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!!!