Sunday, June 26, 2016

Breezy Ocean Sweater


While browsing Pinterest for knitting patterns one day, I came across "Jessie's Girl" for a lovely, light weight sweater that would be perfect for summer. Kaefer liked it at once and after mentioning that I would love to knit it up for her, she told me I could choose the yarn and the colors. I went to my favorite yarn store and found a gorgeous 47% linen and 53% cotton blend called Good Earth Adorn in the color "Breeze" (304). The colors remind me of the ocean and I was certain that it would compliment Kaefer's complexion perfectly.


The pattern was easy and straight forward, and with my Knitter's Pride Dreamz wood needles (my favorite knitting needles) I happily knitted along. The sweater knitted up quickly and was no problem to create while watching movies and/or chatting with friends. It was done in no time at all. While knitting it I already thought that it was rather big. Just in case I didn't weave in the ends because I had that odd feeling that I might have to unravel it...

And indeed! When Kaefer tried it on, it was beautiful, but just too large for her small frame (I had followed the pattern for the smallest size to the T). My gauge was correct, I knew that from the swatch I made before starting out.

So I unraveled the entire sweater and started over again.


The sweater is intended to be oversize, so I had to keep that in mind when I counted out my new number of stitches and figured out the math how to do the neck opening. Since I had less stitches the second time around the sweater knitted up even faster, and I already knew where I had to pay special attention. Again, I didn't weave in any ends until I was sure that the sweater would fit Kaefer.


And it did. We were both really happy with the final result. I still have some yarn left over and am trying to come up with something else to knit - probably some doll clothes.



*****

At the beginning of June I was interviewed by the lovely Emma Kay from Katoomba in New South Wales, Australia, for the Rainbow Artists Team on Etsy. I enjoyed answering all her questions and to finally see the entire interview on the Rainbow Artists blog. If you want to read it, you can find it here.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Orange And Purple


Now that graduation is long over, summer has turned into a wonderful carefree time. This is the first summer in four or five years that Kaefer doesn't have any kind of homework. The only thing she has to worry about at the moment is to figure out how to decorate her dorm room at UC Davis.

Last week we met up with Kaefer's friend Becca and my friend Jeanne (Becca's mom). We just wanted to do breakfast together, but while we were eating the most delicious food we got this idea that we could check out Bed Bath and Beyond for some dorm items - like Twin XL bedding.

After having researched all the bedding (and other items) we ended up in the beauty isle and the girls looked at all the hair coloring boxes. Kaefer had talked for some time about dying her hair reddish or orange, and after Becca chose purple for her hair we went home and started the hair dying party!

The top picture was the last photo taken of the girls with their natural hair color.


Then Jeanne and I put on aprons and gloves and started the dying process.


It does look a bit scary when the new color pops out of the bottle!


It took quite some time to cover all the long hair of our girls, and we first thought the content of the bottle would run out before, but it was more than enough! We piled their hair up and left them in the bathroom while we had a wonderful refreshing drink of Bellini.


After 25 minutes the girls were able to wash and rinse their hair - that took a long time as well!

However, the result is quite beautiful.


From the side you can see the difference in their hair. Orange and purple. Or shall I say carrot and eggplant?


They have been very happy with their new look. It was a lovely mother/daughter thing to do together with good friends. We laughed so much that day - I will remember it for quite a long time.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Squirrel Fence


During our trip along the Oregon Coast last summer, we saw this cute squirrel close to the Oregon Dunes. It seemed completely confident around people (I'm afraid some visitors feed it), but still kept a safe distance to us.


It sat on this fence for quite a while - maybe it even enjoyed the attention by the photographers, who knows?


It groomed and stared into space, having all the time in the world. Until finally it got bored and hopped away, up into a tree from where it looked down on us.


Since there is a fence involved, I'm linking this post to Theresa's "Good Fences".


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Graduate


Last Friday, on the hottest day in the week, our daughter graduated from High School. The commencement ceremony was at 5:30 in the afternoon. Thankfully for everybody who attended, especially the graduates who had to sit in the sun in their hot gowns with absolutely no shade (at least they had bottles of water under their seats), the ceremony only lasted for 75 minutes with short but very good speeches from the graduates, the principal and the superintendent.

The school symphonic and concert bands played "Pomp and Circumstance" when the graduates marched in on the field.



The Jazz Choir sang several times that evening - this was the last time for the graduates who were members of this excellent, award winning school choir.



Every graduate - more than 400, the biggest class the school had so far - had his or her special moment when s/he was called on the stage. It definitely was very special for the attending families.



I did feel proud when Kaefer's name was called and she went up on the stage. She had worked so hard over the past four years. Not only has she earned her high school diploma, but she graduated Summa Cum Laude, has become a California Federation Life Member and received the California State Seal of Biliteracy (these are all the "decorations" around her neck).

After the crossing of the tassel which represents the transition from being a student to being a graduate, the students - sorry, the graduates! - tossed their caps in the air.


That was the end of the official ceremony. After that it was photo time!!


The proud graduate and her friends (and her calculus teacher).



They weren't allowed to decorate their cap before the ceremony, but afterwards nothing could hold them back! They loved to show the college they would go to.


And her parents? They were proud as well - even though this milestone is bittersweet at the same time. However, there were no tears - but a lot of happy smiles.


A couple days before graduation, when the 'kids' brought home their cap and gown, Kaefer and I took the opportunity to take some cap and gown photos. 


 

But graduate or not - the goofiness is still there, the soul of a child wants to play or at least swing and fly through the air - soar, my graduate!!



I do love this girl so much!





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Poppy Fence


In May the fence that surrounds our front garden turns into "the poppy fence". Usually poppies are growing on both sides of the fence or pushing their heads through the pickets - both "regular" poppies and California poppies.


I had an abundance of re-seeded poppies coming up this spring, so many, indeed, that I had to pull quite a lot of them because I was afraid that they would smother the other flowers. I had to repeatedly do that until I had "islands" of poppies and I thought it would look lovely.


Then the deer came.

Usually, deer don't eat poppies. Every spring they would come into my garden and nibble on the poppies only to never do it again. This year, however, was different. They came back over and over again and filled their bellies with my poppies. The lovely islands were reduced to headless green stumps and some of them were trampled down.


Instead of an abundance of colorful poppies I was afraid not to have any at all. I shouldn't have worried. Poppies are tough little guys. As you can see from my pictures, quite a lot made it - but I certainly didn't have the "Monet painting" I had last year (one of my neighbors called it that way).


I also noticed that the deer didn't eat the breadseed poppies - they are the most beautiful and stunning ones:


These are the ones that I will definitely let reseed again. I'm always happy when I find a plant that the deer don't like. They also don't like scented plants like lavender and salvia of which I have quite a few in the front.

Right next to the gate I had a wonderful bunch of red poppies that made me happy whenever they caught my eye.


This year is the first year that I have matilija poppies - some people call them "fried egg poppies". Their white petals lend a certain glow to the garden.

And no, the deer don't like them either.


I'm linking up to Theresa's "Good Fences" again.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Food Heaven

A couple hours ago I was quickly browsing my news feed on Pinterest and saw a picture of a food counter in Harrods, the famous upmarket department store in London. It brought back memories of our trip to London in the summer of 2014, and of course we visited Harrods at that time. I wanted to show both the Geek and Kaefer the amazing food hall.

But before I show you pictures of the Harrods food hall, I want to show you two images of the ceiling - two very different ones.



Both were so pretty and quite well demonstrate all the ornate details that went into the construction of this beautiful building.

Harrods is expensive. Not really my place to shop, but it's wonderful to walk around and look at all the displays. The food hall is amazing and, to be honest, very decadent.

Sausages, cold cuts and all kinds of meat...


and a rich variety of yummy looking pies that I bet were delicious.


Wonderful Charentais melons which in my humble opinion are the best melons in the world - small, juicy and sweet. The Charentais originated in the 1920's in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. It is a very delicate melon and highly valued, but usually is not commercially shipped (Charentais in the United States - if you're lucky to find them - are mostly imported from Mexico). I remember them from growing up and living in Europe; I've also tried to grow them here in California, but haven't been very successful.


Let's go to the sweet treats that we all love so much. What about cupcakes - luxurious ones, of course!



Or perhaps you like figs much better and want to try all these different ones? With candied ginger? Or walnuts?


I was drooling over this display - chocolate is totally my thing and I wish I could have tasted them all!


Could someone please give me this little gift box? Come on, I'm really not asking for much!


And since we're in London, capital of the tea drinking nation, there's tea - lots of it, of course.