Hello, August 2020! 2020 – The Year That Must Not Be Named. But I still like to take the time at the end of each month to round up a few of my favorite moments. Today I’m sharing three of the best books I read in July, my Phenology Wheel, spreads from my Hobonichi Weeks, two finished knitting projects (!), a video of my month of journaling, and a smattering of pictures. I’ve been working really hard to keep it cozy around here – even in July and especially in 2020, so please come into my burrow and look around!
Tomorrow I will be linking this post up with Ginny at Small Things, where she’ll be hosting her monthly Yarn Along link up – a group of knitters and readers who share their projects and reading on the first Wednesday of every month. On the 15th I’ll be sharing this post with Anne Bogel at The Modern Mrs. Darcy on her QuickLit post – a gathering of bloggers who share the most notable books they’ve been devouring. Thank you both for the link ups!
Favorite Books of the Month
It was another month full of fantastic reading! I finished 11 books in July and truly enjoyed all of them. These are definitely the standouts from the month! I’m going to save some time here and say that all three were unputdownable and 5 stars.
Ordinary Grace was my second book by William Kent Krueger and holy moly – this man can put together a story! I was entranced by Frank Drum’s life. You know how in the 80s there was a slew of movies that depicted summer life for teenage boys in the 50s and 60s? Riding around on bicycles, witnessing murders, etc? This book totally had that vibe, which made it the perfect book to read during the hot days of July. But I also really loved this idea about the importance of believing in something – how it gives meaning to all of the ups and downs of life. That’s something I really struggle with and I found a tiny sliver of hope between the pages of this book.
The Mothers was Brit Bennett’s debut novel in 2016. I decided to read it because I loved her recent novel, The Vanishing Half, so much. Oh, friends. This one was a bit painful to watch unfold. The protagonist is Nadia, a teenager who lost her mother to suicide. Nadia continues living with so much grief and untended trauma. She succeeds on so many levels – she does well in college and goes on to law school – but her personal life is so painful. It’s full of odd decisions that create complicated and hurtful relationships.
The Snow Child was breathtaking. Set in Alaska in the late 1800s, an older couple moves there to homestead. They desperately want children but it’s been impossible for them. One day they build a snow child during a rare moment of frivolity and are amazed when it seems like this child comes to life. Before long, they spot a young girl darting in and out amongst the trees surrounding their home. The story that follows is beautifully written and, well, breathtaking, as I said in my opening sentence. I’m so glad I finally picked up this book!
For the first time in several months, I created a Phenology Wheel in July! In January I created a phenology chart and in February I took the plunge with a whole wheel, but fell off the wagon in March when I got really sick and the whole shut down began. The stars aligned in July and I’m back at it! I had no clue about phenology wheels until I spotted one on Instagram. They are simply a way of tracking the natural world around you. My favorite resources for learning about them are from The Silvan Reverie and Raising Little Shoots.
I’ve always struggled with drawing and painting, but want to develop those skills. A Phenology Wheel is a great way to do that. I can work on one small drawing a week and it adds up to something big at the end of the month! I use google to help me with step by step drawing directions, which has been a lifesaver!
I’ve continued the practice of tracking my daily life in my Hobonichi Weeks. Each week I track my daily/weekly tasks, habits, and writing time. I also write a few sentences about each day – just little things that I want to remember.
This is the most successful I’ve been at tracking habits. I used to create elaborate spreads in bullet journals, but never actually followed through with the tracking part. I think it’s because it was so easy to get behind and let myself dwell on everything that I didn’t do each month. This weekly format allows me to leave behind bad weeks and start fresh again each Monday morning. Tracking all of these habits and tasks reminds me how much I actually do every day, even though the evidence isn’t always so clear!
I finished two knitting projects in July!
The first finish was the Through The Loops Mystery Knit Along (Rav link). I knit it with Knit Picks Stroll in Frost and Dandelion and I feel like going to IKEA every time I see it! This was such a fun knit – there were so many techniques and patterns and I never really got bored. I’m definitely interested in doing another MKAL with Kirsten Kapur next year!
The second finished project was my Mariechen cardigan (Rav link). This knit up beautifully and was such a fast project, which was something I needed this summer. The design is by Isabell Kraemer (IG link)- one of my favorite designers ever. And I used Everyday DK in Barred Owl from On The Round. The yarn and pattern made this such a fun and fast knit!
I’m in the midst of an amazing streak with morning pages. As of publishing this today, I am on Day 121! Y’all – I can’t describe what a difference daily journaling has made in my life. When I get out of bed nice and early (no matter how difficult it is), pour a cup of coffee, and sit down at my desk to write in my journal — friends, it’s like a miracle. I am so much more gentle with my children (not perfect, but much better), more clear headed, and able to take on the day. I know one day this streak will end, but I hope the habit of prioritizing my journal doesn’t.
Have I ever shared that my desk is facing east, so I get to see the most amazing sunrises over the river’s bluff while I’m writing in my journal and my blog each morning? It’s perfect.
Pictures from July
I am not a summer person, which is why I moved from Texas to New Hampshire over a decade ago. But you wouldn’t know that based on the posts I’ve been sharing every Friday, which are full of pictures from our vegetable and flower gardens, picking berries, and baking all the fruity things! I’m doing my best to get the most out of the summer weather but will still welcome the fall (and pumpkin coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts) with open arms this year! Getting through August is always difficult for me – here’s to another month of soaking up the beauty all around.
How did July treat you? How do you feel about the month of August? What were some of the accomplishments you were most proud of in July? What were your favorite books last month? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!