Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cold, Damp and Raining

When a Saturday is nothing by a long day of cold, damp and rain, I think about warm, yummy meals. Yesterday was no exception.

We're all joking here about building an ark. The rains come in waves. You can hear them as they approach because the thunderous drumming of the heavy rain drops beat loudly on the leaves and it sounds like something frying on the stove. The burgeoning rainfall creates rivulets of brown water flowing rapidly, displacing anything in its way. The strong winds don't help much either, as they blow the wetness under the eaves on the overhanging roof and onto the floor, making it slick underfoot and this is where I work, outside on the lanai. And a telltale sign that it's miserable out is that I am wearing my black Ugg slippers...

If you think I am exaggerating, then come and visit. Welcome to Paradise.

I've been cleaning my studio by producing. After filling orders over the past weeks, and preparing for an event the day before Mother's Day the numerous hats and especially the large blankets that are cut and sewn leave smaller bits and pieces that can be utilized in other hat pieces and bibs. After spending the day fussy cutting and manipulating fabric to eke out every last usable - cuttable - sewable item that could be made it was my reward to play in the kitchen. 

I daren't run out in this mess - there are cautionary advisories on the radio about flash flooding and deep puddles, so I just stayed put and cleaned out the freezer. What follows is what I managed to put together for dinner - with leftovers for Sunday, of course!

So what I found was a duo of steaks: NY Strip steaks (you know, from the humgo pack from Costco), and a calamari steak. For myself I only need a couple or three potatoes, and steamed then sauteed spinach (again from the jumbo bag from Costco) and a gastronomical feast was slapped together.

 Oven roasted Yukon Gold and Red Bliss Potatoes. Nothing exceptionally fancy: Organic Virgin olive oil and Hawaiian Sea Salt

 Remember "Call Me Mr. Pickles blog?" here is the grilled calamari steak with a dressing of the Bread-and-Butter pickles, capers, garlic, olive oil, a shake of red pepper flakes and backyard lemon juice. I was skeptical of this brain-fart idea but it turned out salty-sweet-sour and a perfect compliment to the delicate flesh of the squid.

 New York Strip Steaks with a Kona Coffee-Spice rub, buttermilk bleu cheese and a web of garden chives. 

Steamed and sauteed spinach. Simple preparation again: garlic toasted in olive oil, kosher salt and a grind of black pepper.

The fabric in the background is Siren Song in color Earth.

I always neglect dessert. That being said, today I have decided to make a blackberry-lilikoi sorbet (hey, it's got to get warm and sunny sometime next week!) ;)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Call me Mr. Pickles

Bread and Butter pickles. Made from scratch. Crisp, green Keiki (baby) cukes. Organic raw sugar. Unfiltered cider vinegar and lots of spices: yellow mustard, celery and coriander seeds, whole allspice and cloves, fresh garlic, red and black pepper, and turmeric for color.

Washed and cut, packed into a wide mouth jar.

The sweetly spiced brine poured in for brining.

Next batch: Sour Kosher Dill

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Brite and Busy Quilt by Marinda Stewart

A number of weeks ago I published the post:Graphyx, Tangram and Disco Dot, in which I shared the four new colorations of Tangram (which was originally released in black-and-white)and Disco Dot.

Michael Miller Fabric's premiere quilt designer Marinda Stewart was given the task of choosing one pair of the color combinations to create an original quilt. She took the story of Tangram full circle (mine is I designed a quilt top for my contribution to the Mirror Ball Dot challenge which I ran last year, and then revised it to be the print design Tangram), and Marinda did the same, only in reverse, by taking the fabric design and creating a central pieced panel for her Brite and Busy Quilt.

Once again Marinda has created an OMG incredible quilt. 

The instructions will be offered as a free download on the Michael Miller Fabric's website in the near future.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life's a Beach...

...and then you get a blister and need a Sponge Bob band-aid to make it all better!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Graphyx, Tangram and Disco Dot

GRAPHYX, my black-and-white collection, debuted last October at International Quilt Market in Houston, Tx. I designed it to be a study of positive and negative space. Each of the prints uses a different ration of black:white or white:black (is the glass half full or half empty?)

(Image courtesy of Hawthorne Threads)
From left to right: 
Tangram, North Star, Bevel, Corset, Fishbone and Camellia

I have not figured out the exact ratio of B to W in each design, but it is apparent simply to the naked eye. I know that Fishbone is 1/2 black and 1/2 white while Camellia is mostly white with a black flower outline, and Corset is more white to black. Bevel appears to have more black than white, and Tangram? What about Tangram? I'll show you more below.

Tangram                                              North Star

Bevel                                                    Corset

Fishbone                                              Camellia

 I decided to make a little study of the group. I pieced the six patterns together and then had the pieced cloth dyed. It is interesting how the print designs are contained within a given space yet the dye transcends those borders and roams freely across the fabric. My friend Meriah of Maui Tie Dye dyed the cloth and I was reminded of an important fact about fiber. I chose a color scheme based on a silk scarf - and silk dyes vibrantly and intensely. When the same formula for the silk was applied to the cotton, cotton's super absorbency and cotton being cotton, the colors came down and didn't give the same effect. Then the scan didn't do the fabric justice but I believe you understand what I am trying to convey.

Now back to Tangram. The same design used strictly in black and white was manipulated so some of the black was replaced by shades of grey, and portions of the white substituted with color. Then to juxtapose the lines and angles of the design, we paired each of the four color combinations with my good old friend Disco Dot.

The four colored versions of Tangram and Disco Dot are being released this month. 

From top to bottom for both designs: Brite, Clementine,Jewel and Neutral.

And for those of you who might believe they're having a sense of deja vu with Tangram, I had originally designed a quilt top and then revised the layout for the fabric pattern ;)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beef and Pork Wraps

There is good food and there is bad food.

Not to pass ANY judgement. but the sushi, my friend and I attempted last week, we both deemed as bad food.

So the anthesis was a lunch I did last week.

Stir-fried beef and pork with various (good) condiments in a lettuce leaf wrap.

There was shredded carrots, bean sprouts, fresh mint leaves, baby cilantro, sliced cucumbers, bean thread noodle and blanched, toasted almonds.

The steamed rice (my bowl) has a furikake shake on it; the shake is comprised of sesame seeds, dried fish flakes, nori or toasted sea weed like the wrapping for sushi.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The birth of “Kaiten Sushi”; (Kaiten means sushi served on a revolving conveyor belt),
 has spread all over the world and established itself as an icon of Japan’s food culture. 

So my friend Dina and I saw the Hobbit 2 this afternoon. A second time for me. I wanted to see Smaug, the very well spoken yet crafty and cunning dragon on the big screen again. Can't wait for it to come to DVD.

after, we went to Genki Sushi. I've always been intrigued by the fact that you sit at one of the many counters in the establishment, and the sushi goes round-and-round passing by, on a conveyor belt.

Here are a few clips of the options available...

video   video

It was a nice place to try... once.