Tuesday, June 30, 2009

jesus, alan, tully & vincent

Immortalized in cocoa powder, Alan and Tully, the birthday boys, smile from atop a fondant covered cake with cigars blazing. Isn't this the coolest birthday cake ever?!? Talented friends, Jan (equipped with mad cutting skills and endless patience) and Ka (the idea guy) Yeung, made this for the guys birthday celebration.

Here is the photo I provided to Jan not knowing what she was planning to do with it. She used the photo to hand cut a stencil. It's a remarkable likeness, don't you think?

Just spotted in Oak Cliff. Vincent van Gogh on my friend Malina's chicken nacho. Woah, spooky,right?!? He now lives in Malina's moms deep freeze. Click here for funny pics of foods that resemble Jesus. Happy Birthday Alan.

Monday, June 29, 2009

family cookbooks

I wish I could tell you I have an orderly system for managing recipes. Truthfully, with the invented categories and hand scrawled recipes with cryptic abbreviations written on the back sides of bank deposit slips, torn envelopes and children's homework, this system likely makes sense only to me.
Years ago, Sophie decorated and compiled The Lidji Family Cookbook, Volume 1. This little binder served us well. For awhile. Then, our family grew along with our favorites.

Sadie made Volume 2, the cover illustration depicting a scene in a bustling kitchen complete with flustered, sweaty chefs who are obviously in the weeds. You know what I mean if you've ever worked in a restaurant.

If you're in search of some new favorites for your family and friends, here are a few of the top ten summer cookbooks selected by National Public Radio. Read this for the entire listing along with descriptions. I need, ok want, Tacos. What looks good to you?

Friday, June 26, 2009


...are now being served on the mezzanine. In a long ago, far away life, beautiful Kate would make this announcement over the intercom on Friday afternoons. Her voice was smooth and reassuring, like a flight attendant. We loved her fancy turn of phrase. She made us laugh. And then we enjoyed a cocktail together to end the work week. Happy hours are now a long ago memory, but it doesn't mean we can't enjoy a nice cocktail to start the weekend. Here are some recipes to consider.

Alberto's Cocktail - from the drink master at La Caravelle in New York City

1 1/2 ounces vodka
3 ounces champagne
3 fresh mint sprigs
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Place the mint sprigs in a shaker and muddle until oils are released. Add the vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and plenty of cracked ice, and shake vigorously to combine, them strain into a water goblet or wine glass. Top with the champagne and serve.

For you tequila lovers, a departure from the margarita. The name is a bonus.

Bling Bling - from Cocktail Parties with a Twist - Alexandra and Eliot Angle

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 1/2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
ginger ale
lime wedge

Place tequila, grapefruit juice, and plenty of cracked ice in a shaker, and shake vigorously to combine. Strain thoroughly into an old fashioned glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale. Squeeze the lime wedge over the drink, toss it in, and serve.

Simple Syrup
Boil a cup of sugar in a cup of water and stir until dissolved. Let cool, decant into a glass container and keep refrigerated.

Enjoy your weekend.

photo by Heidi Schumann for The New York Times

Thursday, June 25, 2009

presto cape-o (a post in almost real time)

Sophie just informed me it's superhero day at the camp where she's working. She's supposed to dress the part. We work on the fly around here. By the seat of our pants. We have 6 minutes to pull together a costume. She finds a yellow top and blue shorts. Alan prints two Superman crests and I make a quick cape from plain red fabric and yellow ric rac for the tie . Faster than a speeding bullet. Done. With time to spare for pictures.

could you do this?

I was fascinated by a recent post on the blog A Cup of Jo about a Brooklyn based artist who has committed to wear the same dress for an entire year. She can accessorize all she wants. I love her look. I would definitely need more than tennis shoes and flip flops to pull this off with style. Read her story right here.
In May of 2008, I made what I thought was a bold decision regarding clothes. After reading this, it pales in comparison. I decided to purchase no new clothes until 2010. I can, however, sew something for myself with existing fabric. A year+ in, I've been unwavering with the exception of appropriate jeans and tennis shoes for my job and an 80's sun dress from a vintage shop that I chopped up and made my own. In my case, a want vs. need experiment. In hers, a fundraiser.

Here is my $18 dress. I love the details.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

as good a reason as any

Years ago, my friend Liz threw a Halloween party just so she could use these really great cupcake toppers she had found. Perfectly logical. When Charlotte, my friend from work gave me this slew of fabric, I saw festive party flags, table runners and maybe even napkins....a family reunion perhaps?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

sweet as yo mama's love!

Like a carnival barker attempting to lure you to his game, the peach and melon farmer barks this catchy phrase as the crowds pass by. Once he has my attention, a clean enough pocket knife slices through the red seedless melon and he hands me a slice. It's good and sweet. In no time, I'm lugging a big round watermelon. Summer eating is the best. $50 later, I have a cart full of of great meals including homemade lemon basil linguine made just the night before. Yum.

my all time favorite gazpacho recipe

I know. I know. It's a lot of chopping. Please. Just make it. You'll be happy you did.

Yogurt Gazpacho from A Good Day for Soup by Jeannette Ferrary and Louise Fiszer

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I prefer the yellow for color)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 T fresh lime juice
1/4 c. olive oil
a dash of cumin
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
2 c. tomato juice
1 c. plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine garlic, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, peppers, lime juice, oil, cumin, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Stir well and let stand about 1 hour. Puree half the mixture with tomato juice in a blender or food processor. Return to bowl with remaining half and stir well. Stir in yogurt. Cover and chill. Salt and pepper to your liking just before serving.

serves 6

Monday, June 22, 2009

the $23 pick me up

A makeup artist once told me the least expensive, most striking improvement a girl could make to her face was to groom her eyebrows. It was great advice. A couple of days ago I had my eyebrows done by a self proclaimed "eyebrow expert". $23 and mere moments later, I walked out looking a bit more polished than when I walked in.

Friday, June 19, 2009

new life for baby clothes

I've had a busy week of sewing. This happy, girly queen size quilt was commissioned by my client for her daughter's birthday. I had a lot of fun making this quilt!

The letter blocks were made from photo transfers and swatches of baby clothes, toddler clothes, well loved Sponge Bob jammies, her first layette, crib skirt and school uniform. Saturday morning cartoons, first birthday, first day of school....

Her mother remembered all the particulars....mothers are like that..

I used an awesome Kaffe Fassett floral for the backing.

Endearing phrases, significant dates, nicknames and pet names were quilted amongst flower gardens and butterflies to finish this keepsake quilt.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today's post courtesy of Sophie. If you've ever seen my nails, you already know I'm not capable of such a post. Here's Sophie......

I love doing my nails, and there's a completely easy way to do a perfect French manicure without going to the nail salon. Here's how:

The first thing you're going to have to do is paint your base color. Here I'm using a light blue (For Audrey from China Glaze) but feel free to do something more traditional, like a light cream color with a standard white French tip. Have fun with mixing colors and tips. Let it dry for about 5-10 minutes.

Take a piece of tape and stick it on and off of your skin a few times to take away the "stickiness". This will help keep your nail polish from coming off with the tape.

Place the tape on your fingernail right where a French tip would end.

With any color nail polish you want (I'm using a white from NYC), paint over the remaining part of the nail. You can be as messy as you want, since the rest is covered.

When you peel it off, you will have perfect tips, just like...these:

I added dots with a dotting tool right underneath the tip, but feel free to leave it as is.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

N.O.O.F. the naturally oscillating outdoor fan

My husband Alan is always looking for ways to upgrade our home. Here's his latest.

Naturally Oscillating Outdoor Fan

Here’s a cool way to keep the mosquitoes away this summer. If you’ve got a old box fan lying around the house, you can get it to gently oscillate using the action of the fan itself. You’ll need some chain, 2 -12" threaded rods with 4 wing nuts. Hang the fan with the chain from a large hook at least 24" from the backwall. Put one threaded rod at the top of the chain and one at the bottom. Using the wing nuts, you can adjust the distance of the chain. The closer the chain is at the top, the faster the box will turn. Widen the distance of the chain and the fan slows down.

Friday, June 12, 2009

yours mine ours

Kalynn and I put together an impromptu dinner this evening using only ingredients we already had in our kitchens. No running to the grocery store.

We came up with a colorful, yummy taco inspired salad using the following:

romaine and bibb lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions, brown rice, 1# lean ground meat, drained and rinsed black beans and Ranch Style Beans and vinaigrette.

I was sad when the RS bean tzars got all PC and removed the "husband pleasin" tagline from the can as well as the side of their factory. It was a classic. I still recall the face of the husband. He looked so happy thinking about those beans. Dublin Dr Pepper topped off the meal.

A lovely time was had by all.

photos by Sophie

Picture Day with Sadie #2

could police get any cooler?

Again with the whole carnival thing. I don't know.. they're so intricate. 

my sister took this picture of a piece of chocolate cake. no editing. yum.

happy weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

i'm fine, why do you ask?

Day 4 without sugar. Felt a little edgy this afternoon. This I know for sure...no epi-pen needed as proven by the hefty serving of nuts that got me through the afternoon. One thing at a time..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the family outing that wasn't

Never mind the outdoor screening of Kung Fu Panda. The lightning show is top notch.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

where are they now?

I wonder what happened to all my favorite childhood clothes? Where are they now? The footy pajamas, the Fonzie t-shirt (Aaay!), the scratchy polyester double knit dress with mandarin collar and matching cape with frog closure made by Mom for Easter, the blue with white stripe Starsky tennis shoes.......Starsky was always my favorite. Never Hutch. Even when he scored big in 1976 with back to back hits, Black Bean Soup and Don't Give Up On Us. I see a pattern here. I always liked the Jewish boys.......

Unlike my siblings and me, clients Sarah and Natalie will never have to wonder where their favorite clothes ended up......they'll be underfoot... reincarnated as ottomans.

upper left: back row - l to r - me, Dori, Micki front row - David licking my arm and Tim

Monday, June 8, 2009

the jag is up

Is there a Nicorette equivalent for people trying to kick sugar? If not, there should be! Today marks the beginning of my no sugar week. To be honest, I've been on a nonstop sugar jag since eating my weight in homemade Passover macaroons. It's time to pull it together. I'll let you know if my brief experiment yields a new sense of control. In the meantime, here's a nice, filling smoothie recipe to start the week off right.

Strawberry-Orange Yogurt Shake - serves 4 - from Weight Watchers cookbook

2 c. strawberries
1 c. skim milk
1 c. plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 c. orange juice
8 ice cubes

In a blender, puree the strawberries, milk, yogurt and o.j. Add the ice and blend until the ice is coarsely chopped. Serve in chilled glasses.

90 calories per serving
1 WW point

Friday, June 5, 2009

sea sew

I love love love this clever album cover for Lisa Hannigan's Sea Sew. Click on the link and watch the video for I Don't Know. You and Edward Scissorhands will be charmed. I promise.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

picture day with sadie #1

I'm Sadie, and every once and a while i'm gonna post some of my favorite photographs i've
come across!.

photo via cup of jo

photo via now voyager

introducing olive

Our newest family member. Two and a half years old, we adopted her just today from the SPCA. We know nothing of her circumstances or how she landed there. We DO know she's sweet and mellow and loves sitting in your lap being held like a furry toddler. She also enjoys a nice car ride. I think she's going to like it here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

poolside patchwork

Mommy! Mommy! Watch me, watch me, watch me. Mommy, you weren't watching! Look at my dive. Look at me Mommy. Time me. How long did I hold my breath? Did you see me walk on my hands? Where are my goggles? I'm hot. I'm cold. I'm hungry. Marco........Polo................

At 11 and 14 my kids don't need my approval quite so much. They are past this stage. Well, mostly. Kinda.

Because I've earned my liberation, I take little projects to work on poolside.

Photos by Sophie and Fay

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