Saturday, March 15, 2008

Decorating and Knitting

I had a manicure/pedicure today in the city and had lunch with my parents and went antiquing. I found two prints (which my mom has because she is going to spray them with archival solution) and this awesome chair:

It is very comfortable and is in good condition and goes perfectly with my E.M. Forster collection:
I think it will go especially well with the curtains that are currently in our bedroom our new (well, new-to-us) sofa, and these Fragonard prints that I want to have printed on canvas from
Young Girl Reading, 1776 by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Young Girl Reading, 1776

The Study, or the Song, circa 1769  by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
The Study, or the Song, circa 1769

I'm spending my free time reading about interior design so I'll be ready to attack our apartment when we move to Wichita. Colefax & Fowler and Edith Wharton's The Decoration of Houses are required reading.

On to knitting--
Thankfully, my first gauge swatch matched the gauge given for the gloves I'm currently knitting. Woohoo!
Above: Rows knit while watching three episodes of Miami Vice (I also knit while watching Magnum P.I. and Dallas.)
Below: Close-up of beginnings of lace panel
I took the photos of my knitting yesterday morning. I have a little more now because Erika came over yesterday afternoon and made chocolate chip cookies with me which we ate while watching the '95 BBC Pride and Prejudice and while knitting. Erika also brought me this lovely matted print of Berthe Morisot's Woman at Her Toilette from the Art Institute of Chicago. Thanks Erika!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Finally Back to Knitting

Above: my next project, Some Like it Hot from Annie Modesitt's Romantic Hand Knits
I bought a short-sleeved black cloth coat early last fall and had intended to buy long black leather gloves to wear with it, but I couldn't find any for less than $300. Knitting to the rescue! I bought this yarn back in December:
It's Rowan Calmer (in Plum), which I've never used before. It isn't the recommended yarn for the project, but I wanted a pop of color with my black coat and couldn't find a shade of the recommended yarn that I liked. I'm currently working on a gauge swatch and Calmer is absolutely the sproingiest (yes, I made that one up) yarn I've ever used, so I'm not quite sure what to do with it. I have my fingers crossed that my gauge will be the same as the pattern.
I saw a preview for the film of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day on TV this morning. I first heard of the book from this post on Yarnstorm but I couldn't justify the cost of a Persephone book. Thankfully, a new paperback has just come out and is only $10 from Amazon, so I ordered it along with the last book I need for my nationalism seminar.

I really love when different things I'm doing overlap. I'm currently reading A Room with a View and have gotten past the part where Eleanor Lavish deprives Miss Honeychurch of her Baedeker guide. Coincidentally, the reading for seminar this week includes a chapter about the importance of Baedeker's guide to Germany in relation to German unification and nationalism. I felt so special because I knew what a Baedeker guide was and how ubiquitous they must have been. Thank you E.M. Forster!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Amish Sugar Cookies and a New Knitting Goodie

This recipe for Amish Sugar Cookies is from a dear family friend and I will reproduce it here:

Amish Sugar Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar (Sifted, especially if it's been in the cabinet a while.)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour (I use unbleached all purpose)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (this is one of those recipes where I don't use bean paste)
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Cream butter, sugars, and oil. (Use a low speed. You don't want powdered sugar all over your kitchen!)
3. Mix in eggs.
4. Mix in flour, cream of tartar, vanilla and soda. (All that flour requires a medium-high speed or you'll never get through it. Afterward, stir with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are combined.)
5. Using a 1 1/2" ice cream scoop (one with the neat little release thingy), place the cookies directly on a baking sheet. Twelve cookies should fit on each sheet.
6. Cross-hatch and slightly flatten the cookies with the tines of a fork à la Peanut Butter Cookies.
7. Sprinkle each cookie with sanding sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes or until beginning to brown at the edges.

Yields approximately 3 dozen cookies

The dough is very thick and springy:

Oooh they're so yummy. These cookies taste like shortbread but have a soft, light, and sandy texture. I made them for Jane Austen-a-thon a few weeks back and I think they're a perfect accompaniment to Masterpiece Theatre, which is now just "Masterpiece" and they chucked their old theme song the idiots, but I will continue to call it by its proper name and pretend that they still use the right music.

When I was little, the Monsterpiece Theater segment on Sesame Street was my favorite. Here's a clip of The Taming of the Shoe:

Moving on...
This is my new knitting goodie, a Namaste clutch (my mom got it for me from Sealed with a Kiss in OKC). Isn't it just the classiest knitting accessory ever? I love it. Check out the knitting needle holder:
This is a photo of one of the inside compartments:
The other inside compartment:

In other news, since I finished The Pillars of the Earth, I am now reading E.M. Forster's A Room with a View because a) I've been wanting to read it and b) Masterpiece Theatre is showing a new version in April and I think I can finish by then. I like reading a book before watching the movie.