Thursday, August 27, 2009

Upcoming Knitting Projects

I decided to switch gears from the crochet items and work on some knitting projects. The recipient's mother is allergic to wool, so I found some yarns of the same weight that were made of plant materials, one of sugarcane and another of bamboo. I think they'll look gorgeous when they are finished and can't wait to get started. Patterns for these will all come out of the same book below.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Tiramisu

Yes, I know I must be making everyone sick of the Tiramisu Blanket, but here's the latest one for some friends having a baby girl soon. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Garden Bounty

Well, we had a not so great veggie gardening year, our tomato and squash plants all died early in the season, but a few have kept going. The watermelon growing on one of our vines split after heavy rains this past weekend, but there are a few plants still going. Here is a sampler of the items we picked over the weekend. Nothing like homegrown organic veggies to get me excited about cooking! This particular batch got a stir-fry, a quinoa salad, and a veggie side dish.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Sumi-e

Here are details of the bunny and elephant paintings I mentioned recently:

They will be going to decorate a nursery for cute little twins!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cooper's Flock

The weekend was busy and I'm tired coming out of it but it was somewhat productive. I got to catch up on several tasks that I'd been meaning to do for weeks (some months!) One of these was that I actually finished knitting three birds for Cooper's Flock. They flew to New York to join the other birdies in the flock.
Cooper's flock is made up of knit or sewn birds that will be given to pediatric cardiac patients and their families. The birds are in memory of Cooper, an infant born with a heart defect and whose little heart gave out a few weeks after he was born. His parents called him "birdie" because he made little cooing noises. Lucinda, the baby's mother wants to give these birds to the patient's families to let them know there's someone thinking of them who's been in their shoes. She's asking they be knit with Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton because it's safe and less likely to produce allergic reactions for the babies. You can also sew a bird if you don't knit. More information over at Lucinda's Blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beach Trip

Summer... again it isn't my favorite season but it is much more bearable when I'm sitting by the ocean! We took a recent beach trip to one of the top ranked beaches nearby (we are spoiled indeed!) and I just had to share a couple photos. The water was that blue green color I love so much. And crystal clear when you get up close. The sand was white and soft underfoot. Nothing like time looking at the ocean to make everything better.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweet Package

Well friends, I've dropped off the face of the earth again. It's been health related this time but it's nothing really serious, so no worries. :) Also really busy at work but I am looking forward to sharing some of my latest crafting and doings with you. Someone left a question while I was out and asked if I do bunnies or elephants in sumi-e so you may see some of those in the near future too! Particularly bunnies. I love those little guys so much I'm surprised there are none to be found in my stash of finished works. This omission must be corrected... and soon!

I did get the sweetest little package from Ms. LQ who writes the Paper Napkin Poetry blog, I was the very lucky winner of her giveaway, not only did I get the most gorgeous art postcard but also several other goodies, all colorfully and lovingly wrapped. Thank you again so much for the package. I apologize for the lousy photos but I was like a little kid on Christmas morning and couldn't wait for better light the next day before opening my goodies! It is even more beautiful than the photos show. I don't know how you could bear to part with it except to think you are very generous!

Monday, June 22, 2009


I am feeling like one very lucky duck today! I won a giveaway of an absolutely gorgeous piece of art from Paper Napkin Poetry. Yay! :)

Thank you *so* much, LibbyQ!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Cooking

I will confess that summer is my least favorite season. I usually just do my best to ignore summer and go to the beach whenever I can to get away from the heat. But I have to admit I've been really enjoying some things so far this summer: the gardenias have been blooming - I brought a few indoors and they smell great. The flowers in the garden are blooming. The storms that roll in in the afternoon and sometimes cool things off. I have extra appreciation for the huge selection of delicious fresh fruits and veggies, from the blueberries we've picked at a local farm to the fresh corn, tomatoes, etc. we've been having.

I found some yellow pear tomatoes at the farmer's market recently (our yellow pear tomato plant unfortunately died because of all the rain we got earlier in the season) and made a simple tossed salad with them, adding some mozzarella, a little fresh purple basil and parsley from the herb garden, a tiny bit of sea salt, and a little bit of good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic - it turned out so good!!!!
I can't wait to go to the farmer's market Saturday morning and see what we can find! :)

So I may not be happy about the heat but at least there is lots of yummy food in the kitchen.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Better Pound Cake

So after I raved about that sour cream pound cake (quite a deviation from my usual whole grain lower fat recipes) a friend mentioned that there was a recipe in a magazine with a similar recipe but with a few changes. So I (in the name of scientific research, mind you!) baked the new recipe, which swaps the sour cream for cream cheese and makes a few more changes. It turned out even better, so I looked for it online and I'm sharing the link. Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Is Here

I've been going to the farmer's market every Saturday for the past several weeks, just loving all the veggies out there. The garden is moving slower than first anticipated, we had 2 1/2 weeks of rain after 6 weeks of drought so the extremes didn't agree well with some of the veggies, though the eggplants are completely unruffled by it all. :)

One of my favorite treats is fresh sweet corn steamed right on the cob. That really says summer to me!
Coming soon: I found a recipe that beats the sour cream pound cake I posted earlier. So hold on tight and get your mixers ready!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Alternate Winner

Oh, Sarah S! I did not hear back from you so I'll have to pick an alternate winner for the giveaway. picked number 14, Mikaiya, who loves lemon scones with clotted cream with her tea. Being lunch time, I could totally go for some of those right now! So please Mikaiya, send me your shipping address so I can send you the little package.

Thank you again to everyone who participated and left such sweet comments (both literally and figuratively.)

I'll do another giveaway of the same nature with my next set of embroidery patterns.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

I am humbled by so many comments on my giveaway! I tried to reply to each of your comments, but was unable to reply to all because not everyone left an e-mail address. I've enjoyed visiting your blogs so far. I'm quite behind on replies with so many e-mails, so I will just say thank you so much for visiting and I'm excited to see so many embroidery enthusiasts liked the patterns! I wish I could give one to everyone who participated...

Without further ado, our randomly chosen winner is:
Comment number 155 belongs to Sarah S., who loves to have croissants with her tea. Sarah, please contact me with your information using the username for this blog at gmail dot com. If I don't hear from Sarah by tomorrow AM, I'll select an alternate winner and post it here.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting and participating in my giveaway! I hope to do a giveaway like this with every new set of embroidery patterns I create, so this will not be the last one!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I am doing a little giveaway to celebrate that I have finished my first set of embroidery patterns (there's a little sneak preview in my previous post.) In addition to one copy of the PDF pattern itself, I'll be giving away a tea towel (my favorite kind, the flour sack ones that are so handy in the kitchen!) and some embroidery floss to make your own "Time for Tea" kitchen towel. Flour sack towels are 100% cotton, and are what I used to embroider the two samples in my previous post. As seen in the photo below, they can be a bit wrinkly, but I think that makes them more homey. The embroidery floss is what I use for embroidery, DMC floss in some of my favorite colors that would go with this particular pattern (and of course, you can continue use the patterns for all sorts of fun embroidery projects after the towel is done!)
To enter, please leave a comment sharing your favorite treat to have along with tea (add a link to a recipe if you want to share it!) before midnight (EDT) on May 31. I'll pick a comment at random on June 1 and announce it on the blog, so check back to see if you are the winner! If I don't hear from the winner by June 2, I'll pick an alternate. Thanks for visiting and good luck!

ETA: Comments are now closed. Thank you for visiting!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sneak Preview

I've had some sketches for fun little embroideries I've been working on for a few years. One of the earlier sets is this particular one, and I finally made some time to get it started this week. To celebrate their impending arrival, I'll be doing a little giveaway next week. Here's a sneak preview of a couple of them. They are so much fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sour Cream Pound Cake

I baked lemon sour cream pound cake last evening. After looking at five different recipes, I sheepishly realized they are pretty basic and rather similar. I combined a few recipes to make it lemon flavored. They turned out delicious!!! Here's my recipe:

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake
3 cups unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
6 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1/2 lemon (I should have added more, but I wasn't sure how it'd affect consistency)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease (generously to prevent sticking) muffin tins or bundt or 10" tube pan.
Sift flour and baking soda together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar at medium high speed using mixer.
Beat eggs in one at a time using low speed. Add sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Incorporate flour and baking soda while mixing at medium low speed until smooth. Try not to overmix.
Pour into pans. Bake about 30 minutes for cupcakes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes on rack, then loosen from tins and let cool. If using bundt/tube pan bake for about 1 1/4 hours, let sit on rack for about 10 minutes before turning out to cool.

Makes 12 servings (520 calories ea.), I got about 20 cupcakes (about 310 calories each - approximation in calorie count is because I got 18 plus 12 mini cupcakes).
I might make a glaze with the remaining lemon juice and some sugar to add next time, but I was pleased with the buttery flavor, light crumb, and texture, though the lemon turned out to be more like a hint of lemon... gee, I'll have to try a few more just to make sure ;D My favorite part (and one of the reasons for using muffin tins) are the crispy bits around the edges of the tops. Yummy!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


My poor neglected little blog! I caught the flu after my last entry and it really hit me hard. I had a flu shot in the fall but it didn't do anything to prevent this one. I'm slowly getting back to my old self but have a ton of things to catch up on. I hope if you are reading this that you're healthy and well! At least the garden is still blooming. These are Gaillardias I grew from seed. It took them a few years to get going but now they are bursting with blooms!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ribbon Posy

I hope no one is sick of these yet, because I've been on a flower making spree! :) I put some fabric ones together earlier this week but wasn't happy with them (my husband agreed - that is one of the things I love about him, he's honest, yet tactful...) but I did make these and was much happier with them, he liked them much better too!
I added a pin to the back and thought they'd be good for decorating a coat or blouse or as a little everlasting corsage.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm still working on the garden, there are now little tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, summer squash, and a variety of herbs planted in the garden beds, and of course flowers in the rest of the yard.

I hope the herbs make it, I have mixed luck with those. I planted some catnip in my garden at my previous place, only to discover my cat was one of those that wasn't at all excited by catnip. But the neighbor's cat discovered the thriving patch and I once looked out the window to see this cat literally rolling in the catnip, with a blissful look on its face. It makes me laugh to this day when I think about it.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I couldn't resist making one more ribbon rose.
There's no rhyme or reason as to how I make these flowers, I just play with wired ribbon and try different things until I make something that looks good to me.
I tried a different leaf shape this time around, added the usual pin backing and couldn't resist trying it on my little hand painted piggy bank that I made a while ago. This little piggy is definitely ready to go out and have fun!
What the fashionable peegs are wearing this spring!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I have been interested in Japanese culture since a fairly young age. I think it may have been either Sanrio or the Japanese animation I grew up watching, but either way, because I love art I was always intrigued by the sumi-e and woodblock prints I would see in books.

I took a class to learn the basics of sumi-e and found that it's a wonderful, meditative art. It's deceptively simple, because you try to capture the essence of the item in as few strokes as possible. The paper we used was absorbent and the ink permanent, so any hesitation would mean there was a blob of ink in the middle of an otherwise beautiful stroke. It took some practice, but I loved making the ink at the beginning of each session, working on control of the brush, and found that I felt much more relaxed and happy after a session painting sumi-e. The best part is that the finished painting itself also possesses some of those same qualities, inviting peaceful meditation. I recently came across my stash of work from those efforts and will be showing a few here as I become re-acquainted with them.

Monday, March 30, 2009


We've been working on the garden, it's that busy time of year when the veggie garden needs to be started. Some of my roses have been happy with the weather and blooming. This one is an old-fashioned shrub that requires little care. This particular variety is called Mademoiselle du Brabant. I like roses that not only look good, but are easy to care for (no spraying for bugs or disease) and smell good. The old-fashioned varieties really do the trick, before that I had many failures with hybrids and thought I just couldn't grow roses. Turns out I was just growing the wrong kind. I want them to smell good too. It's one of the things people do when they see roses in bloom, they usually move in to try to smell them. So if they don't smell good, they are not worth growing. A shame because there are some pretty roses out there that don't smell so good, but again, the old fashioned ones usually have nice scents to boot. I must look funny at the nursery when I'm looking for roses, sniffing all of them before I choose which one I want!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I acquired a mixed collection of buttons, and found some containers to hold them all. The studio is coming together - little by little but getting there!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fresh Squeezed

I was gifted some just-picked citrus, and finally bought an inexpensive juicer so I could enjoy some of the juice oranges (navel oranges, on the right. The ones on the left are Chinese Honey oranges, easy to peel and great for eating.)
Some oranges look a little dirty because that is what they look like when they are just picked. After washing they look much better. This little juicer will make my next batch of lemon curd much easier to make!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Tiramisu Adaptation

This baby blanket pattern is addictive! I just had to make another one. This one is 100% cotton.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Love Weekends!

Egg, whole grain toast, and sharp cheddar. Yum!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I love all the bits of color in my studio. Marbles are a particular favorite of mine, I love the way the sun shines through them, and painting them has always been an enjoyable challenge!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tiramisu Baby Blanket Finished

I finished the Tiramisu Baby blanket I started recently:
It was so much fun that I started another one the same evening. I modified the pattern a little and did not thread a ribbon through this blanket because I wasn't sure whether it would be safe for a baby. I'll have to look into that because it'd sure look cute with the ribbon. Either way I love the drape and the little scallops on the edge. I can't wait to finish the next one!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy World Nutella Day!

Finally a holiday I can totally get into! Nutella is one of life's greatest pleasures, IMO, and I have recently been fantasizing about making strawberry nutella crepes again:

Hey, Valentine's day is coming soon and what a better excuse to make these delicious treats (though I need to work on plating and maybe try making them during the day so I can get better images!) Last year it was Nutella gelato, which was good, but I have to confess that little else beats just having a spoonful of the stuff straight from the jar. Of course, being as weak as I am around Nutella, the last time it made an appearance in my home was last year's gelato obsession. Must remedy that today.

What type of Nutella lover are you? And in case you are worried you may be crossing the line, here are the top 10 signs you are addicted to Nutella.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rescue Birds

I know someone who rescues birds and these little guys were being thrown away by their owner. I felt bad for them and took them in. I hope they enjoy hanging out with us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tiramisu Baby Blanket Started

I used to work on projects one at a time and stay with each until I finished, but lately I have a lot of them going on and work on whatever suits my fancy at the moment. I'd been wanting to make a Tiramisu baby blanket and got one started recently. It's going quickly and I have the stitch pattern memorized, so hopefully it'll be finished soon!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ribbon Flower

I'd been wanting to try making these and I finally finished my first one for a friend. It has a pin on the back so she can wear it on whatever she wants.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sunny Breakfast

Toast with homemade lemon curd and mock Devonshire cream. I do love having time to eat something a little more leisurely while on break.