Friday, January 9, 2015

The Family Sweater

 I finished knitting this sweater and it came out much smaller than I had anticipated. I decided that after I sewed up the seams I would give it to whoever it fit best. Much like Cinderella with the glass slipper or the Three Bears. Which of us would be "just right"?

The big girl tried it.

The little girl tried it.
And I tried it...

"Who gets the sweater?", I asked. 
Big girl answered, "It's a family sweater."
So it is now a family sweater even though it really does look best on her.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Christmas Goose

Each year my husband reads aloud Dicken's A Christmas Carol to my daughters. Each year I pull out Dining with Dickens by Dicken's great-grandson, Cedric Dickens. And each year I ponder what to cook for Christmas dinner. This year like every other year I dream of that mythical Dicken's Goose. This year I actually did it. I sourced and purchased a 12 pound freshly killed free range goose. It was much bigger than I had expected. I asked people's advice and of course read many opinions online of how to roast my goose. The more I found out the more intimidated I got! Goose seemed to be a love it or hate it thing. 
My Dad gave me advice, wished me much luck and asked for a play by play of my goose preparation. He had roasted a goose ONCE. Never again he said. "It's tough, it's greasy, it's not worth it", he said. 
Dining with Dickens advised "hanging the goose in an airy place overnight" before roasting. I asked my husband for help with this step. He rigged it up with bungie cords in the garage. Am I glad that he not only supports but enters into my hair-brained schemes! 

I roasted it on Christmas Day and I think as far as gooses go it went very well. Crisp flavorful skin and juicy meat.  I made traditional accompaniments- apple sauce, cranberry sauce, wild rice with roasted chestnuts. Was is worth it? 
Well, for the experience...definitely! Though I will probably never do it again. 

What I am enjoying more than the meat is all of the broth I made from the goose's bones and the jars of fat. (which is very abundant with a goose) I heard that the quality of meat will show when you simmer the bones for broth. If the bones have a lot of impurities there will be a lot of scum at the surface to skim off. This bird produced no scum! So I am comfortable using it's fat for sauteing vegetables. A little goes a long way. I use a tablespoon for cooking 4-5 servings of veg.

Do you have any experience with goose?

Monday, December 29, 2014

small things

My daughters gave me these small and wonderful gifts. Teeny things seem more precious and magical. My 15yo had a little acorn 3D printed for me and my 11yo crocheted the tiniest fly agaric mushrooom. I love them both! 

Well, here's a small thing that was not supposed to be so small. I have a bad habit of not making size gauge swatches before starting a project. Eager to get going I just start knitting. In this case I knitted a whole sweater and then realized that I have a sweater way too tiny for me. I'll sew up the side seams later today and then I'll know how small it really is. That will determine which daughter will be getting a new sweater.

I got this lovely Cubics interchangeable circular needle set for Christmas and have started the sweater seen here on the cover of New England Knits. All of the sweaters in this book are done on circulars. Starting my new year of knitting off right, I did make a swatch for the correct size this time. 

Wishing you all a Very Excellent New Year!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Honoring Christmas

As a  Christian I believe and keep the true meaning of Christmas- Jesus. I also completely enjoy the traditional trappings of Christmastime. I  revel in this time of year. The world celebrates, they have parties, hang lights, decorate trees and strive to spend more time with they ones they love. Some may even stumble into a church. Their actions may not convey their beliefs but they are still reminders of the birth of Jesus and his blessings which are poured on us all whether we choose to  believe in him or not.
 I trimmed the tree. (happy to have my new Moomin House  ormanent)

I decked the halls, the mantle and yes...even the skulls for Christmas.

 I made little tags while fondly thinking of the people who will receive them.

I baked cookies with my girls. Yes! More Moomin.

And a gingerbread house for them to decorate.

We even had fun celebrating this one's Christmastime birthday (two years old) with veggies and a new hairstyle.

Sure I have fun with holidays and seasons, but I never forget who it is that gave us the seasons, the animals, the beauty of this earth and then even his own life.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens

Thursday, December 11, 2014

two little beardy men

Remember those little doll skins I found?  I ended up using them to teach a few of my daughter's friends how to make dolls. They each got a doll skin of their own to start with. They had fun putting hair and clothes on them but when it came time to put on the faces all the girls froze up. They said they didn't want faces after all. 

I know exactly how they feel. I actually made these two little chaps quite a while ago. I was very excited to try out facial hair. But when it was time to paint their faces on I too froze. The face can really make or break a doll. It either makes it come alive or kills it. 

I finally just did it, I cleared an afternoon and made a date with Mr. Tumnus and Mr. Gnome. The Gnome came to me pretty quickly, but I had trouble with Tumnus. In fact I disliked what I had done so much I painted over the whole thing with skin color and started over. I am very happy with both of them now. When my daughters scream and beg me not to sell dolls I know that I got it right. They squeaked for these two little chaps so I think that they are all right. They are currently in my etsy shop if you would like to see more of them.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dipping Salads

What makes fast food so easy to eat? It's available when you feel hungry. I often put together a "dipping salad" for those times when you might reach for a bag of chips or cookies. First off, I try not to buy chips and cookies often. I mostly do when I am having guests. For everyday I go with raw fruit and veg with a tasty dip. It's crunchy, it's colorful (big plus for me!), sweet  and salty. 

Dipping salads are so hands-on they sometimes do end up being played with. Sword fights with celery, making faces or other designs with the veg, and if you are small enough you can even wear it!

Yesterday we had this beautiful hot pink veggie. Do you know what it is?

Radish! Aren't these pretty? They are very sweet too. I have been eating these with slices of tart green apples, layering them together to make little sandwiches. I have mentioned this before, if you wash all your vegetables at one time to have them ready it will be much easier to eat them quickly. Remember, what makes it "fast" is that it is available immediately. With a bit of preparation you can have quick healthy snacks always at hand.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I am thankful to God every single day. For his blessings, his presence, his communion with me. I can't express my thankfulness enough for miracles and for supernatural healings he has allowed me. He has proven his love for me in countless ways, how can I say "Thanks"? 

My daughter raced outside this morning because it was snowing. This photo captures her unbridled joy. She raised her face and hands to the falling snow.  I don't have the words to say how thankful I am. But this image says it.

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with joy and wonder.