Friday, September 30, 2011

a quote from Persuasion

"Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy could never have passed along the streets of Bath than Anne was sporting with from Camden Place to Westgate Buildings. It was almost enough to spread purification and perfume all the way."

                                     - Jane Austen

Thursday, September 29, 2011

feast of the archangels

September 29th is the feast of the three archangels - Raphael, Gabriel and Michael.

"Lord, in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men. May those who serve you constantly in heaven keep our lives safe from all harm on earth. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

(St. Michael the Archangel, by Guido Reni)

cheap thrills

I'm {happy} this week, because I found a {pretty} stripe in my stash which blends well with this cheap quilt I'm finishing up.

The quilt top is rather thin - and the backing is also on the thinner side, so it was strange using nice new fabric for the binding, but the colors match well.  I dare say when the quilt wears out, I can rip it off and use it for something else!

I especially like it from the back.

round button chicken

Thanks to Bridget and Leila - a real quilter!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

last pasta salad of summer?

with (lots of) halved grape or cherry tomatoes,
(lots of) diced cucumber,
and (lots of) cubed cheddar.
Toss with mixture of half mayo and half Italian dressing (bottled is fine).

Monday, September 26, 2011

that was fast

Without really intending to be an advertisement here, I have to say that my yarn arrived in the mail today!

From Nevada.   I'm in New England.  I ordered it Saturday.  Today is Monday.

And there's a pattern printed on the outside of the bag!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

strange bedfellows

or maybe I should be saying bag-fellows.

This bag I'm crocheting is using some of every color of worsted weight yarn I have, and it's a motley array.
Pea green and hunter, cranberry and a purply fuschia, three shades of colonial blues, oatmeal, burnt orange-ish, brown and chestnut, which is a heathered brown with a reddish cast. And bright red.  It isn't pretty.

I can see that an all red, blue and white one would be very nice. But I'm forcing myself to use them all. I don't have much of the oatmeal or red, and I hope I don't run out of something which will cause it to look even less appealing.  I went online today and ordered some sale yarns from Jimmy Beans Wool, just in case. Have you ever ordered from them? This evening they already emailed me to say it was shipped!  Their stuff comes fast. I should probably stop crocheting and wait for it to arrive.

It's kind of addictive, though.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dolly and the quilt

I wanted to measure the quilt - to find out how much binding to make.

There are few things Dolly likes more than the tape measure.

The palms we get on Palm Sunday are what she loves to play with more than anything, but they're not a toy. (not usually)  The tape measure is good enough for most days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

a happy and a real

I have one photo this week, but it's both a {real}, and a {happy}.

The Four Cardinal Virtues, by Josef Pieper, has been recommended by our own Leila and I'm finding it one of those you know you'll have to read more than once - it just takes time for our finite and distracted minds to absorb.   A quote about fortitude:

"It is possible to be genuinely brave only when all those real or apparent assurances fail, that is, when the natural man is afraid; not, however, when he is afraid out of unreasoning timidity, but when, with a clear view of the real situation facing him, he cannot help being afraid, and, indeed, with good reason. If in this supreme test, in face of which the braggart falls silent and every heroic gesture is paralyzed, a man walks straight up to the cause of his fear and is not deterred from doing that which is good; if, moreover, he does so for the sake of good  -  which ultimately means for the sake of God, and therefore not from ambition or from fear of being taken for a coward  -  this man, and he alone, is truly brave."

This book is {real}ly good!

The {happy} part is the crocheting I'm doing.  I found this link on my desktop last night, and flipped!  I not only have a cluttered house, but even my computer desktop is too cluttered, with projects I found appealing and didn't want to lose track of. Then they were forgotten. Hopefully, no more! Isn't this a beautiful bag?  My colors aren't as pretty as hers, but I want to use up whatever worsted weight yarn I've got hanging around. As for following the (or any) crochet instructions - well, I intend to bring it in to work tomorrow and make sure from my co-workers that I'm on the right track.

round button chicken

Thanks, Rosie and Leila!

Monday, September 19, 2011

black wool hat in search of a Madeline

I went up to the attic today for some reason or other and came across a bag marked "black hat". I couldn't remember any black hats in my past, but I desperately want to clear unnecessary things from this house. I was sure it must be a throwaway.

A French schoolgirl's hat!   I forgot I ever owned this (obviously).

l still think the look is cute.  

It was hard trying to photograph myself in it, though.  (Ever see a French schoolgirl with grey hair? ) 
It's terrific, but I don't have any use for it.  But I really don't want to bring it to the thrift store.   

Anybody know any French schoolgirls in need of a hat?  I'll send it along.  Seriously.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

can you be Persuaded?

Have you ever read any Jane Austen?  Have you been wanting to someday?

Rachel, the Book Snob is re-reading Persuasion, (which, if you've been wanting to take the plunge but couldn't bring yourself to, is the shortest of Jane's works), and she's looking for company.  The discussion will be over at her blog.

You could definitely read this book in a week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

learning something about machine quilting

A couple of years ago I bought this quilt top on ebay for five dollars.  I finally started machine quilting it - here and there when I find the time - it's a real education.   It isn't put together very evenly, which is causing a bit of trouble, but it's a good piece to learn something on.  I bought cheap batting, and the backing fabric was in my stash forever, so it's costing me very little.

We'll see how it comes out.   I think it'll make a nice picnic blanket.

Monday, September 12, 2011

two cats, one chair

Dolly is often to be seen by the passersby in a chair in one of the doorways - with the fresh air coming in, if weather permits. She sometimes likes the lower view, as opposed to a window, but this time she preferred the window, so Henry got in the chair.  

Then she changed her mind.

But Henry was not to be pushed off.   He acted as if she wasn't there at all.

Ah, disappointment!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

forgiveness and healing

"Wrath and anger are hateful things,
  yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the Lord's vengeance,
  for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor's injustice;
  then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
  and expect healing from the Lord?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
  can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
  who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
  remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
  remember the Most HIgh's covenant, and overlook faults."

                      - Sirach 27:30 - 28:7

Thursday, September 8, 2011

a yes and a maybe

I made bread again today - Swedish Limpa Rye, from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Another good, chewy, crunchy thing which is particularly yummy with butter and marmalade or honey.

Last week at work, someone returned an issue of Food Network magazine - I didn't even realize we got it! The cover had an irresistable picture of an heirloom tomato tart, so I had to check it out and bring the magazine home.  I found seven recipes which I'd like to try!  We don't have cable here, so I've never seen the Food Network.

Anyway, one of the appealing recipes was for an easy plum tart. And the next time I found myself at the supermarket, lo and behold - in the reduced produce section I found these perfectly fine plums! Less than two dollars.

Today I made the tart. The recipe - by a lady named Sunny Anderson - is incredibly simple. You take one of those refrigerated pie crusts from the store, and thaw it out. Spread fig jam on it, leaving 2 inches around the edge free, put your sliced plums (don't need to skin them!) on top, and fold the edges in like a rustic tart. Bake at 425 F for 35 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Voila! 

Well, I don't buy those crusts, I make my own. And I generally make oil crusts, but they're soft and not always suited to the rustic thing, so I decided to make a butter pastry. I chilled it. However, it ended up feeling more like pizza dough than anything, and I had a hard time handling it. It wouldn't go into a nice round shape.  Also, of course I don't keep fig jam in the house, so I used what I had - some orange apricot marmalade.  But it tasted delicious anyway - just looked odd, and the dough was too thick in places.

So, it came out a "maybe" but I highly recommend it anyway! It doesn't call for any sugar. It doesn't even tell you to mix up the plums with the jam to sweeten them up.  You don't need to peel anything.   Use whatever jam you have. There's no thickener in it, so it's juicy.  As for the plums, I halved them, pulled out the pits and sliced each half into three pieces. 

Try it!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

cheery music on a dreary day

There's nothing like baroque music to lift the spirits - I brought some cds home from work today, and decided that this one was just the ticket.   It was.

These guys never wrote a negative sounding note!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

two kindnesses and some other things

I'm joining with Deirdre and Leila this week, and the above is one of my {pretty}s.  A few weeks ago I was so fortunate as to win a giveaway at Yiota's blog. She crocheted me a lovely placemat, and also sent pretty ribbons, an assortment of buttons and some paper flowers, all wrapped in charming paper! Did I say she lives in Greece?

But I have more -

Just a few days before, Tracy also said she wanted to send me something, and I received this beautiful diary filled with photographs of her native Australia.

I tried to photograph a couple of them here -

this place is called the Twelve Apostles.  I have to add that I received both these packages the same week I was struggling with bronchitis, and they were doubly welcome on that account!  Now that I'm feeling better, I wanted to share my surprises - thank you, Tracy and Yiota!!

My {happy} picture is of some cucumber soup I made today, from Julia Child's The Way to Cook. 

It has no cream in it - the base is a rice puree; I've been wanting to try the technique for a while. I used up four fat cukes in this - there's still another in the fridge. I'm happy it came out well!

The {funny} is Dolly - she got interested in my toast the other day -

No, I didn't give her any!  She was content with a few pieces of her dry food, placed right near my plate.

For my {real} picture, I leave you with a piece of Henry's fur on the living room rug

there's plenty more of it - the vacuum cleaner stopped running the other day.  But a new one is on the way!

Thank you, Deirdre and Leila!

round button chicken