Moving!

Jun. 4th, 2017 10:18 am
tea_and_toast: (Default)
It's time for a change. I've wanted to try out one of the blogging sites for some time, and so I recently ported over the content from here to my new blog. You can find me at murmuringkettle.wordpress.com.
tea_and_toast: (Peas)
April and May. There was a lot of cooking and crafting in these last few weeks, but they are still on the camera.

A wee little sweater, isn't it cute? I've since put it safely away somewhere for the fall. I wonder where it is.


The beginning of a twin-size quilt, now on hold, since #1 is doing fine in a toddler bed and we have NO ROOM for a bigger bed for him. Also hauling a sewing machine around during naptime is hard enough, but lately naptime has evaporated and it's all we can do to make dinner happen.


Amazing Raisin Cake, with cream cheese icing, for Easter. It was sort of a compromise between traditional carrot cake and proper amazing raisin cake, which has whipped cream icing. I was informed that three tiers were excessive. Nonsense.


Peas from our garden. We got several harvests. This past weekend we collected the dry seeds (it looks like August out there) and composted the shrubbery in the new compost tumbler from my husband's parents. Composting so far is exciting. Can this go in? What about that? What strange sights will I behold when I open the lid this time? A garden spider took up residence in the air between it and our house, so that twice I walked straight into a magnificent web. Very disconcerting.


Roses, from my husband's ancestral home. A parting gift from his parents who have moved north.


Today I weeded. I couldn't take it anymore; the grass in the flowerbed was as tall as I am.
tea_and_toast: (Cinnamon Bread)
The weather has been lovely lately, sunny and 70s every day. Sigh. Back to watering.





I finished Number 2's quilt. The handquilting took weeks; the binding took a day. I promptly hauled out my scrap bags and started another quilt. Number 1 will need a quilt for a big kid bed at some point, and I have too many scraps left over as it is.

We spent the day today watering, riding the tricycle, collecting twigs, reading board books, and arguing about whether or not it is appropriate to climb on the counter.





A while ago, I made ciabatta bread from scratch, and it wasn't right. It didn't ciabatta; it was just a loaf of white bread. Wah. On the other hand, my husband made s'mores, which were delicious.

I'm full of plans and lists for the impending months of not-being-able-to-get-to-anything. Not sure I'll get it all done, but every little bit helps.
tea_and_toast: (Peachblossom)
Spring demands flowers. We went to the nursery and wandered around picking out some color for the garden. But the rain has done some good even for the poor souls already left in my charge; things are blossoming and leaves are appearing all over. For a time, we can forget the drought. It has been 90+ degrees this week, though, so we'd best not forget for long.











I set myself too many projects lately, as ever; I think it was one of my new years resolutions to be more sensible about how long things take to make. Instead, I just try to work harder to get it all done. (Doesn't work.)







The flannel robe is finished, and lovely to wear... or it would be if it wasn't so hot suddenly. I look forward to it for November.

I tried making a skirt (maternity) out of jersey knit. It's going to work; I need to buy some more fabric to add a panel for more swishiness, and therefore remove and put the waistband back on (ugh) but this is the first time I've had so much luck with sewing knit fabric. The machine didn't eat it or make a terrible mess, or anything! Part of this is finally using the right needle, the right stitch, and patience. The rest is probably that I'm making a full size garment out of cotton blend knit instead of a doll size garment out of slippery polyester. I used to try those, years ago, and they never went well. I resorted to handsewing, no pins used of course, which wasn't much better. Pins are great. Nearly always worth the effort.
tea_and_toast: (Cinnamon Bread)
I'm working on making myself a flannel robe from a few yards of forest green cotton I bought on a whim several months ago. There isn't so much a pattern as a set of directions, here, which is just my cup of tea after learning to make clothes the medieval way. I've already messed up the sleeve width, but medieval clothes have you add a gusset (I think it's called?) for shoulder movement, so I can fix that problem. I don't have any spare fabric to do any of it over, so I have to be a little creative about it.

Six inches of rain this past Friday. That, in one day, is more rain than we got last year, which we considered a decent year for rain after some of the recent previous ones. Everything is astonishingly green.

I chose the wrong yarn for a vest I wanted to knit for Number 2 Child, and after much dithering, ordered more yarn of the right thickness. In the meantime, I cast on for a wee sweater with the yarn I did have, as though I needed a new project to keep me occupied.

The handquilting on #2's baby quilt is very, very slow. I keep thinking there must be something I can do to speed up my sewing, but perhaps it's just a matter of making more time to do it. I persevere. We're rewatching Game of Thrones, and that's a lot of episodes, so that should help.

Recent recipes we've tried: Chocolate Cherry Pecan No-knead Bread, Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Crisps, Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes, Frittata (I used asparagus and roasted red peppers), Hot Ham & Cheese Party Rolls, Pesto, Mozzarella, Baby Spinach, Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich (although my homemade pesto used very different ingredients and I sadly omitted the goat cheese for the sake of #2).

It looks as though there will be another Penric tale, per here which I am delighted to see. The last one ended so abruptly; now I know why! I find her work so engaging to read, like driving on a smooth road after turning off a country path full of potholes. One can sit back and enjoy the scenery.

So here we are, midFebruary, playing with cozy fabric and yarn, eating tasty meals, and looking forward to reading good books. It feels like the calm between storms.
tea_and_toast: (Gloomy Sakura)
The rain has come every week since sometime in December. It is the strangest thing, and the garden loves it. Peas are popping up in the raised beds. The staghorn fern is flourishing. My camellia is blooming.









I know it can't last, but I love it. It was 85 and sunny yesterday, but there is rain forecast for the weekend. I was so delighted with the weather that I bought a new camella on Saturday and we planted it against the back fence. It is the same color as the one above, but with a larger flower. Shell pink. Dorothy James was the variety. I think the one I already had was called Tiny Star. There are so many kinds.
tea_and_toast: (Gloomy Sakura)
Is it reasonable to talk about the holidays a month later? The little one was buried in gifts of toys, board books, clothes, and more toys. He actually got bored of opening packages. Well, we will do better next Christmas. Although there will be another one next time. I don't think I've mentioned it before, but we are having a second boy sometime around June.

It's been all about coziness around here of late. Many of the holiday presents were made of yarn.








My husband made potato skins at one point, I think because we needed the insides for mashed potatoes. Or at least that was the excuse. And I made six hour bread. I want to make more. It's always amazing, especially in the first few hours. I may have eaten a bunch of it before he even got home that day. Toasted with butter and jam, it also makes a good treat for breakfast. Alas, I don't know where I found the recipe online or I'd link it.






This warm molasses milk from Joy the Baker is yummy, too. I still have the link for that seeing as I just made it tonight.

I finished a hand-pieced hexagon quilting project, months after starting it. It's machine quilted, because the other day I came to my senses and pulled out the tiny amount of hand quilting I'd managed so I could Finish A Project. Projects that languish for too long unfinished run the risk of being given up on entirely, and that would have been a shame after all the hand sewing I'd done to put the shapes together. I need to make more executive decisions like that.







Since we found out the gender for Number Two (as I've been calling him) I've started a baby quilt, an afghan, and a vest for him, and have also been trying to finish a bunch of old projects, since the sewing desk is going away to make room for a bed or crib. (We haven't figured out yet whether we're ready to upgrade Number One to big kid status or if we should just have two cribs for a while.) So I'm currently finishing a scrap quilt of creams and browns. It's a lap quilt size, made entirely from fabric in my stash. I have enough little fabric scraps left to make at least another quilt, possibly two. That's not counting scraps of fabric big enough to bother folding. These things are fractal.

So it's all blankets and hot toddies around here. We had rain. The hills have turned green. There was frost on the grass the other day, and the snow on the farthest-away mountains lasted an entire week. I could see it from my kitchen window.

Hot Cocoa

Dec. 12th, 2016 04:27 pm
tea_and_toast: (Colonial Cocoa)


Just a quick hello. I made marshmallows (unfortunately with gelatin, so no good for vegetarians). There wasn't quite enough corn syrup left in the bottle, so I substituted in a quarter cup of honey. So they have a faintly honey flavor, which is delicious. Recipe from Barefoot Contessa but if you try it, do read through the mass of instructions for a similar recipe at Local Milk. She covers a lot more of the fiddly details you want to know before you have a pot full of scalding hot sugar boiling on the stove.

Candy making is so exciting in that "I hope the baby doesn't wake up just yet / I hope I chose a large enough pot / I hope cooking spray will keep the molten marshmallow from sticking to everything, especially me" kind of way.

Hot cocoa mix is just 1 cup cocoa powder, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsps cornstarch. Mix and add a heaping tablespoon to a mug of hot milk.

The days are short and chilly, by our southern standards. 45 degrees at night! I spend hours under my favorite quilt, which isn't the quilt I'd expect. It's all creams and browns (eight year old me would be so confused) and it's not even quilted, just tied with embroidery floss. It's so floppy and soft because of that, very snuggly, not like most my other quilts. I think I need to make my next quilt a tie-quilt to see if that step is the difference, or if it's something else.

Knitting lots for holiday gifts. Pictures in the new year, I expect.
tea_and_toast: (Gloomy Sakura)
Well. Where to start? Ignoring the recent political upheavals suits me right now. I've been sick lately, and haven't taken many pictures worth posting. In the past two months, we've been visited by a hawk (it ate a dove on our telephone pole. I found it because I saw white feathers drifting down in the front yard like snow), a snake (see below), and a coyote that trotted down our street in broad daylight like it was no big deal.



I finished knitting a pair of socks. Because of other projects and toddlers and general distraction, it took me nine months. Not that it matters; it was 100 degrees out today. I don't exactly need to curl up in warm wool socks.



The snake in question. He was on the porch when Toddler and I were heading out the front door, so back in we went. I think he was more upset about the encounter than we were, though. Not the first snake on our porch ever, either.



I sewed some pretty little pincushions for my etsy shop, but I have been too ill to put them up for sale. Maybe soon. Everything is behind.



I made brownies the other day. I have the recipe memorized. 325 degrees. Third of a cup of water, third of a cup of oil, one egg. Add the brownie mix and stir. Walnuts if you can get away with them. 48 minutes in the oven. (Though, somehow, cream cheese frosting has become de rigueur for our brownies. How did that happen?)

Toddler is into all the things, especially if it involves climbing or moving furniture.
tea_and_toast: (Lantana)
Not much to say, just a few things to share. First, how about this poor blueberry trying on a pot that's too small for it?



I suppose that's why they always say to measure seven times and transplant once. They do say that, don't they? It's all right; I got it in the ground and it's been quite happy.

The weather has shifted. By this I mean that instead of 90 out all day it is 70, and last night it dropped to 59. I have been going round getting out slippers and quilts and exclaiming over the nip in the air and discussing plans for braising turkey legs so we can have a wee little Thanksgiving celebration of our very own. The California girl, she's silly. She doesn't know real winter. I am most definitely a summer child.



Bread, with whole wheat and molasses. Edible. I am just about tired of trying to dispose of the blackstrap molasses into our bread, though. It's so not sweet. Conversely, if you happen to have emergency rations (bricks of lembas, apple cinnamon flavored, not nearly as appealing as that might sound), I can't recommend making it into a powder and adding it to your weekend waffles. They come out weirdly sweet and gritty. Nutrient dense, though.



The garden, as usual, both delights and disappoints. Our acorn squash didn't develop. I planted loads, but nothing much happened. The tomatoes, though, while small and with a tendency to split that stems from overwater (I think) have been tasty. And mostly our cucumbers are not bitter. So we have nice things to add to our salads.

Today I bought (and planted!) a cape plumbago and a rosemary for the garden. I hope the rosemary grows madly so I can harvest its leaves and dry them to sprinkle over focaccia with sea salt.
tea_and_toast: (Lantana)
I spent last week editing and revising our medieval clothes for an event. Seams were ripped, trim was removed, eyelets were unsewn, new eyelets were stitched (three episodes of The Last Kingdom) and many things were embroidered. Also, the Little got a set of clothes for the occasion, which ended up being the only thing I photographed, apparently. He was adorable running around in his tunic and trousers. We were there only a few hours actually and it was plenty. The last time we went to an event was before the Little was born. Goodness!



My report, What We Did This Summer )

Summer

Jul. 6th, 2016 09:52 am
tea_and_toast: (Peas)


I'm busier than a cranberry merchant, to borrow my mother's words. Crafting projects, housework, playing with the toddler. We go to the library, we go to his class. We play in the wading pool and take walks. He helps me with the watering. (He puts pretty stones in the watering can and washes his trowel. It used to be the big people's trowel. He has claimed it in the name of Toddlerdom.)

Summer sliding by )

Rain Fairy

Jun. 8th, 2016 08:30 pm
tea_and_toast: (Chicory Fairy)


The garden frustrates me. When the rain ends (was it March? I think it was March) suddenly I am the only thing keeping dozens of plants alive out there. We don't have sprinklers with timers (although we're working on adding drip irrigation with timers). Mostly I water with a watering can. I go out at naptime and tiptoe around, handing out starvation rations to the drought-stricken. Of course nothing really flourishes. Still, spring is the prettiest season in the garden.


This and that )
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)
We've gone from spring to summer already. It rained briefly at the beginning of the month, and I predict we won't get rain again until November.

This chocolate banana bread from Smitten Kitchen is really a dessert. Don't kid yourself. I made some coconut whipped cream to go with it, mostly because I wanted to see if coconut whipped cream was any good. It is, but it reminds me a little of hand lotion, and that's not something I enjoy eating generally.



This and that )
tea_and_toast: (Tea with your sugar)
The other day I decided to photograph a few of my more recent quilts. Since hanging them properly for flat photos was beyond the capacity of the time I had, I draped them over a rocking chair or the sewing desk one by one.



Quilts )
tea_and_toast: (Peachblossom)
You know, I don't even remember what happened for Easter last year. I was a little out of it. The little one was only a few weeks old at that point. We made up for it this year. This year, there was cake. We even had an Easter egg hunt.



No sightings of the Easter Bunny, though )
tea_and_toast: (Gloomy Sakura)
We've actually had some rain. The hills aren't grey anymore. I don't expect it to last, but it's nice.



Free water, from the sky? What's the catch? )

Plans

Jan. 22nd, 2016 07:18 pm
tea_and_toast: (Colonial Cocoa)
Oh, 2016, I meant to talk more, really I did. But you're already marching along and I'm running to catch up as usual. I wanted to set out some ideas for the new year while I can still be timely about it. We're two thirds of the way through January already, but it's still January, so I reckon it's good enough. 2016 is going to be the year of lighting candles, trying minimalism, working toward hygge, and maybe, just maybe starting a compost bin/pile/heap. We'll see.



Looks a bit like autumn around here. )

Year's End

Dec. 31st, 2015 08:31 pm
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)
Oh, hullo. I've been busy. There has been a baby around here, and a novel, and handmade Christmas presents. I don't remember if I mentioned before, but I won't be sharing pictures of the little guy. I'm not comfortable putting his face out there on the internet; better safe than sorry. You'll just have to take my word for it that's he's adorable and hilarious (he is, though).



Follow Malcolm the cat's tail to the usual mix of knitting, gardening, and cooking )
tea_and_toast: (Red Cap)
So! It's fall here, and the weather is in the 90s and 100s. Naturally that makes this a great time to make Easter eggs. We had a pysanky party, as the Ukrainian eggs are called. Seven eggs across three people, plus assorted quails eggs which I sadly did not get pictures of.



Candles and beeswax )

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