Vacation - Day 2, 3, 4 & 5

Well, it seems time has gotten away from me. Here we are on day 5 of my imposed "vacation". No real sewing yet, although I have zip-zagged all my fabrics and visited the local laundromat. They are all clean and ready to go. Note to self - next time take the fabric to the local laundromat late at night when there aren't as many sour-faced old ditties that will scowl at you for taking more than two machines.

I have spent some time with the aforementioned planter boxes on my patio. And my floors and bathrooms are gleaming clean. So I can at least cross those things of my "To-Do" list.

I have discovered a problem in my craft/sewing room. Well, technically not a problem, just something that I thought I had done but it seems I still have some work to do. I found a box of unpainted ceramic houses. Eight of 'em. Plus all the tiny village people. Uncleaned greenware. Great, another project to add to my list of things to get done. Hence - a problem.

The situation is further complicated because Mom already has about a dozen finished houses and no more room with the current display to add more. So poor ol' Dad will have to build on to the village and rig up more lights for the display this Christmas.

But I guess compared to world hunger and the global economic crisis it's not a big deal . . . .

Vacation - Day One

How great does it feel to sleep in on a Monday when you know everyone else is hard at work (or perhaps just "at work")?

I spent the day with my Mom. Which is also a pretty great way to spend a Monday. We had tea and strawberry pineapple meringue cake (thanks Karla and Karla at Cin Cin) and sat on the back veranda and just hung out. Then when Mom had to go teach, I went and picked up some things for dinner.

Since we each had full schedules on Sunday, we celebrated Father's Day on Monday as well. I grilled a whole salmon with fresh herbs from the garden and sliced lemons and limes, along with roasted new potatoes and seasoned asparagus. For dessert I made one of Dad's favourites: a citrus cheesecake which I topped with macerated fresh pineapple and mango. Yummy indeed.

I also started a vegetable soup . . . onions, garlic, leeks, celery, carrots, asparagus deglazed with half a bottle of Champagne Rose that had gone flat . . . I've left it slowly simmering away quite contently and will probably puree it later or maybe just leave it as is . . .It's so great to not have to make any tough decisions while on vacation.

I took some pretty pictures of the garden, which has all kinds of things blooming and sprouting right now. To the left is a vibrant blue delphinium that I bought for the garden last year. Above are a couple of hot pink peonies from one of the three bushes planted a few years ago.

Dad has reunited with his green thumbs lately and decided to germinate some packages of seeds that he didn't know what they were. He now has 120 lettuce plants, so if anyone is in need of a salad in about four weeks, just let me know.

The downside? I didn't get any sewing done. On the bright side, I came home with containers of salmon, potatoes & asparagus, fresh tomatoes, and a dozen farm fresh eggs. . . enough leftovers to last me a couple days at least.

The Darling Darlington

It's worth mentioning that this post is long overdue. Quite. But now that this blog has been revamped and up and running smoothly (more or less) - it's time.

The Darlington House is such a little gem and I am thankful to have stumbled upon it. Twice; once with a friend local to the area (he has since moved to New York) and again with a group. I suppose the second time wouldn't really be considered "stumbling upon", since I would already know it was there. But no matter.

The Darlington House takes its name from philanthropist Joseph Darlington, who built the now historic Row house as his residence in 1890. Located in the heart of Dupont Circle, this multi-level restaurant and bar owned by Fabio and Patricia Beggiato prides itself on serving "rustic yet refined Italian cooking using simple, fresh organic and sustainable ingredients."

The first visit was indeed memorable . . nice lemon drop martini, good Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Viridian 2006), wonderfully prepared food. It has been my experience that when I've been at the lone table in a restaurant, the service typically falls into one of two extremes: non-existent or over bearing. So though we were the first diners on what was proving to be an extremely quiet Sunday night, we were never over served or intruded upon. Yet our server and host were attentive when the need arose. A nice touch was Chef Alberto Baffoni visiting out table between courses.

The second visit had a different feel since I was part of a business dinner. Our party of ten was seated promptly with warmth and grace. ( I loathe when restaurants won't seat a party until all the guests have arrived) The maitre-d' remembered my previous visit and soon we were presented with Prosecco and Grilled Curry Prawn Canapes. Very much appreciated by our group. Big hits off the menu that night were the Tortelloni Stuffed with Butternut Squash in a Sage Butter Sauce and the Veal Saltimbocca in White Wine Sauce with sauteed zucchini and roast potatoes; both perfect for the cool weather that evening. We let our server select our individual wine pairings, and since each of us was having something different, this kept our server busy with choosing for both appetizers and entrees . . Meh, piece of cake.

The upstairs Dining Room and Circle Bar provide intimate tables in a relaxed atmosphere with soft muted colors, while the Library boasts a wonderful open floor plan suitable for cocktail receptions and wedding gatherings. In a plethora of ultra-chic-ultra-modern dining spaces, the comforting elegance, generous hospitality and sumptuous offerings of The Darlington House are not to be missed if your travels take you to Washington, DC.

The Darlington House is located at 1610 20th Street NW in Washington, DC. 202-332-3711. For more information and to check out their current menu, you can visit their website.

How Can I Not . . . .

. . . be inspired ?

Today is my last day at work (the official-pay-the-bills-office work) before having to take 3 weeks off. You see, my boss is leaving for Italy for 3 weeks and my services will not be required during the time that he is out of the office.

So . . this will give me 3 whole weeks to work on all those creative projects that I have been meaning to do. I have crown molding to paint, tiles to re-grout (yes, I know - how glamorous !) and a patio full of planter boxes that are in need of a little T.L.C.

The break will also give me time to delve into the mountains and mountains of fabric I've recently bought. The local fabric store recently had a "Buy 1 Meter, get 3 Free" sale, and let me tell you . . .I participated. Some fabrics I bought 3 meters, therefore receiving 9 more meters at no charge. . . I am seriously considering taking it all to a laundromat and loading up six or seven machines at once to pre-wash it all, especially with the denim.

So expect a whole collection of new spring / summer clothing for both tykes and princesses within the next month. Until then . . .you can find me in my sewing room.


Today I Feel Like . . . .

which direction should I take . . .
linen floppy hat by Yokoo

Hippo Hooray for Bayan Hippo Bags

I have recently purchased two handbags from Bayan Hippo. The bags are beautifully made with attention to details such as large grommets and detachable straps or handles. I especially like the key fob that hangs inside the bag. No more digging for my keys (or losing them, which I'm prone to doing).

The bags I purchased are made with colorful cotton canvas, and the online shop offers a wide selection of colors. I chose the bright orange for my first bag (nicknamed the Glory Bag) and opted for a printed lining with pink apples. Very cute. I needed something orange for my trip to Amsterdam during Koninginnedag (Queen Beatrix of the Netherland's birthday, when everyone wears orange and drinks far too much Heineken) This was the perfect bag. Six interior pockets meant lots of places to put things. I was able to fit all my stuff (guide book, passport, wallet, iPod, make-up emergency kit, collapsible umbrella and an Olympus DSLR E620 with an additional telescopic lens) and not feel like I was carrying a suitcase under my arm. And being cotton canvas, the bag was easy to wash after my trip. Other fabric choices in the online shop are crushed velvet and corduroy.

I was so impressed with my first bag that I bought a second one. This time I chose a burgundy colored Poetry Bag with unbleached cotton lining. I was attracted to the ruching detail on both front and back, and the large aforementioned grommets. The color goes great with many of the things I wear and had resulted in many compliments.

A nice surprise with both my bags was that they each arrived in their own protective outer bag; a sort of shoe bag for . . .well . . handbags (which makes it a handbag for my handbag??) While these other bags are made simply and with lighter fabrics, they are a much appreciated gesture. Last night I was going to the opera and not wanting to wear my stilettos in the rain, I found one of the outer bags to come in very handy for carrying my extra footwear.

The bags are designed by Vildan and 'handmade in a smoke, pet and moist-free home with lots of fun and love'. The creator is a proud mother of twin girls. Like many fellow Etsians, she welcomes custom orders and requests.

I think if I were to purchase another bag from this designer, I would go for a more girlie and aptly named Frilly Bag and choose the soft pink crushed velvet. Or maybe another Poetry Bag, but this time in pale green.

Pudding 'n Lace . . Welcome !

I make a dessert for my family called Pudding ‘n Lace, which always earns rave reviews. I think it’s the smooth creamy texture of vanilla pudding paired with the crisp and spicy taste of lacey gingersnap tuille cookies . . . each is in itself lovely, but together they form a wonderful combination simply because their contrast in texture and flavours compliment each other. This is what you will find here: the blending of the things I enjoy in a way that complement each other. Many of them I will have created myself. Others are from fellow creators and artists that inspire me or whom I admire. Ideas for all things creative and sources to purchase them (both locally and internationally) for those not so creatively inspired but who still crave pretty things. Pudding ‘n Lace is the amalgamation, the fusion (or perhaps more aptly – the mish mash) of many of the things that I wish to share with you.

I am based in Vancouver, but have had the wonderful opportunity to travel through England, France, Spain, Portugal, Madeira, The Netherlands, Canada and the United States. Upcoming trips include Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton, New Zealand and Turks & Cacios. During my travels I have seen some wonderful things to inspire me which I have photographed. Some items I have been able to bring back with me. Vintage French silk covered buttons from Paris, intricate lace from Seville, smoked Gouda from . . .well . . .Gouda.

So grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine (naturellement, j'adore les deux), relax, unwind and enjoy.


. . . mmmm, french pastries in Paris