Category Archives: Life

Book Tree

Note to self: Update plugins on your blog so you don’t find yourself locked out.

Book TreeWhat do you do when you don’t want to carry a pile of books to their rightful owner’s bookshelf because it’s upstairs and you don’t want to make three trips? Turn them into a tree.

Important Questions for the Dog

Questions I would like to ask Parker, our recently rescued dog.

Are you glad you live with us? Were you hoping for a different sort of family?

Are you comfortable now, or are you nervous when I talk to you and ask you to do something?

Do you really like your crate that much or do you just go in there because you think I want you to?

Do you like Rusty, or do you wish you were an only dog?

When you look at me out of the corner of your eyes, are you thinking, My God I love her! or She is freaking me out!?

What’s your story? Where did you come from? How did you end up in a shelter?

Rainy Day Notes

1. I love my new rain shawl with a hood. It’s awesome.
2. I hate having dogs who aren’t trustworthy yet, and must be walked outside on a leash in torrential rain in order to pee.
3. Individually.
4. It’s stuffy in the house since I can’t open the windows.
5. I’m really glad the garage is too full to hold my car, between my husband’s never-ending project classic car, assorted bikes, and regular garage stuff; I like getting soaked while carrying groceries into the house.
6. So why am I baking a pie for him?
7. That was sarcasm.
8. It’s a great day to try a recipe from Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables, specifically, a greens and ricotta cheese dish.
9. It’s also a great day to knit, which I haven’t done yet. But I will.

I have things to share, really. Food, knitting, and a few good books. On a day when I am dry.

Got Stale Bread? Panzanella.

Oh yum.

Traditional panzanella is made by moistening stale bread and tossing it with vegetables, usually tomato and cucumber. There are variations, and authentic panzanella – bread salad – is worth making and eating. My usual method, though, is to top chunks of quality stale bread with marinated tomatoes and let the oil and vinegar soak into the bread. Yesterday while rummaging I found a half loaf of ciabatta lunga that was past any recovery, chickpeas, marinated tomatoes, and a charged camera.

Grab a plate, and start adding stuff.

A big handful or two of greens. Baby kale here, because that’s what I hadIMG_0688

Top with chunks of stale bread. Good bread, not sliced white stuff. The crustier the better.IMG_0691

Be generous with the marinated tomatoes.IMG_0695

A half-cup of chickpeas makes this a main dish, vegetarian salad. Freshly ground black pepper tops it off. I had about a tablespoon of grated parm leftover in the fridge so I tossed it on, too. IMG_0698

Now walk away for a few minutes. Trust me. Give the bread a chance to soak up the marinade from the tomatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the whole thing first if you think it’s warranted. Congratulate yourself on making a filling, heart-healthy, nutritionally sound meal.


Woot! Azura in Rehoboth

I love Azura Clothing in Rehoboth, Delaware. Alyssa and Andy are helpful but laid back, the shop is a feast of color and texture, and the racks aren’t just more of the same. I pop in when I’m in the shopping mood and always put it on the tour when I have house guests at the beach. I love them more this week, though, for putting a few of my headbands and accessories in their shop.

Love them. Go there.


Soldiers on Soldier Beans!

Navy beans probably did indeed feed sailors. Black eyed peas are named, horrifically, for their single black spot. Broad beans are large, black beans are black, and, yes. I get it. Beans have descriptive nomenclature, but I assumed soldier beans were carried by solders, or fed to soldiers, or perhaps given to soldiers by patriotic farmers during the American Revolution or something. I wasn’t prepared to really look at a soldier bean.

Because it has a soldier stamped on it. 


A tiny little 18th century soldier. Take a closer look.


The one you remember from your fifth grade history book, a stereotypical British Grenadier, perhaps.


I am delighted by this discovery. There are hundreds of soldiers simmering on the stove right now, for a soup.


Cozy Ribbed Scarf Pattern

20130119_113017When my knitting group had a call for “men’s scarves” for a benefit table, I started a basketweave pattern in some stash yarn from Brooks Farm, picturing a medium length piece tucked under a coat. As I worked, though, I remembered seeing the fishermen’s scarves with ribbed necks that looked as if they fitted so nicely, so I worked one in. (I worked three of them in, actually, before settling on this one.) What a great idea!


It turns out those ribs hug your neck in a comfy, less bulky, still warm, perfect-for-under-a-dress-coat-or-for-wrapping sort of way. A gift for a man who loves scarves or one who isn’t sure he wants to wear one one at all, because it’s just that easy to wear. I am absolutely working it into the next scarf I make for myself.

20130119_112642Several people who saw the scarf wanted to make it, so I grabbed it off the table, snapped some obviously hasty pictures, and wrote up the pattern. Feel free to knit on with it!

Cozy Ribbed Scarf

  • Worsted weight yarn
  • Finished length: 45 inches. Add length to the body of the scarf by adding basketweave rows to each side, or lengthen the neck by adding ribbing rows.
  • Needles & gauge: Your standard with worsted. Go for a gauge that creates a nice basketweave without visible spacing between the knit and purl sets. 

Cast on 30 stitches

Rows 1 – 8: Knit every row

Basketweave Pattern:

Rows 1 – 8: *k5, p5* across the row

Rows 9 – 16: *p5, k5* across the row

Continue the last 16 rows as established for a total of 13 repeats, or basketweave “rows”.

Begin Ribbing:

k6, p6 ribbing across the row.

Continue for 16 inches of ribbing.

Continue Basketweave Pattern:

Rows 1 – 8: *k5, p5* across the row

Rows 9 – 16: *p5, k5* across the row

Continue the last 16 rows as established for a total of 13 repeats.

Knit 8 rows; bind off  loosely.




Carcassonne: Stored!

Carcassone? Love.

Carcassonne cardboard boxes? Even with illustrations of dragons and villagers and towers? Not so much.

Wooden boxes? Antique wooden boxes? Love more.

We, as in the family we, have been playing Carcassonne for a decade or more, since we picked it up because the box looked kind of cool (ironic, I know) at a game store in Newport, Rhode Island. Instantly hooked, the game has grown to several expansions and while that’s awesome, there is this tower of boxes involved every time we want to play.

Let’s stop here for an aside about Carcassonne. LOVE this game. If you already play and have an iPad, the Carcassonne app is exceptionally good, allowing for networked multiplayer games, solitaire, scoring, and table play. It’s very well done. Someone has an Android version but I can’t speak to it. If you don’t know Carcassonne, find someone who has it and check it out!

About 25 years ago, at a neighborhood garage sale, I bought this beautiful, damaged, missing-pieces, artist’s paint box. It was made by Winsor & Newton, sold by a supplier in Philadelphia (long gone) and I’m working on dating it. It has a lovely locking hinge, slots, pieces that must have held palettes or created an easel, and lots of moving parts that I can’t figure out. It’s pretty beat, but I like it, and it’s been sitting nicely in a stack of other wooden boxes, moved from house to house. Until I had the brainstorm.

How about that! Carcassonne, neatly stored! One favorite thing meets another favorite thing! It’s perfect! I’m such a nerd!

This makes me so happy.

Charlottesville Rambling

I spent a few days last week visiting my oldest son and his wife in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had a wonderful time…

  1. I really like my son.
  2. I really like my daughter-in-law.
  3. She knits.
  4. Really.
  5. He doesn’t mind walking long distances.
  6. He walks really fast and I’m shorter than he is.
  7. A lot shorter.
  8. They read.
  9. Charlottesville is a nice place to live.
  10. They have a cute dog.
  11. Our dogs get along. 
  12. Mostly.
  13. She invited me to her knitting group.
  14. Her knitting friends are lively and lovely.
  15. Thomas Jefferson knew how to pick a building site.
  16. He walked all over town with me on a self-guided walking tour.
  17. My son, not Thomas Jefferson.
  18. Thomas Jefferson is dead now.
  19. The Spice Diva is a nice woman.
  20. I sleep on their couch when I visit alone.
  21. It used to be my couch.
  22. Feast is an awesome place to eat and shop.
  23. I still get a little weepy when I leave. 
  24. Privately, in the car.
  25. On my day of being a tourist, I logged THIS MANY steps on my Fitbit:
  26. It was great.

A Week Down

Well, nearly a week. But that’s on top of two weeks already this month! Tricksey viruses.

One afternoon I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and enjoyed the story and the creepy pictures…

I ordered these Harmony needle tips in a size 4 from KnitPicks
because they are pointy and will work well with my yarn from Wolles Yarn Creations in these beautiful colors…
and I ate lots of these…
and began knitting a pair of fingerless gloves and baby booties. Last night in a burst of ambition I spent a few hours in my sewing room, and started a cargo skirt from a length of very nice fast drying/sunblock fabric. This friend (I know, how great is she?)
Photo, Jacob Wallace
has suggested that a similar style might be nice for climbing, so I’m thinking of designing one with that in mind.
I also discovered that being sick in bed with this
is much better than being sick in bed without it.