Friday, May 22, 2015

Making Progress

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A New Home for the Telephone

This short length of wall in the kitchen used to have a little table to hold the phone and the pens and message paper. This weekend I got a bee in my bonnet about streamlining this little space, so the table is out, and a shelf is in. We hung it quite high--I wanted the feeling of a very old-fashioned telephone counter. 

 I realize that having a telephone counter at all is old-fashioned, but I won't give up my land line--I've had this phone number since I was four years old, if not before.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

After Dinner, in the Garden

Daisy's got her animal business to tend to.

The grasses have some growing to do.

Clara does some weeding. (And Bella flies home from visiting a friend in Chicago).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Your Custom-Made Wrap Cardigan!

Here is something new! I'm taking orders in my etsy shop for custom-made wrap cardigans. You can read all about them if you want to order one, but I will tell you here that you can choose any one of the delicious colors of jersey offered at Alabama Chanin. I'll order the jersey and stitch it up.

You'll wear it. At least five days a week, if you're like me.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jasper Gets Used to the Halter

We bought Jasper's pink halter and lead rope when we still thought he was a girl. He's very amenable to being trained, and loves the hugs and kisses he gets afterwards. Corky watches everything from a discreet distance.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Crawfish Stencil

Felix designed me an awesome crawfish stencil. I've made a few journal covers with it, and next it will go n a shirt. The whiskers make it happen.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Navy Bean and Tomato Soup

I remember my mother making us a navy bean soup and encouraging us to try it with ketchup--who knew this was a thing in the South? I made this recipe yesterday and realized that it was a gussied-up version of that same thing.

I made mine without red meat, so it is dairy-gluten-and-red-meat-free. Also inexpensive, nutritious, and generous in its quantities

*Navy Bean and Tomato Soup* 

Soak 1 lb. navy beans overnight.
The next day, drain them and put them in a large pot.

 Stir in: 
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 packages frozen Cajun-style mirepoix mix (or 2 onions, 2 bell peppers, 2 c. celery, all chopped)
4 minced cloves of garlic
2 t. dried thyme
several smoked turkey wings (however many are in the package), and
salt and pepper (generously)

Add water to cover by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 1/2 hours or until beans are tender, or use a pressure cooker and cook for about half an hour. You want the beans tender but not falling apart. You can take out the turkey wings and shred the meat into the soup, or don't bother--just work around.

I served this with some pitas split and drizzled with olive oil and toasted, because I needed to use them up. And a salad with a mild creamy cheese on the side.

Recipe, with some modifications, comes from Marion Cunningham's The Supper Book .

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Life Full of Animals

Kitten attacks Bella's foot first thing in the morning.

Also, Daisy realized yesterday that Dolly's baby is actually a boy.

We suspect that Dixie Trixx is pregnant. She visited the neighbors without permission on Superbowl Sunday. Check back at the end of June.

Finally, Daisy's piano teacher is going to give the kitten a home. In a little while.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

All the Honors

Clara has graduated from college with All The Honors. We are so incredibly proud of her. Every one of her professors I spoke to said fantastic things about her intellect and ability. Some of them pointed at their own foreheads. I interpret this positively.

Baccalaureate and commencement were both wonderful services.

 It all just felt so . . . right. She is the third generation in our family to graduate from this college.

It was a cool, drizzly weekend, so we alternated being out and about for graduation activities with warming up indoors/packing up her apartment. We even had a cozy meal or two around her table, using many improvised implements and pieces of silverware, since most things were packed.

We loved seeing her friends one last time and going out to dinner together.

Here she is, nineteen years old and graduated with two majors! She's back home for a little while with many possibilities. I'm looking forward to watching the next months unfold for her.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Brief Grey Hello

Just popping in to say, in Frederick's words, "Hello!" We're just back from Clara's graduation from college. Her graduation from college! Life will return to normal tomorrow.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Softest Donkey in the World

Well, that went well. Dolly delivered a flawless silver baby girl* in the night. When we woke up on Wednesday, there she was in the green grass. She smells like sunshine and hay and her fluff is four inches deep.

Her legs are too long and her head is too big--she's perfect.

Way to go, Dolly!

*Oops, no she didn't. Turns out this is a baby boy! My bad.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Felix in a Bow Tie

I *think* Felix just finished his first year of grad school, and I *know* his housemate is getting married on Saturday--because I had to make a bow tie for the wedding.

I used this easy tutorial and the whole thing took just half an hour. Not including tying the thing: not my job. Felix picked out a nice green shirt from the thrift store, and I just used the sleeves. Expect green projects later with the rest.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Another Jersey Doily

Last week I sat through a day and a half of professional development--otherwise known as 9.5 hours of handwork. I took plenty of jersey projects with me. 

One of the most satisfactory was this jersey "doily". A riff on the traditional crocheted kind, it's just a double-layer circle with a bunch of little appendages sewn on by running stitch. Then you get the fun of embroidering.

Since I usually use mine underneath a vase or flowerpot, I skipped doing anything in the middle of the doily. Also, I wanted more of a statement on my "petals," so I went with big black eyelet stitches. It went fast, it went fun.

Monday, May 04, 2015

An Endless Green Table Runner

I had two vintage tablecloths that were wrong shapes for my table, so I cut them into large squares and pieced a long runner. It's very green, and very long (nine feet). It will definitely go over a white-draped table outside during a summer party or two.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

We Are Not Keeping This Kitten

She was forced on the neighbors, who don't want her.

We are only helping out until new arrangements can be made.

Do you hear me, girls?

Friday, May 01, 2015

Alabama Chanin: A Navy and Bronze Magdalena Dress for Bella

I caught Bella in her newest jersey dress. This is the Alabama Chanin six-gore favorite, tweaked for Bella's preferred fit (custom bust and waist measures, and she likes knee-length, which is perfect with her small stature).

I used the Magdalena stencil on navy jersey, on the center panel only. Used embroidery floss to stitch around all the shapes, then cut out the larger petals to reveal the bronze-colored jersey fabric I had placed underneath (which came from a thrift-store tee shirt).

Last I added some strategically-placed seed beads. I also made a matching short-sleeved bolero, but this day was cold so she wore a sweater over the dress instead.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Composer Comes Home from New York

The Composer just got back from visiting Giles, and unlike me, he took a camera.

Also, it was warm enough to take the sailboat out, so he went on his first sail with Giles and a friend.

I was lucky enough to do this a few years ago. Such a wonderful experience--I'd love to do it again. I need to stop visiting on Palm Sunday weekend, which is always too cold.

At the other end of the cultural spectrum, Dolly the Donkey got her hooves trimmed today by a therapeutic farrier and his four students. Somehow it was so moving to watch these strong men work at a skill that so few have, that's been practiced for hundreds of years, and hasn't died out yet.

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