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August 2011

Happy Tasha Tudor Day!!!

Tasha Glam 

Happy Tasha Tudor day!! 

Do you realize this is the fourth year we have celebrated Tasha Tudor? I have to say she is just as relevant and influencing in my life, as ever. Especially when life is challenging (like it is right now) I think of Tasha, her inner strength and joy and it helps me.

One area Tasha has influenced me is how I dress. I call it Tasha Glam. I am not sure if Tasha would like that term ;-) but it works for this CA girl. When I am home and need to clean, bake, garden,etc. I always seem to put on my "Tasha glam". It helps put me in the mood. As I was composing this post, I thought what constitutes the Tasha look to me?

So here is my list:




Fingerless gloves

flowers in your hair

Good work boots or barefoot


Work basket or watering can

Layered skirts and petticoats

Pretty brooch or pendent

Calico, linen and woven plaids

When I tie my pinny over my layered skirts, pin my wool shawl, slide on my fingerless gloves and step into my wool lined boots, I think of Tasha and I am ready to make a home!!


I, my co-host Suzanne and Tasha's family would love to hear how Tasha is inspiring you. Also if you posted about Tasha, please let us know. Suzanne is having a give-away and a link up. Also check out Living Craft blog. Pardis was kind enough to invite me to write a post about Tasha Tudor day. Heather at Heather Spriggs was also kind enough to do a post. Thank you Pardis and Heather for helping to get the word out about Tasha Tudor day xoxo


center, Tasha herself. Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 7, Picture 8, Picture 10, Picture 11, Picture 12.

Schoolhouse Washcloth

Schoolhouse washcloth 

I have been thinking I need some new washclothes. This is a pattern I created back in 2007 and I still love it, especially at this time of year. I decide to make a PDF file for the pattern. I find this a wonderful way to store patterns. I just keep a file on my external harddrive of knitting patterns. Enjoy and if you are on Ravelry, say hi and look for this pattern!!

ps. if you are having trouble opening this, let me know.

Download Schoolhouse Washcloth

Schoolhouse Wash-Cloth

Materials: 1 ball Cotton yarn, Size 5 needles, US.

SSK: (Slip, slip, knit.) Slip the first and second stitches knitwise, one at a time, then insert the tip of left-hand needle into the fronts of these two stitches from the left, and knit them together from this position.

Cast on 49 stitchess or a Multiple of 12 stitches +1

Knit 3 rows for border.

Begin pattern: Row 1: Purl. Purl all wrong-side rows.
Row 2: K1, *yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, repeat from *.
Rows 4, 6 & 8: Repeat Row 2.
Row 10: K1, *yo, ssk, k7, k2tog, yo, k1; repeat from *.
Row 12: K2, *yo, ssk, k5, k2tog, yo, k3; rep from *, end last repeat k2.
Row 14: K3, *yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k5; rep from *, end last repeat k3.
Row 16: K4, *yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k7; rep from *, end last repeat k4.
Row 18: K5, *yo, sl1 – k2tog – psso, yo, k9; rep from *, end last repeat k5.

Knit stocking knit for 4 rows.

Repeat pattern 2 more times.

Knit 3 rows for border.
Cast off

Pub cheese

Pub cheese 

I confess, I am addicted to Trader Joes pub cheese. I want to slather it on everything. Of course when I have something I love, I have to figure out how to make it even better. I think this recipe fills the bill!!

ps. I am not a big fan of horseradish but in this recipe it really works. So even if you are not a fan either, I encourage you to give it a try!!

Pub Cheese

3 cups shredded, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 TBL. Dijon mustard

1 TBL. horseradish

½ tsp. minced garlic

 ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp. ground pepper

 ¼ cup or more of a good rich, dark stout or ale

In a food processor add cream cheese, grated cheddar, Dijon, horseradish, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Taste and add what you think is needed. I actually use more horseradish than I posted but I want you to taste it and what you like. Then add beer. Keep pouring in bits of beer and blend, until you have a soft cheese but not so soft you could pour it. Put in fridge at least 4 hours to firm up. To serve, roll in a big ball. I rolled the cheese in chopped, toasted almonds but you could do what you like. I also stuffed chicken breasts with this and it was amazing!!


Lessons from Battle Scars

Battel scars 

My dear friend Gina at La Bella Avenue, is doing a wonderful series of posts called Lessons from Battle Scars. It is a series where others share how their trials and failures helped them to achieve their goals. I am honored to be asked to share my own battle scars. So please enjoy!!



    Hmmm . creative battle scares. I have so many I could write a book on the subject! Like the time when I was eight and decided to make my sick mother a cake to cheer her up. I dumped the box mix, in the mixer and set it on high. Turned to go grease the cake pan but I kept feeling something cold against my neck. Finally I looked around to find cake batter splattered everywhere. I think there was even some on the ceiling. My poor mother had to drag herself out of bed to clean the kitchen. I am pretty sure she did not feel very loved or pampered that day. Then there was the time I thought adding some flour to the frosting (to thicken it) was a good idea or how in junior high I got kicked out of home-ec. cooking class after two weeks. I think the last straw for the teacher was when I used salt instead of sugar in the recipe. The interesting thing about getting kicked out of home-ec. is I was already helping my mother cook for her dinner parties. I hated hanging out with the kids in the back yard and having hot dogs. I discovered if I helped cook and serve, I could avoid the obnoxious boys and the hot dogs :- )

    It is kind of embarrassing to admit I was kicked out of home-ec. since I write and blog about cooking. I was kicked out basically because I do not learn like everyone else. Most people start with the basics and build their way up but I start with the complicated stuff and work backwards. I could make chicken Kiev (which is a lot of work) by the time I was 16 but did not learn how to properly hardboiled egg until I was 30. I think the reason why I do better with complicated is it forces my dyslexic, slightly ADD brain to focus and slow down. Plus, if I do not care about something, I tend to not give it much focus. My whole childhood was about not fitting in and finding my way of doing things, which is not like most people!

    Whenever I tried to do things the ‘logical’ way, it never turned out. When I did it my harebrained way, it was rockin’! Over time I learned to listen to my gut and trust it. The good thing about all that criticism was I developed a thick skin and a strong intuition. I can feel when I am heading in the right direction with my creativity. I have learned to be brave and trust my vision. Being brave is a big part of being successful, so is making mistakes. Believe me, I have made many more flops, than successes. I have had to tear apart my work, put it back together only to tear it apart again. I think one of my strengths, is I am hardheaded. When I have a vision, I cannot stop thinking about it. I cannot sleep. I cannot let it go until I have worked it out.

    When I wrote my novel I had no clue what I was doing. I did things the hard way, like I usually do but then I learned a lot that way. I kept at it, moving forward with the book. Finally one day I had a novel worth reading, well … I hope it is worth reading. It would have been so easy to tell myself not to write because I would look like an idiot. Actually I did tell myself that but then I ignored myself. I am dyslexic. Dyslexics do not write books! I knew nothing about how to write or self-publish. Basically I was/am clueless.

    Really though you only have two choices, you can let your fear stop you or let your dreams push you. I keep moving forward, listening to my gut and battling each problem as they come along. When Gina asked me if I would like to contribute, I thought her concept ‘Lessons from Battle Scars’ an interesting way of looking at success. Since I am a pretty creative person, I tend to look at success in a creative format. Success to me, means being able to bringing to life ones dreams but in order to make your dreams come true, you have to have some battle scars!

Frugality is Not a Killjoy

Furgal post 

I am in a writing mood (although I should be working on Wren). I hope you enjoy my take on frugality!!


“By sowing frugality, we reap liberty, a golden harvest” ~Agesilaus


    I love this saying! I have it written on my chalkboard, which came from the old school house down the road. When I was young though, I hated the word frugality. To me it meant NO fun, no adventures, no joy! I thought frugality was just about the things you lose. It was all about self-denial and I will be the first one to say, I am not good at self-denial.

    I was pretty pampered as a girl. Life was about more and I liked it that way. Instant gratification worked for me ;- ) Well until it did not but I am getting ahead of myself. Life was always one expensive adventure after another. I will be honest and say it was fun. I loved seeing new places, trying new restaurants, buying new outfits. But the thing is I had all this fun because I have a father who worked hard to buy those things and I did not appreciate that fact. My father was a workaholic and I took it for granted how hard he worked. Plus my father likes to shop, dine and travel even more than I do. The interesting detail is when I wanted to get married I did not want to marry a man like my father, who lived for making money. I love my father but I could see how lacking the other areas of his life were.


“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” C S Lewis


    Well one day my knight in shining armor came galloping in (who scrubbed my coffee pots at work, so I did not have to, without even being asked. Now if there is ever a way to win a girls heart, especially a pampered girl like me, that was it!). He did not live for making money. He is hard worker but is much more interested in his family, his life, his wife and children. This means he was never going to make the kind of income my father made

    I was torn in half; I wanted to be a fulltime homemaker. I loved the challenge of making the most around me. Like our first Christmas, when I decorated the house with the pine boughs from outside with gold painted stars. BUT I also love Paris and the thick hot chocolate I had that could barely be poured. Sadly I could not have both. I was going to have to choose, I was going to have to be frugal. Well if I was going to have to be something, I would have to find the fun in it. I had to embrace frugality and as I did, I started see what it added to my life. I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator. Now it can be a killjoy but anything can be. It is all how you use it. Before embracing frugality I struggled with:

  •      Depression (Depression, from all the things I wanted and could not afford.)
  •       Worry (Worry, from the money I spent on things, I should not have.)
  •       An unhappy marriage (Unhappy, because of the fights with hubby over the  money I used.)
  •      Disregard (Because when you just buy something and never make anything with your own two hands, you do not understand and appreciate all the work that goes into it. I will never take a loaf of bread for granted after trying to hand grind wheat!)
  •       Un-creativity (Well actually I was pretty creative when I had money BUT I was way more creative when I did/do not.)


  “Joy is not in things, it is in us.” Richard Wagner


    This opened up a whole new world to me. Not having money forces you to think out of the box. Make the most of what you have. See things in a new light and you know what? It is fun! I have made candles, picked grass for salad (well dandelions), shoveled goat manure for a raspberry patch so I could make yummy, homemade ice cream, cut up an old flannel nightgown to make a pretty rose covered petticoat, scented baking soda for homemade cleaners and a zillion more things. I am so much better for it. I do things with more thought and care now. I see the world around me in more detail and appreciate it. I admire and have a bond with others who create. I think the big thing is I am not so me, me anymore. I will not say I am not that way at all because we all know that’s not true ;- ) But I have learned that more things do not equal more happiness. Actually less things, means I love the things I have more. I am not looking for the world to fill me up; I am busy filling myself up.

    Also being frugal does not mean we have to think small. Making frugal choices, does not mean the choice has to be frugal. I am all for making your dreams come true. It just means you do not run off with every whim. Especially if you are like me and have expensive whims. No, it means thinking long and hard before deciding what is really important to you. It might be some over-the-top thing like hundreds of paper butterflies tacked to a hall (which I was considering). But by being frugal it will also mean saying no to a lot of other, less important things. Frugally is not about loss, it is about making choices, owning those choices and being better for them. And that my dears, adds to one’s life, not takes away!


“I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator.” Me


Thank you Karen romantic vintage home for the beautiful image above. Stunning xoxo

Linking up to Raising homemakers