Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | Memorial Day Weekend.

We celebrated Memorial Day yesterday, which means a long weekend - and an excellent opportunity for sharing ten things we did. My weekend actually started last Wednesday when Holly & I drove to Lake Oconee to spend six days with my family in one h-u-g-e house. First - a few of my favorite photos. 

And now, a sampling of what we did there:

1. Shared a bunch of photos on Instagram (check out #reynoldsmay2016).

2. Knitted a lot...sometimes with wine, sometimes with coffee, and sometimes in a big chair with friends.

3. Played with Charlie. He had great fun finding golf balls and sticks...and then putting them into his pockets.

4. Cheered on the puzzle mavens. I usually make a point of fitting in one piece...but this year I didn't even manage that. The entire 1,000 pieces were assembled by Saturday morning.

5. Cooked (and ate...and drank).

6. Played games. Rob and I won (Junior) Trivial Pursuit. I lost everything else (I think he did, too).

7. Read. (I got a great start on Summer Bingo...more to come!)

8. Walked. I saw a lot of the golf course and many beautiful homes ...and yesterday morning, finally saw the lake :-)

9. Took a family photo. 

10. Remembered all those who served and gave their lives so we could freely live ours. Driving home yesterday I passed so many flags...and it was nice to drive into our driveway and see a few more. 

If you're not already playing along, click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun. And thank you (yet again!) Carole for hosting another memorable week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer Book Bingo 2016.

Ok, y'all, it's officially the start of summer - Books on the Nightstand has released the 2016 Book Bingo cards! Click here to listen to the podcast episode and here to download your card.

Here's mine.

I've got ideas for almost all the squares. As in previous years, I'm trying to read books I already own or books I've been meaning to read (The Outsiders, Invisible Man). One square has me stumped - I emailed my mom last night about the "that your parents didn't/wouldn't have let you read as a kid" because I don't remember anything but encouragement to read whatever I wanted! I'm looking forward to the "literary journal" and "verse novel" - those are two new-to-me genres. And that upper left corner "a random book from a shelf" should be fun, too.

I hope you're planning to play along. This summer, books you finish between Saturday, May 28 (the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend) and Monday, September 5 (the end of Labor Day Weekend) count. We'll follow the same rules as in previous years - each book counts for one square. You can read whatever you want for the middle square. This is supposed to be fun, so a bit of "liberal interpretation" of the categories is ok! Each completed Bingo (a row, a column or a diagonal) earns you one entry in the drawing. I'll choose a winner from the pool of Bingos in September.

Wishing you a summer of delightful reading...and more than a few Bingos!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | The Sweet Stuff.

First up - I missed y'all yesterday. I had good intentions about a weekending post, but Monday's reality got the better of me. The best part of my day was spent with this guy...I'm sure you understand!

And now today's topic. Apparently we've never done a Ten on Tuesday about desserts, and Carole's suggested that for this week's list (although after her weekend adventure, I think I'd have been more likely to suggest cocktails :-) I did a quick look through the mere-et-filles archives and turned up my first four favorites:

1. browned butter tart at Bistro VG (or from the restaurant's bakery, Theo's Brother).

2. cheesecake, especially cranberry or pumpkin for the holidays (always homemade!).

3. a cheese plate.

4. sorbet and fresh berries.

I was surprised I didn't find these next five (other longtime favorites):

5. "good chocolate" (imagine Ina Garten saying that and imagine it's about a 1-1/2" square of really dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt)...that goes perfectly with

6. another glass of "good red wine".

7. homemade pound cake.

8. plain shortbread (store-bought is ok!) with a glass of dessert wine.

9. homemade ice cream. special favorites are peach or strawberry in the summertime and rum raisin in the winter.

but this last one is a relative newcomer. I guess I've never had an opportunity to share it!

10. a bit of sugar from this sweet one.
riding the caboose and ♥ little boy eyelashes!
Not that I'm looking for more "inspiration" about sweet stuff, but Ten on Tuesday is always fun. If you're not already playing along, click here to join. And thank you, Carole, for another sweet week!

Friday, May 20, 2016

FO Friday | Herring.

I've been admiring Versaciknits' latest Herring design since it debuted back in March. She suggested a worsted weight wool for the pattern, but then she shared linen and cotton versions on Instagram and I was obsessed. I settled on linen, specifically Quince & Co's sport-weight Sparrow and bought the yarn the day I finished Traveling Gray.
details on Ravelry here
It was a fun quick knit - especially once I figured out the rhythm of the increases and the lace. 


I ended up knitting the pattern exactly as written (except I went down one needle size), then blocked the heck out of it - soaked for three hours, then wires and pins...and a little fan action to dry it so I could wear it that same day!

The linen softened up nicely and the drape is lovely.

This scarf is going to get a lot of wear this summer.

... and yep, you guessed it - I'm definitely thinking about a winter version!

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WIP Wednesday.

It's been a while since I've shared anything actually in process here. I guess it's more fun to share them as they get started...or once they're finished. The in between time can be hard to capture (or a bit of a slog...or both!) But what the heck; I spend too much time on that in between not to share a bit of it here!

First, a project I bound off last night. Took this "yay, I won yarn chicken!" photo this morning, just before I wove in the ends and gave it a good soak. Hopefully this will be Friday's FO feature!

Next, the project I'm planning to begin in its place. This is Nangou, which I'm going to knit in the pattern suggested yarn and colorway (just because I happened to have two and a half skeins leftover from other projects...well, and also because caffeine and ivory will go with most of my summer wardrobe!). The designer, Melanie Berg, is hosting a shawl KAL in her Revelry group and I'm looking forward to playing along.

And then the two I have in process. The Blue Blanket for Charlie's little brother is only barely begun. I've got a long way to go (but I still do have a few months...I'm not worried!)

Last but certainly not least - the Simple Tee from the latest Churchmouse collection. This photo is from last Thursday, just after I cast on, but the piece really doesn't look that much different now. Hopefully that will change  quickly since I plan to give this one most of my knitting time for the next few days. Straight stockinette, even on size 4 needles, should go pretty fast!

and there you have it...at least for today. The new designs are coming fast and furious and I still have a few gaps I want to close in my summer wardrobe. stay tuned!

Happy Wednesday - and happy knitting!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | Help for a New Mom.

Today, Carole's asked us to share ideas for helping out a new mom. I asked Katie to share a few ideas (I figured that might also be a great way to get ideas for October!) and she graciously replied with nine... wonder if y'all can guess which one I added to make ten!

see #7 below
1. Send an email or text that you are thinking of her and sending love - and be sure to include "no need to reply!"

2. Bring lunch or dinner or help set up a meal train for the first few weeks.

3. Drop off a "nursing" or "late night" gift basket - easy-to-eat snacks (cheese & crackers, snack mix, nuts), chocolates, fruit, fresh juice or herbal tea.

4. Gift or lend her your favorite books about motherhood - one of Katie's favorites is Great with Child (it's beautiful!)

5. Offer to run some errands for her - send a quick text when you are planning to run to Target or the grocery store and offer to pick up a few things she might need.

6. Don't drop in unannounced...and never if you're feeling even the slightest inkling of a cold, cough, etc.

7. Help with the older siblings - when you visit, offer to take them out for a bike ride or babysit for the morning. It would be also be thoughtful to bring a craft or activity for them...something that doesn't require too much adult supervision. Charlie's latest favorite tabletop activity is Mess Free Coloring. Who knew such a thing even existed?!

8. When you visit, offer to hold the baby if she wants to make lunch (or you can make lunch for her!) or take a shower.

9. Don't stay too long when you visit.  Keep your visit under 45 minutes unless it seems like she needs/wants help and the baby is awake. If the baby is asleep, there's a good chance she might want to catch up on sleep too!

10. Tell her that she looks wonderful and is doing an amazing job!

Thank you, Katie! and thank you to Carole for hosting another great week! (if you're not already playing along with Ten on Tuesday, click here to join the fun).

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekending.

How can it possibly be Monday (again) already? We had great weather - a little on the chilly side for us in May which is a treat - and I think all that blue sky and sunshine made the time fly even faster.
I knitted with friends at Starbucks Friday afternoon. Haven't done that in a while; hopefully we can start making it a regular Friday activity because it is the perfect way to kick off the weekend. As is a beer with Holly's early evening walk.

Marc and I cooked pizza for dinner - bet you can guess which part of the pizza is his! - and watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I loved it... plenty of eye candy and a plot that wasn't too hard for even me to follow.

Saturday morning Holly and I met up with Katie and Charlie for a walk in the park. That's another thing we haven't done in a while and hope to make a regular weekend habit of it this summer. Saturday afternoon I had an appointment at the Bobbi Brown counter and got a full makeover. Great fun! (I'd love to make that a regular habit, too, but sadly, that's not in our budget :-)

We had a little cookout in the neighborhood Saturday evening. I bribed Marc with seven layer salad, sorbet and hotdogs... I think he enjoyed himself. Yesterday morning I ran down to the lake - what a pretty way to start the day!

And in the afternoon I paid a quick visit to Steve and Lydia to check out their new digs. Love that it took me less than 30 minutes to get there - and only about 10 miles on the highway! Marc had fun at the putting green with Charlie.

In between all that, I updated Goodreads - and was astonished to see I've read 45 books so far this year. I still have 13 to finish for the Read Harder Challenge and plan to cover a Bingo card for 25 more. plus a few for bookclub. Looks like this is not going to be the year I read less! (more on that another day - now I need to get back to Where'd You Go Bernadette...and my knitting!)

Wishing y'all a good week!

Friday, May 13, 2016

FO Friday | Fort Tryon and Meridian.

I had a whirlwind of finishing activity last week, which culminated in a little photoshoot after our garden visit on Friday. So today I have not one, but two, FOs to share!

on Ravelry here
First is Fort Tryon, my first project from Kirsten Kapur's fabulous 10th anniversary collection. I chose the pattern because it was easy and the yarn (Shibui's Twig) because I wanted something for summer. Score on both points. and I have to say, the finished piece is even better than I imagined.

It's airy and just the right size. I hadn't planned to stripe the border section, but I had leftover yarn from the middle and decided to use it. Isn't it great when things work out!?

The only thing that didn't work out was the "traveling photos". Sadly, this piece really didn't see much while I was knitting it.
A few books and a little Game of Thrones on my iPad together with a few glasses of wine and cups of coffee. Honestly, that's what most of my WIPs see...so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised!

on Ravelry here
And now Meridian. my first - and likely only! - black sweater. This is my favorite piece from Shibui's latest Spring Summer '16 collection and I waited for the trunk show to be sure it was as great in person. I had a few false starts on the gauge...and ended up knitting the pattern exactly as written.

Pleased with the fit and the finishes. and the yarn (Shibui's new 100% cotton, Rain) - it's shiny and drapes beautifully at this gauge. I wish it weren't so expensive ... because I'd love to have a few more pieces in my summer wardrobe!

As always, a big thank you to Katie for the photos. (and yes, I'm growing my hair. again!)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New Favorites | Baby Boy Edition.

Have y'all used the new Bundle feature in Ravelry? I love it! I started a New Favorites to help me keep up with all the projects I want to knit, including two (more - the blue blanket still has a l o n g way to go!) for the baby.

you can see the details on Ravelry here
That Star Blanket is in the same book that the blue blanket is. I'm thinking about knitting it in Berroco Vintage (the pattern calls for a DK weight yarn) so it ends up a little bigger (and it comes in a beautiful gray that I know Katie loves).

And I want to knit a bear. I don't think I've ever knit a toy before, but I've helped a few of my students with Ysolda's patterns; that's her bear Otto on the right. I recall it being a bit fiddle-y to get all the pieces seamlessly attached (in other words, we picked up lots of stitches) in the right spots and the face took a couple of tries. I found Vera this morning and based on the project gallery photos and comments, I think it's a winner. If any of y'all have knit bears, do share! (or even if you haven't, I'd still love to know your thoughts on good bear patterns!)


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesdays Are for Knitting.

Taking a cue from Carole, I had planned to tell you about my knitting today - the projects in process instead of simply showing up on Fridays to show you what I've finished. But turns out those projects need just another day to two to be share-worthy. 

So instead I'll use two of my regular Wednesday standbys to share a bit more from Friday's visit to the garden.

Words in the Wild.

And Watercolor.
Katie and I had a hard time identifying this as "oak leaf hydrangea" - I love how the watercolor really makes the oak leaf shape pop!
...and now back to the knitting!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ten on Tuesday (ish) | Welcome to the Neighborhood.

When I first read Carole's prompt for today - about welcoming someone new to the neighborhood - it sounded easy. But when I put pen to paper this morning to make that list, I got stuck. It feels pretty lame, but all of my ideas are really just variations on these four:

1. Introduce. yourself, other neighbors, your dog, your favorite place to go for coffee. follow-up with a text or email to share your contact information.

2. Invite. make (and keep :-) a date for coffee, lunch, a walk in the park. host a neighborhood gathering - coffee or cocktails? - to meet and greet.

3. Include. your new neighbor in anything regular the neighborhood does - ours has a ladies bookclub that meets monthly and all the adults get together for Halloween. Be sure to update neighborhood emails lists, directories, etc. with new contact information.

4. Inform. share recommendations for doctors, hair dressers, dry cleaners, grocery stores, etc. also traffic tips, directions, and anything else that comes up.

Can't wait to see what ideas y'all have shared. We don't get new neighbors in our little neighborhood very often (just 17 homes...and none for sale right now!) but I want to be ready when we do!

...and yes it was a Tuesday with Charlie. Today is close to the 16th month anniversary of our weekly dates and to his 20 month birthday. about time, yes?!, that he and Holly became friends!

If you're not already playing along with Carole and the Ten on Tuesday fun, click here to join!

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Morning in the Garden.

Katie gave me my Mother's Day treat on Friday - she, Charlie and I visited the Atlanta Botanical Garden and then went out for lunch. It was a delightful way to kickoff Mother's Day weekend! I had visited the Garden once before in 2004, but it was for a work meeting and I remember it was a gray rainy day...not at all like this visit.

The latest Chihuly exhibit has just opened. I'm glad that means we have plenty of time for a few more visits (the Gardens at Night sounds like a fun - and beautiful - way to spend a later summer evening). The pieces are quite simply stunning.



It was such a treat to share it all with Katie...

...and Charlie.

There's a Children's Garden, but it won't open until Memorial Day. (Tuesdays with Charlie in the Garden, perhaps?!) Never mind - he still found plenty to enjoy. Walking over a wooden bridge makes fun noises (and sunshine makes a shadow you can try to stomp on!)

BALLS!

And even a FROG ("ribbit") to read him a story.

And of course...orchids. These images are straight off my phone. Wow!




The rest of my weekend wasn't nearly as photogenic...but still pretty much perfect. I read, knitted, and enjoyed calls with both girls and my mom yesterday.  Hope your weekend was a good one, too!

Friday, May 6, 2016

FO Friday | Another Shade of Beige.

Otherwise known as Jessie's Girl by Elizabeth Smith. This was super fun to knit; and should've also been super quick, but I had gauge issues and then sizing issues and ended up reworking the pattern to make it smaller.
see the details on my Ravelry project page here
Now super happy with the results!

I used Juniper Moon's Zooey - a linen/cotton blend with thick and thin bits - and the texture adds just the right amount of interest to all that garter stitch.

I think Zooey is a great yarn choice for this pattern or the cardigan option (Jessie's Girl Cardi). It comes in tons of colors - neutrals and brights - and it's really reasonable.  For what might be the first time ever, I knit a sweater for less than I would've paid to buy it!

There's been a lot of finishing going on at my kitchen counter this week. I can't wait to share the next two pieces with you.

In the meantime - happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Happy Anniversary!

...to my brother Steve and his wife Lydia - celebrating 25 years together! I have fond memories of their wedding day (I'm not sure if that's because or in spite of the fact I was three months pregnant ;-) and two of my favorite family photos were taken that day.

This first one sits on the bookcase in our living room. This is the whole family; what a treat we could all be together. left to right, bottom to top, Grandpa Blinn (my dad's father), GG (my mom's mother), Lydia and Steve; me, my mom and Katie peeking out the side; Marc, my dad, Karen, her then husband John and their daughter Jillian.


And this one sits on a side table in my study. That's my grandmother with her two great granddaughters. Jillian was just three months old and Katie was four. Love the dresses! (I made Katie's).

The family looks a lot different now...but Steve and Lydia still look great! Here they are last Memorial Day weekend.

Wishing them cheers and best wishes for many more years of happiness together!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | Mother's Cooking.

This week, Carole's asked us to share favorite foods* our moms used to make. Lucky me, my mom has always been - and still is - a very good cook. Family dinners and Sunday brunch (after church) were fixtures in my childhood home. We didn't have an eat-in kitchen until I was in high school (and even then, I think we used the kitchen table more for projects and homework than for meals). We ate in the dining room. family style.
porch view. 6pm today.
unless we ate outside. and we never had popcorn for dinner! (or maybe she did have popcorn dinners when she was my age ... and her husband was out of town ;-)

In any event, here are ten of my favorite foods from then, and now.

1. macaroni and cheese, custard-style.

2. swedish meatballs. such a favorite I asked for this at my 16th birthday party.

3. cornish game hens, with cornbread stuffing and an orange glaze. I remember this as our standard Christmas Eve dinner in my high school years.

4. enchiladas.

5. zucchini fritters. Mother had a vegetable garden when we lived in New Jersey (my high school and college years). Of course she grew zucchini and of course there was too much. I remember an entire meal of zucchini fritters...just us...one summer when I was home from college. (that might be the closest we came to a popcorn meal :-)

6. chicken and dumplings.

7. eggnog french toast. this recipe is really easy and it uses dairy eggnog. what a holiday treat it was!

8. taco salad. do y'all remember this one? fritos and catalina dressing ... I haven't had it in years, but it always seemed like a special occasion when she made it.

9. marinated grilled chicken. I do not have this recipe. I'm not even sure it is a recipe. but she'd marinate all the chicken parts in a mixture of (I think) white wine, lemon juice, oil, and LOTS of herbs. and then grill it over a slow heat. I remember having this fairly often during the summer, and I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I should have.

10. baked fish. a fairly recent addition to her repertoire and one she always makes when I visit now. It's especially good with catfish or salmon and I try not to think about the mayonnaise in the topping.

p.s. we rode in the caboose today.
I promise Charlie did smile...just not for the camera!
*Mother always baked dozens of different kinds of Christmas cookies. many of those are still holiday favorites around here, but that's a post for another day!

Thank you Carole for the delicious walk down memory lane! If you're not already part of the Ten on Tuesday fun, click here to join.