Friday, January 31, 2014

a best sort of friend

 I will be heading out the door very soon to spend some time with a special friend. She became a widow last January when the solo flight airplane her husband was piloting crashed. He was deemed an hero because he successfully guided the troubled plane over a heavily populated neighborhood onto an open field. He was just that kind of man.

We will pray and laugh and talk about Jesus. We will knit and eat whenever the mood strikes. We will stay up late and drink coffee tomorrow morning while still in our nightgowns and plan the morning's ventures. We will remember and cry tears. Because isn't that the best sort of friend, after all?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hill Day Yarn Along

When I was a child Wednesday was known as Hill Day, therefore, it happens to keep this description in my brain. Wednesday resides smack dab in the middle of the week, you reach the top of the hill and a coast down the hill begins until you slam straight into the weekend.

So it is on this Hill Day in the last week of January, that I contribute my knitting and reading pursuits of the week for Ginny's Yarn Along. At least two knitting projects and one crochet project are on my needles, or hook, at the present, but I am about to finish these mitts today. The yarn, Ty-Dy Wool, in the color of Berries, is being knit on # 7 double points with the pattern toast. I more than likely have shared this pattern before, but I love these mitts in their simplicity and function. Mitts are worn even inside the house by me throughout the days of winter, especially since I seem to lack warm hands during cold weather.

                                            "Because the road was steep and long,
                                              And through a dark and lonely land,
                                                God set upon my lips a song
                                               And put a lantern in my hand."
                                                                              ~Joyce Kilmer

Bess Street Aldrich writes a tender story, in this case about a  courageous woman who chose willingly and sacrificially to give of herself to her family, understanding that eternal things are the most priceless gifts we are given in our lives. A Fine Romance by Susan Branch takes you on a delightful journey to England, via the RMS Queen Mary. Her hand-written journal entries and illustrations flow throughout its pages making you feel as if you were stuffed into her suitcase to ramble alongside her to enjoy parts of the English countryside, the historical homes, and the sipping of tea in tea rooms. One evening I drew a hot bath to soak in and with anticipation opened its pages. One could begin and end this book with only one seatting, but my bath water became too tepid! But by the next day I had returned back home from my trip, just wanting to go back again( but for real this time).

Friday, January 24, 2014

afternoon tea

"Let's have tea, shall we?"

Around 4ish, we take tea. We enjoy the variety of teapots, teacups, and trays we are able to employ. Sometimes we might seize a scone or cookie to go along with our tea. One thing is for certain, we like our tea served steaming hot.

An urging that brings sweet repose.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

under the weather

"In this life you've got to hope for the best, prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends."    

Lucy Maud Montgomery

I love to find words from books or poems that describe a piece of my life, something I might be experiencing at the present. Lucy Maud Montgomery appears to supply quotes that make one feels as if she is living there right by your side giving such true words of credence.

 For the past few days, I have succumbed to a"under the weather" condition. I do not consider it the flu, but the symptoms certainly bring normal life activities to a slower pace.

I  am drinking plenty of hot teas, some rather nasty tasting medicinal ones, and resting.

And while I am resting, I take up my knitting and join the world of Cranford.

"When sickness hits we should remember that this period of time is part of the whole of life. This is not just a non-time to be shoved aside, but a portion of time that counts. It is part of the well person's life as well as the sick person's life."
What is a Family        
Edith Schaeffer

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

winter time yarn along

Knitting woolen things during this season of winter has always been my preference. The warm needles, because I like bamboo, and various wools and wool blend fibers create cobwebs of warmth in my brain. Therefore, I am joining Ginny's yarn along this week  to share my latest winter knitting project and two books that are being presently read in my home.

 On some afternoons Charlotte reads to me while I knit, or you might find us gathering together  with a china pot of hot tea and I will read to her, Miracles on Maple Hill.  In the evenings we sometimes position ourselves as a family in front of the TV to watch the old BBC's production of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small. Naturally, I will knit contentedly until I find myself nodding because of a full day. Then I will hurry up to my warm bed and enter the World of Thrush Green until my eyes can barely stay open a minute longer.
A winter day ends.

Lately, I have been knitting the Margaret Dashwood shawl (Jane Austen Knits) in a 50% wool/ 50% alpaca yarn of teal blue with vague streaks of aquamarine caught in the winter's light.

I am rather fascinated by this shawls wrap-around ability.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

vintage cakes

"O Winter, king of intimate delights..."  William Cowper

And delicious cakes to extend the delight, I might add, especially when the cold blasts of winter arrive and baking takes on special industry.

I can't specifically say I am baking my way through this book, yet I am purposely having fun choosing certain recipes to experiment with and mark as cake favorites. Thus far, all that I have undertaken to bake have been worth it all both in time and effort. Jane Brocket certainly has a way with elevating even the most quotidian activity to new levels. The photographs of cakes displayed in this book are candy for the eyes with its vintage hand-embroidiered tablecloths, delicate china plates and unique cakestands. You might just find yourself pulling out a notepad with plans to begin a list on which ones to try first. Some of the cake recipes given are not what you might consider traditional cakes necessarily, but muffins, cookies, doughnuts and sweet breads. Still, all very good. Many of the pages included backgrounds of particular cakes and snippets of cultural history to how they were served.

The Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate cake with the addition of a half cup of espresso (or strong coffee); brown sugar is used in the frosting which I thought was different, but I liked the results.

Simple Chocolate Cake, a vintage "tried and true" cake, requires the simplest ingredients. It is a perfect cake to have fun with decorating as I did here for a dear friend's birthday back in October when the nasturtiums still bloomed in my garden.

Retro cakes bring back such fond memories, and since this is the season for fresh pineapple, a Pineapple Upside Down cake was baked over the Christmas holidays for a family that had just lost a member of their family. So sad and unexpected; I thought of the sweetness that this dear man added to his wife, children and grandchildren. I hugged them as I delivered the cake, and my tears were the best part of what I could express to them at the time.

This particular cake is not in the book, but I love the cake enough to include it in my list of vintage cakes. The recipe for this Buttermilk Cake can be found here. We celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday this past weekend which naturally included the decorating and lighting of candles. Charlotte sprinkled winter colors of silver and blue upon its snowy top.

 My notepad list had me also baking the Celebration and Madeira cakes. The gingerbread might just be my next treat to bake, inspiration is bubbling around the edges!

Friday, January 3, 2014

a clean and tidy way

January has blown in, literally with vigorous winds, colder temps and bleak beauty all around.

The Christmas decorations have been taken down and stored way back in the attic, until next year.

Yes, it is a clean and tidy way to begin a new year.

The lights will continue to glow over my kitchen windows during dark month of January, because dark comes early.

Little January
Will stay a month with me
And we will have such jolly times -
Just come along and see."
-  Winifred C. Marshall, January

reading and knitting with "small things"

I was pleased to discover Ginny had brought back her knitting and reading yarn along, because frankly I do find myself enjoying  the ...