I'm So Excited!

And I just can't hide it...

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Woohoo! The newest member of my Alabama Chanin library arrived in the mail! I'm brimming over with ideas and building desires. The package was lovely, as inside was an Alabama Chanin notebook, pencil, and tape measure, as well as the new book bursting with patterns. However, I first must work on the two projects I've already have in process.

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You may remember the market bag I started ages ago and abandon when the T-shirt arrived? While I know this T-shirt is going to take many, many hours to complete, I will be happy to return to the market bag, which will be pure fun to carry. I predict it will take me many more hours to complete than the T-shirt.

With each petal I cut I hold my breath, hoping to do a good job and not cut through to the layer below or more of the petal than I should. I have been very careful, taking great care to do it well. The flowers on the front piece of the T-shirt are ready for beading and I only have eleventy-gazillion beads for the job.

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Time is the only factor in this equation, but tonight I have all to myself and the plan is to start the process of sewing on the beads. How many per petal and how should they be spaced? Should I bead the outside as well as the inside? Many questions and possibilities bounce around my head and I don't think the answers will come until I start. I'll keep all the Alabama Chanin books by my side as reference, but try  to not become distracted by the beauty of the projects inside.  The trick is to stick to my own work and the process in front of me. 


Pull Out Your Library Card

Carole, as librarians are wont to do, would like us to list the last 10 books we read for Ten on Tuesday. I've a few good books on my list and few so-so choices and I hope this helps you find something to read.

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1. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood - This book was a reread for me as Margaret Atwood's visit was on my mind. This book is darkly humorous and I enjoyed every word. I loved the characters, a group of girlfriends, frenimies really, and laughed out loud as they retold their stories, revealing secrets and whole of the story. 4 stars. Audio, March 23-24th.

2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars - This story grabbed me, held me, mesmerized me, and shattered my heart into a thousand pieces, but left me with hope for many of the characters. McCullars tells the stories of several memorable people, the lonely, the mis-fit, the misunderstood, all incredibly poor, but full of spirit and heart. It will take a truly amazing to knock this out of the #1 spot of my 2015 reads. 5 stars, with highest recommendation to all. Kindle, Feb. 23-Mar. 24th

 3. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin - This covers 24 hours of a young man's life, his religious conversion and his step away from the religious life. John Grimes is a young black man in the 1950s, and it is difficult to imagine what life would be life for a poor black family living in that time. James Baldwin brings that era very much alive, as he tells this coming of age story, driven by John's relationship with his father and with religion. I was touched in many ways by the story and found Baldwin's language lyrical and substantial. This is a very important book from one of America's great authors. 5 stars. Audio, Mar. 5th-10th

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - Another sci-fi choice, read only because Margaret Atwood was coming to town, and wanted to brush up on her most recent fiction. I found the story disturbing, as the world she created reminded me a little too much of our own. Distopian fiction is a beyond me, even when dosed with humor.  4 stars. Audio, Feb. 20th-27th

5. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout - I wasn't a huge fan of Olive Kitteridge, Strout's big hit, and I read this book under protest (as sometimes happens with book group choices). I liked it not at all. I didn't go to the discussion and I'm not willing to write about it here. 2 stars, because I finished it. Kindle, Feb 2nd-21st

6. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - Told from the letters and diaries of both an old woman, Roseanne, who is housed in an asylum, and a younger man, Dr. Grene. The narration moves back and forth, unveiling both their stories as it goes. The language is marvelous and their stories unfold slowly, relating surprising elements I won't spoil. 5 stars. Audio, Jan. 26th-Feb. 16th

7. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill - Told from the perspective of a unnamed wife, who at one time, wrote to her husband from the "Dept. of Speculation". This is another audio book narrated by the author and I appreciated the way she spoke softly, as if relating her secrets, telling of the uncertainties in her marriage and life as a mother. 4 stars. Audio, Feb. 2nd, a one day read.

8. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - This was a favorite of many of my friends, but I just couldn't get into the story. I found the characters to act more like children than scientists and was very put off by the story. I stretched to give it 2.5 stars. Kindle, Jan.21-Feb. 1st

9. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - You may have heard all the hype about this book and many of you may have already read it. It was a page turner, a good mystery, and it was hard to pick out the villain until the end. 3 stars, okay, but didn't live up to the hype.  Audio, Jan. 26th-27th

10. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson - This was perfect book to listen to because of the free verse style.  Jacqueline tells her story, her way and I listened to this book because she was the narrator. Having her read her ow words brought so much more to the story. 5 stars and marvelous. Audio, Jan. 22-23rd

At the moment, I'm reading, in both audio and paperback, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I loved this book the first time I read it in 1995 and I'm loving it again this time. As a bit of a distraction, I'm also listening to Raven Black (Shetland #1), a mystery. Next up, a recommendation from Carole, The Golem and the Jinni

What's #1 on your reading list?


Treasured Times

Weekends like the one just past are to be treasured and I am doing just that. I stayed in the moment as much as possible and took nary a pictures (as usual) until Sunday rolled around and I knew I had to have something to share. 

16424432154_3a056b4ce4_oThis picture cost me a toe nail and any further walking for the day. My foot slide under a rock smashing the nail past the quick just as I took the shot. Poor me. 

Friday I had a lovely dinner with a friend and, afterward, we had a chance to walk through our favorite book store. I picked up a copy of Mary Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud. 

Saturday, morning as I made my morning tea, a suddenly remembered there was a possibility I could see the moon in eclipse. I ran out the back door in my nightgown and saw a the shadow of the sun on the moon. The air was too chilly and I ran back in for my coat and jeans, then ran back out into the street, and watched the moon as the shadow passed creating a crescent on the setting moon. 

That afternoon, after Smith left for work (the midnight shift-poor guy) I met a friend for dinner and a movie. Sushi was our evening treat followed by a night with Cinderella. It was fun to go to a movie (a rare occurrence) and the message of this movie was a good one...Have courage and be kind. Don't be afraid to be yourself.

Sunday morning I let Smith sleep while I made my pot of tea and breakfast. As I stood in the kitchen I heard piano music and a woman singing. The sound was ethereal and I was mystified as to its source. I walked out into the warm windy morning, just as light was coming over the mountain. A beautiful voice and piano were carried on the wind and I listened with eyes closed. Later Smith told me the church across the street, the very one who allows us to use the land for our garden, had a sunrise service and that was the source of music. 

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Our evening was spent cooking a delicious dinner, which included a salad made from lettuce we grew in our  carport garden box. It was tender and delicious, the first crop of the season! Our menu, which we saw as a nod to Easter/Passover, was lamb roast, rustic mashed potatoes, and asparagus, plus the salad, of course! 

I hope your weekend was as restful and delightful, with just a little magic thrown in. 


Delving Into Mystery

As of late, Vicki has been my hero. She not only helped me (inspired me, really) to change my banner, but  also dyed the yarn for my next project, Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015. I was thinking of the sea and sky and Vicki captured my vision perfectly. Since the project is a mystery, I'm cannot be sure what's in store and I'm curious to see how the colors work throughout.

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You may or may not remember I started a sweater, but I've been dawdling and only work on it while at SnB. In fact, I haven't done much in the way of knitting or sewing, it's mostly been reading when I have any leisurely time. I've been waiting for this shawl in lieu of starting anything new and tomorrow it begins. 

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But, I have reach the point where I'm cutting the petals of the design on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt and I'm hoping to try beading and sequining this weekend. Even if I stitched this project non-stop it would be a month of Sundays before it was finish.

This is the proof I do my crafting for the process, not the finished project. I love every stitch I put into my knitting and sewing, and if I didn't it would all be for not. Enjoy the process, my friends!


Memories

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As you might have guessed, I was not ready for today's ToT topic and, therefore, I have no picture of a sandwich at the ready. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good sandwich once in awhile, as there are a couple of good GF bread bakers in town. There are as many varieties of gluten free bread as there are of regular bread. The difference is, they just don't have the taste and texture of regular wheat based, yeasty breads.  I usually just have an un-wich when faced with a choice. However, I do have many fond memories of delicious sandwiches and that's what I'll list for today's T0T topic of 10 Favorite Sandwiches.

1. Grill cheese, made with white bread slathered with tons of butter, cheddar cheese sliced from the brick, and made by my mother's hand. It was best served with a side of tomato soup.

2. A yeasty, fluffy, and hot from the oven, slice of Mom's homemade white bread, (carefully) buttered generously and sprinkled with sugar.

3. Open faced turkey sandwich of leftover Thanksgiving turkey atop a slice of bread and covered with homemade gravy. A side of cranberry sauce made this perfection.

4.  A hot French dip sandwich, made by the corner sandwich shop (long ago closed), served with a generous portion of rich au jus, on warm, crisp on the outside, soft in the center, bread. A side of crispy fries made this heavenly.

5. Tuna fish, made by Carole's hand, served at her cozy kitchen table, with a view from the window. It was a delicious lunch made by a friend's hand and served with a side of chat. (As a child I would put potato chips between the slices just to add more crunch.)

6. Our family reunion favorite was Sloppy Joe's made by granma, or mom, and served with crisp cold coleslaw.  To clear the pallet, we always had ice cold watermelon for dessert.

7. My favorite non-traditional grilled cheese was served by a local restaurant on whole-grain bread, stuffed with melted brie and warm sliced pear. It was a delicious paring of ingredients. 

8. An egg salad sandwich has always one of my favorites, and of course, the sandwich made by mom is one of my favorite memories. I make my own on occasion.

 9. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato, but only when the tomato is fresh from the garden. Wheat or white bread, it doesn't matter, but the tomato does!

10. BBQ pork sandwich on a soft bun, served with a large variety of barbecue sauces, so they can be mixed up on top and pour down the sides to coat all layers. Tangy, hot, yummy, with a side of cornbread and cold coleslaw (which is also good on top of the sandwich). We're talking open-faced, of course.

I hope you enjoyed my walk down sandwich memory lane and that you'll share one of your favorite sandwiches, too!


Weekending

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What can you say about a picture perfect weekend?  The temperatures were perfection, high 60s, low 70s, and the sky was a perfect blue. 

The haircut went well and I'm happy with the slightly short, stacked in back do. I'll try for a photo soon.

Saturday is a blur of errands, with the reward of a lovely afternoon in the garden. Everything is blooming or on the verge and spring is at its height. The trees are about a month ahead of schedule and, while beautiful, we know it's very likely the fruit will be lost by frost.  To look on the bright side, we love the blue skies and warm temperatures, so we're taking advantage of it as much as possilbe. But friends, just think what you have to look forward to if your spring hasn't started. 

Also on Saturday, we spent the evening with good friends, which means much laugher, lots of ribbing, drinking and eating. Nothing makes a weekend more relaxing and perfect than friends and laughter. 

Sunday I heard the robins calling me to take a pre-dawn walk and to listen to the dawn chorus. In many ways , it was the most restful part of my weekend. 

After the day had begun,  I ran the rest of the errands, filling the larder with good food, making  delicious soup for my weekday lunches ,and luscious burgers for dinner. It was just the kind of weekend I love. 

Tell me how your weekend was? 


Something New

Welcome to the new Zeneedle! Thanks to the most awesome Vicki for all the hard work in making the header look more like mine! I love it and love the new look Typepad's Nimble design has made possible. There may be some tweaking, but I'm excited about the new look and hope you are, too.

Did you know it was my 11th Bloggiversary the beginning of this month? I just skipped right over it, but now there is need of celebration, don't you think? I think I'll tell you Three Things About Me Right Now. Exciting, eh? 

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1. I'm a shaggy dog in need of a haircut and I'm wondering if I need a change. Not short, just different. Any suggestions? 

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2. I'm trying out my artistic skills by doodling and drawing, follow the steps on this blog. She has great ideas and some easy techniques, although, I think she makes everything look easy. 

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3. I'm loving the weather (so sorry my Eastern friends!) and spending time in the garden walking the labyrinth. It's going to be a fabulous weekend.  


Messed Up

This post is brought to you by the demise of my iPod. By the end of the day I'll have one, but right now, I do not have it in hand. I love(d) that device. I downloaded podcasts, books, and music, plus used it for a pedometer, and a clock. 

Sadly, I am not vigilant about checking the pockets of my pants before tossing them in the laundry and, now...you know the rest of the story. I didn't even realized what I'd done until I saw it in the bottom of the washer. (!!!!!!!!!)

The heartbreak, the self-anger, the sorrow, the acceptance...all emotions ran through me just about as fast as you read that sentence. All this happened about an hour before the Apple store closed and I came thisclose to running to the mall. I restrained myself, but by morning I knew I could not live without my precious.

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Yesterday my plan was to go right after work and buy a new one, but Smith had the day off and took pity on me. I wouldn't have thought of taking my poor deceased beautiful red iPod with me, but Smith did, and he was able to buy a replacement, new but without packaging and with only a limited warranty for $75. This made me about as happy as can be! Now I can listen to my books and podcasts without being tethered to the computer.

However, there is one good thing happened when I pulled the pants from the dryer. A ten dollar bill fell out onto the floor and I don't know if it was from my pocket or Smith's (my guess would be mine), but it went towards my new red friend.

I won't swear I'll never wash anything I shouldn't again, and I won't swear I'll check my pants pockets every load (I try, but you know how it goes), but I will do my best to be more vigilant.


I Dare Not

Living without cheese is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I gave up gluten happily and I've given up a few other foods, too. But...cheese, dear cheese, how I do miss you!

Carole asked us to pick our Ten Favorite Cheeses, which lead me to spend an hour and half feeling sorry for myself, but I decided to give in and list a few of the cheeses I miss most.  (PS.I have no cheese in the house for a picture.)

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1. Some of my very favorite cheeses are from a local company called Beehive Cheese. Their signature cheese Barely Buzzed has won a ton of awards. I also adore their TeaHive.

2. Baked brie or Camembert with sprigs of rosemary and gloves of garlic. This is to.live.for. Monica served this on Christmas Day as an appetizer and it was a hit.

3. Good ol' English Farmhouse cheddar.

4. Any cheese from Wisconsin. (I had to throw that in for Vicki.)

5. Goat cheese covered with  (Massachusetts) cranberries. (I had to throw that in for Carole.)

6. Stilton with lemon peel. So, good with wine.

7. Parmigiano-Reggiano (I can still eat small amounts with a lactaid.)

8. Feta cheese in a Greece salad. (Sheep's feta with a lactaid is also ok.)

Don't feel sad for me. There are many wonderful foods available to me and I eat a wide variety of things. I'm just a pain for other people to feed, not for myself.


Blue Skies

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It seems I packed so much into my weekend it has all become a blur.  One thing I did twice was walk through Red Butte Garden, once with Cheryl and again with Smith. I'm very glad we bought a seasons pass as I've more than paid for it already. 

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Saturday was a blue sky day and, even though we had a lot of them lately, it was still wonderful. We worry about water and the summer fire season ahead, but we live in the moment and the moment brings sun. The week ahead looks cloudy, but I hear 70s are in next weekend's forecast.

Yes, I've been silent, but I've also been planning and doing. At the moment I have many balls in the air, but you'll have to wait to see what's in store.