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.