Amy Artisan

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Month: February 2014

Currently…February

Another month has come to an end…for being the shortest month of the year, this February also had points in time where it seemed very long. As we move towards March (and spring?!?), here’s a bit of “What I’m Into” for the month…

February Moments

Reading…As I mentioned in my Recently Read post, my focus was on books that I already owned. Not quite as many finished as I had hoped – but making progress.

Watching…Way too much of the Winter Olympics…a House of Cards Season 2 marathon…I finally saw Frozen and thoroughly enjoyed it – a good Disney musical

Crafting…I’m nearing the finish on a new shawl – I started it on Super Bowl Sunday and kept busy with it through the Olympics. I’ve also started on a baby knit for a co-worker’s first baby – it has been several years since I’ve had a baby knit on the needles.

Cooking…I’m now hooked on making homemade coconut milk (use this as my starting point)- even easier & tastier than homemade almond milk adventures. I started on a Whole 30 at the start of the month and only made it to about a Whole 12 before some business travel + snow storm limitations pulled me off course – so I’ve been focusing on Whole 30 at home and smart when away. In addition to the homemade coconut milk, some kitchen staples for me to be successful with this include “hard boiling” a dozen eggs in the oven each week, keeping homemade mayo in the fridge, roasting a big batch of vegetables…

Snacking…on a new homemade trail mix: freeze dried cranberries + freeze dried mandarin slices + freeze dried pineapple + coconut chips + nuts (cashews or pistachios). These days, I keep a bag of this in my purse or at my desk.

Avoiding…the monster potholes that are appearing because of the extreme winter weather. In the spirit of the Olympics, I have “christened” this the cross-country pothole slalom. In addition to the normal daily driving, I endured an ultra marathon event in this – a business trip up to Massachusetts meant I got to experience the course through 5 states: up on a Monday afternoon & back on Wednesday afternoon.

Lighting…citrus candles as a way to bring some cheer into the winter gloom. A large 3 wick sweet Clementine was burned clean in under a month. A recent sale had me stocking up on more citrus scents for the coming weeks (Pomelo grapefruit, Road to Capri, Lemon Leaf Mint).

Appreciating…storm preparedness and my ready box…when the ice storm came through earlier in the month – I knew I was ready to weather the power loss when it came. Stay tuned for my suggestions on a ready box.

Looking Ahead…to March…a possible spring break meet-up with my TX girlies in Washington DC…a possible business trip across the pond…time to “spring ahead” & the promise of longer days…

Linking up with Leigh Kramer’s monthly connection

Recently Read – February 2014

Reading this month has ebbed and flowed around here. After the ice storm earlier this month, my phone/cable/internet didn’t return when the power came back on. It was a 5 day wait for the service tech to come out for the 5 minute fix. During those days and evenings, there was a lot of reading (alternated with a fair bit of knitting). Once I was “back online,” my reading slowed as I was sucked into the Olympics & did a lot of knitting while watching. For February, I “answered the challenge” to only read books from my own library. So, this month several books have become available at the library that I want to read & I am letting them go back to the bottom of the list.

  • Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde – Another clever installment in the Thursday Next series – I think I’ll keep going with this series. #literaryhumor
  • The Noticer by Andy Andrews – I picked this up during a good sale on Amazon around the holidays. A quick & delightful allegory about perspective. A good read for January that is staying with me. I may make this an annual read. I was highlighting so many times while reading this story. A favorite passage: ” Think with me here … everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but if you’ll remember, mountaintops are rocky and cold. There is no growth on the top of a mountain. Sure, the view is great, but what’s a view for? A view just gives us a glimpse of our next destination — our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off the mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak. #ponderingperspective
  • Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman – The story of Nellie Bly was a favorite in the Value Tales I read as a child, so when I saw this book I immediately picked it up with my Christmas 2012 Amazon card and plunged into it. Then it languished for long periods of time. When the ice storm hit & I was semi-offline for 5 days, I picked this back up & finished the journey. The tales of their round the world journey (in opposite directions) were very interesting, as were the stories of their lives after those “80 days.” I am a fan of well-written narrative nonfiction and this delivers. #learnedalot
  • South of Superior by Ellen Airgood – A read that sat dormant for way too long. I picked up this book when it came out & then it got put aside with the whirlwind of 2012 & 2013. A story of coming to a new place and initially feeling like a fish out of water and discovering that the new place really is your water and the people surrounding you really are your tribe. In addition to colorful characters, the along the southern shore of Lake Superior in the UP is a vibrant character – while reading the story I could picture the charming area where my sister & I had a “Sisters at the Shore” weekend in June 2010.  “She walked, and with each step she let another inch of the long furl of her expectations go. The place itself was like a steady hand, a low voice, a very old person who’d seen too much to get overexcited anymore. Stop now a minute, it said. Stop searching.” #missingtheuppermidwest
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion –  A quirky love story and comedy. The process & analytics side of my brain chuckled at some of the rationale ‘ approach the main character had in his quest to complete “the wife project.” It was in a similar vein as a favorite movie, As Good As It Gets. Parts of it read more as a screenplay. “You can’t go through life not listening to music.#cleverread

Current active reads are The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbreth/J.K. Rowling & The Pun Also Rises by John Pollack & Crazy Love by Francis Chan. #alwaysplentymoretoread

Linking up with the monthly Twitterature round-up hosted by The Modern Mrs. Darcy.

What have you been reading lately?

One Community: February 2014

I had several different ways I had thought of representing the February One Community words: STYLEHEIRLOOMHEARTBEATWARM. In the end, I decided to go with one picture that I think sums up the words.

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The fireplace & mantel are obviously a focal point of my living room. And as I have looked this space “a lot” this winter, especially the last week of snow & ice & a bit of no power & 5 days of no connectivity, I see a representation of each of these words together in one spot.

Style – The plates on the walls are from adventures with family & friends – each tells a story. The street markets in Florence with my sister. A favorite potter from my time in Marinette. A plate from Rebecca’s trip to Turkey. A tile from La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, CA – a favorite place to go when we lived there. And more.

Heirloom – The pewter candlestick is from my great grandmother’s boarding house. These days, it houses an LED candlestick that comes on every evening. A connection from the past housing “the newest” light.

Heartbeat – The picture frames capture moments with those most dear to me. Times with these folks definitely top the highlight reel.

Warmth – This fireplace provides all sorts of warmth: both actual heat and visual warmth. For the most part, I rarely turn my heater on – instead, I turn this on for a few minutes & before long all is warm and the more minutes it is on the toastier the room gets & the heat flows back to the other rooms. Last Wednesday morning I had the fireplace on while watching the news about the ice storm when the power went out – I kept the fireplace on until power was restored 8 hours later – at times the apt was “too hot” & I might have had the windows open on a winter day, but I knew that I would want the heat that night if the power didn’t come back.

Connecting into One Community hosted by Sarah.

Today, I Am…

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Today, I am…

…ready for winter to be over. A big snow yesterday and prepping for snow + ice tonight into tomorrow…

…fighting winter weather grumpies! More so than during all my Marinette winters. Sigh

…thankful for the ability to work from home on snow days instead of venturing out on the roads.

…double checking my “emergency kit” here at home, in case the overnight ice causes us to lose power. 

…knitting away on a new shawl – not officially a “knit Olympics” event since I cast on during the Super Bowl (knit during the game – pause during the commercials).

…in week 1 of my 2nd Whole30 and enjoying the time in the kitchen. 

…planning several posts on the cooking & tips that help me through the Whole30. 

…really enjoying the homemade coconut milk I’m making these days.

…enjoying decaf Candy Cane green tea in the evenings to unwind. (And enjoying the rest of the teapot poured over ice as I get home from work.)

…enjoying the grapefruit splash candle I picked up in Lancaster Co. – a splash of sunshine in a jar.

Linking up with Carole’s Ten on Tuesday: I Am.

Currently…the January edition

And just like that, January has morphed into February. Looking back on the month, there are still items to be blogged…some will be their own posts in the near future…for other things, I think that participating in the “What I’m Into” link-up hosted by Leigh Kramer is a way to capture moments of the month.
  • Reading…I mentioned several reads earlier this month in my first twitterature review. Since then, I’ve finished two more reads (The Noticer by Andy Andrews & Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde)…I’ll share thoughts on them later.
  • Watching…like many, I’m enjoying the return of SHERLOCK. Another new show I’m enjoying is “Intelligence.” I’m most of the way through the first season of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. A bit of a “movie marathon” while a friend was in town including the most recent “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Internship,” “Enough Said,” “Love Actually” (always a favorite), and “American Hustle” and a late lunch at Movie Tavern.
  • Cooking…the baked oatmeal recipe I discovered at Thanksgiving continues to be a favorite breakfast – in addition to a cranberry batch, I made a blueberry-blackberry-pecan version that has been delicious! Cold winter calls for comfort foods – for my New Year’s Pork & Sauerkraut, I found a Dutch oven recipe that I modified – the Cider Carmelized Sauerkraut is a keeper. I made a big pot of Mom’s Italian Squash Soup. My”go to” Brussels Sprout Hash is a quick (& frequent) fix that is great for packing for weekday lunches. I’m gearing up to do my second Whole30, so I’m planning out my menu & will share recipes while doing it.
Hanging Hankies

Hanging Hankies

  • Crafting…the knitting needles have been busy. In addition to finishing my afghan, I also finished a simple Shawlette for me & started replenishing the dishcloth stash. One Saturday afternoon, I made art for above my bed using some vintage hankies from my collection mounted on scrapbook paper & framed in 12×12 frames.
Tea @ Tilly Mints

Tea @ Tilly Mint’s

  • Enjoying…hosting a dear friend for a long girls weekend (afternoon tea at Tilly Mint’s Tea Room, a day in Lancaster Co., outlet shopping, movies, talking, hanging out and more) – such a wonderful weekend of R&R and friendship!
  • Trying…a new church and enjoying it. Maybe I’ve finally found one to call home here?
  • Planning…blog posts (& maybe a redesign?)…spare room organization…Spring break…summer vacations…maybe a winter Olympic knitting adventure?
And now, a new month and new things to be into…what about you? What are you into these days?

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