Ella Raglan sewn by Ms. Cleaver
Rabbit Repaired
Ella Raglan sewn by Ms. Cleaver
Quilt in Progress

It seems like I can never quite make up my mind regarding resolutions by the time December 31st rolls around. I feel like I should review my year and make goals for the next, but in the midst of the Holiday season, it never happens.

Now that the calendar has turned to quieter days of January, that time for reflection seems more appropriate and available. I'm thinking I should just give up the Gregorian calendar and make my resolutions for the upcoming Lunar New Year (which falls soon enough on February 19th). 

From the time I was in middle school, up through college, I dutifully made a scrapbook for each calendar year. After several years off, I returned to the tradition of the annual photo albums in 2013. Of course now I make them digitally and get two copies printed, one to be perused, poked, and enjoyed today, and one kept safe for LMC someday.

My 2014 books arrived in the mail over the weekend allowing me to look back on the past year to some events seemingly so far away now (her first birthday! summer!) and some as near as two week ago. We did a LOT of stuff last year.

Some of it, much of it, wasn't a big deal - like going to Old Orchard Beach for pizza and pier fries in the snow, or trying out the splash pad at a local park. Others were medium deals - trips to the nearby petting zoo, apple picking. And there were handful of big deals - the vacation in Camden/Rockland and the trip out California. But all put together, it was a very full year. Looking back, my only regret was not taking off more days in the early summer to just be.

So I guess if I have one concrete goal for 2015, it's to take more vacation days in June and July.

But since I've taken so long to come up with my resolutions, why stop at one? 

I thought I had made a list of ten additional of disparate goals, but upon review they all sort bunched into one: 

Fight the entropy.

Or what Mr. Cleaver calls "entropy" - the gradual descent into disorder, the propensity of any flat surface to accumulate "stuff," for things once ignore to stay ignored, etc., etc. 

Yes, I'm going to try to put things away, or recycle or shred them, but more importantly - I'm attacking those stacks of needs-repair or half-finished or planned and purchased projects. Whether that means completion or admitting that its really not important to me. Sock without a mate from 2012? Unpainted closet door from 2010?  I'm looking at you!

I've actually made some good headway on this project thing, including sewing up a raglan dress for LMC and a dress for her doll I cut out in early September. I turned a broken necklace into a new bracelet/necklace.  I've repaired no less than three stuffed animals mauled by Steinbeck in his pre- and post-travel anxiety days. And I started working on a quilt I did some piecing on back in 2013. 

I'm sure in a few weeks I'll get all excited by some shiny and new project, but even it that turns out to be, I've still made a good dent in my existing stacks of stuff. 

What about you, did you make any resolutions this year? 


Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

My 207 Video Debut

[brightcove vid=1878538100001&exp3=1684512073001&surl=,AAAACC1lJjE~,eO0k1bjplevyL8YPi3NQccQnZmHFkpb9&lbu=]

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

On 207 Tonight!

My 207 cooking segment airs tonight (Friday) on WCSH6 at 7:00pm. I'll post the video for everyone tomorrow. In the meantime, you can check out my experience filming, the recipe, or tips on making cup-pies.


Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

My Day in the 207 Kitchen

Kathy and Me in the 207 Kitchen

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to scratch a big item off my bucket list, appear on 207. For those not from southern Maine, 207 is a nightly local news magazine show, similar to the Evening Magazine shows that are shown  in various US markets. A typical episode of 207 may have a performance by a local or visiting band, interviews with a author, a cooking segment with a local chef or baker, and some other local news story

.At the station

Since it's inception on our local NBC affiliate, 207 has been hosted by local news anchors Kathleen Shannon and Rob Caldwell. Ever since we moved back to Maine, it's been part of Mr. Cleaver and I's nightly ritual to watch the show (followed by Jeopardy!) and so it's been a dream of mine to be on the show somehow to and to get a 207 mug the guests use on the show.

So last week when I came home from knitting and Mr. Cleaver told me that 207 was holding a contest to be on the show, all you have to do was post on their facebook page about your favorite (original) apple recipe. So post I did:

Every year I turn my big bag of apples into a number of delicious apples pies. I even have streusel topped and cup-pie (mini-pies made in a cupcake tin) options!

I would call myself a 207 super fan and I would love the chance to roll out some dough with Kathleen. I'd even bring some choice samples from my vintage apron collection for us to wear!

Granted, I think there was about four people who posted, but nonetheless, I was thrilled when I got a facebook message from Kathleen asking me to be on the show!



After getting the details (you have 5 minutes to assemble a pie!), and making my sample pre-baked pie, I went to WCSH6 studio yesterday morning to film my segment. A producer brought me up to the Kitchen set (which lives on the sales floor) and I began to set up.

Some funny things I learned about the set and baking on tv:

  • While everything on the kitchen set works (stove, microwave, sink, stovetop), there is another kitchen for staff's daily use directly behind the kitchen with a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, dishwasher, and official cooler. There are some fake cabinet panels that cover the doorway during filming.
  • The cameras are all controlled remotely. So there are no camera guys, but you can see the cameras move.
  • There are some big banks of lights that are hot, but not super hot, and while I was mic'ed, I didn't have to wear any makeup other than what I walked in off the street with.
  • You actually do it in five minutes, with no editing it down and five minutes goes by really fast! But you just keep working while you talk/ talk while you work.
  • Things go in the little ingredient bowls because a) it goes faster and b) they can't show any product labels, including generics, less it seem like an endorsement.
  • Kathleen Shannon takes her shoes off in the kitchen segments. So technically, we were barefoot (her), knocked up (me), and in a kitchen.

The set!

Official cooler

All the little ingredient bowls

I have to say that while I was nervous about my first television appearance, Kathleen was a total pro,who made it very easy on me and I had a blast. It was a total bucket-list worthy experience. After our segment was finished filming, Kathleen was nice enough to give me tour of the rest of the studio where I discovered that everything is on different floors (i.e. the weather green screen is no where near the news set) and that all the sets are much smaller than you would think.

Finished product

And I got not one, but two 207 mugs, because she gave me an extra for Mr. Cleaver because we're such big fans. Earned it baby!


I'm not 100% sure when the segment is going to air, either Friday or Wednesday, but I'll try to post a heads-up for locals when I know for sure. In any case, they always post video (and the recipe) online afterwards, so I'll post the video or a link as soon as it's available. Fingers crossed I don't come across as a total goob  and even if I do, it was still super fun!.

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

Prize Coffee Cake


Coffee Cake Cooling

One of my goals in life is to win a blue ribbon at a county fair. Dead serious.

I have no experience with State Fairs aside from the Rogers and Hamerstein movie, so they don't particularly interest me. But as a kid I lived in the county seat - so I had to go to the fair a lot. I'm sure this isn't actually the case, but it seemed as though we had three or so major fairs at the Napa Valley Expo center a year and I was at pretty much every one.

First there were the educational fairs. There was the one my modeling clay mission was displayed at amoungst the hundreds of other missions of the pasta, cardboard, and/or lego varieties. There was the fair that they had the city-wide science fair at: my experiment on the water purifying abilities of the sun didn't even place. There was the year I volunteered to do an anti-drug puppet show at, only to find upon arrival that the "booth" contained no puppet stage and I spent several hours sitting under a table teaching kids to "Just Say No," while the woman at the next table urged people to vote no on proposition 9.

And then there was the Town and Country fair where the 4-H kids strutted their hogs and the quilts and jams were on proud display. There were games: a friend once won a guppie and then passed it off on a happy little girl and her less than happy parents; there was food: corn dogs and funnel galore! There were the rides that only one year I was allowed to ride, which included a fun house/maze that I raced though only to be incredibly disappointed when I came out the other side that I hadn't spent more time.

But missions and guppies aside, the real reason I went to fair after fair was to dance.

Anything Goes

Not at the Fair, but you get the idea. (That's me in the far right, front row)

From approximately 1988 to 2001 I was made to put on my tutu and blue eye shadow and dance with my classes in tap, jazz or ballet. The stage was unforgiving concrete and it was always devilishly hot. One year my teacher told us not to bother with wearing foundation, it'd just melt it off. I love dancing, but I hated dancing at the fair, it was uncomfortable and there was a good chance someone I did not want seeing me in a leotard would stroll by during my performance (and several have).

Spandex and sequin trauma aside, I always like the craft, food, and animal displays and I still hope to win a ribbon of my own some day.

Coffee Cake and Sausage

This particular recipe won a ribbon for my family once upon a time (though the recipe card always said "prize" so I have no idea which prize it won - but if anyone in the family wants to clarify that'd be great) and so after that long introduction, I give you:

Prize Coffee Cake:


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter or shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl melted butter
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 2 TBl cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9"x9" pan. 

Mix together sugar, butter, and egg to make butter cream. It may look good, but do not sample - it tastes terrible as a college roommate of mine discovered. Add milk and mix.

In a separate bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mix to butter cream. Pour into pan.

Mix together topping ingredients. If necessary add a little more melted butter until it clumps, but we wary- too much butter will cause the topping to turn molten and sink into the batter instead of staying nice and crispy on top.  Sprinkle topping on top of the batter.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Recipe doubles well, just add 5-10 minutes cooking time for a 9"x18" pan. 

Breakfast Aftermath

Surprise sleepy folks with coffee cake, eat all the crumbs.

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly