Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

And Then a Highly Saturated Blue Log Cabin Quilt Top

After Saturday's quilt binge, I sat down to start another quilt. This one was going to be all different bright and saturated colors, really loud and wild. But then I kept seeing this collection of blue and green rejects off to the side, and I realized that I would have to turn my pile of "no's" into a big "yes."

So Clara and I put this quilt together yesterday. It was quite a bit of work, since it's thirty-six strips that are seven strips across. It's several acres. But it sure is beautiful.

Clara says not to ask her to make a quilt tomorrow. But maybe I can talk her into the next day!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cello Skirt Log Cabin Quilt Top

Clara and I made an afternoon of piecing our quilt top. With both of us working assiduously, it's a four-to-five hour job.

That's starting with the strips already cut--I had prepared them weeks ago and stored them neatly in a basket until we had some time together. Because it's really nice having help!

As usual, we were stunned by the successful alchemy that is scrapwork piecing. No matter what, it seems like scrap quilts come out gorgeous. Clara gets the design credit on this one.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ruminant Nurse

Daisy is currently engrossed in the Cherry Ames series. Cherry Ames, Rural Nurse. Cherry Ames, Private Duty Nurse. Etc.

 Excellent preparation for being a nurse all this morning. The neighbor brought over a baby who had gotten too cold and weak and seemed to be dying.

Several hours by a *hot* fire, constant respiration and "rumen motility" checks, and droppers full of goats' milk, and he returned to health.

Thanks to Daisy, Ruminant Nurse.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Light Shines in the Darkness, and Darkness Has Never Put It Out

Merry Christmas 2014

(Next year I hope to also have pictures of my older daughters--somehow they were always just out of the frame this year!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Snowflake Cookies for the Windows

We hung them from the branch that hangs in the sitting room window.

And we hung them from the wreaths we put in the living room windows for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

5:00 P.M. Cozy

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Jersey Shirt Pattern, with Back Extensions

I picked this up at the thrift store because of the back extension that comes up and over the shoulder.

However,  I don't believe I will be making contrasting shirt halves and sleeves. Or sewing that neckline as is, because who looks their best in a crew neck? No one I know. I'll be scooping it out a little.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Garland Do-Over

My garland of yesteryear fell off its string when I picked it up out of the box. So I've been restringing the wool circles on perle cotton. I've made about five miles of it, which is too much, but it's lots of fun. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another Sunrise, and Some Fruitcakes for the Gluten-Free

Another gorgeous sunrise, the first of the Return of the Exiles (as the Composer calls it when the adult children come home), and several fabulous fruitcakes.


Felix is the first one in the door of the three Away Kids. It didn't take him long to ensconce himself in what we call "Inventor's Corner"--a computer, a calculator, and a notebook not too far from the woodstove. Serious inventing going on today.


I've found fantastic fruitcake recipes that don't rely on any kind of flour at all! Just ground almonds and lots of fruit:

Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake by Nigella (oh my)
Gorgeously Golden Fruitcake also by Nigella, much more traditional
Alsatian Christmas Bread (not a bread at all. I didn't use this recipe, but it was the closest I could find. Mine required only dried fruit, fruit juice, spices, and ground almonds)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Colors of Early Winter

These are the colors of early winter around here. Warm browns, gray-browns, and long golden light.

Monday, December 15, 2014

In Goat News . . .

Anyone who loves baby goats will be glad to know that over at the neighbors' house Jezebel, Ruby, and Cinnamon have all had their kids. Seven of them, all together!

This is Cinnamon, a very good mother. She had twins. Baby goats are just about the best, for cuteness.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Patchwork Curtain Quilt Top

A while ago I made a set of patchwork curtains for my lavender bedroom. Then recently I got tired of them and wanted something visually calmer.

I took them down, sewed them together, and then started sewing strips of purple and brown scraps around and around my patchwork rectangle. Now I have a huge quilt top, and the center is my patchwork curtains.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Daisy Sets the Pace

Daisy decided it was time for a little more Christmas decorating around here. Fortunately we have an endless supply of cedar outside, and a bountiful supply of curly red ribbons inside.

Now there are beautiful sprigs everywhere.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Frost on the Barn Roof

This morning the ground and the barn roof were white with frost. 

I can't get enough of early morning. I wish it lasted for hours. It's just me, and my tea, and a fire in the woodstove.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Winter Tree

At my house it's not quite time for a Christmas tree, but it's not too early for a Winter Tree. I set up this pine cone tree in a milk glass container as the table centerpiece. Then I realized that the tree was from the thrift store, the pedestal was from the thrift store, the bird, the candleholders, and the doily--all from the thrift store. For the win.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Wholehearted Living

I've recommended Jennifer Grant's writing on motherhood before, and I'm doing it again today. Wholehearted Living is written for busy parents, who can find maybe five minutes to spend thinking or reading at a time.

Jennifer begins each reflection with a quotation from a real thinker or writer--and it's surprisingly refreshing to be confronted with the real deal in small, manageable doses, even for mothers who may feel like their thinker has gone missing.

But the real reason I am so drawn to Jennifer's writing is her genuine and lifegiving humility. She invites, never commands. She suggests, never tells. She is tender.

Written to last all year, this is a wonderful choice to stretch your soul.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Daisy's Sartorial Dreams Come True

She's been wanting a sailor dress for so long. I used a regular dress pattern and added a sailor collar overlay, and changed the skirt from the usual semi-circle to one with inverted box pleats. Better picture later, also maybe then it won't be falling off her shoulder.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Starry Shortbreads

Any shortbready cookie that needs to be pressed with the bottom of a glass can be stamped with a punch cup--and will be pretty.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Honeycomb Smocking

I had soft gray fine-wale corduroy to make Daisy a dress, and decided to insert a front panel of honeycomb smocking, because the texture seemed like it would be delicious.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Collecting Fabric for a Quilt, Gray and Pink

I'm thinking about a new quilt and for once in my life (as Daisy's friend David would say) I'm Planning Ahead on fabric! My key fabric is the not-too-in-focus larger gray strip with the pink end. It's an ancient but highly valued cotton skirt from the fifties, printed with cellos. To keep it company I've got some linens and wools from the thrift store, and a couple of men's shirts. 

And, in an excess of organization, I've got this little pinned together pile in my purse so that I can pull it out in any thrift store and scan the clothes racks for the perfect garment to join the pile.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Beautiful + Smart + Southern

This is what we've been listening to this week at my house. We've been Beta Radio fans ever since Giles introduced us to their first album several years ago. 

Colony of Bees is just out and is oh so good! If you only want a taste, check out "I Am Mine" and "Monument."

And their Christmas music--they release two or three songs every year, and I think they may be free downloads. 


Monday, December 01, 2014

Purple Velveteen

I found a cotton velveteen dress at the thrift store and brought it home because I can't resist really good fabric. Purple velveteen--where am I going to find that around here?

Turns out it was a Laura Ashley (that explains the quality). But the cut was so weird, I couldn't tell the front from the bag. So I lopped off the bodice, added a side zip, and had a luscious skirt for Clara.

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