It has been a week my friends. Hard things… so many hard things. So this LONG weekend my plan is to just be gentle with myself.
This year my poppy feels like it looks like this and while it is not quite that amazing, this morning there are 17 blooms open with at least 3 dozen more waiting in the wings! Don’t ask me about the remainder of my garden… it has been a rough winter/early spring in my yard. However, I have become a Master Weed Cultivator! HA!
Here in Pittsburgh, we are so blessed to have Rick Sebak… he is our Local Treasure and loves to bring to light all things Pittsburgh in the very best way. He has a new podcast, Gumbands, and I have listened to the first two episodes and I love them. They are brilliant. If you once lived in Pittsburgh – you will love them. If you ever visited Pittsburgh – you will love them. If you ever contemplated moving to Pittsburgh – you will love them. In other words, you don’t need to understand Pittsburgh or Pittsburghese to get them. He has smart conversations with fascinating people…
This word has been niggling around inside me for the past couple of weeks now. I have been a diligent watercolor student for almost a year now… and yet… stepping outside the lines of the lesson strikes fear into my heart. But my latest class has been all about values… and this has me thinking about the practice of watercolor in entirely different ways! Ways that include trying my hand at paintings that are not “a lesson.” I got a new, larger sketchbook and have been doing a few pencil drawings. My next step is to do some Value Studies and begin the process of taking all that I have learned (it is is so much!!) and making it my own.
Final Friday —
It is the last Friday in May, the start of the long Memorial Day weekend. For me today, I won the battle and purchased some plants to fill a few planters. (Steve thinks buying flowers for planting is the largest waste of money on the planet.) I have some tomatoes that will go into a few containers as well. Nothing says renewal to me than having my hands in the dirt with the hope that what I am planting will grow and flourish. I need some of that renewal badly this weekend.
I hope that your long weekend provides exactly what you are in need of. See you all back here on Tuesday with my May Word update!
My weekend thus far has had a good bit of “making” and weekending activities – there has been planting, and gardening, and grilling, and time with family (or at least phone time!) and friends. I stopped at JoAnn’s and got LOTS of fabric so some sewing is on tap for this grey Memorial Day.
I also created the most wonderful Rhubarb-Thyme Collins! It is so good and so refreshing! And, the rhubarb is in all the farmer markets in my area so if you try this recipe, please let me know! (if you are not a gin fan, I think this would work equally well with vodka, or with no alcohol at all to make a delicious Rhubarb-Thyme soda!)
2 parts Rhubarb-Thyme Syrup (recipe below)
2 parts fresh lime juice
4 parts Dry Gin
Combine syrup, lime juice and gin in tall glass over ice. Stir well to mix. Top with sparkling water and enjoy!
2 Cups rhubarb, chopped (about 8-10 stalks)
2 Cups sugar
2 Cups water
4 sprigs of thyme
Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water in saucepan and bring to boil. Once mixture is boiling, turn down heat to medium and stir occasionally. Cook until rhubarb has softened. Turn off heat, stir in thyme sprigs, and cover. Allow to steep for 7-8 minutes. Strain out to separate the liquid. Cool and refrigerate. The syrup will last about 12 days in refrigerator.
In all my making – I did not want to forget that today is Memorial Day:
On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live. – Eric Burdon
Memorial Day is not only the “Official Start of Summer” or a long weekend filled with planting flowers, gardening, grilling, and spending time with family and friends, (or making!) And while these are all great long weekend in summer activities, Carole has posted a wonderful reminder of what today is really about! Please go and read her words and allow them to wash over you – let them fill you – and hold them in your heart as you go through your day.
I am going to pause today and spend some time thinking about Carole’s speech and about all those who have served and are serving.
Have a very Happy Memorial Day!
The weather forecast seems to be attempting to put the kibosh on a glorious welcome to summer:
But I am not going to let the weather stop me from having a good weekend!
In the plus column – I did indeed get my Charity Shawl completed and blocked! Which means I can ease back into my regularly scheduled knitting – which includes my Marsa Alam and a pair of toe-up socks! I have never knit a pair of socks toe-up so this is an entirely new experience for me. I am not sure how I feel about the process compared to my usual sock knitting method, but I will have a better idea once I have gotten to the heel. I am also a bit concerned about the cast off, but hopefully my typical stretchy bind-off will not fail me!
Sewing! I finished my Rose muslin yesterday. I had made some alterations to the pattern – I shortened the length and I knew I would need to shorten the rise but I was unsure exactly how much to shorten it. And even though I did not quite shorten it enough, it is still a wearable muslin! I used some fabric I got at IKEA a couple of years ago. My original plan was to sew a cushion for the window seat at the top of our stairs, but that never happened and so I thought it would work well for a muslin and it did! The pattern directions are well written and very clear. I tried the pleat option and it was surprisingly easy! I think the gathered front looks nice as well so I will get some fabric this weekend to make another pair. I think these would work with fun prints, linen, and even a lightweight denim! AND!! They are super comfortable and I predict these will be the Pants of the Summer!
Gearing up for:
The start of Summer Book Bingo! That’s right – any book finishes beginning tomorrow can count for a square! I am ON the “Made into a TV series” square with the first book of Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series – A Great Deliverance. I have high hopes for this book as the reviews on Goodreads are stellar! I started it Wednesday night and should easily have it finished this weekend! It is not to late for you to join in as well! Book Bingo makes summer so much more fun!
PatternScout! I love this idea of remaking things and giving them a new life. Also, I really love her pattern suggestions – especially the Burda Knot Front Blouse! And, I truly love her “Monologue” especially this: “This hobby has given me so much confidence…creatively and about my body.” YES, so much yes!!
Fun, fun, fun:
I am going to harvest some rhubarb today and have plans to make a batch of Rhubarb-Thyme Syrup. This will come in handy as an addition to some beginning-of-summer-inspired cocktails this weekend – I am thinking about something new with gin. Stay tuned – I will share the recipe next week!
That’s all I have for this week – have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend and I will see you all back here next week!
…First weekend of summer!
Where has May gone? I mean really! Next week is June? What!?
Start your Knitting – Summer Knit-Along kicks off tomorrow! And, because rules are really not much fun – it is a go at your own pace, knit what you want to knit, make your own rules Knit-Along. And if you want to start today – go for it! If you started last week, good for you, if you are not starting until next week – perfect! No stress…really!
Hopefully, you have a good book queued up because if Book Bingo starts tomorrow – and books you are reading now count, as long as you don’t finish until tomorrow! I have Moby Dick in a hold pattern to finish tomorrow! Great way to start Book Bingo, right? If you don’t have a card, or you are not sure you want to have a planned summer of reading, I will borrow some sage advice from my dear friend Carole – it’s your bingo card, so your rules! And, you might want to add something from Bill Gates Summer Book List.
Now, my summer knit along always includes a cocktail on Friday’s so I will occasionally share one here (but I will always share one in the Ravelry group!) And, today seems like the perfect day to do that! And, what better to usher in summer than some gin! This Cucumber Basil Gin and Tonic looks so good (I have no elderflower liqueur in the house, so mine will be made without however if you have it, use it! And, my gin choice for this one – Hendrick’s!)
There you have the makings for the perfect start of summer weekend – knitting, reading, and a beverage!
Now, how about some links?
- In the “not knitting category” but absolutely linkworthy: Trump Snooze
- This pattern will be released on Monday, and it looks very intriguing!
- Lorilee Beltman has a new mitten pattern! Because, mittens and summer – right? LOL Well, perhaps you want to start your gift knitting!
- Why don’t I have a little black shawl? Perhaps I am kicking something off my list to add this…
- Mint Latte – shawl construction FTW!
- In the Free, but wait, it’s cute too category: Hibiscus
- Freer (wait what…lol – for some reason Grammar check did not like “More Free”) and even cuter: Spots & Stripes
- In the “looking for another country” category for those of us on embarrassment overload here in the US – OH CANADA (and, wait for it… it’s free too!)
- Saltmeadow – simple, but stunning. (And, Gale’s photos!!)
- Now, this might be perfect if you want to knit new projects this summer – Happiness Make Along (it starts June 1st!)
- And, finally: TUK which is so cute! Every grandchild needs one!
Now, have a fantastic weekend. I will see you back here on Monday!