Entries in Sticks and Strings (27)

Saturday
Dec302006

Domestic Artists





Cooking, knitting, sewing (and all the cleaning up afterwards)--not only are these activities satisfying and productive, but they are also great for building confidence and strengthening family bonds.

Tess got the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook for Christmas. It's perfectly suited to her temperament; if Dr. Seuss had known Tess, he certainly would have written a book about her. We've made several of the recipes so far, including the title recipe (guacamole makes the eggs green; a parsley coating colors the ham). Tess is now planning our menus for the next several days.

Santa brought Hope a swell sewing machine. It's from the Discovery Channel Store (I had to explain Santa's outsourcing strategies to the girls), and it's a great value. Limited in scope and options, it nonetheless sews much more effectively than you would expect from a toy. Hope made a little handbag yesterday and is anxious to try her hand at a skirt for herself next. Ever inspired by accessories (whose daughter is she?), she has special affection for the wee pincushion that came with the sewing kit.

We're having a luncheon after church on Sunday; the men are in charge of the food. For some reason, the pot luck has turned into a testosterone-fueled lasagna bake-off with many motivated entrants. Patrick made his offerings last night. I'm sure he'll win with this particular judge; Patrick taught me everything I know about pasta sauce, a fact I freely admit whenever someone compliments my Bolognese.

Mom was here over Christmas. We couldn't resist a trip to the fabulous Knittingsmith together. Mom got some chunky yellow alpaca for a cute sweater by Pure and Simple Designs; I got some gorgeous sock yarn. My bulky plum pullover is coming along well, but I felt the need for a quick-gratification project after the success of the girls' hats. The sock does not disappoint in this regard.

And the boys? Christian and James have been prowling the yard with metal detector and large magnet, cleaning up all the screws, nails, and other metal scraps that have been scattered about with abandon throughout the renovation. It's great when cleaning up can be an entertaining adventure. If only I could figure out a way to make dishes and laundry as exciting...

Daniel has been our snuggly muse, happy to consume the fruits of Tess's labors, always available for hugs and positive reinforcement for all. It's been a terrific vacation; I'll be very sorry to see it end next Tuesday.

Wednesday
Dec202006

...the past three months? Part 2




Here's a photo of Marvin working on the renovation of our kitchen/living room. It was taken at the end of October; the job is 98% done as I write. Hurray! I have the house of my dreams. More on this later.

Can you believe I was still gathering roses the week of Thanksgiving? So far, it's been a remarkably mild fall-into-winter. I'm doing everything I can to avert global climate change, but there is a silver lining to every cloud....I have ten David Austin English Rose bushes at last count. This is an addiction I have no intention of overcoming. These roses are hardy, repeat blooming, and disease-resistant; the flowers are fragrant, long-lasting, and gorgeous. Here they are arranged with some late cinnamon basil.

Knitting, knitting, knitting. Tess's teacher requested that all the kindergartners come to school with hats; I made this one a couple of weeks ago from a great knitty pattern ("Coronet") out of luscious Malabrigo wool (Molly colourway). Of course, Hope had to have one next; her colourway is appropriately entitled "Verde Esperanza."

Of course, where there is knitting (for me, anyway), there is ripping out. I designed an aran sweater to be knit in the round using Elizabeth Zimmerman's brilliant guidelines in The Opinionated Knitter. I used the gorgeous wool Carmen and Shauna brought me back from Ireland--a creamy oatmeal tweed--soft, yet crunchy enough for good pattern definition. I knit happily away until I got to the underarms. I then realized that my blackberries were going to be bobbling in strategically bad places. Out the whole thing came. I'll edit my design and start it over once I've finished what's on the needles now: a cropped turtleneck pullover using chunky plum wool bought at La Droguerie in Paris years ago. Down, stash, down!

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