What a strange, boring 2 weeks or so it has been since I have last posted. Our quarantine continues & I have left the house once for a grocery run. My usual evening walks are every 2 or 3 days, sometimes more, so I am still stretching my legs & getting the blood flowing.
I finally broke down the day before I had to get groceries & I made my own cloth mask. I had started some of the steps a while back but my brain shut a door on the project. Something about finishing this particular project just made things feel so, so real. I think I was afraid to make it because I had to admit some things to myself when I put it to my face.
Since my last post, I have dug deep(literally) and we have started a garden! We did SO much hard work to prepare the area & I have had seeds growing for a little bit of time. I am super excited to be able to share our gardening project with you! It has been a very long time since I had a garden(I was a teen) and I am a bit nervous that I will completely blow it.
I look forward to sharing more of what I am up to, keeping busy, Martha Stewart style.
Just way sassier, more tattoos & I cuss a lot more.
I hope that the hopelessness blues haven't been too hard on you. I know that I really struggled through the last week. My period came & all of my hormones were zero percent impressed with being locked in the house with my family.
In other news, my husband has become a wizard at baking cookies. I think he keeps them close by so he can throw them at me when I start getting too hyped up.
What has been your comfort food for the pandemic?
I wish that I was able to go out and explore & show you all more of my world but you get to stay home with me, during this pandemic.
Don't act too excited.
I have been keeping myself relatively busy with simple projects that keep my going through the day. I have started to try and keep a little bit of a schedule and it seems to be working for me. Also, it has been incredibly important for me to take the time to watch great American classics like The Simpsons & Tiger King.
I am cooking most everything from scratch and baking constantly, in the same manner. I have been perfecting my brownie recipe and I hope to share that with you all soon. Bread has been the most baked and most popular food, per usual. My favorite current bread to make & eat is focaccia(especially when I slice up onions and lay those on top before I bake it).
The other day, I was coasting through Instagram and saw that My Little Secret Crop KAL was a thing & I had to join in. I grabbed IDORU & Inner Peace(though I think I may have been able to actually make this with just IDORU for the body and IP for the straps) and went to town on this knit. I was not the most aggressive knitter so it took me, probably, 4 days, but I am pretty sure that it could go faster.
This knit is still blocking, a little damp yet. I hope to get some nice photos of it at some point & I am looking forward to knitting up a pair of Ripple Hot Pants when that pattern comes out. I'm hoping to knit up some nice loungewear sets with these designs.
The spinning bug has bit me. I have not been able to keep my hands off of my wheel, lately, & I feel like it is the perfect, mindless craft I need. My brain can turn off and my hands just move organically, drafting fiber. This braid of fiber by Dandelions & Daisies was a feast for my eyes, when I was digging in my fiber stash, so I snatched it up and spun it into a very beautiful bulky 2 ply. I still need to set the yarns but it has been finished & was just what I needed for last night.
I have pulled a couple things to spin today & I hope to be able to share those with you next time.
What have you been doing to keep busy?
p.s. Fern says hi.
I think everyone else who has decided to self-quarantine are, also, going through the hump what in the world am I going to do to keep myself busy. Being a classic introvert that works from home & loves slow living, I am kind of just keeping myself busy with regular tasks & happily taking a lot of time to prepare meals and bake a lot.
I have made curries, stews, ragu, brownies, breads, pot pie & I am looking forward to spending time learning to make a lot of new things, too.
Some skills I would like to hone, during this time, include gardening and making pie. Gardening is something that came easily back home but growing any fruits and vegetables outside in Florida has been a bit of a task.
Pies, now, I am just a chicken and always put off learning new things, just like everyone else.
If you are quarantining in any way, how are you keeping yourself busy? How are those around you handling it?
A monarch butterfly emerged today!! It was such a surprise because we never saw any indication of it coming out, as the colors of the chrysalis were still quite green yesterday. This is the last chrysalis and I am spending a lot of time admiring this beauty while trying to decide where, exactly, I will be placing them when they are ready.
I am eyeballing a neighbor's hibiscus plant because of the big, beautiful flowers that are too perfect for our friend.
I hope that everyone is having a nice Sunday. It feels like it is a bit hard to entirely relax in these times but make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Stay safe & healthy.
Yesterday, the need to create was overwhelming. While I waited for Khaleesi to dye, one of my longer processing colorways, I spent some time fussing over images that organically birthed from my head. I know it is weird but I tend to work on two images at a time & they are, typically, extremely different from one another. I do not usually plan what I will make, I just start painting with the watercolors & then it simple grows.
I have noticed general geometric themes in my creations, whether I am making a pattern or I am drawing photos. I just love to fuss over every dot & line. The details are the most soothing.
I have always been afraid to draw because I never had the patience to create such a thing. I don't know if knitting, among other things, has really helped me improve my patience and ignited my passion for creating.
What is a passion of yours that has nothing to do with yarn?
We had an incident with our hot water heater back in January which has lead to a bit of a larger overhaul than anticipated. Right now we have multiple projects in multiple rooms but we are so close to having everything finished & I look forward to that time.
The clutter around my home while we do these renovations is something that really effects my mood. I never was a super tidy child, opting for organized chaos, but now I find that a cleaner home helps my mind relax. These little projects are also something I love for keeping my brain happy, too, so the balance is delicate.
We were working in the bathroom and I needed to grab some tools when I moved a couple things and uncovered a WIP that I had long neglected but often thought about, my Hatha featherweight cardigan. I originally intended to knit this cardigan for myself but my middle son decided it was his. I am proud to announce that he is much too big for it now and it is back to being mine. I win.
I only need to knit 1 sleeve and the front trim. I am already sucked into this project so hopefully it is finished before I know it.
How often do you go through you yarn stash and project piles and review what is going on?
I usually go through my WIP stash around the time of the new year. I figure it is a time to reflect back and decide what I want to bring forward with me into the next year and my projects should not be excluded. This year I pulled back shawls and hats and more. It is almost freeing to pull those strings back and reclaim them for another project that will better suit you.
I spent a bit of the day in the kitchen. Cooking and baking are therapeutic for me and it is interesting to think that all of these weird, ridiculous cooking skills I have collected like Pokemon over the years are coming to good use.
I am using this time with quarantines in effect to really spend the time to make every meal from scratch, something I nearly always do anyways, but now I am trying to go the extra mile. I am trying to not allow ANY food waste during this time, using everything I can, in every way. I know that what I have access to in markets is pretty poor but very luckily, I am experienced enough in the kitchen to make something out of nothing.
leftover corned beef hash became tonight's pot pie
How did you prep for quarantine?
What are some essentials you needed?
How are the stores where you live?
I, personally, realized that I was maybe prepared enough when I realized how much flour I had in the cabinet.
I might have enough for bread for 2 weeks.
My husband & I just got back from voting. Today, multiple states were supposed to hold their Democratic primaries and while some postponed because of the COVID-19, our voting went on as usual. We were informed to bring our own pens & keep our social distance. Not surprisingly, we were the only two people within the immediate vicinity other than the poll workers.
On our way home, I reached for my husband's hand and he pulled his hand away from mine.
Of course, I got super pouty.
I can never just let an emotion simmer so I told him what he did, how he made me feel and his response that our hands were contaminated.
Even though we used our pens at the booth, we used their pens to sign the electronic pads & then he went on about how the one woman was using a tissue before we came in.
Ladies & gentlemen, if you did not know, I am married to someone with OCD. Real OCD. Not, I like one color of m&m because I need to be the center of attention or I like to keep my things clean and organized to my liking. REAL OCD. Also, my husband also has about half function of his lungs & his last pulmonologist visit included the doctor mentioning supplemental oxygen for at home because his blood oxygen levels are sitting around 94%. Not to mention the heart defect he was born with(plus all his other health issues but I could type many, many blogs to try and cover it all).
I feel super nervous, y'all. Not gonna lie.
I am putting on my strong face and have been working hard to prepare our home in case we are quarantined & with that, I keep thinking of what we can do. I imagine that is in a lot of people's minds right now, as kids are suddenly no longer in school, state parks are closed, beaches are closing down here, even. It's cold in some areas, mud in others, and way too hot in Florida already.
For us, we are always home. We homeschool, I work from home & usually when we leave the house it's for groceries, photoshoots, hiking, parks with the kids. I feel like my day-to-day has not really changed that much, just that I am isolating myself well & really cleaning my hands up super well after I go out of the house. Something I did hear on the news was the change your clothes when you get home from out & about, too, so that is something I have adopted. I figure, that laundry mountain isn't going to build itself.
What changes have you felt? What are you implementing?
I am seeing so many events canceling and I have had to say goodbye to the one show I have planned so far this year, Allentown Fiber Festival. I have been wondering what ways we could remedy this and create maybe some virtual and online events. Other creators have been starting things up, including Virtual Knit Nights, etc.
Have you seen anything like this? Have you participated? I would be interested in sitting in on a virtual knit night but I am always SO shy and quiet(until I am not).
Once I heard that a friend of my husband's was quarantined, I told my husband to reach out and see if he wants to work on a music project together, so his friend doesn't lose his mind pacing his NYC apartment. Reaching out to those in quarantine in ways that they can still be isolated but stimulated seems like something that would be nice.
I think it is a great time to reach out and connect to those people you have put off. Pick up the phone, do a video chat, send an email. Tell everyone you love how much you love them and help the world smile.
Take time for YOURSELF. Read about the things that interest you. Learn the things you've put off. Pick up a DIY project you've put off. Dig through WIP mountain & find something that you had forgotten to finish but you honestly love.
What other things do you recommend people to do while they are having to deal with quarantines, isolation and just settling in as a good and proper witch of the wood?
p.s. I am getting super excited to start sharing food here. I am obsessed.
For quite a while, I have been wanting so badly to find ways to further interact with everyone. I, honestly, do not have much in the way of local friends & most of my friends from away do not really talk to me often, so my crafting friends have become my family & I have been yearning for more connection to everyone around me.
I have gone back and forth with the idea of restarting my YouTube videos but getting life together to sit still long enough to create a weekly vlog is much harder than I remembered.
Then my mind wandered back to my mailing list & I have mentioned it to a few people, asking how they would feel about newsletters becoming a part of my regular routine again. The results were pretty unanimous that the newsletter was a great idea but rather than clogging people's inboxes, I would prefer a monthly email to update what has been happening at CFQ HQ & things that are going on. This would include whatever fit the bill at the time & I am looking forward to getting this back into my routine.
When I first created this website, I originally intended to blog. I was, mostly, just posting my YouTube videos with show notes & then quickly fell out of the habit. (Have I mentioned typing show notes is really boring? If I haven't, now you know.) Writing up blogs at my whim was something that came up in conversation recently, as ideas were bursting in my head.
So here we be...
I am hoping to keep my blog to whatever I feel like fits me at that moment. The topics that I will OBVIOUSLY be covering are things like yarn, crafting, being weird, food, more food, nature, hiking, music, plants, painting, etc. My hobbies aside from yarn things are totally going to be a HUGE part of this because I am totally more than a yarn dyer.
I will, also, be touching on my day to day life, including my family & personal life, as we ride the waves of life. Anyone who is familiar with me knows that my husband & children are my world so they're totally going to be here, too.
Be kind with me.
Be patient with me.
& be those things to everyone around you.
I hope that our friendship will continue to grow & thrive through this.
Casual Fashion Queen
The creator behind Casual Fashion Queen is here to ramble on about all the crafts & life, in general. Come see what I am up to & keep in touch!