27 April 2006


I got an email from Glimmertrain this evening --- my short story didn't win (this time!) but reading it "was a pleasure" and they "look forward to reading more of my fiction". Now that the hurdle of submitting my first story and receiving my first rejection is over, I'm ready to devote more time and effort to fiction writing. The story I submitted had some merit (the opening paragraph was quite lovely, if I do say so myself) but altogether was definitely an also ran. It sort of fizzled at the end. I think I can do better, and I do enjoy making up stories even if I don't so much enjoy actually recording them. But Glimmertrain was not alone in rejecting my creative efforts tonight! The male minions were diplomatic, but they very clearly did not like my chicken fricassee. This was a new recipe and, incidentally, one that Wren and I quite liked, so theboys'll have to have it again whether they like it or not. How anyone could fail to appreciate chicken thighs sauteed in butter and olive oil, then poached in broth and white wine until falling-off-the-bone-tender, then finished with light cream, lemon juice, thyme, and parsley is beyond me but I felt a little morose after dinner tonight. Happily, the children were especially charming as they got ready for bed, I have a small amount of chocolate, and the yarn for Wren's cardigan came today, and it is a pleasure to knit. I'll post a picture of my swatch tomorrow --- today's picture didn't come out very well.

dinner tonight: chicken fricassee served with egg noodles

24 April 2006

Freezer Paper Stencil

I got the tutorial from craftster, via angry chicken blog, for using freezer paper to make stencils for fabric painting. The rooster is just some clip art I found online. I used a maternity shirt for my test project (I'll be finished with all my maternity clothes for good in just a few weeks!!!) and I'm pretty pleased. It was pretty easy to do (of course, a more complex design would be harder to execute) and I've got some ideas for future projects. I'll have lots of time for crafting in the next two weeks, as Finch has shown a few little signs of wanting to get himself out into the world a bit early. Since I'm just over 35 weeks along, my midwife wants me to take it easy for the next two weeks at least to discourage him. It's kind of nice to be obliged to rest! Reading, crafting, and writing are even more fun without the guilt and "I shoulds" (do the laundry, vacuum the floors, walk the kids to the library, etc).

20 April 2006

Finished Object

I finished the knitting and the little bit of sewing up on this some time ago, but I didn't get around to sewing on the buttons and threading the little ribbon until yesterday. I'm fairly well pleased, although I'd change the buttonhole spacing if I could. Also, something about the shaping seems off to me but I don't have a good eye for line and drape so I can't put my finger on what the problem is. Finally, I wanted a more subdued blue for the buttons and ribbon, and I may well change them if I come across something I like better. The selection at JoAnne's was limited. I think it'll look swell on young Finch this autumn nonetheless. Now I've got to get back to the rompers I started several months ago and stopped work on because I couldn't get the neckline bind-off neat and tidy. If only Finch were a girly, I could crochet or knit a decorative border onto the bind-off edge, but as things are, I'm obliged to improve my technique which has been, after all, my goal since I started this blog. In the pipeline is a lacey cardigan for Wren (a repeat of a sweater I made a few years ago that she's grown out of), Robin's random cable pullover, a baby surprise sweater for Finch, and my first ever real lace (and first ever shawl) with some lovely Helen's Lace that I've been intimidated by for years. I'll have plenty of knitting and sewing time on my hands in the next few weeks since Finch has shown signs of impatience and my midwife has told me to lay off the housework and any long walks or strenuous exercise. Oh the sacrifices I make for my child!

dinner tonight: spaghetti carbonara

13 April 2006

winding lace

After a long hiatus from knitting and blogging I'm inspired to finally try my hand at lace knitting. It was very satisfying to put my nearly-finished random cable sweater in a drawer where it will languish all summer long, to cast-off the EZ gull-pattern sweater for the Finch and to fold it lovingly into his little dresser drawer, and to admit to myself that my charcoal cardigan will be on-hold indefinitely. Now I'm all clear to cast-on for my first ever lace project. Except that first I have to wind the yarn (Lorna's Laces' Helen's Lace) and I don't have a swift or a ball-winder. I really should, given how much yarn I buy online instead of in my lys, but whenever I have money to spend on crafting, I go for yarn, fabric, embroidery thread or knitting needles. This yarn is incredibly frustrating to wind though -- it tangles easily and simply goes on and on and on. I'm winding it in 30 minute increments while listening to public radio. Meanwhile, the children have completely dropped knitting and weaving in favor of playing outside from dawn til dusk, which is their usual pattern for spring and fall. We all of us are fresh air fiends, and none of us likes extreme cold or heat, so we try to take full advantage of the mellow days. Yesterday, in anticipation of Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Finch's birth, we planted a little Serviceberry Tree (A. laevis) which will provide delicious berries for the birds (and for us if we can get any!) by next summer. Our fig tree, planted last year, is leafing out beautifully, the rosemary overwintered just fine and is thriving, and the lovage is just now poking out of the ground. Plans are in the works for a front hedge of Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina) which will provide hips, mostly for the birds but also for rose-hip jelly (so old-fashioned!) and possibly some brambles out back. We have to go slowly as our budget is tight, but this forced discipline has it's advantages. I've had to put a lot more thought into what to plant where, and have had ample time to observe the sun and shade and to read about native species that will do well in the space I have. My plans are a far cry from the herbs and vegetables I'd planned when we first got the house, but I'm very excited about my 'wildscaping' plans. A few years hence I will sit and knit on my back porch, surrounded by native trees, flowers, and shrubs abuzz with life.

dinner tonight: broiled salmon with hollandaise, jasmine rice, steamed asparagus