Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Granny sampler afghan stitch along

I spread out all my blocks through week 4 of Wisecraft's granny sampler stitch along, and thought I'd share.  Week 5 is posted, but haven't been able to crochet them yet. 

I like the way the blocks look together, and can't wait to get to some of the really challenging grannies!


Well appreciated but rarely practiced habit: washing my produce as soon as I purchase it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A casual book review; God's Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard, Peter Blake; 1964,
paperback, first pressing 

Tagline: The planned deterioration of America's Landscape

God's Own Junkyard is a black and white picture book.  The first 30 pages or so are an essay on the deterioration of America's landscape, and the destruction (for profit) of the great natural beauty of this country.


The rest of the book is black and white photos illustrating this deterioration; from rural back roads to busy city streets.

This work is a bit of a dichotomy.  On one hand, it's very nostalgic to flip through and see America in the early 1960s.  The landscape that was familiar is now nostalgic to a modern eye. 

On the other hand, the warnings of the author seem even more poignant, because our landscape has been further degraded by billboards, soulless buildings, and discarded objects from our materialistic world.

Still, I find a sad beauty in the evidence of our excesses, especially when photographed so starkly, as in the photos compiled in Blake's book.  Put this book on your coffee table for casual perusal.. and some of the photos would make a hell of a t-shirt!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Granny sampler afghan stitch along, week 4 and pizza

I finished up my blocks for this weeks afghan stitch along days ago, and forgot to post a pic of them!  I still have to weave in the ends..

Granny afghan sampler, week 4

Had my favorite pizza for dinner tonight: America's Test Kitchen's pizza margherita.  It is so good, and easy to make too!  The dough has a thin crispy outer layer, and a chewy inside..

Like most pizzas, the higher the quality of ingredients, the better the end result.  I try to use a good mozzarella and a good pepperoni (like boar's head).  I normally add chopped basil, but didn't have any on hand. 

Pizza Margherita

After it comes out of the oven, drizzle it liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes-  it is seriously good! 

I recommend checking out America's Test Kitchen's site, where you can get a 14 day free trial of all their recipes.  I cook almost exclusively with Test Kitchen recipes, as they are always spot on.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A casual book review: The Matinee Idols

The Matinee Idols by David Carroll; 1972  Hardcover, first pressing
Tagline: Here is the real, behind-the-scenes story of the magnificent stars of stage and early screen who held America's women in thrall...

I like this book, it's full of great studio stills of good looking guys- what's not to like about this....

Lou Tellegen
achingly handsome;
heartbreakingly tragic

I wouldn't call this a picture book though.  It has plenty of text, and about 25 mini biographies of the most swoon worthy guys of the early 20th century. 

As a lover of classic cinema (what I wouldn't give to have dinner with Robert Osborne) the subject matter is right up my alley. 

The glowing, hazy atmosphere of early film mesmerizes me.

Ramon Novarro and Alice Terry
The Arab, 1924

There is a modern bias against silent films.  People don't think it is possible to present a feature length plot using only gestures and a few written words. 

There is a preconception that you will be trapped into something very boring.

John Barrymore
The Beloved Rogue, 1927

But interesting things happen when you watch a silent film.. you get into the flow, you become unaware that you are reading, and suddenly you are having a unique film experience!


And there are some amazing silent films... some rival the best films of today.  One of my favorite is Sunrise (1927).  So, so good!  But my all time favorite silent film and maybe favorite film ever is Buster Keaton's The General (1926).  I think everyone should see it at least once, and I could watch it on a loop.

If you've never seen a silent film, I encourage you to give it a try! 

Wallace Reid
Joan the Woman, 1916

"Silence is of the gods; only monkeys chatter." 
                               ---- The Great Buster Keaton

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good morning, Mojave!

Las Vegas dawn; palm tree and moon

It's a beautiful morning here in Las Vegas, which means one thing: the afternoon is going to be a scorcher!  It's supposed to reach 102 degrees, which is actually not too bad.  What's bad is 115 degrees, but that's something to look forward to next month..

The birds are especially active in the mornings here, probably because once the sun comes up everyone and everything hides out until it goes down again. 

But right now it's 70 degrees and slightly breezy.  Half a dozen birds belt out their sing song; bees and hummingbirds flit about.  I open up my back door to listen while I fold a load of laundry.  This was a nice morning.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My paintings; Lady in floral dress

Lady in floral dress

This painting is very large, probably 3' by 6'.  I like this lady, and I love her dress! 

It was fun painting the background; I don't normally devote much attention to them.

Lady in floral dress, detail

Blue jean quilt and cats

Yoko on my mouse pad.  She loves to hang out with me while I blog. :)  She's a siamese tabby and too smart for her own good.

And I wanted to share a project I've been working on this week for my stitch-love-project. 

It's a lap quilt made from blue jeans.  I have finished the top and am getting ready to tie it and bind it!  I've love the results, and will of course be sharing the finished project on my stitch love blog. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nanny's Berry Cobbler

Nanny lived in a little house that sat on an old farm.  The old farm sat on a mountain in Alabama.  The farmland had been in our family for generations, but over the years parts were sold off until only a little remained.
It was flanked with creeks and ponds.  No one had farmed the land in years and it was all grown up.  The woods had taken over most of the sheds and honeysuckle grew into and around and on top of the barn.
The fences that used to mark the boundaries of the fields now served as trellises for wild blackberry bushes.
When school was out for the summer we visited Nanny, and the blackberries were always ripe.  She would give us a basket, and we would wade through the fallow pasture to pick the firm, tart berries.  And she would make us this cobbler.

Nanny's Fruit Cobbler

1 cup flour
1/2 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups berries

1. Whisk dry ingredients
2. Add milk and melted butter to dry ingredients
3. Pour batter into ungreased 1 1/2 quart dish
4. Distribute berries evenly over batter

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.  Don't over bake.  Bake time will depend on the shape and height of your baking dish.  Center should be set, and toothpick should come out clean.  Top will be a deep golden brown.  Let sit 20 minutes before serving

This cobbler is very moist, with a large crumb.  The butter creates a crisp top layer, while the milk keeps the middle white and moist.  The berries sink to the bottom forming a tart base.  Serve warm!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer berries

I know that by this point in human evolution, no one cares about photographs of berries- but I just can't help myself!  They are so photogenic. 

And they are posing in a bowl from my Strawberries 'n Cream dinnerware set! 

After my husband and I moved into our first home (side note: it was next to a whiskey distillery, so the smell of sour mash was always in the air), my parents came over with a cardboard box.  Inside was the strawberries 'n cream dinnerware set including bowls, plates, saucers, a sugar bowl...

Oh, the cherished gifts we are given when starting our adult lives.. when the heavy reality of having to buy your own pillowcases sets in..

But the summer berries above are not as random as they appear.  Check back this weekend, and join me in a berry cobbler!  I will be posting my Nanny's fruit cobbler recipe and trust me, you don't want to miss it! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Granny square afghan sampler stitch along, week 3 and cats

I finished week 3 of WiseCraft's afghan stitch along.  I can't wait to see it finished!  The beige yarn is really working on me!  I might start using this more as my dominant color...

Frida girl! 

Dressmaking McCalls M6109

This week, I have been working on a dress.  If I'm being honest, I cut the pieces out about 10 months ago, then put them in a bag and forgot about them!  The main fabric is an olive green stretchy sort of pique knit fabric,  and the pockets are a plaid madras. 

Loose fitting, drop waist, a little cowl, full skirt.  The dress slips over the head without a zipper, and was pretty straight forward to put together.  I still have to hem it, which is why the bottom looks a little weird.