Fort McClary, Kittery, ME

Yesterday was the kind of crazy beautiful Fall day that makes this my favorite season.     It was really warm (record breaking in Portland, in fact), which was a slightly strange juxtaposition with the leaves that have started to turn.    Still, I’ll take it when I can get it.


Sewing Notes

I went as far as I could with the tee shirt muslin.     It was mostly a success.    I’ve verified that the pattern fit, and I identified a few things I could do at set up to make it easier to put together going forward.
I do have to revisit hemming.    There were some tricks in the video for how to do the sleeves, as well as how to do both sleeves and bottom hem without bunching.   (And I was using the walking foot, so that wasn’t my biggest problem.)

I am most proud of the neck band.   Once I got my head screwed on straight and sewed the right sides together, it went together surprisingly well.   I can definitely see myself making more of this shirt.

The Ex-Pats – Chris Pavone

Read for the RIP IV Reading Challenge.

Kate’s husband has been given a fantastic opportunity to work for a bank in Luxembourg, an opportunity so fantastic that Kate quits her job, in order to take care of their two kids on this adventure of a lifetime.     Which seems perfectly normal, except that Kate works for the CIA.

When Kate first met Dexter, naturally, she’d checked him out, and he seemed like the one person in the world that she could trust, the one person with a spotless past, who really was all he seemed to be.    She’d made a resolution once they were married that she would never investigate him again.      But in this new life, things aren’t what they seem, and Kate finds herself breaking that promise, and investigating her husband.

This was a really cool story – at its heart, it’s really about marriage, trusting the person you married, and learning to roll with necessary changes in that relationship.     The spy aspect on top of it was a fun addition.    It’s told back and forth in time, which definitely kept the suspense up, as there were certain clues that would be revealed for the “present” that would then cast doubt on things you’d learned up until then in the “past”.     Definitely an interesting read.    (I have to add a shout out to the Northshire Bookstore employee recommendations – I never would have picked this up without that seal of approval.)

Sewing Notes

I had made a bag to go with my coworker Mary’s Evenstar shawl, which ended up being the perfect size to fit the family silver vase she was giving to his son and soon to be wife for their wedding.     Since I’ve been experimenting with bag design, I told her I’d be happy to make another, for purely selfish reasons.    So here it is.    The fabric I liked the most was a set of fat quarters I’d bought from Keepsake Quilting the first time I’d ever visited.    So it’s two different fabrics, with a lining!    The lining is also the draw string tube.   (I need to wash this, so I haven’t added that yet.   It’ll be the same blue as the second fabric.)

I liked this design, except I still haven’t figured out how to hem the tube edges.   I used fray block on this, and it folds in so you can’t see the edges, but I have to come up with a better way of taking care of that.

I also started on a muslin of a knit scoop necked tee.    Which was going along swimmingly until I twice managed to screw up attaching the neck band.    At which point I decided that was a sign that I needed to set it aside for the day.    At least it was super easy up to that point.   Since scoop necks with long sleeves aren’t available at my favorite supplier anymore, if I can make some that look good, that would make my life more pleasant.


I did a little clean up yesterday, which mostly involved pulling out the basil.     It’s been warm enough that most things are still going strong, but the basil was definitely looking worse for the wear.

The cherry tomatoes are still producing.   We had a near frost last week (most of the state frosted, but we managed not to.)    The red one (on the right) is fairly overcome by blight, but it’s still producing.    The yellow one is still going crazy – it’s even still flowering.    I’m definitely getting this variety again.

Furthur Adventures in Domescity

I love how those lovely red crab apples created a psychedelic pink juice (which sadly the camera did not do justice too), and then calmed down into a lovely red jelly.    (Which the camera also did not do justice too – it look much more pink in the photo.)

This is the Old Fashioned Crab Apple Jelly from the Ball Complete Book of Canning.    This is the first recipe that had you make the juice as a separate exercise, and I admit, I liked that better.    I feel like I got more out of the mash by leaving it alone to drain.      And splitting it up into a two day exercise was more pleasant.

The one bad thing: does that look like six eight ounce jars?     This is the second time I’ve had a recipe from that book produce way less than it said it would.    Which in some ways, I don’t mind – I do have to store this stuff after all.   But the difference does trouble me.

A Civil Contract – Georgette Heyer

Read for the Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge.

Adam Deveril had always been army mad, and though he’s the heir to his father, the Viscount Lynton, his father (an associate of the Prince Regent’s, and if you know your history, you know what kind of men he liked to hang out with) never really bothered to teach him anything about running an estate.    And so, when the elder Viscount is killed in a hunting accident, Adam is summoned back from the front, and quickly discovers that his father has run the estate into ruin.

Both his man of business and Lord Oversley, a good friend, recommend that Adam marry an heiress, which is the only way he’ll be able to keep his family home, and support his mother and two sisters.     The problem is, Adam is in love with Oversley’s daughter, Julia, but knows he can never support her.    It also happens that Oversley knows one of the richest men in London – Jonathan Chawleigh, a trademan born, who has decided that his daughter, and sole heir, should be a Lady.    Jenny Chawleigh is a shy woman, certainly no beauty, but she went to school with Julia, and has met Adam, and knows that he will treat her well.    And so they’re married.

My first Heyer book was The Convenient Marriage, which is also one of her earlier books.    That one is a sprightly little romance, between two people from the same social strata, and is all around fun.    A Civil Contract is one of her later books, and though the theme is the same, it’s very different.    Jenny is from a very different background than her husband, and knows he loves another woman.      Adam has to deal with that love of Julia, and also finding a way to not resent what Jenny’s money has brought to his life.    It’s a much more nuanced story, and I really loved it.    Adam and Jenny do eventually come to a very comfortable marriage, where they do both love each other, but it’s work, and made the story ring so much more true because of it.

The side characters are where you can see Heyer’s more typical sprightly writing come through.    Jenny’s father is hilarious, and Adam’s sister Lydia runs in the direction of a different Lydia, but with enough decorum to not allow her to make terrible mistakes.   (Heyer also mentions Jane Austen books twice in this novel – Jenny’s a fan.    I’ll admit I loved that.)