Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wrap = Practicing Patience

I decided to knit the Every Way Wrap from Interweave Knits, it looked like so much fun. So like a good little knitter I made enlarged copies of the chart, read all the directions and then began my project. The ribbing goes very well, then I begin the cable part of the chart and it does not look like the photo, so I'm thinking - Never mind I'm sure it will begin looking like it very soon and as I approached the 17th line of the chart - I realized that I must have gotten something wrong and frog it back to the ribbing. Ever determined I begin again with expectation - watching for the beautiful cables to begin to appear (this time quit by line 10 and know I did not make any mistakes this time). My heart sinks as I realize this looks like mud - no beautiful cables anywhere! So I put it aside and tried to calm my mind. Then it occurs to me to look at their website and BINGO there is a revised key for the chart. So I frogged once again back to the ribbing and this time the chart worked - really it did and I think it will be something versatile and comfortable to wear.

I am knitting the wrap with Frog Tree Merino in a color called Melange. In the photo it appears gray, but the color is a muted antique lavender and at certain angles you can see a glimpse of a soft antique peachy tone, the yarn is so soft and a pleasure to knit with. I am determined to knit this even in the hot weather we are experiencing.

The weather has been simply awful, temps over 100 and with the wildfires the air is smokey and difficult to breath - so I escaped to Newport Beach which was surprisingly warm at about 90 degrees, but the air was good to breath and here are the views from my suite.
We got the last room available and it had different views of the back bay. It was more at an angle to the bay, but the views were still glorious.
From this room you could also see more of the back bay in the distance and in the horizon the homes along the cliffs of the back bay. At night it was really nice to look at the distant lights that twinkled and reflected in the water.
I thought I could show you the completed pair of socks this posting, but as I was about to begin the toe decreases, I proudly held the pair up together to gaze at my accomplishment when I noticed one sock looked a little shorter than the other, I let out a groan and thought, maybe just a little stretching will do the trick - after all they are for a size 10 foot so there must be a little give - but no the sock refused to budge (darn cables). So I ripped the sock back to just above the heel and added the darn 1/2 inch. Maybe by the next post I'll have them done - besides its just WAY TOO HOT to take a photo of my friend in these socks - yes that's it - I'm being a considerate friend and sparing her the trial of donning wool socks in 100 degree weather. By the way to calm my nerves I watched Jets take off from my balcony, the different color planes were so pretty against the blue skies and for some reason comforted me.
I bought this book and want to cook the Beef Bourguignon and can hardly wait for the weather to cool off as the thought of something heavy right now is just not appealing. Hope it photographs well so that I can share it with you. I really do love cooking, usually I stick to Italian, so French style cooking should be interesting. Has anyone made this recipe? If so - what did you think of it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


One of my friends asked me for a couple of pairs of socks, I had never knitted a pair for a woman who wears a size 10 shoe and was not sure that I had enough of the blue sockyarn, so I improvised and used some leftover tweed yarn for the top and toe. She loves them - I was so pleasantly surprised that someone would love something that I made, she just kept saying "these are sooo cool", they fit perfectly. I made a couple of alterations as the cable really tightens up the leg, so I switched to from a size 3 to a size 4 needle and went back to the size 3 about 6 inches into the pattern. I've begun the second sock and really must finish them soon while the changes I made are fresh in my mind.
When I came into work on Monday, the girls in my group had surprised me this plant. I love flower plants in the bud stage, to watch them develop and bloom fills me with wonder. The leaves on this plant are glossy and make my little space a much more pleasant place to be.

I was pulling up some of my previous photos and was surprised that I had not used this photo earlier, the flowers remind me of Southern Bells with their full skirts. Does anyone know what these flowers are called?
Surprise! Boy was I , I was taking a photo of the goodies we had from a coffee house when a bird swooped down and quickly grabbed a piece - daring little thing. It liked the berry cobbler so much that it kept landing on the chair across from me and even on the table itself and scolded me severely when I put them in the trash.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yarn Comfort

I've had a bit of a trial lately and now things are taken care of. So where do I turn for comfort? Why of course I turned to yarn, I practically waded in it and found the colors a friend wanted for her winter hat & socks. I used sheer determination to find wool in these bright colors and searched literally on my hands and knees through milk crates full of yarns in a rather large yarn store and EUREKA!!! buried in the last bin I searched was the two balls above - all I know is they are 100% wool and are a sport weight. Hope there is enough for a pair of socks.
These will make a fine looking hat for her - must have ear flaps, so the search for a great pattern is on. (It's hard to tell, but the dark yarn is actually purple).

I had to go to an area of Riverside that I have never been to before and found this wonderful sign above, I love it when I find these little treasures. It was a 10 mile drive down this road and I just kept running into things that I found delightful.

I came across this fruit stand surrounded by an Orange Grove and it brought back memories from my childhood - after all I was raised in Orange County - which did have Orange Groves then. They had some delicious looking Avocados (had to get them - they are so good for your skin & hair) and also many flavors of licorice (had to get just 1 little bag, tee hee).
Southern California used to have quite a few buildings with kitchy architectural features and I miss them, this was just across the street from the fruit stand. The street was lined both sides by the Palm Trees below.
Which was then backed by the acres of Orange Trees, I hadn't realized how much I miss those trees and wish they could have kept a few of the Orange Groves around. There is something endearing about these trees and I remember the scent of Orange Blossoms in the evening.
Another treasure from the past, an actual drive in, I remember we used to bring my mom's fried chicken, home made bread & butter pickles and roasted corn (with butter and soysauce), the whole car smelled heavenly, accompanied by glasses of Kool-Aid, while happily watching a Doris Day film (Mom liked those) or a John Wayne Movie for my dad or if we were especially lucky a Disney movie for my brother & myself.

Its is nice to remember the good times but for the most part I just live in the moment and appreciate what is occurring right now. Savoring every breath and drinking in life's beauty.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A pair of Socks!

The sock yarn below was such a pleasure to work with, I had never knitted with Koigu before and what a joy it was. The yarn reminded me of Monet's garden paintings (above). This is the second time I've knitted the Embossed Leaf Pattern sock and I loved the interplay of color with the pattern.

I am also over the second sock syndrome and joyfully completed the second one (see below for proof). They looked lovely with the volunteer Sweet Peas that meanders up my Japanese Maple in the front yard and also gently cradled by my gigantic French Lavender shrub.
While I was on my vacation in July one of the places I also visited was the quaint Danish inspired town of Solvang. Here is one of the cottages (see below) at the Motel where I stayed (alas they were not available during my trip, but I thought them cute). The motel was simple without alot of perks, but the town is a wonderful place to walk (as you can see from the photo above the Architecture gives the town its character). The air is clean as it is surrounded by miles of foothills, there are loads of shops, places to dine and even a yarn/spinning shop (which I won't go into details on as they did not want to become too busy with visitors - a rather odd remark, but I will respect their wishes and they will remain nameless).
The food isn't all Danish either and I chose to have dinner at an Italian restaurant called Cafe Angelica, they have things on the menu that were not your typical Italian menu. So being on vacation I ventured away from my norm and stared with mussels and clams which were so fresh and very very yummy, sopped up with some superb garlic bread!

After dinner the Latte that arrived was simply decadent and what should I have to accompany it?

DESSERT!!!! Now keep in mind that Solvang is full of bakeries, but they had so many fabulous things to choose from here that I just had to have one, It was hard to pick just one, but the aroma of rich dark chocolate that wafted from the chocolate cake was overwhelming (it turned out to be one of the best I have ever tasted). I did not feel too guilty as I had been walking most of the day and strolled about a bit more before returning to the Motel.
Solvang is famous for its Aebelskiver, so I felt it my duty to order it for breakfast, (just so that I could get a photo of it for you - yes I'm so self sacrificing). It's doughy and not too sweet which goes so well with the Raspberry Jam that tops it. (are you drooling yet?)
Thank you for sharing my vacation with me. I love to travel - to experience new places or to revisit ones that have grown dear to my heart.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Color in Carmel

My suite at the Inn was complete with a darling kitchen - I loved the old tile and the colorful red & white wallpaper. I do feel a little guilty that I did not make full use of it, but we discovered a great place for seafood that was so reasonable - I tried my first raw oysters and was quite surprised how much I liked them (petite little ones that were sweet and easy to swallow). They also had an incredible seafood sandwich that had fresh crab and shrimp in it that we ended up sharing - so yummy!
The place had its quirks, like the TV's on/off button was broken, the remote did not work, the VCR decided to break (yes I said VCR) and the spring on the coffee maker did not go down all the way so it flooded the counter with coffee - did I mind these little oddities - frankly no, it just seems to go along with an older Inn, the room was clean and the bed was comfy, but my favorite part was that the heat for the room was provided by the fireplace - you turned up the thermostat and on it came!
There was a nice little courtyard with a fireplace that our rooms opened onto and there was also a dining room where you could serve yourself breakfast. In the afternoon there was fresh baked cookies (chocolate chip with REAL BUTTER), wine and a nice variety of cheeses.

My favorite part of the grounds were the beautiful flowers. I like the color combinations, for instance the petite white flowers against the Burgundy.

The Pinks, Blues and Lavenders, gazing at this photo during this post made me think of how pleased Fairies would be dancing among these petals on a morning when they would be bejeweled by dew.

The yellows mixed with the various shades of purple are so peaceful, the sweet scent of the Allysum filling the air. Carmel's colors are softened by its weather, its the perfect backdrop for them. In my opinion Flowers are very photogenic - don't you think?


While on my trip I came across fabric stores! San Luis Obispo has a great fabric and craft store where I purchased the above fabric to create headbands for one of my friends. Lila seems to approve the my choices (she wasn't even in sight when I laid down the towel - 30 seconds later - there she is!!!)

On my trip to Solvang I discovered a quilt store and purchased a few fabrics - I'm not sure that I have all the fabric yet, but plan on starting a quilt for my Darling little Niece. I had the darnedest time trying to lay them down, Lila kept batting at each fabric square, so I quickly shot the photo (you can see her little paw taking another swat at them, but at least my fingers are out of the way this time). I do so hope it turns out as I let the cat out of the bag (I am a bit nervous about this - my first quilt).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Carmel By The Sea

The beauty of the beaches along Carmel is apparent even when the weather is cold and drizzled at times. 51 degrees in July - quite a shock to the system after the warmth of Arizona with 100 plus temps! I have so many photos that I liked from this quaint town that I will have to divide it over a few posts. Every where you turned the vistas were stunning, charming architecture, pretty gardens, flowers flourished everywhere. I wanted to share in the post a little of the shores of Carmel By The Sea.

There was drift wood strew about among the cliff side plants, you didn't need to try mess about too much with trying to find a good angle to shoot from. Everywhere I turned and took the photo, it just seemed right.
I love the way the branches reach into the frame of the picture, it feels like you could step into this photo, it has depth, the foggy background makes you wonder what lays beyond. For some reason the ocean smelled especially briny (I can still recall its aroma, much different from the Southern California beaches).

I remember wading through the sand to get this photo, the sand is so very soft and your feet sink in with every step, the bare limbs in the background looked almost like a dancing figure when it was misting.