Last Sunday was the Vintage Expo here in Santa Monica.  I went to the expo for one reason and one reason only- to see Linda Sicard – The Button Lady. I spent about five hours with Linda carefully picking and choosing buttons for both me and the shop.  I need more buttons like I need a hole in the head… but how could I resist?!  Here are a few photos of Linda’s booth… see what I mean when I say I can’t resist?

 

 

All the buttons Linda sells are at least as old as vintage, some are even antique! She has everything from plastic, to wood, to Victorian Glass, to Bakelite & Celluliod and much much more.  So after about five-ish hours I actually left with a pretty good selection of buttons.  Here is what I took home:

From left to right: diminutive glass, diminutive bakelite, metal with an amber-like square.

On the left diminutive glass, on the right carved bakelite.

From left to right: metal, bakelite with mother of pearl center, and metal.

From left to right: painted metal, metal with mother of pearl, and hand carved bakelite.

Victorian Glass

Assorted vintage metal

Assorted plastics, mostly celluliod and bakelite.

Linda will be attending a few more shows in California.  If you happen to be up in San Mateo, Ca this week make sure to stop by the California State Button Show and visit the Unbuttons! booth- Say “Hi” to Linda!

Mother’s Day Sale!!! Now through Sunday, May 13th save 15% off of 15 patterns (listed below) on Ravelry! Make sure you use the coupon code: knit4mom

Sale patterns include: Belle Gloves, Bobble Bee, Danielle, Elizabeth Sea Creature, Eyelet & Twigs Hat, Gig Gloves, Grace Headband, Lace Spa Bag, Lacelets, Loopy Leaves, Seaweed Scarf, Slouchy Teanie, Tangled Branches, Veronica’s Fingerless Mitts & Victoria.  Enjoy!!!

What’s a Grilled Cheese Invitational?  Every year during National Grilled Cheese Month (yes, it really exists) there is the Grilled Cheese Invitational right here in LA.  Of course its always on a Saturday and during the day, so that means I don’t get to go because I’m teaching at the shop every Saturday.  So I decided to host my very own Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational.

 

 

The day before I went to my local Trader Joe’s and picked up seven kinds of cheeses and three kinds of breads.  Then on Sunday Rory went over to one of our favorite local breakfast places, Zabies and picked up a Rosemary loaf I ordered a few days before.  The types of cheeses we had were: Double Creme Brie, Mild Cheddar, Imberico from Spain, Tripple Creme Brie with Wild Mushrooms, Semi-soft Fontina, American, and Raclette.  The bread choices were a rustic style French bread, Cracked Wheat Sourdough, Pretzel Challah, and the Rosemary bread.  I also made sure to pick up some other key ingredients for the Grilled Cheese Invitaional- tomato, avocado, basil, garlic, onions, butter (of course), pear and prosciutto.  Here are a few pictures of all the cheese.

 

   

 

There were only a few rules, everyone had to make a sandwich, you have to make at least three of one type of sandwich (so everyone can taste the sandwich), the scoring was from 1-10.  Of course with my friends, every singe rule was broken.  Boys watched some kind of sporting event on TV instead, Veronica made only two that she cut three ways each, and people scored numbers that were not between 1-10.

Nicole (my sister and model) was the first one to made a sandwich… I can’t really remember what went in it- I think it was garlic, onions, tomato, butter and the cheeses were Fontina & Imberico (that part I remember) and she used the Cracked Wheat Sourdough bread then popped it under the broiler.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of Nicole’s first sandwich because we were so excited to eat that it wasn’t until after that we remembered.  But I do have a cool action shot of Nicole in the kitchen.

 

 

Next was Veronica (I named the Veronica’s Mitts after her).  She started with a guacamole (that she made) and then used the Imberico & Soft Fontina along with the Rosemary bread and threw in some thinly sliced onions and cooked it on the skillet with butter (of course).  Veronica gave me a hard time when I was watching her cook, so there are no “action” shots, but here is a picture of her finished sandwich. Yum!

 

 

I was up next.  I wanted to kick this competition into high gear.  I sliced some onions and cooked them in butter and white truffle oil and then added a few garlic cloves as well as a rosemary and thyme bundle.  Then I put the onions aside and sauteed some thinly sliced pear in the same skillet.  I took the garlic from when I cooked the onions and mashed it up into a paste an mixed it in with some butter and (fat-free) mayo (how do they make that?).  Then I took the rosemary bread and made a layer of Imberico then topped it off with the onions and pears, then a layer of the Raclette.  It went into the skillet and browned until it got all gooey.  When it was about 5 seconds away from being ready I took them all off the skillet, spread one side with the garlic paste I made and threw them in for another five seconds.  Here are a couple pictures:

 

       

 

After that we were all a little tired of cooking and the game was over, so we decided to take a break and go to the beach for a little while.  We drove over to Will Rodgers beach and just hung out there for about an hour or so until we were ready to head back home for some more cheese.

 

When we got back Nicole was very excited to get started again.  She started to crisp up some thinly sliced pieces of the Prezel Challah in the toaster oven.  Then she made some kind of mustard-butter paste (I wasn’t really paying attention, I was on Pretzel Challah crisping duty).  She used the Sourdough for the outside then out in a layer of Semi-soft Fontina, a layer of the crisped Prezel Challah, a layer of Tripple Creme with Wild Mushrooms and then spread the mustard paste over the top slice (on the outside), and then popped it into the oven and then then the broiler.  After it was all golden brown and crispy she added some freshly chopped tomato to the center and served.  It was very good.

 

   

 

Then I decided to make one more sandwich.  I was pulled out the big guns!  I had made some of my mac-n-cheese for Thanksgiving and threw in a separate batch into the freezer for the perfect day.  Two days ago I pulled it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost.  I warmed it up in the oven (man I forgot how good this stuff is!) and was got ready for the sandwich of a lifetime.  Woohoo!  The Macaroni and Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich!  Yes!  I pulled out the Pretzel Challah for this one and put a layer of Cheddar, a layer of The Mac, and a layer of American.  That is all.  I greased the baking sheet with olive oil spray and covered the sandwiches in it as well and put it in the oven.  Here are a couple of photos so you can see the decadence.  It was very gooey (I promise), and yummy!

 

     

 

After that it was all over.  That was the heaviest sandwich ever!  It was pretty good too.  I think Nicole’s first sandwich was the best one of the whole day.  The other judges did not agree.  Veronica got first place with her guacamole grilled cheese sandwich.  I guess we all should have used some avocado to level the playing field.  Here are a couple of pictures of Veronica with her prize!

 

      

 

She got a wonderful and very official certificate and a coupe of washcloths I knitted up from Mason Dixon Knitting (a personal favorite).  I wanted to make a t-shirt for the prize, but I ran out of time.  Next year I might made an apron as a prize for the winnder, with pictures of cheese everywhere.  Haha!  So my little gathering was quite successful and that included a detour to the beach.  We had fun and can’t wait until next year!  Woohoo!