White Barbecue Sauce Potato Salad

My great-grandmother was a wonderful cook, and ‘wonderful’ doesn’t even do it justice. I was really young when she died, but I do remember many of the things she made, one especially being her potato salad. Oh! It was so good. It was a traditional style, with white potatoes and celery and onion and hard-boiled eggs. There’s not a written recipe for it, but I always think of her whenever I make a bowl.

In the summertime especially, it just seems right to keep a bowl of potato salad (and coleslaw, to me they always go together) around to enjoy. I love it when Av gets outside with the grill and makes us some nice snapper or steak or lamb chops. He makes the hot food, and I make the cold food.

I noticed the other day that the website for Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur, AL has their recipe (just click on ‘recipes’ after the cute flash animation) for potato salad – theirs is nice and really different, because they add their white chicken sauce to it – it’s probably my favorite restaurant-served potato salad. I had all the ingredients for it already, so I made a big bowl of it this week with just some very small changes.

BTW, you can buy white sauce online at their site if it’s not carried at your grocery store.

3lb. red potatoes (this recipe makes enough for eight or ten servings)
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced as large or small as you like
3/4 c. Mayonnaise
1/3 c. Sweet Pickle Relish (I use Wickles – it’s sweet and hot)
White Onion (I used a nice sweet Vidalia) – dice the whole onion, add as much as you like
1/4 c. Big Bob Gibson White BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp seasoning and dry rub (I used a creole seasoning – Tony Chacheres)
1/8 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper

First, wash the potatoes thoroughly and dice into bite-size pieces (which, for the size potatoes I bought, was about four pieces/potato). Add the potato pieces to salted, boiling water. Let boil for about 15 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain and let cool some (you can speed this up by running cold water over the potatoes in the colander).

Add the potatoes to a large mixing bowl. To this bowl, add the diced hard-boiled eggs and the onion. I added about half the onion at this point, reserving the rest to see if I needed to add any more of them later.

Add dry seasoning and celery seed. Mix well.
Once it’s mixed well, you can get an idea of how much mayonnaise and white sauce you’ll need. Add about half of each and mix, then continue to add more until you have the right consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and add any more onion if you like.

Refrigerate so it’s nice and cold for when you want to serve it. It turned out really great!

Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel and Towers, Tel Aviv, Israel

I think the last time we were in Tel Aviv, we stayed at the Renaissance, but this time we tried the Sheraton. Both are on the beach – actually, I think all the hotels that say they are ‘on the beach’ are actually across the street from the beach. This hotel was fine, and we were upgraded to the club level. See how the beds are singles? This is very, very common in Israel (I won’t go into why just now) but the beds are always on wheels so you can just move them together.

Here’s the view from our balcony:

The hotel was nice, but isn’t one of my favorites. I think next time we’re in Tel Aviv we’ll try the Dan.

Wingate Inn, Atlanta (Buckhead)

Our trip to Atlanta was with a group of other people, and so all our reservations were made for the Wingate Inn in Buckhead. I don’t think we’ve ever stayed at a Wingate before.

It wasn’t bad. In fact, the room was pretty large, and I liked the floors especially. The bed was very comfortable.
Wingate Inn, Atlanta GA

The hotel is right on Piedmont Road, so the location is good. It wouldn’t be my pick for another stay in Atlanta because there are some really great hotels there (we stayed at the Westin Buckhead a couple of years ago that was nice…and I really want to try the R-C and the Four Seasons there), but it wasn’t bad at all.

Kinetic Art, and our 1864 Flying Spy Automata

One of Av’s professors from high school opened a rare and first edition bookstore a few years ago, and inside amongst all the books, he featured a couple of kinetic sculptures on the walls. They really fascinated me, because I’d never seen anything like them – they were beautiful and calming and….just one of those things to just hang around to watch for a while.

The artist – David C. Roy – who made those pieces, has his website here.

(updated with a new video:)

I also really like Tom Haney’s artwork – he makes these really original pieces that move or dance with pushes of a simple lever. I’ve seen him at a few shows, and he’s always really good about showing everyone how everything works, etc. Very nice. He’s going to be at Kentuck later this year.

A company in the UK sells these very simple kits to make animated pieces from paper – some of them are *so* cute!

About four years ago, Av and I purchased this piece from Bud and Suzi Richards (from Springville, AL) at the Bluff Park Art Show. It represents a 1864 report that Bud found about a spying soldier during the War who was wearing a flying contraption. It was the first automata piece they’d made, and we didn’t waste any time getting it.
1864 Flying Spy Automata



Hilton Garden Inn, Montgomery AL

About a week or so ago, we stayed one evening at the Hilton Garden Inn in Montgomery. This was our first visit there, and the hotel seemed nice. We were upgraded to one of their suites and the basic breakfast was included.

This hotel is situated inside one of Montgomery’s corporate parks, and it was pretty empty the weekend we stayed there (since I guess most of their business is M-F).
Hilton Garden Inn Montgomery AL 2006

JW Marriott, New Orleans LA

This trip, we stayed at the JW Marriott in New Orleans – it’s the hotel that was formerly the Le Meridien. We had a really nice stay.

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

Our room:
J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

The beds are soooo comfortable, and they had robes hanging in the closet (I love that!). The bathroom was pretty small, but that was okay.
J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

The lobby is pretty:
J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

One thing I also liked was that it’s one of the hotels where you dial one number and that person will take care of everything (valet, late-night room service snack, etc.). BTW, the valet was pretty quick, too.

While Av was working, Leslie and I walked all over the Quarter. Overall, the hotel was really nice and we wouldn’t mind staying here again.

Jerry Brown Arts Festival

We had a nice time at the Jerry Brown Arts Festival this weekend. It was small – probably only 20 or so artists – but we met some really nice people, and brought home three things…

This is a pretty different-looking vase (the inside vase part isn’t full-length – it goes down about halfway) made by Ron Morris, who teaches at Bevill State. Ron and his wife are both **really** nice and fun to chat with.
Ron Morris Pottery

Ron calls it his ‘pie plate’ vase, because of the nice detail along the edge – that made me like it even more:
Ron Morris Pottery

This little birdhouse was made by Mark Williams from Bogart, Georgia. I’m going to hang it up outside this week:
Mark Williams Pottery Birdhouse

Mark also made this:
Mark Williams Pottery

I know, she’s a little….different! I say she looks like she has stage fright, but Av’s not so sure (heh!).

Mark also does a lot of face jugs (there’s a little about the history behind face jugs here).

Love Is In The Air…

Valentine’s Day was sooooo nice! For one thing, Av had this beautiful orchid delivered (orchids are my favorite flower/plant of all time) – and this one has lots of buds, so it will be flowering for at least the next couple of months at least! So pretty!

Valentine's Orchid

My big present was a lithgraph by Nall (my favorite artist). Av (the best husband anybody could ever have!!!) left it unframed so I could pick out how to have it done.¬†I could theoretically do it myself in a style complemetary to his, which might be really interesting and fun…..and if it all fell apart or I didn’t like the way it turned out I could just take it to a frame shop and have it done in a more traditional way. Hmmm……

Av got a cd and his other thing hasn’t arrived yet…so I’m not going to say yet what it is! ūüôā

We also traded kiddie Valentines (mine were Hello Kitty and Av’s were Star Wars), which we added super-corny sayings to, and last night we opened each other’s card box to read them out loud – they were **hilarious**!!!!

I hope everybody had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

Putting Fringe on a Knit Scarf

Today, I finished my latest scarf, and when I got done, I thought adding some fringe would make it look softer and even nicer. This scarf was made by knitting together these three yarns:

Ironstone Yarns ‘Hot Stuff’ #1747, Trendsetter Yarns ‘Dune’ #84, and Euro Yarns ‘Glitz’ #769.

I made the scarf on size 17 needles, and all rows were six knits. I’ve been thinking while knitting this one that it looked a little more bulky than I thought I would have turned out; I guess because of the weight of the three yarns together plus the large needles, it looked more ‘chunky’ than I had expected. When I did the bind-off of the last row, I just looked at it for a while, trying to think of what I could do to make it appear more…graceful, I guess. I decided to make lots of long fringe on both ends, and it made all the difference!

Below – my supplies were: my scarf, scissors, the yarn to make the fringe out of (I used the Euro Yarns ‘Glitz’), a crochet hook, and I used one of my knitting needles as a measurement guide for the length to cut the fringe.

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Here’s the end of my scarf. I took the crochet hook down through one of the knots and out the end:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Then I looped a length of my fringe onto the hook (I just took my knitting needle, cut a length of yarn 2x that length, and folded that in half…the fringe can be as short or as long as you like – for this one I was thinking long would be best…you can always cut down the fringe if you think it’s too long):

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

I pulled the hook up and back through, carrying the fringe yarn:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Now I just pulled more of the fringe through further to make a large loop. The large loop is what you pull the ‘legs’ of the fringe through. This allows the knot to be made:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

I pulled the ‘legs’ of the fringe through the large loop:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Then just pulled the legs and pushed the loop down, making a nice knot:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Now just add as many more pieces of fringe as you like. Although this scarf was knitted six knits per row, I added more than six sections of fringe – I stopped at fourteen on each end of the scarf. That made it look really nice and full:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

I like it so much better now!

Knitting Up A Storm But No Purls – Until Now

Well, one of my friends, who is a *very* accomplished knitter (she even makes things that are auctioned off at charity events!) taught me how to knit in just a few minutes, but somehow I haven’t figured out how to purl. I have another friend, who is also a very good knitter AND crocheter (is that a word? I guess!) – who I’ve been meaning to ask, but yesterday, I found a site that has illustrations of how to purl.

Anyway, I wish I had figured out how to do it about a month ago when I started a baby blanket (my first non-scarf project) for my new neice, who will be here later this month. The last time I was in Mobile, I visited the YarnHaus, and -this is how beginner I am – I asked the very nice lady that was working there this:

A blanket is really just a big scarf, right?

And the answer was…yes! I just needed to buy some circular needles so that all my extra knitting (the width of the blanket) would have somewhere to go. She gave me a free pattern that showed how to do it with both knits and purls, but I explained to her that I really only knew how to knit, and she said that, by all means, just to knit the whole thing and it would turn out beautifully anyway. Well, if I do say so myself, it is looking really pretty. It’s just 56 knits per row using five balls of Plymouth Yarn Heaven, which is sooooo soft, perfect for a baby!

Baby Blanket I'm Knitting for My New Neice

I’m really happy with it, and I’m almost done with the third ball of yarn, so I just have two more to go and the blanket will be finished.

Once I finish, I’m going to practice my purling technique on one more scarf, then I’m thinking about branching out to other things….I’d love to learn the techniques I’d need so that I could make what’s on the front of the latest Knitty – how cute is that?!?! Hmmm….I don’t think I’ll ever get into making socks, but maybe some neat sweaters, or pillows, or hats, or….