Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodies in the Shop

My favorite apron ever, a ladies' dress from a vintage pattern, and more!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Candy Day

Clara had cash from a recent cello gig burning a hole in her crocheted purse, so it was off to the candy store to treat her brothers and sisters.

Fudge for the biggest people . . .

And little candy buttons for the smallest person . . .

who had a hard time deciding what to choose first

and what to eat last.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the Road Home

We travelled home through North Carolina so we could attend a funeral--I was so grateful to my children for not saying even a word about giving up a day and a half at the beach to tend to a grievous necessity.

God was gracious to us, though, and attended our way with delights as He *always* does.

We spent the night in Asheville at the Sweet Biscuit Inn, owned by my stylish cousins Angela and Robert. They are the only ones in the family to have gone Danish modern.

They do it well in this magnificent house. We loved the morning light flooding the main staircase.

I found Clara on the porch, waiting for breakfast to be served.

It was worth the wait! And of course, it is very good to be home.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Felix on Vacation

Something good to read on the porch . . .

Ice cream in the middle of the day . . .

And at last, a glimpse of a reddish egret.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Outdoor Shower

Life at the beach revolving around water . . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beach Day

Walking to the market for cold drinks for lunch.

An afternoon in the waves.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Daisy Thinks About the Sea

Monday, July 21, 2008

Egg Salad Sandwiches

A picnic in the hot shade, on the way to the beach. Hello, Gulf!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"The Visual Embodiment of Femininity"

"I believe in long at-home clothes--pants, dresses, or skirts. They create a mood of comfort, enjoyment, and companionship which reflects on everyone--especially your own family . . . Long dresses, because of their traditional role in history and literature, are the visual embodiment of femininity, which is why I've always been partial to them . . . .

--Anne Fogarty, Wife-Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

Friday, July 18, 2008

Daisy Had a Birthday

We set up the table for tea and presents . . .

. . . presents that held many, many princess toys.

Then Daisy blew out her candles. That's when she turned four.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grief is Exhausting

Grief is exhausting. It is the difficulty of existing in two worlds at a time. The quotidian round of meals, children, conversations, driving the car; and at the same time one foot is in that river that never stops flowing past, that every now and then surges up and breaks over you. While you're walking down the driveway or when you're sitting on the porch watching the moon rise. When you look at your own son strong and well, and you imagine his heart stopping in a med-evac jet touching down in Johannesburg.

Two things at a time are real. In the midst of life we are in death.

Two things at a time are true: the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Half my mind is busy with packing the kids and the kitchen up for a trip to the cabin.

The other half is desperately grieving for dear friends who lost their 19-year old son this morning.

It seems very odd to be frosting a cake and gathering swim towels.

Wordless for now, except for this from Psalm 65:

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee,
To dwell in Thy courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house,
Thy holy temple.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peach Pie Morning

I hit Farmer's Market, then made four of them . . .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Prairie Girl Dresses

This Prairie Girl dress pattern from the Favorite Things pattern company caught my eye recently, and I gave it a try. It's very forties-based, with its little shoulder ruffle, its underbust gathers, and its knee-length skirt. But it looks very farmgirl made up in a fresh cotton print.

First I made it up straight out of the package, using a chocolate-brown polka dot, the ruffle trim at the shoulder, and filling in the neckline with a dicky made of cotton voile trimmed with vintage crocheted lace. The dress is cut with lots and lots of ease to slip over the head with no buttons or zippers (perfect for a beginning seamstress), and ties at the waist to take it in at the back.

Then I drafted much of the ease out of the pattern, shaping the back bodice and skirt with darts, adding a side zipper, and omitting the ties, and using the cap sleeves. I did this one in a cheery French blue with red floral sprigs. I didn't get the bodice shaped as closely as I wanted, and will probably try again with a shaped waist inset piece.

The dicky is a plain voile triangle that snaps out.

Naturlich, I bound the inside seams with red.

It's a nice pattern, and great for beginners. The directions aren't the best (never could figure out how they wanted the sleeveless armhole facing sewn, and just used common sense), but the dress itself is easy to construct and is easy to fit. You timid seamstresses, this is a good place to start!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Learning to Read

I am Teaching [Daisy] to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. When a girl is ready, she's ready, even if her fourth birthday isn't until Sunday. I love, love sitting and doing her little lesson with her each day because her hair smells so good.

I've had children learn to read as young as four and as old as seven. Every child has his own timetable.

New homeschooling moms, don't burn yourselves out! Trying to teach an unready child is like pushing cooked spaghetti up a hill. You will be much happier if you wait a little too long, rather than start a little too early.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Styling Italian Vacuum

Our old vacuum died an unexpected death last week.

The new vacuum is so cool, so stylish, that here you see Bella vacuuming gratuitously. Sure, the room needed it, but it wasn't her job today. She just wanted to drive the new Italian model.

It's an Emer Botticelli, and it's *celery green*!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Little Lunch Party

Yesterday I had a tiny lunch party for three friends. Although I had put *all* the preparation off until the last minute, meaning I was rushing in the door with the groceries (ooh, and a new orchid!) an hour before lunch, it all came together and when we sat down to eat, the beautiful peace that often comes with hospitality descended.

Bella and I threw this incredibly luscious cheesy pasta together as fast as we could, then sliced up a honeydew melon to dress with honey and lime, and made little saucers of tomato slices garnished with fresh sage.

Fortunately, dessert was easy since we had Clara's birthday cake in the fridge, so I was able to pull out slices of German chocolate cake (must serve deeply chilled!) and coffee at the end.

And best of all was the last bit of quiet conversation I had with Eve as she stayed to help with the dishes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Blanket for Baby Freddie

Baby Freddie has graced the world with her brand new presence, so we have made a gift. Actually, Daisy directed operations by first selecting a green gingham flannel blanket from her own personal stash, then choosing an embroidery transfer for the corner and picking out colorful floss.

When Daisy's back was turned I backed the blanket with a square of polka dot flannel, then bound it with some vintage pink satin blanket binding.

If Baby Freddie reads this, she won't be surprised, but I hope she will like the blankie anyway when it comes in the mail.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Raised Waffles

These are the best waffles in the world, though sadly I have not successfully made them dairy-free. Instead, I save them for Sunday mornings when Giles is spending the night with his best friend. They are exceedingly convenient for the before-church rush, since they are mixed up the night before. And they are good enough to get everyone out of bed On Time.

Marion Cunningham credits this recipe to an early Fanny Farmer cookbook.

*Raised Waffles*

In a large mixing bowl mix
1/2 c. water
and 1 T. yeast.

While the yeast is dissolving, melt
1 stick butter in
2 c. milk.
Let cool until comfortable to touch, so you don't kill the yeast.

When cool, add milk and butter mixture to yeast, along with:
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
2 c. whole wheat flour
and use a rotary beater to smooth the lumps out.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter overnight.

In the morning, mix in
2 eggs
and 1/4 t. baking soda.

These waffles have an almost sourdough-like tang, a delicious butteriness (hello), and are crisp and delicate. Really, really good with real maple syrup.

If you have to keep them warm for a few minutes before serving, slide waffles directly onto the oven rack with the oven turned on as low as possible. They'll stay crisp that way. Under no circumstances should you stack them or cover them on a platter!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Celebrating the Fourth

We've had such a festive weekend with the seemingly non-stop Fourth of July celebrations! On the actual day we went to a party we Always Go To--a potluck and cookout for a hundred old friends on the grounds of a beautiful working farm.

Our farmer host is famous for the hundreds of chicken quarters that he cooks on his enormous grill. The fields roll out down the hill in front of us, dotted with cattle, the pink sunset clouds roll in above us, and we eat and eat. Then we get out the ice cream. This year I brought homemade chocolate. Oh my.

As always, Clara did the cranking. We made ice cream again today (mint chocolate chip) for another party--this was one we hosted at home for our whole church. Potluck with swimming and fireworks. We got rained on, though, and moved the party indoors. And had to save most of the fireworks for Party Number Three.

Which will be tomorrow night. Here. But just fireworks. No ice cream.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Deconstructed Rugelach

It is pie season, what with all the peaches rolling around the kitchen and the bowls of blackberries everywhere. After I rolled out crusts for two pies I found I had enough pastry scraps to make one more bottom crust. I fit it into the bottom of a pie plate, then topped it with rugelach ingredients: raspberry jam, cinnamon and sugar, and chopped walnuts. Baked til it was lightly brown. Waste not!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Daisy's Updo

Daisy has taken to wearing her curls up lately and the effect is mighty fine.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"She Did Her Housework Early"

"It was hot and she did her housework early, then closed the windows and drew the shades as she had seen her mother do. When Joe came in from work, he remarked with satisfaction that their apartment was the coolest spot in town."

--Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy's Wedding

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