Sunday, September 28, 2014


A couple of weeks ago I went to my local Walmart store (not my favorite store and I seldom go). I can't recall why I went there in the first place :( but while looking through the aisles, I came across a little tin box of watercolor pencils.  It was marked down to $3.00 so I thought, why not give this a try.

I have dabbled in art since I was 12 years old.  When I moved to California four years ago, I threw away lots of my old art supplies including my original oil paints that I had had since I was 12 years old!  (I'm sure they were dried up but there was some sentimental value).  After I was married and busy raising my children, I kind of gave up my painting.  But, after all these years this changed after my purchase of the watercolor pencils.

There they are in the back of the picture.  I bought five more (in the middle of the picture from my local Hobby Lobby store and then I purchased the set on the left online.  I'm now finding that there IS a difference in the quality of the pencils.  But, more on that another time.

Do you see the beautiful fish watercolor book?  This design is from a Turkish template and I ordered this book online through my favorite discount book dealer.  The other two books are over 40 years old!

I also bought this little tutorial book that is really quite fun and simple.

Experimenting with my colors.....Can you see the outlining?  I used a super fine waterproof marker.  I'm a big fan of Venetia in Kyoto and when she paints, she incorporates fine lining the image.

Winter I long to see a beautiful, snowy landscape.

Thinking about wintertime, here's a poinsetta that I was practicing with.

Amaryllis...I think this is my favorite so far.

Awhile back I bought two of these greeting card kits from TJ MAXX for like $1.00 each.  I am going to use one as a backing for my lilly of the valley painting.  I'm going to give it as a birthday card to a dear friend who loves lillies of the valley.

So, here's a little insight into what I have been working on this week.  I think I have a long way to go to get my artistic skills up to par.  But, I will keep on trying.  I would love to hear from you if you have to time.  Have a great week!

with my best,

P.S.  My Coast crochet blanket is coming along - I'm half way done!

Oops....almost forgot, please stop by Handmade Harbour and see what other crafters have created.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Addicted to Dishes!!

 Last week I discovered this great blog called Eclectic Home Life and I thought it was so interesting to see why people blog.  I started my blog to make friends.  It might sound funny, but I had moved to California, I'm an empty nester and I don't work anymore.  So, it's not that easy to find your way in a new place.  So, I started my blog and now, I love my blog friends and I learn so much from their blogs.  Even thought I have never met them, it seems like I know them.

Last week I wrote about Newport Beach and Housewives of Orange County.  For me, I'm not into fashion and pop culture but I do enjoy my hobbies that have nothing to do with fashion.   I enjoy old fashioned things and all the things in my home have a meaning to me.  I like to watch HGTV and see the latest home styles but that really isn't me.  So, after all these years, my first love is still dishes. I thought I will share with you some of my addiction.....
This set really belongs to my daughter, Heidi.  It was given to her by my late Mother.  It's the Ardmore pattern by Minton.  I love these dishes for special occasions.
Here's my set of Pfaltzgraff from the 80's.  I have so many matching pieces that I just couldn't part with them...
These are my Friendly Village dishes by Johnson Brothers that I use during the fall and winter season.  I love these dishes as they were a present to me from my dear Mom and Dad.
A few years back I wanted some Christmas dishes.  These are what I ended up with.  They are the Christmas Tree pattern made by Waechtersbach in Germany.  I am still adding to this collection when I find matching pieces on Ebay.
Here's my old every day set that it now at the top of my cupboard.  I love this English stoneware and I still use it for summertime entertaining.
 Here is my current everyday dishes.  I bought them a few years ago at Williams Sonoma.  They are the Queen Anne pattern by Pillivuyt.  (as you can see, the rims chip....I would not buy this pattern again just for that reason).
And lastly, here is the set of china that is nearest and dearest to my heart.  It's the Seagull pattern made in Denmark by Bing and Grondahl.  These dishes belonged to my Danish grandma and she gave them to me right after I was married so that I could enjoy using them.  I have lots of pieces to this set and I enjoy using it for special occasions.

So, do you think I have an addiction or disease in collecting dishes?  I think I do.  I still go to my local Home Goods or TJ MAXX store and peruse the aisles for anything made in England or France, (yesterday I was at Home Goods and they had numerous pieces of miniature Revol bakeware made in France - it was hard to resist buying a piece!)  And, I buy a piece on Ebay now and then. (I just purchased a beautiful large platter made in the former Czechoslovakia and should be in the mail to me now).

I inherited this addiction from my Mom.  She not only collected dishes but also cups and saucers.  I have her collection of the cups/saucers which I have added to throughout the years...
My son was telling me the other day how I should have a minimalist lifestyle and not have all these things.  But, that's who I am.  I love all the knick nacks and doo dads I have in my eclectic home.

I would love to hear what you collect.  Feel free to comment below.  And, please stop by Handmade Harbour to meet some great crafters.

Have a wonderful day,

P.S.  I will leave you with a WIP photo of my Coast Ripple Blank from Attic 24.......

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!

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, 


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............