Photography

Jigsaw Fun #001


I found Jigsaw Planet being used on another blog and immediately fell in love. Didn’t feel like adding the above picture to my previous post, but I still like it – therefore, a perfect candidate for my first jigsaw puzzle! It’s a bit difficult because of the subject matter and colors, but definitely fun. If you try it out, let me know what you think – warts n’ all, please.

Happy Saturday!
~ Lyra

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Journal · Photography

The Flight of February

Between the snow, old couch removal, new sectional delivery, all the HOA items that have come up and my usual work, life has been a wee bit busy. Happy to have a little time to come here and share some photo goodness!

This last Saturday, much of the 16-in of snow we got over the course of 2 weeks was gone. My husband Derek and I had planned to just nip out to Target to pick up a few supplies, but it seemed like fun to take the long route home around Lake Sammamish as it is pretty any time of year. Along the way, we decided it would be fun to make an impromptu visit to Gillman Village for lunch. We had just been there around Thanksgiving and most of the shops had been closed, so we were eager to explore again.

Pausing briefly to enjoy the view of Issaquah Creek (above), we popped into the quilting shop called Gossypium to see if they had any potential rug-hooking items. The answer was no, but they had gorgeous fabrics galore, adorable décor, and friendly clerks too! We had a lot of fun looking around, and the deluge of colors alone made this shop a must-see.

I had been particularly keen on going back to Lucky You, a little boutique that offers home décor, unique jewelry, and so on. There is always so much to see there, and they change inventory out with the seasons/holidays – be sure to check it out if you’re local or ever visiting! I picked up this charming little fellow, who lives happily in our bedroom now. Sure it’s an Easter decoration, but I think he might be a permanent fixture.

Popping into The Nifty Knitter (again in the hopes of rug-hooking supplies) we were enthusiastically greeted by both people and colors. As this shop had been closed back around Thanksgiving, I was excited to do more than peep through darkened windows. A crocheting class was going on, there was a very nice lady encouraging us to touch everything (believe me, I did!), and lots of little fiddly bits scattered about to look at. I absolutely loved the energy there!

By this time we were starting to get peckish, so we went to the very next door we saw – The Boarding House! Derek had their tuna melt and I went for an egg salad sandwich. The staff was sweet, the food was delicious, and it felt like being at grandma’s house. I cannot wait to take several loved ones here! They even have a cute little windowed area for dropping off your trays, like in school cafeterias. We were utterly charmed by the entirety of this place.

After we ate, I was craving something sweet, but we decided to keep wandering around. We happened across an adorable tiny snowman, then I spotted the sign for Paisley Parlour. It was utterly delightful, decorated in bright colors with candy, cookies, tea canisters and all sorts of goodness. They even had a reserved table dressed for a tea party! We chose two cookies each, with plans to eat one there and another at home later in the weekend.

It was a wonderful visit to Gillman Village from start to finish, and I can’t wait to go back sometime later this year.

I really will post more recipes soon! ;P
~ Lyra

Cooking · Crafting · Journal

2019 Goals Recap – January

I was hoping to post this on the 31st, but life is full and busy right now, just the way I like it – until I don’t anymore, of course. Let’s do it!

1. Project Per Month Club. (01/12) As stated in my recent post Shifting Gears!, my project this month morphed from testing out sites like Cafe Press over to studying up on rug hooking. February’s project is going to be decluttering, cleaning and organizing the storage area! Wish me luck…

2. Try 12 crafts. Cut! This was going to be completely doable – until I joined the HOA. Turns out, I’m not going to need to be elected in as one of the board members resigned this week. I was offered the position of Secretary and took it. Excited to get involved so quickly, while the iron is hot! As a result, I’m striking this one from the list. I will likely focus my creative efforts on rug hooking and drawing this year.

3. Create a personal website. Done! You are here.

Like it? Tee available here.

4. Grow a small business. WIP! I think it’s safe to say I have officially started, but I want to make more progress next month. I have the tools and probably most of the supplies for the first step for my little company, now I just need a bit more time. Going slow and steady on this one! Excited to see where the year takes me on this front.

5. Listen to/read at least 26 books. (02/26) “Finished” The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster and Will’s Red Coat. Journey was too difficult for me to dig in to right now, might try another time. WRC was a nice piece, but not something I’ll likely ever read again. I’ve got a few books in mind for February but haven’t officially started anything yet!

6. Try at least 2 new recipes per month. (04/24) I managed 4 last month, I just haven’t written about all of them. I started with 7-Ingredient Bean Soup so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already. Coming up this month, you can expect another soup we love, bread and a pasta dish that is perfect for winter.

Next stop – Anadama?
~ Lyra

Journal

Lemonade

This month has been about preparation. I’ve been getting my ideas and goals for the year together, as well as continuing the work I began over 12 months ago; that was when I first heard about the KonMari art of tidying up. (I’ll have more on that another time!) Into the start of the new year, I always feel the need to keep somewhat busy or I feel a bit at loose ends.

That behavior starts to loosen up as the month wears on and I get back to more normal routines, especially once the holidays have been packed away for a bit. I’m not saying I slow down very much, I just stop being so breakneck about everything I want to tackle and begin to sift through to what makes the most sense for my time.

Anyway, I’d begun patting myself on the back as I was feeling terribly industrious so far this year, with the balance of everything seeming pretty right. This is of course when the universe decides it’s time to mix things up a bit. Classic universe.

Even before I moved in around April 2015, I’d been feeling a little unsettled about the condominium property we live on. It was built in 1978, with 24 total units on a relatively small but pretty parcel of land. You can tell that when it was made, it was really something else! There are gorgeous sunrooms on some of the units, giant decks on others – it’s all very Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, time and neglect have whittled it away to old buildings which are starting to rot in places, covered in moss.

I kept asking my husband (who has lived here since the early 2000s) why: why the pressure washers stopped coming; why the grounds were often left ravaged by windstorms for weeks on end when there were so many elders (or passersby) who could easily trip and fall; why we didn’t have itemized reports for the budget, etc.

One of the board members kindly came knocking on the door Thursday night to remind us that there was a meeting scheduled for Saturday afternoon. We had read the email that the management company sent out, but he brought to our attention that they had forgotten to mention some vital details… chiefly that a remodeling project was being proposed.

I’d had enough of the lack of proper communication at this point, so we decided to go over and get some answers. I didn’t expect to see so many owners there, wanting the same! I don’t think the president of our HOA did either, and it was an interesting hour.

Because of the conversations we had and the obvious need for more help, I have decided to run for the board when elections come up later this year. I am so encouraged by what the HOA president has said in the email he sent to us today, and I am excited to see where we can take this community as a whole.

This year, my other goals can go on the backburner a little. I think this will be far more rewarding and educational than felting up some wool balls (though if I have time, totally on the table again) or weaving metal wreath bases – I’m still doing my rug hooking though, dangit.

More later.
~ Lyra

Crafting · Journal

Shifting Gears!

If you’ve been reading from the start, you know I have a few goals for myself this year. My first project of the year was going to involve designing artwork for pieces on sites like Redbubble. I still want to pursue this idea later on, but as the first craft I ended up choosing has occupied my brain most of the last few weeks. I don’t think I’m really breaking my own rules – goal #1 is one project per month, and that project has simply become research!

All this month, I’ve been gathering bits and pieces to start rug hooking after being curious about it for years. I figured there would be at the very most a bit of info out there as it wasn’t something I had run across on a regular basis; I was not prepared for the deluge of excellent ideas and tutorials available! I found Cindi Gay’s podcast, I added a ton of excellent websites to my Inoreader, and I’m at the point of teetering at the edge of an “over-planning trap”. That stops this weekend though!

I’ve been keeping my investments to a minimum, and focusing on pieces that I can utilize for other projects, just in case this doesn’t pan out. I found my first rug hooking tool (a Joan Moshimer Maple Handle Primitive Shank) at W. Cushing Co.’s Etsy site, a bit of monk’s cloth that I picked up at Pacific Fabrics to try out as my first backing, and I am picking up a rotary on Saturday to assist with fabric cutting. Traditionally, one uses wool for these sorts of projects, but I have a lot of old clothes that I loved and could no longer wear. I’ll start with those, as I’ve been saving those pieces for a project like this!

I’m excited to take some time on Sunday and see what I can come up with. If it turns out to be anything worthwhile, I’ll be sure to share! I’m already dreaming up patterns, and even if that’s what I end up focusing on, I’m excited to jump in and become part of what appears to be a great community of like-minded creatives who just want to work with their hands and share it with each other.

Wish me luck!
~ Lyra

Cooking

7-Ingredient Bean Soup

Been wanting to draw food, so why not the recipes I cook?

I came across a recipe for 3 Ingredient Black Bean soup not long ago, just in time for a cold snap we were having the last week. It’s a great recipe, but we like to tinker in our household; I took this “stock” and added some seasonings, quite literally. Enjoy – and thank you for the original recipe if you ever read this, Jenny!

Takes: 25-30 minutes
Makes: 6 decently sized portions or 3-4 big ones

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15.5-oz) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz) can of diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 medium chopped red or white onion
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Salt to taste (save until the end, chicken broth is pretty salty)
  • Pepper, freshly ground, to taste (more pepper = more flavor!)

Instructions:

  1. Combine beans, broth, garlic powder, some freshly ground pepper, and tomatoes in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from burner, then puree with immersion/blender until desired consistency.
  4. Add salt and any additional pepper to taste, then top with your favorite toppings.

That’s it! Stumped on what to top it with? We loved just a simple dollop of sour cream, but get as creative as you like – various greens, flax seeds or feta. This simple recipe is satisfying and delicious with a small sandwich or mixed greens salad! If you try the recipe out, feel free to let me know how it turned out.

Until next time!
~ Lyra

Journal

My 2019 Goals (and Hello!)

It’s probably the same for the most of us.

Holidays are over or about to be, and the new year is thrust upon us while we’re still recovering from celebrating the old one. Are you thinking about resolutions, top ten lists, or perhaps how you’re going to do things differently this year?

For me, the path through 2019 was decided a few weeks ago. I’ve been churning ideas in my head since then, and I’ve put together a simple list of goals like my favorite blogger does (only not as fancy because I have no images to share yet). It feels as though I have been honest with myself (if maybe a little overly optimistic), but I’m excited about the outcome!

1. Project Per Month Club. I don’t always have to decide ahead of time, but I do have January figured out already! More to come on that.

2. Try 12 crafts. One per month, or if I get ambitious/have a busy stretch, 12 for the year. I cannot count these projects towards Goal #1 unless it is part of something bigger than just a few hours on a weekend. They must be new in some way shape or form; the same crafts are allowable if I am really enjoying myself, but they must have a different design, etc.

3. Create a personal website. Done! Oh, I’m such a cheater – cuz here we are! I’m not setting rules or limitations, but please don’t expect a deluge of content. (Heck, maybe you’re even like me and realize that’s probably for the best?) I plan to post once a week to start, and quality over quantity is very important.

4. Grow a small business. Stay tuned for January project….

5. Listen to/read at least 26 books. I got 29 in 2018 so this is a totally doable goal without spending too much time! I figure I can do at least 2 a month now since I like to listen while working on various projects and hobbies. Started The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster today, should prove interesting.

6. Try at least 2 new recipes per month. My gift to The House at Christmas was a beautiful pair of Lakeshore Linen bread bags that I’ve been eyeballing for 4 years. Part of that gift was a promise to bake more bread, so I doubt this will be a difficult challenge especially in the winter months.

Not a huge list, but I think it’s a good start. Others might pop up along the way! Like I said, keeping things loose. The real goal here is to just live more, after all.

Enough for now. Happy New Year!
~ Lyra