Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Shawls from Cusco

These are the shawls Felix brought us from Cusco. They're all alpaca, so soft and silky.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gardenia from My Mother's House

My mother finally left the hospital Monday, after the surgery that didn't go as well as it should (actually the surgery was fine and her spine is so much better, it was just the two weeks near death afterward that  really got to her . . . .)

Rather than coming straight here, she went to her own home for a few days so she could keep some nearby doctor's appointments without lots of driving. This morning I went down to her house to just keep her company, and fill her fridge with good, fresh things to eat. Avocados and salmon and watermelon and kale salad and chicken soup.

And her gardenias were in bloom, and one came home with me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summertime Green Tea

I am downing this by the pitcherful. I make up a new combination every morning and keep it chilled in the fridge, and drink it without ice.

Basically, it's decaff green tea (I use Salada brand), and anything else.

Green tea and peppermint tea.
Green tea and Red Zinger tea.
Green tea and black currant tea.
Green tea and Wild Berry Zinger.

I mix the green half and half with any of the teas in the cupboard I wouldn't ordinarily drink (I'm a Strong Black Tea with Milk girl), and wow that stuff is good.

I literally drink two quarts a day, and love that it keeps me from being thirsty without messing with my blood sugar.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Clara's Wool Laundry

Clara laundered her sweaters this morning, and they dried outside in about an hour. Guess it's warm enough to put them away for the season.

Such a nice collection of pinks and reds, and almost all from the thrift store!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Butterfly Bush Blooms in a Glass Pitcher

The sitting room is my new "office": I make all my phone calls from the low chair in the corner so I can lean forward on the coffee table to make notes. 

That's all made brighter by a pitcher of garden flowers, and these smell so subtly sweet.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Ruffled Housecoat for Daisy: Simplicity 4625

Oh my, with the ruffles and the kitten. The pattern size is too big for Daisy but we decided to go ahead with it, lounge about in it this summer, and enjoy for for a few years to come.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Boys, This Summer

It's a matter of common knowledge around here that Giles is a wheeler, dealer, mover, and shaker, so we were not surprised when he snagged two interns for himself. He's got Felix for the summer, and there at the non-profit Giles has worked for for two years now they are doing what they do--teaching kids, developing programs, and taking the sailboat out on the Hudson on the weekends.

Felix is working with second and third graders this month--while researching what it would take to convert the whole ministry to solar power (much more in his line!). He'll also be teaching older kids to sail in July, right after he learns himself. That's how Giles did it too.

Giles has also got his best friend from college, the always-welcome Alejandro (see him here at the beach) for an *entire year* of interning. Alejandro is  in the communications department, which is why he was willing and able to supply me with pictures to share.

Oh, those boys. I know this will be a summer to remember.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Dark Blue Linen Dress for Clara

Finding linen at the fabric store is such a treat; I *will* buy it. Got this dark teal linen this summer and as soon as we got home from taking Clara to college I sewed it up for her and mailed it. You can take my baby away but you can't stop me sewing for her! Or whatever.

It's vintage McCall's 3643 and it's awesome because the bodice and sleeves are two pieces total, and some binding.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Housewife's Ipad

A year ago I would never have thought I'd get an iPad, but for a number of reasons late last summer I just went out and bought one at Walmart. My children were stunned. They know how incapable I am.

And yet, it's proved to be a faithful friend, doing everything I need it to, and surpassing the Composer's expectation (World's Most Expensive Kitchen Timer--it's not the device he's dubious of, it's my skills).

Okay, I do love the kitchen timer. And the messages (I only text with immediate family, and this way I can send important pictures of Fitzwilliam to the boys). And the quick internet browsing.

In addition, I use and love these apps:

Due.  I use this system of reminders for weekly, monthly, or otherwise tasks. Fun to check off, easy to program. I've really been able to order my housework in a way that makes sense, and things don't fall throughthe cracks.

Bento. I've set up two ways to use this (possibilities are endless though). First, I catalogued all my patterns by photographing the front and back of each, and indexing them by size and category. Now I can take my iPad into the fabric store and know exactly how much fabric I need for anything at all.

I also set up categories for recipes. No more magazine pages for me--I just take a picture of the recipe and index it by category. So much less piled paper in the kitchen.

And I adore my Audio Bible. I use this every day and have combined my daily Scripture reading with handwork or knitting, to my great satisfaction.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Hollyhocks the Deer Forgot

Somehow this year, the deer forgot to eat my hollyhocks. I don't mind.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Keep Watch, Dear Lord"

 "Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all for your love's sake."
--Book of Common Prayer

Friday, June 14, 2013

Clara's Knitting: Ribbed Lace Sweater

Clara knit herself this Ribbed Lace Sweater from Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits. The pattern has short sleeves but she made it sleeveless after trying a sleeve and not liking where the seam sat on her shoulder (a problem we've had consistently with this book). She also added about five inches to the length of the waist. And got a perfect fit, as you can see. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bright and Tiny Bags in the Shop

A set of little matching zip bags in my etsy shop tonight. Perfect party favors, or treat yourself!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

She Reads in Yellow

Monday, June 10, 2013

Troubled Water Log Cabin Quilt

I pieced this quilt in the spring and left it with my mother for quilting. I was really on the fence about whether it worked or not--it has a very different palette of whites, cool pale blues, grays, and some bits of yellow. I was thinking about a windy lake, with whitecaps, when I chose my fabrics.

I used some blocks of vivid yellow in the border, cut from my precious half-yard of Owl and the Pussycat fabric from Purl Soho. There are tiny boats on them.

My mother backed it with a soft yellow and then went to work quilting it. Then she had a major (but for her, routine) back surgery while we were gone to Germany. For two days her recovery was normal, then her heart and lungs began to shut down. When we landed in the States the message on our phone was that she might not live. For a week she was on a ventilator. Saturday she came off the vent and now she is breathing on her own with just a little supplemental oxygen.

Tomorrow she will get out of surgical ICU, and I hope she'll be recuperating at my house in a week. 

I could never sell this quilt. I've named it Troubled Water, and it's a gift to my oldest sister who flew in from New York when things got bad, and spent the week, along with my stepfather, sitting with my mother in ICU. Terry, IOU.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Own Table

It's good to be around our own table again.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Regensburg, and Goodbye to Germany

We spent our last two days in Regensburg, an ancient and beautiful small city on the Danube. It's center is a two-spired cathedral, in beautiful pale stone.

The river looks deceptively calm here. By the time we left it was flooding its banks in a 130-year flood. The guys loved it, of course.

Lunch at the Historic Wurst Kitchen. There are no choices here, except for drinks (see the tart rhubarb spritzer above). You're going to have grilled bratwurst, and sauerkraut, and a basket of rye rolls. Period.

Shopping here was fascinating. So many tiny stores, where things are made on the premises. We loved the brushmaker's. A glance into the back room showed us a row of horses' tails hanging from the ceiling. Daisy begged for (and got) a scrub brush that will appear on her birthday. Bella bought a hogs'-bristle clothes brush.

Giles and Felix are considering going old school with the shaving.

Another yarn shop. Clara has promised Daisy a summer shrug and beret in cotton.

One of our last outings was to the Composer's mother's grave. Cemetaries in Germany are set up to make it easy to keep the graves beautiful. Flower shops at the front gate, tools you can borrow, vending machines that dispense candles.

We picked up some pruners and did a lot of trimming and cutting away, planting and watering. There are cisterns filled with rainwater, and watering cans to borrow.

And then we came home.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Hiking Down the Herzogstand, and a Day in Munich

Who can believe this lake? We took a cable car to the top of the Herzogstand, a great mountain to walk down. Our sunny day! We made the most of it.

We passed several of these marvelous setups--the alpine stream is diverted through a wooden pole into a hollow log trough, so hikers can get a drink.

Because they always do, the boys set to work "improving" the engineering,
while we ate chocolate.

Back at last and weary, sitting down to dinner. Have to say I was pretty proud of the meals I prepared every night in our little kitchen, serving VERY hungry people, some of whom are gluten-free, others dairy-free, and still others vegetarian, Rule of thumb? Sausages and vegetables and bread.

The Composer had laundry duty. We kept him busy.

Ah, the village geraniums. I especially loved this red windowbox because some days it hung inside the garage, decorating the inner space. Then it would be hung outside.

An empty beer garden. Chestnut trees again.

Rainy station, and we're off to Munich for the day.

Knitters and readers.

We made the most of our time by visiting the Bavarian Historical Museum while scavenging. Such beautiful church art!

So loved this statue of Jesus on a wheeled donkey--just pull Him right in for Palm Sunday.

Real dresses!

A chess set.

An awesome table setting with silver service for thirty.

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