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!

Friday Favorites: Pie, Pie & More Pie

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This year our Pi(e) Day Social was a great success. Lovely pies and reasonably good people. Image courtesy of @dchav_

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And speaking of pie…I found myself needing a super quick piecrust because my frozen pie disk had taken a bad turn during a power outage. Though conventional wisdom tells me it’s unwise to try something new when entertaining, I decided to give this quick pie crust a try. I scoffed at the claim that this piecrust is revolutionary… but am now a convert. The crust is kind of shortbready, buttery, flaky, and so easy. Perfect for single crust pies. You can buy The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook here.

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I find it hard to find sprouts in the small amount I need, so felt it economical to try sprouting my own. I found these on Amazon. I believe these are radish, lentil and some other guys.

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I am just about to bind off this lovely poncho in Rowan Felted Tweed and am itching to start something with Euroflax Linen, maybe this tunic or another wrap.

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Sharing your bounty. While planning your spring garden, plan to plant just a little bit more to share with your local community food bank. Contact them first, but many of your local organizations will gladly accept washed, home grown produce to offer their clients. Ample Harvest has a Find a Pantry button on the top of their site to help you find a local food bank or soup kitchen that would love to accept your produce and eggs. If you live in Elgin you can donate food here.

Five Fab for Friday: Arturo the Aqua Boy & Pick Your Own Damn Bluberries

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1. Geek Love. The author Katherine Dunn passed away this week. I cannot tell you how this novel ruined everything I tried to read afterward for quite some time. It was as if I’d tasted the most perfectly tart rhubarb pie and everything after was Pop Tarts. Warning, the wild tail (pun intended, spoiler alert) in this book is not for the faint of heart. It appears nothing she did ever was. She was one of my heroes. I love this story in the Willamette Week.

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2. Pick Your Own Damn Blueberries. It just wouldn’t be time for Memorial Day Weekend without me mentioning these bad boys. I do believe I may have just found the perfect name for any pick your own farm. Each year I reach out to Bill at Chickamaw Farm and Ranch in nearby McDade to see how close they are to picking. As of this morning, these are still a couple weeks form being ready to pick. Bill says, “Berries are out there just waiting for the rain to quit and the sun to shine hot and long.  I figure in a couple o’ weeks at the most but stay tuned.” Cannot wait. Call before you head out 512-567-3456.

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3. An actual finished knitting project. I have not been my usual knitty self these past months, so it feels so good to finally complete this incredibly basic garter stitch shawl.  The yarn is Mountain Colors, 4/8’s Wool in Harmony Rose.

4. I recently found these incredibly helpful cheat sheets for knitting shawls without any real pattern in mind…hence the above finished shawl. She also has some lovely patterns. You will want to download these PDFs. 5 Basic Shawl Shapes and 5 Basic Shawl Shapes in the Round. Find many more helpful tips and lovely patterns at Laylock.org

5. This recipe on Pinterest. I am craving a fried chicken sandwich and this. Seriously.