Wednesday, June 19, 2013

At the Lake

Hello, friends. I'm at the lake. There's lots of fun stuff going on. Beading...

I made these earrings. First time ever! (Ridiculously simple craft.)

Lovely Daughter #2 made these:

There's lots of hiking. I went on a nature walk and saw Columbines...

...venerable old trees speckled with lichen (an indicator of clean, pure air)...

...and teeny flowers called "Pretty Face"...

I don't recall the name of these cuties, but each flower is only about as big across as the eraser on the end of a pencil:

The lake has lots of textures. I feel like I could decorate a whole house, or build a whole wardrobe, around the shades in one of these photos:

Oh! Another darling flower. This three-petaled beauty is a Mariposa Lily:

Beautiful greenery, but don't touch. This is stinging nettle:

Like Ireland, the lake has a jillion shades of All Things Green:

On a hike two days ago, I saw a marmot. Yesterday, I saw a very friendly gal looking for a handout:

Everything is ducky, at the lake.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

De-Cluttering the Fabric Closet

To the casual observer, I might look like a Very Organized Person. (Trust me, I'm not!) Take, for example, my leftover fabrics:

I store my scraps of fabric in big, snap-lid boxes, stacked in a closet. Looks impressive, right?

But the fabrics are all jumbled up. And there are things in the boxes that I haven't touched in years. To me, that's a kind of stinginess. Why should I hang on to things I'm not using? Somebody, somewhere would enjoy these pretty fabrics:

Oops. Digging down a bit, I find a white sheet, in perfect condition. It even has an tag on it. What is THAT doing in the fabric box? It should be in the linen closet:

I set aside all the fabrics I know I'm not going to use any time soon, and I'm left with a much smaller selection. Some of these include old shirts from The Hubby, which have already been butchered to a small degree:

Here's Pao Pao (left) and Mu Shu, sporting some July Fourth duds made from The Hubby's old shirts:

Some of the fabrics tell of my evolving passion for pugs. Years before we adopted Won Ton, I had a pillow made out of this gorgeous fabric, below. There is enough left over for something--don't know what, yet:

At the end, I had a large pile to donate to Goodwill. These fabrics were all too fancy, too heavy-duty, or too muddy-colored to appeal to me:

And this is the pile of fabrics I kept. (Do you notice a theme?):

What a fantastic bunch of yo-yo's these would make!

Monday, June 10, 2013

A New Hammock

We have a new hammock!

The old one limped along through its last season looking so awful and dingy, I had to toss a cute quilt over it before I could bear sitting in it. But all that is changed.

A new hammock, a couple of comfy pillows, something cold to drink, something good to read, and the ever-present pug or two.

It's beginning to feel like summer around here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wait for It...

My Dell PC bit the dust last weekend. So I made the leap and bought a MacBook Pro, which my children assure me I won't regret. The Apple folks are moving all my files from the dying PC into my new computer. It will be ready for me today at noon.

My first lesson at the Genius Bar is today. I feel as excited/scared as a kid going to her first day of kindergarten!

In the meantime, I'm borrowing The Hubby's computer. I stumbled on entire files of old photos I forgot to copy onto mine. Here are two of my favorite "finds":

Back when my hair was still more brown than silver, we took a hiking vacation in Ireland. It looks like this wooly cow was bowing down to us. Actually, she was just halfway through the process of getting up--or down. She looks awkward.

But then, so did we!:

A few years later, we paused by a little Scottish waterfall. The scenery is spectacular. The hiking clothes? Well, looking good is never the goal when you're hiking. More like, staying dry.

As soon as I can, I'll be back here with more posts. Wish me luck in my first Mac class!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Tomatoes Are Coming!

Our garden's first tomatoes are ripe, and the pugs and I are so happy:

The one at the top of the bowl, below, is an odd fellow. It's a goofy-looking version of "Champion":

The orangey-red, faintly mottled ones are "Mr. Stripey," and the littlest ones are "Super Sweet 100's":

I think tomatoes are gorgeous, whether they are dusty right out of the garden or freshly washed:

Here's today's haul:

(There used to be more of the cherry-sized ones, but the pugs successfully shook me down for a few.)

I cut up the Mr. Stripeys and placed them all over a frozen pizza, drizzled a little olive oil over everything, and baked as directed. It's a delicious, fast way to improve a ready-made pizza on a busy night.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Easy Lemon Curd From Scratch

Although I've mentioned Lemon Curd in this blog before, I've never given you the recipe.

That must be corrected!

Lemon Curd is one of the delights of an afternoon tea. It is a rich, thick sauce, beautifully balanced between a fresh, bright taste (thanks to lemons and lemon zest) and a decadently silky texture (thanks to eggs and butter).

It is also ridiculously easy to make. Zest and juice lemons:

Add them into a saucepan with some butter, sugar, and a bit of salt:

Pour in beaten eggs and egg yolks:

Cook and stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, and a finger drawn through the coating leaves a clear track:

Strain the cooked sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl:

The sieve catches all the little curdled bits:

What goes through the sieve is a sweet, silky, rich, bright sauce, bursting with lemony/buttery flavor:

Chill it in little jars (I like to portion it out to friends, so I always keep little jars around for just such a purpose):

And you have a sweet, decadent topping for English muffins or scones. You can spread it on toast, or spoon a fat dollop into those tiny, prebaked pastry shells for a wonderful treat:

Yummy! I guarantee you're going to love this.

I am fairly sure I got this recipe from the Los Angeles Times about a million and a half years ago. The original clipping is definitely cut from a newspaper, and I think I recognize the typeface as LA Times. So, I'm going with that as my source.

Lemon Curd
(from the Los Angeles Times?)

2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. lemon juice
zest of one lemon*
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut in pieces

(If you have a double boiler, use it for this recipe. If you don't, don't fret! You'll just have to watch the pot more carefully to be sure the sauce doesn't go all curdly.)

Beat eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar in small saucepan until smooth and light colored. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until curd is thick enough that it coats the back of a spoon, and when you draw your finger across the curd, it leaves a definite track, about 5 minutes. Curd should be as thick as a thick Hollandaise sauce. Pour through a fine strainer into a chilled bowl. Keep covered in refrigerator.

Makes about 1-1/4 cups lemon curd. Each 1-tablespoon serving contains: 65 calories, 72 mg sodium; 58 mg cholesterol, 5 grams fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0 fiber.

*I learned this the hard way: Zest the lemon before you juice it. It's much easier to remove zest from an intact lemon than from a floppy lemon rind half!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mimicking "Country Living" magazine

A few days back, I was fussing in this blog about how I'm not very good at "fluffing" the objects on the cute hutch I rescued out of an alley:

I have a friend in Michigan who owns and operates the most wonderful cheese-and-fancy-food shop (you really must go visit!). She saw my post and commented that the hutch is similar to the June 2013 cover of "Country Living" magazine. Well, if by similar, you mean their fluffing is waaaaay more cute:

But then I got to wondering: Could I re-create the CL photo? But maybe in different colors, because I don't own many red or yellow things. Blue and green, I can do. So I dragged out stuff from my kitchen, living room, even my guest bedroom, and got busy.

This was their top shelf:

And here was my re-creation of it. (I didn't have any cute chicken-egg-cups, but I thought the shape of the two little creamers was reminiscent of the birds.):

This was their berry basket with citrus:

And this was mine. I especially like how close to the mark I got on the enamelized cannisters:

This was their pitcher of flowers:

And this was mine. I did a poor job of replicating the angle of the photo, but oh well. This pitcher, below, is a Limoges chocolate pot that belonged to my great- or great-great-grandmother. I usually don't move it around much, and I never use it, for fear of breaking something so old. So it was kind of nice to fill it with roses and treat it "regular" for a while:

Their white china cups with faceted sides:

And my white china cups with faceted sides:

I left the upper left-hand space empty, as they did, because that's where a lot of the type for the magazine went. Their cover:

And my "cover":

It was a fun exercise, but the precious pieces have to go back to where they are safer.  And I need to put the shelves back to the way they were, which works fine for me:

And for Mu Shu, too!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...