Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Swedish Tosca Cake

I've been wanting to make this Swedish Tosca Cake for a while, but it seemed a little much for just me and the two girls. With Felix heading home this morning I took the opportunity--it's a simple plain cake baked in a springform pan, but ten minutes before you take it from the oven you pour a mixture of melted butter, sugar, cream, and sliced almonds over the top to caramelize. It's just as delicious as it looks and we had it for tea this afternoon.

Recipe from Jane Brocket's Vintage Cakes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Daisy Makes Us Keep It in the Road

The last few days Daisy's been tooling around the house again on her scooter, issuing tickets. I believe Fitzwilliam was cited for camping on private property, and I know the Composer found a speeding ticket on his steering wheel--but at least I don't have to pay *his* fines.

I'm not sure I'm responsible for this plant's legal problems either. Is there really a statute regulating frond length?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Little Black Skirt, Ruffled

Daisy needed a black skirt for her children's choir, so I went with the cheapest, easiest, and most last-minute option--a man's black t-shirt from the thrift store, cut off below the armholes, with the top turned down to make an elastic casing (as a bonus, the discarded part of the tee said something about exotic cat rescue!).

Then I cut a few long strips from the sleeves, ran a gathering stitch down their middles, and then sewed them to the bottom right above the hem, to give it a little fancy.

No need to join the strips, just overlap them a little as you go.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Curtains from the Magic Stash

Company's coming--time to replace the laundry room curtains that shredded in the wash a month ago. 

Lucky for me, my Magic Stash contained a length of crisp white cotton the EXACT length I needed for two curtain panels, and the breadbox full of trim had some cotton lace. I truly do not know where this stuff comes from, but it's always there in my hour of need, and I'm grateful.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

And There's This One: Bonfire Night Log Cabin Quilt Top

But that's all I'm piecing until after Thanksgiving, at least. Time to do some quilting.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Black-Eyed Susan Log Cabin Quilt Top

Prolific, that's me these last few days. Here's a new quilt top interpreting black-eyed Susans, those ubiquitous wildflowers. Also, it uses up a lot of my yellow scraps. Quilting begins tomorrow.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn on a Bike

This is the brightest, and most stubborn, I have ever seen the silver maple leaves. This is a beautiful fall, and the days swing from bright and cold to warm and nostalgic. 

Either way, I have been so enjoying Autumn-on-a-Bike, a first for me. I get out most mornings and ride between seven and nine miles at the trail, depending on the length of the Composer's run. I'm trying to mix in some adventure too, so on the weekends I go out on the roads and tackle hills, traffic, dogs, and chains that fall off. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Apple Slices Log Cabin Quilt

I quilted this one myself because a) I needed a mindless sewing project; b) I wanted it quilted in spirals the way you would peel an apple; and c) Mother's already working on one, with one waiting in line.

It was so much fun, and I especially loved using DMC Perle 8 for the first time. Easy to thread, easy to pull through the quilt, and I love the luster! I'm using it for my next quilt too.

There's a lot of linen in this quilt (all the teal and natural), several beloved flannel shirts, and some familiar dressmaking scraps. It was different working with mostly solids rather than prints.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In from Outside

We had our first hard frost, so the ferns are inside. This one will flourish indoors over the winter; it always does. Then it will go outside where I will forget to water it. And then we'll do it all over again.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Almond Slices

Jane Brocket's Vintage Cakes book never fails. These are almond slices: a little more complicated than your average bar cookie, but worth it. A shortbread base, then a layer of raspberry jam, then a layer of almond-sugar-egg goodness, then a sprinkling of almonds.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Chair by the Fire, and Its Uses

Some of us like to use this chair by the fire for reading, or sewing. Others . . . I'm not sure *what* Fitzwilliam is doing here, but it looks pretty awesome.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Basic Cooking: What to Do With Frozen Salmon

Q: What should I do with these frozen salmon fillets?

A: Heat the oven to 400. 

Take the fillets apart and put them in a baking dish, skin side down (if they have skin). 

In a small bowl mix a spoonful of olive oil, a spoonful of grainy mustard, and a spoonful of dried thyme. And about 1/2 t. of salt. Spread it on the salmon, and bake uncovered for about 25 minutes. A few minutes less if they are thawed. Poke a piece with a fork to see if if looks cooked all the way through. 

They will be tasty and moist.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Pumpkin and Maple Leaves

O rich autumn colors, you always get it done.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

White Oak Log Cabin Quilt

 I love the warm grays and cool browns of the white oak tree, and the tiny touch of orange that could be a little bit of sunset behind the woods.

This week I've only been up to serene straight stitching, in between bouts on the phone. Several days of this week I scheduled *thirteen* forty-minute phone conferences through the day. In between I've been jumping up to dry the laundry, hustle a meatloaf into the oven, do a few dishes, and when I get lucky, run a line of stitches.

And we lit a fire in the stove, which is bliss.


My mother goes in for a double mastectomy tomorrow at noon, but she won't need chemo, thank God.

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