tea_and_toast: (Peas)
2017-05-23 09:02 pm

Tidying Up the Trailing End of Spring

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)
2017-04-10 06:01 pm
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You can have too many quilts...

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: (Cinnamon Bread)
2017-02-19 09:33 pm

Staying Cozy

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)
2017-01-28 09:34 pm

Cozy Wintertime

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.
tea_and_toast: (Gloomy Sakura)
2016-11-09 07:06 pm

Socks and Snakes

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)
2016-09-13 10:12 pm
Entry tags:

Puttering with pots

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)
2016-08-16 09:43 pm

In Which the Weather is Discussed

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 )
tea_and_toast: (Peas)
2016-07-06 09:52 am


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 )
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)
2016-04-22 01:03 pm

Embroidery, and Mushrooms

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: (Peachblossom)
2016-03-30 08:19 pm

Celebrating Spring

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)
2016-03-14 09:56 am
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March, in like a... rainy thing

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? )
tea_and_toast: (Colonial Cocoa)
2016-01-22 07:18 pm
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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. )
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)
2015-12-31 08:31 pm

Year's End

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: (Cup of Tea)
2015-09-18 10:33 pm

What's Cooking

Jam, cake, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pizza, sushi, and more cake. Being an adult means you can make and eat whatever you please, apparently. These were spread out over a long while, honestly. My husband made the sushi (smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese). Cream cheese goes a long way toward making sushi yummy for me.

In the kitchen )
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)
2015-05-29 10:12 am
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Tasty May

This is a post about food. I had that many pictures.

Oh, look. Tea and toast. Roasted buckwheat tea with a shot of maple syrup, my own invention and what I like to think of as the Barrayaran tea. (They're calling Warrior's Apprentice book four? That's weird.)

Om nom nom )
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)
2015-05-08 09:46 am
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Dutch oven bread, farmer's market vegetables

Our farmer's market haul for last week. I'm a week behind. I already went this week. Anyway. The light that comes in our kitchen window is so lovely, it makes everything look beautiful. I didn't get to the purple carrots yet, but I'm thinking I'll put them in this chicken pot pie. They're orange on the inside, and anyway it's the taste that counts, right?

Last week )
tea_and_toast: (Peas)
2015-04-14 09:36 am
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April, with no showers

Time is like water. It can evaporate. Taking care of the little one has certainly eaten up all of mine, anyway.

We harvested the peas this Sunday, a little late, but they were still absolutely delicious. And so many! I think we may have finally found a way to grow peas well. We used tomato cages to prop the tendrils on. Also I actually followed the directions for spacing the seeds this time. I guess that matters.

Doing what we can )
tea_and_toast: (Colonial Cocoa)
2014-12-22 06:39 pm
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Cookie Wars

This afternoon, after work, battle plans were put in place.

Supplies were brought out, ammunition was cast in the stand mixer, and soldiers were lined up.

a great battle was fought here )