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: (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.
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.


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: (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: (Red Cap)

Is it the size it should be? Who knows? It'll fit him sometime. Ideally the hat will fit during the same time period. That would be nice.
tea_and_toast: (Red Cap)
It's nearly the solstice, almost Christmas, soon to be the new year.

Lots of waiting going on, and yet the time is flying by.

Almost Christmas )


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: (Cucumber Sandwiches)
Making calzone lately.

In Exhibit A on the left, properly stretched dough covers the cheesy filling. In Exhibit B on the right, cheesiness has escaped to spill onto the pan and form the delicious, illicit treat known as "roasty cheese". Questionable whether this is actually a defect, or if it is instead perhaps a feature. More testing required.

Kitties etc. )

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: (Cinnamon Bread)
Lots to talk about. That's what happens when you forget to update.

I like baking. Have I mentioned? It gets hot -- really hot -- later in the year so I've been using every excuse to do baking now, while the weather is still nice and we can run the oven without feeling guilty.

Foccacia (cheese required, per my husband) can be made when you're getting dinner ready and you realize there isn't nearly enough time to make bread but you still would like some. Fresh and homemade and fluffy, it's quite tasty.

baking, sandwiches, embroidery, and yarnery )
tea_and_toast: (Red Cap)
And now, a yarn post.

I finally finished the shawl I started over a year ago, the "simple" project that would teach my fingers the basic knit stitch. It used an entire skein of Fishermen's Wool (those are big). My husband made a silver cloak pin from wire to go with it, and it fits perfectly.

fuzzies )


Nov. 10th, 2013 12:04 pm
tea_and_toast: (Tea with your sugar)

Finished the blanket I was making from yarn I impulse bought. Impulse buying craft supplies is its own punishment. Craft supplies hang around the house like sad dogs, whining at the door and popping out of closets when you least expect it. "Come play with me... you promised..." Or is that just me?

Lots of other projects going. I drafted my basic block for medieval clothes making, then drafted a more specific pattern for the kirtle I want to do next. Now all that remains is to iron the linen, iron the lining, trace and cut out the patterns to make the dress (two front pieces, two back pieces, and two sleeves, all in both the linen and the lining), figure out how to line a garment, machine sew the long hidden seams, hand sew the eyelets, make a cord with a lucet or something, hand sew the collar and sleeve hems, try it on, swear a bit, make adjustments, try it on again, leave it to hang for a few days, and hem it. Oh, and finish the smock that goes under it. And make the various accessories that go with it, like shoes and stockings and a better hat that's not made of cheap obvious muslin.

That's just one project.

Also, I have to clean the house.

But first, I'm going to get word count on my novel today. At least that's nearly done--today's word count, that is. Not the novel.
tea_and_toast: (Tea and toast)

It's finally fall, and even though it was over 80 degrees today, I have warm cozy yarny things to share. First, I finished a knitted hat. It's my first knitted thing I've ever actually finished. It has a few mistakes, but it works. A wearable garment wrought from a pile of string. I think this must be a kind of magic, like baking bread.

And anyone who said wool was scratchy hasn't met this yarn. It's soft and springy and splendid.

Also, I crocheted a pair of slippers from, well, I have a lot of acrylic yarn because I didn't know better. They were easier to make than I thought they would be - having only made blankets, scarves, and one hat with crochet before. A lot of revisions are required for any future versions, but as with the knitting, I learned a lot.

Patterns for each were from Ravelry which has totally changed my understanding of yarn crafts. There's so much variety out there. Oh, and I can't recommend this site enough - New Stitch a Day - simple clear videos that show you exactly to do a p2tog and other ninja moves. So cool!
tea_and_toast: (Cup of Tea)
Both of us are sick with colds, so naturally it was the perfect time to get up early this morning and bake bran muffins.

Yum! Very sweet.

state of the garden and crafts )


tea_and_toast: (Default)
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