Monday, December 31, 2012

A Log Cabin Quilt Retrospective

I wondered exactly how many log cabin quilts I'd made this year, and this is what I found: ten smaller quilts, and eight twin-size quilts. Not counting the ones I've pieced that are waiting on quilting--thanks, Mother!

A good year for quilts. 

I'm not done exploring this design, and before long I'll be showing you completed Japanese Maple, Blackberry Patch, Reflecting Pool, Frosty Morning, Lake with Whitecaps, and Saturday Morning at the Hardware Store.

Happy 2013!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

And She Finishes the Mittens

That was fast, Clara. Please crank a pair out for me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Clara's Knitting: Short Stripey Socks

Clara used her first sit-down-and-knit at home to finish these quickly--she had done the vast majority of the work at school. I love the crisp cream and navy stripes. 

On to mittens for her! As for me, I'm crocheting my granny square afghan into something the size of Eurasia.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snowbirds at the Window

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Five Scenes from Christmas

Felix put together a festive tie-vest-tie pin combo.

Pink and red flowers to brighten the sitting room.

Bella and lemons.


Clara and a new velvet cloche.

No hike for us today, we stayed in from the weather. Made a tenderloin, rolls, worked a puzzle, and watched Giles figure out how to work his Christmas gift--a vintage 80's keyboard from the Composer's studio. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

We Have Been Brought Near



Daisy's own nativity set-up

So much baking

So much music,

and cookies, 
and so much to think about.

"Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ . . . without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near . . . ."

Ephesians 2

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Ice" "Skating"

We went out for wintertime evening fun; the park had set up an ice skating rink!

Or not. Turns out it was plastic, not ice. I had no idea this was a Thing.

 It didn't work that well. But it was very cold out, which helped us pretend we weren't on giant flat interlocking Duplo blocks, which we were.

Actually, Daisy and Bella could get themselves going just fine. We larger people were troubled with inertia, so we got off the Ice and kept our hands warm.

And moseyed over to the petting zoo to visit the sheep and the llama, and admired the Winter Wonderland from afar (those aren't real snowflakes, either).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cherry Cake for the Win

Lemon zest, ground almonds, and plenty of cherries (plus that gorgeous frosting!) make this cherry cake a win for sure, from Jane Brocket's Vintage Cakes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bella Makes Fruit Pâte

I've been wanting to make these fruit pâtes myself ever since seeing the priced-like-gold examples in the Williams-Sonoma catalog--they're very straightforward, just fruit, sugar, and liquid pectin. Bella stole a march on me yesterday though and produced these gorgeous strawberry gelées. Next up, raspberry, from our freezer stash.

More information about making them is here (this is more information than we had--we'll be using this next time).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Early Early

Sunrise was especially fetching this morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Anna's Garden" Stencil

The upside of having my sewing machine gone was time to cut a new stencil for an Alabama Chanin project. This is (so appropriately!) Anna's Garden--you can download it from the website and print it out, but then you're going to have to do all that cutting . . . . so you'd better be motivated!

 I had this printed out and taped together a while ago, but then Fitzwilliam threw up on one of the corners, so I had to replace that part before I started. Oh, the sordid details outside the frame!

I'm working with pennant felt--it's a very thick acrylic felt that takes a lot of power to cut through, but then is long-lasting. My next $2000 purchase may well be a laser cutter. But that may be a while.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Frederick and the Hipster Sweater

Felix and his friends troll the thrift stores for large and ugly sweaters to study in. Lounge sweaters.
Felix brought this one home and then realized he had picked out the sweater equivalent of Frederick,

who was hip before you were even born.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Frosty Morning Log Cabin Quilt Top

Twin size, not quilted yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crepe Myrtle Trunks

My mother is just out of the hospital with her second hip replacement surgery, and recovering at our house. I'm sticking close to home for a few days, but still managed a walk this afternoon, just before dark.

I don't want to forget to look around and notice how beautiful everything is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Revisiting Nourish

The best hand and body soaps we've found are from Nourish, the soap store in Savannah, Georgia, that we first patronized because it was so beautiful and smelled so good. Turns out this is the only soap we've found so far that doesn't sting or aggravate irritated skin.

And boy, there are a lot of gorgeous choices! Not a punishment.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Dealing with a chronic skin irritation issue in the household, we've determined to get detergent out of the schoolhouse. It sounds so easy, doesn't it? Just substitute something in the laundry . . . .

I wish.

A lot of reading about the lingering presence of detergent suggests that simply switching products doesn't do the trick. So we've been doing the Superwash: it's four cycles in the washing machine, the first two with detergent-free soap, and the second two with plain water. Not my idea; it comes from the motivated folks at Solve Eczema who have been looking at this problem for years.

I'll just say up front that this is not a lot of fun. On a really focused day I can get four loads of laundry done. And it's not just the clothes. Towels, kitchen linens, rugs, curtains, slipcovers: when you start looking at the detergent in your life it's kind of scary.

And then go and read your shampoo, soap, and toothpaste labels. We've found alternative detergent-free products for most of our needs (the dish liquid and dishwashing powder come from an awesomely retro company in California that clearly hasn't done a label redesign in decades). I'll share a list of resources in the future, or visit the link above. In the meantime, I'm going to put another load in the washer.

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