Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stormy Weather

We had a stormy day yesterday. High winds, lightning, thunder, lots of rain. One lightning bolt was very close. I saw the flash, then the boom happened so soon after that it made me yell. And I like thunderstorms!

Anyway, the wind broke the stem of one of my bush beans right at ground level, so only two are left. And two of my soy beans have died for no apparent reason. Looks like I'll be starting more bean seeds this weekend. Hopefully in the increased sun and higher temps, they'll catch up fairly quickly. It'll spread out the harvest a bit, not a bad thing. The best part is this weather has put a temporary end to the 90F heat we were having.

The picture is my 'Margaret's BOP' (Back-of-Porch) penstemon, already in bloom. It's a great plant. It'll bloom all summer. The brown leaves are left from the crocus planted next to it.

I'm very glad I didn't plant my little pepper seedlings. They'd have been crushed. Maybe this weekend they'll be ready. We could have stormy weather the rest of the week.

Hubby and I found a new toy at Williams-Sonoma this past weekend. My sister gave us an espresso maker for Christmas, which was very generous of her. Unfortunately, it has not held up well. The cup that holds the coffee grounds doesn't seal into the machine very well, and water leaks out through the seams of the machine. So we've been on the lookout for another one. The good ones are sooooo expensive! And who's to say how well they work. We wanted something simple and long-lasting.

We like going into W-S to look at all the fun things, though we rarely buy. This little Bialetti "nine cup" stove-top espresso maker caught our eye. By nine cups they mean nine servings of espresso, not nine actual Cups :). We had a good look, took it apart, did a little comparison at another store, and decided we'd get it. It was very reasonable, less than $40, and larger than other stove-top makers we've seen.

It's a pretty nifty little thing. You put water in the bottom compartment, grounds in the middle, and the espresso moves up under pressure into the upper chamber. We put it on the smaller gas flame on our stove at a low setting, and in 10 minutes we have espresso! The only drawback is there's no milk steamer. So if you like your foamy milk, this isn't for you. We add milk to our cups and warm it up in the microwave. And this uses gas, which is cheaper than electricity.

Just this past Friday my sister-in-law had the same operation I recently had, but she didn't need to have the larger incision. So she was home the next day and feeling pretty frisky, considering. Hubby's family is talking about all of us going on an Alaskan cruise in Sept. That would be fun! He and I were planning to go to Glacier Nat'l Park that week, but I think I could give up Glacier for Alaska! So we'll see. The older family members aren't going to be around forever. Might as well do these things while we all still can.

I finally know what I'm going to do with the fabric I bought for a wedding dress back in 2005, but never made. It's a dress based on a Medieval Flemish gown in an illustrated manuscript from about 1500. My dress won't be strictly authentic, but it doesn't need to be. I'm hoping to have it finished in time for our St. Andrews dance in November. You might think that's plenty of time, but I am a notoriously slow seamstress.

In researching this period I made the unexpected discovery that I really prefer the simpler Medieval styles over the Tudor and Renaissance gowns I used to sew for Ren. Faire. The Medieval gowns seem much more graceful and (even better) more comfortable! Plus, right about then, late 1400's-early 1500's, women's hair styles changed from the hair being completely hidden under weird tall hats (like the cliche Princess cone) to just long hair hanging down the back with a small band or simple net over the head.

So now I have my pattern and I'm ready to get started on cutting out the bodice in muslin to get the fit right. It's exciting to be starting on a sewing project again.

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