Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cork Elves

These really are adorable. One of my favorite Christmas patterns :) Here are a few from this season!
and here's the link to the pattern

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Debby Moilanen's Cheese Chipotle Dip or "Texas Surprise"

Love. Mayo. Walnuts. Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
5-6 green onions chopped
1.5 cups chipped walnuts (toasted, please)
1 cup (or slightly more) delicious mayonnaise
Raspberry Chipotle sauce

Thing 1. Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and Acquisition Thereof:
Just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I did have to scour NYC for it when I prepared this for my birthday last year. I called every Whole Foods in NY, but I was looking for a specific brand, and because alot of the stockers hadn't heard of it, I think they assumed they didn't have it. You just have to go look in the barbecue sauce/condiment aisle. I ended up getting it at the Food Emporium on Greenwich St. in Tribeca. Here in Michigan, after searching at Trader Joes (which seemed like the more obvious choice) I found it at Busch's. It looked like this:

Thing 2. Toasting of Walnuts:
You should know right off the bat that I am slightly allergic to walnuts. This is unfortunate because my tongue swells a little everytime I eat them but we all have our cross to bear. I love the taste of them so much that I usually just eat them anyway. I hope eventually that it will be akin to building up immunity to the itchiness of wool-- very much worth it.
In any case, I think walnuts are so much better toasted and I do it by putting them in a pan (I use Calphalon) and tossing them about on Medium-High (closer to Medium) until I can smell them. That's how I know they're done.

Thing 3. Actual instructions:
  • Mix first five ingredients and spread into a pie plate (or other serving dish. I have two pieces of Le Creuset-- one is a teakettle, and one is a small casserole dish which I use to make twice baked potatoes, and which I use to serve this dip.)
  • Spread a layer of Rasperry Chipotle Sauce on top. It should be thin-ish. But you should not be able to see the dip underneath.
That's it! Then you eat it with relish and wait for the swelling in your tongue to die down.
Texas Raspberry Chipotle Love.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blue Cheese Walnut and Pear Tea Sandwiches

It was very fun to prepare for this tea party, and essential to the preparation was the book Tea Party by Tracy Stern. So many charming recipes and themes! Here's just one of them that was particularly tasty.

Blue Cheese Walnut and Pear Tea Sandwiches

4 Tbs softened butter (I always use salted even though recipes NEVER call for it. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart)
6 thin slices whole-grain bread, crusts trimmed
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs crumbled blue cheese
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts
1/2 ripe pear thinly sliced

Butter each slice of bread.

Mash together blue cheese, walnuts, and cream cheese.
Spread on three slices of bread
Add layer of pear slices
Top with remaining bread (butter side down, obv)
Cut however you want (triangles, squares, you know)

We adapted this recipe for Goat Cheese and Green Apple as well, also tasty!

Also on the menu:

Straight-up cucumber sandwiches
Bread (Crusts cut off)
Chive cream cheese
cucumbers slices
Dip along one side in chopped fresh dill

Nutella and Banana Sandwiches
Bread (crusts cut off)
Banana slices

Cinnamon Raisin Apple-Butter Sandwiches
Cinnamon Raisin Bread (crusts cut off)
Apple Butter

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Magnolia Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

I have made these many many times, and love the best of all of the cupcake recipes.
Some links for you:
And finally, the trick to frosting them. I have watched this video no less than 23 times. It's enchanting.

Two drops of red food coloring made a light and lovely pink.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Get ready for Recipe and knitting inundation

Yesterday was my birthday and we had a lovely tea party here at the apartment. It was great fun to host many new friends, and to cook and to knit! AND I finally got to use a lot of the serving pieces that my Memere gave me. So much fun. Alot of red glass dishes and bowls that are dainty and marvelous. A very fun afternoon followed by complete and total exhaustion.

Drake made this lovely photo montage of the festivities :)

We found out that we're having a boy! when they picked him up on the Ultrasound, he was kicking furiously (which I couldn't feel at the time, though I do feel movement occasionally.) I hope that he's not able to kick like that as he grows bigger, or I'm in big trouble.

SO... this is just a mini-post to tell you that I'll be posting a number of recipes (and links to recipes) that I used at the party-- thought it might be fun to share, and would love to hear what your go-to dishes are for entertaining. I'm starting with Debby Moilanen's Cheese/Chipotle Hors d'oevre, which I call "Texas Surprise" :) I first had this as a Thanksgiving appetizer at the Dantzler's house, and immediately was enchanted and have since made it several times. Before you read the next post with the recipe, you must just trust me that this is seriously delicious. Don't be a mayo-hater.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Drake's sweater

I've been working diligently on Drake's sweater in an attempt to get it finished before we find out the sex of the baby on TODAY! The appeal of knitting baby things is just too strong as they are both adorable and quick to knit. From a knitting perspective I wish that I'd married a shorter man, or at least one with shorter arms as Drake has very long monkey arms and is over 6 feet tall, thereby making his sweaters take the REST OF MY LIFE to knit. I think it'll be worth it though with this one-- Smokin by Jared Flood (who has a fancy new layout for his website, Brooklyn Tweed)

I woke up early this morning (so excited to go to the Doctor!) and am going to see if I can knock out most of the shawl collar on this sweater before we go in. I'm aiming for this being finished in time for my knitting birthday party on Saturday. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things that I like about our apartment

Curiosity wall with old ironing board (a.) I have my small but wonderful sheet music collection (b.) on top which I collected to leave on the tables at our wedding. Three of the pieces are framed, but we're aiming to frame most of them, since they're too delicate to play from. I have them stored in comic book sleeves.

Above the ironing board (purchased in Brooklyn at a Flea Market) are a collection of old pictures--
(c.) Drake's dad as a child,
(d.)his grandmother Dantzler and her sisters,
(e.) his grandparents in front of their first house,
(f.) my mother with cute little cinnamon bun rolls on the side of her head (she hates this picture and I LOVE it),
(g.)my grandmother and Great Aunt (Theresa?) when she was a novitiate

The rest of the pictures are various tin types that I've picked up in antique shops over the years. they're framed in 3D box frames, so I put some marbles in with the tintype of cross-eyed children for fun.

Keep Calm and Carry on Poster that we bought and had framed in NYC and Drake's electric guitar.
Marble collection in Drake's Grandpa Dantzler's cigar box

The horns (our first piece of taxidermy...) and the mini mystery door that we bought at a gallery when we were on tour in Brazil
My Memere Girouard's Cukoo clock that my cousin Jeff bought for her when he was stationed in the Air Force in Austria

Hand-cut stone bookend made by Drake's Grandpa Stanley. He did a lot of beautiful work with stone and jems, we have two sets of his bookends and they're so wonderful.

Drake's Big Game Fish of North America Antique map and Fritz the Brown Trout. We have two Brown Trout that Drake caught on a fishing trip with his dad. (Taxidermy pieces numbers 2 and 3).

Just a little peek into our apartment in Michigan!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Upholstery ideas

Remember these? I was deciding whether or not to go with a bold graphic pattern and paint the woodwork a glossy black. Risky since these are antiques as well as family heirlooms, and yet I want them to be featured and preserved and treasured and USED-- I don't want them to be
"front room pieces" that are never really sat in, and never quite fit in with our style. So risky, yes, but also possibly fabulous.

I chose fabric from IKEA in the end because realistically, I'd have to wait for years to save up enough to buy any of the designer fabric that I've been looking at from, say, Amy Butler.
This is Inger from IKEA and is priced at 5.99/yard. I feel strongly that this option would require painting the wood glossy black. A fun mod option.

The other option is to stay with a fabric that flatters the wood, and just refinish the wood naturally (though probably still glossy.) You'll remember that the wood carving is pretty intricate, and I don't want to overwhelm that either. And so we have:

Stockholm Blad from IKEA 8.99/yard

A more delicate pattern, and I think I could leave the wood as is, maybe gloss it up a bit. I'm opting most toward the black, but an intriguing option is to pop up the big chair with a little something like....
This!! Wouldn't that be fun? And it's glorious pink-ness would assure that I and I alone would sit in it.

Something to do while we're waiting

I fully intended to do a post on the fabric choices for my living room set months ago, and here we are in November. November! leaves! pies! my birthday! I've been horribly distracted by many things:

1. My coat doesn't snap. I am rapidly expanding and my coat will not contain me. This is both distressing and exciting.

2. Due to a scheduling snafu we did not get an ultrasound last week and I was horribly
distressed to the point of making myself sick. I can no longer predict my reaction to things except to say that it will probably be more dramatic than anticipated.

3. This means that we get the ultrasound this Thursday, and that we will find out the sex of the baby just in time for my birthday knitting extravaganza. This is a very good thing. I have been earmarking some lovely patterns which are all dependent on this information-- not so much in terms of color choices but in terms of trim/notions etc... here's what I'm thinking about:

These are all patterns from Special Knits: 22 Gorgeous Handknits for Babies and Toddlers by Debbie Bliss there are INFINITELY more patterns in here that I want to knit, such as the Eyelet Vest, the Organza-edged cardigan, the Hooded Kaftan (yes, a kaftan. it's lovely.) Right now it remains my favorite baby knit book.

Velvet edged jacket via Anny Purls flickr

Ribbon-edged cardigan via Anny Purls flickr

Friday, October 23, 2009


On Tuesday I was invited by Dr. Sean Cooper to come and do a Mezzo-mania master class at Bowling Green State University, and was very happy to oblige-- had a wonderful time guiding some lovely young mezzos. I may or may not have invoked Cartman from South Park at one point. but I swear it was necessary. and pertinent.

AND I got to visit the whole family, Jen and Hudson-- who I met a few years ago when Sean and I were performing in Pirates of Penzance in North Carolina and their new family member Sam, who is adorable and as happy as I've ever seen a baby-- even at bedtime. So great to have friends so nearby and the double bonus is that together we form a full quartet! Concerts will certainly ensue...

SO I left a day early and headed out to Columbus to visit the Grandey's and especially Lila who has grown sooo much from our last visit a couple summers ago. and LOOK! she's wearing the sweater that I made for her :)
My heart is glad... this is the first time I've actually gotten a picture of someone wearing my knitting. glee!
We played alot and danced and Lila showed off her adorable Halloween costume and Ali took me to baby stores including Babies R Us so that I wouldn't be so scared to go there alone....

We decorated Lila's room with adorable woodland creature decals, and I just about died of cuteness overload when she walked in to see it and whispered over and over "Oh my gosh!" it was pretty much the sweetest thing ever.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


pattern source
When I updated my status on facebook to alert all present that I would be "felting pumpkins" I was asked if I invented a new verb tense and was molesting a seasonal squash. Not so! I was doing this....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reupholstery project.

Phase 1. The raw materials.
And by that I mean the actual pieces of furniture that I will be recovering. I have a three piece living room set inherited from my Great Grandmother. It was recovered by my Great Aunt Evelyn. I'm betting that this took place somewhere between 1940 and 1960.... the fabric is rough and not too comfortable to sit on, and it is also pink. So there's that. Without further ado....Pink chair
Pink couchGreen chair
and a detail shot to show the woodwork....
So the questions/options are this, and I need you!
1. Paint the wood a glossy black and recover with a graphic print?
2. Keep the wood (maybe gloss it up) and pick a print with natural colors that enhance the wood?
3. Keep it neutral.
It's tricky. They are striking pieces and I don't want to take away from that, but I think that glossy black with a graphic print could be very striking.

Next post... some fabric options. Please feel free to suggest some in the comments too!

First picture

We went and got the first Ultrasound today which was great fun. Again, I couldn't stop giggling, though I had to because between me giggling and the baby wiggling, the technician couldn't take the measurements that she needed. (we're conspirators already, the baby and I...)

They did a 3D ultrasound too, but those pictures kind of freaked me out-- it looked like cro-magnon baby and I prefer this cute *familiar* look. You can tell in the picture that it's either about to suck its thumb OR if you have a very fertile imagination.... you can picture it as a fist-in-air gesture for a high note! Like the old baritone claw. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tiny Dantzler!

Yesterday Drake and I went to the Dr. and got to hear the heartbeat of our new baby! It was so much fun... about 160 bpm which, if you are to believe heartrate predictions, indicates that it may be a girl. We're holding out for the Ultrasound and the end of October, but are looking forward to finding out then!

We're getting ready for a concert tomorrow with the Rochester Symphony and were going through some of the music at the office while waiting, then once we heard the heartbeat it became the official tempo everything we sang on the way home! and 160 is pretty dern fast...

I found out the day that I picked up Drake from the airport in NYC--right before we drove back to Michigan, and flew to Dallas to pick up our stuff. So perhaps that helps explain why all I've been doing lately is watching Golden Girls and napping. untrue, I've been doing LOTS of photoshoots, but there are days that I feel abominably lazy! No morning sickness thank goodness! People ask if I've had any cravings, which makes me laugh because I think you'd only have to had dined with me once to know that I have cravings ALL THE TIME. Like since birth. But no, I have had no strange cravings that are out of the ordinary. I did lie down on the ground once totally inconsolable but for the thought of garlic bread pizza. But that's not the first time that has happened...

Portfolio update!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


It's funny that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser turned out to be the inspiration I needed to return to blogging.

When we moved into the new apartment in MI, there were a few scuffs on the wall, and we've been trying (unsuccessfully) to get some paint from our leasing office. Finally this morning I decided to try the Magic Eraser and after the first successful swipe I immediately looked all around for someone else to appreciate the magic. This is where you come in, blog.


I should've taken pictures. As it stands now, all you'd see is a lovely white wall.
As it should be.

Speaking of Magic, things have been super busy around here and I have some big news to share next week... I'll leave you to speculate until then.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009