Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tilton Family Dip

The Basic Ingredients

I made my first batch of the Tilton Dip in the ’50’s. Found the original recipe on the back of an Old Dutch potato chip box. I can still see the box sitting on the red counter in the back pantry. I decided to make some as an appetizer for my parents and their friends. 

My dad travelled during the week and when he returned home on Friday night, he and my mother would usually go out to dinner (what a civilized idea). Friends would come over to our house for a drink and snack before going to the restaurant. The dip was a hit that first night and it’s been a hit ever since.

The original recipe has disappeared and the ingredients morphed over the years depending on who makes it but that’s what keeps it interesting. 

For Christmas this year I used 3-1/2# of cream cheese for the main batch and 2 tubs of Tofutti’s ‘better than cream cheese’ for the non-dairy folks and it was all gone by the 26th. Much of it on my hips I must admit for I still love the stuff.

It’s delicious with potato chips or pretzels of course (nothing like a little fat and grease for flavor) but also perfect with crudities of vegetables for the health conscious.

Basic ingredients are:
Cream Cheese, Neufchatel or Tofutti
Ketchup and/or Western dressing and/or Heinz Chili Sauce (I usually just use Ketchup)
Garlic salt
Finely chopped onions

Sun dried tomatoes (this makes it a little more 21st century)
Milk (if you want a thinner mixture)

Putting it together:
Soften the cream cheese (or substitute) in a bowl.  Add ketchup to taste (about 1/2 cup to start).  Add garlic salt to taste (maybe 1/3 t to start). Add chopped onions (about 1/2 cup).  Mix it all up and adjust flavors to your liking. This can be done with an electric mixer or by hand using a ‘Granny Fork’.  I prefer the ‘Granny Fork’ because I like to leave some lumps in the mix. Chives and parsley add a nice hit of color and taste.

When using sun dried tomatoes wait to add the ketchup. Soften the tomatoes in some warm water and chop into smallish pieces. Add the tomatoes and some of the water to the cream cheese. The tomato water adds color and flavor so you can use less ketchup or none at all.  I love this option but some of the family are purists so I save this for smaller groups.

Hope you enjoy making and eating this old family recipe!  Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Paris Glorious

Paris is loved for many things but November weather is not usually included.  This November however has provided one glorious day after another.  This Sunday in Paris I walked about the markets without a jacket or sweater on. Adventure and irony.  Even the fish dress up!
Fashionable Fish
Flea Market Sartorialist
Mr. Lapin and Friends.

What Happened to Mr. Lapin
Chanel Steel-toed Workboots
A bientot,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paris Gris

Paris continues to offer up the unexpected, the bizarre and the beautiful. Even the grey days are glamorous.

Saturday we stopped by the newest Hermes store which is housed in an old swimming pool.  You enter into a long narrow space with a gallery display on one side and a flower shop on the other.  Every plant and stem is carefully chosen, arranged and stunning.  As is everything in the place. The makers at Hermes are master craftspeople; every piece provides an example of the best skill. The flowers were the only thing that might fit into my financial plan but they are hard to stuff into a suitcase.

The precise entry draws you into a massive opening where the undulating stair rails draw you to descend into a sculptural womb-like wooden fantasy where goods are displayed as if in a museum. Clothing, home furnishings and saddlery all share this vast gorgeous space.

I'm always curious to see who is sitting (or napping) in the lounge at the top of the first floor escalator at the Bon Marche.  This elderly gentleman, dressed in his Sunday best, came prepared for his shopping respite.

Just in case you need an idea for a new holiday decoration, consider fake fur Christmas trees.  If these are too subtle there are so many possible choices of color and texture available in faux fur these days...
Marcy and Martine in the subway at Arts et Metiers. It was a great pleasure to turn the corner and emerge into this gleaming subway waiting area - like being inside a big copper machine.

At Pere Lachaise the marvelous sepulchres, gravestones and tight layout reminisce the city that surround it. A beautiful spot to meander on a Sunday afternoon. 

After all that death we attended Olivier Giraud's amuse a minute one-man show 'How to Become a Parisian in One Hour'. Nothing like lots of laughter to bring things back to life.

Today is another day...

A bientot,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Heaven in Paris

Started wandering today through the Palais Royale where the perfect Paris day shone full on all the visitors to that magical park.

 Visited Heaven in Paris, a store where owner-designer-pattern-maker-stitcher, the obviously very multi-talented Lea-Anne Wallis, presides.  Lea-Anne is a transplanted Brit whose impeccable sewing skills are enhanced with a great sense of style, texture and color. She has a cool dog named Frisbee too!  The delicate and sophisticated jewelry that compliments her beautiful clothing is made by her husband.  Shhh, I found a darling necklace (requested by my granddaughter Charlotte) that is perfect!
Meandered the Marais in the afternoon and watched the sunset tint the clouds cotton candy pink and the evening sky turn lavender.  Perfect weather in Paris where it's predicted to rain for the next few days, so I really enjoyed every minute of wandering dry streets sans tangling umbrellas with the masses - that was last night.
Happy to be in my jammies now ready to climb into bed.  Tomorrow is another day of adventure...

A bientot,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Surface Design Fun in Minneapolis!

The term 'surface design' covers anything you can do to the surface of fabric - dyeing, painting, stamping, adding color, removing color, sewing on, cutting away, stitching on, over or under, shredding, pleating, lacing or whatever else you can think of.  I'm sure I forgot something but whatever you're doing it's bound to be fun.

'Confluence', the biennial Surface Design Association's conference held in Minneapolis last weekend was (naturally) over the top!  I organized the Vendor Fair/Marketplace area and was blown away by the talented artists creating stunning hand-made textiles and the variety of tools and supplies available to everyday creatives as well as professionals.  Inspiration, conversation, wonder, curiosity, beauty and learning abounded as did totally cool people from all over the world.
A 7-minute hand-dyed scarf I created in Marlene Glickman's booth.

John Marshall's Gorgeous Kimonos

I especially loved listening to India Flint and Natalie Chanin, both down-to-earth but juicy entrepreneurs, authors, teachers and creators, doing vastly different work, who shared everything they could about their unique businesses and ways of working. 

India Flint unwrapped a dyed bundle at the end of her lecture that she created out of fabric she'd purchased at the Vendor Fair/Marketplace, dyed with natural materials she'd picked up on the way to dinner and set in the hotel bathroom!  It was gorgeous.

Natalie Chanin led a one day workshop on her applique and reverse applique techniques that I participated in.  Simple hand stitching techniques enhanced with a wealth of information on how she runs her business. The perfect ending to a fabulous weekend. Here's a photo of her hands at work.
Natalie's Hands
I started an organic cotton pillow cover which may take me years to finish depending on how many Netflix I can stitch through.  But I find hand-sewing to be such a relaxing experience that I may have completed in no time...

Hope you are having a fabulous day!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Studio Time

I've realized that my favored activity, first thing in the morning while my coffee is brewing, is to wash the dishes.  There sit the dinner dishes, in the sink, ready to go.  The perfect zen activity presents itself - warm water on my hands, putting things in order, looking out the window at the ever changing view of the beauty of Mother Earth, being still.  My view includes fruit trees, a cool fence, the perfect picturesque red barn, a field that often contains a horse or some sheep and all this with the mountains on the horizon.  (What's not to like, I know.)

Just like the dishes in the sink, in the studio, I find that leaving a simple task to begin with gets the flow going.  Somehow the sight of a totally clear table can be intimidating so I make sure I have a 'start'.  It might be stitching up the hem to finish a new t-shirt, ripping out a mistake, clearing a counter, sweeping the floor.  An easy beginning.  A simple start.  Keeping it simple. 

As I move around making order, doing a mundane task, what is next usually appears.  I just know what to do.  (And of course sometimes the only thing to do is leave for awhile but that's another story.) 

I've been creating with my stash which includes some of the many scraps I've saved - always a fun opportunity to problem solve, kind of like a puzzle and a collage.  With right next door I can always find something new to combine with what I have.  Most of it came from there in the first place!  I'm curious about 'breaking' the pattern, dividing it in an flattering and aesthetically pleasing way while mixing pattern, texture and color.  I am very happy with the way these two came out.  They are based on Vogue 8710.  You can view another collage T in Marcy's latest newsletter at

We are off to buy more fabulous fabrics tomorrow so who knows what I will come up with next!

A bientôt!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

This is Eiffel's original version, not the pale half scale commodity in Las Vegas.  Gotta love the nerve of Sin City tho, appropriating the places we love to visit traveling the world, creating an oasis (debatable I know) that contains them all.  Off we are to buy more fabric for all our pleasure!

Check out Marcy's Facebook page for a fun contest where you can request fabrics for us to buy (we probably will if we can find them!) :

Can one visit or even think of Las Vegas without hearing THAT song running through the mind, perseverating ad naseum?  Sorry, you'll be mentally humming it all day I know...

Katherine and Marcy, Team Tilton