Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer nights start!

June gloom continues, yet the light gray of mornings burns off into a sheer loveliness that sings me outdoors for lunch.  Light stretches into the late evening and I adore the mildness of it all.  It's been a busy couple of weeks, lots on my mind and a hefty to-do list.  Still, I made some time to meet a dear, dear friend for an evening coffee.

As we were leaving we noticed this little alleyway right next to the coffee shop, from whence music had been wafting.  It was a cozy niche streamed with papel picado and lights.  Friends, lovers, and family sat at picnic tables, enjoying their company, the music, and the atmosphere.  My friend and I even ran into another mutual friend.  I love local.

[Zona Rosa Caffe, Thursday night]

I'd been to the Caffe a couple of times before but didn't know about their summer music program, which, I discovered from the website, has been going on for thirteen years.  They have live music in the summer, every Thursday, "until it gets cold."  Which is longer than usual if one has a cuppa brew in hand.

This bodes well for the rest of summer.  Let's outdoors!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making more meals

Since moving back after graduation, my youngest brother has immediately jumped back into the sibling cooking rounds for our weekly family dinners.  This is the second week in a row he's prepared a meal.  I must admit that I'm pretty impressed with the new-to-us entrees he's brought to table, recipes he's picked up from dinner parties for and with friends while at university.  Here's this week's offering:

[dinner, plated]

Grilled chicken breast
Sweet pepper stuffed with brown rice, onion, mushroom, and tomato
Salad (with balsamic vinaigrette, salt + pepper)

I'm okay with doing the dishes. (^O^)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Picnic Club 1

The first Summer Picnic Club outing happened last Saturday!  My parents arrived early and snagged a sweet spot in the shade; some friends came out with fruit salad and even mimosas (hush hush)!  It was an idyllic afternoon to be outdoors; as you can see, many other people decided to go to the park, too.  We watched a swing-dancing group practice their moves (with lifts!), a high school reunion, people walking their dogs, parents and siblings practicing baseball swings and ball tosses, and a troupe of children with a bubble maker.  I want one of those!

[dad + squirrel]

I've posted enough pictures of picnic spreads so will leave you of this shot of my dad, taking a picture of a squirrel.  I don't know if you can see it, but the squirrel is holding a cherry that my dad had given it.  Very funny.

The next installation is in three weeks; hope to see more people and explore more outdoors spaces!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

John 3:16

My BSF study of the book of John ended about a month ago.  Here's something my lecturer shared with the group, a wonderful explanation of John 3:16 -- the most quoted verse in all the Bible.

God ...the greatest lover

so loved ...the greatest degree

the world ...the greatest company

that He gave ...the greatest act

His only Son ...the greatest gift

that whoever ...the greatest opportunity

believes ...the greatest simplicity

shall not perish ...the greatest promise

but ...the greatest difference

have ...the greatest certainty

eternal life ...the greatest possession

I scribbled it down when she showed it on the PPT and have been carrying it around for months now.  Thought this a good way to both remember it and share.  I hope you not only read this, but know it; and if you don't know it or are uncertain of it, seek with an open mind and heart, and discover it to be true.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Graduation weekend

Since we had such a good time wine tasting over Memorial Day weekend, and I knew we'd be nearby again for my brother's graduation, I suggested to my family to head up a day early and relax before going to the Saturday ceremony.  Everyone agreed, and a family road trip was born.

We only went to two wineries, but that's cool.

[melville vineyards]

We got to spend time doing other things, like walking around Solvang (where we stayed) and watching the US vs. UK match.

[team usa]

The weather was gorgeous at graduation.  We spread a blanket on the lawn and relaxed.  And then were lucky enough to catch our grad at both processional and recessional.


We ended the night with a lovely dinner at Tupelo Junction on State Street (I hear the Bloody Marys are good, but I can only vouch for the blackberry mint mojito) before the long ride home.


I was beat after just two days: traveling with family is always adventuresome, always yielding funny stories and good memories.  Thanks for giving us a reason to do the road trip, brother -- and congratulations!  Time to go job hunting...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Project list

Call me overambitious, but I have a huge list of things of things to do this summer.  I'd better write them out and commit to them, so that I can be sure to finish!  Here's what I've got so far:

  • Summer Picnic Club 2010

  • Sew this shirt

  • Finish a quilt

  • Nice nails

  • Set up craft room

  • Put up (some) art

  • Set up an al fresco dining corner

  • Attempt to grow a tomato plant

  • Complete herb planter

It's  a pretty good mix of short- and long-term projects, in addition to some already-in-place plans like trying a new recipe each month.  Interspersed with a bit traveling, the bulk of which will happen late this summer.

As I excited shared my ideas with DC, he said, "That sounds great, but I thought that maybe we could fit planning a wedding in there somewhere..."

Yes, dear.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thrifting at home: books

Spring cleaning usually means throwing things out, right?  Especially when you're trying to makeunder your life, right?  But as I mentioned the other day, I think there is value in keeping things, too.  Not all the time, of course.  But sometimes.  Like all those vintage pieces in the kitchen.

What about books?  The past few years I have been nearly ruthless when it comes to purging them.  I regularly give books to friends -- even sending them cross-country -- and have you heard of Book Crossing?  I've only kept books received as gifts that I haven't read yet, which is already at least two boxes.  And I have all but replaced trips to bookstores with walks to the library during lunch breaks.

The other day I was tidying up the garage and came across a box full of books.  They are from DC's and his brother's childhood days.  Here are a few that I just had to bring out, to sit with and flip through slowly:

[billy goats gruff cover]


[birds cover]

[birds, drawings]

[richard scarry cover]

[scarry boats]

These are intended for DC's nephew, who's three... but they're here now, for the three-year-old in me to rediscover. (^o^)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

FO: Nursing cover

Dear Baby J,

My sincere and humble apologies for getting this to you so late (I can hardly believe you are already 3 1/2 months old!).  As it turns out, I underestimated not so much my skill at sewing (although don't scrutinize so closely; I know you are the granddaughter of a professional) but rather embroidery. I hope that you find much use for this piece during the remainder of your breast-feeding days -- and perhaps thereafter, your parents are a resourceful pair.  Please know that each stitch was made with much


Aunty J

[gallery link="file"]

From top left, First row: 1. starting out supplies 2. box of embroidery floss 3. flosses chosen; second row: 4. chalked lines 5. bled transfer lines 6. hexagon pattern in progress; third row: 7. ironed 8. the entire nursing cover 9. scraps

I followed this tutorial using organic cotton fabric purchased at JoAnn's.  Sashiko patterns were from an old library book.

I've wanted to try sashiko for a long time now, and I'm glad I finally sat down and did it.  Such a large-scale project did wear me out, but I think I'll come back to it one of these days as it's quite soothing to do and simply stunning to look at -- especially for someone who likes geometrics like I do.  Maybe accent strips on place mats or coasters.  For now though, I have my Summer Project list to wind up... and start on.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tumbling home

Getting to the Metro station after work involves going down a steep incline.  And today, I took a bit of a tumble when the sole of my flats slipped on the concrete sidewalk.  I didn't notice the scratch on my hand till this evening.

[wrist owie]

Having bumped my knee when I fell, I knew there'd be a mark; sure enough, I found it:

[knee owie]

Well, I am grateful that there were no further injuries, no sprains, and no blood drawn.  I'm also thankful for the nice person who asked if I was okay and proceeded to joke a bit about it to make me feel less embarrassed.  So much for wearing flats.  From tomorrow, it's going to be my trusty Jack Purcells -- at least until I can find a more professional-looking alternative.  I just don't want to join the slacks-and-running-shoes club.  But, ah, the perils of public transport may have their way with my fashion points after all...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Picnic Club preview

Summer picnicking got started a bit early thanks to a lovely weekend spent wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley.  We had a glorious spread of bread, cheese, salami, turkey, carrots, cherries, watermelon, and a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.  The weather was perfect.


The Santa Ynez Valley is such an easy and feasible getaway, especially with very action-oriented friends (we casually talked about the possibility of going just a few weeks ago).  And probably on account of the film.  We got seated at "the Sideways table" at the Hitching Post.

[towards the wine tasting]

Later, we even made a stop in Solvang and went to Sunday Service at Mission Santa Ines.  Hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend; we sure did!