Monday, July 17, 2017

I'm so Excited . . . and I just Can't Hide it . . .

Hello my dear friends.  I'm back again to share with you something that has taken over my life!  It's Sophie's Universe.  A beautiful crocheted blanket that was designed by the very talented Dedri Uys.  Dedri started this pattern back in 2015 as a CAL that ran for a total of 20 weeks. The pattern is still available on her blog.  It seems as though I'm always behind in joining in with these fun activities.

 
I discovered this amazing pattern from my friend Kate, who recently finished her beautiful blanket.  Since I didn't want to download/print the pattern, I decided to order the book online from Wool Warehouse and it's the best money I've ever spent on a pattern.  

I had sixteen skeins of Stylecraft DK yarn that I had purchase and started to use to make a ripple blanket.  As you can see from the photo above, the colors were not "happening".  This project had sat in my craft closet for over a year unfinished.

I had wanted to mimic the coast ripple blanket I had made from Lucy and Attic 24.  Lucy is such an amazing, talented fiber arts artist.  Her sense of color combinations are unlike anything I've ever seen.  I had a great time making the coast blanket but unfortunately, when I tried to make my own interpretation of this blanket, I was bored stiff with the dull colors and repeats.

Voila!  That all changed when I received my Sophie's Universe pattern book.  My colors are now starting to come together (I think).  It might look very dark right now, but there's going to be a lot of creamy white borders around this blanket as it grows up.  I'm hoping it will measure 70" x 70" when I'm all done with it.

There are over 5,000 people on Ravelry doing this project!  Wow, that's a lot of yarn.  If you are new to crochet (I've been crocheting for 41 years), don't be worried about the complexity of this project.  The book is designed as follows:  each page of the book contains one row of the pattern along with detailed instructions and very detailed photos.  Dedri shows you exactly what your stitches should look like.  And, best of all, the color scheme can be whatever suits you.  And, you weave end the yarn ends as you go along so when you are all done, you are completely finished; no more yarn ends to deal with!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my latest obsession!  Please feel free to share what you've been up to this week.  And, thank you again for visiting Lilly My Cat.

Best wishes,

Pat





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Five of my Favorite Blog Friends for Five on Friday!

Greetings my readers.  I hope your week is going well.  All is fine here in SoCal although summer's heat has officially made its appearance!  I've been so behind in joining in with Five on Friday.  Today I'm going to share with you some friends I've met through blogging. . .

First up is Teresa Kasner who lives in Oregon.  Although I've never met Teresa, I love reading and following her blog.  She's an expert at crochet and shares such wonderful patterns.  And, the photos she shares of her area are breathtaking.  She lives in a lovely home tucked away in such a beautiful setting and her garden area is a perfect oasis.
Second is Gracie at One Saylor's Log and Gracie too lives in Oregon. In fact, she's good friends with Teresa above!  Gracie loves to paint, crochet, travel and share her beautiful family activities with her readers.  Last year, I sent Gracie some tea from Turkey as I know she loves tea, and she sent me this beautiful handmade card and bookmark that she had made.   

Number three is Karen at Beatrice Euphemie.  Karen lives in my home state of Washington and is such a talented lady and has a special talent for decorating.  She shares her handmade creations (like the little basket and heart she made for me pictured above), recipes, family, garden and the beautiful photos of the lovely area where she lives.  We both say that it's too bad we didn't meet before I moved to California, as I lived not too far from her when I was in Gig Harbor.

At number four is Christine, the author or Writing From Scotland.  Christine, who is originally from Oregon, writes about her life in Scotland.  I find it so fascinating to learn more about this beautiful country where she resides.  And, she is an expert knitter, creating such intricate, beautiful creations.  I "met" Christine when I asked her to translate some antique French postcards that I had been given as a gift.  

Last up is Heidi from Heidi Wanders the World, a new and exciting blog.  All you need to do is click on the link and immediately you will see the delightful tone of this blog.  Heidi shares her fashion favorites, along with some great bargain shopping and most of all, her amazing travels around the world with her family. (whew, I hope this is OK Heidi?  For those who don't know, Heidi is my delightful and much loved daughter!)

From the five people listed above, I only "know in person" Heidi but I feel as though I truly know and consider the others as my dear friends.  This past month, we were called away to Washington State and I had wanted to visit Teresa, Gracie and Karen.  But, that didn't happen as we were short on time and had to fly instead of drive :(

I'll be back again soon with another five of my favorite blog friends.  I really enjoy reading these blogs and learning so much and being inspired too, versus writing my own blog these days.  Thank you for visiting with Lilly My Cat (Lilly sends you her meows).

With my best wishes,

Pat
 Linking to:

 


Monday, July 10, 2017

It's HOT Here!

How I wish I could be more spontaneous and write a daily post to my blog!  For me, it's not the writing that's difficult, it's sharing some random thought or idea with my readers.  I'll give it a try. . .

We are really in the midst of a heatwave here in SoCal!  Temps reached 102 degrees and that's too hot for me.  My husband's brother and his family from Delaware visited last week with us and of course we took them to the beach.  It was lovely to see the clouds in the sky as the weatherman was predicting rain.  But, no rain appeared.

Lilly is taking the heat in stride.  She can easily find a cool place for her to "rest".  I can't believe that we've had this little cat for over ten years!

Usually as soon as the sun sets, it cools off.  But, this week the heat has kept up with highs in the 70's even in the evening.  Last night we sat out by the pool and I turned on my fairy lights.  It was so nice sitting and feeling the little breeze.

Of course, I had my knitting/crochet basket next to me until it became so dark I couldn't see.  I was inspired to make this little bag after seeing something similar on Etsy.  I just made up the pattern as I went along.  It's made with leftover cotton yarn and will be for a dear friend who loves owls.

 
 My children have been busy exploring the world this summer.  My daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren attended a swanky wedding in England (West Midlands).

 Before reaching England, they toured Romania for a week on their own in a rented car.  The photos she shared were amazing.  I want to go to Romania!

And, my son has been busy working in Georgia (the country) and enjoying the sights of that beautiful area.

I feel as though I haven't really cooked in my kitchen for a week.  When our guests were here last week, we were invited out for a couple of dinners and took them out a time or two.  Today, my husband is insisting on taking me to the beach for dinner.  I'm not going to complain!  Our home has air conditioning but after awhile, it becomes unbearable to sit inside all the time!  I'll be so happy when this heat wave is over.

That's whats been happening in my part of the world.  I'd love to hear what you've been up to this summer.

With my best wishes,

Pat


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Going Back Home

I've ignored my blog for awhile.  I thought I would share some photos of my "home".  This past week we traveled to my home state of Washington to attend a funeral of our long time friend.  It was bittersweet and yet, we saw many friends (who are really like our family) and that was a joy.

I lived here on the lake in Moses Lake for 22 years.  This view is from my friend's home which was just a house away from where I lived.  The sunset was stunning to say the least.  Moses Lake is in Eastern Washington, right off Interstate 90.  It's a huge agricultural area since the Grand Coulee Dam was built in the last century which brought much needed water to the area.

This was taken at Rye Grass which is on Interstate 90 just after we crossed over the Columbia River.  It's the highest spot in this area hence the glimpse of majestic Mount Rainier in the background.  After you cross the Columbia River at Vantage, there is a sign warning you to "turn off your air conditioner" as the climb up to this point along with hot weather can cause havoc to your car's temperature.  

Going West from Moses Lake, we stopped in my hometown of Ellensburg which is right in the center of the state and home to Central Washington University.  This is a photo of Hebler Hall and when I lived here it was known as Hebler Elementary. I attended this school in 6th Grade.  It had a lovely entrance with curved staircase, fountain and a real library with wood paneled walls!

Here's the home I lived in with my parents when we moved back to Ellensburg in 1965.  It's changed a bit of course.  Just at the end of the block, across the street was Hebler school, a short walk to school.


 This home belonged to Mrs. Taylor, the widow of Dr. Taylor who established a medical clinic in Ellensburg.  It was directly across the street from where we lived.  You can't see it in this photo but this home is three stories high.  I was in sixth grade when I was lucky enough to go inside and tour this stately home.  It reminded me of a Gone With the Wind home.  It's funny,but to this day my style was established due to seeing this home when I was 12 years old!

This is a photo of the home my grandparents lived in after they moved to town from the farm.  Sorry for the bad photo as it was taken through my car windshield.


These home are on a tree lined street.  I was so happy when I saw that this neighborhood still retained it's original look and style.  I love trees!

Down the street from my grandparents home lived my piano teacher, Mrs. Hertz.  This is how her home looks now.  It reminds of Cape Cod style with the siding.  I would love to buy this home as it has such memories of when I would go each week for my lesson.

Downtown Ellensburg has become quite historic looking with many of the buildings being restored to their original design.  I love this advertisement on the side of the building.  I believe it's a horse maybe advertising the well known Ellensburg Rodeo.

It was soon time to head back onto Interstate 90 going west to Seattle where we were going to catch our flight to return to SoCal.  This is a scene that is dear to my heart as it is Thorp where I lived with my parents during my high school years.

Snoqualmie Pass is the highest point of Interstate 90 as the road goes over the Cascade Mountain range.  It can be treacherous during the winter months.  They are in the process of widening the roadway but the scenery was still amazing.

We had planned on driving to Washington from SoCal but we didn't have time to make the drive (it takes two days each way) since we had guests arriving.  It was such a good feeling to go back to my roots and see my hometown where I grew up and the city where I moved after getting married.  And, although it was a sad time, I was blessed to visit with my dear friends.

I hope you have enjoyed these photos from my part of the world.  I'm back home in SoCal where the weather is delightful for the next couple of days.  I hope wherever you are, you have a joyous Fourth of July and stay safe.

With my best wishes,

Pat





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Drama, Knitting and Crocheting

Hello my friends.  It's been a long time since I wrote a blog post.  I hope everyone is having a great start to the soon to be summer season?  I was going to write earlier about a situation that made me upset and sad.  I personally experienced the effects of reverse discrimination.  But, it was a blessing in disguise and it made me even stronger.  Enough said.

Life around here has been hectic.  My husband and I sold two of our investment properties and although we found a buyer right away, the closings have been a nightmare.  We were suppose to be in Turkey starting last month but of course that didn't happen.  All is well now.

Now, to my most beloved hobby; knitting and crocheting.  Here are some of the things I've been working on.

Last year when I went to my knitting retreat, I discovered this lovely yarn by Dale Garn Erle.  I received two skeins plus matching beads from my dear daughter and family for Christmas.  You can find all the info here on my Ravelry page. I am quite pleased the way it came out but never again will I knit with this "fuzzy" yarn.  I made up the border myself since that was not in the pattern. I received the lovely orchid pictured above from my dear daughter and family for Mother's Day.
Here's my current project; a scarf I'm knitting.  It's a popular pattern and I bought the yarn on discount at Webs. I adjusted the size according to the yarn I bought.  It's a delightful pattern and a no brainer to knit.  Behind, is the lovely vase of roses I received from my son for Mother's Day.  They lasted over 10 days!

Right now, I have two projects; the scarf above and this shawl.  The yarn was given to me as a Mother's Day gift from my son and his fiance'.  It's a soft,easy to use yarn however the color changes are quite abrupt. 

As you can see above, I've gotten a bit further along on this pattern.  I did cut the yarn in a couple of places so that the color changes match the actual pattern row.  It's a fun pattern to do since every row is different and then you repeat it all over.  If you are interested in this yarn, please take a look at Scheepjes Whirl.  It's more yardage and the color change is less abrupt.  Next time I plan to use Scheepjes Whirl and make the Edlothia shawl. 

 My little grandson was over to spend a couple of nights and he wanted a mandala for his room.  I made this free hand out of some Stylecraft DK yarn scraps.  It was fun to make up the pattern as I went along.  You should try it; you'd be amazed at what you can make.  Just make sure, you keep each row even with whatever pattern you make for that row.

I really want to finish the knitted scarf and crocheted shawl so that I can get started on this project.  It's going to be a little ruffled top for my little granddaughter.  You can find the info here.  I found this yarn on a blog site and I loved the way it makes its own pattern.  Again, lovely flowers from Mother's Day given to me by my son's fiance'.

I love reading your blogs and getting inspiration from everyone.  When I first started this blog, all my efforts were in sharing my happenings.  Now, I feel that has reversed as I enjoy reading your blogs more than I enjoy writing my own :)

We're suppose to have hot temps this Father's Day weekend.  Originally, we were off to Palm Springs but the temps there are suppose to be around 115 degrees which is way TOO hot for anyone!  So, we are staying home which will be more manageable in the 90's.  I'd love to hear from you and feel free to share what you've been working on if you wish.

With my best wishes,

Pat
















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Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Glimpse into Plantation Alley in Louisiana

It's been a long time since I joined in with Five on Friday.  And, now it's being held on the FAST blog.  So, I'm linking this post to the new host at FAST and joining in.  If you haven't visited, FAST and Five on Friday, it might be nice if you jump over and pay them a visit :)

For years and year's I had wanted to visit Plantation Alley in Louisiana and recently my wish was granted.  My daughter booked this tour through a local tour operator in New Orleans.  We left early in the morning and traveled about 50 miles, crossing the huge Lake Pontchartrain on our way to Vacherie, Lousiana along with our bus driver who was an excellent guide.

The first stop was at Laura Plantation.  This house might not look as grand as many, but the history attached to this home is amazing.  My daughter had bought the book written by the Laura Locoul Gore who was the last member of the family who started this plantation.  Her memoirs can be found here.  

Laura's great grandfather, Guillaume Duparc, came over from France in 1803.  The home tour starts in the basement of the home where they have reconstructed the history of the founding family members.  Laura was born in this home back in 1861.  The family were Creole, Catholic and slave owners.  Laura inherited the plantation in the later 1800's and ran it until 1891.  She sold the property in the early 1900's where the new owners occupied the property until 1984.  The land is now owned by a local sugar company and the buildings are held in a non-profit trust.

Our young tour guide did an excellent job of telling the amazing story of this family.  There was lots of infighting between this family let alone the atrocities they did being slave owners.  

Laura Plantation had a fire back in 2004 that destroyed most of the home.  It has been rebuilt for the most part.  It was amazing to see the original beams in the basement of the home that were original.

This is the back of the home and originally it was a U shaped floor plan.  


A few years ago I visited a plantation near Charleston, South Carolina.  I accompanied my husband on a business trip and one evening they reserved a large coach for us to travel to the plantation for a tour and dinner.  Right from the beginning I felt uncomfortable; there was a middle aged white woman dressed in her period southern finery who was our host.  The whole evening it made me feel like there is a huge line drawn between those who have and those who don't have.  Being from the west and raised in a small farming community, I grew up with no prejudice whatsoever.  But, I really felt it in Charleston, unfortunately.  Luckily, as I said above, our tour guide at the Laura Plantation painted a completely different picture for us.  He felt for all people who lived during this time; especially the slaves.  As you can see above a sample of the slaves and their cost.  Very sad indeed. . .

The land surrounding the plantation is beautiful.  It was a gorgeous spring day with no humidity but I can only imagine how hot it becomes during the summer.

A short walk away and we arrived at the slave cabins.  This was so interesting to hear about the stories of those people who lived here.  We found out that most of the slaves who came to the Laura Plantation at the beginning were from Senegal.

Our tour guide told us that some of the descendants of the Laura Plantation slaves lived in these cabins up to the 1970's. 
 
This is what is left of the large home that Laura's grandmother built for herself after Laura's father occupied the main home.  They are hoping to restore this home in the future.  Laura's grandmother was a very hard hearted woman.  Laura recalls a story of meeting an older slave at the family's well.  His forehead had letters inscribed on it.  She asked him about it and he told her that your grandmother branded me after I ran away.  Laura was appalled to say the least.  Laura's father was a gentle man and after the Civil War he was kind to the people who worked on his plantation.  As I mentioned, Laura grew up in a French speaking Creole family.  In her late 20's she decided to abandon the life she knew and she married a Protestant doctor from St. Louis where she moved and started her new life.  If you read the book, you will find that it's a fascinating story.

From the Laura Plantation we headed back down the road to the Oak Valley Plantation, also on the West side of the Mississippi River in Vacherie, Louisiana.  It has all the trapping of the Gone With the Wind scenery that was in my head . . .

This time we were on a self-guided tour around the outside of the grounds.  Here you see what remains of the slave cabins.

We waiting a bit outside before we were escorted inside the main home.  The woman attendant on duty was extremely dour and a bit rude to us.  Once inside, we had an Acadian tour guide, dressed in period clothing, who told us about this home.  It kind of made me sick to my stomach to hear the stories of slave labor that built this home.  But, I found it to interesting to see this "shoo fly" or as they'd call it in India, a "pukka" fan.  Someone stood in the corner and pulled the rope that made this fan move back and forth and keep the bugs away.

This plantation dates from the mid 1800's and the 300 year old Virigina Live Oaks are so majestic.

Here's my lovely daughter, Heidi, standing in the front of the home with the mighty oaks lining the walkway.  Oak Valley Plantation doesn't have the same appeal to me as the Laura Plantation. After the original owner died, the plantation passed to a couple of owners and after the Civil War it became very difficult to keep up the property.  From what I understand, it was in ruins until it was bought in 1925 by Andrew Stewart who bought it was a gift for his wife Josephine.  They restored the home and lived there until Josephine died in 1972.  

 
I thought I smelled a gas leak but I think it was the mold growing on these trees from what I had read about them.  I've never seen anything like these magnificent oaks (except maybe the giant Redwood trees in Northern California).

Our day at the plantations ended and we soon found our way back to the bus (after having tried mint juleps) and headed back to our hotel in New Orleans.  Here's a few of my thoughts;
1.  If you are ever in this area, I highly recommend going to see the Laura Plantation.  
2.  It's not fancy compared to the others but it really gave me an insight into the life these people lived.  3.  And, it let you feel how life would be if you were on the other side as a slave. 4.  I always feel history is one of the most important things we need to learn about as it does and can effect our daily lives.  5.  I feel fortunate that I was fortunate to visit this area and learn about an era of our country that caused so much pain.

Wow, it's taken my a long time to write these words.  It's so much easier when I just pop in a photo of my knitting project and rattle on.  But, I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into a long forgotten world.  And, please feel free to share what you've been doing, too.

With my best wishes,

Pat

PS - Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who read my blog! 


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Discovering New Orleans

I have discovered a new favorite place to visit and it's less than a 4 hour plane trip away - New Orleans!  From the moment I set foot outside (at the airport) this beautiful city, I immediately had an affinity to everything.

I traveled there earlier this month with my dear husband,  daughter, son-in-law and my little grandchildren since we were going to depart from the Port of New Orleans on a cruise.  At the airport taxi queue, the taxi rep got us a taxi which didn't charge us for our little grandchild.  A very nice gesture.  And, our taxi driver turned out to be a member of the Coptic Ethiopian Church!  When he found out my husband was a Copt from Egypt, he gave him a beautiful handmade Ethiopian cross.  Such kindness.

 
 We arrived late at night but woke up the next morning to a rain storm.  The wind was whipping up and the rain was falling.  We decided to take a ride on the St. Charles streetcar.  It was a fun way to see some of the city.

Look at these homes that line the streets of St. Charles Avenue . . .

Such beautiful architecture . . .

I loved this sign on the Temple Sinai synagogue . . .

New Orleans is known for a style of home called "shotgun".  This was the best photo I could capture.  See how long and narrow this home is?

Look at this beautiful wrought iron fencing . . .

And those Mardi Gras beads find their way everywhere, including the tree tops!

Our second day there, we ventured into the French Quarter which was a short walk from our hotel.  We walked down Royal Street which is parallel to the famous Bourbon Street.  There were so many beautiful antique shops lining Royal Street.  I could have spent a whole afternoon looking through these shops.

We finally found Beignet Cafe and had our first taste of famous New Orleans Beignets and cafe au lait.  Fresh, hot beignets were heavenly.

Our hotel was 1 1/2 blocks from Canal street and here's the Starbucks that is located on the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue.  I love the old feeling.

On our third day in the city, we ventured back to the French Quarter.  The buildings were amazing.

This is St. Louis Cathedral  in Jackson Square.  It is the oldest cathedral in the United States.  Jackson Square was lovely and super clean.  In fact, the whole area we ventured through was extremely well kept.

Another example of the unique buildings in the French Quarter . . .

And, of course we had to sample the world famous Cafe' Du Monde beignets and chicory coffee.  Here's my little granddaughter and son-in-law enjoying these treats in the beautiful sunshine.

I was amazed at how old some of the buildings are.  One of them dated to 1826 and at one time was a bank; pre Civil War time.

My little grandson was ecstatic when this parade started through the streets escorted by the New Orleans Policemen on their motorcycles.  He collected a large cache of Mardi Gras beads!


We boarded our cruise ship on Saturday morning on the banks of the Mississippi River.  When they say "muddy" Mississippi, I can see why.  Tons of sediment passes through the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.

We left port at 4:00 PM and didn't reach the Gulf of Mexico until around midnight.  The ship slowly made it way through the Mississippi River Delta.  This is a sugar factory that has been in business since 1909!  Louisiana is a big producer of sugar cane (I will write more about that in the next blog post).

 
After our five days of cruising in the Gulf of Mexico, we returned to New Orleans early in the morning.  I luckily woke up very early to capture the sunrise over the winding Mississippi River.

I love New Orleans and everything about the city.  It was amazing to discover the history of this beautiful city.  Being from the west coast, we don't get to experience such history in this way.  And, what we do hear about was in regard to Hurricane Katrina.  This city is so clean and vibrant.  I know they have had huge problems to overcome.   I was a bit hesitant to see this city probably because of some of the things I had read.  We never felt uneasiness but of course, we didn't go out late at night and took precautions as you would in any large city.  I really feel it's my "favorite" city!

There will Part II to Louisiana.  Maybe I feel a connection to the south since my Mother's family came from Arkansas and Georgia!

I hope all of you are enjoying your week and spring weather!

With my best wishes,

Pat