.

I haven’t been crafting much since I last wrote- in between some healing (I cut a part of my thumb off two weeks ago) and my second job, I haven’t been able to carve out any time for a podcast or two and crocheting. However, I am still monogamously working on the French Market Bag… I’m utterly thrilled with how it is coming along. I love the indigo color of the yarn and I think it will look très chic when finally finished. I hope to drag it around with me when I go to the beach in October.

sheds

Have you ever heard the folk saying: for every fog in August, there will be a snowfall? So far this month I’ve counted 8 foggy mornings. I dare say I love a good foggy morning, and this week was rife with them. Walking out the door and into the fog with my thermos in hand on a foggy morning evokes such a particular feeling… and reminds me of foggy mornings at my Nana’s house, sitting on the front porch and watching the wild turkeys emerge from the mist, looking for the corn she spread for them. Fog also makes me think of my childhood mornings at the Grange Fair, laying awake in my bunk of the camper watching the mist retreat over the mountain through the window.

Some verbs from this week:
Reading: On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah
Listening: an older Mumford and Sons album, Babel
Visiting: The Arboretum at Penn State
Drinking: Yorkshire Gold, my favorite tea

I’m trying to drink in the summer sunshine while I still can. This weekend is going to be lovely- visiting friends and lounging outdoors while reading. As long as the weather holds out, I’ll still be visiting the Arboretum on my free afternoons post-work. Watching the garden transform from spring delicacy to summer vibrancy to fall resilience astounds me every year. Witnessing nature, most definitely, is the finest part of life.

Until we meet again~

a return home.

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My break from this space has been far too long. I haven’t been living life as slow as I want to- so much of my days are spent moving from one thing to another that hours become blurred and I’m falling into bed every night exhausted & empty. There’s something intensely grounding about writing out a blog post, maybe it’s the act of communicating my thoughts long-form, or maybe that it’s an act of passion to put myself out into the Internet Universe.

In theme of what I said in my last post, I know blogs are not in vogue any more. There’s Instagram and Twitter that provides constant gratification & “connection.” Yet they don’t feel like the right space for me. Instagram is good for being inspired, but it’s not my place to be seen. I don’t feel like I am challenged by the environment, and the communication/connection I do find there is shallow… a letter (blog) versus a telegram (Instagram). I am looking for letter-level communication, a breadth and depth that speaks to spirit. Email newsletters are a good stop-gap, but they don’t solicit the kind of connectivity within itself the way a blog post does.

Offline life, especially now that I’m more than a year post-college, has changed dramatically. The constantly evolving landscape of social media is becoming less desirable to me. While I still wear my Apple Watch and scroll through the ‘Gram, I am much happier to be writing here.

Let’s catch up- this is what’s going on in my neck of the woods:
ReadingDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Crocheting: French Market Bag by Alexandra Tavel
Watching: The Crimson Stitchery
Eating: Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles by Smitten Kitchen
Listening: the newest Hozier album, Wasteland, Baby!

crochet

My motivation to craft comes and goes. Over winter, I developed tendinitis in my left wrist thanks to hours of crane folding and holding books. I took a long break from fiber crafts for this reason- I could barely hold my work aloft in order to knit or crochet. Now that my wrist is in better shape, I want to spend every minute of every day catching up… although I would like to stay monogamous with my projects for now. Once I’m finished with the French Market Bag, I feel like I’ll take on a small origami project- I’m thinking of making a butterfly mobile to complement my cranes (potentially using artisan paper like Awagami Factory Washi Paper).

In times of stress and overwhelm, turning to handcraft is always a return to the self. Sometimes I wonder if I should have studied handcraft in college- I’ve been a knitter for half my life & I’ve always been enamored by how handcraft influences human life. My newfound love for origami has also pulled me into the philosophy of handcraft & “slow living.” Studying ideology behind slow living often feels inane and extremely privileged, but I wonder if this stems from long-held Puritanical productivity beliefs rather than lived experience. In truth, when I am crafting, the desire to be productive falls away and I’m left with the bliss of the journey.

Being here, in this online space, is like being in my own studio. Instead of pine counters and softly colored walls, I have this online nook full of books and creativity. I appreciate all of you that stop by, and please, introduce yourself in the comments. Have a mug of tea and catch up with me!

Until we meet again~

should we niche nicely?

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Mountain Laurel, has nothing to do with today’s post, but it’s certainly pretty

Apparently, the internet is reaching the 20th anniversary of the word “blog.” I recently read an encouraging post to “bring out your blogs.” After reading, I wanted to return to this space, to write and stand on my little soapbox once more. The post encourages readers to blog about what they’re interested in, to just write and share your thoughts/ideas/experiences. The author briefly mentions about having “your topic” and it made me wonder… what if you don’t have a real niche?

Niche

noun: a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.

adjective: denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.

Niche is an interesting word. It’s also interesting to me how we constantly want to cast ourselves into one. To put ourselves in a niche; to find a sheltered place that suits us and appeals to others just like us, doesn’t exactly align with the purpose of the web (the web was created to share information in the name of research). In the current day, we use the internet to connect to each other, but to also meet new people, learn new things, and to discover new interests. To only read/write in relation to a single niche is restricting, and prevents you from having new & different experiences.

For example… there’s a lot of wonderful blogs that I enjoy: The Pen Addict, The Pennsylvania Rambler, UK Fountain Pens, Notebook Stories, Northern Pies, Myth & Moor, Posie Gets Cozy, and Attic 24. Most, if not all, are considered niche blogs. However, these blogs touch on many different aspects of life that has nothing to do with their respective niches at all. One may be writing about fountain pens, but it dribbles into art & crafting. Another may be writing about local history, but also discusses travel and folklore. I, as a reader, am a part of many niches, since I have many interests. When I blog it’s a culmination of all of my interests into one place. If I write about many things at once, where do I fit in? The fountain pen niche? The crafting niche? The travel niche? Instead of trying to fit into a niche, what if I forego it?

Insert the present moment, the writing of this post. Surrendering my need to have a niche and writing only as myself. What do I write about, and what do I want to write about? Rocks, books, Godzilla, fountain pens, postage stamps, nature, travel… all that makes my life wonderful & enjoyable. To write about all of this would be to write about my life. This is what this space is about; a place to simply be present and in love with my own life, without worrying about fitting into a niche.

 

data obsession

The first week of the year passed uneventfully. I returned to work after having 12 days off (my first vacation) and settling into new routines. I have started reading in earnest and I now have 5 books in progress. I have never really been able to focus on one all that much- unless it’s an absolutely engrossing novel!

One thing I stared in the First Week was a temperature blanket. I have been wanting to crochet an afghan for a long time. Essentially- you work a blanket row by row, and the row color corresponds to the daily temperature. My blanket pattern I chose is Apache Tears. While my “tears” are not as long as the ones featured in the pattern (I am one row shorter) I still think the effect will be similar.

My color range & color names:

Temperature Range Color Yarn Brand
0 deg & Below  Pale Plum Red Heart Super Saver
1 deg – 15 deg  Medium Purple Red Heart Super Saver
16 deg – 30 deg  Lavender Red Heart Super Saver
31 deg – 45 deg Light Periwinkle Red Heart Super Saver
46 deg – 60 deg Aruba Sea Red Heart Super Saver
61 deg – 75 deg Turqua Red Heart Super Saver
76 deg – 90 deg Jade Red Heart Super Saver
91 deg & Higher Cool Blue Ombre Caron One Pound

I don’t have any good progress pictures yet- I hope to share one with you in a few days. I have been keeping track of my temperatures and colors in my Traveler’s Notebook weekly planner. It’s been a lot of fun to have a project I have to collect data for. I hope to put everything into a big Excel sheet so I can do some basic math with it to figure out the statistics of temperatures and colors for the year… maybe that is too much, but it’s the scientist in me!

Do you have any big year-long data-based projects like this? I’m also keeping track of my pages read this year in Goodreads and a big Excel sheet… are there others out there like me?

a year of enlightenment

Happy New Year, readers! I hope you were able to celebrate in the ways that you wished. I greeted the Year from the comfort of my own home, by playing card games with my family.

Today, as I dwell on what the Year will contain, I wanted to share with you my Word for 2019 and my 2019 Resolution.

My Word for 2019: Enlighten

My 2019 Resolution: Read 31,000+ pages without buying a single book.

Last year, I challenged myself to complete a senbazuru. I completed my challenge on Sunday, December 30. The project was definitely hard- I battled procrastination and lack of motivation throughout most of the year, but I managed to finish everything on time. While I did not fold my last crane with a particular wish in mind, the peace and happiness I feel due to the completion of the project is more than enough.

This year, I wanted a reading goal, as I thoroughly enjoyed my 2017 Resolution, which was read 100 books. The most I have ever read in one year was right around 30,000 pages, back in 2015. I have come close, but not quite reached the 31,000 pages mark.

I also wanted to have another facet to this project: no buying any books in 2019. I spend a lot of money on books that I read and subsequently donate. Thanks to my job, I have access to a gigantic library, where I can loan any book imaginable. Additionally, I have become a steady patron of my local county library. While I do not have any hard facts or statistics about the subject, I feel that loaning books from the library is better for the environment. Two worthy reasons for going on a book ban: saving money & helping the environment.

My Word for 2019 simply felt right. It came to me this morning, as I was waking up. I want to live with more enlightenment in my life. For a long time, I have experienced growth without development. To me, enlighten will symbolize the development of mind and spirit in my post-college life.

Since I have shared my 2019 Word and Resolution, if you care to share yours, leave a comment! I will stay accountable for my goals on this blog. Again, I hope you have had a Happy New Year, and I wish you all the best for 2019!

winter days

I hope you have had a happy Christmas, and an enlightening Winter Solstice.

These last few weeks have been busy due to holiday preparations. Some days I felt like I was moving a million miles an hour. Every second of it was worth the while- my holiday break has been wonderful. I haven’t ever had a real holiday break before, even while in college. Getting some time to slow down and breathe has been rejuvenating. I have been reading plenty and working on wrapping up a big project.

On January 1, I began to fold senbazuru – 1,000 paper cranes. If I finish all of them by December 31, I will be granted a wish. While I have experienced long bouts of procrastination, I have continued on with my efforts. I have 360 left to fold, and still no idea what I will wish for. I don’t know if I would wish for anything, and if the ancients deem me happiness and eternal good luck, I would consider myself very blessed indeed.