Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thrifted Wreath for Autumn

Loving this wreath I just picked up at the thrift store. Enough pine cones are still hanging on that the overall effect is optimistic.

Daisy sighs over it. "If only we could eat the nuts. It would be so fun."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Indian Summer, in Linen

Inspired by a quantity of thrift shop finds in yellow, I've been sewing up some Indian Summer projects. Cutting down dresses into blouses and skirts, embroidering, and making up aprons. Shop for them here!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

. . . for they shall be called the children of God.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Candy Cones

I picked up a copy of Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle from Amazon, for pennies. It has some beautiful things! I pretend that the stuffed pigs and angels aren't there, and admire the girl's cap (I did one in faded corduroy), the styling on the cake table, the stuffed apples, and the candy cones. I made some of the cones, as you can see. I have never before made something in September for Christmas. How on top of things is that? Of course, we don't really need any candy cones . . . . but they are sweet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Painting the Furniture

The massive oak cabinet known as The Green Thing, that dwells in the sitting room? White now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cutest Cotton Housedress: Vintage McCall 1603

So the Composer says my sleeves look like they're extruding index cards, but I don't care! I think I'm cute! These sleeves are crazy--the fronts and backs are separate pieces joined until they get to the cuffy thing. Non-functioning buttons.

But can we talk about the yoke? Because that gets five stars. I did it in plaid, but I love the embroidery transfers included in the pattern. And the piped collar!

The green fabric is a great-condition cotton percale bedsheet from the fifties!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pasta

A variation on roasted sausage and vegetable pasta, this time with ricotta. I made this up out of odds and ends in the fridge tonight and it is worth passing on!

Prepare 1-2 pans of vegetables for roasting--carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, etc.--by cutting them up and tossing them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a single layer at 400 for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and a half to a full container of ricotta cheese together, with a little minced parsley if you have it.

After the vegetables have roasted for 45 minutes, remove them from the oven and dollop your cheese mixture onto them in random blobs. Return to oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook up a pot of whole wheat penne or rigatoni. And if you need to use it up, you can crisp up 6-8 slices of bacon, then crumble.

To serve, plate the pasta, then scoop out a serving of vegetables with cheese. Top with crumbled bacon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bella Linen Totes in the Shop

I never come to the end of the things I want to sew. This week I was inspired by the scrap box where I throw the remnants of all my browns and purples. Who knew they'd look so good together? Three totes in the shop .

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Visit to the Fair

I would not want to miss the fair.

It is the most poignant celebration of the skills we used to depend on for our food and our clothes.

So few of us live that way any more, needing the pear tree in the back yard for the winter's fruit.

Keeping the hens comfortable so we can have eggs for eating and for a cake on Sunday.

I was so struck this year by the farmers who brought their animals to exhibit. Raising cows and pigs and chickens is hard, relentless work. I am so grateful to the men and women and children who choose to find significance in that job, and who strive to do it well and with dignity. I thank them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Everything That We Do Lovingly"

"And after all, romance is really in everything that we do lovingly, and intelligently. I find it in planning and cooking the best and most economical meals that I can, and in getting the mending done on time, and in keeping the house clean and beautiful."

--Louise Bennett Weaver, A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband (1917)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zinnias from Farmer's Market

I didn't have enough cash but the vendor insisted. I still owe him four dollars.

In Which Trudy Wins the Soap

Congratulations to Trudy who commented Sept. 15 at 11:57. Random number generator says that she wins the soap giveaway!

Trudy, contact me through my profile for the details. And thank you to everyone who put their name in--it's fun to see you all appear!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ruffled Bed Jacket: Vintage Simplicity 4756

I've never seen a bed jacket pattern cover I didn't like. These ladies know all about looking glamorous while lounging! Here I aimed more for cheer than for glamour (witness the bright bright plaid).

In love with ruffling right this minute! I used the ancient ruffling foot from an old box of Singer attachments (went right on my Brother) and set it to pleat. It is so much fun! I plan to put pleated ruffles on absolutely everything from here on.

This is in the shop for anyone who wants to be cozy. Yes, I'm thinking of you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Bright Bowl of Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is back at Farmer's Market after the heat of the summer. Red and yellow!

I used to saute it with some crushed garlic but have switched to the simplest, most delicious method of all. After washing and roughly chopping the stems and leaves together, put it in a skillet with half an inch of water and steam over medium heat (covered) until tender--about twelve minutes. Eat it plain or with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In Which Giles Commences Cooking

An apartment with a kitchen means that Giles can start cooking for himself: things that he can actually eat. Last year he subsisted on multiple sub sandwiches a day from the cafeteria. Dairy-free is hard to do.

The Composer took him to the supermarket before leaving him for the year, and with his list in hand, he did what may have been his first grocery shopping (not counting the odd item pick-up for me now and then).

Except for the burner catching on fire (someone else's old grease apparently), all went well. And he sent a picture of his nicely-plated dinner to prove it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Savannah Giveaway

Giles is settled back in at Savannah for his junior year. This time the Composer drove him out to school alone, and the van was stuffed pretty full even without the rest of us, since Giles is setting up in an apartment this semester. His roommates were already at the school when we were still here shopping for household items, so Giles was able to call them and find out what the kitchen already had. You'll never guess: a skillet, a snow cone machine, and a chocolate fountain.

So we piled the cart high with things more basic.

It's hard to say goodbye again but Savannah is the right place for Giles. The artistry and sensibility of the city, the professors who push him, the video shoots he works on with friends--they are good for him.

In honor of this artistically nourishing place, I have a wonderful gift for my readers. On our last trip to Savannah I fell in love with a soap and bath product store called Nourish. The girls bought me treats there--my favorite was the chocolate bar of soap that looked and smelled so much like the real thing that every night in the bath I would get to craving a bite of it . . .

Nourish has donated a giveaway to us! Leave a comment and on Friday at noon I'll randomly pick one. If yours is the winning comment, you'll get to choose three bars of soap from this beautiful outfit. Lovely! (Domestic addresses only please, on this one),

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Corn Fritters

Bella would make these every day if I let her, which I don't. Easily made dairy-free.

*Corn Fritters*

2 c. fresh or frozen corn
1/3 c. milk or rice milk
1 egg
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. flour
just until blended.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet, and drop large soupspoonfuls of batter in to fry over medium heat.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Many Goodies in the Shop

Little bags, flirty aprons, a skirt, some fabric, and more in the shop tonight!.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Bobble Scarf for Clara

Clara knitted herself this cozy scarf of chocolate-colored wool and mohair. But you know, it was a little bland. We checked the stash and what did we find? Two perfect lengths of sky blue bobbles.

Clearly meant to be. It took five minutes to hand-sew them on to the edges of the scarf.

Five minutes well-spent!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

This Is the Gray

Adoring these new walls. This gray is totally context dependent. It is dark in the corners of the room. It is pale on the broad expanse of the north wall.

It looks amazing with red, pink, orange, brown, hydrangea blue, plum. And sparkly crystal things. What does it not look good with?

We ended up with Gray Horse from Benjamin Moore.

Thank you Giles!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Perfect Shoes

They go with dresses, they're comfy, and they were 70% off! The style is Clark's Marilla and I seriously wore them all day running errands in the heat and they *didn't even feel like heels.* Love them!

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Festive Labor Day Brunch

Really it wasn't so much about Labor Day as it was the last time to sit down together with all five children at home, before Felix and Giles are back out the door.

And yes, I am a petty person, but I did feel the need to try out my new copper fondue pot from the thrift store. So, fudge sauce over a hot water bath! Fruit to dip in! Or you could pour it over your strawberry-filled crepe.

I filled my crepes with fresh blueberries and Lemon Cloud (whip 8 oz. cream cheese with the juice and zest of a lemon, half a cup of confectioner's sugar, and 1/2 t. of vanilla, til light and fluffy),

A plate of sticky gingerbread squares.

And last, Daisy's quotidian cup of cocoa. Because her big morning eyes filled so deeply with tears at the thought that she wasn't having her regular cocoa today. Quickly remedied.

Festive Brunch Menu:

Gingerbread squares
Crepes with Lemon Cloud
Hot fudge sauce
Giant platter of honeydew melon slices, strawberries, and blueberries
Lots of bacon and breakfast sausage
Hot tea
Orange-pineapple-seltzer punch

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Daisy and Iolanthe

Daisy might be the only kindergartner in town obsessed with Iolanthe, a comic operetta in which a band of fairies takes on the English aristocracy, providing much occasion for political satire.

Fairies, check. Very high singing, check. House of Lords lampooned, check. Gilbert and Sullivan so knew their way to a little girl's heart!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Out the Door with a Bird

We are off to the city this afternoon--the guys are running a fast 5k in the morning, I'm toting a giant roast chicken dinner to share with my mother this evening, we're taking Daisy to the little carnival in the big city park (so retro! so funland!), and Frederick is coming along to visit his grandmother! Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Books in the Shop

It is the time of year to cull, isn't it? My bookshelves have started to overflow and though I can barely stand to part with some of these beauties, I had to let something, somewhere, go. Have fun looking in my shop--hope you find something to spark you!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

For dessert tonight, these gooey bars. A layer of butter-pecan dough, a fat slather of melty chocolate filling, a drizzle of raspberry jam, a thick spread of cream cheese, then a topping of chocolate chips. Oh boy.

Published by Diane Davidson in Sweet Revenge. Displayed by Bella in a raspberry sweater.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New Light in the Sitting Room

Suddenly yesterday I looked at the sitting room with fresh eyes and was struck by how tired and shabby *everything* in there looked. I tossed some throw pillows into the trash. Ditched a couple of plants. Realized that the upholstery was literally hanging in shreds. Oy!

Last year I thought about painting the room pale green, but never did it. Yesterday Giles suggested gray and said he'd do it. At loose ends, with all his friends back in school already, he's an energetic force of nature. And he loves gray. He's kind of a city boy--or maybe he's Swedish.

I got out of the way this morning as the room emptied.

I walked through here a hundred times today admiring Giles' meticulous prepping. And rejoicing that I didn't have to do any of it!

Gray is a tricky one to choose. The light in here is so cool that a perfectly neutral gray reads as blue. So though I am *so* drawn to "Feather Gray" in honor of Frederick, I am going to have to steer towards the warmer "Moonshine."

The empty white room has its own echoey, shadowy beauty.

I gladly bow to the inevitability of Giles' aesthetic.

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