Monday, October 17, 2011

Just a Day of Tea and Crochet

The day was perfect.  Sunshine, blue skies...

Geraniums in bloom...

Green tea and golden Oreo cookies (double stuff, of course). 
Confession:  Okay, so I really had five cookies.  Who can eat just two?

And giving myself a crochet 'workout' to burn those Oreo calories.  My pink ripple blanket goes on and on (first posted here).  I'm calling it Forever and a Day because that's how long it will be before
I'm finished with it.

Hope you find some time to do something you love :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

On My Nightstand

For me it was one of those rare evenings...
Dinner cooked, eaten and dishes cleared,
The boys hunkered down in their rooms playing video games doing homework,
hubby downstairs, happily at one with the sofa and TV,
doggies fed, walked and settled in.

Oh too good to be's 8:00pm and I can happily retreat to my comfy bed with a cup of tea and a good read.  I love these moments to myself.  It's one of those quiet joys in life :-)

On my nightstand:
Notebook to jot down all those yarn projects I will start someday
The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
A Japanese crochet book
Cottage Style by Country Living Editors
A rose-scented candle

Good night!  Hope you enjoy some "you" time :-)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Autumn Apple Cake

I didn't bake so much this past summer, but Fall is here and the oven beckons.  A new recipe for apple cake is the one that really called out to me (and my tummy).

The recipe was borrowed from Marcus Samuelsson out of House Beautiful magazine.

Apple Cake
12 servings (really 8 if you like generous slices)

2 Tbls unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temp, plus more for greasing the pan
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 tsp confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and coat with the bread crumbs.

Toss together the granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Set aside.

Peel and core the apples, then slice one apple into 16 wedges.  Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture in a medium bowl.  Add the apple wedges and toss to coat.  Roughly dice the remaining apple.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and remaining sugar mixture on medium speed until light, fluffy, and lemon-colored, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and mix until combined.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and baking powder.  Slowly add the half-and-half and mix until combined.  Fold the diced apple into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Arrange 14 of the apple wedges fanned along the outer edge and place the two remaining wedges in the center.

Bake 35 - 40 min, or until center is golden brown.  Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely.  Run a small offset spatula around the edges to release the cake from the pan and remove the springform.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

*Best things about this cake*
Only 2 apples needed which makes peeling manageable!
All ingredients are standard pantry/kitchen staples.
Delish with tea or coffee.

Happy Autumn baking :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Almost Autumn

Techinically it's still summer, but today's weather hinted at the coming days of Autumn.  Living in a coastal climate, the days start with some morning fog, clearing to an afternoon of glorious sunshine.  Many summer days start this way as well, but there's a distinct coolness in the air that whispers a change in season.

  A new hydrangea flowering bud ready to greet Autumn days.

The same hydrangea plant with a flower that has been in bloom since Spring.  Still going strong. 

Same for my potted rose still a-bloom.  I expect one more burst of buds all around through the Fall.  And a continued battle with the bugs that love my roses just as much!

15 years ago we planted a row of poplar trees.

They now tower about 25 feet tall.  The rustling of the leaves signal cooler days ahead.  It's an incredibly peaceful sound.  I love to just be still and listen.

Enjoying it all with a cup of tea and crochet out on the picnic table...and determined to finish this granny blanket before the official onset of Autumn.  I've got 2 days!

Enjoy the rest of your week :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hendry's Beach

So long Summer 2011, it was lovely.  Kids back to school and Labor Day holiday marking the end of another summer season.

Hendry's Beach is nearby and it's a place we love.  Many warm summer weekend afternoons spent here when the boys were younger.  L enjoyed boogie boarding with friends while G stayed out of the water and busied himself creating sand structures.

More recently, visits here are simple walks alone... to reflect, appreciate... and to exercise!

Like a few days ago when these photos were taken and the marine layer was thick.  Not to worry though, the sun breaks through eventually and by late afternoon it's a perfect summer day.

Enjoy your week :-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Sunshine is one of those "happy" words, don't you think?  Well that's how I felt when my blog buddy from Vietnam, Lovestitch, sent some sunshine my way!  I'm sure many of you are already familiar with her sweet blog filled with gorgeous crochet inspiration.  If not, head over there because she's a gem.

LS, thanks so much for thinking of me! 
Guess what?!  I thought of you as well last weekend when we had the most delicious meal at our local Vietnamese restaurant.

A plate of fried tender calamari over rice.  Also a plate of fresh shrimp spring rolls that disappeared before I could snap a photo!  The wonderful characteristic of Vietnamese cuisine is the fresh, crisp quality of the ingredients and flavors.  It never feels heavy, but really light and healthy.  Oh so delicious!

Okay I've stalled long enough.  If you've read this far, I guess I must now tell a few things about myself in the spirit of the award.
  • I recently started hoola-hooping for exercise.  An amazing thing happens when I pick up that hoop...I'm 10 years old again!
  • I'm addicted to that Words with Friends iPhone game app.
  • I love cheeseburgers, but haven't eaten one in over a year.
  • My idea of a great time would be watching an old Bette Davis movie with a crochet or knitting project in my hands.
I'm supposed to pass along the award, but please forgive me, this time I'm going to decline.  I've seen a number of awards making the rounds - and all are so well deserved!

Before I sign off, I leave you with one last image...the loveliness on my desk today.

Some gardenia cuttings from Ms. A.  Three little flowers that fill the room with its lovely scent.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your week with sunshine and flowers :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Playing Hooky

Shhhhhh.  A couple days last week I played hooky from work.  Just blasted an email to my co-workers saying I had some things to take care of at home.  Little do they know these "things" happen to be of a hooky nature, hehehe.  Sure I feel a little guilty...but it will pass. 

  Given that no one from the office knows about my blog, and that 90% of the staff is male and have absolutely zero interest in crocheting, chances are no one will discover my ulterior motive.  However, I must qualify that with the fact that their wives and girlfriends make up a majority of my knitting club!  They don't know my blog address yet, so I think I'm safe for the time being.

Needed to do some stash busting, so I did what a hooker usually does...start a granny blanket.

I chose a rectangle granny pattern from the Lion Brand website, but became confused and ended up having to figure it out on my own by studying photos of other rectangles.  There are a couple different methods, but the pattern that matches mine closely is probably this this one.  Once that first row is done the rest is a breeze.

Crocheting round after round after round in my favorite outdoor chair.

Growing nicely into what will be a massive granny.

I think it may even grace our picnic table this summer as a tablecloth.

Ahhhh...playing hooky is my kinda day.
Have a great weekend whatever you do :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Noro Newbie

I had heard of Noro quite a while ago and then saw it at my local fancy yarn boutique.  I held it, squeezed it and mooshed it in my was quite nice.  Until I saw the price for one skein.  Nicey, but pricey... never mind, Noro could wait.

That is until last summer when I decided to pop into the same fancy yarn boutique one day.  The lovely store owner pointed out to me the small clearance section in the back.  Lo and behold, way down at the bottom, hidden by piles of skeins, was a full bag of 10 skeins of Noro Taiyo in the same dyelot.  $50 for all of it.  Ooohhh what a deal :-)

So here I am a year later, knitting with Noro for the first time and enjoying it immensely. 

The fiber is a combination of cotton, silk and nylon.  Despite the Fall/Winter-ish colors, it's actually lightweight and comfortable to knit with during these warm days of Summer.

It's fun to see the striping take place...and the funky colors don't really know what you're going to get.

The plan is a poncho...basic stockinette stitch in a rectangle layout, then sewn up the sides leaving an opening for your head.  Or it may become a simple wrap.  We'll see what it feels like when all is done...

Have a great end of the week!  Maybe you'll discover something new to try :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7174 Miles / 11,546 Km

That's how far this little package traveled.  Over the big blue Pacific Ocean from Terrie in Hong Kong to my humble abode in California.  Terrie had a giveaway and it was my lucky day!  I won this lovely little Nuno felt bag that she made.  Once you peruse Terrie's blog, you'll see that she's a very crafty lady, who at the moment is crazy about Nuno felting.

Everything about this bag is handmade, including the flowers.

Thanks, Terrie, for such a sweet handmade gift!

Back soon with some crochet and knitted things in progress.  In the meantime, hope you're all enjoying summer :-)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Long, warm days.  Kids out of school.  Picnics.  BBQs.  Flip flops.  Full blooms.  Summer fruit.

 Never mind the bugs...

Happy first day of Summer :-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pink Obsession

Thank you so so so much for your kind words on my last blanket.  Your comments are a joy to read!

Lately, anything with a pink hue is catching my eye.  I can thank Blogland for this...there seems to be a lot of posts about 'pink' lately and I'm happily being sucked in.

Case in point.  I love to scour thrift and antique shops whenever I can and recently was able to steal away for an hour to browse through one of my favorite antique collectives.  Within 15 minutes I found this set of little pink French cups.

To make sure I wasn't being completely impulsive, I wandered around the shop a little more...

And came back for a second look...

The third time around I knew they were coming home with me.

So here they filled with mini-roses

Overflowing petite pink posies

These dainty cups are dotted around my work spaces at home...

One next to my pink ripple in progress...

Another one on my desk as I jot down notes for a crochet pattern I have in mind...

And one last look before saying good night.

I LOVE these cups.  They are of no practical use except to sit there looking pretty.  My little indulgence.  I think I needed to post something pink and pretty to give me a lift today.  It was either this or my chocolate obsession.

I hope you enjoy a little indulgence this week :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spring Blanket for Ms. A

I started this little granny blanket back in January as a birthday gift for my friend, Ms. A, who turned 50.  A master knitter and needlepointer, her life is full raising 5 kids ranging in age from 9 - 21 years.  She lost her first child tragically, but managed to go on with life and has brought up a beautiful family.  She's amazing and I respect and adore her.

So this little lap blanket was a pet project of mine, but I kept getting distracted along the way, starting other projects mostly!  Finally finished it this past week.

The humble beginnings back in January.

Continued to grow, using the join-as-you-go method.

72 total squares of Lucy's Summer Garden Granny Square

A 12-row border of granny stitches.  I've done this on 3 blankets now.  I think I like the way it 'frames' the group of granny squares.

The yarn is Patons Canadiana, 100% acrylic, and so soft to the touch.

The final edging was one row of single crochet followed by a simple picot.

I'm calling it the 'Spring Garden' blanket because it took me all of Spring to make it.

Well folks, thanks for popping by today.  I'm off to get the dogs to the groomer, pick up groceries and flowers, and clean house like mad because my Mom is coming to visit!  She's a neat-freak so I always feel compelled to have everything in its place when she comes.  I don't want to get that 'look' from know the one...where all is said with that dreaded 'look'!  I'm forty-something, have a wonderful family and life, and still want my Mom's approval!  Hmmm...come to think of it, my kids know that look all too well.

Have a good weekend :-)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembrance...and Ripples

To those who served and died for our country, I send gratitude for their duty on this Memorial Day.  My father served during WW II and my husband's father served in Korea and two tours in Vietnam.  They've physically left us, but never will our family forget.

A couple weeks ago I began a new project - my first ripple blanket.  It has been on my wish list forever and I got a mean bug to just do it!

My selected colors from Lion Brand in my favorite basket.


Had to get that requisite photo of the stash before starting!

After looking at a few ripple patterns, I went with Lucy's because in the end I just liked it and it's easy.  I'm about 20 rows in and completely love the feel of it.  This one's going to be all mine :-)

We face a busy week of ceremonious activities for end-of-the-school-year, yippee!  Oh, and I started a knitting/crochet club, double-yippee!

Until next time, have a good first week of June.  The countdown to Summer begins :-)