Toes in the water AND sand

Sorry for the silence around here.  We scooted down to the Outer Banks for a long weekend.

I was asked for a photo of sandals in the sand, but the weather was just about perfect on Sunday, for early spring.  The feet and legs belong to one really sweet young lady who was down there with my brother inlaw and his family.

Sadly, Sunday was the only day we set foot on the beach.  Saturday was perhaps the coldest, windiest day I’ve spent at OBX.  Monday, it rained harder than I’ve seen it rain before, so hard we couldn’t even see the ocean.  (No, I’m not kidding.)  Yesterday started out with rain, but the sun came out to dry everything out before we headed home.

Not all was lost though.  My spindle and I spent some time together (another post for another day), I knitted and knitted, I read, and we did have a fine meal with said brother inlaw and his gals. 

Saturday night, we went to Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe.   BIL and I shared a bottle of Biltmore Estate Century White Wine.   I would rate it sweeter than the link shows, but it was truly an outstanding bottle of wine.   I also had the local oysters lightly fried, the sweetest sweet potato ever (brown sugar maple butter did the trick), tasty beets and cornbread.  However, the key lime pie very well could have been the best I ever ate.

We also had a great dinner Sunday night at La Fogata, a local Mexican place.  It seems to get mixed reviews, but we enjoy authentic Mexican and are rather demanding when it comes to good service, and we thought the food was good and the service, outstanding.

I have more photos that I’ll share over the next few posts, but I really have to thank my brother inlaw and his gals for walking the fur-girls on Sunday so that I was free to take photos.  (Gretchen is in front the trio of humans in the distance… trust me.)

So, what have you been up to?

Summer Lovin’ Colors?

Yes Vera, there is summer lovin’ in those colors.  (Anyone else doo-wappin’ to the song from Grease?)

Night & Day –  (I’m not linking to each of the colors in this post, because Vera’s changed their format and I can’t find a better page than the one above to show all the colors.  From there, you can move about her site at your leisure.) 

If Sissy wasn’t in my life, or if I was a stricter dog-ma who enforced manners and insisted that her slimey-mouthed hound kept her head off of my handbags, I’d likely have to have a nice little bag in this fabric.  I mean, what’s more traditional summer elegance than black, white and floral?  However, Sissy is in my life and does shove her head into my bags when it suits her, so I’ll just have to sigh and admire this fabric in the stores, when my hands are clean.

Make Me Blush –  Be sure you look at this one up close, on Vera’s website before you get excited.  I love the secondary color here, but as noted above, too much white is a deal-breaker for me for regular use, even inside a bag. 

The photos of the actual bags in Make Me Blush have the grey in the background really dominating the scene, for me anyway.   While I love the pinks, PANK, purple and greens, this one too will be staying in the store from what I can tell on the monitor.

I was hoping to view these new colors in person before I shared my opinions, but that just hasn’t happened.  The last two sets of new colors by Vera have been significantly different in person, so I don’t want to hear it if I do end up purchasing something in a fabric I said I didn’t like!

Call Me Coral – I think this is my favorite of the newest colors.   I really do want to see this one in person.  I also like the secondary fabric, and wish there was more of the turquoise in the main fabric.  Will the coral be too much “in living color”?  Maybe, but I like all the colors in the fabric, so this one will tempt me at least until I see it in person.

As with Make Me Blush, the whole bags in this fabric on Vera’s site look a little different than the swatches shown here.  If they are Pepto pink, that will definitely change my opinion.

Simply Violet – Frankly, I wish Violet wasn’t so simple.  I’d like something a little more exciting than the ho-hum, over-done over the ages paisley.  Yet again, even the secondary color appeals to me more than the primary.  The bags I’ve viewed on the website remind me of vintage Vera, of which I already have plenty. 

I know, there’s no pleasing me.  I gripe when the new fabrics are too splashy and/or trendy, and now, I’m moaning and groaning because this one’s too old school.  Sissy thinks she should get a tote in this color for her personal use, but I don’t see that happening.  Yeah, it’s pretty close to her signature color, but my pandering to her DIVA ways does have its limits.

What say you?  We had quite a few differences of opinions with the spring colors, but none of you (that I recall) have noted that you have actually PURCHASED any of the spring colors.  (Link to my review of the spring colors) 

How was your weekend?  I apologize for worrying a few of you with my delay in posting today.  I assure you all is well, and later tomorrow or Wednesday, we’ll catch up, okay?  In the meantime, tell me what you did with your weekend, and whether or not your Monday has almost been washed out.

Finally Friday

As a general rule, time flies.  However, this week has DRAGGED on, even with Amy‘s fun visit yesterday.  (Do see her post for cute sheep and more…)  Nevertheless, it IS Friday, and the weekend will not be a wash-out!

Some of you will be disappointed to learn that I don’t have any fibery goodness to share.  However, I do have a couple of little finds to mention.

I can’t tell you how much I love this design!   It’s a notecard by  Take It Personally.   Do poke around her site…  I see lots of other cards I’d love to have…

I also couldn’t resist these millefiore stitch markers.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am always drawn to millefiore glass.   I believe these were made by a Stony Mountain Fibers employee…   They’re definitely larger than life on my monitor, but I wanted you to be able to see the millefiore!

What do you have planned for your weekend?   We’re looking forward to time with the Knight’s brother and his family, and I plan to get some knitting done, and I think it’s about time to try again to bond with my spindle…

Spring Fever

While I was enjoying the warm sunshine last weekend, the fur-girls were too.  Gretchen in particular took great delight in having the door onto the deck open so she could come and go as she pleased.

Poor little thing, squinting up at the camera… 

Doesn’t Sis look like a proper, grumpy old basset woman?  I wish the Knight had painted her toes.  He hasn’t tried since she was a wee pup; I think I might suggest that soon.

For Thankful Thursday, I have to share the new stamp set I just got from Stampin’ Up.  It’s called D is for Dog, and it’s just what I’ve been looking for!  I’m itching now to go home and stamp, not that it’s an option.

Okay, scratch that, because I don’t want to go home just yet, for a change.  Dearly as I love hanging out with the fur-girls and the thought of trying out my new stamps, I’m looking forward to skipping out of the office for a bit.  Any minute now, Amy should be here, and we’re going to do lunch and go visit Stony Mountain Fibers!

(I’m confessing now that I forgot a camera, but thanks to Jessi‘s reminder, I’ll never forget that my Blackberry has a camera too…)

Happy Dogs on Thursday and little friday to you!


Now that I have your attention…

I wanted to take a moment to promote a great opportunity locally, and mention that something similar might be happening near you too.  (Click HERE for dates in other cities.)

Kids in the Kitchen is a program sponsored by Junior Leagues around the country.  Each one is a little different, but the purpose is to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices. 

Here in Charlottesville (click on the art above for details), the event happens this Saturday.  There will be a great mix of activities, so there’s truly going to be something for everyone.  Personally, I’m wondering if the adorable lop-eared pigmy goat will be back…

Free food and free admission, if you are local.  If not, and if your city doesn’t have an event (or even if it does!) please check out the “for families and educators” link on the official Kids in the Kitchen website.  (click on the tab at that link for more options)

Sorry for the lack of photos.  The KitK website has lots, and videos too!

Knitter up!

I’m happily progressing on the two projects that are getting all of my knitting time these days.

Serenity is a fabulous knit.  It has cables, lace and “resting rows.”   I love lace, but I really like the patterns where I get  every other row to just knit (or purl, but knit is better).  I’ve made tons more progress since the photo, but you get the idea.  I’m knitting with Caron One Pound, which is about as good as a “cheap” acrylic gets.  It will wear like iron, and that’s what matters for this project.   The baby shower is this coming Saturday, but the baby is due in mid-April, so I hope to finish it up as soon as possible.

I’m almost afraid to mention that my sock mojo is back.  I’m twitching and itching to get back to it so I can turn the heel on sock #1.  The pattern is the Horcrux Sock, and the yarn was a gift from Monica, from London.    I love the lightning bolt pooling too.  Since we’re back to seasonal temperatures again, if I can finish the socks post-haste, I might even be able to wear them once or twice before it is too warm for such.  Oh – the yarn is a Regia.

I’m still spinning away on this unknown wool.  It has a long, crimped fiber, if that helps anyone help me guess.   The photos don’t show all the little crimps sticking out all over the place, even on the bobbin.  It’s a little rough to the touch, but not annoyingly so.

That’s the bag of fiber.  It’s roughly a pound, so my plan is to spin it up and knit Grace‘s Comforting Embrace Shawl, in memory of  the friend who lost her battle with breast cancer last month.  She loved tie-dyed stuff, so I’m hoping this will ply into something really cool.

I’m reading American Gods.  The college friend who recommended it called it “grittier” than Anansi Boys, but I’m having trouble putting it down.  For a change, I wasn’t late to work because I couldn’t resist snuggling the fur-girls…  I couldn’t put the book down.  It’s dark, it’s violent, and I have to confess that I like that in a book now and then.  (But not sad.  I don’t like sad.)

What are you working on, reading or otherwise doing?

Hello, Spring!

Wow, the weather was perfect this weekend!   I wore sandals for the first time this year on Saturday, and still have them on today, although it is cloudy and a bit cooler today. 

I don’t have any photos of pretty flowers.  My crocus did bloom last week, but by the time I used the leaf blower to clear out the leaves and small debris from the winter, they weren’t photo-worthy.

Instead, take a gander at the cards I made on Saturday.   I really enjoy stamping and card making.  I need to figure out how to let that inspire me to scrap again.

We also attended a 2nd birthday party yesterday and then went to Smokey Bones for dinner with family.  It was our first trip, and we were all impressed!  Three of us had three different varieties of ribs, and the fourth had a nice steak.  We really loved the Pretzel Bones.  The honey mustard dipping sauce was the favorite, but all three were decent. 

How was your weekend?  Do anything exciting?

Up to my neck…

… in knitted neckwear.

That’s the finally blocked Argosy scarf.  (FO report HERE.)  The only things I can add to the verdict are that it’s even more stunning blocked, but even Noro Silk Garden is still a little rough.   I’ll probably keep this for myself, but it is a bit scratchy on the neck, and since I don’t like turtlenecks much, don’t be surprised if it winds up as a gift.  I love this colorway though!

Then, there’s the moebius I knitted from Jessi‘s handspun.  (FO report HERE.)  Now THAT I’ve already worn next to my sensitive neck skin, even though I will confess I STILL haven’t woven in the ends.  The afternoon I took these photos, it was chilly, so when I went out to move the tractor, I doubled it up around my neck in a fashion something like this:

I’m a little disappointed in the way the cowl seems to want to show its wrong side, but such is the nature of a moebius, I suppose.

Gretchen continues to be possessive of any yarn from Jessi’s house, strangely enough, even after a nice long soak…  (And clearly, she doesn’t think you want to see the “right side” pattern either.)

Have a great weekend!  We’re going to be busy, but I’ll report back on what actually comes to pass after the fact.  I can assure you that the beautiful weather today and tomorrow will be enjoyed to the best of our abilities.

Any big plans on your weekend radar?  Please do stop by Sissy’s blog and help her help Sunny!

What I like…

Happy Dogs on Thursday!   If that’s why you’re here, there are several funny photos in the previous post, but today’s post is about a book with dogs in it, and generalized stuff that makes me happy.  I think if you’ve been to my blog more than once, you know the fur-girls are my anti-depressants!

September 2009, photo by Anita

I love good dog literature, don’t you?  Sadly, I’m not sure I can call The Story of Edgar Sawtelle good dog literature.   Unrealistic expectations might be to blame, but I was really thinking I was going to get sucked in a fall in love with this book, and it never happened.   Dogs as key characters and a ghost story?  What’s not to love, right?


Wrong.  The only character I fell in love with was Almondine, the matriarch of the Sawtelle pack I guess, definitely the canine nanny to tot Edgar.  And when Edgar lashed out at her for falling under his uncle’s charm and THEN wouldn’t even let the dog apologize, I nearly put the book down for good. 

Spring 2009, just to break things up

It was slow-going, but once Gar died, the plot did gain speed and become interesting enough that I wanted to keep going.   However, NOTHING was fully developed to my satisfaction.  The Sawtelle dogs were legendary for their intellect, and I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse of that we got.  As a local friend noted though, the writer did clearly research a lot about dog training methods and wrote superbly on that subject. 

I never did get the ghost story.  Did whatever made Edgar a mute cause hallucinations, or did his dad really visit, or did his dad possess him or…  ???  I consider myself above average in reading comprehension, and while I’ll confess I didn’t try too hard to figure it out, didn’t re-read a single passage, I still can’t tell you what the author was trying to get at with the supernatural scenes.

Spring 2009 eye candy

Mostly this book reaffirmed that I like a happy ending.   As I wrote on Facebook, ending the book with a fire and a whole kennel/breed of dogs set loose into the woods did NOT make me happy on any level.  Maybe fire and dogs in the woods are just too personal for me, but even if I’d loved the book prior to that…

I can’t recommend this book to other dog lovers.  Yes, there are snatches of great dog lit within, but overall, it’s far too dark and the dogs just aren’t given enough ink to make up for the unlikeable human characters.  The idea of breeding for intellect alone is lovely, and I would have liked to have seen more about the ficticious breed’s ability to reason earlier in the book.

For Thankful Thursday, I have to include a photo of something that makes me smile.  The Knight is lurking in there, and he does make me smile more often than not, and while the shed-mahal is now finally under roof, what makes me smile is driving the big green tractor.  I’ve been driving tractors since my single-digit years, and for some reason, I find real joy in sitting behind the wheel of a tractor.

Last, but hardly least, I owe Ruth my eight Desert Island Disc selections.  This would change on any given day, but here’s what I’d take today, in no particular order:

  1. Sugarland Love on the Inside
  2. Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits
  3. The Sound of Music Soundtrack
  4. Camelot Soundtrack
  5. Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack
  6. Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell (don’t judge)
  7. Tina Turner Simply the Best
  8. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

How ’bout you?  What songs can’t you do without?

If you didn’t get enough dogs today, Sissy has a post going up on her blog

Wearing the Green

As Sissy noted yesterday, I had high hopes for another lovely St. Patrick’s Day photo.

Instead, I bring you our St. Paddy’s Day bloopers.   The camera is in the wrong place, my double-chin I don’t really have is glaring, there really isn’t a spot on my shirt…

This is my favorite, all things considered.  That’s a rather decent photo of me, as I often blow kisses.  I’m certain Gretchen is mortified that I even shared this photo.  Sissy’s humpback doesn’t really exist either, but you know that…

We’re going in chronological order.  I got frustrated and tried another angle.  Sis did a great sit-stay in the chair until I hit the timer button and turned around to sit with her…  but gee, isn’t that a lovely big green tractor in the background?

Where’s Gretchen?!  Had she been in this photo, I think it would have been okay.

It just wasn’t a good afternoon for a photo shoot.  There were too many distractions. 

I did get good solo shots…

I love the sunlight bouncing off her insanely long lashes.   Lilly Pulitzer?  I wish you’d do some PANK and green dog wear…  (And yes, Lilly does dog wear… click on the link!)

Sis just barely shows her shamrock kerchief, but it’s all good…

So, do you do St. Patrick’s Day?  If so, how and why?   For me, it’s both a fun day that nods at what is honestly my “true” favorite color and a nod at my heritage.  I still have strong, Catholic feelings, although I am definitely not practicing by Rome’s standards.  Perhaps more importantly, there are several Irish branches in my family tree.  For reasons I can’t fully explain, I am very proud of my Scot-Irish heritage, even if I am at least equally British too.

Sissy wants to celebrate a French holiday in honor of her basset heritage.  Gretchen thinks we should celebrate something Scottish and British as well, and wonders about the Knight’s heritage.  I think the girl is fishing for parties! 

I can’t leave you on this bonnie day without a traditional Irish blessing.  Here’s one of my favorites:

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

(lifted from HERE)