Monday, December 01, 2014

Winter Reading Challenge


Janie at Seasonal Soundings is hosting a Winter Reading Challenge.  No list of books to read is too short or too long.  Everyone is encouraged to become intentional in reading. 


Here is my winter reading list:

England Have My Bones - T.H. White
The Road to Serfdom - F.A. Hayek
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe - Alexander McCall Smith
The Fairy Babies - Laura Rountree Smith
His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren - Adrian Tinniswood
In Spite of All Terror - Hester Burton
Water Wheel Turn - Hilda Boden
Allen Tate: Collected Poems 1919-1976 - Allen Tate

Come, join the reading fun!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A wreath for a knitter

Someone posted a picture on Facebook of a wreath made with balls of yarn and knitting needles.  I asked Jacy and Joan if they would make one for me if I supplied the materials.  Yesterday afternoon Joan went out with a list and this morning I have a new wreath on my door!

We looked at the website with the original picture, but couldn't find instructions.  Still, it was easy to figure out a way to make it, although the wreath that was our inspiration may have been put together differently.

Supplies for my wreath:
 * 1 wire wreath frame
 * 3 packs of styrofoam balls in 3 different sizes
 * florist's wire
 * yarn in various colors, gauges, fibers
 * 1 pair of large (mine are size US 13) and long aluminum knitting needles
 * Modge Podge, if desired (we ended up not using it)

I showed Joan how to wrap the yarn around the styrofoam balls, as if she were using a nostepinne.  We thought about spraying the finished yarn-balls with Modge Podge, but Joan just tucked the yarn-end under the wrapped yarn, then slipped florist's wire under a few strands of yarn and wired them to the wreath frame.  Finally she stuck the needles under the yarn on several balls and it was done!


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Sonnet 73

That time of year thou may'st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by-and-by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
   This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
                                          
                                             ~William Shakespeare

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Monday, November 10, 2014

November baby blanket

I found a new-to-me crocheted edge that I love!  It's from the book The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden and it's called "Crown Picot Edging."  A couple at church is expecting their first child later this month.  They will find out if the baby is a boy or a girl when the baby is born, so I made single crochet rounds in gray, pink, blue, yellow, and green before finishing up with the crown edging. The edging does have a strong tendency to curl, so unblocked it looks more like a ruffle than a crown.  However, using a good steam iron on it flattens it enough to coronate the blanket. (The body of the blanket is crocheted using the "Turtle Stitch" from the same book.)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mother/Daughter Lone Star Quilt

From 1973 through 1974 my mother cut (with scissors, not a rotary blade) and sewed (by hand, not with her sewing machine) all these diamonds to make a Lone Star quilt to match my pink and red bedroom.  I was 12. 

Her original plan was to piece the large star, then applique it to a large piece of background fabric, but she couldn't figure out how to do it.  So she set the star aside.  A few years ago she found the star, and gave it to me so I could finish the quilt.  This March I pulled it out and got to work.  I decided to square out the star with aqua fabric instead of trying to applique such a large piece.  Then I found one of the original pink fabrics used and cut it to frame the star.  A second blue frame was added to make the quilt large enough for a queen-size bed.  I used a second aqua material as binding, and made the back from a material with a paisley pattern (I love paisley!) in reds, pinks, aquas, and blues. I hand-quilted with red cotton thread.

This quilt was forty years in the making and I'm so happy to have it, and thankful my mother can see the finished product of her hard work.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring quilting

This colorful , "busy" quilt top was given to me by my mother a few years ago.  I washed it, folded it up, put it in a closet and thought I'd finish it eventually.  Last month I pulled it out and had a really good look at it. 

First, I wondered who pieced it.  It was hand-pieced with black thread.  The black thread, the fabric designs, the fabric age, and the fact that I recognized the green fabric as belonging to my grandmother lead us to believe that she pieced this top.  Grandmother didn't do it while Mom was still living at home with her parents, and some of the fabric looks 60's - 70's - ish, so we think she probably did it in the 1970's. 

Then I ironed the top, found a sheet I liked from the thrift store, pinned top, cotton batting, and sheet together, and began quilting.  My local yarn store had a bright orange fabric that I liked so I used it to cut bias strips and make the binding.  It covers my king-size bed, but really would be perfect for a double bed. 

The only remaining task is to stitch a label telling who made it and when.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

3rd Annual Festival of Alabama Fiber Arts

This Friday and Saturday (April 25 - 26) the third annual Festival of Alabama Fiber Arts will be held in Montgomery, AL at the Alabama National Fairgrounds.  This is the first year the event will be all indoors.  I'm going with a friend.  She and I both went the first year and enjoyed it.  Neither of us were able to attend last year, and this year it looks as though it will be bigger and better than ever, with lots to see, do, and buy for fiber enthusiasts and others. More information is available at Festival of Alabama Fiber Arts

Monday, October 14, 2013

Winter Squash Soup

Marley has been asking for winter squash soup - made at home, from fresh squash - not the boxed soup I normally get her when she asks for it.  So today I finally honored her request and the result was quite delicious.

I scoured cookbooks and the internet for recipes that looked good, techniques for simplifying the process, and a list of ingredients that I liked.  By combining some and tweaking others, I came up with this recipe.

WINTER SQUASH SOUP

1 large butternut squash
1 large acorn squash
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped in small pieces
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
32 oz chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
salt
pepper
cayenne pepper

Wash both squashes, then with a sharp knife, prick the butternut squash several times.  Place squash in microwave oven and cook for about 4 1/2 minutes.  This softens the tough skin.  Cut both squashes in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds with a spoon. (Seeds may be saved and washed, then roasted for garnish if desired.)

Arrange squash halves on foil-lined baking sheet, cut side up.  Brush each half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper.  Place in 425-degree oven and roast for one hour. 

Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then scrape the cooked squash out of their skins into soup pot.  In small skillet saute the onion in the butter until onion is tender and translucent.  Add skillet contents to soup pot. If desired, mix the squash and onions thoroughly with a mixer or egg beater.  Slowly pour in chicken broth and stir broth and squash together until thoroughly mixed.  Add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and the cream (or Half & Half).  Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through.  Eat. 

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