Sunday, October 30, 2011

From My Book Shelf -- Two Good Reads

If this book doesn't become a movie,
Ivory and Merchant have missed an opportunity.
is a stylish, end of the Depression era,
cocktails at  a Manhattan jazz club,
snappy dialogue, kind of book.
Mainly told in flashback,  from the point of view
of Katherine Kontent,
it's the story of how a single incident, chance meeting
or decision made, when young, can influence and determine
the rest of one's life.
It's the story of reinventions, friendships, and heartache.
I'm a sucker for F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway,
and this book's style and tone was reminiscent of theirs.
This may be one of my favorite books this year.

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh too,
I had some difficulty getting into it.
It weaves back and forth between
the past and present of it's main character
Victoria Jones, as a nine year old
and as an eighteen year old.
Once I got into the groove of it,
the story completely kept my interest.
Victoria is an orphan, a child of foster homes,
and finally an emancipated adult on her own.
She has an inability to connect with people,
and very severe anger issues.
What she does have is an affinity with flowers
and has learned that every flower has a meaning.
Through them she slowly finds a way to
confront a terrible secret in her past,
and recognize that she has the ability to love
and be loved.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is my upstairs neighbor's birthday!
Is there anything better than a good neighbor?

Perhaps, your "BFF" is a bit better.
It's her birthday today too!
Best friends are...
well...the best!
Except maybe...

Sisters are the VERY best.
And, it's HER birthday too!
Best of all is when all three are the same!
Happy Birthday, Nanniepannie!
(It'd be great if you'd hop over and
give here a birthday greeting!)

Now I'm off to make her traditional
birthday carrot cake.
You can find the recipe here.

Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Feeling Sheepish Today

This is the newest addition to my flock.
He came home with me yesterday from
a day of treasure hunting with my sister.
Today I've been trying to decide where
my new lamb will live.
Most of the space here is already occupied.

These two cast iron banks sit on a window sill.

These are the salt and pepper shakers on my kitchen table.

More window-sill perchers in the kitchen.

This lovely lady was a gift from my daughter
and resides on the bookcase.

Even the bathroom is inhabited.

This fellow is the sentry just outside my back door.

I don't limit myself to just figurines.

I couldn't resist this picture of a sheep wearing a sweater.
I'll bet it's hand knitted.

This is another favorite, also a gift from my daughter.
It "bobbles" when you touch him.
He holds court over my computer.

So, you can see why the new guy
might have a problem finding a place to abide.

This week I'm linking with
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Open House Party Thursday at No Minimalist Here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pinkie Workshop Today!

Fun day for me today!

I taught a workshop this morning
at The Carriage House,
a great local shop,
which specializes in custom framing.
About three years ago, the owner, Terri
decided she wanted to add yarn.
Did she ever!
It's now an outstanding yarn shop as well!

Terri carries my bags and needle cases,
so I asked if she'd be interested in me teaching
a Pinky workshop during October for
Breast Cancer Awareness month.
In no time, she had a full class organized for me!

I'm sorry I didn't take the time to take
more pictures of this wonderful shop,
but the class kept me on my toes!

You can read more about Pinky here.

Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Pie Time!

This time of year,
I start craving apple pie.

One day last week my neighbor
generously gave me some apples.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them!

2 1/2 lb. tart cooking apples, cored, peeled, cut into chunks (about 8 c.)
2 T. lemon juice

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice.

In a small bowl combine
1/2 c. sugar,
2 T. flour,
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg

Sprinkle over apples and toss until well coated.
Set aside while preparing pastry.

Now, I'm a bit of a slacker and I cheat with the crust.
I use the refrigerated kind.
But if you're a purist,
here is the PASTRY recipe:
1 1/3 c. unsifted all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. plus 1 T. shortening
5 to 6 T. iced water
In a medium bowl combine flour and salt.
With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Gradually add water and stir with fork
until flour is moistened and pastry leaves the side of the bowl.
With hands shape pastry into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface,
roll pastry into a 12-inch circle.
Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry.
Make a high fluted edge to hold in the apple juices.

If you're using the refrigerated crust,
roll it out a bit larger than your pie plate
and continue as with the homemade pastry.

Spoon apples into pastry.

In a small bowl combine
1/2 c. unsifted all purpose flour
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed

Here's a tip to keep your brown sugar moist and soft--
keep a leaf of lettuce in your air tight container.
Change out the leaf each time you use the sugar.

Stir the topping ingredients until it's a smooth paste.

Gently dollop over apples,

then spread topping... cover.

Place pie in a large brown paper bag
(i.e. "en papillote")
and close the open end with staples or paper clips.
(Or wrap pie in a large piece  of parchment paper.)

Place on oven rack in center of oven
(make sure the bag does not touch
bottom, sides or top of oven).
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven
for 1 hour and 10 minutes (metal pan)
1 hour and 20 minutes (glass pan)
Remove pie from oven but do not open bag.
Let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Carefully cut bag open and remove pie.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Will someone please get the ice cream?

This week you'll find me linking with
Tasty Tuesdays at 33 Shades of Green
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollom

Friday, October 14, 2011

The REAL Deal

Can you ever have too many pillows?

Last weekend while "treasure hunting"
with my sister,
I found the three large pillows above.
Five dollars each.

They're not pristine, but they're in quite good condition.
They've already been through the washing machine,
and as you can see, they came through fine.

Along with them were two small cushions,
done in the same fabric used on the
backside and piping of the large pillows.

Four dollars each.
How could I resist when the colors
are so perfect for my front porch?

Not to mention,
it's the same fabric I'm using in the
kitchen's window treatments!
I think it gives a nice sense continuity.

These past few weeks  must be my
period of pillow nirvana
because recently at Ikea,
I picked up these two large blue pillows,
also for five dollars each.

And that my dears, is the real deal!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Final Progress Report...or Infestation!!!

If you've been keeping up
I've been telling you of my efforts
to knit 100 little sweaters
for 100 little mice.
(Don't judge me.)



The final couple of dozen were finished up
on a recent trip to the beach.
Great place for some mindless knitting.

I'm happy to say they are all finished!
Just in time for the
The date has been set,
November 19 & 20, 2011.
So now it's time to get busy with all that!

Be sure to look for these little guys if you come!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sharing a Great Giveaway!

In case you haven't heard,
there's a fantastic Fall Giveaway over at
This is a great blog, hosted by Vicki.
Vicki is a travel writer and knitter,
and of those two passions,
who doesn't share at least one!
On November 4, Vickie is having a drawing
to give away the above Vera Bradley bag.
Can you ever have too many bags???
All you have to do is leave a comment for her
and you're entered.
In addition, Vicki is helping me out with my
fundraiser, by also giving away...

...a knitted Pinky model to anyone who posts
Pinky's picture and link.

If you're a knitter, you  also have a chance to
win a Pinky kit.

There's more!
By becoming a follower of Vicki's
Facebook page, you have the opportunity
to win a second Vera Bradley bag!

Quite a giveaway,
wouldn't you say?
Remember, this all ends
November 4th, so don't wait.
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