Friday, October 1, 2010

Tropical Storm Day

While it was raining the other day, I started this post - pulling pictures. Now, the rain is gone and it's left a bit cooler weather - YEAH!!! So, here are some FO's (finished objects) from the recent past. It's difficult to put anything on the floor to photograph it without a cat checking it out and plopping down on it. So here is Little Eddie, not really so "Little" anymore, on a Mara shawl that was made for DF Judy and was sent off to her at the beginning of September. It's GREEN, so it's good!

Below is a small flag which was the first project of the Bread and Butter Society (a club using Kay Englund reproduction fabric). It was fun to do something small and get it quilted and bound in a few days! I've got the second project cut and partially sewn. Will have to finish it up later this month.

This was the September Sampler Saturday block done in nice purple batiks.

This is yet another Just Enough Ruffles scarf. May have to keep this one for myself!

Here is the Little House Needleworks design that I stitched, framed, and gifted in August to DF JH in honor of her and her sweetheart's 30th wedding anniversary. I adapted the pattern a bit by adding their initials and the 30, and also used yellow instead of the called for red for the berries and heart because JH is a blue/yellow person. DF Mel did a great post about our fabulous birthday celebration and this is pictured among the gifts on the table.

I had some Malabrigo Aquarella (bulky thick/thin) yarn in the Solis colorway sitting around so I decided to do a circular scarf/cowl. This was a very quick knit on size 17 needles, I think. I purposely twisted the stitches on the first row before joining the row to knit in the round. This put a twist in the piece so when it's doubled up to be a cowl it lays nicely. It just so happened that when I went down to my LYS to leave it on the WALL of Malabrigo as a sample, they had a display form set up that had a wonderful necklace made of ladder yarn that matched my knitted piece. So how perfect was that???? for picture taking???? I wrote up the pattern, which is just the twist at the beginning and all worked in seed stitch, and left it at Knit or Knot for any takers. They have a good supply of this yarn and are always looking for ideas on how to use it.

It's OCTOBER already!!! Here's hoping we can get thru it without any more or very little tropical weather activity. I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO looking forward to cooler weather. I want to experience some PRONTO!!! Where is my Star Trek Transporter???

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Kind of Labor Day Picnic! (inside)

Since we decided to stay home for the Labor Day weekend and not travel, my husband and I went for a little day trip to Vero Beach on Friday before the long weekend. We wanted to have lunch at one of our fav restaurants, The Ocean Grill, and also hit the newly opened Fresh Market, a fabulous gourmet-style grocery store. I took a few pictures of the Ocean Grill so you can see why we like it. It's a noteworthly building right on the beach in Vero. I love all the wrought iron work that is on the walls and hanging around (lamps) and the mix of stained glass and pecky cypress walls and ceilings. A red and white striped awning welcomes you to the restaurant, with the beach just beyond. In the first room off to the left is a HUGE Florida Highwayman painting, then on to the next room, with a ginormous domed wrought iron piece hanging over a very large round table.

More stained glass and a wonderful lamp hanging from the ceiling. Another fabulous stained glass piece with tropical fish above windows that separate dining rooms.

And my favorite stained glass oval that is set high above one of the main dining areas. The windows beyond the standing wait staff look out on the beach and the ocean. It's wonderful to be able to snag a window table, but there are lots of great other tables where you can not only see the water and beach, but enjoy the interiors as well.

Here's a close-up of the stained glass oval we enjoyed from our table while feasting on clams steamed in garlic and wine, a ceasar salad topped with sauted bay scallops, and FRENCH fried shrimp (not sure why they designated the shrimp as "french" fried, but the fried oysters on the menu, which they were out of, as just fried??? Whatever they want to call them, the fried shrimp were pretty close to a few of my fav shrimp-eatin' places, only you got fewer shrimp, but they were bigger.) Of course we finished the meal with a piece of key lime pie, which we've found to be one of the best key lime pies we've had, soaked graham cracker crumb crust and all.

On to a visit to Fresh Market, a new store for Vero Beach, and the closest Fresh Market to us now. I always hit Fresh Market when I am in Jacksonville. So I loaded up on another bag of their Pumpkin Spice coffee (which I had just found at the Jax FM), a loaf of their 12 Grain Pumpernickle bread, a jar of their Blueberry Jam, and a pound of large-sized freshly caught Florida White Shrimp. It was a nice way to start a long weekend, and we were so glad that we went because we found out that the Ocean Grill was starting a two-week employee vacation and would be closed beginning Labor Day! So we had our OG fix for a while.

Be sure to click on the Ocean Grill link above to see their intro which shows a night-time shuttle launch and turn up your speakers to hear the ocean!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Done, Done, Done!

In between watching the cats take on the wildlife that somehow "wanders" on to the back porch, I've been able to get a few things done, done, done! The hundreds of half-square triangles from last month's Civil War Tribute blocks are still on my sewing table, but they have been piled high so as not to get in the way of this month's blocks and sewing. Here are this month's blocks and they are, done, done, done, and done! Four 12-1/2 inch blocks with 65 pieces in each. Bad picture, but I love the pink and chocolate (brown) fabrics used in these and that's probably why they got finished. They also got finished because I am not working on last month's blocks!!! AND am avoiding doing some stitching on a piece that must be completed soon!!! Doesn't everybody do that???

Here is the Saturday Sampler block that I whipped up the day after getting the new fabric packet several weeks ago and the first reason to pile up the evil CWT half-square triangles. The batiks for these SS blocks have been pretty and fun to work with. Besides only having to do ONE of these blocks a month, there are way less than 65 pieces in each block! Thank goodness.

 Otherwise, I've been knitting a lot. I have been taken in by Ravelry (an online community for knitters, those who crochet, and fiber enthusiasts) and probably spend more time looking around on there then actually knitting. BAAAAAd - - - BAAAAAAd!!! But I did find this scarf that I am addicted to: Just Enough Ruffles. Of course I've knit it in my fav yarn Malabrigo Worsted at least 3 times. It's shown here in the Plena colorway. Another JER scarf is down at my LYS hanging on their WALL of Malabrigo to seduce other knitters to this yarn. I've also knit a few more scarves using this pattern in other yarns which will be given away as gifts. So no photos of those right now, sorry.
This is my Travelling Woman shawl, also a pattern found on Ravelry. I used the Malabrigo Sock yarn in Tiziano Red. I thought the lace pattern was pretty easy and the first half of it is very mindless. I still need to block it out.
 Another super quick project that I finished last week is the Cullin Cowl in Quince and Co.'s Puffin yarn, Peacock colorway. Puffin is their single ply bulky yarn that I used with #15 needles. I've got a small stash of each of the four yarns that Quince and Co. has put out so far and they are all pretty soft and nice to knit with. Even though I really love a lot of the hand-dyed and variegated colored yarns that are out there, QandCo.'s solid colorways are very nice and very enticing!
Lastly, I completed my Knit Along sweater two weeks before the deadline of July 31st. Thrilled about that! Thanks to some coaxing from several friends, I got through the 3/4 length sleeves, found a few buttons I liked, and got a picture sent in. Unfortunately, I didn't win the drawing for the basket of Classic Elite yarn that was the incentive to finish up. But now I'll have something to keep the cool air off me when I need to - if the blasting heat ever goes away - maybe in 3 or so months.
When loading these pictures up for this entry, I came across a bunch that were related to a trip I took to Tallahassee a few months ago. I'll try to get those up soon. Okay, now I guess I better get to that stitching project I've been avoiding and MUST get done! LOL!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bermuda Triangles???

Help! I've been remiss in posting because I've been lost in the sea of these hundreds of half-square triangles. I was getting behind with my Civil War Tribute blocks, so in June I decided I better make my way up to the Jam Patch and spend a few hours cutting out the blocks for that month. Most of the time, the cutting process is THE work. Fortunately, I was successful in getting almost everything cut that was needed for the 8 blocks. Then home to start sewing. . . and sewing. . . and sewing. . . Weeks later, with my head barely above sea level, 256 half-square triangles are complete - some ironed open, some not yet. Then they all have to be trimmed to 1-13/16ths! Think it's going to be another few weeks for these blocks to get done because these are the BIG half-sqaure triangles in the blocks. There are another 14 hst's in each block that are in the center area. 14 x 8 = 112  I guess I better suit up with a life preserver next time I hit my sewing room for a session. HaHa!
But in the meantime, I did get my Sampler Saturday block done. These blocks are pretty easy and only take an hour or less to do. So at least SOMETHING has been accomplished!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back On The Road - Part 2

I was having problems positioning the pictures in this post, but will just put it up because Atlantis is now home - time has really flown!  The Space Shuttle had a flight path to land at the Cape that brought it up the middle of peninsular Florida and a lot of us got to hear the sonic boom it creates. Actually, this time it was a BOOM - BOOM! Cayenne was on the back porch and was quite disturbed by the noise. I quickly let her in the house and explained that Atlantis is just coming back home, but she was having none of it - slinking around with a slightly puffed tail!
Anyway . . . .

On Friday, May 14th I headed up to Cocoa Beach with my DF Sheri for the last launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. There are only two more shuttle launchs left, so we didn't want to miss out. We got up there with enough time to grab a sandwich from Subway's and settle in at her condo before 2:20 p.m. and the launch.  It was a gorgeous day and we heard on the TV that record crowds had come out to see the shuttle go off - 300,000. We were not disappointed.

As I think I mentioned, I can often see the shuttle go off from my house, 2-1/2 hours south of where we were, but up in Cocoa Beach you can HEAR the shuttle! Not something that happens in my backyard at home.

Following the excitement of the launch, we took to the living room couches and watched the SPEED channel until it was time to go out for an early dinner at one of the local seafood restaurants. DF Sheri returned with leftovers which got quickly stowed. Here's a picture of half of her kitchen with the great FLORIDA wallpaper which looks like those "vintage" tablecloths of the 40's or 50's. I just love it.

The next morning we were up and out and off to Historic Cocoa Village, about 15 minutes west of Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Village is along the Indian River with a nice Riverfront Park. It's several blocks long and wide with an old theater, restaurants/cafes, and shops - including Knit and Stitch! The goal - have a bit of breakfast and shop for YARN! When we got to the area, we found a few streets blocked off and discovered that there was a craft fair going on. We were lucky to slide into a newly vacated parking spot and then we headed for a bite to eat. I captured a picture of this mural on the side of the building of one of the nice, old restaurants in the Village area - The Black Tulip.

After a breakfast treat of a warmed egg, cheese and spinach pastry at the corner cafe, Ossorio's, I crossed the street and dove into Knit and Stitch Boutique at 15 Stone Street. Sheri hit the streets to peruse the booths of the craft fair. Knit and Stitch is a fairly small shop with both yarn (lots of it) and cross-stitch. The yarn is on one wall and in the back of the shop and the cross-stitch is along the other wall. In between are several displays and a very large, conference room, sized table with lots of high-backed leather chairs around it. Since the shop had just opened and not many people were there yet, I was able to maneuver along the wall of yarn behind the leather chairs and see the "selection". I found some Cascade 220 that I was looking for to make another Mara shawl for a present, some Cascade 220 Handpainted, and a few skeins of Ella Rae sock yarn in a nice dusty rose color. I also picked up a DellaQ knitting bag. Here's a picture of the wall of yarn and one shot toward the back of the shop, which turned out blurry, but has saved me from cutting out people's faces. The shop has a really nice selection of yarns, but unfortunately when customers are seated at the large table it pretty much prevents shopping THE WALL. Soon after I arrived, a class started at one end of this table and several other customers took to the chairs at the other end of the table. I was glad that I already had my pile that I was taking home with me!

On the way home, we stopped off at Indian River Community College in Ft. Pierce and went to a show at the Hallstrom Planetarium. Their programs are always fun and very educational. So it was a HEAVENLY two days - the shuttle off into space, out of this world seafood, heavenly, heavenly yarn, and time spent studying the stars!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back On The Road - Part 1

Two weekends ago I was flying up I-95 again. I haven't been on a road trip in months since I've been battling pain in my right foot and leg due to a heel spur and driving doesn't seem to help. So I was really looking forward to a weekend away to attend the North Florida Rug Hooking Guild's Spring Hook In. First stop was Flagler Beach to meet my DF Henri at one of my fav restaurants, Blue. As I approached Flagler Beach, I remembered it was Friday and their Farmer's Market was in full swing, which could only mean that Shelley of My Bolga Baskets would be there manning (or I should say, WOmanning) her booth. I tried to turn to go south BEFORE the market, but for some reason the car kept going straight and I got a glimpse of her booth with all the colorful baskets hanging and more baskets lined up on the ground. In the next blink of an eye, I was turning the corner and my car was sliding into an empty parking spot on one of the otherwise packed side streets by the market. OH MY! I guess I needed to check out THE booth! I snagged a new shaped basket, new to me, and another U-shopper basket, which is my favorite shape to hold my cross-stitch patterns and projects in. This one had Amish quilt colors, so I had to add it to the "collection".

I quickly resumed the trip and arrived at Blue just as DF Henri was heading for the restaurant. Since it was in the mid-80's (the heat is already on here), we decided to sit inside and had a lovely view of the ocean from the window.

And here's a picture of the side of the building where the restaurant is. It's not a stand alone establishment, but is part of The Topaz, a hotel along south A1A.

Following a great lunch, we drove west on SR 100 to Sew and Quilt, a quilt shop that I first stopped at on the way home from rug camp in January.  The shop recently added yarn to their offerings, so we had to check it out. No yarn purchases, but I did end up getting two yards of Bali Batiks to add to "stash". It was time to move on to points north and as I was heading to I-95 to resume the trip, I noticed that I was following my favorite driver!!! Hey, I was even going to pass him! Adios, Jr.

3 p.m. and it's Jacksonville! I jumped into DF Melody's vehicle and we were off to Macclenny to the Local Needle. My Knit Along project was with me so I could show Joan, the owner, in between checking out her new stock. We decided not to stay for the shop's Friday night open knitting and headed back to town to hit Biscotti's (another fav of mine) for dinner.  We indulged ourselves in their fabulous cheese plate and it wasn't until almost the last almond and apricot were gone that I remembered - A PICTURE!!! So here is what was left of our 2-cheese plate of "Vintage" - 5 year old aged Gouda (gone) and "Maytag Blue" - blue cheese from Iowa, I believe (still a bit left). It was deeeeelish! A glass of Riesling for each of us helped to make the experience another memorable one at Biscotti's.

The Hook In on Saturday was fun and well attended.  I got to catch up with lots of friends, the food was good, great desserts, and even got some hooking in. I was having so much fun, I totally forgot to take any pictures. Sunday was Mother's Day and I joined DF Melody and her family in celebrating her mother, Jane, at brunch in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville.  Melody covered our experience in her blog post so I won't go into it. Later that afternoon, we drove down to Hanks, another of our fav yarn stores in Gainesville.  Here are a few pics - their wall of sock yarn, a shot of a gorgeous Kromski spinning wheel in one of their windows, and a close-up of a very cool sock, which I caved and got the pattern for.  It was knit in my fav yarn, Malabrigo - the sock weight.

And here is the other basket I picked up loaded with most of my weekend loot! Bali fabric, gorgeous Dream in Color yarn, ShiBui sock yarn, a new spindle, and a few skeins of Malabrigo sock yarn in a yummy dark blue grey green. 

It was a great extended weekend. I was even able to get in a visit with my uncle on the way home on Monday. I got to see his pictures and hear about his one-day trip to Washington D.C. that happened on that Saturday - two days earlier.  He was part of a contingent of World War II veterans who made the trip up to see the new WWII Memorial as well as a few other sites.  It was exciting for him and he had great time. Check out Volusia Honor Air to learn more about this great program.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ancient History

A month ago I was digging in one of my MANY bags, hunting for a pattern that someone asked me about, and I found a FEW cross-stitch WIPs. Since I was just putting the finishing touches on my new pattern, Mary Bagley, I decided to pull a few of them out and work on them. Ellen Birdseye by The Goode Huswife, pictured above, was one of the WIPs. I think I started it in the late 1990's!!! Well, it's done now and ready to be framed. Another WIP was The Mustard Door by the Goode Huswife, which actually was done, but the framing wasn't finished. So, that is now done and it's up on the wall, next to a lovely fraktur.
And finally, no longer a WIP, is a Sheepish Designs piece entitled, Time Has Wings. As I completed it last week, the message became so personal. Two of my family members are dealing with serious health issues and TIME has definitely been an issue. Hopefully, I'll have a little more time to hunt up a few more WIPs and get them done!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Antiquarian Book Fair

A few weekends ago, I went over to St. Petersburg to attend an Antiquarian Book Fair. My Mother-in-Law had been to this annual event many times, but she didn't want to make the trip by herself. So, my husband and I decided to drive her over and make a weekend out of it. We've been to Tampa many times, but never to St. Petersburg. I have been to St. Petersburg Beach, but that's further west. We drove across the state in the rain on that Friday and the weather cleared up just as we hit the Book Fair for the opening night.

The event was held in an older Deco-style building near the downtown area. I loved the Women's room, which was done in black and white tile and small hexagon tiles on the floor. It reminded me of the bathroom in Grand Central Station - from years ago.

The vendor area was fully decorated and it was nice that it wasn't that crowded. We enjoyed looking through the booths of books, maps and some prints.

I loved seeing the children's books and the first booth I stopped in had a copy of  "Strawberry Girl" by Lois Lenski prominently displayed and for sale for several hundred dollars. I remember reading it when I was in grade school. I recalled that I read a lot of Lois Lenski's books, but I particularly remember that one because it inspired me to plant my own strawberry patch when I was 11 or 12. Of course that copy didn't come home with me, but I did get it from the library last week to re-read.
We went back to the Fair on Saturday morning to check out the booths we didn't get to on Friday night. Since my husband's mantra the whole drive over was, "We are not bringing anything home!" My MIL and I had been calibrated and only ended up buying one book each and my husband did agree to buying one book as a Christmas present. We were clearly restrained!!!
The rest of Saturday we spent driving around the downtown area and then visiting a very nice nature preserve that was around a large lake just south of downtown. On Sunday we headed back across the state and stopped in Arcadia for an hour or so. Just off the major route, in the historical area, are two-three blocks of antique shops. My MIL and I were able to get through a number of shops before we were ushered back to the car to resume the trip home. I'll have to try to get back there sometime because there were lots of shops and STUFF to see.
Here is my Classic Elite Yarn Knit Along project. Kind of looks just. . . BLUE. But I think I'd mentioned that I'd post my progress. I've got a few more inches to knit on the body and then I'll start on one of the sleeves. There is double moss stitch around the neck and a front button placket is also done in double moss stitch. It's been a fun project so far.