Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HOMEMADE CHEVRE ~ YUM!


Picked up my weekly milk from my 'farmer' friend and made a batch of chevre last night. Decided to also use the recently acquired TEMECULA OLIVE OIL that I have been saving for noncooking kitchen creations. The taste is so buttery and divine, why heat it up and risk ruining this wonderful stuff. Packed the jar with little chevre buttons, fresh rosemary from right outside my door and sun dried tomatoes, pouring the olive oil over all as I worked my way up the jar. Can't wait to sample it! Next time I am going to try an Oregon grown and made olive oil! Who would have thunk it, Oregon? OREGON OLIVE OIL is going to be my next olive oil.

Friday, December 10, 2010

SOLJANKA ~ SUCCESS!

In eastern Europe and in Russia there is this most dee-lish soup called Soljanka (various spellings too). In my experience, the ingredient summary often leaves many Americans wondering why they would like this soup. But I'm telling you it is the best! I've never made it or recommended it to anyone who didn't become a convert to SOLJANKA.
One's own recipe will suffice though, as there are so many variations, you can't do it wrong. Near the sea it is often made with shellfish or other seafood, and in other regions organ meats (OK, I admit to liking beef tongue and using it and no one knew), beef, sausages, pork, chicken or turkey whatever is handy. As I said I don't eat a lot of meat, and my consciousness about avoiding organ meats, means I have to be VERY sure of its origin. As long as SOLJANKA has pickles, olives (I like kalmata), and capers it will be authentic. I like kraut, so I don't mind having it in the soup too. But sometimes I use fresh cabbage, if I don't happen to have kraut. Then I will add a little of the pickle brine from the pickle jar. (Homemade pickles are the best.)
I never make it the same way twice. My offspring call my soups, "Mom-cleaned-out-the-frig-soup", but they always like what it turns out to be. Here is a beginning place to look and try this wonderful, wintry, hearty soup. Look yourself for recipes. You will love SOLJANKA!
http://www.food.com/recipeprint.do?rid=351209

Friday, December 3, 2010

I FOUND LINEN TAPE...to dye for!

Thanks to another blogger, I have located linen tape!
http://www.iheartlinen.typepad.com/
I found some in Denmark, but didn't buy it as I was certain that I would find some at home. But ome I got home I was never able to find any. Thanks to Rashida Coleman-Hale's wondrous blog, I know not were to get it.
http://wmboothdraper.com/TapeLace/tapelace.htm#Linen
http://woodedhamlet.com/tapes_braids/dutch_linentape.html

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"TOUT LAPIN, TOUT CANARD", DUCK & RABBIT FOR TWO

In Quebec City at 52 Rue Du Petit-Champlainthere is an exquisite little restaurant called le Lapin Sauté. We dined there this fall while staying in eastern Canada. On the menu is an offering called "TOUT LAPIN, TOUT CANARD", duck and rabbit for two. Without hesitation we ordered it! The most divine meal ever. Since returning home, I've been exploring and researching every aspect of the meal to be able to approximate a recreation. Previously I have purchased rabbit from Julia at "My Pharm" in Monroe, Oregon, so getting local farm raised rabbit is not a problem. However, since I like to shake the hand of the farmer who raises my food (if I don't already raise it), I have failed to find the needed duck.

Here are the parts of the meal that I want to recreate and following are the 2 photos (one very large plate) of the meal we shared. Shall never, ever forget it!

Preserved rabbit leg, homemade rabbit “rillettes”, rabbit sausage, preserved duck leg, duck foie gras, smoked duck fillet, with preserved carrots and onions, La Sauvagine cheese, sourdough bread with nuts, beet and apple salad, croûtons, mustard and pickles .










Of course we also shared a dessert and drank some fine French Aramis Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon with the meal.








Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ROGUE RIVER ADVENTURE ~ Oregon's Wild and Scenic River

We have spent the last 5 days rafting the Rogue River in southern Oregon with 9 other folks. It's not the first time we've done the Rogue, but since it is a river that requires a permit, it's been a few years. It is a lottery permitting system, as the Rogue is a "Wild and Scenic River".
It was great weather and we made some new friends and spent time with long time friends. Last year on another river, we saw our first bears in the wild in Oregon ever. Again this year there were black bears everywhere. No concerns though, as they were pretty preoccupied with 'harvesting' the abundant Oregon blackberries. In most camp sites we also were able to place our food inside of bear proof electric fencing at night.
We also hiked an 8 mile section of the Rogue River Canyon Trail, which allowed a different perspective of the river from above.
We never underestimate the power of the water, always wear PFD and once again no mishaps on the river. A video and a slide show of the trip are here as well.
video

Saturday, July 31, 2010

WONDERFUL REUNION WITH OUR GERMAN FRIEND

WISHING HIM SAFE AND ADVENTUROUS TRAVELS, UNTIL HE RETURNS TO HIS FAMILY IN GERMANY!
A friend of many years, DIETHARD AM-ENDE, from Johanngeorgenstadt, Germany, was here this week. Having a visitor from Germany is not so extraordinary for our family, given that we have some deep and treasured connections with Deutschland and Deutschlanders. But this was was indeed EXTRAORDINARY! Diethard got here for his first visit with us in OUR country, on his BMW GS 800 motorcycle. We're only one stop on his around the world trip. This trip had been a long held dream of Diethard's, who spent nearly all of his life, living behind the Iron Curtain, in the former German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. He left home May 9th, and traveled through Poland, Russian (Siberia), Korea, and Japan, before sending his BMW motorcycle air cargo to Vancouver BC, while he flew there. Once reunited with his chosen mode of transport, he then visited Alaska, much of British Columbia, Washington state and then into Oregon. We enjoyed a great, informative and too short visit with Diethard, and his temporary traveling companion from British Columbia, Michael. Michael will return to BC this coming week, and Diethard will proceed alone, to cross the US from west to east, on a yet undetermined route. We will reunite with Diethard one more time in the Boston area in late August, and hear more about his travels across the US.
We met Diethard many years ago, after the collapse of the Berlin wall, in his hometown. He is now retired but was the headmaster of a primary school. He and I facilitated contact between his students and mine as 'e-pals', something that certainly fostered intercultural appreciation for the German AND American students. We have visited Diethard and his family several times in Johanngeorgenstadt, but this was his first visit to us here.

Ready to roll, and he was off to Crater Lake, the southern Oregon coast and the Redwoods before heading to points east from there.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

FOR STACEY & THOM

Last weekend we traveled north to the Portland area to attend the marriage celebration of a special and dear long time friend. Stacey has been a part of our lives since she was a little girl. Our third daughter and Stacey were very close friends. We moved during their adolescent years, but the girls remained friends throughout high school, college and now their adult lives. Stacey is an inspired and gifted teacher. There is a certain kinship there, as I recently retired from the same profession.

The day was a perfect 10! The sun shone brilliantly, the temperature was very moderate and the time spent renewing old acquaintances and making new ones was wonderful. Thom and Stacey are perfectly matched. We were so moved by the exchanges and vows made by each of them. It brought tears to our eyes.

For the occasion I made a textile photo collage. Initially I agonized over what to create. Thom is an artist, and creating something for them was so intimidating. Their incredible photographer, Eric Wolfinger of San Francisco, took photos that captured so well the expansive place, yet also show the essence of intimacy and fun. I sought Eric's permission to use some of the photos, and he was gracious in allowing me to do so, given the goal was to create a gift for Thom and Stacey.

Honestly I have never liked photo collages, as most of the ones I have seen are all too frequently not very imaginative nor do they capture or compliment the people in the photos. I had many false starts, but finally dragged out all of my hand dyed fabrics and spread them before me. Since I NEVER throw anything away, I had many small pieces that I eventually incorporated into the final collage. Stacey and Thom were married last summer on Mount Tamalpais, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Though I was not there, I know that Stacey and Thom incorporated the 4 elements into their ceremony. Whatever I generated, I hoped that earth, wind, fire and water would be evident. I think it was a success. The final judges would be Thom and Stacey. Did they like it? They do, and I am so relieved!

The origami diamonds with hand dyed silk ribbons are the 'wind' elements. The photos are printed on silk with an ink jet printer. All of the fabrics were hand dyed by me, except the blue raw silk in the lower right, some of the origami diamonds, and the white silk surrounding the largest photo. This part of the collage is actually made from a photo of the arrangement that Stacey carried. Above the patchwork is a photo view from the top of Mount Tamalpais, looking out over the islands of San Francisco Bay, and is the element of 'water'. To the left of the photo is a sun, representing the element 'fire'.

I added this little silver embellishment because it seemed to fit these two people and their values and beliefs. Stacey and Thom have genuine and serious concerns for the global community, the sustainability of the planet and certainly the human rights of all citizens of the world. It was made by a Chinese craft person in China, and I have had it for many years. Now seemed to be the right time to use it! The dancing figures under Thom and Stacey are the family and friends who were with them on Mount Tamalpais. The stone beads surrounding the dancing figures represent the element 'earth', but for me anyway, they also represent the 'rock' that friends can be for us. Their placement under the photo of Thom and Stacey eludes to the support dear friends are in good times and not so good times. The fabric surrounding the main photo came from the wedding dress I made for one of our daughters.

Monday, July 19, 2010

MAKING GOAT MILK FETA CHEESE

Making FETA CHEESE is a pretty uncomplicated process, and can be done in any home kitchen. Be sure that you have very clean utensils though. I use a large stainless steel pan and all of my other utensils are stainless as well. A digital thermometer is best. Beyond these, all you'll need is a gallon of farm fresh goat's milk, liquid rennet, buttermilk and non-iodized coarse salt. My local brewing supply store carries rennet and other cheese making supplies, but they are readily available on the Internet as well.
Warm 1 gallon of goat milk to 86º F.
Add 1/4 cup buttermilk and stir well. Let milk set for 1 hour to ripen.
After 1 hour add 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet to 1/4 cup cool water and add to the milk. Stir gently for 1 minute. Cover and allow to set for another hour. In an hour the milk will have formed a large solid mass. Cut the curd into 1/2 inch pieces. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Stir gently for 15 minutes.
Line a colander with cheesecloth. Pour curds into the colander.

Tie the cheesecloth and hang to drain for 4-6 hours.

Remove the curd ball from the cheesecloth and slice in half. Sprinkle the two hunks of cheese with about 4-5 tablespoons coarse salt. Place the slices on a dish and cover. Let it stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
After 24 hours salt all the surfaces again. Let the cheese rest for 2 more hours at room temperature. Finally place the cheese into a covered container, refrigerate and allow to age 5-7 days. Use with the next two weeks or wrap and freeze.
I prefer this FETA CHEESE, but for those who like a stronger flavored FETA, the addition of 1/8 teaspoon lipase powder (type K) can be used. The more lipase powder the stronger the cheese will be. It is to be added at the same point as the buttermilk is added. Some cheese makers store the FETA in olive oil and others use a salt water brine. The brine is made with 14 ounces of non-iodized salt to each gallon of cool water. Cheese must be covered with the brine, and aged at 40º to 50º F from 1-4 weeks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My little machine arrived a day early....BUT I was so sad when I opened the shipping box to find some pretty unpleasant damage. Damage to a machine the age of this one, is very distressing. Parts are hard to come by, and in some cases, nonexistent. I notified the woman in the Midwest who shipped it, as she had insured it. The following day I took it to a local sewing machine shop that services Pfaff machines. They were not enthused about the possibility of repair, but said there was a service man in the annex who was very familiar with Pfaff and had serviced them for 30+ years. Long story short, everything can be repaired with genuine Pfaff parts, no less! The exception was the carrying case, but I was able to locate one in Wisconsin. It is used but intact. It will arrive in a few days, and I will have my machine back this week.


All four corners of the machine carrying case are cracked. Got a new case from a dealer in New Berlin, Wisconsin.

The door to the bobbin compartment seems to be broken, but it turned out only to be a loose screw...whew!


The thread spindles were bent, and the shop cannibalized another Pfaff for this part.



The 'damaged' bobbin compartment door.


The pin that holds the top onto the machine was broken. Apparently it too can be replaced with a genuine part.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

COME BACK TO ME, MY LITTLE PFAFF

Sixteen months ago I sold my 33 year old Pfaff sewing machine on eBay. It was a great transaction, as I was able to sell it for a very good price, though it was 33 years old. Even though it literally had thousands of sewing hours on it, because I had always taken really good care of it, it was in prime condition. The buyer was seemingly pleased too.
I sold the original machine because, as a retirement gift to myself, I had purchased a new top of the line Pfaff machine. My logic was that selling the older machine would help defray the cost of the new one. In the intervening months since, the new machine has proven to be far less than I had hoped it would be. Breaking needles, skipping stitches, 'eating' fabric, damaging fabric etc. I thought, a cheaper machine could have given the same result.
So on a whim, I recently sent a message to the owner of my old machine. I expressed my regret for having sold the machine, and suggested that if she ever had a change of heart, to let me know. Today I got an email from the buyer, a woman in Chicago. She purchased the machine to sew on light-weight leather, and it was not performing as she had hoped. She was indeed interested in selling the machine. In fact she had recently contemplated listing it on eBay.
We shall see how this turns out. But here's hoping my reliable 'old friend' can come back home.

PS ~ 6/17/2010
I will have my old machine in my possession by Wednesday! It has been shipped!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

THE COUSINS ~ BEST GRAND-BOYS EVER!


















Strictly speaking I didn't 'make' these darling boys....but we made the daughters who made these darling boys...with their husbands' help, of course! The two outside boys are brothers Ashton (L) and Grayson, and are the children of our daughter Kristina and her husdand Michael. The little one in the middle is Eli, son of daughter Jill and her husband Travis.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

JAPANESE INSPIRED LOG CABIN IN A CIRCLE

Oregonians are complaining about the wet spring we have been having. I have had to pipe down, because I LOVE this kind of weather. It always makes me want to settle in and devote quiet time to creating. My work space is tidy after several days of purging and organizing. Finally I have time to spend there. It's the end of the term at the university, and I am done with my student teachers. They're all graduating in two weeks, and I won't have more such responsibility for 4 + months. NOW I can focus on creativity, finishing up projects, starting new ones and exploring and researching new ways to work.

The best part of these 36 log cabin blocks is that I used nothing but pieces of fabric from my scrap bag. NO NEW FABRIC PURCHASED!


I spent time in Japan on a teaching fellowship. This book fascinated me for the multitude of log cabin blocks. I don't read Japanese, so I had to make my own pattern and approximate a block from what I could decipher from the text, which wasn't much more than CM numbers!

I really like how even though the blocks are all square, the arrangement of color makes some of them appear to be elliptical.



6/17/2010 ~ The 36 blocks are done, and the quilt assembled. I have no idea what was done in the book, but I am made a circle of fabric separately, and then sewed it with a nylon thread to the finished block with a machine blanket stitch. I am quite happy with the outcome.






Friday, April 30, 2010

SPRING IS A PROMISE



When the Douglas Irish bloom in Oregon, spring is really almost here. My second most favorite flower reminds me that eventually it will stop raining, but without the rain, we wouldn't have these beauties. My first favorite flower is the Trillium. Seeing them return every spring always makes me remember how much I missed Oregon while I lived elsewhere. Did you know that if the Trillium is disturbed or picked, it will not bloom again for 7 years?


Friday, April 23, 2010

NATURAL DYEING IDEAS


Yesterday was EARTH DAY, which makes me think of natural dyes. No heavy metals and no chemical dyes that can hurt the environment.
While traveling in the southwest last winter, I read in the CHACO CANYON interpretive center that textiles have been found here that were dyed with juniper berry, which is really not a berry, but a seed cone. A few days later I found a juniper bough that I just had to bring back home to Oregon. We have juniper all over the eastern side of the state, but nothing like these! The berries are enormous! I don't know if they will make any difference in the dye process or color, compared to the juniper berries I could gather here, but I am going to try.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

LESSON LEARNED & CLEVER VINTAGE DISPLAY

BITTERSCHOKOLADEKUCHEN ODER MILCHSCHOKOLADEKUCHEN? 60"X70"
(transaltion ~ Bitter chocolate or milk chocolate?)


A kaleidoscope, made from a large print fabric cut into triangles & then assembled into hexagons. It so reminds me of Deutscher Kaffeehauskuchen.

I recently finished this wall hanging. Last summer in Sisters, Oregon, I took a class on Kaleidoscope quilts. Initially, I was disappointed in the fabric I had selected for this class. The other participants quilt blocks seemed more bold and alive than mine. Consequently, I learned so much, just from that realization. I liked mine well enough. But when I came home, it sat unfinished for months.

BACKGROUND: We were to bring to class 5 1/2 yards of fabric with large repeating images. The repeat of the images was to be 24 inches. This was really hard for me. I don't really like to use large prints, so it was a daunting task finding a print that I liked. BUT, what I soon realized while making the blocks for the quilt, is that it doesn't matter what the print looks like. Once you begin to cut and assemble the blocks, it is no longer about the original image on the fabric. It's about COLOR! I do like the colors in this finished quilt, but had I selected a fabric based only on liking the multitude of colors rather than worrying about the image I liked, I'd have ended up with a very different looking quilt. This one is subtle and pleasing, but next time...next time I will GET A WILD, COLORFUL 5 1/2 YARDS!!!


VIKI'S WOW FACTOR








When I first spotted these WONDERFUL FRAMED PIECES in the entry way of the home of a dear friend, I was not sure what I was seeing. The three large frames are hung on the wall above a stairwell, side by side. They are so dramatic, colorful and at once contemporary.
Eventually it was clear to me what I was seeing. And what a stunning collection they are! All of these vintage potholders were made by the owner's grandmother. Each is in pristine condition, brilliant and unique. Certainly an example of the whole being more than the parts.





DOMESTIC DRAMA



These orchids bloomed about 3 weeks ago. Half of the ones I nurture and baby have bloom stocks and flowers. I can't say that I know what I am doing to get them to bloom, but we're enjoying them. The blooms generally stay from April until September. So we'll enjoy them for a long time yet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010



NAMAZU
18"X22"
Hand dyed and commercial cottons, hand dyed silk ribbon, machine pieced and quilted
In Japanese mythology, Namazu is a giant catfish who causes earthquakes. Namazu lives in the mud beneath the earth, and is guarded by the god Kashima who restrains the fish with a stone. When Kashima lets his guard fall, Namazu thrashes about, causing violent earthquakes.


I spent the winter months finishing many projects. Good to see things to their completion, and prepare for the next creative phase.
PASSION WITHIN
48"X 60"
Hand dyed fabrics, some commercial fabrics, foil, paint, applique
machine pieced and quilted