Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Starting a New Knitting Project

I'm starting a new knitting project...

..and it isn't a pair of socks! I find myself in the position of needing a small, portable knitting project for the next few days. So, I've searched my stash, which is considerable, and have found this skein of OPAL Sock Yarn. The time has come to do something with it. I'm going to knit a "Multi Directional Diagonal Scarf." Space dyed, sock-weight yarns are great for this project. You need the same amount of yarn that you would use for a pair of socks, in this case one skein. I will be knitting this scarf on Size 3 needles, so the finished project will be lightweight.

I've made a tiny start and am now ready to stow it in my bag. It will now be handy whenever I have a few odd moments of time for knitting over the next few days. I'll keep you posted as to my progress...

Springtime view from my desk.
Please note I've also added a new blog to my list of favorites, "Nanniepannies". This is my sister's new gardening blog and it will give you some views into our garden at Buttermilk Cottage.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One of My All Time Favorite Things

"One of my all time favorite things..."

is my Sony WALKMAN Media Player. I listen to audio books on it. It's how I manage to keep current with books I want to read. My local library has a wonderful downloading program. The first requirement is that you have a library card. Everyone already does, right? Next, you download the library's software called "OverDrive Media Console. This gives you the ability to download audio books onto your computer. Then you transfer the audio book onto your media player and voila! you're ready to listen to a book. The library's selection is quite vast, including everything from current bestsellers, classics, nonfiction and much more. You create a list of titles you want and as they become available, the library notifies you via email, you "check" it out and it's yours for two weeks. At the end of that time you must delete it from your computer and it's then available for someone else to hear. Some books are read by the author themselves, but the majority are read by first rate professional readers or actors. It's great for someone like me who spends long stretches of time at the sewing machine or knitting (multi-tasking at it's finest). Some outstanding audio books I recommend are THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett, THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusak and SARAH'S KEY by Tabiana de Rosnay.

Audio book lover that I am, that doesn't mean I've stopped reading real "paper and ink" books. Right now I'm in the midst of Wally Lamb's, THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED. This is a big book, 700+ pages, but his characters and dialogue are so real, I cannot put it down.

What I especially like about reading a book is that it lets me do one of my other most favorite things on a pretty afternoon in May. You can find me on the porch for the rest of the afternoon...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Strawberry Time in East Tennessee!

It's strawberry time in East Tennessee!!! Yesterday, my sweet next door neighbor Anna, sent over the first I've had of the season . They are gorgeous and very, very tasty. It has my mind racing now of all my favorite strawberry recipes. Here's one of my favorites:


(Serves 4-6)

1/2 pound spinach, washed well
1 pint strawberries, capped and sliced
2 oz. sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. sesame seeds
1 T. poppy seeds
1 & 1/2 t. minced onion
1 & 1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Tear spinach into bite-sized pieces, place in salad bowl. Add strawberries and almonds. Place remaining ingredients in a blender, and blend for 20 to 30 seconds. Pour dressing over salad five minutes before serving.
I promise you, add some baked fish and a glass of white wine and you've got a summer dinner that's a keeper! By the way, the dressing from the salad works equally well with mandarin oranges when strawberry season is finished. Bon Appetit! and have a lovely day!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Neighbor Upstairs

"My Neighbor Upstairs..." Five years ago my daughter was a senior in high school and would be going away to college in a year. It was time for me to do some serious downsizing. My sister/best friend, Nancy suggested we buy a house together and share it. We have similar tastes, so it didn't take us long to find our house. We knew we wanted an older house and it had to be big enough to create two separate living spaces. We love each other, but hey...we knew what we needed to do to make it work. The house we bought is located in the historic district of our city and is adjacent to a university. That means we live in an eclectic neighborhood! The house is a craftsman-style bungalow and is just under a hundred years old. It was in pretty good shape, so our first priority was to create an apartment upstairs for Nancy. There are three bedrooms, each with a good size closet, and a huge bathroom upstairs. In the largest bedroom's closet we created a small efficiency kitchen.

That bedroom then became the living/dining room.

That left the space with two bedrooms and the bathroom, which are suiting Nancy very well.

She also has the whole outside as a canvas for her gardening, which you will see in upcoming posts. Nancy moved into her space and occupied the house for the year my daughter Kate was finishing high school. During that time I added a bathroom and an office, remodeled the kitchen and did lots of painting and cosmetic changes to my space below. (More about all that later.) Because I already had an established business named Buttermilk Cottage, we christened our "cottage" with the same name and have loved living here ever since!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Welcome to Buttermilk Cottage

Welcome to Buttermilk Cottage, which isn't really a cottage, but an almost 100 year old, craftsman style bungalow. But since I'm not living in a museum, I'm not letting the house's style dictate my decorating inspirations. I'm drawn to rooms that look as though they've evolved over years, rather that decorated in one bold sweep. My things have been accumulated over a life time. In the past few years I've done some serious downsizing with my principle being, "only keep the things that you truly love."

Buttermilk Cottage is also more than my decorating aesthetics for my home though. Years ago I owned a yarn shop with partners and started a wholesale tote bag business. We were having trouble finding a bag we liked to sell in the shop for knitters, so I started making some and selling them in the shop. Eventually they were picked up by yarn sales reps and I've been selling them to shops for several years under the name of Buttermilk Cottage. In the past year I've found I also need an outlet for some of my other handmade items, so my shop at Etsy was started. Besides sewing tote bags and knitting accessories, I also knit. You'll find many of my handmade items at http://buttermilkcottage.etsy.com/

With this journal I hope to keep some record of my musings of what makes my everyday life special to me. Maybe you'll come along for a visit now and then to Buttermilk Cottage. You won't find anything earth shattering here, just everyday thoughts about decorating, sewing and knitting, cooking and gardening. I do have to tell you I'm not really a gardener, but my sister Nancy shares Buttermilk Cottage with me and she's created a cottage garden to die for, which I'll be sharing here. So come on over, the front porch swing is empty, I've just made some chai iced tea and we'll spend a hour visiting...

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