Thursday, April 29, 2010
Just as things on the medical front are quieting down, my brother returned from his doctor's appointment the other day needing another angiogram (his third!). So it was another whole day spent at the hospital while my brother was having his procedure done. It gets bad when the nurses and aides start to recognize you, and you are not even the patient. Thankfully, we got the best news possible, everything is ok with my brother's heart.
Well, all of these doctors and hospital time took away from my painting time. Again, I wish I could have done another field of flowers painting to submit for this week's critique. I should just be thankful that I can call this painting finished. The instructor may not think so, but isn't art in the eyes of the beholder?
Check out the "before" version on my April 23, 2010 post.
The critique of my Field of Flowers did not turn out too bad as I was the only one in class who did a fair amount of negative painting, which was the teaching objective of this particular painting, apparently. But, I did get busted for submitting a still wet painting. Oh, well.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
After I retired, I joined the Jo's Little Women Club at A Touch of Amish, a quilt shop in Barrington, Illinois. It was a combination quilt and Civil War history class. We made quilts using Civil War reproduction fabrics and patterns by quilt and fabric designer Jo Morton. My quilt consisted of 16 six inch blocks of various muted color floral print fabrics and a light beige print center for signatures. I always use 100% cotton fabrics and I did not pre-wash since this quilt will be a wall hanging.
Since I only had 16 blocks to work with, the most difficult part is deciding who among my friends at Boise Cascade Office Products should be included in the quilt. I decided that I should choose the ones that represented the highlights of my career and life at the company.
I constructed all the blocks first. I had fun with this process since the memories just came flooding in as I was sewing the pieces together and thinking about the persons who would be signing the blocks. After I completed all the blocks, I then mailed it to my friends across the country, along with the permanent brown ink fabric marker and illustrated instructions on where and how to sign the block. I also provided a SASE so they can return the signed blocks to me.
I received all the blocks in no time. Not only did they sign it but they each also added a meaningful sentiment. I put the blocks together separated and bordered by 1 1/2 inch sashing of green floral material. I framed the sashed blocks with a wide border using a muted coral print fabric. I then added the cotton batting and a backing of the same fabric I used as the wide border. Then I hand quilted the blocks and free motion machine quilted the wide border in a meandering pattern. After quilting, I bound the quilt with the green print fabric I used for the sashing. Binding is actually my 2nd favorite of all the steps in making a quilt since it signals I am almost done. My favorite step is picking out the fabrics. I love how the quilt turned out and the memories it brings.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The dramatic christening ceremony, officiated by Gianna's uncle Father Mario, was held at Visitation Church in Elmhurst and was followed by a reception at Guava's, a Latin-style tapas restaurant in Westmont. The food and service was great. I would definitely come back and recommend this place to others. We had the following:
Calamari Frita with peppers and smoked tomato salsa
Baby Green & Goat Cheese salad with dried cherries and spicy candied pecans
Shrimp Ceviche with avocado
Steak Churrasco with chimichurri sauce
Steamed Mussels with spanish chorizo and saffron butter
Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
My favorite was the shrimp ceviche. It inspired me to try to make ceviche here at home. I think I will make looking for the best ceviche recipe my next culinary quest.
For those interested to find out more about Guava, here is a link to their site: http://www.guava-tlc.com/
Saturday, April 24, 2010
An afternoon tea party is one of my favorite parties to give. There is a certain traditional casual elegance to it that really appeals to me. And I love how it inspires conversation among the partakers. At one point, a long time ago, I wanted to go into the afternoon tea business, catering to bridal showers and other celebrations. Over the years, I have collected quite a cache of tea party paraphanelia - a lot, I received as gifts from friends and family who appreciate my love for tea parties.
Today, I had one of those tea parties here at home for my girlfriends from my former workplace, Boise Cascade Office Products (now OfficeMax). It surprised us how much we remembered of old co-workers even going back to the mid-70s. We had quite a laugh about how different things were when we first started at Boise in 1976 - it was the time of IBM punch cards, columnar pads, cigarette smoking in the office and free health insurance.
Any way, back to the tea party. I find tea parties simple to prepare. For this one, I served two kinds of tea - Peach and Berry Nice. I use loose tea so I provided tea strainers. I used my mom's old Royal Albert Flowers of the Month tea set with the month on the cups corresponding to the birth month of my guests. They all thought this was a nice touch.
I made my scones from an old recipe and kept it plain - served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and cherry preserves. For sandwiches I made, cheese pimento, ham and pepper jack cheese with thin slices of red radish, chicken salad with thin slices of tomato, egg salad on pumpernickle bread and an open faced shrimp sandwich.
I ordered a variety of mini pastries and butter cookies from a bakery in Geneva, Illinois called Cocoa Bean . Check them out at http://www.cocoabeangeneva.com/. To round it off, I also served some Godiva chocolates and sparkling pomegranate wine.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I am dedicating the newly planted bed of pansies in our garden to my classmate, Emma de la Pena who passed away last Tuesday from breast cancer. I am also dedicating the pansies to all my love ones who died of breast cancer, my mom, my Auntie Emang, my cousin Nancy and my sister-in-law Remmee. May they all be resting in peace.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes;
My answer to that is a resounding, "No!" I'm going back to my book now and get more pages in before I leave for my watercolor class.
If you'd like to learn more about the book check out this site: http://books.google.com/books?id=eK0SnBnpkA8C&lpg=PP1&dq=The%20Guernsey%20Literary%20and
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
On a regular basis, I will be sharing my creative endeavors. Today, I am looking at my watercolor class project (shown on the right) from last week to see if I need to make any changes. Every week, our instructor gives us a picture to paint. Seldom do we complete the work in class, so most of the painting is done at home. Then, it is critiqued at the start of the next class the following week. I did not really don't have time to do any more painting because I now have to tackle mundane tasks such as cleaning the house, in preparation for the tea party, On Saturday, I'm throwing for some girlfriends from my former company. So I will be submitting this project as it is. But, I did still find time to create this new blog site today. I think I will enjoy blogging.