Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Playing around

After having spent a good part of the day on paperwork and wrestling with Quicken, which refused to save the final version of my check register, I gritted my teeth and headed for the sewing room.  

I've been playing with a couple of ideas since last week that were influenced by my trip to KwaZulu-Natal and I finally sewed some things together.  I suspect the short stack on the right will go off by itself and the two long columns will have a sibling, but not sure where it will go after that.  I am mulling some options.  And of course, there is the challenge to use the Shweshwe fabrics in a piece 16" x 24".
Since I am playing, at the moment, with lines and rectangles, I cut some others and asked myself "what if?" a couple of times, in the process.




Now, I am again asking myself what the options are...and there are probably more than occur to me at the moment.  What if I cut and pasted these again?  What if I added another color? What if...? etc.  Here is a 12" block I made about 2 years ago, which went into a group quilt that was being sent off somewhere.  If you asked me to duplicate the layout, I don't think I could do it because I have no idea how I got there.  But of course, that's ok.  I wouldn't want to make the identical thing twice, would I??  
So now you know what I've been doing when I haven't been working on my taxes, cooking, or spending time with my grandsons.  Tomorrow, I am off to Hudson, NY with my friend Susan.  It will be nice to get out of the house.

P.S.  I couldn't stand it and I had one green/white/black unit leftover.   Had to cut and paste it to see what it could become. Top is a before.  Bottom, after.  Now I ask you, isn't it more interesting?  What if...?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dinner for one

While I am waiting for my shakshuka to get done, I figurered I might as well do something productive, i.e., blog about it.  This is a wonderful middle eastern (Morrocan, transplanted to Israel) dish that is easy, low cost, and low calorie. Perfect for dinner for one or two people.  Tonight, I am one.  My stepson Todd Gillman introduced me to this dish when he was here one weekend with the family
and it seemed like a good thing to have for breakfast.  Actually, it works beautifully for lunch (who  cooks lunch???) or, with a drink and a big green salad, for dinner.
I love Melissa Clark, the NY Times food writer.  If you get the NY Times cooking app you will think you have died and gone to heaven, and I have never made a bad recipe from Melissa. (I cannot imagine how she stays so skinny, since her baking recipes are also fabulous).  Anyway, I followed her directions and put the skillet into the oven to bake.  She says   "till  just set." but ick - I have baked this for 10  min and more and the whites are still - ewwwww.  So finally, I turned it on to "broil," which I have never done in the 7 years since I redid my kitchen.  Eggs now more-or-less hardboiled, but that is ok with me - better than the alternative.

Here they are in the bowl, with cilantro & tabasco sauce added -- and I have just happily finished my dinner.  There is a restaurant nearby that serves shaksuska but mine is better, if I do say so -- because I am not dumbing it down for the general public and it is loaded with cuminseed, cayenne, and paprika -- with a piece of jalapeno for good measure.
Shakshuka With Feta
by Melissa Clark
Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014721-shakshuka-with-feta
--------------------------------------
INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
6 large eggs
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving
Download The New York Times Cooking App on the App Store.
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Considering that it is in the 90's here with humidity in the you-don't-want-to-know range, I have been in my sewing room all day.  This is not a bad thing, although it seems I should go for a walk -- never mind, I just poked my head out.  

I actually feel as though I am making some progress on the idea I had in my head (unusual for me) so if I have any visuals to post later, I will.  If not, I will upload this without further photos of what is on my bulletin board.






Wednesday, July 29, 2015

working hard or hardly working?

Depends on what day it is. It's so hot and humid in the studio that I've been working/puttering/experimenting at home.  No sign of cooling down for the rest of the week.

I did finally finish the bizarro string quilt I was working on as a baby gift. When I finally took a picture of it, I realized that "wonky" didn't begin to describe this rather psychedelic quilt.  I hope the baby will not have any bad effects from playing on it.
Finishing that quilt has freed me up to play a bit with some ideas floating around in
my head.  They haven't quite jelled - so I'm at the beginning of a "what if?" period.  Here's what is on my sewing room bulletin board this morning: bits of unrelated, previously started and new experiments.
Will any of these turn into something besides bits and pieces?  Only time will tell.  I'm working on it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

South African inspirations

South Africa is a visual feast, from the crafts




 




and the fabrics...

 
,


to the people


to everything else you see.

 
  



.
 Tip of the iceberg, but enough for now.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunday in the Cape

ARGH - I just posted a whole thing and it didn't save.  Starting again:-(. 

I have less than an hour till my flight to Joburg boards, so will have to type quickly.  Sunday, the weather gods smiled and the sun came out.  The saying is that Cape Town can have four seasons in one day, but we were really lucky.  This was especially good because everything in Cape Town is closed on Sundays (even the museums), so we had to go elsewhere.  Gillian and I took the train to Kalk Bay and then on to Simon's Town, at the end of the line and on the eastern tip of the Cape.

Kalk Bay is a beautiful fishing village, replete with shops, galleries, bakeries, and charm.  But it isn't too twee and is not obnoxiously commercial and touristy.  We loved it.


We had fish & chips at Kalky's  -- a dive that serves the best fish & chips ever (even Gillian, who is from the U.K., said it was "spot on."  
After lunch, we returned to the shop where we had put aside cloth, collected it, and paid.  
Michel, the owner, was a treasure trove of knowledge about African fabrics and how to spot the differences between the old Kente & Kuba cloth and the new, made-in-China African fabrics.  More about fabrics later.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturday in Cape Town

We arrived in Cape Town yesterday (Saturday). Because of poor wifi, yesterday's post didn't publish till this morning. As a result, I am blogging about the last few days in this post while I have WiFi.  So, if luck holds out, you'll see two posts with Sunday dates.  

** No - this is not posting till Monday, when I am at the Cape Town airport with WiFi, food and drink in the SAA lounge. Ahh...the joys of travel.

Gillian and I arrived in Cape Town yesterday afternoon and immediately hit the streets, the craft shops, and the waterfront craft market. Weather is grey but houses are colorful.  This is Table Mountain in the background; hard to see because of the mists.  

We are staying in a gorgeous b&b that reminds me of one of Ian Schrager's boutique hotels. Tables set for breakfast, which is not for ½ hour yet.  As usual, I am starving - LOL.

On Friday, in Durban, we had the pleasure of visiting the lovely and supremely talented South African quilt artist Odette Tolksdorf www.odettetolksdorf.co.za at her home, where she showed us some of her beautiful quilts.  Odette had been teaching at Quilt Festival but we were all so busy we hadn't had a chance to meet.  The visit was a real treat.  

Back to Cape Town...

In Africa it is impossible not to be affected by the colors and patterns that seem to be everywhere -- and by the warmth and friendliness of the people.

Posting this a few days late, and now on to the next adventure, next post...