Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

I don't think this is how they celebrate Boxing Day in England, but this how we are spending today in Greenport!  We had a plethora of presents yesterday (don't you love that word?) and every one of them came in a box.  They are all emptied now, and piled around the house, waiting for Pete to take them to the recycling center at the dump -- which is no longer a dump but a transfer station.  I still call the refrigerator an ice box sometimes, so it is still the dump to me.

We had a quiet day yesterday with our main meal at 1 o'clock.  Everything turned out perfectly -- the wild rice was delicious and fluffy and flavorful, the crown roast of pork was moist and tasty, the Flakey Harvest Vegetable Squares were so delicious, as were the roasted Cippolini onions, homemade applesauce, the salad from Pete's garden, and the Chocolate Coconut Charlotte.  Needless to say, we did not eat any supper in the evening.  

It was a nice, peaceful day.  I hope yours was, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

At Last . . .

The Christmas tree is up!  Pete cut it down on Tuesday, and I did all the trimming.  It's such a pleasure to unbox the ornaments -- the handmade ones and those collected on our travels and received as gifts from friends.  I love that the tree is plump and not trimmed to a perfect cone shape.  It makes me smile.

I'm still wrapping presents -- actually, I'm still waiting for presents to be delivered, last minute Lucy that I am.  The best present -- Clara will be home with us for a week! We will have a quiet Christmas -- joined by my sister Barb -- with lots of good food, games and movies.

Just in case I don't get to post again -- I wish you all the happiest of holidays and a peaceful New Year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What's on My Frame and What's on My Mind

I have been hooking a little bit, in between cleaning and decorating and baking cookies and, like the rest of the world, grieving for those little children and their teachers.  I was hoping the warm feel of the wool and the thrumming sound of my hook through the linen would lift me out of the gray fog that has enveloped me for days now.  It hasn't.  

Last week I hooked another version of a Christmas stocking I designed last year called "Christmas in Connecticut."  It features a little red schoolhouse and a child sledding down a rolling hill.  I can't look at it now without seeing the spire of the Newtown Meetinghouse on that quintessential New England Main Street, so familiar to me from the years Barb and I vended at the Newtown Hooked Rug Show.

I am struggling with this feeling of helplessness, knowing there is nothing I can do ease the pain for those parents and the families of the teachers.  There are groups out there making hooked pieces and hats and afghans to send to Sandy Hook, but that's not, for me, the best idea.  

I have found, on the Newtown Patch, two funds that have been set up to help the families:

United Way of Western Connecticut, in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank, created the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to help provide support services to the families and community that are affected.
Check donations may be mailed to: 
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT  06470
If you have questions on the fund, you may call 800-461-0672.

A former Sandy Hook Elementary School student named Ryan Kraft, also a longtime neighbor of the Lanza family, posted a Local Voices blog on Newtown Patch saying he set up a fund to help heal his community.
The link to the fund site is here — — and according to Kraft, all monies are directed toward the school's PTSA organization.
The funds are directed to the school's PTSA organization. Please help in any way you can.
Here is the link to the fund site: 
The funds are directed to the school's PTSA organization. Please help in any way you can.

I have also signed the White House Petition for Gun Control: Gun Control Petition
I hope you do, too.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gun Control NOW!

No one's right to bear arms should supersede twenty children's right to live.  It is time to fix this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Seems like it should be an auspicious day -- a date that happens once a century -- but my plans are pretty mundane.  I need to go to the DMV, the grocery store, and pick up a few presents and some wrapping paper.  I am going to start my Christmas cookies this afternoon, though, and that should be fun.  I will crank the Christmas music up and taste all the dough before it goes into the oven! :)


Pete and I went into Manhattan for a Christmas party on Monday, held at the Regency Whist Club on the Upper East Side, just steps away from Central Park, which was shrouded in fog.  The weather was horrendous -- really warm and very wet, which was not much fun -- but the party was.  I wanted to look at the Holiday Shops at Grand Central and the windows at Lord & Taylor, so we did that, too, and stopped for a snack at Le Pain Quotidian.  I took bad photos on my iPhone -- just warning you.

                                                    Empire State Building
                                                        Rockefeller Center
                                                    Loed & Taylor
                                                    Lord & Taylor
                                                    Lord & Taylor

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Field Trip: Small Holding Farm and Whiteflower Farmhouse

Small Holdings Farm in Aquabogue, New York had a holiday open house on Saturday, so I took a drive to see what was for sale.  They had an interesting mix of architectural antiques and collectible stuff, lots of which appealed to me, but nothing that I needed.  My favorite piece was a cupboard that some clever fellow outfitted with lots of cubbies and added drawers made of cheese boxes to.  Loved it -- I love anything with cubby holes, but I really don't need it.

On my way back home I stopped at Whiteflower Farmhouse in Southold.  It's a great space -- nice and clean and simple and open.

 I loved these tiny little jelly jars with different motifs in each glass.

I also loved the assortment of old Belgian linen.  I have been thinking of making kitchen curtains out of old linen, but the price was prohibitive and I really want my linen to have a red stripe, not blue.  There were old linen sheets, too, that are probably a dream to sleep under on a summer night by the sea . . . . I made no purchases, but it was a fun morning out.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

As you can see from the above photograph, I've started putting up my Christmas decorations, slowly but surely.  All the Santas in the photograph above were made by my sister Barb.  She has a way with Christmas, and has many delightful new designs available this year.  Click on the links above to see what she is offering in her shops.

I am doing some housework this morning (bah, humbug!) and then heading out to Small Holdings Farm for their Christmas open house.  I'm not planning on buying anything, but you never know  . . . .

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pile O' Pendletons

I don't do much thrift store shopping anymore, but I was antsy this morning and decided it was time to step away from the computer and get outside. Although my intention was to head to Agway to get some narcissus bulbs to force, I pulled into the Parish Outreach Thrift Store just to take a gander.  I picked up a bud vase and three Pendleton skirts. Feeling lucky, I stopped in at the Eastern Long Island Hospital Op Shop and took a look around -- more Pendleton skirts!  Plus a Ted Lapidus skirt -- fancy French designer wool -- that I probably won't hook with, but will use for something else.  For less than $20 I came away with 8 skirts and tons of yardage.  Score!  Some people say that Pendleton wool is to0 thin to hook with, but I say they're crazy.  I LOVE Pendleton wool -- as is, over-dyed, inside out -- it is great fabric.  Of course, they went right into the washer when I arrived home -- don't want any little flying critters in my stash.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Heading Toward December

Yesterday felt like winter: icy and cold and dark.  When Cairo and I returned from our walk on the beach, wet and chilled, I baked a batch of Dorset Scones and made a big cup of dark roast coffee and hunkered down for the rest of the morning, working on some needle punched stuff, reading blogs, looking at catalogs.  I am actually looking forward to decorating for Christmas this year.  The past few years, I couldn't be bothered after the long fall season of show after show, but this year I am gung ho.  Maybe its because Clara is coming home for the week.  Whatever the reason, it feels good.

We had a glorious Thanksgiving here in Greenport.  The weather was spectacular.  I cooked for two days solid, but it paid off.  I raced out to the Candyman in Orient Thanksgiving morning to get chocolate turkeys for the place cards.  Our friend Dennis, who stayed with us after Sandy knocked out his electric, joined us for dinner, bringing my favorite bubbly rose from Croteaux Vineyards.  The Osinskis, our neighbors who own Widows Hole Oysters, came with an endless bag of the best oysters ever and a still-warm lemon meringue pie made by their 14-year-old daughter. I roasted a 17 plus pound turkey, adapting an Americas Test Kitchen technique, starting the turkey out breast side down with salt pork layered along its back and flipped it half way through.  I had dry brined it with a mixture of ground fennel, herbes de Provence and orange zest.  I baked wild rice from the Ojibwa reservation at Odena, Wisconsin, that my in-laws sent to us, and made Brussel sprouts with bacon.  Pete roasted his home-grown parsnips and carrots and made fresh cranberry relish.  He also made delicious little rolls that we served with herb butter.  Our salad: Martha Stewart's Winter Spinach Salad -- so good. I didn't forget the stuffing (yes, I cook it in the bird!) and gravy and pumpkin pie.  I also made some adorable and delicious Cranberry Hand Pies from the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit.  The recipe made 40, and we were too full to eat many, so I sent everyone home with some.  We sat and ate and talked from 1 o'clock in the afternoon until 8 o'clock at night.  Thankfully, politics didn't come up until the end . . .  

Friday dawned sunny and bright and I headed up to the Naugles barn at Hallockville to help out at the Country Parlor Holiday Home Sale, my last sale of the year. (Hurrah!)  I spent the morning sliding open and closed the barn door -- you'd be amazed at how many people tried to pull it open like a regular door.  My right bicep got a good workout.  As always, the barn looked great, thanks to Barbara's talent at creating attractive vignettes.  

I went home and napped for two hours and later went to bed at 9:30!  I was exhausted after three days of going non-stop -- didn't feel rested until Sunday . . . . Now it is back to work -- I have to get some things in my etsy shop: The Paisley Studio.  Give me some time to catch up, then come and visit!

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's That Time of Year

Yes, its not just Thanksgiving time, its Country Parlor Holiday Home Sale time!  After you've recovered from overeating, head out to Hallockville on Friday morning for the the sale of the season, now in its 21st year!

Here's the scoop:
Country Parlor Holiday Home Sale
Friday, 11/23/12 
Saturday, 11/24/12
Sunday, 11/25/12
Naugles Barn
Hallockville Nuseum Farm
6038 Sound Avenue
Riverhead, NY 11901

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When Does One Become a Senior?

My husband Peter turned 59 yesterday.  We went to the movies to celebrate.  An adult ticket at the theater costs $10.  Pete handed over a twenty, but got $6 back.  He couldn't figure it out and asked me if the kid -- maybe 16 years old -- had made a mistake.  When I looked at the tickets, I saw the answer:  the teenager gave us the Senior Discount -- even though we hadn't asked for it.

Pete was a bit taken aback at first -- he doesn't feel like a senior -- but decided he may as well take advantage of the perks it brings.  But we are both wondering when we will officially become Senior Citizens.  We figured 65 was the official age, but it looks like we were wrong.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back Home Again

Another Fine American Craftsman Show has come and gone.  Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent snowstorm put  a damper on things this year, but we still managed to do pretty well.

I was proud of our booth this year --  I think it looked stunning with the rickracked oval in the center showcasing my snowflakes, which are hooked and needlepunched.  I sold my Whale of Tale rug -- I knew it would go this weekend -- and several mats.  It is really wonderful when someone buys a rug.  To  know they they love it enough to pay for it is a thrill.

Barb is still cleaning up from Sandy.  She's thankful to have electricity back, but still doesn't know if her washer and dryer survived.  when I left for home Monday morning, her neighbor, whose house is right across the street from Long Island Sound, was shoveling bucket loads of sand off his front lawn.  So much damage.  Its heartbreaking.


One more show this year:  The Country Parlor Holiday Home Sale at the Naugles Barn at Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead, New York.  It takes place the three days after Thanksgiving.  I'll post details soon.

Today is Pete's birthday, so we are heading out to see the new James Bond film, Skyfall.  I made a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and a chocolate pecan glaze -- very decadent!  Happy Birthday, Hon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fine American Craftsman Show

Please join me and Barb at the Wilton Historical Society's 27 Annual Fine American Craftsmen Show this weekend.  Discounted advance tickets are available on their website: Wilton Historical Society

WE have lots of new goodies this year, so please stop by!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Hooking Away

It's a beautiful day here -- sunny and crisp.  I sat down and made myself hook yesterday and my worries melted away.  So many people are so worse off.  It's important to keep things in perspective -- that keeps you from feeling sorry for yourself.  Sorry for whining yesterday.

Friday, November 2, 2012


We are very lucky to have weathered the storm so easily.  I am so thankful for that, but, boy, am I out of sorts.  Can't seem to focus and by bed time I am so exhausted I can hardly see straight.  I've decided that today is the day I will get back into a work routine or die trying.

Barb is back at home and has made inroads into the mess Sandy made of her house.  She is still without heat and electricity. Her landlord has a generator that he runs until 9 at night, which allows her to have her refrigerator and a light or two.  Her neighborhood was really hit hard.

Our friend Dennis hasn't had heat, water or electric since the storm so he is staying with us for a few days.  Four days without a shower convinced him to take us up on our offer. of shelter.  It's fun to have him here.

Although Barb and I will not be at the New England FIber Festival this weekend, we will be at the Wilton Historical Society's Fine American Craftsman Show November 10 & 11.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We Are Doing Well

Thanks to our friends who called and emailed and texted from all over the country.  We truly appreciate your concern.  Our 1927 Craftsman home, just a block from Peconic Bay, weathered the storm like a trooper.  We lost a few roof shingles, which Pete has already replaced, and we had a thick carpet of small branches, leaves,  and pine needles to clean up, but life is back to normal for us.  Our little village, with its own power station and utility crew, was without electricity for only very short periods of time.  The rest of Long Island is not so lucky as customers of the Long Island Power Association.  Yesterday, more than 100,000 homes between here and Manhattan were without power. 

Our friends Paula and Ann, who live even closer to the Bay than we do, evacuated to our house for the duration of the storm, along with their friend Miranda.  It was very festive to have them here.  We chatted and knitted and cooked and ate and answered lots of phone calls from concerned family and friends.  Pete made waffles for breakfast the morning after to celebrate Miranda's birthday.  Ann emailed me this morning and called our house the "Happy Heaven Hurricane Hotel" -- how funny is that?  

My sister Barb has not faired as well.  Her house is just yards from Long Island Sound.  After having experienced the wrath of Irene last year, she evacuated early on Sunday in preparation for Sandy's arrival.  She hopes to regain access to her house today to assess the water damage, but the electricity is still out.  She was without power for 7 days after Irene.  If she is allowed to move back in, she will need to spend the weekend putting her house back together, so we will not be participating in the New England Fiber Festival this weekend as planned.  

Today I am counting my blessings and sending kind thoughts and positive energy and a donation to those who have suffered so terribly this week, especially the more than 100 families in the lovely little seaside enclave of Breezy Point whose homes burned to the ground right before their eyes, and to all the friends and families of the people who lost their lives as a result of the storm.  It is incongruous to me that a storm that has destroyed so much can have a name as sweet as "Sandy."

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Are So Sad

We just heard that the HMS Bounty is sinking off the coast of North Carolina.  This is a replica, made for the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando in 1962.  It is a beautiful tall ship and has visited Greenport many times.  She is an old friend of ours -- Peter read the entire Bounty trilogy to Clara when she was little.  They read a bit before bed every night -- I think it took almost a year to get through the three books.  When Clara was in 8th grade, her class was spent an overnight on the schooner Ernestina.  They were berthed right next to the Bounty before their departure.  When the teacher asked if anyone new the story of the Bounty, Clara was the only one who raised her hand.  She stood and recounted the whole tale -- from Captain Bligh to Fletcher Christian, and Tahiti to Pitcairn Island.

We're distraught to think that this beautiful ship will end up at the bottom of the Atlantic, even more distraught to know that two of the crew are missing.  Sending lots of positive thoughts their way.

We are still dealing with high winds and high tides and waiting for the full force of the storm.  Some friends have come to stay for the duration, which makes the days more festive.  I'm trying to get some work done, but its a little difficult to focus with the storm swirling outside.  If there's a lot of damage, we may not even have a show to go to this weekend.  

***UPDATE: Even more sad -- Captain is missing and Claudine Christian has died.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Calm Before the Frankenstorm

We have been battening down the hatches all weekend, waiting for Hurricane Sandy (same name as the neighbor who routinely mows down my day lilies . . . ) to arrive.  It looks like we are in for a lot of water, even if it is a category one storm.  The tide surge is supposed to be epic, what with high tide and the full moon.  The foreground of the photograph above should be paved road, not water.  Who knows what it will look like tomorrow?

Our neighbors are out in force, picking up and tying down and packing away.  I picked one last bunch of zinnias for the kitchen and Pete has been harvesting veggies all day: eggplant, green beans, carrots, even a few pale tomatoes.  We will certainly have plenty to eat, even if the power goes out.  We had planned on buying a generator to run the fridge and freezer after Hurricane Irene last year, but, of course, we never got around to it.  

Now I am sitting at my work table, about to start hooking for the first time in a week and a half.  I have three more shows this year, and I need to restock.  I will get the dye pots out tomorrow.  Thankfully, we have a gas stove and I can cook even without electricity.  I don't know what this will mean for the New England Fiber Festival next Saturday and Sunday.  Springfield was hit hard during Irene last year.  Oh, well.  It is all out of our control, so I will just wait and see.  Barb, who lives near the shore in Connecticut, has evacuated to my nephew's house.  Her neighborhood was flooded last summer and she's not taking any chances.  Hopefully any damage anywhere will be minimal.

Have a safe and dry Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rhinebeck Revisited

I neglected to get photos of our booth on opening day -- I was fussing with the internet hook up so I could take credit cards.  These are from Sunday morning, after we moved Halloween to the north wall and rearranged everything to make the booth look full again.

We are always tired at the end of the day, and Rhinebeck is always crowded, so we often eat dinner at the Eveready Diner in Hyde Park.  It's not far from the hotel and not too expensive.  It is also not very good.  Lots of people sing its praises, but we've tried all sorts of stuff there and have never really been happy.  The salmon is dry, as is the chicken, and the sandwiches and fried stuff are really greasy and salty.  I am a foodie of sorts, and I really do like to eat finely made food, but finding a parking place in Rhinebeck at dinnertime is near to impossible.

For years we have driven past an Indian restaurant with a big parking lot on Route 9 heading toward Hyde Park.  I looked at it wistfully, knowing Barb didn't care for Indian food and because there were very few cars in the parking lot.  This year, it was packed, so I looked it up and discovered it was under new ownership.  So on Saturday night we stopped, and, boy, were we glad we did!  It's called Cinnamon now, and the decor is young and elegant.  (They have these cool hanging lights made of squares of kraft paper.)  It is more expensive than diner food, but it is worth it.  I had sea bass the first night, cooked tandoori style, and Barb had Chicken Tikka.  They were both moist and delicious and served with fresh veggies seared on a cast iron pan.  Paired with a bottle of Kingfisher beer, my dinner made me smile for the rest of the night.  We even had leftovers for lunch the next day.  And we went back for dinner again on Sunday night!  The young couple who own it sent us some delightful little onion fritters as a gift when we sat down.  The meal was a great reward for a busy weekend and Barb now officially likes Indian food.  We'll be dining there again next year, for sure!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Economy is Definitely Improving

Wow!  What a Rhinebeck!  We had an amazing weekend!  We were so busy, I did not get many photographs.  I wasn't even able to take photos of our booth until Sunday morning after we had rearranged everything because we were decimated on Saturday!  I made double -- yes -- DOUBLE -- what I did last year.  Patterns and wool and Medici thread were flying out of the booth.  I had to take orders for patterns that I ran out of.  People who had come on Saturday emailed and called to buy things over the phone or internet.  It was crazy.

I have lots of things to talk about -- where we ate, what I bought, who we saw -- but I have orders to fill and I have to get more stuff done for the New England Fiber Festival the weekend after this coming one.  Eek! So here are a few photos and I will post again when I can . . . 

Yep.  That's a kangaroo.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

We Made It

Arrived in Rhinebeck around 2. Drove up the Taconic Parkway, which s usually lovely this time of year, but was harrowing in today's torrential downpours.

Tomorrow should be lovely, however. Come out and see us and pet the sheep.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Email Adress

It has been brought to my attention -- by more than one person -- that my email is nowhere to be found on my blog.  So here it is, just in case you need to contact me:

Monday, October 15, 2012


It took me two days to make the braids and stitch them around the rug -- almost longer than it took to hook them.  But I think the braids add a little spark to the rugs.  Parson Brown is my favorite.

Just a few days til Rhinebeck.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't rain this weekend.  I really love it to be crisp and clear and chilly at the Sheep and Wool Festival.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What's on My Work Table

Piles of pumpkins, stacks of sheep and a few other things.  Getting ready to go -- the New York Sheep and Wool Festival takes place in one week and one day!  Come visit us in Building A, spot 28.

Did you realize today's date is 10  11  12?