Thursday, December 18, 2014

more Christmas foolishness

If you sit around in the late evening drinking beer and listening to Anna Terheim—pictures of your christmas tree are inevitable.
 Mice, pixies and fuzzy mushrooms. A grandchild would come in handy for all of this foolishness :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sugar Sugar

I'm taking a break from sugar abstinence.  The urge to bake is just too overwhelming this time of year. And the urge to eat… well, that's another blog post.  
My cookie hero is San Francisco's Jean Scardina. At 79, in 2008, she was interviewed by Amanda Hesser regarding her astounding annual cookie production—500 dozen, 16 varieties, a christmas tradition dating back to 1951.  My favorite quote from the article… "This is my own madness, and I can't see dragging anyone else into it", when queried whether she ever accepted any help in producing this staggering output of neatly decorated cookies.
Anyway, mine don't look as good as hers, but they'll do. I'll have a half dozen tins of assorted to give away, and then put the cutters away for another year. 

Chocolate Jitterbugs (from the Ikea Fika book)
Dough | 1 cup (225ml) all purpose flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 100g. butter, 1/4 cup superfine sugar, 1/2 an egg yolk. Meringue | 1 egg white, 1/2 cup superfine sugar
Method: Sift dry ingredients, mix with room temperature butter, yolk and sugar. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. Roll dough inbetween parchment sheets to 6 x 12 inch rectangle. 
Beat white till foamy, incorporate sugar slowly. (For firmer meringue do this over water in a double boiler). Spread cooled meringue over dough, roll up lengthwise, wrap and chill at least 15 minutes.
Cut slices approx. 1/3 inch thick, place on parchment covered sheet, bake off in a preheated 350 F. oven for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Um, Christmas

Thinking about these cookies
I refer to my Um Christmas Pinterest board, and a link to a recipe for a basic rolled gingercrisp courtesy of Babes in Boyland. 
Never having owned any of those quintessential granny cut-glass tumblers or juice glasses needed to emboss the pattern onto the dough, I made a quick trip to my favourite thrift shop that yielded 8 super sweet plastic mugs with a pattern on the bottom fit for a angel.
Let the baking commence.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Like and Love

Knowing I would never be able to come up with the near $300 for the carryall below; I decided to cut up an old army shirt for my own take on Philosophie's Weekend Bag.
I like it just fine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas Crafts book review

I was originally drawn to this book by Kajsa Wikman because of the scandinavian tomtes featured on her blog. But there is much more to glean from this lovely book. Her angels with unruly hair and birds with dangly legs evoke a naive and charming esthetic.  

These graceful bird forms were derived from artwork she and her daughter were working on.
The birds were drawn and coloured, and Kajsa stepped away to check the laundry. On her return— she found that her daughter had added the whimsical legs and beaks to the flock!
There is more Kajsa-of-Helsinki goodness to be had at her blog, Syko. She also has an Etsy shop and fabric designs at Spoonflower.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spiral basket photo tutorial

Every time I open this bathroom drawer I smile. I think of my sister, Laura, sauntering out of the bathroom after a long soak in the tub, rubbing her hair with a towel, saying "You got any Q-tips? I know you've got lots of BOXES…" Eyebrows raised, sardonic grin on face.
Yeah, well. I like boxes.
But in the name of dialing back the Q-tip box wierdness; I'm making these. Flickr user Hiromi W posted this nice little photo tutorial showing how to turn 4 narrow strips of fabric into a boxy basket. It's sturdy and is a very satisfying mini-project for using up long scraps. However lumpen my first wonky-top-stitched attempt… it is still a useful object, and there will be more made—each lined and topstitched more skilfully than the last. Yes!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ballet, books, and books on ballet

Some ballerina and dancing penguin ♥ 
from my (tiny) ballet book collection. 

Paperdoll ballerina. (It's my sister, Nancy).

Penguins dancing… always a good thing.

Tamara Toumanova, 1934—from the book pictured below
The set designs and illustrations in this book are spectacular. 
I must scan more and share in a future post.
Detail from a Matisse sketch for the stage curtain for a Diaghilev production of Le Chant de Rossignol, 1934