Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Forsythia,Lucero,Good Company

I messed up here. The plan was to show a nice picture of the Forsythia in full bloom just days after bringing naked-looking branches in the house. I've been neglectful...this picture shows the dying blooms falling off limp branches because I waited too long! They really did look nice for a few days.

The naked branches make for a better picture, I think.

This great bunch of kids were nice enough to let an old lady like me hang out with them last week. In fact my niece, the beautiful girl in the center, invited me to spend the evening with them. She bought tickets to see Lucero at the Paradise in Boston and called to tell me she had one with my name on it! My son B, on the far left, shares an apartment with her in Cambridge and I love going in town to spend time with them.

We started the afternoon with lunch at Miracle of Science. It's a nice little bar/restaraunt in Cambridge..very near MIT. (Hence the name.) The menu is written on the wall in a Periodic Table of Elements chart. The bar and tables are made from old soapstone lab tables.We shared a hummus plate that was delicious and I had a salad while my niece and B had chicken salad and a burger.

We then went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the After-Hours event. They have this every third Thursday of the month. It is a social gathering with cocktails and music held in the courtyard. You can also tour the galleries, leaving your drinks down-stairs. There has not been a picture yet that could do justice to the courtyard. Gorgeous!

You must have heard about the infamous theft ,including a Rembrandt and a Vermeer, that have never been recovered. The frames still hang empty in the galleries. Mrs. Stewart left an iron-clad will that stated that nothing should ever change ....no additions or subtractions.

We went from the sublime to the rocking. Yup..that was way too corny.Lucero put on a great show and played for a very long time. Over the years we've many shows at the Paradise. B and I were pretty young when it opened. I'm certain we were at one of the first shows ever there....Andy Pratt and Carla Bonoff. Wow...how old am I? I stayed up way too late but had a terrific time. It makes me really happy that these kids are still willing to spend time with me.

This is a view I will hopefully be seeing a lot of. It's right outside the entrance to Mass Maritime. E will be a cadet there this fall. I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! B and I are so proud of him. We were there this weekend for his uniform fitting and placement tests. A friend , whose husband and son are both graduates of MMA , called to ask if were nervous in light of recent events.This was E's first choice of a college...I still think he made a great decision. Our son, B spent six years in the Navy. My Dad was a Navy man. I think it's in the blood somewhere.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Queen Anne Valances

Queen Anne Valances are made with a scallop bottom edge and Pinch Pleated top. Buckram is used in the pleated header to give the needed stiffness to the top edge. I gave this one above a little added detail with a contrast top edge. The trim added at the bottom edge is a really nice way to finish the hem.
This Queen Anne has, instead of fringe, a piped bottom edge. I also did a covered button at each of the pleats. This, when done in the same fabric as the valance is a subtle but pronounced detail.

On this valance the client chose to keep it as simple as possible..with no edging or buttons. The fabric has a fringe detail in the print.

This plaid Queen Anne is dressed up a bit with addition of fringe at the hem. It gives it a touch of formality and keeps it from being too "country".

This Queen Anne was a fun project. It was made for a child's room in a sea scene fabric with a yellow pom-pom fringe.

I made these lovely Queen Anne valances for a kitchen. The client wanted a finished edge without the dressiness of fringe or the bulk of piping. They were finished with a bias cut flat flange edge in the same fabric as the valance itself.

The buttons at the pleats were also covered in the same fabric.

Queen Anne valances can be formal or casual depending on the fabric and trim you choose. They can be mounted on a simple rod or a board with screw eyes attached to hold the pins inserted in the pleats. It's important to measure for exact width and return so the valance can be mounted so there are no gaps and the valance hangs straight.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How to grow quick Easter Grass

This basket was planted just 5 days ago. All you need is...........
A basket..potting soil...lentils; your common, everyday lentils...and plastic bags or a bowl to fit inside your basket.

Line the basket with the bags or bowl....add the soil....

Dampen it.....
Spread the lentils evenly over the soil........

Water them......

You can trim the bag before they grow, I waited 5 days.....

P.S. That basket is 25 years old. I made a pair of them for my twins' first Easter.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny had to get an early start around here. It's a long way to Scotland. Yes , she's in college , but we still have to send A an Easter basket...and it wouldn't be complete without bubbles. Her basket was packed and shipped off to Edinburgh yesterday.

I don't usually make cookies this early and it was nice to get them done. I used the sugar cookie recipe I use for my Christmas cookies. It's a Martha recipe...I just add a little grated lemon peel to give it a Springy feel.

I find the best way to go is to use parchment . I load the first two sheets in the oven and then lay out the cut cookies on two more sheets. When the first batch comes out of the oven I just slide the parchment off the cookie sheets and lay the the next batch,already on parchment ,onto the sheets.This makes things go a lot faster...no waiting for the cookies to cool before putting taking them off the sheets.

I used to make a lamb cake every year. That's a cake in the shape of a lamb; not a cake made of lamb. I didn't make one last year.....Not sure if I will make one this year.

W gets a kick out of watching me do the cookies. He doesn't actually watch me make them...he passes through the kitchen between periods in the Bruins game. He said,"You are out of your mind" a few times before I was done.

Call me crazy, but it is something I really enjoy. Always have. It's a shame that when the kids were little it was much more difficult to find the time to do these things.

I used to use disposable pastry bags with adapters and tips to decorate the cookies. I love to use the squeeze bottles now. They are perfect with Royal Icing. I love Gel or Paste food coloring because they are so concentrated they go a very long way.

Looks like a lot of work but it really goes fast once you get on a roll.

Bunnies,of course.

Pretty eggs.....

Speckled eggs...

Little chicks......

More eggs.....

Bag 'em up.......

Add the candy and the all-important bubbles and....Voila!

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday!!!!

25 years ago today B and J, our twins ,were born. I am so proud of the men they have become! When W and I found out we were having twins we thought we were the luckiest people in the world. They were born 7 weeks early and had to spend a month in the hospital. I spent all day every day at St. Margarets until I could bring them home. B was born 10 minutes before J and weighed 4 lbs to J's 3. They came home weighing 5 and 4 lbs respectively.They are now 6'3" and 6'. My preemies are not so tiny any more. I have loved every minute of being a Mom , even the tough times. It has been in the blink of an eye that they have grown up. The truest saying I have heard is this: Parenting is made up of long days and short years. I can't believe how the time has flown!!!!!!! Posted by Picasa