Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sorry, wrong link

The link to my blog should have been


"Rainbow Fish'"Auction

Auction for "Rainbow Fish" to benefit Heal the Bay is now at $150.00!

"Rainbow Fish " Auction Update

The current bid for the "Rainbow Fish" quilt auction to benefit Heal the Bay is at $65.00. Ends tonight at midnight.
Thanks bidders!

"Rainbow Fish" Auction Ends Tonight at Midnight

I f you were planning on bidding on "Rainbow Fish" best do it now! The auction ends at midnight tonight. The current bid is $50.00. All proceeds will go to Heal the Bay.  Free shipping! Scroll down to last weeks blog for more detailed photos.  just email me at with your bid!

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere!

 The weekend before Christmas has always meant cookies in my mind. Flurries of flour and powdered sugar, colorful decorating sugar crunching underneath your feet, the smell of vanilla and ginger....As a little girl some of my best memories are working in the kitchen with my mother making piles of Christmas Sugar Cookies which were delivered to friends, family, teachers and the mail man. Those shapes we made are ever familiar - I still use my mother's cutters - the pony,  Santa Claus, bell, and Christmas tree from the 1950s in my cookies today.

The gingerbread people, snowman, snowflakes and mini holly leaves are my own addition to the family tradition. This year I replaced my time honored recipe with one published as one of the 50 Best cookies by the Los Angeles Times Food Section. Thanks Russ Parsons! This recipe with the fresh grated ginger is a keeper!

The almond crescents at upper right in the second photo are also a homage to my Mom, though I lost her recipe and had to find a replacement. I think the recipe I use now is Nancy Silverton's from one of her early books. The Bourbon Balls are another family recipe - yes, bourbon, never rum! They were eventually rolled in powdered sugar and are almost entirely gone already!

The Toffee Macadamia Nut cookies are my own addition to the yearly buffet. These were found about five years ago in a Martha Stewart Cookie Contest and are simply the best cookie ever! Everyone I've ever offered them to says so...... So here's the recipe as my present to you this year.

 Makes 36 big cookies 
    1 1/2  cups unsalted butter -- softened
   1  cup granulated sugar
   2/3  cup  light brown sugar -- packed
   2  large eggs
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
   2 teaspoons baking soda
   1 teaspoon salt
   3 cups  toffee chips
   2 1/2  cups  macadamia nuts -- coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.(I like the parchment better for these - the bottoms get crunchier)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and beat to combine. In a medium bowl whisk the flours, baling soda and salt until combined. Mix in toffee chips and macadamia nuts.

Scoop dough out onto prepared baking sheets using a 2 ounce ice-cream scoop, placing them 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until golden and just set, rotating the sheets between the oven racks halfway through to ensure even browning, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies from the sheet to rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

Note: ( I make these with a smaller scoop than the recipe says - better for the waistline - and bake them 12 minutes) 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We have a bid on "Rainbow Fish"!

We have a $50.00 bid on my "Rainbow Fish" quilt auction from a great supporter of Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium! Here is the link to all the info about the auction which ends at Midnight on December 21st! . Join in to help fund this wonderful organization. I'll update here and on Facebook as the bids come in.....

My quilt "Silk Fantasy A La Diane" is highlighted on The Quilt Show!

A friend emailed me this morning (Thanks to Aileen - I might have missed it!) the happy news that my quilt "Silk Fantasy A La Diane " is featured today on The Quilt Show's Daily Blog highlighting the quilts shown in the Merit Quilting category at Houston Quilt Festival. Thanks Alex and Ricky!
Here's the link - when you get there just click on the play arrow - mine is photo #12 in the Smilebox slideshow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One of my quilts is up for auction!

Inspired by Monika Kinner-Whalen of the My Sweet Prairie blog, I'm placing one of my small art quilts up for auction this week. The total auction price will benefit Heal the Bay - a Santa Monica Based charity which focuses on making southern California's coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean and supports the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Here's the quilt....

"Rainbow Fish"
15" X 13.5"
I chose this quilt as an appropriate subject for Heal the Bay - The title is inspired by Marcus Pfister's wonderful children's book which we read to our son countless times in the 1990s. The quilt was made using Sue Carlson's fabric collage technique  in which small bits and snippets of fabrics are glued to a foundation . The colorful fabrics are all bits and pieces of hand dyes and exotic batiks carefully chosen to blend, delineate and give some sparkle to the simple fish design. When the collage was complete, I captured the fish beneath a layer of tulle free motion quilted it all using gold metallic and silk threads.  The edge treatment is also a Sue Carlson technique adding a quirky pinked edge to the framed composition.  Click on the fish above for a larger version and on the smaller details below.

Here is the information on the auction  The  highest bidder by midnight on December 21st will have the quilt mailed to them (shipping is on me as long as it is within the US).  100% of the final winning bid price will be used sent as a donation to Heal the Bay.  I will post the "highest bid" in the comments section for this post as they come in.
If you are interested, all you need to do is email your bid to me at
I will post the bids as they come in on my blog. Once the announcement is made as to how much the quilt has sold for, I will contact that person with info on how/where to send payment.  The check can be made out to Heal the Bay if you want a tax deduction. The quilt will me mailed once the payment has been received.  At that time I will forward on the donation in the winner's name to Heal the Bay.  The winner can remain anonymous of they prefer.

Good luck everybody!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sew.... Food?

For some time I've wanted to integrate my love of cooking and food in general into my blogging attempts, so today, here is my first food related rambling. Inspired by a trip to one of our local SoCal farmers markets on Saturday morning, I shot some photos of my hoard. I was in Santa Monica - not at the world famous, huge and slightly intimidating Third Street market hyped far and wide as one of the world's best  - but at the smaller, homier, more manageable market at Virginia Park on the western fringe of Santa Monica at Cloverfield and Pico Blvd. Parking is easier, it's closer to our home in Westwood and is in general much more user friendly than its huge and glamorous downtown counterpart.

My first find was this amazing display of Romanesco cauliflower all laid out on the grower's table.  Does anyone else see little chartreuse horney toads or dinosaur skin?  I am completely fascinating with their perfectly geometric spirals! The texture is amazing and I only wish Icould figure out some way to capture it in a quilt......

 The same stand  - the charming and smiling  English guy who also sells seven different kinds of potatoes from the teeniest of fingerlings to huge gorgeous German things that looked like Yukon Golds to me -  had several kinds of exotic radishes including the two pictured here on the right - a watermelon radish and a honeydew radish. They both are lovely and sweet with just a tiny bit of radish heat. The pink and green one was spectacular in last night's salad.

 Finally, I was astonished that even in mid- December there were heirloom tomatoes available from some sellers from the central coast. I love these and the still life they provide in my Delft dish on our kitchen counter.oh, the many blessings of living in southern California!

Why was I a few miles away from our neighborhood? Our own beloved farmers' market housed for several years on the Veteran's Administration Campus off Sepulveda Blvd. just a quarter of a mile from our house has been discontinued, a victim of a recent VA policy to ban all commercial venues from the property. I understand that the car rental storage lots, and other commercial sites will disappear as their contracts expire, but it seems such a shame and unnecessary that something like the market which benefited the neighborhood as well as the hundreds of VA employees  had to go, too.