Friday, December 29, 2017

A Year in Review | 2017.

Once again, I'm borrowing Vicki's idea  (Thank you, Vicki!) for an end of year post. The idea is to share the first line (or two) of the first blog post of each month and a favorite photo (or two) from that month's posts. The words and photos are most likely not related.

January 2017

It seems like ages since Charlie spent a Tuesday with me, and even more than ages since we spent the day here at home.

February 2017

Sunday morning I had the privilege of hearing a sermon that moved me to tears.

March 2017

What a difference a month makes, especially when it's 25% of your whole life!

April 2017

Hello April, I'm glad to see you!

May 2017

I'm amazed a few of the photos are actually in focus because it seems like the last three days were a blur!

June 2017

Hello June, you are right up there in my top favorite months because you are all the best parts of summer.

July 2017

I did it. Stillwater is finished (well except for blocking which will most definitely happen today, I'm almost sure).

August 2017

Today I'm looking back at July though the lens of my daily photos.

September 2017

Hello September, hello blank pages, fresh starts and new beginnings.

October 2017

Back home ... but still a ways to be before things start feeling "settled" - at least on my part.

November 2017

I met up with a few friends for knitting and lattés this afternoon.

December 2017

Back in Alaska, it's Saturday August 26 and the first day of our trip that we stayed in one place!

I spent many of the Fridays in October, November and December recapping our Alaska trip and shared my nine favorite photos in the last post. I figured I didn't need to use up one of the monthly favorite slots above for any of those ... but thought it would round things out nicely to have those photos here, too:

I'm finding it hard to sum up this year in a line or two. Suffice it to say, I am grateful for the blessings of love and family and for this wonderful online community that offers so much support, encouragement and just plain sanity. I thank you all and wish you and yours a safe and happy beginning to 2018. I'll see you back here on Tuesday!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Three on Thursday | Holiday Food and Drink.

Carole is taking a well-deserved break from her blog today, so there's no official Three on Thursday, but it's what I've planned and I'm going with it anyway!

1. 19 Crimes. Yes, it's still a thing and now, with more flavors! Lydia brought a bottle of The Banished to our party on Saturday and we enjoyed it immensely. I checked out Costco's selection on Tuesday. They still only carry the Red Blend, but it's still (only) $8.49 a bottle. I had Sara pick out two and hopefully I'll have another cork to add to my collection by the time 2018 rolls around.

2. Giada's Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach and Prosciutto. Sara made this for Christmas Eve dinner. It was hands down one of our best meals (and not only because Sara did the cooking!).
making the sauce
We also had green beans (steamed and seared) and wild rice with pecans and cranberries. Marc and I will have the leftovers tonight (he's finally feeling a little better - thank you for all your kind get well messages!) and I'm sure it will all be delicious the second time around.

3. Spiced Pear Martini.
Inspired by the leftover spiced simple syrup (from Bonny's Spiced Rum Cocktail), I had planned to make these Christmas Day ... but when I ended up being the designated driver, I saved them for last night.

2 oz gin
1 oz spiced pear liqueur
1 oz cranberry juice
1/2 oz spiced simple syrup

Shake over ice and serve straight up.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday.

For the first time since our snow weekend back in early December, I spent today at home ... knitting and reading. It was, quite simply, wonderful. especially accompanied by Alexa playing the Christmas Choirs playlist when I needed to concentrate or Edoardo Ballerini reading The House at the Edge of Night when I didn't.

First thing this morning, I finished the upper back of All the Love and gave it a soak.  This sweater is supposed to have 20" of positive ease (which is unusually big for me); I've been regretting that drive-by swatch from Saturday since I'd gone up a needle size ... thankfully, it looks like it's going to be fine!

and then, since I still had coffee to drink, I tackled the sleeve on Bodie. Elizabeth's directions are spot-on and it wasn't hard to pickup the stitches and work the short rows. I do have another sleeve, a big brioche collar and pockets to knit, but it feels like I'm on the downhill phase.

With one sweater drying and the other posing for a pretty photo, I took a long break mid-day and read a book. well, half of it anyway. It's a sweet story (actually several sweet stories) and I'm not sure how it's all going to tie together, but it's lovely for right now.

I'm also making slow progress on the Ribbed Lace Scarf. It goes great with games and TV; we finally started Season 2 of The Crown last night! I'm enjoying both immensely. I still have five balls to go; it just might last for the entire season (or at least a few more football games).

It's been a while since I've had this many WIPs - two sweaters, a scarf and two books ... and I'm wondering if it might be completely unrealistic to think I might have all of them finished by year-end. or at least by next Wednesday?!

Joining in with Kat and friends today - and hoping it's not just me who has crazy finishing ideas for 2017!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Weekending.

I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend ... and maybe now you're enjoying a bit of quiet and a glass of wine, with Alexa playing Charlie Brown Christmas ... the perfect accompaniment to looking back on these last few days 😊.

Saturday morning I hosted the whole family (13 adults and two little boys) for brunch. All three of the non-local grandchildren (now living in DC, New York and Nashville) were here, which made it extra special. Sadly, I have no photos, so you'll just have to trust me - it was great to see everyone and it was all delicious. Much later, while Marc and Sara were napping, I wound a skein of yarn and sort of swatched for Joji's lacy Boxy.

Then we made snacks for dinner and watched Love Actually. after which Sara showed us this great follow-up (and makes me wish - all over again - that she lived closer so we could enjoy stuff like this more often).

Sunday morning, Holly and I walked to the lake (which is a nice way of saying I carried Holly on a 3-mile walk), mostly so I could take a photo to share on Christmas morning.

We had my mom over for brunch
(Marc played golf)
and the afternoon. We played Yahtzee

and started a puzzle before church. For sure, one good thing about Christmas being in December is that a 5 o'clock service is plenty dark enough for candlelight.

While I was at church, Sara made dinner ... and it was amazing. I've decided the food from the weekend deserves its own post. Stay tuned. Much later - in fact it was Christmas morning! - Sara and I finished the puzzle.
and stayed up for another 45 minutes to watch Charlie Brown's Christmas. What a lovely way to welcome Christmas Day!

Yesterday's plans were thrown a curve ball when Marc woke up sick. Sara and I did go to Katie's
Sara gave Charlie Tinker Toys and Sam a fun puzzle with locks

but we were home before dark, which turned out beautifully.
sunset from my front porch

We extended the celebration today with a girls' lunch out. and finally, a group photo.
Lydia, Paula (my sister's younger daughter), Mother, Karen, Sara, Katie, me
It was the perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas weekend and a great way to kickoff the end of 2017. I have grand plans this week for knitting and reading ... which I hope to share tomorrow. Do you have any "grand plans" left for this year?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Around Here.

Today was my day here at home (well, except for a quick trip to the vet ... no worries, Holly's fine!, a quick stop at my mom's - lots less boxes!, and a not-so-quick trip to Costco) and I finally got gifts wrapped and "stuff" cleaned up enough to make my annual photo walk through the house. Sadly, we have not seen the sun (in days!) so the light's not great, but it is December!

Here's the view from the front door. Four poinsettias by the stairs and three trees. The poinsettias are struggling (not as bad as last year); I'm not sure if it's lack of sun (I moved all of them in front of the windows for most of the week, but it hasn't been sunny) or overwatering, but I think I need to consider a new plan for next year.

Off to the right is the dining room. Much the same as previous years except for the table. The tureen in the middle of the table came from Marc's mom and is now our new centerpiece; I dressed it up for Christmas with a sugared fruit wreath I've had for years.

Continuing down the hall, here's our advent calendar/tree

with just two photos left to hang.

Then into the living room ... the word tree and the "big" tree.

The mantle here is just greens and mercury glass. Katie and I shared a bunch of mixed greens from Home Depot this year; worked perfectly!

Turning the corner, here's the family room

and the view I see when I turn my chair around. (well, except that now Marc and Sara are sitting on the two sofas and there's a movie on the TV)

I think this might be my favorite year of decorations since we moved into the house (in 2012 - yikes! how can this be our sixth Christmas here?!). It was relatively easy to get everything out (the artificial tree helped with that a lot), it looks warm and cozy (and red!) and I'm not dreading the un-doing.

Thank you for taking this walk with me while I made the notes for what to do next year!

Wishing you and yours a warm and cozy weekend and a very Merry Christmas (if that's the holiday you celebrate). I'll be back on Tuesday with a recap of ours.

p.s. I made Katrina Kenison's Cardamom Granola this afternoon. It smells wonderful and tastes delicious ... highly recommend!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Good Beginning.

... is how my mom described all the unloading and unpacking that happened yesterday, and I think that's quite positive, given how much unpacking still needs to happen!

We started in the kitchen (this is my third kitchen unpacking of the year :-) and have it about half done. Why is it that we can feel somewhat settled - amidst piles of boxes - once the kitchen cupboards are full?
Next was the living room; by 6 o'clock it was ready enough for wine.
yep, that's Holly - she made herself right at home!
a close-up of the frog band (one of my dad's favorite art finds) under the window were we!

And a few hours later, I did get my twinkle light knitting time.

A good beginning indeed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Some Progress.

By 5 o'clock yesterday, my mom's place was a mess starting to take shape.

We successfully transferred five carloads from my sister's basement and mine and started unpacking it all. Much of the two carloads that came from my basement were Christmas decorations. Years ago, my mom stopped putting up a Christmas tree and started collecting Santas. It's amazing how just a few decorations can transform the place!

She added only one Santa to her collection this year - a birthday gift from all of us. We bought this little guy (he's about 6" tall) in Sitka; it's a nice memento of our trip together. Thankfully, we were able to find him among all the boxes and he's now happily sitting on that mantel, too.

Today, the two PODS are getting unpacked. Hopefully today's photo will include furniture (and not too many unpacked boxes). and much later tonight, I might even have time for a little knitting and some twinkle lights.

We bought an artificial tree this year and I'm loving it. It took about 5 minutes to setup, doesn't shed or need water (wow, it's so nice not to have to sweep under it every day) and has six different light settings. So far, we've kept them simple - clear and bright - but when I got home last night, Marc had them multi-colored; I must admit, they're pretty! Truly, there is nothing better at the end of the day than sitting with my knitting and enjoying those lights.

Wishing you twinkle-light joy, too!