Thursday, January 17, 2019

Mid-winter Musings




"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the
touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; 
it is the time for home." 
Edith Sitwell

I'm sitting on the floor in front of the fire looking out at the blue-patched clouds scudding across the sky. Another rainy front is moving in, but oh my, have we ever enjoyed the recent sunshine. At the end of each day, though, we return home, whether from work or leisure activities. 

January is an appropriate month for home comforts, as Dame Edith Sitwell expressed. Here, copious amounts of tea are drunk, with an occasional hot chocolate indulgence before bedtime. The calendar is mostly empty, and in the evenings we read books, place stitches, and talk about plans for later in the year. 

Tidying up happens in a desultory fashion. The other day I sorted my scarf drawer, refolding the ones that had been tossed in in a hurry, and removing a few that are never worn. 

The pile of linens on the chair above were those used during the holidays, now laundered and either stacked neatly (napkins) or in long folds draped over hangers in an upstairs closet (tablecloths). I learned to store them that way from my mom and it certainly aids in lessening wrinkles. 



I keep a fairly deep pantry. My daughter-in-law once said that in case of an emergency she's bringing her family here because there would always be something to eat. Each year I freeze berries and produce and now is the time to ensure that it all gets eaten. 

A couple of times a year I announce that we will be "living off the hump" referring to the fat stored in a camel's hump that enables it to live when food is scarce. I think I read that in a book by Peg Bracken many years ago. I try to whittle down the freezer contents and make sure that I'm using the staples in my cupboards. The other day I made a peach-blackberry cobbler for friends using frozen fruit. 

Grocery shopping consists mostly of fresh foods like citrus, so sweet and juicy just now. I made a lemon loaf last weekend, and this weekend I think I'll put together a Sour Cream Lemon Pie from a recipe on Brenda's blog. I also hope to make some Lemon Curd and freeze it in small jars to pull out when needed. 
  

Our winter has been extremely mild thus far and the Swiss Chard and kale are thriving. I picked a bunch of chard and made a rustic bean dip with it. I portion it in half-pint jars and take it to school for lunch, to eat with cucumber slices and wedges of sweet bell peppers. Some of the chard will go into a soup I'm making tonight. 



A year or so ago I purchased some Tilda fabric, along with a book of Tilda projects. I've done little with the fabric and since one of my intentions this year is to be more creative, I started small with this cushion cover. The piecing went together in a couple of Saturday afternoon hours, and the rest in small chunks of time here and there. Now a little cottage in the woods rests on the bed and makes me smile to see it. 



The Granny Square quilt I began a couple of years ago is now finished. Choosing the fabrics, cutting the squares, and sewing them together is the fun part of quilting for me. When it comes down to the actual sandwich part of quilting, I procrastinate. Recently, however, my sister and her daughter purchased a long-arm quilting machine. My mom is an expert quilter and while here in September volunteered to get two tops ready for quilting. She cut the batting and backing and sandwiched them together for quilting, took them to the mainland and gave them to my niece. Yay! All that was left for me to do was cut and stitch the binding. I enjoy the last step of hand stitching the binding to the back. There is great satisfaction in having another project finished.



This is turning into a very long post. I'll tell you about a couple of books I read recently later. Now I'll leave you with a bright bouquet of tulips that are cheering up the dining room. Pops of colour in January are most welcome, don't you think? 

Linking with Friday Bliss, hosted by Riitta of Floral Passions.

27 comments:

  1. Hi Lorrie,

    I very much enjoyed your images of the cozy comforts of home. I am really in nesting mode right now, and that suits me fine. :) I love the quilt and pillow cover you made. I wish I were better at sewing, but it's my own fault. I just choose other hobbies first but am full of admiration for the projects I see others making.

    Yes, I do think pops of color are most welcome in January, and February too, actually. I've been thinking about getting some fresh bouquets for our house. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

    Hugs,

    Denise

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  2. Hello dear Lorrie, I’ve so enjoyed reading your Mid winter Musings post.
    I agree with Dame Edith Sitwell that Winter is the season for enjoying quiet time at home.
    There’s nothing nicer than sitting by the fire, reading a good book, hand stitching or chatting with family.
    Living off the hump is such a wonderful expression! Your larder sounds more like a store!
    How satisfying for you to finish your pretty quilt and I love the Tilda fabrics you chose for the cushion!
    I’m hoping your winter continues to be mild so that you can keep on enjoying your weekend hikes!
    Our hot weather continues so barbecues and fresh garden salads are the order of the day here!
    Shane xx

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  3. Love your cushion and quilt. Oh, and the tulips . . .they are gorgeous, spring is coming and will be here before we know it :)
    Have a sweet day.
    Connie :)

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  4. The colors and designs in the pillow and quilt are very nice. You are making the most of winter even it is a mild one. Lovely post.

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  5. What a joy to read through your January musings. A wonderful month for me for reflection and for planning. Your projects are beautiful, particularly the quilt, such a beautiful mix of colour.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your tulips with us. That pop of color is most welcome on this drizzly day.
    I must say I'm getting hungry just reading about the food being prepared in your kitchen lately. It all sounds delicious. Your little cabin in the woods pillow is so cute!

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  7. What a great idea with the lemon curd in small jars. I’d never thought to freeze it :) Love your cushion and quilt. Perfect crafting for this time of year.
    I await eagerly your book reviews. I’m enjoying a Sarah Waters novel set is the 1940’s called ‘The Little Stranger’ . B x

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  8. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Lorrie, my mother had a Peg Bracken book. I haven't thought of that cook or cookbook in years! Thank you for the memories! I try to keep a full pantry too. Maybe it comes from being a Girl Scout??

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  9. Lovely quilt and pillow. Putting a quilt together indeed is not as much fun as sewing the quilt tops.

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  10. I admire your sewing chops! I can sew a straight line to make curtains and that is about that! I love swiss chard.

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  11. Such a sense of satisfaction when a quilt goes together, and what a lovely selection of fabrics you have used.

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  12. Lorrie, your posts are always so lovely and uplifting! I enjoy straightening on my days at home.
    The scarf drawer gets messy.

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  13. Hi Lorrie! What lovely images you have shared and the Swiss chard looks delicious! Winter is the time for comfort food and I made a huge pot of turkey soup this week which we have been enjoying on these cold days. I think today it may be macaroni and cheese because I have been craving it the past couple of days. I may even throw in some meat balls since Hubby likes them so much. I saw some pretty tulips at the grocery this week but I didn't get any for myself. Chances are, I will get some for my mother to perk her up. Confined to her bed in a nursing home, her days are long and dreary this time of year. Alas, we are expecting a bad storm this Sunday into Monday and we Islanders are trying to prepare. Hours of freezing rain after the snow blows in isn't a very cheery forecast and they're already talking about power outages. It's not a pleasant weekend ahead but not much can be done about the weather when it turns beastly. Spring can't come soon enough! Your post was lovely and I enjoyed hearing your news. Love the sweet pillow you made! Have a wonderful weekend, Lorrie. Waving from our our little island on the east coast.

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  14. Your living off the hump idea, combined with the mention of fruit from your freezer, remind me that I have been wanting to use the fruit in my own freezer, and what do you know, I even have time to make a cobbler today! I am finding more time for the slow-living type of homey pursuits than I expected this winter -- maybe because I'm not sick or traveling!

    Is the recipe for chard and bean dip on your recipe site? That sounds very useful in the winter!

    The Tilda fabric is lovely and you made beautiful use of it as well. All the coziest activities!

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  15. I very much admire the precise sewing and the lovely fabric combinations of your patchwork quilt and would enjoy seeing more of your handiwork.

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  16. ...your cushion cover is gorgeous!!!

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  17. Your January is filled with coziness - so great. The same here, although we have snow & winter wonderland. Your cushion cove and the quilt are adorable. Oh that citrus photo - makes me take one now and eat! Wishing you a pleasant, warm & cozy weekend by the fire and books!

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  18. That pillow is marvelous!

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  19. What a lovely colourful post! Your quilt abd cushion look fabulous, there's such a lot of work there and it's always good to reach the end of a project and see the finished article.

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  20. You've created a lovely sense of cosiness in this post, Lorrie. I like the Edith Sitwell quote. 'The touch of a friendly hand' makes her sound very human. There's a well known portrait of her by Roger Fry in Sheffield Museums art gallery. Thinking of the Sitwells makes me want to revisit local Renishaw Hall which was a family country home. The garden is lovely especially when the bluebells are out and then later on the magnolias.

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  21. Dear Lorrie,
    I can see the goodness and wholesomeness emanating from your Swiss Chard. It is unusual to see it still so healthy and beautiful this time of year. Did you seed/plant it in the fall?

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  22. Love the pretty colours of your quilt.

    After a fairly mild winter, we finally got hit by snowstorm that's supposed to dump 15-20 cm of snow. I'm glad that I don't have to venture outside!

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  23. Gorgeous tulips, quilt, and pillow. How I love seeing your beautiful handiwork. Yes, I was just beginning to think I need to start doing something with things in the freezer. Today I made a sweet rhubarb syrup that I read was good in yogurt or on a simple cake. I love a simple yogurt or olive oil cake, which is what I think the syrup will be used on. Now to decide about all the figs in the freezer.
    I will have to keep that in mind if I get hungry and happen to be in your part of the world. I will know where to find food. Ha! A bag of lemons came home from the market today. We do have some ripe ones in the gardenhouse, but we just can't have enough lemons. So hungry for a lemon pie. Thanks for the link. Your stacked linens are so beautiful too. What a good tip to hang them.

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  24. I admire your quilt, it is so pretty and will make any room brighter. Sometimes, it's good to reminisce and plan for the future.

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  25. Enjoy your winter comfort and slow time. Lovely quilt projects

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  26. A lovely quilt and pillow …
    Those tulips are gorgeous, such wonderful colour.

    Hope your weekend has been wonderful, and hoping the new week ahead will be a good one for you.

    All the best Jan

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  27. You've been so busy, Lorrie! I'm trying to declutter and work on a few things. Your little cottage and the quilt are beautiful projects. How nice that your mom is a wonderful quilter.

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