Monday, August 27, 2012

fiber and dough

Lots of baking going on around here.
My neighbor's tomatoes are ready for harvest while mine remain decidedly green.  So, in order to be a GOOD neighbor, I'm trading bread for tomatoes!
There is nothing to compare to the aroma of warm yeast, honey and oatmeal as it performs its magic act in the oven.  The fragrance in the kitchen is indescribable - but if you are a bread baker, then you know what I mean.  
One for me, one for my neighbor.  While bread was baking, I was preparing sauce.  I decided to make pizza again - how can I allow all of these wonderful vegetables to go to waste?   In the dead of winter one longs for these flavors, so its important to gorge indulge oneself while the getting is good!
I often add asparagus, avocado and roasted cauliflower, but tonight it's mostly fried eggplant ... not so good for the waistline, but delectable beyond belief!
Upstairs, lots of sewing is producing some items for the home!  Scott is currently between jobs and I have been badgering encouraging him to make improvements to the small bathroom while he has this down time.  He is creating a bed for his oldest daughter's new apartment and thus - on a roll!  One must strike while the tool belt is hot!

The little bathroom under the eaves is perfect in so many ways.  It has a lot of charm, but needs a new tiled floor, wainscoting, and new fixtures.  I am working on curtains - both shower and window.   Yesterday I made this handy bath mat -
It has some real heft to it while remaining soft and cushy underfoot.  It pleases me to have something quilt-like in every room and this piece is so much nicer than a store bought item.  Maybe I'll make another!
I love this fabric so much that I can barely stand it.  Wouldn't it be a sensational shower curtain?
Mom asked for a new cover, "anything pink", to pep up the little back pillow that she carries with her.  We has pink!
I pumped up the batting in this so that she would have that much more comfort.
You can see that my walking foot has been getting a real workout this summer.  There is something quietly addictive about random machine quilting.  When I don't feel like concentrating on something fiddly, the purr of the machine as it winds its way down and back always puts me in a good space.  There's no right or wrong, good or bad about this work.  It is what it is!  And sometimes that is enough for me.  
It seems as though it is Baby Season again!  I have at least four babies that will need welcoming with something hand knitted or quilted.  I think that this bunting is about as cute as it gets!  I wonder if modern mothers still use buntings   for their infants.  I always liked the ease of this item as opposed to a snowsuit which was difficult with a small baby.  Mine hated having their limbs contorted as much as I disliked contorting!  Crankiness usually followed the snowsuit manhandling!

Meanwhile, I am knitting something very very special for my friend Lally's sister-in-law.  It has to remain a secret for the time being.  Keep the faith Lally!  Cashmere wants to be knitted slowly, methodically, magically.

We are watching the weather channel nervously as my daughter is in Florida and facing the horrendous Issac hurricane behavior.  That it comes nearly on the anniversary of Katrina is especially unnerving.  Batten down the hatches Hilly!  Be safe.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My mother came for a visit and the little bouquet that I gathered for her room is just about spent.
It's so nice to have her here - cookies appear!  No one makes tollhouse like mom.
We had lunches out, discovering not one, but two authentic Mexican restaurants.  The days shifted and slowed down, affording us plenty of time to read and knit on the front porch.  When it was time for her to leave, I was so sorry to see her go.  The house seemed too still, much too empty after she'd gone.  But not for long -
Dog-sitting is fast becoming my new specialty!  This guy is a swift as the wind and slippery as an eel!  He spends much of his day snout down, searching for food.  Hilary has him on a perpetual diet because he has a tendency to balloon into a giant vienna sausage!  She's going to be upset when she returns to find his harness much more snug than it was before she left!  What can I say?  He's only been here for one night - I'm innocent!
I put the "good" pillowcases on the bed for mom - only the best!  It's hard to remember when I had the kind of energy to piece such small designs for pillowcases!  (and the time!)
I'm working on sport socks - I need thick cotton for the cold months.  I think that I've found just about the perfect pattern for this worsted weight cotton -
Mac and Me - innovative!

Tonight we are having pizza from scratch - I'd better get busy peeling tomatoes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Harley and I went to the front porch to escape the morning cat fight chase.  Bella and Maude are not dividing the territory in a peaceful way.  Out on the porch it's quiet.  There's knitting.  And coffee.  No spitting, hissing and galloping.
Birds singing, cicadas whining and a soft breeze make the front porch a good place to be.
If left to my own devices, I might sit here all day and finish this second sock.
Or I might dive back into the brilliant Cassis sweater that has been languishing in a bag all summer.  
What do I love about this pattern and this yarn?  Everything.  If you haven't knit with Quince & Co yet, you are in for a treat.  Unfortunately, I cannot knit away the hours this fine morning.  My mother is coming for a visit near the end of the week and I have a lot to do in preparation.  I wouldn't want her to think that I've neglected the gardens -
Truth be told - they've gotten ahead of me this season.  And it's been really hard to knuckle down and wrestle them back into some semblance of order!  While the hydrangea and nicotiana hold their own -
The long border is a disgrace.  The weeds in the vegetable garden tower over my head - this is no lie!  And I stand 5'10" in my stocking feet, so we won't go there.
I included this shameful image because I wanted Mrs. Pom to see the thalictrum (tall lavender spires) which has had absolutely NO attention this season.  And yet, it thrives.  I think that it might be a good selection for the Cape.  It makes a graceful screen when planting closely together.  Don't look at the weeds.  Oh, that's true - it's weeds everywhere one looks!

The grasses ask little of a lazy gardener.  Even in the deep heat of august they appear fresh and healthy.

Someone wants to go outdoors and devil those squirrels.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

We are not accustomed to the temps that the northeast has been suffering under.  How hot is it?  It's so hot that I cannot stay outdoors long enough to pick my beans!  Thankfully, there are always things to do indoors.
I've been having so much fun in the sewing room.
These two fabrics are linen blends from Kokka which I machine-quilted to serve as a base for yet another market bag!  I enjoy making these bags more than I can say... they provide such great ways to utilize favorite previously hoarded saved fabrics!  
This particular bag is going to live in the south.  That's all I'm sayin' ...
This bag is for my sister - she has a birthday in August.  My cousin sent the cute typography fabric to me from a shop in Fly Creek, NY.  Love it, thanks so much Lor.  (My sister's name just happens to be Jane!)  Here's the reverse side -
You can see that I dragged out my dangerously tiny Flea Market Fancy stash.   When it is gone I will be so sad!  There is something about this particular line that appeals to me in all ways ... rare for a fabric line.  I think that it is a brilliant collection.
My daughter chose this pattern from the newest knit wear magazine.  It's uber easy - the kind of knit that you can take along and never worry about the count ... just pick it up where you left off and continue on!   Knitting with mohair - now THAT'S a horse of a different color!  Mohair makes my skin crawl.  
There's beading going on as well.  Never a dull moment!  How are you surviving this heat wave?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

outdoor wanderings

My sister gave me a little Gingko tree grown from seed -
Location is important so I have not been hasty ... I'm considering several sites.  I want to plant it at the foot of an aging apple tree where it will one day shade my Aphrodite hosta.  But I worry.  When the ancient tree topples, will it take the tender gingko with it?

I also have this little bay which has been struggling.
I finally realized the culprit today - a nasty case of scale disease.  Alcohol on a q-tip is the favored remedy.  
The hydrangeas continue to please - it seems as though every vessel I have is filled to the brim with various shades of this wonderful flowering shrub.
Plans to enlarge and open my potting shed for retail are on hold.  Thank goodness the hydrangeas continue as always!  The lonicera is failing and will be taken off the trellis.  Climbing roses will take its place.  Scarlet roses? Pink?
A little door knocker which originally graced the back entrance at my mother's house.   I could not bear to leave it behind.  So many precious memories and 'things' were left.  One has to make peace with it all.
The herb garden in late July - time for planting autumn crops ... radish, chard, beets, onions and the like.  
And upstairs in the sewing room - all kinds of goodies emerge ...