We had a really lovely weekend and good Monday. The weather was crazy and beautiful.
I had some great luck thrifting. I went for sweaters to felt, which are not pictured here because they were busy in the wash. That's a Liberty of London tie, or at least a really nice knock off. The "old" platter is an English take on a Scandinavian design style, and I adore it. Obviously these two things were not on the shopping list. The wooden bowl was 99 cents, and dry as a bone. It sucked up a tablespoon of olive oil and is suddenly gorgeous. Thank you Waldorf playgroup for the information. I had wanted to make oil and beeswax spoon oil, but this is quicker and cheaper, for now. The little kitchen things will be birthday gifts for Jane. She's getting a toy kitchen from my parents. The little box an wooden truck (soon to be oiled as well) are destined for Jane's stocking. The sled, I'm going to sand and oil and make a Santa for. I think I'll put it out on St. Nicholas day. The cotton perle emigrated from France at some point in the last couple of decades and was also 99 cents. It's very fine, and exactly what I use for tying doll heads. AND have a look at that OLFA circle cutter. 2.99. The basket was 69 cents, and I rushed home to fill it with my sewing tools. More often than not, I bring my gnomes into the living room in the evening. For one thing, I need a new lamp in the studio. The architect's light I was using broke its clip and brained me. For another, evenings are really the only down time I get with my husband, and we like a bit of Sherlock Holmes via Netflix, lately. So this basket is perfect for toting essential items back and forth. I managed to find quite a few pure wool sweaters this time, as well. Save those for another post. I also bought two wool blazers. One for doll experimentation. One to wear. I really only wear one coat, and it's a green tweed blazer that's a little too big for me. I love it. But I found a men's jacket, brown wool, from Pierre Cardin that fits me to a T. Beautifully made, and unlike women's blazers it has the inside pockets. The more pockets the better as far as I'm concerned.
Also found this weekend, after weeks of fruitless searching (nyuk nyuk): Quinces! Hurrah! There was one basket at the farmer's community booth in the market and I bought them all. According to the volunteer, the farmer who brought them said this was all his tree produced this year. I've already made eight jars of quince paste. More on that later.
We had more good luck with Jane's diet this weekend. I made the Italian wedding soup from Everyday Food January 2009. I've made it a lot. In fact, it was the first meal I really mastered as a mom at home with a baby. For me at least, it's a whole different kind of cooking. And this was something wholesome and delicious I could make with an infant in the house and the kind of sleep deprivation that causes hallucinations. It's economical and flexible, too. I always use kale instead of escarole. It's cheap, and it's yummy. This time I didn't have canned diced tomatoes so I used two fresh tomatoes and the three tablespoons of tomato paste I had in the freezer. (When I open a can I use my 1T cookie scooper and drop the remainder onto a cookie sheet and freeze, then store in a baggie or something.) I "toasted" one tablespoon with the onions and carrots--I also added two carrots. The other two I put with the carrot peelings, a spare celery stalk, a bay leaf, peppercorns, and various seedy spices I had hanging out in the spice cabinet in a big pot of water and made broth while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. I learned it from Deborah Madison, who is one of my idols. This trick actually makes surprisingly good stock, full of flavor. Anyway, Jane loved it.
It's cooler and drier than it's been, and we started the week of with a lovely fire. Matt's parents sent us a big box of fatwood, which he deemed "the best present eva." It's eliminated our need for kindling and newspaper. We all love a good blaze.
It's hard to believe the fire season is here, but it is. I spend so long anticipating autumn, and then I have to pinch myself--it's here it's here it's here! It finally hit me yesterday, when I saw the light coming in the front window in such a different way. The sun falling on Jane like that made her look like an angel. She's really made that corner her own. She pushes her chair way back to the wall and reads books. Or plays peek-a-boo. Who doesn't love a book nook?
Besides the quince paste, I tried another new recipe yesterday, from the same series of books (loving them, from the library--pricey!). Spelt digestive biscuits. Delicious. Good with the quince paste, too. We didn't have any manchego in the house so I made do with some sharp cheddar to eat the scrapings from the pan. Surprisingly good. I'm awfully glad I only baked half the dough. Otherwise we might have eaten them all yesterday. I'm also really pleased with the spelt flour. I've not had many tasty things made with spelt in the past, so I've been pleasantly surprised by it's performance and nutty flavor. I've tried it in this recipe, where it was called for, and in my regular sandwich bread recipe, with success.
Well, I've written all this after getting up at 4am worrying about money. What a bore. I go over it and over it my head, our budget that is, trying to think up other ways save, or other things to cut. And the fact is, there's not really anything to cut. So the hard work and innovation must be applied on the income side of things, and that's that. Hard times for everyone. But in my morning stupor I suddenly thought of Pepe the King Prawn's message to Gonzo, and felt encouraged. Build a doll shop and we will come, okay?
There's a new gnome up in the doll shop, by the way. Happy Tuesday, everyone. Coffee time.