Wednesday Read

As we near the end of the month, I can confirm I completed my March read. I really enjoyed this in depth look at The Final Year of Anne Boleyn, by Natalie Grueninger. It is well written and researched, and is updated with current information. She researched the primary sources herself, and has come up with her own supported conclusions. If you’re a Tudor history or Anne Boleyn fan, it’s a must read.

I’m also enjoying my course with the author: 365 Days of Anne Boleyn. I’m so glad I signed up!

Another One Posts a YOP

Sewing

I’ve got a good start on my Casual Cotton Pants. Right now I’m waiting on a matching zipper to arrive to sew the fly. I had a gray zipper that was too light, and a black zipper that was too dark. I could have tried to make do, but zippers are under $2 and I know I will use those other zippers some day. Normally I serge the seams, but in the interest of being able to alter these should I lose any more weight, I decided to serge the edges of the waistband pieces and stitch them together. They will be easier to unpick that way.

Knitting

Clue 3 dropped on Who Ya Gonna Shawl? but I’m still knitting Clue 1. I love these colors together. I’m not sure I’m knitting the stitches correctly, and they don’t look like the spoiler pic. It may be because I chose a dark contrast color instead of a light one. Ultimately, I don’t think it really matters. Ghosts or Galaga? Who cares, right? I’ll keep working on this as the mood strikes. I honestly don’t know how people keep up with mystery knitalongs like this. There are some fast knitters out there!

I’m a little down on knitting right now. After finishing Arrowhead (which I ironically call “my opus” to myself) I guess I need a little break. I’ve been thinking about picking up a long languishing project, or even casting on something new from stash. Or, I might spin for a while.

Have a great week, YOPpers! Sorry not sorry about the title. Bob and I watched Weird: the Al Yankovic Story last week and I can’t stop thinking about it.

This has been a Year of Projects update. You can read my updated project list at this link. You can find out more about the group on Ravelry.

Sourdough Saturday: Biscotti

Burn Anne the amazing gluten-free sourdough starter continues to delight and amaze. This week I made biscotti, based on this recipe. I substituted gluten-free ingredients, increased the flour by 1/4 cup, decreased the sugar by 1/4 cup, and used sunflower seeds instead of almonds since I can’t have tree nuts. Next time I’ll record exactly what I do and post a recipe.

This has been delicious dipped in a brew of roasted dandelion and chicory root, which we drink as our coffee. I’m sure it would be delicious dipped in coffee as well. I wish I could drink coffee!

A “burn” is a watercourse, which I imagine as a bubbling stream. This is why I named my starter Burn Anne, because I have a Burn Anne Agate necklace I love (which is how I learned about the term burn), the starter bubbles and froths like a burn, and because Burn Anne is named after Saint Anne, the patron saint of motherhood and labor. She keeps birthing more starter and baked goods for us. It’s also a homophone for a silly way I sometimes say banana, “burnana”. My necklace has a hawthorn leaf on the back of the pendant, which is my Celtic tree zodiac sign. This is how I found the necklace in the first place.

Do you name your sourdough starter? Do you talk to it? I find it helps.

Year of Projects

Knitting

I cut the armhole steeks, seamed the shoulders, and I’m now on the sleeves of Arrowhead! I’ve decided to knit them two-at-a-time to make the colorwork a little easier. It will keep the chart fresh in my mind, and won’t be like starting over from scratch on the second sleeve. This is definitely a product knit for me, and I’m looking forward to finishing it.

I’m nearly to the toe on the second Merry Krampus sock. Maybe I’ll have a sock it to me Monday finished object tomorrow?

Sewing

Joann Fabrics was having a big sale, and I picked up this springy cotton flannel for $2.99 a yard. I’m always running out of flannel PJ pants in the winter, and decided to sew another pair. Sometimes you can save money sewing your own!

Baking

Someone recommended I try making gluten-free sourdough snickerdoodles. They are delicious! I cobbled together a recipe, but it’s easy to find one online. I’m not a big snickerdoodle fan, so next time I might try gluten-free sourdough chocolate chip cookies instead.

Reading

I’m nearing the end of Barkskins. This means I can check off my book for the month, although I might also finish Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels. My bedside stack is still growing. I’ve promised myself to only blog about books that I’ve read recently, as my memory has proved fallible. These are my go-to titles right now.

Gardening

I sketched a garden plan. It looks so neat and tidy on paper, but I know it will be a jungle anyway. It’s supposed to be nice this week, so I may start weeding and plant some greens under the little greenhouse.

This has been a Year of Projects update. You can read my updated project list at this link. You can find out more about the group on Ravelry.

All the Reads

I finished Midwinter of the Spirit, book number 2 in Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series. I described these to a friend as, “Vicar of Dibley meets Wicker Man.” I’ve heard them called Folk Horror and Paranormal Cozies. I enjoy these books so much, I wanted to move right on to the next book in the series. Then I looked at the stack of books on my nightstand and decided to try to finish a few others first.

I’m really enjoying Adrienne Dillard’s second book, “Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels.” I’m taking it one chapter a day. I’m particularly appreciative of her treatment of Queen Jane Seymour. Let’s face it, usually you love her or you hate her. This author really fleshes her out as intelligent, cautious, and dissembling. Who wouldn’t be in her situation?

I’ve started listening to Barkskins on audiobook, by Annie Proulx. This is the result of a rabbit hole I went down, starting with an episode of Not Just the Tudors about a demonic possession in New France (French Canada). I became fascinated with colonial Quebec and started searching, and ended up on Barkskins. I’ve also finished watching the series on Apple TV.

I haven’t made much progress on Threads of Life. I’m hoping to pick it back up.

I’ve started watching Mayfair Witches, and am thinking about rereading the first book. I wasn’t a huge fan when I read it the first time, but maybe my maturity will improve it for me.

I’ve also got Batavia: The Night Ship on reserve at the library. The author was recently interviewed on Not Just the Tudors, and I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy. I get a lot of book recommendations from the podcasts I listen to!

We had a big snow yesterday! Bob came into my craft office (that’s what I’ve decided to call it) and asked me if I wanted to go sledding? Yes, thank you very much. I would love that. We weren’t able to sled as our hills aren’t steep enough, so we built a snowman instead.

It’s on Random: 6 Miscellaneous Goals for 2023

1. Continue Bullet Journaling

I started bullet journaling in October, and it has made a huge difference in my anxiety. If I write everything down, I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. It also helps me organize my thoughts and activities by topic. This morning, I set up my January pages while listening to Not Just the Tudors: Birth of the Gregorian Calendar.

2. Try Brioche Stitch

This is one knitting stitch I’ve never tried, and I would like to learn it. I’m thinking brioche socks.

3. Knit Myself some Slippers

I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years. My last attempt was unsuccessful. Here is a list of the patterns I’m considering:

4. Read 1 Book each Month

It may seem like I’m lowballing, but I rarely slow down enough to read. And if I stay up watching movies, there’s no way I’ll get my bedtime reading in. So that’s my plan: go to bed weeknights in time to get at least one chapter read. Right now I’m reading: Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels, Midwinter of the Spirit, and Threads of Life.

5. Bake More

I’m doing well on sourdough scones, flat bread, and pizza dough. Above is my latest scone: cinnamon and crystallized ginger. But I’d like to bake more cakes and pies. So that’s my goal. One per month, I think.

6. Garden Plans

I’ve got my seeds, and this year I’m planning to grow a kimchi garden for Bob, as he makes really great kimchi. There will also be vegetables and herbs of course, but no new dye plants. Whatever survives. I’ll probably draw a schematic in my journal and share it. I’ve also got a galvanized shelf that I think will be perfect to hold seedlings in the south facing bay window. If only I knew someone who could send me a rooting of pondweed for my little frog pond. Any takers?

A Major Award Weekend

This weekend we went to Cleveland to visit A Christmas Story House! We’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and finally made it happen. We brought kids and stayed with kids in their new house, so it was a wonderful kid-filled weekend!

The kids (including Bob) enjoyed getting into character. It was a lot of fun!

We also enjoyed the museum, which included a room filled with some of the costumes.

I was disappointed there was only one sweater.

Remember when I waxed rhapsodic about the handknits in the movie? I can’t find this old post, or I would link to it.

They have a fan art room, and I’m tempted to recreate Esther Jean’s stockings and donate them to the museum.

The gift shop was also a lot of fun. I picked up a few small things, including this charm I’ll use as a progress keeper!

I also got to meet a new family member on this trip, Cannoli. ❤️

Do you watch A Christmas Story every year, like we do?

Thorsday Three: Dread Full Media (in the Best Way)

Book: The Dark Queens

My sister recommended this, and it hasn’t disappointed. I’m near the end and want these proto-Machiavellians to repent, especially Fredegund. Absolutely horrible, but fascinating. It’s nonfiction, but written in a fun and engaging way. I was surprised how many Frankish documents from the sixth century survive, which are the sources for this epic work.

Film: She Will

I have loved Alice Krige since Ghost Story and will watch her in anything. Even so, I found this film bewitching — a fanciful tale superbly done, dark, mysterious, and cathartic. And how refreshing to see a wonderful actress aging naturally and playing a choice role. I felt very satisfied.

Podcast: English Heritage Episode 184, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

I don’t normally listen to this podcast, but the topic of this episode piqued my interest. It includes a history of the locations where the novel is set, a bit about the origin of the work, as well as a brief history of vampires and revenants in general. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of the first nonfiction book I read about vampires in my teens, which was essentially coverage of 17th and 18th century court cases. I couldn’t find this episode on their website, so linked to a public service where you can listen in a browser. However, you can find this on Apple, Spotify, et al.

Side note: have you watched Dracula on Netflix? Claes Bang and Dolly Wells are delicious! The dialogue is smart and funny.

There and Back Again: Lake Michigan Adventure

Bob and I spent last week in Southwest Michigan celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. We hiked, walked along beaches and piers, and ate delicious food. Bob even swam for a (very cold) second.

Here are my Beachcombing Slacks in action. They were perfect for long walks down Weko Beach. Someone in downtown St. Joe complimented me on them. It always makes me happy to have my making skills admired.

This year we hiked Warren Dunes, Chikaming Township Park and Preserve, and Warren Woods State Park. Warren Woods includes a primeval forest. The beeches were ginormous!

I didn’t take very many photos, but here’s a gallery of selfies which I imposed upon Bob as often as possible.

We missed Flick or Treat this year, so instead we watched The Last Drive In Nosferatu double feature from last season. (We saved it for vacation.)

I’m so grateful they showed the FW Murnau silent version with correct timing and original score. The first time I watched it — late 1980s early 1990s I guess — I had checked it out at The Ken Cinema in San Diego. The Ken was a wonderful theater with attached video rental store specializing in independent and foreign film. As an art student at UCSD, going to The Ken was a type of pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the Nosferatu version available at the time was not complete. It was also hilariously timed too fast, and the score was… ragtime? Not spooky, anyway. I’m glad I finally got to view this as intended, although Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht is my favorite. I also love Shadow of the Vampire, which I kept thinking about while watching Murnau’s Nosferatu. They are closely intertwined. I’ve heard Robert Eggars is planning a remake with Bill Skarsgard in the lead role. I can’t wait for the release!

I found a new favorite radio station during this trip: Radio Harbor Country. (They have an app!) We also bowled again at Pete’s Cider Social, ate burgers at The Buck, enjoyed pizza at Silver Beach Pizza, breakfasted at The Mason Jar, and dined at Blackbird Waterhouse for our anniversary dinner. We’re lucky there are so many gluten-free options in the area. We also picked up gluten-free treats from Sweet Bees Bakery, like last time.

I’m mostly posting links for future reference. You would be surprised how many times we looked up our last trip to Michigan on my blog!

Oh! I picked up a souvenir skein called “Michigan October” from The Sandpiper Bridgman.

We really love this area of Michigan. It’s beautiful, waterfront, with plenty for us to do, and it’s only a 6 hour drive from home. Next time, I think we are both interested in visiting the upper peninsula!

Week End Wrap Up

Hey y’all, antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are no joke. I napped every day this week. I craved bacon and potatoes. I’m still battling taste bud malfunction. I haven’t knit a stitch in days! Here’s what I did get up to.

I ordered a new hula hoop. This is a beginner hoop named Mystic Dragon. She’s being patient with me. I can keep her going for a few seconds. I’m following another over 50 hooper on Instagram. She’s slow and gentle with her movements. I am encouraged!

We went to the farmer’s market today and picked up the first apples of the season. Thank you Covid gods for leaving my apple taste buds intact.

Chestnut Hills Studio (that’s me) is having an end of summer sale! If these cotton and wool babies don’t go, I’ll be holding onto the three variegated and three of the tansy dyed to knit a summer Halvis next year.

I heard an interview with author Adrienne Dillard on Talking Tudors and decided I needed to order this book. Her next historical fiction about Jane Seymour and Margery Horsman is coming out in November. Having just finished watching Becoming Elizabeth, I was really in the mood for this. So far, so good! Other books have been swept aside in the wake of this one.

I sewed two new Tekura Tees. Ready for October! Who am I kidding. I will wear these year round.

Many people don’t like that corporations and probably the government are tracking all your online activity. I could care less. I’m not doing anything anyone could be interested in. Except when the Coastal Grandma alert goes off and a company I have never heard of mails a paper catalog to me of everything I want. This is how they get you. Look at this jacket! Unfortunately, everything in the catalog is over $150. Fortunately, I know how to sew.

I found a pattern on Etsy for $3! And I have fabric that will work. At first I was thinking the teal corduroy. Now I’m wondering if the wool plaid would be better. I purchased it for trousers but it has a soft hand. Either way, I’ll have to buy a lining fabric. Which one do you prefer? I’ll probably go with corduroy. I’m not sure about quilting this wool fabric from Heavens to Betsy via The Woolery. Although I could quilt along the tartan lines, so there’s that.