TGIF – A Holiday Weekend Edition!

TGIF – A Holiday Weekend Edition!

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!

Thinking about:

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!

Inspired by:

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!

Weekending: In pictures

Weekending: In pictures

Notes on a weekend: I do not consider myself a pie baker, but this recipe intrigued me and 8 cups of frozen raspberries from our garden that I had done absolutely nothing with glaring at me every time I opened the freezer. So, out came the raspberries to thaw a bit while I put mixed the pie crust ingredients together on Sunday morning. My raspberry modifications: 4 C raspberries – slightly thawed. 3 Tbsp corn starch (next time I will only use 2 Tbsp), 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla paste, the juice and zest of one lemon. I needed to bake it about 8 minutes longer than the recipe called for.

Oh, and that corned beef… omgosh, it was hands down the best corned beef I have ever made – or eaten! If you have always felt sort of ho-hum about corned beef… try Andrew Z’s recipe. It will turn you into a corned beef fan!!

My quilt top is almost done! As is the back of Deschain – so you know that means I simply had to cast on a new project, lol. This will be the shawl I am donating to and Close to You won the great pattern debate. I wound the yarn while I watched the NCAA selection show (there were cheers for Michigan pulling a #2 seed despite losing the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan State) and the winding continued while we watched the Circus. But, cast on was achieved before I finally turned off the lights and headed to bed.

And, with that – the weekend is just a warm memory and the mundanity of Monday awaits me! How about you? How was your weekend?

Mindful Monday | 12.10.18

Mindful Monday | 12.10.18

Bonny stirred my interest last week with her review of Fox 8 – luckily my library had it and on Saturday I picked it up with a few other books, including a volume of Ted Kooser’s poetry (Thanks, Honoré!!)

I have been reading and rereading the poems in Delights & Shadows… and they are wonderful! This is a book I have added to my “need to buy” list!

I share some words for thought today from Delights & Shadows:

A Jar of Buttons
by Ted Kooser

This is a core sample
from the floor of the Sea of Mending,

a cylinder packed with shells
that over many years

sank through fathoms of shirts —
pearl buttons, blue buttons —

and settled together
beneath waves of perseverance,

an ocean upon which
generations of women set forth,

under the sails of gingham curtains,
and, seated side by side

on decks sometimes salted by tears,
made small but important repairs.

Happy Monday!

P.S. The Google Doodle is most appropriate – today would be Nelly Sachs’ 127th Birthday. You can read a sampling of her poetry here!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.5.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.5.18

Greetings, Unravelers and Happy September!

I have a finished Strokkur to share with you today however, I think it will be some time before I am wearing this sweater! I loved the construction of this sweater – it had two segments of short rows before and after the colorwork. They raise the back neckline the perfect amount! There is some very subtle shaping in the body of the sweater as well. Ysolda writes a lovely, easy to follow, easy to understand pattern and I look forward to wearing this sweater for a very long time!

August reading ended on a high note and September seems to be following suit!

I finished Glass Houses and A Higher Loyalty. Both were excellent books – each getting 5-stars!

I finished Three Things About Elsie. Oh boy…where to begin with this book? It was at times so very sad. It beautifully addresses aging and memory loss, but it also is about the love and beauty of friendship – friendship that has grown over a lifetime. I recommend this book and I gave it 4 stars.

And, I also finished Donal Ryan’s From a Low and Quiet Sea. This was my first Donal Ryan book, but it won’t be my last! What spectacular writing!! This book starts our feeling like a collection of 3 separate stories and then, almost miraculously, those stories are knit together into one amazing story. This is on the Man Booker Long List and I highly recommend reading it… NOW! 5-stars!

Currently I am listening to The Miniaturist in preparation for the PBS series which will be airing soon! And, I am reading The Master Butchers Singing Club.

What are you making and reading today? If you wrote a post, please leave your link below!

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What I did on my summer vacation…

What I did on my summer vacation…

…or, my five-ish best reads of the summer!

For me, this was truly the Summer of Reading (Thank you, Mary for organizing another amazing Summer Book Bingo!)

This summer hearkened back to the days of my childhood and the joy and excitement that was summer reading. Growing up as a child, we had little money and we did not take vacations, so for me a good book would take me far away!

And, that was how I spent this summer – miles and miles away inside the pages of the books I read. It was a wonderful summer with 50 books and 2 Bingo Cover All’s! But, not all books are equal, and I thought a great way to wrap up the summer would be to highlight 5 books that I don’t think you should miss! And, if you have not read them – these are books that I would urge you to read and soon!

Number one on my list is Warlight by Michael Ondaatje in post-WWII London. I truly loved this story and I loved how Ondaatje told it. His way with words is masterful and his characters are so memorable! I truly hope that this book will win the Man Booker Prize this year. It is most worthy, in my opinion!

My second favorite book of the summer was The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner. This book drew me in from the first page with a line from Derek Walcot’s poem Islands: But, islands can only exist. If we have loved in them. And, so I spent a good number of days on the island Castellamare falling in love with it and the Esposito family. I truly did not want this book to end!

Coming in third was The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. And, yes, I read all three books this summer because spending time in Brakebills and Fillory was so exciting! And, while I thought book two was not quite as good as books one and three, this series has stayed with me and the final book was just amazing and how Grossman wrapped up this series was spectacular and I highly recommend it! (After note… did you know there is a SYFY series about these books?? Yeah, I did not either and you can find seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix)

I was fortunate to be able to fit a good number of Louise Penny’s books with Armand Gamache in Three Pines on my cards (three this summer) and I am going to lump them (The Nature of the Beast, A Great Reckoning, and Glass Houses) together in fourth place. You can never go wrong with Armand!

Finally, I am at the truly hard choice of picking a final book to bring this summer to a close, and I have thought about this long and hard as to which book I will put on this Best of Summer list. It was not an easy choice because I read so many amazing books this summer. But, in the end Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin gets the final spot. And, really… spending time in Paris this summer was not painful at all! This book was so much more than I expected and it made me laugh, it made me cry, and I fell in love with Jules Lacour! This book easily gets 5 stars!!

You can see my entire list of summer reads here. 

Happy Labor Day everyone!

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