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: (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: (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: (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 )

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: (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? )

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 )


Sep. 10th, 2015 01:20 pm
tea_and_toast: (Default)
Where to begin? The summer has slipped away, or I'd like to think it has. Children have gone back to school, discussions of holiday gatherings have begun, sweaters are being sorted for the new season, but it was 100 degrees outside yesterday and I keep skipping the farmer's market because it is TOO HOT on the asphalt.

Where have we been? )
tea_and_toast: (Peachblossom)
A Brief Interlude

At the beginning of the month, I went with friends to the Huntington Library to celebrate a birthday, and left the little one with his dad. It was strange to be away from him, to drive alone, knowing there wasn't anyone in the back seat, to wander the gardens wondering if they both were all right without me. Of course they were.

The gardens were beautiful. )


Apr. 29th, 2015 08:34 am
tea_and_toast: (Gloomy Sakura)
I harvested strawberries recently. One of our strawberry pots died, though. I'm not sure why, other than maybe it didn't get watered.

From the garden )
tea_and_toast: (Peas)
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: (Peachblossom)
The wisteria we planted two? years ago has produced a blossom.

Worth the wait!

Green growing things )
tea_and_toast: (Lantana)
Some people post pretty pictures of paperwhite bulbs in teacups on their dining table, or on the mantel, surrounded by candlelight and cozy things, because it's too cold outside for flowers or even fresh young greenery.

Not only do we not have to grow them inside here... these paperwhites popped up on their own in a pot that's been sitting with a saucer over it for months now, with no water or sunlight. As soon as I realized that wasn't grass growing, I rescued them to the patio and we started watering them, but really, these flowers would have carried on merrily without any help.

January is spring, right? )
tea_and_toast: (Colonial Cocoa)
Been feeling sick lately, so I haven't been cooking. It's weird, my habit is to buy mostly raw materials at the grocery store, so when I don't feel like cooking and my husband hasn't been given enough warning, there's nothing good to eat for dinner that can be made in time. Oops.

I have made muffins, though.

These were blueberry. Later there were dried cherry, where you rehydrate the cherries so they're chewy and juicy and full of tart flavor. And if you happen to make them with whole wheat, then a little butter is required so they're not too dry. Just for the dryness, of course.

Also there were crepes. Sort of blintzes, without the extra frying bit at the end. Breakfast is more doable than dinner, though that's finally getting a little better too. Bleh.

The garden is a bit of a wreck, due to me not doing much out there right now. One of our raised beds is empty, since the peas had such bad powdery mildew, and I hesitate to plant anything else there. The zucchini keep not producing. I don't understand. Zucchini are supposed to produce in hordes. Hoards? I suppose it depends on whether you think of them as food or invaders.

We do have one tiny sugar pumpkin starting to turn orange. It's shaping up to be of "ornamental" size. Ah well.

Mont Blanc

Jun. 16th, 2014 07:38 pm
tea_and_toast: (Default)
Those crochet squares I talked about last time?

They made a pretty good bag. Especially with some quilt fabric scraps for a lining and strap.

sewing and such )
tea_and_toast: (Peas)
Spring is flying by. So nice to see the garden now that all the snow has melted -- just kidding. We got one decent rainstorm this year so far, and otherwise I think we are competing with the Atacama or Namib deserts for lowest rainfall ever.

But that one rainstorm did a world of good for the garden. Things bloomed. Things that had never bloomed before.

green and pink stuff )


tea_and_toast: (Default)
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