yoga shawl

I know, I pretty much feel this way about a lot of my knits.  But, this?  This is my new favorite.  
I just love the different ways it can be worn.  Truly the most versatile piece I have ever made.  (And, I didn't even photograph it while wearing it like a cowl and a couple of other ways!)
Each end has a chevron pattern that requires full attention.  With miles of stockinette in between.  That to me is a perfect combination.  
I ended up having to order another skein of yarn after I finished what the pattern calls for.  Not sure why.  I didn't get the same dye lot.  Thankfully you can't tell.  

Pattern:  Yoga Shawl
Yarn:  Brooklyn Tweed, Loft 7 skeins, Soot  (the pattern calls for 6)
Needle size:  US 5

chalk lots

 Hey friends!  Remember back when when the Chalkboard Placemats were first created?
  Well, since then a lot of fun has been had and a name is finally attached to the product. Chalk Lots!  You know, it's important to Love Lots, Laugh Lots and, of course, Chalk Lots.  
AND, a new color that has been added to the line.  Graham Cracker!  Graham Cracker will look great in all kitchens.  They are the color of  your favorite leather bag.   It's perfectly suited for county cozy as well as sleek and modern homes.  It's like a warm hug on your dining table.  
We still have our beloved classic black matte, Licorice.

Both colors are sold in sets of four.  Graham cracker comes with a box of white chalk.  Licorice comes with a box of color chalk.  I seriously still can't say enough about these.  They are fun for the entire family.  Honestly.  They keep the kids engaged longer creating more family time at meal time.  My teens play games.  My adult friends doodle and draw.  We practice. We leave love notes.  School notes.  Life notes.

The new Chalk Lots home is here.

it's friday!

Some weeks don't call for cookies.  Some weeks call for pumpkin bread.  (My friend, Amy, makes it the best.)  Always moist.  Always delicious.  The recipe is out of a city favorite of ours.  

Pumpkin Bread:

4 eggs ::  2/3 cup water :: 1 cup crisco oil :: 1 can pumpkin pie filling (I used 1 can pumpkin) ::  3 1/2 cups flour ::  3 cups sugar ::  2 tsp baking soda ::  1 1/2 tsp salt ::  1 tsp cinnamon :: 1 tsp nutmeg  ::  cloves to liking ::  nuts optional

Beat eggs; add oil, water and pie mix.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Bake in greased and floured loaf pans for 350° for 1 hour.  (Check after 45 min.)  Makes 2 large and 1 small or 6 small loaves.  

I've cast on for the Burton Bear Cowl.  Isn't it just the cutest?!  But, I am making the adult size.  For me.  Don't worry, it doesn't have ears. :)

Happy weekend, friends!

alpaca's go!

Friends!  I can't even tell you how much I love this hat.  The pattern.  The yarn.  Seriously!
Remember when I mentioned the Yarn and Soul yarn?  It is amazing.  Super soft.  Super great to work with.  Since it is a superfine alpaca,  I made two balls and then held both together to make a stitch big enough to get the correct gauge.  It worked beautifully.  
And this yummy yarn?  I bought this at the fair over the summer.  This yarn was from Tiger.  (How great that they tell you that?)  Tiger wasn't at the fair but some of their Alpaca's were.  SO fun to see them.
This hat has the perfect shape to it.  A little slouchy, but not too much.  The pattern is written to have the "right side" as the purl side.  I just like knitting better than purling.  So, after the brim pattern, I started knitting instead of purling.  It's meant to be reversible AND is unisex.  Perfect.

Pattern: go!
Yarn:  Yarn and Soul (blue), Asgard Acres Alpaca (brown)
Needles: Size 7

This is absolutely, positively, without a doubt, my favorite new hat pattern.  And since these are already taken, it's time to make more.

pumpkin cookies

Have a told you before that this is my all time favorite time of year?  Ya,  pretty sure that has come up.  I honestly am giddy in the morning.  Getting out of bed is an exciting thing! And, I was going to tell you how I wanted to bake everything fall.  Cinnamon, apples, pumpkin, spice.
 And then I looked through my archives for our favorite pumpkin cookie recipe and I found those same words.  Pure giddiness for this time of year.  And everything fall.  The colors!
 Has this ever happened to you?!  I use a tea towel to cover the bowl so that the flour doesn't explode everywhere when I pour it into the mixing bowl.  The tea towel became caught in the blade.  I laughed so hard.  And now that I think about it, I can't believe it was the first time that ever happened!
 Anyhow, no harm done to the dough.
I added 1 cup of butterscotch chips thinking that might be a fun addition.  Nah.  We decided we like them without the chips.  I, personally,  still love them best with nuts.  Walnuts or pecans.  The recipe can be found here.

I can't wait to share my favorite new hat pattern.

Have a beautiful weekend, friends!

oooooh florence

Florence made me want to move to Italy.  Well, that and the food.  But, honestly friends, the history, art, architeture!  I'd truly like to pack my bags and leave tomorrow.  Not for forever, but just for a longer stay than a "visit".  It was the true essence of what I thought Italy would be like.   
Favorite Memories:
-The train ride from Naples to Florence.  All four of us knitting!
-Seeing the Duomo from our kitchen window and rooftop terrace.
-Placing the electric tea pot onto the burner and thinking I was going to catch the apartment on fire. (You should have seen the pour tea pot.)
-The delicious little dessert treats we found in the market.
-Strolling through the park hand in hand.  (All four of us.)
-Climbing the stairs to the Bell Tower with my sisters.
-The interesting owner of La Giostra.
-When we ran into the guy from the leather store on his vespa and he wanted to give mom a ride.
-My heart to heart talk with my sister.
-Pear and gorgonzola ravioli.
-Watching our pizza being made in a quick minute.
-Eating lunch outside looking at Santa Croce.
-Hunting for coconut gelato like we had in Amalfi and finding it.
-Our rooftop happy hours.
-My sister's brain clicking with the bella cowl pattern.
-Having heart ache when my sister Lisa continued on her journey.  And then my mom and my sister Shelly continued on theirs.  Forever grateful for our treasured moments.

Favorite Meals:
Pizza at Yellow Bar and Dinner at La Giostra.

Friends, we booked both of our places through Airbnb and couldn't be happier!  SO much better than hotels.

praiano, amalfi coast, italy

My lovely mother and her girls.  (We tried to duplicate the photo from when she turned 75.)
Again, I took many, many photos.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Favorite Memories:
-Waking up to this view.
-The simplicity of the kitchen in our Italian Villa.
-Being handed lemons through the fence from a local.
-Watching my mom gaze out at the sea.
-Our driver, Stefano.
-Dipping our feet into the sea.
-The Path of the God's hike I took with my sisters.
-Rubbing Italian olive oil mixed with our new favorite essential oil, Thieves, into our feet at night. (To boost our immune system.)
-Drinking Thieves and honey in the morning.
-When the owner of the restaurant drove us home when we asked him if he could call us a taxi.
-The perfectly small market.
-The amazing, breathtaking views.
-Watching my mother eat her coconut gelato and then we all had to get one.  I had a lemon cello.
-Drinking champagne, waiting for the pizza.
-The way the tea lights lit up my mom and sisters faces.
-Filming my bella cowl tutorial and laughing SO hard.  (My sisters voice: "Quiet on the set!  Take 27, Bella Cowl, A Friend to Knit With".)
Favorite Meals:
Dinner at Il Rifugio and dinner at Kasai.

Next up, Florence.
Have a great day!

how we plan

So, this summer, we all met at my sister Lisa's house for a visit.
One afternoon, we sat around planning the location for my Mother's 80th Birthday trip with her daughters.  
Of course, we used Chalk Lots to list our choices.  
In the end, Florence and the Amalfi Coast are what made the cut.

We are home feeling grateful.  Not only for our new experiences but for the love and bond we share.  We honestly could have been happy celebrating anywhere. But my mother was thrilled to see the amalfi coast and have this opportunity to be together with her three daughters.  And so were we.  

I'll be back to share some of our trip.  

Happy day, friends!