Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Latest

I finally found the time to take the Workroom's Wholecloth Quilting class. Ever since seeing Carolanne Graham's sample quilt, I've wanted to learn this technique.

For me, there is always the agonizing decision involved in fabric choice, the next step is to decide on the quilted design. As there is no fancy patchwork piecing, the quilting is everything in this approach. Next step is marking the design onto the quilt top. In this case it was achieved using a clever template.

The atmosphere of fellow quilters is nothing less than collegial. When it came time to baste the three layers together, helpful hands appeared from everywhere and the project was ready to start in no time.

A few minutes into the stitching, it became abundantly clear that I would be needing finger protection. I've always admired the leather thimble, but as the shop was fresh out of them, I was forced to make a trek to Michael's. I needed to amass yet a few more sewing items and get at this hummer. While there, staring at the wall of possibilities, I included a rubberized version just in case. I've never liked working with thimbles, but this project practically demands one as the thicker Sashiko thread and needle I chose to use require you to ram everything through the three layers ~ top, batting and backing.

These little finger pads looked like a viable possibility, so I added them to the collection. They work extremely well, but I must add a warning. If you have a touch id on your phone, you might be out of luck. They literally remove your fingerprints after prolonged wearing. I kid you not!

No more excuses. The fingers are covered by all possibilities ~ now the fun part! Keeping your stitches in order. I am using a contemporary approach to this quilting. Amish teeny tiny stitches it is not. When the finished product is washed, there is a bit of shrinkage in the overall stitch, but I like the longer look anyway.

Of course it would be a shame not to continue doing this handwork once one becomes somewhat adept with the method and has all the tools at hand. The advantage of taking a class is that there are more than enough ideas to keep one's interest piqued and inspired. A good indoor winter activity methinks ~ another 52 days till spring. Cozy to work on too!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Another stellar moment

Just wanted to share this with those of you who may not have seen it, but should. Quite the stellar cast included after the video so that you'll know who they all are. I especially love the audience clips. Great event.

"Billy Joel performs "Piano Man" with Kevin Spacey, Boyz II Men, Natalie Maines, Josh Groban, Gavin DeGraw, Tony Bennett, LeAnn Rimes and Michael Feinstein during the ceremony where he was honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on November 19, 2014 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The show premieres January 2, 2015 on PBS."

I missed this on PBS but will look for it right now.

Hat Tip: Miss "B" ~ Thanks

Monday, January 19, 2015

Postal woes?

This is what mail delivery is really about. Great story and gives new meaning to rain, or snow the mail goes through. Not so much here these days. This guy was NEVER paid and didn't expect a tip during the holidays either! Now that we face the community mail box system, this may entice someone in the neighborhood to take up the call!??? NOT.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A little late, but can't resist

Thanks to The Professor for finding this. Enjoy. This is so very, very funny! No spoilers either.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Makes me smile

Every time I see "Audrey" the tufted titmouse, she makes me smile.

I purchased a few of Vicki Sawyer's cards of birds wearing hats and can't imagine sending them.

I just like looking at them and hope this will introduce you to Vicki's work as well. She has an endearing story connected to her Blurb Book...."Birds Make Hats and Masks"

Another edition for the bookshelf.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In our family

In our family, the movie "Back to the Future" was an icon. Our daughter watched it so many times that she can literally say every line, of every character for almost the entire movie. She proved it once on a highway in France where we were all trapped with no way out. This is one of her little party tricks. Just don't say anything about Michael J. Fox, DeLoreans, Back to the Future or anything remotely linked to the movie or she will launch into the script. Trust me. This is not a joke.

If she were here now, she would have to go and visit this guy who lives not far from here.

This post is dedicated to my CRAZY wonderful daughter. Miss Peach. Dini. Doopinska. Jane.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Never more appropriate

The sun was shining brightly, so I decided it was a good time to shovel. Feeling rather intrepid, I donned silk long underwear (largely because it's thin and would fit under my jeans!) and headed out in parka, ear muffs, sturdy boots and mitts. It was light snow and I was done in no time, so decided I would just hop in the now warmed car and head off to the grocery store. Yes, I know, that get-up is strictly for shoveling. I was emboldened by my progress. Arriving in the parking lot, a song that I remember from 1967 was playing on my Sirius 60's on 6. Pozo-Seco singers!!! Oh my goodness. Of course I sat snuggly and reminisced letting the good old folk song wash over me and I was 19 again. Even though I looked like the Wreck of the Hesperus, I skipped through the aisles undetected and smiled all the way home.

Indeed..Time..where did you go?? Hope this brings a nice memory to you too and if not, here is a great old song you should know.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I might have to go back

Our daughter is in Las Vegas this week attending the annual Consumer Electronic Show. This is the one where you learn all about the new cars that drive themselves, televisions bigger than your house, and other useful gadgets. Personally I want the new Apple iWatch. Can't wait to hear about that one. In the meantime, "Miss Peach" is staying at The Wynn! Business is so tough, imagine having your own room and sleeping uninterrupted for an entire week!! :)

I asked her if she could send me pictures of their current floral display in the lobby. Here it is! I may have to go back to Vegas. It's sub-arctic here, snowing as I write, shoveling tomorrow is certain.

Vegas. I might have to go back. I wish I had smellavision. Maybe that will be one of the latest ideas????

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Not to be missed

In case you didn't see the finale of "The Newsroom", listen,this little bit of it is not to be missed. I'm going to buy the entire video series. I love this show and all the characters in it. Now that it's gone, it just can't be exists out there and I'm going to bring it home. In these frigid winter days and nights there will always be something good to watch.

Jeff Daniels is indeed a news anchor on the side. Seems to me he's an excellent musician!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Highly recommended

Five years ago, when Zoë was born in Belgium, I purchased these boots for the all-season climate I would be facing for a month in Europe. The other day, I wore them for an entire day, in and out, up and down, and was astonished at how warm and comfortable my feet were the whole time. I decided that these are footwear that I must never be without. The Bay had a sale on and I ordered another pair. This time Cherry Red! Now, when I keel over, I will be more visible for rescue.


Sunday, January 4, 2015


Oh my goodness. The wait is over. Tonight! So much NEW. Why in the world does everything air on the same night???

The Good Wife....we love Kalinda!

Are you watching Madame Secretary???

A crucial game tonight! Some of the best hockey we have EVER seen. These kids are on fire. GO CANADA GO!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

When you live in LA - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

When you live in LA, you might have to go to Santa Monica to ice skate.

When you live in LA, you can ice skate in short sleeves and a dress.

When you live in LA, and you have an Alacorn helmet cover, you can really pretend to be in Stars on Ice!

Even though conditions are hardly ideal, indeed rather slushy, it's probably more inspiring than the conditions of learning to skate in good old Canada. Luca is also quite a natural, although at age two, he only lasted about 10 minutes.

Loved watching the Rose Parade today. Someday.
Happy New Year Everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Well, the results are in and Rose Levy Beranbaum's - Scottish Shortbread cookies are this years best. Her ingredients are unsalted butter, powdered sugar, granulated sugar and bleached all-purpose flour. You can click on the link to see her make a batch as well as the recipe at the end of the video.

It is interesting that in this recipe, I used the "Scottish finger" mixing method just as she did and it really works!

The recipe says:
"In Scotland it is said that the best shortbread is mixed with the fingers and that each woman's fingers lend something distinctive and special to the finished cookie."

An added note in this recipe states that:
"In Canada, the sugar in the shortbread is sometimes replaced with an equal weight or 6 Tablespoons of firmly packed light brown sugar for a "richer" cookie." That's interesting because I'm thinking Mrs. MacDonald may have used the brown sugar in hers. I'm going to give it a go the next time I'm tempted to make cookies. These were very easy and light tasting.

These tins are perfect for storing the shortbread, and I have to say, that home-made was better than the original contents of either container.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Brilliant Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve everyone. Here is a brilliant version of the Nutcracker, with the Beatles interspersed. Since we are big on the Nutcracker this year, here is my gift to you. Enjoy the BeatleCracker!

All My Loving...From Me to You!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tasting a Memory

While visiting in Vancouver with Gord, Rach, {Forest and Simon} (cats), they all indulged me by visiting Rosie Daykin's bakery "Butter". It was such a fun excursion and the treats were exceptional.

When it comes to Christmas baking, the Prof. and I like shortbread cookies the best. I decided to try a food processor recipe this year with little success. Not to be thwarted, I suddenly remembered my "Butter" cookbook. I have to say that Rosie's version of 'Vanilla Shortbread' turned out extremely well. It called for 2 TABLESPOONS of vanilla! I hovered and hesitated and then decided, if it is really a cook-off I have to follow the recipe. It was great.

Other friends have been looking for dissolving sugar and lemon additives for their latest trials. Ina Garten has a recipe with ginger in hers. My next test will be Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bible, Scottish Shortbread. It has now become an obsession to find the perfect recipe. How anything so simple with such simple ingredients can be so tricky is beyond me. After all, there is butter, sugar, and flour. Basically...that's it. The method for every recipe is different. I need to be able to reproduce Mrs. McDonald's recipe from my childhood. I'll let you know.

Happy Christmas Baking! If you have Mrs. MacDonald's recipe, please send it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New find

Only voices. NO instruments. Just happened on "Sing Off" last night for the finale. This acapella group is just wonderful.

My new Christmas song for this year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Keeping connected

This could so be my granddaughter! I did a double take wondering if she'd gotten into commercial work in LaLa land! Looks just like her and she's totally capable of such hi-jinx.

Last week they were off to get a Christmas tree. Zoë had the phone and was giving me a report on the excursion via Facetime. Luca of course wanted in on the action. In the back seat, between the scrabbling hands and two car seats, I ended up under the front seat for most of the ride. While Luca kept up a scream due to the fumble, Zoë reassured me that I could get out of the dark when the car stopped and a grownup could reach the phone. It's not bad riding under the front seat.

The song featured in this ad is "Apple of My Eye" by Anya Marina. Available on iTunes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The important parts

There is definitely something strange about keeping elephants, or any animal for that matter in a zoo, but I have to say that I do love visiting the elephants. This pachyderm looked pretty happy and well cared for. The climate in LA is probably wonderful for these guys as well. I stood there long enough that I think he was curious and posed for an eyelash shot. At the very least, his elegant tusks have been protected from ivory poachers.

He waited and flipped his ear, so I whispered "Have a nice day Mr. Elephant. I love your eyelashes."