Midnight Buttercup

Finally, a look at one of my most recently finished knitting projects, Midnight Buttercup. This is from Heidi Kirrmaier's Buttercup, a free pattern on Ravelry. I used the recommended yarn, Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy, which is surprisingly soft and has quite a bit of drape.

The pattern has two neckline options. I went with option A, which is slightly lower. Don't you just love the Feather & Fan lace inset? The pattern is worked from the top down and I followed it pretty much to the letter. I was just feeling too lazy to make any modifications, though there are several lovely variations available on Ravelry.

The hem is slightly scalloped with the narrowest bit of lace. An added note, this skirt has been in my closet for years and years and years. I bought it as part of a back-to-school outfit one of my last years at University. It always makes me smile a bit and think of those days.


And Counting...

Last Week, Ryan sent me an impassioned plea to get my act together and do a new blog post. This one's for you, Ryan!

Our wedding anniversary rolls around every mid-September. A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated our 9th! We're never sure if we feel like the time has just flown by, or if it feels as if it has been so much longer. Do you know that feeling?

This year, we had a little series of celebrations. First, we started with a night away in Hood River. It's really been one of our go-to spots over the last couple of years. It's close by. The weather tends to be warmer and drier than Portland's. They have wineries and breweries. They have the Fruit Loop. We LOVE the Fruit Loop.

On the Sunday preceding our actual anniversary, we drove out, got settled into the Hood River Hotel, and then headed for the Fruit Loop. Or first stop this time was at the Gorge White House. They have the most wonderful field of Dahlias. We walked through, admiring the view and all of the amazing shapes and colors of Dahlias. We went into the main house and bought a bottle of pear wine and vowed to return the next day on our way home to cut an armload of flowers.

A couple of stops later found us in more flowers, this time lavender. Hood River Lavender Farms is such a very sweet little spot! We wandered through, cut a huge handful, and then picked up some lavender-themed goodies in the tiny little gift shop. You know, I used to really hate lavender. Such a disappointment for someone with romantic tendencies. But the smell used to turn my stomach. It turns out, I had only been exposed to synthetic lavender!

In between flower stops, we visited several fruit-filled farm stands (Smiley's Red Barn, Cody Orchards Farm Stand, Draper Girls Country Farm, Kiyokawa Family Orchards, and Apple Valley Country Store) and loaded up on apples, pears, nectarines, and plums. When possible, we strolled through their orchards.

Our day ended with an excellent dinner at Hood River's acclaimed Celilo. So good. I didn't take pictures 'cause I was too busy stuffing my face.

The next morning, we did stop and cut a huge armload of flowers as we headed back to Portland. Aren't they stunning?!

The actual anniversary fell on Wednesday, the 15th. I had the day off work, so Ryan and I met for lunch at the Wednesday Farmer's Market, held outside of the Portland Art Museum. We had tamales from Salvador Molly's market stand for lunch. I love their Yucatan Chicken tamal, and Ryan is quite taken with their artichoke and cotija cheese tamal.

We had a wonderful surprise at lunch, members of Portland Taiko were doing a free performance on Main Street, right next to the market. So, we got to enjoy their amazing skills while we ate. After we finished, we had just enough time to take a run through a special exhibit at the museum before Ryan went back to work.

It's customary for Ryan and I to go out for a fancy dinner on our anniversary. If you hadn't already noticed, food is pretty central to our relationship. But since we'd already treated ourselves to Celilo over the weekend, we broke with tradition and stayed in, instead. Ryan brought home a pizza, and we turned the 6lbs. of plums we bought on the Fruit Loop into jam.

To cap off our anniversary, we had to choose a gift. Since getting married, each year we've purchased our gifts based on the list of traditional anniversary gifts. We started off buying gifts for each other in secret. A couple of years later (leather) we started working together to choose the gifts (shoes for me, a special key wallet for Ryan). Another year or so down the road, and we were choosing one gift to share between us (a 14" cast iron skillet for the iron anniversary). I may have gone a bit crazy for the wool anniversary. The traditional gift for the 9th anniversary is pottery. At first, we were stumped. Then, I remembered that I've been complaining about our tea pot while simultaneously coveting a Bauer teapot at work. Perfect.

Bauer Pottery is an iconic American pottery manufacturer whose pieces are quite collectible. This special anniversary seemed the perfect occasion to collect our own piece of Bauer. Isn't it pretty? And, it makes me think of honey bees.

Thank you, Ryan, for 9 lovely years of marriage.


Real Quick

Hi, All! In case you were wondering, I have not fallen into a black hole. Sometimes it feels a bit like I have, but I haven't. Our usual busy has been even busier lately. I know I keep promising photos of some of my many projects and haven't made good. Part of the problem has been a glut of cloudy weather which makes taking photos in our poorly lit apartment a little challenging. Ah, well, it will get done...eventually. In the meantime, I've a couple things to share.
  • My Morse Code blouse was featured over on the Bolt Blog! I feel like a rock star! Ok, It's just a little mention, but still...
  • Speaking of Bolt, I won their August fabric giveaway! I won the Joel Dewberry fabrics, which are so pretty in person. The picture on the blog really doesn't capture their charm. I have them stacked in easy reach so that I can gaze at them while waiting for inspiration to strike. Thanks, Gina!
  • I have started a second job! Does that sound a little nuts? Well, wait 'till you hear where I'm working... At Close Knit!!!! Yup, my favorite-ist PDX yarn store! Really, between the two jobs, I'm kinda living in a dream! And did you know that Close Knit is right next door to Bolt and to Pine State Biscuits? Just sayin'...
  • I just realized that my Little Engineer Dress, from this post, looks cute with gray leggings. You would think that the gray stripes in the dress would've tipped me off sooner. The dress looks so sweet with my favorite brown boots, but brown leggings - ack! I was afraid that I'd be shivering my way through autumn when finally, through my frustration, the lightbulb went on. Why do such things sometimes seem so hard?
So, I guess I'll wrap up here. (And I do mean wrap up - it's cold in here!) No pictures this post, but hey. It happens. I hope everyone has wonderful things planned for their weekends. Leave me a comment and let me know what you're up to! And I'll try to be a better blogger. 'Cause really, there is so much to share!


Frock By Friday - Alexander

It's time for another Frock-By-Friday Sew-Along over at Grosgrain. I was really looking forward to this project, but didn't get myself going in time. However, I'm following along and will definitely be making this on my own time. Make sure to check it out!


Bright Birthday

So, my baby sister, Alexis, turned 29 last week. A bunch of us met at a local tapas restaurant for dinner, followed by cake at a nearby girlfriend's house. After cake, the younger girls headed out for a night of dancing.

* Decoupaged letters made by Jenn to decorate the patio at the restaurant *

So, back to that bit about the cake. After seeing the birthday party and cake made by the uber-creative Andrea for her daughter, I just had to do something similar for Lex's big day. I just knew that all of those bright colors would absolutely delight her.

I started by picking up some gel food coloring in bright shades of purple, pink blue and green, two boxes of cake mix (yes, I cheated!), and a couple of cans of icing.

From these I made four 8" layers and added a different color to each layer. I left them to cool overnight and woke up early the next morning to start frosting and assembling the cake.

Let me just say that now I totally understand the importance of leveling the layers for your cake! It took me three cans of frosting (had to make a run to the store for more!) to fill in the spaces between the layers and cover it all.

Of course, it was all liberally topped with glittery sprinkles. I stuck in 8 short skewers to help hold it all together, then several longer skewers to keep the plastic wrap off the frosting. It was all then packed into the car.

The plan was that I would take the cake to work with me, and then Megan, our evening's hostess, would pick it up from me there and take it to her place. On the way to work, I watched out of the corner of my eye as the cake gradually started leaning, leaning, leaning. I'm not sure how, but I managed to get it into the back room of the store without it totally falling to pieces. As the leaning continued and fissures started to show in the top layer, I started to get really panicky.

*Hopefully all of those sparkles disguise some of the lean!*

Fortunately, Megan saved the day. She took the cake home. Made her best effort to straighten the cake, scooped some of the frosting that had oozed out from between the layers into the fissures on the top, added even more sprinkles, and got the whole thing into her fridge. (Thank you again, Megan! Have I mentioned how awesome you are?!)

*I may have got trick candles*

And Lex? She was completely blown away when the cake was open. You should have heard her squeals of delight! Like she was a little girl again. It was fantastic! All that work? Totally worth it!

Taa Daa!!! I don't think the photo really captures the intensity of the colors, but there you go...