Monday, July 23, 2012

Bunting Tutorial

A few years ago I made this bunting with some old curtain fabric and we have had fun with it, but I wanted to make a longer string so I went fabric shopping at JoAnnes, but I just couldn't find anything I liked. After stewing about it for a couple of days I remembered that WalMart has fabric so Teen2 and I trotted over there one evening and SHOCK! they had some of the cutest fabrics! I got two yards of two different patterns and four yards of a third pattern; all co-ordinating, of course.
 Here's a drawing of my template and how I laid the triangles out on the fabric. I cut the template out of cardboard so I could trace around it again and again. The triangle is 11" x 8 1/2" and it fits perfectly on a strip of fabric 12" long leaving 1/2" seam allowances all around. So if you use this template, you will get 21 triangles out of one yard of fabric. You need to unfold the fabric and refold it as shown to make best use of the width. Then trace around the cardboard template leaving 1" between triangles, and 1/2" at the top and bottom. Put three pins inside each triangle to hold it together whilst you sew. Don't waste time cutting around each triangle before you sew, simply sew the fabric together in the 12"x44" chunk and cut it apart after you're done sewing.
 I actually used a felt pen called Marks Be Gone for my tracing. These pens are used by quilters and the marks disappear with a spray of cool water after you are done sewing.

Here is how the fabric looks with all the marking and pinning done.

The I cut it into a manageable chunk.....

and started sewing. Make sure to leave the top part open for turning later.
After sewing, I cut the triangles apart.....

and trimmed the points to make the turning easier.

Turning the triangles inside out was the most time consuming part of the project, but I made 60 triangles, so maybe you won't feel so overwhelmed if you only make 20 or so. After turning the triangles, iron them so they look nice and crisp....
then trim off the little pieces of seam allowance that stick up on the top.
Here are the stacks of triangles at the half way point. The fabrics I chose are fairly bright, but I wanted that cheerful almost "Cath Kidston" look, so I'm quite pleased with my WalMart fabrics.
When they were finally all done I played with them, laying them out on the bed to "Ohhhh" and "Awww" at their prettiness. Then I took 60' of seam binding and marked it every 12". And then came the long process of sewing them all together. I encased the raw edges on the top of each triangle with the seam binding, sewing close to the bottom edge. Then I went back and sewed along the top edge to strengthen the seam binding. Then....
Happy, Happy, Day, I strung them all around this awning thing that's over my patio. And then we had a wonderful English tea party here Amongst The Oaks. 
You can make paper bunting too like I've done here above my range in the kitchen, and it's a lot easier. Just cut the triangles, fold them over and glue them around a ribbon, and you're done. You can decorate them with letters or pretty pictures too. I hope you try one of these ideas and let me know how it turns out.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Perfect Day Out!

Teen 2 and I had a fabulous day out today. First we visited the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, then we stopped to watch lawn bowling as we strolled to tea at The Secret Garden, then we drove to Old Town Antiques in Pleasanton where we barely had enough time (2 hours), to see it all. We need to do this again!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hydrangea Season

It's hydrangea season here Amongst The Oaks so I made this lush bouquet this morning. I made one like it last Friday too for a little tea party we had. I don't feel bad at all cutting all these blooms because it's frequently so hot here that they just wilt on the plant anyway. I grow flowers for my enjoyment and cutting them and bringing them indoors allows me to enjoy my flowers just that much more. I hope you enjoy them too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tea Time Amongst The Oaks

Teen2 left a bit of lemon curd and some fruit in the frige from a tea party last week, so guess who took advantage of it? LOM and I of course.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Asparagus Festival 2012

It looks like the weather is going to cooperate for this year's Asparagus Festival. We've had showers the last two days and all the set-up work has been done in the rain, but now it is sunny a bright. Thanks goodness. If you would like to attend the festival, here's their website:  And here's a link  and another to previous Asparagus Festival posts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Me and Teen2 at Easter.

When she was little I dressed her in frilly dresses.

When she got to be about 9 I had to pay her to even wear a dress.

Now she likes to dress up again.

In frilly dresses at that!

Will wonders never cease?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Latest Paintings

16"x20" Oil on Canvas

Last fall I showed you the start of this painting and now I'm happy to show you the finished piece. It's all done and even framed because I'm entering it in the Student Art Show at the college.

12"x16" Acrylic on Panel

I'm also entering this landscape that I did last fall.

18" x 24" Acrylic on Panel

And this Indiana Jones hat I painted recently.

36" x 48" Mixed Media Collage

And this large collage which I just finished. And if I get REALLY busy over the weekend, I may also enter the piece I'm working on right now. Which is due Thursday. Which is nowhere near ready. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mixed Citrus Salad with Escarole

We've been having this salad a lot lately and I thought you might enjoy it too. I wish I could upload a pdf file to Blogger, but I can't so here's the recipe in a jpg. Not nearly as nice, but if you add your email address in your comment, I'll send you the pdf version which will print out all pretty.
Basically it's an escarole salad with any kind of citrus segments, red onion, blue cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. The bitterness of the escarole is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the fruit and the savoriness of the blue cheese. I usually peel the membranes off the grapefruit and oranges because they look so much prettier, but you probably don't really have to do that. Either way, it's delicious.

Monday, April 2, 2012


When I made those limoncello cookies a while back, I used the last of my limoncello. So Friday night I started a new batch. First I picked 30 lemons and washed them in hot water.

Then I sliced off the little bumps and the stem ends to make the peeling easier.

Then I put on some Italian music and started peeling. You want only the yellow part of the peel with no pith on it.

Sometimes you get a long one. Anyway you drop them all into a huge glass jar into which you have already put 1500 ml Vodka.

Remember I told you we'd moved our kitchen table over to the window? See it there in the background. Here's a better picture of it. It's quite pleasant to sit there watching the squirrels and birds.

Anyway, just keep peeling until all thirty lemons are done......

and the lemons look like this.

Wrap plastic wrap tightly over the top of the jar. Now get a calendar and find the date 40 days in the future and the date 80 days in the future. Write all those dates on the plastic wrap and put the jar in a dark closet.

You probably should note it on the calendar too because in 40 days you will need to add the next ingredients to the limoncello. Then 40 days after that you will do the bottling so start saving clear bottles with lids.

The ingredients you need after 40 days are up are: 10 Cups of Water and 9 Cups of Sugar, boiled for 5 minutes, and cooled for 30. And another 1500 ml of Vodka. You add all that to the lemon peel mixture and let it sit for the second 40 days, then you discard the peels and strain the limoncello into clean bottles, cap them tightly and store them in a cool place, but always keep one in the freezer for immediate use. In Italy it is served after dinner (instead of dessert) in a straight sided liqueur glass straight from the freezer. It is so refreshing on a hot summer evening.

And here's what we do with all the lemons: cut them in half, juice them, bottle the juice, and use it for cooking or for lots of lemonade.

If you would like this recipe sent to you in pdf format, please leave your email address in the comments. I can't figure out how to attach a pdf file to Blogger.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lemoncello Cookies

I made some really yummy cookies the other day. Here they are cooling on the meat block. I guess I need to tell you about the meat block, don't I? We've had it for almost 40 years and it's really old. It was in our first two kitchens, but it didn't fit into our last two kitchens, so it's just been in storage. Well, when the kids moved out I wanted to use it again so we made the kitchen table smaller and put it against the wall under the window. That made room for the meat block in the center of the room where the table used to be.

Here it is in all it's battered glory. And we are quite pleased with it here. When we had our gourmand dinner the other night, everyone gathered around it for appetizers, but (here's the best part) they couldn't sit down so I could still make my way through the kitchen to work. Used to be, folks would sit around the kitchen table blocking my access to the frige and the dining room with their chairs.

So now, not only do we enjoy looking out the window while we eat, we have a better arrangement for entertaining. It's a win-win situation. Speaking of win-win, those cookies were delicious. Lemon zest in the batter, lemoncello in the frosting. Can't you almost taste them?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Sauce

Here's the recipe for that pork dish from my last post:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Citrus Season Gourmand Party

We've joined another Gourmand Dinner group and it was our turn to host last weekend. Since it is citrus season I decided to make it a citrus theme and every dish contained citrus of some sort.

To decorate the table I made a yellow tablecloth using 108" wide fabric from the quilting section of the fabric store. Folks us it for quilt backs and it is just a thin cotton, but with a nice hem and a plain white undercloth, it looked pretty good. There was enough fabric left over to make napkins too so I made eight of them. Then I found these nice red, white, and yellow striped place mats to pull it all together.

Instead of flowers I decorated the center of the table with citrus fruits. Most of the guests brought citrus from their trees to help. I had to buy the ruby grapefruit and the blood oranges, but I found plenty of lemons and leaves, and even a few flowers. I was quite pleased with the table when we were all done.

Blood oranges are not very pretty in the stores, but they are so beautiful inside. And they make a gorgeous addition to a winter salad.

Here's the ruby grapefruit. I like them in salads too and sometimes in the winter we make a grapefruit and avocado salad with a lemony dressing that is just delightful.

Here is the main course that we made; pork tenderloins with orange sauce, mashed red potatoes, and green beans. That's candied orange zest on top and it was pure heaven. We paired it with a tempranillo wine from Spain. I'd never had tempranillo before and it was quite nice! In fact, each couple did a great job of pairing a wine with their course. Speaking of wine.....

this was the scene on my counter the next morning. It's almost embarrassing, but there were eight of us!