Sunday, July 17, 2011

Who Invented......................

Who invented prestitching as part of a Teaching Getaway Weekend was a "show off"....of the worst kind. As you all know, I am a lover of the projects of Jackie du Plessis...I truly believe our ancestors will be fighting over them in antique shops as the design and quality they all seek......Having said that....In late June I was at a class in Albany for a new project Jackie was introducing. There was no was a gift from the gods.....Everyone approached this class with a relaxed and really wonderful attitude.....

Jackie's projects for nearly a year are showing an abundance of freedom to create from her heart. I am not showing pictures yet of the new project .....but I want you to know the things we worked on over the weekend put us ahead in the finishing of the overall project and now the stitching will simply add to it's grandeur.......It is my intention to stitch this and have my Mother stitch on it as well and then gift it to my daughter.....3 Generations......

Of course, I had to take gifts to all my friends in the class. The stack of boxes you see at the top is a pile of the gifts. The top is a design I created and then printed on paper that matched the box. It was cut to size and glued to the box top. Then I punctured each side, put through a ribbon and attached to the top with some cardboard punched shapes from one of the craft stores I haunt!

Inside the box was a pin cushion I made.....traditionally, I make each of us a pin cusion of what ever design has struck my fancy that year. The White Paper Bobbins have a stamp of my favorite "zen" leaf. And the pouch....

The pouch contains a picture and all the ingredients to make the little scissor fob below.......the pattern is from the box top!

I hate to admit it but making

this whole thing was more fun than you can imagine.....

On the Thursday of our time together, we made a Bobbin holder. Mary dyed the things we used and provided everything we needed to finish.

Which as you know if you have ever attended one of these is a fabulous go home with something finished......Each persons has the same beginnings but a completely individual end!

I am roasting vegetables today for a Quiche for dinner and the smell through the house is would think I have 10 people to feed instead of my 1.......

Saturday, July 16, 2011


J'ai décidé d'être français aujourd'hui.

Which says, I have decided to be French today. This is being accomplish by my surrounding myself with sweet things that I love and sharing them with you. First the flowers on the right are perfect shades of purple and green. You can see in the upper right hand corner of the picture that the river is beautiful and calm this morning. This picture is in my sunroom/studio. It is filled on 3 sides with windows and faces the mighty Delaware river. What you can not see because of my clever photography, is the Dupont Chemical plant across the river. I have only lived here when there were leaves on the trees which mask the stacks perfectly. It will be interesting to see the view when the leaves are gone.

I live in the southern part of New Jersey. It is very rural and filled with farms. I am about 20 miles from the heart of Blueberry country.....I went to the farmers market last evening and bought a bit of all the fresh NJ fruit they had. Peaches, two kinds of Cherries (Rainier and Bull Hearts), Blueberries, and, believe it or not, the last fresh local strawberries. This morning I cleaned and sliced all of them, squeezed a lemon and zested it into the bowl, added some splenda and bisquick (because I did not have any flour or cornstarch) tossed gently. Put it into the Pie Place and covered it with a combination of Oatmeal, brown sugar splenda, bisquick, and toasted coconut.....see the pick below.....after about 40 min at 350 is my French Fruit Tart

I spent several hours in the car yesterday and when that happens, I often chat with my mother. Yesterday, we were trying to decide what we would make for meals over the weekend......Poached Chicken Breasts popped into my mind to cool and use in a fresh salad. So, in keeping with my being French today, I gathers fresh herbs from my herb pots, sliced some onion, carrots, celery, and two garlic cloves. Put all of this with water and the chicken breasts (bone in) into a pot and simmered away....the smell was magnifique! The herbs you see in the picture are parsley and sage. I think it is a very pretty broth I have from the poaching.....

These breasts are cooling on the counter as I write this and will then be chopped for a salad for dinner.....not sure what else will be included. Any suggestions??????

I am going to spend some time sitting in the sun reading this morning. It is on my list. Then a bubble bath and an afternoon of stitching. My evening is going to be matching finished stitched projects to their perfect fabric matches BECAUSE tomorrow is going to be a finishing Sunday.....that is when I set up the sewing machine very early - attach things together and then spend the day hand finishing them all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Almost Any Excuse......

This post is going to be varied and a bit random as my daughter would accuse me of being.....

First the picture depicts my feelings about certain behaviors.....Last Sunday a calamity of errors caused me to make an illegal U turn and the "Well Behaved" line became my reason. Having locked all my keys in my car and having promised to take my friends to the airport, it was a hectic morning......My Friend Connie saved the day with her AAA membership and it took 2.5 seconds for the mechanic to open the door once he arrived 45 minutes after he was called. These things happen and they are the fodder for a life well lived.


SIMPLY FRESH soon to be published is simply unremarkable. Beautiful photography and despite the adage that we eat with our eyes first , there has to be a reason for the second step. And yet, it might be a perfect "First" cookbook for a beginner who wants to entertain with simple recipes, no challenge, and ingredients easily purchased at the local supermarket.

AMISH FRIENDS COOKBOOK: DESSERTS Oh, My.....COOKIES, as the Monster shouts. The cookie recipes in this book make my mouth feel the crunch on my teeth and the spices on my tongue. AND my mind wonders to the milk in the refrigerator. The ingredients are unusual and yet easily found. Ever had a rhubarb cookie? You will not find these recipes in a wee book at the grocery store check out counter. My only question, is regarding the quantity some of the recipes make.....will it be enough!

The PIES....I am a woman who does not get a birthday cake, I get birthday pie. The crust recipes will rival my Mothers perfect crust. There are pie recipes here that are company worthy!

I wished for more pictures. When I closed this book, I headed to the kitchen to look for the brown sugar. Buy some on your way home from the bookstore!

I look out the window beside my computer and it is a beautiful sunset across the Delaware River. The sparkling water moves in the breeze and the leaves move like a .............well, like a leaf in the wind....
I am honored and most fortunate to be anAmerican. Celebrate this July 4th with a song in your heart!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In the Mood.............

My friend Barbara Anne was supposed to visit for Brunch today but she got caught up in a Bid Deadline and had to reschedule. I had all the ingredients for this Quiche so I decided I deserved it anyway! The peas are from the local farmers market and I shelled them myself. The Vidalia is always a welcome addition to any dish. Shrimp are a favorite and these were just sweet and perfect. The Strawberries and Blueberries are some of New Jersey’s finest. A great bonus to living here in the rural part of SNJ.

I think pictures of food are just the most fun…..maybe in my next life I can be a stylist for food pictures. Do you love the little pea pod salt and pepper shakers? I am not a ceramic salt and pepper shaker lover but I think these are just too cute. And they take up little room on a table. The napkins and place mat are antique linens for my meager collection……they are hand stitched and I always wonder - first about the woman who put each stitch in the fabric AND about the stories they have heard as they sat prettily on the table.

I am visiting some friends at the end of the month in New York. I am making them some gifts and it is a perfect Sunday to finish them……look for pics after I my visit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jersey Tomatoes

The book is Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook....I know, I know - a book about tomatoes. Well, I started it last evening and could not put it down. It is not so much about tomatoes as it is about growing tomatoes.

Somewhere Erin Brokovich and Norma Rae are wondering why the palms of their hands are itching........this is a book about the injustice of much of today's agribusiness. The horrible treatment of the migrant workers and the slavery they live. It is beautifully written. Not flowery beautiful - you just are drawn through each paragraph to the next. All I could think of since Oprah's last show was yesterday - who is going to bring this book to the masses?

Charlie Rick, Alexander Livingston, and John Warner Scott are names you have never heard. They are the Babe Ruth's of tomato genetics and tomato history. Who knew? What would possess you to spend a part of their life in South America collecting tomato seeds? I don't even like dirty hands and yet, I wanted to be with them in those fields.

Then, of course, we have our heroes....Tom Beddard of Lady Moon Farms in Florida who is good and fair and smart. He grows tomatoes that taste good! What a novel idea for Florida growers. We have Tim Stark who makes that trek from his nearly organic farm in Pennsylvania across Rt 78 to the Union Square Growers market. Stark is a farmer and business man who sells off tons of wonderful tomatoes to the people of New York City and the restaurants that have discovered him......

Now, somehow, I do not understand how Mr Estabrook could write a book about tomatoes and not have included the famous Jersey Tomato. My whole life, Ruth (my Mother) has proclaimed their perfection of taste and beauty. The sandy soil, she says, is the secret.

This book is worth every minute you will spend reading it. Imagine how you will impress everyone at this summer's BBQ with your vast tomato knowledge!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Really Good Fiction or Not

Yes, that does say J. Austen....

Good Morning or Good Day depending on your time of visit. As many of you know, I am a voracious fiction reader. And, I must admit, much of it is escapist romance fiction. HOWEVER, I find that I am outgrowing this genre! Literally. The heroines are becoming 40 something or even 50 something and I no longer relate to their time and issues of life.

Now that I am 60 something, I need someone to write about the things in life that I am facing and their completely unrealistic solutions to the problems. Yes, I can still enjoy that well written story of the "Catch Up" generation such as my most recent read of HEARTACHE FALLS by Emily March. A husband who leaves his recently appointed Judgeship in Denver to follow our heroine to a small town to the west where her lifelong dream to run a small restaurant can be achieved......

Of course, they are more than comfortably well off so that we have none of those worries. and their children are all on their own with no crisis, and we have a suitable slightly curmudgeon father and dear female friend who can point us all in the right direction to find meaning in our lives. Ok, Ok, so maybe it was not well written but I read it in an afternoon. For the price of a movie ticket, I was able to escape for some time.

What do you suggest?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Maybe my Most Favorite.......

Celebration of Needlework was held in Nashua, New Hampshire several weeks ago. Jackie DuPlesis of It's Fine-ally Finished taught several classes and the one I had not taken before was "Purse Party Etui". It may be my most favorite. I spend much of my leisure time visiting antique shops and flea markets looking for the needle work of women of the past. I love to collect it and wonder what they were thinking when they created it....was it a gift, did they make it for themselves, was there a pattern or did they create the design. The little purse I show you here is worth of becoming antique treasure status and would be prized by anyone......

This view shows the beautiful handle. It is a very stiff piece of wire (Our friend Darlene bent them for us into this perfect circle during the class) It is covered with the same silk ribbon that is used for the embellishment and closure. The handle is looped on each end and attached to the purse.

The tiny ribbon on the back edge is also silk and wraps completely around this piece. The pocket is created with a folded piece of silk that is woven to appear to be checked. I have put a pack of needles into the pocket so that you can see the size.

The front leaf of the purse is made into a pin keep with black silk grosgrain on the edge. I actually took apart one of my antique pin cubes to use the black head pins. Jackie included the large round pin you see as the closure I used to hold the silk ribbon in place.

This view of the inside shows you the fabulous striped silk and the sweet little needle page that is inside. I should tell you that Jackie gave us enough fabric, fiber, silks, wire handles, and ribbon to make 3 of these little purses. I chose the combination that I loved best and it is what you see here.

The finished product with some old cotton crocheted lace. It sits proudly on my fireplace mantle and now I wonder who will have it in the future. Hopefully, Elizabeth will treasure it and the efforts Jackie took to design it and create the wonderful fabrics, fibers,and ribbons that make it so special!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In honor of.....

Last weekend many of my stitching sisters were at the Celebration of Needlework in Nashua, New Hampshire. To say the least, a good time was had by all. I made a little gift for them. The stitched piece you see on the left, was photographed, laminated and then I punched some holes in it and turned it into a thread keeper. The crown and queen stitched are in honor of the more than lovely wedding that took place on Friday.

Thanks to all who have contacted me off line about sending things to the ladies of the south. It is the very least we can do!

A wonderful Mother's Day to all of you who have children or who have nurtured the child in us all.......

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Stitching Sisters

No pictures today.

Several years ago I sent Boxes of Patterns and Stitching stuff to Australia after the fire. Over the last several weeks our stitching sisters in the south have been devastated by tornadoes.....I have to believe more than one sampler was swept into the sky from which it has never returned.......

Imagine your stash of Weeks Dye Works flying overhead in that awful whirlwind.

Many many of you stepped up during my last venture.

I would like to see up put something together....if you are all in, let me know and I will start to research the EGA's in Alabama and Mississippi to see how we can help.....

At the very least, I would like to recommend that when ever we gather everyone bring a kit you are sure you will never make and as a group send them off to the south.....

I would love to hear your thoughts and especially ideas.....many of you may have ways we can get things to our Southern Sisters!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coco - A Year Later

Many of you saw the pictures of Coco as she was growing up and living in Chicago. Well, last Winter when I was getting ready to move, my daughter, Elizabeth, took her for a few weeks until I could get settled. This is where the story diverges....My version is that Coco and Elizabeth plotted against me so that Coco could stay a country dog instead of a city dog. Elizabeth's version is that I drug my feet so long to get Coco back that she fell in love with Elizabeth and would not leave. Which ever version works for you, this is Coco taking a nap on Elizabeth's lap and enjoying her life!

My best girls...................


To make one of these, but I never take my glasses off except to sleep. Then in October when I was in Utah, my friend Mary complained about looking for her glasses! There it was, the perfect opportunity. So I made it for her for her birthday. Which is in January. It finally was put into the mail.

It was great fun to make. I did not have a pattern just a picture of one I had seen while surfing the internet. But once I thought it all out, it was fine. It is weighted with round pocket weights I sewed on to a piece of batting and then basted to the bottom of the pincushion....The Glass pocket is lined with Warm and Natural so that it cradles the glasses..the Pincushion can, in fact, function as such.

I think she is using it. Mary took this picture and sent it to me.

I FEEL SPRING.......................Also, look for a new picture of my little Coco!