Saturday, June 20, 2015

When life hands you apricots's time to start the canning season. After a thrift store stop that left me empty-handed, i thought i'd check out the nearby grocery outlet, to see if i could score on provisions, instead. And score i did: among the odd bits of produce on offer was a small box of apricots at 99 cents a pound. I left with all the ones that weren't too squishy already, a total of about a pound and two-thirds. Not enough for a real batch of anything by themselves, so i set about looking or something to pair them with.

Raiding the trees and bushes at the barn (because free fruit is even better than cheap fruit), i came up with a few sour cherries and a few red currants, and after an evening of hunting recipes - which left me wishing i had lots more apricots, so i could try a few of them - i settled on this jam. I worried a bit about the set, because even with cutting the recipe in half, the proportions were a bit off: more apricots and fewer currants, and i knew the currants provided most of the pectin. In the end, though it took forever to gel, it was fine, and the color is simply glorious. Aside from the apricot/currant imbalance, the only alteration was a wee splash of brandy as it cooked. I ended up with four half-pints, and one of the tiny little four-ounce jars - plus just enough extra to slather on an English muffin for quality control. It's tart and sunny, and if you have the good fortune to find both apricots and red currants at the same time, i suggest you pounce.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Wee shirt

I was talking with a friend a few weeks before she had baby number three due, and asked if she had everything all ready... she laughed and said that between moving to a new farm, closing her store and opening her home studio, she pretty much hadn't done a thing.

"So, everything's normal, then." But i took it into my head to make something to send, and after rifling through the patterns that were on hand, came up with Simplicity 6259, a vintage-ish (1983) layette pattern, some super-soft cotton chambray (actually a set of thrifted sheets), and a cotton with a tiny, tiny print to make into scads of bias for the trim - all carefully chosen to be highly washable and also gender-neutral. As a bonus, the wrap can go in front or in back, and either side can be lapped over first - a virtue, when dressing a wriggly baby.

Fiddled about with the pattern a little bit - topstitching, and shortening a tiny bit in order to replace the hemmed bottom edge with one that was simply bound - and fought the binder attachment quite a lot (the inside curve of that tiny neck edge is a bear), but got the thing done and shipped off, only a few days after the kiddo made her appearance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Springtime walks

I dug this little Victorian engraving out of a postcard bin in a junk shop - i was charmed by the scene and the location and the fact that the registration is slightly wonky (i feel a bit of sympathy for the unknown printer...). I've hunted around the Internet a bit to see if i can spot the same view, but with no artist, engraver, or publisher listed, there's not a whole lot to go on, just the image itself.

I've never been to Scotland, so i know the location only from the old tune, "Roslin Castle" - there's a snippet, here, played on viola da gamba by Tina Chancey.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Shhh...'s a Mother's Day present:

The hand-colored version of the tiny little cat nose - the printed image is just two inches square. The frame is a made-to-order job from fellow Etsy shop signedandnumbered.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mini Scrap Exchange

Print exchanges are fun - you get to see what other folks are making, and get artwork you might never have found otherwise - and using up odd bits left over from other projects is satisfying, so when i saw a note about an exchange that combined the two, i signed up right away. This one hadn't really very many rules, except that your prints had to be on two inch by two inch or three inch by three inch pieces of paper.

I haven't had a chance to photograph the goodies that arrived in the (wee tiny) portfolio, but here's a print from one of the editions i submitted, all framed up as a birthday present for a friend... and if you think you need one for your very own, i have a hand-colored version in the shop (one less than i started with, though: there was an unmistakable Maternal Hint that i should send one to Delaware for Mother's Day).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Another stray that stayed

This is my current go-to sewing machine, a Singer 500A - i haven't looked up its exact date of manufacture, but early 1960s is a safe bet. I wasn't going to hang onto it - i've got a Singer 403A that i've had for years, which has similar capabilities (without the swoopy Space Age styling that gives the 500 and 503 models the nickname "Rocketeer"), but it's been so lovely to use (and quiet!) that i keep going back to it.

I recently saw a picture of an old Singer ad, from 1963, with this model as their top-of-the-line domestic machine, with a retail price of $329.40. Just for grins, i fed that information into an inflation calculator, and came up with a price in today's money of $2545 and change.

It still sews like a dream; no attachments, but i've got a set that will fit from the 403, and the cabinet is waiting if i want to set it up more permanently... i'm feeling pretty good about finding it for $10.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


So, that stray kitty who turned up here a couple years back...? Yeah, he lives here now. I tried - really hard - to find a sucker to take him in, but one after another got cold feet, or another cat, or any number of other excuses. And then the spouse named him. And that, as everyone knows, is the start of the slippery slope...

I've got to admit, he's a good kitty, mostly. At first, he had the declawed cat tendency to nip first and ask questions later, but once he learned that nothing really terrible happens to him here, he mellowed out on that. He's also a drooler. But that's my only real complaint. He's a conversationalist, and he's got a great big grunt-y purr. He was a bit shocked about the existence of other cats, and unaware of any foodstuffs other than kibble, but he's learned a lot - especially about the foodstuffs part.