Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday 4/30/24


Good Morning!

How is it the last day of April 2024?  This year seems to be zooming past me at a very fast rate.  Yesterday afternoon I ventured out and cut two sprigs from the lilac.  So pretty and so fragrant.  And so droopy this morning!  What is the secret to having lilacs last in a vase?

Yesterday I managed to do a couple of my errands.  One had to be put off till today.  I had planned to go to the framer with the cactus triptych, but the framer is closed on Mondays.  So, perhaps this afternoon I can wander over that way.  

I did make it to the SPCA where we rescued Mabel though.  It's a little bit of a drive (30 minutes or so), but a pretty drive.  We had some towels we were no longer using.  Too worn for us and really not suitable for donating, but I know that the SPCA can always use them.  There were miniature ponies in the pasture (wish I had stopped to take a picture).

On this last TNT in April, I have a new piece to show.  While going through my (massive) stash to find something new to stitch, I (re)discovered a bunch of patterns I had gotten for free from Needleprint.  What a fabulous site that was back in the day!  Needlepoint closed/stopped publishing back around 2011.  Anyway, I came across several patterns based on Vierlande medallions.  Vierlande is an area in Germany.  The medallions are very similar to the Quaker motifs (particularly those from the Ackworth School).

I'm stitching on 40 count fabric using one strand of DMC over two threads of linen.  If you click to enlarge, you may see the beginning of a fourth motif on the left (the DMC thread is very, very light).  This piece is called Vierlande Elisabeth.  There is another piece I have picked out to stitch (Vierlande Bertie) which has a bunch of crowns and uses only two colors.  I'm enjoying the symmetry of the medallions.

Of course, now that my newly acquired stash has arrived, I'm eager to start yet another piece.  All in good time....

Monday, April 29, 2024

Weekending 4/29/24

 Good Morning My Lovelies,

It's gonna be a hot one in Eastern PA today.  Yesterday was warm.  And lovely.  Today it is supposed to get above 80!  Yikes!  Blooms have started popping everywhere.

How I wish I could send the scent of the lilacs over to you.  I snapped the above picture before 6:30 this morning.  As soon as I opened the front door, the scent of lilacs was everywhere.  Later I will cut a bloom or two for the table.

Yesterday the first iris opened.  Today there are three and so many buds!  More than we have had in years.  We could always count on the iris opening the first week in May, so they are pretty much on schedule. 

Not pictured, but also opening:  Lily of the Valley and Wisteria.  Both heavily scented.  Surrounded by perfume.

Friday ended up being a very nice stash enhancement day.  I had placed an order with 123 Stitch for some linen fabric and a few skeins of overdyed cotton.  They were scheduled to arrive today, but instead arrived on Friday!

The linen is 36 count and is very nice.  Also arriving on Friday was my May Sock Squad yarn from The Farmer's Daughter!

Like February's package, this one included two half skeins (50 grams each) plus the mini.  The colors are marvelous.

Fletch has been busy in the garden - planting onions, beans and cucumbers.  I helped him set up the trellis for the cukes.  With the warm weather forecast, he can probably get the tomatoes in.  We are also going to grow yellow squash vertically this year, so I need to help with another trellis.  Meanwhile, it's time to get a rosemary plant, some basil and an eggplant for my patio pots.

I cooked a new-to-me dish yesterday.  I've never been a huge fan of gnocchi, but a recipe for Skillet Gnocchi with Roasted Red Peppers, White Beans and Kale appealed to me.  I used This Recipe and it was fast and delicious!  Plus lots of leftovers.

The weekend also provided opportunity for both stitching and knitting...so a balanced, fun and productive weekend.  I've got a bunch of errands to run today and a bit of cooking I want to do.

I hope your weekend was a good one and cheers to the week ahead!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 4/24/24

 Good Morning My Friends,

After several gorgeous days, it looks like we are in for some grey weather.  However, I did manage to take a picture of our Redbud yesterday.  It is gorgeous this year!

This white blooms behind the Redbud are wild cherry trees at the edge of our woods.

Mabel, sweet Mabel, has been racing up and down the apple tree which is now full of blooms too.

She is a pistol and full of energy.  At times she seems to have no fear whatsoever, but she is also smart.  Mr. Fox was wandering around the yard early yesterday morning and Mabel stayed inside for quite some time.  Fortunately.

Anyway, it's Wednesday and time to check in with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk all things making and reading.  Come and join in the fun!

As you might imagine, not a whole lot of knitting was accomplished last week.  I did take my sock to work on in NC, but I only put in a few rows first thing in the morning when I was up before anyone else.  I'm finally nearing the toe decrease on sock #1 (and the toe will be in the gold color too).

Here's another shot where you can (hopefully) see the pattern just below the cuff.

I should finish this up soon and get sock #2 on the needles pronto!

Last night I finished reading The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson and loved it.  Thank you Jane for recommending this very well written novel.  I picked up two books from my library yesterday, but have not started either.  Fletch and I started listening to a new book on Audible last night after dinner - more on that next week.

There has been no stitching in over a week and I am hoping to start a new piece today.  Time will tell.  I was up most of the night coughing, so I am a bit weary at this early morning hour.  I plan to cancel my haircut appointment and will reschedule that for another week when (hopefully) this sinus congestion and cough are gone!

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday - enjoy!!

Monday, April 22, 2024

Back Home Again 4/22/24

 Hello, Hello!

I'm back home.  My time away in NC was wonderful, but I came home feeling like crap.  The pollen levels in NC were out of control and I kept getting more and more congested as the days wore on.  Stale airplane air did nothing to help on my way home.  I sounded (and still sound) like I have bronchitis.  Yesterday I did take a Covid test, just to be sure, but that was negative.  It may have migrated into a very bad cold.  I dunno, but I'm kind of miserable.

So, this will be a short post.  My friend Leslie is doing great and looks wonderful.  We had such a good time catching up and cooking good food!  Then Nina, my college roommate, came up from SC on Friday and it was as if we had just been together the day before.  How wonderful it is to be able to pick up after so much time without skipping a beat.

In texting and emailing back and forth yesterday, we realized we never took a single picture!  All three of us thought of it AFTER we were together...and that does not work.  I did take one picture - it is a picture of a picture that hangs in Leslie's upstairs hallway.  It is a shot of Leslie and me 50 years ago on the day of her wedding (August 1974)!!

We look a little bit different today - LOL.

Today is for laundry and stopping at the library to pick up a book that came in for me last week.  Other than that, no plans.  Just rest and take it easy.  I'll be catching up with blogs slowly...I do hope that everyone is doing well.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Just About Ready to Go! 4/15/24

 Good Morning My Friends!

How are you and how was your weekend?  Mine was lovely - filled with family, good food, a bunch of chores, but also time to relax.

Saturday morning found me scrubbing bathrooms and washing bath mats and towels.  Just as I finished that, our neighbor Rob came over with home made Focaccia that he had made using his sour dough starter.  Little cherry tomatoes and Kalamata olives on top with tons of herbs - oh my!  A little touch of heaven.

Later in the day Colin was over helping Fletch with some garden stuff.  Mailing showed up a bit later and we ordered out delicious Indian food from a place one of Colin's co-workers had recommended.  So much food.  And so good!  We will definitely order again.

While the boys were working in the garden and before Mailing came over, I found time to finish my latest stitched piece:  Sew Red by IStich.

Stitched on 40 count Woodsmoke linen using one strand of silk thread (Old Maid of the Heart from Vicki Clayton) over two threads.  I'm pleased with the way it turned out.  I think my next piece will be a Quaker style one in yet again a single color.  This is so unlike me!!

Sunday was a day for more chores (that damn kitchen floor is finally clean), laundry and packing.  Tomorrow I fly to NC for a nice visit with my friend Leslie.  I'm the person who can usually be found packing at midnight before an early morning flight.  I don't know what's gotten into me but I'm all packed already (shorts and tees and flip flops mostly - it should be in the 80's while I am there!!).

There was also a bit of time in the afternoon for wandering around the yard.  Our Red Bud has opened!

And our Asian Pear is looking VERY healthy.  I wonder when we will get fruit?  Last year we were worried that it would survive (and it's in a cage because of deer).

And last, but not least, the first apple blossoms have opened!!

Seen, but not photographed:  asparagus is up!  And the rhubarb leaves are already getting to be platter sized.  LOL

It is also definitely tick season - Fletch found one crawling on his leg the other day.  Yuck.  Last night we managed to capture Mabel and get her treated...hopefully it will work.  Speaking of the darling here she is yesterday afternoon while Fletch and I were sitting on the patio.

I know it's the say she is sitting and has positioned her legs, but she is looking a bit widette!!  (Does anyone else remember The Widettes on SNL?  It was around the same time as the Cone Heads.  LOL)

OK, I'm dropping off library books this morning - giving up on The Fox Wife.  I thought I would love it, but I kept falling asleep while reading it.  Despite having read around 100 pages, I can't remember a thing about it.  The book I will take with me is The Seed Keeper which I am loving (and the cover of the paperback is wonderful).  I think that Jane recommended this book.  I will also pick up a few groceries for Fletch to have on hand while I'm away.  

Wishing everyone a wonderful week and I'll see you back here next week!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Another Week


Good Morning my Friends!

Well, it was kind of a wild night - strong winds and heavy rains woke me early.  Luckily I managed to get back to sleep.  I'm happy to be heading into weekend mode.

Yesterday Dee and I got together at Manhattan Bagel for a morning of catching up, sipping coffee and doing a little knitting.  Always a pleasant time.

Wednesday found me taking care of things.  My annual mammogram was at 8:45 a.m.  I'm always on edge before a mammogram - my Mom had breast cancer and my (paternal) grandfather had breast cancer in the 40's.  Weird to hear of a guy having breast cancer.  Both survived, but those two cases, of course, elevate my chances.  Right after the mammogram I had a CT lung scan.  Another thing to have me on edge.  I smoked for decades (since my teens) and only stopped in the last 5-6 years (I can never remember which year).  Because of that, my primary care physician suggested I have a lung scan.  I'm happy to report that both tests had good results.  Amazingly, I had the mammogram results on line within 3 hours of the test!  I had to wait over 24 hours for the lung scan results.  But, the important thing is that all is ok.

Next on the list is an audiologist appointment, but I will wait to make that for a couple of weeks.  By the time I'm finished with that, it will probably be time to start all over again with blood work, eye exam, etc., etc.  Good thing I am no longer working!!  LOL

Wednesday afternoon I had an appointment regarding finances...I want to get my 401K rolled over and there were other things to talk about.  Again all is good and I have another meeting with him at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to prep for leaving town again!!  Without Fletch!!!  Next Tuesday I am flying to NC to visit my best friend for the past 58 years - Leslie.  And, my senior year in college I roomed with Nina.  She and I also shared some apartments after college.  I have not seen Nina in close to 30 years, BUT, she is driving up to Leslie's from where she lives in SC on Friday and will spend the night.  Can't wait to see them both.  

I have gifts to wrap before I go and I need to dig out some summer clothes - it is forecast to be in the 80's when I land in NC on Tuesday!  Naturally I want to clean the bathrooms and do some laundry before I take off and I'll pick up some food so that Fletch does not need to run to the store.

Colin will be over Saturday afternoon to help Fletch with some garden stuff.  I've suggested that Mailing come over too and we can all go out to dinner...still waiting to hear back from the kids on that idea.

Whatever your plans are for the weekend, I hope you make room for some fun.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 4/10/24

 Good Morning All,

Yesterday was an absolutely stellar day weather-wise.  It was in the low 70's with plenty of sunshine until late afternoon when the clouds rolled in.  I think we are due for a couple of days of rain now.  But, it sure was nice while it lasted!

It's Wednesday which means time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk about making and reading.  Not much on either of those fronts was accomplished while we were away.  In the great words of Zhongren, there were to many other "funs."

I did manage to start a sock before we left and that was the only project I took with me.  I managed to knit little bit in the early morning hours.

The 2x2 ribbed cuff is in Wildfoote by Brown Sheep Company.  It is very rustic feeling.  The color way is Goldenrod.  The body is in Backyard Fiberwords which is lovely to knit with and the color is Peat.  I've incorporated a herringbone pattern between some rows of purls.  I made Fletch some socks like this years ago and they have held up well.  The combination of the two yarns is appealing to me.  My guess is that this is the same project I will be taking next week when I fly down to NC to visit my friend Leslie.  That will be another trip with little making accomplished!  LOL

Before we left, I did finish "How to Say Babylon."  A pretty compelling read...not very happy.  It has been likened to "Educated" which I did not like at all.  Babylon is better and much more believable (personal opinion).  The book I took with me last weekend is The Fox Wife but I only managed to read 20 or so pages (too many funs).  I've read a little more, but not much.  It is kind of a strange tale, but so far I am liking it.

Today is a busy day.  I've some medical stuff this a.m. including my annual mammogram and then another appointment this afternoon.  I need to remember to book my rides to and from the airport for next week.  The laundry is all caught up for the moment which is a good thing.

Have a great Wednesday and be sure to check out Kat's blog to see what everyone is making and reading.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Back Home Again 4/9/24

 Hello, Hello!

How are you?  I am doing well.  We are back home again after our weekend get-away with Colin & Mailing and Bonnie & Zhongren.  What a nice time.  We did find out late Thursday that the original house Mailing had booked in Forestburgh, NY had cancelled our reservation!  The storms Wednesday knocked out the power to the house and they were not sure it would be back on by Friday afternoon when we were due to arrive.  Fortunately, AirBnB worked with Mailing to locate another available place.  THIS is where we ended up for the weekend.  A lovely place in Athens, NY (quite a bit further than the original plan - we were just South of Albany, NY).

We drove up with C&M; B&Z Drove separately.  Traffic was a little heavy on the NY Thruway - lots and lots of folks heading North for the Eclipse.  It was a bit damp and grey when we arrived.  C&M cooked dinner the first night - bangers and mash which was delicious.  Colin grilled both bratwurst and andouille sausage; Mailing made the mashed potatoes, peas and green beans.  That first night we opted for a fire inside.

Saturday was still very overcast and pretty chilly.  But after a leisurely (lazy) morning, we drove into town to a nature preserve for a walk.  However it was way too muddy and chilly to be enjoyable, so we continued on into Hudson, NY and went to The Spotty Dog - what a neat place.  Lots of books, great beer and even art supplies in the upper level.  So many of you would have loved this place!

B&Z were on kitchen duty that night and we made dumplings (so many dumplings)!

We also had some Chinese cauliflower and a salad with cucumbers, black mushrooms and rice noodles.  Everything was so good!  Even though everything was still wet and damp outside, C&M managed to get a fire going in the fire pit and we sat out there for a little while before the hot tub was put to good use.

Sunday was another quiet morning.  The sun was shining brightly, so again we headed out after lunch.  We visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and walked around the grounds.  Then we decided to go back into Hudson to explore the town a bit.  For those of you familiar (Bonny & Dee), Hudson is like New Hope was a few decades ago - lots of antique shops, art galleries and fun stores.  My favorite sign spotted on a lamppost:

Sunday night was our night to cook, so we made BBQ Shrimp (New Orleans style) and had Italian bread and a big salad to go with it.  I was stuffed!!

We had another big fire outside and enjoyed sitting around and talking.  Monday we got up and left by 9 a.m.  C&M and we stopped in New Hope for a wonderful lunch (warm enough that we sat outside!!).  We were back at our home in time for the eclipse, but even though we were in the 90% totality spot, it did not really get all that dark.

Mabel survived our going away.  Rob and Eva (neighbors) came over to feed her and let her in and out.  At one point Eva texted me a picture of Mabel and a bag of treats that had been clawed open!!  And when we walked in, we saw that Mabel had apparently been working hard to unroll ALL the paper towels!

Today is all about replenishing food, doing some laundry and general catching up.  I didn't read blogs while I was gone, so I will attempt to catch up on those as well.  I hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 4/3/24

 Good Morning All,

Welcome to soggy Eastern PA.  Oh my!  The rains just keep coming and coming.  All day yesterday and it looks like more of the same for today.  I woke at 4 a.m. (again) to very heavy rain and one long and loud clap of thunder.  Mabel was a bit crazy running around and knocking things over, but I managed to get back to sleep until 6:30 when that girl REALLY got crazy!  LOL. Hopefully all this rain will be good for the gardens and our flowers (though I can see that some of our daffodils have been blown down or knocked down by all the rain).

Anyway, here we are mid-week and it's time to link up with and check in with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk about all the making and all the reading.  Believe it or not, I have a finish!!  Shortie socks are FAST!!

I absolutely LOVE these.  And, they were fun to make.  The yarn is from The Farmer's Daughter Fibers - it is my February Sock Squad yarn.  The two main colors are called "Whatta Gem - Citrine and Amethyst" and the blue is the mini skein (unnamed).  The first sock took me a week to make, but sock #2 was cast on Sunday and the cuff knit.  I picked it up again on Monday and finished it yesterday.  That's a record for me!!  There will definitely be more shortie socks in my future (and what a great way to use up leftovers).  These socks are also where I tried out The Finchley Graft for the first time and it is so easy.  I don't mind the Kitchener Stitch (to me it is almost meditative), but the Finchley Graft is faster (fewer steps).

This morning I will look through the stash to pick out yarn for the next socks...or I will wind the April yarn and use that!  I MUST have a sock project to take when we go away this weekend.  LOL. I'm thinking of taking the Shakerag Skirt too...but that is to be determined.  Space is at a premium since we are driving to our AirBnB with C&M.

As for reading, I am currently reading How to Say Babylon which is the next selection for our Read With Us group.  Last week I said it was just ok...but as I got further into the book it has become more compelling.  Also heartbreaking and disturbing.  This book has been compared to "Educated" (which I read but did not like).  It sure makes me thankful to have been raised the way I was!  I have less than 100 pages left, so I should finish this before we leave for the weekend.  

I've recently picked up a lot of books from the library - many recommended by some of you.  One of the books I saw and took out is The Fox Wife which I think at least one of you read.  It looks good - mixing a mystery with a folk tale or myth.  That may be the book I stick in my bag for the weekend.

Along with choosing yarn for my next sock project, I plan to bake some cookies today to take with us this weekend.  My friend Carol was planning to come up today (to celebrate birthdays and Christmas!!  I have not seen her in a year!), but she has opted not to travel with the yucky weather.  The drive between our homes is a miserable one - Route 95, The Blue Route, the Schuylkill Expressway - not a fun drive in good weather.  Add in rain and wind and it is miserable.  We will pick another day to gather.  Meanwhile, I can put the extra time I now have to good use!

Laundry also needs to be done.  I'm hoping that I don't find a lot of water in our basement!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday 4/2/24

 Good Morning Everyone!

We have a very gentle rain falling outside and it sounds lovely.  I was woken at 4 a.m. by Mabel who wanted the window raised at the back of the bedroom so that she could lay in the windowsill, listening to the rain and listening to the world waking up.  I burrowed back under the covers and was able to stay in bed till 6 a.m. - thank goodness!  By 6 a.m. Mabel was a little insistent on having breakfast or doing something.  It's funny, she will not go outside until it's light out.  And, with the rain today, that will be a later time this morning.

This past week saw a bit more progress on my little Sew Red sampler.  I'm enjoying all aspects of it - the alphabet, the various motifs and the border (which thankfully met up yesterday afternoon).

There is still a bunny, a butterfly, another flower, the date (year) and some other things to be filled in.  That's a lot to pack into a roughly 4" square space!

I will get a little bit more done on it this week, but I've also got some busy days.  We are getting ready to go away for a long weekend with Colin & Mailing and Bonnie & Zhongren.  C&M booked a gorgeous looking AirBnB for the six of us as a Christmas gift.  I've got some baking to do as well as packing and...of course...figuring out what knitting project(s) to take.  And books...and it's a good thing I have not packed away winter clothes, because it will be a little chilly where we are going - 40's during the day, 30's at night.  We are looking forward to some hiking trails and outdoor fires.

Time to pour a second cup of coffee and try to wake up.  I hope your week is going well.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Weekending 4/1/24

 Hello and Good Morning!

How was your weekend?  I hope everyone had a good one and a Happy Easter.

My weekend was nice.  Saturday morning Fletch and I ran some errands including picking up some tulips to take to Colin & Mailing on Sunday and getting some new lettuce (red and green romain) and spinach to go in the cold frame.

Saturday afternoon I sat down and finished the first shortie sock!!  I do love the way it turned out.

I also used a new (to me) technique for closing up the toe.  I used the Finchley Graft (if you have not heard of it, there are multiple YouTube videos showing it).  The hardest part for me was turning the sock inside out because I had already put the last stitches on two needles!  The Finchley Graft was fun and easy to do.  (Sock #2 is underway now.)

Colin had suggested that we come over in time to take a walk before dinner on Sunday, but Fletch had been in the garden planting the lettuce and spinach and it had gotten quite breezy and chilly outside.  Of course, later in the day the winds died and the sun came back out, but we arrived too late for a walk.  Dinner was delicious (ham, pineapple stuffing, green beans, Chinese eggplant) and dessert was very yummy.  Colin had made an Atlantic Beach Pie which is a wonderful cross between lemon meringue pie and key lime pie.  Delicious!!

A sweet ending to a wonderful meal.  After dinner we all went out back for a fire.  Bonus:  we saw the space station fly overhead once again.

We are due for rain today and the next several days.  Sounds to me like a perfect day for being lazy.  I'll get some laundry done, but no other plans.  Whatever you do - enjoy!