Posts in Stuff

Things have been quiet on the blog. I simply find myself with very little to say here lately. Thanksgiving is just days away and I'm slowing down and honoring this holiday season the best I can by focusing on what all I have to be grateful for in my life right now. And with that said, I'm going to take this week off from blogging and return in December with some new posts.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! Even if you aren't in the US, I hope you find many things your life to be thankful for this time of year!

StuffLiesl Comments
November (So Far) In Instagrams

Lately, micro-blogging has been more my speed. I don't really feel like I have much to say here right now. Instead, when I sit down at the computer, I've been enjoying finally getting a chance to visit your blogs rather trying to compose a post for this space here. I hope you don't mind a cop-out today as I share Instagram photos taken so far this month of the little things. 

1+2: We canned up lots of apple sauce. 3: I made a double batch of granola. 4: Harvested some fall kohlrabi, lettuce and a few scrawny sweet potatoes.  5: Organized my natural dye swatches for the 2014 season. 6: Realized I have become more high maintenance over the years. 7: Fallen once again for the Japanese Maple in autumn. 8: Got up to 7 eggs a day. 9: Harvested and washed up so. much. kale. 10: Made the Maple Cardamom cake from Smitten with Squash. 11: Planted four fruit trees. 12: Had the chickens visit me while clearing out the very last bits in the garden. 13+14: Had out first snow. 15: Loved the sight of the chickens in a sea of red Japanese Maples leaves. 16: Made my Dad's famous sticky buns. 

Find more of these day-to-day moments on Instagram.

A Bit of This and That

Some things are photographed above, others are not.

A family friend gave me a sweet potato she’d be sprouting. I put in the ground and it’s doing well. No idea if it’ll amount to anything but it’s worth a try. (Actually, that sums up my entire gardening approach: Let’s see if this works.)

The sunflowers are blooming. (This variety is fittingly called Lemon Queen.)

I’ve been baking bread. (Someday I might do a specific post sharing more about that.)

Ever since a friend shared this on Facebook, I’ve been a little obsessed with astrology in general and thinking a lot about all the people in my life and what signs they are.

In the beginning of the year I was busy perfecting the fit and construction of a simple tank and a tank dress. I’ve been wearing some of the attempts and they are helping me beat the heat. And the bead necklace, a gift from Fog and Cedar, is the perfect addition. (Summer fashion shouldn’t be fussy.)

I won a giveaway from the lovely Allison of Field Wonderful for this skein of Ballyhoo Farm yarn. It’s the color of oats and I hope to find the perfect Scottish/Irish inspired pattern to compliment it.

Speaking of knitting…anyone joining in the SSKAL?

It’s amazing how we are only a few days into August but it suddenly feels like August and that summer is winding down. Here on the blog this month I’ll have the results of my most recent dyeing experiments, a heartfelt handknit gift I received, more chicken talk and hopefully some completed knits!

What are you looking forward to this month?

StuffLiesl Comments
On Making and Doing and Being

If you’ve been around my blog for a while (I’m talking years), you know that I was pretty immersed in sewing for a while. Like most things, it’s hard to see the scope of the picture when you are in it. It’s only been in retrospect that I’ve realized just how much I sewed in the past: scanning through gigs upon gigs of folders of photos of things I made, seeing towering stacks of handmades, hearing people remind me what I stitched for them and how much they still love it.

My energy shifted back in 2011 or so. It was a mix of many things, like learning to knit, a budding passion for gardening. But mostly, it was moving house. Around then, I commandeered a small room in our basement and turned it into what I dubbed “mon petit atelier.” When I think about this predicament, the song Little Room by The White Stripes pops in my head. While I’m grateful to have a space devoted to sewing (and somewhere I can sneak away to and create), I’m just not inspired in that room. The main creative leech is the artificial lighting. There is something about fluorescent lights that makes my stomach turn.

But even if I wanted to sew, I’ve been such a do-er lately that I’m not saving energy to make. (I’ve even been a bit slack on knitting.) Some people have expressed concern that I’m running myself ragged. Keeping busy and active is my go-to way to deal with stress. I have a hard time sitting down for too long. But from this moment on, I’m vowing to take it a little easier. Still keep busy but no longer to the point of hurting myself.

But most importantly I fear I’m forgetting how to be, forgetting the importance of just being. Now, the more I do, the less I make and be, the more left brained I become, which, ironically, just makes me unhappy in the long run. I’m constantly seeking that merga, the middle ground, where I am sated spiritually, emotionally and physically. I need tasks that make my heart swell (or even ache) as well as ones that offer methodical behavior as well as ones that make my muscles sore. I am sorry that my blog is so devoid of its roots: making (à la sewing, knitting.) The reason I haven’t been posting too much is to avoid boring you all with too much talk about gardening (and chickens) but its the closest thing I have right now to finding balance within myself.

Do you want to hear more about how the garden is growing and other things on the farm here? Or should I just wait until I have decent crafty things to share? Also, do you have any tips on how you balance these three things—making, doing and being?

Fleißige Lieschen

This year, I’ve taken on more of the physical work around here which means my daily wardrobe usually consists of a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and my Keds. But one day, a morning errand and an afternoon rain forecast prompted me to get a bit dressed up for a change. I put on my favorite pair of light wash jeans, a lacy top, a pair of new-to-me sandals and a bit of jewelry (including my new favorite earrings from here) and smeared on a little make up. I told my family I wasn’t planning on working outside that day if I could help it. My Grandmother asked if I was going to be lazy and I said, “Oh no, I’m never lazy.” Which is true: I have a hard time simply sitting idle lately. Usually I’m a classic Taurus and do one or the other: When I want to work, I work hard. But when I want to be lazy, well, good luck budging me from my comfy spot. But yeah, lately, I don’t usually stay seated for very long and if I do, I’m knitting or editing photos or busy doing something.*

My Grandmother then said there is a German phrase, Fleißige Liesel and that it means ‘Busy Liesel’ and it’s also the name of a flower. (I looked it up and learned that it’s technically Fleißige Lieschen but Lieschen is a nickname my Grandmother has called me since I was young. And the flowers are impatiens.) Apart from The Sound of Music, my name doesn’t have too many associations so it’s always interesting to find something (even if it’s not exact) involving my name.

My attempt to look lovely for a change was short-lived: I ended up splattering water all over my pretty jeans when I changed the chicken’s water, got dirt under my nails when I buried some eggshells around the young tomato plants (something I meant to do when I planted them—I want to see how well it works preventing blossom end rot.) What else have I been busy doing? Like I said, the chickens. They are just over 2 weeks old now and I doubt they can stay in their brooder box longer. I’m thinking of going the sand route for the coop. (Any thoughts?) /// The garden is officially full. (Proper update soon.) // Listening to and loving Sharon Van Etten’s new album. /// Flipping through this book and feeling inspired to start building stuff. /// As well as getting caught up on past issues of Taproot. /// Attempted to make fermented ginger carrots but sadly they turned out much too salty. I will try again though. /// Leaving my computer off my desk as much as possible and instead focusing on sketching and journaling and being screen-free. /// We’ve had or currently have roses, peonies, rhododendrons, Lily of the Valley and so many other beauties blooming around here. /// Friends helped me put up a temporary fence around our blueberries. If it works this year, I might invest the time, money and energy into something permanent around all our berry bushes. /// I dug a trench around the chicken run to bury wire. I knew I had to do it eventually but it wasn’t until I saw a fox catch a squirrel there that I realized I couldn’t wait any longer and started digging. /// Loving this deck. I’ve had a Rider-Waite deck for years but never really felt connected to it and in result, didn’t pursue the tarot as much as I’d have liked. My connection with The Wild Unknown deck was immediate. I’m looking forward to learning more. /// Getting help identifying the trees and bushes around here. (Turns out we have cherry trees and honeysuckles around here!) /// And even spending a bit of time in my sewing studio.

What have YOU been busy doing?

*I am a bit worried I’m not taking enough time to just be. Maybe I’ll save that for another post.

Spring Rain

Thank you for the comments on last Monday’s post. I was going to footnote it with an explanation that I would probably be taking a break from blogging, maybe for a week, maybe longer. But I decided against it because, many times, a goodnight’s sleep does wonders and you can feel very different the next day. But I’m still wading through this grief. Its been ten weeks now since my dad passed and I’m at a point where I don’t like thinking about him or the situation because I end up feeling nauseous. 

The other day I was sitting on the porch steps after working in the garden, staring off into the grass. My look prompted my mother to ask if I was sad or just tired. I explained that I was frustrated. I’m coming into a point where the things I’m doing are things he and I did (or would have done) together, namely the garden and the baby chicks. Something people have said a lot to comfort me, is that my Dad is still with me and that I can talk to him anytime I want. While I appreciate their kindness and do agree with them, I’m not really ready to accept it. I know (or I hope) that this will bring me comfort someday, knowing he is with me in spirit. But now it’s just, like I said, frustrating. I want to see him, hear him, hug him. I want to hand him the seed potatoes to drop into the hole he just dug, while I chatter on with a million questions. I want to ask him his opinion on how I’m planting and on what I should do with the lights in the brooder… and get an answer from him. Luckily, I have a long list of garden (and thankfully, chicken) savvy friends and family I can turn to but it’s not quite the same. And I know I’m more capable than I give myself credit for and can trust my gut to make fairly decent decisions. But it’s not quite the same, because I miss him too much right now.

I’m not going to footnote this one with any specific plans I might have for posting here on the blog either, because I don’t have any. I’m just going to stick with posting when it feels right. I’m knitting as much as I can and always taking pictures and putting stuff in the ground and 16 fluffy little birds will be here tomorrow (yes, tomorrow!) so I’m sure I’ll pop in with bits and bobs of the simple life now and then. I have a handful of lovely ladies lined up for the coming 3 Questions interviews, so you can expect at least one post a week here at Liesl Made. Until then, you can always keep up with me on Instagram.