To observe, enjoy and create in everyday life

The Beginning of Summer & Book Club

It may not look like most summers, but summer is here. The boys are out of school, the weather is warming up and the days are filled with caring for the garden and going on close-to-home adventures. Had summer gone as planned, our family would have been traveling through Utah this past week exploring some of our nation's beautiful parks. We decided to postpone this bucket list trip and wait until next year. Instead these last few weeks have found us out in the back garden picking bowlfuls of strawberries, cherries and blueberries. We turned them into pancakes and pies and still had plenty to freeze for later use. We've hopped in the car to explore favorite trails that are less than an hour away. We've read books and played games and watched movies. We've celebrated an amazing dad and barbecued in the backyard and watched a pair of chickadees fly to and from their little nest on our back deck. For not going "as planned", summer is treating us all perfectly fine!

I found some time this last month to make and finish one of two quilted throw pillows for the side chairs in our family room. I'm really happy with the scrappiness of the grays and whites. The squares are cut for the second pillow, so I just need to find a couple of free afternoons to make up the second pillow.
And I have been plugging away on my Emoryi Shawl. Today (June 30th) is the last official day of the Crochet Along. I am about four rows from finishing, so I won't quite make the deadline. I did receive the new color to add to the shawl instead of the blue I had shown at the beginning of the month. I'm happy with how this color works. I think it gives the project the pop of color I was looking for. I'll make sure to post when the shawl is finished!

Last week we ventured a little further from home to visit my mom in Central Oregon. It was her birthday, so I think that warranted a trip to see her! She and I took the boys to the Painted Hills for a day trip while my husband had some work appointments. This is the second time we had been to the Painted Hills. You feel a bit like you've driven onto the set of a Western movie. It's beautiful...and in the middle of nowhere! The first time we went, it was so hot that we didn't explore far. This time around, the weather was perfect for exploring some of the trails. We finished off our day trip with lunch in Mitchell, OR. It was a great day!

One last note before I send you off, Kristin from Chicken Librarian will be having an online book discussion in July. We would love to have you join us! This go around we are reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. I had read this book a couple months ago and asked Kristin if she had read it yet. She had not, but it was on her to-be-read-list. So naturally it became the next book selection for Chicken Librarian Reads. I hope you will snag a copy of the book, read it (seriously it should only take you a few days) and join us online for a discussion. The online book chat will happen on Thursday, July 16th at 4pm (PST). You can find a link to the Zoho meeting room here in Kristin's post about the book chat: Chicken Librarian Reads. If you can't find a copy at your local library, the link for the book above takes you to Amazon where you can find a free Kindle version of the book. Chat with you soon!

Until next time,

~ Linking with Ginny's Yarn Along

A Little Bit of Everything

A few projects have been keeping my hands busy this month. I joined Cerulean Orchid's Emoryi Shawl Crochet Along and have been enjoying this simple, yet striking pattern as it builds. I have come to a bit of a stand still in the project though as I am not happy with my third color choice. I think the blue I chose, while it goes overall with the other two colors, is not the best choice for this pattern. I feel like it needs a lighter color or a brighter color. Otherwise the whole thing will end up looking a little flat. I ordered another skein in a lighter shade of purple, so I will see how that goes when it arrives next week.

I also finished up a baby quilt to be given to a couple at church who are expecting their first little one next month. I love the scrappiness of this quilt. Looking at these pieces of fabrics, I see some that were given to me by a friend, others that have been used in past baby quilts, and even a few squares of leftover fabric from a dress I made for my niece eight years ago. Quilts like these are always the most enjoyable to work on because they bring back memories of other projects.

While my hands have been crocheting or stitching, I have been listening to some great books! I am following along with CraftLit's current season: Anne Bronte's Tenant of Wildfell Hall. This is a Bronte book that I have not read, and I am really enjoying listening to the story. I appreciate how Heather Ordover (podcast host) walks you through different aspects of the time period, author's life, important plot developments, and character traits to pay attention to as you listen. Another great listen was Quilt Fiction's reading of Aunt Jane of Kentucky by Eliza Calvert Hall. As for paper books, I read and enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance and A Land of Sheltered Promise by Jane Kirkpatrick.

My boys and I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen over the last few months.  We've made pies and cookies and brownies, and yummy dinners, and bread! I have been tending a sourdough starter that has been producing some delicious loaves of bread for us. I swore I would not get another pet, but I feel like the keeping and feeding of a sourdough starter (which is very much like keeping a pet) has been worth it!

Our garden is doing well this spring. We pulled some of our first veggies and berries from the garden this week and have been cutting bouquets of peonies for a couple weeks now. Next to bloom will be the jasmine and hydrangeas. And next to pick should be the blackberries and blueberries. The strawberries we have picked so far (our season is just starting this week) have been delicious! I think we'll be making another strawberry pie tomorrow with some of the berries.

After many weeks of not seeing any of my friends in person, I broke the rules and got together for some one-on-one walks with close friends. I am very blessed to have the amazing family I have. My guys are great complaints here! But, I have missed getting together with a girlfriend and just chatting. Sometimes about current projects, books we are reading, new plants for the garden, or nothing really at all. So getting out a handful of times for a walk with a girlfriend has been a real treasure for me these last few weeks.

I hope this finds you well. That your days have been filled with both productive time and creative time. That you have found ways to connect with family and friends either in person, over the phone or through online platforms like Zoom. And, I hope that you have had some beautiful spring weather to soak up. Fresh air and sunshine is such a game changer!

Goodbye for now,

~ Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along