Friday, May 28, 2010

A Prize Arrives

GR&DF thank you again for stopping by and commenting - yesterdays comments where very nice. I love the acquisition of fun new stash and the shimmery colours of silk. The Belle Soie Ring had a skein of each of the colours I have so far collected - I added 12 new colours to this ring.

The mail brought me the prize from Sharlotte's Drawing - it was a mystery what would come - and what arrived was super!! Here is a snap -

It is a wonderfully finished Patriotic stocking from BBD. I really like these stocking and have all the patterns, but am just to ill at ease with the finishing to attempt the stitching of one - oh well some day I am sure. Thank you so much Sharlotte!!

Last night we ran out to the Mall to get Rico a new shirt and tie for an upcoming work event. While we where out there we stopped off in the "food court" for dinner - and had a yummy but not the healthiest dinner at Hot Dog on a Stick - love the limeade and fries. We also got a cheese on a stick - pepper jack - and that was another stingy deliciousness!! I also picked up one of my favorite mags -

Just a bonanza of royal info and fun facts every month - I know I'm crazy but it is so interesting - what about the current scandal with Sarah that's going on now????

The flicker last night was "Never so Few" - 1959 - starring Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford and Steve McQueen. Set on the China-Burma Border during WWII Sinatra plays an OSS (Office of Strategic Services) Officer in charge of Kachin Natives that harass and disrupt the Japanese. Here is the trailer for the film -

The trailer makes the film look exciting with a story line. In reality the story is very disjointed and bounces back and forth from jungle warfare to Gina's heaving bosom cloaked in gorgeous but not very period gowns. I was amazed at director John Sturges attempt at showing as much cleavage as possible - I guess it was a deflection for the deplorable dialogue and love story bits. This was a pretty bad film all around and lasted for just over 2 hours - I would skip it.

That's about it for the week - thanks for stopping by - do come again!!

Take care,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some Stash, Some Corn and Some Flicks

GR&DF I was happy that yesterdays film post was well received and that you enjoyed reading my little babbling about two very good actors and some of their films.

Yesterday was a first rate mail day - could you hear the squeal???? Like a pig in the mud - that's how happy I was to get two packages of stash. Was it stuff I could have lived without - of course it was, but I had some extra funds (got to love those refund cheques!!) so I felt I needed to stimulate the economy a bit. Here is a snap....

.. and I can justify or is that rationalize, each purchase. I had to get the 4th chart from BBD - Pink Hill Manor - this is from the Anniversaries of the Heart series. The way the BBD stuff seems to go OOP so quickly it is better to get the charts when they come out than on the secondary market - or at least I can talk my self into that!! I have wanted to get these two stocking charts from CHS for a looong time - not to make stockings but to make long pieces like bell pulls - and I am thinking that the CHS charts will soon start to get hard to find and be OOP. Better now than later. The last chart was a new release from the Cricket Collection - not my usual type of thing, but for some reason the Qukeresque of this piece really struck a note with me. I have also decided to acquire a full complement of Belle Soie - I found that when I was converting a chart from DMC/NPI to BS I really hadn't enough colour changes so I made up my mind to get them all - it will take a while but I am determined. This my BS ring with my newest additions - the little bit showing to the right are my extra skeins of BS.

Last night on the way home we ran into a small Wednesday afternoon Farmers Market in the Castro. We stopped and picked up some fresh corn....

It was pretty tasty but not as good as the corn will be later in the season.

The flickers last night on TCM where all part of the month long tribute to -

Donna Reed - 1921-1986

I really like Reed and her movies are a true joy to see - she was always entertaining and quite beautiful - last night they showed two of my favorite Donna Reed films. Not only because Reed was in them but because they are truly good films. First up was "From Here to Eternity" - 1953 - starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra. This top film won 8 Academy Awards with two Oscars going to the performances of Reed and Sinatra (this is a much better performance by Sinatra than yesterdays film) I like just about everything about this film especially how Reed and Kerr play totally against character. I have talked about this film many times before and will probably talk about it again - I would totally encourage you to see this film if you have not had the pleasure. The second Reed film was "They Were Expendable" - 1945 - starring Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Donna Reed. This really good WWII film is about the PT Boats and the defense of the Philippines at the beginning of the war - the well developed characters and good story make this one of the best of the late war films to come out of Hollywood. The third film of the evening was a Netfilx DVD - again a WWII film - "Attack" - 1956 - starring Jack Palance, Eddie Albert and Lee Marvin - set in Belgium towards the end of teh war. I really like this review about the film - "Albert is the ineffective commander, Palance the subordinate that swears revenge. This one is not for the squeamish, the scene where Palance is ran over by a tank is shocking. More shocking is the wonderfully psychotic performance by Albert, as the mentally disturbed commander. Lee Marvin has a nice supporting role, this one will make your skin crawl." That about sums up this film from a play. All three of the films are very good and I can certainly recommend them as top notch WWII flickers.

There you go sports fans. Thanks for stopping by!!

Take care,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2 Actors 4 Flicks

GR&DF nothing much going on but the rent. Still stitching away on Deb's RR, but I haven't gotten a snap yet, maybe tomorrow.

So lets talk film - there are some films from the past few days that are worth mentioning - the first two are both Netfilx pix - and available on DVD - and they are separated by about 20+ years in the filmography of a really good actor -

Cary Grant - 1904-1986

The first film is the earlier of the two - "The Amazing Adventure" - 1936 - Grant co starred with Mary Brian. This film is also know as "The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss." This low budget film is very watchable. Grant plays a millionaire playboy tired with the life he leads and takes a bet that he can't get a job and live a"normal" life for a year. The rest of the film is his taking on jobs and the effects and changes that happen to him and his the way he perceives life. There are some misses in acting and story line but the hits are good - overall a very watchable early film that shows the potential he had as an actor and why in a couple years of this film he was a top draw at the movies. The second Grant Film was "The Pride and the Passion" - 1957 - costarring with Sophia Loren and Frank Sinatra. An especially picturesque film of the Napoleonic war on the Spanish peninsular. The biggest problem with the film is the mis-casting of Sinatra and his pretty feeble Spanish accent. The story revolves around a 7 ton cannon being moved across the landscape by an "army" of Spanish peasants. As I said before the location shooting is just sumptuous but for the leads it was "names" that where cast instead of the best actor for the parts to be played. A bit predictable - and some odd moments of "thousands" of extras moving this gigantic siege cannon to oust the French - but I can certainly say it is watchable - and Loren is simply gorgeous in her low-cut "peasant" outfit. This was her second English speaking film after her breakout in the delightful "Boy on a Dolphin" of the same year.

The second actor I wanted to mention is -

George Raft - 1901-1980

Raft is know for this gangster films of the 1930's. The two films I saw were after this period and from the 40's when he was trying to break away from this typecasting. The first film is "Nocturne" - 1946 - costarring with Lynn Bari and Virginia Huston. Raft plays a tenacious detective trying to solve an odd " suicide or was it murder" in this great film noir set in LA. There were tons of twists and turns in the story line -but in the end it all fell into place for a very satisfying film. Some great photography and super lighting along with a eerie musical score -what more could you ask for - sneaky dames and tough mobsters!! The second film "Johnny Angel" - 1945 - has Raft playing a ship captain trying to find out who killed his father and what happened to 5 million dollars stolen French gold. Set in the Big Easy there are lots of night shots and lots of "dead" ends and plot lost leads. Co-staring with Claire Trevor - film noirs bad girl - I really enjoyed this film and Trevor's "bad" girl part was over the top!! Both of these films are great to watch not for the film alone but to see that Raft could break out of the tough guy-criminal mold he had gotten stuck with playing.

In the comments Lorraine asked about "Smart Woman" -1931- a film I talked about a couple of days ago - this is not out on DVD, but was a copy from the boob tube. I really only have 4 sources for film - My own DVD collection, TCM (the best station on the tube), my Netfilx membership and a friend that has a set up for copying from the tube onto DVD and BluRay - his set up is very extensive and top end - and he has a satellite dish so he picks up things from all over. He makes personal "bootleg" copies of films that are not out or completely unavailable on DVD. "Smart Woman" was one of these DVD's.

There you go sports fans -thank you again for stopping by. Do come again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Comments and a Flick

GR&DF I do thank you all for the kind words about my Alpha Piece and all the stuff in yesterdays post. I really did enjoy the stitching of "Alpha." It was very different than many of the things I have stitched in the past, but it is basically a sampler form with various little animals and designs. I had a great email asking what caused the break from my usual stitching subjects. Up until that email I hadn't really thought about it - I would guess that what it was is that I saw a finished piece and immediately became one obsessed with having to stitch the piece. I remember seeing the charts long before they where OOP and thinking that it was something I wouldn't be interested in doing, but after seeing the snap of the finished piece it all fell into place - but my biggest hurdle was the acquisition of the charts - they are of course OOP - and it was only with the help of other stitchers - loan of one, a gift of one and just dumb luck I found the third and final chart that I was able to stitch it up at all. It is too bad it is OOP as are all the Sheepish charts - as they are all really nice - and her samplers are just lovely. I am thinking about doing the Sarah E Pope sampler next - another OOP Sheepish chart that I had the good fortune to be given a copy by a dear stitching friend.

Oh well - enough of that - There where quite a few comments and emails for the Coffee Cake recipe - The basic recipe came from AllRecipes a great site for finding some tasty things. I took a basic recipe and made some changes - like I always do on everything... looks like a pattern in my life!!

Coffee Cake - Overnight

3/4 c Butter - soft
1 c Sugar
2 Eggs
2 c all-purpose Flour
1 teas Baking Soda
2 teas Nutmeg
1 teas Vanilla
1 teas Cinnamon
1 teas Ground Ginger
1/2 teas salt
1 c Sour Cream
1 c packed Brown Sugar
1 c chopped Pecans
1 teas cinnamon
1 1/2 c xxx Sugar
3 tlbs Milk

1 - In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, soda, spices and salt - add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This is a stiff batter. Pour into a well greased 9x13x2 in baking dish.

2- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon, sprinkle over cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3 - Remove from refrigerator about 30 mins before baking. Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minuets or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack fro 10 mins. Combine xxx sugar and milk drizzle over warm coffee cake.

That is the recipe with my little additions. The original cake recipe only had a little nutmeg in the batter, but I love nutmeg and so I added lots more - and I really didn't measure since I grate my own from a nutmeg, but it was quite a bit more that the 1 teas called for. I also jazzed up the batter with other spices, but that's what I like. The other major addition was the topping - this is almost double what was called for in the original recipe. I also read in the comments in the original recipe that by drizzling the icing over the very warm cake that it will melt into the cake itself. I let the cake get very cool before I iced it -I also cut it up prior to icing since I wanted the icing to run down the sides of the pieces. I would watch the cake at about 30 mins as I found it getting done a bit quicker, but that could be my oven. A really nice recipe and it can be made the day ahead.

Jennifer asked about the Weller vase I found at an Estate sale. It is about 8 inches tall and pretty organic - I just liked the shape and it was very inexpensive.

Kelly mentioned about my name and this Blog being in print. Dear Coni over at Spinster Stitcher mentioned me in her column that she writes for Needlepoint Now - I did know of this honor and was completely flabbergasted that I was worthy. If you get a chance you should pop on over to Spinsters Blog - she has the best posts - she writes about her needlework and the adventures of her darling Stewey.

Last night I was working on Deb's RR piece and that is just bee-bopping along. The flicker for the evening was a "A Good Woman" - 2004 - starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson. A great little film adapted from the play by Oscar Wilde - "Lady Windermere's Fan." The film is beautifully shot in Italy and set in 1930. A fun flick with a twist. I enjoyed it immensely!!

There you go sports fans - another day another post! Thank you for stopping by and for the continued kind comments - I do appreciate them!! Do stop in tomorrow.

Take care,

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Alpha Finish, Christmas Ornament, Flowers, Estate Finds and a Cake

GR&DF this past weekend was not as busy as other weekends - but I thoroughly enjoyed both days and did a bunch of fun things!!

Lets start off with the reveal of my Alpha Finish - Here is a snap of the entire piece -

Alpha Birds, Alpha Menagerie & Alpha Sheep - stitched as a single piece
by Sheepeish Designs
using my conversion on 36ct LL Vintage Exemplar
April 3 - May 23, 2010

This is such a long piece that getting a single snap was a bit odd so I also took separate snaps of each section.

Alpha Birds (with a lower band that I re-charted)

Alpha Menagerie (with a band that I charted)

Alpha Sheep (with the Alpha Menagerie Band)

This was such a fun piece to stitch!! I really like Sheepeish designs and now with my little pile of SD samplers I will have to get a stitching them up!! I have a couple of little pieces lined up to stitch next, but I am going to focus on my AEoL RR Piece this week and try to finish it up and get it back to Deb.

I heard from Mel that the ornament I stitched for her had arrived. It was a part of the HOE Early Christmas Ornament Exchange - here is a snap -

Prairie Schooler #117 - Prairie Stars - stitched on 30ct Angel Hair
using the recommended DMC floss.

On the way home on Friday we stopped off at the SF Flower Market to pick up some flowers for the house - we ended up with a couple of orchids and some Mexican tube roses - since I had my camera I got some shots of the flowers......

The orchid place we like has this great bromeliad tree - I have always like this thing - although I am not overly find of bromeliads - go figure.

Isn't this a beautiful orchid. Some of the flowers this guy has are just magnificent - and way less expensive than going to a florist of specialty shop.

some pretty flowers...

buckets of roses....

I look at these mounds of flowers and it looks like they mowed down a garden. I really enjoy visiting the market - especially in the Fall when all the Holiday stuff is out.

Rico and I also got to some Estate Sales on Saturday before his mom and nieces got into town. Here is a snap of my new bits and pieces -

I picked up some more frogs a couple of books a new flipper (I love the green handle) a great old frame and a super Weller vase. It would seem that I am cornering the market on frogs, but I picked up a couple of these for other stitchers that had asked me to if I ran into anymore. I asked Joan (one of the Estate sales worker that we always see) about these glass frogs and her take on it was that they are becoming harder and harder to find. She has been at this "sales" thing for about 30 years here in the Bay area so I kind of trust what she has to say.

Since Rico's Mom was coming up I made a coffee cake to eat on Sunday Morning -

The recipe made one gigantic pecan monster - but it was pretty tasty and there was plenty to take into the office this morning.

There you go sports fans - another week begins, but we are looking at an upcoming 3 Day weekend - so woohoo!!!!! Thanks you for stopping by, do come again.

Take care,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Two Flicks for a Friday Posting

GR&DF sometimes the titles are pretty dull -

I think today I will keep it short and talk about two more flicks ...

First up would be - "Flame of the Barbary Coast" - 1945 - starring John Wayne, Ann Dvorak and Joseph Schildkraut. This rather bland film was supposed to be Republic's Prestige film of 1945. Instead it was a pale imitation of a much better film done by MG in 1936 - called "San Francisco" starring Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald. Both films are set in 1906 San Francisco both films are romance/action films with an earthquake. It is just that "SF" was a superior film with better acting, photography and story. In "Flame" you get some rather weak staged musical numbers that verge on the silly and in "SF" you get some really great musical numbers - so for my money and recommendation skip "Flame" and rent "SF."

The second film was an oldie released on DVD in the Cary Grant Collection. A really cute film called "Thirty Day Princess" - 1934 - starring Sylvia Sydney and Cary Grant. I had never even heard of this film until I found it on Netflix. The story revolves around Sydney playing dual roles as a Princess from a small European country and her identical looking twin - an out of work actress. Grant plays a very cynical newspaper editor out to uncover corruption and theft in the world of finance. The princess is visiting America to get support of a 50 million dollar bond loan for her country and gets the mumps - for the bond scheme to work they need a princess or at least a good facsimile of one and find her "twin" to play the Princess. I really liked this film and always like seeing Sydney in films of the 30's - she was known at the time as having the "saddest eyes in Hollywood."

I think that wraps it up. Thank you for stopping by - do come again!!

Take care,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mama Mia Itza Pizza and Some Flicks

GR&DF wowzers the sweet comments and super emails about Rico's pizza where just fantastico!! Our "Old family" recipe for deluxe deep dish pizza is very simple and when the time and energy is there we think it is worth the little trouble to make a nice homemade treat. Well, the recipe is basically things we keep in the pantry - for the crust we start off with a Pillsbury "Hot Roll" mix. We keep this on hand because it is all pre-measured and a sort of dump and mix thing. It is really only flour and some yeast - but the convenience is top notch. On the box is an adjustment to make it into a pizza dough and it works a treat!! For the sauce we once again go to the pantry for convenience. If we are not making a fresh sauce over the stove then we reach for Contadina "Pizza Sauce." I really like these products and have used them for years - and again it is on the shelf and a very good substitute for homemade. The toppings for this (and most pizzas we make) where what was on hand and can be anything - On this particular one was some left over hamburger from some tacos, some cut up veggies from a salad and some cheese that I had left over from a macaroni and cheese I made a few days ago. It was a kind of clean out the leftovers - you can really put anything on it that you have. Last night we had the pizza again with a green salad and it was the bomb!! We tried a new dressing Ken's "Honey Mustard" - it was on sale at the Safeway when we made the weekly trip over the weekend and was simply delicious!! Usually Rico likes poppy seed dressing and I like Blue cheese, but when something is on sale we branch out a bit and try something new. So there you go some on hand things and leftovers made for two super meals and kept the grocery budget in check!!

Last night I worked on charting up some bits for the double bands on the Alpha Sampler. This piece is really coming along - as I have been throwing a few bits of floss into it each night. I didn't get a snap and may just wait until Monday as I have a feeling that it might just get finished up this weekend!! How super would that be.

The flickers have been numerous, but I will keep it shortish.

Lets start off with "Smart Woman" - 1931 - starring Mary Astor, Robert Ames and Edward Everett Horton. In this film Astor is a loving wife who returns from a trip to Europe only to learn that her husband plans to divorce her. She learns this info from his sister and his business partner, who become her partners in thwarting him. He invites his gold-digging girlfriend and her bossy mother for a weekend at their country home. To help expose the fiancee Astor invites a very eligible nobleman she met on shipboard and she and her cohorts collaborate to make it seem that Astor has now fallen is in love with him and more than glad her husband has found someone else. The girlfriend is treated humorously and the happy ending is not forced. Everything works out. The bad are dispatched, the good reunited.

Next up would be "Shane" - 1953 - starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde and Jack Palance. A beautifully shot picture with exceptional performances by all the actors. The story revolves around an ex-gunslinger trying to break with his past. I was really surprised by this film as I had heard lots about it - and often a flick falls far from the accolades it gets. The film is justifiably great but leaves lots and lots of questions for the audience from the start to finish.

A film Noir that I caught was "The House Across the Bay" -1940 -starring George Raft, Joan Bennett, Lloyd Nolan and Walter Pidgeon. Gorgeous lounge singer Bennett marries underworld figure Raft. They are completely in love and have a perfect life, for a while. Until other criminals want to rub out Raft. Bennett steps in to keep her husband "safe." She accomplishes this by helping the FBI put him away - for what she thinks is a short term, but she is duped by Nolan (who is in love with her) and he gets a very stiff sentence!! Raft is to serve his long sentence behind bars at Alcatraz - so Bennett moves to San Francisco so she can be near him. The story unfolds with all the treachery unraveling and the evil Nolan "getting whats coming to him."

Another Jean Arthur flick I saw was "Only Angels Have Wings" - 1939 - starring Jean Arthur, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth and Thomas Mitchel. This super Howard Hawks film was another I hadn't seen and was pleasantly surprised!! Hawks got great performances from both Grant and Arthur and this was Rita's first big part in an A film. Set in South America this is a solid "adventure-romance" film that anyone can enjoy.

I also saw another Cary Grant film "Wedding Present" - 1936 - starring along with Grant was Joan Bennett. This film had the potential to be a really good film but was a bit scattered. It seemed that the story line got distracted. Some good lines and some quality parts but over all an undistinguished film as a whole.

Last night I caught a film that I have loved since childhood - "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" - 1968 - starring Dick van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes. This is a film that makes Rico crazy, but I love it and catch bits and pieces all the time on cable. Here is a clip of the title song...

....and here is a clip of one of my favorite songs from the film... sung by Gert Frobe playing Baron Bomburst and Anna Quayle playing the Baroness....

There you go sports fans. Thank you again for stopping by and for your super comments!! Do come again.

Take care,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

GR&DF your kind comments are a boost to the ego this morning!! I really enjoyed making the keepes and there will be more in the future. Since my stitching obligations seem to be winding down with the advent of Summer I may just have to make some more and do a couple of warm weather give-a-way's...... now there's a thought!!

After yesterday's picture of a beautiful stormy sky -
just a day later the weather is bright and beautiful again -

Looking east towards Alameda and Oakland in the east Bay

After we got home from work yesterday the yard bug bit my big ole butt and Rico called a friend of ours to see if we could borrow some yard equipment. Some background.....You may remember that we live in a townhouse and our yardage consists of some potted things on the balcony. Our building is on a hill (who would guess living SF and being on a hill) at the end of a dead end street. This dead end street ends with a small bit of grassy land area that we use as a sort of dog park. One edge of this grass is a sidewalk and the other edge of this park is a sort of cliff that drops quite a way down towards the Mission. We have slowly watched this area get more and more overgrown with weeds and muck to the point that the who-hounds are a bit hard to see in all the tall greenery. Here is a snap of the space before the great hacking occurred -

and after about a half hour or so we had a space that looked liked this....

and a snap from the other side of the guard rail -

We are not too sure who owns this property - but nobody ever does a thing here so we are going to start keeping it cut down and cleaned up.

Did you feel the earth shift last night??? If you did it was because I was unshackled from the stove and Rico made dinner!! I love to cook and bake but sometimes making dinner night after night is a drudge!! Now don't get me wrong - he makes a mean taco - and his fried taters are just to die for - but the bulk of the cooking is done by my Lily white claws! Last night he stepped up to the plate and made an out of this world deep dish pizza!! It certainly deserved and snaparoo -

What you are looking at is a 9 x 13 x 3 pizza-saurus. The slices where so hefty that I could only eat one. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight??

I still have a few movie mentions - but lets put that off once again.

There you go sports fans! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind comments!!
Do stop by again!

Take care,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sheepy Keepes and some Rainy Weather

GR&DF your kind comments are once again a boost to my morning!! The Kringle was a big hit with Rico and his co-workers!! I got the message or hint - "what is for next week??" I found a great recipe for a breakfast/coffee cake I am thinking about....... I do so enjoy cooking and domesticity. We all work so hard for our homes and although I have been called a hermit - I do enjoy being in my house and doing "house" things.

I am still stitching away on an exchange and am thinking I will change it up for something else as I am not very pleased with the way it is turning out.... I may just frog some of it, who knows it is early days yet.

I have heard that my little Blogiversaary presents have started to arrive - so I think I will post a snap of the stitched pieces I made for the three winners -

I made sheep Pyn Keepes - this is a pattern from "The Gift of Stitching" that I used - and modified - I tried to find an entirely Black Sheep, but no such luck for one I really liked. The sheepy fabric the Keepes are on is what I backed them with. I also include some other little goodies with each package - I really enjoyed making these for my 3rd Anniversary - and will once again thank everyone for your continued good wishes and comments!!!

Yesterday the weather was rainy and cold. As evening pressed in on the day - I found myself looking out across the "veranda" towards the city and there was a really great sky -
here is a snap....

It was even more beautiful and dramatic seeing it full on, but this gives you and idea. While I was standing there I looked down at Rico's garden of pots and was greeted by this lovely little planting...

Rico has put out lots of purple plants this year. Everything gets pretty windblown outside from the gusting breezes off of Diamond Heights, but some things manage to survive.

I think I will leave the flicker post until tomorrow.

There you go sports fans - Thank you again for stopping by do come again!!

Take care,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Musings

GR&DF can you believe it is almost the end of May!! Here in SF the weather has certainly taken on its Summer mantle - cool to cold and a ton of Fog - we are even going to get some rain today!! This past weekend was cool on Saturday and down right cold yesterday. Where we are - up near Diamond Heights the wind whips across the peaks and down into Noe Valley so our micro climate was in the low 50's and quite chilly!!

Saturday Rico and I ran around to a few estate sales (Dale is back in NC visiting) there was not too much stuff out but I did pick up a few things...

I have a friend who collects 78's and think he will like this nice set of records, This Christmas set dates to 1949 and is in pretty great condition. I also picked up a really heavy cupcake "12" hole pan and super supper cookbook!!

Since it was a short day on Saturday and I knew I was not going out on Sunday I got the urge to bake something. I had been wanting to make a "Kringle" for a while and this was a perfect time. I wanted one filled with a nut filling.... so it started with...

....toasting the pecans and walnuts (the recipe called for only pecans, but I like them both!!) adding butter, and some spices - and a quick whirrr in the processor and the filling was done. Then it was on to the pastry part...

.... adding the sour cream - this is a very soft dough that makes two Kringles. After a rest of about 30 mins in the fridge - it was time to move on to the rolling out.....

..... and filling the pastry up with the nut stuff I made earlier. You then fold the pastry over the filling and seal the edges. Twisting this into a ring and moving it onto a parchment lined tray you have to let it rest over night in the fridge. On Sunday I got them out of the fridge and into a moderate oven for about 50 mins. After turning golden brown and letting them cool a bit I put some glaze on and ended up with....

.... two pretty tasty pastries!! I sent one off with Rico this morning and the other we hacked into yesterday while it was warm and had it with coffee. It is so big that I will probably have a piece every day this week - in fact I have one this morning with my coffee..... It is pretty tasty, and such a versatile thing - I think the next ones will be some sort of fruit. Since the cherries are coming in the other nice fruits are soon to follow - and that means more baking and preserving time will soon be here.

The stitching this weekend was exchange and gift stitching - I think the week will be mostly gift stitching with very little Alpha Sheep Sampler work.

There were some flickers but I will hold off until tomorrow about those.

There you go sports fans. Thank you for stopping by- do stop by again tomorrow - same Bat time same Bat channel!!

Take care,

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Jean Arthur Posting - More at the Movies

GR&DF another movie post - can you believe it. I am stitching on some exchange pieces so no stitchity news or snaps. Life is its regular old dull stuff day in and day out - which I like. In fact I am never so restful and content as when my life is monotonous and in a rut - I like knowing what will happen next without surprise or upset. I do not like change.
Pretty dull boy, but that's the breaks!!

So, without any snaperoos of needle stuff I will movie-talk again today.

Last night the flicker was a Netflix pix - "A Lady Takes a Chance" - 1943 - starring Jean Arthur and John Wayne (notice the billing) I am, and never have been a John Wayne fan. I just do not car for his "acting" manner, but I love Jean Arthur and I had never seen this picture before and it was a great little movie!! . Now there are a handful of films that Wayne is in that I do like - top of that heap is "The Quiet Man" - 1952- co-starring Maureen O'Hara - just love this film!!!!!! But lets get back to last night film. I threw this on the queue because of Jean Arthur one of my favorite comediennes of the late 1930's early 40's who is now almost forgotten. She started off in the silent movies but once sound came along and the public could hear her delightfully squeaky/froggy voice her career took off!! TCM - my favorite Boob Tube channel - often shows her films - 4 that spring to mind that you can catch there are - "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" - 1939, "The Devil and Miss Jones" - 1941- with Charles Coburn(love this film!!), "The More the Merrier" - 1943 - another super flick pairing Arthur and Coburn - and the last of the four "A Foreign Affair" -1948. There are a few others that are shown on TCM regularly any of her films are worth watching and I would encourage you to take a look. An interesting piece of trivia is she turned down the roll of Mary Bailey in "Its a Wonderful Life" - 1946 - that eventually went to Donna Reed.

Here is a great little tribute to a wonderful actress.....

There you go sports fans. Have a great weekend - see you on Monday!

Take care,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Movie Post

GR&DF it has been a few days without any mention of the flickers - not that I haven't been watching them - just not mentioning them her on the Blog. So I think today will be all about the flicks.

First up will be "Too Late the Hero" - 1970 - starring Michael Caine and Cliff Robertson. Set in the middle of WWII on an island in the Pacific the story is basically about a British unit plus one American who must destroy a Japanese communications station on a island. The mission for all purposes is impossible. A bit long in spots but the overall picture was pretty good.

Next up is "Out of the Ashes" - 2003 - a TV film starring Christine Lahti, Beau Bridges and Richard Crenna. A true story of Dr. Gisella Pearl based on her book "I was a Doctor in Auschwitz." The movie is told in flash back and covers the years leading up to WWII and Pearl's family incarceration and destruction in the concentration camp. While in the camp she must make good/bad "choiceless choices" for her and others to survive. A powerful story with a great performance by Lahti.

Another film was "In Harms Way" - 1965 - Otto Premingers war/soap opera epic set against December 7th attack at Pearl Harbor and its aftermath ... with lots of stars and cameos - including John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Paula Prentiss and Dana Andrews. Based on a book the story is a skilled blend of war drama and soap opera in the best sense of that term. I enjoyed the rekindled chemistry that Wayne and Neal had and shows that love ain't just for the young!! They starred in 1951 together in "Operation Pacific."

Here is the movie trailer narrated by Otto Preminger - with lots of explosions!!

One of non-war films was "The Yellow Rolls Royce" - 1964 - starring Ingrid Bergman, Rex Harrison, Shirley MacLaine, Jeanne Moreau, George C Scott, Omar Shariff and Art Carney. The story is actually three stories connected with the ownership of a yellow 1931 Rolls Royce Phantom II. Directed by Anthony Asquith and written by Terrance Rattigan this visually beautiful film is slow in places but a real treat. I read somewhere it is the best 1940's movie made in the 1960's - and that about tells it all - it has the feel of a much older movie and the story had been done before but the actress trio of Moreau-MacLaine-Bergman sparkles in dialogue and story lines - well worth a look.

Another war film "The Lost Battalion" - 2001 - starring Rick Schroder and Phil McKee - this TV film is a fact-based war drama about an American battalion of over 500 men which gets trapped behind enemy lines in the Argonne Forest in October 1918 France during the closing weeks of World War I. A very real war film with all - and I mean ALL - of the gore and dirt and deprivation that involves. A really good film and one of the best made in recent years -highly recommend.

The last film today will be "As Young as You Feel" - 1951 - starring Monty Wolley, Thelma Ritter, Jean Peters, Constance Bennett, Marilyn Monroe and a very young Russ Tamblin. Although part of a Marilyn Monroe DVD collection it really is not her movie as she has only a few scenes playing a beautiful and efficient secretary. The film is really a Wolley film where he plays a printer in a large company owned by an even larger company who is forced retiree but who is going to do something about getting his job back - a cute and shortish film a little predictable but some fun performances.

The you go sports fans - some pretty terrific films to catch - all of them are available on DVD. Thank you for stopping by do come again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Goodbye Miss Lena

GR&DF the cupcakes where a hit and there was so many!! - I think there was 3 1/2 dozen of those suckers - and Berit the pink goo was strawberry. Not as good as my Mom's strawberry cake, but in a pinch it did the trick. Marjorie asked about a name I refer to the pack as - with my twisted since of humor and love for the Grinch -I guess I just attached the who- to the hound and came up with who-hounds. Sometimes I think those three are just too wacky and belong on Mount Crumpet with Max - but I love the who-darlings!!

As you may or may not know one of the great stars from the Golden Era of Film passed on Sunday -

Lena Horne - 1917 - 2010

Breaking so many barriers in her life - one of the biggest was to be the first actor of colour to be given a long term contract by a major studio - MGM. TCM will be showing 3 films of her films on May 21, 2010. They are:

8:00 PM ET - The Duke is Tops - 1938
9:30 PM ET - Cabin in the Sky - 1943
11:15 PM ET - Panama Hattie - 1942

All three are good movies, but "Cabin in the Sky" not only showcases Lena's talents but also Ethel Waters huge talent - well worth a look. Such a wonderful career had so many top hits, but she will always be remembered for a single tune - and whenever I hear it - no mater who is singing it I always think of Lena Horne. Here is Lena singing her signature song in a the clip from the film of the same name......

There you go sports fans. Thanks for stopping by - do come again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Weekend Post - on Tuesday

GR&&DF after the who-hound post we now go back to our regular programming....

The weekend was bright and sunny - warmish on Saturday - or I should say it got to the warmish point since it started off a bit on the brisk side early on. We ran around to a bunch of sales - but most of them were a total bust. It does happen sometimes - miserable yard sales labeled as Estate or House sales... if you have a couple of boxes of stuff in the carport that does not make an estate sale!! I did pick up a couple of things - here is a snap -

You are looking at less than $4 worth of spending - like I said not much out there!! I couldn't resist the Florida mug - the garage sale that I picked this up at had 5 or six boxes full of State Mugs - Dale picked up 3 from North Carolina. There was another Florida one but it was kind of boring. The book is a nice little thing about a favorite city of mine - Paris. The two little bisque figures are a little beat up but they look kind of cute next to my bisque bathing beauties, the tray I got anticipating stitching up something else to fit under the glass - and the frog is the top part of a larger piece that I can focus on finding.

Sunday was off and on crappirty weather so no Farmers Market visit. I spent most of the day doing regular house chores and in the evening we went over to a friends house for a lasagna dinner - whoo hoo - delicious and I didn't have to cook or clean up the mess!!!

Last night Rico wanted some cake of some sort so I whipped up

this pink goo - that turned into these....

....lovelies - another crazy Batman angle. Richard Avedon I am not!!

There you go sports fans!! Thank you again for stopping by and for the warm sweet comments about our hounds - they are sweet bundles of joy - until bedtime then they a grabby little brats - and we adjust to their needs - spoiled - YES!!

Take care,

Monday, May 10, 2010

We Have some Winners.....

GR&DF - over 200 comments for the drawing - a new record for the Blacksheep!! As I always view a comment as a warm hug - I am totally cyber hugged!! I do thank you all for showing your support for me and my endeavours as I squiggle me way through!!

Well, we had our very secret "Bowl of Destiny" drawing yesterday. It did get a little out of hand - but with the three who-hounds I wouldn't have expected anything else - What I did was to make an entry slip for every comment - folding them all about the same size and then mixing them repeatedly in the BoD. Siting on the floor with all eyes a'watching....

... the Hag Claw drew forth the first winner.....
(we just couldn't get one of the hounds to actually draw a name - they sniffed them all pretty hard, but drawing was just beyond them - at this point)

..... here is Lolly and Pete watching the unfolding of the paper......... and the first winner is..... MarchAnn over at Stitching Again.

Then things got a bit out of hand as the Lolly hound got all excited and knocked over the mystical BoD -

... where the Peach immediately stuck her nose in the papers and drew forth the second name stuck to her snout - here she is after sneezing it off of the snout -

...she wasn't quite sure what had been on there but she sure was getting it off!! The second winner, drawn by the Peach, is - Dani - over at Dani: Black Belt Stitching Wizard.

Now we were on a roll - since the papers took on a life of there own - the hounds where totally interested in them. It was Pete's turn to pick our third winner. He was snuffling around in the upturned bowl and out he pulled the third winner - stuck to his tongue.

That sucker was stuck and Pete couldn't figure out how to un-stick it - and he almost ate it - but before he did that - I got it and it revealed our third winner.... Lisa Clarke over at A Southern Belle Misplaced in Michigan. Congratulations to our three winners!!!

I have gotten off two emails - one to MarchAnn and one to Dani, but I do not have Lisa's email- so Lisa when you get a chance if you could send me an email with your mailing address (my email in in my profile) my plan is to have the prizes out by the end of the week - as I have to personalize them and finish them off - again I do thank you all for entering my 3rd Blogiversary drawing!!!

There you go sports fans - do stop by tomorrow for a weekend wrap up.

Take care,

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Questions and an Ornament

GR&DF (Gentle Readers and Dear Friends) as I like to think of you all - thank you for taking the time to leave such kind comments - I do appreciate them!!

I think I will start off with a snap of the Ornament I sent to Marie - we are in a small bi-monthly Ornament Exchange. It has been such a great group!!
Here is a snap for the piece I sent for this Fifth Round...

JCS 2007 Ornament Issue - "2007 Merry Xmas Pinkeep" - by Brightneedle
recommended DMC floss on 36ct linen.

I have wanted tot stitch this piece ever since I saw it in the magazine. It so reminds me of a Quilt. The only changes I made was to leave off the lavender coloured floss - I did not care for it on this piece and pulled it out after stitching. I think there is only one more round and that will wrap up the exchange.

I had so more comment questions I wanted to answer - Diana asked "where I got my charts from" - it seems that I am always looking everywhere - eBay, destashing Blogs, other stitchers selling on different forums, different stores - either on line or brick and mortar. I think I get my biggest inspiration from other stitchers. I will often see a project in motion and get the "need" to possess the chart which in turn leads to other charts either by the designer or something with in the same genre. When I start searching I find all sorts of things that I had never seen or heard of. In my head when looking about I think about how old a chart might be which means that it is either OOP or is going OOP or will soon. I always have a list of things I am looking for - right now the list has about 25 or so things on it - not that I need any of them. Last night I was going through some of my binders of charts I have and Rico asked - "Just how many charts DO you have???" he had a sort bewildered look of disdain at the time that I thought bordered on a sneer, but I could have been mistaken. I sat there a moment and answered quite easily "way too damn many, that's how many!!!"

From Luned came the question of the variety of things I have stitched - commenting on the new header. I often feel that I am stitching the same type of thing over and over - or only stitching brown, beige, grey and black. But, the snap shows an different story - Most of my big non-exchange stitching lean towards the sampler or sampler type things - I love samplers both historic charts and new.... and have a tall, tall stack of these charts waiting to be stitched.

Lee the Lake Stitcher has resurrected the SBQ (Stitchers Blogging Question) on a monthly basis - this month the question is :

Suppose we say there are two types of stitchers.

There are those who enjoy the "process" of stitching. They stitch for stitching's sake and if something gets finished, so much the better, but it's not necessarily the end goal. Primarily, it's the application of needle and thread to cloth that makes them happiest.

Then there are those who are "project" stitchers. They move steadily through their projects, certainly enjoying their stitching time, but finding their greatest joy in the completed stitching.

If you had to pick one to describe yourself, which type of stitcher would you be? I imagine that we could all say we fall somewhere in between, but really think hard about this and try and pick just one. And once you've decided whether you're a Process or Project stitcher, tell us if you recognize that approach in other parts of your life.

I am totally a project stitcher. I work on a project until it is finished. I tried the rotation route with many pieces going at the same time - that really didn't work for me at all. I notice that even while stitching I am thinking about the next thing and even keep a list of of the next 5 or so things I will stitch in the order they will get stitched. This list often changes, but it is a list all the same. I look at them a goals and in my life I am also goal or task driven. I like to "do something, finish it and then move on to whatever is next." The whole process of stitching is the main reason I came back to cross-stitch. The rhythmically going needle and the creation of something - or process - keeps me stitching, but since I have to pick one - I am a Project Stitcher.

There you go sports fans. Remember to check back on Monday when I announce the 3 winners of the 3rd Blogiversary Drawing. If you haven't entered the drawing and would like to - make sure to get a comment on the April 9th Posting befor 3 PM PST today.

Have a great weekend!!

Take care,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Three Heads and Six Arms

GR&&DF I must once again humble myself in the face of such wonderful comments - I do thank you all. Last night I worked on another exchange piece I have that is coming up so no snaperoos of that.

Yesterday was "Farmers Market" day and so I trotted on over to see if natures bounty had started to arrive. This being the first part of May I was not expecting too much - and that is exactly what I found. But, walking over to the Civic Center I saw a new streetcar going up Market Street. The F Line runs up and down Market and is fitted out with many Historic Streetcars. This particular one was completely new, to me. Here is a snap -

It has DC Transit painted on the side - how great is that!! These are super cars to ride in. Except the Orange cars from Milan - I personally call them "rattle and snaps" as they bang and bounce you along giving you a ride not unlike "Mr Toads Wild Ride" at Disney!! The only super new fruit at the market was a whole booth/tent just packed with the new crop of cherries!!

I couldn't resist - so along with some onions, asparagus, tomato's and my Kettle Krack Korn - I picked up some of these lovelies. They are on the sour side which is just fine. I would guess that the sourness is because they are a new crop or the first crop of the year.??

While walking around the Market I noticed something going on down in front of City Hall - so like the nosey snoop I am I had to go find out what was up. There was the installation of a gigantic piece of art going on. To commemorate the long standing Sister City Program - ours is Shanghai China - the SF Arts Commission is installing temporarily "Three Heads and Six Arms" by Zhang Huan. Here are some snaps.....

and to sit on top of this giant piece is this "crown"....

You can click over to this site HERE and read all about the piece and the artist.

We ran to do some shopping in the Castro before we went home and this window just struck me as "colourful".....

I am not quite sure what Cliffs Hardware was selling with this display - but the window dresser always does something eye catching!!

Marchann58 asked about the floss I used on the CHS - Alphablocks piece - I used mostly what was called for - except for the vine/strawberry/bud border, nothing is listed so I came up with what I liked. The block fill for each letter I chose as I went along with no plan. The pattern calls for every block to be filled with Bittersweet, if I remember correctly - I wanted to mix it up a bit so I did my own thing again here. Where I re charted or completely redid a block I used floss that I liked - hope that answers the question.

Just a quick reminder - Tomorrow is the last day to get your name into my 3rd Blogiversary Drawing. At 3:pm PST I will close it up and do the drawing on this Sunday, May 9th - my actual 3 year of Blogging. I am still amazed that I could keep this up and find things to say all the time. I know sometimes the Blog Entries are a bit thin on info, but I hope those are overlooked. If you haven't thrown in just click over to the April 9th Post and leave a comment. Easy enough!!!

There you go sports fans!! Thank you again for stopping by do come again!

Take care,