Sunday, August 28, 2016

Summer is Winding Down

I can feel the fall in the air these past couple of days.  We have had such lovely, moderate weather although they are predicting a couple of more days of hot temps.  Summer will soon be over and it's been a enjoyable time here at Lilly My Cat.  I thought I'd share some random photos of what's been happening around here. . .

My daughter sent me this photo today of this little deer she saw on her walk this morning.  We do have deer in the hills around us and it always bring a smile to my face when I see one of these beautiful creatures. . .
Speaking of beautiful creatures, Lilly my cat keeps us entertained.  She's a joy to have around and although she hasn't caught any geckos lately, she's been busy hunting them.  My heartfelt sympathy goes out to two dear blog friends who have recently lost their beloved pets. . .
This knitting project has really "consumed" my life so to speak.  I'll soon be done with this shawl and all the fussy stitches and hand beading.  I'm excited to see how it will look when completed.  I'll hopefully share a photo when that happens. . .
Here is little Sadie wearing the dress I knit for her awhile back. It fits her perfect! I enjoyed designing the colors and embellishments for this little knit. . .
We meet up with my daughter and her family for an evening picnic at Laguna Beach.  It's a short drive away from where we live and always a fun time to be had. . .
 We were invited to a friends home for dinner this past week.  I wanted to take something to share and made this baba au rhum.  It's such an easy cake to make.  The recipe is from Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris".  Here's a link to this recipe.  I love all of Ina's recipes as they are spot on . . .

Yes, summer time is winding down but soon the holidays will be fast approaching.  I've already started on my menu planning for our Christmas celebrations.  Next month I'll be off to a knitting workshop on Bois Blanc Island in Michigan.  I can hardly wait!  Take care dear friends and I'd love to hear what you been doing this summer.

With my best wishes,


Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Special Birthday, Houses and Clouds

Hello my dear friends.  It's Sunday afternoon here in southern California and it's a pleasant day as our hot weather has subsided a bit.  There's so many things I want to share with you but first I must say thank you so much for your kind words and wise advice you gave me in regard to my last blog post.  Life is good!

This past week my little granddaughter, Sadie, turned one year old.  My daughter had a wonderful tea party celebration for her featuring delicious tea sandwiches (made by my daughter), scones, tea and vintage coronation china (which she and I both collect).

The table was set so pretty in it's pink tea party theme. . .

Here's the little birthday girl,  Sadie,  modeling the sweater I knitted for her . . .

Yesterday, we visited a new church nearer our home.  (Yes, it was on Saturday but it's a new Orthodox church that doesn't yet have their own building so they meet on Saturday at the Greek church).  It was a very pleasant experience that both my husband and I enjoyed.  From there, we went to look at a new housing development.  We ventured further south via a new road that has just opened up.  We were there in just a few minutes (so nice versus taking crowded Interstate 5).

Here's the backyard of one of the model homes we viewed.  You can see the ocean view beyond the backyard area.  This home was huge but on a little lot which is quite normal here in southern California . . .

There are four different areas in this development.  All the model homes had been "staged" which made them look very beautiful.  I loved seeing the kitchens and getting some ideas for my own kitchen.  But, the price tag was unbelievable . . . $3.5M for this home pictured above!  I couldn't nor would I buy this home at this price.  But, that's southern California. . .

We viewed the other area in the same development which had condos.  They were well planned and very spacious.  I'm the kind of person that doesn't have to have everything to please my taste, however, this graffiti tile would have to go if I lived here.  What do you think?  And, it's actual tile that had been adhered to the walls and grouted!
On the way home, via the "new road", we stopped at another open house that was in a traditional subdivision.  It was warm, inviting, nice and very much to my taste. However, we wouldn't be downsizing and there was still a pool.  We arrived home and came to the conclusion that we are very happy where we are.  We may not have an ocean view but we do have a lovely view of the mountains.

 We bought our home six years ago when the market was at it's lowest.  We'd love to have less to take care of but prices have skyrocketed again here.  I'm always content but it's my dear husband who has caught the real estate bug.  Hopefully, he will get "well" soon.

Oops, almost forgot to mention these beautiful clouds that appeared this week.  I love clouds but they soon disappeared and no rain is expected. . .

As for my WIPs, I'm still working on my Amulet Shawl. It's the kind of knitting where I have to pay attention and think about.  We're off to the beach this afternoon for a picnic.  I'm taking another little knitting project that I don't have to think about.
I hope each of you have enjoyed your weekend.  The start of the new week is almost here and I wish for each of you all the best.  And, I so appreciate your friendship!

With my best wishes,


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Blogging Etiquette (...if there is such a thing...)

Hello dear friends.  I'm writing to you from very hot, southern California.  I thought we'd have a break in the weather by now but no luck as of yet! 

Since you, my readers, have always been so kind and willing to help me, I wanted to ask your opinion about something.  It regards blogging etiquette. . .
I remember reading Emily Post years ago and trying to adhere to all the rights/wrongs

Maybe my generational gap is showing it's age but here's my story.  It has been a joy seeing my blog, Lilly My Cat, become a place where I can share what I've been making or doing.  Along with that, I have met some wonderful people and my blog has become a true hobby for me.  

My daughter was the one who originally helped me with getting my blog and readership in order.  She told me that I should visit other blogs and comment and see what is out there in blogland.  In time, I found different blogs hosting link parties where I was not only able to share my blog but find other blogs that I could follow.

Some of those link parties had like 200 links and my blog got lost as did I.  But, there were a couple where I could link to and thoroughly enjoying meeting new friends.  Namely, Handmade Monday and Amy's Five on Friday at Love Made My Home.

Now, both of these blog hosts are in the UK and I'm in California.  But, in blogland it doesn't make any difference as we can share in each others interests, trials and triumphs no matter where we are located.  I have met such dear friends through these two links.  And, in return, you have met me (haha).

So, here's the glitch I have.  Over a year ago I found a lovely blog that hosts a link up party each week for those who want to share their knitting.  I was thrilled to find this party and faithfully added my link up each week (the blog is on EST time, three hours ahead of California time so even when I linked up at 8:00AM my time, I was sometimes late to the party).  This week I linked up since I had written a post about my knitting and I thought I would share it with like minded readers.  I was excited to see some comments as I visited new sites via the link party and commented and also got some new ideas.

Here's what happened....nothing.  Zilch.  Not one comment.  Now this link party had just under 75 link ups.  What did I do wrong?  My daughter told me ". . .now don't get yourself upset . . ."  But it makes me wonder what is blogging/link parties all about?  I originally thought that maybe US bloggers are a bit shy vs the UK bloggers but that's not correct.  As I have some great blog friends here in the US.  Friends that I can "talk" to via our comments or email.  This situation has left me a bit puzzled.

In the meantime, I have taken down my link on both my post and at the link party.  And, I don't think I will join in anytime soon.  Maybe I expect too much of people now?  I remember a year or so ago when I wrote a blog post about my daily routine.  One of the comments was a bit impolite as to "how nice to have time to . . .as some of us work. . ."  I published that comment but I wanted to say that "yes, I have time now but I too used to work full time, raise two children and manage a rental business".  I know people are busy and there's more to life than commenting on blogs.  But really, if you're going to share something, shouldn't it be equal?
I know you dear readers will set my straight on this.  Maybe the heat is getting to me :)
Wishing you the best,
Linking with:
Lilly My Cat :)  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Knitting Update: Sweater, Sweater and Shawl!

It is hot here!  Summer is still here and it's decided to give us another heatwave down here in southern California.  I'm really looking forward to cooler weather.  How is it where you are dear readers?  I know there's too much rain in some parts of our country; how I wish that rain could reach dry, parched California.  The drought has really started to take it's toll as you can now see old, established trees that are dying or dead.  Sad times..

But, on a brighter note, here's what I've been working on.  I knitted two little sweaters for my dear granddaughter whose birthday will be this coming week.  She's turning one year old.

First up is the Flowertot Sweater which I made from Australian super washed wool that I received in my Little Woollie Yarny Love Club. The buttons are made from Liberty of London fabric and were also included in the box!

This was so much fun to knit and design the color scheme as I went along.  The original pattern called for leaves all the way around but I thought that may be a bit too much.  I hope Sadie will like this!

Next up is the Charlie girl sweater.  Last year I had purchased five skeins of Brown Sheep cotton fleece to make myself a sweater.  It didn't work...the pattern size as wrong and I didn't care for the look of the yarn.  I was determined not to "waste" this yarn so here's one of the items I made from it.

I tweaked the pattern a bit and added an edging around the collar and only did an edging on the buttonhole side of the yoke.  I found these bow buttons online and thought that they coordinated quite well with the bow in the back. 

Lastly, here is the first shawl I completed from the Shawl Society.  It looks bigger than it really is as it's more a shawl that you would wrap around your neck.  It was a easy knit that I completed while I was in Turkey this summer.  I added some beads to the edging but they don't show up that well.

My pattern notes can be found here.  There are six shawls in the Shawl Society and right now I am working on shawl number two.  Helen Stewart is an outstanding designer and the patterns are written out in addition to being charted.  As I live in California and I'm always too warm, haha, I plan on giving this shawl away as a gift.

So, what's on my needles now?  Shawl Society #2 shawl which has quite a bit of lace which I find fun and challenging.  I'm also knitting a little baby hat; a quick and easy project.  And, I'm making some quick crocheted coasters using the tapestry crochet technique.

Thank you for taking time to visit Lilly My Cat.  Lilly, by the way, sends her meows to all of you.  She's been a bit naughty lately as she decided to bite me for no reason this week.  I was sitting at my computer desk and she was at my feet.  She's a naughty little kitty but I love her dearly!

With my best wishes,

 Linking with:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Am I Getting Old? (i don't feel old...)

Hello my lovely friends.  I hope  you have been enjoying your summer vacation.  I've been home for almost two weeks and life is back to it's normal routine around here.  I thought I'd share with you an incident that happened this weekend...

My husband and I ventured off to Laguna Beach on Friday afternoon.  We took our beach chairs and a picnic lunch to enjoy.  We didn't sit down on the beach but instead we found a picnic table at the park overlooking the ocean and proceeded to enjoy our afternoon.  Not much later, some gentlemen came and set up their things at the adjoining table.  The one guy said he was going to get married later that day in the gazebo overlooking the beach.  We gave him our congratulations and wished him the best.

He proceeded to tell us that this wedding was only going to cost him around $500.00 and that 30 to 40 people would be arriving later; they would be in the same little picnic area where we were seated (remember, this is a public park).  We didn't think much of it as we would be going home in a couple of hours.  My husband took off and walked down to the beach while I tried to knit a bit.  The sun was getting hot so I decided to move our things to a shady, grassy area.  I told the guy that he could now use our table.  He mentioned something about "....I was hoping you guys would stick around..."  I didn't think much of it but when I went back to get my last items from the table, I overheard a woman say "I thought that older couple could stay and watch our items".  Wow, it took me for a loop as I don't consider myself or my husband as "an older couple".  Basically, they just wanted us to sit there and babysit their wedding venue items while they get married!  I don't know what is wrong with people today.  I really think their minds only think in the present; instant gratification, in the now with no idea of the past or present.  I told this story to my daughter and she said a similar thing happened to her this week with the sales clerk at Nordstrom.  And, my daughter is a young 37 year old woman!

Lilly is back to her old tricks.  She hunted down this gecko the other day and brought it right where I was sitting.  She basically likes to play with it; luckily, I think this one got away as I didn't find it later.

However, it lost it's tail and I was a bit surprised to see it wiggle for the next few minutes . . .

I was going to share some pictures of my latest completed knitting projects; two sweaters and a shawl.  I'll try to photograph them for next time.  The shawl yarn stained my new bamboo needles.  I contacted the yarn company and they are going to send me two free skeins of yarn.  Happy :)  However, I bought myself some new needles since I needed them for the project I'm working on now.

We'll be celebrating two birthdays in the next few days.  My little granddaughter is turning a big one year old and my little grandson is going to be seven.  It will be a joyous time to celebrate with them.

I'd love to hear how your summer is getting along.  Feel free to comment if you have the time.  Until next time,

My best wishes to you,


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Celebrating a Birthday in Sicily

Hello dear readers. I'm back home in hot, southern California.  My trip home was quite uneventful (thank goodness), and all is well here.  Lilly was so happy to see me.  Our good friends came by each day and provided excellent "catsitter" service.

While my family and I were on vacation, my daughter celebrated her birthday.  We were in the port of Messina, Sicily on her special day and mother and daughter went to Azienda Trinita where we toured the botanical gardens and enjoyed an authentic Sicilian cooking lesson.

We arrived late morning at the estate and this is the church across the street from the property...

Here is one of the buildings with it's beautiful garden architecture . . .

My daughter, Heidi, on her birthday at the estate . . .

We took a tour of the gardens on the estate before the cooking lesson.  I loved this quaint pond on the property . . .

There was also a small vineyard.  The current owner of the property is an landscape architect along with being a botanist.  We picked lemon leaves off the lemon trees to use for the cooking lesson . . .

The main course consisted of meatballs wrapped in lemon leaves . . .

This is a photo of Maria who was our teacher.  She is originally from Rome .. .

The first course consisted of zucchini ribbons in a vinagrette . . .

The lemon leaves wrapped meatballs before cooking . . .

We retired to the rustic style dining room and awaited for our food.  It had such an authentic, rustic charm . . .

This property has been in the same family for eight generations.  Salvatore Bonajuto is the current family member who is in charge.  The property is not that large but it does have some separate cabins you can rent.  We met a nice couple from the Netherlands who had rented from Airbnb and they accompanied us on the garden tour.

Our cooking lesson included these five items:
     - Antipasto (zucchini ribbons with lemon vinagrette and grated parmesan)
     - Carponata (eggplant and tomato served on bread)
     - Polpettine (meatballs wrapped in lemon leaves)
     - Spaghetti Eoliani (pasta with fresh tomato sauce)
     - Torta (Apricot tart made with a buttery crust)

And, we drank a red table wine made from the estate's vineyard.  It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon together, mother and daughter, doing one of our favorite things; cooking.  When we returned to the ship, we celebrated in the evening as all of the family was present.

I hope that you dear readers are enjoying your summer holiday.  We returned home Tuesday evening and have been busy taking care of our home and garden.  My husbands tomato plants were stripped bare by some large, pesky tomato worms :(  But, the fig trees are bearing figs so that is good.  Please feel free to comment and share what has been happening in your part of the world.

With my best wishes,


Linking with: Five on Friday . . .


Thursday, July 21, 2016

In a Turkey Coup

Hello my dear friends.  It seems ages since I've written but it's only been two weeks.  It's been a busy time for me and my family since leaving on our Europe adventure on June 17th.  I've visited lots of places and have discovered some new and exciting places too.  I thought I'd share a little bit of what's been happening...

We've been in Turkey for almost three weeks.  After our ten night cruise, we stayed in Barcelona for two nights.  Getting to Turkey was a bit of a problem since our flight from Barcelona to Istanbul was cancelled; they put us on a different flight that arrived at a different airport in southern Turkey.  Luckily, my dear son had a shuttle waiting for us that whisked us off to our home in the south central coast of Turkey.  It felt so good to have finally arrived even though it was early, early morning.

We adjusted quite easily to our home since we had done so much work on furnishing it back in November.  But, this time the weather was a bit hot and humid for us.  Now, after being here for this period of time, we have gradually gotten used to it.  We leave the doors and windows open and let the sea breeze be our air conditioning.

Friday evening, July 19th, my husband had retired for the night and I was reading some article on the internet.  I couldn't get the Facebook link to load.  I didn't think much of it until I received a Viber message from my daughter telling me that Turkey is in the midst of a coup.  It was probably just before  11:00 or midnight (sorry, but my phone clock was off).  She was worried as was I a bit.  I turned on the TV and the two Turkish channels (which I couldn't have understood anyway), were off the air.  Luckily, BBC and Euronews along with RT were on and broadcasting at that time about the tragedy in Nice.  They soon switched to Turkey and what was happening.

All seemed to be quiet here in the mountains above the sea but my daughter wanted me to take some precautions like register with the State Dept., etc.  I messaged my son, whose home is next door, and he and his work colleague got in the car and went downtown where they filled the car with gas, bought tons of water, food, and went to the ATM to get some money.  My son said there were lots of Turkish people at the ATMs getting out Turkish Lira since they didn't know what was going to happen.  I stayed at home, watching the news and listening for anything out of the ordinary.  The only thing I noticed was that Facebook and You Tube were blocked along with the two Turkish TV channels.  I stayed up until around 2:30 AM and then went to sleep.

The next day, all of us read the read and followed the happenings as best we could.  My husband gained the most info from the Arabic TV channels that we receive.  This is when I found out that the US had blocked all flights flying into Turkey and flying out of Turkey to the US.  This was not good news as I felt so bad for those people who were in the midst of their travel plans to return to the US.  Luckily for us, we had a place to stay and our schedule was flexible.  It wasn't until late Monday that I received an email from the State Department saying that flights to and from the US would resume on Tuesday, July 19th.  If this flight ban would have stayed in place, we were going to fly to Kiev for a couple of days.

As of now, everything here seems normal and quiet.  The goat herder pictured above still takes her goats on their morning walk in this beautiful, nature filled area where we are.  And, the Turkish people have been so kind to us.  

It will soon be five weeks since I've left home and upon reflecting what has happened during this time period, it really saddens my heart:

1.  June 28th - 3 suicide bombers attack Attaturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 40 killed
2.  July 7th - five police officers are killed in Dallas, Texas
3.  July 14th - 84 people are killed in Nice, France
4.  July 15th - coup in Turkey, many lives lost
5.  July 17th - 3 officers killed in Baton Rouge

and the list could go on and on.  The world is such a small place right now and somehow we are all connected.  At the beginning of our trip, I enjoyed watching the international news and getting a break from our presidential race.  I found it quite fascinating to follow the Brexit happenings and see how swift a new Prime Minister was elected.  After all what has occurred, I am planning to maybe take a little break from reading or watching the news.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all those in our world who have been affected by such tragedies.

On a brighter note, I'll be home in a couple of days.  I'm excited to see Lilly my cat and get back to my routine.  And, I should have a completed knitted item to share with those of you who knit.  And, lastly, I do have some fun photos to share, too.  I hope each and everyone of you are enjoying your summer.  I'd love to hear from you if you have the time.

With my best Wishes,


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