Wednesday, October 31, 2012

storm update

While I've answered most of you individually after you commented or emailed me, I might have missed a few of you.  So, here is the latest.

NJ is a disaster area unlike anything this state has ever experienced. The shore has been decimated and homes destroyed - and vast sections in other parts of the state are under water if they are near rivers. The biggest problem is the lack of gasoline for generators and emergency vehicles. Stations that have power, also have lines literally miles long waiting, and those without power can't pump what they have.
Because of the power loss all over the state, I have seen no tv, no Internet, and no newspaper until today.  I'm at my son's tonight and will stay till morning.  I came over this afternoon (his house, miraculously, escaped the power outage in his town) to get Internet and was able to download over 300 messages that had been waiting on the server.  I was going to go home after dinner but a) there were too many traffic lights out to risk driving in the dark, and b) West Orange has a curfew - nobody on the streets or sidewalks from 6:pm tonight to 8:am tomorrow.  They are afraid of people tripping over downed wires or having an accident because of a).

I must say that people have been exceedingly cautious and polite at intersections and highway entrances.  Too bad that will not continue after the lights go back on.  Disasters seem to bring out the best in people.

I made dinner at my son's tonight and they requested pies, so after dinner I baked an apple/cranberry pie and a mixed berry pie.  They were both yummy but the berry pie was sensational, I must say.


* 4 cups berries (thawed if frozen)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch (I used flour)
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 dash salt


* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
                         * 1/2 cup flour
                       * 1/2 cup oats
                                       * 1/4 cup butter, melted

Mix filling ingredients together, put into unbaked pie shell.  Mix topping ingredients till crumbly and put on top of fruit filling. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Great with vanilla ice cream!

As I was writing this, my next door neighbor called to tell me the power is back on at home. It was on again-off again but has now been on for several hours and he went over to close my electric garage door.  Hooray - tomorrow, when I go home I will be able to run the dishwasher, finish packing, and invite a friend without power to come and stay over.  Play it forward.

Monday, October 29, 2012

blowing in the wind

Hurricane Sandy heading right for NJ - argh.  Winds kicking up and dire predictions up the wazoo.  So far, so good. My daughter Hilary has lost power but we are still ok. Working at home today and have a friend staying to keep me company, which is a good thing.

I cannot thank those of you who have emailed me with good thoughts from as far away as Australia, Germany, and England.  Not to mention the wonderful person who is taking my class at Tahoe next week and offered to pick me up if my flight was rerouted to SFO instead of LAX.  I am overwhelmed with all of your kindness.

While the power is still on and there was still a bit of light outside, I videotaped my woods as the wind started to pick up.  It is more the noise than anything that is a bit scary.

We are in for the duration; dinner is in the oven and I have made cold Chinese sesame noodles with sliced up pork chops that were languishing in the fridge. Have tuna and beans and peanut butter, so we will not starve if the power goes


Friday, October 26, 2012

another week vamoosed

I've been juggling this week (and last) and trying not to drop any balls. Not sure I was successful.

Early this week felt like coming down with scratchy throat, but a few remedies like chicken soup and miso soup (is it that time of year again??) seem to have warded off the invaders. At least for now.

Since the end of last week, It has been one meeting after another - first, the  MQG meeting last week (which I only just had time yesterday to post about on their blog) and then, after a nonstop weekend, our Studio Six crit group.  didn't really have anything to show except one lopsided piece, since I haven't had time to work.

The baby quilt I started a couple of weeks ago in a moment of insanity has a couple of borders but still isn't big enough.  One more should do it, I think. But it will have to wait till I get back from Tahoe.
 Getting ready to leave at the end of the week and with the monster storm heading right for NJ - they are referring to it as FRANKENSTORM -- I have to get all the deck furniture into the house and all the cartons out of the garage so I can get my car in on Monday.  

There are all kinds of dire warnings about power and water and evacuation routes. Uh - NO. I think I will stay put.  Maybe I'd better get some yartzheit candles, though...they are the safest for power outages because they are in glasses and they last for 24 hours.  All week the maintenance guys have been working on the roofs; presumably they are battened down sufficiently (the roofs, not the guys).

We had a lively Modern Quilt meeting last week and I didn't even have time to post about it to the guild blog till yesterday. Here are a couple of quilts from the sharing segment of the meeting.

Jeremy's birthday was on Wednesday and I cooked two of his favorite dishes and brought them over there for dinner.  Gave me a chance to enjoy David and Jake and spend time with Anne Marie, hanging out til Jeremy got home.  All in all - a treat for me.

On a total whim, I bought a used iPad 1 on ebay last weekend in about 3 minutes. I suppose I should have bought a 2 but I have an iPhone camera which is just fine - and weighs less and didn't think it was worth the extra $$.  I just want to keep it in the kitchen.  I have been using the Internet a lot recently for interesting recipes and am sick of keeping Marty's old, big, heavy, 17" PC laptop on the island just for that. It takes up too much space so I decided an iPad was just the thing. It's perfect for that and I can check my email while I'm in the kitchen. Besides, Emma will be delighted when she comes here and can use it.  Works fine and I don't plan to carry it around with me.

Ok - back to deciding what goes in the supply suitcase...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


This morning I am off to Brooklyn to play with Miss Emma while Jessica packs for a trip. What an unexpected joy!

Last night, having been delinquent about making a couple of baby quilts, I suddenly got busy and got one started.  Gathering up my mismatched blocks from a couple of months ago (and more), I threw them at the wall and sewed them together.  Here is the result, which will eventually get bigger.  But at least, it is a beginning.  It's small, so I will need to add several borders.

Stay tuned while this morphs into something else. For now, I am out the door.

Friday, October 12, 2012

off the wall Friday post

If you've been following Nina-Marie Sayre's blog, you already know that every Friday, if you have something fiber-related you'd like to share from your blog (it doesn't have to be current) you can submit a link to her blog.   People will then come to your blog to see what you are up to. Fun!

I haven't been up to much, but yesterday I received a delightful piece of fan mail from Lajla in Australia, with pictures attached of what she has been up to. She has my book and till now, never thought about reinventing random blocks.  BUT -recently, while she was visiting a friend, she spied this orphan on a shelf and immediately went to work transforming it.
Here it is in the process of being improved:-)
When she had finished the piece, she put a sleeve on and it is now hanging in her friend's living room, looking a lot more fun and spirited than it did originally!
 I simply LOVE getting photos like these, especially after going through the original Ohio Star block redo on my blog a few years ago, where so many of you participated. Amazing what a little surgery will do!

Thanks, Lajla! And thanks to all of you who were part of the original ugly block redo!

thank you:-))

Between your comments here and those you sent in your emails, I had lots of smiles today. Thanks!  You've encouraged me to get back to writing about nothing (or making things up) just to hear your voices (you know what I mean).

Today started rather inauspiciously, to say the least.  I got into the car at 9:00 to go to my 9:15 appointment but my car wouldn't start. Sigh... called to cancel, phoned AAA, and went inside to wait and slice onions for the spaghetti sauce I was going to make later.  Happily, it was only a dead battery and I was able to reschedule my appointment for tomorrow morning.

Mostly, I puttered around and did things like rearranging the baking shelf in my pantry, changing lightbulbs, and taking out the garbage. Which do you think was the most fun?

I also headed for the two supermarkets I hadn't been to yesterday and came home megabucks lighter and many bags heavier.  One of the items I could not resist was this elegant cauliflower.  What?? I bought one yesterday!  Yes, but THIS  one is drop-dead gorgeous, local, and weighs so much it needed its own bag.  Plus, it was a bargain. Could I leave it there?
All those greens just waiting to be sautéd and added to yesterday's batch.  .  Yesterday, courtesy of Melissa Clark, I turned on the gas grill, tossed the florets in olive oil, kosher salt, and cumin seeds, roasted them for about 30 minutes and they were heavenly. Now I need to check out the plethora of good Indian recipes - gobi aloo and more, waiting for me in my cookbooks and on the web.

The other thing I couldn't resist today was calamari. I bought 1/2 lb after Hilary told me she had grilled some that was so good the kids loved it. So I did a search for recipes and found this wonderful website. Tonight's dinner was FABULOUS!!

I spent my earliest years in an Italian neighborhood. Our landlady, Jenny Montesano, taught my mother to cook, so ma made the best spaghetti sauce (aka gravy) in the world and as a result, the best lasagne and eggplant parmesean. I have never had eggplant parm in a restaurant that was as good as my mother's (or mine, if I do say so) and my meat sauce is just as good as hers was. No recipe, just by taste you know if it is right.  I made a big pot of sauce today, which should give me a few meals. I might make a baked ziti to put in the freezer in case of unexpected guests. Or even expected guests.  

By now, you may be asking yourself whether I am doing any art. Well, no.  I have been busy updating some class materials, changing something on my website, and I have to send off a quilt tomorrow to be photographed. Oops.  Maybe I'll get to the studio tomorrow to pick up this quilt, which is sitting on the design wall waiting to be finished. (you see a slice of it on the blog's header)
I need to make sure it's sort of square (the hardest part) and then put a facing on it.  I've been working on this since early June and it still doesn't have a name -- although several have been suggested. I'm open - but so far none is ambiguous enough: you know how I am about titles. You need to have your own conversation with the piece - you don't need to know what i was thinking (if, indeed, I was).  Tell me what immediately comes to mind when you see this and maybe I'll get an idea besides Green #1 

Enough of this idle chit-chat. Time to retire for the evening. Send me your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

so here's the story

For all of you who have been complaining that you miss my posts , I just want you to know that my life is so boring that there is nothing to write about. Drudge, drudge, drudge.  This is not a complaint; merely a fact.

I spent 3 hours in my mother's apartment this morning attempting, without success, to tidy it and throw out a lifetime's clutter. In the process, I filled a supermarket cart with, among other things,
  • well-made hangers that will replace the thin pieces of wire in my closet that become misshapen as soon as I hang heavy cotton sweaters on them.
  • dozens of neatly folded shopping bags from elegant stores no longer in business. One of them had a receipt from 1997 at the bottom (it was mine, from Eileen Fisher. What was it doing in my mother's closet??)  I have their clones in my garage - what am I saving them for?
  • an old wooden drying rack that I suppose I will take to my studio, where I do not have room.
 Then I went to the supermarket - the most fun I've had all week because it was not my usual one. Imagine how exciting my life is if going to a different market is the high point of my week.

The fridge was empty because on Monday I heard Melissa Clark, the wonderfully inventive NY Times food columnist talking about her new book, Cook This Now.  She periodically forages through her refrigerator for food about to rot and spontaneously creates imaginative dishes with them.
 Inspired by Melissa's creativity, I opened the vegetable drawer when I got home.  Uh. One hairy carrot,
one shriveled parsnip, a quarter of a cabbage about 3 months old, something green that used to be lettuce, half an onion, four ends of celery root that were turning blue, a few limp brown former stalks of celery and a few other unidentifiable items.  Hmmm... The makings of something.
I threw away the green slime, trimmed the black from the cabbage, the blue from the celery root, and peeled/cut up the other unhappy vegetables.  Then, into the pressure cooker with six cups of water, a variety of dried beans from the pantry; bay leaves, other herbs, salt, pepper, garlic.
 I added some tomato paste, pressure-cooked it for 25 minutes and it was SOUP!! Not bad.(which I always maintain is not the same as good). But it will do.
I feel so virtuous -- so far I have had two soup lunches and have two quarts more in the freezer for the winter.  Now I'm on a roll. After my supermarket trip this afternoon to replenish my vegetables and stock up on meat and canned goods, I will try to be more efficient and maybe even cook ahead. Maybe.
We'll see.

Meantime, as I cut up the pristine cauliflower to roast tonight I noticed all those leaves that I normally throw away and thought, "what can I do with these?"  I sliced them, cut up another half-onion, threw them into a pan with olive oil and a tinch of butter, added salt/pepper/a garlic clove and sautéd them together.  It was delicious.

Monday, October 08, 2012

art is where you find it

No trips to NY planned this week, but I was so busy last week that I didn't have a chance to post some walking-around-NY art pix from the previous weekend.

This one stopped me cold and it wasn't till I took the picture that I saw what it was.  I'm still not sure what the drawing material was. Paint? Chewing gum? It doesn't matter.
                                Seen from the High Line, set amidst industrial buildings and corrugated roofs.
 This was the design going up on high-end condos being built, I think in Chelsea. The artist Yayoi Kusama is the one with the polka dots whose work was recently at the Whitney and at Louis Vuitton in a previous post.
 A couple of other buildings that caught my eye, as well.  This one, from the High Line.
 And this very elegant CVS pharmacy, which resembled none I have ever seen before.
 Later, walking through Greenwich Village, I spotted this image written in light on the sidewalk.
When I looked up, I saw its genesis.  How very cool is that??
Art is everywhere - you just have to look.

last week in a capsule

Busy days and early-to-bed nights all week have kept me from posting.  Tsk tsk, Rayna.
Let's see - where did the week go?  Here's a quickie overview so you can see what you did not miss.

Met the plumber about the leak in my mother's apartment from the apartment above after I just had the place painted. An ongoing saga.  Cleaned the place a bit and went home with a headache.
Skipped an evening meeting and went to bed early.

Stayed home, stitching the green piece I have been laboring over.

Caught the 4:00 bus to NY (remind me never to go at that hour again - what should have been a half-hour trip took 90 minutes). But it was worth the trip.

I met Merrilee Teich and her friend Emma for dinner and had a great time! Merrilee took a class with me in Springfield, MO several years ago and we have stayed in touch. This was her first trip to NY and I simply had to see her. It was great fun!  Here we are with coffee after a yummy dinner at Marseille.
In the studio, working on the commission of 50 scarves and reprinting some that I was not happy with.
Another ongoing saga. I had been planning to go to the Eileen Fisher outlet which was near the place I was meeting a friend for drinks and dinner, but never got out of the studio in time to shop. Another fun evening out with a friend I always enjoy being with!  

Cleaned up the studio.

Went to the semi-annual sale at the Eileen Fisher outlet, where I spent the credit that had been
burning a hole in my wallet, and then some.  Saved twice as much as I spent.

Then went to visit my friend who manages the Design Within Reach outlet and ended up buying a new, smaller table (the only one, so no picture)  and four of these comfortable chairs for the deck.
These will replace the rickety 16 year old table and discolored vinyl chairs.  Saved 5 times as much as I spent because it is the end of the season. Do I need to say I went home happy?

Taught a private class on printing in layers. Anita McLarin and Claude Larson created some beautiful cloth and went home with a new slant and lots of ideas for possibilities they would not have thought about.  I love giving private classes for two or three people because I can give them so much individual attention and really tailor the workshop to exactly what each of them wants/needs. 

Over the past year, I have been quietly setting up small group classes in my studio by request from people who want to come with a couple of friends. It has been super because they already know each other and are very comfortable commenting and being collaborative. People who drive from a distance for a multi-day class can stay nearby and share a room in a Best Western hotel. It works out great!

I'm happy to set up a private class for you if you contact me.

So here I am, having spent the whole morning blogging -- and haven't had coffee yet.  By now it is almost lunchtime, so I'd better get to work! 

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...