Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meanwhile, in Santa's workshop...

...in a manner of speaking. That's the first day's baking. Two kinds of Christmas cookies (noels and peanut butter Kiss cookies), plus plain peanut butter cookies for DH.

The wrap/shawl/lap afghan is a large Cozy (pattern for free on Knitty) which is to be my MiL's Christmas present. I bound off, washed and dried it today.

Yesterday I made lavender shortbread and fruit and nut bars. We'll be well-stocked for our open house on Christmas Day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for many things this year: my husband, other family, friends, good health...our house.

And as always, knitting (yarn!) and food.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

But I AM knitting...really

It's just that it's all gift knitting. And some (though not all) of the recipients read the blog, and so I'm stuck keeping track and/or griping about it on Knitty, to the cats, or to DH.

In other news, I did make DH's birthday cake today. Chocolate with chocolate marzipan filling and almond buttercream frosting. The leftovers I turned into cupcakes (filled) for the Rhode Island Antiques Mall Black Friday Sale.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And now, for the Circus

Here we are...another Chifferobe event. Lady Medusa and The Ringmaster!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Getting Closer...and a birthday wish

...to the holidays and all. But first: Happy Birthday, Meg! (My baby sister...who turned none-of-your-business this year. Wish I could see you today.)

We went for a drive yesterday and ended up at the North Shore (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly Farms, etc., in MA). A lovely day and a gorgeous area.

The first thing we hit was a church craft fair/Christmas sale. We passed on the crafts, but found some wonderful things at the White Elephant sale...including tins for holding cookies, a nice glass jar for candies, a needlepoint pillow and more. Cost? A whopping $2.00!

The book sale yielded some goodies, too; DH found a birding guide, we got a few vintage boys adventure books, and I found another narrow basket--I use them to hold produce on the cellarway. I've paid as much as $10.00 for one. This one set me back twenty-five cents. And...DH spotted a vintage Swansdown Cake Flour promotional booklet from 1939. It's in sad condition, but still readable. The endorser is Kate Smith (the Kate Smith who sang Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"). Great recipes! I'm going to use the Almond Butter Cream frosting for DH's birthday cake in a week or so.

We pressed on, to a LYS, as I needed yarn for a gift project. We stopped at the shop we've been to previously and walked in on a signing and trunk show for Ann Weaver.

Yes, we bought the book! DH has already requested the cabled scarf/wrap, etc. pattern (can't remember the name of it now); about 200 yards of worsted cables, with button and buttonholes to take it from one incarnation to another.

She was fun to talk to, and we stayed a while. She was also very gracious about a scarf and hat I designed and made last year (I wore them yesterday), but never wrote up. It's not on the blog, though I might have mentioned it in passing.

She's even offered to be a test knitter. So if you're reading this, Ann, I really do intend to find the pattern notes and send them on; failing that, I'll read the end results and send that. I'm not sure exactly when, but I will do it!

I am doing some knitting--and finished some more--but can't mention any of it until after the holidays.

On a final knitterly note, my KnitPicks package just came. I used the gift certificate my sister sent me more than a year ago and used it toward a couple of blocking board squares and some sock yarn. It was on the doorstep when we came home last night!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day / Armistice Day

Today is Veterans Day (US) or Armistice Day. "Happy" seems an odd word to tack on to either one, but it's an important day to remember.

So to all the veterans I know--and don't know--thank you. This includes my father, my great uncle, my husband and father-in-law, my good friend Nathan, my ex-husband and his father...and many, many more.

There are many books about war, in all centuries, non-fiction and fiction. If you are interested in a slightly biased account that is an excellent first-hand depiction, I recommend The Ladies From Hell, by R. Douglas Pinkerton.

He was a Scot who penned a fairly short, terse memoir that includes enough of the horrors of trench warfare to give an idea of what these men--mostly very young men--went through.

At present, there are several modern mystery authors who write of the post WWI period, including Jacqueline Winspear, who writes the Maisie Dobbs series.

An excellent post WWI (Great War) mystery of the Golden Age of mystery is Dorothy L. Sayers's The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. Her own husband, Mac, was a veteran who suffered from mustard gas damage and shell shock.

So, again: thank you everyone, for serving your country.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cocktail Time

This is an Ideal Cocktail, courtesy of the Savoy Cocktail Book.


Ideal Cocktail

2 parts gin
1 part Italian [sweet] vermouth
3 dashes Maraschino liqueur
1 tbl. grapefruit juice

Shake over clean ice; strain.

The original recipe calls for "a small nut" for garnish. (I passed.)

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

On your mark...

Go! Here we are heading into the holidays. I got a jump start with all that preserving / canning.

Since I went so crazy last year, with the tree being decorated almost entirely with handmade ornaments (I'm not sure I ever want to see royal icing again) this year will probably be relatively low-key in that respect.

Thanksgiving first, of course. As we ate at home last year, we're going out this time. DH doesn't want to make it into a trip, so we'll be dining locally at one of the "fine" restaurants in the area--we're spoiled for choice, so it's bound to be good, no matter the place.

I think I want to make a dessert, though. Once we climb out of our food coma, there will be something good on hand...a couple of years ago I made a cranberry polenta tart, courtesy of a recipe from the New York Times. That's a front-runner; so is apple pie. We found more RI Greenings!

So what are the Christmas plans?

*See if the tree will be safe with the traditional ornaments, now that the cats are three.

*Finish the (minimal) gift shopping and send things off. I probably won't include cookies this year, it will be preserves instead.

*Do the bind-off on MiL's gift, which is otherwise finished. The second gift is done, too (can't show it, I think the recipient reads the blog), and I need to dig out the pattern for the third gift to be made.

*New this year: mince pies, now that I have the homemade mincemeat. Also, I want to make a plum pudding. On Halloween night I made candied orange and lemon peel, which are necessary for a traditional pudding.

*Dinner at home, as usual, though maybe we'll do the big one on Christmas Eve and then have brunch, followed by tea on Christmas Day.

Everyone take a deep breath, make your lists, and we'll all be fine. (Bookmark this and feel free to come back and laugh at me in about five weeks if you like.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


It's not a right everyone enjoys, even today. Revel in it; let your voice be heard.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Only seven

Only seven trick-or-treaters this year. But a five year old did tell his mother to tell me that we had good jack o'lanterns, which I was glad to hear. It was fun to carve them.

The smiling fella is copied from an October 1926 Good Housekeeping (one of the ads), and the other a product of my retro brain. I think he looks the part, too.

I hope you had a happy Halloween. Ours was good...and I've got lots of roasted pumpkins seeds. A nice dividend from the pumpkins!