The Blue Gardenia

And now for a non-pattern moment, let's admire a canine pal! July 30, 2014 22:54

His Bertness and Atchison enjoy a lazy Saturday afternoon.
His Bertness and Atchison enjoy a lazy Saturday afternoon.


I haven't shown any pictures of Atchison and Emma lately, so let me rectify part of that dilemma. This is Atchison, enjoying some time on His Bertness's lap. Emma, by the way, is not the camera hog that Atchison is — that is why I show fewer pics of her on the blog.

Aren't you feeling more relaxed now? Sort of like you've meditated for 5 minutes?

What did you do on New Year's Eve? January 1, 2014 21:42

How did you celebrate the last day of 2013? His Bertness and I cooked. We made green chile pork and sopapillas. Both from scratch. My favorite green chile pork recipe is in a cookbook still packed. So. I had to wing it. And I must say, it turned out well. Delicious. Yes indeedy.

Butterick_pinaforeMy favorite sopapilla recipe is in the same cookbook, alas, so I tried one by Emeril Lagasse that I found on the Food Network. The sopapillas were good, but we call them beignepillas, seeing as how they strongly resemble beignets.

And did I don an apron? Of course not. I wore jeans and a twinset. For 2014, I think I shall plan more appropriate attire while working with flour. (Yes, my purple twinset was blotched with clouds of white.)

Something, perhaps, like Butterick 4219. So cute, yet so practical.

End of the Year / End of an Era  Sale!

Now through Midnight (PST) January 7, 2014

Spend $100 (before the discount) — get 20% off.

Spend $200 (before the discount) — get 30% off.

Spend $300 (before the discount) — get 40% off. 

Spend $400 or more (before the discount) — get a whopping 50% off.

Payment is by PayPal only, 

except for established customers, who may arrange for payment  by check.

Yes, you may buy gift certificates for that special someome —

offering sales rates honored through January 2014.

Shame? What's that? It's my birthday. I have the cake to prove it. March 26, 2013 18:52 2 Comments

It is my birthday. It is. And I know I should be a quiet little mouse, and keep it a secret, but I love birthdays! And I love birthday blessings. So. I say, bring them on. Don't be shy. 

Vogue_1256I started the day making Vogue 1256, designed by Badgley Mischka. Perhaps I should clarify: I started it. Fabric: Scarlet bamboo knit. One day, I shall share pictures of my garments with you. Really. Truly. That day is coming! Soon.

Then, exercise. Marvelous dinner with both deconstructed lemon meringue pie and red velvet cake. Can it get any better? Yes. His Bertness gifted me with a lovely onyx necklace. That would be the one in the picture. 

Yes. I know the picture is less than flattering. Perhaps I should reconsider growing my hair into Jane Fonda's Klute shag? And hide my bra straps like a proper southern woman?

A moment for something personal: 21st wedding anniversary! October 26, 2012 10:48 3 Comments

His Bertness and I celebrated our 21st wedding anny this week! Isn't that something? Yes, I think so. Definitely. Naturally, we had cake. Naturally, we shared it with the pups! I would love to share a pic of all of us together. Alas, we haven't unpacked the tripod.

Emma, alas, is not the camera piggy that Atchison is. She's bored with sharing her beauty. Oh. Well.

She did have a small slice of cake. She adores frosting. Never finds buttercream dull in the least. My girl indeed!

Why, yes, I did sew this weekend. But rituals first. March 8, 2010 16:31


Note the vintage linens. Estate sale find many years ago. Note the salad, the pork chops — yes, fried, just the way we Southern dames like 'em —  and note the cake. Yes, the cake! Today, we celebrated the birthday of His Bertness.


He blew out all the candles. Good boy!


And we did eat the daisies. At least a few of them. But you, observant readers, will notice His Bertness extinguished all the candles. Each and every flame put out. Absolutely. I think that means he gets his birthday wish granted. I am thinking he wished for gainful and rewarding and well-compensated employment. I am hoping that wish is fulfilled very soon. Yes indeedy.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for an expose on my adventure this weekend with the Sewing Dominatrix. You don't want to miss it. You don't. I would not lie to you. Really.

The perfect skirt for when the evening sun is sinking low January 9, 2010 14:45 1 Comment

Mccalls_8725_50s_skirt The room is dark. The stove light seeps through the crack in the door. You are in his arms. Held tight. You sway. Back and forth. Right and left. Slowly. This is not a rumba. This is not a foxtrot. This is not a waltz. This is the grind. Plain. Simple. Sexy. The same one your best girlfriend Yvette taught you in junior high. This is not junior high. He is not your best girlfriend. Far from it. Oh so.

You feel the ash floor underneath your feet. You kicked off your shoes long ago. Your stockings make no sound as you move. The taffeta of your full skirt rustles. You do not hear. You don't. You are lost in the music. You hear only Sam and his band.  It might be one o'clock and it might be three. Time don't mean that much to me.  I ain't felt this good since I don't know when and I might not feel this good again.

Your hand is strong in his. Firm. Equal. You can do this all night. All night. Keep those Sam Cooke records playing. Yeah.



Ahhhhh, domesticity. There's cooking. And then there's sewing. November 21, 2009 10:04 1 Comment


I have exciting news to share.  His Bertness is learning to cook! Now. Those of you who know him well know that he has been more than resistant to learning to cook. In fact, in the 18 years of our marriage — before now — he has mastered one dish: homemade chicken broth. 

But this week, he made a taco casserole all by himself. All  by himself! It was quite tasty. Yesterday, he shaped and baked these Oatmeal Chocolate Crisps. Don't they look scrumptious? They are, I can attest. Today, perhaps, he'll learn to make dinner rolls. I can smell them now. Yumbunnies.

Before you know it, dear readers, I'll be sewing. Because if His Bertness can learn to cook . . .

Inspirations: In the sewing room. On the dance floor. September 26, 2009 17:55


If you read the Times today — and I know you did — you may have seen the review of the Natalia Hills and Gabriel Misse Argentine tango performance in New York on Thursday. Naturally, I had to rush to YouTube. Naturally. And naturally as well — considering the breadth of videos available — there they were. Sexy. Breathtakingly so. Gliding legs. Exquisite footwork. Absolutely.


Now. I want to wear Vogue Paris Original 1507 the next time I do the Argentine tango. (Of course, I need more lessons first, as does His Bertness. And then there's that little matter of learning to sew. Oh, dear. But. Mere pesky details. I will not let them spoil my reverie.) Vogue Paris Original 1507, designed by Gres in the  1960s, has an elegant yet sexy neckline. Gorgeous shaped seams. And it is cut on the bias. You know what that means, if you choose the proper fabric: Seductive movement. Oh. I love it. How. It looks grand on the dance floor. Yes. It does. I see it now.

And if you want to see Natalia and Gabriel dance, well, here you go. I'll make it easy for you. Naturally. So. Watch them. Now.

Have a tall, icy glass of water close at hand. I will not be responsible if your temperature soars to dangerous heights. I won't.

Occasionally, I take my own advice August 15, 2009 19:05 1 Comment


And here's proof. No whining. No complaining. No letting depression soak my spirits. Just the dance floor. And a glitter ball. And the music. And my beloved Bertness and a rumba. 

Shall we dance? Absolutely. Right now. This minute. August 14, 2009 10:10 1 Comment

Mccall_4735_40s_ballgown So. Your job has been outsourced. Your health insurance canceled. The lettuce you were going to serve for dinner is slimy and limp.


This is no time to wallow in the doldrums, to experience every shade of blue. No, you must fight. You must not give in. You must dance. You must. Put up your dukes. Slip on your dance shoes.

And is there a better dress than McCall 4735, copyright 1942, to wear as you glide across the floor? I think not. It is the most. Absolutely. From  the sweetheart dip at the decolletage to the bodice that caresses your hips and midriff to the irresistible lines of the full skirt, which will flare enticingly as you swirl to Waltz 2 from the Shostakovich Jazz Suite.

Take that, melancholy. You can't survive the dance floor. And you certainly cannot defeat this dress. Don't even try. Don't even.

Inspirations: Friday night. At home. With Ella. July 24, 2009 15:31

1930s_pajamas_Simplicity _2509 Oh, I am being a glum chum. Indeed. I should be at the dance. Should be. (Don't you hate shoulds? I do. Although I guilt-trip myself with them. Frequently. We're actually quite close, shoulds and I. But that's another story. For another time. Maybe. But tonight, dear readers, you're safe. I won't bore you with the Denise-Should affair.)

So. I am staying home. (I won't dance, don't ask me. Oh, Blossom, love your version of that song.) Anyway. Here I sit. Black yoga capris. Black tee-shirt. White socks embellished by a touch of soil - the merest smidgen. My ensemble on this night.

But if I had been a good girl, if I had been a dutiful and fruitful student of stitchcraft, I would be wearing this comfortable, yet fit-for-a-1930s-film goddess pajama and bolero number. Simplicity 2509. Is it the most? It is. Absolutely. Love the sash. Adds that touch of carefree elegance so needed to lift a gloomy Friday-night-at-home mood. Just the ticket for nesting. For cuddling. For watching House Hunters. For fryin' up a mess of catfish.

And that, my sweets, is what I am off to do. Just the thought lifts my spirits an inch or so. Or maybe it's Ella and Harold Arlen working their magic. Mmmmm . . . oh, well. This moment, this minute, catfish calls.

And once again: Slow, slow, quick, quick, quick, ronde August 12, 2008 19:31 4 Comments

Vogue Individualist 2311, circa 1990s

I’m not sure how it happened. But. It happened. The vacuum that is YouTube sucked up 52 minutes. Yep, 52 minutes. Minutes spent looking for just the right video to show you. Minutes that will never come again. Why did I allow this to happen. Why? Well, for you, dear, dear readers. Only for you. Naturally, I would never waste a moment – not one moment – watching dance videos on the Net. No. Not me. But. I wanted you to see it, the dance that has His Bertness and I trying over and over and over again, yet not quite achieving even the very lowest rung of mediocrity. That would be, yes, the West Coast Swing. The very dance that introduced us to The Binking Bunny. Thank you, Beth from upstate New York, for introducing me to that word.
So. I suffered. For you. And this is the video, dancing courtesy of Arjay Centeno and Tatiana Mollman, that best illustrates what we are working to learn. Work that will not be in vain. I know. Practice makes perfect, as the ubiquitous they says. And would they lie? Never.
However. One area I have much practice in is selecting the right outfit. And I think this Betty Jackson, with the 40s-flair slacks and minus the jacket, would be beyond fabulous for the WCS. Yes. I do. Tatiana, you're luscious, so, please, meet Ms. Jackson. You'll be great together. Like lemonade and maraschino cherries.