Thursday, September 18, 2014

milk glass basket

I don't remember where my mother got this -

but, isn't it perfect?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"stuff as dreams are made on"

"here is that which will give language to you, cat..."

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

                            from William Shakespeare's The Tempest

Monday, September 15, 2014

a raspberry and ale pie

I think I first discovered Une Gamine dans la Cuisine - a blog - through Pinterest. Oh, the photos!  The food in those pictures was irresistible to me. I had to make something.

I haven't looked too far back, but I think it's all desserts. That's okay. I chose Prospero's Raspberry and Ale Pie - doesn't it sound intriguing? We have some ale hanging around the house; all I needed were the berries.

Well, at the supermarket I quickly realized that I'd have to spend fifteen dollars to get five cups for the pie, and I wasn't going to do it. But the frozen ones were on sale, two bags for six - okay, frozen would do!  Then, there was the ale issue - it calls for dark ale, and ours isn't.

But I like to use what's on hand if possible, so that what I used.

Then, there was an issue with the crust - she makes a butter crust with three tablespoons of sugar in it and some cream, or milk. I usually make an oil crust. Should I, or shouldn't I? I really try to avoid more dairy than I absolutely must eat, so I decided to go with my crust, and just put some sugar in it. But three tablespoons?  I put in half that amount as we also try to keep sugar levels down around here. Oh, and did I mention she's got oregano in the crust?  It sounds strange, doesn't it? But also exciting, so I wasn't going to leave that out. Except I didn't have fresh - one tablespoon - so I used dried - one teaspoon - as we know that dried herbs are more potent than fresh ones.

It was rather odd, I thought, that she didn't use any thickener at all for this pie - berries are so juicy, and frozen ones even more so - plus you're adding a quarter cup of liquid to it (the ale) I was afraid it would be very runny. But I left it as she said.

Now before I go any further, I want to point out something I read on Like Mother, Like Daughter  a week ago - Deirdre linked to a hilarious piece on the comments one finds on food blogs. I'm not sure they're all authentic - 'I just started Paleo yesterday, and I'm wondering if there's a way to make this without the ingredients.'  Really??  So as I made this pie, and changed this and subbed that, I kept wondering at what point a recipe is still what it's supposed to be when you're changing it so much. Anyway, I may be asking the question, but don't imagine I've got the answer.

So folks, I made the pie. It was very good!  I love fruit pie, anyway. But I should have put some instant tapioca in there, just a little, because it is very runny and that's a shame because the bottom gets all gooey, as you know. As for the oregano crust, it isn't weird at all! I like it! And I shouldn't have shied away from the extra sugar in there, either - it would have been fine with the three tablespoons, so next time.......

I learned something here - it's okay to put herbs in your pie crust. And you can add some unusual liquids into your fruit. But maybe I'll still play it safe and look for clever people who've already invented these recipes so I don't have to experiment.

Now please excuse me while I go read The Tempest, with a slice of raspberry and ale pie.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

wisdom from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I've been reading something called Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs, by James Howell, a Methodist minister. His style is easy and pleasant to read. Here he quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

"We have to learn that personal suffering is a more effective key, a more rewarding principle for exploring the world in thought and action than personal good fortune." Also, "We can have abundant life, even though many wishes remain unfulfilled." And this, "Nothing that we despise in the other man is entirely absent from ourselves...We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer." 

Friday, September 12, 2014

shopping list bliss

I think I first read about the idea on Amy Karol's blog, Angry Chicken; she had a typed-up shopping list which she printed out every week and just checked off what she needed. I remember very well thinking I should do it, but it has taken me all this time. It is so handy I never want to go back to trying to remember. I can look at it very quickly and know whether I need or even want an item, but I don't have to remember it. Hallelujah! When I'm sure I've included everything I'll type it up and just make copies.

Now every week all I need are my list and a menu for the week and I'm almost done!

Monday, September 8, 2014

all in a day's work

Cindy's work, that is - causing chaos and disruption where'er her little feet go. 

 surveying the wreckage

I exaggerate, of course. But she will never resist getting that tablecloth into the water bowl

Sunday, September 7, 2014

peeping tom

A praying mantis hung around for a bit outside the kitchen window -

he wasn't bothered by Cindy, who was only briefly interested,

but he did peer in at us as we looked out at him.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

a furry comfort

"No matter what dreadful things happened at least there were still cats in the world."

                                                      -   Pat of Silver Bush,  L. M. Montgomery

Thursday, September 4, 2014

creamy cabinet

Today I finished painting a very useful but previously unappealing cabinet in the kitchen. The stain was something which didn't match any other wood in the room and it's simple design just made the whole thing look out of place. Not any more!

Now I just need somebody to help me re-attach the doors.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

on work

"Human beings are born; they grow up; they have their joys and sorrows and their fortunes. They strive and struggle and develop, and all this happens in God. He has created them and given them their various powers. 'In Him we live and move and have our being.' When we rejoice, the living God is present in our rejoicing. And when we suffer, he suffers in our suffering. He has created us, and we are not a matter of indifference to him.

When we work, it is he who commissions us. It is not a matter of indifference to him how the carpenter makes the table, how the mother runs her home, and how the doctor serves his patients. There is an inferior kind of piety that seeks to enhance the things of God by disparaging the things of the world. It is the vengeance taken by a frustrated desire for the things of this world.

But the things of the world are not unimportant, nor are they a matter of indifference, least of all to God, since he created the world 'that it might be' and he saw that 'it was good'. He wants it to remain good, and it grieved his heart when sin invaded the goodness of the world. He took that invasion so seriously that he 'gave his Only Begotten Son'. God has put his work into people's hands for them to maintain and continue, and he wants them to complete it for his joy and to give meaning to their own lives. God is with us when we do our work, whatever it may be. We are to do it for him and with him."

                                          - Fr. Romano Guardini,  from Magnificat, September 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

easy neckline fix

I bought a J. Jill dress which had a lower V neckline than I wanted, but lo, there in my stash was a piece of black linen almost exactly like the dress.

You can see that the weave is looser, but it really doesn't seem to matter - it blends in very well. And that fringed edge? It's just the selvage, so I didn't have to hem that side of it! The most difficult part of the process was making sure it was in there straight.

I hand sewed it to the narrow edging with a backstitch, attaching it on the wrong side, and then pinked the raw edges. I intend to wash it gently in the washer and hang to dry, and hope it doesn't fray.  It looks fine, like it belongs there!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pinterest recipes: lemon tart with rosemary crust

Theirs, of course, looks prettier than mine did. But it was really good and it's almost gone. And so easy to make!

I used whole wheat pastry flour, not spelt; nor did I notice the rosemary; that's either because I used dried rosemary and only one teaspoon, or because the lemon flavor was so strong it over powered it. And it is very strong, so if you don't love lemon, don't bother with it. In fact, there was an aftertaste which I am wondering might go away if I used just slightly less lemon juice next time, but I don't know. And I think it would be fine with a graham cracker crust, too. But really, what could be easier than whisking together a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a half cup of sugar, two eggs (one at a time, of course), a half cup of lemon juice and a teaspoon of lemon zest? Put it in your pie shell and bake it. That is all! I tell you, this is a keeper.

Dolly listens to Sinatra

(and then my brother said, You've been playing that cd all summer!  Well, yes - the cats and I aren't tired of it. But I changed it - Diana Krall, Love Scenes. We must have jazz in summer!)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"artists of the everyday"

"Women are artists of the everyday... the woman who works with her hands only is a laborer; the woman who works with her hands and her head is a craftswoman; the woman who works with her hands, her head and her heart is an artist."

                                               -  from Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, August 29, 2014

knitting in August

I never want to knit in July or August - I don't enjoy touching yarn with my sweaty hands. But this year August is hardly recognizable! And a small project (color block hand warmers) isn't so bad while sitting in front of a fan.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

just add water

I saw this vase at Salvation Army at least twenty years ago; it's graceful shape caught my eye. The glass is very thick, though, and it has an obvious seam along either side. 

It took me a little while to figure out it must be a Good Seasons cruet. (For those who don't know, Good Seasons is a brand of salad dressing which comes with a packet of seasonings and glass cruet; you add the oil and vinegar.)

It also took me a little while to notice that when water is added, the "vase" is transformed and looks so beautiful.

Especially with roses.

how lovely

Oh, how lovely everything was! Gossamer clouds of pale gold floated over the Hill of the Mist. The wind had fallen asleep among the silver birches. The tall firs among them quivered with some kind of dark laughter. The fields were all around her like great gracious arms. The popples, as Judy called them, were whispering around the granary. The world was just a big, smiling greenness, with a vast, alluring blueness seawards. There was a clear, pale, silvery sky over her and everything in the garden seemed to have burst into bloom overnight. Judy's big clump of bleeding-heart by the kitchen door was hung with ruby jewels. The country was sprinkled with white houses in the sunrise. A stealthy kitten crept through the orchard. 

                                  -  L.M. Montgomery,   Pat of Silver Bush

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

warm, breezy and relaxing

In an August which has been amazingly comfortable, we've come back to hot and humid summer for a few days.  And Eileen and Nancy came over.

We had the cheesy olive bread, tuna rye wraps, refrigerator pickles, peach sweet tea and chocolate frozen yogurt*. Under a shady tree we sat and lunched the whole afternoon. And after a morning with no air stirring, an accomodating breeze kept things pleasant almost the whole time. Ahhh, this is what summer is for!

*(I used Rose's recipe here, with a few alterations.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

the secret lives of lawn chairs

To continue our thought from this morning,

surely these vintage webbed chairs have secrets. Don't they look like they're just waiting for you to turn your back?

the secret lives of furniture

"Pat had a firm belief that if you could only open the door of any shut room quickly enough you could catch all the furniture in strange situations. ... But then you never could. Some sound always warned them and they were back in their places as demure as you please."

                             - L.M. Montgomery,  Pat of Silver Bush


Monday, August 25, 2014

our dear girl

Thankful that the vet came up with a medication which seems to agree with our Dolly. Her swollen paw is all better and her allergies may even improve for a little while.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

cucumber vines in the window

The window over the kitchen sink, because I didn't get around to planting them outside. Yet.

I still may.

Friday, August 15, 2014

together again

Today we celebrate the assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven, reuniting her with her dear Jesus.

( by Joachim Patinir)

"Blessed are you, O God, in the Virgin Mary. Through her, your Son came into the world. Through him, she entered into the new world of your glory."

Monday, August 11, 2014

a good view

from atop the refrigerator, and a perfect spot for lounging.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"blessed be your kneading bowl"

"When you hearken to the voice of the Lord, your God, all these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you:

  May you be blessed in the city, and blessed in the country!

  Blessed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock,  the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks!

  Blessed be your grain bin and your kneading bowl!

  May you be blessed in your coming in, and blessed in your going out!"

                                          Deuteronomy 28: 2-6

Saturday, August 9, 2014

little flowers

When I got the strawberry plants and strawberry pot, I got the idea to sprinkle some seeds on top from an old seed packet called "Cottage Garden".  So now I have a little bloom, but I don't know what it is.  I hope more flowers will come along.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

it pays to talk

Well, she talked about how good it felt to give them away, so I hinted. And she brought some to work today.

So pretty!  A lovely treat.

Somebody else thinks so, too.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

a not so plain dress

I made a very simple a-line, short-sleeved, pull-over-the-head dress which could have been rather dull,

except for the ruffled net trim which is just the thing for it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

salt of the earth

"...salt flavors and preserves. G.K. Chesterton offers a lovely thought on our role as salt:  Salt seasons and preserves beef, not because it is like beef; but because it is very unlike it. Christ did not tell his apostles that they were only the excellent people, or the only excellent people, but that they were the exceptional people; the permanently incongruous and incompatible people; and the text about the salt of the earth is really as sharp and shrewd and tart as the taste of salt."

                                 James C. Howell,   Servants, Misfits and Martyrs