Saturday, September 13, 2014

Real Housewives of Orange County & Oliver's Sweater!

Hello from hot, sunny, southern California.  We are in the midst of a heat wave and I can hardly wait until it goes away.  How I long for those cloudy, rainy days of western Washington......

We had a fun afternoon yesterday.  Every year our investment/insurance representative hosts a afternoon boat cruise out of Newport Beach.  We attended yesterday and it was so pleasant.
Here's a photo from yesterday showing my husband with our host, Vicki Gunvalson (one of the Real Housewives of Orange County) and her assistant, Linda.  I don't watch the housewives show, so I don't know about all the drama.  But I will say, that Vicki is a charming, intelligent business person who owns a well run business.  She's a very nice person.

Are you ready?......I finally finished Oliver's sweater.  It's not that it was difficult.  It was an extremely easy pattern but for some reason, the sizing was a problem.  I had to measure and remeasure to get this little sweater to fit.  My grandson Oliver, is five years old, tall and thin.  So, here's the finished product:
 

 This picture shows it's bright pink but it's actually dark burgundy.  I bought the yarn three years ago when I was visiting Croatia. It's an acrylic/wool blend.

I used a combination of two different patterns that I had in my file.  I'm not a big fan of one of them as I had used it before and the sizing seems to be way off.  Anyway, I wanted a raglan sleeve with a hood. 
I added the garter stitch border around the front edges, bottom edge and sleeve.  I didn't want to use ribbing since I had in mind to finish it off with toggle buttons.

Here's a close up of the buttons and loops. I bought these resin toggle buttons on ebay.  I wanted shorter ones but these worked at 1 1/4".  I made loops using two strands of yarn and crocheting a chain of 9 stitches.  I attached these loops to the front borders of the sweater.
I finished off the front edges by sewing a strip of grosgrain ribbons on each side.  It helps give the sweater extra strength and body. (sorry for the bright pink color - it really is burgundy!)

Tomorrow I'm going to give this sweater to Oliver.  I had him try it on so many times (I even took it to Hawaii on worked on it).  Last time he told me, "Grandma, I'm tired of that sweater"!  He's so cute I can't get after him.

Have a wonderful week and I do hope you can take time to say "hello" or sign up to follow my blog.  In the meantime, please stop by Handmade Harbour .

Have a wonderful weekend!
Pat















Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer Fruit Tart

It's been a good week here at Lilly My Cat.  We are back to our routine after being away on vacation and Lilly was so happy to have us back.  She's such a good little kitty when we are away.  But it's always nice to come home again.

Yesterday we had a lovely evening at our friends home.  I took a fruit tart for the dessert and I thought you might like this simple recipe.  So, following is how to make it.  The crust is a take off from Julie Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Pate Brisee Sucree (Sweet Short Paste)
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 T cold butter
3 T shortening
2T to 3T ice cold water

In medium mixing bowl blend together flour, sugar and salt.  Take cold butter and grate it into the flour mixture.  Add in shortening and blend until the mixture resembles cornmeal.  Add in a little water at a time just until mixture makes a ball.  Do not over mix or the crust will become tough.

Shape into a ball and flatten into a disc shape about 5" to 6" in diameter.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

 Here's a photo of the dough after it has been mixed.

After the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface until the diameter will fit your tart pan.  I used a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom.  Grease tart pan with shortening before using.  Gently place dough in tart pan and do not stretch the dough or it will shrink when it bakes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  After dough it in pan, prick the bottom of the tart in numerous areas with a fork and run the rolling pin across the top to cut off the excess dough. 

And, now for the fun part.....take a piece of foil paper and grease one side of it.  Place the greased side of the foil paper against the dough in the tart pan.  Fill tart pan with dried beans, rice or dried macaroni. (this helps keep the shape of the tart shell while baking)

Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 9 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove the foil paper and dried filling.  Return tart pan to oven and bake an additional 7 to 10 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.

When cooled, slip the tart out of the pan (keep the bottom part of the pan attached to the tart) and place on a decorative serving dish.  For the filling, I used one container of non dairy cream cheese and a small jar of lemon (which by the way, I bought at the Jinny Ring Crafts Centre in Bromsgrove, England).


Place softened cream cheese in a small bowl and add a couple of small spoons of powdered sugar.  Blend together and add in lemon curd.  Spread mixture in the bottom of the cooled tart shell.  Now, you can decorate it with various fresh fruits and berries.

I used green grapes, blackberries, raspberries and one kiwi.  Arrange fruits in a pretty pattern.  After the fruits are in place you can glaze with apricot jam.  Take about 2 T apricot jam and heat until melted. Add in 1 tsp water.  Take a pastry brush and brush tops of fruit with this jam.  It should give a wonderful shine to the fruits.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least four hours before serving.


You can use any filling that you would like with this tart.  Use your imagination and I'm sure it will taste great.  Bon Appetite!  

I hope each of you have a wonderful, fun filled week.  Please remember to stop by Handmade Harbour where you will discover lots of fun ideas.

Until next time, 

Pat

P.S.  Sweater update:  I will soon post a picture of the sweater I made for my grandson.  I ordered some buttons and I'm waiting for them to arrive............


Friday, August 29, 2014

ALOHA FROM HONOLULU, HAWAII

Hello dear friends.  It's been awhile since I last wrote and I really wanted to share with you the "completed" sweater I knit for my grandson. But....as you might know.... it didn't go that way.  I'm still working on it. So instead, this week I will share some photos of my trip last week to Honolulu.

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's on Waikiki Beach and has everything right there including shops, restaurants and even its own ABC store.
This was our second time to stay at the village and our family really enjoyed the facilities it offers.

My daughter, Heidi, took me to afternoon tea at the Moana Surfrider hotel. It's a beautiful historic old hotel right in the center of Waikiki Beach.

One afternoon I walked to the Ala Moana mall and these ladies were performing a traditional Japanese dance.


We drove up the east side of the island and toured the Tropical Nut Farm. Hawaii produces 80% of the worlds macadamia nuts. It was a fun tour seeing some movie sets from old movies.



I will leave you with some pictures of Waikiki Beach from our hotel room. It was a great time and perfect tropical weather with the trade winds providing natural air conditioning.

There's lots to see on the island of Oahu.  Pearl Harbor is a historic site not to be missed. There's also LOTS of high end shopping* in Waikiki; Bvlgari, Cartier, Rolex, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, on and on.  And there are numerous tours you can take. My favorite one from a couple of years ago was the island tour. It's an all day bus tour that takes you all around the island of Oahu

I hope you have enjoyed this little bit of paradise. Honolulu is approximately a five hour fight from the west coast of the United States.  I booked this trip via Costco Travel and it included the flights, room and airport transfers.

Until next time,  ALOHA
Pat

*I'm not a high end shopper..it's fun to see the items in person that you see in the fancy fashion magazines.   But, my heart is at TJ Maxx, haha.

I almost forgot, please remember to stop by Handmade Harbour.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crochet Flower Blanket and Queen Anne Lace

It's been too long since I last wrote.  It seems that time goes by so so fast these days!  It has been warm down here.  Lilly seems to enjoy the weather no matter how hot or cold it is........
Here she is lounging by the pool with her morning coffee.  She is resting after her gecko hunting adventure.

I've been busy knitting a hooded sweater for my grandson.  I don't have it completed so I don't have any picture to share with you.  But, this week I went to my weekly community crochet/knit group.  We are a group of ladies that meet at the community center and knit for various charitable organizations.  It's been such a blessing to meet such nice people and get some great ideas.  

Here is a lovely crocheted flower blanket that my friend, Angela, is making:
Isn't it beautiful?  She made up the pattern (she's extremely talented in that way) and she is making these flower motifs from worsted weight yarn. She's attaching each flower as she goes along.

This is a Queen Anne lace crocheted blanket made by Mira.  Mira's needlework skills are amazing; this blanket was donated to the group half completed and Mira took over this project and finished this beautiful piece.  I love the way the Queen Anne lace panels have been incorporated into the design.  If you're interested in learning the Queen Anne lace pattern, the link can be found here.

Lastly, I will leave you with some pics of my homemade spaghetti sauce.  My husband grew tons of tomatoes in his little garden this year.  I made a simple sauce* with oil, garlic, tomatoes (which were put through a food mill) and some spices.

I hope it will taste OK..............

I would love to hear from you if you wish to leave a comment.  Or better still, sign up to follow my blog.  Lilly, too would like to hear from her friends out there.

Enjoy your week and please remember to stop by Handmade Harbour where you can meet lots of great crafters.  

Lilly sends you her best "meows",
Pat (& Lilly, too!)

*Simple Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:  Put about 2T olive oil in sauce pan, add in 4 minced garlic cloves.  Saute until garlic turn "light" brown.  Add in pureed fresh tomatoes.  (I put my tomatoes through a food mill, but you can skin the tomatoes and blend them in a blender).  I also added a teeny, tiny green pepper, cut up in small pieces.  Add in plenty of salt and pepper.  Simmer for an hour or so, until sauce becomes thick.  Lastly, I chopped a handful of mushrooms and sauteed them in 2 tsp of butter and added them to the sauce before serving.  It makes enough sauce for 8 ounces of paste.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

San Diego Seaport Village

Happy summer!  I hope you are enjoying your summer.  Here's some pictures from my visit to Seaport Village in San Diego from last week.
Isn't this tree amazing?  I love the design of the tree trunk!
Ducks are so much fun to watch and here they are having fun in the water.
Here's Mama Duck and her three little ducklings making their way across the sidewalk.
Here they are again - aren't they the cutest little things?
The duck pond at Seaport Village is so tranquil.
It's located right on the water so you can see the ships coming in and out.
Here's a picture of the Coronado Bridge.

We had a great day in San Diego.  I will leave you with some picture from my garden (actually it's my husband's garden!)
The fig tree that has figs!
Tomatoes which have taken over the whole area.
 
Strawberries from the strawberry patch.

I wish you all a wonderful week.  Please stop by and say "hello".  I'd love to hear from you.  And, remember to stop by Handmade Harbour and meet some great crafters.

Have fun in the sun,
Pat










Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Martha's Ripple Blanket" My Version Completed

Hello everyone.  I hope that you are enjoying your summer.  Down here in Southern California we are having a heat wave.  It's been in the high 80's and that's a bit too warm for me.  I sometimes long for the gray, cloudy skies and cooler weather but I shouldn't complain.

This week I finished my version of Martha's Ripple Blanket.  This was such a fun blanket to make.  I found this lovely blanket here on Mrs. Brown Makes.  Here is her tutorial on how to do this beautiful ripple stitch.

I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn which I bought from Deramores.  I originally bought this package of 17 skeins and used 12 skeins for my Grandson's stripey blanket.  I saved 5 skeins of the pink/purple colors and used an additional 5 skeins of white to complete this blanket.

As you can see, it turned out quite large.  It will easily fit a single bed and allow for it to hang over the sides.  It's such a fun pattern to crochet and is easily memorized since it's a repeat of one row.

I made the bobbly edging and I think it added an extra design element to the finished blanket.  (As you can see, each edge of the blanket has a different color for the bobbly edging since I didn't have enough yarn to do it in one color)

I'm a bit sad that it's done since I had such a great time making it.  I am putting it away for now and will probably give it away as a baby gift.  I want to thank Claire at Mrs Brown Makes for creating such a wonderful blanket pattern.  Please visit her blog to see some great ideas.

Lastly, I will leave you with this adorable picture of Lilly.  I had set this "large" basket on the floor and she decided that it would make a good place for her afternoon nap!  I love that cat so much.....

Have a wonderful week and please remember to stop over at Handmade Harbour where you will meet lots of talented crafters.  I'd love to hear your comments and know what you have been creating.  Feel free to comment and/or sign up on my blog. :)

Happy Summer,
Pat




Monday, June 23, 2014

Laguna Beach and Crochet Mandala

It's been a busy weekend here at Lilly My Cat.  My dear husband and I celebrated our 39th anniversary on Saturday, June 21!  We had a lovely dinner with the family and on Sunday we continued the celebration with lunch at the Montage in Laguna Beach.
It was a lovely day with the sun shining bright and no marine layer.  Our children surprised us - they told us to be ready at 12:30PM and they brought us to the Montage.  It's a lovely resort in Laguna Beach right on the ocean.  It has sprawling grounds that also includes a public park.  We had a lovely lunch overlooking the ocean.
When the server asked what we would like to drink, I saw a Pimms cocktail on the menu and had to order it.  I didn't realize that Pimms is available here in the US.  It was very refreshing and not sweet, just right.
It was such a nice time sitting together and reminisicing about our 39 years together.  It really doesn't seem that long but when I look at my picture, I know that I'm old now and no longer 21 years old!
At the end of the lunch the wait staff came by our table and wished us Happy Anniversary and presented us with this lovely apple tart.  It was a wonderful afternoon.
As to my creative craft these past couple of weeks, I'm sure you will remember the stripey blanket that I finished a couple of weeks ago.  Well, after 12 balls of yarn, this was what I had leftover.  I didn't know what to do with it until I ran across a blog post at Attic 24 which inspired me to make a mandala.
Here is the finished product.  It's call Starflower Mandala and the pattern was created by a very talented artist names Zelna.  The pattern can be found here on her website Zooty Owl.  It's a very large mandala with the diameter measuring about 20".  It was fast and fun to make.

In closing, I would love to hear from you if you have any pattern ideas for me.  I want to make a blanket out of cotton yarn.  I haven't bought the yarn yet and I don't have a pattern.  If you know of one, please leave me a comment.

Have a wonderful week and I hope to hear from you soon.

take care,
Pat

P.S.  Please remember to stop by Handmade Harbour to see some great ideas!