Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday with Charlie | March 2015.

...it's been three months (13 Tuesdays!) since Charlie and I started spending Tuesdays together. He wasn't quite four months old on that first Tuesday (January 6) and now he's almost seven months old. Needless to say he's changed (as have I) and I love that I have these weekly dates to mark the time.

But the purpose of this post isn't to document all those weeks, it's to document today. It started dark early (as our March Tuesdays tend to be with Daylight Savings Time; sunrise was at 7:26 and he arrived about 7:20) and moved through cereal and into play, where I snagged the opportunity to try on his Easter outfit.

I think it's going to fit! we moved onto nap, then bottle, then walk (Holly is especially happy that the days are warmer), back home for yogurt (his all-time favorite food so far) and another nap. This one was really short and soon it was back up for bottle...and play.

His first time with these stacking rings. Which seem to be teaching him very little about size, and all about taste.

Katie picked him up at 4:30 and we went to Avalon for a walk, and a snack. This is our second time visiting on a Tuesday afternoon and we're confirmed fans. It's busy and fun and the people-watching is ... the best! Of course I had the very best view!

 

Hope your Tuesday brought a few smiles, as well!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Welcome to Florida.


I'm here for a long weekend, visiting my parents. Looking forward to plenty of college basketball, a few games, much knitting and a lot of fun!

Leaving you with this video. It's a quick watch, guaranteed to make you feel warm and loved - whether you knit for others, or they knit for you! (Thanks to Martha for the link!)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Being Present.


The Practice of Being Present
Attend the breath.
Let the rhythm
slow and settle.
Filling, emptying,
draw the outside 
in, and then release.
Simplicity and ease.
Nothing to do but
breathe, relax and
feel the free
movement of air
and life force,
watch the play
of energy and 
sensation, all
everything to be,
without the need 
to change or fix or
make it different.
This moment, you
can listen to your
soul. This breath,
you can have no
goal but being. You 
are already complete.
This, just this, is 
what it means
to be whole.

- Danna Faulds

Last Friday morning, my yoga teacher read this poem to us at the beginning of our practice. She's shared poems by Danna Faulds before and I've always loved them, but this one made me buy a book. This collection is titled One Soul - More Poems from the Heart of Yoga. I'm looking forward to savoring it, a poem or two at a time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | The Perfect Cheese Plate.

...this week, Carole's asked us to share our ten favorite cheeses. Scrolling through my photos and previous blog posts, I don't see a lot of "just" cheese, but there are a quite a few cheese plates. Including this one, from last May's visit to Florence.

A cheese plate is one of my favorite things to order out...and make in. So I'm expanding on Carole's topic to list ten things that make my perfect cheese plate:

1. a good platter. my favorites include a wooden tray, an ironwork tray with a glass bottom and a slate tile.

2. an assortment of cheeses. hard and soft. cow, sheep and goat. mild and strong. spicy and sweet. my go-to's are an extra sharp cheddar and/or manchego, a blue and a semi-soft, like a fresh goat cheese, maybe rolled in herbs.

3. fruit. grapes. pomegranate seeds. apple or pear slices, especially nice with a fresh goat cheese or creme cheese, like brie or camembert.

4. greens. I shared an amazing plate last week that had a tiny mound of spring greens tossed with the lightest vinaigrette. loved the fresh healthy tastes. (especially on a cheese plate :-)

5. olives. salt goes so well with cheese. and fruit.

6. nuts. marcona almonds are my all-time favorite. with walnuts, regular almonds and lightly toasted pecans coming second. the key here is to balance salty/sweet with the rest of the plate.

7. bread. thinking of this broadly to cover crackers and toasts and crisps... the crisper the better, in my opinion. and I love mixing savory and sweet here, too.

8. condiments. fig jam (awesome with manchego), cranberry compote or another savory jam. that amazing plate from last week also included pickled radish. and a house-made coarse mustard.

9. wine. of course.

10. friends. the best cheese plates have a lot of variety, which means larger quantities. and really, all food is best enjoyed with friends...and wine!

And there you have it...at least my version of it. I'd love to hear what you'd do differently. Any and all suggestions welcome!

Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun. You won't be disappointed!

 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pigs Are Flying.

...I'm crocheting. an afghan. with 13 colors. because* stash.

I bought in big to both of Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted Mystery Afghans last summer/fall. "Big" as in I bought the yarn (18 skeins, 17 colors, nearly 4,000 yards) for the first one, and then swapped out a few colors so I had yarn to knit the second one. Yeah, yikes! I think it was 27 or so balls, in 25 colors. Unfortunately, as much as I love both of the finished projects, I realized too late that I don't have the patience to knit - or sew up - either one. That's close to 6,000 yards of worsted weight yarn sitting in my stash. It's been nagging me for months.

So last Wednesday when I stumbled across 70 Sunday, I thought I'd found the answer. But 36 hours later and a few wonky test squares (with even some great advice in Ravelry's Granny Squares forum) later...I was still looking.

Gotta love Ravelry! I searched crochet, afghan, more than six colors...and stumbled across the Vintage Crocheted Afghan. We've had a black and white sample in the shop for ages and I've always admired it. My friend Melody crocheted one for her mother last fall and it landed in my favorites.

Saturday morning I dove in. The pattern calls for seven colors; I'm using 13. (in short, I'm using two colors for every alternate color that the pattern calls for...I'll report back on how successful that is!) I laid out the colors for the first repeat and liked it.

Then spent way more time than I wanted being sure I could remember which color was which and which order they appeared. (note that all this work hasn't been that useful - I mixed up the 5th and 6th colors...but I can't imagine it matters!)

By Saturday afternoon I had this.
Tonight I have this. (and almost ALL of the in-between time was spent doing lots of other things).

Not that I think an afghan is going to happen in a week (or even a month) - I still have about 80 rows (and a LOT of ends) to go. but this is a good start. and hey, flying pigs are always good for a smile!

...and P.S. because I've forgotton to post about this for weeks (oops!) my leftover Ulura is in the mail to Bonny. I only hope this little bit of winter yarn isn't the reason winter is holding on tight to y'all up North!

Bonny, I hope you like it - and I hope it's too warm to wear your Polar Opposites when you finish it!

*huge thank you to Kym for sharing this most-necessary grammar news update last week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Distracted.

...mostly by all these good reasons! hope to post soon with more details...and maybe even an update on the crochet adventure.

Wishing you the best of weekends. and many happy distractions!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Pot o' Gold.

...in honor of St. Patrick's Day, today's list is about what we'd buy if we found that treasure. Totally fun and completely frivolous, here are ten things I'd love to have:

today's #quiltselfie, marking six months (and our third month of Tuesdays with Marmie). I'm still amazed how much he changes every week - a month at a time, it's huge!

1. a plane ticket to fly Carole here for a six-month photo shoot with my favorite six-month old. (not that I don't love our #quiltselfies, but still!).

2. a barista, because I'd have this fabulous setup on my kitchen counter.

3. fresh flowers, delivered weekly.

4. Signature needles, in all the sizes (and hey, since I have the gold, also in all forms - DPNs, straights, and circulars).

5. a big wine fridge.

6. a new party dress.

7. and fun shoes. (and a personal shopper - a few minutes of internet browsing for links turned up nothing I'd want!)

8. a winter beach vacation.

9. an Apple watch.

10. a new yoga wardrobe...from Lululemon.

I had a lot of fun making this list, especially browsing "dream espresso machines". Thank you, Carole, for another great prompt! (click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!)

 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring.

...with two new FO's!

First up, a hoodie for Charlie (raveled here). I wanted him to have a cotton cardigan for Tuesday afternoon walks. Juniper Moon Farms' new Neve is a great worsted weight cotton and it comes in the perfect little boy blue (which was really hard to photograph...until yesterday afternoon!) I chose the Baby Einstein pattern because it had a hood and a lot of other options, including sizes from three months to 10 years. I can see a lot of these in Charlie's future!

I bought the pattern and the yarn a few weeks back, but didn't get serious about the knitting. Spring (or at least a dry Spring day) seemed a long way off. But then on March 6, the 10-day forecast showed sunshine and highs in the 70's for this week. Yikes! I cast-on and started knitting. I had the body done Monday, finished the two sleeves Tuesday and the hood Thursday morning. Then I blocked it. and waited until Saturday morning for it to dry. A bit of ribbon and four buttons later, it was done.

Yesterday was a pretty Spring day, and it was warm enough to be outside. Yay for living close!

I'm delighted that Charlie even seems to like the hood.

In between the sweater knitting, I also got serious about finishing my Tier scarf (raveled here). I started it during our last "winter weather" event at the end of February but didn't get past that first section of elongated stitches until last weekend. It's a long haul of straight stockinette...and as always, it goes pretty fast if you actually knit on it. I finished the knitting Friday night and blocked it Saturday. The blocking was long and tedious (I wove the wires every other stitch up both long edges). But oh so worth it.

We're going to feature this pattern/projecct in our next newsletter, so there will be glamour shots soon. In the meantime, these will do.

Not sure what's up next. I have a very long queue (and yarn to knit all of it, I think), but those projects aren't speaking warm weather to me. I'm also still very much in an "epic stockinette" mode. Stay tuned!

What's exciting you about Spring and Summer knitting this year?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | An Extra Hour.

...we're three days into Daylight Savings Time so I'm sure y'all have heard plenty about the "extra hour of daylight". Today, Carole's asked us to write about what we'll do with that extra hour. Sadly, for me, that "extra hour" now means daylight doesn't begin until nearly 8am (that photo above is my morning journaling time - last week I almost didn't need the lamp). I wonder if there will come a time I'll be a fan of losing an hour of morning light so I can have it in the evening? Yeah, not this year!

So I'm doing this one my way - and making a list of ten things I'd be doing with a REAL extra hour in my day:

1. Read another chapter in Round House.

2. Knit.

3. Fold and put away all the laundry the day it's done.

4. Walk outside in the evening.

5. Write letters (and mail them.)

6. Make something for dinner besides Sunday night's leftovers.

7. Research completed projects on Ravelry to plan a future newsletter feature.

8. Spend more time with my journal. and/or my blog :-)

9. Take a nap.

10. Enjoy a glass of wine on the porch.

I actually did many of those things these past three days. There is something energizing about daylight at 7pm...but it's not quite making up for the super-dark mornings. yet.

Have you enjoyied any of these "extra hour" pleasures this week? I look forward to seeing what ideas y'all have! Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!

...and yes, it's Tuesday. Charlie was here all day. He's a busy boy!

 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday | Tulips.

...thank goodness they're still pretty when they fade - because these have faded quickly!

And also thankful for the Waterlogue app...you might even think I planned all this just to share these lovely shots!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

...this week, Carole's asked us to host a dinner party for ten fictional characters.  I'm afraid many of my favorite characters would probably make terrible dinner guests. They'd be critical, over-opinionated, dominating, stand-offish, or - and this is the worst - picky eaters! Oh well, it's all make-believe anyway, right? Here goes:

1. Don Tillman (The Rosie Project). He'll be in charge of the drinks. (note that I couldn't think of a single person to invite who could help me in the kitchen...)

2. Robert Langdon. Hopefully he really does look like Tom Hanks and he'll be charming and interesting.

3. Cormac O'Connor (Forever). He'll have wonderful stories to tell. and I know he can make himself comfortable in all manner of situations.

4. Hermione Grainger. I challenged myself to allow only one character from any favorite book. And I think she'd be most likely to help make the party a success. She might even have a few tricks up her sleeve to ensure it!

5. Father Tim. If he pressed, I'd probably have to extend the list to 11 and invite Cynthia too. And yes that would be breaking my rule (see #4 above) ... and Carole's limit of ten. But I can't imagine anyone would mind. He'll find something pleasant to talk about with everyone and if there are unpleasant moments, I'll count on him to smooth them over.

6, 7, 8. Hercule Poirot. Aurelio Zen. Dr. Watson (Carole was clear that our fictional characters needed to come from books and I figured that meant Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't going to show up if I invited Sherlock Holmes. darn it!) I hope my guests don't get spooked...or maybe there really will be a murder. solved. with panache. before dessert is served.

9. Flavia DeLuce. Thinking she'll find she has something in common with everyone. And if there really is a murder to solve before dessert...my bet's on her!

10. Bertie (44 Scotland Street). A bit of a risk since I last read about him as a six year old (granted he's only turning seven in the latest book, but ... it's been nine books since he was introduced) He's musical and precocious and I surely hope not a picky eater.

I'm glad Carole didn't ask us to share our menu or any other party plans. I have no idea what I'd serve...

This was a lot of fun - I'm looking forward to seeing who you've invited (and what tips you have to make sure the dinner is a success!) Thanks, Carole for facilitating the party planning.

If you'd like to play along, click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!

y'all didn't think I'd close without a photo did you?
cute cardigan knitted by my sister, Charlie's great aunt Karen
Charlie really discovered Holly today. I'm not sure what she thinks about him...but he thinks she's fun!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Looking Back | February.


...and just like that, another month has flown by. So many things about February made me smile:

  • sunshine and blue skies (honestly, the month felt kind of gray while it happened...but clearly these photos tell a different story!)
  • early signs of spring at the very end of the month - that tree on the 27th is the one I've designated for "Spring Watch"; I hope by the time I do this post for March it's full on green. We'll see!
  • our trip to Madison (especially the "three of us" cheers on the 15th)
  • knitting! three WIPs and four FOs
  • Charlie - now 5-1/2 months old (featured in eight photos, including one with his mama and one with me #quiltselfie)
  • and finally, Holly...twice. 

oh, and I love that the 28 days fit neatly into just four rows!

I also tallied up my Daily Yoga story and colored in all the little circles.

This represents over 17 hours of yoga spread across 26 days (I missed two and I'm trying hard to Let It Go!) The trip to Madison and the ice and snow had a real impact on taking classes. I'm thinking that's probably a good lesson to get through this early in the year. I remind myself the point is not to color in all the circles, it's to improve my flexibility, balance and strength. Missing a few classes...and/or a few days doesn't matter. The classes are getting a little easier. And I sleep great after a before-bedtime relaxation routine. 61 days in, this seems like time definitely well-spent!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Sundries.

...I've been enjoying Barb's (mostly) weekly Sunday Sundries not only for the beautiful photography but also the simple idea of sharing a short list of celebrations. I finally have orange tulips on my kitchen counter and this seemed as good a reason to join in as any!

Here are a few other things I'm celebrating right now:

Snow days meant more Charlie time this week. I got to spend Tuesday and Wednesday (and Wednesday night with him and his mama).
from Wednesday (breaking in the new quilt from his great aunt Lydia)
FaceTime. Katie has been wonderful about calling me most mornings to share a few moments with Charlie (taking after me and his mama, he's a real morning person :-) Marc's in China this week and FaceTime works so much better than Skype for keeping in touch. I've also started regular Saturday morning calls with Diane; we "met" on Ravelry and it's been great fun to actually see each other and our knitting projects while we chat.

Yesterday felt like Spring. Holly and I took a late afternoon walk and felt the almost-warm sunshine. (today is much cooler and it's drizzling... Winter is holding on tight!)
from yesterday's walk...no jackets!
My kitchen counter. I smiled when I looked at that top photo above...and decided I also needed to share the view from the opposite side. When Marc's gone, I pretty much live in this space (except to shower and sleep). It really does have everything I need.

I know Barb would love to have you visit...and share your own celebrations. Happy Sunday!