Thursday, November 29, 2012

Zig Ziglar - Sayings to Live By

                  Right Up My Alley!

     Sadly, Zig Ziglar passed away yesterday.  He was a motivational speaker and best of all, he just made sense.  When my kids were little, we had quote that they memorized every week, and often, they were from him.  Here are some of my favorites!

Make every effort to be perceived as the most capable, not the most visible.
The best way to turn a little problem into a big problem is to nurture it with procrastination.
If we don't start, it's certain we can't arrive.
If you encounter difficulty, don't change your decision to go. Change your direction to get there.
You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else.
The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.
The way you see people is the way you treat them.
If there were no problems, most of us would be unemployed.
Every day is a great day, just try missing one!
Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love.
When you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easier on you.

You can't truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.
If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society He would have given us Ten Suggestions and not Ten Commandments.
If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, you'll never end up with a nag.
Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.
Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.
The person who will not stand for something will fall for anything.
When you do more than what you are paid for, you will soon be paid more for what you do.
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.
He will be missed!
Happy Stitching!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vecchiarelli's Annual Christmas Sale in the L.A. Garment District

     Merry Christmas to all of you
Saturday, Dec. 8 from 9-5!

     Just a quick FYI for anyone who is in the LA area - Vecchiarelli's is hosting their annual Christmas sale!  The last time I went was 2 years ago and besides the great bargains, the food they had was wonderful!

     Vecchiarelli's supplies to 'the trade' as well as the students at L.A. Trade Tech, and has many items that you sure won't find at Joann's!  Tag board, pattern drafting paper, dress forms, rabit punches, pattern cards...  it is fun to just look at.  They also have industrial sewing machines and sergers.

Fashion Dress Forms

     They recently moved - their new address is
1203 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Phone number is

Their website (isn't finished yet) is

If you are in the area, it is a great day to go!
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ecru Embroidery from Madeira!

                       The 'Other' White!

     I hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, sharing it with family, friends, and loved ones!  We were in Phoenix, AZ, for a few days, visiting John's family.  Kathy and David, his sister and brother-in-law, hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, with 2 different turkeys and briskett, as well as his traditional homemade cheesecake.  It was excellent, as usual, and of course, I ate too much!  We drove back to CA Saturday morning, and it was 88 degrees!  Way to warm for Thanksgiving!  It is supposed to cool down this week, which I am looking forward to!  I want to do some Christmas baking and it is hard to get into the spirit when it is so warm outside!  I missed last Whitework Wednesday, so here is a Whitework Sunday!
     One of the things that I noticed in Madeira is that many of the embroideries were stitched on ecru linen, or with a color of floche that is often called 'antique ecru' (it is DMC 612). This is a tablecloth and napkins that were stitched on a creme linen with the antique ecru floche.  Beautiful!

     This is a close up of a piece that was stitched on an ecru linen, again with the antique ecru floche.

     Placemats and napkins on a white linen with antique ecru floche - lots of trailing shaped into curls, as well as the cutwork edges.

     Some smaller doilies and a round tablecloth, again stitched on an cream colored linen and with the antique ecru floche.   All of these are beautiful examples of Madeira Embroidery in a color palette that is not the traditional white on white as we think of it!
I hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Joann Marshall's Coffee Cake

Best Coffee Cake Ever!
(or as one of my favorite little guys calls it, a coffee pie)
     Many years ago, at my wedding shower, one of the things all of the guests had to do was to write their favorite recipe on an index card to start my Recipe Box.  I got everything from a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (this little girl was someone that I babysat for and was their with her mother) to Joann Marchall's Coffe Cake. 
     The shower (and wedding) was in KY and everything was loaded into boxes and shipped to CA and I promptly put them in a safe place that went through 3 moves and lo and behold, 15 years later I discovered them!  As soon as I saw the coffee cake recipe, I knew I had to make one.  I remember them from the Christmas Boutique at church - she always made a bunch of them to donate.

     I whipped up a batch and popped them in the oven and De-li-scious!  I make about 50 of them every Christmas season now - that is what I give to friends and relatives instead of Christmas cards.  The recipe is below - one recipe makes a 11" x "13 pan or (2) 8" round pans.    I usually make 2 batches at a time (4 rounds) when I am doing my Christmas baking.  I buy the foil pans that come 3 in a pack at the dollar store.  When I am making them for us, I still make a double batch and then cut them up and put them in little baggies in the freezer.  Happy Baking!
JoAnn Marshall’s Coffee Cake
Heat oven to 350 degrees
 Mix until crumbled:
3 Cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup margerine or butter, softened
(I use the dough hook on my KitchenAid for this -you want it crumbly!)
Take out 1 cup and reserve for topping
Add to remaining crumble mix:
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Grease and flour pan ( either a 9"x13" or 2 – 8" or 9" inch round cake pans).  Pour batter in pan, and drop reserved crumble mix on top.  Bake 40 - 45 minutes @ 350 degrees for round cake pans,
Bake 45 – 50 minutes @ 350 degrees for 9 x 13 cake pan.
This is wonderful for a hostess gift!  The Aluminum 8 or 9 inch round pans are perfect!
Hope this this gets you in the mood - we are heading back to Phoenix this week for Thanksgiving and I have already started my baking!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A is for Aficot!

         What is an Aficot, you say?!

     I am snug and cozy here at our sewing retreat in Santa Barbara.  It is past my sewing bedtime (that is when I sew sleeves on insideout, etc.), so I thought I would post!
     Many years ago, when I was just a babe, I took a class at a SAGA convention from Nina Richardson.  She did different kinds of handwork and embroidery.  She had a tool called an aficot, which is a burnishing tool.  You would use it on satin stitch to rub the agains the base of the stitches and it really smoothed out the stitches and gave them a nice sheen.  The aficot fit perfectly on your hand and was hand carved by some guy in Texas, and of course, as we all do in class, we wanted to get his information so we could order one.  Alas, he was retiring and not carving anymore, so I was aficot-less.
     Every couple of years, I would think about that class and the aficot and wonder if I could find one, but no luck (and this was before the internet).
     Jump forward to present day.............about 10 days ago, I was in Santa Fe, NM, for the EGA Seminar Trading Post.  The table next to mine had all these beautiful tools that were hand carved. 
     I was in Santa Fe, NM, 10 days ago for the EGA Trading Post.  I have never been to an EGA function before - I met some wonderful people and saw some friends, and hope to go again.  The table next to mine had all of these had carved tools - stiletto's and such.  I was talking to Michael and his wife and mentioned how I would love to have an aficot and did he carve them, and TahDah!  There was a tray of aficots on his table.

     I started telling him about Nina and the guy from Texas, and lo and behold, the old guy was Michael's uncle!!!  Well needless to say, I was happy as a clam.  I bought my aficot and put it in my bag to take home and it is sitting on my cutting table.  Who knows when I will use it, but it is there for whenever I need it!
   Now for the good news - if you are in the market for an aficot, or any kind of carved needlework tool, Michael is NOT about to retire.  You can view his items at    I don;t believe you can order on the website, but you can see everything, in all of the different wood options, and then email or call to place an order.  Please tell them that I sent you!

     Here are couple more of his tools.  This is a King Henry VIII laying tool - each aspect of the carving represents something.  The 6 rings represent the 6 wives, etc.
          This is the spiral carved laying tool, another beautifully carved item.   The ladies were flocking around his booth. If I need one of these, I know where to go!
Hope you are all well, especially those of you in the Northeast - between Sandy and the next storm, you have all been in my thoughts.  Until next time,
Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

                 Isn't It Lovely?!

     I hope you all had a lovely Halloween....I apologize for missing last week!  I watched my friend's 4 kids for 4 days while she went to Cabo and then went to Santa Fe, NM, for the EGA Trading Post - fun, busy, and wonderful! 


     Today I am going to share some of the sights of Madeira, starting with a picture taken from the water of the shores of Madeira.  It reminds me of Santa Barbara, CA in the climate and the terrain.  Madeira is often a stop for cruise ships that pass that way.  If you ever have a chance to go, take it!  But when you go to the island, don;t shop at the stores that are right on the water.  The better embroideries can be found in the shops that are a few blocks inland.

     Here is a picture (and I will post a couple more) of the landing strip for the airport on Madeira.  According to pilots, it is one of the more tricky landing strips. 

     The winds can blow and cause delays.  On the first trip I took, there was a 12 hour delay because of the winds.  The planes originally could land, but not take off.  The airport is so small, that they would not let us check our baggage, as they had no place to store it all day while we waited for the winds to die down. 

     Then they stopped letting the planes land, because there was no place for them to wait until the weather airplane traffic jam!

     They have a wonderful market with fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables, fish, etc.

     It is wonderful to see everything, even though we could not really buy anything that was perishable.

     Even though these are some of the ugliest fish I have ever seen they were delicious!  They are called espada (eshpada) or black scabbard.  They swim about a mile below the surface (hence the big eyes), and are most easily caught at night.  They have been caught in Japan, Ireland, Canary Islands, and North Africa, but the only sustainable industrial levels are in C├ómara de Lobos, a few miles from Funchal.

     The fisherman use colorful boats to sail out into the waters to catch their fish.  The first trip, I had the traditional espada, cooked with bananas, and then another night had it with a tomato based sauce.  When I  went back the 2nd time, I had aspada every single day that we were there, cooked a different way each time.  Every restaurant that we went to had espada as one of their 'Catch of the Day' offerings.  Wish we could get it here!

     We went on a tour of one of the local wineries that produces Madeira wine - a wine that is actually heated and stays fresh and should be not be refrigerated after it is opened. This process was originally discovered when a ship returned to Madeira without unloading its wine.  Today, the wine fortified with grape spirits, oxidized and heated up to 140 degrees during the wine making process.  The the tasting room offered wines that were 100+ years old, a treat for those who wanted it!

     The toboggan rides were a blast.  Originally designed for transportation (started in the 1850's), if you lived up in the hills, the toboggan was a fast way down the mountain.  The wicker sled has runners and 2 men who push and guide the way to the bottom.  It is about a mile to the bottom, and the sled reaches up to 20-25 mph.  Don't miss this if you have a chance to go!

     More next week - sure hope I can visit again!  have fun, and I hope you exercised your right to vote!  We are one of the luckiest countries in the world to have that privilege!

Happy Stitching!