Monday, August 31, 2009

Bench Monday #2

sunset on toes

more benches

have a great day

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday: Patterns

Aren't the pattern illustrations beautiful? These 1930's patterns are by the New York Pattern Co. I especially love the dress with the golf club. It's the perfect accessory for the dress. Very sporty. It's been ages since I have been to New York and I am going in a couple of weeks. So I was wondering if there are any crafty/sewing/notions/yarn shops that I simply must not miss. Please tell if you have such a place or two or three. Let me know if you have any favorite eateries or restaurants too. This is the planning stage of my explorations of all things crafty in New York City. I can't wait to hear your suggestions. Wee! I am so excited.

To learn a little more about the New York Pattern Co, click here.

Pattern Photos Courtesy of: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cookie Time

Sunday Sarah posted that she made Lemon Zucchini Cookies. They sounded and looked delicious. There was a zucchini in the fridge screaming to become a cookie. At the end of the dissertation my eating habits were out of control, so we have been trying to eat healthier around here. With that in mind I decided to try and make the cookie a tad bit healthier.

Sarah used this recipe.

When I went to make the recipe I found that I only had 1 stick of butter, so I needed a different recipe or alter the recipe. After doing a search I found this recipe, which took 1 stick of butter and used nutmeg to spice up the cookies. A little spice sounded good to me and no math so I used the other recipe. The substitutions I made were to use oatmeal and whole wheat flour. Also instead of brown sugar and granulated sugar, I used raw cane sugar, which has a deeper flavor than granulated sugar but not as rich as the brown sugar. My brown sugar was as hard as a rock. Don't you hate when that happens?

Lemon Zucchini Cookies

1 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 ½ cups oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375. Mix sugar, butter and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until almost no indention remains when touched (about 8-10 mins.); cool.

They are yummy. The cookies are lemony and crisp around the edges. The center is moist and spicy. I made mine larger than a rounded teaspoon and they might have been better if I had. It's just really hot here in LA and the oven heats up the entire house so I had to get these cookies in and out of the oven. Therefore I made bigger cookies. Both the original recipes have a lemony glaze on the cookies, but that seemed too sweet for me so I didn't frost the cookies. They really don't need it as they are delicious and wholesome with oatmeal added in.

What's your favorite cookie? Do you have a favorite healthy cookie recipe? Please share if you do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Antica Pizzeria

The hubby and I are always searching for great pizza since the hubby is a pizzaiolo and still learning to perfect what I think is the perfect pizza. After the morning on the beach we decided to go to Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey. We have been meaning to try this place for a couple of years but we never seem to be in the neighborhood. Well, we were a stone's throw away and hungry.

What makes this place special is that it was the first pizzeria in the US to receive the seal of Verace Pizza Napoletana. VPN is an association dedicated to preserving and promoting authentic pizza from Naples, Italy.

Cultural tidbit: In Italy, much like the US, you drink beer with pizza. Not wine. I do not have the taste for beer, so I drink wine. Yes, I like to break the rules.

Mediterranean Salad - Mixed greens, tomato, olives, goat cheese & balsamic vinaigrette

Pizza Margherita - the classic

Pizza Carfone - Italian sausage, rapini, & smoked mozzarella (No Sauce)

Pizza Capricciosa - Artichokes,mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, & prosciutto

Okay...let's talk pizza.

First and foremost the crust. Antica Pizzeria wood fires their pizza so the pizza cooks fast and hot The crust is thin and crisp but has a great chewiness, but not too chewy. On top of that the crust has great flavor, slightly smoky from the oven and some body to it. Have you ever had pizza that tastes as flat as a cracker? No body, lacking salt, or any taste at all? That's a bad crust. Here the crust was perfect in my book.

The pizza sauce was light yet full of tomato flavor. They make their own mozzarella in house and it's delicious.

All of the pizzas were delicious. The Margherita is the one we taste first because it is the bare bones pizza with the simplest components to taste and judge the crust, the sauce and the cheese. If one of these components is off, especially the crust then it doesn't matter what you put on top to try and make it taste better. However, my favorite of the day was the Pizza Cafone. The combination of the spicy/sweet sausage with the bitterness of the rapini and then brought all together with the creaminess of the smoky mozzarella was amazing. This pizza was also featured in GQ's American Pie Article on the best pizzas in the US.

Antica Pizzeria gets the pizza vote of approval as the best in the city by the hubs and me. They really have all that is right and good about pizza, even down to the giant "00" Caputo flour sacks in the restaurant. Now it is located in the Marina Villa Marketplace on Maxella, off of Lincoln, but don't be scared by the mall. This is no mall pizza. It's fantastic pizza and worth the trip.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Busy Weekend

Whoa! What a weekend.

Friday, I picked up my nephew Ty. We haven't spent much time together this summer what with my finishing the dissertation. When I picked him up in the afternoon, I asked him if it was all right if we stopped by the Stitch Cafe to pick up some sock yarn. As we were parking in the lot he told me that even going to the grocery store was fun with me and his Uncle. Isn't that sweet? It really just made my heart swell. I love that kid. He helped me pick the color yarn for Damson, a new shawl by Ysolda. (Yes, I cast on. But I have already had to tink back after I alternated the two row repeat while watching True Blood. Argh!)

The kid just got his bottom braces put on Thursday and he had to eat soft foods until Saturday, so we stopped and had an ice cream. This is the ultimate soft food and cure-all, in my opinion. We got home and played Mario Smash Bros. on the Wii (Yeah, I got skills). Dinner was supposed to be kabobs. The kid likes meat on a stick, but with the soft food requirement we went to Vivoli Cafe for dinner. The kid is not an adventurous eater, but had lasagna for the first time ever in a restaurant and loved it. They make really good Italian food at a fair price at Vivoli.

After dinner, we went to see Ponyo, the new Hayao Miyazaki movie. I really liked it. The animation was beautiful as always and the story was simple, straight forward, and sweet. It is a great movie for kids.

In the morning was my first Book Club meeting for Julia and Julia by Julie Powell. My plans were to make a Blueberry Clafouti from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child herself. Unfortunately when we woke up in the morning the power was out. Somebody had wrapped themselves around a power pole in the wee hours of the morning. RIP (It was a bad accident). No power. No oven. That means fruit salad. I picked up the most ripe and delicious box of peaches from Trader Joe's along with my blueberries. I dropped the peaches into boiling water for about 20 seconds and then peeled off the skins.

Wearing my pearls and carry a big bowl of peaches and blueberries, I was off to Book Club. Dorothy, the hostess, put out a lovely spread of blueberry muffins and Strata for brunch. Someone brought doughnuts and another champagne. Mimosas and plates in hand we talked about the book and food. I brought my copy of MTAFC with me too, which everyone took a look through. It was a great group of women who had interesting things to say and I am looking forward to our next meeting sometime in October.

In the afternoon, Ty was in a play called Beauty is a Beast. He has been a player in a theater group for about four years now. The play was very funny. The kids are so danged cute. After the play we went to my Mom's house to play with the new kitten, Boondocker. That kitten has BIG paws and he is so devilish. He scratched my face immediately. He was having no part of these big humans picking him up for a cuddle. Hissing and clawing and oh so cute. Man, I wanted to cuddle that cat, but no way José.

Surf's up! We packed up the car with boards and wet suits and headed to Santa Monica. The kid wanted to learn to surf. This has been the hubby's dream for years.

The kid was like a pro. He got up on the board the first time. These shots are actually the second time he rode in. The first time I was whooping it up on the beach and missed the shot. Once the kid was feeling confident, the hubby grabbed his board to ride some waves.

There is nothing like a day at the beach. It was a perfect day too. Not too hot and not too crowded. Well, we got there early (about 8:30am) and left about noon. I guess the crowds were coming by then. It was lunchtime and we were hungry. So we went out for pizza, but I will tell you all about that tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bench Monday

Happy Bench Monday!

This is my first Bench Monday. Bench Monday is a flickr group that posts pics featuring a bench (or something like a bench, maybe a crate, or a chair, almost anything really) and posts on Monday. Go and check out it out here and you will see what I mean. Maybe you will want to play along too.

A couple of weeks ago a bench arrived for our backyard. Last night the hubby put it together while he was manning the grill (chicken teriyaki kabobs). I didn't even ask. YAY! I love when that happens. This morning all I had to do was jump up on the new bench and take my picture. The flowers are the fading blooms from the wedding.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

When bad things happen on a good day

Before all the wedding weekend festivities began, we woke up last Friday morning to our Barfing Cat Alarm Clock, also known as Wiggs. This is the type of alarm clock that makes you scramble for the paper towels and carpet cleaner with your eyes half open, while wrangling the cat into the bathroom. Not fun, but it got us out of bed and we were anxious to start our weekend as our good friends were getting married. Then I discovered that Wiggs had peed on my favorite summer sweater, which was on top of the dining room chair. If you are at all familiar with cat pee, you know the chair was ruined. No amount of cleaning will get that smell out. Usually this would have spurred a lot of conversation about whether to throw the cat to the coyotes, but we just took it in stride. The chairs needed to be reupholstered as they are about 40-50 years old with the original cushions and were looking very worn. We looked up a place on the internet, loaded the four chairs in the car and off we went. There was no way the cat was going to spoil our weekend. We were in such good spirits that cat pee ruined furniture couldn't get us down. Now that's a good mood!

Picked up the chairs today

They look fantastic and feel even better. The old ratty cushions had no cush left in them. Now I am sitting two inches higher at the table and my bum is sitting comfortably in style.

Danny Cannon Custom Upholstery
2312 S. Robertson Blvd.
LA, CA 90034

Great work and service, but the choice of fabrics was limited and fairly conservative. I would definitely use Danny again but I would buy my own fabric if I wanted something jazzier.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who needs another toaster?

For the wedding, a group of friends decided to pool our resources and get a Photo Booth as a gift for the Bride & Groom. It was a hit with the kids at the wedding as well as the adults. Boy... was it a hit.

Before the Guests arrived...

Later that night...

And after a few Whiskey Sours...obviously.

The Photo Booth was from Red Cheese. They provided a person to man the photo booth, a scrapbook, scissors, markers, glue sticks, and double prints (one for the book and one to keep). Plus the Bride & Groom will get a CD of all the photos. This is a great edition to any party because when you shut the curtain to the booth it gets Craaaaazy. As you can see.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Wedding Ever

What a wedding. It was perfect all the way around. The ceremony involved a fake priest, a visit from the Pope, and wonderful words of love in front of family and friends.

And a BIG ole kiss to seal the deal.

Dinner was fantastic. The band played great music. We danced. We drank. Everyone was feeling the love in the room.

The big surprise of the night was the wedding cake, which the Groom had no idea about. hehehe.

The cake was Lambeau Field, Home of the Green Bay Packers and the Groom's Home Team being from Wisconsin and all. When the cake was wheeled out he was absolutely speechless. Not only that, when you looked around the room, every man was standing to behold the sacred stadium that was now taking center stage on the dance floor. Everything in the universe came to a halt. They could not cut the cake for a half and hour as people thronged to take pictures of it. In fact, at the end, they had to wheel the cake out of the room to slice it otherwise there would probably have been tears in quite a few men's eyes as Lambeau Field was deconstructed to plain old cake on a plate. It would remain whole in everyone's memory. The Bride became the coolest person in the room at that point as voted by all the men in the room, band included.

It really and truly was a joyous occasion. I can honestly say it was one of the best weddings I have ever attended. The Bride and I have been friends for 26 years and she has truly found the perfect match for her. It was an honor to share & celebrate their union. Wow....what a night.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


My friend Michele, the Bride.

It's wedding day. We are at the salon and the beautification is in full swing. Six and a half hours until the wedding.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, August 14, 2009

Drum Roll Please....

Here's a note from my Mom.

Thank you all for your suggestions: I liked Tappington and Santino the best. Frankie was my nickname when I was in Jr. High. Tapo was fine with my hubs and I - BUT not so with my daughter. The hubs started calling him Tapolito which I didn't like. You know how it is with nicknames. This kitten has four dark gray paws, extra big on the front - quite cute. My hubs did not want a sissy name and wanted something different, he is a retired Marine and wants our kitten to grow up to be one tough cat. This kitten follows my hubs all over the place and likes to sleep under his chin. It's amazing to see him so tender and loving to an animal. Well - we have decided on a new name. It is "Boondockers". We are calling him Boon for short but "What's up Doc" - rolls out easy. I looked up Boon in the dictionary and the definition is: Answer to a prayer. Doc works too, in honor of my stubborn daughter who wouldn't give up on getting her PhD. So, thank you one and all - Hope you all like his new name too.

There it is...Boondocker.

Much better.
Thank you everyone for your good names and help.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The List of Names

1. Frankie - after ole Blue eyes himself Sinatra
2. Santino
3. Sunny
4. Loki - the trickster
5. Scully - after Vin; also means town crier
6. Simon
7. Wally (Wallace) Windbanger
8. Nigel
9. Paulie - as in Paulie Walnuts from the Sopranos and reference to polydactylism
10. Sixtus - the Pope who founded the Sistine chapel
11. Mickey - Blue Eyes
12. Banksy - graffiti artist
13. Oliver
14. Enkidu - friend of Gilgamesh
15. Ignatius aka Iggy
16. Morsel - because he's scrumptious
17. Honeydew
18. Luca

The names are really good. My Mom read the post and cracked up. She is considering Santino. Negotiations are ongoing in the naming process. I will keep you posted.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Help Name my Mom's Kitten

Meet my Mom's new baby. She rescued him this weekend as this little guy is the offspring of a barn cat. There are lots of dangers lurking about for a kitten on the fringe of the city. There are coyotes, owls, and hawks skulking about a barnyard. My Mom has been wanting a cat for a while and this cutie resembles a cat we had named Bartholomew. He's a polydactyl, which means he has six toes. He also has blue eyes.

The Naming Of Cats by T. S. Eliot
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Now when this handsome little fella came home this weekend she first called him E.T. (Extra Toes). I told her I didn't really like that name. She said she liked Sammy. I liked Sammy and thought she could call him Sammy Six Toes or Sammy Sixty Six. Every good mobster kitty needs a solid nickname. Well today she told me his name is Tapo. That would be TAP (like the faucet) OH. What? Huh?! Does that mean something in some language? Nope, it's the name of the Canyon the barn is located in. My problem is that Tapo is neither pretty, nor dignified, nor special, or even cute. (On a side note: It's the animal hating husband that insists on giving this cute kitty the ugliest name he can think of. Animal haters shouldn't be allowed to have a say in the name, don't you think? They really don't have the talent for it. Okay...he's not exactly an animal hater but he is definitely not an animal lover. On the animal lover scale...10 being you LOVE animals...he's a two) The situation is very complicated as you can see. As Mr. Eliot expressed in his poem, the naming of cats is a difficult matter and so I turn to you.

I ask you to take a good look at this magnificent creature and please leave a suggestion or two of name worthy of this feline. Please no entries that rhyme with taco.

For an added incentive, if your name prevails to persuade and encourage my Mother's to change the name to yours I will personally send you a token of great appreciation.

Now give it your best shot as my Mom can be slightly willful, but I believe deep down she would like a better name too. No creature should be stuck with the name Tap-o, or Tappy, or T.P. for the rest of it's life. What? You know, you've got to give it a nickname. It just happens.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Craft Hope

Friday I was bopping around the internets and stopped by My Own Crafty Wonderland and read about Craft Hope.

Craft Hope is doing good deeds through crafty making and giving. The first three projects have been pillowcase dresses & shorts that went to children in Brazil & Mexico, Dollies for children in Nicaragua, and Blankets, booties, and beanies for Babies in India. You have to check out the pictures of the kids with the dollies. Precious and heart opening. Project four is just underway and when I read the project I knew I was going to contribute. Project Four is making Sock Monkeys for The Little Heroes Preschool Burn Camp in Northern California. Sock Monkeys! I love Sock Monkeys. I have made a couple before here & here.

To learn how to make a sock monkey check out the tutorials here and here.
To buy old timey sock monkey making socks go to Fox River Mills.

Maybe you will be moved to make a sock monkey. They are so much fun and easy peasy to make. A word of caution, sock monkeys are very mischievous and curious creatures.

For example, here's a Sock Monkey that I made for my friend Joe. His name is Dougall Chang and is a lab monkey at a secret facility in the heart of Texas. He had some adaptability issues at first but I have been informed that Dougall is learning to work and play well in the lab.

He has made some friends.

He assists in quality assurance protocols.

Oops...caught sleeping on the job.

Never forgets to wear protective garb.

Sometimes he needs a timeout.

It's a learning process.
Don't say I didn't warn you when the sock monkeys take over the house.

Also don't forget to check out Craft Hope.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

I just love everything about this photo, especially the grand cat on table. Look at that fella. He's practically a lion.

This one reminds me of The Secret Garden.

This morning I was tending my front garden that has been seriously neglected this past spring. Everything was overgrown, bloomed out, and weedy. I cut back the Jerusalem Sage, that bloomed prolifically this year. The Kangaroo Paws had to be cut back. The Euphorbia had to be pulled out completely because I found what looked to be garden barnacles on it. Seriously, some kind of barnacle was sucking the life out of the plant. Does anyone know what the really name of the garden barnacle? It kind of freaked me out so I uprooted the entire plant and threw it out. The Palo Verde tree and the Protea were trimmed up because they were overtaking the front steps and tickling everyone who passed by. This was the first year out of three that my Protea bloomed and I was very happy every time I passed by the blooms. The garden is definitely looking better all trimmed up and without weeds.

How does your garden grow?

More Vintage Photo Friday here.

Fab garden photos:
by postaletrice; by josefnovak33

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Goods Eats & Art

There has been lots of birthday celebrating around these parts. On Monday night we had birthday dinner at Mozza Osteria. They have a great deal for dinner at the bar. Every Monday through Wednesday Osteria Mozza is offering a special three-course menu exclusively at the "Amaro Bar." Choose one item from Nancy's Mozzarella Bar (or share the Mozzarella Tasting for two), one Pasta, a Dessert and a glass of either Bastianich Friulano or La Mozza Morellino di Scansano for $35 (plus tax and service). No reservations are necessary; the seats at the bar are available on a first come first served basis so walk on in!

It's really a great way to go because you can wait up to four weeks to get a reservation. The hubby has the red wine (Sansano) and I had the white (Bastianich). from the Mozzarella Bar we had the Smoked Mozzarella with prosciutto & the Burrata with grilled asparagus, brown butter, guanciale & Sicilian almonds. The entrees were Maltagliati with wild boar ragu' & Ricotta Gnudi with wild spinach. For dessert, Torta della Nonna with honeycomb & pine nuts & Cannoli filled with coffee, caramel, and choclate chip gelato. Everything was very delicious. We did order a little more wine because we were celebrating. My favorites of the evening were the Burrata, the Gnudi, and the Torta della Nonna.

After dinner the hubby took me to the Apple store and bought me an iphone!

Here's my first picture from the phone. He's the best for buying me a present for his birthday! It was a really fun night.

On Tuesday we went to LACMA to see Pompeii and the Roman Villa, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We even did the audio tour. The hubby hadn't seen the Broad Contemporary yet so we walked through there too. Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea had some really interesting pieces in it. I loved Needle Woman and one of the installations invites you to sit down and knit. Love that! We didn't stay and knit because we were hungry.

On the way out we did check out the interesting & colorful installation of plastic wares.

It really beckons you to be a kid again and run through the hanging garlands of plastica ala 99cent Store.

So we did.

It was a great day at the museum.

But let's talk about my latest obsession. My iphone! I love it. I get reception at my house in the canyon, which I never did before. It takes pretty decent pictures. Anyone got any recommendations for apps? It's a whole new world and I am having fun exploring it. It is almost as much fun as running through bright colored plastic colanders, cups, and pails on a string.