Daily Inspirations and Adventures

Archive for July 2011

Where was Swatch?

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Tim is back, yeah!!!!!! Yes, I still love him.  How can I not love a smart, charming man who encourages and honestly critiques the designers trying to win Project Runway?  Two of my favorite parts of the time I spent on Thursday night were the road to the runway, because Tim was the emcee and Tim’s time in the workroom with the new batch of creative costumers.

One of the things I liked about the casting special was that there was no bad singing (like Idol.)  How about Seth Arron as a judge?  He was pretty good.  I hadn’t heard of the new clothing style Seth Arron called “trucker hillbilly”?  I’m not sure that would catch on in NYC.  Can you hear Tim now, “I understand the concept, just make sure to tell the judges that you wanted her to look like she has a big beer belly that hangs over her belt.”   Two of the contestants should not have been selected. Both HAD to say Fierce, that should have been an automatic disqualification.  I am disappointed  that even  with Seth Aaron judging I don’t think there is one straight man on the show. Reverse discrimination. Instead of a dumb blond, a “glammy”blond was selected.  The first word I have to research was not one of Tim’s, do adults wear rompers?  The rompers I know about are illegal on anyone over the age of two.  Everyone who auditioned  for the show had one on their rack.

Enough about the casting special, on to the actual hour and a half competition.  I’m glad the producer’s finally listened to me and expanded the show to 90 minutes.  Even with 20 designers, I didn’t feel I had to rush to develop relationships with the contestants.

 This episode made me realize that I couldn’t compete on PR.  Although I am a morning person, I would not be my cheerful self if Tim woke me up at 5:00 am.  (Unless he had a large cup of coffee.)  But, the real problem is that I don’t sleep in a bra, and there is NO WAY I would parade through NYC without wearing one.

I liked the challenge, make something out of what you are wearing and a bed sheet.   Dara, there is hope for you…Miss Trinadad just learned to sew 4 months before the competition started.  I think the outfit she made would look adorable on you. 


Pop pop and Mom mom are now officially part of the Modern Quilt Movement.  The winner, Bert, claimed to be 102 years old.  He borrowed the concept of the Pop pop’s under wear quilt and turned it into the winning design.  I liked Bert’s design and his wit, but I doubt he will be able to keep up with the crazy schedule.  I actually agreed with the judges that this was the winner.  (I doubt that will happen again.)


It was a cute dress.

   Pop pop’s Quilt:









I’m not even going to put the losing picture on the blog.  It was BAD.  And I can’t believe that someone would risk going home just to keep their hair covered. 

In case you were wondering why a bed sheet was used for fabric instead of  the designer’s going to Mood (without Bras) it was because Swatch is on vacation:


Written by bevanddara

July 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Fashion, Uncategorized

Finally…Project Runway!!!!!!

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Before the Premiere, Don’t Miss the Road to the Runway Casting Special

By LifetimeCaitlin Mon., Jul. 25, 2011 ,4:41 pm EDT

Tune in to Lifetime on Thursday at 8/7c for our “Road to the Runway” Season 9 casting special. This hour-long special will introduce viewers to this season’s designers. Hosted by Tim Gunn, fans will see an in-depth look at the casting process and the inside scoop on this season’s cast.

Have a favorite designer picked? Then let us know! Vote for the Season 9 Fan Favorite all season long using Twitter. Get the “Project Runway” Fan Favorite details now, and don’t miss the premiere, Thursday at 9/8c!

How Exciting!!!!Mom is always interested in the length of Heidi’s skirts.  I think I’ll copy the  haircut she  is modeling on the website .  How will it look with extremely wavy hair, due to the extremely high humidity?

B minus 2!!!!

(I know, way too many exclamation points in this entry, I can’t help myself!!!!!!)

Written by bevanddara

July 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Fashion

Finishing Friday, so I can move on to this week

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I spent Friday visiting a few of my favorite places in Manhattan. I met your friend Dan and his brother Steve near Radio City Music Theater.  Then, to Dan’s surprise, I walked to Bryant Park.  (Yes, I’m pretty spry for my age!)  Thanks to Janice, I  visited a Japanese Bookstore, which will be added to my routine NYC stops: 

Kinokuniya Bookstore

1073 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10018 40.758089 -73.978206 

This bookstore intermingles English and Japanese on its numerous shelves as a way to encourage customers to experience another cultural viewpoint—even if that means glossing over text and admiring pictures. Opened in Rockefeller Center in 1981, Kinokuniya is impressively stocked, with 20,000 book titles as well as magazines, DVDs, CDs, Momiji dolls, and a bilingual staff. The store carries the latest issues of hard-to-find magazines such as the fashionista’s Gothic & Lolita Bible, and displays attractive design and architecture books like The Very Small Home: Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Space (useful in both Tokyo and NYC).

I did not notice any English books at all, but let me tell you, the pictures are SPECTACULAR!  I limited myself to purchasing one quilt and one bead book. I love the bags in the quilt book I bought. This is one of my favorites (sorry for the poor cell phone picture) :


I stopped along  the way at York Beads, they have some of my favorite “dagger” beads.  I bought these for Janice:


How does Chester(even if only his paw)end up in so many pictures?

On to City Quilter.  The shop prints, and I am collecting NYC fabric.  This is the latest fabric:


The next fabric is going to be the same fabric in daylight.  I was disappointed that the Dear Jane quilt that was hanging in the shop during my last visit was gone.  When I commented on it, a very helpful salesperson told me that it was in the back, cause a Dear Jane class was taking place.  I went to the classroom and performed my best meek and quiet request to visit the class.  I was warmly welcomed.  Quilters just love to share. Once we did our”Do you know what a Jane is? Yes, I’m working on one, I’m up to D-5, and I’m a longarmer who recently ditched a Jane, Oh you didn’t, yes I did.  My Jane is called F. Jane for obvious reasons…OH MY GOODNESS WHAT IS THAT JANE ON THE WALL?????


It was a red and white Jane!  Organized by the niece of the woman of the red and white quilt exhibit I saw the last time I was in New York.  She asked me to make a block! (E-2)  The quilt is a surprise for the woman’s 81st birthday.  (I’m omitting her name because the quilt is hopefully going to be a surprise.) I’m such a quilt geek…it was so much fun to be with women with my current passion.  When I was leaving, I apologized for creating such a commotion.  The co-teachers of the class thanked me for waking their students and invited me to join them to work on my Jane anytime I’m visiting you!

In case you need to be reminded of the red and white quilts:


The quilt is being documented by Deborah:

Wsheew, finally finished our week together, thankfully you documented both weekends.

I’m sure your biscuits will be as delicious as the picture looks, the next time I visit!  How are your eyeballs?  B-3!!!!!

Written by bevanddara

July 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

You Are Making Your Biscuits Wrong

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Read this last night . . . I should send to Pop-pop.

You Are Making Your Biscuits Wrong


Hanna Raskin is the restaurant critic for The Seattle Weekly, but in 1998 she was a greenhorn reporter at The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Miss. Oprah Winfrey was jobbing around the country that year doing publicity for “Beloved,” a film she had commissioned and starred in with Danny Glover. News came that Winfrey was holding a screening in Attala County, where she was born, and Raskin’s editor sent her across the state to watch it with the hometown fans.

“Beloved,” based on Toni Morrison’s novel, takes as its subject the impact of slavery on the human soul. Mystery, violence, sex and supernatural apparition are all part of the story.

There is also a brief sequence in which Sethe, Winfrey’s character, makes biscuits in her dark little farmhouse.

Biscuits are what take us into the kitchen today to cook: fat, flaky mounds of quick bread, golden brown, with a significant crumb. Composed of flour, baking powder, fat and a liquid, then baked in a hot oven, they are an excellent sop for sorghum syrup, molasses or honey. They are marvelous layered with country ham or smothered in white sausage gravy, with eggs, with grits. Biscuits are easy to make.

When the film ended, Raskin said in a recent e-mail, Winfrey took to the front of the theater to take questions about race, gender, oppression and literature.

It did not work out that way. Raskin: “The first audience member to speak said something like: ‘Oprah, y’all made your biscuits wrong. Don’t you remember how we make our biscuits round here?’ I believe the biscuit-making scene lasted about 20 seconds, but the roar of the crowd suggested the speaker wasn’t alone in her outrage.”

Biscuits are like that. You need to make them right or not make them at all, and most people will tell you most of the time that however you are making biscuits, you are making them wrong. This is true especially if you are not from the South or if you are from England, where biscuits are hard and dry and sit on the dividing line between cookie and cracker.

Some people mix their biscuits in a wooden bowl handed down from Grandmother. Some drop biscuits onto a cooking sheet, rather than cutting them out. Some people use lard as the fat, others butter. For some, a biscuit must be huge. Others say small. There are people who beat their biscuits or add salt to them and others who press sugar cubes into the dough. Liquids added to biscuit flour may include buttermilk, heavy cream, flat beer, sour cream or cola. Cream of tartar can make an appearance in a biscuit recipe, as can baking soda.

For Yankees, the principal biscuit issue is flour. Proper Southern biscuits (as proper Southerners will tell you) are made with soft red winter wheat flour, low in protein and gluten — traditionally White Lily brand or Southern Biscuit brand. These are only sporadically and expensively available in the North and West of the country, where the more traditional all-purpose flour is made from sterner spring wheat, with more protein and gluten in it, better for making yeast breads than tender, flaky biscuits.

Some Southerners believe that it is not possible to make a good biscuit north of the Mason-Dixon line. Nathalie Dupree, a biscuit doyenne out of Charleston, S.C., whose “Southern Biscuits” cookbook provides enough biscuit recipes to fill a lifetime, disagrees. “Any biscuit is possible for a Yankee,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Extensive testing in Brooklyn bears her statement out. Cake flour, a low-protein flour that is available in supermarkets from Boston to Chicago, north to Seattle and down to Los Angeles, makes a fine biscuit. Standard Northern all-purpose flour does as well, especially if you allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so before cutting it out and baking.

What follows are two simple recipes for biscuits, one made with cake flour and lard; the other with all-purpose flour and butter. The first results in a biscuit with a delicate, silken texture that does well with syrups and runny fried eggs. The second provides a crumbier result, with a density appropriate to the flour, that is marvelous with thick, creamy sausage gravy, heavy on the sage and black pepper.

Neither takes long to put together. Christopher Kimball, the professorial leader of Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country and television’s “America’s Test Kitchen,” said in an interview that this feature is crucial to biscuit excellence. “The secret of biscuits is that they are dead simple, and you should be able to make them in your sleep or even in the midst of a blind-drunk hangover,” he said. “To hell with the gourmet stuff.”

Still, both versions benefit from the addition of the best fats you can find: organic or farm-rendered lard, for its flavor and intensity; European-style butter for its low water content and taste. And both require a soft touch on the mixing, turning out and patting down of the dough. (Do not fool with a rolling pin. A rolling pin has no place in biscuits.)

The most important thing is to make biscuits a lot. A biscuit recipe, after all, is not so much a series of instructions as what martial artists call a kata — a form that rewards repetition with excellence. Kathleen Purvis, a top dog on the food desk of The Charlotte Observer, runs into a lot of biscuit recipes, and has reported on dozens of them. She put it this way in an interview: “Most of biscuit success is in how gently you handle the dough, and that’s just practice.”

That is true as North.

Written by bevanddara

July 26, 2011 at 11:55 am

Posted in Food

Jamestown – 7/22-7/24

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Another weekend spent on the boat . . .

(don’t worry, i’m not burnt, that’s just the lens)

And watching beautiful sunsets with friends.

Written by bevanddara

July 26, 2011 at 11:53 am

I’m back online

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My computer didn’t have a virus…it was an error in a registry.  (Who knows what that means.)   I want the recipe for Sticky toffee pudding with pears and coffee!

Continuing on with my week in Brooklyn, I’m up to Thursday. I can’t skip that day because Chester and I had our date.  We walked about 20 silkie miles to Chester’s Hairdresser.  It takes a tough guy to coif  my grandog’s fur!

Can you tell the little guy was ready to escape that place?


Yep, the left ear is now lighter than the right.  While Chet was busy, I wandered around.  I almost called Cindy to tell her that her favorite TV show would be in the area the next day.


Chester showed me a shortcut home.  Dara called, and thought we should visit Manhattan that night.  We had a delicious meal at a Thai restaurant called Qi and then laughed at a packed movie theater watching Horrible bosses.  (I think both of us forgot to review Bridesmaids, which we saw on Sunday night.  I thought it was absolutely HYSTERICAL~!!!!)

I will continue with Friday, but write a separate entry…you know, old person with technology!

Written by bevanddara

July 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Top Chef Just Desserts

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One of Ellen’s best friends (Janet – she was at our wedding) has a daughter that will be on this season’s Top Chef Just Desserts!  Not that I needed another reason to watch!

PROFESSION: Executive Pastry Chef, New York Central at the Grand Hyatt New York
CULINARY EDUCATION: French Culinary Institute
FAVORITE SIMPLE FALL DESSERT RECIPE: Sticky toffee pudding with pears and coffee

Raised in Massachusetts, Katzie now runs the prestigious pastry program at New York Central inside the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central in New York City. She loves creating approachable and whimsical treats as well as cohesive concepts for both pastry and entertaining, and she attributes her knowledge, approach and tenacity to her mentor, Sherry Yard. Katzie sees no boundaries with her pastry career, focusing on creating concepts grounded in her knowledge and love of dessert. Her favorite New York City restaurant is Empellon in the West Village. If she were a food, she would be a bottomless bowl of mussels with a crusty baguette, a perfect precursor to a backyard blackberry crumble. 

Here is the preview.

Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2 – Coming Up in This Sweet Second Season! – Video – Bravo TV Official Site.

Written by bevanddara

July 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Food