Monday, March 31, 2008

Kid's Cookbook

I just looked through the copy of Emeril's book from the library. It has cartoon pictures and really cheesy photos of Emeril with every recipe. However, the recipes are really great, lots of them, and so many of my ethnic  restaurant favorites like: spanakopita, satays, curries, cuban sandwiches, mango lassies, edamame, coconut bread, jerk chicken, kung pao chicken, risotto, sesame peanut noodle salad, etc., plus, there are simplified for kids!  That just makes them easy for me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lavender Spring Glories

It is supposed to hail today in the Dallas area so I ran out to snap a quick picture of my wisteria vine that popped out in such a lovely color this weekend. It had more buds, I hope they will survive some hail too. This Spring I waited for bulbs to pop up in the yard of our new home, just in case things had been planted. It looks like I have lots of irises but none of my favorite, the cheerful daffodils.

When I was a child in Washington state we stopped once at a daffodil grower when we out on a drive, (yes, people used to do this with their kids for entertainment) and bought armfuls of all the fanciest varieties, each child was holding a bunch, they must have been cheap. There were white ones with peach trumpets and yellow with white trumpets and yellow with orange, ones with double petals and ones with frills, even pale green ones, etc. Unfortunately they stunk up our car so badly that we couldn't even make it home. I think we just threw them away.  

Thrift Store bragging

I got the greatest deal Saturday at my local Allen Community outreach thrift store! Someone had brought in their rubber stamp collection, many of which were unused, they priced them all at $.25- 1.00. This unknown benefactress  must have also loved making homemade Valentines because of the amount of heart themes. OOh you just can't believe it and I must post pics to brag, about 70 stamps and 8 or more punches, many of these were the larger expensive stamps. I thought I had all of the letters in this collection of small ornate fonts. But I am missing B,J,and V, so now i have to go back and hunt for them on Monday---

Tupperware is not a craft!

I went to great effort to carpool a full truckload of my friends to a craft show on Friday.  We drove about 20 miles, paid an admission of 4 dollars to get in, there were about 100 vendors. It was supposed to be a "juried craft show". What was annoying was all the people selling stuff that was  NOT crafts.

On the craft side, there were people making sundresses, lots of jewelry vendors, one potter, one metalsmith and one stained glass craftsman. Even the soap makers and the candle ladies and the lotions that one woman made herself.

On the "halfway crafty" list I am putting the people who make food and food kits, dip mixes (that they produce) and the casserole mix folks from TX sampling their yummy casseroles from crock pots.

The not crafty people in my book are: the Mary Kay and Avon contingent, the Tupperware folks and vitamin resellers, also people selling lint rollers and handbags and clothing that they obviously did not produce. I am including all those other resellers of Chinese made crafts or foreign jewelry that I can buy from local stores. I understand the venue for home based business like some of these but as a crafter myself I found it really annoying that they were advertised as crafters! I think our carload of 5 eager to buy women must have spent less than 100 dollars total. I was hoping to find crafters with innovative ideas that we could team with to make custom kits for our website, but no such luck.

My daughter took her beautiful baby quilts, bibs and burp cloths to a large MD show last summer and the vendor in the next booth told her that to make any money at these outdoor craft markets she would need to start selling things that she bought wholesale to resell. That is kind of sad, don't you think?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Great Art book

This book, "Making Paper and Fabric Rubbings" is so fitting on this grey day. It starts out with a wonderful chapter on historical rubbings. It shows rubbing styles from all over the world, including those Japanese fish prints. I guess you are rubbing a dead fish?

The rubbings are from many sources, the obvious gravestones, to architectural details, coins, jewelry, floor tiles, etc. The tutorials discuss, teaching rubbings (to both adults and children), the different papers and waxes, etc. She also discuss doing "tourist rubbings" when you travel, plus there is more and more in this book. My copy today was from the library, but I'll be buying this book, I may even buy her earlier one too.

This reminds me that I saw a quilt at a big show once that featured gravestone designs. It was not too impressive from across the room in it's shades of grays, beiges  and grayish greens but was fascinating up close. I'll have to look at my picture file and see if I can find it.

Nevertheless, thanks to this book this morning, I will go looking at the world today a whole different way.

Quilt book review

What a drippy, dreary, rainy morning in Texas today. I took a chance to look at some quilt and art books. The first. "Black and White Quilts by design" by Kay M. Capps CROSS  is a visually interesting book featuring quilts that are most black and white with an accent color of a bright hue. She uses Red or Pink mainly, with an occasional lime green. I didn't really like most of these quilts, with the exception of a quilt called "school house rock" which had a funny skewed graphic school house. What I did like about the book was the fabulous tutorial on value, scale and zingers. without the confusion of color these black and white photos clearly define these in an understandable way for any quilter.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Love Aprons

I usually wear an apron when I cook, and Mama and I both have Aprons with big pockets full of safety pins for putting our quilts on the frame. I'd buy restaurant aprons in Blue or red from Sam's Club and they are pretty utilitarian. I have been feeling a pretty apron splurge coming on. I priced one at a recent opening of a "foodie grocery store experience" near my home.$38! wow, for an apron!

So I couldn't buy just one pattern ,in my apron making flurry (planning for aprons, actually) I have about 6 patterns including one kids sized one. I'll review that one for MyCraftTime. I first got inspired by the blog at Tie One on--

I read this quote by Marlene Dietrich
"I love Aprons. The large white ones with the broad band and large square pockets. I used to buy nurses apron's, the old fashioned kind with all-around gathers. Pockets in a clinging apron don't mean much. A woman in an apron invites hugging. The apron of a woman flung over a chair is a wonderful still life. And the pockets of that apron, harboring sticky unwrapped candies, crumpled bits of paper, newspaper ads hastily torn out, pennies and nickels and a ribbon stuck to aband-aid, one baby sock and a bottle cap should be food for poets...."

Then I picked this apron fabric for my first fancy apron, with red polka dot fabric for the ruffle and matching polka dot ribbon for easy ties. i should whip this up later this week and add a picture of a completed apron.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Texas Book Club

I hosted my first book club meeting in my home today.  We read "The Dog of My Nightmares" by Dave Lieber, a great collection of folksy wit, wisdom and relationships. The book is a compilation of his work as a Texas metro columnist. Quick short stories and easy starting point for our group of 12 ladies in attendance!

I made  a big salad of spring greens, strawberries and nuts, had banana bread and guacamole and made some lentil soup. The discussion brought up an interesting point, that if we file all our chatty emails in a book, they would be our easy personal history or family story. We discussed Texas culture, local saying, music, sights, etc. Some in our group felt Dallas was not too friendly, others thought just the opposite. Several of us thought that Connecticut was the unfriendliest state we'd lived in.

I recommend Dave Lieber as a motivational speaker or storyteller, he came to our quilt guild and kept all the ladies enthralled with his humor for 45 minutes. Plus a special treat, he emailed his phone number and we actually talked to him today about his book and his family during our book club, how nice is that? Lucky for all my friends afar his self published book is available online at Amazon or on his site

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ben's Blues

I am working on a new quilt for my son Ben and his wife Stephanie, They wanted something blue, this is a simple quilt design but uses lots of medium and dark navy blues. I cut this today using my Alto's quilt cut system. Most of my family and friends know what a difficult time I have cutting fabric straight, and when I saw this nifty cutter it meant I could quilt! I have had mine for 5 years now and I really like it. Their site has an online demo so I won't bother making one-

I am going to use a "streak of lightning" set for my blocks like my sister Jess did-- pictured here on our family quilt gallery website.
Jess made her in shades of green. These half triangle squares work up quickly and are so effective. My darks are darker than pictured and my medium blues are darker too. I cut for 3 hours this afternoon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter/ Spring tree

Look at the buds on this tree that popped out this week! Such a lovely fuschia color, I have lots of quilt cotton fabric in this color too.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring penny rugs

These wool felt mats are about 7x10 and have hand embroidered details. The bunny was a commercial design and the chicks are my own work. I especially loved stitching the small circles that are around the edges.

smocked eggs

I made these smocked eggs over 20 years ago as a present for my mother. Each pastel colored egg has a different smocked pattern, my mother returned them to me not long ago, they have provided many years of admiration, what a worthwhile craft! The store I bought smocking supplies from provided pre-pleated rectangles.

Easter Collage Eggs

I collaged these Easter eggs onto a paper mache egg base using modge podge gloss type glue. I made these with some of the gorgeous new tissue papers. If the tissue has a white or cream background you may wish to paint them with white gesso or acrylic first to cover the brown paper mache.

These can also be made directly onto plaster eggs, glass egg ornaments or even real eggs with the insides removed (blown out). This little rabbit decoration is made with a baby sock, stuffed and with added half ball button eyes.

I have made these with children aged 8-12 and also teenage girls as well as adults.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


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