Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Celebration

This is a Christmas Day photo but entirely appropriate for New Year's!

This is Ginger snuggling up to a bottle of my fav Champagne (not sparkling wine, mind you), Moet & Chandon White Star. Yum! She has excellent taste.

Can't wait for Bruce to share this on New Year's since the gift was to him. Thanks, honey!

And speaking of Bruce, here's a very nice picture of him from Christmas morning. Doesn't he look relaxed?

Incredible View

How's this?

We spent Christmas afternoon here with Jeff, Debbie, Keoni and Kimberly, their dog Lucky, and our dog Cody. Debbie was taking pictures with her new digital camera and I'm so glad she got this shot. I wanted to take it myself but managed to forget the camera.

This is one of our favorite beaches at Ukumehame (oo-koo-may-hah-mee) on the way to Lahaina.

Happy New Year and if the weather isn't warm where you are, may the company be!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy Dancing

Woo-hoo! I just got a call from Joelle at Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao and they want two of my quilts for an upcoming show!! This is a very prestigious multi-media gallery on Maui that is owned by, and features, some really great artists whose work I admire. This is such an honor and I am thrilled - can you tell?

More news as things develop...

A Good Family Laugh

I swore I wasn't going to cook anything complicated for Christmas dinner this year. Bruce and I decided we would go easy on ourselves and just grill filets, his mom would do twice-baked potatoes, and I would make favorite Warm Goat Cheese salad from "Barefoot in Paris" from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

While going through the cookbook, which has become one of my favorites, I ran across the dessert "Ile Flotino" or "Floating Island." I read the description, which had phrases such as "your guests will be groaning with pleasure, " and "they will want to lick their plates clean." Sounded like the perfect dessert for my family!

The "island" of this dessert is a fluffy cloud of baked meringue. Now, I know better than to make meringue in Hawaii. As a dedicated and fearless baker, there are some things that you know just don't work here, and meringue is one of them. It is far too humid and they will never become crisp and melt-in-your-mouth light like they are supposed to. However, against my better judgment, because I was so enchanted by the description, I thought I could pull it off.

I baked the meringues in the oven and then turned it off and left them inside, thinking the warm dry air was the safest place. When I took them out, they were a very light brown and dry to the touch, just as they were supposed to be. So, despite the fact that the creme anglaise was not as thick as it was supposed to be (but that's another story!), I assembled the dessert: a pool of creme anglaise, an "island," a generous sprinkle of almond praline and a generous drizzle of homemade caramel and VOILA it went to the table and everyone was impressed...until they tried to eat it!

The meringues, while dry on the surface, were extremely sticky blobs of goo, which was exacerbated by the sticky caramel. I am thankful I have a good sense of humor, because it was quite funny for me to watch my sweet family trying to delicately eat this mess (trying not to insult the cook!) and as soon as I started laughing, so did everyone else.

But the nicest thing of all was Bruce's comment that even though it didn't turn out quite the way I had planned, everyone ate their entire dessert and he even wanted to lick his plate (just like the cookbook said!). At least it tasted good!

New Year's Resolution #1: Don't be swayed by fabulous descriptions in cookbooks when you KNOW the recipe won't work, and if you do it anyway, be prepared for comical outcomes!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

First Quilt

While unpacking the Christmas decorations, look what we found! This is the very first quilt I made.

This is a hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt. When I bought the supplies to make this project, I invested in a pair of Gingher shears, which I still have today (and love!). This was also the first time I realized that you could put two prints next to each other!

I swore I would never do hand applique again after making this quilt. Believe it or not, the teacher made us press under the entire outside edge of the plate with an iron before we basted it to the quilt and appliqued it down. Now I know there is an easier way...needleturn! And after several Hawaiian quilt projects over the years, I love hand applique now.

Hope your pre-holiday week is going great!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Going Bananas

We picked bananas this weekend (we meaning Bruce - at least he's the one who cut them down). We have about 30 banana trees in our yard, mostly "apple" bananas. They are small, firm and very sweet if you let them get really ripe. After eating these you'll never eat another store-bought banana again, unless you are desperate!

The stock on the left is one of the largest stocks we've gotten from our trees. I think this one is especially big because the tree sits in the path of the washing machine water, so it gets plenty.

This is Bruce cutting down a second smaller stock. I didn't think to get the camera until he was done with the big one. He chops the stock off with a machete, then cuts the tree down. Once the trees produce a stock of bananas they are "pau" (Hawaiian for finished) and need to be cut down because they die anyway.

The last picture is of a stock as they grow on the tree. As soon as they start to turn yellow it's time to cut them down. You wouldn't believe how long it takes for a stock of bananas to start to turn yellow from the time they show up on the tree...sometimes months!

Of course, it seems like we always get several stocks at once instead of nicely spaced throughout the year, but there are plenty of friends and neighbors to give the overflow to. Kind of like our avocado tree, which still has about 100 avocados on it. But that's a story for another day!

Christmas Gift #1

This is the sample for my full-sized "Lily" quilt. I finished it just in time to give to my Secret Pal, Bev Lundquist, at the guild meeting last week.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to give it to her in person because Bruce and I were at the Eagles concert!!

This finished at approx. 9"x14". I'm happy with the black and whites. The large quilt will have multi-color blossoms in the same hues.

Cody Likes the Couch

Thank heaven for leather! Cody decided he really likes the couch...can you tell? He seeks out any place that's cool. We'll probably have to get him one of those cooling kennel pads for the summer months - we'll see. He's already the most spoiled dog I know.

We've started walking around the block twice a day and he's very well behaved on the leash. Our former trainer (the one who we worked with with Maile) sent us the Level 1 homework paperwork from the class...10 years later! Ramsay and Victoria Anakalea are super folks. Ramsay is a minister now and no longer does dog training (he is the former Maui Police Dept. K-9 instructor), so I really appreciated him sending me the schedule. I still have Level 2 and 3 on file, so we're set. We start "formal" training this week!

As you can see, he also likes his new pool. He spent about 20 minutes playing in it last week, so I know he's going to love the water and the beach!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bad Daughter!

I promised my mom I would post new pictures and info last night, but I ran out of time. Bad Daughter!! We went to the Eagles concert on Tuesday night, I have more pictures of Cody, plus a couple of new quilt projects to post. Not to mention Christmas shopping and work, of course!

So, my task for the weekend is to get these posts up to date. Stay tuned!