Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yarn Bowl

I received many fantastic birthday gifts, one of which is a lovely handmade item from Foodie that required bit of an explanation….a yarn bowl. The idea is quite clever and when function meets fabulous, how can one possibly go wrong? The bowl is big enough to hold a standard skein of yarn and is constructed with a little canal through which yarn is threaded to keep it from escaping as knitters or crocheters work their woolery magic. The yarn is pulled easily from the skein as a project progresses and, because the bowl confines the yarn, it does not roll around and pick up dirt and other stuff (like dog hair).

Creative, huh?

And useful.

Foodie is an excellent “thrower” of clay on the pottery wheel and as you can see from the shape of the bowl, she began with a standard bowl shape and then pushed the clay in as she worked her way towards the top. She probably created the little canal with a needle tool or pottery knife. One of my favorite features of thrown pieces is the circles you see from the throwing process…I tried to get a good photo of that for you. Once fired, Foodie glazed the bisque piece and made the fun design with “slip” which is merely a more liquid form of clay used to decorate clay pieces. It was fired again to give it the gleam you see.

I am normally too lazy to roll my yarn in a ball, but wanting to use this practical and handmade gift, I dutifully rolled my yarn for my current v-neck vest project (I have a few “current” projects going and maybe one day I’ll finish one, besides a doggie sweater). It’s a beautiful silky 75% acrylic/25% bamboo blend from Caron in an “ocean spray” color. Simply exquisite yarn that is knitting up nicely.

When older daughter saw the yarn bowl she said “wow, cute and nifty”…..high praise from a cautious critic! So here you see two types of transformations…clay into a delightful and functional piece of art and yarn into (hopefully) a warm and wearable piece of art.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This past weekend, older, younger daughters and I spent a long weekend in Ocean City, NJ in a lovely B&B called The Bayberry Inn located at 811 Wesley Avenue. Younger daughter was the first to greet our lovely hostess, Bonnie, with a request to use the facilities and the fact that she didn’t think we were a bunch of nuts I knew from her gracious reception that we would have a special visit.

On Saturday morning we enjoyed the most delicious cheese, bacon and tomato frittata and although I did not get the recipe from Bonnie, I post a similar one on the recipes page.

We spent the afternoon on a “surfers” beach and it was fun watching those kahunas ride the waves. I often wished I could surf, but I’m clumsy so adding a surfboard would make for quite a calamity! When we got back to the B&B, we had a treat waiting for us… the best homemade chocolate chip cookies and freshly-brewed iced tea. Later, we strolled the Boardwalk and made our annual pilgrimage to our favorite jewelry store, Terry Ivory, where I purchased this lovely necklace from Holly Yashi called “Gypsy Bloom."

The next day was my birthday and I started the day with a run (thought I was going to pass out…it was already 90° at 7:30 in the morning). After I took a shower and recuperated, I had coffee on the cozy porch and watched a Red Finch feed her babies that were safely tucked away in a porch fern nest.

Sister and mother joined us later that morning for a trip to Uncle Bill's Pancake House where I feasted on my favorite, buckwheat pancakes, YUM! In the early evening, we sat on the porch and watched a pretty intense storm, complete with wizard-of-ozesque roof shingles flying all over the place.....very exciting! We decided to stay put and to have a picnic dinner in our room with a $9 bottle of screw-top wine and Italian take-out from a little place at 9th & West called Voltaco's.

A delightful weekend.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little Red Roof

As you know from a previous post, I collect chintzware and I absolutely love the different patterns and colors of my collection. I routinely search ebay for special additions to my compilation and found the sweetest little creamer and sugar bowl. Most of my pieces come from England, New Zealand or Australia, but this particular set came from Illinois.

I was not familiar with the Red Roof pattern and found little on-line and nothing in my chintz book. So, I emailed Royal Winton to ask about the Red Roof pattern and the very prompt and polite Lorraine responded that “our old Royal Winton records are very limited, but I can tell you that the Red Roof Pattern was manufactured in the 1930's pattern number 7363 and it was hand painted.” The peachy-pink background makes the wooden fence, orange lilies, purple/white verbenas and green foliage pop! How lovely.

This pattern is very charming and I am thrilled with my most recent acquisition!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Huevos en los Pimientos

I had a wonderful time this weekend in Rehoboth Beach with Architect and her family....Foodie was there too. The weather was glorious and it was nice to relax on the beach and do absolutely nothing but people of my favorite beach activities. We saw some dolphins swim by and they surprised their beach-bound spectators with a spontaneous performance…they jumped completely out of the water…so exciting!

Architect's hubby, also an architect, and Foodie's hubby -- architect # 3 – grilled on Saturday evening and among the assortment of grilled goodies were peppers and eggs. Peppers and eggs…on the grill?

This dish was unlike any pepper and egg sandwich or omelet I ever had.

And, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical.

Let me clarify.

These were actually eggs poached in grilled peppers – Huevos en los Pimientos. Each red pepper was cut in half lengthwise and rubbed with a bit of olive oil. Mr. Architect placed the peppers cut side up on the grill and when the peppers softened a bit, he cracked an egg into each pepper half....the egg cooked right inside of the pepper. When served, each pepper half was flawlessly grilled and the egg was perfectly poached right inside!

Please give this a try...they are quite delicious. An ideal breakfast treat too!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

If I didn’t live so close to and love Philadelphia, I would want to live in Boston. I am struck by the charm and history of the city and the delightful accent is as clearly recognizable as that of Philly or New York.

One of my favorite classes in college was Sociolinguistics…it’s the study of the relationship between language and society. Regional accents developed in the United States partly as a result of the country from where settlers immigrated. For instance, the East coast dialect was highly influenced by Puritan English, Italian, Irish and other Eastern European immigrants, the Midwest by German and Scandinavian immigrants, parts of the South by those from Scotland, Ireland, and Western England (Shakespeare’s English). The western part of the United States is a somewhat neutral, blended mix of rest of the country. I took this class as a senior in college, and I would have changed my major if I’d taken it sooner! Fascinating stuff.


In the mid 1800’s, Boston’s then Parker House Hotel is credited with serving the first Boston Cream Pie, a creation of their French chef, M. Sanzian. As you all know, this pie is really a yummy combination of yellow cake, custard and chocolate glaze. So, this past weekend while thinking about a dessert to serve to mother, sister and older daughter who came for dinner.....

....I opened my cupboards and discovered a bottle of chocolate glaze and a yellow cake mix. You know, thought she, if I got some instant pudding cups, I could make quick and easy Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes, and that’s exactly what I did.

First, I baked the cupcakes and with a wooden spoon handle, poked a hole in each one. I could have used my apple corer but I couldn’t find it and was too lazy to look any harder than opening the drawer and moving a few things around.

Then, I filled a sandwich bag with the contents of two pudding cup containers and snipped the corner and I piped pudding into each cupcake.

Next, I frosted. Sister suggested I fill a shallow dish with the chocolate glaze and dip each cupcakes to frost…that worked very well.

Then, we ate them. Easy, smeasy (and a little fancy) Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Chairformation

In my recent post about lemonade, you see a black wicker chair in the background adorned with a very nice, fun flowered pillow. Well, the chairs – there are actually two of them – were not always black…just a few weeks ago, they were a drab natural wicker (they weren't always drab, but the elements have not been kind to those little old chairs). But, despite their dingy appearance, they were still quite functional, and with a little TLC, I was certain they could be restored to better than their original splendor!

A chair transformation.

Enter RUST-OLEUM Painters’ Touch Ultra Cover spray paint. This stuff is magic in a spray can!


Since I was in the spray paint can row at Home Depot forever (ok, not forever, but for a long time) I’d like to highlight and evaluate some of the product features that influenced my final purchase decision:

• Fast Drying: CHECK
• Ideal for wicker and more: CHECK
• Any angle spray with comfort tip: CHECK
• Double coverage: CHECK

I found that I was able to spray two chairs in less than 20 minutes and they were dry to the touch almost immediately and ready for a second coat. Both chairs were completely dry and ready to be bedazzled in 30 minutes!

I had enough left to spray paint my front iron railings.

Not bad for two $5 cans of spray paint! So, not only did I save money because I did not have to buy new chairs, there are two less items in some Pennsylvania landfill…love that!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thyme and Lime Lemonade

Every now and again we discover stuff that just makes our life easier. While at Foodie’s one evening, I asked for a juicer and she whips out this tool that – I am embarrassed to say – I had never seen before. My ignorance of this apparatus posed the obvious question…”how does this work?” This is what it looked like:

Yes, I write a blog about food.

So she proceeds to tell me to cut the lime in half and place it sliced side down in the juicey thing and compress the handle....the fruit turns into a pulpy rally cap. Well…that little contraption gave me the most juice that I have ever obtained by hand juicing AND (bonus) I did not have to strain it (it separates the pulp and seeds from the juice). AND I did not get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the process.

I have to have one.

There are several different types of manual citrus juicers. The one with which we are most familiar is the cone-in-the-center-of-a-well gizmo that we all had in our kitchen drawers growing up. Similar idea to the juicer describer above, but the pulp and seeds need to be strained and it’s not as effortless. Then there’s the handy-dandy “citrus reamer” which is good when only a small amount of juice is needed.

For today’s summer drink recipe, I need the juice of 6 lemons and 3 limes, so I will be using my new Michael Graves 2-IN-1 Citrus Juicer from Target that looks just like the one above only it's orange. The recipe is from the July 2011 edition of Real Simple, my mom’s favorite magazine that I borrowed from her and promised to return....some day.

Thyme and Lime Lemonade
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of water
1 cup of fresh lemon juice (about 6 medium lemons)
¼ cup of fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
3 cups of water
10 fresh thyme sprigs

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved; let cool. In a pitcher combine the syrup with the lemon juice and 3 cups of water. In a separate smaller pitcher, mash the thyme with the lime juice and add to the lemonade mixture and give it a stir. Refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors incorporate. Serve over ice with a sprig of thyme.

So refreshing!

To make this a spirited drink, add a shot of vodka or gin to each serving.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White & Blue...Potato Salad

So, it's the 4th of July and Red, White & Blue rules. The Independence Day parade is a big deal in the hood…complete with decorated bikes, a brass band, fire engine rides and a fire safety demonstration. Very exciting.

Swarthmore is a quaint little town. Very few white picket fences, but what we lack in curb-appeal symbolism, we make up for in charm, diversity and personality. Everyone is polite, we have a Co-Op that sells locally grown, homemade, and organic foods, and during the school year, the college students add a spirit the locals miss when they head back to their abodes.

Someone did steal a garden gnome once…the abduction made The Swarthmorean, our local paper.

I think I saw that gnome on TV.

A little while ago, I saw a recipe on for Bacon Blue Cheese Potato Salad that I have now renamed Red, White & Blue Potato Salad....what a patriotic side dish to serve on the 4th of July!

RW&B Potato Salad

2 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into eighths (The Red)
5 slices bacon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream (The White)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, chopped
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled ( about 3/4 cup) (The Blue)


Boil potatoes until tender. Cook bacon until crisp, and crumble into pieces. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper. Fold in green onions, cheese, potatoes and bacon.

Can be served immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. I served the potato salad in this fun bowl I got from Pier 1. Love the red & white tablecloth pattern...and the ants!

Interesting post about the 4th of July on the National Constitution Center blog.
Read it here

BTW…Trish H., who is a new follower of KOPO on Twitter, won the Cocktail Shaker!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Sassy O'Hara

Scarlett O’Hara turned 75 this week, and like the charming but headstrong character in the American Classic, Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, the novel’s author, was a sassy sort as well. In the mid 1920’s, Mitchell was a reporter for The Atlanta Journal and enjoyed quite the active social life until a foot injury handed her a sedentary fate. She became an ardent reader and after she read everything in the local library, her husband gave her a used Remington typewriter and the rest, as you know dear readers, is literary history.

The NPR story that aired on June 30th reported that Mitchell wrote the last chapter of Gone with the Wind first knowing from the get-go that…"Rhett wasn't going to care that much” and that Scarlett was going to think about that tomorrow. Additionally, Mitchell wrote chapters as they occurred to her and fit them into the tale as the story developed.
The NPR broadcast also said that “though most of Mitchell's manuscript was burned after her death, a few chapters survived and the last pages of the book are framed on the wall at the Atlanta History Center.”

Just as a bit of trivia, the original name of Mitchell’s heroine was "Pansy" and Mitchell did not change the name until just before the novel went to print. Regardless of her moniker, Scarlett is an iconic character, certainly worthy of having a cocktail named after her, so I embarked on a search and indeed found such a potion. The Scarlett O’Hara consists of Southern Comfort, cranberry juice and lime. So, thought this blogger, how can I alter this recipe to capture the spicy nature of Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler?


The Sassy O’Hara
2 oz of Bourbon
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Lime Juice (of 1/2 lime)
Two dashes of Tabasco
A few sage leaves

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the bourbon, cranberry juice, lime juice, Tabasco, and sage leaves. Shake well enough to infuse the sage. Pour strained into a fancy glass. Garnish with a slice of lime and sage leaves.

Not the only beverage we enjoyed at an impromptu gathering at Foodies.

Watch "Went with the Wind" here. Classic Carol Burnett!

Rhett & Scarlett from Google images. Manuscript photo from