Thursday, April 30, 2015

Knitting Link, Recipe Links and Handbag Madness

I changed today's post.  I originally had written something else but after the events of the past few days, I felt it wasn't appropriate.  It breaks my heart the more I read about Nepal's devastating earthquake that took place less than a week ago. The death toll is rising every time I read about it.    But, it really hit home, so to speak, when I read about two young women missing from my home state of Washington.   They were on an around the world trip and were last heard of in the Langtang Valley in Nepal when the earthquake struck.  This could have been my child or your child.  It has to be devastating to the parents who don't know where their loved ones are.  It's made me realize that whatever issues I think I may have in life, they are nothing.  I should have no complaints.  I have so much to be thankful for.  My thoughts and prayers are with all the families are are in despair and have been displaced.

This week was a bit different as my best friend (who is also my husband), was away on a business trip.   It was quiet around here.  Luckily, Lilly (my cat) is always near to keep my company.  And, my children are constantly texting me via Viber.  Do you use Viber?  It's an amazing app. We text all day long.......

I'm still working my on Easy Peazy Shawl which is a super easy pattern but somehow I "forgot" a couple of yarnovers and had to frog like 14 rows!  Maybe it wasn't noticeable, but to me it was.   You can find the specifics on my Ravelry page. I do love using this Berrocco Ultra Alpaca yarn.  It is so soft and has a wonderful colorway.

We have had "hot" temps in the high 80's with Santa Ana winds this week.  The garden is growing and it's so much fun to see it take shape.  Unfortunately, we don't have a dedicated garden area but we do have some flower bed areas which we have used to plant some vegetable plants.  Here's a photo of my cherry tomatoes......

Since my  husband was away, I decided to prepare some curry for myself.  He truly hates "hot, spicy" food.  But, I love hot, spicy food.  Isn't that funny?  Maybe because my dear Mom, who was such a wonderful person, cooked meat and potatoes style.  I love anything exotic.  So, this week I made a sweet potato curry.  Instead of serving it with rice, I ate it with paratha.  I found the recipe online.  I tweeked it a bit; I used 1 1/4 cups chicken broth and 3/4 cup coconut milk and added 1 crushed garlic clove.  I used peas since I didn't have spinach and I added fresh tangerine juice instead of frozen orange juice.  I couldn't find the "yellow" curry paste so I left it out.  It's really one of the best curries I have tasted.  Such a wonderful, fresh taste that's not overpowering.  I did add in 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce to give it a tiny bit of kick!

Speaking of food, I wanted to share with you a recipe for a quick lunch idea.  It's called Tofu Egg Salad. I had 1/2 pound of tofu left over from when I made the hot pot recipe last week.  I didn't follow this recipe exactly; I drained the tofu in the frig for a couple of hours.  Then I chopped it up just like you would for egg salad.  I added in the remaining ingredients; I went easy on the mayo and I served it with crackers.  Oh, and I added a minced shallot to give it some more flavor.  It's really quite pleasant tasting.  You know, I could easily be a vegetarian as I so enjoy making these types of meals.  I prefer vegetarian food; especially when I go out to eat.

I love handbags.  They have been by passion for many years.  And, I probably have spent too much money throughout the years on designer bags that are now lost in my closet.    But, lately my taste in handbags has started to change.   I really enjoy fabric handbags or bags that are  kind of quirky and unique.  This week I saw a "Sak" handbag at Costco.   Do you remember when Sak first came out about 20 years ago?  They are crocheted  bags that are perfect for summer.  I have a small one that I use when I don't want a huge bag.   I've even washed it and it still looks perfect.  Anyway, I found this one at Costco for $29.99!  It was $10.00 off and on the Sak website it retails for $69.00!  I think it will be a great bag for summer.

If you have a favorite pattern or recipe to share with me, I'd love to hear from you. I do read all my comments and will try and answer too :) 

Today I'm linking up with:
Amy at Love Made My Home
Ginny at Yarn Along 

take care,



Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Recipe for Venetia's Hot Pot

The gray skies have left us and the sun is out once more.  It's suppose to be quite warm this week.  Tonight I wanted to make a simple dinner.  I'm a huge fan of At Home With Venetia in Kyoto.   I discovered her show a few years ago on PBS but now I watch it on NHK (Japan's super channel that is like all over the globe).
Here is what you are going to need:
2 tablespoons oil
3 to 4 cloves crushed garlic
few threads of saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
few sprigs of fresh parsley
few sprigs of basil (I used sage from my garden)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (my tomato paste looks white because I keep it in the freezer)
1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups water (see Note below)
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
1 white onion, quartered (or spring onions)
2 tomatoes
1/2 head chinese cabbage, sliced
2 baby bok choy, sliced (Venetia used 1/2 daikon radish)
few mushrooms 
6 ounces long noodles, broken in half
1/2 package firm tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 pound shrimp
*Venetia also added 4 clams and 2 fish filets

Saute the crushed garlic in the oil just until golden brown.
Add in the saffron and saffron water.  Add the additional water to the pan. Note:  Use less water if you are cooking the noodles separately. 
Add in the white wine
Add in the tomato paste and some salt and pepper

 Add in the tomatoes and onion along with the parsley and fresh herb of your choice.  Bring to a boil then turn down heat and let simmer for a few minutes.
You can then add in the mushrooms, bok choy and cabbage.  Let cook a few minutes for the vegetables to "wilt".  NOTE:  I don't like this dish too "soupy" so I add more water and cook my noodles in the broth.  If you like it more soup like, use less water and cook the noodles "separately" and add in last before serving.
Lastly, add in shrimp and tofu and let simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve in individual plates and garnish as you wish.  It goes great with a green salad.

I'm on a mission to try and cook more healthy.  This recipe I feel is healthy and also easy to make.  In fact, to make it more healthy, I would omit the noodles.

I think the story of Venetia Stanley Smith (At Home With Venetia in Kyoto) is fascinating.  She was born in 1950 at Kedleston Hall in England to an aristocratic family.  Her great-grandfather was Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India.  She left England as a young adult and settled in Japan.  She has lived in Japan for over 40 years.  She embodies living simple and close to nature.  

How I wish my life could be simplified.  I wish my paperwork could disappear forever.  But, I would probably have so much time on my hands that I wouldn't know what to do!

Have a wonderful week and if you have time, please say "hello" as I always love to hear from you.

take care,

Extra.....See the glass plate in the last picture.  I have a set of five of these plates from Japan.  Years ago, when I lived in eastern Washington, Japan Airlines had a training center in my small town.  They chose Moses Lake because it used to be an air force base and has (to this day) one of the longest runways in the world.    My neighbors for many years, were the JAL flight training director and his wife.  They were wonderful neighbors and were always so generous.  Throughout those years, I collected and received many Japanese items that are near and dear to me.  My daughter also participated in the "sister city" exchange and traveled to Japan on JAL for this exchange.  Great memories.......

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five on Friday under Gray Skies

Hi my friends.  It's Friday and that means I'm linking up to Five on Friday at Love Made My Home.   It was a bit of a busy week around here.  We have had some wonderful gray skies but no rain in our area.  Today we received a few rain drops and then no more.  How I long for refreshing, cool rain.....

Speaking of water, we have a swimming pool.  It's not that we want or like to have a pool - the house we bought came with a pool.  My  husband would love to fill it up with dirt and never again have to deal with the problems a pool presents.  Long story short, our pool water was saturated.  Meaning that it no longer had any life in it.  The water has been in there five years.  On Sunday we rented a pump and emptied the pool....

This is how it looked the next morning at 7:30AM.  We worked until 12:30AM the night before.  Then we had to clean it which took another 6 hours.  Luckily, we had some help and now it's clean and ready for the next couple of years.  It's a shame though that we had to do this job during the drought we are experiencing.  We called our water district and they assured us that it was fine.  On a side note, we took out some of our grass and replaced it with artificial grass.  It will save a little water....

How can I wrote a post without mentioning Lilly my cat?  Here she is in all her glory.  She was so happy to see us after we returned from our trip.  She's a very vocal kitty and loves attention.  You know what I found at the bottom of the pool?  One of Lilly's long, white whiskers!

Today I had the pleasure to babysit my little grandson.  He's growing up so fast.  He's excited for his new little sister to arrive.  He's collecting transformers so today we went an found another one for his collection.

Here's my socks that I finished last week.  They are called Fork in the Road.  You can find the specifics on my Ravelry page.  My name there is theknittednest.  They were a fun and fast knit since I used 6 ply yarn.  I got this idea (using 6 ply yarn) from my friend, Winwick Mum.  

Here's a photo of dinner this week.  It's yellow split pea soup (sorry that I didn't garnish it properly for the photo).  I had a ham bone in the freezer and I made the broth and added the yellow split peas along with some chopped carrot, celery and leeks.  It was tasty on these cold evenings we've has this week.

That's about it for my Five on Friday.  What have you been up to?  I'd love to hear from you.

My best to each of you,

Pat :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Edith Holden and April Watercolor

Hi my dear friends. I hope everyone is having a great start to spring and if you took a spring break, I hope you are home safe and sound.  It's a joy to be sitting at my computer today since the last two days have been spent emptying and cleaning the pool.  Not a fun job!

I'm always a little late (like quite a few years) with what is new.  Through some wonderful blogs that I read, I discovered Edith Holden and her books; The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady.

As you may know, Edith's book shown above was written back in 1906.  I remember seeing this book in the book shop at Coughton Court when I visited in 2013.  Too bad I wasn't familiar with what I was looking at.  The inside front page reads:  "Gowan Bank, Olton, Warwickshire, Nature Notes for 1906".  The entire book is a facsimile of the original written in Edith's beautiful handwriting.  I purchased my copy of this book via an online bookstore for less than $5.00.  It's a hardback edition, printed in 1977 in Italy.

After I received the first book, I had to get Edith's second book; The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady.  Again, I ordered this book online and it's a paperback edition printed and bound in The Netherlands. 

On April 22, 1906, Edith writes:
"Went to Bickleigh Vale, - a deep, narrow combe, running down out of the moor, with steep, wooded slopes on either side, and deep down at the bottom the river Plym winding it's way.  The ground was carpeted with Anemones and Blue-bells and here and there Primroses, and the tall, handsome plants of the Wood Spurge were conspicuous with their red stalks and pale green flowers.  It was the first name I had ever seen this plant......."

Above is my watercolor of Edith's Wood Spurge

Edith was a British artist/naturalist.  She was born in 1871 in Birmingham, England.  She taught school for a few years before marrying a sculptor in 1911.  She drowned in the River Thames in 1920 while trying to collect chestnut buds  from a tree on the riverbank. 

Her book, Nature Notes for 1906 was posthumously published in 1977 under the title of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.  Edith originally wrote this book to encourage her pupils in nature.  Many marketing items followed featuring Edith's art work.  Edith's great-niece, Rowena Stott, found Edith's diary in the family home in the mid 1970's.  She took it to a publisher who published this book which fast become a best seller.  For  me, this is such an amazing story to think about; Edith's notebook sat untouched for over 60 years until a member of her family discovered it in the family home. 

Edith was born during the Victorian age.  I am very taken with this era.  Beatrix Potter is a favorite of mine and Edith Holden is from the same era.  Both of these women were very ahead of their time living in such a structured Victorian society. 

As to why I was so late in discovering Edith Holden; Back in 1977 I was living in a small farming town in Eastern Washington.  I grew up in a small town so it wasn't anything different for me.  We had a small library that I visited frequently but otherwise, we were a bit secluded in what was going on. Our little town newspaper didn't have much news albeit potato prices, wheat prices, and local goings on.  Looking back, I have such fond memories of living 22 years in this little place.  It will always hold a dear place in my heart.

I hope I have not bored you with today's post.  It's exciting to discover something new that brings me such joy.

My best to each of you,


Linking up to the following parties:
The Art of Home Making Mondays...... 
Wordless Wednesday... 
Do Tell Tuesday..... 
Ivy and Elephants,,, 
Share Your Cup Thursday..... 
 Happy Friday...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

ALOHA From Hawaii

AlOHA my dear friends.  Lilly wishes to thank everyone who read her blog post and left such kind comments. She was SO happy to hear from each of you

So my family took a little vacation this past week.  As you may know, my daughter and son-in-law are expecting their second child in August.  She only has a small window to travel and my little grandson had spring vacation.

So, we headed off to the island of O'ahu since Waikiki Beach is our favorite destination.  It's just over a five hour flight from LAX.

In the photo above you can see Diamond Head in the background.

My first trip to Hawaii was years ago; we came to board a cruise leaving from Honolulu.  I really didn't like Honolulu on my first visit. But, we returned a couple of years later and stayed on the beach. It was so much fun.  The last couple of times we were at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's at the end of Waikiki and the beach area is so nice.

 This year my daughter booked for us condos in the Ilikai.  Do you remember the original Hawaii Five-O?  There's the shot of Jack Lord at the top of the building, looking out?  Well, that's the Ilikai. It turned 51 years old this year.  We rented two separate units through Hawaii Vacation Properties, LLC.  It's nice because we had a kitchen which works great for us.

This is the view from the condo we rented

My daughter Heidi, who loves to explore, took us on a walk through the back of the hotels along Waikiki Beach.  We went inside and toured the Royal Hawaiian.  I loved this display of edwardian style clothing. Doesn't it remind you of the clothes worn on Downton Abby?

The photos above are from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It's a beautiful, historic hotel right on Waikiki.

Evening sunset...I love the palm trees

My little grandson, Oliver with his Hawaiian leis....

Evening sunset outside of Dukes on Waikiki

For the last few years, my daughter has taken me to tea at Christmas time or for Mothers Day. This was an early Mother's Day present.. afternoon tea at Orchids at the Halekulani Hotel.

Fun little side note....the ladies bathroom at this hotel is amazing.  It's the first time I've seen an electronic bidet in a public restroom.  There's also a little speaker box in the wall.  You wave your hand over and it plays "comfort water music".  My daughter, who is familiar with Japanese culture, had to explain this to me.  We had a great afternoon.

The kids rented a car and took us to the east, or windward coast, side of the island.

I had to bring my knitting along with me!  This is a new sock pattern that I ended up frogging since my stitch count was going to be off!

I love the real green mountains and lush vegetation.

I really should say a little about the  historical sites of this island.  Pearl Harbor I feel is a must see.  I saw this historic site on my first trip here.  It's best to go with a tour group who will obtain your tickets and entry time for you.  I was born long after World War II but to see Pearl Harbor and reflect back in time what happened there is very touching. And, yes, you can still see the oil on top of the water from the USS Arizona. This memorial site is part of the National Park Service.

I had always wanted to visit Iolani Palace which was the home to Hawaii's royal family up until the late nineteenth century.  It's downtown Honolulu, next to the state capital building.

This is a view of the dining room on the first floor of the palace.

This is the throne room.  Do you see the feathers on either side of the chairs?

Here's my little grandson in front of the beautiful staircase which is made from Hawaiian wood.

Lastly, I had to take a picture of this door hinge that is made in silver scrollwork.

Besides spending time with my family, my trip to this palace was such a highlight of my time.  The royal family was very close friends with Queen Victoria.  All the palace furnishings are European in design.  Even the clothes the royals are wearing in the pictures and paintings are European in style.  Iolani Palace had electricity and a telephone  before the White House!

After the overthrow of the kingdom of  Hawaii in 1893, the palace was used for government offices up until it was restored in the late 1960's.  The original furnishings of the palace had been auctioned off many, many years earlier.  The Friends of Iolani researched, and continues to research, where theses items are and have been successful in obtaining many of them to showcase in the palace again.  The palace is beautifully designed.  The only thing I noticed is that there are no fireplaces; obviously no need for them due to the warm climate.  

The bottom floor of the palace, where the kitchen is located, had numerous other rooms set up with displays.  There is a small display showng the royal jewels belonging to various members of the royal family.  The designs are Victorian and most of the pieces were from London.  I loved seeing the exquisite workmanship and design.

One last little note which will be of interest to quilters; Queen Lili'uokalani was imprisoned in an upstairs bedroom of the palace for nine months.  During this time she made a crazy quilt that is quite amazing.  This quilt is on display in this same room.


Some have said that I travel a lot.  I have dreamed of traveling since I was 13 years old.  In middle school ( it was called junior high back in my day), I had a wonderful social studies teacher by the name of Mrs. Bettis.  She opened my eyes to all the places in the world.  Growing up, my parents didn't travel.  After I got married, our travels took us to Egypt every few years.  I dreamed of seeing Europe and other places.  I lived 22 years in a remote little town with a population of 12,000, before internet and cable TV.  It was through books that I traveled.

Now my children live in different places so my husband and I take family vacations with each one of them.  The children are the ones who plan these vacations.  There's a trip planned for next year that already has Sadie's name on the list and Sadie hasn't arrived yet (my new little grand daughter to be)!  So, maybe we are a bit of a crazy family :) 

The downside of traveling is that I have to leave Lilly at home.  I really miss my cat when I'm away and when I return, she is always so happy to see me. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into history.  Until next time, my best to you!


OOPS, I almost forgot.... all the photos shown above were taken by my daughter Heidi.  Thank you Juji :)

Linking to the following:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Five on Friday "California Style".......

Hi everyone.  It's me, Lilly.  I'm going to be your host today for a new adventure.  It's called Five on Friday and it's hosted by Amy over at Love Made My Home.

My dear Mom, Pat, said I could go ahead and write this post since you haven't heard from me in awhile.  I've been busy.  As you know, I live to eat and sleep and in between those times, I love to hunt geckos out by the pool.  It's a busy life, I know...

So, here goes my Five on Friday California Style:

Number One
This is the view outside from the kitchen window.  I like the pink sky against the palm trees...Hey, I usually don't see this view except when my parents are away and I jump up there....

Number Two
A yummy bowl of California strawberries - too bad they're not fish flavored!

Number Three
   How can you do California without the beach?  This is the pier in San Clemente.  Do you recall that President Nixon had his "western white house" in San Clemente?

Number Four
This is a flower from a succulent in the back yard.  It's great because it doesn't need much water.  We're having a drought down here in California....

Number Five
I've saved the best for last!  This is me lounging by the pool.  I'm a Maine Coon kitty but I think I look like a cool California cat :)

That's all for now.  I send you my meows and would love to hear from you.  It always makes me purr when you leave a comment.

Hugs from
Lilly xxx 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Celebrating Easter Long Ago

Spring is such a joyful time of year when everything renews itself around us.  Lilly My Cat tries to "renew" itself with varied posts.  I have tried to make my blog a bit diversified (like a stock portfolio, haha).  I know there's lot of people who don't knit or crochet but maybe they like history, travel, cats, or whatever.  I collect lots of things, I like to make a lot of things and I like to decorate in my own style.  (shhh don't tell me daughter and she thinks my style is crazy eclectic!) 

 So, on a fun, lighter note, I hope you will enjoy this little look back into what I think was a delightful period of time...

The other night I was trying to go to sleep and thinking to myself what can I write a post about.  Easter was popping into my mind .....

A few years ago my dear daughter gave me these lovely antique postcards.  They are from France and date from 1907 & 1914. 

 I think this is such a unique design with the saying of  " My Heart Opens to you".....

The card is written to Mademoiselle Elise Cheyroux, Collanges, near Meyssac, Correze (the town is now called Collanges-Meyssac, in the Limousin Region of France)
She writes....
My Dear Elise,
I see you're still enjoying yourself and you're quite right, because good times can be followed by bad times.  I received a letter from Edouard, but I'll think he'll be coming at Pentecost*. I often think it will soon be time to go spend a few days with you others - that will lift my spirits. I'm not like you, I don't have a lot of things to amuse me. You must have heard that Cecile is getting married on May 4th.  Elie and Jeanne will probably both go to the wedding.  Do tell me if you've bought something nice to wear. I send you all love and kisses.  A comfort, waiting til I can see you all.  Be sure to give your fat Papa a kiss from me!

*Note:  Pentecost falls 50 days after Easter.  In 1907, it was on May 19th.

I wish you could see this card pictured below in person as I believe it's been hand colored.  Don't you just love the dress she's wearing?

This Happy Easter card reads as follows:
My dear Suzanne,
I received your kind card yesterday.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It really made me happy, and as I don't want to take too long to reply, I'm writing back straight away tonight.  My parents are in good health; they're asking me to say hello to you.  You said that you went to the airfield (?) last Sunday.  Lucky you to be able to go on a jaunt so far away!  As for me, I'm finding this place more and more annoying - oh well, too bad.  I saw your grey suit, it's very pretty and very well made.  I can't think of anything new to tell you for the time being, so I'll leave off here my dear Suzanne, sending you lots of hugs and kisses.  Your friend, who's thinking of you,
Write back soon, will you?

I believe this one too has been hand colored.  Doesn't the model have beautiful, long hair? 

I wish to thank my dear friend, Christine at Writing from Scotland who was kind enough to translate these cards for me.  If you have a chance please visit her wonderful blog. 

As for my memories of Easter long ago, I remember a particular Easter Sunday when I was about 6 years old.  We lived in a small town in Idaho in a very modern ranch style home (I think they now call these homes by the fancy name of "mid century").  My mother had grown up during the depression and she did not like anyone old or antique.  Well, back then it was the fad to buy a live pastel colored baby chick for Easter.  Yes!  a real live baby chick ( I know it's totally improper now).  I received mine that year - it was in a shoe box.  I remember being on the front doorstep playing with it when I turned around for just a minute.  I looked back down and it was gone. where in sight.  Oh, I was so upset.  I'm sure I cried.  My Mom thinks it was the neighbor's Siamese cat who grabbed it.  I'll never know.  But on a bright note; my two cousins also received baby chicks.  They lived out in the country and their baby chicks grew into healthy chickens who loved to run after you and nip you on the leg!

I also received a new Easter dress and shoes each year.  My Mom was fond of that voile flocked fabric that had puffy like designs on it.  I can't remember the name.  And, I must have liked yellow because I never recall having a pink or blue dress.  A lovely pale shade of yellow....with black patent shoes.  My Mom loved black patent.  She always wore black patent high heels.  To this date, I'm not fond of black patent....I don't know why as my dear Mom was a wonderful person.

Here's a look back at some of my Easter photos of long ago....
 Photo above is from 1956 - we still lived on the farm in Washington

 Photo above is from 1958 taken in my grandparents backyard in Idaho

This is a photo of my Mom and I taken in 1960 (the same year I lost my baby chick)

This is me in 1961....see the ranch style homes of the 60's in the background

I had to rummage through the boxes in the garage to find these photos.

I hope wherever you are that you have a Blessed Easter and peace.  I'll be taking a little break from this blog for a few days but will be back soon with some new posts that I hope you will enjoy.

Happy Easter,


free vintage Easter egg chick and flowers clip art

I'm joining the following link parties:
Happy Friday at Planet Penny
Share Your Cup Thursday...