Friday, January 31, 2014

Kung Hei Fat Choy - 2014

Gentle Friends today is the Chinese Lunar New Year!  So, Kung Hei Fat Choy!!!  It lasts for 15 days and to celebrate we have The San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade an annual event that is held here in the City.  This festival combines pieces of the Chinese Lantern festival and a typical over the top Parade!!  It was first held in 1858 along Grant and Kearny Streets in the heart of Chinatown.  It is the oldest and largest Asian cultural event held in North America.  The parade route begins on Market Street and terminates in Chinatown.  The parade is sponsored by Southwest Airlines and you can click HERE to get information about the route the parade takes.

I went down to Union Square over the weekend and didn't find to many photo ops....  but I did get some snaps....

... looking form Union Square across Geary Street towards Macy's.  Both Macy's (the Men's Store and the Women's) are decorated for the event.....  2014 is the Year of the Horse........

...a shot in the Women's department....

...across Stockton Street in the Men's department .....

... and downstairs in housewares.  Macy's has had some  on going events over the past month to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The Parade is fun with lots of people.....  here are some snaps from last years parade...

... last year was the year of the Snake...

Here are some things you can do to help enjoy and encourage prosperity, longevity and happiness in the coming New Year.....  Have something to eat. and there are some specific things to have and they are Lucky Foods........... starting off with Tangerines and Oranges - displaying and eating these fruits is said to bring good luck and wealth.  The tradition comes from the words for gold and orange they sound alike as do the words for tangerine and luck, sound very much alike.  It's good when on display if the fruit has leaves, as that symbolizes longevity,  however, never group them in fours as that number is associated with death. Next up in the Lucky Foods department are Long Noodles - always served as long as possible for a long, long life. One of the sweet things to eat is Nian Gao - which means year cake, gao sounds like the word for tall or high, which makes the cakes symbolize achieving new heights in the coming year.  These are steamed cakes made with glutinous rice flour, brown sugar and oil.  A side dish you could have are Leafy greens and long beans - leafy greens such as Chinese broccoli are served to wish a long life for parents and again long beans are served to ensure a long life.  The Tray of togetherness - to be displayed and offered to visiting relatives and friends or to be given as a gift has 8 compartments, these are to be filled with things such as kumquats for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, logans to bring many sons and red melon seeds for happiness.  Another fruit to serve and have is the Pomelo - a large citrus fruit that is thought to bring continuous prosperity and status.  It comes from the way the Cantonese phrase for pomelo sounds like the words for prosperity and status - and last be not least is to serve steamed, baked or fried... a Whole Fish -  again the Chinese word for fish sound like the word for abundance, and remember it is important that the fish be served whole with the head and tail intact - to ensure a good start and finish to the year.

There you go, fun stuff to do and great things to eat to ensure a Happy New Year.  You can see past parades on You Tube and find some really super recipes on line to make you own Chinese New year Banquet!!

Thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thrifty Thursday and a Coffee Cake

Gentle Friends I did some running around last Saturday and found a couple of things......  let me start off with a sandwich plate that has some great silver overlay.  I usually avoid silver overlay since most of the time the silver is either pulling away or lifting, or just in really terrible condition.  This plate/tray was in great condition and here's how I found it....

.... I picked this piece up and saw that for all the tarnish and filth that underneath there was something really lovely.......

.... made by the Cambridge Glass Company, I am pretty sure it is from the 2nd quarter of the 20th century (1925-1950)  The silver was in great condition and only needed some polishing.....  here's a group shot of the other things I picked up.....

.... in addition to the tray I picked up a great transitional bisque figurine in super condition.  Although missing her male partner, she's pretty enough to stand alone!!  I also found a couple of interesting books and a cut steel ornament by Judie Bomberger.  This is from her series of 16 of Cirque du Soleil  pieces, they are hard to find and usually only turn up on secondary markets like eBay, this one is called "Zebra."

On Sunday I whipped up a tasty blueberry coffee cake from the recipe on called "Very Berry Coffee Cake".......

... it came together quickly and was a a real treat with a cup of coffee!!  You can click HERE to get the recipe.

That's about it for today sports fans.  Thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

... and We Have a Winner.... along with a Little Finish

Gentle Friends, I had every intention of posting yesterday but the computer had other ideas.... by the time it was up a going I was way behind, so I put off yesterday what I could do this morning.

The Hag Claw, with some help.....

... from some Who Hounds, pulled a name from the BoD.......

..... and that name is.......

..... Donna, from over at "Dirty Martini Queen's Musings"...... I've sent off an email to alert her and will get the chart out as soon as I get her snail mail address.  I wanted to thank everyone for taking time to enter and to mention I have another Gift-a-Way in the works so stay tuned!!

I finished up the Colonial Gathering piece last night.....

... it was a fun little piece to work up and now I'll be popping it into the mail to Faye for finishing.... as I said to her... "I haven't a snowballs chance in hell, getting this thing finished up decently" and her skills are huge, so I'll trust it to a professional! I'll post a snap when it returns. 

There you go sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Few Weekend Shots.....

Gentle Friends, first thing I wanted to say is that I'll be posting the winner of the Gift-a-way in the morning. We had some technical difficulties over the weekend which has made me a day late, so sorry.

 We have been having such lovely weather this past month, you wouldn't even know it was January.  The days are bright and sunny, no rain and with the highs in the mid 70's all over the Bay area, it has tricked the flowers and trees to start budding out like it was Spring!


... I was walking in the Haight on Saturday and was knocked over with all the flowering trees, it's every where, even on our hill in Noe Valley, our sour cherry tree over the pool area has started popping out buds, and it's the latest blooming thing you ever saw!!  What I am thinking is we will eventually get some very cold weather at some point and it will be bad, damaging all these trees.  It will also damage the fruit crops and the fruit industry in the Joaquin Valley - the extra warm weather lately - coupled with the very dry winter will push fruit prices sky high this Spring and Summer......

I got a little stitching done this weekend and worked exclusively on my Colonial Gathering piece....

... it's a fun piece and I'll have it done in a day or two and then it will be on it's way to be finished up into a little pocket.

That's about it for today sports fans - thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, January 24, 2014

Edited to add a Photo of "Winter Band Sampler"

Gentle Friends I had every intention of showing the progress on the "Winter Band" Sampler I'm working on. 
I flattened out the wrinkles, got the light set up took about 10 snaps - and then then set the camera on the side table.*  I usually put it in the "murse" so I don't forget it rushing out in the morning.  I finally settled on a red colour - Apple Fritter - working on the third band only part of the left side deer is completed - I've had to change his colour only twice..... so far.

*I found my camera in my lunch bag.... so I downloaded the snap...

 Although I may get no further on the band sampler this weekend, I received the First Kit in the year long Colonial Gatherings Club put together by Dyeing to Stitch.  I signed up for the club when I found out that Paulette of "Plum Street Sampler" and Tanya of "Scarlet House" would be doing the projects - both great designers I like and will look forward to the fun kits that will arrive through the year.  I may just stitch on this piece only....  The first kit is a "Colonial Candle Pocket" you can click HERE and go to Paulette's Blog and see a snap and read about this super little project.

Just a quick reminder today is the last day to sign up for the drawing Gift-a-way of the chart - 

 "Christmas Band Sampler"

My Completed version of the piece

You can click HERE to go to the Post to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing, I'll announce the winner on Monday.

That about wraps up the week sports fans.  Thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's Thrifty Thursday

Gentle Friends the week is winding down and we are once again at Thrifty Thursday, and here's a snap...

.....  I found a couple of books, "The Elf on a Shelf - A Christmas Tradition Gone Bad" was just waiting to happen.  A funny book with a quirky take on the phenomenon of "The Elf on a Shelf."  The other book is one I have seen kicking around for a while and finally found this copy for a couple of dollars, it looks interesting and should be right up my alley.  The Icon is really great, a nice newish piece that fits right in with the rest of my Icons and things - not sure who the saint might be..... any guesses??

And, there you go sports fans, a short post today.  Remember tomorrow is the last day sign up for the "Christmas Band" chart Gift-a-Way.  If you want to enter just click HERE and you will be taken to last Friday's post and can leave a comment there to get you name in the BoD  (Bowl of Destiny)  Thanks again  for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Winter Treat

Gentle Friends the mail brought a box of wonderfulness from my sister and her family the other day.... and I wanted to share it with you.  It was full of goodies to keep us going through the long Winter.  Here's a snap...

....  we were basically out of this super Pancake/Waffle mix from Snoqualmie Lodge, a great Northwest product that we think can't be beat!  

Here's a little blurb....."For almost seven decades, Snoqualmie Falls Lodge built a dining tradition at a quaint lodge overlooking the rushing mountain waters of the 268 foot scenic Snoqulmie Falls.  The old fashioned decor and the 'World Famous Breakfast' made Snoqualmie Falls Lodge a truly unique dining experience for visitors from every continent.  That legendary Snoqualmie Falls Lodge name lives on in 'World Famous Farm Breakfast' items."    Made by Continental Mills, a company based in Seattle Washington that has been making top quality products since 1932. 

Another Northwest goodie in the box was some of the best coffee around - roasted by Stumptown it is probably our favorite coffee - the "Hair Bender" - a dark roast is top notch!!  A true Portland original you can read the History about how this super coffee came about HERE.  Don't get me wrong there are some very good roasters here in SF, but we really like this coffee - and my sweet sister fixes us up when ever we are running low!!

There was also a tasty seasonal treat from Jagermeister, their new "Spice" version, a lighter version of the regular liquor - that goes down a treat!!

So with all this deliciousness in the house I made us........

... "breakfast" for dinner last night!!  You can't beat pancakes and bacon with a splash of maple syrup ( I  prefer the darker more richly flavoured grade B over the lighter grade A's - Rico likes Mrs. Butterworth).

Thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Little Start.....

Gentle Friends I made a start on a new piece over the weekend.  I actually made the start on Friday, but I didn't like the floss colours so I pulled out what I had done and went in search of colours I liked and would work on the linen I am using......

.....  It's called "Hibernation Day" by Heartstring Samplery..... a band sampler that I re-worked to eliminate the words and moved some of the bands, added a bit here and a bit there.... basically the chart was a jumping off place.  Now it's "Winter Band Sampler."  I started off using the recommended floss but they just were not working on this piece of 36ct "Truffle", so I went back to the floss rings and decided on alternate floss.

That about does it for today sports fans, short and sweet - thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Christmas Finish!! - and - A Little Drawing.......

Gentle Friends I wound up the stitching on the "Christmas Band Sampler" last night and so have my first finish of the New Year!!  Here's a snaperoo.....

"Christmas Band Sampler" by Heartstring Samplery
36ct Sand, over dyed by me with black tea.
I used the recommended floss (GAST and WDW)
12/6 - 1/16/2014

This was a super piece to work on and I almost couldn't put it down to work on anything else.  The changes I made were -  from top to bottom - Band 7, the do dads at the end of the row I replaced with up and down lines to go with the top and bottom, at Band 11, I replaced the do dads at the end of the row with a double heart motif of my own construction - and at the bottom I left off the numbers, I think they detract from the body of the sampler.  

I love Beth's pieces and have even pulled from the "stash heap" my next start.  The chart, floss and linen are all coming from stash how cool is that!!  I'll show the actual start and talk about that on Monday.

Now, on to the Gift-a-Way Drawing.....  since the chart for "Christmas Band Sampler" was a gift to me I think it only appropriate that I gift it on to another stitcher......

... so, if you would like to have this slightly used copy ( I stitch from copies not originals) just leave a little comment on This Post Only and next Thursday evening I'll have the Hag Claw draw a name and announce the winner on Friday, 1/24.  Anyone, anywhere can enter, if you can get snail mail you can enter...... just make sure I can contact you through your entry Comment.  There you go easy peasy!!

That about wraps up the week here by the Bay, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

Gentle Friends its once again Thrift Thursday and I did find a little something Saturday at one of the Goodwill's I visit.... and here's a snaperoo....

....  it is a lovely, heavy, SP well and tree platter.  Made by Reed and Barton c. 1940 or so, it's in really superior condition with no silver loss at all and only the few knife marks.  I would love to know the pattern, but have been unable to figure it out or find it on the Internet, it is similar to "Victorian" a very popular R&B pattern - but like I like to say - "Close but no cigar!"

You would think that I buy every silver, shiny thing I run up against, but in fact I pass on loads of stuff.  The story of this platter and how it came to my house......... it appeared at the Goodwill back at the beginning of December, and I have been circling it for over a month.  I felt the price, good, but not a bargain, and unless it is something I can't live without - it's got to be a bargain or deal.  Especially for silver plate, and if it's EPNS, the silver has got to be perfect, without flaw or loss.  Because with plated pieces any flaw or loss in the silver will lead to other problems and even for a few dollars, not worth the effort.

So like I said I have been circling this platter for over a month. Kind of like a silver vulture waiting to swoop in on the kill. I would visit it every Saturday and find it in the pile of SP platters of questionable quality and sort of shuffle it back to the bottom of the stack. This past Saturday they had marked all the silver things that had been around for a while 1/2 or more off and that made this piece a real bargain - so I snatched it up and bought it - leaving with my prize!!  It was of course in a really bad tarnished state, which is why I think so much lovely silver goes unbought, either people can't see past the tarnish or they don't want to polish off the black - either way, this lovely thing now lives at my house and will grace many a dinner to come.

How about last night's......

 "Coven", slam bang, it was a winner Episode if ever there was one!!  With only a couple more episodes I will certainly miss in until next Season.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Our Lady of Fatima Visits San Francisco

Gentle Friends this past Saturday, in addition to all the usual running around we do, we also got the chance to see the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  (You can click and read all about the Mission)  The church we attend, Most Holy Redeemer, was one of the stops in the city so we made a visit in the afternoon.  I got some snaps......  here's the best of the bunch....

...  it was quiet in the sanctuary while we were there, with about 15 or so other visitors, it is a lovely statue sculpted in 1947 after the description by the three children who saw Our Lady in 1917.  You can click HERE and see some other snaps of the visit to MHR, and our own Father Brian.

I also got some shots of a couple of the stained glass windows in the santuary.....



There you go sports fans - short and sweet today, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!  I also wanted to thank you for the input, I think I'll just stick to what has worked for my Blog for the past 8 or so years.

Take care,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fresh Apple Cake

Gentle Friends I finally go to some emails last night (yea for the new toy) it's great to be able to respond to some of the questions asked.....

Sunday afternoon I got into the kitchen to bake - we were having our Weekend "American Horror" a-thon, I really enjoy being able to just go from one Episode to the next and watch the entire series in a couple of sittings - and was it a great 1st Season!!!  I was bopping around the Internet and found some rumblings about Season 4, that it might be......  "American Horror : Circus" - how great would that be!!!  Oh, well bake to baking.......

......  I used my mother-in-laws "Fresh Apple Cake" recipe, which calls for red Delicious apples only, I like to use a mix of apples, Golden Delicious, Gala, Breaburn, Granny Smith, Fuji.....  I made this cake a while bake and posted it over at Black Sheep Bakes on Tuesday, 10/12/2010, this time I didn't frost it but just sprinkled some icing sugar on top. 

.... it's such a moist nice cake that icing is really not necessary.... the cake comes together easy enough and bakes about an hour, start checking it at about 50 mins for doneness.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

(Here's a quick question for you dear readers: I was reading about Blogging recently and read that a centered Post is more difficult to read, I never thought about it but I wonder ....  Is the Blog easier to read with Posts flushed left with a ragged right alignment, or the way I usually post them, centered??)

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Stitchity Update.....

Gentle friends I managed to not only get a more recent snap of the "Christmas Band Sampler"  - but - I also remembered to bring the dang camera to download and post the snap here!!  So here's sort of here it stands at the moment.....

.... or at least where I was Saturday - I am a bit further along.  I really enjoyed the eyelet letters - in fact that is what drew me to the piece in the first place.  Only a small bit to go and then I'll be moving on to the next piece.

As with so many stitchers over the last year I am part of a group stitching away on Scarlet Letter Samplers as Part of Nicola's Scarlet letter Year.  As part of the ongoing "getting to know everyone" some of us where asked to participate in online interviews and the one I did a while back was just recently posted......  so if you ever wanted to now more about me you can click HERE and read what I wrote.....  you can also look around at some of the magnificent stitching going on at both Blog I and Blog II and also take moment and look at the newly posted Gallery of finished pieces, it is truly amazing!!!!!!

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, January 10, 2014

How About a Scary TV Show?????

Gentle Friends I am such a ding sometimes....  I am still working on "Christmas band Sampler" and meant to snap a picture last night after I popped it out of the q-snap, but totally forgot - I was dealing with the last "out for a pee" with the who-hounds and it just slipped my mind....  so what to post about...  how a bout a TeeVee show we are totally obsessed with..."American Horror Story"

We got caught up with the current season back at the beginning of November , watched all the back episodes we had missed of ......

 ....Season 3 - Coven, On Demand and now can.t wait until 10pm Wednesday evening for the next new instalment!!  We missed the first two seasons, but have made that up, for Christmas I got Rico the BluRay of

 Season Two - Asylum, and we devoured that in two days of solid Horror TeeVee. 

Last week I got the BluRay from DVD planet.....

first Season I - "Murder House" and we started that up last night watching the first two episodes.  What a super two shows!!

Let me just say I am not a fan by any stretch of the imagination of scary things, horror in any form, or the "blood and guts" films that pass for entertainment today............ but I just can't get enough of these shows - what's up with that????   

I also wanted to say... could Jessica Lang and Frances Conroy be any more wonderful??  and the other actors, what super jobs they do!!  I know it's not a show for everyone, I thought it wasn't a show for me, but I am now a convert and wait with baited finger on the clicker for each episode!!

That's about it for today sports fans, have a great weekend!!

Take care,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

Gentle Friends thanks so much for stopping by, today's thrifty finds (gotten before the great car collapse on Saturday - see Mondays post) were fun finds for sure - don't you just love alliteration!!  Here's a snap....

... from the top left - is a great sterling basket (c. 1940 ish), it has a great heft to it and the pierced swing handle is in great condition, the transfer ware plate of The Capital Building in DC has some of the more important sites around the Metro area depicted on the rim, the bright cut celery/pickle dish was a really great find, and "Beachhead" - 1954 - is a film from the novel "I've got Mine" by Captain Richard Hubler.  Overall a pretty good day.  

There you go sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dinner and a Movie

Gentle Friends while most of the country seems to be held in a deep freeze with blowing wind, snow and cold, the Bay area especially the City has had almost Spring like weather with the temps hovering in the mid 60's - bright and sunny...... this is our rainy season and we had no rain for the longest time and there has been lots of talk of drought.  Although the mild weather is nice it would be super to have some cold again and some rain lashing about  - since I can't control the weather I takes what I can gets!!

Last night we kept dinner simple and tasty.......

..... Rico made some really tasty BLT's with avocado, and I had some tots and Rico had fries.  I really prefer a tot over a fry, and I especially like the tot's with onion in them, but you just cannot get those out here in the Bay area, or at least I can't find them in any store I've been into.

Along with the super meal we had a really terrific film -

 "Made in Dagenham" - 2010 - starring - Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson and Geraldine James.  Based on the true story of a group of sewing machinists at the Ford Plant in 1968 that go out on strike for equal pay.  It is a wonderful film on so many levels, the acting is top notch, the story is really good (and is about the strike which was successful , that led to the Equal Pay act of1970).  I recommend this film highly - you'll not be disappointed!!

There you go sports fans - thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Band Update

Gentle Friends just a quick stitching update on the Christmas Band Sampler......

... I am a bit further along than the snap, but this is the most recent picture.  The only changes I have made to sampler - is with the "extra" stitches that to me looked a bit messy - at the end of the "z" and the "W" rows.

That's about it for today sports fans - thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Knocka, Knocka, Knocka, clunk Thud!!"

Gentle Friends our weekend was a whir of crazy trauma and then triumph......... it started off normal... Saturday morning off to Noah's for bagels and coffee, then on to Safeway for the weekly grocery shopping..... and then out to the "shops".....   after all the fun and on the way home through the Castro and up over the hill and down into Noe Valley, the car (our 16 year old car) starting making clicking noises and then all of a sudden loud knocking , click - thud - stop - the last leg of the car finally gave out.  After pushing it out of the intersection and into a parking spot I called Rico and he walked down the hill - I was within 4 blocks of getting home - we decided then and there to not put more money into fixing it and to finally get a new car.  
I spent the evening and until about 12:30 am reading reviews and doing research on the car I wanted. Sunday morning dawned bright and early and off we went, via the bus, to look and hopefully get a car..... after about 3 hours we were driving home with our new car.......

.... it's a 2013 Mini Cooper, the colour is Metallic Iced Chocolate.  Our other sad car we decided to donate to the SPCA and I am arranging that today.  It's great to have a reliable car again!!

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by!!

Take care,

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Last Christmas Post

Gentle Friends I had some snaps from the Christmas Season that I just couldn't find a spot for so I saved them for a last Christmas post ...... enjoy......

... taken on the way home from a Christmas party, down on 24th Street.....

...its really hard to capture just how pretty these trees are, they sort of blink and sparkle and really are nice...  they were coming down yesterday.

...  my friends house over on Alamo Square, they had their annual Christmas party and it was just as lovely as always.......

... with so much draught this year they told me it was hard for them to find a tree to fit in the front window, one was found and it was a lovely as always..... and....

...... the lit candles are so great!!!

......a house that gets decorated from eve to sidewalk every year, I have meant to take a picture of for years to post and finally just drove over there one evening and it is as over the top as it looks!!

...   it sparkles and blinks and flashes and is a Christmas destination on Castro Street, across from the Hospital.  While I was there taking pictures many cars also stopped and took snaps, or they at least slowed down to look.  They get a cherry picker out there to get all the stuff on and it takes a couple of days I think to get everything just right.

There you sports fans - thanks again for stopping by, dos top again!!

Take care,

A Damp Weekend

 Gentle Friends, still stitching away on Sarah, and here's a snaperoo... ... I like all the little bits of "wonky" that are pa...