Monthly Archives: May 2009

My Summer Reading List

As of today, these are some of the books on my summer reading list:

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

Valeria’s Last Stand by Marc Fitten

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

What’s on your summer reading list?


Bookish Wednesday

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo is a quick predictable read.  Eugenie is the town librarian who foists a rebellious teen on her knitter book group.  It reminded me of the Blossom Street books by Debbie Macomber. But it had knitting and books, so I enjoyed it.  A nice light summer read.  And Pattillo is coming out with book 2 in June.

I love the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books that Laurie R.. King writes.  The 9th book in the series, The Language of Bees, does not disappoint.  A lost son reappearing, Druids, sacrifices, and a lot of history make for an interesting read.

Baby Beanies, Happy Hats to Knit for Little Kids, by Amanda Keeys.  This book was published in 2008 and starts with the usual diagrams and basic knitting instructions.  And a simple roll brim hat pattern.  Other patterns include a pixie hat, a scarf hat (a scarf and hat knit in one piece) — interesting concept.  There is a hat with a peak on each side named a Flour Sack Hat.  Lots of hats with long tails or pointed tops or ear flaps.  My favorite is the Alien Spaceship which is a simple roll brim with a bright tassel top and brightly colored bobbles on the body of the hat.  Most are sized from 0-2 years.

After the Weekend

With my Little Buddy visiting, the weekend was a busy one.  He played in the little pool, and we went to the park a couple of times.  Saturday after the farm market we stopped in to check out the new play area.  It is wonderful.  We stayed an hour and a half and practically had to carry him out kicking and screaming.  He was having a great time and did not want to leave.  He loved the area for 2-5 year olds.  Slides, a water and sand table, a sand area with digging cranes, swings — it is a great place to play.  He spent most of his time at the water and sand table.  We went back on Sunday and had a picnic and stayed there about 2-1/2 hours.

Playing with sand/water table

Playing with sand/water table

Saturday afternoon Little Buddy and the fashionista napped and I went to Riverside Cup of Tea with two of my closest friends for a birthday celebration.  I had not been to afternoon tea there before. I usually lunch there a couple of times a year.  But tea was wonderful.  We each had a pot of tea.  Afternoon tea consisted of three courses — chilled strawberry soup, then a plate of scones and savory pastries, cucumber sandwiches, and chicken salad sandwiches.  The final course was a plate of desserts — lemon bars, a fruit cookie, a small cake type dessert, and oreo cream cheese truffles dipped in dark chocolate.  We had a great time, and spent the time chatting and catching up.

A's Birthday Celebration

A's Birthday Celebration


Then I went home and picked up the fashionista and the Little Buddy and we went to an open house grad party.  The daughter of another dear friend graduated from high school.  We spent about an hour or so there visiting and noshing, though I was not really hungry at alll.

Then it was home for countless games of Let’s Go Fishing and more episodes of Spongebob than I care to think about.

Monday morning I met eldest daughter about halfway between where we each live, and she took the Little Buddy home.   I had a great time with him, but was ready for a quiet day.  I drove back home and started laundry and cleaning.  I planted some lettuce seeds in a planter for the bunny.  Potted a rosemary plant.  Made a chocolate bottom banana cream pie.  Vacuumed and dusted.  Put the pool and toys away.

Then I worked on this — the pattern is a free one on the f.pea blog.  I am using organic cotton for this sweater.  It is a fast and fun baby knit.  Still have the sleeves to do, and the edging.  It calls for one button with a loop closure. I am already planning the next one to make!

Stripe Organic Cotton Baby Sweater

Stripe Organic Cotton Baby Sweater

I leave you with a photo of the fashionista being roped into playing the Let’s Go Fishing game.

Let's Go Fishing!

Let's Go Fishing!

Market in Nairobi

On our last day in Nairobi, we went to the Maasai Market in a park area of downtown.  It was certainly an interesting experience. When we got out of the van, a group of men tried to get us to allow them to show us around the market and bargain for us.  The entrance to the market was fairly narrow, so we were pretty much entering single file.  Danny noticed that the men had inserted themselves one between each of us.  It took awhile to shake them, but shake them we did. 

The market was intimidating at first.  Sellers would call to us as we walked by.  I wanted to get a sense of what was availabl for purchase, and tried to walk around the market, but it was difficult to do that without being continuously called to.  Some of the more persistent sellers would try to take your arm and lead you to their goods.  Everything was spread out on blankets on the ground.  A few had things hanging up on the fences around the park area. I think we were some of the earlier customers, because I noticed the longer we were in the market, the more I was able to look around without being disturbed.  More and more people came into the market throughout the morning.

So here are photos that show a sampling of what I purchased at the market.

Woven bag

Woven bag

Carved ebony giraffe, rhino and impala

Carved ebony giraffe, rhino and impala

Carved ebony candleholders

Carved ebony candleholders

Rolled paper bead necklace

Rolled paper bead necklace

Bead necklace and bracelet set

Bead necklace and bracelet set

Beaded sandals

Beaded sandals

Bookish Wednesday

I read a lot, and so I thought I would start a “Bookish Wednesday” where I discuss some of the books that have caught my fancy lately. I am always searching out book recommendations myself and thought it might be helpful.

I finished Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout last week.  Olive is a teacher in a small town in Maine.  The book is about her life and relationships with those around her and how things change over the years.  I enjoyed reading it.

Yesterday I finished Tea Time for the Traditionally Built — the latest in the Precious Ramotswe No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  Mma Makutsi’s nemesis, Violet Sephotho, makes an appearance again. And there is some drama with the tiny white van.  But you also see a needy side to Precious that we have not been privy to in past books.  These are a quick read, but I enjoy them and I like the author’s writing style.

My current fiction read is The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King.  More on that when I finish it.

Alt Fiber is a recent book by Shannon Okey.  The book contains 25+ patterns using yarns of bamboo, hemp, linen, corn fiber — you get the picture.  The author gives a brief description of the various alternative fibers from the common to the more unusual.  And there is a section on dyeing.  The patterns are a nice mix from time consuming to quick — socks, bags, scarves, shawls, gauntlets, sweaters, and even a hemp facecloth and a table set.  I only found one pattern that particularly interests me — the Fern Tee which is knit with corn fiber yarn.  I have put this pattern on my substantial to do list.

And finally, Elements of Style, Knit + Crochet Jewelry with Wire, Fiber, Felt + Beads, by Rosemary Hill. I love jewelry and I am always fascinated with knit and crochet jewelry.  Knitting wire seems impossible and I am not certain I would have the patience for it, butI love to see everything that can be done.  This book has some lovely pieces in it.  Interesting beads, wire and two patterns that really appeal to me.  One is a scarf called Falling Leaves and it is knit with Habu Textiles stainless steel and merino blend yarn combined with Czech glass beads.  Habu yarn is pretty pricey, but for a scarf as unique as this, it would be worth the cost.

I am always on the lookout for the unique in knitting.  For myself and the people I find myself knitting items for — I want to give them something they can’t go out and buy for themselves.

Monday, Monday

And I would rather be outside than at the office!  It is a lovely day outside.  No rain in the forecast!

Busy weekend.  Two high school grad open houses to attend.  Shopping with the fashionista.  Ate out a couple of times.  Went to the farm market.  I bought cheese and onion enchiladas.  Found out the vendor does sell vegetarian tamales.  She says they are made with masa, jack cheese and vegetables.  I told her I will try those next time. I bought the usual tomatoes and asparagus.  I also bought radishes, spinach, and rhubarb.  Yesterday afternoon I roasted the asparagus and made a small rhubarb cobbler and we ate those with baked potatoes for dinner last night.

The fashionista is making black bean and avocado tacos for dinner this evening.

I also bought some bedding plants and two more tomato plants.  I had to move some things around in my small herb garden.  Somthing ate my fledgling dill plant! I bought a California Gold yellow tomato plant and a grape tomato plant.  In my round planter in front I planted white red leaf begonias with one pink one in the center.  I cleaned out the front flower bed and planted the rest of the behonias, alternating pink and white, and planted dianthus behind those.

The fashionista has been rollerblading.  She went Saturday with a friend and then yesterday afternoon we took the pug and went to the park.  She bladed with the pug for a bit to get the dog used to the skates and then I walked the pug the rest of the way.  It was nice to be out, and many other people agreed because the park was packed.

We talked about the coming holiday weekend with the Little Buddy.  If Sunday is nice, we are going to make a picnic and spend some quality time at the park with bicycles, the pug, and rollerblades.  Should be fun!  Rain, rain, stay away.

I did not get around to playing with my new food processor yet, but I have ingredients to make homemade pesto and hummus this week, so one of these evenings before the basil goes, I will spend the evening with the processor!  So exciting!

I will leave you with new pics of my Little Buddy.



Friday Ramblings

The large box was indeed a food processor.  I hope to use it over the weekend. I had a nice Mother’s Day.  We went to lunch at my brother’s house.  Then the fashionista and I went downtown and wandered the River Fest Art and Book Fair.  Saw some cool things and some not so cool things.  Out for coffee and a lap around Target.  Then home.

It has been cool, then rainy, then hot and humid, with more rain. For the past few weeks.  I will not complain as I will be praying for rain in mid July.

I have been going to the library and getting books and more books. Feeling creative, curious — everything.  Books on paper mache, vegetarian cookbooks, novels, environmental books, knitting books, jewelry books.  The newest in the Ladies Detective Agency series is waiting for me — Tea for the Traditionally Built.  I hope to pick it up tomorrow.

I have two high school graduation open houses to attend tomorrow and one the next Saturday.

My Little Buddy will be coming down for Memorial weekend.  I also have a tea to attend that Saturday afternoon.  He will stay with the fashionista when I go to tea and then go to the last open house with me.  There will be other small children there for him to tear around with.

Thinking of trying to get over to the Flea Market at River Fest tomorrow if I have time.  Definitely going to the farm market in the a.m.  Need more asparagus and will try the vegetarian enchiladas that one lady sells.

The fashionista made veggie burgers this week and I will admit that I liked them.  We had veggie burgers and potato salad.

I have decided that this fall I am going to purchase a double bass for myself.  And I have a dream — I have been looking around for Beatles songs — the melody line — written in bass clef, but can’t find anything.  I guess I will have a find a piano song book and then transpose the melody lines into bass clef.  That will be a good summer project — ha!  And then next summer I will play Beatles songs on my bass on a downtown street corner on weekend evenings. 

That is one of the things on my bucket list.  I have around 35 items on my bucket list.  Some I have done.  Some are still pending.