Friday, December 31, 2010

Krohn Conservatory

Krohn Conservatory was built in 1933 in the Eden Park area of Cincinnati, OH.  Each year, I visit family in Cincinnati for Christmas and we make a trip to Krohn Conservatory to see the holiday display.  Both my mom, Alice, and Grandma Grace remember visiting this conservatory as children, so it is always a special visit full of memories for our family.
Poinsettia Tree at Krohn conservatory
Ornaments made of natural materials

Colorful poinsettias and coleus

Tropical plant display

Palm with fruit

Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus sp.)

Oak Leaf Fern (Drynaria quercifolia)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Green Pepper Jelly Update

In October, I made green pepper jelly from the peppers that I grew in my vegetable garden.  Read here for the original post and recipe.  Holiday parties have given me the chance to try it out and it is soooo good.  I have tried it on crackers with cream cheese and marscapone.  I prefer the marscapone because it is a little sweeter, but the cream cheese was also very yummy.

Let me know if you have other recipes for green pepper jelly.  This stuff is so good, I want to spread it on everything!

Marscapone and green pepper jelly on crackers

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Headscarves and Race for the Cure

Me modeling one of the headscarves with my Grandma's cat
I have mentioned my Aunt Cindy many times on this blog.  She taught me how to quilt and is my main source for new project ideas, blogs to read, and new fabulous fabrics.  Check out this previous post to see photos of the quilt shop she used to own.  My Aunt Cindy was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she is currently going through chemotherapy, so I wanted to make her a few headscarves.

Fabric for the headscarves
After hunting around online, I found that 36" square was a standard size for the scarves and they recommend a single layer of 100% cotton fabric.  The saleswoman at the quilt shop, a breast cancer survivor, had gone through chemo a few years ago and said that Batik fabrics were very soft and comfortable, so I chose a  few batik fabrics, and a couple of 100% cotton quilting fabrics.  I used just under a yard of fabric for each headscarf.  I cut the fabric into 36" squares, double folded the edges, and made 5 scarves in no time.  Aunt Cindy had been recommending Mary Ellen's Best Press starch alternative to me, but I could never find it.  I finally found it and tried it and it made life soooo much easier to double fold and sew the tiny edges.  The saleswoman at the quilt shop also said that now she is cancer-free, she is making a quilt out of her head scarves.  Aunt Cindy thought this was a great idea and can't wait until she is sewing with the the headscarves instead of wearing them.
My dad, Jim, on ironing duty.
We used this youtube video to learn how to tie the headscarves.  Aunt Cindy isn't in any of the photos, but I used other family members as my models.

Me, Uncle Mike, and two of my cousins, Annie and Jane.
Me with Grandpa Jack- he said the headscarf looked better with the knot in the front.

My brother, Jack, still looking tough in a headscarf.

My mom's best friend, Donna Cox, is running in the 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in South Florida on January 29th, 2011.  Donna is racing in my Aunt Cindy's name.  If anyone would like to support her in the race, please visit her donation page.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Longwood Gardens Christmas Display

Poinsettias and decorated trees in the Main Conservatory
Longwood Gardens, located in Kennett Square, PA, always puts on a fantastic display for the holidays.  Lights and decorated trees adorn the outdoors and the 5 acres of conservatories are completely decked out for the holidays with decorated trees, lights, poinsettias, and hand made ornaments and decorations.  I visited twice this year- once at night and once during the day.  My night photos didn't turn out well, so I can't show off all of the great holiday lights, so you will have to use your imagination.

Katie, Nancy, John, and Grace at Longwood Gardens
Main Conservatory Tree

Lavender Tree in the Mediterranean House

Winterberry hollies (Ilex verticillata) and red cyclamen in the East Conservatory

Tillandsia tree in the Cascade Garden

Wreath made of herbs

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Heathcote Botanical Gardens is an intimate garden in Fort Pierce, FL.  I visited this garden for the first time with my mom, Alice, when I was home in FL for Thanksgiving.  The garden consists of an assortment of specialty gardens including a Japanese Garden, Reflection Garden, Herb Garden, Rainforest Display, Native Plants Garden and a Palm & Cycad Walk.

I love this bark!

Ferrell bee hive

A butterfly made from recycled garden tools

Estate house

Painted bamboo sculpture

Japanese Garden

Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto) with a triple crown


Variegated Agave

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Temple University Employee Craft Club

Barbara, Claudia, Crisbel, Lauren, and Grace with our two finished blankets
Lauren from Temple had the great idea to organize an employee craft club.  We decided to meet during our lunch breaks once or twice a month and work on charity projects, personal projects, and teach each other new skills.  For our first meeting, I decided to make good use of the fleece that Julie from Jaybird Quilts gave me!  We decided to participate in Project Linus and make easy no-sew fleece blankets with tied sides.  Since we were meeting on campus and wouldn't have access to much equipment, this was a perfect starter project.  We all worked together and finished two blankets during our short lunch breaks.  Good job ladies!
Barbara and Crisbel cutting fringe on a single layer baby blanket
Claudia and Grace piecing together a patriotic blanket
Lauren, Barbara, and Claudia tying a double layer blanket
Crisbel tying the single layer baby blanket
Lauren with the double layer blanket

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quilted Tree Skirt

The Philly Modern Quilt Guild had another challenge! For "Project Solids", we each received 4 fat quarters of Kona Cottons.  The colors were Snow, Ruby, Holly and Chocolate.  The rules were that we could can add up to 1 yard total of  additional fabric.  This means we could add 1, 2, 3 or however many other fabrics we'd like as long as we didn't go over 1 total yard.  Binding and backing are not included as part of the 1 yard.

I had a bunch of holiday fabric that I got last year, but never used.  So I thought I would try to do this challenge without buying any new fabric.  I wanted to try to Starry Forest Christmas Tree Skirt by Tall Grass Prairie Studio.

Strips laid out for the first tree block
Finished top
Finished back
A few members of our quilt guild suggested spray adhesive to baste the layers together, so I decided to try it out.  For a small project like this, I LOVED it.  It was so quick, held everything together nicely, and didn't gum up my needle at all.
Folding back half of the batting to apply the spray adhesive
Marking quilting lines with painter's tape- another tip from the guild!
After the quilting is finished, a 5" hole was cut in the center
Finished top!
Finished back
Tree skirt on our tiny tree

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fish Tacos and Plantains

Fish tacos and plantains- yum!
In my opinion, there are few things in the world better than fish tacos.  I hate to admit it, but I have always been a little afraid of cooking fish.  For Amy's birthday we decided to take the plunge and cook fish tacos.  It is surprisingly easy!  We coated two tilapia fillets with salt, pepper, and flour, and then pan fried them in a mixture of butter and olive oil.  It took 4 minutes on each side.  Um... why was I so afraid of this?  We topped them with lettuce, tomato, lime, black bean/corn salsa, and Florida avocados.  I brought the delicious Florida avocados back from my recent trip home for Thanksgiving.
Pan fried tilapia
Fish taco toppings
I also brought a plantain home from my trip to Florida.  Fried sweet plantains, or maduros, might tie the fish tacos in my opinion of the best things on earth.  I honestly might be able to live on plantains alone.  Recently, in a used book store, I came across Miami Spice: The New Florida Cuisine.  This cookbook combines recipes from Latin America, Cuba, and the Caribbean.  I referred to this book to cook my plantains.  Ripe plantains are very bitter when eaten raw, but become super sweet when cooked.
Raw plantains cut diagonally
Plantain slices are fried in vegetable oil
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Map of Blog Visitors