Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Cloudy Bib at the Beach

Phoebe is now drooling, and I wanted a handwork project for all the car rides I've been taking recently (the beach, as you can see on this post), so I concocted a bib.

I traced a bib Phoebe has. I used a scrap of the clothesline fabric from Genevieve's nightie, backed it with red gingham, and put a scrap of bamboo batting in the middle.  I had purchased bamboo batting to make nursing pads because it is supposed to be super absorbent. I put the fabric layers right sides together with the batting on bottom, sewed them around the edges leaving a hole to turn the whole thing right side out.  Then I topstitched to close the hole and give a neat look (note to self:  put the hole on a straight edge, not a curved edge, for easier closing).  Then, the handwork!

I outlined the clouds in blue floss in backstitch, the one embroidery stitch I have memorized.  I love the effect, although the backstitch is not as pretty on the back, so the bib is not really reversible like it would be if I had just used a big-stitch quilting effect in perle cotton. (photos courtesy of my husband via my phone)






But I am on the hunt for more reasons to outline shapes on fabric - it's fun and so easy!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Maria Washes the Dishes

Perhaps we are just as beautiful doing an everyday task, surrounded by the objects and dirt of kitchen life, some of them beautiful and some of them just functional.  









Maria did not know I was taking these photos until I was done.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see our kitchen work through someone else's lens?  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Beach Girls 2015

We didn't even go near the beach; we just laid around C's lovely new house and talked and talked and cooked and napped and took a walk.  Some people may have even gone for jogs, but that was not me.  It was perfect and, of course, eminently manageable with a baby.








We'll probably try for the beach next year, which will be our 23rd year.  We don't do that math very often, so it's a bit startling. Are we old now?  Sometimes wise, sometimes condemned to repeat our personal irritations over and over, surprised at how often we struggle under burdens, surprised by goodness in places we did not look for it . . . we always seem to be able to speak freely to each other, the best kind of love and comfort, I think.  I am so very grateful for these women and the time we take every summer to be together.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mock Caesar Dressing

Because the real dressing takes an egg yolk and I have to look up the recipe in Alice Waters (but delicious!).


But this evening we had some lettuce getting old in the crisper.  So I added a rosy-yellow tomato, toasted some bread cubes with olive oil and salt in the toaster oven, grated some Parmesano and whisked up the dressing.



A light supper on a hot Sunday evening with just my love and the baby, perfect after potluck reunion earlier today.  And then a walk down to the pop-up park for some bitter iced coffee and sweet ice cream.


Mock Caesar Dressing - I never measure, but for your benefit, I guessed the amounts here.  Make it to your taste, of course, and double or triple - it keeps fine in the fridge.

1/4 cup mayo
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, finely minced and/or mashed
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesano

Friday, August 7, 2015

Extra Green Beans

Some friends asked us to tend their garden, and we got more green beans than we could eat.  I blanched them and the children put them through the bean frencher (with complaining, until they figured out their rhythm).



Still had more beans, because now our little backyard patch began producing.  I wanted to make some dill pickles, but after buying a few cukes, I thought I should just use what I already have and make dilly beans.  I had never pickled green beans before and I found it pretty annoying to try to stuff jars with wavy beans.  Photos of dilly beans always show slender, straight beans.


I had planted just a few herbs this year, and was pleased to match up my heads of dill with some cukes to make dill pickles.  They make such an attractive jar, I think!


I also made some batches of pizza sauce to use up the overflow of tomatoes from their garden, plus a few seconds that I picked up at market. I use this pizza sauce wherever spaghetti sauce is called for.  It has wonderful flavor and is quite easy.


The side of our house functions like a messy garage sometimes.  It's more cleaned up (temporarily, until the next project).  We were finishing some things in the third-floor apartment before new tenants moved in.  I seized the camera and we took a quick family photo, probably the first with Phoebe.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Phoebe at the Reunion

First, she met Aunt Maggie.


Later, she took her nap in a Moses basket on top of a vintage baby quilt from Rebecca.  The big kids got entirely soaked with water balloons and when they ran out of those, they used cups of water straight from the fountain.  I wish I had a picture of them.  They dried smelly and tired, but very happy and enthusiastic about distant cousins.


She's in the 99th percentile for height - can you tell? 
We had a little family auction to keep money in the bank for caterers and pavilion rentals.  I made a set of potholders, which turned out Amish-y with the solid colors and the black. I was flattered when my mother's cousin from Holland bid them up high and bought them.


photo by Ben, who held the camera still and made a nice composition

I met a cousin's wife who sews bags and was pleased to find out that they live blocks away from us and our daughters get along great.

I took some jars of pickled beets for the auction and also the potluck, having canned a "gallon" from a generous farmer.  The "gallon" was probably more like 2 gallons, so I am over-supplied.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mayo in 9 Minutes

Yes, there is a learning curve when you choose to make food from scratch instead of buying it at the store.  But seriously:  can you really get to the store and back with a jar of mayonnaise in 9 minutes?  When people say they don't have time to make food at home, they might forget the time it takes them to go to the store, pick out the food, wait in the check-out line (or, horrors, use the self-check-out which always malfunctions), get home, schlep the food into the house, and (pant, pant), put it away.  And (if you're me), take the shopping bags back out to the car trunk. I don't actually hate grocery shopping, but I make sure the stuff on my list is really worth it, really necessary, and I try to recognize the energy it takes out of me for that errand.



Recently, I had the timer set for hardboiled eggs when I pulled out my food processor to make a batch of mayo.  So I noticed that it took me 9 minutes, start to finish with photo included, to make mayonnaise.  Bonus:  I can use local eggs and reuse a jar.



Simple, Fast Homemade Mayonnaise - recipe from More with Less with my notes
Makes a generous pint

Use a food processor.  Process briefly:
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika

Scrape down the sides.  Add:
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (I use bottled)

Start up the processor again and pour in, in a very thin stream, very slowly:
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

Stop the processor.  Add:
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Start up the processor again and pour in, in a very thin stream again:
1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil

Mayonnaise!  Scrape into a clean jar and refrigerate.  Keeps indefinitely in the fridge as long as you use a clean utensil in it.

Recipe Notes:
1. The "very thin stream" looks like a chopstick or skinnier. About a quarter-inch.
2. Do not use olive oil.  The speed of the food processor will burn the oil and make the mayo taste bad.
3. Sometimes the mayo gets thicker than other times.  I don't know why this is (humidity? age of eggs? how fast I add the oil?), but it has never failed me.
4. Friends of mine use this recipe and add a garlic clove, probably in the first step.  They swear by it for tomato sandwiches.

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