and everything was sweeter

My older son finished high school! He’s been so busy this summer we just got around to celebrating. A few friends came over one Sunday evening and my son wanted pie, so we had pie. Well, also tarts, because I don’t know how to make that many kinds of pie.

Here’s a photo I snapped at the beginning:

We had:

Cherry pie, with the usual canned filling.

Apple pie from Costco, easy enough

A cherry tart with what is, I guess, a frangipane or at least frangipane-esque filling. I’ve been fiddling with the recipe, and I’m still not completely satisfied, but I love the concept so I have three more changes I want to try. It’s a Martha Stewart one from Long Ago:

Tarte composée, this one was cookie crust filled with pastry cream and topped with sliced strawberries. Again, ancient Martha, from the archives:

The cookie crust recipe makes two tart shells, so I needed to fill the second with something. Therefore,

Lemony tart, which was a cookie crust filled with lemon semolina pudding and topped with lemon curd. The pudding recipe is from Jacques Pépin. I think, as a stand-alone food, it’s possibly the best dessert in the world. It performed nicely in the tart, but, truth be told, I still prefer it on its own. Here’s the recipe for the pudding; it’s very rich, something to keep in mind when you’re serving it:

Blueberry galette, just a butter crust with blueberries, sugar, and a little cornstarch to thicken.

Chocolate pie, done in the lazy way with boxed filling, because that’s how the day went.

I’m glad my son had this idea! It was fun, and I’d do it again.

Also, I finished this small boat recently. It’s one of Ann Wood’s templates; you can see this one and others on her website. I copied the colors of her boat because I thought they were so pretty. For the paper mache, I used some recipes for potatoes and lines of Sappho’s, because potatoes are delicious, and who writes more perfectly about love and longing?

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During Long Days

The accumulation of acrylic yarn wasn’t mindless, there were reasons, but wow I have more than I wish I had.

I don’t like acrylic yarn. Two things about it I appreciate, though: it wears like iron and it brings the kitsch like nothing else can.

So the cat has a new blanket. He needed one, and we’re both happy.

I love crocheting granny squares so much. Just the most basic ones. Same motion, over and over, seemingly infinitely. It is so soothing. I already have another I’m working on.

Today’s temperature was 95 degrees when I ventured outside, and this steamy, Mid-Atlantic air feels like soup. It’s comically uncomfortable. Every year, I know it’s coming, but it’s hard to remember just how funny and terrible it is until I’m feeling it.

I made another of these dresses from double gauze. It’s the perfect garment if you live in soup, as I do.

It’s so easy and fast to make, one of those one-size patterns, and it’s mostly made of rectanglish shapes.

The double gauze is so good in the hot weather, although really I wear it all winter, too, because it’s my favorite thing.

Slump

These winter months are somehow so tiring. I guess most of us feel that way.

I am proud of myself for managing anything. Have I filed some papers? Good work, me! Made dinner? I have now exceeded expectations!

It’s nice to sit and work on quiet projects. I have a shawl-wrap thing in progress. I nose through my stashes of fabric and yarn, thread and other small things, making plans. It’s a good time to look through what I’ve already made and enjoy it.

I’ve been wearing this sweater constantly. It was a second version of Junko Okamoto’s wonderful Teru pattern. I didn’t do the color work in the pattern, instead adding bits of color as I wanted to here and there.

The day I took this photo I wore it with one of a bunch of tunic tops I’ve made, I think they’re from the pattern book Adult Couture Dress & Smock Blouse by Ryoko Tsukiori. I did them years ago and I can’t remember for sure. Some of my books have very similar patterns so it gets confusing sometimes.

March is the time for blue poppies to bloom in the greenhouse at Longwood Gardens. My son and I took a detour one day to visit them, and that felt really nice.

This week, I summoned the courage to use the last of this favorite printed fabric. Gabrielle, in this photo, was not convinced it was a good idea. That’s okay, because it’s not her fabric.

Making the cuts with scissors is a commitment. I’m making a Nani Iro pattern, this one-size tunic-dress.

The one-size garment patterns from Japanese designers are very compelling, I think, and I find myself reaching for those garments the most lately. They’re comfortable without being gym clothes, the lines are interesting and I love the details.

I Shuffled through another Day

I made a tiny flower pin for my mother-in-law, which I still have in my possession despite all my ambitious plans to place it in an envelope and mail it to her.

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Today’s chocolate cake is too ugly for words, so here is an apple cake I made last week. It was delicious and dense in that way you pay good money for at the bakery. (Recipe from this book.)

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Is it still January? Really?