books · projects · reading · yarns

because it’s pretty

I love Jane Austen books. Love! And wouldn’t you know there are Jane Austen inspired knitting books? See how your world of knitting and reading just expanded? You’re welcome.


Not that I wear this period’s fashions but the shawls in this book are so lovely. The author  has snippets written of what life was like during Austen’s time. A bit of history about the fashion to be knit tucked between patterns. It is a sweet book. There are several designs that I plan to knit.


Margaret Dashwood’s Shawl. I had yet to knit anything from this book so I chose something simple. I purchased some inexpensive yarn from the craft store ~ a whopping $2.99 plus a 40% off coupon! Yep. This little gem was almost free to knit if you consider how much I have left on the 678 yards skein. This yarn…so incredibly soft. Washable. Perfect for this project. I’ll hand wash this like any other hand knit. I did put some effort into it and I like it to last as long as possible.


A bit of blocking may be a nice idea, but Olivia does show this well. I like how it drapes around her shoulders. She won’t wear it though. Says it’s an old lady scarf. Awesome.

daily life · the garden

bits in the garden

I was out looking in the back yard and was surprised to see tomatoes growing from our (1) plant. I had given up on our little tomato even though it was growing. There are no signs of withering but there have not been any blooms either. Zilch. We purchased it late, and it has given us one tomato ~ back in June after we brought it home. The garlic chive from last year is just starting to bloom as well. I figured the season was over for these two plants and we would have to continue to take hand-outs of tomatoes from our neighbors. Apparently, we are the only ones that grow garlic chives…and we don’t having anyone knocking down our door for them.

Our raspberries are about to produce again. We have a pair of two-season producing bushes and we love to pick some berries every morning. Blackberries are doing awesome but I think those are fall plants? I’m not surprised by these plants doing so well in mid August.

We did not plant much this summer. First in many that we don’t have pumpkin vines winding and stretching to grab the grass beneath, neither is there a multitude of flowers scattered around in pots, or the three different types of tomatoes we like to eat. I miss the pumpkins and we will plant them next year. I do not miss the tomato varieties or all the flowers. I don’t feel one bit the botanical Scrooge either. I’m what you would call a ‘terrible and forgetful plant waterer’. We had a very dry summer.* When I say dry ~ I don’t just mean lack of rain. We had a strange summer of consistently low humidity which is unheard of in our state. Anything we have growing in our yard is by grace, including the thriving rose bush.


Lack of rain and humidity has stressed the trees. This is what we saw driving home from the grocer. Drastic color change happening here. Yikes!

*(Still can’t figure out why no one is taking about the fact that it has been less than 50% humidity most of this summer.) Maybe they are too focused on how dead their grass and plants are. No amount of watering seems to have helped most of the landscape around town.

daily life · the garden

no apples tree

This is a very sad tree indeed. When spring arrived, this little gem was full of buds. One afternoon I was looking at it, checking to see when the buds would open and the very next day…every single bud had died. The very next day! Now, I know this apple tree was old. But to die like that the next day? I was baffled and sad.

IMG_3326I took the above picture after a rain storm the other day, feeling the gloomy sky portrayed perfectly our dismal fruit tree

My husband would very much like to cut this huge stick down. I told him if he waits a month or so all the trees in the neighborhood will look like this. Where am I to put my bird feeders if he cuts it down? I am impatient and can’t stand the thought of waiting for a new tree to grow. I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing the hummingbirds and all the little chick a dee’s flitting about. I have cardinals and gold finches, blue jays and red breasted gross beaks not to mention all the little sparrows and house wrens. One year I had and indigo bunting come to my tree twice and the next year I had a cedar waxwing. There will be other birds that I am sure I’ll remember later…red bellied woodpecker, nuthatch, downy woodpecker. Sigh.

This is what the tree looked like last summer…


It’s hideous in the current state and makes me laugh at how incredibly ugly it is. Which is why I have a pretty little wind chime hanging in it. Lipstick on a pig, as they say. We will look for a good size tree over the next few weeks as most garden centers are having sales. Something will fit the bill, I’m sure.

projects · wip · yarns

fingerless mitts

My finger tips get cold when the temps start to dip this time of year. Like Raynaud’s Syndrome. I have made a pair of fingerless mitts before with a chunkier yarn and bigger needles and a bit of cable design. I did them at a retreat I attended a few years ago. Made the matching hat that I really must redo as the top is dorky looking and the girls refuse to wear it ~ Apparently they are fearing a friend may see them or I may post a photo of them wearing it online. As if…I have never done that. Honest.


Now I want to try something in a lighter weight. My hands can get cold and start to fall asleep and feel tingly even indoors when it is cooler out, although never at home since I can control the thermostat.


I have had this pattern tucked away for a couple of years. I hesitated to knit these before simply because I was afraid of the chart. This is my first time knitting from a chart and turns out there is nothing to fear (with this pattern).  They are turning out better than I’d expected…with my skill set. The pattern is all written without the use of a cable needle so if you are not comfortable or don’t even care to knit with a cable needle ~ you don’t have to.

My youngest daughter gave me an incredibly soft yarn as a Christmas gift a few year back and the plan has always been to knit this pattern with that yarn.* Unraveling has happened. I felt a change was needed in my needle size. I went from a 7 to a 5 and trying to figure out how many stitches to cast on so the fingerless mitts would fit me has been less than fun. I got it figured out. Glad for it. Well worth the time spent. I know when they are done I will be glad they are knit and fit exactly the way I want.

*the yarn is Simplicity by HiKoo. So very soft!

books · reading

war and peace ~ the book


I saw on Instagram back in July that a gal was organizing a read along for War and Peace. The read along began August 1st. And she had the reading broken down into manageable parts. I had a copy and thought I would give it a go…I’m on page 12 and I am not participating in the Instagram posts. Yet.


I love old books. This is a copy I was given as a gift from my parents. The jacket is torn but the book itself is in wonderful condition. There is no printing date listed inside, only that its was published by Random House and was part of their The Modern Library collection. The back cover has Thomas A. Kempis written down, guess the previous owner wanted to continue with the challenging reading material.

I am finding the characters hard to keep track of. I know I’m not very far into it ~ they will probably stand out as I read more? Many are referred to with more than one name…I may have to look and see if there is a character cheat online. There should be, everything else is online.

I will continue on at a snails pace. It is not intended to be a fast read. I love an old classic tale and I enjoy some Russian literature on occasion. This may in fact turn out to be the best read for the cooler season ahead.


projects · yarns

ashburn shawl

When my mom visits we like to take her to our local yarn shop. The ladies are friendly and knowledgeable. Their shop is loaded down with beautiful yarns in every price range and it is the one store were we can touch whatever we want without getting the stink eye from the clerks. It was there that I saw this beautiful, bright, soft and squishy yarn. I had no idea what I would do with it. I rarely wear bright colors but I love them. My mom saw my dilemma and treated me to a skein.

This fun and colorful orange and pink yarn is from Knit One Crochet Too, kettle tweed, super fine – color 4316 Poppy.

I went round and round with different yarns and patterns looking for the perfect project to go with this bold fiber. And then, one day I went back into the yarn shop, found the perfect project and new yarn to coordinate.

Funny how one yarn leads to another and another…

The pattern I chose was the Ashburn Shawl by Melanie Berg, Mairlynd on Ravelry. She creates the most beautiful knitwear designs with color combinations I would never think to put together and they are all lovely. I’m the person that points to the mannequin and says, I’ll take that please…

The pattern was easy to memorize and each color had its own texture. I loved that attribute and it was a thrill to knit. I was sad when it was finished. There will definately be more Ashburn Shawl projects in my future.

With the weather cooling down I am able to wear it more and with my favorite orange ankle pants.

Olivia makes a great model. The gray yarns are Filatura di crosa, Zarina Melange – merino extra fine, color 1914 (lighter gray) and color 1468 (darker gray).