Friday, August 31, 2012

A Casual Book Review: Palliser's Model Homes 1878


Palliser's Model Homes 1878, Published 1972 by Glenwood Publishers.  Hardback, no dust jacket, 1st edition

This is a casual book review of Palliser's Model Homes 1878.  (and by casual I mean little effort and less qualifications)

The bright pink and bold cover was hard to miss at the library book sale.  This book called out to me--- "Don't be a tight wad; give the lady a dollar and take me home!"

This is a faithful reproduction of the book that the architectural firm Palliser and Palliser published in 1878.  At the time, small town citizens rarely consulted an architect when building a new home.  The firm saw an untapped market and offered the service of designing beautiful and functional homes.



There are about 80 pages of beautifully drawn houses, blueprints, and a detailed description of the design.

The endpapers have illustrations as well--- this book was owned by an architectural company (note the stamp).  I wonder if they used it for inspiration?

The last few pages are advertisements for faucet heads, door hinges, wainscoting, and all the things needed to furnish and accent your new home.

This is a great little book.  It's fun to flip through, and I'm not really an architecture fan.  I like looking at the blueprints and wandering through the houses...'do I take the back staircase to the kitchen or go through the parlor?'

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mixed Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Mixed Fruit Smoothie Recipe

1 overripe banana (the blacker the better)
1 overripe peach
3-4 strawberries
handful of blueberries (frozen is fine)
handful of raspberries
handful of blackberries
1/4 cup apple juice
Two scoops of whey protein powder
Tbls agave syrup
8-10 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Enjoy!

NOTES: The fruit combinations are very flexible, just use the fruit you have on hand.  The only fruit I keep in is the overripe banana.  Just use several handfuls of whatever fruit you have on hand, the riper the better. 

A little agave syrup goes a long way!


Mixed Fruit Smoothie

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jam Cake

Peanut Butter and Jam Cake

I made this cake yesterday... delicious!  Very, very sweet though...

A white layer cake with rasperry preserves.  Peanut butter buttercream frosting (try saying that 3 times fast).   Tastes just like the name suggests. 

You can get the recipe for free here!
And the white layer cake recipe here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Movie Mondays

A recap of this weeks screenings.  Proof in writing that I watch too many movies.

Charles II, The Power and the Passion (2003): I just finished reading the novel "Forever Amber", a historical fiction set during the reign of Charles II.  So this miniseries really hit the spot for me.  Also, I love Rufus Sewell.. I have a touch of the ptosis too.

Sea Wolf (2009): Miniseries based on the novel by Jack London.  At first I disliked this, mostly because Neve Campbell's voice was getting on my nerves, but it turned out pretty good.  I love Tim Roth (who was creepy good) and Stephen Campbell Moore had a Luke Skywalker thing going on.

Meet Wally Sparks (1997): Rodney Dangerfield being Rodney Dangerfield.  There were some pretty funny sight gags, but it's no Caddyshack.

Tuff Turf (1985): My husband and I MST3K'd this thing from beginning to end.  Even though it stars James Spader (good start) and a supporting role by Robert Downey Jr. (even better), this was unintentionally funny, starting with the opening sequence of the most improbable and un-menacing mugging ever.  It only gets worse...

Fritz the Cat (1972): The first cartoon to get an X rating, though Netflix has it labelled as UR.  This was very dated, but still pretty cool.  There were some good parts, and some disturbing parts, and lots of parts that are not PC. 

The Affair of the Necklace (2001): This movie stars Hilary Swank and is based on true events right before the French revolution.  Unfortunately, the true events have gotten the Hollywood treatment, with hokey and pandering results.  I found this blog about the real life lady, which is very interesting.

From Time to Time (2009): OK, so this was a watchable movie about a boy who visits Grandma and finds out all kinds of things about his ancestral home.  It stars a shocking amount of actors from Downton Abbey.  But... it's geared towards preteens, so be prepared to guess the plot of the story before it gets started.  I would have thought this was super cool when I was 14.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983): It had been awhile since I'd seen this one.  Love, love it!!  Graham Chapman towards the end as the American singer with the fluorescent white teeth-- too much!

Wilfred (2011):  I think this was on last weeks Movie Monday as well.. this is a good show.  I like Elijah Wood... Funny show.

Frontrunners (2008):  This doc is about the election for senior class president at an elite New York high school.  It was OK, but a pretty standard documentary.

Private School (1983): This is a late night comedy- which I normally love (I love exploitation films).  But this one was bad, even for the genre, which is in general bad.  It was 2 hours long!!  And it should have been 1:20. 

Mulholland Falls (1996): All star cast, 1950s gumshoe genre.  Pretty good- beautifully filmed.  Nick Nolte had a Spencer Tracy sex appeal going on.  It went on a little long though.. sort of rambled along to a rather disappointing ending.

From Dusk Til Dawn (1996): It had been a long time for this one too.  This movie is very aware that it is silly, and embraces it fully.  Good entertainment.

My Chauffeur (1986): This was hard to get through.  I disliked it from the beginning, and I could punch the lead actress in the face without any guilt.  The plot was silly and made little sense, a lot of the humour was hateful.  Truthfully, I did the dishes through a large portion of the this one.

Random stuff, mostly food related

Though we normally keep our distance,
we like to watch the ground squirrels and california quail together

My husband brought me some homegrown heirloom tomatoes.  They were delicious!  Juicy but firm and so flavorful!

Heirloom tomatoes; sprinkled with sea salt mmm..

I had a shock when I cut into an 'on the vine' tomato.  It wasn't rotten, in fact it was still very firm, but every seed had sprouted inside it!  There are always new experiences in the kitchen. ;)

Tomato with sprouting seeds

I fixed a sheet pizza for dinner tonight.  I am a pizza making maniac.  I have five pizza recipes I use regularly, from pan to thin crust to margherita to tart.  I love to make pizza!  This was the first time I made this recipe.  It feeds 12 people, so naturally I thought it was a good recipe for two! 
Tangy sauce, thick crust with a crispy bottom, and lots of cheese...

You can get the recipe here with a 14 day free trial.

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.

Sheet pan pizza

Frida girl!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Movie Monday

A recap of this weeks screenings.  Proof in writing that I watch too many movies.

The Up Series: I've watched 7 up, Seven plus Seven, and part of 21 and Up.  If you've never seen this fascinating British documentary, it follows the lives of a group of British children from the age of seven (in 1964), and then every seven years after that.  It's addicting and depressing to watch them get older. 

Hell on Wheels:  I finished the first of this AMC series.  This show is set in the time right after the civil war, when America began building the continental railroad.  The characters all live in the tent camp that follows the building of the railroad tracks.  The filming and sets were believable, the subject matter uncomfortable a lot of times, and the violence graphic.

Almost Elvis (2001): Documentary about the Elvis impersonator contest that is (apparently) held in Memphis each year.  This was pretty standard documentary fare-- it was watchable at times and boring at others.

Doctor Zhivago (2002):  Remake of the classic.  This was pretty good- filming was nice, plot was of course depressing as always. 

Well the byline doesn't really hold this week- I haven't watched too many movies!

I hooked up our turntable in the living room and 've been listening to records instead: Woody Guthrie's dust bowl ballads, Hank Williams, Irving Berlin, Devo...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sun Belt Scrambled Eggs

Sun Belt Scrambled Eggs

Serves 2-4

Notes: This recipe could easily be doubled for a crowd.  I prefer the dried sun-dried tomatoes, as opposed to the ones packed in olive oil.  A little blue cheese goes a long way!

6 eggs
2-3 tbls milk
2 tbls butter
4 scallions, chopped thin
handful of grated white cheddar cheese
handful of sun-dried tomato
half avocado, sliced thin
handful of blue cheese
Salt and Pepper

1. Add 2-3 tbls milk in a bowl with cracked eggs, salt and pepper.  Beat vigorously with a fork until mixture is thickened and uniform in color.  (the milk will make your eggs fluffier; you can sub heavy cream or half and half)

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet til foaming.  Add chopped scallions and saute til onions are softened and starting to brown.

3. Add beaten eggs to skillet.  Throw cheese and sun-dried tomatoes on top of eggs and stir gently to combine.  Let eggs cook for a few minutes without stirring-- this will set the curds.  Then stir gently and sparingly with a wide spatula, scooping from underneath the eggs and gently flipping them over.  This gives the eggs a large, fluffy curd.

4. Remove eggs from heat; when they are done cooking they should appear only slightly moist and should be almost beginning to brown.  Sprinkle blue cheese and top with avocado. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Pattern! Kemerton Court Pouch

I'm pleased to share my newest original pattern, the Kemerton Court Pouch! 

This cute little guy is versatile:
Store make up or craft supplies
Throw it in your purse to keep your must-have stuff within easy reach
Make them as gifts or to sell!  

This pouch easy to make, and is suitable for an intermediate beginner!

Find the Kemerton Court Pouch here!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Working on new patterns; Case of the disappearing post; total misc.

There hasn't been much to share in the sewing department this week.  I've been working on a few original sewing patterns, but they are all in pieces.  It's been long hours at the sewing machine with little yet to show for my time. 

To take a break I've been crocheting. 

I made this block to go in my granny square sampler afghan.  It's not part of Blair's blocks, but what the hell, I'll fit it in somewhere!

I thumbed through some of my crochet patterns last night and pulled out about 10 that I'd like to start sooner than later.  This time last year I was crocheting on average 6 hours a day-- either until my wrists and fingers forfeited, or the lower half of my body fell completely asleep.

Among other things, crocheting gives me a great opportunity to cull my netflix queue, which somehow always hovers at 500 titles.

Speaking of, if you notice a lack of a movie monday post today, it's because I have an unsolved and unpleasant case on my hands.  The case of the disappearing post.
I'd been adding movies all week to a draft post, but when I opened the post this morning to add the recently devoured Doctor Zhivago (2002), I watched in dismay as the draft failed to load properly and somehow erased itself in the process. 

So... I don't have the heart to redo the post, but it included several awful 1970s English vampire films, an Elvis civil war drama, and a history of the banjo documentary.  A real loss to the world I think that post will be. ;)

In desperate need of some white paint the other night, I finally tried out the tube squeezer my husband got me at xmas.  Takes some elbow grease, but works like a charm!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Movie Mondays (ignore the fact it's tuesday)

A recap of this weeks screenings. Proof in writing that I watch too many movies.

Agatha Christie's Marple- I have now watched the whole series, and I'm revising my opinion that I only liked the episodes with Julia McKenzie... Geraldine McEwan is also very good!  Give this show a watch, it's very entertaining

The Office (UK version)- always makes me laugh

Fabric of the Cosmos- Based on physicists Brian Greene's book PBS production.  I love this so hard-- quantum physics, theoretical physics, it all blows my mind (especially when presented in a way I can digest)  It's 4 episodes and you can watch them free at

The Kennel Murder Case (1933)- I've been in to detective stuff lately!  This movie was pretty good.. everyone spoke at an appropriate 500 words per minute and William Powell was adorable throughout.

Microcosmos-(1996)- remember this film?  Blew everyone away when it came out because of the crazy close up shots of bugs and flowers and things?  Great film and looks even better on a modern tv than the ones around when it was released!

American Grindhouse- This was a great documentary about the long gone grindhouse theaters.  I love exploitation films and this doc was full of outrageous clips from the genre.

Sort of a light week over here.. I did read a bit and have been sewing, so maybe that's why.  Though finishing up 3/4 of the Marple series was no small task. :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New York beauty quilt; Madame Butterfly; Pics from a car

This week I've been working on an original sewing pattern.  It's a cute little pouch with a lot of potential, but I'm having a hard time getting it just right.  This evening I've started my fourth prototype, but I think I need a break!

Besides working on the pattern, I've been listening to the aria from Madame Butterfly on a loop... that should tell you pretty clearly where I'm at mood wise!

Last week I started a paper pieced new york beauty block.  I have admired this quilt pattern for years; there is a fabulous example in one of my fav quilt books, America's Beautiful Quilts, by Zaro Weil.

New York Beauty, circa 1920
I love the scalloped border!

When I saw that Jeni (author of one of my favorite blogs) participated in a new york beauty quilt along this past spring, I knew I wanted to make one like hers! 

I'd never tried paper piecing, which was remarkably painless.  I couldn't find the fabric I wanted to finish this block up, so for now it's in four pieces. 

Now for pics from my vacation to the bay area, all shot from the car.

Been a long time since I've been on a road where the trees touch overhead

High above the bay, an alpine ravine

This place was one of my favorites, there was a great peace about it

All of a sudden a lake

Getting back into desert

This was an amazing sight
See the railroad track goes into the hillside, just like in a cartoon!

The golden color of the grass was fantastic, it reminded me of a Van Gogh palette

This looks like an old picture in my Nanny's photo album