Katie Marx Makes a Bouquet

I found these photos on a rogue camera card tucked into a crevice of the abyss that is my suitcase. They're from our Melbourne Slow Living workshop in September, taken at Butterland in Newstead. Butterland is a heritage-listed WWII era butter factory, venue rental, and home of florist Katie Marx and furniture designer Greg Hatton. They are expert foragers. One of our favorite moments in the workshop was when Katie demonstrated how to make a colossal bouquet from foraged wattle and eucalyptus (so Australian, hey?!).  Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are just now entering the belly of Winter, but looking at these photos reminds me that Spring is just off stage right, crouching, waiting in the wings.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

The seventh day of Christmas, the last day of the year. This is pretty much what winter has looked like around here so far: single grapefruits for breakfast, kitties on heater vents, and panettone (so much panettone!). We have been inside mostly, keeping warm by the hum and shimmer of the Christmas tree. Outside, it has been pale and sodden, drizzly, the pearly sky heavy with undescended rain. My sweet, dear friend from Seattle who spent Christmas with us said it was "worse than Seattle". Ha! But oh, the good, good time we had...a very full week with her and my parents and my sister and Manley and me. My mom brought her accordion (which is new...she just learned to play it and she is GOOD!) and everybody else had an instrument (except me, who is utterly helpless when it comes to music). Oh, my word, it was hilarious...song after song after song and all terrible but so, so good. 

For Christmas dinner, we cooked entirely from The Nourished Kitchen cookbook, which wins my heart this year for favorite cookbook...two thumbs up. We made the buttermilk spelt drop biscuits, cider-braised kale with apples and sweet cherries, celery root and potato puree, wild salmon baked in cream, and the Portugal Cake which turned out to be the unsuspecting star.  

It's made entirely from blanched almond flour, with pound cake-like ratios of butter and eggs, which makes it nutty, dense, and rich. The batter is spiked with sherry and rosewater (but I used orange flower water instead), and dried currants are folded in before baking. It makes two cakes, so we ate one after Christmas dinner and the other I've been eating every day since. 

All the guests left on Monday and I have been slowwww moving. Don't you love this week between Christmas and New Year's? The world seems to turn more slowly on its axis. I'm trying to take some time off with the yarn business, but I'm so excited about the shop update (this coming Monday, January 5!) that I can barely stand it. Indigo! Lots and lots of sapphire-blue yarn, with some black-and-white handspun Tennessee alpaca too. As always, I'll send an email out to the newsletter list when it goes on sale, which will probably be Monday afternoon. 

Last day of 2014. What a year, right? This year has been hard; this year has been awesome. There has been lots of change: both too much and not enough, and yet somehow...just the right amount. What I want for 2015 is to be more observant, conscientious, frugal. I want to waste less and watch more. To be quieter, kinder. Content. What about you? I would so love to hear your hopes and wishes for this trip around the Sun :) 

Tiny Circlet

Tiniest, sweetest, baby-est crown knitted for the tiniest, sweetest, baby-est baby. Crown knitting is a new obsession for this girl's mama and me (I think she might have made five last week). This is the Circlet pattern by Dani Sunshine, and we love it because it's easy to memorize and super quick, and uses barely any yarn. The one above (Ravelried here) is knit from not even 1/8th of a skein of my alpaca silk sport, my favorite yarn, in the acacia colorway. It makes for a crown that is silky soft and gently fuzzy...so sweet. 

Hey! It's two days before Christmas! I have so much to do! My pal Talitha is here and my parents are driving up from Atlanta tomorrow. I'm cooking Christmas dinner and haven't even made a shopping list. There are exactly zero wrapped gifts underneath the tree. So, off to do some things! Wishing all of you all of the very sweetest things this week...candlelit windows, squishy hugs, long breakfasts, full bellies, and warm hearts. Merry Christmas! 

Pure

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Chances are, you've already seen these photos around the Internet, either on Ravelry or Fringe Association, but...I couldn't help but share too! One of my favorite and best customers, Deneise (cabinfour on Ravelry), recently designed this perfect shawl with my Merino Aran in Ivory. The textured stitch pattern is just scrumptious and the wide, bumpy garter edge makes me think of frothed cream. This is her finished shawl, but I can't wait to cast on for mine. Right now I'm working on the Amanda Sweater for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong in this same yarn. Perhaps I should plan to work this concurrently, so I have something steady on my needles when my hands grow weary from all that fiddly (wonderful) cabling! Wouldn't this be gorgeous with a simple silk dress or under a wool coat this winter? :)  

Photos by cabinfour