Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A New Start and a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Gentle Friends thank you so much for your kind comments about "Merry and Bright."  I started in on a little Christmas piece I had already kitted up.......

... it's called "J'arrive" and is from Tournicoton.  I saw this a few months ago and immediately wanted to stitch it up, it is a bit more "cartoony" than things I usually do, but that doesn't worry me a bit, the French  directions, that's another story, I have figured out all the different specialty stitches and where the beads and bits all go - so I'll stitch along and I am sure it will turn out fine.  The crazy linen is Silkweavers "Ametrine," it is the called for linen, and not from my stash...... my stash linen leans more towards the beige, brown, grey, did I mention beige..... not purple splotchy and gold.....  I wanted to stitch something that was more out of my comfort zone, and this great little piece fit the bill......

Since today is the last day I'll be here this week I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!


That about wraps it up, thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Merry & Bright" Finish and Some Thrifty Finds

Gentle Friends with this being a very short week for me, only two days, I'm going to double up on my usual posting stuff...... Over the weekend I finished up a Christmas WIP from last year.......

.... "Merry & Bright" designed by Erynne Chard 
Stitched on Silkweaver 32ct "Sudden Storm" using assorted flosses

You can click HERE to go to her Blog and the pattern.  It was a fun piece to work up and since it has sat in the WIP basket a year, it was about time I got it completed. I took the piece outside into the bright sunlight to get this snap and try and get a decent picture...

Saturday I also got to run around to the various Consignment/Thrift shops and found a few things......

From l to r and Fact based novel of the creation of "A Christmas Carol", "The Bucolic Plague" is Kilmer-Purcells' second memoir recounting the purchase of the 1802  Beekman Mansion and goat farm in Sharon Springs NY.  I picked up 3 DVD's, "Fathers little Dividend," "The Bell's of St Trinian's," and Cartoon networks Halloween Cartoons.  I also found a couple of nice pieces of cut glass, a small bright cut dish and a new (with the tags still on) Waterford Round Ring Holder.  A great piece I found was a mid 19th century brass candle stick, above is before polishing.......

.... and after polishing, I love the look of old brass, it has such a great warm glow about it.....

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thrifty Balleek-y Bargins

Gentle Friends how interesting were the comments yesterday????  As you know I usually start writing my Posts at about 5:30am when I first get in, and then sort of tweak them for a while until I think they are worth posting, that involves fixing what grammatical mistakes I can find and all the spelling issues, I'm a bad speller   and I know it - and I admit it !!  So, you must take what I write with a grain of salt and just sort of chuckle along with me........In the past I was once a "shop girl" and have been on the "Hello, may I help you?" questioning end of things, so 1) I do know that staff is required to ask those questions and 2) I also know, that they are not required to ask the same question 5, 6 or 7 times as you peruse the store and look on your own - or at least the few "shop" jobs I have had we were not required to harass the customers with "help".  

I think it is the constant "help fullness" that gets to me, more so than the greeting.   I do like the French way of shopping .... "Bonjour" as you walk in then being left alone, I loved my trip to France in so many ways!! I hope that clears up any hurt or ill will that was read into or gotten from my Post yesterday......

Over the weekend I ran around as is usual to the various Thrifty, Consignment and Goodwill type shops I frequent and found two little bits of Irish porcelain.  I can go months without seeing any Balleek, and then all of a sudden, BAM, two pieces in a single day.....  here's a snap...

... I found them at two different shops - the little Angel is from the "Choir of Angles" and is called Harp, she is on the new side as the were produced from 1999-2003, I don't think she was ever hung on a tree as she still has her sticker on the inside near the clapper (this little angle is a faux bell) - and was she dusty.  I think it was a display piece, but how sad for an ornament to never have hung on a tree....  the shell bowl is quite a bit older as it has the black 3rd mark dating it to between 1926 - 1946.  I am not a big Balleek fan, but I am a fan of quality bits of porcelain, so I am not too sure what I might do with them.....

There you go sports fans, thanks so much for stopping by do stop again.... and for your comments and emails - and I also wanted to say Hello and Welcome to all my new Followers!!!  

Take care,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shopping Downtown SF

Gentle Friends as you well know shopping, for the most part, is one of the things I really care for the least.  I do not care for the crowds, the noise, the silly "shop girls" with their "May I help you" every two feet, I am perfectly capable of looking and if I have a question I can find you, now go away and fold something!!!    

This past weekend I made another trek to "downtown."  To me anything off of the Valencia Street corridor, or out of Noe Valley... and within a few blocks of Union Square is "Downtown."  Once again I was on a specific quest, back to Lupicia, for my yearly supply of Christmas teas, they had come in, I called last Friday and was told they had come in on Monday, 11/11 - I also mentioned I had not received an email about their arrival.... the email came this past Monday.

So I ventured out of Noe Valley, got on the 24 Bus to get on the Muni underground at Market and Castro and then zoooom 4 stops later I was .......here....

..... the underground entrance to the Westfield SF Centre, it's a Mall, and this entrance leads one onto the Food Floor....  way too many temptations so up, up, up I went changing escalators at every floor until I was on the 3rd floor and in front of Lupicia.....

.... I could tell right away that it was Christmas since all the Fall stuff was gone... and the big "Season's Greetings" sign in the window, nothing gets past me!!

On the first big display table were the Christmas Signature teas.....in gift tins, or bags and they even have little glass cups with the each flovour of loose tea so that you can smell it and see just how lovely this stuff is....

from l to r - "Jingle Bells"  and described by Lupicia marketing as..."a black tea scented with refreshing grapes and fruity champagne" - I love me some "Jingle Bells", next up is "White Christmas" - described as..."tea flavoured with white chocolate and apricot conjuring up images of baked Christmas sweets" - this is a great tea that does really well with a splash of cream and honey!! ...... and going along there is "Cache-Cache," a tea I do not care for and did not get, I tried it a few years ago, found it not to my taste and since there were much better teas to be had this is one I leave alone - and - last but certainly not least is "Carol" - described as "tea flavoured with strawberry and vanilla and elegantly decorated with rose petals" - This was a new tea to me and I really enjoyed this one!!  It was the "tasting tea" while I was there, they have a pot brewing with different teas to try while you shop, nice touch!!

Behind the large main display table of big tins of tea were the gift packs of smaller tins for Christmas presents....

... I really like these smaller tin sizes, and they are packed so nicely!!

I left with these teas.....

.... a new Jingle Bells tin and a tin of Carol, I also picked up a bag of White Christmas and filled up my old tin.  Now I am set for Christmas tea through the whole season!!

The Westfield Shopping Centre is a gigantic building and is housed in the old Emporium Store Space, when they built it ( or rebuilt it) they kept the historic Emporium facade, and dome, so that the front of the building on Market Street looks so much better than the underground entrance......  here's a snap....

That's my little adventure downtown to get me some tea!!  Thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Hunka Hunka Tasty Cake.......

Gentle Friends, a clever title escaped me this morning so I went with a silly title.  Since Tuesday is all about "cake" I'll talk about Sundays baking adventure.....  I found the recipe over at Brandie's Blog "Country Cook" and it got there by way of a cookbook called "Come Home to Supper " from Christy Jordan.  Called "Elvis Presley Cake" - I was intrigued to say the least.  It comes together really easy with the cake part a basic yellow cake .........  here's a snap...

....  the only downside to this cake, and it is hardly a downside is that when I went to cut it I found it to be a be sticky where the pineapple layer was and it tended to pull on the knife, but that is small potatoes with such a really tasty cake!!  Easy and quick  - give it a shot!!!  Thanks Brandie and Christy!!!!
That's about it for today sports fans, no stitching last night because of the Estate Planning workshop at the Lawyers - which by the way went spectacularly well.  The  workshop went way over time, but that didn't matter, it was VERY informative!! I left with not only a ton of information but with the following legal paperwork signed and in place...... My Will, My Health Care Directive, and Power of Attorney for financial maters, all these things just in case I become incapacitated.  At 50, I ain't gettin' any younger....... I would highly recommend everyone getting these things in order because if they are not in place and something, god forbids happens, then it is NOT your decisions any longer to make.... but the courts will step in and make the decisions for you.......  I would rather make the decisions now while I can -  than let some stranger who doesn't know me or have a clue as to what I want make them for me!!!!  Kind of a control freak in that regard!!

Thanks again for stopping by, so stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Merry and Bright" Stitchin'

Gentle Friends I din;t get nearly the amount of stitching done that I had planned, it just seemed that one thing safer another kept me from needle and floss..... but I did get some done and here's the little bit of progress I made......  it's another craptastique snaperoo.......

.....  this snap was taken last night and it was pitch dark outside and the flash makes the linen look totally off colour, I am thinking that it will never photograph correctly.  There won't be much stitching tonight as I have an Estate Workshop at my lawyers office and that will suck up about 3 or more hours.......

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Stitchin' Update

Gentle friends I'll wrap up the week with a snap of "Merry and Bright" and where it stands at the moment - 

..... now it's just a matter of filling in the boxes and the candy canes along the outside and it'll be a done deal.

That's about it for today - have a super weekend and thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!

Take care,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thrifty Thursday

Gentle Friends we got out thrifting this weekend and there were a few fun finds, unlike the weekend before when there was nothing out there at all......  and that will happen, but it is a fun game of search and search for that elusive treasure.

... and the bits I found from l to r.... another Blue & White "Dutch" stoneware bowl, now I've got two of these, hand painted transfer ware, I just wish I could find out how old this sucker is, three great DVD's, AYBS Collection Series 1-5, we love this show and watch whenever it comes on, and it's on quite a bit, "The Santa Clause" a great three movie franchise, I didn't have this 1st one now I need to find the third and I'll have the set, and the Rosemary Clooney DVD, songs from her TV shows in 1956 and 57 with interviews from her children, Her nephew, George Clooney and her brother Nick, a great DVD of a wonderful singer!!  I found this super "bright cut" piece of glass and when I got to the counter it was on sale and was 1/2 price, now the sticker said $4, so how could I have miss at $2 (Just a side note - we also stopped a Bed Bath and Beyond and they had their Christmas glass things out on display and the price for a very inferior NEW glass dish of about the same size was priced at $39.99, just goes to show you that there are some bargains to be found)....... and a book about WWII from D-Day to a few months after the war -  and the impact it made on the civilians as both armies fought it out - across the fields, farms and cities of Europe.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!

Take care,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Delicious Dandelion Chocolate

Gentle Friends I already had a place in mind I was going to go to and get some snaps and talk about today..... but all my plans were scuttled while I was driving over to one of the Thrift Shops I frequent.  Usually I drive North on Valencia Street, dodging all the bicycles weaving in and out of traffic.  Well, this past Saturday there were fewer bikes on the road, which let me pay more attention to the shops on either side of the street.  One of the shops I noticed, in fact honed in on for some reason, was Dandelion Chocolates.  I had never noticed the store front before, although I had seen Dandelion Chocolates at my Favorite Chocolate store on 24th Street "Chocolate Covered" - HERE's my June 24th Post.  

After shopping at the Thrift Store I poured some more change into the parking meter, grabbed my camera and headed to Dandelion Chocolate.

... standing outside taking this snap I could smell the chocolate wafting on the breeze.....  enticing!!

... on either side of the cafe at the front of the store are displays about where they have sourced the chocolate... 

a copy of the drinks menu

 ......in the cafe you cane order Hot or Cold chocolate, different Mocha's or even coffee and......

Saturdays selection from the pastry chef Lisa Vega

......accompany your drink with a choice from the ever changing pastry selection.....

What's really fun about this place, other than the luscious chocolate, is that the back of the store is wide open and they make the chocolate from bean to bar while you watch, with explanation along the way as to what they are doing.

... a couple of the machines that they use to make chocolate...  in front of these is an open area .....

... where they make the bars....  starting on the left the gal in the beige shirt fills the bar molds from the stream of chocolate in front of her....  then passes the filled mold to the guy on the right who puts it on the shaker to remove the air bubbles and from there the molds go into a cold box.  The solidified chocolate is taken out of the cold boxes by the gals on the other side of the table and knocked out and wrapped up for sale.  Along the wall on the shelves behind them are large blocks of chocolate wrapped up in plastic.

... looking from the back of the store towards the front cafe - the cold box is on the right - and on the left is some detailed info about how chocolate goes from bean to bar.

... a better shot of the back stock blocks and below them are the spinning pots of tempering chocolate, all of them were full of steaming dark chocolate.....

... they have lots of events. like meet the makers, and workshops for hands on making chocolate.

I couldn't leave without a little treat....

... when I got home I got out my 2 cup tea pot, made some Anastasia tea and enjoyed......

..... a Dulce de Leche Bar..... that is flaked sea salt, I love the salty/sweet of chocolate and salt!!  If you ever visit San Francisco, make a point of stopping in at Dandelion Chocolate on Valencia, not only will you have some great chocolate but Valencia Street is a great place to shop and people watch!!

That's about it for today sports fans.  Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cake Day

Gentle Friends today I have a super recipe I found over at "South Your Mouth" a Blog written and run by Mandy - it is a great place for some super recipes  - go check it out!!  On Sunday afternoon I baked up one of her cakes from a recent post, called "Preacher Cake" - I was totally intrigued by the name and after reading over the recipe it sounded like a total winner...and it was...I made it in a 13 x 9 pan, but it could have been easily been adapted to either cupcakes or a layer cake.....here is is after cooling and icing.....

... the only changes I made were to add some grated nutmeg to the dry ingredients and to butter and flour the pan - I like dong that so much better than spraying with cooking spray.  The cake is very moist and goes very well with a cup of coffee.....

....the cake is very soft and moist and the hack job I did on it was reprehensible, 
but it still tasted great and was gobbled up!!!

That does it for today, it is a sort of a drive by post today!!  Thanks fro stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some "Merry and Bright " Stitching

Gentle Friends I spent my weekend stitching time on M&B and here's a snap of the progress made.....

...... these little squares stitch up on the quick side.  That's about it for today, a really short post because not too much is going on around here - thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, November 8, 2013

A MIA SAL that is once again a WIP

Gentle Friends after finishing up "Feasty" I wanted to move on to a Christmas piece and although I have a couple of things kitted up and ready to "hit the needle" I was not in the mood for something brand new, can you bleive that!!  So I dug around in the basket o'stitching and found a SAL piece I had started last year.  The piece got put to the side when things fell into a tailspin last Fall..........  so I pulled it out and found that it is still a great little piece to work on and with a great name....  "Merry and Bright".....  here's a less than great shot of where mine stands at the moment....

... the linen is called stormy sky or something like that and is way more blue than this picture lets on.  I have changed up most of the floss from the recommended list....  the chart can be found at "Stitcheree" and was designed by Erynne.  It's what is on the snap this weekend.

That about does it for the week sports fans, thanks for stopping by and for all your kind comments and emails!!  Have a super weekend!

Take care,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Noe Valley Stuff.......

Gentle Friends in keeping with my SF Wednesday I thought I would bring you a couple of little nuggets from the area of the City where we live.  The city is broken up into neighborhoods and we live in Noe Valley, named after Jose de Jesus Noe, the last Mexican Alcalde (Mayor) of Yerba Buena (Present day San Francisco) who owned what is now Now Valley as part of his Rancho San Miguel.    One of the largest buildings in the Valley is James Lick Middle School.  This large building and grounds sit sort of in the middle of the Valley and is a focal point for the area.  I tried to find out some info about the school and its history but could only find that the building was completed in 1932......  it has a great Art Deco look about it and here are some snaps.....

... the front of the school facing Noe Street....

... the front door detail... notice the great mosaics that the art department has installed.  You can find them all over the outside attached to the original wall/fencing....

... detail of the doorway above the lintel...

the Auditorium doorway......

... along the outside are these great details.......  


Another treat from the Valley is Buds Ice Cream, originally made at 24th and Castro Streets by Bud Scheideman it was sold in 1952 to his cousin Alvin Edlin who expanded this local brand to made it a SF Icon.  It was eventually sold in the 80's but is still being made here in the Bay area, over in Oakland.  They produce a seasonal treat that has already strated to show up in the stores..... 
and we get some every year......

.... they'll only be selling this through the Holidays and then it disappears for another year!!   - and - with a little extra "nog".....

...... you just can't beat it on a cold winters evening!!

That's about it for today sports fans - thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Great Autumnal Cake.... Edited to add the use of the Lemon.....

Gentle Friends thank you all so much for your kind comments and emails about "Feast'y."  It was a fun piece to work on -

Sunday afternoon I decided to bake up a super easy and really great seasonal cake - it is a recipe from my DMIL and she got it from a neighbor who brought it west in the great migration out of the dust bowl in the 1930's.

......The cake is full of apples and nuts and I might have talked about it last year, but it is so good it's worth mentioning again!!  Here's the recipe.......

"Mom's Fresh Apple Cake"

4C Fresh peeled, cored and diced apples (red delicious)
      ( I used a mix of apples, Fuji, red delicious, Golden Delicious, and a Braeburn)
2C Sugar
1/2 C Oil
2 Eggs well beaten (room temperature)
2 teas Vanilla
1 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts
2C Sifted AP Flour
2 teas Soda (baking)
2 teas Cinnamon
1 teas salt
1 lemon for the juice 
I also added a big fat pinch of ground clove, at least 1 teas of nutmeg and at least a teas of ground ginger

Peel, core and chop apples, put in bowl with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning too much while you get them all prepped.  Combine apples and sugar, mix well. 

 Add oil, nuts, eggs, vanilla, blend.  Sift together dry ingredients.  

Add to apple mixture, blend.  Pour into a greased and floured 9x13x2 baking pan.  Bake 1 hour at 350.  My oven is on the hot side so my cake was done at 50 minutes.  When the cake has cooled turn it out of the pan and cut into squares - I sprinkled some icing sugar on top since the cake is so moist it needs no real icing......


That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, November 4, 2013

A "Feast"y Finish

Gentle Friends how's that for a clever title... sometimes I just amaze myself. :)  

It was a nice almost perfect weekend, cool and breeze, with lots of sunny blue skies.....  were did all our lovely fog go???  You can always tell when the weather starts to dip into the cold region, our neighborhood takes on the "winter odor" of oncoming snow.  A smell in the air, crisp and woodsy, smokey and a bit moist - it's a smell I always associate with growing up in Upper Marlboro MD, except there we could expect and often got lots of snow, were here it just gets cold and lovely without all the snow, which is sad, but it is much easier to drive around town.

I wanted to show my latest stitchity finish....  

"Feast of Friendship" designed by Blackbird designs - 9/18 to 11/3/13 - 36ct "Barn Owl"
Using most of the recommended over dyed floss', except I changed GAST "Piney Woods" for CC "Baby Spinach and I added CC "Sassy Brass" to the Roof.

My green floss change was because "Piney Woods" was almost a black green and I thought it was way to dark.  My addition of "Sassy Brass" to the roof was to make the squares pop a bit more, the recommended floss was stitching into one big lump of orange, and I wanted them to look more checkered and Fall like - giving the impression of leaves.....  I may at some point frog out the words and stitch something else, I almost did that this weekend, I had found a couple of short Fall poems that would work better, doing them over one they would totally fit, but I got lazy and just stitched what was there.  I also changed the year date, from a stitched sort of number mess on one side and stitched  it on either side of the bowl pedestal, making them more even, I like it better, and remember like with floss changes, you gotta please number one first!!  Here's a detail I really like .......

... I think it's my favorite part on this whole silly sampler.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, November 1, 2013

Converting Floss Colours from DMC to Belle Soie

Gentle Friends I thought today I would talk about how I go about converting floss in projects.  I talk about converting floss all the time and get quite a few emails with questions about how I go about it so let me know if this explanation is clear......

  I often convert, change, substitute, add, subtract, fix floss choices in different projects for various reasons.  The main reasons I would change the floss is I do not like the recommended colours or floss chosen by the designer - or - I want to use silk instead of cotton to stitch with.  Whatever the reason I approach each project with two things in mind 1) It's mine and I am the one doing the work, so I gotta please me and 2) I want the end product to be something I would like.  That seems so me-centric, but in the long run you gotta please number one before pleasing someone else, am I right??  Don't get me wrong, I like using DMC and on many projects the end result will only be "right" if I use DMC or some cotton equivalent, so that's what I will use - and just I know that over dyed silk just won't cut it!

My next project, and I am almost there with that decision, is going to be another biggish sampler.  It is one I saw a long long time ago on a Blog, I inquired what is was and then went on the hunt for the chart.  Of course it was an older chart, which turned out to be a OOP/discontinued Kit - so I turned to the bay of evil and eventually won not just one used kit - which came with a knot of used little bits of DMC floss and the chart, but also won another complete kit with the linen and a set of unused skeins of DMC..... here's a snaperoo ......

......  for the picture I have unfolded the gigantic piece of 28ct linen and put out the chart "Sarah Maddock Sampler" and the skeins of DMC all of these things that came in the kit.  Now, for sure I'll be changing out the linen, it is just to low a count for me to be comfortable with stitching on anymore and I'll up it to a piece of 36ct or even 40ct, but choosing the floss is topmost on the agenda today.....

I knew from the get go that I was stitching this in my go to silk, Belle Soie so out came my rings of BS - I then just start going through them and matching up a skein of DMC with a BS colour and shifting back and forth to come up with the palette that the kit calls for.  The biggest problem I had with this conversion was with the blues.  They lean more toward the blue/green than the bright blue Belle Soie is dyed so I chose four blues that covered the four shades of blue required.  For this sampler there are few colours so I will be adding other colours, like "Red Fox" for the house, at the moment it is charted the light pink colour and I want a more brick tone.  I also know I'll be knocking out the grapes in the border with purples and not blues.  It was the border that attracted me to this in the first place and I want purple grapes.  I'll probably add another green but I am waffling about that decision.

This little "conversion" took about 1/2 hour and I'll still tweak it as I go along, but for the most part I am pretty happy with my decisions, but I am flexible so I may change my mind as I go along.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, have a super weekend and do stop again!!

Take care,