Thursday, May 29, 2014

Handmade Napkins

A set of 8 handmade napkins that I made for a friend.

Here is another look at the 4 different fabrics.

They are about 17" square, reversible, and washable. I have a huge stack of my own that we use all of the time, and no two are alike. I thought the friend who received these might like something a little bit more matched, so I made these in various blue prints.  I don't like things to be too matchy though....I like a lot of mixed pattern and color.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Quilt for Brian and Patrick

My first finished quilt of 2014 is a riot of colorful batik fabric rectangles.

Patrick requested a colorful quilt. It took me a long time to finish this quilt, and I am very satisfied with the beautiful result. It measures about 75 x 90 after washing. 
I quilted this with straight lines and diagonals (the diagonal quilting lines are visible in the picture if you look carefully).
They were surprised and (I think) delighted.

A few more photos (below) taken in the sunshine in my backyard, make the quilt look more faded. In person it looks more like the above image.

A bit of the multicolor batik backing fabric is visible in this photo.

I'm not sure what to sew next. I have been interested in sewing clothes for myself this spring, but I have been too busy, and probably too impatient, to slowly learn how to do what I want to do. I need time to make mistakes with patterns and fabric and then try again. I have quilts I want to make, and hope to make some for my nieces before September.

Maybe I should move my sewing machine outside?!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Heirloom Carrot Soup

Cooking with Diane

    In March, I went to a cooking class hosted by Diane Mohilef at her home in Encino. She calls her series of classes "A Day in the Kitchen". Attendees watch her prepare a full menu, including dessert, while taking notes on a handout with recipes and notes.

Vegetables ready to cook in one of my new pots! Finally, after 25+ years, I bought new pots and pans!

Diane in her kitchen
She has a full demonstration kitchen in a guest house on her property, with a counter and stools for 16 people. The Heirloom Carrot and Celery Soup recipe (below) is from the first class I took with her. It was a wonderful wednesday morning of  learning, eating, and making new friends. My friend Karmi told me about the class and I plan to be a regular student!

Diane attended culinary school when her children were grown, then cooked with Michel Richard at Citrus for many years. She is entertaining and energetic, and the class is fun and educational in so many ways.

Delicious carrot soup-add a few croutons, or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich on the side?

Heirloom Carrot and Celery Soup

Adapted from a recipe by Diane Mohilef. Yield 8-9 cups


1 TBSP  Butter
2 TBSP  Seasoned oil**
1  Sweet onion, peeled and chopped small
2 Lbs  Heirloom carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
8  Carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
       **(You will need a total of about 3 LBS of carrots)
1  Celery root, cleaned/peeled and chopped small
       (I have also used a celery heart, chopped)
1  Apple (with skin) seeded and chopped
1  Rutabaga, peeled and chopped
2  TBSP Honey
1/4 cup  Brown sugar (I use only about 2 TBSP)
8 cups  Chicken stock, or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Fresh Rosemary sprig (about 6 inches long)
Optional--add up to 1 tsp cumin with the honey, etc.


In a large pot heat butter and oil. Add onion, carrots, celery root, apple, and rutabaga. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are softened. Add honey, brown sugar, chicken stock, seasonings (start with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper) and rosemary. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig (any leaves that have fallen off can stay in the soup) and cool. Puree soup. Warm to serve.
I like to serve this with homemade croutons  (stale bread cut into pieces and tossed with a little olive oil/seasoned oil and salt and pepper, then toasted in a 400 degree oven until crispy).

**For the seasoned oil, you can use a purchased oil seasoned with rosemary, or basil, or garlic, or make your own.

Seasoned oil:
½ cup canola oil
½ cup olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
rosemary sprig,  and/or thyme sprig

Place all ingredients in a bottle  and let stand 2 days on counter. After 2 days, remove herbs and garlic, strain, and use. Keeps for about 1 month.