Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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.

Yep, soup weather and it's almost June!  The weather has been so miserably cold and wet here that I have made soup for the last two days.  Yesterday, mussels, clams, and shrimp (not in the original recipe, which just called for mussels) in coconut milk/lemon grass, and other yummy flavorings. We didn't have bread, so I substituted linguine.
NY Times Cooking (recipe below). If you don't have the app on your iPad, you are missing out on some of the best recipes, ever.  I have donated and thrown 2/3 of my cookbooks.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut or safflower oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, trimmed (outer layers removed) and finely chopped
  •   ½ to 1 small hot chile (like Thai bird, Serrano, Scotch bonnet or jalapeño), seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels, rinsed well
  •  Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Asian fish sauce, or to taste
  • ½ cup whole cilantro leaves
  • 1 or 2 croissants, split in half.
  1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot until hot. Add the shallot, garlic, lemon grass and chile. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and mussels. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes (discard any mussels that remained closed). Remove from heat, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large bowl, leaving the liquid in the pot. Stir the lemon zest and juice, fish sauce and cilantro into the pot. Taste and add more fish sauce and/or lemon juice if needed (fish sauce provides the salt).
  2. Blogger just erased a whole paragraph. Cutting to the chase - the empty shelves on the left of the bookcase took half a day to empty, while I decided what to donate, what to throw, and what to keep.  It barely made a dent, and this does not count the bookcases in the rest of the house.


The art books are the most painful ones to part with, although I was able to donate a few.  And the 19th century books on the top left shelves, which were my father's. I am lucky enough to have grown up in a house of bibliophiles.We won't discuss the Thermofax that doesn't work, the slide projector and carousels or  the thousands of photos that have to be gone through.  Change is hard, even when it is something you want.Back to the sewing machine - this will be a late night.

Monday, May 29, 2017

a good day for sewing

Raining again, and 57 degrees F.  

I have spent most of the day thinking about sewing and a bit of it actually sitting at the machine.  I am making a quilt for a friend but you won't see it here.  However, I have a few trimmings and since they are small and odd-sized, I challenged myself to take a break and see what I could do with them.

Made one block with the scraps before dinner and here I am, feet up, laptop in lap, procrastinating.   It is late and I will leave the rest for tomorrow.

Here is what I did with the cuttings.

I cut a triangle (freehand, of course) fro the fabric on the upper left.  The rest of the bits were trimmings from the sewn-together strips, so I figured I could do something with them.

Here is a close-up of the triangle with some pieces sewn to the edges.  (Yes, I will trim the horns).

 Adding and trimming and adding and trimming.

This is how it ended up. If I have more scraps (or more energy) I might make another.  If not, this could end up on the back of the quilt.

That's all for tonight.  I am still recovering from a lively weekend of houseguests. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

sewing and drinking thé à la menthe

Not at the same time, as I am bound to spill whatever I am drinking on what I am stitching.

My cousin France got me started on mint tea last year, when she and Edmond were visiting us in Florida.  C'est un digestif, so she drinks it after dinner or later in the evening. No caffeine. It has grown on me and it's especially good when I throw in some fresh mint leaves (which I always have growing in a pot). I find these days that it's in the realm of comfort food.

Now why am I showing you this picture?  The cup. It was a giveaway in the 1950's-60's by Nescafé if you sent them a coupon or a label from the jar; I can't remember which. A map of the world is etched on each cup. 

Need I say that Molly W. Rosenberg, collector extrordinaire, had countless numbers of these cups?  This is very strange, since she brewed coffee every day and I can't imagine that we had enough instant coffee to acquire thousands (ok, a dozen or more) of these cups.  

We drank our tea out of them -- never coffee. We always had tea after dinner, with or without dessert; with lemon, never sugar. I took all of them when I cleaned out her apartment and brought them to Florida, where there were MORE.  Phil fell in love with them, so I gave him a few.  And I just discovered that I have two more in NJ.  They are selling them on ebay and Etsy for various prices - and yes, there is a sugar bowl with a cover.  

 Glass retains heat, so your tea (or coffee) stays hot longer. My grandparents used to drink their tea and coffee from a yartzheit (memorial candle) "gless."
It didn't take me long to digress from sewing and mint tea, did it?  Now that my break is almost over, I will have some salted caramel ice cream in my Elsie the Cow glass (as long as we are on the subject) and then I will go back to my sewing.  

OH - almost forgot.  The link to my tjap page is now working, so click on the Studio Sale link at the top of the sidebar and see what is there.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

a weekend quilt show

The Northern Star Quilt Guild of Somers, NY, has always had an excellent quilt show, but I every year I have managed to be away teaching the weekend of the show -- until now. Fortunately, I was available because the guild invited me to have an exhibit of a dozen pieces this past weekend. The show has moved to a new venue and the quilts were beautifully displayed.  Here are some of my favorites - and they were all ribbon-winners.

 by Maria Weinstein

Debbie Bein's vertical triptich

I'm sorry, I didn't get the artist's names for the last three quilts. The show was closing and they were starting to take down the work, so I clicked and ran to take down my own.
Cheryl Kosarek

quilt by Diana Sharkey

The day was a pleasure: I ran into some old friends and managed to come home with a only a fist full of - uh - fabric. This afternoon, I cut and sewed a little bit.  Oh, joy.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


But a brief one.  

Making it an early night.  Last night I was up until 2:am, actually sitting at the sewing machine and stitching on a piece that I have probably had for a year or two, partly done.
Getting there, finally.  Here it is, under the needle.  It is sideways.  

Will show it to you when it is done.  Maybe next week, if the stars line up.  The gray parts in the middle were once a quilt begun by a friend of mine and never finished because it was too ugly.  Such fun to rescue it!

Spent the morning shredding tax returns from the early part of this century, squirreled away in Marty's desk drawer.  There is an entire file cabinet on the lower level that I shudder to think about tackling.  Some years ago when I was cleaning out and shredding the kids' college bills, I was so enchanted with the colorful shreds that I made this postcard.  Still have it.  Gee, I could have made a whole series!

I think I said this would be a brief post. Mostly because I am too tired to write any more.
While it is still a relatively civilized hour, I shall take advantage of it.  Ta ta for now.

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 ...