Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pursuing a Simple Life

Recently, I was reading online and discovered a blog post that intrigued me.  It was titled "How to Start Living a Simple Life".  I am and have been for a very long time a simple living advocate.  I have pursued a simple life for most of my adulthood.  I have minimalist tendencies although I would not label myself a minimalist.  I like books, real books, and would not choose to downsize my personal library.  I love my garden.  I want my dirt and my shovels and seeds.  In addition, I have my yarn and needles because fiber arts give me great joy.  But simplicity is an important part of what defines my life.  At the end of that blog post, the author instructed her readers to 'stop reading and write down these five statements on a piece of paper'.

So I did.

Make your lifestyle a priority.
Slow down and enjoy every task.
Know what is important.
Connect with nature.
Make the most of today.

I'm going to keep that paper around and do those things mindfully.  My lifestyle.  Enjoy every task (even doing the laundry).  Know what is important.  Connect with nature (I love my walks and messing around in my garden!)  Make the most of my day.

What tasks did I enjoy today?  Making several batches of granola.  Finally, baking some cinnamon rolls.  Weaving in the ends of several finished knitting projects (mostly hats).  Decluttering some papers from the counter where they always seem to collect.  These are quiet everyday tasks which I sometimes avoid simply because I don't slow down and enjoy them.

I hope I've made the most of today.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Fridays, Take Three

shared through Susanne's blog--see the link up above.
Willow's Week in the Wilderness and at Home

1.  As I stated a week ago, I was out of routine this week.  My adventures involved a solo drive across the Arizona desert.  Really and truly, I don't mind the seven hour drive.  I cranked up Celtic Woman Christmas and The Messiah and sang along.  Since we do this trip from coastal California to middle of the Arizona desert on a regular basis, I know the rest areas, the coffee stops and the cheap gas stations.  And I'm thankful for safety on the highways.

2.  What always amazed me is the beauty of the desert.  (Yes, it was HOT. Fortunately, my car has good AC.)  The desert has its own wonders and I enjoy soaking in the colors and terrain.  The sparse but beautiful foliage with a green all its own.  The majestic and rugged mountains and mesas.

3.  The reason for my visit was to help celebrate this girl's second birthday!  Check out her cake--the girl loves Mickey and Minnie!

She loved driving the ice cream truck at the pizza place.

Her newest friends are Donald and Daisy.

Even big two year old girls can get tired.  The best way to sleep is to snuggle with all your friends.

4.  It was a great visit.  I had one on one quality time with both my son (Chaplain Dan) and his wife.  And of course,  PAL and I had fun, too.  I visited the yarn section of a store with family members and brought home enough yarn to make two more Weasely sweaters and an afghan. (More on those later)

5.  Back home and settled in after sleeping and sleeping, I've been catching up on some reading since this week it has been too hot to be outside much.  (Yes, it was unseasonably hot and super windy due to the Santa Ana Winds which I probably brought home with me from the desert.)
In one of my reading books, I came across this statement.
My quote of the week!

"There is no dignity quite so impressive,
and no independence quite so important,
as living within your means."
President Calvin Coolidge

Friday, October 14, 2016

October Fridays, Take Two

Mrs. Knitting has had a thankful week.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.

1.  Is autumn really and truly here?  Even here in Southern California, it might be.  Leaves are turning brown and falling down.  And the temperatures have moderated.  I do love autumn, no matter where.

Here we don't have amazing orange and red and yellow leaves; our colors are in the flowers which are still blooming.

2.  I spent Saturday and Sunday at the Reyes Adobe Days.  Every year our guild is invited to demo and the staff there are always excellent, friendly and helpful--I enjoy this event immensely and look forward to it.  It's fun to share this ancient and yet modern process every thing we all wear goes through to make fibers stronger and more durable.

3.  Last weekend, when I was demonstrating spinning, I was also able to exhibit and sell my hats.  The good news is that I sold all but five of the hats.  Even though the temperatures were soaring, people were still purchasing hats.  Yay!  Generate Hope will be receiving a good sized check soon.

4. This week is our PAL's birthday!  She is two!  I will be going to her house over the weekend to help her celebrate!

5.  At our house,  The Professor is pretty excited.  "GO, DODGERS!" (followed closely by "I miss Vin.")

Due to that expedition to Arizona, I will have sporadic internet time.  Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Willow's Week One in October

Wow, this week got away from me.  I spent all day Thursday thinking it was Friday, and then when it was Friday, I spent half of it forgetting to post my Friday Fave Fives!  I'm blaming it on the heat wave we're having here (again).  Anyway, here is Willow's Week in Friday's Fave Fives.

1. It's National Spinning and Weaving Week! October 6-12.  I will be demonstrating spinning this weekend at a local historical ranch-turned-park, sitting on the patio in front of the adobe ranch house.  If you're local, come visit!  Reyes Adobe Days.  In preparation for the event, I have been practicing spinning some of my various fibers to decide which one(s) I'll be taking to spin.  And since it's a national 'holiday', I'm not being lazy, right?

2. Son #2, Dr. Mike, combined business and pleasure when he made a trip to the Best West Coast this week.  I'm so so happy that he has carved out time to see his dad and me.  Dinner last night.  Overnight stay on Saturday night. Nothing.  NOTHING.  Beats time with my children.

3.  World's Best Neighbor was visiting to discuss scarf knitting techniques.  She was planning her visit to their newborn grandson and asked about baby hats I might have.  Immediately I pulled out a World War II Watch Cap knitted in blue and just the right size for a little one if it is rolled up a bit (and it gives him room to grow into it). Perfect!  A hat going to someone who will love it, wear it, cherish it.

4.  I think I've mentioned the young girl who was watching me knit one evening last summer at an event--I offered to make her a hat.  Then when I told her brother I'd make him one, he answered, "Yes, please" which melted my heart right there.  The little one has taken to calling me "Mrs. Knitting".  Heart in puddle again.  Then their daddy shyly asked me if I would make him a hat.  It turns out that he appropriated borrowed his son's hat last week when he was cold, so his family told him, "Ask Mrs. Knitting to make you your own hat!"  So, that's what's on (one set of) my needles this week.  Another World War II Watch Cap going to someone who really wants it.

5.  Every year I purchase ONE pumpkin spice latte.  'Nuff said.

How was your week?  I hope if you are in the northern hemisphere, you are enjoying crisp fall weather with beautiful orange and yellow leaves flowing around you.  I pray that if you are in the path of Hurricane Matthew that you are safe, warm and dry.  And I hope if you are in Southern California where the Santa Ana winds are scorching the landscape even more and whipping up the palm trees and tumble weeds that your air conditioner is working.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Hello Friends!  It's Friday Fave Fives time!  Welcome to Willow's Week.  Follow that link to participate in sharing your blessings from this past week.

1.  Sometimes, I collect sayings.  Here are two I've heard this week in response to "[using whiny voice] It's not fair!"  Both are true.  Both are wise.

Life's not fair, and then you die.

Life's not fair, but you can be.

2.  Sometimes, I notice colors and textures.  Probably it's my experience in working with textiles.  If the light is just right in the kitchen, the sun changes the colors of my green shamrock plant.  My heart leaps when I notice the beauty.

3.  Sometimes, the texture of something will pull up a memory.  I grew up among the majestic evergreen trees of the Pacific Northwest.  This week as I was parking in a public lot in Ventura which is a LONG way from the PNW, I noticed the texture of this tree.  The memory it invoked of my childhood made me smile.  I might have reached out and stroked the bark.  Sometimes I miss the green forests of home.

4.  Sometimes, one thing will lead to another.  I offered to help a friend from the weavers and spinners guild who is also a artist group friend to bring together, organize and document all the equipment (for example, spinning wheels, weaving looms and drum carders) that the guild has to offer the members for rental use.  When I told my daughter my plans for the day, she responded, "That's great, Mom.  Organizing and helping others organize is one of your spiritual gifts."  I guess she's right.  I like organizing stuff.  So, I spent part of a day this week enjoying my friend's company and helping out the guild.

5.  Sometimes, the rewards are great.  The guild is given a lot of unspun fiber, yarn, and equipment.  I brought several bags and boxes of yarn home to cull and organize and take back to the guild.  Also, I was given the opportunity to choose to keep some if I wanted.  I should have warned The Professor that it wasn't all mine to keep.

What little blessings make you smile sometimes?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Presentations, Anniversaries, Birthdates

Friday Fave Fives, a little bit late.  Here are Five Wonderful Events in Willow's Week.  Thanks to Susanne for always hosting Friday Fave Fives.

1.  I've been focused on a project I am presenting this weekend.  The title is Textiles in Indonesia.  All week, I've been searching my old photos, scanning a few, taking new photos of the batik fabrics and Papuan strings bags and woven bags I own, and double checking my facts.  I'm enjoying reviewing (and reliving) this part of my history.

2.  The Professor is doing his magic with my photos and miraculously producing a power point presentation for me.  I am so thankful to have a tech savvy and willing husband.

3.  Cool evenings for walking.  The weather has been perfect for our night walks.

4.  Happy Anniversary to my youngest daughter and her husband!  It has been TEN YEARS!

5.  And finally, last but certainly not least--very dear friends introduced a new baby into the world on Thursday morning!  My daughter was privileged to be there and help in the delivery room.  I feel a bit like this is a new grandbaby.  Her photos already melt my heart!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Just a Quiet Week at Willow's Cottage

I've been pondering this today:  where did the week go?  I had big intentions to photograph all the baby hats I've made in the past three weeks.  I thought I'd post a couple of times but then--I didn't.  However, I did work almost every day outside on that ongoing garden project.  (That's not in my faves, but I am pleased at the progress I've made especially since it involves digging rock and dirt, sawing roots, moving heavy edgers and pavers, and using a plumb line.)  Even though it seems like I didn't do much this week, I still find lots of blessings, things that make me smile and make me happy.  That's what I'm sharing for Friday Fave Fives. Five things that made Willow's Week.

1.  I am loving these early autumn slow days!  The weather is noticeably a bit cooler. At least twice this week, I've stayed home ALL DAY.  That never happens.  I've decided to be intentional about being home this year, the first year in decades that I haven't had a pile of responsibilities pushing me out of the house almost daily.

2.  I'm not really a foodie kind of person; mostly I eat to live.  But this week I did have some yummy meals.  Burrito from my favorite restaurant: it includes black beans, brown rice on a whole wheat tortilla, cilantro and green salsa.  Then I made an Indonesian dish called gado-gado:  homemade peanut sauce, various veggies both cooked and raw (cucumber, spinach, broccoli and potatoes) served over rice.  I also made three batches of my granola recipe.  Mostly I love having the cooking and baking finished so we can contentedly consume our meals without alot of fuss.

3.  A high school classmate messaged me on facebook to ask me some questions about people from our class as she is evidently on a committee to put together a class reunion in 2018.  It was a treat for me to reminisce a bit and the result was my digging out my old high school annuals and thumbing through them.  I loved reading all the notes and seeing all those old photos.  Also I found my grades from my senior year.  I don't remember getting an F in study hall...

4.  Back in May, I mentioned that I had some handspun wool from Canada that I was planning to use to make a shawl for my niece who lives on Vancouver Island.  I finished the shawl in June and it was delivered to my niece by her mom in August. But I never took any photos of it.  (Silly Willow!) This week on facebook she posted a photo of her wearing the shawl.  So now I have a picture of the shawl and more importantly, her wearing the shawl.

5.  I have had some crazy, funny conversations this week about BUGS like spiders and ants.  First, my cousin's daughter who with her husband is visiting his grandparents here in Southern California.  She mentioned finding black widow spiders in the garage.  So, yeah, here in SoCal black widow spiders are everywhere.  You just deal with them.  But she didn't know because she doesn't live here.  No, you don't vacuum them up with a shop vac.  Poison them or smash them!  In the end, we decided that if you vacuum them up and feed them growth hormone, you can use them on Halloween to scare all the kids who come to the house to treat-or-treat.  (Really you shouldn't even let her own a shop vac or medicines.)  Then, I told my daughter that we have ants in our microwave, and I'm not sure how they're getting in.  BUT.  They don't die when you run the microwave.  WHY?  We think they're mutants and will grow into giant radiated ants that will take over the world.  And they all started in my little microwave.  Maybe you shouldn't have conversations with me about weird stuff. (But it makes me laugh.)

What made you happy this week?  What made you laugh?