Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Turnips in My Winter Garden

Now I'm pinning my hopes on a *winter* garden, and so far so good. The turnip patch is a wonderland, even if the Swiss chard seeds never do sprout.

And on an unrelated note: I've put a dress in my etsy shop--and 100% of any etsy proceeds for the next two weeks will go to disaster relief in New Jersey.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hobo Style

Felix came home for the weekend wearing his thirties' style hat (from his most recent visit to NY), a tie, and carrying his banjo. Like the cutest hobo I've ever seen. Later he showed me how he had ripped both elbows out of his favorite gray cotton shirt, and would I please patch them?

Since no patch would match, he chose tiny brown houndstooth for a little extra hobo style.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Around the Fire

We lit the first fire of the season, and looked down to see that we weren't the only ones enjoying it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tiny Bit of Sumac

Friday, October 26, 2012

Daisy with a Rake

Most of the leaves are still on the tree, but it's never too early to at least *start* your leaf pile.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Persimmon Smock Blouse

This morning I tackled some dirty chores, outside and in. The biggest was to wrassle Frederick's entire birdcage out into the back yard, take it apart, and clean it top to bottom before winter sets in. Not a fun job, and not improved by the gnats swarming my face *or* the strong hints that the cats had established a latrine nearby.

However, we do what we must! And when I'd finished my work I consoled myself with a bundle of persimmon clippings.

For your heavy-duty housework days, may I suggest this persimmon apron blouse? It wraps around back, ties with long waist ties, and sports four pockets across the front for your microfibre cloth and chocolate caramels.

 Find it in my etsy shop!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Granny Square Groweth

I'm calling this one "Ornamental Cabbage." See those dark greens, cream, and purple?

It's all one big granny square, but every fourth row is done in half-double stitches, just to keep things a little firmer.

When you're in the mood to crochet a blanket, nothing else will do!

A Delicate Quilt from Vintage Fabrics

Here's a quilt made entirely from vintage tablecloths, just put in my etsy shop.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Collecting the Animals

Collecting all our animals was first on my list of things to do after we got up this morning. Frederick was one town over at sweet Leah's house, the goats had been living across the road, and the cats had been fed at the back porch by the part-time house-sitter.

I have to say that I could not match Daisy's enthusiasm for fetching the goats. Cleaning the water bucket, cutting the sumac for their pen, and then walking down for them and bringing them back on leashes--at least it wasn't sweltering.

Frederick was easy enough, being a caged bird and all (most of the time). We did celebrate his return home with a little floor freedom. The screen door is latched, but he and Summer Diamond are deep in conversation here.

Two of the cats were back in place last night when we arrived near midnight. But Fitzwilliam hasn't shown up yet and I'm starting to worry. Tomorrrow morning, maybe? I'm praying.

[Edited to add] FW is back, hallelujah!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rainy Last Day in Paris

Yes, it rained from morning til night, but we had our umbrellas. Off to the Luxembourg Gardens for the Saturday morning puppet show.

With a little stop to feed the mallards in the pond. 

The puppet theatre was charming, of course. Nothing has been done to it in decades, I'm sure, and it is ringed with a gallery of the puppets' portraits--slightly scary and off, of course, as those things are wont to be.

The best entertainment was watching the French children there.  Dressed in smoky dark colors, almost every one had swirly, messy hair and wide-spaced eyes.

Macarons for after lunch. From left to right we sampled rose, pistachio, bergamot, salted caramel, plum, and chocolate.

After lunch, a Metro trip to Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur. Ugh, the Metro on Saturday--we were packed like sardines. And frankly not that comfortable in Montmarte. Muttering crowds, aggressive street vendors, lots of police.

I was not well-informed and didn't know that Sacre-Coeur sat up on the hill like this! Daisy's been delighted by stairs this whole trip--loves to race us while we ride the escalator. even she was satisfied climbing up to the church.

 Lots of fabric shopping here, and Moline Mercerie looked like the place to beat! The prices aren't great but the wares are lovely.

Home for a last supper here of sausages, tiny green beans, and mashed potatoes (with our new potato masher!)--first course was another of those delicious canteloupes sliced and draped with slivers of leftover salami which I pretended was prosciutto. Dessert was one last walk to the sorbet shop--everyone chose Orchard Peach.

And now to pack for home! We're not as ready to return as we usually are at the end of a trip . . . .

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wandering the Latin Quarter, and a Night at the Opera

Breakfast out, with hot chocolate (so thick and syrupy! sweetened ourselves with long sugar packets!), fresh orange juice, and croissants.

 Gorgeous Bella in gorgeous Paris light. It certainly feels like we are in Northern Europe, it doesn't get light til after 8:00.

Heading down the apartment stairs for the day--we're on the fourth floor. There's an elevator that's the tiniest thing I've ever seen. It makes me gasp and try not to have claustrophobia and I only get it in with a big bag of groceries.

Several beautiful churches today. Are they a dime a dozen here? If so, I'll take twelve of them home.

Non-stop beauty of the baking kind. Didn't buy any of these but did find my way into a caramel shop (mother). They also sold nut brittle (mother).

Beside Egyptians, Daisy is entranced with the birds of Paris. Pigeons of course, but also the lesser-known mallards who inhabit every park pond. We have a date feeding these birds tomorrow. Daisy wanted to do it with a five dollar macaroon today. I thought not.

We'll also return to this spot, the Luxembourg Garden, for tomorrow's puppet show. Does it look like I only wear one dress? This is a different, *darker* gray one, made from Colette's Oolong pattern, out of viscose jersey. I love it.

The leaves are all turning such European autumn shades! Lots of complicated golds, no straightforward glowing sugar maples that I've seen. All a little world-weary.

These people aren't world-weary.

Ended the day with an outing to the opera. Not the fancy opera house, it was the more modern Opera Bastille. Our seats were so close we couldn't really read the subtitles above the stage, but then we realized they were only in French anyway. And Daisy needs a new glasses prescription, so even English wouldn't have been happening. Both the girls loved it; it was the best version of "Marriage of Figaro" that we've seen.

Well, duh.

We're not in Kansas anymore.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

At the Louvre

Getting to the Louvre before the doors opened was a smart move; we skipped along in front of all the crowds that arrived later.

Of course we were overwhelmed with beauty, and quantity. Truly, things were so well-presented, especially the marbles.

If only we could have kept going for hours more--we hit our limit after three hours of looking.

I hope there will be a next time.

We saw the most famous pieces, but the Composer professed disappointment at the Mona Lisa; it was too big. After reading for so many years that she's smaller than people expect, he was looking for a postage-stamp sized painting. No dice.

For some reason Daisy had a bee in her bonnet about the Egyptian antiquities and wanted to see them all (only she called them "antique-ies").

We saw some, not all.

We also had, for the first time ever, roast chestnuts. In a paper cone.

And then went home, and, having feasted at the Louvre restaurant, picked up groceries  for dinner. Some green-rinded French canteloupe that cut open to reveal a gloriously fragrant and firm interior, wonderful raspberries, nectarines, and yes, cheese that was smelly but tasted very, very good, even to the doubters.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Musee d'Orsay, and Dinner Out

This morning we headed out to the Musee d'Orsay, that Mecca of Impressionist painting housed in a glamorous repurposed train station.

Imagine my surprise when we entered the courtyard and realized who was waiting to greet us: favorite painting of lady and her *African gray parrot*, usually found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!!

Inside we bought tickets to the special exhibit, still not realizing exactly what was in store for us. Oh my, because it was an unbelievable display of Impressionist paintings that featured beautiful dresses, and rooms of the actual dresses themselves, and similar ones, on dress forms behind glass. And fascinating information about day dress, morning dress, afternoon dress, evening dress, and more.

After lunch we did some delicious wandering around. Passed La Pistacherie, a shop devoted to pistachios as though they were jewels!

Many things in Paris are presented as jewels. And priced like them.

I met a friendly reader on a street corner. Hello, Miles from Nottingham! Thank you for stopping us!

Before it got dark we looked at Saint Eustache, a small and beautiful church.

And then *accidentally* ran into La Droguerie, which was a little bit like dying and going to heaven, for someone who likes beautiful bias binding. I could not resist buying two metres of a periwinkle polka dot fabric to make Daisy a dress with. Or four green velvet leaves for fabric corsages, or three tiny squares of Liberty fabric.

I did resist the yarn which is all hanging in hanks!

Daisy becomes more French every day (see her new purple coat). Bella is still waiting for an opportunity to spend all of her money. Soon, dear!

The Composer's father took us to dinner in a bustling neighborhood restaurant. Daisy was so excited to finally get to order escargot, and loved the little utensils that came to the table. I loved my whole trout, and Bella finished with a poached pear in salted caramel sauce.

Not a bad way to finish.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Le Bon Marche, and Notre Dame by Night

There's always time for a little yarnwork before we leave the apartment. I bought some beautiful wools before we left for France, and started a massive Granny Square that will be this year's new afghan.

Our sunny morning kitchen. Which we left as we headed out to spend the afternoon at Le Bon Marche, a classy department store that's been around for 160 years.

Lunch in the dining room--we unravelled the mystery of the "plat froid" and all had turkey club sandwiches with glass dishes of yogurt with red fruits to follow.

Then started roaming. Embroidery floss and yarn, Liberty of London fabric (which I did not buy, way too much money!) I did get one skein of mossy green merino to add to my afghan. Daisy approved the color choice. She is very into my crocheting at the moment (see later picture).

The kitchenware department was a delight! See the tiny copper pots, just right for Daisy's dolls! We chose a . . . potato masher! We've been needing a good sturdy one, as Bella remembered at just the right time.

Isn't this stunning? The whole store is such an aesthetic experience. Oh, and I finally got to smell Caron's "Nuit de Noel" perfume, which I've wanted to do for years--only by accident, as we got lost in the lingerie department and there it was, not with the other fragrances.

Then home to rest up, and time for Daisy to work on her crocheting chain. She's been so frustrated, but when I finally suggested that she make up her *own* way to hold the yarn, something clicked, and she started racing along.

Bella and I had fun in the kitchen. First I had to learn the French word for yeast (it's "levure", y'all), so we could buy ingredients for Bella's fantastic pizza with potatoes, leeks, Gruyere, and bacon. Except in Paris, apparently we use lardons instead of bacon. Even better! Already diced, you see.

Then a nighttime walk over the bridge to get ice cream cones, and admire Notre Dame's bright back side.

Sent the girls upstairs with grandparents, and the Composer and I went to another concert, sacred choral music in the Cathedral. No biggie.

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