Hello August


While I am not a fan of the extreme heat, I am looking forward to this month. Yes, I am returning to work but the schedule is pretty flexible so there is time for a morning run or sitting on the deck with a book before work. And I am recommitting to healthy eating this month high is so much easier when the produce market is filled with cress fruits and veggies.
I am trying to free some of my needles with Andi's KAL but I have also cast on for Helen's next shawl pattern. And after winding my sock blank, I am ready to begin my first socks. So many pretty patterns have been recommended, not sure how I will choose. And of course I am hoping for a few bingos on my summer reading card.
Thanks Carole and Kat for Think Write Thursday.

Unraveled Wednesday


On our Shetland trip, we spent an afternoon dying sock blanks. I had heard about this and had seen a few people knitting g socks from hand dyed blanks but I really didn't have any idea hat the day would involve. Out teacher was Niela Nell, a wonderful and talented designer living on Shetland. It was a busy and action packed workshop. We each started with cream sock blank (a machine knit rectangle made from two balls of Jamieson's yarn). We mixed colors and began to paint our yarn. You can see how garish my blank looked when I finished (I had no idea what I was doing!). Then Niela's helpers cooked our yarn in the microwave and rinsed it in a large sink. It was a crazy to see how much color was seeping out. I was actually reli fed to see how much my yarn had softened in color. This afternoon, we unraveled our sock blanks (they were in our box of yarn that we had mailed home).
I have never knit socks but I think this is the perfect yarn for a first pair.
On the reading front, I finished another audio book and a Kindle book. Now that I am heading back to work, I will need to really work at getting some more squares completed on my bingo card but it has been a great motivator.
Thanks again to Mary for the book bingo fun and to Kat for our Wednesday Unraveled gatherings.

Shetland stories – one

Burrastow House

I am not really sure where to begin with my Shetland stories so I will start with this place.  Burrastow House is on the west side of Shetland and served as our home for the week.  You need to know that we had the most amazing weather.  Everyone kept telling us that is was not usual.  On our arrival day, it was cool and a bit windy but the sky was blue and the hills were so green.  In the afternoon, it began to rain lightly but we all had our rain jackets so we headed out for a pre-dinner hike.  We were like a group of sheep, following our leader (Mary Jane Mucklestone) single file, up the hill and over the stiles tha divided the fields.  We didn’t get too far because the rain and wind picked up.  I was happy that my boots and jacket kept me dry, just as advertised.

Burrastow House has comfortable rooms and gathering spaces.  We spent a lot of time in the conservatory, knitting, sipping coffee, tea, and wine, sharing tips and patterns, and enjoying the light.  Breakfast and dinner were served in the dining room and I have to admit that this was probably the one downside.  You put 13-16 women in a dining room and the volume goes up and up.  But the food was amazing!  Pierre (the proprietor and chef) served us wonderful meals and went out of his way to make sure that those of us with dietary needs did not feel left out (dessert every night!).

Our days were full of adventures.  Each morning we would leave Burrastow House and head out for tours of yarn shops, farms, and, museums.  We learned about the wool business, sheep keeping, and the history of Shetland knitting.  Everyone had a piece of the story to share.

At some point we would eat our lunch and hike or take long walks through hills and fields, sometimes green and squishy, sometimes rocky.  This was my favorite time each day.   And after the rain that first evening, we had sunshine and blue skies each day.

In the evening, after dinner, my daughter and I would head out again with our new friend Karen.  There is light enough for walking until 11 pm so we made sure to make the most of those long days.  It took us three evenings to find the seal beach but we persisted and had a great time watching the seals swim near the shore, eyeing us with curiosity.  That was really an adventure.

I will share more about the hiking next time but I came home with an increased desire to return to Scotland for more hiking.  My boots still have a lot of miles to tread.

 

a summer bucket list 

Summer break is still a few weeks away.  The students will be gone after next week and the teachers will finish up shortly after that so my schedule will be more relaxed but there is still much to do to wrap up the year.  That doesn’t mean I am not dreaming of summer days.  Today Carole and Kat have asked us about a summer bucket list.  A big part of my summer will be our trip to the U.K.  But there will be time for the summer things.  My top ten would be:

  1. Coffee on the deck in the morning, a glass of wine in the evening
  2. Spend time with our tiny person
  3. Mother-daughter dates
  4. Revive date night with my husband
  5. Take all the boxes from my winter and spring purge fest to various donation drops
  6. Fill some more boxes with craft stuff to be donated
  7. Have flowers in my kitchen every week
  8. Get at least two bingos on my Summer Bingo card
  9. Shop at the farmer’s market
  10. Pump up my tires and take my bike out for a few longer rides 

Thanks to Carole and Kat for a fun prompt.

Mondays in the kitchen – cinnamon


I have read that cinnamon can help stabilize blood sugar.  Okay.  I’ll try it.

My first attempt at adding cinnamon to my coffee was less than successful.  Apparently, cinnamon does not dissolve.  In fact, it gets kind of gooey, almost gelatinous.  Weird.  Next I tried putting it into my Ninja blender with a bit of milk and coconut oil.  That was much better.  But also more work.  This weekend I settled on adding a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon to the cup and then adding my coffee.  I think that will work.

I have been sprinkling cinnamon on sliced apples for a snack or toppping a piece of toast with coconut butter and cinnamon.  Last night I added cinnamon to my yogurt – yum!  I don’t eat oatmeal but I hear that cinnamon on top of cooked oats is good.  I bought some cinnamon sticks and plan to leave one in my cup of tea or even just warm water.  That seems a good option for work.

Any other ideas?

Think Write Thursday – a treehouse


“The perch in the maple tree was Betsy’s private office. Here she thought out stories and poems and wrote them down. Here she kept what she had written in the cigar box”.  (from Betsy and Tacey Go Downtown)

I never had a tree house.  I grew up in Arizona and we didn’t even have the kind of trees that you could climb.  But I have never forgotten this scene from one of the Betsy and Tacy books and I always wanted a spot in a tree where I could get away from my brothers with my cigar box filled with writing supples.  I would want my tree house to be deep enough in the woods to keep out the hustle bustle of the world.  A comfy couch with pillows and quilts, windows to let in the light and the sound of the birds singing, a pile of books, a basket of knitting or stitching projects, and space to roll out my yoga mat.  No TV or internet but a coffee maker would be lovely.

I don’t imagine a tree house is in my future but I do think I will head to my sewing room later today so I can curl up on my comfy chair with that cup of coffee and a good book.

Thanks to Carole and Kat for a fun prompt.

***the photo above was taken on a trip to John Muir Woods in Northern California.