Friday, January 23, 2015

60 North A Magazine About Life and Culture on the Shetland Isles

Hi Dear Folk,

I wanted to share with you this wonderfully interesting magazine called 60 North here

If you love wool and crafts and culture and travel you will enjoy this.  It comes out quarterly and you can read the back issues on line, or download the pdf



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bailey Museum, Maui

Hi Dear Folk,

Sharing my tales of Hawaii.  Our trip up the valley was back to nature and that always invigorates one.  So what to do next, I had seen this little museum the Bailey Museum as we came into the valley so looked it up in our guide book, yes no iPhone for me, I got out my Baedecker, and since we were right there we stopped in on our way back and what a little gem of a place it turned out to be, see here.

The Bailey House is on main street across from Kaahumanu Church, was built for missionaries Edward and Caroline Bailey in 1833 on the former site of Hawaiian royal compound. Lava rock and native woods including koa were used in the construction of the building which originally housed the Wailuku Female Seminary.

This is The Lei Maker by Theodore Wores see here

The painting is in the Honolulu Museum of Art, painted 1901.  I love the frame it is in and would like to try and find something reminiscent of that at the thrift, a quest is on.

Edward Bailey was a keen painter and he studied or studied with ones from the Hudson River School of art see here that can be seen in his style. In fact some artists stayed here on their visit to the islands. I personally think his paintings are lovely.  He very much loved the islands and the people and wanted to capture that, before it was lost; of course the sad thing is that in them coming that is why it was lost.

I stood for a while listening to this ukulele teacher and student, I do have some video too, it was so interesting, I was ready to join in.

The little gift shop had lots of lovely local items.  I walked out with two things the Lei Maker poster, how could I not get that and a bottle of perfume, Maui Rain, it's an oil and a tiny dab goes a long way, I love it, every time I dab it on I'm transformed back to that lovely day.


So I'm ready to move in, look at the light falling onto the veranda, through the trees.  Anyone for afternoon tea?  I'll wear my cream lace and linen Edwardian dress with suitable matching hat and gloves.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Hi Dear Folk,

The best laid plans of mice and men, that was my weekend.  Saturday morning my sister phoned and that was nice, but it meant that I didn't get out as planned.  Later I was planning to attend the memorial of the death of an older friend in a neighboring congregation, but as I was pulling into the parking lot at 1:30PM I knew I must have got the time wrong as it was almost empty.  Sure enough I was able to ask a straggling car group who were just leaving and the memorial was at 12:00PM and not 2:00PM.  Oh well!  Nothing I could do there.  I was so cross with myself.

So decided to go to Target and pick up some more jumbo size Ziploc bags to keep fabric in.  Eventually after walking almost around the entire store, I found where they were kept.  On walking on my way to the checkout, the next thing I know I'm laying flat on my stomach on the floor.  People are running over saying am I alright?  Not a store employee to be seen and I never did report it to the store. although it's probably on video somewhere.  Fortunately I was alright, but you feel such a fool, and I was already totally overdressed for shopping in Target.

OK after that I did go to a yarn shop and soothed my soul by finding some very nice yarns which I may go back for.

Sunday poured with rain all day and was black ice, so after my fall the previous day I did not feel like venturing out.

Monday my friend J. phoned and we chatted about her trip to Iceland, that was fun to hear all her experiences, adventures and mis-adventures.

It could not be ignored anymore, we had to take action on the backed up sewer line, it had been draining, but now was not.  I sent Mr. B. down there for the grand clean up, well just the water.  I did have to go down and help him run the snake.  After putting in a new trap several years ago we have not had a problem.  But on an almost 100 year old house, with plumbing that old to match, it seems they used to use terracotta pipes and tree roots easily get into them.  I helped him get it out of the SUV, it weighs a ton, we man handled it down five basement stops, not an easy job.  We were sweating bullets because we had over 90 feet of a 100 foot snake out there and it was still blocked, but all of a sudden it started to gurgle and it was unblocked, thank goodness for that.  After which we did two loads of wash just to make sure.

In between all this madness, I did however manage to finish one crochet beret in 100% wool, and one crochet cloche where I used left over acrylic and it had no natural content and I should have headed my sister's warning, do not use yarn without some natural, such as wool content, because it stretches ridiculously and sure enough it did,  So now I need to figure out how to bring it in a little, shearing elastic may do it, the colour is pretty like a candy floss, with white, pink, lavender and gray, subtle.  I will crochet the pattern again with a different yarn.

I am so happy to have found a pattern for my mohair yarn, the colour is  called brown spice with heather frost, I love that name, a cinnamon brown colour with a blue/grey mohair. A very simple shawl pattern just using chain stitch and slip stitch, it really suits this yarn.  I am so excited as I had started on one fingerless mitt with this yarn and that was the one where Mr. B. said it looked as if I had just wrapped yarn around my hand.

So as you can see Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men, was how my weekend went.  Hope yours went a little better.

From Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse's nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren't alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
The poem is of course the source for the title of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel - Of Mice and Men.


Down to Eath Maui Houses and Fresh Coconut Tasting

Hi Dear Folk,

I wanted to post some down to earth photos of some of the Maui houses that we saw.

Here we are heading up the valley to Kuka-emoku.

On the way back we stopped at this fresh coconut stand.  I've only ever had fresh coconut when the liquid inside tastes like sweet milk and the flesh is quite hard; which I like. But a truly fresh off the tree coconut is different, the liquid inside is like a clear water, a little sweet, and the flesh is like eating coconut pudding, you just scoop it out, nature's instant pudding, totally yummy.

So first of all we drank the liquid and then gave it back to the guy, he chopped it in two with his machete, and that machete totally reminded me of my dad, because my dad had a machete and just loved it.  He made us a little scoop, by chopping off a sliver of the outside, we each had a half and we scooped out the flesh.

Now I could take this little house above, I could see myself wandering around there.

These were the houses we saw at the head of the valley.

These houses must be from the twenties or thirties I would think.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Le Grande Weekend - That Means a Three Day Weekend For Me

Hi Dear Folk,

Counting down to the weekend, as I previously mentioned it is a three day weekend for me, what luxury.  The Boy got off on the road by about 11:00 AM, I had long been at work.  He is sharing a ride back to Ithaca with a friend and all his entourage of things.  I feel he is cutting it fine as always as he is meant to be at work by 4:00 PM and it is a four and a half hour ride up there, but he'll learn.  He can just dump his stuff in the hallway and make a mad dash down the hill on his bike if it is not too icy.

I was reading different Frugal Blogs, and thought how we've always been pretty frugal and at other times very frugal because of necessity, the reason I'm stating this, because it made me think of the boy.  Right before the holidays, he phones us and says how do you cook a ham?  So we explained.  He went and bought himself a spiral cut ham on sale, which was actually already cooked, he packaged it out and thought that the per pound price worked out to be very good and it was.  He pretty much cooks all his own food and packs his own lunches for college. 

He works at a restaurant and therefore can eat for half price, but he made a cost comparison on this and said he can make a meal for $2.00 and there the cheapest meal would cost him $7.00.  Sometimes he'll treat himself to a desert, he says the peanut butter sandwich deep fried is to die for, at his age you can eat that, and I always say anything fried tastes good.  So I think we did well on training our twenty year old son to live frugally. 

Clothes wise he reminds me of the French, because he buys little and good and finds it on eBay, and keeps it for years.  At least I think that's what the French do.  All the French student teachers we had in High school seemed to do that and I've heard that too.  For instance I bought him a Fossil tweed jacket on sale when he was about fifteen, it was a great buy, and he still wears it and it still looks good.

I did make the pot of soup the other day.  Mr. B. staggered down to the kitchen and put some chicken on to boil and I did the rest when I got home.  Using staples and left overs I found in the fridge, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and green beans, I added some stock cubes to give a little more taste and took all the chicken off the bone and cut it up, adding it back into the soup and boiling it all up.  And very tasty it was too.  How good it feels to have a nice big pot of soup to come at.

Did I mention a happy little thrift find.  I was standing in the thrift last Friday evening, I had stopped in after work and Mr. B. caught me there, that was before he got ill and he said "what are you smiling at?" I said I just found a Royal Winton cup and plate.  The ones where the plate has a little indentation and is used as a plate/saucer, what's the proper name for them?  It has a mid blue wide border with flowers, I so love this and it was not over priced as some things in there are.

When my mum first got married she started collecting the very popular Royal Winton pattern with the flowers all over, she was going to collect the whole dinner and tea service bit by bit, I'm talking mid fifties, but dear grandma, mum in law, who if I say so myself was very bossy, said "what are you wasting your money on?"  So mum only ever collected an English set of six for tea, plus the sugar and creamer and I don't think she ever bought the teapot unless that was long broken before I was aware of beautiful china.  In any case I have the few remaining pieces.  Grandma what were you thinking of?

Have a great weekend.


Plum Pudding an Edith Wharton Recipe

Hi Dear Folk,

I found this in my drafts, where it was sitting never having been drafted to my blog, so here we are Edith Wharton's' Plum Pudding recipe; which I found  On Paper and Salt an interesting blog of Authors and corresponding Recipes.

I love a Plum Pudding, dark and rich.  This turned out more like a very fruity bread pudding, but still delicious and fun to make and good to eat and not as much prep and cooking time. The Boy liked it so much, that he ate two and not paying attention when taking it out of the fridge, in his usual rush, he broke a handle off one of my Pennsylvania Cannonsbury oven bowls.

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or your favorite dried fruit)
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and grated
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup almonds (or your favorite nuts), chopped
  • 1/2 apple, finely diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • milk

1. Combine cranberries, dates and brandy in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except for milk. Stir in fruit and any accumulated juices. Stir in enough milk to form a wet dough, 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 4 ramekins. Press in pudding mixture and cover with foil, securing with string around the edges

Give it go.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

MaGerks', Fort Washington

Hi Dear Folk,

Glad you popped by.  Only fifteen days late on this post, I just got the photos downloaded off my camera.  This is our little family out for lunch on New Years' Day, including the Boy of course.  It's nice to take advantage of being together as you know these times are going to be less frequent.

MaGerks' is not far from where I work and we have been here quite a few times from work, you know vendor visits, take you out to lunch do.  So I thought we'd go over and treat the boys to their crab sandwich which is excellent.  I had their crab cream soup, also very good.

I know these photos are very similar, but I liked them both, so I'm posting them both.

MaGerks' is actually an old house which sits on the corner.  This area is very old Pennsylvania, Hope Lodge  is just down the road, and Mather Mill.  This is also near where I take my lunch by the creek in the summer time.  The Highlands is in this area too, and I see that they are having another Tea and Symphony event; which I went to before and thoroughly enjoyed, so maybe will go again.  Also the Clifton House here they are on Facebook where I've been to Afternoon Tea a couple of times is past Hope Lodge on the same road.

There is a group of houses next to the restaurant and one is in a pretty run down condition, but I'm sure it's old, it has an old curiosity shop type window on the side and I just long to go in and have a good nose around.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Succumbed to Sickness and Other Issues of Life

He Dear Folk, 

Dear Boy returns to Ithaca on Friday, he has a ride back, which is good because he has numerous stereo related items that he wants to take with him, one being a blue bucket of concrete which has a sub-woofer set into it.  This he started over the Thanksgiving holiday, but it takes a while for the concrete to set and various other sundry items are going back with him. 

I have tried to tempt him with my new found crochet skills,” how about fingerless mitts dear?”, “no they remind me too much of Dickens” and then he proceeds to enact the bent over hunched figure with fingerless gloves, not that I can do gloves, but it did remind me of “Steptoe and Son”.  If you are not familiar with Steptoe and Son the American equivalent was Stamford and Son, but I always much preferred Steptoe and Son.  “OK I get the point, no fingerless mitts.  How about a Watch Cap?”  I have a very nice pattern in a book I bought on Monday evening, more about that later.  A Watch Cap is like a seamen’s cap,” no I wouldn’t wear that.  How about a scarf?  No I don’t need that.”  Then when he found out that the temperature was down to single digits, he did think that he might need a long coat.  I said go walk around to the Thrift and have a look. 

I stopped off on my way home from work, at the craft shop to pick up a second ball of yarn to make a beret to match the fingerless mitts that I have almost finished.  This is my second pair of fingerless mitts that have been completed, because getting the pattern correct took numerous tries and unraveling and retries.  I even made one whole fingerless mitt in a mohair blend and Mr. B. said it look like a bunch of yarn just wrapped around my hand, plus I did not like the top of the pattern, so I have reworked that with a pique stitch.   I have come to the conclusion that I do not like slip stitches in crochet, mine never seem to line up and start wandering at a diagonal angle.  So I have remade them with minimum amount of slip stitches, in fact crocheting them mostly in a spiral and that works much better on this pattern and looks nicer.  The yarn I have is variegated in greens, purples, tangerines and in between, it looks great and I love the surprise of the colours as they are crocheted in, the look to me is almost zigzag and with a bit of a South Western look, I will be interested to see how it crochets up on the beret pattern, which is crocheted in a spiral. 

So when I was in the craft shop I took a wander over to the books and came across a book with forty crochet hat patterns in.  I like most of them, but some are a little outlandish and if one is looking for some more ethnic looking crochet hats you will find them in here too.  This is where I am getting my crochet beret pattern from.  When I got it up to the cash register it was forty percent off, so that was a nice surprise , so I used my fifty percent off coupon on my crochet hook that I needed. 

I have been looking into ergonomic crochet hooks, does anyone have any suggestions?  I would love to hear your comments on that. 

At the moment I am the only functioning adult in our house, Mr. B. definitely has the flu and has been off work for several days and does not seem to be getting better.  The Boy has a head cold and sore throat but not the flu I think.  I have felt, for well over a week that I should be catching something, but it hasn’t gone any further, but neither has it gone away, lots of sneezing and some coughing.  So with all us bed ridden and walking sick, the house is getting more and more into a disorganized state, with forays out to the wood pile to bring in wood to keep the wood stove going.  I think our supply of tin soups has just about been depleted, homemade soups in the freezer have long gone, I will have to make a pot of chicken soup, but that may have to wait until the weekend.  I do have next Monday off, Martin Luther King Day, yippee. 

I was looking at a Finnish blog called Hey Helsinki on Wordpress, a NZ girl living in Finland and she mentioned Korvapuusti, or slapped ears (they look like cabbage ears and thus hence the name) they are in fact a form of cinnamon bun.  I have a fancy to try making these, I may find a recipe in my International cookbook, or I will just look on line, and then it came to me how nice it would be to work my way through just some of the international recipes in the book. 

In fact the first gift Mr. B. ever bought me was a little German ring bound cookbook, from which I made Sauerbraten several times, and apple strudel;  which leads my mind wandering  to a documentary program I watched about children and grandchildren of Nazi war criminals.  How they carry such a burden of guilt.  One woman, the grandchild, who now lives in New Mexico, has a day with friends, once a year to celebrate all the good things of her childhood, including a grand German meal, poetry readings and music.  Both her and her brother found it necessary to feel that they should both be sterilized.  What guilt, but almost a hangover from the Nazi era.  Others reacted differently, writing books and obviously participating in documentaries.  What parents and grandparents can do to their children? 

I have a 2015 Diary, that’s what we always called them when I grew up, but I guess you can call them Journals or Planners.  In any case I went to the bookstore as I still prefer pen and paper, but as diaries do not seem to be that popular anymore the selection has definitely gone down, I must admit, I did not do too much looking online.  So I’m going through some old journals both written in and not, and I came across my “A Nicky Epstein Bouquet 2009”, which I kept as it had crochet, knit and felted flower patterns throughout.   Then I thought about it, I wonder if 2009 is a repeated year this year2015 and sure enough it is, so guess what I’m using for my journal this year. 

Wishing you well,

Monday, January 12, 2015

Kuka'emoku, Maui

Hi Dear Folk,

On our Maui travels, here we are on Tuesday.  We booked a snorkeling trip and asked the travel chap who had a desk at the condominiums that we stayed in, what we could do, he directed us to one place, but we decided after getting there, that it was too touristy so I found this park in my guide book, and we spent a lovely morning here, it was further along on the same road.

 Kuka'emoku, commonly called loa needle the Hawiian name for the 2,250 feet high needle.  This peak is known as Kanoloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean.  During wars this was used as a lookout post by warriors.

Would have been nice to have taken a dip.

Weather patterns are hugely influenced by the mountains, so if you are down at sea level, you could be in the sun and just a few miles away up in the mountains it can be raining.

Looking towards the ocean, blue skies.

Looking into the mountains, heavy rain clouds.

Ran into a family visiting from California, they recognized our badges and introduced themselves.

What about this amazing tree, unless I was standing there you could not visualize how big it was.

Hibiscus growing wild, as were guava fruit.  I picked a ripe fruit off the ground and ate it, it was good.

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