Thursday, March 31, 2011

Places to Visit in NYC

Before traveling I made a list of shops I had to visit.... places I read about and wanted to see first hand. Luckily Edie was willing to see them too!

If you read this blog you know I love to bake....but what you might not know is, I love to read cookbooks too. So it's no surprise while in NYC I wanted to visit Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbooks.


Bonnie has a great shop nestled in Greenwich Village filled with enough recipes of gastronomical wonders to last a lifetime. As you walk through the door, you immediately know Bonnie is passionate about what she does.

Edie found a chair to settle into as she took time to study the available books.

Bonnie has a limited assortment of kitchen tools, aprons, bowls and tea towels. Just enough to add visual interest to her store.

Tea cups and cookie cutters litter the shelves. A small book, Tastes of Paradise, is tucked horizontally on the shelf. Wish I would have seen it while there. Bonnie is willing to check her shelves for a book you need and mail it to you. She told me they know her well at the post office. She's sending my selections to me as I didn't want to lug heavy books home.




I asked Bonnie what was the most valuable cookbook in the shop. She proceeded to pull The House Servant's Directory out to show me. This book was written in 1824. It has been professionally rebound. I wish I could have taken a picture of the inside of the book for you....but when she told me the price, I didn't touch it. She thinks it would sell for about 5,000 to 10,000 dollars, a bit more than I had in my purse that day!

The picture above is of my son Jeff. He's a student at NYU. He met us at the store before dinner. I'm including him here to give you an idea of the size of the shop. He pretty much fills the store. Call Bonnie before going to make sure he isn't there! You don't want to have to move him out of the way while browsing! Make sure you save plenty of time to check out all of the titles on the shelves too. I think an afternoon would be about enough time. Bonnie's shop is open from 1-7pm.

I took Elizabeth Scheffield with me to NYC too. Thought I would show my progress. I'm really enjoying working on this one. The over-1 bird took a bit of time....but worth it!

Until later dear friends!

Alma

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New York City


Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

What a trip! Edie McGinnis went with me to NYC for the American Folk Art Museum's quilt show, Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts.

After viewing the show, Edie asked me what was my favorite part.

I couldn't pick out one or two quilts and say...."This was my favorite." This experience was more about the entire show itself.

Look at the lighting on the quilts. Each quilt glows in the "night sky." They spiral into the starry heavens. We were silhouetted in the darkness looking up at them. They were magnificent.

I have never seen such a beautiful show. It was housed in Park Armory. This huge building was the perfect location.

Joanna Rose's collection glowed with a kaleidoscope of beauty. Although a book is coming, and you can find the pictures on Itunes for free, it will never be the same as viewing this show at the Armory.

It reminded me of all I love about quilting.

Texture

Repetition

Positive-Negative space



Motion/Movement

Expression of our world around us




We all gazed up in wonder.

More tomorrow! I have to unpack and do a bit of work!

Alma

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cooking Class

Last night I attended another cooking class at the Culinary Center in downtown Overland Park. Can you guess what we did? It was a hands-on Croissant class.

Eileen Usovicz is the owner and baker at Clock Tower Bakery, which is right across from the Culinary Center. Eileen had us began at the end of the croissant making process. Rolling and cutting the croissants was our first task accomplished. It gave enough time for the croissants to proof and bake. (Which means eating and I'm all for that!) We even got to make pain au chocolat....they were heaven. I would have photographed those too.....but Dave ate them last night.

The layers and wonderful flavor come from butter of course. A 20 pound square of butter is laid on top of the dough. (I'm kidding, we only used 6 1/2 oz of butter.) Rolling and folding the dough layers the butter throughout the dough. It melts during baking and the results are shown below.

Layers of wonderfulness!

My photos could have used more light. Everything here is a bit dark....and I would go and reshoot everything....but I have to confess. I ate one as I worked. Here is the last bite.

Here's the last one....but not to fear. I'm sure Dave will make short work of it.

We left class last night with a bag of hot croissants and with dough already to cut and make more. What a class! The instructor was so organized that all 30 people were smiling and eager to try this again. Croissants are easy to make. She recommended Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. I will be making these again.

The final Anniversaries of the Heart will be ready soon. It will ship to the distributors in 2 1/2 weeks. This pattern will also include the bonus.

Friday, I'm traveling to NYC with Edie McGinnis. (read her posting of March 18th.)
The Folk Art Museum is hosting a very large quilt show, 650 quilts to be exact. In fact, it's the largest quilt show ever shown in the city. It's from March 25-30th. "Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts" will be at the Wade Thompson Drill Hall at the Park Avenue Armory. All this and free too. Hope to see you there!!!

Until later!

Alma

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sock Update

My 5 year old sock is finally moving along. I'm almost done with the heel. This is nothing I could have done on my own. It seems like my pattern is in a foreign language.

I've been going to Old Mill Stitchery on Monday evenings. A group of women meet there from 5-7 pm to stitch and knit. I'm looking longingly at the stitcher's projects, but I'm plugging along with my knitting. Robin, their lovely expert, has been guiding me to a finish. I think Robin could knit socks in her sleep.

I feel sorry for her though. I'm sadly discovering I'm a whiner. There have been grumblings from the ladies. They might secretly move to Tuesday nights. I hope they put up with me though. I've been feeling the need of companionship from a group of fun women.


I read the newsletter from The Attic in Mesa, AZ. Jean, the shop owner, has a sampler of the month program. This is the one for March. (I don't know what is wrong with the picture on the pattern cover...but not to worry. Jean sends one along with the pattern.)

I thought, even if I don't get the entire sampler done the basket along the bottom would be wonderful!

Of course, I then proceeded to start in the upper left-hand corner. I did this while watching TV last night. I stitch in hand....the frame above is all for show.


Jean usually changes the colors. If you've been to her shop you can see she has a great eye! She came up with the silk palette above. I told her to send her entire kit my way.

I've discovered that this blog is going to be 2 years old next month. I can't believe it! I'm grateful you have stuck with me along the way!!! Barb and I are thinking of something fun to celebrate.

Until later dear friends!

Alma

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No Flutes Here!


Turns out, Fairy Gingerbread doesn't want to be fluted, scalloped or cut out with cookie cutters. It was very resistant in fact! The edges just crumbled. The cookies pictured above are not what I imagined. Just not jumping-up-and-down cute are they?

I was kicking myself all day yesterday!!!! Why did I go on about scalloped and fluted edges in my last blog post? Save yourself....go visit another blog where people are normal and sane.


Turns out, cutting them straight is the way to go. Use a pizza cutter.....or your rotary cutter and a ruler to get them all the same size. Go visit Pie O My. She has the recipe and pictures to prove she knows what she is doing in the kitchen.

I did add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. chili powder to mine to give them a bit of a kick. It makes them a bit more flavorful. And forget the 9 tablespoons of brown sugar. Just use 1/2 cup packed.

Use a sweet plate with scallops to serve. You can't just eat one. They are addictive. Try them!

Couple more quick things...

Weeks Dye Works came out with two more sweet linen colors. Charlotte's Pink and Red Pear. These make me hopeful spring isn't too far away.

And I have to give you a sneak peak at Barb's last purchase at the Heart of County.

This long cookie board has 1/2 of the alphabet on one side and the remaining letters are on the reverse of the board.

Look at the detail inside each letter.


I hope Barb will loan it to me next time I work on Spingerle cookies. What a find.

Enjoy your weekend!

Until later,

Alma

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Change of Plans



This plate is missing Fairy Gingerbread...not to worry though. Crisp and scalloped cookies will be served up tomorrow. I received an pressing e-mail from Liz Jones and felt it had to be answered first.

She writes: "How do you use chenille trim? It looks narrow......"

Liz, I should have explained it in more detail on the original blog posting.

Above is the chenille trim dyed by R & R Reproductions. It comes in four wonderful colors. Barb and I have been purchasing the white trim and dyeing it with tan Rit dye. We've used the same formula over and over. Not very exciting or interesting.

We asked Ann and Pat from R & R if they might shake things up a bit for us. They came to market with these five wonderful colors. Fudge, Cocoa, Smoke, Cinnamon and Kelp. Cinnamon and Kelp are calling my name. I can hardly wait to use them. It might take a bit of time, but all of your cross stitch shops should have this product soon!

Here are some pictures that give you an idea of how we use chenille.

The picture above shows one of the best uses of chenille trim. It hides any gap between a wooden or paper mache box lid and the stitched piece. The picture also shows chenille trim before it is dyed. It comes flat and white. Doesn't look much like the trim we use on projects, does it? Wet the trim, dry it and it fluffs up like a new born chick. Click on the word chenille trim in the sentence above and the link will take you to a tutorial I made a couple of years ago on dyeing trim.


Another great use of the trim is shown above. The trim is laid on top of the seam line and your sewing thread is stitched over it to couch it in place. The chenille trim frames the heart pincushion. Wish the lovely green or red shade of chenille had been available to trim the heart....would have been much more dramatic.

The fairies will be busy this afternoon. Will show you the gingerbread tomorrow.

Until later dear friends!

Alma




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Influenced


Cookbooks are right on the top of my reading list. I love to read the ingredients and the directions. The photography makes everything appear delicious and mouth watering.

While browsing in a cooking store last month, two words caught my attention.....Fairy Gingerbread. Who knew fairies even wanted gingerbread? But the mental image of Fairy Gingerbread was so alluring, I had to purchase the magazine. I felt hypnotized....I must have Fairy Gingerbread.....I must have Fairy Gingerbread!!! The magazine's picture made it look light, luscious and crisp. It seems like the wrong season for gingerbread but did I even care? No.

I went right home and made the cookie recipe the next day...it was almost all I could hope for. Those light, flat wafers of gingerbread were delicious and looked sweet, but I though a fluted edge on the cookie would be even better.

The reason for this excessive background detail is pictured below. I needed a tool to give the edge of the cookie a scallop or fluted edge. I think my friend Flona contributed to this fluted edge obsession I have going now. (Scroll down to the blog post of Feb. 14th.)

The tools above and below are my purchases from Heart of Country. The Nashville cross stitch market occurred during the same time as Heart of Country this year. Barb and I always rejoice when this happen. We save one day to visit the antique vendors before setting up our booth.






Flona must be reading my mind. (Poor thing! No one wants to go there!) She gave the biscuit cutters below to me last night. They are from Martha Stewart's collection. You can find them at Macy's.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try the Fairy Gingerbread again and am going to use some of these tools!
Come back to see!

Until later,

Alma

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cross stitch market is one of my favorite places to attend. Lots of wonderful new products. Barb and I weren't able to visit many booths...but we did find some great things in a short period of time. Paula from Kelmscott Designs has some great new scissors. The woven design on this silver pair is one of her newest.

This pair just makes me want to clip threads where ever I go. Aren't they sweet?

If silver isn't your thing...I'm sure one of the above will do just fine! They are called storklettes.

Barb and I love chenille trim. R & R Reproductions now sells chenille trim in 4 colors. Your local shop should have this product if they went to market. I can hardly wait to use these! Soon they will have cotton tapes and rick rack too.

I picked up these three patterns from Lisa Roswell of The Primitive Needle. I love her whimiscal designs and always find time to visit her room. I found out today that Lisa died yesterday in flood waters in Norwalk, OH. Her daughter posted on her mom's blog today. What a lovely woman Lisa was. She always greeted each person with a smile and kind words. She will be greatly missed!

Until later dear friends!

Alma