Tag Archives: books

its thursday alreaaady?

Firstly, here’s the recipe for making your own version of Monday’s photo —

War, Raisin Spice, or Depression Cake

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I always use dark brown as it has more flavour)
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use whatever spices I like and am apt to double them.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Place all of the above in a pot, bring to a boil, and boil gently whilst stirring, for 5 minutes.
  • Make sure your pot is large enough to add the flour, and you’ve saved a bit of washing up. 😉
  • When above wet mixture is thoroughly cool it will slightly resemble glue. That’s a good thing.
  • SIFT and measure out 2 cups of flour.
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon EACH of baking powder AND baking soda.
  • Thoroughly incorporate these into your 2 cups of SIFTED flour.
  • Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and thoroughly mix together.
  • Turn out this still slightly gluey mixture into a thoroughly greased loaf pan approx. 9x5x3.
  • Bake about 60 minutes at 350 degrees F., until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. A crack along the top of the cake is normal.
  • Cool in the pan, then turn out onto a plate, slice, and enjoy.

If you have to have icing, go for it. Your choice. My family didn’t.

Hope you enjoy it!

On to some sewing!

pssst! WRONG side of the red fabric is showing

Oddly, speaking about food, I’ve another quick project in mind involving rather a large amount of rice. I’ve done some preliminary tests and know the project needs to be larger than first assumed, and I dug up some cotton to recycle for the project. More in a few days. 😉 (No, it not a door stop, although I should be making one.)

I also have an old, very solid cotton twill shower curtain that’s about to get chopped up and made into 2 curtains, whenever I can get to the store for another curtain rod and more of those sets of clips I can never remember the name of. You know–the ones that clip to the top of the fabric with a ring attached that then goes onto the curtain rod.

That fabric is from Chicago days, and was slightly dyed to offset the bright white background. If I can locate that post  . . .  Well, here’s one with a nice photo, and showing some additional fabric. Wonder where it is . . . .

Aren’t we glad fabric lasts and lasts and lasts?

🤣     😂     🤣

books

As part of my holiday prezzies, I ordered the three new D. E. Stevenson books reprinted by Furrowed Middlebrow, Vittoria Cottage, Music in the Hills, and Winter and Rough Weather, and have finished them.

Together they comprise the lives of several members of a single family. The variety of characters and situations are interesting to me, being set in Scotland’s Lowlands just as World War II is over.

Next on my To Be Read list is another from F.M., a rare early book from Miss Read, Fresh from the Country. I downloaded the preview the other night, and it sounds like a great story for any Miss Read fan.

thanksgiving–cont’d.

 

For some reason I always think of this passage at this time of year…

“November 1978

“Before the days of James the First, a group of English farmers disagreed with the Church of England. “They will conform,” said King James, “or I will harry them out of the kingdom.” They didn’t confirm, and he harried them out of the kingdom. They got on a ship called the Mayflower and sailed to the New World, and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and established a colony. And since they called themselves “pilgrims” they became known to American history as the Pilgrim Fathers…

“…the Pilgrims were befriended by the native Americans… who taught them how to fertilize the land with eels, how to grow Indian corn and eat it off the cob, and how to cook and eat an American bird called a turkey. And the next autumn, when the Pilgrims reaped a bountiful harvest, they invited the Indians to a feast where everyone gave thanks to God for the harvest. That feast was the first American Thanksgiving…

“…the real hallmark of Thanksgiving is the homecoming of family members… So every Thursday in November, I lift a martini glass in salute to Samoset and the Pilgrims, who gave us the warmest homecoming holiday ever Made in America.”

Letter from New York: BBC Woman’s Hour Broadcasts by Helene Hanff, 1992.

🍂 it’s friday ❣️ 🍂

Lots of reading/listening and a bit of sewing going on here at Chez CnS, with colder weather (YEAH!!!) ushering in last weekend’s time change, and again this weekend.

Results of my thimble experiments are in and not good. The Medium is too big for my finger. Whaaaaaaaa! 😣 However, I’m hoping they will not be unused for long. . . .

FYI: A Size Medium thimble may fly off your finger if a tape measure wrapped snuggly around your thimble finger’s digit is smaller than my 1-7/8″ digit. Not written in stone, because fingers are different with different amounts of taper, and differing styles in hand sewing. Just saying Mediums flew off my finger. 😉

The new “ergonomic” seam ripper is fine, but I’ll probably wrap something around its’ too-slippery handle as my hand slides down it towards the metal. I keep having to move it back up into my hand. The handle is longer and thicker than others, but other than that, ergonomic it ain’t.

An updating project to change the pockets on my only denim skirt was completed. The skirt got lots of winter wear when I lived farther north. (Be aware that if you’re out and about in snow in a skirt this long, the bottom of your skirt may get wet.)

Snow isn’t a problem down here so I left the length for now, but those pockets bothered me. I took them off, adjusted the linings so the white didn’t outline them, removed the cute buttons, and discovered my phone fits with room to spare. Unfortunately, boots won’t get worn with this skirt in this climate. Not cold enough. 😪

A huge Thank You to whomever recommended the Louise Penny books, and my apologies for not remembering who it was. I’ve listened to the first, Still Life, and the 13th, Glass Houses. I listened to the third, The Cruelest Month, the week of Hallowe’en. Perfect timing. 👻 🙀

It is wise to start with the first book, as a Lovely Reader suggested—whose name I also don’t recall so please forgive me. Although I was fascinated and horrified by the subject of the more recent Glass Houses, there were a few things I didn’t understand because I didn’t know past history; however, that did not detract as far as I could tell.

The 13th, Glass Houses, includes an interview with Ms. Penny and the voice and stage actor Robert Bathurst, who took over reading after voice and stage actor Ralph Cosham’s death. More on their creative approaches to writing and acting in another post.

Any Elizabeth Peters fans amongst you, Lovely Readers? Does famed Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson ring any bells? The last of that series, The Painted Queen, read by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat, also came home for a rollicking listen. (click the pic to link to site)

Author Barbara Mertz has herself gone to that Great Pyramid in the Sky, so this story was completed by Joan Hess, as mentioned at the start of the audio book. As Ms. Rosenblat came to the end, I must admit regretting there will be no more.

The first recorded book I ever listened to was read by Ms.Rosenblatt, and she’s thoroughly spoilt me for anyone not up to her standards. If you like to listen whilst you sew/crochet/whatever, you can’t go wrong with something she’s done.

Today’s Friday and I hope everyone has great things planned for their weekend. I know I do… fingers crossed… 🍂 🤣 😂 🤣 🍂

a winter purge ?

We left off with crossed appendages and plans for non-electricity-needing projects. My neck of the woods fared well—many thank-you’s for everyone’s good thoughts. 😘😘

Not so for other folk, and if any of you spot organizations accepting clothing for them, please let me know. I’d be delighted to send things along to those who need literally everything.

Have spend time both increasing and working on The Mend/Refashion Pile whilst listening to P.D. James’ Murder Room on cd. Excellent story, and am so impressed with the author!

I seem to remember Adam Dalgleish being on TV years ago, but cannot remember the name of the series. Does anyone else remember? Roy Marsden in “The Sandbaggers” comes to mind, but I’m not sure that was P.D. James.

Going back to the M/R Pile… Finally decided to add the second pocket to these, and only had to rip one side out once. An improvement!

Am having a heck of a time with my wardrobe planning, chiefly because I cannot figure out what descriptive words to use. As I am no longer office-bound that professional suit stuff can finally be ditched… except for maybe one navy pants suit. Just in case. 😉

The rest of my Dream Wardrobe is nebulous. The heat down here lasts about nine months of the twelve, so I’m trying to accomodate that. But my heart has always belonged to “a good piece if wool” as mum used to say.

Deep sigh…

I think more trousers are needed, but weight and style is very undecided, as are tops to go with. And dresses, for some reason, which I am finding difficult to even consider. Veddy strange for moi.

Am considering trying a pattern with different cup sizing, just to see if there’s a difference, as I seem to be on the lower edge of all that. Just to try something different.

Above A.L.L., everything has to be comfortable. After spending too many years in offices wearing things a little too tight and heels with pointy toes, have had it with anything not totally comfortable.

So, how to express that in two or three words eludes me at the mo. But am trying not to allow that to stop me from going through the three rather large containers of cold weather clothes.

A good sort out is definitely in order. Give me strength! And maybe additional dark chocolate rations… hehehee! 🤣 🥰 🤪

what i didn’t do on my summer vacation

A couple of days into my impromptu Labor Day Week of vacation somebody decided it was time to pay a visit. Perhaps you’ve heard? A little thing called Dorian.

This is one dangerous, dithery dame. Definitely not to be taken lightly. Certainly not a dame to be invited into a sewing circle. So I had to drop a few plans to start prepping.

Thus, vacation is being “extended” until she decides to “make that turn” away from the coastline and hopefully into the total oblivion she so richly deserves.

My ickle sewing spot is positioned far enough off the coast to avoid a direct visit, if she makes that turn. Everybody cross your extremities, pleeze!

So. What have I planned to keep me occupied Thursday and Friday?

Those thoughtful Canadians, Caroline & Helen of Love to Sew had a great podcast last week about planning your dream wardrobe. If anybody needs that, I do.

A HUGE Thank You to you both!

As the eagle-eyed amongst you may observe, there’s also a PDF in that piccie, ready to be assembled and tried out. You know, in case one should have nothing to do.

🤣 L.O.L.!!! 🤣

Fingers & tootsies crossed, will be back with you shortly with a wardrobe report. Meanwhile, be safe, Lovely Ones. 😘 ❣️ 😘

PS/Mystery lovers, did you see this article? I can vouch for Tey as being extremely enjoyable… 😁

PPS/(My thanks to she-knows-who for printing. 😉)

remember this?

This is Version Two. The centre hole has two slightly smaller holes sort of north east of centre. See ’em? They’re not supposed to be there. 😩

Version one had the same problem, but the holes were bigger. 😣

After weeks of faffing about trying to avoid the inevitable I finally faced fact, and did what needed to be done.

🐸 rip-it 🐸 rip-it 🐸

I was worried that the yarn would be too worn from all the ripping out sessions, but it seems to have held up, thank goodness.

Changing subjects, did a bit of reading over the last heat wave. . . 😅

Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow had just released nine more long-unavailable British women authors’ books. He’s been reviewing them on his blog since they were published August 5th.

So far I’ve read Spam Tomorrow (Verily Anderson, 1956), and totally cannot decide what to read next.

Spam was excellent, after a doubtful start. It’s autobiographical and starts in the English countryside before the war began in 1939.

Initially I was a bit put off by Anderson’s unconventional family, and didn’t know if I would enjoy the rest of the book, but I did. In fact, I was sorry there wasn’t another whole book to get us further into her experiences.

All of Scott’s volumes are published by Dean Street Press, under the Furrowed Middlebrow name, and are available in paperback or electronic copies via Amazon U.S. and U.K. I downloaded a copy to save shelf space, the environment and a little dosh (for more books 😉). I’m not affiliated with any of the above, and if I don’t like a book I’ll say so!

I’ve not decided what to read next, but am thinking about one of Carola Oman’s two books, Nothing to Report, or Somewhere in England. Has anybody read either of them?

All for now, Lovely Readers . . . toodles ❣️😘

life

this is the RIGHT green!

Hey-ho, how is everybody? It’s been busy hereabouts, but not so much with sewing.

More like reporting phone outages, then wifi outages, then everything outages, deliveries made to the wrong building and ruined in the heat, et cetera.

Such stuff as life is made of, seasoned with lots of extreme heat along with all the usual baking and laundry and such like.

How’s it been around your place? Read any good books lately?

I finally finished Arrest the Bishop and Bewildering Cares, both by Winifred Peck. The Bishop seemed interminable until more than half way through, when I stayed up faaar too late finishing it because it suddenly got interesting. Now I’m reading Peck’s Warrielaw Jewel, which is good from the get-go.

And speaking of books, did I never show you what Karen Ball’s review inspired me to get? No?? Well, here it is, and I must say it’s a great book. Don’t know that I’d make any of the Laura Ashley inspired pieces, but all the patterns are included. Just in case. 😉

I think that Table of Contents looks interesting. And there’s also my Yank’s fascination with Liberty fabrics. . .

I remember the first time I saw and handled some Liberty cotton lawn. I was being generally overwhelmed by San Francisco’s Britex Fabrics—floors of fabulous fabrics stacked everywhere.

Cottons, I thought. Surely they’ll have some cottons under $50 a yard. And then I spotted Liberty, which I’d never heard of, couldn’t afford and never forgot. (dreamy look)

Anyway, it’s an interesting book.

Oh!

By-the-by, have any of you Tremendously Inventive Lovelies an idea of how I might repair this green linen knit? (The top photo is the right green.)

The dastardly washer I had in my Virginia place did this, and I’ve been loath to Kondo it. Too much joy in the greeness.

Everyone please send cooling thoughts for all the millions across the globe sweltering in extreme heat. (Canada, send down some cooler air, pretty pleeese.*)

Thaaank you, Dear Ones!

🌞 🌞 🌞 🌞

🍦 🍦 🍦 🍦

*Ice cream would be nice, too. 😍

connecting dots

I’d been wearing my dotted duster a few times and decided that the facings along the length of the front, although attached at the bottom, were still entirely too flappy. Time to get out the needle and thread and do a proper stitching all the way round.

So I did just that, whilst enjoying the third Jane Harper book, The Lost Man. Another Aussie mystery, set this time in the outback of Queensland. It was marvelous listening!

In case you’re interested, Harper has done a great 10 minute TED Talk on practical creativity, and it’s on the site.

I spent part of Saturday cutting out a 1998 OOP pattern, Butterick 5487, which I’d just seen over at Anne’s The Compulsive Seamstress. It immediately reminded me of a linen knit top I’d loved and wanted to replace. B5487 is close enough to the linen to have immediately caught my eye, and luckily saw a copy on Etsy.

In between that I finally started an early crochet pattern from Lucy at Attic24, and realized Sunday I was using half double crochet instead of double (U.S. terms). Oops. 🤭 Why I keep confusing these two stitches is beyond me.

Had quite a bit done but decided to frog it all out and start over. Glad I did and it’s progressing much faster as I’m now familiar with the first part of the directions.

Also on the sewing table is a black linen skirt, which I decided last week was too dowdy and needed to be shortened about three inches. The midi look I’d wanted just wasn’t working.

However, because I’d hacked an RTW maxi dress, it was the original hem. All I’d done was cut the dress at the waist, made a casing and inserted elastic. A quick fix.

But as I had a few more cd’s of The Lost Man to listen to I decided to keep the original hem and take the skirt up from the waist. Picking out that seam wasn’t as bad as I feared, and the skirt is on deck to get finished whenever I remember to try it on and measure exactly where to cut a bit more off.

Hope everyone is having a lovely week with decent weather. For those of us desperately wishing for the season to end, the solstice arrives tomorrow, and soon every day will start getting shorter (or longer if you’re south of the equator).

I knew I was forgetting something! Remember my peppermint stripe outfit from last week? It got worn this weekend, and a bit of work has been done to make it more, um, palatable.

The shoulder seams got hoicked up, which raised the arm holes and neck-—already high enough. I also did a 3″ slit on either side, using the side seams. If I feel inclined in the future, I’ll cut more binding and fix the arms.

The other fix is for the shorts. I realized they were a couple inches too long and started fiddling, then realized I should tighten the elastic waist… then realized if I did that I should consider chopping a couple inches off at the waist. That would raise the waist, the legs, and the crotch. Then I remembered adding extra to the top of the waist when cutting out… why, I don’t recall. Duh!

So there’s plenty to do round here. Wonder if I could find another fascinating audio book at the library…

tuesday’s tee

I am bound and determined to get this “muslin” tee shirt D.O.N.E.

The pattern is one brought from California, which means it’s older than dirt. And never made up till last week when I got out the camisole pieces and started measuring tissue fitting.

But my knit fabric is a bit younger… from several years ago when that last fabric store chain was closing. Sad day that.

Don’t know the fabric content of this knit, and seems like either side could be considered the right one.

I can never remember, do you? Does the knit curl to the right side, or the wrong?

Not gonna make any difference with this tee. As you can see, the piece on the left is now the wrong side.

Shorts to come, using my tnt Butterick 5432 pattern.

So what else is going on? I’ve been clearing off the cutting table.

Keeping me occupied whilst dealing with those piles of fabric was an Australian novel, The Dry, recommended by a friend. Not for the faint of heart is this one, chronicling a very small town way out somewhere in Queensland. I’ll pick up the second novel this week.

We’ve got a three day weekend coming up, so I’m getting ready. 😉

A good contrast is another Mitford novel, also on cd… 16 of them!… is To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon.

And the lovely translation of The Little Prince. Such a sweet story with plenty for adults to consider.

All for now, Lovelies! I have a boa constrictor to draw. . . .

remembering

Remember Hodge, Chicago’s famous bookstore cat? Grab a hot cuppa and prepare for some icy reminders…

Hodge joined Keith in retirement, and now prowls around Keith and wife Gail’s apartment, whilst lording it over their other cat, Ma’at.

In January Keith sent this along with a few other photos to remind me of what winter in Chicago looks like.

(Those not familiar with the Windy City should know it’s got huge Lake Michigan all along its eastern side, and is known for having very cold winters.)

In January Keith wrote—

“I went out last week to take photos at ‘the Point’ – Promontory Point, the park just outside our door – where trees near the lake get covered in frozen spray on windy days. And, this was from days when the temps were fairly normal, though below freezing – I’m going out again maybe on Friday when temps moderate to see what things look like now. We’ve had 25-30 mph wind for a couple days now.”

A bit more about the Point here.

When I touched base with Keith this week he wrote, “I took a walk around the point the other day, and one of the trees I photographed looks like it didn’t survive the ice and the later polar vortex we had. Everything is leafing out, but that one looks like a broken stick in the ground.”

Sincerest thanks to Keith for sending these, and for permission to share with you Lovely Readers!

PS/ Keith is selling his golden oldies collection on Alibris here.