lovely things

zimmerman

This is several years old, but I recently re-read this, about recreating an Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater. You can even buy the pattern (see here for more info). I pulled out Knitting without Tears and reading just a few pages was refreshing and inspiring. If you have any knitting fears, Elizabeth Zimmerman will wipe them away.

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This is perhaps silly and materialistic, but I really love my little Bluetooth speaker. It’s really light and it’s wireless, so I easily can carry it around from room to room and even take it outside. I have been listening to music and audiobooks everywhere. I looked at a lot of speakers, but I didn’t want to spend two or three hundred dollars. I also didn’t want to end up with something cheap and ugly that wouldn’t last. At $69, this was a little splurge, but a nice compromise. I’m not an audiophile by any means, but I think it sounds great for the size (about 5″ square by a couple inches deep). I also like that it’s not so “tech-y” looking. The “wood” is actually plastic, but you can’t really tell.

Fictitious Dishes: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Have you ever read a book that included a description of a meal so vivid you could practically taste it? I love this project, and have added the book to my wishlist.

lilacs

Spring is my very favorite, but I’m very sad my daffodils were nearly non-existent this year. The lilacs, on the other hand, were magnificent.

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autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 

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  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 
  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  

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  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.

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idaho

The last week of August I met up with most of my family in Northern Idaho. It was beautiful and I was so happy to spend time with my favorite people. I almost don’t want to share photos, because what if everyone realizes that Idaho is a really beautiful state and they all go there? DSC_1482-2

Because there were so many beautiful scenes to photograph, I am thinking about my photography skills lately. I think I need to take some classes to learn how to improve. I feel like I’m sort of stagnant. I’d like to find a style and some originality.

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I’ve been playing with Lightroom, but I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’d love to find a group or class or something where we could critique photographs, and learn how to improve.

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As per usual, I have a Pinterest board of photos that I admire. I think I need to articulate just what I like about each photo that I pin, and then see if I can incorporate that in my own photos. DSC_1504

Here’s an example: the photo above was inspired by the series of deer beds by Katherine Wolkoff. I love that there is a story behind what otherwise just seems like a swirl of flattened grass. DSC_1530

My sister sent me a link to photographer David duChemin, who publishes ebooks on photography. I downloaded a free one called Ten Ways to Improve your Craft. None of Them Involves Buying Gear, which is great for me because I’ve felt lately that I’m limited by my little entry-level Nikon and inexpensive lenses. Instead of lusting after a fancy new camera, I should be working on seeing with what I have. I know this, but it’s good to be reminded. I think one of my favorite pictures I took on the whole trip was this one, taken with my iPhone:

stormy skies

I liked it so much, I had a 12×12 fine art print made at Ink361 (mini-review: my print is beautiful, the paper is thick and has a subtle, but very nice texture. I’ll show you when I get it framed. I will definitely be using them again.). So this is where I need to figure out what is so appealing to me about this photo. I like the colors and moodiness and the luminescence of the water. I like that the trees a sharper but the fuzziness around the edges feels like I’m peering through a looking-glass. I think the horizon could be straighter, and the focus could be sharper.

Sorry for the navel-gazing post. I have more photos from my trip to edit and share, but I will save them for another day.

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cool things

Here are some things I’m thinking about right now:

::One:: Oyster is like Netflix for ebooks, and I’m thinking it could be pretty cool. It’s currently iPhone only, and you have to sign up for an invite. I put in my request a week or so ago and haven’t heard back yet. I’m looking forward to trying it out, the design looks really nice. I prefer reading on my Kindle, but I’ve read plenty of books on my phone too.

::Two:: I often listen to music while I work, and have several Pandora stations to choose from, depending on my mood. Lately I’m enjoying my Django Reinhart station. It’s cheery and soothing and I like the vintage sound.

::Three:: I went on vacation the last week of August. It was a family reunion at a beautiful lake. I will make you look at all my vacation photos eventually (I’m currently learning to use Lightroom and want to edit them all first), so here’s just a sneak peek:

boat house

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this spring

This spring has been nearly perfect up here in our little mountain town. I have loved every last daffodil that has bloomed, cutting weekly bunches to enjoy on my desk at work.

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I usually had some company while I cut my bouquets. Hi Pixel!

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I don’t have any ranunculus growing in the yard, but a $5 bouquet from Trader Joe’s in shades of peach and coral made me happy for over a week.

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The lilacs were amazing this year, and I  use that word sparingly. Last year, just as they were about to bloom we had an icy snow storm that killed them all. I guess they decided to make up for it this year.

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I’ve been documenting all the ways I’ve been enjoying my flowers on Instagram, if you need to see more.

I’m momentarily without flowers for cutting, so I’m planning on some summer dahlias (see here for some of my inspiration), and ordered a few varieties from Swan Island Dahlias. We have lavender and roses growing now, so I’m hoping to have a few little bunches to clip and arrange soon. In the meantime, I’m also thumbing through The Flower Recipe Book, and dreaming of filling the house with bunches of flowers.

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