Saturday, February 7, 2015

Growth













We've had the most beautiful spring-like weather this week. The nights and mornings are still cold but the afternoon highs have been at least ten degrees above normal for this time of year. I've enjoyed it very much; we're spending more time outdoors than we have in a couple of months, and this afternoon I even had the back door open for a little while. The Bear and I took the kids to the park yesterday after school and I actually got a light sunburn on my face! My lips are stinging a little as I write. It's not spring, though. It's early February and this can't last. I don't even want it to; I was enjoying winter, thank you. It looks like it will be seasonably cool again by the middle of next week. We could have a few more short-lived attempts at spring before it comes for real, you just never know. For now, I'm enjoying the warmer afternoons and even did a little early gardening this week. I had some tulip bulbs left over from the fall and I planted them in the backyard planter beds, in the hope that they might still grow. I also planted some bulbs in two flowerpots, after seeing some potted tulips on Pinterest recently. I'd never tried potting bulbs before, but how nice would it be to bring pots of tulips inside? Oh my. As a tulip fanatic, I would just love that.

The tulips won't do anything for a few weeks, but other things are just starting to grow! I've got daffodils just beginning to push up in a very sunny bed in the front yard and the winter jasmine in the front yard is starting to bloom. I have three winter jasmine bushes and only one of them blooms this early. It's close to the house and is very sheltered from cold and wind, while the other two are down closer to the street and not protected at all. For now, I'm buying cheap bunches of daffodils in the store but it's nice to see that the trees have buds, even the poor apple tree whose days are numbered. With the warm days we've had this week, it's so hard not to check the trees every day for signs of imminent blooming. I try so hard not to get ahead of myself this time of year. It takes everything I have.

Inside, we're trying to build skills. In the children, as always, of course. But in ourselves too; the Bear has recaptured an old interest in bread-baking. He used to bake a lot of bread but hadn't in awhile. He bought himself a new bread cookbook and it lit a spark; he made a beautiful loaf and now he wants to bake bread all the time. I'm not going to stand in his way, no sir. I made a quiche and finally did a good job with every part of it - the crust was not soggy or crumbled or burned, the filling set properly and all the vegetables were cooked nicely. I love quiche, and would happily eat it all the time, but my quiches, they've historically been awful. I make a lot of frittatas instead; they're practically foolproof, but they're not quiche. Maybe I've turned a corner. I've certainly got plenty of delicious bread to eat while I contemplate my progress.

Thank you for the glowing praise for Sidney's Square. I'm glad you liked the blanket and the story. My friends should be receiving it any day now, if they haven't already. It felt so good to make something by hand for their baby. They mean a lot to me. With the baby blanket finished, I've been finishing my other current crochet project, Heartwarmer. This big blanket is meant to replace some old, ratty ones we have in the family room. I plan to make one more after Heartwarmer, maybe a pointy chevron design. Do you have a pattern you like? I'm on the lookout so leave a link, please. I've done gentle ripples but never a chevron and I'd like to try that next.

I bought new sneakers this week. They're replacing two old pairs which were falling apart. I have no illusions about new sneakers making me run faster or jump higher but it's nice not to have my toes sticking out through holes in the fabric. Do you have weekend plans? Our weekend will be spent mostly at home; music class for the GB, a stop at a music store (we're so musical!) for a penny whistle because her school teacher is planning to teach them to play, some homeschool work, plenty of time outside while the good weather holds and tonight, a soup-bread-Broadchurch at-home date night with my dough-boy. All very good.

33 comments:

  1. Hello Jennifer,

    We know exactly what you mean about not getting ahead of oneself with the seasons, for each season brings things to savour and delight in. And, after all, life is short enough without hurrying it along.

    However, it is difficult not to get excited about Spring when the tell tale signs are appearing all around. In our experience, it is never too late to plant bulbs. They seem to adjust themselves when in the ground. We once forgot about some bulbs and when we came to plant them they were already shooting, but it made no matter. In fact, the display was one of our best.

    Bulbs in pots are delightful since one can move them around the garden or bring them indoors at will and when they have finished flowering they can be moved out of sight until next year. A good idea is to layer them by having larger bulbs further down and smaller, earlier flowering ones to the top. In that way the flowering season is extended.

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  2. Your weekend plans sound lovely. My daffodil bulbs are coming up and the crocuses too, and of course the snowdrops are out which is wonderful. No sign of any tulips yet, although I am sure that I planted some last year! Quiche making is not easy, so well done for trying again and succeeding you will be able to make all kinds now I am sure. xx

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  3. You are such a good photographer, Jennifer! I was struck by that thought (not for the first time) as I scrolled through your pictures in this post. Enjoy all that great weather while it lasts. We have the same warm air mass here, but it has been accompanied by epic amounts of rain.

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  4. I love the sound of the penny whistle! Hope it sounds quite as clear and beautiful when somebody first starts to learn it!

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  5. Wonderful photos as ever. That bread looks so amazing, bet it tasted fab .I'm very fond of homemade bread but I don't make it that often. life just gets in the way. There is something wonderful about bread it is probably the one thing we all eat world wide, the one thing that unites us all, isn't that incredible?
    Enjoy your weekend

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  6. Both the bread and the quiche look delicious - just look at that edging, it's so perfect. Lots of bulbs starting to emerge here too, although, like you, I'm quite enjoying the Winter. I love the photo of the blanket in the basket - so cosy looking. Have a fun weekend. x

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  7. I'm a little bit jealous (well, to be honest, a lot !) :
    You already have signs of spring (freezing cold here)
    Your hubby BAKES BREAD (I'm already happy my hubby knows where to find the bakery store !)
    You made a perfect quiche (mine always suffer from soggy bottoms... sigh...)
    Three good reasons to be jealous, aren't they ;-) ?
    Have a great weekend !! (Which I'll try as well, despite of my jealousy ;-))

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  8. Signs of Spring here too and it's difficult not to get carried away, well for me it is not being winter's greatest fan. There is nothing like home baking, bread or quiche!

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  9. A man who bakes - you are one lucky gal, Jennifer! Lovely to see spring peeking in and out of your neck of the woods. My husband, (who loves to cook traditional Cretan fare), was picking wild greens near the village in which he was born, and came across my favourite winter flowers: sweetly fragrant narcissus. It's amazing how a small handful of wildflowers can refresh one's spirit!

    Happy weekend, to you!

    Poppy

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  10. Wonderful photos, the quiche and bread look yummy. I love the colours in the blanket, I would never have thought to put them together but they really work. :)

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  11. Such a happy post! There is nothing like seeing the Spring flowers popping out of the ground.
    The bread looks good too and so pretty!

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  12. Hey Jennifer,
    Marc and Sam were complaining yesterday about wanting it to be summer. We were walking over the towans at the time in that bright low sunshine you can get at this time of the year. I was horrified! I take the days as they come, and don't wish away one season for another. I am enjoying that the days are slowly stretching out, and I'm enjoying noticing the changes in nature. But I am also still enjoying cosy nights in, seasonal food and hunkering down. Which leads me onto The Bear's bread which just looks yummy. I haven't baked bread for a while, and that is tempting me to do so right now. I have made a lot of cookies and flap jacks this weekend, and have found a new recipie for coconut macaroons that I may have a got at this morning. As for quiche, I am with you all the way there, my friend. Quiche and salad and new potatoes every day in summer!
    Have a lovely week.
    Leanne xx

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  13. A delightful post, filled with golden colours, Jennifer. The little shoots which signal Spring, even if a brief respite from Winter, bring hope of lovely yellow daffodils and tulips. Guess what? We are going over to Canada in the Spring, so I can see daffodils and tulips too :)
    Love the idea of the penny whistle; you can never have too many musical instruments to encourage and teach your children. Music is a gift for their whole lives.
    Happy baking to you and the family!

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  14. Seeing all the bulbs popping up is one of my favourite things at this time of year! Your quiche looks delicious, and now you have made it successfully you will be able to make lots.....such a tasty and versatile meal. Your husband's bread looks yummy too.....homemade bread and soup are a perfect meal for me! Happy weekend, Jennifer.
    Helen xox

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  15. So lovely to see spring coming. It really does lift my mood. Much as I adore autumn and winter, the little signs of growth and the extra light work wonders for me. Those daffodils in bud are pretty - I think I actually prefer them like that.
    I now want to bake a quiche (having never tried before)...
    S

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  16. Such a lovely post. I love all the pops of early Spring in your photos. Your blanket is so pretty in the first photo. I made a spinach and bacon quiche for dinner last week, and it was so good. I could eat quiche several times a week! The Bear's homemade bread looks delicious. I love homemade bread, and this reminds me to make a loaf soon! Hope you are enjoying your weekend! I ran errands all day yesterday - haircut, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and the mall to pick up a sweater... I was exhausted! I am looking forward to staying home all day today!

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  17. Your quiche looks absolutely delicious, I'm really hungry, I could eat a big slice right now. The bread looks brilliant as well, I can see why the book is inspirational. The weather here was fantastic this afternoon, wall to wall sunshine. There were even one or two people in t-shirts (most people kept their coats on though). I have a Pinterest board of lovely crochet blankets if you'd like to have a look - https://uk.pinterest.com/cj0085/crocheted-blankets/ I shall look forward to seeing what you decide on. I'm thinking about making one as well, I really don't know what sort to choose, but I'm having fun looking for inspiration. CJ xx

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  18. I love this blanket you're making, the stitch creates such a lovely fabric. That bread looks delicious, as does the quiche.

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  19. Your quiche looks beautiful, it is one of my favourite things to eat along with loads of fresh salad from the garden. The bread also looks delightful. I have daffodils, crocus and snowdrops coming up but still no sign of tulips yet.

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  20. So much goodness in one post, a delicious quiche, wonderful bread and beauitful daffodils. Spring is in the air but it is still Winter (I keep telling myself it is anyway!).........just for a little bit longer.

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  21. Great time of the year when every thing seems to be coming alive. Love all the comfort food too . ....xx

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  22. It has felt springlike here today. I stood watching Matt play rugby, and I could definitely feel some warmth in the sun. I don't suppose it will last - but it was nice to enjoy it. I hope you had a great weekend You're quiche looked great x

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  23. This is such a lovely post. It felt spring like today here, the sun had such warmth and the cold northern wind had dropped, but it's going to be another freezing night. Your quiche looks amazing. I hardly ever make quiche but I love eating it. The colours in that blanket are so soft and dreamy and well balanced. If you want to make a chevron, I found this tutorial really good:
    http://meetmeatmikes.com/tutorial-zali-zig-zag-chevron-crochet-pattern/
    It's in Australian/UK terms but easy to translate into US. Very good directions and easy to follow. xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gillian. I have that same pattern in my Ravelry library. I thought I remembered you using it. I will have a closer look at the pattern tonight.

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  24. Lovely to see some of the growth around you, Jennifer :-) My first attempt to crochet a blanket was a chevron pattern, but I did not like how it was growing so tucked it away and then the kids found it and used as much as I had finished. I hope you find just the colors and design you want and that you have fun completing yours! xx

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  25. I so enjoyed your post today with Springy looking flowers on bushes - and lucky you that hubby is baking. Mine did that for a while and I was in heaven.. then boom.. he was over it and I've really been sad it didn't last longer. Your quiche looks perfect, good job on you! I also love a good quiche. Again, your post snuck past me down my blog list.. I'm so glad I found it! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  26. Ooh, I've admired that book for years! One of my favourite bread books is "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field. Just flipping through it makes me want to bake. Mr. Bear's bread looks delicious, as does the quiche.

    All that growth is tremendously exciting. I'm afraid ours is at least a month away, probably more. Ah well. I like having four seasons, I like having four seasons, I LIKE having four seasons.... :D

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  27. Loving that loaf!!! And oh my!! It blows me away to see such amazing growth coming through the ground already! How fantastic to have spring knocking at your door!!!! Glad you were able to get new sneakers...mine are 2 1/2 years old so I'm in desperate need as well! Happy week you!!! Nicole xo

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  28. I would love to be able to make bread more often. It gets eaten up so quickly though! There's nothing quite like home made bread.

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  29. the colors of the blanket are beautiful.
    i noticed a few buds on our trees too.. i can't wait for spring.
    our ground is still covered in snow.. :(
    mmm bread.. i can almost smell is all the way over here.

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  30. That bread looks really good. It must have smelled heavenly in your house while it was baking. Your quiche looks great too. It's been unseasonably mild here since the weekend although it's only during the day. It's still cold at night with quite heavy frost. It's lovely though, this spring-like weather. A welcome change from the recent snow and freezing weather we've had here. I like a granny chevron stitch but the pattern was from a library book I borrowed ages ago. There might be instructions for it online if you're interested. X

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  31. Lovely post. That bread looks so good.
    Marianne x

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  32. I love your photographs Jennifer. The light in them captures the season perfectly...not yet quite out of winter so there's a certain crispness to them. The bread look amazing!! I made a quiche last year. it was a success but I've not repeated it...yet. You've made me think about making one this week!

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