Monday, June 30, 2014

A New Enthusiasm

In the last week I've developed a fresh wind of enthusiasm for housekeeping. It's been a couple of years since I looked at my daily, weekly, and monthly housekeeping plans, and I've enjoyed revisiting those and redesigning my days, tailored for summertime.

And this being practically the first of the month,  I have the satisfaction of starting with a blank slate.

[Quilt is Black-Eyed Susan, shown with homegrown sunflowers.]

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dixie Trixx

Daisy *owns* her own goat now. Dixie Trixx. We have five other goats here that we care for but this one belongs to Daisy and can't be given away or sold.

There isn't such a thing, but she appears to be a Teacup Nigerian Pygmy goat. She's about half the size of a typical Nigerian Pygmy. Sweet and docile.

And starting a nice wardrobe of collars. Green striped with a tailored bowtie, for weekdays. Rhinestones for Sundays.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mabel: Episodes 1 Through 3, and a Preview of 4

Episode 1:  Mabel arrives in an agitated state, begins to settle down nicely in the role of expectant Jersey cow getting comfy in the pasture and learning to love the bucket of sweet feed. 

Episode 2: The Schoolhouse family goes on vacation, leaving Mabel to entertain herself, with only daily visits from Phyllis, her part-owner. On the last day of vacation, unknown to anyone, Mabel stages her break-out. In the rain.

The family arrives home at midnight. Anna goes to the pasture to check on Mabel at sunrise. The field is empty, the little gate is wide open. She spreads the alarm.

Felix skips church to track Mabel up the hill, where she has apparently laid down in some long grass. All the signs point to a westward getaway.

Later that day, Felix leaves for England. Meanwhile, Phyllis makes up "Have you seen this cow?" flyers and distributes them around the neighborhood. The handsome white-haired Swedish therapist across the road calls to say Mabel spent Saturday afternoon in his yard.

She has gone eastward.

Episode 3: For three weeks Mabel continues to roam the back fence-lines of the neighborhood. She doesn't come to the other cow pastures, preferring instead to walk up and down the mown strip known as the utility cut. She uses this route to evade her two owners: Neal, usually on a very slow horse, and Chuck, often on his mountain bike.

Comedy, swearing, and heartache ensue as Neal and Chuck go out through heavy brush and woods, spotting her almost every day and losing her as she runs away. Neal carries a lasso but never gets to use it.

Finally, one afternoon, Mabel shows up in a neighbor's driveway, allows herself to be lured into a fenced pasture by brave neighbor Susan, and Chuck has the privilege of slamming and locking the gate.

(Preview of Episode 4): Mabel is driven down the cattle chute into Neal's trailer and driven straight to the place where she will have her horns removed (having used them as weapons on many scary occasions) . . . . 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jugs of Sunflowers

Even if my garden all died in the night, it would still be the best one I've had in years. Baskets of green beans, bowls of blackberries, jugs of sunflowers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Log Cabin Quilt: Pink Tulips in Delftware

Pieced back in September, this quilt was finished just this week. My mother hand-quilted it for me, pausing for an elbow replacement, a double mastectomy, a reconstruction, and a few other bits of business.

Gee, what took you so long, Mom? :)

Since she is a genius colorist (and the quilter gets to choose the finishing fabrics), it's bound in a perfect teal print. And, it's backed with both the deep purple you see above,

and this exquisite vintage tablecloth that's hand-embroidered in fruit orchard colors.

And here and there you'll see another sliver of this or that added in,

because my mother has good ideas.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two Linen Blouses

Today I burned the candle at both ends--first the end that goes to  professional development (otherwise known as six hours of embroidering time) and the other end, that rakes dirty straw out of goat pens.

And, I'm putting two linen blouses in the shop. They were Clara's, but she definitely prefers a dress to a skirt and shirt. Shop here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Library in the Bathroom

I hate to tell on Felix, but when he left for the summer, he left his room in a real state. It's true that he had just fifteen hours between arriving home from the beach and leaving for the airport, and he's between apartments, but does that explain the stacks and stacks of books all over everything in his room?

In the meantime, I needed space for all those books, and decided to put them on a big shelf in the downstairs bathroom. No one bathes there this summer (there's no shower), so I figured they would be safe.

They make the room look so cozy! Now I *want* to take my bath in there, enjoying Sibley's guide to the birds of Peru, or the complete works of Isaac Asimov . . . or not.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Big Float with the Girls

The girls and I just got back from a camping and floating trip. Camping these days is very low-effort with these enthusiastic and skillful three. I sat back as they put up the tent.

Carol, always my partner in summer adventures, set up closer to the river. We're old hands at these things now and are good at making these jaunts easy, with food cooked ahead of time, lots of cut-up veggies, and plenty of homemade brownies.

The river was perfect and quiet, and we decided to try something new--a nine-mile float in inner tubes. Before this we've always stuck to canoes, but we bravely rented the tubes and put in, and sailed on down the river for nine and a half miles! That's a lot of time in the water, but everyone did great and we only had little bits of sunburn here and there.

Unlike most of our other camping adventures, it never rained on us. It didn't rain until we were in the car coming home, and then the skies opened and really dumped. But hey, that's progress!

And for the record, I am very grateful to live near such beauty.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Voice Lesson, Green Dress

Clara during her voice lesson, in the jersey dress I made last summer. It's a bigger size than she wears, but a matching thrift store tee shirt covers all.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blackberries in the Bistro

These were growing in my garden:

so we picked them and made this:

 and then ate it out here:

Friday, June 13, 2014

What We Had for Lunch

Because it is delicious and cheap and easy, healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian . . . if you need all that.

*Black Bean Skillet*

In a large skillet, saute part or all of a bag of frozen mirepoix mix (Cajun or regular--I prefer Cajun for the green peppers.)

Squeeze a couple of cloves of garlic in, add 1 tsp. cumin, and add salt and pepper generously.

While that sautes for a few minutes, open and rinse in a colander the contents of 2-4 cans of black beans--you can't go wrong with quantities here.

Add the beans to the skillet, and then 1-2 cups of chicken broth (homemade or storebought), or water if there's no broth handy.

You can opt to add a bay leaf or a chopped canned chipotle pepper also at this point.

Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave to cook down over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary. Taste for salt.

You can leave it loose and soupy, cook it dry, or leave it loose and then puree it (try not to puree that bay leaf though!).

Serve it over rice, or with tortillas, or with corn chips, and garnish with some or all of: chopped avocado, salsa, Greek yogurt, etc.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Alabama Chanin Six Gore Dress and Bolero: Golden Ferns

I love my custom version of the Alabama Chanin six-gore dress. Ten inches longer, raised neckline.

If I cut this dress out of three yards of fabric, there's enough left over for a matching bolero. This to me is the perfect sleeve solution. I might not want to wear them at home or in the garden, but they can go with me to town, or to sit down to dinner. And they can be fancy.

Golden, beaded ferns on the back and on the fronts of this bolero--and lots on the sleeves. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Frederick in the Sewing Room

Because you get a lot more done with a parrot on your knee.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Good Day to Work on Ferns

It was a good day to work on the ferns, being damp . . . and green . . . and ferny outside. I took several plants out on the back porch and divided them.

Most of my ferns have duplicated themselves in their pots. Divided into two and planted separately, you'd never know they'd just been uprooted. Still beautiful and lush.

These are something like Fluffy Ruffles, purchased at Lowe's when they were small. They've grown so happily in their milk glass containers.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Alabama Chanin: Golden Ferns

I don't see the "Ferns" stencil from Alabama Chanin used very much, and I understand why--it is a pain to cut out! But it's very graceful and makes a great straightforward base for embroidery.

I used a mix of two fabric paints from Hobby Lobby--one part French Roast to two parts Pond Scum--for a kind of neutral sparkle, then chose a cool non-metallic golden floss for my modified satin stitch embellishment. I'm going back over the fern fronds adding a golden bead here and there. Soon I'll stitch it all together and it will be an elbow-sleeved bolero.

Friday, June 06, 2014

She Shops for Shells

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Beach House Evening

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