Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Away for awhile

window at "the nest"

I will be away for awhile.  I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my online friends Happy Holidays though.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 12/15/15

Our family grows and it can be hectic finding a time that works for everyone to get together.  One of the "traditions" we have started is to get together with one branch of the family mid month to exchange our presents.  

My daughter fixed brunch for everyone and set the table with her pretty holiday dishes.  You'll notice a couple things out of line, a couple of toddlers were anxious to get started.

We had a delicious French toast casserole, bacon, fruit and juice along with tea for our brunch.  Daughter isn't a coffee drinker, can you believe that?

It was a lovely if somewhat hectic time.  4 of the guests were less than 3 years old.  This way of celebrating the holidays with family works well for us. I don't think it is so overwhelming for the little ones either.

Now it is time to take my cup of coffee and head over to Elizabeth's to see what others have been doing.  Join me if you can, there are always interesting things going on there.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lunch with friends

This is the time of year the calendar gets very full, lots of scheduled meetings with friends.  I'm always happy to see them and wonder why we wait until the holidays to do this.

A few of us met recently met for lunch at Riva Cucina in Berkeley.  It was a new spot for me and very nice.  It was cozy and warm on a rainy day.

photo from their FB page

Riva Cucina bills themselves as serving Northern Italian cuisine using sustainably sourced ingredients from nearby farms and waters.

I had the Panino Con Pollo.  Grilled Petaluma Farms free range chicken breast, avocado, wild arugula, roasted pancetta and aioli.  

You can find the lunch menu here.  I recommend it if you are in the area.

Do you find yourself getting together with friends more often during the holiday season?  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Man Socks - (knitting)

One more gift from my holiday knitting projects is finished.  I'm calling them Man Socks since they are for a size 13 shoe.  Most women couldn't wear them.

When I chose the gray yarn I thought it might be a little boring to knit with but in fact I think it shows off the stitches better than some of the brighter colors I have used in the past.

I have one more knitted gift to put the finishing touches on and I'm done.  

Have you finished your Christmas shopping?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 12/8/15

Good morning!  Tuesday Tea time over at Elizabeth's place.

found on net, don't know who to attribute it to

I'm afraid that's all I've got for you this morning.  I'm buried somewhere under mail, insurance paperwork, county rules and regulations, phone calls, finishing touches on some knitting and wrapping paper.  

I'll be by to check on everyone though.  A tea party always cheers me up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Second on the 2nd - 12/2/15

Elizabeth at the Altered Book Lover blog hosts a posting party on the second of every month.  She asks us to go through our files and bring up a post from the past for a second time.  Why don't you join us and show something you like from your archives.

I make these snowflakes every year.  They are easy and inexpensive and provide a lot of decoration for little time an money.

I checked the links and they still work.


Making Snowflakes

I know I said I wasn't going to get into Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving.  I did go through some project ideas thinking about what I might like to make this year though.  These snowflakes are on the top of my list.

copy paper snowflake

I made quite a few of these last year. They are made out of regular copy paper, are fairly large and since they are so easy to make I just recycled last years supply instead of trying to figure out how to store them. These are easy. They are cheap. They are fun. Want to make some?

 For written directions click here.

To watch a video click here.  You might want to turn your volume down.

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 12/1/15

Here we are on the first day of December.  That signals holiday shopping time for me.  I do pick up a few things as I see them during the year and this year I've knitted quite a few gifts.  December 1st means I need to get serious though as some things have to go in the mail.

Lets do some window shopping to get started.

This is a gift bag that was in the window of a book/paper store.  I think any of us posting here would like to receive a present in this bag.

Clothes seem to be staying in the black/gray/white range

How about a pair of boots?  I'm sure someone would like the brown ones with all the embroidery.

Last, but not least, here's a beautiful hand thrown pottery teapot.  That should please anyone in the Tea Tuesday group.

Be sure to visit the Tea party going on over on Elizabeth's blog.  Bring your drink of the morning and tell us what you are doing on the first day of December.

Monday, November 30, 2015

*Independent People* - (book)

I'm always interested in reading books by foreign authors, books about places I've never been and books set in history.  This one falls into that category. The novel really spoke about the people of Iceland during the 20th century and provided some history of the country.

Here is what Goodreads has to say about it:

This magnificent novel—which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is at last available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And if Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book's protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty determination to achieve independence is genuinely heroic and, at the same time, terrifying and bleakly comic.

Having spent eighteen years in humiliating servitude, Bjartur wants nothing more than to raise his flocks unbeholden to any man. But Bjartur's spirited daughter wants to live unbeholden to him. What ensues is a battle of wills that is by turns harsh and touching, elemental in its emotional intensity and intimate in its homely detail. Vast in scope and deeply rewarding, Independent People is a masterpiece.

It you are looking to escape to a different time and place this is a great book to do it with.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

You may have seen this little fellow before.  I made him years ago and once a year he gets to enjoy the spotlight.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends here in the U.S., and a wonderful day to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/24/25

Regular readers know that when I take my morning walk I occasionally pick up a pound or two of coffee beans at PEETS.

When you buy a pound of beans you are offered a free cup of coffee or tea. This time I chose the tea and walked to a nearby bench to sit down and enjoy it.  

I had not tried this particular tea before.  They did tell me what the ingredients were but the only part I remember is Roobioos.  I liked this tea so much I will buy some for home the next time I'm out walking in that area.

As I was sitting watching people walk by and watching the fall leaves tumble down I was reminded of some sketches I did some time ago.  Here is one that seemed particularly appropriate for today.  A re-visit so to speak.  I filled that small sketchbook.  I really like the size and must remember to get another one.

Be sure to visit  Elizabeth's blog and say hello to the other Tea Tuesday posters.  It is a great group.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One more hat

Another hat finished and added to the holiday gift pile.  

I used the same pattern I used last time.  You can see the earlier hat I made with a different yarn here.  I added an extra set of rows on this one to make the hat longer to be sure it could be worn to cover the ears.

When I choose a project I like it to have some feature I haven't done before so even though this was a pattern I had used, this time was my first time using two strands of yarn at the same time.  I used a dark gray strand of sock yarn and some multicolored sock yarn.  Both yarns were leftovers from socks I knitted earlier.  A win, win.  Learned something new and used up left over yarn.

I'm running out of knitting time before the holidays but there is one more project on the needles.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

*The Swans of Fifth Avenue - (book)

My friend Laurie recently sent me this book.  You can find Laurie's book reviews at Bookworm is My Totem.  I always enjoy Laurie's reviews.

*The Swans of Fifth Avenue*
Melanie Benjamin 

This was just the kind of distracting reading I was in need of when it arrived.

The book is based on the unlikely relationships Capote had with Babe Paley and her 1950's clique of contemporaries.  The "swans" as Capote called them reflected his ideal woman and most likely contributed to his fiction.  He was sort of their mascot or pet.  A safe male companion their husbands couldn't object to.  They shared their secrets with him.

Then in 1975 Capote revealed their dirtiest secrets to the world in a story published in Esquire magazine.  Of course there was a great scandal.  Capote claimed that they should have known and said "I'm a journalist after all".  He seemed to be going downhill personally at the time.  Maybe searching for something that would put him back in the literary spotlight.

I found some of the women amusing and Capote not likable at all.  However the book was an easy read.  Someone said "it is a perfect book for fans of Truman Capote, film-buffs and fashionistas".  I agree and would just add that I enjoyed reading about New York in the 50's through the 70's.  A period of change in society.

Any Capote fans out there?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/17/15

There is a large complex of Asian markets near us.  A whole variety of shops and restaurants and a good sized grocery market.  We go shopping there every once in awhile.  It is a delight to wander through the market.

I like the graphics even if I can't always figure out what is in the package.

One section is devoted to a fish market.  Can you make out the live fish in the tanks in this picture?

The deli section has all sorts of interesting things.  

DH likes the roasted duck.  He bought half a duck to take home for dinner.

I like the pork buns so that was my choice for dinner.

The market is the only place I can find our favorite jasmine green tea.
The tea is my drink for today.

If you want to decorate the dinner table you could take home a plant.  How about a Lucky Bamboo from the bottom shelf?

Be sure to stop by the Altered Book Lover blog and see what the other tea party folks have been doing this week.

The horrendous bombings in Paris have disturbed the world, my heart goes out to the people involved and my concern for the future is great.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thoughts on Monday

While listening the news about the terrible Paris bombings this poem came to mind.  While a little out of date I think it is still well worth remembering.

free clip art


If I were doing my Laundry I'd wash my dirty Iran
I'd throw in my United States, and pour on the Ivory Soap, scrub up Africa, put all the birds and elephants back in the jungle,
I'd wash the Amazon river and clean the oily Carib and Gulf of Mexico,   
Rub that smog off the North Pole, wipe up all the pipelines in Alaska,   
Rub a dub dub for Rocky Flats and Los Alamos, Flush that sparkly Cesium out of Love Canal
Rinse down the Acid Rain over the Parthenon and Sphinx,
Drain Sludge out of the Mediterranean basin and make it azure again,
Put some blueing back into the sky over the Rhine, bleach the little Clouds so snow return white as snow,
Cleanse the Hudson Thames and Neckar,
Drain the Suds out of Lake Erie   
Then I'd throw big Asia in one giant
Load and wash out the blood and Agent Orange,
Dump the whole mess of Russia and China in the wringer, squeeze out the tattletail
Gray of U.S. Central American police state, and put the planet in the drier and let it sit 20 minutes or an Aeon till it came out clean.

Boulder, April 26, 1980

Such a sad world right now and unfortunately I don't see change coming soon.  I wish I could feel more positive about it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day - 11/11/15

Freedom Isn't Free

Happy Veteran's Day to those who have served, those who are serving and all their families.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/10/15

Good morning friends.  The big news here is we had rain.  Yes, California got some rain.  Probably not such a big deal where many of you are but we were pretty happy about it.

DH baked a loaf of bread in the bread machine this morning.  Machine made bread is admittedly not my favorite but, hey, he was willing to bake.

I'm getting ready to put the kettle on and make a pot of tea.  By then the bread should be cool enough to cut.  A cup of tea and a warm slice of bread sounds about right this morning.

Other members of the tea party gang may be up to more exciting things this morning.  Why don't you join us over at Elizabeth's and find out what is going on?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Neighborhood Walk - 11/9/15

While on my usual morning walk through the 4th St. area I spotted signs of Christmas/Holiday decorating.

Not many of the stores had their windows done in the theme yet.  The staff at Anthropologie was busy with their front window.  It is always fun to see what they do.  Meanwhile here's a bit of their interior that was finished.


Across the street there was a crane being used to hoist people up in to the tree branches.  They hang fairly large lighted globes in the trees.  They have used the same theme/decorations for several years.  

Street lamps are wound with small lights.  The holiday decorations are enough to be festive but not over the top.

Have holiday decorations appeared where you live?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Knitting 11/5/15

I actually started this hat awhile ago but since I finished it in November I'm calling it my November project.  Another one for the stack of holiday presents. Brown is not a color I'm normally drawn to but when I was choosing yarn I decided to break the blue/grey/purple rut I was in.

Here is the hat sitting on a bowl to show the shape.  It hasn't been blocked yet and the stitches will even out a bit when I do that.

Here is the hat laying flat  I don't know it you can notice but the way it is made the edge of the brim rolls up a bit.  I like that because it is different that the knitted band on a lot of hats.

The pattern is from the book *Sock yarn.  One skein wonders*.  Knitters will notice I didn't use sock yarn but with the help of my yarn shop friends was able to make changes to accommodate the yarn I choose.

What next?  I'm not sure. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/3/15

Time once again to join the Tuesday Tea group over at Elizabeth's blog

Recently I was sorting through my pile of old postcards.  Not exactly a collection, more an accumulation of post cards.  I know that some of the regulars at our Tuesday Tea are postcard makers and collectors.  I thought I"d share one of mine

Satisfied?  Why shouldn't I be
The whole darned thing suits me to a T.

Dear Paul,

Hope you are having lots of fun for I am enjoying myself.  I get three meals a day and don't have to cook them.

Love from your tormentor.

The post card was mailed from Leaburg Oregon sometime in 1940.  

The card always makes me smile when I read it, hope it made you smile too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Second on the Second - 11/2/15

On the second day of every month Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover hosts a party where we bring back an old post for a second look.  It is fun to go through some of my old posts.  Why don't you join us?

Here's something posted 4 years ago and fun to bring back for a second look today since it is the second day of Dia de los Muertos.


Día de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is widely celebrated in the Latin community here.  I decided to make a talisman to recognize the day in my own way.

I think if you click on the picture you can enlarge it.

I really enjoy making what I call Rubble Art. Just the usual tin can lid, pull tabs, scrap paper and some beads. I actually found this string of beads in the gutter - maybe it was originally a bracelet. Anyhow, I knew I wanted to use them in some way.

Have you found anything interesting laying in the street lately?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Neighborhood Walk - 10/30/2015

Walking, the Halloween version.  Shops on 4th St. are getting ready for a party tomorrow.

We used to attend when the granddaughter was small.  It was fun but I doubt we will go this year.  I do a pretty good job of scary hair styling myself.

One of the stationery stores has a nice display.  Sugar skulls, paper or otherwise, show up frequently in our area.

Crate and Barrel has everything you need for a Halloween dinner party.

While I guess this fits the theme, I found it a little odd.  Window display in a high end mattress store.  Not sure it would make me want to buy my mattress there.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween if you are celebrating the holiday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

See Also Murder - ( book)

Set in 1964, See Also Murder introduces Marjorie Trumaine, a farm wife and book indexer in Dickinson, N.Dak. Indexing keeps Marjorie’s life afloat and pays the bills. A voracious reader and list maker, she also provides care for her beloved husband, Hank, after a hunting accident left him blind and paralyzed

*See Also Murder*
Larry D. Sweazy

The story takes place in an isolated rural setting.  Before the time of computers and word processors, people like Marjorie were needed to index books manually.  They methodically put information into order, cross-referencing terms and finding relationships.  I never knew how that was done.

Her neighbors are the first of several people murdered and because an unusual amulet is found, Marjorie is asked to assist with some research as her work as an indexer makes her good at that.

I enjoyed the mystery but was really captured by Marjorie's character and the description of the small town on the plains.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 10/27/15

Tuesday and once more time to join Elizabeth and the
gang for our weekly get together.  This morning I'm drinking water and looking back through some old posts for Halloween ideas.

My creative spirit has been hiding these last weeks so I thought I'd show you something I made quite some time ago.  A decorated candy tin that holds a pair of earrings.

"Dance by the light of the moon"

I made the skull from paper clay using a mold that I've had for ages.  I painted the tin top and added a couple layers of paper.  

I lined the tin container with black velvet and added a pair of earrings that should dance with every step.

I hope you having a great Tuesday - maybe even dancing.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

*In Falling Snow* - (book)

Someone recommended this book, I can't recall who.  Was it you?  Whoever it was, thank you.  It was a great book with lots of well researched history.

*In Falling Snow*  Mary-Rose MacColl

Australian author MacColl by chance discovered information about a hospital established by women during World War 1.  This is her U.S. debut.

Iris Crain, an elderly Australian woman receives an invitation that takes her back in memory to the days she worked in a field hospital in France.  She remembers the first time in her life she had ever snowfall.  It also brings back memories of France at war and the young men dying while strong women try to save them.

The book weaves back and forth from the war years to today and between Australia and France.  The characters are vividly brought to life.

One fairly minor but continuing plot line is about an animal called a sugar glider.  It is a small, omnivorous, arboreal and nocturnal gliding possum. Something like a flying squirrel, I had to look that up although I imagine my Australian blogger friend Patricia would know what it was.

This book reminded me of the PBS series The ANZAC Girls.  I did enjoy the series.  If you saw it and liked it then I'm sure you would like this book

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October Beanie

I am way behind in knitting the items I had on my list for holiday gifts.  I simply lost the focus to knit after events in September.  

I decided I could knit a simple beanie.  A pattern I had used before.  Some of you might remember one in a pretty teal blue.  So here is the October beanie.

Did I say simple?  Yes, knit 2, purl 2 all the way until you need to shape the crown.  Even with simple I would be knitting along and find I had made a mistake in the previous row.  Not once - several times.  Apparently I can't count to two.  I did finally finish it though, that's what counts.

I showed my daughter a picture and said it was a charcoal beanie, obviously the color.  She replied "charcoaled?" - and said that must have been a Freudian slip, LOL.  Yes, some of us have a dark side to our sense of humor.

Now I'm ready to cast on for another project.  I'm pretty confident I can count to two these days.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 10/20/15

In my case coffee is what is in my cup this morning.  

Free image found here

I was searching for something else and came across the above.  There a couple more free coffee related graphics if you are interested.

I think she looks a little bit perky for so early in the morning.  Maybe it isn't her first cup (grin).

Moving on with the coffee theme I thought I'd show you my vintage coffee grinder.

It still works for grinding coffee beans.  I admit I usually use an electric grinder these days.  This has come in handy on the occasion the electricity is off though.  We have a gas stove so electricity or not we can make coffee.

I know there are lots of tea drinkers out there too posting on Elizabeth's blog today so check them out.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Neighborhood walk - 10/19/15

When I go walking I always take my phone and look for things to take photos of along the way.  It makes the walk more interesting.  This time I was looking for plant life.

Imagine my surprise when I came across this fig tree with lots of figs just about ready to eat.  Can you spot the small one here?

There was a larger one further down on the tree.  These are the type of fig that are still green in color when they are ripe.  I think this one was about ready.  I resisted temptation.

Many shops use landscaping that requires little water.  You can barely make it out but there is a nice rusty looking piece that makes up the railing next to the stairs.  Blends with the plants nicely.

Do you like figs?  I do.  I know lots of people cook with them, I usually just eat them as is.