Monthly Archives: November 2012

Jacob’s Ladder and no-mark HSTs

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The Jacob’s Ladder squares are coming along slowly but surely. I’ve decided I quite like the no-mark method of making half square triangles. I’ve tried it with a strip of paper or with a strip of template plastic and either way works fine.

Weekend Reading

The Quiet Rise of the Much-Maligned Condo from The Atlantic Cities.

Inside Fast Food Workers’ Historic Fight for Living Wages from The Atlantic Cities.

100 Notable Books of 2012 from The New York Times.

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? from the NY Times.

The Hard Life of an N.F.L. Long Shot from The NY Times.

 The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly from The NY Times Magazine.

The Big Shrink from the NY Times. I love this article about downsizing homes.

Could Cameras Be the Best Weapon Against Climate Change? from GOOD.

Labor, Interrupted: Cesareans, “cascading interventions,” and finding a sense of balance. From Harvard Magazine.

The Man Who Charged Himself With Murder from New York Magazine. “In the fall of 1993, Trevell Coleman, a former rapper part of Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy crew, shot a man and fled. Haunted by the incident, Coleman turns himself in to the police nearly two decades later.”

What are you reading this week?

Hook ’em young

Probably needless to say, Ian has been around knitting since the very beginning. When he was tiny, I perfected the art of knitting while he slept in my arms (and sometimes even while he was nursing, if I was situated...

Chicken Cordon Bleu and re-learning old lessons

It seems there are some life lessons I need to learn many times before they will stick in my head.  Tonight brought another one home to me, because I was motivated by a burning need to make Chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner.

Thursdays around here are BBC days, which means driving Miss Hannah into Boston for her weekly chorus rehearsal. I pick her up as soon as school lets out and she is there until 6:30.  Needless to say, this makes the idea of cooking dinner a challenge.  Until today, I have been driving her into the city and staying in the parent waiting room for the two hours of rehearsal, telling myself that I liked the couple of hours of knitting time, with no other responsibilities.  Who doesn’t love those minutes they can carve out for themselves where they “have” to work on something they enjoy?  Especially compared to coming home and doing housework?

This week, I asked Wiley to pick her up and I came straight home, because I wanted to make dinner – I’d planned on making it on Monday and didn’t get to, and could not get the craving for it out of my head. So, even though I knew the non-stop round trip would be annoying, and the traffic going home would be worse at 4:15, I did it anyway.

And I had such a better evening.

Because I *love* spending two hours in the kitchen creating a meal, especially when I am alone and can just putter along at my own pace, without anyone getting in my way or needing my attention.  I put on some of my favorite music and sang along, loudly.  I cooked delicious dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and had time to deal with the vegetable delivery box.  If I compare that to how stressed out and awful another night of take out makes me feel, or how overwhelming I find the noisy waiting room before all the kids settle into their rehearsals, the extra 20 minutes it takes to get home seems downright fabulous.

But the funny thing is, I already KNEW this stuff.  I know how digging in to cooking always make me feel better, even after a crappy day.  I know I like having time to myself in the house.  I know I would rather do those things than make small talk with a bunch of near strangers for two hours.  If I know all these things, how did I manage to convince myself that I would feel put upon if I went home and “worked” for those hours instead of staying there and knitting?  Why did I do that?  I have a theory on that, and it’s neither smart, nor flattering, and has to do with bitterness over divisions of household labor in our house, despite the fact that such bitterness is largely unwarranted.

Maybe this time the lesson will stick.  I can tell you that Wiley will be taking over pick-up duty from here on out -and I’ll be heading home to cook delicious food.

And the Chicken Cordon Bleu was delicious – everything my taste buds had been hoping for.

I Do Too Bake …

…not often and not very many things.  OK, mostly only one thing.  Susan Branch‘s recipe for nut bread… or in my case walnut/banana/raisin/cinnamon/nutmeg bread.

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So simple even I can do it :)


PS – I made the plate too.

Saturday’s Craft Show

Anyone in the Fredericksburg/Richmond area?
Come to Montpelier Center (17205 Mountain Rd, Montpelier, Va. 23192 for you GPS lovers) in  western Hanover County on Saturday from 9 to 3.

The show does not appear on their website but I'll be there! So come on over and say hullo! It promises to be a beautiful day and I love to meet blog followers.

Decking Our Halls

Even as we are busily preparing for the arrival of winter by composting and mulching over the garden beds and cleaning out chicken coops to place in fresh bedding (and a whole host of other things) we are also preparing for the arrival of winter’s greatest offering: Christmas.

I always liked the ancient idea that celebrating throughout December with feasts and friends – and plenty of gluhwein  (right Celeste???) and mead, I am sure -  was to enjoy the harvest and perishable items before they rotted and to fatten up their bodies and hearts for the long, lean, dark winter to come.  When we lived in upstate New York I could certainly empathize with such an idea.  The good times and goodies we amassed through the holidays got us through the rest of the cold grey winters, which often lasted through April (I clearly remember friends still skiing at that point – wearing shorts!).  Not that I disliked winter – far from it.  I still love the snow and wish we had more of it here in Virginia.

Though we have fairly warm winters here (generally our days remain well above freezing) it is still nice to use this time as an excuse to spend as much time with friends and family as possible (and bake up enough goodies to hopefully last long after).

So, we have put up our tree, hung our stockings, and placed evergreen branches generously throughout.  I even made a wreath for my new garden gate.

Even Alabama looks festive in his new jingle – bell collar:

Soon the cookie baking will begin, the parties will start, the house will be full of the sounds and smells of impending Christmas.

We can’t wait!


Tagged: Farm, Garden, Pets, Seasons

75th Anniversary of the Hindenburg

Last May was the anniversary of the Hindenburg Disaster. Here is the amazing Atlantic spread commemorating the day. Image 14 is the very essence of the 1930s-future.

Probably something you would like…

Aren’t these vintage French rooster stamps charming? They were originally used to teach children numbers. $34.

I am completely in love with this Ursa cub with the constellation stitched on her side.  $68.

27 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names

This is a great article about collecting French Rebus plates. The pictograms and words spell out a riddle or saying. Sadly, these are way out of my price range.

I have been laughing over this video for weeks now and it never stops being funny.

Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Eggs. This is everything that’s wonderful about breakfast food.

These Ideal Bookshelf prints by Jane Mount are as brilliant as they are lovely.

Speaking of books, my friend Amanda is a children’s librarian, and she has started a blog featuring the signatures of the children’s book authors she has been collecting since 1999. I especially like the ones with tiny illustrations!

11 Adorable Pets Growing Up With Their Humans. I love this!

I am currently watching (and loving!) Land Girls, “a popular series from the BBC, follows four members of the Women’s Land Army–women who worked on British farms during World War II for the war effort.”

Next up is Lark Rise to Candleford, “Flora Thompson’s charming love letter to a vanished corner of rural England is brought to life in this heartwarming, critically acclaimed BBC adaptation… Set in the late 19th century, this rich, funny and emotional series follows the relationship of two contrasting communities: Lark Rise, a small hamlet gently holding onto the past, and Candleford, a neighboring market town bustling into the future.”

Can you do me a huge favor? My friend Frank is entered in a photo contest at Backwoods, and his AWESOME picture needs votes. All you have to do is click here and “like” the Backwoods Facebook page, then click the little box in the upper right hand corner of this picture on page 11, second row (or whichever picture you think is best, although I don’t know how any pic could be better than this Father/Daughter rock climbing gem.). THANK YOU!

And be sure to check out the first of the BY HAND Holiday Gift Guides!

These are some of the things that are making me smile this week. What’s filling your heart with joy?

Finishing touches


The last little job for the outdoor decor was to re-use last years sparkly bits for a new wreath this year.