Favorite Things

I’m not planning to tour you around the entire campus, nor subject you to piles of graduation photos, but I am going to share some things that I found to be favorites of the week.

Being at the ocean, and seeing this little guy and all his friends coming in with the tide.

The mosaics on the buildings on the Stanford campus. They were very detailed and beautiful.

I did see some redwoods, though not the forest, due to special events creating all sorts of issues in the park that weekend. I think it was just as well, because these small ones, were kind of scary; I can’t imagine looking up at a 2000 year old tree. And, we did cross the Golden Gate bridge which is more red than gold.

Magnolia Trees! The buds are bigger than my fist, and the smell was amazing. I have never seen such huge flowers, they are incredible!

Seeing one of the original castings of “The Thinker” by Rodin.

Seeing Girl #2’s home away from home. She lived in Roble Hall for 3 years, which was built in 1898! The rooms had been updated, but still had a vintage feel. Old doors and hardware in the sleeping room, which just held two single beds with room to change! The living area had a bay window with a window seat and their desks, along with newer armoires.

Having my whole family together!And yes, that is the dress, which was still holding up well after 6 hours in 102 degree heat!

And, of course, seeing my Girl #2 graduate!! (not my photo, a friend of hers took this)

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Further Westward Ho!

Or maybe how far west can you go, would be a better title! Day 2 started with the long drive across the Nevada desert. How long? Long enough to knit an entire dishcloth and almost finish the leg on a 15 inch boot sock!

More specifically, it is 400 miles and change across Nevada, and the terrain doesn’t change much. It is a high desert plateau, covered with sage brush and not much wildlife. There must be elk, because we had three elk crossings on the interstate…the road goes through a giant, but very short culvert, with an elk passage over the top! No surprise that, because elk can be a little larger than a horse, not a good thing to meet at high speed! Nevada is made much bearable by the fact that the posted speed limit is 80mph, though the traffic flow was averaging 90 to 100 mph.

I kept looking for the mountains as I knew them from growing up in Colorado, but they didn’t look anything like that. Finally, just outside of Sparks/Reno they came into view, still with plenty of snow. Suddenly we were in the mountains, with coniferous trees all around, and going down the pass. We had now crossed into California, and the the ride down the west side of the Sierras was a little hair raising. There was some road work in progress, and suddenly the entire westward lane came to a complete stop. I’m not real keen about stop and go traffic on a 6% grade.

Had the traffic been a little less busy, we would have stopped at the rest area for some good pictures and a snowball fight. Those of you in the Eastern U.S. will laugh, but we South Dakotans think the traffic out here is insane!

Once we exited the Sierras, we were suddenly in a wide valley, filled with all sorts of crops. The photo I successfully caught was grapes. Since this is not the valley famous for its wine, I am guessing these were grapes for juice, jam, etc. but I don’t know for certain. We started into another set of hills which really shocked me, because they are totally brown! DH explained that California lost its native grasses long ago, and now only have annuals. Their season is already over, so they have already gone dormant. It also explained how wildfires get out of hand so quickly in this country! The hillsides were filled with windmills.

While it wasn’t the same day, we’ll continue down to the ocean. I’ve seen the Pacific once in the late fall on a very cold and gray day, so seeing the ocean in June was a treat. I was surprised by the wind, it is constant and pretty strong. The sand was incredibly soft and warm which made up for the cool ocean breeze. It was a glorious day and the hour we spent there was wonderful! I found a few shells and a broken sand dollar as a memento. Watching the tide come in was fascinating!


Again, these aren’t great photos, but they give you a flavor of our trip west. I get one more group up with some photos of the beautiful campus and things that amazed me.

Fantastic Bake Along-Pizza!

This post is coming to you through the magic of scheduled posts, I am actually in CA right now, and NOT baking pizza! However, the recipe for pizza dough from Brenna is the same one I use, and I had planned pizza for Tuesday night, so why not!

Now, for you busy moms out there, here are some FYI’s you may find very helpful!

  1. You can half this recipe and use the dough cycle on a bread machine. That dough can be frozen for later use. That’s what I’m using today!
  2. If you prefer thin crust pizza, 1/4 of Brenna’s recipe will cover a 9×13 cookie sheet with a little rolling pin action. (Or half of what comes out of the bread machine)
  3. Want a super crispy, thin crust? Use tip 2, then pre bake the crust for 7 minutes at 425. Add your toppings and finish baking for 8 minutes, again at 425.

When everyone is home I make two thin crust pizzas, but when there’s just the two of us, I bake one and put the dough in a ziplock bag and freeze it for later. To use, I take it out at noon the day of and leave it on the counter. IF you work all day, you could probably put it in the fridge early in the morning, and then pull it out as soon as you get home. I also make sauce and freeze what I don’t use, for the next time or two.

Here we are, ready to thaw..

Our pizza is very simple, pepperoni and cheese, with other ingredients from the garden when it starts producing…a little green pepper, maybe onion, fresh basil sometimes sundries tomatoes from the garden.

A pre-baked crust. I had some air bubbles this time so used a fork to puncture them. Had I used the fork before I put it in the oven, I could have prevented them.

We like cheese!

Come and get it!

Check out the other participants…we all make modifications according to what works in our family, so everyone’s will be a little different.

 Westward Ho!

It has been quite awhile since we’ve been on a road trip to a place I have never been, and I am very excited to see some new country. Of course, I have plenty along to keep me occupied when I’m not driving…books on my iPad, both to read and to listen to, my Peace sweater sleeve, a sock for DH, needles and yarn for dish cloths, and several magazines.

However, to days was about the countryside with a little knitting on the side. These aren’t the best pictures, but I know many of you have not seen our western landscapes so I wanted to give you an idea!

We left at 5:30 in the morning, and our first stop was Edgemont, SD about 10 miles from Wyoming. It’s very green right now, and the pastures are full of native plants. Yellow sweet clover is quite prevalent here.

Wyoming was green and the countryside was rugged yet beautiful. We headed south from Lusk, to Guernsey, which happens to have some of the most magnificent ruts from the Oregon Trail still around. We didn’t stop this trip, but I have a photo at home I can share if people are really interested.

At Laramie we picked up Interstate 80, which will take us all the way to San Francisco. I was amazed to see that the green countryside continued, as southern Wyoming is very dry. We drove across the Great Divide Basin, so crossed the continental divide twice. The basin is a huge, wide valley at higher elevation. It doesn’t really look like the Rocky Mountains I think of, but it was some interesting country.


Next, we crossed the Red Desert, and drove within a stone’s throw of the north end of the flaming gorge. You can see some of the interesting formations that mark the most northern tip along the interstate.


We crossed the border into Utah, heading towards Salt Lake City. The mountains begin to show in earnest now, and we saw a lot of red rock. I snapped these at the rest stop about 25 miles east of Salt Lake City.


The Great Salt Lake was very blue and seemed to go in forever. In this photo it is difficult to tell where the lake ends and the mountains begin!


We decided to keep driving since it was only 5:00pm, so crossed the Great Salt Desert, which is 60 miles of white salt. At the very end is the Bonneville Race Track, where many of the land speed records have been set. I would hate to cross that in the heat of summer!


As I gazed at the country side, I couldn’t help but think about the pioneers crossing much of the same areas in wagons, managing only 20 miles each day! What stamina and determination they had to go west! By contrast, we put in a 12 hour day and drove 800 miles! 

A Birthday Shawl

About a month ago I decided that I would like to knit a shawl for my MIL for her birthday. I looked around Pinterest and Ravelry, and found the Reyna shawl, which was a free down load designed by Noora Laivola. The shawl took one Hank (100 g) of fingering weight yarn and wasn’t  super fancy, just a simple pattern and an easy knit.

I ordered my yarn, Stroll tonal by KnitPicks, which is 75% merino wool and 25% nylon. I selected the eucalyptus color way and it arrived shortly after Memorial Day.

The knitting went fairly well, though I did have to frog  a section twice because I got off. The pattern was really easy, but every once in awhile I would forget to do my yarn overs, and then I would be off. I had hoped to finish over the weekend, so I could block it on Monday and get it I’m the mail in Tuesday. MIL will be 81 while we are in CA for Girl#2’s graduation, so I wanted to get it mailed early.

I was able to block it on Monday, and finished it off with a long letter and a home made card.  A shout out to Helen over at Stitching Granny, who does Monday Mojo with cards, and helped me to see what I could do with some special papers!

Photo Challenge–Cross

Girl #2 posted this for Mother’s Day, citing teenage angst that started at age 2! However, 30 minutes prior the faces were reversed, and it was Girl #1 who illustrated “cross!” Yes, my girls were exceptional pouters….the entire world knew they were “cross!”

The occasion? The annual VolksMarch up Crazy Horse. Each year they open the gates and allow you to hike up and see the carving’s progress up close. That year his eyes and nose were finished. That’s the crease under one eye you can se above my head! They’ve made some progress in the past 20 years, now the arm and horse’s head are roughed out. 
Linking with Wild Daffodil.

Creative Finishing…or Making it Work?

Things were going so well! I have done some of my best sewing in years, and then this…..


Can you see it? My bound buttonholes are literally on the edge! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I pinned the facings, so I pulled out the pattern pieces to look again. They were correct.  I studied the markings still in view, and I have no idea what I did to make this happen (other than the obvious screw up of not marking correctly)! I admit it really took the wind out of my sails, but after sulking for a day, I gave myself a lecture and we moved on. After all, there was no fixing it, so there is nothing to do but keep going! Yes, the life lessons learned while sewing. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have…humble pie is part of the deal, thankfully not too often.

I decided a break was in order, so left the coat and moved over to the dress, which had three main pieces. I decided that I would pin baste the organza to the linen and serge the edges. Not the best way to handle it, but I needed to move a lot faster, and that would save some steps. The potential for error was there, but thankfully, no mishaps, and the small bit of overhang will disappear when I fold up the hem.


The darts were straightforward. I marked the organza , then thread basted on the drawn lines and sewed them, tying knots at the points. The invisible zipper went in smoothly, good thing, because my choices were gray or white. I  bought the gray, but didn’t really like it when I pinned it in. The smooth application made it a non issue, because it is invisible. I’ll use some nail polish on the tab to lighten it up.

The most challenging part of this dress was attaching the facing to the lining. I thread basted the curves, they were pretty crazy! I decided to top-stitch everything down once it was pressed, just to keep everything in place. Another round of crazy curves and understitching to get the armhole and neckline, as well as the back straps, which were surprisingly straightforward. Finally, I could actually put it on, and …..it fits! 😅

In between, I did bits of hand stitching of the coat, so it didn’t just languish. After a quick DSCN0917check in with the graduate to be, I gave it one more push before I called it a night and took up my knitting needles to try to finish MIL’s birthday shawl. Today I tackled the nasty business of dealing with the buttonhole facings, and have determined that of course now my buttons are not going through those holes and will have to be downsized. However, I don’t anticipate buttoning the coat next week, so I think I’ll just go ahead with my oversized buttons for now. That leaves me with only the coat lining hem and the actual dress hem. Having the silk organza will make the dress hem a snap, no worries about it showing on the right side.

So, in spite of the nasty discovery that I’d made a huge mistake, with no option to change it, I still think I have a great outfit for this coming weekend. Back to the ironing board! Next time you see it, I’ll be wearing it!