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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Introducing two new classic cycling caps...

La Doyenne Cycling Cap by

I'm so happy to introduce two new cycling caps with a classic twist. When I went to the fabric store I had a gut feeling when I saw it. That feeling without words.  I just have them. The green is 100% Cotton Twill and the plaid is Polyester/Cotton. I quickly rushed home.

After my last stitch, I was so amazed with the results. These caps go beyond cycling and right into urban fashion.  So far, I'll be bold here, they're right up there in my top five favorite caps.

They are named, 'La Doyenne' after the oldest and most prestigious classic race  Liege-Bastogne-Liege. And, 'Ardennes' after the three classic races in Holland and Belgium. I feel they emanate a freshness and joyfulness of Spring. I love both!

Ardennes Cycling Cap by

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Up for the new Classics.

This is an example of the Marinoni old script I saw...
taken from Richard's 1987 bike!

Well, the classic's have ended for the season. My two new cycling caps, in production,  reflect the Ardennes  Classics with the hint of the forthcoming Spring. The Ardennes Classic races are exciting even for a newbie cycling fan like me. I'm looking at it from the historical point of view which grabs my attention. Of course, my partner is a cycling maniac and he always has something new to say. It's one of those finer details in the microcosm of the cycling world. So diverse yet  beautiful. Like a subtle flavour in wine. The more you understand it the more you can appreciate it.

I even spotted a Marinoni bicycle as we walked down the street.  It literally jumped out at me. Many folks can spot a Ferrari sports car, it's not everyone can spot a beautiful Marinoni bicycle. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera. Even Richard  passed  it without noticing. And, I guess I'm getting better my spidey bike sense was tingling. The color was metallic purple with the old Marinoni script. One thing's for sure I wouldn't have left this classic bike unattended and casually locked beside a parking meter.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The Pound Cake was first invented in the early 1700s in England. I love it. In French, it's called Quatre-Quarts. Which means four quarters. It's magical to take the four ingredients (butter, flour, sugar, eggs) in the same proportion and combine with any thing you want to make a fabulous cake.

This is the basis of this cake. I added slivered almonds, coconut, orange rind/juice, and wheat bran. The rule is that a pound cake should not have  a liquid. The wetting agent comes from the eggs. I broke the rule and added one orange and it's juice. To make me feel less guilty, I added the bran.

I can't wait for Richard to come back from his bike ride and see this cake. It's so delicious, I have a feeling that this cake will not live long!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Plunging into Perfection.

I once again learned something valuable. It was yesterday while designing and producing my new Cafe Racer Cozy. Made from, of course, recycled bicycle inner tubes it's not always the most easiest material to work with.

Perfection. Hmm. I thought I knew how to deal with my overly perfectionist tendency. There it was. It showed it's ugly face while I was working on the cozy. My thoughts on perfection is that you can be professional yet it doesn't mean you have to be perfect all the time. For many years, I stopped myself to be creative. Thinking if you can't do something perfectly... just don't do it at all!

It's in the process that perfection will eventually arrive. You have to be aware during the process of making. So every attempt goes closer to perfection. Every person has their  own idea of perfection. I won't get into that.

When I made the first prototype for the cozy, it was sleek, racy with a grey stripe in the middle ready for action. It was perfect. But on the practical side, it wasn't nice. The reclaimed plastic made it stiff and hard to wrap around the coffee press. It looked perfect but that's where it fell short. Frustrated, I went back to the drawing board with close consultation with Richard. And we both decided that the grey plastic strip was  a no go. Our idea is to keep it like our Piccolo Pouch. We tried it and we finally go it!

Yesterday was a day from Hell. Probably not the day to redesign a cozy prototype. The inner tube challenge my patience. But I love a challenge and with perseverance I produced seven refined coffee cozies.

Life is beautiful this way. It always offers you the possibility to better oneself. The true challenge is to stay in the process of learning everyday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Grate Pizza!

One of my indispensible tools I cannot do without in the kitchen is the hand grater. I use it for grating garlic, ginger, citrus, chocolate & Parmesan cheese. Friday night is pizza night. And who doesn’t like it? I started making it once my partner moved in with me during our time in art school. I have a special ingredient  that I discovered from an Italian chef. Here’s my Friday Night Pizza recipe. Bon Appetit!

Le Pizza Dough

1C. Semolina Flour (the special ingredient!)
1C. Whole Wheat Flour
1C. White Flour.
1C. water 110F (1/2 t of yeast  + 1 t of sugar mixed in water)
¼ t of salt

Mix dry ingredients together add in water mixture. I use a kitchen aid blender because it’s faster. You can also knead it by hand but it will take longer. The dough should form a nice slightly sticky & moist ball. It should hold it’s shape. Place in an oiled bowl. I use olive oil which prevents it from sticking. Put plastic wrap or wet towel over and place into the oven with light on. Place a cup of very hot water next to bowl for two hours.  While the dough is rising make the sauce well before so it can have the time to sit.

The Tomato Sauce

1 small can of tomato paste.
7 cloves of grated garlic (a metal grater is recommended)
2T Olive Oil
Black Pepper
10 squirts of Tabasco Sauce
1/3 C of Oregano
1T Red Wine Vinegar

Combine ingredients and set aside while the dough is rising. This is a good time to enjoy a glass of wine or two!
After two hours, it’s time to assemble your pizza. Warm your oven to 475F. Sprinkle enough cornmeal (about 2-3 T) on a baking sheet. Spread dough out and stretch it over your baking sheet. I use a 10 X 15 inch rectangular baking sheet. Spread sauce over the dough. I use two types of grated cheese, usually old cheddar and Friulano. My favorite toppings are bacon, olives, cooked chicken, zucchini, and mushrooms. Place in the oven for about 14 minutes. Afterwards, put on to the top grill and turn the oven to broil until it’s golden and crispy. You will have to watch it from burning.
Let it cool 5 minutes or you’ll burn the roof of your mouth because I've already experienced that!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looking for Polka dots but I only got dirt!

Planting something...

I have a green thumb or at least I'd like to say I do. This morning with the Sun shining I bought some dirt and plan to  re-pot and prepare the soil for my plants.  The fabric store was a disappointment. I was looking for fabric in red polka dots and found nothing. That's ok. It's either a hit or a miss but I'm happy with the dirt.

Last year I planted tomatoes but it's not going to happen this Spring. It was fun. I have limited space and the coverage is sparse. I remember they tasted soo good. Today it has to do with preparation. Lots of cleaning means a lot of work. I like to separate cleaning and planting. Planting is the part I enjoy the most. It's so creative. Afterwards I'll know what I need for new plants.

I love to cook so I'll keep one box just for herbs. My favorite herbs are thyme, dill, basil, and oregano. The basics.

Time to play in the dirt!

I hope this plant will climb fast...
and I will add a few colorful plants in the front!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Percolating with ideas.

My prototype coffee cozy with my 
Rocket Fuel Coffee!

My first memory of coffee is with my Dad. I was around six or seven years old. He used Sanka instant coffee measuring 1T of coffee dissolved in 2T of hot water. I would add this mixture to my cold milk. It taste really good!

In my teens I first experienced drip coffee at Tim Hortons and then tasted real coffee at the Cafe du Vieux Port. This is where I discovered the pleasures of  'un bol de cafe aux lait'. For me, coffee is a pleasant way to share with someone you care for. After moving from Quebec to Vancouver, I still can't understand why folks would walk a cup of coffee. Walking and drinking coffee doesn't make sense to me. I always make sure that I enjoy and sit down when having my coffee.

Lately, I've had frustrating mornings waking up after my partner. He usually wakes up about 30 minutes before I do. And he wants to be nice to have coffee ready. The problem is the coffee is warm by the time I pour it. What to do? I've created a coffee cozy out of inner tubes with an insulating fabric liner for my Bodum 8 cup French Press coffee maker. It basically wraps around and keeps the coffee hot. Well, my mornings are nicer to wake up to with hot coffee.

I originally wanted to knit one or make one out of fabric. Of course, when it gets dirty means washing it. That's the idea to use inner tubes. To make it easier to clean it by running it under the tap. You can sponge it off, too. So simple. I'm considering putting the coffee cozy in my shop, but for now, I'm enjoying the prototype ...along with a nice hot cup of coffee!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My four favorite cyclists.


About a month ago, I was cruising around Etsy and fell in love with these plastic cyclist figurines. I showed Richard and he nearly fainted with joy. I knew I had to have them and buying them for Richard was justification enough. They were not cheap. So I ordered and waited,  and waited,  and waited...

Richard kept checking the mail for them and after 3 weeks ...they have arrived! They look from board game and appear new rather than old. The detail is amazing. Especially how they are hunched over in a riding position. I started to play with them right out of the package. So fun moving them about. They measure 2 X 1 1/2 inches. Richard says they ride  singlespeed bikes with  balloon tyres. The period from the twenties or thirties. One thing ...they are cool.

Richard is planning to build a diorama for them. It should be a lot of fun. The light blue racer is my favorite reminding me of the old racing bikes. I guess I'll have to give these to him, but for now the cool little racers are on my side of the table!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Galstudio business cards have arrived!

I'm  so happy my business cards arrived today! Along with Richard's cards we're now armed with our own Galstudio business cards. These cards are extremely colorful and for that  I originally wanted to match my hang tags. They turned out very well. The difference; Richard's cards are black and slightly wider and I have a light grey side. It was time for us to add the business cards. Everyone was asking for it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Benny craving!

My delicious Easter breakfast!

It's around $15 dollars for a Salmon Benny. That's what it costs around here. And it's pricey. Usually serve with lox it's not as tasty as smoke salmon. And that's where the flavour is the smoke salmon.

I know my salmon. Raised in northern Quebec I was spoiled by my fisherman brother, Len. He made his own smoke salmon. And it's the best so far that I've tasted.

The craving started a little awhile ago. My first attempt was last Christmas where I failed. I overcooked the Hollandeise sauce wasting half a cup  of butter and three egg yolks.  It wasn't a huge waste but I had to start from scratch. I tried again and I got it right. Here's my secret. I made the sauce in a blender. Sacrilege? A chef would condemn me!

My Hollandaise Sauce (à la blender)

3 egg yolks
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/2 C butter
I use a Kitchen Aid Blender

Heat the butter until just bubbling. Blend the eggs yolks. Carefully pour in slowly the butter (making sure in a steady stream). In 30 secs you will have a wonderful  hollandaise sauce.

I discovered a tasty smoke salmon that's from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. It's not like my brother's salmon but it has a great smoke flavour and excellent flakiness. Use whatever is available in your area. I serve with day old  nice roasted potatoes. The flavour has time to come together and it's already to heat up and serve. Cuts down on preparation time. It's by far my favorite breakfast and I add a cup or two of strong coffee to make it perfect!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Where no knitting has gone before!

I’m so busy with  Galstudio  I try to reserve a relaxing hour each  night.  Quiet and away from the production table I enjoy going to another dimension. I space out with my knitting watching my guilty pleasure … Star Trek!


Thankfully, I’m a quiet fan of the series in this order: Jean Luc Picard (he’s so suave), Star Trek (Capt. Kirk), The Enterprise, Deep Space Nine and lastly Voyager. My partner says that I’m a Trekkie. I don’t go to conventions but I own most of the television series. And, I love all the movies, too. I’m a stay at home fan.

The most recent offering, Star Trek the movie was surprisingly really good. I enjoyed it and already watched it a few times. So glad that a second one is in the works.

My latest needle project is a pair of socks for my friend Joey. I bought this beautiful wool made in Italy. Joey put in this request because he’s going to Winnipeg very soon and the weather is still pretty cool out there. This wool brand is called Regia. A sock wool that I’m using for the first time. It’s a a bit thick for Vancouver weather. A scarf would suit it better. Hey, that’s another project!

In my world, knitting and Star Trek go hand in hand. In the words of Jean Luc Picard …Engage!