Friday, March 30, 2018

FO Friday | Comfort Fade Cardi.

When I cast on (way back on March 4), I thought this might be just the project to convince Spring to come ... and stay. Turns out she wasn't that easily tempted. I bound off the stitches while we were in North Carolina and finished it up late last week. I've already had two chances to wear it - and thankfully, Sara was around for one of them take photos.
Raveled here 

I'm a newbie to the whole "fade" thing, and it was only when Tanis (from my favorite indie dyer TanisFiberArts) released kits that I succumbed. The pattern itself is a very (very) basic topdown seamless raglan - easy to knit ... and easy to fit. The fade works because the body of the piece is reverse stockinette - the purl bumps really blend the colors.
The cuffs and collar are knit in garter stitch ... time-consuming, but effective. The bulk of the tight row gauge helps the edges lay flat - way more than reverse stockinette would.

I think the dark to light fade on the collar is my favorite design detail.

Not that Holly appreciates it!

and in keeping with tradition - a favorite outtake - it was really windy!

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend - and a Happy Easter or Passover if you're celebrating.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Three on Thursday | Three of Us Throwbacks.

In the end, I wasn't able to join the girls for dinner last night ... so I don't have the recap post I'd planned (things we talked about/things I learned, creative cocktails, food p*rn) or the requisite three of us photo. Instead, how about revisiting three of my favorite meals with my two favorite girls.

1. Lunch at Gallo Nero in NYC. December 19, 2009. (blogged here)

Katie lived in NYC that year and Sara and I flew up the evening before for a before-Christmas break. Sara was a senior in high school and had just been accepted to Georgia Tech. I was winding down my real job, preparing to retire in January. We were in big celebration mode. I don't recall how Katie knew about Gallo Nero, but she'd been there before and suggested it for the long, leisurely lunch we had in mind. It was perfect (I've been back several times, including last September and I'd still recommend it). While we were there, it started to snow ... the city got quiet ... we might've gotten a little louder (I'm pretty sure there was a bottle of wine).

2. Lunch at Bistro VG. August 8, 2007. (blogged here ... barely!)

Wow, we ALL look young ... and sun kissed! Sara and I had just returned from a week at the beach and Katie'd spent the summer abroad (trivia note - she met Rob on that trip!) I don't recall this particular photo, but this one, taken at that same lunch

is still one of my favorites. Bistro VG has been one of our favorite restaurants for years and the site of many of a lunch out (not so many dinners). Sadly, it was sold last fall (too soon to tell what that means ... I've only been twice since the sale and both experiences were fine).

3. Dinner at ECCO. November 10, 2012. (apparently not blogged!)

This dinner was to celebrate Sara's 21st birthday. We also had a family celebration at our house (and I did blog about that one), but this was the special girls night out. Sara lived right around the corner from the restaurant, but Rob drove Katie and me (and found something "fun" to do while we had dinner ... better than Uber for sure). We had cocktails - always a favorite with this trio - and shared food (ditto).  It was, quite simply, fun!

I'm not sure when the three of us will be together again ... and have the opportunity to slip away for a meal, but hope it won't be too long.

Check in with Carole to see what others are sharing for Three on Thursday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

Not everything has been going my way lately, but thank goodness, the knitting and reading are not letting me down. Since last Thursday, I've started two of those spring cardigans. The sleeve-as-swatch has dried and I think it's going to work out fine. and the purple Quick Sand has really kept me entertained.

I'm a huge fan of the design, which Heidi has published for two gauges - Fine Sand (lightweight) and Quick Sand (heavier weight). This is my 4th time knitting it (1, 2, 3, 4), so it feels really comfortable - and rather than put all the stitches onto waste yarn to try it on before separating the sleeves, I simply measured it against its three cousins. It looked good ... but this morning I was thinking the gauge was maybe big?! ... so I put all the stitches on waste yarn and tried it on.

whew, right?! There is even a little part of me that thinks a new sweater is a reasonable tradeoff for laying low this week. (a very little part!)

On the reading front, I've finished a lot of books. I have a reading update planned for early April and I'll share more then, but for now,

The Great Alone - too much domestic violence to justify finishing
Winter - so good!
The Power - amazing!! recommending to any and everyone, especially the fierce young women
The Coffeehouse Mysteries - I picked this series up through Overdrive because it was available - I just finished listening to #2. Perfect ear candy for me right now. a little sex, a little mystery (I didn't figure out the murderer in either book - but that's not saying much) and a LOT of coffee (which is a very good thing for me). I also love that it's set in NYC.

Joining in with Kat and friends ... and hoping nothing important has unraveled for you!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Tuesday Haiku.


another day home
quiet, but not alone with
Holly by my side

Thank you for all your get better wishes (more than once!)  I have high hopes to leave the house tomorrow for a dinner out with Katie and Sara and I'm even hoping I can wear makeup! It doesn't hurt to dream big πŸ˜‰.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Weekending with Sara.

...sigh...the kitchen counter seems so empty now that it's just me and one laptop. For most of the weekend, it was dueling MacBooks and today it was that plus Sara's work computer. Busy fingers tapping across keyboards....

Sara arrived just in time for Friday night snacks.

Saturday, she and I had lunch with my mom,

and made a quick trip to Costco for mussels and wine before coming home to Queer Eye (this relaunch of the series is excellent - and I love seeing Atlanta in all the external shots) and snuggling with Holly.

Marc cooked the mussels for dinner and we had a delicious meal ... with basketball (and no photos)!

Sunday did not go as planned. My left eye was swollen shut when I woke up. Marc and Katie agreed it looked like pink eye (?!?!) and Sara drove me to urgent care. Yep, pink eye. I have two kinds of drops and my eyes are looking better, but still swollen. I missed Confirmation Sunday, and Sara and I missed the wine tasting and seeing the boys. We did enjoy a nice bottle of Shiraz with the rest of Queer Eye

and Katie was good about FaceTiming with the boys in the tub.

Not quite the same as being with them in person, but definitely a lot healthier for them! And I know it wasn't the weekend Sara had in mine, but I couldn't imagine a better buddy for laying low. There are definitely worse ways to spend some forced downtime!

Here's to a new week ... and a healthy one!

Friday, March 23, 2018

TGIF

borrowing this Friday post idea from Kym, with thanks!


more of the lovely landscape outside our North Carolina cottage
Thinking About ... solitude. I've been reading Holy Solitude this Lenten season. As an introvert, I've always felt comfortable being alone (I need time by myself to recharge). Haverkamp is introducing me to a whole new-to-me cast of folks through the ages who practiced solitude with purpose.
"Being alone sounds sad, aimless, or lonely, to hear ads or memes describe it. Solitude, however, is chosen and purposeful." (from the Introduction)
I'm looking forward to incorporating some of her ideas into my morning solitude time ... after Easter.

Grateful For ... a slow day at home. Marc's playing golf and it's just me and the dog. quiet. peaceful.

Inspired By ... the longer days and other signs of Spring to lighten up. my wardrobe. my diet. my house.

Fun ... Sara arrives this evening! we have plans for lunch with mom, a wine tasting, Homeland "live" (the only time I watch it in real time on Sunday evening is when I'm with her) and dinner with Katie.

Here's to the weekend! Have a good one, my friends!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Three on Thursday | Spring Cardigans.

even the colors look like Spring!
I wove in the ends on that last winter sweater* last night ... and I am ready to knit for Spring! I have yarn (above) for these three Spring cardigans
 clockwise from left - Quick Sand, Quintessential Cardigan, Balise Cardigan
and I've even swatched for two of them.

1. The purple linen will be another Quick Sand. I knit a few rows on 9's and like the fabric, but the stitches are little smaller than the pattern suggests. I'll knit the next size up to compensate.

2. The green cotton/silk blend will be another Quintessential Cardigan. The yarn is from my mother-in-law's stash and I know she'd approve of this choice (especially if I can find green/navy buttons to match!). The ball band gauge/needle matches the pattern exactly. So I'm going to knit a sleeve-as-swatch and fingers crossed it works!

3. The gray and pink Coast is for the Balise Cardigan (which was part of my original MakeNine). I knit an actual swatch for this - on size 2's and 2.5's and the 2.5's won. A few of the girls in my Monday knitting group are knitting this, too. Hopefully we'll have a group WIP photo to share soon.

This is a lot of stockinette; thank goodness the patterns and yarn (and needles - 2.5, 5, 9) will add some variety. But just in case I get bored, I wound the yarn for Joji's Suburban Wrap.  

What are you planning to knit for Spring?

Check out the link up at Carole's to see more Three on Thursday lists.

*as luck would have it, the weather for the next few days looks perfect for its debut. and then I hope to pack it away ... until next Fall!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Watercolor Wednesday | Scenes from the Orchard.

We've had a delightful time visiting and catching up. Even the weather was smiling yesterday.

We walked outside in the morning to get Martha a few photos to share on Facebook.

Martha and Mother 
Later in the afternoon, Holly and I ventured out for a long walk through the orchards. so beautiful and peaceful.


We're headed home later this morning (thankfully, not through snow!) - it's been a short, but wonderful, change of scenery.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sometimes Mondays.

...bring a change of scenery.
for the record, my mom (riding shotgun πŸ˜‰) took this photo
the view from our living room
Her friend Martha should be here any minute ... we decided not to wait!

Cheers!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Laying Low.

Well, hello there! I've missed y'all ... and I've missed being here, but I was doing important Marmie work this week. A stomach bug flew into Katie's house Tuesday evening and played havoc until Friday. It was a tough bugger, too, because it managed to come home with me.  But after two days of laying low, I woke up this morning feeling much better (I'm even drinking coffee!)

There are certainly moments (minutes ... hours ...?!) of these past five days I look forward to forgetting, but many more I'm glad I captured with my phone.
not a great photo of me for sure, but it's most unusual that I get to sleep/snuggle with little Sam
keeping watch over Charlie and knitting Bateaux Mouches ... gotta love a project you can knit in the almost-dark

I love how resilient these boys are ... that bug was tough, but these boys are tougher! Me, however, I needed a lot of sleep, tea and crackers to recover. In between naps, I've been enjoying The Power and knitting Comfort Fade. One more day of laying low and I just might finish one of them!

Happy Weekend!


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Tuesday Haiku.


pink blossoms, blue skies
then rain and wind leave the ground
covered ... March roars on


Monday, March 12, 2018

Early March Weekending.

In spite of the chilly wet weather, both Marc and I were out and about.  Marc played golf. I took a very cool field trip and spent a wonderful (but long) morning at church to celebrate Gifts of Women Sunday. 

The field trip was to a Hindu temple, specifically the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, with our spring confirmation class (I am fortunate to be a mentor to one of the confirmands). Ten teens and 13 adults visited on Saturday afternoon.
Most of us had no idea what to expect; all of us were blown away. We learned not only about the Hindu religion, but also about the amazing construction process that follows traditions thousands of years old. ...and the Atlanta temple is one of only five in the US (six in North America counting the one in Toronto). 

The temple website is definitely work a click-through - even if just to see the beautiful photography! You can also learn more about that construction process - which took only 17 months and used 1.3 million volunteer hours. All the carving was done by hand, in India and then the pieces were shipped here for assembly. My mind is still boggled!

I hope to have photos from the services to share next week (relying on others' iPhones is sometimes tricky business for Monday blog posts ;-), but it was 100% written and celebrated by women. Our congregation is blessed to have two wonderful female pastors, a beautiful women's choral ensemble, a female guest organist and a host of other females of all ages - acolytes, greeters and ushers - to lead and celebrate worship. I had a very small speaking part to recognize the Presbyterian Women in our congregation; it was inspiring to see about half of the congregation stand for that!

We also spent a good bit of time together at home. We started the second season of Sneaky Pete, cheered the awesome showing of the ACC in the upcoming NCAA tournament and FaceTimed with our favorite boys. I love that I can now take photos from FaceTime (even if they're blurry!).
That's Sam hugging Charlie in the bath and Sam completely and utterly despondent when his dad left the house. The boys fight over who gets to hold the phone ... I think Charlie sometimes lets Sam win. and I think Marc's favorite thing about all of it is that Sam can say Poppa. Katie says that's his first two-syllable word. (yep, just a little jealous).

And in between all of that, I also kept close tabs on the latest (last?) amaryllis bloom. Here it is yesterday afternoon.

Hard to tell it was pouring rain outside, isn't it?!

Photos really do help to tell the stories! I hope you captured something good this weekend, too!

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 9, 2018

FO Friday | Parallelogram Scarf.

Yes, indeed, it's finished!
Ravelry details here
...and it's a beauty. 

It's also a bit of a beast - my finished piece is about 30 (thirty!) inches longer than the pattern suggests ... but it's another cold windy day here and a double wrapped scarf around my neck (on top of a turtleneck) feels nice. even inside.

Those last few inches went fast - I had about 10g (from a 100 g ball) of each color left when I set it aside for our trip. I picked it up again Thursday evening and by Saturday evening the knitting was done. So done, in fact that I had to rip back the last two rows because I didn't have enough yarn to bind off. Sunday morning, I finished the bind off, wove in the four (gotta love it!) ends, gave it a soak, laid it flat and let it dry. 

This was my first foray into sequence knitting and I look forward to trying more. It's a really cool technique ... even when I can't count to two!

Today also marks the end of Michelle's self-portrait challenge; the prompt is ritual. I don't really have any rituals aside from a hot cup of coffee with steamed milk first thing in the morning. Since First Thing happens before I check email, I didn't see the prompt in time to capture that moment. I do, however, have a deeply rooted daily habit to take a photo.

...which given my long-standing love of self-portraits in black and white, I'll be sharing on Instagram like this.
(clearly the sign of a great piece when it's just as pretty without the color!)
Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Three on Thursday | Hello March.

March 1, on our morning walk
Hello March!

You blew in a few days before I was ready, but that's ok. I love seeing spring outside ... even if it doesn't feel like it yet. and no rush about that, I can use the extra time πŸ˜‰. In the spirit of Thursday, here are three things I'm looking forward to this month:

1. Daylight Savings Time. yes. really. In the past, I've been a whiner about that lost hour, but this year, I plan to embrace the evening light. Marc is nearly giddy anticipating the golf course staying open until 7 o'clock!

2. A road trip with my mom. She's rented a house in the North Carolina mountains and we're meeting her friend who also moved from Florida last fall. Menu planning has already begun - girl trips are so much fun!

3. Seeing Sara. She'll be here for business the last week of the month and she's flying in the weekend before. I know two little boys and a host of other family members who are looking forward to seeing her, too!

I'm glad you're a long month - here's to celebrating every day of it!

xo - M.

Joining in with Carole and crew for Three on Thursday - see all the lists here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday | Tempting Spring.

When I finished All the Love, just before our trip, I had planned to start a spring cardigan once we were home. But when I checked the weather forecast on Saturday, it seemed like I might have time for one more cool weather sweater.  I have this weird thing where I need to wear something I knit for myself when I finish it, to bond with it, I guess ... otherwise I seem to never wear it. So knitting "just for the season" can be tricky. I'd made peace with leaving Comfort Fade Cardi until next fall, but I gave into the temptation on Sunday. and I cast on.

Ravelry details here
I split for the sleeves yesterday and I'm already halfway down the body (well, except for 3" of ribbing at the end). Isn't that fade cool? must admit, the 36 rows in between the fade sections are the slowest part of the sweater ... especially now that it's just plain stockinette.

This is a very straightforward topdown seamless cardigan knit in a DK yarn. In other words, it shouldn't take too long, which is a good thing (#BangOutAFade).

I just checked the 15-day forecast
The weather at the end of next week will be perfect for its debut.

Of course spring is a fickle season. This sweater just might shepherd in some (really) warm weather!

Head on over to Kat's to see what others are unraveling about today 😊.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Looking Back | February.

Yep, one more catching up post before I'm ready to move on to March! 

Today, I'm looking back at February through the lens of my daily photos:

I've already shared most of these photos here or on Instagram, but I'm still surprised by the story all 28 photos tell together - what a month! The trip to Mexico over the last week was planned, but I had no idea Marc would be such a willing participant in the photos! Then there were the little boys - breakfast on the 11th, followed by two whole days with little Sam on the 14th and 15th. First signs of spring ... and an amaryllis that looks just as lovely when the blooms fade (the 5th) as when they're just beginning (the 10th). 

That "just beginning" bud managed to hold off blooming until we were home and I've enjoyed watching it unfold over the past few days. Its first blossom was a most welcome sight this morning.

One photo I haven't shared here is from the 8th - my mom at her new front door:
We had a mini photoshoot that afternoon so she had a "new home" photo to share with her friends. I'm delighted with the photo (smiles, sunshine, forsythia wreath!), but mostly having my mom so close ... and getting settled. I fully expect her to be a regular feature in these monthly collages going forward - what a blessing!

There was also one part of my February that I purposely omitted from the collage. The 10 day #tblmindbodypilates challenge was something I wanted to accomplish, but I knew it would mostly happen while we were away. and of course I knew I'd want to have vacation photos fill those daily spots. I did take a daily photo to mark each workout (doubling up on days 5 & 6 when we were traveling) and made a mini-collage. 
Pilates with a beach view is definitely more fun than pilates in my living room - but The Balanced Life works great in both places! (although I'm not sure Holly would agree πŸ˜‰)

And that's a wrap!

Cheers, February - you were wonderful ... but I'm ready to welcome March!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Looking Back on Our Cabo Vacation.

Hello! We had a wonderful vacation, but it feels good to be back here (finally!). I shared a few photos on Instagram while we were there, but I didn't look at everything all together until this past weekend.

Here's a peek at my Top Ten (warning - lots of sunshine, beautiful food, ocean views and selfies 😊).

Hands down the best photo of the two of us, taken at the beginning of a sunset sailing cruise on Monday evening. This is at Land's End - the Pacific Ocean is on the other side of that rock behind us.

The best sunrise (with my favorite morning beverage - the cappuccino was perfect), Tuesday morning. 

My favorite evening spot. This bar looks out over the pools and the ocean and at night, they light the fires. The evenings there are around 60 degrees ... the fire felt good!

You can't swim in the ocean, so we spent our days at the pool. Just beyond the pool you can see the tops of the umbrellas on the beach and the ocean. Pretty much my favorite day spot!
I also read a lot ... and finally got to Louise Penny's latest - LOVED!

Here's the view from my balcony pilates studio. Coming back to my living room has been tough!

The sunset on our cruise was amazing.

We chose the resort (Le Blanc Spa) because the food was supposed to outstanding. It was. Every meal was beautifully presented and it all tasted delicious. Coming up with favorites was hard!

Prettiest dessert. A deconstructed Crème Brûlée, from the French restaurant.

Best new thing I tried. An egg white omelet filled with vegetables and goat cheese.

Best take on a favorite snack. Chips and guacamole.

Best take on a favorite cocktail. The Negroni XXI at the Fire Bar, made with hibiscus infused vermouth and pineapple infused Campari.

Coming back to salads and lean protein and "plain old wine" hasn't been easy!

We both took a lot of video, too - here are my favorite 48 seconds.

Sigh ... and now it's Monday (but at least it's not snowing!) ...

I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you over the next few days.  Here's to a great week!