August 30, 2008

My New Favorite Recipe Pt. 2

(Heaven. Lemony-spice heaven.)

No, you didn't miss anything with the "Part 1". It was the same recipe and the resulting uncontrollable urge to tell everyone I know about it is part of why this blog is here now!

After our Friday Night Candlelight Dinner of Giada's Chicken in Lemon Cream with Penne from Everyday Pasta... (Mmmmm....was that good! Used the herbes de Provence we got as a treat several weeks ago perfectly. The flavors were amazing and I want to do it again, with less noodles and more veggies. Spinach, maybe) we came inside for tea and muffins. An unusual dessert for us, but it was really fun, I thought. Lights down low...the leaf out of the table, so we were all cozied together.... Quite coffeehouse-ish.

Anyway - Mango Raspberry Lawsuit Muffins are THE BEST muffins in the whole wide world.

This is only my second time making them, but they seem to take all sorts of abuse/substitutions and still emerge decadent, fragrant, light and fluffy. They're like miracle muffins.

I snipped the "liners" out of parchment paper. They look artsy, don't burn (yay! I was worried) and keep everything together quite nicely. First time, flavoring was the titled Mango-Raspberry. Bebe and I had the house to ourselves and wish we had written down the story we wove aloud that afternoon. (She knows that I am blogging about her now, perking up from a sound cuddle.) These are Citrus-Cassis. We just happened to have a lemon and some dried currants in the pantry. I added extra lemon juice, some craisins and a bit of applesauce to balance the moisture. The scent? Oh my. They would have appreciated oatmeal strudel topping, but the walnut is just fine. (French spices, lemons and dried currants, but no oatmeal. Something could be said about this....) Each muffin is garnished with a slice of crystallized ginger. Yum.

(Crystallized ginger by the Ginger People. Oh, how I love those little Ginger People! Did you see them dancing when you first visit the link??)

And now I bid you good night. There are 800 odd words to be written before midnight.

August 29, 2008

Posting: nonsense

(header from freak4graphics)

listening to: Michael Buble (and the pet rabbits making crazy noises upstairs)
eating: a fat, flavorless leftover Jamie Oliver pancake with raspberries
wearing: pink tank, khaki skirt
feeling: eager for Saturday
reading: The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (just finished)
watching: Julius Caesar
loving: the nearly finished "Hawaiian Tea Party" quilt Laura will be posting about soon
doing: finishing the last Friday's worth of Augverno words (only 3 days left!)

August 27, 2008

Word Count Wednesday

(Going to the library on a rainy day.)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
21,067 / 25,000

"Weaving around parked cars
and moving vehicles
which honk rudely
as he rodeos a string
of heavy buggies
toward the store.

Heaven help us if he isn't
a grocery cart cowboy.

Every evening, he goes out
and gathers up the herd,
corralling them from the
wild and various places
a grocery cart is apt to wander.

Pushed against the curb,
one leg over a speed bump,
foraging dandelions in the cool
shade at one side of the building,
playing newspaper stand,
leaning sleepily against a lamp post
where the june bugs and bats
begin to gather as the summer sun goes down.

Whooping, he drives the last
of his steers into their fringed cave.
We catch his eye
when he locks them in
and, wiping his hands
on the green twill front of his apron,
comes grinning."

(Check out our new bookshelves. Ingenuity is at work in this new house! :P)

August 25, 2008

A Lady of 1939 Lives For A Day

Another EFA paperdoll (with a slightly edited hairstyle). How could I resist when she is from just a year after the original "Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day" novel was published? These little ladies are fun to make with Big Band music in the background.

She thought that the movie was darling, a little riske, but now we know when to go hunting for cookies, we like it quite, quite a lot. Of course we would.

Soul Journaling

It all started when Laura got a tin (!!) of watercolor crayons at Michaels. The excitement was infective, and I got caught up in googling anything related to watercolor crayons, which led me here. Oooh! Art journaling! I used to try that! Tutorials, videos! This is just what I was looking for.... From a link from a link from there I happily stumbled into the secret garden of Soul Journaling, a series of visual journaling "assignments". They are just the key to breaking out of my pale, lined journal and into something friendlier.

And so (if Blogger would get a move on with uploading the pictures)...

Day 1:

Boy, this was fun! I had dictionary, cookbook and Jane Austen pages on reserve to use. After using so many words lately (part of why I've been avoiding paper journaling in general) it was nice to let the printed word speak for me.

Day 2, 3 and 4:

Painting over the journaling was rather shocking, but once the midnight doodling set in, I had loads of fun! (I blurred out my name in the photo. :P) The second page became very dark, but it sort of fit the verse journaled in behind. (Isaiah 50:10).

Day 5 and 6:
I did these last few days in one or two. Finally! Yard sale freebie magazines are put to use! Couldn't bear to cover up the Mansfield Park quotes. They're lovely and I intend to post them later. I like the background on this one. It's rainy here for the first time in weeks. Sort of fits our mood.

For now, I'm off to watch Miss Pettigrew again, girls only.

August 22, 2008

Out of the doing and into the done.

Miles of yarn and picked up stitches later. . .(I had counted the gauge entirely wrong and had to add whole inches to either side of the big pieces - hey, it's my first big project!) . . .the bag is finished!

Drying on a cardboard box form:

Felting is so cool! There was a seam here. Do you see a seam? Do you, do you, huh? I am so totally trying this again! Slippers, anyone?

It came out a reasonable size. Handles are a wee bit long, but I'm hoping they'll fit the future owner.

Did I mention that there is a special, not-in-the-book feature in this bag? When it came to picked up stitches, I, um, forgot the sides, so my brilliant mommy tucked the extra inside and we have an interior pocket!

August 21, 2008

August 20, 2008

Word Count Wednesday

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15,084 / 25,000

I'm a little behind - but we are half way through!! This week, I forced my character to choose between plums and blueberries. May be the cruelest thing I've done yet.

Sentiment is allowed
to tarnish choices,
when it comes to
favoritism, I think.
With the grit of blueberries
on my tongue, I see
grandaddy's hand,
leathery, spotted,
bent with old Arthur.
It cradles seven berries,
we stand beneath their shade.
Ages old, they tower
above our heads,
mine tangled and twelve,
his bent with years,
bowed with history.

My family has no history
with pies - blueberry or
otherwise. The greatest
hope the fruit had to look
forward to was being
layered over vanilla pudding
stirred for so long by
grandma in her housecoat
or being tossed lovingly
over a brightly enameled
bowl of home churned ice cream
(also vanilla and sometimes
butter pecan)

Most of our baskets
are emptied on the
road towards home,
some are taken casually
with home grown radio
on the front porch steps,
but the best are devoured
with relish on the bridge
beside our grove,
watching the current
ripple over mica and fairy
crosses and raccoon tracks
from the night before.

Mmm, yes - blueberries,
with all my heart!

For me, it's plums. There are a few in the kitchen calling my name. Since this week stunk so bad, here's a real artist for you!

“i thank You God”
e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural which is infinite
which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;
this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:
and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

August 19, 2008

Our crape myrtle is finally blooming!

It's a nice hot magenta. We might have guessed from the magenta azaleas, the magenta rhododendrons...some previous owner really liked a nice hot magenta! I'm hoping to tone it down with cooler blues and lavenders come next spring. I was going to go on, but as I was googling for pictures to describe what I'm thinking of, this site came up: Garden Picture Library.


See, now that's a cool garden! But the warmer schemes get me too, hot magenta or no.(Especially when it's done in crisp, cottagey flowers! Or an awesome red window frame. Love those blocky trellises.) The fluffy sunset-colored cloud (bottom) I would seriously love to recreate. Penstemon, rudabekia and solidago, the tags say. Hey - that's goldenrod! And I spy purple coneflower...


Okay - that's it. I'm spending the rest of the day drooling over roses. Why haven't I googled "garden pictures" before now?

Oh yeah, but back to the myrtle. As soon as the blooms...bloomed, its silky bark started to peel off!

Is this normal?? Weird looking, isn't it? Adds a nice exotic texture to the yard!

August 18, 2008

It's a Small World

Miniature fruit, exhibit one. (Quarter for scale.)

a) Champagne grapes from the market
b) Bell pepper. Mine. Don't laugh.
c) Crabapple found on the sidewalk.

The cosmos (normally proportioned - whew!) just bloomed and want in on the action.
Strike a pose!

August 17, 2008

Mr. Sandman

I adore this scene from Fred & Ginger's Top Hat (1938). Of all the times Laura watched that movie when we were little - this one scene got me every time, where, to make up, Fred sprinkles sand all over the floor of his room (right above Ginger's) and taps a slow, soft Sandman lullaby. It's so sweet! He doesn't mind the mess or the ashtray sand (eewww!). And Ginger is sooo happy in her silky, fluffy nest of a bed (and nightie)! Now that's the way to go to sleep... Now how'd she get her hair to stay like that? On YouTube here.

August 14, 2008

Thrift Store Finds

1) Fashion Plates game for $1.50! Hehe! I have always wanted one of these - with the different hairdos, blouses, patterns... All the pieces were there. (yes!) This one's a little outdated - Mama's guess is late 70's, early 80's, before my time. The ruffled tie-blouses and tiered skirts are right up my alley. And if you don't give the girls green eyeshadow (like the example on the box) they could pass! The picture on the cover cracks me up a little (you can barely see her feet poking out under the paper) : she's wearing polka-dotted tights that look like 12-year-old me in the middle of mosquito summer! How many things can go with a too-big sweatshirt? Let's see! I'm going to have to sharpen the pencils soon. They're almost down to the nubs.

2) Vintage sheets for $3 each: one twin flat, one double flat. They were intended for a future as pajamas, but the print is cute, matches my rug, the fabric's soft and my bed is a double! What to do? I could make pjs from the twin, and use the other on my bed...and then no one will be able to find me, I'll blend right in!

And since it's playing on TV, I should mention how much I like the Daisy sour cream commercial. "Do, do, do - do a dollop of Daiseee!

Now - write, knit!

August 13, 2008

Word Count Wednesday

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,026 / 25,000

In the 10 thousands! Yoohoo!

It is getting harder to pick an excerpt for two reasons:
a. 2nd week tends toward writing, just for the sake of wordcount, which deteriorates the quality. :(
b. The plot thickens. Paragraphs get lost and out of place on their own. Poor wittle paragraphs...

A flashback:

All the trees
had bark too thick,
the soft barn wood
was just the trick.
I giggled and scratched
my imaginary beau's
initial alongside
mine (with a backwards
L, that always gave me trouble
- the ballet teacher abandoned
the old "L is for left"
routine with me
and just slathered
both rights in red paint.)

If David had seen it,
he would have been mad.
Not only that -
but he would have told
Mrs. Pritcherd so,
standing barefoot on those
smooth wood floors,
akimbo and a hand
in either pocket.
(he took on a Huckleberry
Finn guise in those days,
though I wouldn't let him
wear the ragged hat)


Just D.

Maddie refused
to do hers too
- it looked so deep,
so big, so bad.
Well fine.
- That proved her love
was not as deep or true
as mine and David's
and to make it up,
she would have to
serve the tea.

(Maddie and I
always had tea
in the hemlocks
at two o clock
on Wednesday
served from an old
tin pitcher with sides
of scarlet bean blossoms
for our hors d'oeuvres.
The dogs would
never partake
and this irritated us
to no end.
The dogs replied
that David and Steve
didn't have to drink their tea.
They had the excuse
of being invisible,
we said, adjusting
our cinnamon fern
feathers. Dogs, however
were entirely real
and must not be rude
to their hostesses.
If they were
we would give them a bath.
And we did
In tea.)

Getting decidedly prosy here. :)

August 12, 2008

A Lady of 1839

I had SO much fun piecing together this paperdoll from Edith Flack Ackley's Paper Dolls, Their History, And How To Make Them. My sweet mama gave me a copy a few weeks ago and I've been drooling over the old illustrations.

It is wildly different than the paperdolls my sister and I drew every summer. For one thing, the dress is made of tissue paper and gathered with needle and thread.

Playing milliner was especially fun. :) No, no, it wasn't. Those tiny flowers can be ridiculiously sticky, and it took several tries to figure out what Mrs. Ackley meant with the rear fold. But "milliner" sounds so nice. :)

I really like the way she looks in front of this watercolor by my aunt Mishelle. Like a Southern Belle wandering around under pink weeping cherries. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon before lounging on the front porch with sweet tea and divinity.

She needs a name: a good, sweet, sorter elergant name. Like Sophie or Susanna or Clementine.

Any suggestions? :)

August 11, 2008

"I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun."

Dress up games are a weakness of mine. Like a shopping addiction...without sore feet or buyer's regret. This one tops them all! 

What better accessory than Mr. Darcy??

I mean seriously!


August 7, 2008

The most wonderful poetry of all!

"Flower Window" by Carl Larsen

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love,
I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy,
and know all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.

And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body to be burned,
but have not love,
it profiteth me nothing.

I Corinthians 13:1-3

August 5, 2008

Augverno 2008

My friend Mary Beth (from WritingAnotherStory) and I are taking our love for Nanowrimo and our life-goals of writing a verse novel and putting them into action this month!

Word count five days in:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,118 / 25,000

This is the first night I've been done before eleven! Yay!

Plot: something along the lines of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

I had intended to post full excerpts here, but with/without edits and all, it's a merrible tess. This is one of the better parts so far though:

On just such a rainy day,

thick with mist

soft in air,

turning my valley

shades of blue

and of green

that go beyond any

words in my head.

Cerulean, maybe

Bottle green but

warmer, thicker,

softer in the infant

shades of cinnamon fern

and the first tiny palms

of tulip poplar.

But, no, older than that

Old like the Indian mounds

aching with grass

that we pass on the

main road to town.

Old like campfires

and strong mountain women

gathering nuts to

feed their children.

Like dinosaurs even.

Like music, it is --

hundreds and hundreds

years worth of music,

rising together,

called by the rain

from the depths of these red hills.

I stand at their feet,

the tall wet grass

soaking my skirt

clinging to my bare legs

until I have to tug

to make it let go.

But for now,

I let it cling.

Looking down

my sandals are gritty

with soil, looking

as much a part

of the burr-weed

and star-eyed asters

as two feet of clay.

Looking up

beyond the soaring

incline of glowing

rain-drenched greenery

up to where the cotton

clouds rend and sky

comes through, though

you can scarcely tell

it for the sun, ribboning

down in lemonade rays,

looking as much a part

of heaven as Daniel

and his sea of glass.

There is a verse --

you've heard me

quote it before --

in the Psalms of David

(the ruddy shepherd-poet)

that talks of God

reaching down

and at His touch,

the mountains smoke.

I know this

I live it.

Standing here, with

the blue mist around

my ankles, I pray.

If You would touch

these mountains,

Lord, if you know

the stars by name,

If I mean more to you

than the sparrows

that sing so sweet

You would not

forget me here,

beneath the pines?

[mine - no copying]

Back with more later. For now? Bed! Or life. Or that knitting project that's supposed to be felted in a month.... Yeah, that.

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