Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Early Spring Fruit Salad

Too early for the beautiful fruits of summer, and the fall and winter citrus fruits are winding down, so I've been making bowlfuls of this. These are sturdy fruits that keep nicely in the fridge, so we can have it even late in the week--no rushing to fix it the day after marketing.

1 can unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained
2 small granny smith apples, chopped
1 grapefruit, peel cut away and flesh cut out of sections
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
a handful of red or green grapes if I have them

Toss with the juice of a lime, and 2 T. brown sugar or honey--a dressing that makes *any* fruit taste sublime.

And of course, you can add anything else you want to this big bowlful--kiwis, strawberries, pears. It will keep you going til farmer's market re-opens!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Big City with Bella

Bella and I rolled in on the train from our glamorous big city trip--Chicago as done in two days by those who love fabric, pastries, and other girly delights.

Having our own sleeper car was a great luxury, and we both enjoyed the hours of reading, chocolate-eating, and crocheting afforded by the quiet privacy,

My lovely, urbane friend Elyse was the world's best hostess. She has the good sense to live right in the thick of things, over a book shop, and across the street from an irresistable patisserie. So we didn't resist.

Sustained by whipped cream, we set off to see Chicago's most important offerings. Fabric. Big buildings. Museums.

American Girl dolls.

Bella came home with Felicity and it's been non-stop dolls here ever since.

Lovely times. She is this close to being grown up. But not yet!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bella and I Head for Chicago

" . . .We are going on a trip to a large city. We have planned the trip for a long time and shall travel well; that is to say, we shall travel in a Pullman car, eat in the dining car, and go to [Elyse's house].

We wear tailored clothes, so chosen that the same ensemble is suitable for travel, shopping, the hotel, and the matinee . . . . "

--Everyday Foods, Harris-Lacey

Back on Monday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Inherited Bedspread

My mother passed this heirloom on to me a few months ago. It was crocheted a long time ago by her aunt.

It spent some time folded over a chair, but it occurred to me today that it would look lovely spread on Giles' bed now that he's gone again. I'm hoping that spring will bring me some company for my guest room!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Goodies in the Shop

New things in my etsy shop tonight--from vintage aprons to stuffed frogs. Come see!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blue Quilt Landscape

Blue quilt finished today. I'd like to live in this blue world.

Like Felix. . . .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Altered Pink Sweater

Plain pink cotton sweater from the thrift store made much more fun by:

• cutting off the ribbed waistband, and so losing the unflattering blousing affect above the waist
• cutting the sleeves to 3/4 length--my favorite!--and stretching the raw edges as I zigzagged them to get a ripple finish
• cutting off the front button bands and tying the front corners at the waist.

All the cut edges were finished by a straight line of stitching 1/4 inch in from the raw edge, then a zigzag over the raw edge.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Snowdrops in Fading Light

(photo by Giles)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Daisy on Her New Quilt

. . . in her new pouffy dress from her grandmother.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Linen Scrap Quilt

This is the second finished quilt, based on linen blocks interspersed with rectangles of browns and reds. I wasn't thrilled with it until I put the binding on, but that somehow brought it up a notch, and Giles and put the stamp of approval on it by asking to taking it back to Savannah with him. Which he will do, since Felix is lobbying for the blue one.

Every scrap quilt should have a special piece, like the golden egg in an Easter egg hunt. Here I've included a block with a little hit of lapis lazuli. It's the prize in the Crackerjack box.

I didn't know how to bind this quilt. Muslin like the back? Too bright and pale. Plain linen? Too boring and not enough anyway. Solid dark color? Too emphatic. In the end I picked up my little pile of leftover brown and red pieces and stitched them together into a long strip. Just right.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Apricot Blossoms

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Scrap Quilt in Blue

This is my third scrap quilt this month and the most beautiful thing I've ever pieced, I think. The blue and green absolutely shimmer together.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lunch on a Sleety Spring Day

Tomato soup and homemade baguette.

Sleeting and cold, but not cheerless. Giles gets home from Savannah tonight!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bella Makes Foccaccia

Bella went and made foccaccia all by herself. I know it involved roasting a large amount of garlic, and gathering rosemary from the back yard, but I don't anything else about it, except that it was consumed to rave reviews. Good thing she doubled the recipe.

I will take credit for training her to use parchment paper whenever possible, to avoid washing the pan, *and* to provide a lovely visual foil to her lightly browned breads.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snowdrops and a Thrifted Blouse

Love the delicate details on this thrifted linen blouse--the pintucks, the puff of the sleeve, the ruffle at the cuff. And I like the details on the snowdrops--the scallops, and the charming green polka dots.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Felix and Dixon

A happy visit from cousin Dixon--some Felix there, yes? A great boy day with air-soft guns, sling shots made of duct tape, forays into the woods and pasture, and the season's first ticks.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Perfect Box for Cookies

Better than a plate or a plastic bag, because nothing slides around or gets crushed--send cookies home with your guests by tucking them into a wax-paper lined berry carton saved from the happy summer mornings at the blueberry farm.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Afternoon

Bella's scones, my tea . . .

Clara's flowers . . .

Daisy's china. . . .

Felix's sparkling conversation not pictured, but enjoyed.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Biggest Bouquet

Grocery shopping yesterday I walked past the florist's booth. She came running after me and took me behind the counter to show me the entire bucket full--six sleeves--of lilies that were technically expired. She offered me the lot for ninety-nine cents, bucket included.

I've never had so many lilies in one place in my life, and that's after I gave a bouquet to a friend in the parking lot. The moral of this story is, it never hurts to communicate your enthusiasm to those around you. So that someday a florist might say, "I think of stargazer lilies whenever I see you," and bless you accordingly!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Box of Cookies for Giles

Today I sent off the last box of cookies for Giles this term. He'll be home from college in a week for spring break, then back for one more ten-week term. He's worked a lot harder this term and produced some really beautiful black and white photos.

I've started using thrifted sewing patterns as packing materials for my weekly boxes. I look for ones on the ten cent table, preferring uncut patterns, and of course never destroying a pattern that is cute in any way. The big sheets of tissue are so pleasing with their soft buff color and their iconic graphics.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Frederick Three Weeks In

Understandably wary at first, Frederick daily grows bolder and more confident. See him savage the little twigs off the giant fig tree branch Felix installed in his room days *before* we knew we would get a parrot.

His feathers are such delicate and subtle shades of gray. Then oops! that lipstick red tail just to remind you that he's in fact *not* all about business.

He's brilliant, loves to talk, imitates all our voices. Gentle, loves to be tickled on the head by everyone including Daisy (supervised of course!), loves Duplos and playing cards, eats his veggies.

Looks silly when upside down.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Another Scrap Quilt: Someone Stop Me!

It must be the time of year--so closely associated in my mind with my grandmother, who died a year ago. She was the absolute reigning queen of quilting for decades. Anyway, I'm on to my second top, this one completely different in feel. Still made from scraps, still pieced randomly with the caveat that each scrap piece is followed by two neutral pieces.

The neutral fabric I'm using is all leftover linen from thrifted dresses bought to supply apron fabric. So satisfying to use up the extra bits! It doesn't all match, but it's close enough. For my scrap squares, I'm sticking to tones of brown and deep red, a color scheme that sorted itself into existence as I pulled fabric out to work with. And those "squares" aren't squares at all. They're 3 x 6 rectangles, and they orient vertically in the quilt top.

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