Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Plans

*Thanksgiving Day Menu*

for 21


Two turkeys
Two hams 
Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Mashed potatoes--regular and dairy-free
Cornbread dressing
Wild rice dressing
Tian of beets, tomatoes, and potatoes
Roasted carrots and parsnips
Roast butternut squash with cranberries and feta cheese
Lemony green beans
Garlic greens
Butternut squash and kale gratin
Brussel sprouts and chestnuts
Cranberry sauce

Various pies


First we're having an informal two-family Turkey Trot at the running trail. We'll all start at the same time, and run different distances, and hopefully end all at the same time. Then have breakfast.

And we've already raked the leaves, mowed the last mowing of the year (so late!), cleaned out the chicken coop and goat stall, spread manure on the garden, tilled the garden, and bought hay.

Friday we'll be resting while it rains.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Towards the Barn, at Dusk

I went down to the barn with Daisy at dusk to hold the flashlight while she shut the chickens up and coated Sullivan the Rooster's comb with Vaseline--to protect it from frostbite.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Last Pitcher of Hydrangeas

The sweet part of the Venn diagram that catches the hydrangeas *and* the camellias.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Today It's Two Wool Tote Bags

It's a series of things done in twos! Yesterday I made two wool totes. I had two related-but-not-similar pieces of crewelwork from the thrift store (still in their hideous green plastic frames).

After unpicking the stitches that held the embroidery to the cardboard backing, I just trimmed the linen ovals and then joined them to the wool with bias binding.

Sister bags, I guess, for your trips to the library! Cotton velveteen handles, pansy-printed lining.

They'll go in etsy soon, or you can email me if you want them. $22 each, or $40 for the pair.

The proceeds from my last few weeks of sales are going to a young family here with four children--one birth, two adopted, and one foster. To pump up their Christmas a little :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Two Begonias

Yesterday two ovens--today two begonias. These live on the corner of my work table in the living room. I like having something alive next to the computer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Stoves!

My new stoves came today! I'd been needing them for a couple of months--my left oven was beyond repair and the right one was getting iffy. On the other hand, I had eight functioning burners--but that won't roast the Thanksgiving turkey.

 I'm very grateful to have full function once again, and just in time for the hungry hordes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Festive Library Bag

I think a library book bag should remind the carrier that it's a treat to go to the library. A whole building full of books! And you can take any of them home with you! For free!

Vintage crewel-work panel set in corduroy, lined with bright pink cotton, handle lined with velvet ribbon. In the Etsy shop soon.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Just Monday's Supper

Steamed broccoli, roast sweet potato pieces, a green salad served with pear slices and crumbled feta, and turkey burger patties (not shown).

I just passed the one-year mark of eating no grains and no sugar. I keep my carb intake low and my  fresh vegetable count very high. I've never felt better in my life.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Daisy Makes a Baby Gift

A church friend is having a baby boy very soon, so Daisy embroidered this darling truck on a piece of white muslin. I turned the edges under and zigzagged it to a onesie.

You can embroider right on the jersey, but it's definitely trickier.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Length of Silk, Dyed

I bought a length of ivory-colored silk printed with little teal leaves and little gold butterflies. Why did I? I know I can't wear ivory.

I decided to dye it--I had nothing to lose, because like I said, ivory. I used a box of forest green dye and got this gorgeous noncommittal gray-green. Love it! It will be a dress.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dinner at the Barn

Last night the Composer and I were making good on a gift certificate we gave his parents last Christmas--a dinner party.

We've done this before with great success--they invite the guests, we plan and execute the food and just generally act like caterers.  This year they decided to have it in an interesting space--the barn-like annex of a friend's office! I'd never seen anything like it before--just tacked on to the main building, the walls lined with art, and big tables in the middle. It's not very barn-like, but they call it a barn, so okay!

I had to prepare everything at home and bring it ready to serve, so I carefully planned a workable menu. I served three plates (and you'll see I went kind of Cajun):

1. Red beans and andouille sausage in a little Pyrex cup, with tiny cornbread muffins and two crawdads and a baby onion on each plate.

2. Crab and shrimp gumbo served over rice, with potato salad, cole slaw, and marinated green bean salad (fresh steamed, please, no canned!) on the side.

3. Homemade coffee ice cream with chocolate sauce and ginger 

For a travelling menu, it worked pretty well, and the guests enjoyed it. But I will never, no never, want to be a caterer in real life. Too much carrying.

Monday, November 09, 2015

During the Molt

Daisy's hens are molting. Let's call it a Chicken Crown.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Sister, for Your Enjoyment

For your enjoyment. 

We certainly enjoy her. She has inflated ideas of herself, and loves to spend most of the day pouncing after invisible things in the yard and now, emboldened, the pasture.

This is one of my favorite stretches of time. Everyone is settled into the school year routine, and I'm finding some extra hours to clear my spaces, prep my kitchen, and plan for wonderful holidays. I hope you get to do some of that too.

Friday, November 06, 2015

The One Where I Crash Through Technological Barriers and Create an Etsy Sale

I think I just managed to create my first ever sale at my etsy shop! It's time to clear out the closet where I store these goodies. I'm in that kind of mood, you know? I've also scrubbed the bird cage and cleaned the refrigerator. 

30% off everything (except the wrap cardigans). If you've had your eye on an item, now is the time!

Don't forget, all my proceeds go directly to charity (full disclosure: I reimburse myself the cost of shipping).

See ya!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Report from the Backyard

It *looks* quiet in the back yard, but the roofers are making a racket, the neighbors are bush hogging,  and the utility company is laying out new lines within earshot. Yowsa.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Easy, Any-Night Chicken Curry

I'm sure I'm not the only out there needed to make family meals that are dairy-free, gluten-free, red-meat free, and low carb. Here is one that we have almost every week.

*Easy, Any-Night Chicken Curry*

Cut any number of skinless boneless chicken breasts into bite-size chunks.

Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a skillet, then add the chicken in and start to saute.
Add about 2 T. curry powder, some salt and pepper, and a crushed garlic clove.

When the chicken is partially browned, but not cooked through (just a few minutes), add a can of full-fat coconut milk, then about a tablespoon of curry paste. I generally have green on hand, but there are also yellow and red pastes. Start with less, then add more as you learn how hot your paste is.

Bring to a simmer, and add your vegetables. These can be almost anything--diced eggplant, thinly sliced sweet potato, zucchini slices, carrot slices, green onions, cauliflower florets, green beans, diced white potato. The harder the vegetable, the thinner you'll want to slice it, so that you don't over do the chicken while it cooks. So slice the potato thin, the zucchini thicker, etc.

Partly cover and simmer for about ten minutes, until the chicken and veggies are cooked through, and the coconut milk is slightly reduced and thickened.

Serve in soup bowls as is, or with shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, lime slices, or tamari sauce. A year ago I would have added a scoop of rice, but I don't miss it anymore. You can do as you wish :)

Monday, November 02, 2015

Archery Lesson

Felix was home for a day and a half, and brought his bow and arrows. Clara's hooked, and is borrowing them for the next month while he travels. 

No one shot the chickens.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Selling: So Many Patterns

I just put SO MANY sewing patterns in my etsy shop, including the bowling dress, a hooverette, and bungalow aprons. They're all in big lots, so please look around!

I have some modern patterns to sell too, but they can't go in etsy, so I'm offering them here. 

Lot # 1
Ninety-three sewing patterns for women, all modern, if you don't count the reproduction reprints. Includes two Amy Butlers--Barcelona skirt and Lotus tunic. This photo is just the tip of the ice berg. 93 patterns, many unused. Can't vouch that every single piece is in every pattern though. $50 including shipping.

Lot # 2
Seven Colette patterns--Macaron, Ceylon, Lady Grey, Cinnamon, Beignet, Peony, Sencha.
Some have been used, some have pencilled notes, all are complete. $40 including shipping.

Email me through my profile if you want to buy, and it will be first come first served. Please leave me the email you use for paypal, also.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Alchemy, The Jersey & Velvet Edition

Months ago I pieced this quilt from jersey scraps cut into strips. I wasn't that fond of it, but I passed it on to my mother to quilt. She just gave it back to me . . . 

 . . . having worked some kind of alchemy on it. Jersey--quilted--looks and feels like velvet. It's crazy! This is the softest thing ever. I've pieced jersey quilt tops before and left them unquilted, no back or batting, and it's not the same. This has the whole batting and muslin back treatment, and it is SO VELVETY.

Much as I love it, I do plan to sell it (too many quilts, and more coming down the pike!). It'll be in the shop this weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Hydrangeas

This may be the last bouquet of hydrangeas for the year. Rusty red and deep blue.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Log Cabin Quilt Top: Cabin in the Clouds

Clara and I pieced this long-imagined log cabin quilt top on Saturday--pale blue center squares set in pale neutrals set in all kinds of white. Cabin in the Clouds!

Fifty-six squares, set off by strips (don't ask me why, it took forever). Soon to be backed by pale blue sateen and hand-quilted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reliable Soup

I make this soup about once a week, relying on its deliciousness, ease, large yield, clean ingredients, and the fact that I can keep all the ingredients on hand--something that's hard to do when you eat mostly poultry and fish and fresh vegetables.

*Reliable Soup*

In a large stockpot drizzle a good amount of olive oil.
Heat it up, then add 1 package frozen mirepoix mix.
Saute for a few minutes, then squeeze in a fresh garlic clove.
Add a package of ground turkey, and continue to sauté and stir until the meat is cooked through.

Add a box of good chicken broth, or (preferably) some homemade broth from your stash.
Stir in some kind of tomato--I prefer my homemade and frozen stewed tomatoes, but a can of stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes of any kind will also work.

Bring to a boil, and season with salt and pepper.
Now you'll start adding vegetables, keeping the soup covered and simmering gently. All of this can be done ahead of time and the soup can sit (a good thing), but I'm giving the amount of time the veggies need to cook in the pot.

Add a bag of chopped frozen okra at least an hour before serving time.
Thirty minutes before you want to eat, add a bag of frozen green beans.
Twenty minutes til, add a small thinly sliced cabbage.
Ten minutes til, add a few sliced zucchini (optional but good).

Maybe it's just us and our super clean palates :) but we all really love this soup. For those who eat dairy, a cheese plate is a nice accompaniment. Otherwise, you're successfully dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, low-carb, and red-meat free. Whew.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Saving the Pocket

A raspberry wool ladies' blazer was perfect for turning into a tote--the functioning pocket was an easy save and creates a perfect spot for a phone.

The blazer was big enough for a second tote which I gave to Daisy. There I used a buttonhole to create the opening for a pencil slot--I just stitched it to the lining to create a pencil-shaped pocket.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Small Pile of Granny Squares

It's been a while since I did any crocheting, but last week I bought some yarn and I've started making a pile of these granny squares. They're a sort of sunburst pattern that I found a picture of and had Clara reverse-engineer. It's amazing to me how her mind can just take a pattern apart and then spit out clear instructions. 

It's a really dense square, with puff stitches in the inner rings. Too dense to be a blanket, so I'm either working on a throw cushion cover or a tote bag--not sure yet.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dolly in the Stall

She's not the same donkey she was in the spring when we got her. When she hears the front door of the house open, she gives out her well-meaning but appalling bray. She's just excited that she may have friends coming down to see her. 

When I show up at the gate she hustles into the barn so she can stick her head out over the fence (like this) and we can hang out together.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Farm to Table

We took a couple of golden hours off in the middle of the day and drove up to a farm-to-table restaurant. Besides the chicken and salad, the plate offered fried okra--better than home! Fried in grapeseed oil, with the faintest dusting of cornmeal: I'm trying it myself as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

After the Weekend

Wow! That was a weekend and a half. The retreat went wonderfully, and I came home Sunday at lunch to a house full of delightful people--the usual suspects, plus Felix and a guest, plus a couple of musicians I won't name but who were the source of great excitement and pinching myself (are they really here?!?!) And the concert that night: magical.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sister, Really Not Helping

She is death to patterns. 


I'll be back on Monday or so. Between now and then I have to do my regular work, run a two-night retreat an hour away, prep for house guests I've never met, get over having crushed my index finger in the car door, get the house ready for a large musical event, and mix up homemade ice cream for fifty people. Later!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

That Birthday Dinner

Most years we prepare a birthday feast for the Composer's dad. This year I cooked straight through the recipes for Nigella Lawson's Georgian Feast* (in the aptly named cookbook Feast).

The foods were unusual but still accessible and we all loved the menu--from the melon with hot pepper relish to the mountain of stuffed cheese bread, the stuffed chickens, the pungent beet puree, and the green beans in herbed yogurt.

Not being a chocolate man, Grandpa appreciated the walnut cookies, grapes, and homemade vanilla ice cream at the end, too.

Then we all played cards, and Daisy won!

*That's the Georgia that's in Europe, not the one with peach cobbler. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Saturday Morning Book Cull

Clara and I attacked the upstairs Saturday morning (company's coming). Stacks and stacks of books on the floor meant we had to winnow. That's so hard for Daisy, but she did let us take out this pile--it's back to the thrift store for them, as part of our "thrift-store rental" program. Buy for a quarter, keep for a year, then redonate.

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