Monday, November 29, 2010

beautiful blue glasses

Years ago, my mother got friendly with a woman who worked at Goodwill.  She had been over for lunch, and noticed our shelves in the wall between the living room and kitchen.

I have no recollection of what was on these shelves before this lady came, but one day at work, a group of beautiful blue glasses came through, and that woman knew exactly where they should go.

Today, I washed them and polished the shelf. Four tall, four shorter.

And now they're back on the shelf, everything sparkling.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

inhabit-ing Advent

Advent is the perfect time to practice {inhabit}ing - it's all about making room in our hearts, in our busy lives, in order that a holy child is able to be born again there, with room to grow; to be comfortable there.  It's an opportunity to practice at developing an ability for contemplation inside, even with all that must go on in our lives and homes at this time of year.

I've never been pregnant, but many women seem to be in that frame of mind when they're waiting to have their baby, when they want to try and maintain an aura of quiet and do quiet things.  Is "nesting" what I'm thinking of? Advent is a time for "spiritual" nesting. 

Time to make room for that Baby.

by Geertgen Tot Sint Jans

Saturday, November 27, 2010

is this common?

The Thanksgiving cactus in the living room is a little late, but it's almost ready to bloom.

And I keep looking for more buds coming, because once it starts, it usually keeps going for a while. There's been one itty bitty one, but that's it until today, when I noticed these.

Do you see how they have appeared, not at the very end, but in between the sections?  I suppose I should remove the end one at least - ? It's not very pretty anyway, like it's been broken off. But I don't recall ever seeing that.  

Still, I'm glad it's going to keep going for a little bit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

sugared and spiced apples

Thanksgiving morning I set about making an apple pie. I like Granny Smiths for this, and I chopped them up, added the cinnamon and nutmeg, and began putting in the sugar, tasting, adding more sugar, tasting, etc.  I wanted it just so - but I knew I had cut more than I needed, so the tasting was okay.

I got it right and proceeded to fill up the pie crust, and there was quite a bit left over.  And, how delicious those tart apples are, with sugar on them, and some spices mixed in!  I asked myself, (not for the first time), why I don't regularly cut up a couple of Granny Smiths with a tablespoon or two of sugar, for a winter snack?

Absolutely delightful!  I've gotta remember this!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

giving thanks

"And it came to pass as He was going to Jerusalem, that He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. And as He was entering a certain village, there met Him ten lepers, who stood afar off and lifted up their voice, crying, Jesus, Master, have pity on us. And when He saw them He said, Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass as they were on their way, that they were made clean. But one of them, seeing that he was made clean, returned, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks; and he was a Samaritan.

But Jesus answered and said, Were not the ten made clean? But where are the nine? Has no one been found to return and give glory to God except this foreigner? And He said to him, Arise, go thy way, for thy faith has saved thee."

Luke 17: 11-19

Thanksgiving images


Sing and play music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks for everything to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

getting ready for Thanksgiving

Found a recipe in a year old Cooking Light magazine for Spicy Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.  I decided to forego the pastry crust for a nice, gingersnap one.

It has a two-part filling:

After cooking the pumpkin mixture, you have to boil some sugar and water to 250 degrees.

I'd never used a candy thermometer - but I had one!  It took forever to get from 200 to 225, but then suddenly it zipped up to 250; I was afraid it would evaporate first.

I found myself wondering why I didn't stick to the good-old, easy custard-style pumpkin pie. But it's so nice to try new things.  Isn't it?                                                                         

Monday, November 22, 2010

a quilting project

I've been working on this for a while

Using only fabric - and buttons - already in the house.

I got the idea from an issue of Country Living magazine, showing some lovely pillowcases designed by Cath Kidston.

She fused two or three sizes of fabric circles onto a white cotton pillowcase, trimmed with lace edging.

It was charming, and I thought to use the idea in a quilt (I'm not a quilter, by the way!), but didn't want the stiffness which the fusible web would cause, so I zigzagged around my circles.

It's not terribly neat looking, I admit. But beginners shouldn't expect their efforts to be flawless.
And then I got the idea for the buttons from one of Jane Brocket's books - we have so many of these little shirt buttons hanging around forever.

I'm almost finished with sewing on buttons; then I'll start on the quilting.

I'm not a perfectionist. It will be a cheerful and warm thing in the house.

I'm using gold colored thread on them all because the backing is a scene of the ocean, much blue and white, with sailboats all over the place, and there's this golden yellow in them. It matched, and I didn't have to buy it - I had it already, which was the object. It's a little here, a little there. I have other projects which are more timely, so this is in the background, to pick up now and then.      

I used fabric from the living room curtains, some old jumpers of mine - and two of them were from blouses of my mother's - that's nice.                                                                                                                                       

St. Cecilia

(painting by Artemisia Gentileschi)

St. Cecilia has greatly helped me more than once, so I want to give her a little space here - November 22nd is her day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Over at the little list something is going on called {inhabit} - a reminder and encouragement, now that winter is upon us, to "be" in our homes and with our families, not to just "do".  Or, when "doing", to do with peace, with patience, with love, with intentions of doing something meaningful, rather than just necessary.  To take time to stop and smell the - what?  apple cider   allspice   pumpkin pie   late-blooming roses

I guess we're just going to try to get a little better at it. 

I'm trying to make a voile skirt, but my sewing machine doesn't work right with light weight fabrics, so I'm sewing it by hand.  A little here, a little there, and it will get done; but not in a hurry. It's been a while since I've done this, but it's a quiet thing to do, and I like it. It's making me think that I should pick up some knitting again, when I'd quite decided to resist the idea.  


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

(The Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, by Edmund Blair Leighton)

November 17th is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary - one of my very favorites.  She was sent to the kingdom of Thuringia at the age of four, to be betrothed to the king-to-be, and to be educated there.

They married when she was fourteen, and were very happy in their marriage. He died, however, in the Crusades.  Afterward she devoted her life to attending to the poor and forgotten. My mother used to give me a card and little gift on her feast day, because Lisa is considered a derivative of Elizabeth.

She died at 24, and is the patron of the homeless, those falsely accused, and nursing services -  among other things.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

to good advice be true

A couple of days ago I thought of Hamlet for some reason; my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, and the one with which I'm most familiar. Then I thought of Polonius - I've seen two versions, only. The one with Derek Jacobi about 25 years ago on TV, and one that Kevin Kline did in modern dress - also on TV. Both were excellent, except for the fellow who played Polonius in the second one. 

He played him as if he were an old fool, with advice not worth listening to. I realize that actors want to do something different with their character, but I didn't buy it.

Laertes, the son of Polonius (and Ophelia's brother, by the way), is going away on official business, and his father wants to give him some parting advice.

"Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel, but do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade.
Beware of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice. Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; for the apparel oft proclaims the man; and they in France of the best rank and station are most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be: for loan oft loses both itself and friend; and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all, - to thine ownself be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

Foolish advice, indeed!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"always pray and not lose heart"

And He also told them a parable - that they must always pray and not lose heart - saying, "There was a judge in a certain town who did not fear God and did not respect man. Now there was a certain widow in that town, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Do me justice against my adversary'. And he would not for a long time. But afterwards he said within himself, 'Although I do not fear God, nor even respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will do her justice, lest by her continual coming she finally wears me out.'"

And the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge says; and will not God avenge his elect, who cry to Him day and night? And will He be slow to act in their case?"

Luke 18: 1-7  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

music from World War II

We've lately been enjoying this cd from the library

"Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree", "I'll Never Smile Again", "American Patrol"  .... this was the music from my parents' era, and I grew up hearing it - I still like it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

a good strong cuppa

Maybe I shouldn't say "cuppa" - I'm not English, and don't wish to be putting on airs.  But yesterday morning I was wanting a nice, strong cup of tea - and I still wanted decaf - so, I reached for the Irish Breakfast. It always satisfies.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

a table, polished

I dragged this table away from the wall to polish it, and noticed how nice it looked in the sunlight.

Veteran's Day


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a birthday, and some Schoolhouse Gingerbread

Today was my brother's birthday; he's had a bit of a cold, so instead of sugary cake, I made him something we both greatly enjoy, Anna's gingerbread recipe. It's dark, moist and pretty healthy - made with canola oil. I was able to do it after work yesterday, not even needing a mixer; I have a strong wire whisk, and that does the trick for this thin-battered cake. 

I'll make him a sweeter cake over the weekend, when some company will come to help us eat it up.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"The Christmas Mystery"

A number of years ago, we received this book at the library, and it ended up in the adult section.  I took it home, loving Christmas and fairy tales as I do.

The Christmas Mystery, by Jostein Gaarder, is an absolutely charming and delightful story about a little boy who goes into an old store with his father at the beginning of the Advent season, and finds a very old, almost forgotten Advent calender. And there begins a wonderful adventure he has, along with his parents; and you will, too, if you get this book from your library in time for December 1st.  If you have children of differing ages,  read it together every day in December up until the 24th - but I don't want to say what happens.  If you're interested, read about it on Amazon - but don't pay any attention to the critics!  There are only one or two.

I tell you, this is a lovely book, with illustrations by Rosemary Wells. Every year I try to find someone who'll read it, and now, it's your turn. It'll be something your whole family can do together every day up until Christmas. And it will help put you in a good frame of mind for that blessed day.

a little snow, a little early

A little bit of this

this morning, led to these

and good-bye to these

The snow is gone, but winter's inevitability was left behind!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

a new one!

Stephanie Barron finally came out with another Jane Austen mystery,

and I have it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

my brother built this

Today was quite rainy, so I took this picture through the kitchen window.
My brother built this by himself over the summer in his "spare" moments.

The splotch on the roof is a raindrop on the windowpane.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the stain is gone

I've been thinking I should post about this, which is something I very happily learned about several months ago.

I was going through some of our (my late mother's) linens, and there was a square linen tablecloth which had a stain on it ever since I can remember. It looked like coffee - grayish brownish - a was of roughly circular shape. My mother had this cloth as far back as my memory goes, and I don't know if she got it that way - at the thrift store, maybe? But that stain was always there. It got washed multitudinous times, without affecting anything. I was looking at it with a mind to cutting around the stain and getting some little cafe curtains out of it.

Here it is.  (excuse my camera strap in the photo!)

I've been accumulating sewing books lately, and was reading my Amy Butler's In Stitches - in fact, I was actually reading the introduction, which I rarely bother with - and Amy recommends Biz for soaking your vintage linens. She said you can safely soak things for a week, and if it needs more, another week!

Well, I finally found it at K-Mart. There were two types - I just picked one.  Excitedly, I put a cup of it into two gallons of water, and swished it whenever I passed by.  You can well imagine my anticipation after a week!

It's wet here, but can you see the fainter, yellowish stain? I soaked it another week (well, I could only stand it six days) and looked at it. It was barely visible. I made a paste, rubbed it in the area, put it through the wash, and that thing is gone!!

None of the design is lighter in any way - apparently it's an enzyme cleaner and it doesn't work on anything but nasty stains. I knew nothing of such substances before.

Just wanted to share!  It's great stuff.           

Monday, November 1, 2010

late afternoon sky

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof..."
Psalm 24