Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting Ready

Oops. Haven't posted for quite a long time--but this time it's good.

With one week less for holiday prep (Thanksgiving being so late this year), I'm sprinting. I have been busy. In addition to the cleaning and planning I have been baking and knitting.

The knits are still on the simple side. I just can't get the hang of the lovely "Thorin's Armour Socks"; one day, maybe.

But I did finish the shawl for my MiL. And I made a few other gift knits. I still have to block one, and I've made simple socks with really simple crochet trim and there are a few other things in the works.

This cloche is from Boutique Knits. It was made for a friend's birthday present.

This is the shawl I made for my MiL.

 Simple, heavy socks for me

Just for fun, in honor of the US opening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug...
I made him for a swap. He now lives in England. (I think he's been posted on this blog previously.)

As for baking: gingerbread reindeer, orange snowballs, noels, cranberry orange brownies, whiskey thumbprints, peanut butter kiss cookies. So far. And two kinds of fruitcake--my basic light fruitcake, and an experiment, a tropical fruitcake (papaya, mango, kiwi, macadamia nuts, pineapple, rum). The light fruitcake will be the base for this year's Christmas Cake.

I also managed to pack up the first Christmas box today; it's got to go out soon.

But today--tonight, really, I'll be at the cinema! There be dragons. One, anyway. Speaking with the voice of Mr. Cumberbatch. Which is no bad thing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Colds and Knitting

You'd think the two would play nicely. But with my sinuses all mucked up my brain seems fuzzy. The pumpkin hat was simple enough. But I don't even want to work on the easy lace socks I'm making. And the 30s dress is out, thinking is necessary for that one.

Here's the pumpkin hat before it got to its real owner. Tommy agreed to model, but he looks a little confused. I'm not sure what he thought he was agreeing to wear.

I made a simple garter stitch shawlette for my MiL and am working up an easy ruffle for edging. I managed to make four dishcloths for my SiL's Christmas gift. That seems to be the extent of my knitting ability presently.

Here's hoping this rotten cold will vacate the premises, and soon.

Still. It did provide us all with at least one photo of the Prince of the Harvest. Maybe it's not all that bad.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


Summer got away from me. But in a nice way.

My sister and I finally got away for a long weekend. (A minor miracle, as we've been trying to do this for about 17 years.) We went to Austin, TX, and had a good time. Lots of walking around, good food, shopping--vintage and for presents for those left at home.

Then I went to the first rockabilly weekender I've been to in years. Ten, maybe? It's been a looong time. My husband and I went--and Nora (the car). She didn't start for the return trip, so he had her flatbedded back. And of course she started later, after coming home. Maybe she thinks a grande dame shouldn't have to do so much work without a rest.

But here's some genuine knitting content:

This is the Perfect Pumpkin Hat for All (sportweight version) from Ravelry. It's designed by Janet Jameson.

I made this for the baby of friends whom I know from MI; other dancers. It still needs to be blocked and sewn together, but it was a very fast and amusing knit. Who knows, maybe I'll use it to make a pumpkin tea cozy for this fall!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Meet Nora Charles

...and me. I'm sorry I don't have a full-length photo to put up right now. We've taken her out quite a few times already, including a 100 miles + round-trip to Tiverton for lunch on the 4th of July.

My husband is still getting used to driving her, but I haven't begun yet; it's been 20 years since I've driven a stick shift! I'll get there, though.

We are also planning on bringing her to a rockabilly weekender this coming September, so if you're going to be at The New England Shake Up come up and say hello at the car show! Or at any other point...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Crescent Park Carousel

This was taken on Saturday. We took Nora (the 1939 Olds) to the weekly cruise at Crescent Park, which is also home to this very beautiful and famous carousel (merry-go-round, if you prefer!).

Next time I want to ride one of the up-and-down horses...or maybe lounge in a dragon chariot.

Crescent Park, East Providence, RI

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Out with the Plymouth, In with the Old(smobile)

Today we said goodbye to Ruby.
We've just bought a 1939 Oldsmobile (sedan) and she's already in the garage. Oddly, we made the switch with both at the house at the same time! Ruby is going down to the Carolinas, to someone who works in the movie industry--a grip, I think. So perhaps she'll be ready for her close-up one day.

The Olds doesn't have a name yet; as before, DH and I can't quite agree yet, but we'll get there. She's a beauty, and in very good condition. She was re-conditioned beautifully by her last owner, even to the interior.
There are a few problems, like two cracked windows--the man who sold him the new glass clearly didn't give him safety glass. It happened on closing the doors. We'll get that fixed. The radio doesn't work, and there are a couple of other tiny things. But she's a beauty, and not only do we plan to bring her to the Steelyard next month, we're expecting to drive her to the rockabilly weekender we're attending in September!
Pictures...and her name...coming soon.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Roses and knitting swaps

I did a count yesterday. I have 14 David Austin roses (13 varieties), 5 hybrid teas, 1 florabunda, and 2 Knockouts, as well as 2 Drift roses. And yes, I am planning on more! But next year: I want to put in a small rose hedge along one side of the fence, enough that I'll be able to make rose petal jam and have candied rose petals on a regular basis.

Things are off by about a week, even though we had such warm weather in mid-May, but it's all looking very pretty. The kale and the nasturtiums are doing well (salads!) and my husband tilled up another small section of the yard, so I have to plan that out soon.

For knitting, I'm working on two pairs of socks, and plotting for a Smaug themed swap on Ravelry. I'm having quite a lot of fun choosing and making things and planning. I do wonder what Tolkien would have made of this?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Birthday Cake

The theme for birthday cakes is still roses, it seems.

Here's this year's cake, a chocolate zucchini cake with rose buttercream frosting. The garnish is crystallized rose petals and pearl dragees, with edible glitter dust (I picked that up at Selfridges on our trip to England in April).

Friday, May 03, 2013

Neil Gaiman's Advice to Artists--Pay Attention

I've got other things to write--about England, about my garden this year, spring...and other things. But this, this speech to graduates in 2012, is some of the best I've ever heard. I wish I'd heard it many years ago, and even now I can benefit from many of the things he says.

I hope you can benefit from it too. If it also makes you curious about his books and other work, good. You should be--curious enough to seek it out, if you haven't already done so.

Sorry it's not embedded, I'm having trouble with getting that to work. This will take you to the site of the university where the address was heard, and there is a transcript below the video.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Been A While..

Sorry! I've been busy...knitting. Watching The Hobbit (just bought the DVD, too, so I'll be re-watching...what, you didn't know I was a Tolkien nerd?) and getting ready for a trip to London.

This is from a Jack Frost booklet published in 1939. It's the first of two sweaters I've made from this booklet; I have no pictures of the other, unfortunately, as my camera and my new laptop aren't very fond of  one another.

The London trip is a long-time dream come true. My husband has a business trip coming up, and I will be able to tag along. We are going to a vintage dance event one evening, and an East End show another night. We're also hoping to dine at Simpson's-On-the-Strand.

Overall, it's keeping me busy.

Happy Easter, all. I hope I will have some good photos and stories after we return.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wondermade Bourbon Marshmallows

This was a gift from the marvelous Jan of Stock, in Providence, RI. With a proviso: that I experiment with it and report back!

I'm nothing if not grateful for anything with a touch of bourbon in it, so here goes!

In a cup of whiskey-spiked mocha.
I made mocha with organic cocoa, instant espresso powder, 1% milk, water, and a half teaspoon of rye whiskey (we're out of bourbon).

I'm not generally a marshmallow fan, but these are very good--what a tradional marshmallow ought to be, I think. They taste fresh out of the package, and have a good, fluffy texture. The melt is quick and even.

Melting nicely...
 I would also serve these in miniature s'mores. They'd be wonderful for a comfort food dinner party dessert. Imagine them on chocolate covered graham crackers, with a bourbon-spiked Creme Anglaise on the side!

There are also a number of 1930s and 40s frosting recipes which require marshmallows--I'd use these in a heartbeat.

As for the bourbon's very mild, almost not there, but if tested side-by-side with the other available flavors, I think it would be more notable.

All in all, I would buy these, and yes, I'd be interested in trying the other flavors: gingerbread, Guinness, pumpkin pie, peppermint, and s'mores.

This, too: if you're anywhere near the Providence metro area, stop in at Stock (I was planning to mention this long before the marshmallow gift!). It's a beautiful locally owned shop. The items there are classic, or quirky, or'll find kitchen utensils, cookware, bakeware, cookbooks (new and vintage), dish towels, knives...and whatever else has struck the owners' fancies. It changes regularly, so stop in again if you don't find what you're looking for the first time. I've purchased frosting dyes, dish towels, parchment, and a small cutting board, among other things. Who knows what I'll find next time?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Perrier Blouse (1938)

So far, January has been as lazy as December was mad--for me, anyway. I don't mean nothing has been done around here, but I'm no longer crazy for 12 hours at a time.

And I'm able to knit for myself again! Of course I'm planning things for others, and presently making another pair of socks for DH, but mostly I've been working on a 30s blouse.

It's from a Jack Frost pattern booklet of 1938. Most of the Jack Frost pattern books you find now are from the 40s and feature rather bulky knits. This one--the only 30s JF booklet I have--features things that are a bit more steamlined.

This particular blouse, the Perrier (yes, like the water) is the second pattern. It's a short sleeved blouse, mostly in stockinette with garter trim at the top and the sleeve cuffs. There are two small garter stitch squares that overlap for breast pockets.

I'm making it with some fairly rustic yarn, not the usual for this kind of sweater, but the gauge was perfect and I'm fond of the color, a seafoam green. It's from a thrift shop sweater I frogged a few years ago. It appears to be 100% wool, but I haven't done a burn test. It acts like wool, however.

The patterns were usually offered as a (vintage) 14 or 16--this one is a 14, and that's a bit small for me. A vintage 14 is about the equal of a modern 4 - 6. Rather than re-write the pattern I've added an inch to the ribbing, half an inch to the body, and used a needle one size up on parts of the body, working gradually, then going back to the original needle size again for the shoulders (mine are narrow).

I have also modified it to use a three-needle bind off for the shoulder seams. I'll block the body before adding the sleeves, which are picked up and knitted down, but flat, not in the round.

So far it's going very quickly--cast on was a week ago, and I'm nearly at the shoulder shaping for the front (started with the back).

With any luck I'll have it to wear in the next week or so, and will remember to take some good photos and post them here!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Miscellaneous Christmas and a Long Winter's Nap

Christmas Cake, tree and presents for friends.
On the 11th Day of Christmas, here are a few more images. (And the image of the Christmas Cake. We finished it today.)
2012 Christmas Cake
The Bros. Siamese recommend sleeping, this time of year in particular.

Dark Fruitcake, made for a friend's family, at her request.