Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

10 ways to prepare for a big storm.

...carole's back and reports that they made it through irene ok. thank goodness! I'm sure I'll learn a lot from others with this topic - thankfully, we don't have many "big storms" here in atlanta, so we don't get much practice! but what I do know falls into three broad categories - secure your home, prepare to be stranded in your home with no access to grocery stores or other people, and prepare to lose power.
60/365 - snow
a "snowstorm" for us back in march, 2009 - this one came without much warning - so I think I only managed a few of my 10 items below!

1. store the deck furniture (or at least close the umbrella).

2. remove dead trees and pine trees if they're anywhere close to your house.

3. make sure you have water, milk, coffee, wine, food that won't require cooking and dog food.

4. fill a cooler (or two) with ice.

5. find candles, matches and flashlight batteries.

6. charge your iphone, your ipod and your camera.

7. find blankets (or cool clothes...depends on the season).

8. gather games.

9. find a few knitting projects that don't require good light (thinking "not lace or laceweight").

10. pray.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

the homestretch.

...yep, four weeks from today, the 2011 2-day walk will be a memory. and if this year is anything like the others, we'll be sore, but smiling, grateful for the support of our family and friends who helped us raise a significant amount of money for an extremely worthwhile cause.

this month, we took our 2nd training walk at the big creek greenway in alpharetta. it's a wonderful facility. for the record, we only saw one snake (and honestly, I'm not sure we really saw it - fortunately there was plenty of warning and I think we both managed to look the other way while we carefully walked past it). and we logged nearly ten miles on concrete, wooden decking, asphalt, and a bit of red georgia clay. good training for the real walk! we're planning one more training walk while we're in florida next month. it will be flat, but really hot and humid...again good preparation for the real thing!

so we're doing our part to prepare. and so are you! I snagged this screen shot about an hour ago. woo hoo!!! remember last year we reached our $2,500 goal the day of the walk. this year, it looks promising that we'll start the walk with the fundraising done. thank you!

and...as promised, photos of the quilt that our sister-in-law lydia and her quilt club created. it's beautiful; sorry, I know the photos don't do it justice! for every $25 you donate, you'll receive one entry in the drawing to win it.


thank you everyone for your support. it means everything to us!

Friday, August 26, 2011

focus friday. august one little word.

...another month nearly done, and another prompt complete. this month was a self-portrait (it will be printed 5x7) and a few affirming words. ali's prompt included a list of suggested affirmations, with the idea we'd print them and cut them out to adhere to the photo, but I added mine in photoshop. so one photo to print and done!

I love shadow portraits and knew right away that was the way I wanted to capture this one. on the (right) path at my favorite hembree park, daily exercise, and holly. we walk there a couple of mornings a week, just the two of us. that fifty minutes of quiet time is perfect to get my thoughts together for the day/week ahead. and the exercise - for both of us! - is a bonus.

of course it took me a few tries to get 1) a sunny morning; and 2) holly's cooperation! finally came together yesterday morning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

tomato basil vinaigrette.

tomato basil vinaigrette
...martha has been supplying me with basil and tomatoes for weeks. and every week I tell her about the delicious tomato basil vinaigrette. she asks for the recipe. and I promised to blog about it. so this one is for you, martha - enjoy!

I first encountered a basil vinaigrette over 20 years ago (yikes, has it really been that long?!) in the wonderful cookbook the new basics by julee rosso and sheila lukins. their version used red wine vinegar and suggested serving it on "the most robust greens". 20 years ago I did not have friends who grew basil, nor did I attempt to grow it myself :-), so I couldn't afford to make the dressing more than once or twice a summer.

fast forward a few (15?!?) years to barefoot in paris and finding another favorite vinaigrette - this time with white wine vinegar - which makes it a match for any greens - and just a smidge of mayonnaise to act like an egg and emulsify everything.

then in 2008, we started to grow a few herbs. and I started to make an herbed vinaigrette, inspired by those two recipes. sometimes I used just a few leaves of basil, thyme, oregano and that was good, but we all agreed it was better with more.

I honestly don't remember when I started to add finely chopped tomato, but it worked. and the dressing still stands up to any greens. I use a bit less tomato for the mixed baby greens and a bit more for romaine.

tomato basil vinaigrette
inspired by julee rosso, sheila lukin, ina garten and martha

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (any kind will work, but I especially like champagne vinegar for lighter greens or  balsamic for romaine)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (fresh is best, but powder is fine, too)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 cup olive oil (I often substitute a few tablespoons of water for oil with no ill effects)
1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped tomato (no need to peel - this is about 1 regular tomato or a cup of cherry tomatoes)
salt & pepper to taste (generous works best)

whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic and mayonnaise. add the oil and whisk to blend. stir in the basil and tomato. or if you have a vinaigrette shaker (ours is vintage tupperware), add the vinegar, mustard, garlic, mayonnaise and olive oil and shake to blend. add the basil and tomato and shake just to get everything mixed. season with salt and pepper.

this keeps for a few days in the refrigerator - the basil will turn dark, but it still tastes fine!
tomato basil vinaigrette
that blue piece of plastic is the lid to our tupperware shaker...ready to do it's thing!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 birthday wishes for my mom.

this is not an official ten on tuesday list...but today is my mom's birthday and it seems like the right topic for me!
here's to america #2
my mom at her 70th birthday with my brother, me and my sister
1. laughter

2. love

3. health

4. family

5. boston cream pie (is this still your favorite? I can't even remember the last time we had it!)

6. pretty handmade cards

7. emails and phone calls and text messages from everyone who can't be there in person to celebrate with you today

8. a big bouquet of yellow, pink and purple balloons - much happier than flowers, I think!

9. a great photo of the four of us...it's a few years old and I'm reminded we need to get a new one

10. (and NOT) a handmade party hat :-)

best wishes, Mother - hope you have a wonderful day!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

currents.

listening. the whirr of the fan and the ticking clock. as silent as it ever seems to get in my kitchen.

eating. nothing yet. planning a run and that always goes better on an empty stomach!

drinking. water.

wearing. my pjs.

feeling. excited about a new bible study and meet-ups with friends planned nearly every day this week.

weather. hot. humid. august.

wanting. cooler temperatures - missing my two laps at the park with holly and hoping she gets her energy back when it's not so hot.

needing. to schedule catchup phone calls with two friends who live far away.

enjoying. a manicure.

looking forward. finalizing plans for holiday knitting and stitching.

wondering. have the leaves always started turning so soon?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

another summer coming to a close.

...Sara goes back to school on Saturday. and I'm certainly in a much better place this year than last - it helps knowing that Marc and I enjoy being empty nesters :-) and that she's been home over three months (and that I have another very small being to care for). but still, it's bittersweet.

Tomorrow is busy with last minute shopping, laundry and cleaning, so today was the celebration. We saw Harry Potter (quickly - it was wonderful - not as good as the book, of course, nothing could be - the book was the best!) and then enjoyed a(nother!!) very late lunch at Bistro VG.

The food was delicious as always. And I have to say it was a real toss-up about which I enjoyed more - rehashing Harry Potter...or the browned butter fig tart we shared for dessert.

click photos to see more details on flickr
lunch at bistro vg

lunch at bistro vg

lunch at bistro vg

But the best part for sure... sharing a lovely lunch out - and a photo! - with Sara.
lunch at bistro vg

Best wishes for the upcoming year, Sara - I'm sure you'll do well (and have fun, too!)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ten on tuesday. beach food.

beach lunch
from our last trip to rosemary beach, summer 2008
ahhh...beach food. something about the warm sun and salt water, and being on vacation, but it seems like food always tastes better at the beach. of course "at the beach" doesn't mean "on the sand". it's great if we can see the sand (and the water), but I like eating at a table! and we splurge on a few things, but for the most part, we eat pretty healthy...after all, we're wearing bathing suits most of the time!

1. coffee.... sitting on the deck, watching the sun rise. (yes, there's a starbucks :-)

2. the fabulous fresh fruit, vegetable and cheese platters (like the one above) we always have for lunches in.

3. sweet potato fries at bud & alley's when we venture out for lunch.

4. boiled shrimp.

5. fresh oysters. we like them raw, with just a little cocktail sauce and horseradish. (and a cold beer).

6. grilled grouper. a specialty on that part of the gulf.

7. chicken fajitas. my sister's specialty. she goes all out - salsa, guacamole and cheese dip, beans and rice, peppers and onions, spicy chicken. it's usually enough for two or three meals.

8. mike's hard lemonade and beer. I'm not usually a fan, but sitting out in the sun, these really hit the spot!

9. popcorn (anywhere, anytime!)

10. leftovers. we end up with a lot of them!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

the birthday girl.

...holly turned two today. so she's either really into her teen years (if you think that one people year equals seven dog years) OR she's entering the terrible twos. I am a firm believer in that seven year thing, so I'm thinking these next few years are going to fun!

we started the celebration this afternoon with a party hat.
holly's birthday

holly's birthday

I definitely had more fun with it than holly did.
holly's birthday

and continued at my monday night knitting class.  putting the hat on (again).
holly's birthday

(and again).
holly's birthday

singing happy birthday and blowing out candles.
holly's birthday
love how holly is really interested...then a little bit interested...and finally couldn't care less!

we enjoyed carrot cake from harry's. absolutely delicious.

and holly finally resigned herself to the hat.
holly's birthday

happy birthday, sweet holly! next year I'll let you plan the party!

Friday, August 12, 2011

focus friday. tackling my WIPs.

...I mentioned a few months back that my pile of hibernating projects was surprisingly big. Carole suggested I decide what to finish or frog and at the time I thought "great idea. absolutely. someday." But this past week, that pile of projects has really started to weigh me down. I'm close to finishing a sweater and that means I'm thinking hard about what to knit next. And there's a sweater in that pile (very uncharacteristic of me to start a sweater and not finish it - well, now that I knit seamless sweaters :-) Maybe it's time to take Carole's advice and decide (and then act!)
Last night I stumbled across this Ravelry post, and then this blog. Thank you, ExecutiveKnitter (Denise), for laying out a great process (and for making me feel way better about how many projects I'm tackling here!)

This morning I set to work. I have an older version of Excel, and I couldn't apply her very helpful tips for exporting data from Ravelry. Thank goodness I only have 11 projects (after frogging one to give Karen the yarn) to look up and enter manually!

Once I had the data input, I followed Denise's approach (except I used a 5-point scale) for scoring each project to get something quantifiable into the process. Those are the five columns Product, Process, Effort, Motivation and Score. I copied her Issue definitions exactly. Then I sorted the projects by Score and Percent Complete. It was almost a no-brainer where to draw the line. Yep, those last three projects are going to the frog pond, and I'm going to finish the other eight. Likely starting with the braided hood tunic. ...as soon as I finish wispy!

Random observations:

1. One sweater, three pairs of socks, two scarves.
2. Only two projects are past the halfway point; four are barely started.
3. Three are from shop KALs.
4. Socks seem boring right now.
5. I'm no longer a fan of tedious (maybe because my kitchen table knitting time buddy left for college?)
6. I haven't added anything to the pile since May.
7. I'm going to have a skein of malabrigo sock, 330 yards of DK wool/silk and a ball of noro laceweight to add to my stash!
8. I like the scoring approach - think it would be helpful to apply it before I start a project (instead of once I get bored with it!)



Thursday, August 11, 2011

roughage.

"I used to eat popcorn for every meal, she told me once. It made me feel like I was in the movies & my life would turn out happy in the end. Did it work? I said. I don't know, she said, but I like to think the roughage counts for something."
-Story People 


I am currently addicted to the Smart Pop 100 calorie snack bags. It's just the right amount to take the edge off any hunger pains  since we're eating dinner pretty late these days and I don't like to have that glass of wine on an empty stomach. ...roughage counts for a lot!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

it's the little things.

...playing along with kim and texture tuesday today, celebrating the little things that are making me smile this morning.
the sunrise, with kim's canvas love textures (and a few other tweaks)
::promise of sunshine after last night's thunderstorms::a dark-early walk with vanessa, good exercise and great girl talk::playing in photoshop with kim's new canvas textures::new podcasts on my iphone::today's to-do list done (before 8am!)::time this morning to needlepoint and knit::holly seems to be her normal cheerful self after yesterday's tummy troubles.

what little things are making you smile?

kimklassencafe

Monday, August 8, 2011

a knitterly farewell.

...one of my long-standing sunday sweater students is moving to shanghai for a few years. we had a small gathering after yesterday's class to send her off in knitterly style.

group photos with a backdrop of yarn. (click photos to see more info on flickr)
a knitterly farewell for karen

most of us wearing handknits.
a knitterly farewell for karen

and plenty of delicious food and drink.
a knitterly farewell for karen
best wishes and good luck karen - we'll miss you!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

focus friday. interesting knitting.

...at the shop, I have a bit of a reputation for knitting top-down (raglan) sweaters. I'm sure I've earned it (or maybe not? only six of the 10 sweaters I've made this year are top-down raglans?)

but the truth is that I like to knit seamless, not just top-down sweaters. and it's not so much that I won't seam as that I won't seem just because the designer chose to work in pieces! I sewed shoulders on liesl and lolita and underarms on ginger, for example.

and yesterday, after I blocked the body of wispy,
wispy progress

I sewed sleeve seams.
wispy progress

so I now have a very weird looking shrug, ready to pickup hundreds (surely I exaggerate, but I'm trying to get myself ready for it!) of stitches around the inside edge to knit a few inches of ribbing, and then a sort of skirt on the bottom edge.

hannah's construction technique is the main reason I wanted to knit this sweater. it's just interesting! (and finding this FO on ravelry...I had a skein of misti alpaca handpaint lace in my stash - mine is the lavender blue colorway)

the next two sweaters in my queue aren't top-down raglans either. the spoked cardigan (another carol feller design) is knit side to side and cria (my first little red pattern) is top-down, but not a raglan.

what new or interesting construction techniques are intriguing you right now?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

10 favorite chick flicks.

...this is a fun one - and I'm sure there will be a lot of similarity across our lists, but hopefully a bit of difference and I'll find a few new movies to check out!


1. charade. audrey hepburn and cary grant. romance and suspense in 1963 paris. what's not to love?
2. the thomas crown affair (the new one). pierce brosnan and renee russo. new york and an island in the caribbean. and art. great soundtrack. I love renee's look in this movie. hair, clothes and makeup. and ooohh, this dress.
3. something's gotta give. diane keaton and jack nicholson. a fabulous house in the hamptons. I, too, will wear white when I get to my 60's!
4. pretty woman. julia roberts is so young and pretty. love the chemistry between her and richard gere. and strawberries and champagne.
5. you've got mail. meg ryan and tom hanks work so well together. another one set in new york, and new york plays a key role in the story. (and I've never seen the original...should I?)
6. pillow talk. doris day and rock hudson. manhattan in the late 1950's. classic sets and costumes.
7. stranger than fiction. I am not a will farrell fan, except for this movie. the story is sweet (he courts a baker and brings her flours), the soundtrack features spoon, and dustin hoffman and emma thompson are wonderful.
8. to catch a thief.  cary grant and grace kelly, beautiful scenery and spectacular fireworks. I wonder if alfred hitchcock would mind having a movie on this list?
9. it's complicated.  meryl streep lives in a beautiful house in santa barbara and cooks. steve martin is delightful, but (surprisingly, I promise!) I find myself cheering alec baldwin's character instead.
10. when harry met sally. last, but certainly not least!

this list was harder than I expected to put together, mainly because I'm limited to 10! appears I'm drawn to the actors and the setting more than the story. maybe because they all have happy endings?


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Monday, August 1, 2011

new.

the yarn for my latest project, westknits mystery KAL
...a new week. a new month. a new knitting project. new running shoes. a new issue of interweave knits. a new one little word prompt. a new bible study lesson.

sometimes too much new can be overwhelming. but today...it seems to bring exciting and inspiring possibilities!