Friday, May 25, 2018

Cheers | Frozen Negroni.

First, to all of you who've left comments on recent posts and haven't heard back from me - I apologize! Apparently, Blogger has stopped notifying me about comments. and ugh, I'm not sure how to fix this. Please know I appreciate all of you and I hope to get back to personal replies soon.

And now on to today's topic. In honor of the first weekend of summer, I have a frozen cocktail to share!

I started researching summer cocktails a few weeks ago and quickly found one to try first - my favorite Negroni, blended with fresh juice and crushed ice.

The first time through, I followed the recipe as written, including squeezing blood oranges and chilling the liquids prior to blending. It worked beautifully.

The second time through, I didn't have any more blood oranges, so I substituted ruby red grapefruit juice (not even fresh-squeezed) and didn't wait to chill. It worked beautifully. And for my taste, I actually liked the grapefruit better than the orange.

Frozen Negroni - makes 2 drinks
(inspired by Kitchn)

1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz red vermouth
3 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
1-1/2 cups coarsely crushed ice

Put the ice in the blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Cheers!!

and have a wonderful long weekend. I'll see you back here Tuesday!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Three on Thursday | Atlanta Botanical Garden.

My mom and I spent the day at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and I had planned to make that today's Three on Thursday post. You know, along the lines of three things I loved, or three new-to-me plants, or three favorite photos ... but the reality of the Garden. in May. on a day when it's warm but not hot, with a cloudy morning that gives way to beautiful white clouds against a bright blue sky. after days of rain. and an incredible special exhibit called (most appropriately) Imaginary Worlds. well.... here's what my photos looked after I went through them

It's a good problem to have, for sure! so here are three of the my favorite parts of today's visit:

First, the Garden ... the hydrangeas are in full bloom (which my mom tells me is because they've loved all our recent rain. I'm glad to know something is thriving) and my mom spied a bright orange daylily that she'd left behind in Florida (a souvenir planting from one of our many visits to Callaway Gardens).
Last year's White Garden planted around that blue and white Chihuly (middle right) has been replaced with zinnias and poppies. The white was beautiful, but the color this year is more my style. I was also surprised at all the varieties and shades of hydrangeas. Beautiful.

Second, Imaginary Worlds. We've both seen a lot of ads for it, but in real life it's even better. There are twelve parts to the exhibit and we saw ten of them. Every single one of them was delightful, but these are my favorites.

This is the first one ... a most fitting beginning! and there's a glimpse of another topiary book resting on its side in the lower left.

The Mammoth.

The Phoenix.

I was surprised he had a really sweet face. the eyes ....

The Shaggy Dog,

with another very sweet face!

The Dragon.

here's a detail shot of his "scales".

Pegasus.

and the Camels.

and third, the chance to experience all of this with my mom, who is now most complimentary of my selfie skills 😀

Linking up with Carole and friends and wishing everyone a Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday | The Blanket's Tale (part two).

Joining in with Kat and friends to share another update on Sara's blanket.

When I'm knitting something for someone else, I pay closer attention than usual to what sorts of experiences I "expose" the piece. And for an epic knit like this one, it can tell quite a tale! Here's a brief glimpse of the best parts since I shared last week's update.

Sara and Holly have a special bond and much of this blanket's at-home knitting time has been just like this.
Friday evening
A most happy occasion.
Saturday morning
Time with friends.
Monday afternoon
Time with a very special TV show.
Tuesday afternoon 
...because it has personal significance for Sara, too!

Porch time.
today

Not bad for a week, right?! Now I'm curious what tale the next installment will tell.

I'm not quite to the halfway point, but I have knitted through the two balls in last week's photo. The color change from gradient 2 to gradient 3 is a bit more subtle - hence the locking marker so I can count the repeats.

...and finally, I'm reminded that pausing every so often is good. Look what I found when I took the photo above.

Yep, there's going to be a bit of unraveling! (but just a bit - it will be tedious, but I can fix that slipped stitch boo-boo by dropping down the stitch marked in orange to the stitch marked in green.)

On the while-I'm-alone listening front, most of this week has been spent with Simon Vance (one of my all-time favorite narrators) reading A Tale of Two Cities. I have about five hours left to listen and this book would satisfy several of my Bingo squares, but I'm not sure I can wait til Saturday to find out how it ends!

Has your knitting seen or heard anything especially good this week?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Currents | May.

just now. on the porch. because it's pouring ... and I forgot to take this photo earlier today when the sun was out.
Are you finding it hard to believe it will be June next week? I am. and I guess that means it must be time to share a little slice of my life. right now.

Saying Yes to Summer! I know it's barely spring where many of y'all live, but around here, school's out Thursday, then it's Memorial Day weekend (and I'm already wearing sleeveless) ... I'm ready! (even though we had a very short spring ... I laughed out loud to read that last month, I was still waiting for it to arrive!)

Loving my unplugged mornings. I'm now several months into the habit and I don't even think about looking at my laptop until after my first (or second) cup of coffee and some quiet time with my journal and maybe a book.

Planning the next year for our Women's Ministry. Thank you for all your good thoughts about finding a new co-lead; it hasn't happened (yet). My first meeting as Moderator is June 3 - and I had a little panic attack this morning when I realized that was NEXT weekend (such is the life of a retired business woman, I guess 😉)

Eating more than "just snacks". I read Marc a few of the comments from yesterday's post and he said "well, it is still a lot more vegetables than protein" to which I replied "as it should be". Saturday night we roasted fish and made "fish taco salad". Sunday night he made edamame pasta salad with broccoli, spinach and tomatoes. (and um, yeah, we haven't been to the grocery store since the week before last.)

Drinking grapefruit juice and tonic (with gin).

Watching The Americans (we should finish Season 2 tonight) and Patrick Melrose (I watched Episode 2 today - Benedict Cumberbatch should win all the Emmys for his performance and I do think the rest of the series shouldn't be nearly so dark ... because I've read the books and Sara promises the script follows pretty closely).

Needing a really good landscape plan (and an excellent contractor to execute it). We've lived in our house for nearly six years and we've been putting up with what the builder installed. It hasn't aged well (the front beds are overgrown and the backyard is a mud puddle). Now that Marc has time, we're ready to fix it. But whoa, it's been hard even to get someone to come out to look. We met this morning with the guy who helped with our old house and we're hopeful.

Wanting to find a really good match for the "book that matches a WIP" for the top left corner of my Bingo card.

Looking forward to seeing Sara next month!

Enjoying morning walks at the park with Lauren. or to the lake with Marc.

Remembering all the Memorial Days I spent with my family; we're changing up the family reunion to be Labor Day this year. I cannot remember the last Memorial Day weekend I spent at home. wonderful memories. new traditions.

Hoping (again) the upcoming election season doesn't get as nasty as I think it might. After today's primary, we'll likely have at least one unpleasant runoff ... and then it will be full-on campaigning until November. ugh. ugh. and ugh.

Wishing that the weather improves enough so Marc can play golf. I do love having him around, but all that works best when he can be gone for a while, too.

Saying Thank You to all of you for your tremendous response to this year's Book Bingo!!

What are you Saying Yes! to right now?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekending.

This one included a lot of knitting (which I'll share on Wednesday) and a surprising number of other good things. Thankfully, I even remembered to take a few photos:
We got the weekend off to a FriYAY start with an evening walk beer and then snacks. I was up early to watch the wedding festivities (that middle photo is the first one I snapped 😀) and Marc joined me in plenty of time to see the royal arrivals, the dress reveal and the ceremony. We both enjoyed the whole thing (and even rewatched highlights a few times). The TV was back on Saturday evening for the very muddy Preakness and I love that we have a Triple Crown contender! Yesterday morning the sun was shining for my morning walk; the daylilies are in full bloom and almost glowing in the sunshine. In the afternoon we attended a special party - a tea (complete with scones, sandwiches, my two favorite toddlers, a host of other family members and of course pearls and hats) for an 80th birthday celebration.

I hope your weekend included good things, too - please share!

Friday, May 18, 2018

FO Friday | Edie.

Happy Friday, y'all! It feels like it's been the longest week, and I still have things left to-do on my list, but one thing I do get to cross off is five days of blog posts ... and finished Edie photos!

I'm really pleased with the length now (and so happy I spent the eight-ish hours to fix it).
Ravelry details here 

Isabell Kraemer is one of my favorite designers - great shapes, fun details and well-written patterns - and Edie delivers all of these. Isabell wrote the pattern to use a 100% linen yarn (the lovely Quince & Co. Sparrow). She says she added the slip-stitch stripe detail - barely visible in this photo - to combat linen's tendency to bias. I used a 90% merino/10% linen blend (Madelinetosh Dandelion); and while my swatch biased like crazy, the finished piece looks ... fine! Go figure.

The only modifications I made to Isabell's instructions were to work Sunday Short Rows (this is my go-to short row method and while Carol says she doesn't recommend them when the short rows are worked just one stitch apart, I did it anyway and it worked fine) and to bind off with a size up needle. If I'd paid closer attention to my row gauge, which was a lot bigger than the pattern suggested, I would've known to knit a lot fewer rounds the first time around. (you'd think I'd know better!)


When I chose this spot for the photos, I had hoped you'd be able to see the beautiful irises blooming behind me. Sorry about that! Here's a photo I took yesterday afternoon and there are even more blooms today.
I'm so glad it's #blueskybloom season again!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ... that's not nearly as stormy as the weather folks are predicting 😀.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Three on Thursday | Haiku.

Joining in with Carole and friends today to share a three-line poem.


creamy blooms spread wide
atop glossy green, spreading
the scent of summer

Thanks to our 90+ degree stretch last weekend, the magnolias are starting to open. This tree is in the common area where Holly takes her evening walks. It smells wonderful!

Hope your week is going well ... here's to almost-Friday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

First, thank you for all your kind and supportive comments last week about Edie. I am happy to report that the ripping and re-knitting was worth it ... and I hope to have finished shots to share soon.

Joining in with Kat and crew today to share another - much less traumatic - knitting report.

This is the Purl Soho Tonal Blanket that I'm knitting for Sara. and planning to take (finished!) when I visit her in NYC next month (!!!yes! I have a plane ticket!)

As written, the pattern calls for a sport weight yarn and, reading the comments, appears to result in LOTS of leftovers. I'm making two modifications:

1. using DK weight yarn (Plucky Sweater, a super wash wool/nylon blend) so it goes a little faster (32 fewer stitches per row adds up quickly!); and

2. making each section about 11-1/4" (the finished blanket will be a little longer than the pattern suggests) to make the absolute most of the yarn I have - seven skeins of the Main Color (that's the beige, a great neutral called Twill). I weighed all seven skeins and counted rows/weighed the yarn as I knit through the first section. Now I just have to count repeats for the next four sections (with fingers crossed my calculations are sound 😨).

I also need to stay focused. To finish, I'll knit through all the yarn in that photo above plus five more skeins of Twill (about 2,400 yards on a size 6 needle). I fly to NYC on June 13. Good thing a lot of my early summer reading plans are audiobooks ... and it's kind of addictive to see how the beautiful Plucky colors come through.
I just joined the 2nd contrast color - a slightly darker shade - so pretty!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tiny Moment Tuesday.


I snapped this photo Saturday evening. after a long day of play, dinner, baths, a tiny moment of stillness. and two little fists holding hands.

(and in case you're wondering, I'm pretty sure the TV screen that so captured their attention was showing Sing ... cute movie for kids. and their pooped grandparents!)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekending with Sam and Charlie.

Well, whew! and thank goodness for iPhones. This video - 38 of my favorite (video'd) seconds from the 48 hours Sam and Charlie were with us - shows you how much fun we had.

And this morning, as I sorted through all the photos, I noted a few more things:

The boys play really well ... together and on their own. And it was wonderful to see Marc join in, too. (He did not play golf all weekend. thank goodness!) Charlie has grown up a lot in the 13 months since he and I spent Tuesdays together. Some is certainly just his age (he's 3-1/2 now), but I think it's also being a big brother. It suits him.

Meal times are a Big Deal ... these boys love to eat!
Sam's "lovey" is a drill. He carries it everywhere, even to the dinner table!

Not gonna lie - these two moments from Friday evening were most welcome. (especially because Saturday morning arrived before 5 am.)
yep, the drill goes to bed with him, too
It was also nice to see their parents yesterday morning. They all stayed for brunch to celebrate Mother's Day and my mom joined us. Four generations all together is very special (as is getting five smiles on all five faces).

The rest of Sunday was back to typical, with naps, FaceTime with Sara, a little TV and early bedtime.   We were ready for it!



Friday, May 11, 2018

Eye Candy Friday.

An unexpected thunderstorm blew through our neighborhood yesterday evening. It left behind a most-welcome sign of hope,

rain-washed blooms


and bright blue skies.

Happy Friday, y'all! and to you mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Three on Thursday | 2018 Summer Book Bingo!

There's a new section on the sidebar to the right for this year's Summer Book Bingo. The cards are ready - it's time to start planning!


And since it's Thursday, here are three things you need to know about this year's Summer Book Bingo:

1. Books you finish between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend count. This year that means books you finish May 26 - September 3. This might be a great opportunity to finish books you started a while back ... or you could simply get a headstart by starting now and "finishing" Memorial Day Weekend.

2. You get to interpret the relevance of the square to the book. You won't need to defend your book choice ... but I'm hoping that's because you won't need to. That said, I'm expecting that you'll read a book that matches the square. One of the reasons I host this challenge is to post a list of categories that inspire our reading. Summer reading should not be a slog! To that end, I deleted "A Collection of Short Stories" (as promised). And thanks to a suggestion from Juliann, I added "With a  cover that matches a current WIP" (fun!).

This year, we have 98 categories. Some of my lifetime favorite books have been books I read - initially with a little hesitation - as part of this challenge in previous years. I wish the same discovery and satisfaction for you.

3. Each book you read counts for one square, so a "full" bingo card means you read a book for all 25 squares on your card. Yep, even the free space in the middle - but you can read any book you want for that square.

...and two more:

1. I checked Instagram this morning and the tag #2018SummerBookBingo is available.

2. All of these things are documented in the rules, linked in the sidebar.

Here's to another great summer of books and reading - and sharing about our plans, progress and accomplishments!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

Warning, y'all - this post contains graphic evidence of actual unraveling!

Much to my dismay, I was not delighted with the finished Edie when I finally tried it on Monday afternoon. It was long. as in needs leggings long. Even my slim-legged white jeans and sandals didn't make it work. I wore it to knitting anyway, hoping the girls would change my mind. They didn't. I held out one last hope that Diane might ... but when we FaceTimed yesterday afternoon, she agreed. I could either wear the sweater with leggings or make it shorter. The sweater is meant for warm weather; wearing it with leggings seems silly. So after dinner last night, I took the plunge ... and unraveled.
That photo to the left is the one I snagged during my FaceTime with Diane - where we agreed on what the length should be. The photos to the right show my progression over several hours ... figuring out how far to rip back so my finished sweater would fall about where I wanted it (gah! this part made me mad because it took way too long ... sometimes something as easy as converting the schematic measurements to actual rows based on my blocked row gauge ... just escape me), finding the end (after I appreciated how neat the wrong side did look), actual unraveling, and the finished result - all the stitches back on the needle with locking markers ready for working the short row hem shaping this morning.

It was nearly 10pm by this point. I poured a glass of wine and went back to my happy place from the weekend.

I tackled the re-knitting this morning. The finished sweater is now drying and I'm hopeful.
That 17" matches the schematic ... we'll see what happens as it dries.

Thanks to all that, I now have just over two hours to finish Ready Player One. I am enjoying it immensely (it's not amazing, but it's very good) and look forward to finding out how it all comes together.

I hope your week hasn't included any actual unraveling - but if it has, I hope you had a good book to keep you company!

Joining in with Kat and crew.  Happy Wednesday!



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Looking Back | April.

Today, I have one last look at April ... through the lens of my daily photos.

That bright green knitting really dominates the show, doesn't it?! I'm very happy to have it finished and realize I never showed y'all how it turned out.
Marc definitely brings out the goofy in me!
But for me, the star was the family and friend time (including my best furry friend - who got groomed on the 10th), along with plenty of good food and some gorgeous spring blooms. April certainly lived up to my high expectations.  Now May has a hard act to follow; I hope it's up to the challenge!