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Showing posts from 2015

All is Calm

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This is the calm before the crazy. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The baking is finished, the shopping is done, the presents are wrapped. Six grandkids will be under the tree tomorrow and I'll be ready for them. I didn't decorate much this year. Just some greens I picked up at Trader Joe's, the tree got trimmed and I brought a few things out of storage. With so much unrest in the world, I really needed some peace this year. I braved the Christmas shopping madness just twice. Tomorrow we're a houseful for dinner and delight. But I'll also keep Christmas quietly in my heart and pray for peace that the world so desperately needs. 

Filet Mignon - Yes, Please!

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Have you ever looked at the gorgeous beef filet in the butcher's section of your grocery store and wished you could make a perfect Filet Mignon for your lover?  Never mind impressing your mother-in-law!  Christmas is coming. And after that New Year's Eve. Just the two of you, snuggled up with champagne and a lovely dinner. The kids are with grandma. Or maybe you don't have children yet. Or it's Christmas Eve and the candles are lit, the music is playing and you're wrestling with a turkey or worse? I wouldn't recommend trying this on company without a bit of experience. Come on. You're worth it! Get a couple of steaks, thick cut little beauties for the two of you and give it a try!  You need a heavy skillet that can go in the oven on high temperatures. And you need a good meat thermometer. Preferably and instant digital read one. Here's what you do. You can send me a note to thank me later.

First, in your pan (10" works well) melt some butter and ol…

Mittens for 3 Little Kittens

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I was reading in bed the other night, occasionally looking up to chat with bug the devil out of my husband who was actually trying to read his book. I was explaining that I was knitting mittens for the first time and that I was making a pair for each of the little grandsons for their Christmas stockings. A nursery rhyme about mittens and kittens came flowing back into my brain from kindergarten but I could only recall part of it. Do little ones actually learn nursery rhymes any more? It must have been a fairly good brain exercise if I could recall even a few lines almost 60 years later. Maybe I'll look it up and teach is to my little grandsons when I give them the mittens. So it goes like this:

Three Little Kittens

Three little kittens, they lost their mittens and they began to cry. Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear that we have lost our mittens. What? Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens! Then you shall have no pie!

Okay, there we go. Kittens crying, mother scolding and withholding…

Fiber Festival Finds

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Daughter and I ventured north to Massachusetts last weekend, following fiber fumes. First to WEBS, America's Yarn Store. We circled the yarn like hunters after big game. We were both satisfied with our purchases, only to discover that the commonwealth doesn't charge tax on yarn. What??? And we had purchased enough to qualify for the BIG discount. No shipping. The price of gas is down and WEBS is only an hour and half away. WEBS is now my lys, just saying. I bought some Juniper Moon Farm Findley to make the Imogen Tee for next spring. I thought I was very reasonable, considering I don't spend much time in yarn stores. Then we were off to the Fiber Festival of New England, which was just a few miles away. I was looking for breed-specific roving that I hadn't spun before. I settled on 4 ounces of Falkland from Spunky Eclectic in the color "Pumpkin". I might save the resulting yarn for those cute little knitted pumpkins I saw on Ravelry earlier this year.  We me…

Stitching and Sneezing

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I finished my "Pebble Beach Shawl" by designer Helen Stewart after we came home from our trip. It's the medium size in Malabrigo "Indecita". I tried photographing it outside but the colors only came true in low lighting inside the house. I love the way Helen writes her patterns and will definitely try one of hers again.
Not sure if was the color of the yarn or the wine that made the going difficult on black needles. I ordered some new double points from KnitPicks in their Sunstruck wood. There should be no excuses now. I need a winter hat and I have enough Malabrigo worsted for a hat and I think I can get a cowl out of it. The color is "Velvet Grapes". It's a lot more purple and less pink than in the picture.
And I've picked up "Pour Moi" by Versaci Knits again. The wool is Knitpicks "Wool of the Andes" in camel. It's toothy and rustic but it will keep me warm when it's finished. It should wear like iron. The origi…

The Secret Garden

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I picked up a copy of The Secret Garden for a dollar when my local library was having a book sale last summer. Somehow I'd missed reading it as a child. One at a time, I'm trying to catch up on some of the classics I missed. Last time, it was Anna Karenina. I took it as something to stay occupied while my son was having his wisdom teeth removed. That day, I felt like throwing Anna under the train myself.
Looking for something lighter, I took The Secret Garden along on our trip, reading a few pages each night before going to sleep. I know it's dated. There's some racism in the original copy I have, and that reflects the time in which it was written. I didn't allow that to ruin the book for me, though and I understand it's been edited and updated with a new voice by Briton Bailey.
I hope much of the original text remains the same. Many of us have been through tough situations, both with our own health and issues with the people we love. I believe it takes coura…

The Wild Gardens of Acadia, Maine

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I wanted to stay longer. It did't matter that the ferns had turned a golden brown. Everywhere I looked was natural beauty. Mushrooms, streams troubled by landing insects into waves of glassy water. White birch, goldenrod, wild asters, lichens, reindeer moss. I didn't want to leave but the tour bus was waiting.

Tending Weeds - Sweet Annie

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The definition of a weed:

Aplantconsideredundesirable,unattractive,ortroublesome,especiallyonethatgrowswhereitis
not wanted.

So, by definition, I've apparently been cultivating undesirable plants. Troublesome plants. Plants nobody wants. A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding a small area behind the pool filter that had become somewhat overgrown. As I yanked and pulled, I recognized a familiar fragrance. "Sweet Annie" - I'd been pulling out a patch of "Sweet Annie"! So I quickly dug a couple of holes in the back of my so-called vegetable patch, and dropped in a couple of handfuls of roots and stem. Last fall I bought some branches of "Sweet Annie", or Artimisia annua from a vendor at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York. I'd previously planted some seeds but never identified any seedlings. Anyway, I formed my "Annie" into a wreath with green florists' wire and added some dried Hydrangea blossoms to comple…

Euptoieta claudia & Indiecito

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This beautiful thing is a Variegated Fritillary (or Euptoieta claudia). She didn't get into a face off with the large bee that shared the branch of butterfly bush with her. She just elegantly enjoyed sipping and flitting around on a warm September afternoon. It struck me that her wings backlit by the sun, matched the centers of the flowerettes perfectly. When looking for color combinations for yarn dying, fiber artists frequently take a cue from nature and this is a perfect example of colors that I would never have tried to combine.


I've barely started a new project - a Pebble Beach Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart in Malabrigo Arroyo in a variegated colorway called Indiecita (Little Indian). I wasn't sure if I'd like this pattern in this particular yarn. It reminds me of a beachy, summer sunset. Another inspiration from nature. Someone said that there's nothing new in the world. All we have to do is look around and appreciate what's here.