Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Now I Get It!

I was quite a sight to see last night...sitting in bed with several knitting books, knitting ephemera, pattern printouts, and the laptop in my lap trying to discern this complicated (to me) paragraph in the sweater pattern. The good news is that once I figured out what the pattern was trying to tell me, the actual knitting was super easy. "Transferring to waste yarn" simply meant slip the stitches from one needle onto an extra piece of yarn instead of the other needle. This will "save your stitch spots" for later when it's time to use smaller needles to add sleeves (duh, makes total sense in hindsight). 
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I hope this inspires you to give something new a try. If I can figure it out you can too--and if you choose knitting and need help from someone just a few steps ahead just send me an email or comment. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yay!!!

Hurray! Word must have gotten out into the bird community about my pouty post from the other day.  We got an adorable family of red-winged black birds (I looked them up) on our feeder this weekend--and they're a family of three to boot! Poetic, no? 
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In knitty news, after some exercise and evening chores (a.k.a., slight avoidance) I am sitting down to tackle the very scary section of Amelia's sweater pattern. For better or worse, I'll show you what comes of it tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wild and Precious

It's all done--my submission to Melissa Crowe's Embroidereading Contest. This took quite a bit of time...true, I did work on it in snippets here and there, but in culmination it feels as thought I have been working on this forever. I am calling it Wild and Precious. 
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I have checked out a few of the other contestants and the competition is stiff! Too bad it's not done by community vote or I would be humbly requesting your participation ;)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekend Agendas: Lesson Learned

We had very high expectations for today: find a cool (and inexpensive) backsplash facade for our too-dark kitchen and maybe hit a few furniture consignment shops. Well, after several fruitless back-and-forth trips between hardware stores, home stores, home, and back out it was 2:00 p.m. and we were all tired, cranky, and coming up empty. 
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In an attempt to preserve the productivity of the day, since the laziness of the day was long over, we did take care of the lawn and wash cars. The house remains a mess but I am too weary from the day to think about it. Lesson learned: our weekends are for relaxing and hanging out--an agenda rife with expectation is sure to backfire!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Jason!

Happy birthday to my wonderful, smart, funny, strong, handsome, romantic, handy, resourceful, and silly "boy." I love you :). 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For Kelsey: Definitely, Maybe

Our good friends are having a baby girl any day now! For the last good bit, this baby was set to be named Kelsey. Hence the very personalized art below: 
Now it appears that this precious bundle may or may not be named Kelsey after all...silly me for jumping the gun (this was a gift!). SO...if this wee one's name IS Kelsey and/or something with six letters in it we are solid. If not, then I will be cutting out some fresh circles and someone else with a six-letter name can enjoy a very pretty mixed media piece!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Caterpillar Business

I nearly ran face first into this very busy cluster of fuzzy caterpillars! I was so glad that they were still there the next day when I brought the family (and the camera) back for this most interesting sight. And now for a not-so-subtle transition into other kinds of caterpillar business, namely...The Custom Caterpillar. 
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Back-to-school has me a little behind, but trust that I have a few goodies to show here beginning tomorrow. All four items are custom order mixed medias, but remember that if you see anything you like and would like tweaked just for you let me know! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

For the Birds...In Theory

We've been on the lookout for an inexpensive yet cute-looking bird feeder for some time now...one that we can hang just outside the living room window for easy visual access to adorable birds. We even bought the special food for "colorful birds" in hopes that we could expand our backyard bird crew (which currently consists of two noisy and fearless doves and one mockingbird). 
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Well, it has been three full days and there has been nary a bird in sight. Is it possible that they are still up north in their summer homes? Even our own backyard birds have snubbed it (maybe they are offended that we bought such uppity food?).  Who knows!? 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Delightfully Bored

After a very hectic back-to-school week for all of us, we were on a mandated family weekend: no scheduled events nor special chores outside the norm of yard, laundry, and grocery. The oppressive heat kept us indoors for most of the time...eventually cabin fever set in. Amelia and I headed off to the craft store in search of a wooden pirate ship for her to paint (we had seen them before). Once all was prepped and ready for Amelia, we grown-ups decided to grab brushes and get in on the fun. It turns out that family painting, complete with near misses and twister-like position changes, is great fun for all!
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PS: Here is a delightful and funny post about the beauty of Mason jars (you can see one of ours is hard at work up there!). 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Barefoot Sunday: Cinnamon Honey Butter

This week's Barefoot Sunday recipe was chosen under rather unglamorous circumstances:
   a) We are pretending it's fall--cinnamon is a must (even more on that later this   
       week). 
   b) I had all of the ingredients already. 
   c) Said ingredients did not require heating up the kitchen with the oven.
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The resulting Cinnamon Honey Butter was quite tasty. We buttered up some multigrain bread as an afternoon snack while I made dinner (grilled cheese and salad in case you're nosy ;).  We were very hungry, so you will see that there are some bits of visible butter in there because I was too impatient to wait any longer for perfect room-temperature consistency. Oh well! It was just for us anyway and it was very yummy no matter the visible butter bits. Say that three times fast!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sweater In Progress

Here's a little photographic progress report on Amelia's sweater. I got about an inch further today, which is exciting and a little daunting as I am rapidly approaching the very intimidating part of the pattern. It's a full-on paragraph that I simply do not understand, full of the knitting jargon and abbreviations that prompt me to scour knitting books and youtube for guidance. But scour I will, people, because I am going to make this sweater [insert determined facial expression here...and maybe a fist pump into the air]. ;) 

Friday, August 20, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. - Soulemama

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Frogging

What's frogging, you might ask? It's a rather adorable term for a rather unfortunate knitting circumstance: unraveling your work because you have messed up royally somewhere along the way. It's called frogging because you have to "rip it, rip it" and start again (from where you erred or from the beginning).  
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The photo above is of the complete frogging of Jason's hat. If I were being honest with myself, I would admit that something didn't feel quite right from the start. Perhaps the tension wasn't right or maybe the needle was too small. It wasn't until yesterday's fatal error of working it backwards and generating a huge hole that the frogging officially commenced. 
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My thoughts? I'm just glad it wasn't the sweater ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten!!


Today was Amelia's first day of kindergarten--she was overjoyed to finally be a kindergartener! She shot out of bed and was so excited to get dressed and ready for her big day. As per tradition, via my family and now our family, we went out as a family for dinner and ice cream to discuss the first day's fun (no official talking about it until we are all together!). I am happy to report that she had an amazing day full of adventure, fun, and learning. And now we rest!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School = Autumn...Because I Say So

Despite the fact that it is quite literally breathtakingly hot and humid outside, I am declaring it Autumn. Because when I think of back-to-school time (Amelia's first day of kindergarten is tomorrow!!) I think of shiny red apples and warm cardigans and a wee nip in the air. Which is nothing like my upbringing in Key West by the way...perhaps that is why I am slightly obsessed with seasons and places where they occur. Anyhoo... just for my own sense of fun I purchased the most autumn-inspired grocery flowers I could find as well as a Whole Living magazine with a big, red apple on the front and a new book with sweater-clad people atop crunchy leaves. That's a start. This weekend I am thinking of going all out and baking something with cinnamon in it--wild, I know ;)  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Find Your Place of Peace...Then Go There

Sparing you the details, I will say that some events this weekend left me feeling out-of-sorts and generally emotionally icky. Luckily such things were limited to the early weekend, so Sunday was available for a do-over. Through this process of blogging and blog-reading I have learned so much about what brings me joy; a sense of peace and quiet in my soul. It took a few hours of preparation but by Sunday's early afternoon I was just where I wanted to be: baking blueberry muffins with Amelia with the hum of the dryer in the background (fresh sheets!), fresh flowers bunched on different tables, and a basket of books and knitting waiting for me on the couch. All was right with the world again. I hope this post inspires you to find what fuels your soul and then inspires you to carve out some time to do it. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Barefoot Sunday: Caramelized Shallots

Some history: a few years back Jason gave me a beautiful oven-safe All Clad saute pan (the kind recommended by Ina herself!).  It's taken me three years to do it--today I finally put that pan in the oven (it is oven-safe after all)! The Caramelized Shallot recipe calls for sauteing the shallots in butter and sugar first, then adding red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan, and finally roasting the whole kit and caboodle in the oven for 15 minutes or so. We thought they were quite tasty...but there are some notables to mention: 
1) When you add the vinegar to the pan, stand back! And turn the vent on! And maybe shield your eyes while you stir ;)
2) The shallots were yummy paired with baked chicken and mashed potatoes: 
3) Beware that the completed meal is a tad on the rich side, so be sure to plan for a lighter dessert:)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Very Best Studio Mate

I have the very best studio mate in the world. As I work at the desk she is behind me, doing artwork of her own or playing with her toys as I listen to the musings of her vast imagination (I think she sometimes forgets I am there and un-shyly lets her imagination run wild). I can think of no better creative space!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ahh...Weekend

I had a lovely week...yet I meet Friday night with joy and relief, wearing my pajama pants at 7:30 p.m. (I know. I am a party animal ;). I wish all of you a blissful beginning to your weekend. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ladies: Grab Your Mowers!

A few years ago I saw my neighbor (a work-outside-the-home-mom) mowing the lawn. My first thought was, "Seriously?! Is there nothing that we women don't feel we need to take on?!" Then I thought about how my neighbor was really smart and cool so there must be something to it.
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Ladies: there is something to it. Imagine a chore where you can put on your headphones (or earbuds ;) and blast out your favorite tunes while totally tuning out the world. Imagine still a chore that stays done at least for a few days, unlike the beastly laundry and dishes which perpetuate while you are still working on them. It's satisfying indeed. Plus, it's cardio. Need I say more?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two at a Time

Whilst I work on Amelia's Tiny Tea Leaves Sweater I will also be knitting toward a winter hat for Jason. My first hat attempt came out okay enough...enough to be in Amelia's dress-up chest and nowhere else ;). The process taught me a lot, though, so I am ready to try again with the same pattern tweaked to my liking. Working on more than one project keeps it fun and exciting and I read somewhere that it is good for your hands and wrists to vary the motions now and again. I'll keep you posted on progress!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Burnin' the Midnight Oil

It's getting busy around here! I have a few pieces in the works--all mixed media for now--with deadlines: baby due-date deadlines. To help me burn the midnight oil I set an old mirror atop the studio desk in an effort to get some light in there. It will do...for now. 
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In some fabulously exciting news, Cupcake Chic has sold and is currently on its way to be a part of a new big-girl room for Leah (thanks Beth!). That's sale #4...and I am absolutely counting ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Wild Work In Progress

I am working here and there on my Embroidereading Contest entry. In a nutshell, it's a fun little contest by Melissa Crowe (Checkout Girl) based on poetry and word stitchery. Thank goodness you are allowed to use quotes from actual poets--I did a few rough drafts and they were...shall we say...awful. Luckily I stumbled on this fabulously lovely line from one of Mary Oliver's poems: 
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Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
With your one wild and precious life? 
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Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. 



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Barefoot Sunday: Ice Cream Bombe

Ta da! It's the Barefoot Contessa's Ice Cream Bombe from Barefoot in Paris. Well, kinda. We decided to use a different combination of flavors while practicing the skill of making it (as you can see I need a little more practice before this recipe is guest-worthy). 
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To make one of your own all you'll need is three different ice cream flavors (ones that you think would complement each other taste-wise and color-wise), plastic wrap, and a set of three nesting bowls. I wanted to make a small bombe since it's just the three of us, so I used Amelia's stackable snack bowls, which necessitated only 1/2 to 2/3 of a pint of each flavor. All it takes is a process of softening, smoothing out, and re-freezing a few times--which is really easy to squeeze in amongst other kitchen duties through out the day. Slicing required a knife run under hot water, but once it was served it hit the spot :)
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PS: This time we tried lemon-strawberry-vanilla. I'm thinking of perhaps a chocolate layer next time...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Late Summer Salsa II

I made more of my most favorite doctored-up salsa today. I love it so much that it was one of my earliest posts. I wanted to reprise it this sweltering summer...we love to eat it with scoop-shaped tortilla chips and beverages of one kind or another ;). 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thank Goodness for Popsicles

Not to be overdramatic, but we are melting down here: temperature readings at 95 degrees + high humidity = 110 degree heat index. Yuck! I took this homemade Gatorade popsicle outside only to get a good picture...beyond that we are holed up in the house, and in today's case the movie theater, where it's at least bearable. I must say that popsicles have really been hitting the spot and have created a child-friendly way for Amelia to stay hydrated. 
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PS: I found these popsicle sticks at Michael's. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pink Pictures from Miami

I certainly did not inherit my black thumb from my dad. Here are pictures from my parent's backyard in Miami. I did crop them for interest, however I think it's important to note that I did not mess with the color saturation at all. Those flowers really are those colors. The bottom one is my favorite :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi

I am a sucker for precious white cardigans on little girls--Amelia gets one (from the store) every fall so that we can cart it everywhere and add and remove as necessary through to spring. When I saw Madeline Tosh's Tiny Tea Leaves pattern I swooned. It is just so...darn...cute.
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I found some soft white yarn with a hint of sparkle to satisfy both my need to have the sweater match everything and Amelia's need to be fabulous. I am about five rows in and have already had to google and youtube a few things, as well as try to resist the urge to hurl the whole thing across the room in frustration, but I shall knit on!
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It's a good thing "fall" doesn't start here until after Thanksgiving ;)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hair-Raising Headband

A while back I subscribed to a cool knitting e-letter called The Yarn Players. They send me emails with fun and interesting (and free) patterns. My first newsletter included a pattern for this super adorable headband called The Hair-Raising Headband. As soon as I saw it I grabbed the yarn I had on hand and set to work because A) I could practice my new skill of purl stitching and B) I have the same hair-do as the girl in the picture (and I am only half-kidding about that reason ;). 
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The band is the same width all the way around, which causes that bizarro hair bump thing at the nape of the neck if you wear it with your hair down...SO I have decided to experiment with knitting increases and decreases to create a tapered band. I'll let you know how it goes!!
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PS: Taking a picture of your own headband is a little tricky!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rested

Hello! I hope this post finds you well (or possibly at all, given my hiatus;). After preparing for, and presenting, both the week-long art camp and the trunk show I was feeling very droopy. Spending the week being taken care of by my family and hanging out with friends at awesome concerts was quite restorative. So I am back in the swing of things!! This week's posts will center on two completed knitting projects plus two in the works, some beautiful garden pictures from my parents' house (like the belladonna above), and the beginnings of another craft contest entry. 
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As I like to say, superfun!!!