To Amuse and Delight

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sally skirt

When the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas came out I was instantly drawn to the character of Sally . I guess it was because I saw myself is her. Back then I too had waist length bright red hair, I loved all things spooky and best of all both Sally and I were proficient with needle and thread. To top it off we both had a brooding boyfriend whom we were trying to keep out of trouble. Since then my hair has gone through many changes, I am even more handy with a needle and that moody beau of mine has turned into one heck of a great husband and father. I hope things turned out as well for Sally.
Now, about that skirt. I came upon this fabric in a clearance bin. It was the hideous combination of Mc Donald’s shades of red and yellow. I bought it, dyed it and packed it away for a couple of years. In an effort to be as Dave Ramsey as possible I have been making my clothes lately. So, this week out came the patchwork and the Sally skirt was made. The little lady next to me is from my Nightmare Before Christmas collection. She is a marionette and for some reason she has pink hair and crossed eyes.

On a side note, if you also like Jack and Sally you may want to check out the book ‘The Patchwork Girl of Oz’ by L. Frank Baum. It was published in 1913 and the similarities are uncanny. The main character is a “well shaped” life-size doll made from “a bed-quilt made of patches of different kinds of colors and cloth, all neatly sewn together.” She has yarn hair and red leather shoes with pointed toes. She is made and brought to life by a magician to be an obedient household servant (sound familiar?). By accident too much ‘cleverness’ is thrown into the potion when she is being made and she has too much of a mind of her own to stay and be a slave. She sets off on many adventures. One of the characters she befriends is Jack Pumpkinhead! Jack cultivates a field of pumpkins so that he can carve a new head whenever the current one starts to spoil. Oh, and he has a dog too. The characters in this one are much more strange and interesting than in the Tim Burton tale, it’s definitely worth a read.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soup Of The Evening

On these chilly winter evenings I like to have a pot of soup bubbling away on the stove. Eating it warms us up, the long duration of cooking time warms up the kitchen and the smell when you walk into the house is fantastic. It gets pretty cold in my house and sitting over a big bowl of delicious hot soup is a rewarding experience. Here are three soups that I will definitely repeat throughout the winter months. I try to cook what is seasonally available and what my body seems to be asking for.

I call this one ‘Golden Chicken Soup’. Pumpkin, carrots and a smidge of tomato paste give it a wonderful rich golden color. It’s pretty thick, almost a stew and it’s got a big pinch of thyme in it.

This is an Asian inspired soup. Make any broth, I use chicken or miso but veg would certainly work. Add some wide noodles, I used egg noodles here. Then have an assortment of cooked veggies, meat, hard boiled eggs, whatever you happen to have on hand. Also offer some condiments, a chutney, grated ginger, or a squeeze of citrus. I especially like a dab of garlic chili paste with mine. When I am feeling run down or someone in the house is under the weather this is good medicine.

The recipe for this one was called ‘Winter Vegetable Soup’. Of course I tweaked it a bit to use up whatever vegetables I had on hand. I think it originally called for parsnips and rutabaga, but I didn’t have those. What I did have was pumpkin, zucchini, carrots and potatoes. There is milk in it and lots of garlic. I served this soup with two kinds of bread, one topped with cheddar cheese and one with cinnamon apples.

In Alice in Wonderland The Mock Turtle sings the song ‘Beautiful Soup’. It is a funny parody based upon a popular song of the time. The original song is called ‘Star of the Evening’.

Soup Of The Evening
by Lewis Carroll

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recycling an old favorite

Twenty years ago I had a particular favorite shirt. It was already soft and faded when I bought it at a thrift store. What I loved and still love about it is the print. Once the shredding began I retired it to the fabric bin, I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. Well, this week it has emerged to give a little flavor to a plain raglan top I made. I cut a piece of the print from an area that was the least faded and made a collar. That old shirt holds a lot of good memories, a lot of history for me so I am very pleased to be able to wear it again. I’ve decided to turn the rest of it into a wide headband for me and a dress for a doll.
In the background of this photo there is a picture of me and my Dad from around 1988, in it I am wearing the old favorite.

The pattern for the new top is from the Japanese craft book Cotton Time, March 2006 issue.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Candleboats and New Year’s Eve

My family and I enjoyed a quiet, comfortable New Year’s Eve at home. I made an Israeli inspired dinner influenced by The Frugal Gourmet Keeps The Feast. Before we began eating we lit our little walnut shell candleboats. In turn we each said our wish/prayer for the coming year then we set our boats floating. It went off so well that I think I will make this little ritual a yearly tradition. I got the idea for the floating walnut candles from one of my favorite books on seasonal celebrations All Year Round. The candles and their reflections gave off a really nice luminous glow throughout the meal.
Our peaceful family dinner on New Year’s Eve was the complete opposite of the New Year’s Day festivities. We entertained a houseful of our boisterous friends and ate way too much food of the decadent variety. Two celebrations couldn’t have been more different but at the very heart of them they were just the same. Ringing in the unknown new year with those we love. Being thankful just because you are doing it together.