Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Menu for Tomorrow

The goal: 
To feed twenty-three people and have plenty of leftovers.

The means: 

Three turkeys
A ham
Mashed potatoes
Dairy-free mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Sauteed green beans
Buttered rutabaga
Tian of potatoes, tomatoes, and beets
Butternut squash, radicchio, and kale gratin
Brussels sprouts roasted with chestnuts
Cornbread dressing
Gluten-free cornbread dressing
Wild rice dressing with dried fruit
Cranberry sauce
Green salad
Lots of pies
That ought to do it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm of Cooking

 Today was too early to start the massive preparations for our Thanksgiving meal (for twenty-five people). 

That will happen tomorrow. 

Today I puttered in the sewing room, bought Daisy some overalls at the thrift store, and visited the neighbors to get instructions on caring for their cat, dog, pigs, chickens, and goats. 

It felt kind of like the calm before the storm, but in a good way.

Oh, also all the girls are home!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lucy Inspects the New Curtains

This weekend I replaced Daisy's blinds with new curtains. The blinds were falling out of their brackets and due for improving. 

The new curtains are single lengths of white denim hemmed topped and bottom and clipped to curtain rings on a rod, and they are much softer and cozier, especially when accommodating a cat.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Daisy's Room Plants

She loves orchids and has bought herself several from the grocery store. She waters them on Mondays, and they share bookshelf space with her aloe vera.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Embroidery in All Shades of Gray

 Last year I found a printed embroidery kit at the thrift store. Lots of flowers and plants, and I believe it came with a mess of crewel yarn. 

I threw that out.

I knew I wanted to embroidery this whole great big piece in just shades of gray. So I bought every shade I could find at the craft store.

When I finished, I thought it still needed something, so I went in and embroidered random star shapes here and there above the plants and in between them. And then scattered it with clear seed beads.

Soon I will make it into a pillow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Magic for Daisy's Drawers

 On Wednesdays, we make sure that we are all caught up on putting our laundry away, and that the laundry room is empty, tidy, and cleaned.

Daisy tidies her dresser up in conjunction with this task each week. Today she decided to re-sort her dresser. I walked in halfway through, and suggested she try the method in Marie Kondo's book and get some of that life-changing magic going.

 Fold the garments neatly, and set them in the drawer *vertically*. Nothing is stacked, everything is equally visible when you pull out the drawer. Nothing to topple over, nothing to get lost at the bottom  to be left unloved.

It worked perfectly. All her hot-weather clothes are in one drawer, all her cold-weather clothes in the bottom drawer.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow on the Maple

How often does this happen? With horses in the background?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bold and Stripey Totes

Three bold and stripey (oh, that sounds like my cat!) tote bags in my etsy shop

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Pillow, with Bluebirds

I found someone's pretty awesome piece of crossstitch at the thrift store. I believe it was taped around cardboard and stuck in a cheap frame. Didn't take long to rip that apart.

Besides the sentiment, I love the fresh and happy colors.

I backed it with pieces of a vintage tablecloth, and stuck that coral zipper in there because that's what I had. 

To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth, but a good thrifty sewing project comes in a close second.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Bare Enough Table

This mostly bare tabletop is a huge victory. If you've ever painted your kitchen cabinets, you know what I'm talking about. All the contents of every drawer, half the contents of every cupboard--all of that was everywhere until this morning.

I spent the first two hours digging out from under and then sighed a big sigh of relief and began to enjoy my sequined fruits.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

. . . And While We Were in the Mood to Pan

It's a good thing the Composer knew how to pan the camera, because we found this monkey set-up on the couch yesterday.

That's the UK Country Living they're all reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Sugar Maple (and the House)

• click the photo to see better •

Saturday, November 08, 2014

A Cow from the Stash

My sewing room stash is truly magical. It's not that big--truly, it's not--but it always manages to have *just* the right thing at *just* the right time.

Today I was poking around a half-empty shelf and found just a little of this purple and gray plaid wool. It's a loose weave, and had a few moth holes, so I was going to throw it away, until I happened to wonder if I still had a needlepointed pillow front featuring . . . a Holstein. That looks just like Mabel. 

Yes, I did have a needlepointed version of Mabel in the stash. I put the two together with a little black piping (from the stash) and am looking forward to presenting Mabel's owner with this little token of my affection for her cow.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Country Store (Pretend)

The kitchen is currently torn apart as the cabinet doors and all the drawers have gone to the shop to be repainted. I thought I just painted them, but the math indicates otherwise--and so does all the chipping, streaking, and just plain worn-outness. It's kind of luxurious to have someone else laying on the Atrium White.

Meanwhile I'm cleaning, sanding, and (soon) painting the remaining frames. 
I hardly recognize the room, it's so visually busy with the white doors gone. I'm pretending it's a country store for the duration. It's not my kitchen at all! No worries!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Storybook Afternoon

Yes. More Shop.

Throw pillow, vintage books and magazines, handmade apron, jersey quilt.

Go here, if you're interested. 

Thank you so much to the readers who have purchased from me. 100% of my profits are given away. I'm currently giving to the orphanage where Bella is volunteering. They have just broken ground to expand and are building six new cottages to provide family-style homes to children who are in desperate need. Win!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I've only had this book for four days and there is an actual mountain of discards on my kitchen floor. Good stuff, too, not trash. But things I've realized I'd rather live without.

Marie Kondo's approach to tidying is the symmetrical opposite of what I've always practiced. Before, I would ask myself: "Can I get rid of this?"

Marie has you ask: "Does this give me joy?" The answer, a lot of times, is "Not really, no." Boy, does that make it easy to let go of things.

And when things are gone, suddenly it is so much easier to keep the house clean. To keep my mind on my task; to get to that thing I was putting off; to breathe. Life is changed indeed, for the better!

More Etsy Goodies

I'm still working on my backlog of Etsy goodies. New in the shop today? Vintage books and a baby quilt. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Lots of Goodies in Etsy

Just put lots of things in my etsy shop! Cute cotton dresses, useful retro-style totes, a skirt with Grandma Moses-style embroidery, and a little bit of glamor!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Birdie Hop Out, Crow Hop In

With Mabel and Corky moved on to their rightful home, we've got the space for . . .

two sweet horses.

Once again, they're not ours; we're just lending them pasture space and enjoying their animal presence. 

 Vandie is a quarter horse and Maisie is a Palomino. They're both getting old, and both very gentle (though Vandie does like to go, go, go in terms of distance). Unfortunately, on this our second day, they were a little too enthusiastic leaning over the pasture fence to eat the grass just out of reach.

When it gave way, they wandered over to the neighbors two doors down. However, this was nothing like the runaway cow incident and it was over in half an hour.

(All this traffic in large animals lately has shown off a side of the Composer I've never seen. He's always been more of a European city man, but this week has seen him rassling a calf and leading a horse around.)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Scarves to Shop For

Three table runners and a scarf in my etsy shop this morning.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Corduroy + Plaid for Daisy

The simplest of dress patterns, the softest of fine-wale corduroys, the best of fall play dresses.

I have no idea where this fabric came from; Daisy found it in the stash. Also I don't know where the pattern came from or who traced out the perfect size onto soft plastic pieces for me. But I accept with thanks.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Marigolds

Are these not the color of fall? I still have mounds in the garden.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Daisy on the Back Porch

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daisy's Pumpkin

Daisy decided this was a good year to carve a pumpkin. Our Saudi Arabian student named him Sultan. Apparently they don't get good pumpkins like this in Saudi Arabia.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Last Day with the Cows

The cows spent their last day here. After sunset Neal, who is a busy man, or I would have expected him to be here during that convenient time called "daylight", rattled up with a truck and trailer. It was almost too dark for me to admire his lasso skills, but he roped Corky around the middle on the second try.

That's when we all realized there wasn't much of a plan in place. With Mabel shut in the milking stall, but in a panic of mother-terror trying to tip it over, the Composer and I were asked to sit upon Corky in various specific ways while Neal backed the truck into the pasture. I won't lie: it was terrifying. I had visions of Mabel successfully upending the milk stall and coming to Corky's rescue, broken legs or not. Daisy stood outside the fence weeping with fear.


All's well that ends well. Neal dragged Corky into the trailer, set him upright, then backed the trailer up to the milk stall. When he opened it up, Mabel hustled into the trailer to see about Corky, and that was the end of the scary part.

After seven or eight tries, Neal got the truck and trailer up the slight incline of the pasture and onto the driveway. I'll be calling to check on everyone tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Alabama Chanin Rose Skirt: Gunmetal Gorgeousness

I started a beaded skirt in August and it was my trusty handwork companion through the fall. Now it's far enough along to be worn, though I do plan to continue embellishing it (probably until it's so heavy it won't stay on my hips!) because beading is fun.

It's the Alabama Chanin four-gore skirt cut to tea length. The top is finished with foldover elastic--I found a perfect color match on etsy. Too bad I had to buy ten yards--let me know if you need some, seriously.

I have decided that the four-gore skirt is not my favorite. The center seam down the front is awkward for me. Skirts from now on with be six-gore, with smooth center panels front and back and plenty of flare. Plenty of room for beads and embroidery!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Log Cabin Quilt: Grandmother's China

I pieced this in the summer, and it is the most delicate collection of pale values--I felt like I was working with flowered china. I quilted it using perle cotton in pink, with a few rows of blue and green for fun.

A friend bought it before it was even quilted, and today it went home to live with some beautiful girls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vaseful of Autumn

French blue and oak leaf hydrangeas. Two stems of each and the bouquet is done.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Silver Morning

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