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)
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.


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 )
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 )

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: (Tea and toast)

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: (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? )


Oct. 20th, 2014 07:11 pm
tea_and_toast: (Cinnamon Bread)
Hullo, October. When did you sneak in? Not to worry, I've been making preparations for those cold rainy days that haven't come yet. (Will they ever?)

A bit of apple pie to start off, with apples from my husband's parents' tree.

apples for autumn )
tea_and_toast: (Default)
I made the mistake several years ago of buying enough quilt fabric for projects without immediately starting those projects. Oh, of course I had other projects to work, novels to write, work to go to, Important Stuff, but still... the fabric has languished in dusty closets. Toward the end of this summer, I pulled out my collection and started making ninepatches of these pretty pastel fat quarters.

more )
tea_and_toast: (Chicory Fairy)
It is the end of the year, or the beginning. I married my knight (he even has shining armor) this year. I moved for the first time since I was born, really. I made a lot of oatmeal bread, and planted a garden together with my new husband, and saw the northern coast of California. (Once you get over the tsunami warning signs and head down the steep stairways, the beaches are lovely.)

We adopted two kittens and I started working from home. It has been the most wonderful shift for me. I used to spend two hours a day (or more) sitting in traffic, with hours of windowless computer work in between, at a desk sized for a six-foot tall man. Now when I work, it's with a cat on my lap, a cup of tea on my desk, and a quilt in my chair. Oh, and a garden right out the sliding glass door just behind me, ready to be looked at whenever. I feel lucky, and not just because of the garden.

After dithering, and painstakingly handsewing it wrong, I finished up a quilted draft cat I made for our front door. It's a little like one my parents had when I was growing up, though I think that one's ears were smaller. Go big or go home. It's just in time to make us all snug for the new year.

I've made progress on my wool shawl, slowly. It's better now that I have a circular needle with a lot of circle in between the pointy bits.

And I finished a headband a while ago, which I've been wearing when it's cold. It's so nice to finish things. I really must remember to start smaller projects in the future. Perhaps that can be my New Years resolution.

tea_and_toast: (Knot Magic)
Yarn time!

Which is to say, I'm tuckered and annoyed at sewing the overdress/bliaut/kirtle/cotehardie I was working on. It's navy blue linen and was going to be awesome. I even cut bias tape out of the same linen and hand folded it to make the collar... then I cut a slit in the collar and had to miter the bias tape to lie properly. Then I sewed the collar on, exquisitely, and turned it inside out to sew the sleeves on. So the beautiful job I did on the bias tape is on the inside of the collar, and the mistakes are on the outside. Not intentionally. The first of several Stupid Mistakes on this dress.

So, yarn. I got stuff done. It's pretty.

Crochet and Knit, and a Bit Of Quilting )
tea_and_toast: (Default)
So since working on the current quilt isn't going well (piecing is ever so much more fun than quilting), here are pictures of a previous quilt that did turn out well:

Expandicate! )
tea_and_toast: (Default)
This is a quilt made from a pattern called Charmed, I'm Sure. It's got three darks and a light for each color, so it's almost a scrap quilt. Almost. It's a little too planned out for that.

Charmed! )
tea_and_toast: (Default)
Here is a log cabin quilt I made, sort of a modified version.

Flower Garden )


tea_and_toast: (Default)
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