“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way--things I had no words for.”

~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Supper Time - Summer Salad

So many of my recipes come from throwing together what I have on hand, this salad being one of those recipes. When my daughter was a baby we lived on a vineyard in Anderson Valley, California. It was incredibly beautiful, but very isolated. Our closest neighbor was several miles away as was "town". My husband (at the time) would take our one car to work with him and I was home with the baby...all day! In a time before home computers and no TV (no reception) I was forced to be creative with my time. I took long walks in the vineyard, tended our large garden, re-read every book I had and cooked just about everything out of the Greens Cookbook. Our garden provided all the vegetables and herbs we could eat. There were raspberry bushes, a strawberry patch and pear and apple trees just across the road. I must have made a hundred cobblers, pies and crisps during that year and a half we lived on the vineyard. I also experimented with herbs, creating different pestos, sauces, rubs and dressings. The property provided us with wild boar, venison and turkey. It was quite an experience.
One day I had invited a neighbor over for lunch. She had two young children and we liked to hang out while the men-folk were working the fields (literally, her husband was a vineyard manager). I wanted to make a composed salad of some sort so I just went out to the garden and picked what looked ready that morning...a big pile of green beans, several ears of corn and a heap of cherry tomatoes. I dug up some fresh garlic, picked a nice bouquet of flowers and headed back to the house. I put the flowers in a jug and got to work on the salad. She was bringing a loaf of bread from the local bakery and a bottle of white wine....a perfect lunch on a warm summer day! We ate in the backyard under the shade of a very big, very old tree while the children did their thing. The salad was delicious, like a bite of sunshine, so bright and fresh. The presentation almost took my breath away (my inner quirky, hippie chick is emerging here). I truly amazed myself that day. A wonderful recipe was born! It was an afternoon I think back on often, an afternoon with a good friend, divine food and adorable children...oh, and the wine, can't forget the wine!

( I must stress that this salad only be made in the late summer when all of the vegies are ripe and fresh! )

Summer Salad

1 lb. green beans
3 ears corn
1 basket cherry tomatoes, any color
20 (aprox.) oil cured or Kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
juice of 2 medium lemons (no bottled juice here!!)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (no jarred garlic, only fresh)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sugar or honey
1/2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper

1. Cut kernels from corn and par boil quickly just so the corn is tender but still crunchy, about 2 minutes. Drain. Plunge into a bowl of ice water. Allow to sit in water for several minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Wash and stem beans leaving the tip. Parboil, as for the corn, until tender but crunchy. Drain, plunge in ice water, drain and set aside.
3. Make dressing. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, sugar or honey, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and whick until thickened.
4. Arrange the green beans with the tips pointing outwards around the perimeter of a large plate or platter. Mound corn in the middle. Circle the corn with the tomatoes. Sprinkle the feta and olives over the entire salad. Serve with dressing on the side. Simple perfection!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Hollyhock Girls

I swear, I love making quilts! The only part I could do without is the basting. I just don't like crawling around on the floor, squatting, grunting and sweating...not very glamorous! But in the end I have a lovely quilt, so I guess it's worth it. These Holyhock Quilts were so fun to make. Picking out the fabrics was like playing with sugar candy. I have several piles of even more sugary fabrics that will be turned into future quilts...can't wait! One of the reasons I am cranking out quilts is that I think I have finally mastered the "stitch in the ditch" technique for attaching the binding. Man, it is fast, fast, fast! It took a lot of practice and I have a lot of pot holders as the result. I really think it looks better and it must be more durable than the hand stitching I was doing before. To each his own. I like this technique and I'm sticking to it.

The Hollyhock Quilts! Dainty and sweet, these crib and stroller sized quilts are a modern take on the classic quilt! Created with numerous designer fabrics, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler, Jennifer Paganelli, Sandi Hendersen. The patchwork design allows the clean and fresh floral patterns of the fabrics to shine through. Backed with pale yellow Kona Cotton and a touch of patchwork. Binding is bright Fuchsia Flower Power. Batting is 100% Cotton Warm and White. Machine quilted in a "loop-de-loop"design.

Crib sized quilt measures 36" x 29".
Stroller sized quilt measures 28" x 22"

Both are in the Shop!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jumping Jack Quilt

I have been so involved with creating totes and handbags lately that I was just "jonesing" to start a quilt. I have been hanging on to my stash of Katie Jump Rope for some time, only making small items like dish towels with it, not wanting to use it up. But when I saw how the blues and greens looked all together I knew that it was meant for a quilt.

The Jumping Jack Quilt! Fun and playful, this lap sized quilt is a modern take on the classic quilt! Created with Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope fabrics. The patchwork design allows the clean and fresh patterns of the fabrics to shine through. Backed with light grey Kona Cotton and a touch of patchwork. Bound with bright red Dizzy Dots cotton canvas. Batting is 100% Cotton Warm and White. Machine quilted in a "loop-de-loop" design. Washed with mild soap and tumbled dry for that crinkly, soft touch. Measures 43 x 36". A perfect snuggle sized quilt for the crib, couch or carry along. In the shop! SOLD!!

I am once again participating in Sew and Tell Fridays over at Amy Lou Who's. Its been way too long! Head on over and take a look at more wonderful creations. Have a great weekend ya'll!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Coco Framboise Handbag

This is a brand new design for me! I wanted to create a simple handbag that was not too small and not too big. Most of my designs have been large totes so I have now expanded into sassy handbags. I eventually would like to start creating the patterns of my designs, but that will take some time. I love this Tree Top Fancy fabric and have been hanging onto it for a while trying to figure out what to make with it. I think this handbag was the perfect choice. The colors remind me of a chocolate raspberry truffle so I'm giving it a little french twist and call it the Coco Framboise Handbag, oh la la!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The County Fair

Well, the County Fair has come and gone but not without leaving a little inspiration from which to create a few new charming totes! All, of course, are in The Shop. Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fun in Gold Country!

My 17 year old daughter, Eliza, and I took a mini vacation to Gold Country this week. We stayed at a lodge in Angels Camp and spent one day in Sonora shopping and thrifting. We had dinner in Murphys, the most adorable little town you ever did see. The next day we headed into Colombia to lunch at Kate's Teahouse. What a wonderful place this is! We nibbled on delicious assorted tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh pea soup, yummy lemon bars and cheesecake. We drank peach iced tea, enjoyed the bureau full of buttons and relaxed on the screened back porch before our long ride home. It was a wonderful way to end the summer before Eliza starts her senior year in high school. I'm just not ready for summer to end.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Painted Posies Shoulder Tote!

The Painted Posies Shoulder Tote! Pleated tote created with Painted Posies, Amy Butler Love and Jennifer Paganelli Flower Power fabrics. Large and curvaceous measuring 17" x 18" with 21" straps. Easily worn messenger style acros the chest. Two large interior pockets, magnetic snap closure. Interfaced to add strength and durability. Fully lined, no raw edges. A very stylish daiper bag, book bag, overnight bag or for everyday usa as a generous carry-all. In the Shop, y'all!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Pailsey Slouch

The Paisley Slouch. Generous in size measuring 16" x 17" with two large interior pockets and a magnetic snap closure. Reinforced strap measures 32" and is attached with pewter D-rings. Lovingly created with Jennifer Paganelli Sis Boom and Amy Butler Love. Fully lined with periwinkle Bell Bottom fabric. Accented with a pretty black and white ploka dotted ruffle. A very girly bag, indeed! Several layers of heavy interfacing make this bag very sturdy and extra durable! Perfect as a diaper bag, book bag, overnight bag or a large carry-all. In the shop!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fancy Pillows!

I made some fancy pillows, yes I did! My living room needed some instant color and a quick facelift. A few fancy pillows did the trick. I used Anna Maria Horner fabric plus a bit of gorgeous grey linen (LOVE linen). I have to admit, I have a bit of a "girl crush" on Anna. She is just so amazing! Besides her family life and her incredible career, her fabrics really speak to me. Plus, she's adorable, don't ya think? I love all of her fabric lines, first I fell hard for Chocolate Lolipop, then I was a Garden Party lush, now Good Folks...just can't get enough of it. These pillows mix together those three fabric lines for a fancy and festive, good time! Opa!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nectarine Cobbler - Batter on the Bottom

It's no secret that I love to bake. Fruit dessert are my favorite, but breads are a close runner up. I'll share my love of baking breads as the weather starts to cool. Right now I'm enjoying the summer fruits while they're here. This is a favorite recipe that I vary depending on the fruit I'm using. Sometimes I make it with Sour Morello Cherries from a jar with a raspberry port sauce. Strawberries or cherries are luscious, too. But since fresh nectarines are coming out of our ears, that is what I'm using at the moment.

Nectarine Cobbler

3-4 medium nectarines, sliced
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8"- 9" square glass pyrex dish, non-stick cake pan or large pie dish

Preheat oven to 350. Place half the butter in baking pan and pop it in the oven whilst it preheats. Watch that it doesn't burn, that would be bad. You just want the butter to melt. Remove pan once melted. In a skillet melt remaining butter an add the sliced nectarines, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Cook on med high for about 5 minutes till just warmed through and the butter and sugar has melted. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well. Pour batter into baking pan with the melted butter. Using a slotted spoon transfer the fruit from the skillet to the top of the batter, draining any excess juice...we'll be using that later. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. brown sugar. Place on middle rack in the oven and bake between 50-60 minutes. The edges will be quite browned but you want to make sure the middle is cooked through. All ovens and pans cook differently so use your best judgement. Let cobbler come to room temperature and proceed to serve. If desired, heat remaining juice from skillet with 1 Tbsp jam, any kind will do. I used blueberry here. Pour over cobbler and serve with vanilla ice cream. You could also pour the sauce over the ice cream, that might be really pretty!