Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Knitting.

...on my own.

It takes a lot for us to cancel - crazy work deadlines, illness, travel - and this week I added a new reason "our DVR isn't working and the soonest AT&T can come is Wednesday...between 4 and 8". Thankfully, Joe came just before 5 and quickly plugged in the wire that magically fixed the whole thing (the wrap up with AT&T's service center took a bit longer so it was nearly 6 when he left and I could take Holly out for a walk). But after that I had my knitting and wine time. Of course this view looks like the other six nights around here...I'm really looking forward to next week!

 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | No Learning Curve.

...today, Carole's asked us to share 10 things we wish we could learn instantly. You know, like how toddlers learn which drawer is the one that holds the plastic...the one they're allowed to play in without anyone worrying anything will break.

Learning new things is one of my favorite things, but I'd love to wake up tomorrow and know how to:

1. speak French and Italian

2. bake bread

3. take beautiful photographs

4. and process them

5. knit fair isle with two hands

6. bake the best oatmeal raisin cookies (without needing a recipe)

7. order the perfect bottle of wine when I'm out or

8. mix the perfect cocktail when I'm home

9. apply makeup the way the artist at Bobbi Brown showed me (and boy did she make it look easy!)

...there is one thing I'm currently learning that I still want to learn the old-fashioned way. Something about investing time and making mistakes makes the learning sweet. and for me, right now, that's quilting.

Can't wait to see what "instant learnings" y'all have. If you're not already playing Ten on Tuesday, click here to join the fun.

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday | Warmly, Fall.

...celebrating with my first pumpkin spice latte of the season!

(with a warm thank you to my friend Honoré for giving me this watercolor idea.)

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ten on Tuesday (ish) | Fun with Charlie.

...today's topic is things we like to do with our best friend - I'm taking a little license here, because my post is Ten Things I Like To Do with Charlie. right now. just a little bit past twelve months old.
checking out the toy box
1. Eat breakfast. Charlie is all about the food right now. And fixing breakfast and lunch and snacks (yep, he eats every 1-1/2 to 2 hours) for him has made it easier for me to eat better. He had toast and peaches for breakfast. I had avocado (well, actually leftover guacamole so it was too spicy for Charlie) toast. But we ate breakfast together...and that was the fun part.

2. Next we head upstairs... I make the bed while he checks out the toy box. He only plays with these toys on Tuesdays and it's fun to see him unpack the layers...and find his (for now anyway) favorites. I'm happy to see that he still loves the sorting box and the stacking rings. and he claps when the pieces come together!

3. Read. no news here.

4. Dance. I'm not sure you can really call shaking your leg(s) and bobbing your head dancing, but it's moving to the music (we typically listen to the kids station on U-verse) and that's good enough for me!

4. Visit the library. A new favorite as in we did this for the first time today. Our local branch just reopened in a brand new space... and it's awesome! We got there at 10am when they opened and had the entire kids section to ourselves. Charlie explored and chose a few books - which I read out loud (in my quietest out loud voice) ... and then he explored some more. We checked out two CDs for the car - Sesame Street and Arlo Guthrie.

5. Cook. It's always fun to cook for someone who likes to eat. I've known for a while that Charlie loves scrambled eggs and today I cooked those (which is a big deal. I really really dislike eggs)...and it was good. Because he loved them! I thought there might even be enough leftovers for Marc to snack on ... yeah, no.

6. Climb the stairs. This was another first time today thing. Because 17 steps with two landings is scary. I spotted him the whole time and he did great. He even wanted to do it again. (I'm not sure when we'll be ready for climbing down the stairs).

7. Walk. He likes to hold my hand (which is really just one finger in his whole little fist) ... or not. He's getting really steady on his feet and I think he likes my finger more for comfort than stability.

8. Explore. Looking out. looking around. Katie tells me we need to be practicing pointing and talking ... all the time. Done! (and tippy toes!!)

9. Share him with Holly. Honestly, this is a bit of a stretch right now because Holly doesn't like him nearly as much as I do! but she's learning. and so is he. and I really need these two to become friends, so we work on it every week. At this point, she's a lot more nervous around him than he is around her (until she barks, and he cries, and ...)

10. Share him with my friends. Today was the prayer shawl meeting and we had a full house. Most of the ladies hadn't seen Charlie in a few months. He didn't disappoint.

It's pretty special that I get to have this little guy all to myself (more or less) for one day each week. Looking back over this past (almost) nine months of Tuesdays with Charlie is another blessing...and a reminder that I need to keep writing and sharing the stories. Thank you to Carole and all you Ten on Tuesday folks for letting me "ish" a topic every now and then!

Monday, September 21, 2015

And the Grand Prize Goes to...


Thank you so much to everyone who played along in this year's Summer Book Bingo. Based on blog posts and Instagram, we had seven participants (Carole, Kym, Bonny, Margene, Patty, Lydia and Audra). These seven ladies finished an astonishing 127 books for Bingo squares, and scored a record 48 total Bingos.

I ended up with 50 pieces of paper in my bag, 48 for each Bingo and one each for Patty and Lydia who were just...unlucky with their cards.

Kym, there's a little something coming your way, but I hope everyone feels like a winner for having a great summer of reading!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Currents | September 2015.

the oak tree in our front yard yesterday afternoon
Noticing the leaves starting to change. bonus points for #nofilter bright blue skies!

Healing slowly. My elbow tolerates an hour or two of knitting and my hamstring can run a slow mile (hopefully it will be ready for power yoga before the end of the month).

Embracing balance. not letting any one passion or worry consume me.

Eating birthday party leftovers. still.

Reading Bone Black with my eyes and All the Light We Cannot See with  my ears. I enjoyed what ended up being a weeklong break, but wow am I loving getting back into books!

Listening to Sara's carefully curated Pandora station or Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Something about fall always draws me back to classical music.

Watching not much, but when I do, it's HGTV. My new-favorite show is Fixer Upper.

Enjoying all the comments and community I find here when I blog more regularly (thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!), but

Letting go of trying to post more often (until November when I fully expect to blog for 30 days in a row).

Looking forward to our shop KAL. It starts today. I still need to wind yarn and find size 4 straight needles.

Practicing 1/4" seam allowances and

Hoping I'll have a quilt top to share next week, but then

Needing a class - or a good book or on-line tutorial (recommendations welcome!) - to turn it into a quilt.

Remembering Charlie's newborn days. and nights!

How about you, what's current in your world?


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Fall Eats.

...our air conditioner hasn't run since Friday - but looks like it might be back on by the weekend.

No matter, the mornings are still cool enough to contemplate turning on the oven, so I'm all about this week's Ten on Tuesday and what I'm looking forward to eating - and drinking - now that fall is (almost) here.

1. oatmeal. I like mine with dried cranberries, walnuts and a little almond milk.

2. roasted pork tenderloin and hot mushroom salad (this is still a favorite meal for me and Marc), as is

3. mexican chicken soup.

4. garlic mashed potatoes.

5. roasted butternut squash.

6. roasted chicken.

7. figs.

8. steamed almond milk with a dash of sugar and pumpkin pie spice.

9. chai tea.

10. fall shipments from our wine clubs are due to arrive in a few weeks, which means ... red wine!

Can't wait to see your list(s) ... I'm ready for all the things warm and comforting!

and as I just typed that I realized it was a great segue to the Charlie photo I have to share from today.

This was taken just before 11:30 am. I managed to keep him awake through lunch, but not through all of his pre-nap story. Nothing says "warm comfort" quite like a snuggle with a blanket, a good book and a full tummy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Charlie!

...our favorite little guy turned one yesterday and we celebrated all weekend long.

Saturday we had a small party here with just our immediate family. We opened gifts - have to say, the tissue paper we all used abundantly for wrapping was a huge hit!



I think he likes the blanket, but he really loves all the new books and a set of finger puppets featuring barnyard animals.

For this "first cake", I baked a carrot cake and one cupcake with cream cheese frosting just for him. He totally got the point of frosting.


But it wasn't until his big party yesterday that he really got into it. literally.




Aren't they a cute family?! It was fun to see so many friends and family (some of whom I haven't seen since they got married over two years ago) all gathered to celebrate them and this little one.

Katie did a wonderful job with the food and the decorations. Everyone loved the photo wall. What a year it's been!

She let the guests take photos home. These are my four.

We tried late in the afternoon for a Marmie and Charlie photo. Would you believe this is the best we could do?

And we didn't get any with his Aunt Sara...who made a special trip from Wisconsin to be part of the celebration. Oh well, we do have the memories and a renewed focus to do better the next time she's here!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Next Up.

...I still haven't figured out what to read next. But my knitting plans are firming up.

I fell hard for the latest Shibui collection (the look book is stunning) and have started one project
Inscribe - raveled here

and queue'd two more. Yay for stash! I think I have yarn that will work for both.

I'm excited about adding some new sweaters - especially ones that are neutral and versatile - to my fall/winter wardrobe.

And proving yet again that writing a knitting newsletter can wreak havoc on my queue, I'm ready for the shop's Q4 KAL (well, once I wind some yarn!)
raveled here
What are you excited about knitting this fall?




Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Bingo | Wrapping Up.

...what a great summer of reading! I promised a few of you a wrap-up on my own Book Bingo(s) and wanted to share next steps for choosing one lucky participant (because we're all winners in this game!) for the grand prize.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I read a whopping 40 books for a Bingo square. I wrapped up the first card back on August 11 when I finished all 849 pages of 11/23/63. I read 15 books for my second card...but no Bingos. I could've pushed and read Bone Black (with a red cover - middle left) for two ... but I spent the weekend out and about, not reading.
my second card
I made separate shelves on Goodreads for each card. Here are the covers for the ones I finished, sorted by rating. I wrote short reviews on Goodreads for each book; you can check out the links below if you're interested.

For my first card, I gave five stars to all six books on that top row. Highly recommend every single one...and recommend all the others as well. There wasn't a bad one in the bunch.
Card #1 - link to Goodreads
The second card was a bit...more interesting. I gave five stars to the first three, four to the next nine and ... I'm not sure I'd recommend those last three. Y'all know what I thought about Go Set a Watchman. Those other two were just not my thing. I'm glad I read them, but I'm not sure you need to!
Card #2 - link to Goodreads
And now, apparently, reading and I are on a break. Since I finished Mink River - one of my favorites of the year, and certainly the summer - on Monday morning, I haven't even started another book. It has only been three days, but still, it seems really weird. Kind of like when I realized Monday evening that I hadn't knitted all day. not even one little stitch. (that has since been remedied - I've made good progress on two projects this week).

I'm hosting bookclub tonight - Big Little Lies, which I read so many books ago I can't even remember the characters' names (yikes! I've got some re-reading to do today!) and next month's selection is All the Light We Cannot See. I've already put the audio on my phone, and I fully expect to start listening tomorrow. But for my eyes, I'm not sure. I do want to read the other eight books from my second card (note that I admitted defeat with the Play square...not gonna happen!) and I own most of them already, so that's easy. We'll see. I'm sure the break won't last for long.

Kym, Bonny and Carole have already posted about covering their cards - that's 12 Bingos apiece!!!  If you played along, please share your final card on your blog (and be sure I see your post) or on Instagram (you can tag me @mere2007 to be sure I see it). Remember, each Bingo gets you one entry in the grand prize drawing. I'm planning to draw on Monday, September 21 and share the results back here then.

Many thanks to every one of you for sharing your encouragement, recommendations and enthusiasm for reading. Personally, this has been my best reading summer in a long time. maybe ever. And much of that is because of you!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Labor Day Weekend.

...and just like that, another summer's come and gone. Today, Carole's asked us to share highlights from Labor Day Weekend - I'm happy to oblige!
splash pad, chocolate croissant, post-shopping toast...and happy 21st!

1. Wove in 100 ends (which ended up being more like 220 by the time I split those last 40 into four pieces to bury the ends deep into the yarn - machine washing isn't for sissies).

2. Met up with Lydia at Intown Quilters. and bought two Kaffe Jelly Rolls, a few yards of backing fabric and another piece for binding.

3. Celebrated successful quilt shopping with a glass of wine and lunch at Leon's Full Service.

4. Skipped church to join Katie and Charlie for cappucinos (just us grown-ups), quiche and a chocolate croissant - Charlie's first! ... not sure exactly what he thinks.

5. Followed by a walk around our new city center and a quick "splash" in the splash pad...not sure what he thinks about that either!

6. Took a Sewing 101 class at Joann's. I haven't sewed in about 20 years - happy to report t's a bit like riding a bicycle.

7. Took my first yoga class at the Y since May 8. (happy I can move today, but know that my abs are talking to me ;-)

8. Joined my niece and a few other family and friends for her 21st birthday celebration (yes, that's Lambrusco upside down in the margarita...she loved it!)

9. Then, shared a bottle of wine with my neighbor Michele...just catching up.

10. ...and finally, went to bed at 8:30...nothing like eight-plus hours of sleep to get me ready for another Tuesday with Charlie!
this afternoon in Michele's pool

Hope your weekend was a good one, too! Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun.

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Hundred Ends to Go.

...and then Fly Away is finished.
I've been thinking of it as a million, so actually knowing it's a much smaller number is making me feel a little better. I was hoping it might even be a two-digit number, but I did the math: 16 squares with six ends each is 96 plus four from the border equals 100. I plan to take it to the shop as soon as I finish up here, knowing the company will make those ends go faster! (my other option, which I honestly just discarded this morning, was to simply work here at my kitchen counter with a bottle of wine, a needle and scissors... I feel good about choosing the other option, but know for sure there will be at least a glass or two of wine this evening to celebrate!)

Also, thanks to an early morning walk at the park with Lauren, I was inspired to update the blog for fall. This view is one of our favorites right now - the wild abundance of those blooms makes me smile every single time.

...ok, procrastination time is officially over. Let's go!

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend...and please, feel free to procrastinate a bit if you need to. I give you permission!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Looking Back | August.


...and just like that, another month has gone by. Looking back, I see lots of Charlie (even more than usual - the sign of a very good month indeed!) and that special one on the 18th where I captured his first steps...for me, a few more shared cocktails - including birthday toasts with Lydia, Karen and Katie on the 15th (celebrating Lydia's birthday) and with my mom on the 23rd, games!, summer fading away to fall (but it's been back in the 90's here this week... summer isn't giving up the fight yet), and a lot of knitting. I see one project beginning back on the 9th (that's my Game Day Rivington cowl, which will not be finished by Georgia Tech's opener tonight, but I will be knitting on it while we watch the game, so I think that still captures the spirit of it), one in process (Charlie's Fly Away) and two finished...neither of which I've shared here!

First, the Pure | Aran Shawl that I knit to feature in last week's newsletter on the new Woolfolk yarn. I used FÅR (the worsted weight) for my shawl and it's lovely stuff.


And then Lucinda. I wore it Monday (before the really hot weather came back) and got two quick photos.


I used Fibre Company's Savannah DK, a merino/cotton/soy/linen blend; hopefully I'll be able to wear it for the next couple of months - a nice bonus for the first new sweater in a long time!

Looking back, I see a very full month! Hope your August was full of good things, too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Wednesday Knitting Special.

...I know I've shared many stories here about how my sister and I meet every Wednesday evening to knit. and drink wine. and catch up. and plan things. and generally re-connect in a way that makes me grateful every single week that we live close enough to do it.


but this week it was a little different. my niece Jillian joined us. She moved to Austin this past spring and this is her first visit back home. I have to say I was beyond excited when Karen texted that she'd be joining us...and ready to start a new sweater (yes, this niece is a knitter*!)

I mixed up a batch of Moscow Mules and we shared two hours of porch time. Swatching, knitting, catching up, planning things and generally re-connecting. As always. but with the special *zing* that sharing it with one of our grown children - who KNITS!!! - brings!

*Hill Country Weavers is her LYS... I'm almost tempted to throw my promised February visit to Sara and the frozen lakes of Madison aside...just to see all that Brooklyn Tweed in person!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Ordinary Joy.

...it's great to be back with Carole, who just returned from two weeks at the beach. Her topic is "Seemingly Ordinary Things that Bring You Joy" -  what a wonderful way to come back to post-vacation reality!

1. I started my list dark-early this morning, just after pouring that first cup of coffee. with freshly warmed milk. Makes me smile every single day!

2. Real mail from a friend.

3. Avocado toast.

4. Morning or evening sunshine on the porch.

5. A pedicure.

6. Fresh flowers on the kitchen counter.

7. Bright blue skies spotted with puffy white clouds. Bonus points that we had these today!

8. A freshly made bed (especially when Marc makes it).

9. Early morning FaceTimes with Charlie (and his mama) - typically not a Tuesday feature.

10. Sharing Tuesdays with Charlie.

...even when he skips his morning nap and falls asleep over lunch. His mama used to fall asleep over dinner. Still makes me smile.

and especially when we get to share pear gelato. which he apparently loves. and will even ham it up for the camera to prove it!

I hope you found Joy in your Ordinary today, too. 

Welcome back, Carole! If you're not already part of the Ten on Tuesday fun, click here to join.