Monday, December 11, 2017

Fruitcake Saturday








I had a great day of cooking and baking Saturday, with a cake count of six, and cake production pausing only for a quick trip to the bridal salon for Bella to be fitted for her dress. The girls and I had the Christmas crooners playing on a Pandora station and competed to see who could be first to identify Bing, Perry, or whoever else it was. Come what may this season, the fruitcakes are in the freezer.



Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Oil Painting: Roses (A Long Time Coming)


This painting has taken me a most uncharacteristically long time. The problem is that I slapped some big flowers down on a canvas with no real plan and set up some major compositional problems for myself.

It's been oriented this way. Also, upside down. Also, sideways. It's had any number of blossoms, from four to nine.

It's not done yet, but it's getting close. 


Monday, December 04, 2017

The Power of Habit


I am loving this book, The Power of Habit. It's making me rethink all of my routines and rituals, wondering how I can harness them up to hone in on things I want to change and accomplish.

It's a very easy read, and I've been reflecting as I go through the book on positive habits I've succeeded in installing (flossing, housecleaning, planning), and negative habits I want to ditch. It's the whole idea of changing your course by a single degree, to find yourself miles away from where you would have been. Exciting, and perfectly time for a new year!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Head Above Water, Barely, Again


Whew. This is just a busy, busy season. Travel, wedding, giant party, whole-house renovation, work. My idea is that all of it will be finished by January, and then I will sit down with Sister in my arms.

*****

I posted this last fall. I am reposting it again as my current truth, although I have finished my travel, am working more, and am only renovating a garage apartment. Besides those changes, I'm right back where I was last year!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pickles


A few weeks ago a tiny, teenincey (as we say in the South) kitten showed up on the back porch. He was almost too small to eat crunchy cat food. But he kept at it manfully.


We are not keeping him. We are not keeping him. But we feed him twice a day (breakfast at 7:00 a.m., tea at 4:00 p.m.) just like we do Mr. Collins, the dignified ginger tabby that's been hanging around the porch for a couple of years.


We're still not keeping him, but since Daisy has initiated him into the pleasures of petting and lap-sitting,  it looks like we're going to be able to get him to the vet for a fixing and some shots. I think that battle has been won.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Bear for a Baby


I found a cashmere coat at the thrift store in the perfect color, if you were wanting to make a bear for a baby, which I was.


In fact, I've made two. I machine-stitched the pattern pieces together, but then the head, body, arms, legs, etc. all have to be joined by hand, which is always awkward until I get the hang of it.



Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Manners


Miss Manners hard at work getting out the holiday edition of her column, addressing all her readers' questions about how much they can eat at Thanksgiving, the conundrum of taking seconds,  and other burning issues.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Things We Did Before Thanksgiving


Clara polished the silver. Bella picked up the forgotten groceries.


I made the cranberry sauce and cornbread for the dressing. 


We all cleaned the house.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Golden Woods


Sunday afternoon was perfect for a hike. Daisy didn't want to drive anywhere though, so we did what we should do more often--we walked through the backyard and down the back side of the mountain.


It had literally been years since I had done this. It's very, very steep--you almost have to slide down. At the bottom, you come out in a perfect golden valley, and then you can walk over to the road and have a reasonable stroll home.


However, we abandoned reason, and came huffing and puffing back up the steep way,  just to keep in practice.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Modern Crib Quilts (for Twins) (or Not)


I am not joking when I say I am cranking through my stash. These two are the first of many quilting projects that will go in the shop. I've been busy the last couple of months! 

All linen tops, hand-quilted with lots and lots of quilting.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Navy Wool Cape


When I get time to sew these days, I'm still busting away at my stash. This cape used up two lengths of vintage wool--navy for the outside and gray for the inside. Shop here if you're interested!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Georgiana, a Doe


Daisy has just branched out to true dairy goats, and now has a herd of one Saanen doe. Georgiana has never been bred, but that will happen in February in hopes of a July kidding, then plenty of goat milk.

 Daisy still has her two little Nigerian dwarf friends--a wether, and a female too tiny to breed. Milking a goat will be taking her responsibilities to the next level, for sure.

And thanks everyone for your kind wishes to Bella and Arthur! We are so happy to welcome him to our family. Stay tuned for wedding details . . .

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A Baby at the Stone House


Strictly speaking, when these pictures were taken, baby August was still in the hospital.


But he is at the Stone House now, thrilling everyone with his dimpled chin.


Unexpectedly, I ended up attending the birth and helping Eliot coach Emma through her labor.


She was magnificent--such strength and determination.


And she is richly rewarded for all her hard work.


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Oil Painting: First Draft, and Finished Project



I thought you might like to see the difference between half-way done and all the way done. The right half of the canvas was quite empty, and pulling your eye away from the subject, so it's been darkened. The shadows were too warm, so they have been cooled down with blue and a cool purple. More darks in the vase give it more depth. 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Clara's Tatting



I don't know how to tat, but Clara has taught herself. She's done shuttle tatting and needle tatting (like this) which she says is much easier. This is going to be a snowflake. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Oil Painting: Chubby Roses


Monday, October 30, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Turning the Living Room Around Again



Today was one of those too-warm and too-waspy days that come right before the weather changes.

Felix was over part of the day so I put him to work doing some heavy lifting--he carried Frederick's large cage out into the yard so I could hose it down for it's bi-annual super-cleaning

And he moved all the living room furniture around for me, to re-orient everything around the fire, which we will be lighting tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Log Cabin Quilt Top: The Meadows*


Usually Clara helps me with my piecing projects--we do assembly line stitching, pressing, and cutting to knock these log cabins out. Last week, however, she had mid-terms and multiple outside engagements and just didn't have time for me. No matter, I thought, charging ahead! I can do this on my own. I'll just lay out thirty-six block starts and get to work.

Three days later I started putting my beautiful, Meadows-inspired blocks together. Oh yes, I was short by a count of TEN.

So, change of plans--twin size quilt coming up.


* The Meadows is the name by which Felix and Molly's charming house and extensive gardens are known around here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Hugels of Felix

When Felix and Molly bought their house in June, the first thing Felix did was start to build some hugels. What was he even doing? 


Now, of course, we know all about hugelculture and we are all true believers. I have paid Felix and Eliot to convert my vegetable garden into hugels. I can only hope that next year, like Felix, I can grow okra plants that are eight feet tall and have to be taken down with a chainsaw.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fruit for a Teenager


Daisy was headed to Laney's birthday sleepover this afternoon. It was "no gifts," but Laney loves fruit, and her mother said it would be fine to send some along. Daisy put this together and it looked stunning, especially in the afternoon light.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Strippy!




Another one pieced and waiting for a cozy winter of hand-quilting. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oil Painting: Green Mums


Not done yet, but a good start tonight. Working on black canvas again--I like it!

Monday, October 16, 2017

This Year's Birthday Feast: Italian Farmhouse


Our annual feast to celebrate the Composer's father--this year it was all Italian farmhouse-style (inspired by a library book). 

Food centerpiece was a beef tenderloin roast. I patted it with chopped garlic and rosemary, laid on bay leaves, wrapped the whole thing in bacon, and (thanks to Daisy for the smart suggestion) pinned it all together with rosemary sticks.



Clara made an incredible arrangement of herbs for the center of the table.



Let's talk about this mad polenta. I used "Dixie Lily" cornmeal because the name is so charming. Made it up into mush, stirred in an unconscionable amount of butter in which I had sauteed garlic, then stirred in fontina cheese. After in cooled in a pan, we turned it out and Bella faithfully fried it up in some olive oil. I do not exaggerate when I say that Felix took a bite, then started crying.



Salad was farmer's market lettuce with tomato, hard-boiled egg, prosciutto, and Parmesan,


Here's the menu . . . 


And here's the family.

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