Joy of Missing Out

If you know me at all, you know I am happiest at home. But even a self-proclaimed homebody can get a little squirrelly when home becomes both work place and sanctuary for an indefinite amount of time.

I have always been good at entertaining myself, and these days I’ve been happily starting new knitting projects, cooking, and hope to get my vegetable garden ready for transplants.

When this is all over and we all return to at least a bit of normalcy, I hope to report that my garden has been started, I’m halfway finished with the shawl I just started, and I’ve finally finished the plaid shawl that’s been on my loom for a year. Yes, a year. Maybe longer. Definitely longer.

It will come as no surprise that I’m spending a fair amount of time knitting. I’m knitting up all these sock yarn ends into a mash up of a Find Your Fade and the semi circle shawl recipe on this PDF.

I am loving the comforting garter stitch of this simple 4 row pattern. I love watching a project grow from 3-4 stitches and become massive wraps. It’s so satisfying.

Here are a couple ideas for keeping your hands busy and your spirit light these days.

Watch (or Rewatch) Lighthearted TV

Rewatching all three seasons of The Detectorists last week was just the sweet, slow moving non-action I needed at the end of each day while I knit.

Learn to Fold a Fitted Sheet

I’ve always just balled them up and stuffed them in the linen closet, and felt it must be some sort of witchery that gave people the power to fold these nicely. This video makes it seem so simple.

Learn to Knit

I seriously don’t know why everyone does not knit. Aside from all the lovely hats, shawls, sweaters, and blankets, it is meditative and calming. Even for those that are nearby.

I love having a project with me when waiting for an oil change, an appointment, or a flight, or just need a break from staring at my computer screen. Ask any knitter how much they love airport and in flight knitting. It’s the best.

Don’t wait, knit.

I taught myself to knit with the modern knitter’s bible Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook before there were thousands of YouTube how to videos. Search there for help or sign up for a free two week trial of Bluprint, and learn from one of their many classes.

Learn Anything

I’ve been a longtime fan of Skillshare. I’ve taken classes on everything from email marketing to hand lettering.

Fifteen Years & Counting

I cannot believe I started this blog 15 years ago today.

Bean & Noodle started as a Typepad blog in 2005 and is now a blog + online shop for my letterpress cards and silverware.

There are many reasons people blog. Some people blog in hopes of landing a fat book deal. Others blog about specific subjects and somehow become regarded as experts in the field. Some may actually have the expertise to back it, some just have experiences to share and a voice that makes people listen. Artists, designers and stylists blog because it’s a super user friendly way to show their work instead of a website.

Why did I start blogging? 

Mine is a more personal reason. I started blogging to share my life with the women in my family… most importantly, at that time, my mother who I met in 2004. My sister and I were reunited with our mother who had given us up for adoption in the 1970s. We had spent the three years prior to adoption with an amazing foster family, with whom we have always remained in contact. We had not seen my mother since I was almost 5, and my sister was almost 2. When my sister found her, we traveled to New Jersey to visit her for a week. We knew she’d been a musician and artist (my parents were folk musicians in the 1960s… I was born in ’65, my sister in ’67). We discovered that she had been a weaver.

This struck a chord with me as I had always been drawn to textiles and had no idea why. My sister shares our mother’s love and talent for photography. I taught myself to knit when I returned home and have been knitting almost daily since. I feel I am tapping into some genetic memory every time I pick up my needles and yarn to knit.

I won’t go into much more detail, because this story belongs to my sister as much as it belongs to me. I mention it only to shed a little light on why it was so important for me to embark on, what seemed to me the ultimate narcissistic endeavour. I mean who really gives a shit if I finally finished my alpaca shawl and that after a long, crappy day only the comfort of a simple roast chicken and mashed potatoes would feel like a hug?

I can count on one hand the number of people who do.

Facebook and Instagram lured me away from here for a while, but this past year I have found I like sharing here more than ever. I’m no writer, but I like to write and share things that I find funny, beautiful, or helpful. It’s also fun to look back at older posts. If you follow the link at the end of this post to my first ever blog posts…. you’ll find I still blog about knitting, cooking, and digging in the dirt.

Today I realize the real reason I started blogging was to show Toni that I have a good life. I am happy, have a wonderful husband, dogs and cats, that I am creating stuff all the time. That her decision did not destroy our lives.

And I pray every day that it did not destroy hers.

P.S. Check out my first ever post here

Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Here is a short list of some of my favorite gifts this season. Some local, some not so local.

MAYO & TOMATO T-SHIRT $30
Such great gifts at bittersoutherner.com for your southern friends, and those who want to be southern. Nothing conures up memories of a perfect southern summer day than a tomato sandwich with home-grown tomatoes and mayo. Dukes or Blue Plate… please. bittersoutherner.com

GALENDARS from $10
Friends that I gifted with Galendars last year asked where to buy some of these tiny desk calendars for their friends this year. These gals only do two shipments each season so order now so your gifts will ship on their last ship date of December 14th! Oh, and they sell out fast! galendars.com

If you’re in the Austin area you can find them at Blue Genie Art Bazaar

MDK FIELD GUIDES $14.95
If there is a knitter in your life, they need one or twelve of these. These themed, pint-sized tomes are a perfect gift. Each beautifully designed volume explores a technique, yarn, or pattern style. My favorite so far is Wanderlust. masondixonknitting.com

DZIUK’S MEAT MARKET from $6.99
In my circle of San Antonio friends it is imperative if near Castroville, to make a trip to Dziuk’s Meat Market. Their Chunk Beef Jerky is like nothing I’ve ever had before. If dried sausage with wild combos such as quail and pork smoke your meat… look no further than dziuks.com

WHEN PIES FLY $21.59
This follow up to 2018’s James Beard nominated Pie Squared will make any pie lover a happy baker. I’ll be trying the apple strudel recipe over the weekend. amazon.com

Getting Warm & Fuzzy with Rowan yarns

Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No.13

In all my excitement about the new MDK Field Guide, I remembered I have another Kaffe Fassett knitting project on the some needles… buried somewhere deep in WIP purgatory.

Earth Stripe Wrap | free pattern link below.

What is not to love about the yummy soft fuzzy color blends of the Earth Stripe Wrap? I need to unearth this ASAP.

This pattern calls for one of my all time favorite yarns, Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I’m always amazed at how something so light an airy knits up into such a warm and substantial fabric.

Rowan Felted Tweed
Earth Stripe Wrap
Rowan Kidsilk Haze
Kaffe Fassett
Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guides

PS. Pie Wagon, Squad Mitts & Afterthought Buttons and Summer Sock Knitting

The Most Frequently Asked Question

What is the most frequently asked question knitters receive? Pretty sure it is “How long did that take you to knit that?” Am I right?

I recently bought a couple ginormous balls of Noro Kureopatora, and I am dying to cast on for this lovely striped blanket that I can’t seem to forget since I saw it at Close Knit in Portland, Oregon.

I figure it will take forever to knit, and maybe longer, so I may need to order some of these awesome woven labels… but no time soon.

Close Knit, Portland, Oregon Link here

Noromania Blanket Ravelry link here

THIS TOOK FOREVER labels Sublime Stiching

Friday Favorites: Winterspring & the Simple Art of Not giving a Hoot

Texas Redbud, (Cercis canadensis var. texensis)

Winterspring

In my mind there are 6 different seasons in a calendar year. Winter, Winterspring, Spring, Summer, Summerfall, and Fall. I especially love the misty, froggy, blossomy time of winter just before Spring.

Reminds me of a Joke…

This Fresh Air podcast interview with Mary Pipher about why older women are happier than their mothers were at their age. I love when she shares about how she starts her day with a cup of coffee just watching the morning come alive outside. This reminds me of a long standing practice in our home. I don’t wake crabby, but I do wake up slowly… drinking coffee, watching the bird feeders and the morning light hit all the trees in our back yard. The second cup is often enjoyed outside. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/27/698620524/why-older-women-are-often-the-happiest-demographic-in-america

Oh, the joke?

What’s the difference between a woman in her twenties and a woman in her forties?

The woman in her twenties always wants to know what your thinking, the woman in her forties doesn’t care.

Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

Definition of the Week

These are by far my most favorite pencils of all time. I love the very black lines it makes and the flattened ferrule is cool because it is refillable. I don’t know about you but I always run out of eraser before I run out of ideas.

Palomino Blackwing pencils


WIP Wednesday: Knits & Space

Olive in front living room last Christmas

A Space of my Own

I’m fairly convinced that I’m not unique in that the space I’ve carved out for myself to create my own personal projects, stamp Potluck Tableware, print letterpress cards, and do graphic design work is my kitchen. Am I right ladies? so this means I have to ignore the dirty dishes, or worse, move everything out of the way to make dinner. Luckily my husband agreed I needed my own space and that I could take over our entire front living room as studio space.

The biggest obstacle to starting is now out of the way. Yesterday the 400 lb concrete coffee table was moved the back studio patio to make room for my takeover of the space. I am so excited to finally have a space that I can leave a WIP (work in progress) out for me to just pick up where I left off instead of having to set up the space every time I want to make something. Fun fact, it takes the same amount of effort to set up for stamping one cheese spreader, or printing one letterpress card as it does 100 of them. I’ve started moving furniture around and hope to spend much of this weekend setting it up. Watch this space…

I couldn’t wait to move the buffet into its new space.

Procastiknitting, Just Finish the Damn Thing Already

Procastiknitting:
verb (used with object),  pro•cast•iknit·ting

1. to finally finish projects that have been taunting you from totes hung on door knobs.

I like to consider myself a monogamous knitter, but in reality I think mostly ditch projects in their last stages to move on to the next shiny project. Sometimes the allure of a fresh new WIP is simply too much to resist.

Who on earth stops knitting a pair of socks when they only have the toes left? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Squad Mitts with one thumb left to knit… you’re next.

If you’re anything like me, leave a comment below and tell us what WIP you have hanging around waiting to be finished… knitting or other WIP.


Friday Favorites: Breakfast With a View & Dolly Parton with a Mohawk

Snowcapped Mt. Hood from panoramic viewpoint in Hood River, Oregon. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham.

View of snowcapped Mt. Hood from Hood River, Oregon.

It’s Fall Y’all

While our anniversary trip to Oregon was unseasonably bright and sunshiny, we returned home to a cold and wet central Texas. Go figure.

Once again, I teared up and felt a tug at my heart when leaving the Pacific Northwest… I guess your heart can have more than one home. And perhaps it’s because during this trip I couldn’t help but think about my father and how he drew his final breaths near the Gorge, mostly alone. While in Portland I was able to visit with an old family friend who was always a friend to our father, even when it was difficult for others to do so. So grateful for Ron being in our lives, and being there for our father near the end. Sadly, Ron was in the hospital when we were there so we didn’t have the time to explore the coast and visit as I’d hoped. I had a lot I wanted to hear about, and to thank him.

It seems appropriate that I put pen to paper and write him a letter.

Chicken vegetable soup with cilantro jalapeño pesto. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham.

Chicken vegetable soup with cilantro jalapeño pesto.

Soup’s On!

One of the best things about coming home to soup weather is, you guessed it, soup. I wasted no time making my favorite blustery day chicken vegetable soup. Recipe coming soon. .. don’t miss it! Sign up below to receive this recipe, shop updates, and more.

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Vacation Knitting

I’m getting close to finishing my Find Your Fade Shawl… home stretch! I really love the color blends and am really digging the WS (that’s the wrong side for non-knitters) of this knit better than the right side WS (that’s the right side for the same folks I mentioned earlier in this sentence). The blend appears softer on this side.

Any knitter can tell you, half the fun of going on vacation is planning the projects for the trip and hunting for local yarn stores and yarns. I picked up some locally dyed yarns in Hood River and Portland by Knitted Wit and LavenderSheep in colorways that resemble the gray rocks, bright lichen, and the pumpkin warm glow of fall foliage of the Columbia River Gorge in October. This domestic targhee in Moss by LavenderSheep will be a pair of Appleseed Mitts found in this MDK Field Guide.

View form behind of the Timberline Lodge on a drizzly afternoon. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham

Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge

I have wanted to stay at this lodge F O R E V E R. It lived up to my expectations andante more. You may not know this about me, but I am madly in love with the design of WPA and CCC parks projects. The grounds and interior everything was made by artists and artisans.  Being the homebody that I am, reading and knitting by the huge fireplace in the main lobby was pure bliss, but it the breakfast with a view the following morning was what I was most excited about.

Could not have asked for a more perfect way to spend our anniversary.

Lost River Sessions

His rainy week has me thinking of previous press trips to Kentucky, it always seemed to rain in those foggy hills near Bowling Green. One of the best things about western Kentucky, aside from Mammoth Cave National Park, barn quilts, and a Cracker Barrel every exit, was tuning in to WKU radio, the local public radio station from Western Kentucky University, and discovering Lost River Sessions. This series on WKU PBS features mostly local Americana and Bluegrass artists. If you’re a fan of this music as I am, treat yourself and check it out. Here’s one of my favorites with Lilly Mae, who is  like Dolly Parton with a mohawk. Enjoy! I just recently started streaming WKU at home. You should too.

Dreaming of Cracker Barrel’s hash brown casserole now!