Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma Jean!

I came back from Charleston a few weeks ago just in time to attend my Grandma Jean's 90th birthday party. I guess longevity must run in my family! JF and I drove out to my aunt Gerri's on Long Island for the occasion. It was great to see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins that I haven't seen since my engagement party back in September (Shoot, I was trying to keep this post free of wedding references. Guess I failed!) My dad is the oldest of 5 and all his brother and sisters are married with kids so whenever we get together it's always a big loud group of people. My cousin Laura made a DVD with pictures set to music of my grandma and other family members. She gave us all copies which was really sweet.

I tried to think of what a good gift would be. I mean after all once you're 90 years old you've probably gotten so many gifts it might be hard to get a gift that seems original. So of course I knit her something. During my trip to Charleston I worked on this beret. The first version came out ok for a regular ski hat but didn't have enough floppiness to be a beret so I did some extra increases and the second version came out just right. I used this free online pattern from whatifknits and highly recommend it. I used some bulky weight yarn from Brooks Farm I had in my stash from Rhinebeck '06. Can anyone tell me what the difference between a tam and a beret is? I suppose I could just google it but it's more fun to hear it from my blog readers!

And what's the best part about being 90 years old besides having a big party thrown in your honor?

Meeting your adorable great-grandchild, of course!

I used way too many exclamation points in this post!!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Southern Adventures

I visited an old friend from college last week in Charleston, South Carolina. I had never been there before and found the city to be simply charming. It was also nice for me to have a break from all this crazy wedding planning and just do something on my own. We had fun recounting memories from college and catching up on the current going-ons in our lives.

I still can't believe it's been nearly six years since we graduated college. She's married, expecting a baby, and going to medical school. I'm getting married in just a few short months and been working hard, as always, on my career and all things knitting-related.

The popular touristy thing to do in Charleston is to take a horse drawn carriage ride through the city with a tour guide talking about all the history surrounding you.

Here's a view from the carriage as we started out. Our horse was old and super slow. We kept having to pull to the side so other carriages could trot past ours!

We mostly saw all these beautiful houses that date back to the Civil War era. Fancy gates like the one shown above were a trademark of these houses.

It was also essential to have a large front porch. An interesting fact is that the porches were always built to maximize the breeze since there was no air conditioning way back when. As a result many of the porches are on the side of the house. The owners sacrificed a good view of the waterfront in order to stay cool.

These mansions are worth several million dollars today due to their location and history. Personally, if I was going to drop a few mil on a house I'd want it to be relatively new!

I thought it was pretty how the ivy grew along this staircase.

Here's a pic of King Street which is the main shopping district.

And a nice view of the water. The Palmetto tree, as pictured here, grows all over the place down there. It's on the SC state flag, license plates, and all the touristy souvenirs sold in the Marketplace.

I added this silver charm to the bracelet I started in San Francisco last year. My cat, Cosette, approved of it when I got home.

I was only down there for a few days and would have liked to stay longer. But JF and I will probably visit at some point. After all there will be a newborn expecting a hand-knit blanket!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fabulous Flowers

I had a wonderful time this past Sunday at the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show. I had never been there before and while late winter is certainly less than ideal as nothing was in bloom it was worth it to see so many varieties of my favorite flower. Without further ado here are some pics:

The one above is my favorite. I love the contrast of the pale yellow with the fuschia 'veins' of the flower.

I'm definitely coming back in the spring to see the garden in full bloom.