After all the Thanksgiving feasting going around here, I’m thinking of paint colors for the dining room. I think we can skip the reclining couches in a “U-shape”, as done in a triclinium in Roman days. But the spare design, the red background, and the way the frieze “pops” — don’t you think the museum (the Walters) did a marvelous job showing a room that someone (we’ll call her Octavia, and imagine she had the same hairstyle as her namesake, Marc Antony’s third wife) took pride of place in? The red color would be quite daring and inappropriate for my very un-Roman home. But still better than “oatmeal paste” which the previous homeowner painted with. My dining set would look quite overwhelmed though. If you’ve ever decorated with this level of drama, did it sit well with the other rooms in your home, or did you feel overwhelmed too? Inquiring minds want to know.
Tags: 1st century ad, couch, home decor, homes, paint, red, Roman, sofa, triclinium
Tags: harp, history, neighborhood, pie, pumpkin, Thanksgiving, time, time travel
One of the benefits of living in a small, but relatively old city, is the way neighborhoods built in different eras retain their character. In Philadelphia, you can get on the el and be in almost any kind of neighborhood in a very short time (modern, from the 1920s, or even back into the 1700s). Boston and Chicago have the same fluidity between time periods, and a visitor can wonder what era of architecture they’re looking at.
Here at Church and Graveyard, one can jog in one direction, and wind up in a neighborhood with houses from the 1930s and maybe a little bit older. If you jog in the other direction, you wind up in a neighborhood with ornamental fountains, fancy houses from the 1930s, and manicured lawns. Tonight, as I did my post-Thanksgiving run/stagger, I decided to go around one of the ornamental fountains where the carp are in the summer. The last of the sun was setting, the fountains were frozen and reflecting the darkening sky, and I passed a stone house with a beautiful room with windows on three sides. It had a golden harp set up in the front window, with a black baby grand piano behind it. I could just imagine the glittering party planned there, complete with a caterer, glittering candles, and a small recital.
And then I jogged/walked back up the hill, and was back in my normal wooden house from the 1800s (that would look better with new paint and shutters, I admit). It’s fun to look at other peoples’ glittery lives from a distance, even if it’s only in books. I love my house, and my quiet Thanksgiving celebrations, although now I’m craving harp music to listen to. Happy Thanksgiving from the corner of Church and Graveyard. I hope yours was a happy celebration, with only a small bit of travel to get to Grandma’s house. If you’re not in the USA, and want to know what all the fuss about the food is about, here’s a recipe for sweet potato pie (actually an NPR piece about a chef who learned to make his Nana’s pie recipe), pumpkin pie, and my favorite: roast turkey (basted every 20 minutes with a sauce made of lingonberry jam, port, and butter) and stuffing (I normally use one from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, preferably not one with sausage).
Tags: cookery, joy of cooking, modifications, potato pancakes, potato pancakes recipe, sweet potatoes
The Joy of Cooking potato pancakes recipe works if you use grated sweet potatoes, add a bit more flour, use a shallot instead of onion, and skip the salt. No, they don’t taste any different from regular potatoes. Swiss chard with raisins, balsamic vinegar, and almonds on the side.
Pretty nice. Just no applesauce in the house.
Tags: balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, cooking, fig jam, figs, fresh figs, grapes, jam, jelly, sweets
- Lots of little pots of grape jelly
- Jars of balsamic-rosemary fig jam (savory)
- 5 mismatched jars of cinnamon fig rose petal jam (closest to the flavor of fresh figs)
The last 5 were done tonight. I have my freezer back, but now we have very little counter space. All the ingredients for all 3 kinds of preserves came from the garden, except the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon. Yay, Gardener!
Tags: Baron Haussmann, books, france, literature, Paris, reading, Rose Bazelet, tatiana de rosnay, the house I loved
Tatiana de Rosnay’s book, The House I Loved, is set in Paris during the destruction of much of the old city, and the creation of a modern Paris by Baron Haussmann. Rose Bazelet, the protagonist, writes letters to her departed husband, learns to be independent, and quietly refuses to leave during the destruction of her family home. The house on rue Childebert also comes to life, as the nurturing home her husband brought her home to, and, eventually, a bit of a prison. Told in reflections written to her husband as she waits for the wreckers, and partially in confessions of new things discovered (reading, friendships with Alexandrine the florist and a Gilbert, the ragpicker). The story does not feel cramped even as Rose’s world disappears around her. Each story opens up new discoveries — Baudelaire, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary — as history slowly contracts around her neighborhood.
I enjoyed this book for the quiet writing of discovery and desperate loss, but above all else, love and friendship.
Tags: finished, finishitis, grey, Icelandic sheep, knits, round-up hat, solitude wool, white
Miss Bannister modeling the latest in fashions. When I knit the first Round-Up hat, I realized that the pattern was true: you can knit 2 hats from 2 hanks of yarn. You just need to reverse the pattern color order. First time in weeks when we had enough sun a weekend to take a photo.
Tags: Bird in Hand, finishitis, glacial, knitting, mittens, progress, ravelry, the house I loved, wips, work in progress
This year, I’ve been trying to clear off personal projects (unfinished things that started out fun, but were put the wayside by my love of books).
Note to self — remember how much you love colorwork? Next time select something with an a rhythmic pattern. It’s hard to concentrate on something like Kate Gilbert’s Bird in Hand when I want to finish The House I Loved by Tatiana Rosnay (more on that later). I think I started this back in
2012 (I just checked Ravelry — more like 2009. This project has been marinating!). I’m still in the middle of the first mitten. Next time, something with a bit of colorwork then miles of stockinette might go faster. Still, I want these mittens, and hope to get started on the left one soon. If Wilkie Collins doesn’t interfere. So, what knitting projects do you select for knitting and reading? Might as well work with my strengths.