Saturday, June 29, 2013

{This Moment} Santa Catalina Island

On flight from LA to San Diego on marathon travel fest. Note: boat.


Linking up with Soulemama

Thursday, June 27, 2013

{Yarn Along} California Style

I decided to try the Hitchhiker and pair it with my Ella Rae Lace Merino. I had lunch in DC this morning and then hopped a plane to the west coast. I'm just now casting on because I was nervous they would take my knitting needles in security but they didn't bat an eyelash. So, even though I should be SLEEPING like all my normal east coast counterparts, I'm knitting and watching The American Baking Challenge and wondering if I could win it. Yeah and we're ignoring the fact that I've started another project without finishing any of them!

Listening to The Union Quilters on audio, and I'm kind of indifferent to it at the moment. The author uses comments that real people wouldn't say. I'll reserve judgment for a bit.


UPDATE - I'm a silly, silly girl. I've stayed up until 1:49am my-time just to get my first "tooth" done on the shawl. Its a good thing this pattern is easy-peasy because this is the slippy-est, tiny-est yarn on the slippy-est, tiny-est needles. Ooomph. I'm waiting for the rhythm to kick in. At least the first tooth looks toothy. Not a good picture but this is MUCH closer to the true color of the yarn than the top picture.

Linking up with Ginny.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Capitol Hill Alpenglow

Missing Julian tonight - its almost like it would have been better to be away 10 days straight without a break in the middle. Anyhow... continuing my trip to four of the top eight US cities. In DC tonight - check out this view. 

Monday, June 24, 2013


Its been a really great visit. I've been here just over 30 hours and will be on the plane again by 10am tomorrow, but I've gotten to see [mostly eat] some really great stuff. Nevermind that it is melt-your-flesh-off hot...

Restaurants to remember:
The Flying Dutchman, outstanding catering
Danton's, get the Campechana and the Bread Pudding
Mark's, this man knows food, get anything with berries or fish

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

{Yarn Along} but not really

Stray kitten under the hostas, mewing. Black and white, you can see him just barely. Flight to Philly today, Houston Friday. Forgot my toothpaste. Homemade chicken fried rice, leftover for Julian. Computer seems to have turned a corner and maybe isn't dying.

Taking The Orchardist and long overdue list of thank you cards, company laptop, forgot a pack of gum. Crafting nothing because I didn't have the wherewithal to pull it together for travel. Joining Ginny and the others, just to share my new book {and my kitten, who, if he is still there by some miracle when I come home on Sunday, shall be named Pippin, as in apple}.

UPDATE *** Made it to Philly. Remembered the gum, forgot the sunglasses. The book has gotten a bit odd on me but still can't put it down. Thanks for a good quiet night at the hotel, but then I wonder, what will I read on the way to Houston?

Monday, June 17, 2013

We shopped victoriously.

We had a great Saturday. It started with yard sales, where we found a few kitchen things, some swivel casters ($.50/ea), and the #3 knitting needles I had been wanting to pick up at the crafts store ($.75). We added to our pres-cut collection with a salad bowl and an additional banana split boat. We stopped by the farmers' market in between places but it was overwhelmingly crowded and not a fun place to be, which is a shame.  Grabbed a few flower pots and a vintage pink depression flower frog ($4, though I should have haggled) and called it a success.

We finished up the yardsales in Fairmont so we took the opportunity to eat at the Poky Dot. My cousin, Casey, waited tables here through her time in college but we never stopped in. Our server had a sicky-sweet twang that made it hard for us to understand what she was saying. Imagine, if the Avon lady were a bee, and she were buzzing in your ear, that was this girl's voice. I hope she grows out of thinking it is cute. We both got burgers and the fries were late in coming so each of us got about two potatoes worth!

Last but not least, we headed to Miller's Greenhouse at the recommendation of a friend, since I've been on the prowl for scented geraniums. Miller's did not disappoint, and I had five varieties from which to choose; we took a lemon and an apple scented. Both are heavenly and at $8+ a piece, I was inspired to come right home and start cuttings.

Friday, June 14, 2013

{this moment} our first peas

{this moment} - Joining Soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


As is our custom, we were browsing the Lowes dead/dying rack for clearance plants a few weeks back. They had bins of clearance bulbs and tubers in plastic packaging, you know how they do. I saw some dinner plate dahlias, three tubers, 75% off original price. I went back and forth over it, knowing I didn't need more plants, feeling like I'd had no success lifting and saving them from year to year. But, since they are my favorite flower, in my favorite flower color, on clearance I bought them.

Because the tubers had put off new growth already but hadn't been exposed to true sunlight, I laid them out in a shady and protected spot in my yard and left them for a few days to acclimate. This weekend, Julian and I had a huge repotting party - I call it a party but it was really just the two of us in the hot and humid weather, repotting everything we could get our hands on to make sure everything is good to go this summer. (We have lots of rose bushes and berry plants in containers that will go with us to the next place, someday.)

While I was knocking around in the garage, I came across two old dried dahlia tubers that I had lifted but never took the time to pack them away. What do you know? They had new growth on them. We potted them up, and my tally of tubers went from 3 to 5.

We also have about 20 amaryllis bulbs that needed repotting as they are getting pretty big - we started them from seed about four years ago and now some of them are finally big enough to bloom. I was running out of pots.

I went up on the uppermost shelf in our garage to grab the last pot that was big enough, and what did I find? Dahlia tubers. I had actually taken care to lift them, dry them, pack them in soil and completely forget about them... and they were growing, right there, on the top shelf of he garage. Dahlia count? We're up to at least 9. I lost count.

Lessons learned:
1.) take the time to lift and prep the dahlias for the coming year
2.) my clearance purchase was not in vain, because now I may have those peachy-apricot colored dinnerplate dahlias in the coming years as well

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

{Yarn Along} Taking suggestions

I'm still reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and liking it but I was sad to read a spoiler on another blog! It's due back at the library tomorrow so I need to wrap it up. I leave for Philadelphia on the 18th, then head to Houston on the 21st, so I'll have plenty of time on a plane for a new book - so I'm taking suggestions.

I have two skeins of discontinued Araucana Nature Wool in this amazing duck-egg colorway. It's 220 meters per skein, bringing me to a total of about 440 meters, 4 ply, medium weight. I love it so much I've been saving it for something special, now I'm having trouble choosing a project since I have a limited amount. I am considering the Casu but I am hesitant to  have the wool right up on my neck. Again, I'm taking suggestions...

UPDATE -  I have finished reading the book. The author had wonderful descriptive language which I enjoyed and kept my interest up throughout. I loved all the characters. It made me reflect on marriage, the secrets that are kept, communication, shared dreams, love, loss. It was very impactful in that way and the loves of each of the marriages portrayed in the book are very special.

Linking up with GSheller and Keep Calm and Craft On.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quilt Quest 2013

Today was a great day. I had to work for about two hours this morning and I planned to leave the office, drive to Clarksburg and meet my Grandmother and two aunts to visit one of the shops on the Mountain State Quilt Quest Shop Hop. When I stopped by the house before hitting the road, Julian suggested he go too and we'd make a day of it.

We met my family about 35 minutes south of here and had lunch at the Bob Evans. They had been shop hopping two days prior and had been to all but three of the 11 shops leaving my hometown shop, the one we planned to visit, and the one in Elkins which was too far out of the way to make it to. Each shop had its own version of a quilt made with 24 blocks and had two block patterns for sale. With each pattern, you got two fat quarters. Each block showcased a part of West Virginia Heritage.

Julian loves covered bridges and I love honeybees. Our state has many covered bridges and the state insect is the honey bee, and both were included in the quilt. BUT - the covered bridge and honeybee blocks we bonus blocks available to those who visited all the shops. I had stopped by my local shop to grab the patterns for the two blocks there, and the Aunts and Grandma had been to every other shop. Just the Elkins shop remained and the bonus blocks - an hour farther away from home.

But, because Julian had come along for the ride, he agreed that the two of us should go ahead and go. We had nothing else to do and we were together, so why not! And we did. I'm happy to report that we had a lovely time AND snagged the much coveted blocks.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mom's Apple Cake

This is a recipe, as you can tell by the name, that my mom has used for years out of an old local cookbook she acquired in Louisville before we kiddos were born. It is baked in a glass 9x13 and gets a caramel icing.

Anna Brown Pottery

A few years ago, when we were still quite new to Morgantown, we spent our anniversary milling around town, going to places we'd never seen, places that were supposed to be tourist-y spots. The winery was terrible. They claimed they offered picnics. When we showed up and wanted to go on a winery picnic, they offered us a wooden board and recommended we buy some salami and cheese from their gift shop cooler. The 'tasting' was more of a 'you pick a random name off our list and I'll let you try it' - like going to the ice cream counter to try-before-you-buy. It was such a disappointment but on the way out the door, we stopped at the brochure rack and found a flyer advertising Anna Brown. Both having an affinity for nice pottery and fearing the day couldn't get more disappointing, we ventured off to parts unknown.

Down a one-and-a-half-maybe lane dirt road on the other side of town, we found Anna Brown at her home, in her garden, working on clay. We were the only visitors and she talked to us until our arms were limp and faces pale. She showed us how she makes each piece, from the slab roller to pressing the herbs, rubbing the pigments in and putting on the glaze. We wandered in her garden for a bit, seeing each of the plants an appreciating their textures anew. The visit transformed our day. 

We have visited her once or twice since then. She never remembers who we are so we get the whole song and dance all over again and that suits me just fine. I have been thinking it was about time to acquire a new piece or two but I decided that today was the day when I saw a fellow blogger's nature study on the Queen Anne's Lace. The pieces are expensive for "dishes" but cheap for "art" and a steal for "heirlooms." Its nice to have something special from this season of our lives.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monocle Man

Julian and I went to eat last night at our new favorite Mexican place, which we discovered after we kept getting stuck with one particularly unpleasant server at the old favorite Mexican place. We walked in and were seated immediately. We were put in a booth with this guy on the wall, and at the same time we both said, "Oh this is my favorite one!" The server grinned as he walked off to retrieve our chips. How can you not love him? He has a certain je ne sais quoi about him and we have named him 'Monocle Man'.

We talked about how it seems everyone has a food blog/cookbook; how I get my feathers ruffled by people who are self professed excellent bakers; the combination of basil and chocolate; other things.

We had our shopping night and I was on the prowl with ready money but nothing wanted buying, it seemed. I hate it when that happens.

On a better note, Sam's Club has some really good melons right now and thanks to learning how to choose them from the best of the best, it seems it may be possible to win Julian over to muskmelons in the end. Only time will tell...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cold food, hot house

Its dark, the day is over. It is 84 degrees inside our house and 74 degrees out. Despite our efforts, nine south-facing windows don't help the cause when the air conditioner is busted. The repairman came back today and said it he had suspected a clog in a part (gee, thanks for not mentioning it yesterday) and that he could fix it for another $500 but not til Monday. We figured if the part couldn't be acquired until Monday and we had two more nights of "camping" in the basement, we would at least take the opportunity to get a second opinion. So it's been a no baking, no cooking, no clothes dryer, no hair dryer, no in-and-out-the-doors kind of day. Very relaxing and good for book reading but also quite handy for shortening one's temper.


Ice Cream Recipe

My standard recipe, to which many additions can be made, is as follows:

2c. 2% milk
2c. heavy whipping cream
1c. granulated sugar
dash salt
2tsp. vanilla extract

Scald milk and dissolve sugar in hot milk. Remove from heat, add cream, salt and vanilla extract. Mix well and chill completely. Freeze according to your freezers instructions, makes 2 qt.

For this batch today, I added:

1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and scalded with milk, then whiz-erated in the blender
2T. lemon jucie