Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall Garden

You can feel fall in the air and the pumpkins are all over the Amish market, but there are still some lovely things growing in the garden. My friend Harriet has a crabapple tree in her yard and brought these to me so I plan to can some spiced apples when she brings me the next batch on Monday. I found these amazing yams in the Amish market this morning. They are a lot more orange than what you see in the supermarket and I can't wait to see what they taste like. Bought a few for ABJ too.....

And after two weeks of pouring rain, the sun came out today so I ventured into my garden to find this lovely eggplant, huge basil leaves and a tangy baby lettuce misture, all of which seem to love this muggy weather.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Gourmet

Something about a hurricane brewing inspired me to do a lot of cooking activity yesterday. One of my accomplishments was the lovely peach creme fraiche pie that ABJ was going to make last week when she came over. It never got made but she left the recipe and I tried it out last night. Very delicious, but the lady who adapted it from Martha Steward, made a few mistakes and, very disappointingly I couldn't taste the fresh home-grown thyme I put into the crust at all. So next time I will amp that up and hope for the best. So this morning, my inspiration continued with Fluffy Eggs - my dad's unique Sunday breakfast dish.

And continued into the afternoon as I made Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Cornbread Ebelskivers....

And made a huge discovery that two-pronged lobster picks are the perfect thing for turning the little pancake over. to brown on the other side. Great recipe - creamy light and cheesy in the middle. Kudos to the person who adapted these from the Williams Sonoma catalogue picture (they use their own cornmeal pancake mix).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alessi Michael Graves Bird Whistle Tea Kettle

So some nice news after a rather stressful week at work and in the garden. The first is that this afternoon Dr Ost and I figured out which of the medications that the ER doc prescribed yesterday is making loose my short term memory and hallucinate - not really awful hallucinations, more like a wavy overlay of faded shapes over the rest of my visual field, but who needs this? And the really amazing news is that I found this Michael Graves tea kettle, which was commissioned by Alessi that I have been lusting over since it came out in the early 80's, in Ebay , for $45. It is still being made and the new one retails for $175 minimum. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I fought the Yellow Jacket and the Yellow Jacket won........

Yes, here I am again - just back from the emergency room with a painful swollen leg, swollen wrist, a finger that looks like a breakfast sausage and feeling woozy from an epinephrine shot and IV steriods. But at least I can now breathe ok and am not covered with itchy welts from head to toe. I mean what are the odds of never having been stung by anything in 62 years and then getting 3 episodes (one only a month ago) in one year.

But who said that life was fair?

Between these varmints and the deer ticks, my life as a gardner has become life-threatening. So I guess I am going to take my allergist's advice and start getting those once a week shots that just might make me immune after 5 years. Not a happy prospect but at this point I think I would rather be alive. than dead from anaphylactic shock. Guess I will go lie down since I am having a harder and harder time doing this typing. And I should be feeling this way for a week since I have been given prescriptions that all say that they make you drowsy and prohibit you from driving. Sure - so how am I going to get to work? And where is Carol - oh she is the one who is snoring in her office.

And all my gardening tools and wheelbarrel are lying randomly across the grass where I dropped them and ran for my life. :(

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kimono Fabric - My New Obsession

Sunday evening I was browsing Ebay trying to find the right color of purple wool (which I never did locate) and I stumbled upon some amazing Japanese Kimono wool. It runs about 12-14" wide and comes in an amazing variety of abstract patterns. I ended up finally ordering 10 meters of this one for about $30, shipped from Japan for a pretty reasonable price . I am having a lot of fun thinking about the kind of dress I would make given the narrow width. And then I got this lovely much smaller wool butterfly piece from a lady in New Zealand who only ships one day a week because she has 4 kids.

And this small one as well. She is a very poor photographer and puts the little origami's on the fabric to "help focus the camera" (??) so I am sort of wondering what the rest of this one looks like.

Then I wandered into Kimono fabrics in general and turned up these completely fantastic abstract Obi's. This one is called a Suminogashi dye and unfortunately I lost the bidding on it because all the darned auctions are on Japanese time and finish up at around 3AM.

This is a small panel of Obi silk that I completely love....

And then I got completely carried away and bid on this lovely silk kimono - which I lost because the auction finished at 3AM - and sold for $31. I have to admit I had mixed feelings on loosing it because I am not quite sure what I would have done with it.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Seeing LLG's Mum's overflowing attic made me feel a lot better about all the stuff in our basement. When I saw the blog title - Garage Sale - I was wondering why she didn't refer to a boot sale, since she is English, but when I saw this I realized that there was no way this would fit into a boot.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hot Hot Hot Birthday Weather Again

My birthday always seems to fall during some of the worst weather of the summer. This year has been no exception, with the entire western and northeastern parts of the country consumed with a withering heatwave. Last night I arrived at the gym to find that the AC wasn't working too well, but I virtuously toughed it out, racing through my workout in the 90 degree heat in record time. On the way home, soaking with sweat, I stopped at the supermarket, which was over-chilled but had half the lights out to conserve energy I guess. So here I am, getting ready for a birthday lunch with my 90 year old mom on the hottest day of the year. I made the top last weekend from some lovely Indian fabric that I had bought at John Lewis in 1998. Picture is a bit blurry, but taking self-portraits is not one of my talents.

I started the day at about 7:30 to avoid the worst heat - the temperature was already 84 - and first headed to the Amish market where I found some lovely tiny sweet plums.

When I got home, after I took the picture of the plums, I arranged my huge plum tomatoes and tiny sweet orange paruche tomatoes with a deep violet prosperosa eggplant from my garden.

It hit 102 in the afternoon and after my mom and I had lunch (transported by my highly air conditioned Camry) I found that she hadn't been to pick up her mail for three days because it was too hot for her to leave the house. So we stopped by the main building of her community and I waited outside of the door while she dashed inside. It just started raining this evening, so I hope it cools off to 90 or so tomorrow.

Purple Pencil Skirt

The JCrew fall new arrivals popped up in my mailbox yesterday. I am in love with this skirt. For once it is also in a length that I can actually wear.....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flower Arrangement of the Week

Every weekend I have been picking lovely flowers from my garden to make a arrangment.

I am hoping these lovely lilies won't be the last of the season after our blast of 100 degree days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Peachy Sheets, Lily, Fruit, Tart

It has been very peachy around here since last weekend. ABJ's peach sheets arrived from Garnet Hill and I couldn't resist draping one of the pillowcases next to one of my peach lilies. Local peaches (and tomatoes :) have started appearing at the Amish market.

So last weekend I made a quick tart.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Last of the Black Raspberries

Sadly, I picked the last of the black raspberries last weekend and made the final shortcake. They definitely make the best shortcake ever. And, after wondering for two weeks what the slowly forming little white globes were (pumpkins? cantelope?), I finally identified the 'volunteer' next to my compost bin - several lovely perfectly formed white acorn squash. We must have eaten them last fall and the seeds survived the composting process.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


So in my last blog, I mentioned my nice new red worktables, compliments of ABJ and Ste, so I thought I would let everyone see how it looks. Unlike the awkward old teak desk (which is doing perfectly well in its new life as a desk, now that is not trying to be a sewing table) this colorful nook constantly tempts me upstairs. And, speaking of red - in my quest for the perfect sandals - a new pair which is promising to be comfy.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


My musings aren't as artistic as ABJ's have been recently, but then I spend my working hours figuring out how to optimize truck routes, not designing color coordinated websites. So during this holiday weekend, having my wonderful new red work tables has turned my mind to figuring out how I can use some of the lovely fabrics I am addicted to buying. ABJ helped a bit and commissioned a new dress, but I found a group of patterns that can be transformed into my visions with a little creativity. ..... and stumbled across this great one yard remnant of taupey crepe for $2.50, which promises to be a drapey blouse. Looks quite nice just sitting on my dress makers form. Hmmm.. only one has any buttons, so that has to be the next order of business.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Tana Lawn Fabric

Newest Ebay fabric purchase.... Really fell for the abstract design and lovely colors... 5 meters, 36" wide for 19 pounds. Hope it lives up to it's promise because I think it would make a lovely dress.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fruit of the Vine (or briar patch)

My black raspberries are delivering about a pint of darkly purple, seedy, flavorful fruit a day this week....

So it is time to kick into jam-making mode so I can capture the goodness in etables my family and I can enjoy all winter.

So here I sit, after the hot jam has been put into jars, listening to the lids popping as they cool.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Love this Piers Atkinson hat...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just Kids

ABJ gave me Just Kids because she knew I arrived in New York at the same time that Patti and Robert did. They were two years older than me, but reading the first few chapters made me feel like they were much younger. The1967-69 narratives totally distracted me because I kept recognizing what they experienced.....opening of Filmore East, Doors Concert, Electric Circus, Janis Joplin. But I got really distracted wondering why they couldn't find jobs ( I had no trouble finding jobs but I always checked the want ads, which doesn't seem to have occured to them). And why did they pay so much for their accomodations - I had a $37/ month (yeah there were rats and holes in the walls) and then a very nice $45/month appartment on 2nd street between 1st and 2nd Ave. And why were they always hungry and short of money? I had minimum wage jobs but there were lots of cheap places to buy food - day old bread in bakeries, bargaining with the street vendors, and I even managed to save money.

And the biggest question which was the huge preoccupation of my generation - how on earth did Robert escape the draft?

I finally came to the conclusion that what I found in New York, after leaving Chicago during the riots while National Guard tanks were rolling down the streets of the West Side and barely escaping my building as the supermarket next door burned - was peace and normalcy. And that was what I found. Sounds strange, but after the terrors I had lived through, the Lower East Side seemed quite peaceful and both the neighbors and the police, very benign. I really wasn't looking for more novelty and my life coping skills, honed in a hostile environment, were pretty darned good for someone who had just turned 19. I suffered from a bit of PTSD, now that I think back, but Chicago honed my survival skills. One of these was deciding to leave in 1969 when the drugs and craziness around me became too intense. I never doubted for a moment that I could cope and do it quite well.

As I read through the book, however, I came to respect Patti tremendously. No celebrity posturing or bragging, but an incredibly humble, honest, real person who was perpetually suprised by her own success, supported her dearest friend through thick and thin, and didn't allow herself to get seduced by the glitter of celebrity or become a victim of all the drugs and crazed life of the 60's and 70's. The book isn't the anguished attention-seeking of another celebrity seeking to make herself the center of attention, but a simple story of Patti and her best friend. I wish I had the opportunity to know her back then.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Very Pretty but....

all those long hours driving to and from work in heavy snow is beginning to wear on me.