Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Pre-felted Lucy Bags

I sent a quick e-mail to my knitting friends not long ago.  I miss them!  When you sit around a crowded table with women you’ve been friends with for several years now, you develop a friendly rhythm.  You know those to ask for specific knitting help; you know who is going away on an upcoming trip; who is worried about their parents, children, grandchildren; you know who is likely to drop a few expletives along the way (yes Steph, I mean you).  I am having a terrific time here in Florida, but I miss my knit group-groupies back at Spun Right Round.

When I wrote to them, I shared a funny story that happened last week.  In my web quest for a yarn shop to visit in the St. Petersburg area, I came across one that seemed to fit the bill.  The site said that it was not too far away, and had a Thursday night Knit Night – just what I was looking for!  When Thursday came along, I decided to check out the shop earlier in the day, prior to going in the evening.  I used my husband’s trusty GPS and finally located the address for the shop, located in a small strip mall.  I scanned all of the storefronts, but saw nothing that was a yarn shop.  Finally, I went in the door of the shop that had the exact street address that I was looking for – but it was not a yarn shop – it was a burlesque shop!  There were sequined corsets, feathered masks, exotic boas and other burlesque paraphernalia.  I had a fun conversation with the gentleman behind the counter!

It seems that the yarn shop had closed well over a year and a half ago.  He said that he had people constantly stopping by for the yarn shop because the previous owner still had her website up and running.  We both had a good laugh when I said “So, I guess you’re not hosting Knit Night tonight!”

Not to be deterred, I have a plan to visit A Good Yarn in Sarasota this Saturday.  Sue, from my homespun knit group, recommended this shop to me – and upon checking out their site, I see that they will be hosting an open house for Susan Gibbs, from Juniper Moon Farm.  I have contacted both Susan’s – the one from Juniper Moon Farm and the one from A Good Yarn, and they are both happy to have me come and take photos of the shop and Susan’s visit for a future blog post.  So, I know that on Saturday I will be getting my first fiber and (new)friend fix in awhile!

In the meantime – the photo above is of the Lucy Bag projects that I have been working on since leaving New York.  It is such an easy “knit as you go” project that even I – notoriously motion sick – can knit these in the car (no Tierney – not while I’m driving). I will felt them all when we return home.

So - please look forward to a future post on a local (well - half hour away) yarn store, and on Susan Gibbs, her farm and her products!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit." ~ Marge Kennedy

Today my parents return home to the frigid and snowy north after spending a week with us here in warm and sunny Florida.  While they are seasoned world travelers, this is the first such winter vacation that they have taken in their nearly 60 years of marriage.  We did a great many things together while they were here.  We visited Sarasota and walked around its famed St. Armand's Circle, with its array of swanky shops.  We went to Dunedin, one of my favorite little towns.  They were hosting a wonderful arts and crafts festival.  We spent some time in the new Savador Dali Museum, located here in St. Petersburg - absolutely fascinating.  We walked through the St. Petersburg Farmer's Market, where my mom and I shared a scrumptious crepe with shrimp and scallops in a lemon, butter and caper sauce!  We also had an incredible dinner at The Columbia Restaurant, where I had Cannelloni de Langosta- tender cannelloni pasta filled with Maine lobster meat, shrimp, pan-seared scallops and sauteed shallots blended with a lobster sherry cream reduction, smothered with a lobster sherry Mornay cheese sauce and pieces of lobster.  I just had to share that!  

We also spent a beautiful day in Tarpon Springs, where we enjoyed a festive street fair and then took a one and a half hour cruise with Sun Line Cruise.  The cruise took us along the Anclote River and out to Anclote Key, where we went ashore for a bit of shell hunting.

~ Anclote River before entering salt water ~
~ shore birds ~
~ two elusive dolphins ~
~ cormorant ~
~ Anclote Key prior to going ashore ~
~ such beautiful water ~
~ Mom shell-seeking ~
~ Dad ~

~ found one ~
~ and another ~
~ a washed ashore sponge ~
~ I'm sure that he was lively in life ~

~ nesting osprey ~
This beautiful home was the setting for much of the 1953 film "Beneath the 12-Mile Reef" staring Robert Wagner.
~ one of the boats on the sponge docks ~

I'm so glad that my folks had a chance to escape the winter's cold - it was great to have them here!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people." ~ Elizabeth Berry

We are blessed back home with some wonderful Farmer's Markets to choose from.  Most recently there has been the The Homer Farmer's Market, which has become a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday or Saturday with its assortment of fruits and vegetables, organic meats, homemade soaps and lotions, wool products and entertainment.  And of course there is the long-running and iconic Ithaca Farmer's Market, which is an experience unto itself!

We recently attended the St. Petersburg Farmer's Market.  As with others that we have gone to in recent years, this one seems to have its own personal feel.  The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in a vibrant array of colors feel very Floridian!  Wait till you see the peppers below - they seemed almost iridescent. 

~ Fruits and vegetables galore - including some I had never seen nor heard of before ~
~ Arts, crafts and characters ~
~ International foods of every kind, but with a strong emphasis on Cuban ~
~ Dancing grandma's ~
~ Hoola-hoopers ~
~ Incredible peppers ~
~ Just look at those colors ~
And at the end of the street is this lovely scene.  Water is never far away from anywhere that we are here - I just love it!