Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cleaning on my mind

The coming New Year always sets off a cleaning frenzy for me.  I don't think I am alone in this.  Files to be organized and papers to be shredded.  Closets to be cleaned and long unworn items to be donated.  Windows to be washed.  I know it is winter and I imagine we will get more rain - but still I'd like to be able to see out.  While I'm at it the blinds could stand some attention.  

Do you know, the more I look into life, the more things it seems to me I can successfully lack—and continue to grow happier. How many kinds of food I do not need, nor cooks to cook them, how much curious clothing nor tailors to make it, how many books that I never read, and pictures that are not worth while! The farther I run, the more I feel like casting aside all such impedimenta—lest I fail to arrive at the far goal of my endeavour.
I like to think of an old Japanese nobleman I once read about, who ornamented his house with a single vase at a time, living with it, absorbing its message of beauty, and when he tired of it, replacing it with another. I wonder if he had the right way, and we, with so many objects to hang on our walls, place on our shelves, drape on our chairs, and spread on our floors, have mistaken our course and placed our hearts upon the multiplicity rather than the quality of our possessions!

David Grayson quote from "Adventures in Friendship"

Does the New Year signal a cleaning spree for you?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Using lemons for lemon curd

We have lemons.  Oh boy do we have lemons.  A prolific tree by the Bay and another one on the property by the River.

I made some lemon curd.  The recipe makes about a cup.  I haven't tried doubling it so not sure that would work.  It is so easy I just make a cup as we use it or if I want to give some away.

I don't normally the microwave for much except reheating but I've used the recipe for years and it is always successful. 

MICROWAVE LEMON CURD (makes about a cup)

Zest of one lemon
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup butter

Combine lemon zest, juice, butter and sugar in a micro-safe glass bowl of at least 4 cup capacity. Cover bowl with plastic wrap turned back to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.

Meanwhile beat eggs in a small bowl with a wire whisk. Gradually beat in about 1/2 of the hot lemon mixture. Pour this egg/lemon mixture back in the microwave bowl with the remaining hot mix, beating with a wire whisk to make it smooth. Microwave uncovered for 1 minute 30 seconds.

Remove bowl from microwave and whisk mixture until smooth. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon. If not thick enough, microwave 1 minute longer (I've never had to do this). 
Whisk until smooth

Put lemon curd in a one cup container and refrigerate. Keeps one month.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere this is the time of the shortest daylight hours and the longest night.

Celebrations to mark this special time have taken place throughout history and occurred in many civilizations. 

During the winter months I sometimes feel like the bear, wanting to snooze away the dark hours. I always enjoy the Winter Solstice and look forward to the lengthening of daylight hours and the prospect of another Spring.

Wishing you a Happy Solstice

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 12/20/16

Happy Tea Tuesday.  This morning I'm going to share some holiday cheer I found on my latest walk.

My favorite coffee shop comes out with a holiday blend every year. It is only available for a limited time so I stop at the shop while on my walk.

I spotted this window full of cheerful wrapping at the local paper shop.

Nature provides its own cheerful decorations.  Doesn't this look like an ornament you could hang on a tree?

My entire walk took place under this incredibly blue sky.  It was early morning and a crisp 30F but with bright sun.  

I am sipping a cup of my new blend of coffee and heading over to Elizabeth's blog to join the T Tuesday party.  Come along, it is always fun.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Knitting

One more knitted Christmas gift off the needles.  This one doesn't have to be mailed so I'm good with the timing.

I used the Honey Cowl pattern which I've made before.  I don't remember the name of the yarn but it has a mix with cashmere so it is really soft.  

That's it for knitted gifts this year.  In fact all my gifts are wrapped and mailed or waiting for local delivery.  How about you?  Are you finished yet?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

*The Mistletoe Murder* - (book)

I just finished this small book and enjoyed it very much.  I'm admittedly a fan of P.D. James but I think the book would make a great holiday gift for any readers on your list.

*The Mistletoe Murder*
P.D. James

The book contains 4 short stories.  I believe the stories are previously unpublished.  In spite of the title, the stories are not really about Christmas but one is set in that season.  2 of the stories feature a young Adam Dalgliesh, a popular figure in James' works.  

I rarely read short stories - I like a good long novel - but I couldn't pass up something by James and I'm happy I came across this small collection.

What are you reading?  Are you giving books as presents?

Edit:  Blogger seems to be changing things.  I cannot access some blogs.  Carol?  Your blog says I don't have permission.  Strange things going on.  Anyone else?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Soup weather

Cold weather is soup weather at our house.  We enjoy a variety of homemade soups throughout the season.

Readers here know I've been furnishing the River House with colorful china from thrift shops.   I easily covered the basics but will  still add something it it is colorful and a little different.  That's why I bought this soup bowl for $1.69 when I spotted it.

When I got the bowl home I filled it with one of our winter favorites, mushroom barley soup.  Those orange flecks in the soup are carrots  -  something we add to the basic recipe just to sweeten it up a bit.

Do you have a favorite soup?  A favorite bowl to put it in?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

T Stands for Tuesday - 12/6/16

It is the first Tuesday in December and time to get together with friends.  I'm drinking my usual coffee. Fresh ground beans from Peets, coffee brewed in a Melitta pot.

photo from internet

I'd be happy to own this cup.  Maybe the sweater too.  Speaking of sweaters and cold weather clothes, here are things I spotted in windows while I was out walking.

I really like this knitted vest.  I tried to get a close up of the way the yoke continues into a cap sleeve.  I will be looking for a similar pattern.  For you knitters - it looks like it is or could be knitted in the round with no seams.  What do you think?

I also liked this scarf and hat.  I could be bundled up and nice and cozy.  Is it cold where you are?  Not really cold here by the Bay but chilly enough to enjoy sweaters, hats and scarves.

I'm taking my coffee and joining Elizabeth and the rest of the Tea Tuesday gang over at Altered Book Lover.  Won't you come along and join us?

Monday, December 5, 2016

*The New Home Decorator* - (book)

Subtitled: Creative, quick decorating ideas for the home.  Over 100 stylish and practical projects.

"The New Home Decorator"
Stewart and Sally Walton

Sally Walton is the author of many published books on creative subjects including most recently 
Practical Folk Art, Simple Knitting Projects and Home Sewn Home.  She has been making bags
 under the name CARRY-A-BAG since 2005 and was among the first to promote the idea of 
abandoning of plastic shopping bags in favor of carrying one of your own. CARRY-A-BAG   
Stewart Walton is an artist, illustrator and furniture designer.
He is the co-author of at least 50 books and he and Sally have worked together for 30 years. 
The couple moved to Hastings in 1992 and Stewart is Design Director with the Hastings & Bexhill 
Wood Recycling ProjectSally & Stewart are proud to have featured as Eco Heroes in 
The Telegraph Magazine EcoHeroes in the Telegraph Magazine.

I found this book in a thrift store sale - 4 books for $1.  I 
had not heard of this couple before.  Anyone familiar with
them?  The book has some interesting information but some 
of it seems dated.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Second on the Second - 12/2/16

December second and time to join Elizabeth and the gang as we take a trip on the way-back machine.  The idea is to bring an old post to the top for a second look.  

This time I went to the first year I started blogging to find something for the season.  

Old camera, old photo but a fun memory all the same.  Do click on the photo for a better look as it says in the original post.


Vintage Christmas

This photo is the front of a post card that went through the mail. I can't make out the year but it was mailed January 5th with a 1 cent stamp. I don't know the children in the photo, the card was mailed to a family member in Chicago at the time.

The tree appears to be sitting on a table and I can make out a few of the ornaments. Look at how high those pictures in the background are hung. What is that leaning against the wall on the right?

Remember, you can click the photo to enlarge it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Late November Knit

Another pair of socks finished.  These are a Christmas present.  I didn't do a lot of knitting for Christmas this year but these were promised - in a weak moment, LOL!

I have no idea why the photo came out  rather blurry and with a blue shadow.  I had to get them wrapped to be delivered though so I didn't have time to take the picture over.

Here's a close up.  There is a little color variation in the yarn making it interesting I think.  

I want to knit a pair of boot cuffs next.  I've checked a few patterns on Ravelry.  The cuffs are a surprise for someone else and while I have a general idea of the height of the boots I'm not sure.  Guess I will just wing it.  Boot cuffs look easy enough - except for guessing the length.  Anyone own boot cuffs?  Any knitters out there that have made a pair?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/29/16

Good Morning.  Are you ready for a cup of coffee this morning or is tea more to your liking?  Bring your drink of choice and join us at Elizabeth's blog.  We party there every Tuesday.

my old metal coffee pot

I'm drinking coffee this morning.  I don't use this old percolator type coffee pot for coffee but I like the way it looks.  I like the color and the shape.  

Do you remember hearing the noise a percolator makes as it brews coffee?  I do, although I'm pretty sure it was an electric percolator my family used.

Various ways of making coffee have been used over the years. Pour over coffee seems to be the most popular these days.

Here is a method from 1870.

How to Make Good Coffee.  Mix an egg thoroughly 

with two heaping tablespoonfuls of coffee, put into the coffee pot 

and pour on it two cups of freshly-boiling water, boil five minutes, 

stir well with a fork, set on the back of the stove to keep hot five 

minutes, add half a cup of cold water, pour out a little coffee and 

pour it back again to clean the grounds from the spout, then let it

stand ten minutes, and be careful not to shake the pot when serving.

There is a decided necessity for protest against the fashion of

grinding coffee that is persisted in by some grocers. They grind it

so coarse that the consumer must use a double quantity to get any

flavor from it. Housekeepers should understand that it takes much

more coffee for a good cup when ground coarse than when it is in

small particles. It should never be coarser than granulated sugar,

if the best flavor is desired.


I think I'll stick with my Melitta coffee pot.  If you drink coffee, 

how do you prepare it?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Neighborhood Walk - 11/28/16

We had some rain recently but when I went walking yesterday morning the sky was a bright blue.  My eye was also drawn to blue in other places along the way.

There was a beautiful blue pot outside the gate to one house I passed.  I like the planting as well.

Here you can see a bit of the blue sky and a pretty blue tiled wall.  I often take a break, sit on a bench and look this direction.

Earlier in the week (note the grey sky) I spotted a house trimmed in blue.  Someone even parked a blue car in front of it.

Hope you are having blue skies today.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. and a time to think of what we are thankful for.  One of the things I'm thankful for is all the friends I'm come to know online.  I wish we could gather around the table in person today but just know I'm thinking of you.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

*Everyday Style* - (book)

This is a book about sewing.  It even has patterns in an envelope inside the back book cover.  If you know me then you know I don't sew.  So what am I doing with this book?

*Everyday Style*
Lotta Jansdotter

Blame it on the library.  I was looking through the section on knitting and the sewing section was right there next to it.  The book pages were so colorful that I brought it home with me.

It seems Lotta Jansdotter does lots more than create sewing patterns.  In fact, as far as I can tell, her commercial work is in the field of printmaking.  The book includes some simple jewelry making ideas and lots of examples of color/design as well as the sewing portion.

Here is her blog link.  

I really enjoyed the book for its pictures and clear explanations.  I think even I could sew something using her very basic patterns.  

I give the book a high recommendation even though I won't be using the clothing patterns.  I enjoy reading about creative people and their ideas.  Do you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/22/16

Hello on Tuesday.  I am sorry I missed everyone last week.  We were at the River House and we have yet to get internet there. 

You could find me sitting on the front porch most mornings. Sometimes with my bottle of water.  I picked a tangerine from our tree but it wasn't ripe.

The tree is loaded with fruit.  DH is the official gardener but has never grown any citrus except lemons so this is all new.  We were told that it might be around Christmas before these are ripe.

I saved you the best seat on the porch.  You're welcome.  Even though it is getting cooler it is still quite pleasant to sit out there.  I have an old afghan that will go on the rocker if it gets really chilly.

Time to visit Elizabeth and the Tea Gang to see what has been going on this past week.

Monday, November 21, 2016

November Knitting

I finally made some progress on my knitting projects.  This pattern was more lace than I've ever tackled before.

Here is my scarf in progress.  I may have posted this photo before but it shows the true colors of the yarn better than the photo's of the finished project.

A very long scarf.  Had to lay it on the bed to get a picture.

Here is a  closer look at the lace detail.

This one is for me.  I do most of my knitting as gifts for others.  I bought this particular yarn while staying with a friend in Tahoe though and the scarf makes a nice memory.

Anyone else knitting this winter?  Do you knit for yourself or mostly for gift giving?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/15/16

We haven't been out to eat recently and it seemed like time to do that.  We went to one of our favorite spots for lunch.  It is called The Meal Ticket and it is about 1/2 a mile from home.  

I had the eggplant and mozzarella sandwich and DH had the salmon burger.  I'm a fan of eggplant and they do their sandwich so well. Any other eggplant fans out there?  You can see my drink was coffee and that's his ice tea in the background.  We both enjoyed our meal a lot.   My sandwich is on their standard menu but the salmon burger was on of the choices on their  daily special board.

daily specials

The Meal Ticket is a small place, only open for breakfast and lunch. It is owned by a husband and wife who both work there. The chef owner often brings a meal out himself and always chats with customers.   It has a nice neighborhood feel to it.  It has been featured on the food show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives".

Time to visit Elizabeth's blog and see what the rest of the group has been up to.  Won't you bring your drink of choice and join us?

Monday, November 14, 2016


"I'll be all right in a minute, I'm just bewildered — by life." 

The Glass Menagerie  

Tennessee Williams


Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day

Today I want to give thanks to all those who have served, and continue to serve, our country.  

Veteran's Home in the Napa Valley, CA

Perhaps you will even have a chance to visit a veteran today and thank them in person.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Second on the Second - 11/2/16

Every month Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover hosts the Second on the Second.  She invites us to look through older posts and bring back one we would like to share again.  I like old postcards.  I only have a few.  I think I may have brought this post to the top once before, not sure.  I do know it always amuses me though.

MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014

Postcard # 2

A couple of weeks ago I said I would share some old postcards.  This is the second one.

This is perhaps my favorite of the old postcard I have.  Of course when I shuffle through them I find another goody and then that immediately becomes my favorite.  You can see this postcard has suffered some wear and tear.

postcard front


postcard back

Dear Sister all is well hope you are as happy as this pair seem to be
Your sister

The postcard is dated 1909.  Sent from sister to sister and once again no street address needed.  I don't know which I enjoy more, the old pictures on the front or the special messages on the backs of the cards.

Send someone a postcard today.  You will probably need their street address and zip code.  Just be careful what you write on the card.  Who knows, maybe someone will be reading it over a hundred years from now.  Reading it and trying to explain to their children that these pieces of paper were sent through a process that ended up with someone walking around and hand delivering the card to the recipient's mailbox.  Then they will have to explain what a mailbox is (or was).

Do you have an old post that deserves a second look?  Join us!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/1/16

Happy Tuesday.  Today I thought I'd give you an update on how furnishing the River House is going.  As some of you know, we are trying to reuse or thrift as much as we can.  A decision based partly on economics but mostly on a love of old things, belief in reusing, and the challenge and the thrill of the hunt.

Our set of colorful mismatched china is sufficient.  It would take a special piece to add anything now.  I think you've seen this cup before.  A nice one for my morning coffee.

I'm going to show you one "finished" corner section of the living room.  Here's a table I found for $15.  I was going to paint it but decided I like it as is.

The original oil painting, framed, was $5.  By someone named Wood,   The vase less than $2

This is the finished area.  Dark photo because I was trying to see how the lamp worked.  It was the latest find for $10.  Look closely, the yellow vase (bottom of table) was $1 and the vase on top is sitting on a stack of knitting books I already had.

The two chairs and ottoman had been in the house by the Bay for years.  They are very comfortable and were recovered more than once.  I rearranged furniture there and took these to the river.  I've always loved the carving on the sides of the chairs.

I intend to paint that lampshade at some point but otherwise I consider this area done.  Spent about $30 and relocated some furniture. I'm pleased with that.

That's my report.  Now lets hop over to Elizabeth's blog and see what everyone else is talking about on this first Tuesday in November.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween.  I was looking through some posts from my old blog and found this.  It is a door hanger that I made for an exchange I was in.  The photo strip came from a box of  "mystery people" my cousin gave me.

I know not everyone celebrates this holiday but for me it also feels like the "official" end of fall and the beginning of winter.  The run up to the really big winter holidays.  When do you start making plans for those?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


For your amusement this morning.

from a friend - don't know where to credit image

This ghost has been known to visit our house and not just at Halloween. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 10/25/16

Time to gather at Elizabeth's for Tea Tuesday.  Please join me there, it is a great and friendly group.

internet image

It is nearly that "spooky" time of year, Halloween here in the U.S. If I were having a Halloween party I would want someone present who could read tea leaves. I think that would be fun.

In the meantime I have a list of superstitions related to tea. 


*The lady who puts in milk before sugar will never win a husband. 

*Beware pouring from a pot after another lady, as one of you will 

have a baby, or possibly red headed twins, before the year is out. 

*Tea too strong indicates a new friendship, but tea too weak 

promises a friendship will come to an end. 

*Bubbles swirling in the cup foretells money or a kiss. 

*Never throw used tea leaves away. Bank them at the back of a 

fire, to ward off poverty, or throw them in the yard in front of your 

door to ward off evil spirits.

Do you have and tea superstitions to add to the list?