Sunday, June 30, 2013

mercy with the Savior

There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.

There's a welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior,
There is healing in His blood.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

the value of pain in our lives

"Pain prunes the unessential emotions, ambitions, and illusions, teaching us the lessons we either consciously or unconsciously refuse to be taught by joy. Pain prunes the insignificant details that distract us from what is really important, sapping our days, energies, and spirits."

                                       -  Sarah Ban Breathnach,  Simple Abundance

Friday, June 28, 2013

Henry nonplussed

There's an oscillating fan on a table in the living room; the face of it is metal. The other day this is what I saw -

and there was Henry doing what he often does, looking up - (to his credit, he is often seen looking up!).

He saw something. Then he scrambled under the table

and back and forth, back and forth. Well, after a bit I figured it out - he was watching the light reflecting from the fan turning.

He couldn't figure it out, of course. So, he did what cats often do.

Took a nap.

Monday, June 24, 2013

midsummer's eve menu

from yesterday:

- lemon-ginger iced tea with honey
- easy and mild pickles
- braised chicken
- fresh salad greens with Tasha Tudor's French dressing
- stuffed eggs
- rye sandwiches with layers of pickle, cottage cheese and rose petals
- strawberry shortcakes

Sunday, June 23, 2013

the longest days of the year

I wait for these long-daylight hours all year. What is it about the morning of a hot day, when it's light out before five o'clock, and you know that if you could just be up and dressed that early you could do all sorts of things inside and out before it's too warm, and sleep in the afternoon - if you needed to? Every year, I long to do this. The silky-temperatured air, the birds singing, the cool wet grass calls to me every year at this time and I feel that there's something wrong with being in bed till seven or even six when it's practically broad daylight by then.

I'm not a morning person; I come more alive in the afternoon, and it's hard to make myself go to bed early - a person does need some sleep! (especially persons in their fifties) But every year at the summer solstice I think I should, at least once - get up with the sun. So, I usually do, but once is all I seem to be able to manage.

The weather has to cooperate, of course. It doesn't seem to work as well if it isn't hot - the idea being that if you can't caper about barefoot in the morning grass, there isn't much point to rising so early in a small house with some creaky floorboards, because you don't want to be disturbing anybody. But when it's warmer days, the whole outside just calls to me.

Yesterday, I got up at 4:30! It was going to be a pretty warm day - 85 - but in the morning it was a little too damp and cool to be going out; still, I was glad and found that I could do some sewing because my machine isn't very noisy. I later went to the farmers' market and grocery shopping with a friend, and she kept asking me "How are you holding up?" and I was always fine! That was a surprise; it never seemed to catch up with me.

I really hope to continue this when possible on my days off. It's magic.

Top of the Hill, by Frank Vincent Dumond

Saturday, June 22, 2013

glimpse of a porch

on this house ....

on this street

of many inviting houses

and a farmers' market down the middle.

Friday, June 21, 2013

seeds finally in

I've had a raised bed ready for seeds but so much rain has held me up. Now we're in for a hot spell, so today after work, with all my supplies in a basket, I grabbed Dolly and headed outside.


For some reason I thought I had more space than I did, so not everything went in.  I know it's late, but I'm looking forward, not back. We'll see what arises.

Then I came in and made a nice vegetable omelet, and felt like a real farmgirl.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

eight new patterns

I've been finding very few tops or blouses I like. Often it's the fabric - the jerseys used are thin and cheap feeling even in the higher end places, which must be due to the upsurge in cotton prices. Another thing is the spandex in everything - I've told myself over and over that I'll get used to it, but when it comes in the mail, and I take it out of the package I can't stand that rubbery feeling. Back it goes.

So I bought eight patterns - all for tops - in a recent McCall's sale. I much prefer making skirts, of course, but one must progress.

Monday, June 17, 2013

safe up high

During a vigorous dinnertime thunderstorm, Dolly decided the best place was up. And then she stayed there.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

where is that nightingale?

Yesterday at work Trisha and I were talking about nightingales - this morning I was on youtube looking them up. The cats were on my bed, Dolly buried underneath a quilt, sound asleep, of course.

I found a nightingale, nice and loud. Poor Dolly appeared, wide-eyed and disoriented. 

But nowhere could she find that bird. Poor Dolly!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

in full bloom

The red rose bush has been there so long that even when I forget to fertilize it

it still amazes.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

French hen luncheon plates

Our dinnerware is pretty old, but we aren't tired of it. It came from the grocery store many years ago; it's very New England-y and suits us. Auntie Adeline also had a set, but my cousins convinced her to get something more up to date, so we took hers too.

The problem is, none of it is microwaveable and I find the microwave is most handy for heating up leftovers; otherwise, the food gets mushy and then there are the pots and pans to wash.  I know a man who puts his old dishes in there, but I feel uncomfortable doing it - I want to know that my dishes are made for that.

We have some cheap ones from the supermarket, but for a dollar each I shouldn't be surprised the glaze is wearing off - I've thrown out most of them, although the bowls should keep. But every now and then I look online at dishes to get ideas.

Last week at Sur la Table I saw these French Hen luncheon plates on sale. I could not resist them! The didn't come in dinner size, but I liked these so much I grabbed five.

They came today. They look very well in this kitchen.

Monday, June 10, 2013

jumper almost done

I tried it on today, and it fits! It looked a bit plain so after this photo was taken I stitched some light pink rick rack around in lieu of a belt. I'm going to eschew buttons on the bodice for now - it stays in place fine without them. So, a hem and I'm done!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"the flash"

"sometimes, was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond... 

This moment came rarely - ...but the wonder of it stayed with her for days... It had come with a high, wild note of wind in the night, with a shadow wave over a ripe field, with a greybird lighting on her window-sill in a storm, with the singing of 'Holy, holy, holy' in church, with the glimpse of a kitchen fire when she had come home on a dark autumn night, with the spirit-like blue of ice palms on a twilit pane, with a felicitous new word when she was writing down a 'description' of something. And always when the flash came to her Emily felt that life was a wonderful, mysterious thing of persistent beauty."

                                                -  L.M. Montgomery,  Emily of New Moon

Saturday, June 8, 2013

prettiest sheet ever

In between all the usual Saturday chores, I still managed to get the binding on my jumper bodice.

The ends connect at the base of the armhole and I wasn't able to make it happen smoothly on either one. I'll worry about that later, like Scarlet O'Hara.

Dolly in my window, behind that ubiquitous fabric - I still have more of it. It's really one of the prettiest sheets I've ever seen. It's a Ralph Lauren, king sized, and I found it on ebay for sixteen dollars. I've made two sets of long, narrow curtains and a bodice. So far.

Friday, June 7, 2013

God's tenderness

Today we Catholics celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"We celebrate today God’s tenderness, God’s loving pursuit. We celebrate the reality that our God enfleshed in Jesus and his deeds and compassion will always, always be the God with a broken, open, wounded heart. And so the invitation is to honestly even joyfully take ownership of our lostness, my very real need for mercy, my desperate need to be found and sought out by Jesus. My sinfulness, my apartness from God can never estrange me from him, but instead, once I beg for his mercy, become a very great, greasy shoot which will lead me right into his broken Heart."

                                                               -  stolen from here

Thursday, June 6, 2013

bias binding on a jumper bodice

I've been working on a summery jumper, but do things ever go smoothly and quickly on to their conclusions?  Because I decided to flat line the whole thing, it has taken a little longer, and today I made bias binding because the store-bought one was too narrow and I'm sure I could have guessed that but put it on anyway and then had to rip it off. 


Well, that's okay. Why I balked at making the binding, I don't know. I've made binding before, and it isn't hard. And it's of the same stuff as the jumper skirt fabric, so should look very nice. The bodice is from my summer curtain fabric (a sheet, of which I have plenty left).

Let's hope it fits when the time comes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


My mother always loved her, and called her "Heidi", but I've kept her in the cupboard for some reason, until now. I was cleaning the living room yesterday and changing out the knick knacks for something different and more summery, and there she was. I put her on top of the secretary.

She's a Hedi Schoop design, and I thought to look it up online. Looks like this woman made lots of figurines, but I didn't see this one. You can put things in her baskets if you want.

Isn't she sweet?

Monday, June 3, 2013

quick pickles

I made this mild pickle recipe from Anna's blog. I did shake the jar every time I went into the fridge, which she didn't seem to do, but otherwise there was nothing to it.

They are surprisingly good and refreshing. Just right for this hot weather, and it couldn't have been simpler.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


It's been hot around here.

Lovely Lime Frosting

For the holiday the other day I made the ginger cake recipe from May's Country Living - oh, how good it was! It called for a bourbon frosting - I don't tend to keep that around but wanted to make the frosting that goes with the cake. I decided to substitute lime juice.  Ahhhhhhhhh!!! It could only have been a divine inspiration.

Lovely Lime Frosting

Thoroughly mix together one and a half sticks of butter with two ounces of cream cheese. Add two tablespoons of lime juice (which happened to be the juice of one lime) and combine. Then put in a pound of confectioners' sugar and a dash or two of nutmeg. Try to refrain from eating it by the spoonful.

(The original recipe is from chef Edward Lee, who also writes for Organic Gardening.)