Sunday, September 30, 2012

{p,h,f,r} kitchen edition

It's been six months since I made a valance for the window over the kitchen sink.  After a bit, I made another for the other window. There was fabric left over for the bottom part, and I started it - and then left it. I was afraid it wouldn't come out as nice as I was imagining. Well, the other day I just up and made the curtain, and it looks very well.

It's so hard to get a satisfactory picture of it. The material is too sturdy for gathering in a rod pocket, so I was going to figure out tabs of some kind, and then I remember the good old brass clip rings - the old fashioned kind that you really have to squeeze.  I like the fabric, though - it's linen-y looking. I had been dreaming of white linen curtains in the kitchen, and these are just wonderful.  A close-up of the fabric:


I've been thinking about a food processor for too long, and I finally bought one. It sat in it's box in the living room over a week, because I knew it would involve rearranging the countertop arrangement. I tackled it yesterday.

It took me most of the morning trying to figure out how best to do things with a good workflow in mind. I had several canisters on top, and a couple under the stove area - now, it's all beneath the counter where the mixer, etc. are - much cleaner, neater, and more sensible. And of course, you tend to forget what's in these out of the way spaces after a while. So, some items went to the basement. 


(Look at the old sugar canister of my mother's - such a nice size - they don't seem to make them to hold a five pound bag of anything anymore!  I don't get that.)


I went to boil some eggs the other day, and one of the eggs had a "bump" on it - it was hard to capture, but the shell isn't smooth. I didn't use it - I don't think I've ever seen that, and didn't know it it was safe to use. But I kept it anyway, for some reason!  I should open it up and see how it looks inside.


This is the sad state of some of the kitchen chair cushions - the old foam is coming out. So, when the curtains are all finished (I still have to make one for the back door's window) I will have to make new chair cushions.

Joining Leila for {pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

Thank you.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

the end of the garden

 I've been so wanting to join in with Ginny's garden journal, but our "garden" was so tiny I really didn't have much to show. My brother was always the gardener, but he has his own business now and no time anymore. I tried to step into the breach this summer, so here's my report.

I bought a metal raised bed and spent time during the summer filling it up with straw and grass clippings. I intend to add topsoil and composted manure to it this fall, readying it for next year. My "garden" consisted of a few pots in which I tried growing:

  • mesclun lettuce mix - a real treat!
  • beets - I got lots of nice greens as I thinned them, but the beets never got big enough
  • cucumbers - I think a lack of proper nutrients put an end to them - the leaves dried up 
  • green beans - two plants of bush beans - how easy to grow, but I need more than two plants next time!
  • tomatoes - I bought three plants at Agway - one Big Girl, one Jet Star, and a cherry tomato. I got a few large ones, but it took a while and there are several very green ones yet - I don't know if they'll ripen on the vines
  • Italian sunflowers - what needs to be said about sunflowers? just fantastic
I tried zinnias too, but they never came up and I didn't get around to re-seeding.  

After the tomato plants grew a little I put some marigold seeds in each pot, so everything at least looked colorful.

These little things are nice and sweet, and I just pick and eat - not enough of them at a time to do anything else.

a nice little helper

I cut down the sunflowers the other day - the stems were all over the place - but I dropped the heads back onto the pot in case some birds want to pick at them.

We bought some of those non-perennial mums - they're bright and cheery at least.

I hope to do more next year.

Thanks to Ginny!

congratulations, Tracy! well, actually Caroline

Tracy has won the baby blanket, but she's graciously letting Caroline have it, since she's the one who's having a baby girl. Soon.  So, congratulations to Caroline and thanks to everyone for playing!

Friday, September 28, 2012

deep red leaf

and many more where this came from - right in the back yard.

Joining Fiona for Green Day

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

afternoon at the shore

Monday we went to visit my cousin, who lives a five-minute walk from the ocean.  It was a sparkling day with a steady breeze blowing salty air.

After visiting a while over a delicious lunch, my brother and I took a walk down to the water and around and about.

this is where seagulls belong, not in parking lots, poor things

what's holding up that cloud?

 what Van Gogh could have done with this scene!

I have a thing about long grasses near a water's edge - don't know where it comes from

* don't forget the giveaway

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a giveaway

I had my 600th post the other day, and have been wanting to have a giveaway.

I think this funky baby blanket is a good candidate for that. I didn't make it with any baby in mind, and there aren't any girl babies coming along among my acquaintances.  But maybe you know one.

Or maybe not. Maybe nobody will want it. That's okay.

I'll do a drawing on Saturday afternoon (EDT), if I have any takers.  Oh! and I'll send it anywhere, by the way.  :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

cats telling tales

     "Uncle Ebenezer said something once about Old Grandmother, to himself, in his cellar at midnight, when he knew he was the only human being in the house. Next Sunday afternoon Old Grandmother cast it up to him. She said Lucifer had told her. Lucifer was her cat. And Uncle Ebenezer suddenly remembered that his cat had been sitting on the edge of the potato bin when he said that."
                                - L.M. Montgomery,  Magic for Marigold

Thursday, September 20, 2012

making my own salad dressing

I'd made salad dressing a couple of times, but it always seemed like I was feeling pressured to whip some up at the last minute, right at dinner time, when I was often tired enough already. So, although I liked the idea, I felt like it was just one too many things to do. But every time I bought a bottle of the stuff, I thought of making my own.

I had another issue with it - I'd put the leftover in the fridge and it would solidify. By the time dinner was served, if I hadn't planned ahead in getting it to room temperature we'd be out of luck.

But I really wanted to have homemade dressing.

It was Leila's doing - it was something she'd said in this post    "Please don't tell me you buy salad dressing!"
That remark followed me around for a couple of months. Finally, as the last bottle got low, I came across another dressing recipe and tried it. It said to mix most ingredients except the oil, and then pour it in a stream, whisking all the while. Well!  It didn't separate! And, I discovered you can leave it out on the counter! It only takes a couple of minutes! I did try the put-it-all-in-a-jar and shake-it-up method, but it doesn't emulsify quite as well that way, so I'm sticking with the whisk.

I will probably buy dressing again - some fancy type perhaps, until I get the hang of different recipes. But it's funny, isn't it, how some things seem so much trouble for so long, and then suddenly they fit into your schedule and it's fine?

I'm happy.

Joining Leila and Deirdre for
round button chicken

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

peppermint stick baby blanket

I began knitting these squares last winter, and you can read about it here. I meandered through them, got them done, and then the heat of summer came and I didn't want to touch them. 

The whipstitching is supposed to be done with a contrasting color and that's what gives it the charm, in my view. But I was using yarn from my stash and didn't have any more chunky, or anything I could use for this. As I pondered the situation the idea kept coming to me about using strips of fabric instead, just cut fabric, unfinished edges.  So when we had a cool September day, I grabbed the pieces and set to work.

I took a picture to remember the layout

didn't bother to iron it - what for?

I am not one of those people who can imagine how a thing will look beforehand - I'm usually wrong about that. I was first going to use some cotton flannel in a pink design, but then this caught my eye (from stash). I thought the tighter weave would be better, considering it's all raw edges. Eyeballing it, I cut long strips along the selvage, and cut more as I needed them, zigzagging edges together on the machine. 

I used the thickest needle I had (probably given to me by Cyndi, who can do a little of everything), which accomodated the fabric just perfectly!  I think the strips were about a half inch or five eighths wide.

I whipstitched the squares together, and then went around the outer edge of the whole thing. I was rather hasty, and could have done it better. You can see here that the stitching looks bunched on this side.

Still, I liked that candy cane look! The fabric was really showing up well. 

Originally, I intended to block the squares before sewing, but so much time had gone by I simply forgot!  We had a cool day and I just eagerly got going on it. So, as I was going along, I could see the squares weren't exactly lining up. They are turned - every other one - the opposite way, and they're supposed to be perfectly square, but they aren't exactly, of course. Blocking would probably have fixed that.

Do you see what I mean? Some of them are off. But that seems to be my way - act first, think later. Overall, I still liked the effect.  I also saw that I'd been sewing too tightly, and the stitches were "bunched" on the right side, but hardly visible on the other. If I'd taken more care it wouldn't have been hard to do it evenly, but I was in a hurry!

When I finished, I decided to put it in the washer - to see how the raw edged fabric held up, and also thinking it might block it a little. And it did improve things!  It evened out that bunchiness somewhat.

I'm pleased with it overall.. And it seems that these days, the more homemade and uneven things are, the better, so I guess I'm living in the right era.  :D

I'm joining Ginny's yarnalong today - and I've started reading Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey. It's the story of Highclere Castle, where the series is being filmed. Not a strict history, or a biography of the place but more like a narrative - all true, though. It's interesting.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

a thought

"...we cannot produce or give any other fruit, but the fruit we have taken from the tree of life." [the cross]

                                  -  St. Catherine of Siena

Friday, September 14, 2012

Candace across the street

A shot of Dolly's mother in front of our neighbor's green garage door.  Joining Fiona for Green Day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

a sink in the basement

I can hardly contain myself.  No more having to carry the water from the dehumidifier upstairs to empty in the kitchen. Yes, I tried to look at it as exercise, but this is going to make a lot of things much, much easier. 

The basement isn't very pretty, but our new sink is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

I was cutting out fabric and Dolly came by to help. 

She spied the pencil and was batting at it.

But it was so comfy where she was.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

a few green beans

It's a big deal to me that I grew these. I've had a couple of tomatoes and some lettuce - not much else. 

We ascend by steps.  I'm a tortoise, not a hare.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Henry gets some new perspective

I heard Henry scrambling around in the hallway in his usual funny way, and then a meow. Well, he had scrambled himself up onto the back of the couch, and seemed very pleased with the view. As long as a wall is nearby, he's all right, but otherwise he's not so good with heights. He gets quite nervous up high and doesn't seem to have that in-built balance which cats are supposed to have.

Friday, September 7, 2012

a very green park

Emily and I went to a local park. My family had gone there many times when I was a child, but since then more acreage has been added, and more gardens.   A fu dog guards the place.

These steps led brought us near a beautiful Japanese style garden,

with a fountain and real water lilies.

There were gardens and water fowl everywhere we turned. In the wetlands garden we saw a pond so covered with algae, we weren't sure it was a body of water till we spied some ducks gliding along.

Another pond with more ducks had a picturesque white bridge across it

Suddenly they all started toward land - a young couple had some food for them.

There were statues - of unicorns and a lion, a sailboat and another fu dog.  

A fairy, and a pagoda with stained glass peacocks for windows.

There was an area with all sorts of poultry and other wild birds in cages

flowers, flowers everywhere,

and of course a kitty in somebody's window to see us on our way.

Joining Fiona today, on Green Day.