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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Craft On: Of Vespers and Mittens

Even though I haven't finished Vespers yet, and even though I didn't finish the two pairs of mittens, pair of socks, and Saint Nicholas stocking I wanted to for April, I have wound yarn for Mad May. There is going to be a low key, less structured event this year. I have two designs that are being made with Madelinetosh yarns, and a shawl I have wanted to make from a friend's design for a while. One of the projects I didn't finish this month, though, also fits the event, because it is made with Vintage yarn, and there is a WIP category this year. So, Yasmina's mittens will also be part of May for me. I pulled them out this weekend, since I had to frog the first one in January, and I had restarted it, but left it at the thumb gusset increases for a while. It was my liturgical and weekend knitting this week. Do I think I will finish all of these? Unlikely, but I am hoping to get one of the designs completed, the other with decent progress made, and Yasmina's mittens completed.

Are you planning for this next month? I am really hoping that our governor will get some common sense and start lifting some of the restrictions. We are doing pretty well in our state, and there are enough essential workers already out there and bringing home any exposure they might run into that it would be good to start to see even a little normalcy. I miss my weekly knit nights. Maybe next week?

This weekend, I made some progress on my reading, as well as those mittens. Right now, I am about halfway though Babel and about to start the chapter on Malay. It would be great to finish it this week. It would be great to finish it before the end of April. That is not probable. It will be the first book I have finished this year, which is a bit embarrassing. Technically, that isn't really true, because we read Tending the Garden of our Hearts together, and I have read Farmer Boy, On the Banks of Plum Creek to the younger kids, and we will finish By the Shores of Silver Lake in the next day or so, and that doesn't include the short story books, of course, but I mean the only book I have read just for myself.

While Bottom of the Pot isn't a book I am reading cover to cover, I did want to give it a mention. I've cooked several recipes out of it over the past few months, and really enjoyed each dish. Last night's dinner was the Khoresh Bademjan, the eggplant and chicken stew. It was so flavorful and not hard to make at all. Persian cooking, in my opinion, is to greater Middle Eastern cooking as Japanese cooking is to greater Far East Asian cooking, or Cuban cooking is to Latin American cooking. It is not so spicy, in terms of heat, but is layered and complex with a subtlety that is lovely.

Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Menu Plan: April 26 - May 2

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

We are getting more work done on our garden and yard this year than we have in a long time. The blasted Chinese Elm tree is finally looking like it might be vanquished, and we have planted a pink flowering dogwood in its stead. It is the most I have ever spent on a tree in my life. They do well here, though, and are fairly cold and drought resistant, which is necessary for our hot desert summers and below zero frozen desert winters. Eventually, we would like to replace the evil honey locust bean tree weeds with purple beech, sugar maples, blue spruce, and maybe Russian olives, so we still have privacy on the ridge by the irrigation ditch, but we also have color. Rich and I have talked about planting around our house to permit eating outdoors and putting up a tent and having a space where kids can run around, but shading it all a bit more with deciduous trees and shrubs, so they provide lots more shade during the spring and summer, but are bare of their leaves, letting the sun and warmth in during the fall and winter. There is so much to do here.

This week is a normal, well as normal as things get right now, week for us. A few dishes and meals have been moved over to this week, because we didn't get to them for whatever reason. I had to push off the mejeddarah, because I still can't get lentils. I'm hoping to be able to purchase some soon. We used almost the last of our fava beans, too, and those are hard to get in this area, anyway. I miss my weekly knit night. I miss shopping not taking an extra hour because of the stupid Xs on the ground and everyone having to keep six feet apart. I miss a lot right now. It was a rough week. I really didn't think the stay at home order would be that hard for us, because only a few things changed, but the whole atmosphere of the world has changed around us, and that wears us down. We've had a few disappointments, too, on things that have been in the works for a few years that have to be canceled. It's nothing compared to many people, I know, but it does make normal life harder. Anyway, here is our menu, I hope you are all well and in good health.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Cranberry Pecan Rolls

Cranberry Pecan Rolls with Orange Butter

This is another versatile bread. I have made it with dried cherries and almonds, you could use walnuts instead of pecans, sultanas and pine nuts would be lovely. The dough is easily made in the bread machine, or by hand, or with a stand mixer.

The orange butter can be made well in advance of the rolls.

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil
1 large egg
1 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg for glaze
1 tablespoon warm water for glaze
2 - 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar to sprinkle before baking

Toast pecans lightly over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Place flour, sugar, yeast, salt, milk, oil, and egg in bread machine pan. Process on dough cycle about 15 - 20 minutes, then add the toasted pecans and the dried cranberries, and complete the cycle.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray or grease well with butter (I tend to use the Trader Joe's coconut oil spray). On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 20 pieces and shape into smooth round balls. Place on the baking sheet, with room for them to rise, and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise until they are 1 1/2 times the original size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Whisk egg and water to make glaze. Brush rolls with egg glaze. Sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Allow to rise at least 15 more minutes, or until the oven is preheated.

Place pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 400 F and bake 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Cool completely on a rack. Serve with orange butter.

Orange Butter

1/2 cup softened butter
zest of 2 oranges

With a wooden spoon, beat the butter with the orange zest until well incorporated. Can be made ahead and stored, covered tightly, in the refrigerator at least a week, or wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap in the freezer for much longer.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Flashback Friday: Samoom

This is three for one today. These patterns were supposed to only be the gloves. However, many people asked if I would make them available as fingerless mitts and mittens. After releasing the pattern for the gloves, I re-worked it for the other two and released them separately. Can you imagine a wind so hot and dry that it is called poison? In this design, offset cables mimic sand moved by the wind. The cuff has Arabic lettering for the word Samoom stranded as a Middle Eastern flavored variation on Fair Isle. This is a perfect design to use that handpainted, variegated, or bright skein of yarn that is a bit too much knit by itself.

All versions of Samoom are available for sale on Ravelry: Samoom Gloves, Samoom Mittens, and Samoom Fingerless Mitts and on LoveCrafts: Samoom Gloves, Samoom Mittens, and Samoom Fingerless Mitts. If you don't want to sign up for either of these, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Craft On: Progress

Now that we are out of Holy Week and Bright Week, I have returned to my sample knitting. I thought that was a good compromise with not having a full sabbatical month, but still taking some time out of my design schedule. This is more than half way finished, and I need to get it all finished or mostly finished by the first week of May to meet my deadline. It is for a third party publication in Knotions Magazine's August issue, and I am thrilled to be included again with them.

There is a story about a nun who asked if she could knit while praying, and the Mother Abbess said she could. Another nun, seeing this, asked the Mother if she could also pray while she knit. The Mother Abbess refused her. When she asked why the other nun was able to do so, the Mother answered that it was because the first nun was knitting as she prayed, while she wanted to pray in addition to her knitting. I try to keep that in mind. This project is definitely simple and repetitive enough that I can work on it while I pray. That is what I did this morning with the kids as we did our Morning Prayer service together. We use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, if you would like to incorporate the daily prayers, as we do.

Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Gatayif, Baq'lawa, Fatayir bil Joubneh, Italian Bacon and Romano Pasqua Bread, Croatian Sirnica


I need to apologize a little for this recipe, because so much of it is done by sight and feel and practice. My mother never measures anything at all, and she had a friend who insisted she needed an exact recipe, so she measured every ingredient she put in and every addition she added to adjust. Well, that friend has it, but my mom lost that, so when I asked for the recipe, I got her general instructions which included how many eggs and how much flour, along with the other ingredients that went in with no quantities. I spent several tries recreating what I ate growing up, and these taste like what I had as a child. There are a lot of pictures to give you an idea of what you are looking for, though, which I hope will help you. These are a bit like the Arab answer to crèpes. The batter needs to be thinner than you think, and the first few you cook will be weird and you can just fill them and eat them in the kitchen while you are adjusting the batter for the rest.

3 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons yeast
5 teaspoons sugar
pinch salt
1 large egg
2 cups water
4 - 4 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons baking powder

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 tablespoon ground cardamom

3 sticks unsalted butter, melted, for brushing the pan and the crèpes.

Blend all batter ingredients except baking powder. Let rise an hour or two on the counter or covered in the refrigerator for up to four hours. Don't try to save time by making it ahead of time and putting in your fridge, no matter how much room there is in your bowl, and leaving it overnight or it will overflow all over the shelves. Ask me how I know.

Prepare the filling by mixing the powdered sugar, ground almonds, and cardamom. This can stay in a sealed container on the counter for a couple weeks.

When you are ready to cook the pancakes, sprinkle in the baking powder and whisk well. If the batter looks too thick, add some more milk and whisk again. Arrange an assembly line with the batter, pan, melted butter, filling, and the serving platter to make your work easier.

Heat a six inch pan over medium high heat. When the pan feels hot with your hand held above it by an inch or two, brush the pan with butter and pour about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of of the batter in, while swirling around to spread it around the entire surface of the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook it until the edges just start to brown and separate from the pan, then place your spatula underneath and flip to cook just a few seconds. After your first one, adjust the batter if necessary. You do not want a thick pancake, this is thin, thin, thin. I almost never re-butter the pan, though when I make an extra large batch, I sometimes have to do it one or two more times.

what the pancake should look like when you are ready to flip it

pancake flipped

Brush generously with melted butter, and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the filling, then roll up tightly and set on the serving platter. I usually just brush, fill, and roll on the serving platter itself.

ready to be brushed generously with butter

the right amount of butter

about the right amount of the sugar and nut filling

beginning to roll

Serve warm or cold. These are great for breakfast, too. This recipe should make about 30 - 35 gatayif.

Baq’lawa Crackling


Everyone seems really intimidated by making this, or working with phyllo dough. It really isn't difficult, and is more a matter of assembling and working quickly than anything else. In my opinion, this is better when you assemble it ahead of time and refrigerate and then bake it fresh later. The chilling of the dough and butter improves the texture. There is only one real secret to this, and that is that you need to either use hot pastry with cold syrup or cold pastry with hot syrup. Otherwise the pastry becomes soggy. Click on the photo above and you can see me pouring the syrup on the pastry and hear the sound of it hitting the hot phyllo. You can make the syrup and refrigerate it a week in advance. Also, if you can get your phyllo dough at a Greek or Arabic store, it will be wider and fill your pan better.

Syrup (Sheera):
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
8 whole cardamom pods
1/3 cup rosewater

6 cups slivered almonds
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup syrup

1 pound package of phyllo dough, thawed in your refrigerator
1 pound unsalted butter, melted

Place sugar, water, and cardamom pods in a larger than necessary saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring only to dissolve it, then letting boil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Take off heat and let cool. Stir in the rosewater and refrigerate.

In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, heat the almonds and butter, stirring constantly. As soon as there is any browning whatsoever, turn off the heat and add in about a third of a cup of the syrup, making sure none of the cardamom pods fall in the pan. Stir well to mix. Set aside.

Brush an 11" X 15" pan with some of the melted butter. Unroll the package of phyllo dough. Most people recommend that you keep it covered with a wrung out damp cloth. I don't do that, and just work really quickly, but if you are new to this, you might want to have that damp cloth handy. I use a brush for the butter, but a friend said that she fills a mister or spray bottle with the butter, which I thought was brilliant.

Working quickly, lay two sheets of the phyllo down on the buttered pan. Brush generously with butter. Repeat three or four more times. You are going to use a little more than a third of the package for the bottom and top, and about a quarter for the middle. Sprinkle evenly with half the nuts.

Lay two sheets of phyllo over the nuts and brush with butter. Repeat three more times. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining nuts. Finish with the remaining phyllo as you did before.

Using a blunt butter knife, press the edges of the dough down to tuck into the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut all the way through the pastry as below. You can either bake at this point, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a day or two.

unbaked baq'lawa scored before baking

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F. Unwrap your baq'lawa and bake uncovered, 35-45 minutes, until golden brown all over. Fish out the cardamom pods from the syrup and pour the cold syrup over the pastry, aiming as much as possible for the cut edges. Allow to rest about 15 - 30 minutes for the syrup to be absorbed.

Fatayir bil Joubneh

So, though I grew up eating these, I never really saw them made at home. It was always something that someone else made. I really wanted to make them for the family, though, so I kind of figured it out on my own. These use the same dough as the fatayir bi sabanich. I meant to take pictures of this, but forgot, so I will have to make them again and show you the shape that way.

1 recipe of fatayir dough

3 cups fresh Syrian cheese (akkawi), finely chopped
2 cups mshalleleh or Armenian braided cheese
1 cup halloum cheese, finely chopped
10 scallions, minced
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems trimmed closely and finely minced
1 bunch mint, leaves only, finely minced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes (but if you can get the Aleppo pepper, I really recommend it)
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds (optional)

Mix cheeses, herbs, egg, and seasonings well.

Prepare a baking sheets by sprinkling with semolina or cornmeal. Divide the dough into about 50 pieces and roll into long, flat ovals. Spoon filling into the middle, leaving about a half inch border around it. Shape into an "eye" or a boat, by folding one of the short ends over and pressing down on the dough on the other side. Then, fold that side back over and pinching to adhere the dough. Do the same on the other side, beginning with the side you finished with on the other end. You want to leave a small amount of the filling exposed, because the dough will open more as you bake it.

Preheat the oven to 425 F and allow the fatayir to rest while the oven heats. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Italian Pasqua Bread

This is a recipe I found online, and changed a bit for our family. I'm sure this recipe would have used pancetta originally, and someone's Italian grandmother came here and used what she could get. It's very much Italian-American. This can easily be made in a stand mixer, too, though it is possible to make it by hand.

8 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 eggs, lightly beaten
5 cups grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
36 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, to brush loaves

Mix flour, yeast and salt. Add milk, olive oil, and butter and blend thoroughly. Add eggs and mix in completely. Knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide into two balls and let dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Working with one piece at a time, roll out on lightly floured board to about 12" X 24" rectangle. Sprinkle half of the cheese and half of the bacon evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about a 1/2" border around all edges. Beginning at the long edge, roll up dough tightly into a cylinder. Coil into a tight spiral and place into a greased cake or pie pan. Repeat with the second ball of dough and remaining cheese and bacon.

Brush with melted butter, then cover lightly to rise for 1 - 2 hours, until the volume doubles.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake loaves for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool on racks and serve. This can be made the night before and served for breakfast.


This is a traditional Paschal bread made in Croatia. I wasn't posting when we went to Croatia, but we did, and fell in love. We would move there tomorrow, if it were possible. I tried to bring some of it home for the kids by making foods we had there. This recipe is traditionally made with rum to soak the raisins, but I kind of wish I had used the naranča (orange liqueur) we brought back with us, which I have been rationing out for the past year and a half. Maybe next time. A lot of the time, I tell you that recipes are not as hard to make or don't take as long as you might think. Well, this one isn't difficult, but it does take a long time. The dough rises four times, but you will not regret the time taken on this, and you can go read a book or pick up your knitting or do any number of things in the time the dough is rising. I make this dough in the bread machine to save me some time, but it can be made by hand or in a stand mixer just a easily.

3 tablespoons dark rum or naranča
heaping 1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
4 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar (I keep a jar of sugar with broken pieces of vanilla bean in it)
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
3/4 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled for glaze
2 tablespoons coarse sugar like turbinado

Soak sultanas in the liquor for at least two hours. Set aside.

Place flour, sugar, yeast, salt, orange and lemon zests, milk, melted butter, and 3 egg yolks into bread machine and run on dough cycle for about 45 minutes. Stop and add sultanas and rum. Run again on dough cycle to completion. Allow to rise another 30 - 45 minutes.

Whisk 3 egg whites and 1 tablespoon of melted butter together for glaze.

Remove from pan and punch down over very lightly floured surface. Divide in half and shape into balls on greased parchment on baking sheet. Brush with egg glaze.

Cover with plastic and allow to rise for 1 hour. Brush with glaze again and cover, allowing to rise for another hour.

Brush dough with glaze again and use sharp scissors to either make two deep snips in the shape of a cross or three deep cuts like I did, meeting in the middle of each of the loaves. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and allow to rise again while you preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake for about 30 minutes, until well browned and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.

Cool completely on racks and serve in slices spread thickly with butter.

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Menu Plan: April 19 - 25 (Last of the Paschal Octave)

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

This week we were able to plant more of the garden, and butcher some extra roosters, and also take a little rest. I did a lot of baking, and pushed some of our meals from last week to this week. We had so much in the way of leftovers! Even considering that we passed out platters of our feast to people, I forgot how many meals during Bright Week usually include having people over, so we didn't need as much as we normally do. The regular dry fasting (xerophagy, if you want a $10 word for Scrabble) begins again this week. So, while we are still in the Paschal season and still celebrating, our meals will have a little more of the normal pattern to them.

P.S. I was totally wiped this week, and didn't get my recipe round up finished for yesterday, but it will be up tonight.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Flashback Friday: Shamal

This is a fun little piece that is quick to knit. The texture keeps it from being boring, but it's so fast to make, that you don't really have time to get bored. It's designed in two sizes, and is great for leftovers because it really doesn't use a lot of yarn. Since this design uses under 100 yards of sport weight yarn, it is wonderful for that orphan skein you purchased (am I the only one who does this?), or multiple can be made from a larger skein. Mine gets worn a lot, and it is surprisingly warm for something so small. It is perfect for gift giving and showing off just a couple cool buttons, too.

Shamal is available for sale on both Ravelry and LoveCrafts. If you don't want to sign up for either of these, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Craft On: Rest

What a busy weekend we had! It was rather different not having guests, but we made platters for families we knew, and that was good. In any case, after four days of multiple services at various times of day and night, and three nights of going to bed after midnight, and three days of cooking, yesterday was all about catching up on rest and today, I just grafted the toe on my sock. Honestly, I have been too exhausted to do much, so I haven't even been reading this week, except for story books with the littles.

Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Menu Plan: Bright Week

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

There is no fasting during the eight days of the Paschal Octave, which is both delightful and tough after fasting and abstinence during Lent. We plan on enjoying it to its fullest! Normally, we break our fast after the vigil with ma'amoul and then come home to fry up pounds and pounds of bacon and eggs. All of this was at home this year.

We do our egg hunt during Bright Week, but this year, it will only be for Mariam and Nejat. We will still be doing our bonfire and Peep s'mores, too. I went a little crazy buying Arabic cheeses for our feasting, and we will be enjoying them all week.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Recipe Round Up: Faux Cheese Sauce


Faux Cheese Sauce

This is a great Lenten sauce that doesn't require any weird ingredients. It is one I found online a while ago, but it went missing recently. We made a few adjustments to this, but not a lot. You can substitute a fasting friendly oil for the olive oil like safflower or sunflower oil. We tried it once, and were surprised at how well it replaced a real cheese sauce. This even has the right texture to it. It isn't as believable the next day, but while it is fresh, it is pretty amazing. This recipe yields about 3 cups of sauce.

2 cups peeled, cubed potato
1 carrot, chopped
water for boiling
1/4 cup olive oil (or fasting friendly oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (unsweetened coconut milk also works)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari sauce

Combine the potato and carrot in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and place in a food processor.
Add all the other ingredients and process for about 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. Serve over veggies, potatoes, rice or pasta.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Flashback Friday: Sharqi

This design is what I did with a single motif of the cable I created for Harmattan, Levantera, and Nashi, modified and worked back and forth to create these gauntlet mitts. I made the little finger loop with a crocheted chain joined to the point of the gauntlet. This pattern is one I am pretty proud of, too. Dominic and Mariam modeled the larger and smaller size with me, and they wore theirs for a long time afterward. Mariam grew out of hers, but Dominic still wears his. They are great for when it is a little chilly, but not frigid, or a windy day, which is a lot of our year here. One of the people who made this pattern modified it to be barefoot sandals for her daughter!

Sharqi is available for sale on both Ravelry, PatternVine, and LoveCrafts. If you don't want to sign up for any of these, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Good Friday

Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon waters.
Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon waters.
Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon waters.

A crown of thorns crowns Him, who is the King of the angels.
He is wrapped in the purple robe of mockery, who wraps the heavens with clouds.
He receives smitings, who freed Adam in the Jordan.
He is tranfixed with nails, Who is the Son of the Virgin.

We venerate Thy passion, O Christ.
We venerate Thy passion, O Christ.
We venerate Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection!

اليوم علق على خشبة الذي علق الأرض على المياه
إكليل من شوك وضع على هامة ملك الملائكة
برفيرا كاذباً تسربل
الذي وشح السماء بالغيوم
قبل لطمة الذي أعتق أدم في الأردن
ختن البيعة سمر بالمسامير
و إبن العذراء طعن بحربة
نسجد لألامك أيها المسيح

Andrea del Castagno. Crucifixion. c. 1450

I am so grateful that our Bishop provided a streaming Stations of the Cross for us this morning, and that we will be able to see the Good Friday service this afternoon. It has been such a hard Holy Week. We have been immersing ourselves in the Via Dolorosa with the Lord this week. Our veneration today is part of the three day service of the Triduum which began last night with the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, and the stripping of the altar and will be complete at the vigil for the Paschal feast. We are so glad that we were able to participate, even a little, with technology. It is hard not to do this work in person, but we will wait as the Apostles and disciples did, scattered, to see His resurrection.

From our Old Testament reading this morning, there is a prophecy about Jesus:

For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, "Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a man comes to his end, and no one has been known to return from Hades.

"Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."

Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls; for God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.

~ Wisdom 2:1, 12-24

Our morning gospel reading was from Saint John, with Jesus before Pilate. He tells Pilate:

For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

The entire purpose of the Incarnation is the crucifixion and resurrection. That day, that moment, was the reason Jesus was born. The person of the Son was directed toward this end from before the foundations of the world.

From our prayers this morning:

Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross;

He was content to be betrayed, to be given to wicked men, and to suffer for us. That is how great the love of God is for His creation; He came to die as one of us, to rescue us.

I wish to leave you with another prayer from this morning, and I bid you all a blessed Triduum.

O Merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Craft On: Sabbatical

My error in mixing up my due dates on third party projects has put my sabbatical month in peril. I am definitely taking this week off, and still will take the weekends off, but I think I will be spending much of the rest of April to get as far along on my sample as I can. In the meantime, I have finished one of Alexander's convertible mittens, have been working on my Sock Madness sock, and even pulled out a crocheted scarf I began over six years ago. Everyone says that crochet goes faster than knitting, but I feel like this is not true. At least not when I am doing it. Anyway, I have a tiny bit of hope that my yarn will last through both socks, and I like how the crocheted scarf looks, even if it takes me forever to do it.

Alexander's mittens/fingerless gloves are great, but the pattern was not. It had error after error in it, and I was actually really surprised that it was published in a well known online magazine with as many errors (and still not corrected) in it. I am not the first person to notice them, either, but because of this, I am basically writing the pattern in its entirety as I go. If I wanted to do that, I would have started with my own swatches and sketches. In any case, they will serve him well, and he likes them, so I continue.

My reading has slowed. Kristin Lavransdatter has been set aside. We finished On the Banks of Plum Creek and started By the Shores of Silver Lake. I’ve only read a little bit in Babel. We are in the last part of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts for our Western Holy Week.

Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, April 05, 2020

Menu Plan: April 5 - 11 (Holy Week)

I wish you a blessed Holy Week! We couldn't go to church, of course, and had read a suggestion to put up branches and flowers in the window. Our windows can't be seen from the street, so we decided to decorate our gate. We hadn't taken these palm branches and crosses back to the church to be burned, so we used them today. This is going to be a strange Holy Week. We are so grateful for all the streamed church services, but it is hard to be missing them.

Our littles won't be attempting the full fast for the Triduum, of course, so there are some light meal options for them. Soon, they will all be old enough to fast completely!

What is on your menu this week? I hope these breakfast and dinner ideas help you make plans, too. If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

Here are some resources for good, orthodox, liturgical worship services to participate in from home Saint Michael's, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Diocese of Cascadia Anglican Church, Orthodox Church of the Redeemer. If you don't have a church broadcast, perhaps this will help you worship and focus on the Lord and how you can serve His people during this time.

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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Banana-Pear Quickbread

Banana-Pear Quickbread

This is not a Lenten bread, but it is delicious. I first came across this recipe from a friend on an online cooking group, but it had much more sugar. It seemed like a lot, but I tried it that way and, no joke, when I put it on the cooling racks, it dripped syrup through the rack to the counters. Then I reduced the sugar by a quarter and found it to be much, much better, in my opinion. If your pears are really sweet, reduce the sugar to 1/2 a cup. Though it is wonderful baked as a loaf, it can also be baked in a bundt pan and is quite pretty that way.

1 1/4 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, cooled
3 mashed overripe bananas
2 beaten eggs
2 small or 1 medium pear, peeled and sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a loaf pan generously and set aside.

Whisk flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

Add butter, mashed banana and beaten eggs and mix until moistened (a few lumps are fine). Fold in the pear slices into the batter. Pour into pan and bake about an 55 - 60 minutes, until a sharp knife or toothpick comes out clean if you poke it in the center.

The texture is best if you wait at least a half hour before cutting into this, but I don’t blame you if you insist on having hot bread with maybe a little butter.

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Friday, April 03, 2020

Flashback Friday: Haboob

Haboob uses brioche type stitches, twisted stitch cables, and texture. It is knit in one piece, and is a fairly quick knit. However, it seems that designers' favorite patterns don't often get traction with the public. Hand warmers like this muff have gone out of fashion, but they are still so useful and convenient. This one even has a little loop attached that can be used to hold on the wrist while you use your hands. I love this design. It was so fun to create and to knit, and I wish more people loved it like I do.

If you agree, Haboob is available for sale on Ravelry and LoveCrafts. If you don't want to sign up for any of these, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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