Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Back Porch - A Front View

Just one more sketch from my Florida trip. 

I'm kind of obsessed with that mixture of orange and dusty turquoise that they use on the building and sign.
Whenever we visit Destin, there seem to be a few places we always visit. We must go to Banana Bars and we must eat at The Back Porch. A trip across the street to the Candymaker to pick up some freshly made salt water taffy and pralines is also mandatory.
The Back Porch sits right next to the ocean. Usually, the window along the beach side are open to catch the breezes and the ceiling fans stir up just enough air to keep it comfortable. Chloe loves the crab claws and the fact that the meal is served on a frisbee. We love the setting and the red snapper.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Back Porch - Destin, Florida

Every time we go to Florida, we eat at a place called The Back Porch. It sits right against the beach and during nice weather they fling the shutters open next to the tables. They have fried crab claws (my daughter's favorite), and various fish sandwiches. I used to always just get the fish and chip platter, but this time tried the grilled red snapper. Pro tip: Get the grilled red snapper. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Flashback Friday: On Clothespins and Not Over-thinking

At some point in 2013 I doodled those blue flowers along the edge of the page. I had every intention to go back and draw something to go with them when I came up with "a great idea". Fast forward a year without touching this sketchbook. In 2014 I found myself with a bit of time and wanted to get back to drawing. Unsurprisingly enough, the way to get back into drawing is to sit your ass down and draw*.

Really most creative pursuits, and actually now that I think about it, most pursuits in general, require you to just put in the time. It's very easy to put off doing anything until you're ready, or good enough, or have the best ideas, or tools. The thing is, without just showing up and putting in time with whatever you have on hand, you will never develop skills and most importantly will never actually spend time doing what you love. 
So sometimes that means drawing clothespins because they are the closest things at hand. Sometimes they end up on a page with blue flowers because if you wait for the "great idea" to come you'll waste a year doing nothing.

So here's to flowers, and clothespins and not over-thinking.

*I think I have a bright future in making motivational signs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Snapper

On vacation, once I realized that I would be spending the afternoons in my bedroom, I got smart and grabbed a few things at the beach to sketch later. One day my daughter brought home a seashell, another day it was a piece of seaweed.*

At no point did either my daughter or myself bring home the red snapper - although that would have been a great story for my family to tell friends about later. Maybe my nephews would fondly remember the time their quirky Aunt Kate lugged home a dead fish and dragged it up to her bedroom.

*The seaweed would dry up into a little poky mess once out of the water for a while. As soon as you dropped it in water, it would slowly soften and then puff back up to its' original state. This is a fun trick to show to a six year old.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flashback Friday: Irish Cream Cremosa

Here is my only other sketch from 2013 - a plastic cup. Please everyone, calm down. I know the wild thrill of seeing a plastic cup illustration could be overwhelming - deep breaths will help you center yourself. 

This sketch actually is pretty exciting for me - but more for the associations I have with it than with the actual drawing. It was the first time in many many moons that I was out in the world by myself. It felt incredibly luxurious to sit in a coffee shop and have a drink. I also remember checking my watch every two minutes to make sure I wouldn't be late to pick my daughter up. Such is parenthood.
While sketching it was entertaining to eavesdrop on the conversations going on in the coffee house. There was a college-aged couple that I would guess were out on some sort of date. He was talking about Montreal and how different the politics are here. She talked about going to San Francisco or New York after graduation - and how in ten years there will be jobs when all the old people retire - and how her generation will change everything.
I tried this drink at Aimee's Coffee House today while Chloe was in ballet class. It's made up of half and half, soda water, and Torani Irish Cream syrup. It was decent - you just have to be prepared for the soda water to give it a little bite. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Palm Husk

A few weeks ago we went on a family reunion/vacation to Destin, Florida. By we, I mean my daughter and I. My husband just started a new job and needed to stay home.* This made it a bit of a rough but still fun trip for her (and her mama too). It helped a bit when she would take some downtime from all the excitement by going to our room with just the two of us. While there I sat and sketched a bit to pass the time.

This palm was right outside of our window. It had a bunch of vines growing in the husk** just below the leaves. The really interesting thing was that the vine wasn't attached to the ground.

*Boo. Boo I say. Hooray for his new job but seriously - boo.
**I'm sure that there is a scientifically correct term for this area. I do not know this term. I am going to make a bold statement here that even if it isn't called a husk - it should be. It's just very husk-y.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Flashback Friday: Carnation, Trumpet, and Egg

Whew. I got back from Florida last week and came home to a scanner that had died. The new one arrived today and I'm testing it out*. I should have a sketch or two from vacation ready to go next week.

In the meantime, here is a one from 2013.
Chloe got this little frog toy from the eye doctor. "I'm so glad Carnation was still in the treasure chest. In fact, I think she was just the frog I was waiting for."

*By "testing it out" I mean shaking my curmudgeon fist to the heavens and weeping. I hate that it takes time to learn the ins and outs of new equipment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Manly Man Socks

And now for something completely different. I just finished a pair of socks for my husband. He prefers wild and bright colors to really showcase his loud personality.*

These are made from Knit Picks Stroll in the Jack Rabbit Heather colorway. What can I say? They make good mindless T.V. knitting at least. In fact I think we watched the second season of Orange Is The New Black while working on these. Have you seen Orange Is The New Black? If you haven't, then what are you doing reading a blog post about grey socks? For real. Go watch it.

*I lied. There is no truth in that sentence.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flashback Friday: Run from The Bullfrog

Here is what was apparently the only sketch I did in 2011 - or at least the only one I did in my sketchbook. That seems crazy to me - until I remember that I had a three year old at the time. 

Chloe has taken to making up words. The other day she was running through the house yelling, "Va Baa." I asked her if she had made up that word.
 "Yeah," with a smile. 
"What does that word mean?" 
"It means run from the bullfrog." Right. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paraphernalia of A Ruptured Eardrum

Today I thought I would share the sketchbook page that I pulled the illustrations from for my last post.

The main text from this sketchbook page is also there but doesn't include the little asides around the drawings.
Antibiotics for ears - Waiting for them to sit is "cold and boring"
Silicone earplugs - "fun to take out"
Syringe to measure amoxicillin
Amoxicillin - "tastes like bubblegum" 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ear Infection with a Side of Ruptured Ear Drum

Last week Chloe woke up complaining her head hurt. The next morning she started complaining about her ear. Off to the doctor. No fever, but a very angry ear. We got some amoxicillin.

 She developed a sudden fever of 102 degrees. That same evening she yelled and then asked why her pillow was all wet. She and her pillow were covered with a clear, yellowish pink fluid. Her ear drum had ruptured. Another call to the doctor - we now had ear drops to do four times a day and orders not to get her ear wet.

It leaked for a few more days and annoyed her with its' "windy sound". Ten days later and we just got the okay from the doc that it's healed. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday: Pumpkins and Gourds

Here is the final Flashback Friday from 2010, a picture of some pumpkins and gourds. I actually remember drawing this - pulling the pumpkins from the black wire rack where they were displayed and setting them on the table. I also remember feeling terribly out of practice as I really wasn't drawing much at the time. 

From the drawing:
On Sunday we went to Schaake's pumpkin patch to pick out some pumpkins and take Chloe to ride the wagons. Every year it seems to get bigger with pumpkin slingshots, mazes, chickens, pigs, cows, and food. At 2 1/2 Chloe isn't too interested in anything but riding in the wagons.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Limestone Pizza

The same night that the Free State Festival was happening, we went out to eat to celebrate Morgan's new job. They serve great Neapolitan style pizza (the best style of pizza, in case you were wondering*). The back part of the restaurant is open and customers can see into the kitchen. There is a beautiful stone  wood-fired oven. My eye, though,  is always drawn to the Lego mini-figures that are lined up along the top of a partial wall.  The first time I went there was just one. I'm noticing an expanding collection. 

And now from the actual drawing:
To celebrate Morgan's new job, we went to Limestone pizza. Morgan hadn't been there yet. We splurged and got some fries and a couple of pizzas and Morgan had a beer. The Spud pizza with rosemary, potatoes, bacon, and creme fraiche was glorious. The whole evening was fun, but surreal, with the festival, it being just the two of us for the night, and the reality of a new job and opportunities washing over us.
*Suck it, deep dish.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Flash Back Friday - Interstate Sign

This is a highly appropriate sketch for this week's flashback Friday as we just got back from a road trip to New York for a wedding. It involved lots of driving and not much downtime so I feel like if you replace the fall color on the trees with green, it would pretty much sum up my past week. 
This actually comes from 2010. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Flashback Friday - June's Dunes

Growing up, when we went on vacations we went to a town on the panhandle of Florida called Destin. Back when we first started going it wasn't a huge place. It has beautiful white sand beaches and water an emerald and blue color that doesn't look real. Every trip down there, it was always a special treat to have breakfast at June's Dunes. It was a little house right on the water. There were picnic benches lining the wall next to open windows to catch the ocean breezes. Every morning, like clockwork, dolphins would go swimming past while you ate your waffles. It was a pretty great place.

Destin, like all good things, was eventually discovered by many more people. It's quite a different place now than when I grew up. A few years back June's was sold. There are some high rises in the area now - but there is also a public beach access with a plaque honoring June. 

My parents asked me to make a drawing of June's Dunes - by that time it was already gone - but luckily we had a picture. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Saturday Night Out - Free State Festival

I live in a town that always seems to have something going on. Last weekend there was a lot happening  for the Free State Film Festival. My husband and I went out on Saturday and I took my sketchbook along.

From the sketch
On Saturday Morgan and I went downtown to get dinner. While we waited for our table we found a stage set up in front of the bank for the Free State Festival. While we waited a band was playing. After dinner a dance troupe performed. They had on black outfits with flannel shirts that reminded us of the 90s. We stayed to watch the final act which was the Topeka High drum line. They were impressive, especially for a bunch of high school kids. The best was when they performed "Jump On It".
Apparently later on they were closing off the street for some kind of art/music performance. Then, at midnight, there was going to be a showing of The Wizard of Oz set to the Dark Side of the Moon and Radiohead. Guess we're getting older - we went home, got into pajamas and watched Netflix instead.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flash Back Friday - Peppermint and Graham Crackers

Another flashback from 2010. Apparently I have a thing for drawing tea bags when I have a headache. Keeping a sketchbook - just a journey of self discovery I tell ya. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Inspired by the events of yesterday's post, I made a little sketch of my daughter.  When she saw it, she stopped, got a funny look on her face and asked if it was her. Then she went back to singing the Do Re Mi song from the Sound of Music.

Here's the sketchbook page I pulled the illustrations from for yesterday's post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Aquamarine - The Gem of Courage-us-ness

 This is a necklace given to me by Anita after Chloe was born. It has an aquamarine heart with three small diamonds set above it. Aquamarines are Chloe's birth stone. Over the weekend, Chloe was inspecting Anita's necklaces that feature her grandchildren's birthstones. Chloe got curious about birthstones. She remembered a National Geographic Kids magazine she had that featured an article about gem stones.

She was reading the article aloud to us. There were the dates and different facts about each gem and also what each stone represents. When she got to March and began reading, her eyes widened. The aquamarine, her birthstone, represents Courage. Her chest puffed out and you could see the shock and awe on her face.

At that point everything became about her courage. I got out the aquamarine necklace and she wore it proclaiming, "It makes me more courage-ous." She even challenged us to "Courage Games" to show how "courage-ous" she was.

It was pretty delightful to see how her whole idea of herself changed. For that evening at least, she viewed herself as brave.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lucy's Booties

I finished these up last week, but as they were a gift for a baby shower I held off on sharing them until now.

I love this pattern. They are fun and simple to knit up and they do actually stay on. Cute and useful. The holy grail for baby knits. I also enjoy playing with the space on top of the bootie and duplicate stitching patterns onto it. To do this I just grab some graph paper and mark a rectangle that matches the size of the top of the booties (9 x 12 if memory serves) and then grab some colored pencils and have at it.

I tried a few different designs but decided to keep it modern and simple with a pink chevron pattern (the color is less red than the photo shows). I'm happy (and/or slightly disappointed) that I didn't end up with any obscene designs like the last time I did this. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Flashback Friday (on Saturday) Walking Stick

Another old one from 2010. That particular year we had a ton of the walking stick bugs in our backyard. Now that I think about it, I haven't really seen any this year...

Spotted this on an outdoor cushion in the backyard. At first I thought it was just a stick stuck to the cushion and was about to take a broom to it until I saw it move in a way unnatural to a stick. It was at least five inches long.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I cannot stop making these stupid cards.

"A guitar slide WILL NOT make you a delta blues musician. It WILL make you feel like one, which is way more important."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Flash Back Friday - Corolla, North Carolina

In starting up sketching more regularly, I noticed that there are bits of my sketchbook that haven't made it to blogland yet. I'm going to try to add one (or a few) every Friday to get caught up. This week we are traveling back to 2010.

First up, a summer trip to Corolla, North Carolina. A trip notable for the fact that it was a three day road trip to get there with a toddler who had potty trained herself exactly two weeks before the trip. It actually went remarkably well. No sketches of that - but there are these. I'll type out the text under them to make sure it's readable. 

The key to watching sand crabs is to get low. They don't notice you when you're belly down on the sand. However, once you see how many there really are on the beach you may find yourself wiggling your toes to excess just to let them know you're there.

There are smooth shells and sticks between the steps from the house and fine sand next to the shore. Once you see water lines in the sand, flip-flops are abandoned quickly.

When I was sketching this yesterday, I got wrapped up in doing the top of the house when I started to hear thunder. I looked up to see a massive thunderstorm rolling in. 

Currituck Beach Lighthouse
On a 100 degree day we decided to visit the lighthouse. There were still a surprising number of people there - mostly New York, New Jersey accents - but a few southern ones as well. I think a woman with a southern accent took my picture. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Bird of Our Country

On Memorial Day my daughter noticed the bald eagle on the tip of the flagpole. She wondered why there was, "that cute little eagle there". I told her because the bald eagle is the bird of our country. *

It sounded ridiculous and for whatever reason, my cousin and I were highly amused by the phrase "the bird of our country". Try singing it in a bitchin' 80s rock voice. Pretend like you're doing the jingle to a beer commercial.

My cousin's birthday was a few days ago. 

Happy Birthday Seth. 

*Seriously, what is it really called? I think maybe the national emblem? 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kindling AKA My First Shawl

Today I'm going to share one of my favorite knits from this past winter. My first ever shawl.

It's the Kindling pattern by Leila Raabe from one of the Brooklyn Tweed Wool People collections. I've never knit a shawl before because, to be frank, I've never been sure I would get very much use out of a shawl. I had noticed, over the past few years, quite a few textured shawls making their way into my Ravelry favorites. So what pushed me over the edge to cast on?

1. It was cold. A lot. I decided that even if I didn't care for it as an "outside the house" garment, I would surely appreciate it as a "not freezing to death on the couch or in the bed" piece.

2. A quick perusal of my stash revealed enough Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering in this Limestone colorway to get the job done. I don't know how many years I've had this yarn. And here, I'll just say it, I'm one of those people who gets anxiety about stash without purpose. Stash with no plans is not how I roll. So you can imagine my delight that I would get to scratch a textured shawl itch without having to go out to explicitly buy yarn for a clothing item that might never see the light of day.

But oh. Oh ho ho ho. Turns out I've been waiting my whole life to wear a shawl and I just never knew it. I wear it all the freakin' time. I wear it like an oversized cowl and it's delightfully comforting and warm.

And if it gets too cold, boom, I'm rocking it granny style.

And if I ever have a moment of sublime joy that can only be expressed by stretching out one arm to let my shawl catch the breeze as I stand before a stone wall?* I've got that covered too.

*That's totally a thing right?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Fine Line Between Draping and Delusion

Remember when I said that I was in the midst of a knitting disaster? Yeah. I really wasn't joking.

I aspire for all my clothing to resemble a bell - or a Christmas tree. 
I checked my gauge. I even blocked my gauge swatch. I think what got me was a combination of knitting a size too big and the pattern increasing needle sizes to create a "gentle A-line shape". I also especially appreciate how I randomly stopped knitting a good three inches before my torso ends. My thinking was that after blocking and wearing, the yarn over bits would stretch and I didn't want it to end up too long. I think we can all agree that this top is not too long. I fully believe what was actually occurring was that my subconscious was leaps ahead of me and screaming, "This will not fit. Let's just end this so we have less to rip out later." 

And please, can we just not discuss why I, having tried the thing on, actually picked up and knit a few rows of the sleeve?*

P.S. I checked the gauge on the thing - it was different than my original, good girl, following all the knitting rules gauge swatch. 

Have I failed at knitting a sweater...
or succeeded at knitting the most impressive, and accurate gauge swatch?
 *Why? Really, just why?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mother of Dragon... Socks

This week, instead of a project that I finished over winter, I'm sharing one I finished last week - House Targaryen Socks. Super happy fun time bonus - it's a free pattern on Ravelry.
Cushy Textured Socks are the best.  It is known.

These were a great knit. They make a nice cushy texture and are simple enough that you don't need a pattern in front of you to work on them.  In fact, while I love me some Game of Thrones as much as the next person, the texture and ease of knitting was the real reason I picked this pattern.

I'm really pleased with how these turned out - perhaps more so since I've been hit with a knitting disaster on a different project. I've knit the entire body and part of one sleeve of a fingering weight linen sweater about 8 inches too big. I haven't built up the intestinal fortitude to start ripping yet. Maybe I'll take pictures to show the magnificence of my delusion that it would magically fit. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Seduced by Collections

Last summer I turned 32 and my lovely daughter picked out a ball of sock yarn for me. She was very, very proud of her gift and even drew a picture of a ball of yarn to accompany it. Unsurprisingly, the ball she picked was a cacophony of purples and pinks with just a splash of red. * The yarn is Berroco Sox in the Colorway 1476 Humberside. 

32nd Birthday Socks 

My very first pair of socks were out of a different colorway of this same yarn. I knit them too loosely so they are ever so slightly floppy, but I will say this - even at a loose gauge, they are still wearing like iron. I took the leftovers of that ball and made shorter socks on smaller needle and that pair is still going as well. Here's the thing though, for making two pairs of that other colorway, I was never a super huge fan of them. There were, in fact, grumblings about "looking like a Cosby sweater".  And while the yarn wears well it makes neither the softest, nor the absolute warmest socks. So you can imagine my trepidation casting these on.

Leggings make legs look lumpy. 
I don't know if it's the fact that they remind me of my daughter, or that they are bright and were knit in February, but I kind of love these. They even have sparked new interest in my older pairs. I think maybe it's the pull of collection. One thing is just a thing. More than one of similar things - bam - you now have yourself a collection.

Curated Collection of Cosby Socks : 2014

And now I pretty much feel obliged to get all the colorways and make myself a glorious hideous/beautiful collection of Cosby Sweater Socks.

*I will note that now her favorite colors are "pink, purple, golden, light blue, and even though it is not a color, rainbow". 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day! Now Go Wash Some Dishes.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there. I woke up to a lovely handmade banner hanging from our living room window. I also received a clay thumbprint necklace from my daughter - which I got on Friday because she just couldn't wait to give it to me. Good stuff.

I've been busy working on my own Mother's Day project during the week. My Mom has talked about Swedish dish cloths for a while now. They are super cute - but somehow, giving dish cloths for Mother's Day seems kind of lame.

Of course that didn't stop me from doing it.

In fact, I added a commemorative card.

Card in progress.

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

May is for Mending

Over the winter, I noticed a problem. Most of my hand knit socks decided to develop holes and thin spots. This took quite a bit of planning on their part as it's not like I knit all of them at once - at least then it would make sense that they would wear thin at the same time. In any case, I've decided that May is officially the month that I will get to mending and reinforcing them.*

During the winter I decided that clearly the necessary course of action would be to knit myself more socks. These are out of the now discontinued** Knit Pick Felici yarn in the Botany colorway. This was from the Way Back Stash and I'm kind of surprised that I picked out this colorway. I think I was seduced by the aqua. 
Botany Socks. Modeled in the "please ignore the ill fit" pose.
I did a forethought heel that, apparently, I needed to think about a little more because it hits under my heel instead of at it. Oops. In any case they are warm and bright and, most importantly, don't have holes at the heel.

*Fact - Alliteration with months makes projects get done faster and better.
** Boo.