Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday | A Garden.

Steve & I - in Grandma's garden - Santa Rosa, California - July, 1966
Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  - Marcel Proust
When I read those words, I immediately thought of this photo. But in my memory, it was my grandparents standing with me amidst the flowers. I was charmed when I pulled out the photo this morning to see my brother there with me instead. Regardless, the message I had - and the one I wanted to share - was about family. ...and about what a beautiful garden my grandma had. It's pretty clear where my mom's green thumb comes from!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ten on Tuesday (ish) | Blueberries.

...today's topic is blueberries, no doubt inspired by Carole's latest CSA haul (I LOVE that she's on Instagram. finally!) I was really excited to share recipes and other such enthusiasm when I planned this post last night.

Beginning with breakfast: greek yogurt topped with (frozen) blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and a few walnuts. With a side of Go Set a Watchman. while Charlie napped.

and my plan fell apart after that. I finished the book and it left me in a real funk. More to come on that front, maybe, but for now, I'm just feeling old (yet young because I wasn't even born when Harper Lee wrote those words) and sad (the thoughts and events she portrays took place sixty years ago, but they're still part of "my South"...my dad grew up in a small Alabama town not too far from Maycomb).

So I'm going to cut this short and share links to my three favorite blueberry recipes. I spent a good bit of time last night in denial that I'd never even posted a photo of the cake or the muffins. But trust me - they're wonderful. and easy.

1. a salad
2. a coffee cake
3. muffins (I did add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon along with the dry ingredients)

Of course today was a Charlie day and he is ALL ABOUT the food right now. Katie said he won't even let her (or his dad) spoon feed him any more. I was able to feed him some yogurt for breakfast, but otherwise it was him - fingers and all!
avocados...yummmm....
That photo is just for my mom - xo!

I talked about "pouches" at our prayer shawl meeting today and the ladies had no idea...so I figured it would be worthwhile to share here.

p.s. my mom shared this about Ansel Adams after last week's post:
"Ansel Adams, a pianist along with being an artist, played at my parents’ wedding in San Francisco in 1929. He was a friend of my grandparents in the '20's."

Blueberries are one of my favorite summertime treats. I'm looking forward to all the ways y'all like to  prepare them!

I'm also looking forward to talking about the book. I've been in a self-imposed media-blackout these past two weeks....now that I've read the book I'm ready to join the conversation. I hope!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekending.

FOUR teeth! ...and nothing like a cord and a box to keep playtime fun!
...I know it's going to be a good one when it starts with a visit to see this little guy (and share a glass of wine with his parents).
It got even better on Saturday afternoon when Marc decided to break in his new super-duper heavy duty blender with frozen mango margaritas (and a belated nod to National Tequila Day).

No surprise - garter stitch and eyelets goes especially well with tequila! I finished Orbit and then started Lilly Rose. Yesterday, I blocked Orbit and made even more progress on Lilly. Here's what they both look like today.
And to top it all off, I got to wear my new shawl to church yesterday.  Happy to report that the piece really isn't all that overwhelming, especially when it's worn like a cowl.
Hope your weekend was full of good beginnings and endings, too! Happy Monday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Mystery Solved.

...why yes, it is Friday and I have an FO to share! I unpinned my Through the Loops Summery Mystery shawl this morning and got out my big camera for the photoshoot. If you don't want to see, click away. This post is full of spoilers!
spoiler protection!
Kirsten wrote the pattern for two colors, and I'd originally planned to use two, but found a fourth skein of the Ivory and decided to go for monochrome. I think it works especially well with this color (yes, off-white is a color!)


The shawl is supposed to be a semi-circle, but my finished piece is 60" wide and 33" long, a tiny bit oval. I'm really glad I omitted one of the repeats (in the section before the mesh lace) or it would be noticeably oval-ish (and yikes, even bigger!)  I modeled it on the backside of the dress form just for fun. I really think I'll wear it more like a cowl (as in the first photo above).


I do love the Shibui Staccato for lace. It blocks beautifully and has a slight sheen, thanks to the silk content; it's also nice to knit.


That's pretty much the whole story, but I've updated my Ravelry project page if you want to see more.

Wishing everyone a happy weekend!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | American Artists.

...perhaps inspired by her recent visit to the Wyeth Exhibit, Carole's asked us to share our favorite American artists. I love this topic! art is near and dear to my heart; I learned it growing up. And my parents (especially my mom) learned it from their parents (who learned it from theirs...at least on my mom's side :-)

I had a hard time limiting my list to just ten. I'm a huge fan of American art. pretty much all of it. But these ten have a special place in my heart.

1. Dale Chihuly. I first saw his work in Seattle, years and years ago. Then I saw an installation he did at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (2004?). Glass, color, movement. It's amazing.

2. Ansel Adams. Marc had a print in his college dorm room when I met him. Fate?! Family rumor has it that my grandparents were friends with him in the 1930's and 40's. Sadly, none of his work has made its way to my generation.

3. Norman Rockwell. My first artist crush.

4. Georgia O'Keeffe. My first female artist crush.

5. Jonathan Green. Bold bright colors...I can feel the hot humid nights of the Low Country.

6. Brian Andreas. An artist and a story teller (and a rather brilliant marketer - I have four of his greeting cards framed and hung to the left of my desk).

And these last few are ones whose work I have in "important" frames and places in both my home and my heart.

7. R.C. Gorman. This print was a housewarming gift from my dear friend Francie ... when Marc and I moved into our first home in 1985.


8. Harold Altman. Francie shared her love of this artist with me early on. I bought this print with my very first bonus from work (she was my boss at the time). He loved parks... I wish I had one of his Central Park prints, too.


9. Peter Johnson. He was a "local artist" when my parents lived in El Dorado, Kansas in the 1990's. They amassed quite a collection while they lived there and gifted me this one - a favorite of mine - for my 50th birthday. I love the story(ies?!) it tells...and the colors. And 1/3 :-)


10. Nancy Ricker Rhett. She's a "local artist" in Beaufort, South Carolina, where we've been visiting since 2007. The Rhetts are a well-known artist family in town and their gallery is a must-see on every visit. This watercolor was my special memento from our 2009 trip. It evokes the calm stillness of the Low Country - such a contrast with Green's work! I was beyond delighted when my sister snapped this photo after Nancy penned a special note to me on the back of the painting. and yep, she's a knitter - check out her cardigan!

Maybe someday this guy will be there, too! Instead of tacked up on the refrigerator :-)  I shared this collage on Instagram today with the caption "more Jackson Pollock than Picasso" (but obviously much cuter than both!)
I took his shirt off before we opened the markers... Katie tells me these "super washable" colors get everywhere!
Obviously ten (eleven?!) was just too few - I had to leave so many wonderful artists (Audubon, Benton, Hopper, Wyeth to name a few) off this list. Hopefully you captured them on yours! If you're not playing along with Ten on Tuesday, click here to join the fun!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting Organized | Off to a Good Start.

...whoa, all this organization sure takes time away from actual knitting (and reading!) But boy does it feel good. After nearly six hours yesterday, my yarn room now looks like this:
The top shelves hold nearly all of my "multi-skein" stash, as well as twelve balls of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted 
mostly single skeins that I can hang
all the rest. the straw and white wire baskets are stash and the black basket in the middle is hibernating projects
In the process, I filled up one big bin with yarn, a few pattern books and project bags...and even one WIP that I had no desire to finish or frog, but figure one of my students might be willing to. And I filled up a good bit of our recycling bin with pattern printouts that I have online.

Today, I went through all the hibernating WIPs, which all live in that middle basket at the base of my bookshelf.
before
After assessing actual status and the likelihood of finishing, I only ended up frogging one project (the laceweight Panoramic on the top row). The Susie's Reading Mitts is the project I put into the bin yesterday.

I updated notes, took photos,
after... six pairs of socks (still)!
skeined the frogged yarn and soaked it.
ready for its bath!
I'm planning to knit a very easy infinity scarf (as in cast on a boatload of stitches on a size 7 needle, join in the round and knit until I use up the yarn). I do love the yarn (it's Juniper Moon Findlay Dappled, a 50/50 merino silk blend) and the colors and I think it will be a great accessory for the fall and winter. This is going to be the third project I've tried with this yarn. Third time's a charm, right?!

My next step is the stash. I kept nine sweater quantities of yarn, a few other multi-skeins that I have projects in mind for, and a couple dozen single skeins (including sock yarn and all that Rowan Pure Wool Worsted that never made it into a mystery afghan). Stay tuned. I hope it happens this weekend. But I might be reading Go Set a Watchman instead!

I really appreciated all the advice and encouragement you shared last week. I'm curious, are you surprised with how much yarn I still have?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | A Perfect Scoop.

...this week, Carole's asked us to share our ten favorite ice cream flavors.

I know a younger me would've had a full list of opinions for this topic. I remember multiple cartons in the freezer when I was growing up - yep, we ate ice cream regularly AND we had choices about the flavors! Not that we went crazy (were the flavors crazy back then?!); mint chocolate chip and berries stand out in my memory.

Fast forward many years and I have ice cream ... rarely. It's not my dessert of choice, unless it's late afternoon in Florence and I'll be searching out a gelato stand like everyone else or it's a special occasion and I'm going to make ice cream from scratch.

Of course today is neither of those, but I did share a double cup of gelato (cinnamon vanilla and strawberry) with Charlie and his mama.

Katie and I enjoyed it more than he did, I think.
Maybe not quite the perfect scoop?!

What's your favorite flavor? Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun and share all ten!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Taking Stock.


...I am slowly but surely getting comfortable with the Get to Work Book. It's great to have all my "to do stuff" in one place and I'm loving the templates. Above is a bit of the monthly "Reflect and Goal Set" page (which I finally found time to work on last Thursday and Friday). This "new approach" to knitting is my big project for July. And there's nothing like sharing about it in a blog post to really hold myself accountable.

The gist is that I'm not going to be able to knit for hours on end; and I'm still not comfortable knitting on any needle smaller than a size 5, or with any yarn that's not mostly wool. Of course that still leaves plenty of room for all kinds of projects! And I do work for a yarn shop. Those bi-weekly newsletters and the frequent arrival of new yarns continue to tempt me (which the shop owner likes; my enthusiasm translates into sales!)

There's another section on this Reflect page titled "To Let Go Of". For me, that's yarn and WIPs that I'm really just not into (anymore). What a huge relief to give myself permission to frog and repurpose all that yarn!

With all that in mind, I have three action items to complete this month:

1. Sort through all my WIPs (thankfully, they're all on Ravelry). Assess status and chance of finishing - BE REALISTIC (a few are from 2010 and many are socks...on size 1 needles). Frog what I'm not going to finish (that yarn goes into stash).

2. Sort through all my stash. Give away what I don't want. Get all the rest of it into Ravelry (with a photo!)

3. Assess my Ravelry queue. Be sure it's only projects I really do plan to knit (hopefully with yarn I have). My goal is to have nearly all my stash (maybe all but the single skeins of fingering weight?) tagged to actual projects...again, that I want to knit in some reasonable timeframe. BE REALISTIC.

#1 has already started. The cardigan I started back in April on size 3 needles...went for a swim in the frog pond!

Any advice or words of wisdom to share? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Looking Back | June.

...I got a little behind with my daily photos last month. When I looked this morning, the last photo I had was for June 15th. I'm definitely in the habit of taking the photo, but I guess not so much with the collage piece. So it was a real treat this morning to (finally - yes, it's the ninth day of July already!) compile the collage

and then reflect back on the month of June:

Yay for colors (despite that bit of black and white the week of June 21 - some of which was done by me post-processing and some of which was done by Mother Nature), Charlie exploring, Holly (three photos!), reading, a little more knitting (still no FOs, but that will definitely change this month)...and a little bit of me (hands and feet - three times!)

I've already shared many of these photos here, but one, from that last Friday never made it (until now).

This letter arrived that day, confirming a lunch date with "Cousin Lois". She doesn't have email or a smart phone, so I resorted to good ol' postal mail to propose the date. I mailed my letter the week before and was delighted to receive her prompt reply. complete with a newspaper clipping about the owner of Epic (the company Sara works for - I love that articles travel from Madison to Atlanta and then back to Madison again...and some even make a detour to my folks in Florida before coming here!)

We did enjoy a very nice lunch on the 2nd. Sadly I didn't get a photo, but I just realized I never shared the one from our last lunch (February 14) here either - so here you go! That's my sister, Lois, Sara and me.
A photo posted by mary (@mere2007) on

I know I'm late to the Looking Back party, but I hope you had a good month - what was your most colorful memory?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday | Morning Walks.



...a few more glimpses of Sara's neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Staycation Edition.

...Carole is enjoying a staycation this week and she's asked us for some ideas. Seems a bit ironic that less than 24 hours ago I was in an airport (with a bit of unpacking in my future). Truly, airports and unpacking are my least favorite things about vacations; one of the best things about a staycation is that you don't have to travel. Here are ten things I'd love to do on a staycation.

1. Turn off the alarm clock.

2. Write postcards from my hometown.

3. Be a tourist and visit local places of interest; for me, that would be the High Museum and the Botanical Gardens.

4. Enjoy a mini-spa day with a mani-pedi and/or a massage.

5. See a matinee.

6. Go out for lunch; splurge on wine and dessert.

7. Take a picnic to the park.

8. Indulge in a guilty pleasure; for me that would be a pile of glossy magazines.

9. Make popcorn, order in pizza and binge-watch an entire season (or three) of something on Netflix.

10. Take lots of photos so I have a good story to share back here once it's over.

...and now I wish I had a staycation in my near future! If you're not already playing along, click here to join the Ten onTuesday fun.

 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekending, Madison Style.

...what a delight! The weather was marvelous. I explored the neighborhood on morning runs (weekend Sara is not a morning person, so I had a few hours to myself to begin each day...just the way I like it!), read (I finished two books), knitted (not much still...that progress photo is from yesterday afternoon; I'm still on the first ball of yarn), saw Inside Out (which we both loved - highly recommend!), enjoyed a belated Mother's Day night out (complete with cocktails and Uber), watched tennis and soccer, cooked, taught Sara how to make margaritas, and saw fireworks (from her balcony...perfect view!)

As is our tradition, we went to Sardine for brunch yesterday and thankfully I now have one photo of the two of us to share. Thank you, Sara, for a truly lovely weekend! xo.

 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday | In-flight Entertainment.

...coming to you from the Madison airport (where hopefully I won't have enough time to get on a first name basis with the bartender before Sara arrives to pick me up)!

I had a fun time looking out the window on the flight and thought y'all might enjoy a peek. Much of the flight was through full-on clouds but every so often we saw a bit of blue sky.

Yay for knitting! I cast on Lucinda...and I can't tell you how fun it is to start a sweater...it's been more than three months since I last started one (for a grown-up). and reading while knitting. I also started Emperor of All Maladies (originally planned to be audio, but turns out I have more time than I thought for eye-reading). The pretty bag is from Bonny - it's a great size for a sweater and it has a lot of pockets and a drawstring which makes it great for traveling (thank you, Bonny!)

I was really excited as we approached the airport that I knew just where we were...and that we were flying over Sara's lake! I decided not to Waterlogue this one - she lives just north of this lake, toward the left edge of my photo.

Marc never chooses the window seat...me, I wouldn't want to sit anywhere else. How about you?