Bronze FO

Finally I have a knitting post!  I finished Kim Hargreaves Bronze a few weeks ago and just today got some pictures.  My photographer is a bit of a comedian thus the silly laughing and grinning.  So, about this sweater.  Pretty basic Kim design.  Plain and simple, perfect for my style.  Nice and warm, cozy for the winter days ahead.   This is knit in Kid Classic which can be itchy so I will be wearing a shell underneath.

I made the xs but it is sweatshirt slouchy which is nice.

It's knit in reverse stockinette with a drop stitch stripe every inch, very simple and effective.  Knit flat and seamed.

I have great knitting mojo right now and have quite a few knits on the needles.  My current knit crush is Baby Cocktail's Irish Coffee out of Berroco's Blackstone Tweed.  I might make long sleeves and think I will have this finished by next week.

Also making my third (!) Genevieve pullover, yes I do love this pattern, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald.  Knit in Soft Touch DK by Shelridge Farms that I bought two years ago at Stitches West.
I can't forget Curio with Kidsilk Trio.  Love this one too!

Also making another Kelley Cardigan (my 4th, such a perfect basic) in red, but put aside for more exciting knits.

I can't resist Heidi Kirmaier's Tea with Jam and Bread and have ordered Shelter in Sweatshirt, Soot and the pinkish Camper color.  Cannot wait for that to arrive.

After the photography session we went to the movies and saw Argo.  Excellent!  When we got home my boots arrived from Zappos.  I think I love them and think I'll keep them!

I'm visiting my granddaughter next week and will give her the Stephen West shawl for her 12th birthday.  I'll get some pictures to share.  We'll also look at patterns so she can pick out her knitted Christmas gift.  It's best to ask a 12 year old what she wants, no surprises, this is best!

I haven't written much about my reading lately and I've been reading quite a lot.  When I hear "perfect beach read" I think Danielle Steele and run the other way.  But my friend insisted I read Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? which were both touted as last summer's must beach-reads.  I loved both, very happy I ignored my prejudice!  I finally finished Fall of Giants, this took me a month to get through and right now I'm reading the last Hunger Games book, Mockingjay.  I need a few quick reads before I tackle #2 in the Ken Follett trilogy, Winter of the World which may take me another month.

CNN is on in the background.  It seems a bit surreal to be writing about knitting and boots when so much of our country is devastated.  I hope all of you that are affected by Sandy are finding yourself safe and warm, we're sending prayers and donating to Red Cross.

Sit Down Dinner for 18

Our knitting group and spouses were treated to a sit down dinner recently.  We are a group of friends who have known each other for many years and meet downtown for coffee every Monday morning; some of us knit, some of us quilt, and some of us just come to chat.  It's a fun group, and when someone wants to throw a party, we are all for it!

Norma and Geoff are our hosts this evening.  It was early October and our weather here in Northern California hadn't quite turned yet so we started with drinks and appetizers on the patio.   Just as it started to get chilly we were invited indoors to their family room where they had pushed the furniture to the walls and replaced it with banquet seating down the middle of the room.

The cheery fall table setting starts with a neutral plummy colored tablecloth paired with hot pink and hot orange napkins from Norma's collection of Le Jacquard Francais linens, the French company that produces gorgeous damask linens.  Napkins rings are vintage Bakelite, an early plastic popular in the 40's.  Bunnies and chickies and elephants, oh my!  Such a sweet collection is fun to have on the table.

Also on the table was our hostess's collection of Japanese Imari porcelain plates, many of them different, but all coordinated.  Not many people have matching stemware for a crowd, but our hostess has a large set of pink mold blown glass goblets so we could quench our thirst in style!  Orange frosted glass votives were placed down the center.  The effect was stunning.

So really, how does one actually pull off a sit down dinner for 18?  It seems impossible I know, but our hosts seemed to pull it off with relative ease, at least that's what it looked like to their guests.  Besides being fearless ;^) many things need to come together to make that happen, such as being uber-organized,  keeping the menu relatively simple and doing as much as possible ahead of time.  Know that your guests will love an evening out no matter if some itty bitty thing goes wrong, they'll never know or care, it's all about getting together and having fun.

Party details:  Our hosts act as a team when getting the food on the table.  They had one helper in the kitchen and waited until we were all seated before plating and serving the first course soup.  With the 3 of them working together like this the main course was also easily plated in the kitchen and served at the table.  This ensured that all 18 of us started our main course at the same time, nothing short of a miracle!

A complicated menu would have never worked that evening.  They chose simple, elegant and gourmet recipes that could be done ahead.


Deep Fried Artichoke Hearts*
Fresh Salmon Mousse 

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Crystallized Ginger (recipe below)
French Bread

Gourmet Shepherd's Pie
Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Greek Lemon and Coconut Cake

*A short drive from us in Monterey County is the the little farm community of Castroville, the "Artichoke Capital of the World".  Road side stands sell bags of locally made frozen deep fried artichokes hearts which are heated in the oven at home, a Northern California specialty.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Crystallized Ginger

The soup has the daring combination of the humble cauliflower and spicy sweet candied ginger.  This received rave reviews.

2 leeks, trimmed
1 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
2 T minced garlic
2 t. curry powder
1 t. ground ginger
6 C or more chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
1 C half and half*
salt and pepper to taste
3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger, for garnish

1.  Slice leeks lengthwise and wash well.  Pat dry and thinly slice.
2.  Melt butter and oil, add leeks and celery and cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in curry and ground ginger, cook over very low heat for one minute.
4.  Add broth, lemon juice and cauliflower.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.  Cool slightly.
5.  Purr soup in food processor until very smooth.  Add half and half through feed tube and more broth if the soup seems too thick.  Season with salt and pepper.
6.  Serve hot and garnish each portion of soup with a teaspoon of the candied ginger before serving.
*When I made it I substituted fat free milk and the recipe didn't suffer.

Do you want to poke around their pretty home?  I was certain you would so I took some pictures!

Built in dining room hutch painted pale lime.

Living room wall color is Artichoke Hearts by Benjamin Moore with a pair of velvet eggplant sofas.

The end of the hall leads to the well used open library with the pool beyond the French doors.

That's it for the parties, it was fun while it lasted!  I hope all the knitters are still with me and sincerely hope you have enjoyed these parties as much as I've enjoyed sharing them.  Thank you to all the hosts who have been so generous with me, so much inspiration and creativity is out there, I love that I get to share some of it in my blog.  Thank you for stopping by, next time it's knitting.
A very fun night!
Rene wore her lace shrug knit in Rowan Linen Limpur.

Linked to Open House Party with No Minimalist Here
and Tabletop Tuesday.


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Party With A View

I'm going to gush a bit here, because I really don't know how else to write about this amazing party in this amazing apartment in San Francisco. 

But let's begin with the reason for having the party in the first place.  Every party is best served when there's a theme, and this party had no less than 3 world class themes going for it.  First there's the Fleet Week Air Show starring the Blue Angels and the Fleet Week Parade of Ships, and as if that were not quite enough there was also the America's Cup World Series.  There were several smaller events such as the Columbus Day Parade in North Beach, maybe not so grand as the other events, but colorful and full of local flavor and visible from our party digs.  All this happening the same day, in San Francisco, the little city that makes all the other cities jealous. Blessed with natural beauty to spare, there's also the cuisine, the art, the weather, the culture.  Plus it's just hilly enough to guarantee vistas to enjoy it all.  So join me for a look at San Francisco on a gorgeous day in a gorgeous apartment a top gorgeous Russian Hill.

The apartment takes up the top two floors of a
Russian Hill beauty built in 1929.
Step inside and immediately you are greeted with an eye-popping view from a
wall of windows...and each window has a rare bridge to bridge view,
spanning from the Golden Gate Bridge to the west and the Bay Bridge to the east.

  This eastern bay view shows Coit Tower, North Beach, Chinatown 
and the Oakland Bay Bridge with the east bay beyond.

What a day, as clear as a bell.

Directly north is Alcatraz Island, here with the Blue Angels doing a fly by.

Right below the apartment and again to the north is Fisherman's Wharf
and Fort Mason.  I love this picture of the cruise ship.

To the west is the Marina and the Presidio, 
with the Golden Gate Bridge and the beautiful Pacific beyond.

The Blue Angels soaring over the Golden Gate Bridge with the Marin Headlands in the background.

We'll come back to the stunning views a bit later, but now let's poke around the apartment.

One of the sweet guest baths.

  • The "Green Room", a comfy office/tv room with gilded silver ceilings.  
  • Our host is a film noir buff who specializes in movies with SF locations.

The view from the Green Room.

Let's go up the stairs to the guest suites.

Who wouldn't want to stay here?

The guest bath has a view of Coit Tower!

Now back downstairs to the living room, dining room and kitchen.

The dining room is set up for an appetizer buffet with the elegant living room just beyond.

Window seats in the living room with more jaw-dropping views.

Pretty vignettes to idle over.

Our host set up the wine bar on the kitchen island.

Appetizers served up on a patriotic quilt made by the hostess, used today as a tablecloth.

A totally modern kitchen in this vintage apartment.

The hostess served two soups for lunch.  Served in colorful mugs, we helped ourselves in the kitchen.

This is an annual party for our hosts.  Previously they have had chili tasting parties,
asking a few friends to make their favorite chili and we have a little contest.
Very fun, but I also liked the change up this time of doing a soup party.
I always make the Golden Gate Bridge cookies.

Cookies with a patriotic message plus the Golden Gate Bridge.

Party Details:  A party with this much to view from the many windows needs to be kept fairly simple.  We all want to eat, but don't want to miss a thing either!  Our hostess made two soups the week before and put them in the freezer.  She made a few appetizers and asked a few friends to bring one too.  Dessert was simply sugar cookies made especially for the occasion by moi using my extensive collection of cookie cutters. We ate our soup from mugs and perched on window seats for maximum viewing pleasure!  Our hosts actually had two identical parties, one on Saturday and one on Sunday so they could get all their friends up for this special weekend.  They said it was very easy, as the set up is done just once.  After the first party she loaded the dishwasher and unloaded it right back to the buffet.  Hmmm, sounds like it was a little bit of trouble, but she swears it was a snap!  Their relaxed and joyful style of entertaining leads you to believe it's true!


Asparagus Fingers
Crab Dip
Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes
Mushroom Tartlets
Assorted Cheeses

Carrot Beet Soup
Celeriac Soup (recipe below)

Sugar Cookies

Both the soups were delicious and neither one had cream or butter.   I really appreciate lighter fare, don't you?  I know you'll love this very light and flavorful soup!


2 tbls peanut oil or olive oil
2lbs celeriac - peeled & roughly chopped
3 pints chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
juice of 1 lime
1" piece fresh ginger grated
1 tsp thyme
1 green chili seeded & chopped
1 bunch cilantro (or to taste)
1/2 can coconut milk
salt to taste
4 green onions chopped

Heat oil and cook celeriac gently in covered pan for 10 minutes without coloring.

Add stock, lime juice, ginger, thyme, chili, and cilantro stems. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 30 minutes or until tender. Add green onions for last 10 minutes or so of cooking. Remove from heat.

Cool a little, add coconut milk and then puree in blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning, reheat and stir in chopped cilantro leaves. Serve sprinkled with herbs or cilantro leaves.  Unknown source.

Thank you for visiting today.  I hope this post gives this San Francisco day it's justice.  I can just add that it was a little slice of magic.

Now before I go, enjoy a few more pictures of this city I love.

Below their apartment is Lombard Street, "the crookedest street in the world".

  After lunch we headed up to the rooftop to get the best view of the Blue Angels flying overhead.

The Stealth Bomber!

Special thanks to Gary for the terrific sky action shots.