Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back To The Wood Pile

This is about all the work we did last weekend. Two Cords of wood were delivered, which had to be stacked. Half is stacked and there is still more to stack, plus more needs to be cut and split from the load that was a freeby a while ago. This back end of the yard is now Le Grand Wood Pile Area.
There is a satisfaction though to seeing all this wood, chopped, stacked and sorted. Ready for our new stove. I'm almost anxious for the cold to come to be able to light the stove.

Monday, August 25, 2008

White Shabby Chic, I just can't do it!

I like that minimalist Scandinavian white look, or the French Shabby Chic, I do, I truly do. But I just can't bring myself to take a paint brush to any of the woodwork in my house.
Almost every piece of furniture in my house has a story, was left to us by friends or family. Many pieces Bo has refinished. Not antique enough to worry about spoiling their value.
Every piece of woodwork in my house is stained. The French doors, the door mouldings, the skirting board, the front and back doors, also the outside cedar weather-board, how, how could I possibly take a paintbrush to it?
I do have painted wood in the basement and that's it.
In anycase the two chairs are from the 1930's. I think that they would look nice with slip-covers in a white heavy cotton.
The Eastlake sofa, I bought in a yard sale and had it recovered. The fabric I bought for $8.00 per yard and it's a beautiful tapestry with a Chinese pattern. The upholsterer said it was a $50.00 per yard fabric, I bought all that was left of it. So I do have enough to do the other chairs, if I ever get to it.
I will have a go at the slip-covers though. They are on my long agenda.

In a later post I'm going to introduce you to a very dear old lady, who has come into my life.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Camper's Kitchen

I almost bought one of these in a yard sale. I still regret not buying it. At the time we had a pop-up camper and we didn't really need it. Now we're back to tenting and it would come in handy.

It was an item hand-made in the 1950's, and of course the one I saw must have been made then. I so much liked it and was drawn to it. Oh well!

Now I'm waiting for my son to gain enough skills to make one for me. It's in Popular Mechanics, if I remember correctly, 1953.

What do you think?

Doesn't it have so much appeal?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Remembering With Joy, Birth At Forty

I will start off by saying that it was such a joy to remember

In his bassinet

About one month

One Girl thought it would be a nice idea to share our birth stories, and I agree.

My husband and I had been married thirteen years when our first child came along. I had just turned forty in the same month I had our son. We had not tried to have children before, he was my first pregnancy and he is our only child.

At three weeks I knew I was pregnant. when you've lived with your body that long, you just know. So I took a pregnancy kit test. I went to my local GP and he said,
"Women your age imagine they're pregnant, but if you are I want you to go to a high risk obstetrician."

So I took his advice and went to a woman doctor, who specialized. She said I don't consider you a high risk, I have patients who are have higher risks i.e. twins, diabetics, etc.

They wanted to send me for genetic testing, but we considered this after the fact, because we would not consider on abortion.

On the first ultra sound at three months they found out that I only had a two vessel umbilical cord, you are meant to have three. One vessel, the blood flows to the baby, the other two, flow back to the mother. This factor was upsetting. I did a lot of research, and his progress was followed by monthly ultra sounds, all looked good.

I'll mention an interesting thought on two vessel umbilical cords. My friend who also had a baby, her fourth child at age 41, also had a two vessel umbilical cord, but this was not found out until after the baby was delivered and they looked at the cord. Just a passing thought but I did wonder if any studies have been done on older mothers, and if this is a more frequent occurrence among them.

My pregnancy went well, with a truly happy 2nd trimester. I felt well and was very happy. I gave up coffee and tea, cold turkey. Coffee OK, but everyone knows how I love tea, but it wasn't hard. What you will do for love.

He was already a week late and the doctor said she would give me a few more days, but being an older mum, they don't like to leave it too long. I decided to have him induced. In hind site I would have left it a few more days.

They started me off with a gel, well unknown to me I went into a continuous contraction fortunately he was on a heart monitor, the resident doctor and others came rushing into the room, my doctor had just seen me and left. I was turned over on all fours, to relieve pressure on the baby. Things happened very quickly, they made me sniff something that smelled like glue, and eventually got the contraction under control. His heart beat came up and I was saved from a Cesarean. Consequently for the next four hours they just let everything calm down.

Before all the doctors came in, my husband said you're acting as if your having contractions and I said no, I couldn't tell anything was wrong, at least not that wrong, how could things change so quickly, because the doctor had just left, after giving me the gel. Bo was right, thinking back to our birthing classes. The doctor said it was a negative reaction to the gel.

Contractions are an amazing thing and totally amazingly painful. But they last long enough to start the baby moving on it's passage out, then release, giving the babe a little rest and then again and again. But when you have a continuous contraction that does not let up, the baby is under continuous stress and this adversely affected his heart rate.

At about 6:00 pm, they started me on a drip to induce him which went fine until they broke my water then I was in complete pain, this was at 9:00pm. I did have an epidural and it helped. I was tired, exhausted from pushing and he was almost there, when the doctor helped with a suction cup. He was delivered, just after midnight. My doctor Christine was convinced he would be delivered before and had to make out all new paperwork.

My husband was there all throughout the delivery. Also taking photos.

We were delivered of a perfect baby boy. He was just beautiful, all was well. He was put on my chest, then cleaned up, footprints taken, then given back and he was ready to nurse, which he did.

I was in hospital two days because of some bleeding.

The stairs were hard to negotiate at home, so I just stayed upstairs for one week. Friends bought meals for a week and Bo changed every nappy/diaper for one week, I never changed any. I must say it was a happy peaceful time nursing him and recouping. Friends visiting.

My dear Bo set up a little table with teas and the electric teakettle, beside my bed. And bought me the most exquisite rose flower arrangement, where the petals of the roses were turned back. Just lovely, I will never forget it.
This is my birth story.

Now in reference to being a forty year old mum. It was great. But just remember he'll be graduating college when I'm sixty.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DMC Embroidery and Sewing Thread

This is a post-script to my earlier book review of Facing The Lion, Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe.

The town that Simone lived in was Mulhouse, and Mulhouse is the home of, Dolfuss-Mieg and Company (DMC) known for, printed cotton material, called Indienne and better known to us here in the States and I'm sure all over the world for their embroidery thread, DMC.

Dolfuss, Mieg, and Koechlin were leading brands in Europe - their factories were the first to institute social measures for their employees. This is were Simone's father worked as a print designer. So now I know what DMC stands for, I found this information in the apendix of the book.

Debut of Jotul Stove, It's In, It's Done, We'll be cozy.

Yes our new insert Jotul Stove has been installed. Now of course we can't wait to use it, which I'm sure will come in October. In anycase we have to light three small one hour fires, to break it in before fully using it.

In an earlier post we were trying to
choose which one .

These are the before and after photos.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Facing The Lion, Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe, by Simone Arnold Liebster

I enjoyed reading this book very much and would highly recommend it. Facing the Lion is an autobiographical account of a young girl's faith and courage. In the years immediately preceding World War II and through the war years.

You get to know her family, the every day life of town and country pre-war Alsace-Lorraine and what it was like during Hitler's regime.

She has a close family, loving parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. In the pre-war years her parents turn from the Catholic church and become Jehovah's Witnesses. The war years come, the schools are the propaganda machine of Hitler. Simone refuses to accept the Nazi party as being above God. Her simple acts of defiance lead her to be persecuted by the school staff and local officials, and ignored by friends.

With her father already in a concentration camp, Simone is wrested away from her mother and sent to a reform school to be "reeducated". While there she learns that her mother also has been sent to a concentration camp, and she remains in this harsh, embittered environment until the end of the war.

How she stands up for her beliefs under overwhelming pressure to conform to society, when all her peers around are conforming, is a potent reminder to stay true to one's beliefs.

I enjoyed the picture into a young girl's life, what it was like before the war, where her dad worked, where they lived. How she felt, what her feelings were. It is a snap shot, just as Anne Franke's Diary is a snapshot into a young girls life during this time period.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Simplicity. I came across the red cross-stitch tablecloth at the thrift, and thought how much I just like that simple one colour on a plain background. So I went back to some of my old craft books and came across these other examples of one colour embroidery, these are all done in a simple stem stitch. I have an old sofa and two armchairs that I've had since we were married, they're from the thirties. I had them re-upholstered once. Now they are all in the garage as I had a little change around, but now I'm ready to bring them back in and do another little re-arrangement, and I'm thinking white with something like the chair above. In anycase, we will see. The little teapot, which I love, is from my friend K who I introdued to you at Rob's graduation party, I said they'd been there since the beginning.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Williamsburg, Virginia, authentic reproduction, from the Wyethe House, and sixties vintage fabric.

This fabric is going to be on sale in Lil Bit Brit's Etsy Store later in the week.
One is a Schumacher authentic Williamsburg, VA reproduction from the Wyeth House.
The other fabric is a sixties vintage fabric, which I just love. I love the colours and the images, which are so iconic of the sixties, with the flower and butterfly artwork. This I am selling by the yard, and a request may be made as to how many yards you would like in one piece.
I have been meaning to put something in my Etsy Store for soooo long, and wanted it to be something that I had made. Hopefully that will come in the fall after the summer holidays are over. But I do so love this vintage fabric, that I thought it would be nice to share it in my Lil Bit Brit Store.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Taste, The Raider Centuries

I'm enjoying this book Taste and wanted to share some more with you, now we are into the next era of Brit history in eating.

The Raider Centuries.

This is the time period when the Roman Empire was crumbling in Britain, by 347 A.D. raiders were already making incursions from across the North Sea, followed by Scottish Picts and Irish Gaels. Taking advantage of the Romans' withdrawal of troops back into their crumbling Empire.

At this time spoons were used of metal, bone, horn and mostly wood. The Old English word for wood is - spon, which means a splinter of wood.

It was at this time, outside the male dominated world of the hall, that many people were foraging for food, deprivation was there and much of the population was undernourished. The Old English word for 'to die' is steorfan. At this time it had not evolved into the word we use, 'starvation'.

Bread was the staple of the poor, the darker and coarser it was, the lower you were on the social scale. It was to them the staff of life. From the Old English we have such words blaford - the lord, literally the bread guardian or bread-winner, blafdige - the lady, was the bread-maker and dependants, blafaeta - the bread eaters.

In honour of Eastre, the goddess of spring which is where we get the word Easter, bread dough would be studded with dried fruits and baked into small loaves, as Christianity spread they added a cross to the bun and christianized what was a pagan custom and made them Hot Cross Buns.

In summertime they would soak bread in the juice of wild berries, this is the origen of Summer Pudding. I was going to give you a recipe for Summer Pudding, when on the very next day I saw that tiny happy had posted one so this is her Summer Pudding.

Anglo Saxon times was when much loved crumpets came into Brit cooking. Made from a thick yeast batter dolloped on to a hot, flat pan and cooked until the air bubbles rose, making holes at the top.
Haggis, made from chopped up organs, including, oatmeal and herbs, this term may have derived from the Viking word hagga, meaning to hack.

Introduced during this time were walnuts, which take their name from wealh, meaning 'foreign lands'.

In small houses it was the women who cooked, but in the great kitchens of noblemen, only men had the strength to lift the enormous equipment. The Old English word for 'cook', cok , is a masculine noun.

To know why we say, what we say, and why we eat, what we eat, gives depth to who we are.

Is Nothing Sacred?

Yes, is nothing sacred? I walked into our bedroom to find Tuppy on top of my chest. A new place for her. Usually she lays down full length in either window.

Found asleep.

Waking up.

Is she or isn't she going to disturb me?

If I do my really cute act, maybe I'll get to stay.

Au Revoir,

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lil Bit Brit's Book Store

You may have noticed that Lil Bit Brit has added her own book store. In my book store you will find books that I have read and would recommend and many of which I have done book reviews on. Either in my Blog 'Lil Bit Brit' or 'Teatime Musing'.

Also I did not add links, because I don't know if they would link you to a book that I would not feel comfortable recommending.

So if you like a book and would like to buy one, please feel free to do so through my book store.

Taste, The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking, By Kate Colquhoun

This book is just fascinating with a wealth of information. It starts at with pre-Roman times , through the Roman occupation of Britain and continues right up to the present day. Describing the different foods eaten, and how they fit into the culture of the time.

Something that I find interesting is the derivation of words and phrases, so I thought I'd share some of these with you as I read through the years of British cooking history.

Roman Britain

This mosaic, from Chedworth Villa, illustrates how the British and Roman cultures integrated. The character is depicted as Winter wearing a typically British hooded cloak (birrus) and carrying a brown hare introduced to Britain by the Romans. The bare tree is a symbol of Winter.

Some believe that the routes of the imperial army through the south of England can be traced by following the white blossom of the wild cherry trees, distant descendants of the saplings that sprang up wherever the soldiers spat out stones as they marched.

Dinner or cena, taken at twilight, was abundant, often in the form of a convivium, or dinner party,that oiled the wheels of commerce, politics and friendship. The word convivial must originate from this word convivium.

Apicius wrote down many recipes. The first word of each of his culinary instructions gives us the noun that we use to this day, for recipe was the Latin word for 'take'.

Winter stores of food were crucial and salt preserved them. Salt was so valuable that it could form a part of a man's pay or taxes - his salary - so important that an inadequate man would be labelled 'not worth his salt'.

You will see this book in my Lil Bit Brit book store. Where you will find books that I've enjoyed and would recommend.

Something Lost, Something Found, Something Splurged On.

Last night, well the early hours of this morning I woke up out of a sound sleep and thought, "where is my camping stove?" I got up went downstairs and looked in the basement where we usually store it, it wasn't there. I looked in the garage and it wasn't there. I knew I had left it on the picnic bench a the park. Now this is Saturday morning and we went there on Tuesday. I even blogged about it, but didn't twig that anything was wrong. I was mortified. Pennsylvania Summer Picnic

So just after nine on a Saturday morning I went to the park, and was walking across the wide expanse of grass to where we had picnicked, when I saw a park ranger driving in the distance. So I hailed him down and asked about lost and found items in the park. He said he hadn't noticed it at the office, but would walk over with me to where we'd picnicked. He saw it before I did, because I was focused on the bench we picknicked at, but it was sitting on the bench behind. Oh! joy of joys.

So now because I've been thinking of my stove and thinking that I might have to go and buy another one, and also thinking about my friend Zi who ordered herself a Japanese, Bento lunch box, Japanese Bento Lunch Box I thought I should take a trip over to Assi. And guess what they had an even smaller stove absolutely perfect for picnicking and there I was thinking my other one was perfect, see what going shopping does!

So here they are.

Well the boy is at the shore today with his friend Vinny and his parents. It's a lovely sunny clear blue sky summer day. A little on the cool side maybe for the beach, but I know they'll have fun.

Hoping your weekend is fun.


Go On Take A Look Down Under At Farmyard Crafts

Do take a look at Farmyard Crafts, Down Under. The dear girl is having a 50th Post Giveaway and you might like to take a look at her Blog too.


Monday 5th May 2008 Barcelona, Our Last Day. Casa Batllo, and La Pedrera, the architect being, Antoni Gaudi

Yes I know this has been a long time coming to finally post the last day of our vacation in Europe. We had breakfast in the little tiled dining room, which had a beautifully carved wooden ceiling, which somehow we omitted taking photos of.
We asked how to get to Casa Batllo, the architect being Antoni Gaudi, we were delighted to find that it was just around the corner. This is it.
Don't the mullions of this window remind you of leg bones?

I love this mushroom fireplace.

We all had our own audio to listen to as we walked around. Here is Rob.

The tile work on this central atrium, starts with a darker blue tile and gradually gets lighter as it gets to the glass top.

This is the roof that looks like a dragons tail.

This is the second Antoni Gaudi building we visited a complex of apartments he designed called La Pedrera.
Robert thought these chimneys looked like Star Wars, Storm Troopers.

One of the apartments has been staged as it would have looked when the apartments were first built and lived in.
This is the seamstresses room, for sewing and ironing. What do you think of the tiny stove to heat the irons on?

Children's clothes hanging in their bedroom.
We walked down to the Barri Gothic area. Quite near to the Barcelona Cathedral is this fascinating little pond with geese and turtles, so unexpected.

At the end of the day we had to find this coffee shop. Rob wanted a final coffee here. We had been here the previous evening and Rob fell in love with it and just wanted to come back. It had a very narrow front that opened on to the Ramblas, so it took us a while to find it, as we walked right by it and had to come back. What one does for one's child to conclude their trip memorably. We all enjoyed the ambiance.

This is a market that is off the Ramblas we totally missed it on Sunday, and just caught it on Monday as they were closing up.

Isn't the colour stunning the fruit and veg and then all those sweets.

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