Saturday, June 12, 2010

TUSAL the first

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Yeah, so that whole queuing up posts thing didn't really work, did it? Well, at least you got one!

I've done a few SALs in my stitching career...that's Stitch A-Long if you don't know...some of them I kept up with, some I didn't...some I was the only one that finished! I've avoided them recently so that I wouldn't hold anyone else up...and because I've had a bad case of Can't Be Bothered lately. But I finally found one I think I can handle. It's the TUSAL started by Dragon My Needle. TUSAL stands for "Totally Useless Stitch A-Long". You collect your orts (thread scraps) in the same clear container, post a picture each month on the day of the new moon, and empty it into a larger container that holds the year's worth.'s my first TUSAL picture:
I picked this shot glass (purportedly purloined from Air Force One by my hubby's grandfather when he was the navigator back in the day) because I knew my monthly output would be very small. In fact, there's only so much this month because I had a disastrous yarn adventure (that's be the light blue) that I'll have to post about soon. The brown is from an amigurumi squirrel I'm making (lots of pieces; lots of yarn ends). The only other thing in there...the burgundy from a bird that I finally finished.
And the only reason you can even see the orts is because it was a kit, and I dumped the leftovers when I finished. I was so scared I'd run out of thread, all the actual orts are less than 2 inches long!

Next month I'll show the bigger container where I'm dumping each month's shot glassful.

The detritus of crafting looks better under the Presidential seal....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tea, Glorious Tea!

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Just before Mother's Day, my sister hosted a wonderful cream tea. I've been to tea at her place three times before...once, I forgot to take pictures, and the other two times, well...I just never got around to posting. I promise you that you have never been to a tea like the one my sister puts on.

First of all, the interior of her home is practically a Victorian wonderland.
In another post I'll have to show you pictures of her ceiling, which is papered with William Morris prints in her own custom layout. These lanterns greet you when you enter her front door.
Here's a closeup of the mantel you can see through the doorway.Back in the front hall, a forsythia branch on the way into the parlor......and more forsythia on the stairway to your left.And we haven't even gotten to the placesettings yet!!My sister tailors each table to its occupants; she at least finds out what your favorite color is, or what your favorite flower is, or your favorite memory, so that you feel special...
The china, teacups, tablecloths and glasses are different, creating little separate oases for each set of guests.
This was our table for two. I love the ruby colors!You can see our personalized "Welcome" card on the table. Check out my gorgeous teacup, and the menu, if you can make it out...
The first course is traditionally scones. Today, we had two kinds: Cinnamon Chip and Strawberry Lavender.
I douse mine with a generous helping of clotted cream (my sister is always experimenting, and this tea's recipe was OUTSTANDING!). The pretty yellow dollop is lemon curd, and the pink? Yeah, it's homemade violet jelly. That my sister made. With violets from her garden!! Can you believe it?? It was so yummy...sweet and very subtly flowery; not "perfumey" at all. And there's no artificial color in it. Apparently, it's more lavender until you add the lemon juice, then it turns that lovely shade of pink.

The next course was soup. I had the Potato Celery Root...
...Michael had the Old-Fashioned Chilled Strawberry. We had to run out early, so we didn't get to hang out afterward to try the Chilled Springtime Sweet Pea.
Here I am, about to happily devour my soup. Look at all the cute little ruby-colored dishes! Our ruby goblets hold sparkling black cherry water. Yum!
Next is the savory course.
Here we have (clockwise) a Cheese Calla Lily, Cornbread Cup with Sherried Chicken Salad, Roasted Lamb on Toast with English Mint Relish, and Chervil-dill Egg Salad. Hope you saved room for dessert...
Aren't these the cutest? These Chocolate Cakelets would melt in your mouth. If you've ever had Eclair Cake, you get the idea...but Eclair Cake never looked so elegant. But you still haven't seen anything yet.
Behold, the Hummingbird Cupcake, Madeleine, Frozen Black Cherry Cream, and Bakewell Tart! And yes, my sister made the crystallized pineapple topper for the Hummingbird Cupcake herself.

Every meal should finish with an after-dinner mint. Here's my sister's version:
A wee scoop of peppermint ice cream coated in pink mint chocolate. The purse cookies were our favors to take home.

One of the guests asked me if she could be an adopted sister. Can you blame her??

Nobody does afternoon tea like my sister. Nobody.

Old Geek-outs