Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stuffed To the Gills!

This little guy was inspired by the giant brown mushrooms 
that grew this fall beneath one of our pine trees.  
I was captivated by the cracked brown patches covering the caps,
  similar to a tortoise shell.
Sewing ruffles and pleats through the quiet evening hours
filled my heart with giddy anticipation of more to come!

 Feeling a little hungry, I ventured into the kitchen 
and look what I made
Alton Brown's

Briefly, here's the process:
 Roast potatoes and butternut squash. 
 Use a hand-held potato masher and mash well. 
Mix in an egg, nutmeg and salt.
Gradually add the four until a soft dough forms.
Easy so far, right?
 Next, working in batches, scoop out a handful of the dough and 
roll into a rope. Cut 1/2" pieces and set them on a floured tray (above.)
They can be frozen at this point, but I was hungry....
 Again, working in batches, drop these little gems 
into boiling salted water. They'll float when they're done. 
Place them directly into an ice bath, 
dry on a towel (above), move to a dish and toss in oil.
 Once all of the dumplings are boiled and cooled
they can be finished in a brown butter and sage sauce
by first melting butter in a skillet. 
Once brown and frothy, add a bunch of sage leaves chiffonade
quickly followed by about a cup of the dumplings. 
I let mine brown up on a few sides. 
Topped with a little parmesan, these tasty treats didn't stand a chance.
Seasonal comfort food well worth the effort.
I highly recommend this recipe, 
and it's the first time I've successfully made dumplings. 
If you'd like the recipe, click here.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Leaves, Stenciled and Steamed

Too pretty to eat? 
Scroll down for details!  

These days, seeking to make the most  
of fall foliage before snow falls, I'm often in the yard 
gathering every last good looking leaf.
Above, a bundle of bronze fennel and some rusty bits.
Below, the same bundle is unfurled, washed and dried.
From a bundle of Sugar Maple and iron bits.
A bundle of fern, onion skin and bronze fennel.
  That same bundle unfurled, backlit by the sun.
And finally, washed and dried.
    I'm excited about the growing pile of colorful, patterned silks 
in the studio patiently waiting for winter sewing. 
Stay tuned for future work incorporating these gems. 
Together we'll see what comes of all this work (and play)!
With just a few months of dedicated natural dye experimentation 
under my belt, I'm hopelessly smitten and
I'm already making notes for spring. :)

Rising to meet my Personal Pie Challenge for October
is my cousin Abby's Velvety Pumpin Tart, 
found in her book The Weekend Baker.
I'm extra proud of myself with this one because 
it's the first time I've used my tart pan, and 
c'mon - that stencil rocks!
Abby's clear directions simplified each step from start to finish.  
After slicing into this seasonal treat I completely agree with Abby - 
it's so velvety and flavorful that it's definitely replacing 
my (old) Thanksgiving pumpkin pie!
Did I mention the gingersnap crust or the very flavorful filling? 
Thanks Abby. This one is definitely a winner!

Well, this slice of pie and a fresh hot cup of coffee are
heading back to the Studio with me for the rest of the afternoon - 
I hear some silks calling my name.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

All Treats!

My talented, handsome, fun-loving nephews, 
Brett (left) and Bryce (right), recently came over 
for an evening of pumpkin carving and seed roasting!
 Nothing but laughs as Jeff pretended to be Martha Stewart  
waxing poetic about each pumpkin's carving potential.
 Getting down to brass tacks, Brett and I opted for simple faces, 
while Bryce took time for detailed expression....
 Guess which one is Bryce's?

With faces glowing and seeds roasting, 
our evening wound down with (burn-our-mouths) hot apple crisp!  
Here's Ina Garten's Old Fashioned Apple Crisp
and as our burnt mouths can attest, it's a keeper!
Serving as September's contribution to my 
year-long Personal Pie Challenge, 
this crisp is everything you want a crisp to be. 
Adding pears, cranberries and walnuts would  
likely create crisp bliss.

If you follow this blog you may know 
I'm a long time fan of Alabama Chanin / Natalie Chanin 
and have steadily been hand sewing my own wardrobe 
in the AC style.
 Organic, cotton jersey, stenciled and reverse appliqued.
If you're in the Cortland area and want to learn 
the simple pleasure of hand sewing 
your own basic fingerless gloves (advanced shown above), 
sign ups are happening now for my workshop 
held at Cinch Art Space on
Saturday, October 26th from 11:00-1:00.
At Cinch on Saturday, November 9th from 1:00-4:00
I'm teaching an advanced sewing workshop (the two photos above)
where we'll learn a variety of easy, gorgeous hand sewn 
embellishment techniques.
This workshop turns up the volume on the basic gloves.
The basic glove workshop is recommended, but not required.

Quick, effortless and addictive.
Sign up now and join the fun!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


 While having a blast with Vickie, Mary, Priscilla and Tracy 
at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival last weekend, 
I came upon this little beauty, 
a prize find indeed. 
Kelli Terwilliger and her dad, Gary,
collaborated to create this tool that she calls
 Llabrys Niddy Nosty.
 It's a Niddy Noddy and Nostepinne
all in one. Brilliant! 
You can purchase this compact, gorgeous, locally made 
tool at Kelli's online shop:

For a truly wonderful look at the festival, 
please check out Tracy's blog:

Back at home with all these leaves covering our lawn 
it's high time to try my hand at leaf prints on paper.
As they say, "Get while the getting's good!"
First, I soaked watercolor papers in an alum bath 
and set aside to dry.
Next, I gathered leaves and layered them between papers.
Finally, I steamed the pressed paper bundle for a few hours. 
Where to go from here? 
Making marks with stitch and cloth seems obvious, 
but perhaps some rubbings, pen and ink, 
mark making with unconventional tools....
we shall see!
Oh, if you're interested, 
Sugar Maple, Silver Birch, Rhododendron, Cherry leaves
and a bit of rusty metal were used, 
and all were scavenged off the ground. 

Enjoy Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song), 
performed by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford 
for the upcoming Coen brothers' film, Inside Llewyn Davis. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Breathing Space

 Sorry for the lapse in posts; however, 
I've been taking advantage of some time to breathe.
As gorgeous as Fall is in upstate NY, it doesn't 
stick around very long, so I've been out and about 
enjoying some of our local sights and sounds.  
 The Ithaca Farmer's Market (both photos above) 
is brimming with exuberant colors and flavors.
My garden is envious!
 Many of you know my dear friend Carol Horton. 
 She treated us to her favorite food vendor's 
fresh, tasty spring rolls with plum sauce and crushed peanuts!
 A market highlight: discovering the sprout lady 
(my made up name for her because 
I can't remember the business name.)
 Reaching for more radish and sunflower sprouts!

I'll be back to visit other food vendors, like Cambodia - 
and to pick up more antique apples from Black Diamond Farm 
(thanks Vickie!) So many talented artists, too.... 
 Since my previous post, my mom celebrated her 
75th Birthday, and this is the pool bag I created just for her.
The bag's proportions are good for my mom's height.
Stuffed with a giant pool towel, the bag also has pockets  
for my mom's sunglasses, sunscreen, phone and keys.
Her Kindle and i-pad will fit in there, too.
 Meant for years of use, Alexander Henry fabric 
and cotton duck should hold up well.   
Happy Birthday, Mom!
 I just finished this Tulip Purse for myself
(the fabrics were cut several months ago).
Silly kitty. This is a knitting bag, not a kitty bed.
This particular bag is holding my Goodnough sweater
(pattern by Blue Peninsula.
I swoon over corduroy. 
It brings me right back to my happy childhood 
in the 70's (no surprise!) 
The button I chose for this bag was made by 
the super talented MaryAnn Carroll
and you can find more of her beads, buttons 
and jewelry here on her Etsy shop.

Now back on track for weekly posts, 
I hope to see you next week!