Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Books

Inside the front doors of the downtown Whitehorse library there are always two carts of rejected books for sale, many of which are children's books (craft books, French philosophy...) This week I lucked out and arrived just after they'd set out a bunch. I bought 22 hard covers for 5$. Over the next few days I'll post images of them.

Here is Outside My Window (1968, Harper & Row) illustrated by Mercer Mayer and written by Liesel Moak Skorpen.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

gingham & tulips

Sewing a dress out of some fabric thrifted in Seattle last month. 100% cotton gingham isn't easy to come by anymore, especially in a mossy green.

Lots of tulips are in the shops! I'm happy to enjoy some more winter afternoons skiing on the lake before things melt but just as happy knowing that lovely temperate season is coming.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

silk ribbon

A small post just to feature this handsome ribbon I bought in December at The Artworks (which doesn't and likely will never have a website). the process of drawing up a dress pattern for it.

This is a good source for vintage French textiles, this and this for vintage ribbons and trims.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Polish Pottery

I bought these two beautiful beads in Seattle in January, at a lovely shop in the Pike Place Market owned by Slawomir Trabaczynski called Polish Pottery Place. I'd been looking for a string of small sandalwood beads to make a necklace like the beautiful one Slawomir had around her neck when she sold these to me, but wasn't having any luck locating them online or in the shops (malas, yes, but I don't want to undo a mala). And then the other day while I was visiting Janine in her studio she showed me these (sandalwood? cedar?) beads she uses as buffers when she's making glass beads. She generously offered them to me and I accepted, thinking how nice it would be to have something to remind me of her.

This type of ceramic originated in the Middle Ages around Boleslawiec, a small town in south-western Poland. Today it is produced both there and in Wloclawek. The designs are traditionally dotty (mimicking a peacock's tail) or floral, and feature a lot of cobalt blue and rich brown. They're gorgeously exuberant. The teapots and soup terrines are GIANT, with handles on both sides (of the teapots!) I picture a table crowded with 10 kids eating borscht.

The precision demonstrated in these beads is in the application of the blue glaze, which is painted onto the white clay rather than the dots being applied onto a surface of blue.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Birds

For my birthday I was given a present wrapped in (vintage) paper printed with little girls holding parasols and these tiny birds fluttering around them with flowers in their beaks. The girls were a little too fussy and crab-faced to keep dealing with but the birds seemed worthy of a new placement. So, here they are: cut out, laid out, and ready for their move.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

One of the simplest and best things.
Even winter supermarket on-the-vine tomatoes will roast up beautifully.

Set the oven to 250 degrees F. Oil a pan with fragrant extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle the bottom with a premium sea salt (i like Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur de Sel). Slice ripe tomatoes in half, drizzle with the oil and pinch salt over each cut side. Slide the pan into the oven and roast 4-6 hours.

Delicious with seared endive and any delicate green (maché is my favorite), or with chévre and arugula on baguette, gruyére and baguette, parmesan and baguette, blended into a pesto, etc. etc. etc.

monday morning

I woke up yesterday thinking about the delicious sourdough prune and carrot muffins and coffee I was treated to at Suzanne and Rob's on Sunday morning. So I looked through my recipes and then online hoping to find one I could use as-is or alter. The following is a tinkered version of a Banana Walnut Muffin recipe from Cooks Illustrated. I switched out the walnuts for pecans, added some fibre, pears and blueberries and reduced the sugar to get the tender, nutty muffin with a light crumb I was hoping for. Just before they went into the oven I decided to push a few pieces of dark chocolate into half the muffins. Deluxe.

Banana Spelt Muffins with Pear, Blueberry and Chocolate

2 not-quite-ripe pears, chopped coarsely
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons organic sugar

3 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup flax meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
2/3 cup organic sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk (or any milk)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 small or 2 large)
3/4 cup broken pecans
1/8 - 1/4 lb dark chocolate pieces (optional)
Vegetable cooking spray or additional butter for muffin tins


1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the pears, blueberries, lemon juice and sugar in a medium bowl and turn a few times to coat the fruit with the juice and sugar. This will get the natural fruit juices to release. In a separate medium bowl, mix flour, oat bran, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

2. Beat olive oil, butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and then add the mashed bananas. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-third of the milk and yogurt or sour cream in turns. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt or sour cream and milk, until incorporated. Fold pear/blueberry mixture and pecans into finished batter.

3. Spray two, twelve-cup muffin tins with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Divide batter evenly among cups and, if you like, push a few pieces of chocolate into the centres. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

With the addition of chocolate, and topped with créme fraiche or unsweetened, whipped cream, these could even make a dessert.

Monday, February 22, 2010

apothecary jar

i really like these miniature jars - perfect for tiny snaps, sequin pins, seed beads. And in the summer a twin flower or two to give to your best friend.

You can see the residue of the rusty carpet nails this one held for years.


on Crag Lake:
Suzanne and Rob's greenhouse, made with airplane hangar windows.
A little shoreside cabin for afternoons and nights close to the lake.
And the chickadees outside the kitchen window. I've been putting up bird feeders so I can admire the grey jays, chickadees, redpolls...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

skiing and aprés skiing


These days she's loving to follow the sunbeams all morning, dragging her little bod across the day bead to catch as much as she can.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


A thrifted little pot holder bird. Someone put lovely work into him but the poor fellow had lost his eyes, probably never had a beak and there was only a crusty glue glob where a bow tie once was. I took pity on him, brought him home and fixed him up.

a skating rink

If I'd known I would be here through the winter I'd have brought my skates (stored in a closet some 5,000km away). I'll try to borrow/buy a pair so I can get out on the lake for a skate in the afternoons now that the sun's coming back so high and bright.

Here's L'il Miss Bubbly in 1985.

Friday, February 19, 2010


radish & sauerkraut salad with chévre, on toast
and a pale borscht, heavy on the carrots.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I can't get over how beautiful these are as they open and age. I'm thoroughly enjoying them, thanks again C+S.