Monday, July 9, 2012


Last year at this time I was packing for Knit Nation - a week in London, comfortable shoes, a new camera, and an insatiable appetite to devour every moment of my precious time in that city.

Maine is at its most glorious right now. Stunning. The air almost knocks you over, so rich and thick and sweet is its fragrance. We've waited all year for this.

Yet in my fickle mind I'm back in London, taking pictures of wisteria-covered windows I wish were mine...

And people going about their daily lives, unaware...

I'm sipping a short cappuccino at Monmouth...

And I'm still enchanted by this little orange car that I spotted in a Notting Hill restaurant window.

You know how you can be in a room full of people and feel utterly alone? For me, that's how wanderlust works. It usually hits when I'm at my happiest and most settled, surrounded by the kind of beauty that is Maine in July. 

Does that ever happen to you? And where would you go? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Seeking Stability

Your comments about lessons learned were so beautiful and inspiring. I am honored to think that such good people come here - voluntarily, no less - to read my own mutterings. Thank you.

I went to TNNA, that big trade show for fiber folks, and returned as I always do: inspired yet somewhat muddled. It's a challenge to be someplace where everyone's radio frequencies are turned up so high. I can't help but pick up lots of static where I'm used to getting a strong, clear signal all my own.  It's as if I came back with about six heads sticking out of my own. Removing them feels like thinning seedlings from the garden, but it must be done.

I've planted too many ideas for the future, and they simply cannot all grow in the space allotted to them. I always wish I could ask a neighbor to come over and thin my seedlings for me. Right now I rather wish some wise person could stare at the mess in my brain, say, "That one, that one, and that one," pluck out the rest and toss them on the compost pile before I can protest. Of course that's the absolute worst way to make decisions, so I'll continue to muddle my way through and trust rightness to prevail. Self-doubt is a mighty foe.

In the meantime, the strawberries are already done. How did July get here so quickly? I picked the last harvest and am making some ice cream for family that arrives this evening. It's always grounding to be around kids. You're too busy making fart noises and grabbing fragile things out of small, swift-moving hands to dwell on bigger questions like, "What should I do with my life?"

Plus I no longer need to dwell on that particular question, because the answer has come to me in the form of STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM. I'm not a huge fan of regular buttercream frosting. It's always too thick and goopy and buttery for summer. Even for me, it's just too much butter. But whenever I try to do a simple whipped cream concoction, it always goes runny on me.

Well, my friends, professional bakeries have a trick. If you didn't know already, they stabilize their whipped cream with gelatin. I experimented a few days ago and am in love.

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin in about 4 teaspoons of water, let it sit until it gets goopy, then heat it on the stove just until dissolved. Whip 1 cup of cream like you normally would, but just as the cream starts to thicken, drizzle the cooled gelatin into the cream. If you're really gluttonous, add a dollop of lemon curd.

With stabilized whipped cream you can do things like this, and it won't instantly topple:

I was so fascinated the process that I over-whipped the cream (you can see it's a little globby) but HOLY COW, between the extra texture and the lemon curd I was ready to bathe in this thing.

I think I'll set aside some strawberries and try pureeing them and folding them into some stabilized whipped cream. Ohhh, maybe alternate lemon and strawberry creams in a trifle? Oy, my arteries are hardening just imagining the possibilities.

What about you? Were you hit by the horrible storms earlier this week? Is your power back on? What's on your stove, in your oven, or chilling in the fridge? And how do you thin your own mental garden? Please, I'd love to know.