About Me

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Los Olivos, California, United States
You can reach me at fool4fabric (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, November 27, 2016


It's taken me more than a month to get back to blogging...I posted some pictures as I went along on Facebook and Instagram, but I needed some downtime after I returned on the 14th.

photo by Shams

Here I am, in front of my favorite Paris sculpture, by Pol Bury, in the Palais
Royal. Shams and I arrived in Paris four days before the Tilton Trip began, and managed to do a little retail therapy and learn the Metro system on our own.

In our hotel lobby, raring to go!

But first, a little fuel in the form of escargots, good bread and a glass of wine...

Then, off to the Trippen Store (of course)

photo by Shams

LOVE my new Trippens! 

Shams and I had a fun meet-up with Jeanne of 365 dresses, who spends
several months in Paris every year. We had wine and hors d'oeuvres with
her and her husband in their apartment; then Jeanne joined us the next day, took
us to the Bon Marche department store, and did a little shopping.

Bon Marche
photo by Shams

Meet ups are so much fun, especially thousands of miles away!

Here we are, learning our way around Paris on the Metro...
photo by Shams

and waiting for the next train...

photo by Shams

Then, the Paris Tilton Tour began!

Thirteen fabulous women and Katherine and Marcy Tilton...what a recipe for fun!

After meeting each other and orienting ourselves, we set off for the
wonderful D'Orsay Museum.

Original Station Window

Familiar Degas ballerina

weird lounge in the museum

Lots of shopping took place (of course)...


photo by Shams

Ruth and Shams shopping

photo by Shams

Ruth's Hat

One of the most fun things was meeting Ruth H., who lives in Santa Fe
and Indiana (and soon to be Minnesota). Ruth was on the Tilton trip last fall
and returned for a second trip. She is tall, beautiful,wears gorgeous self-sewn clothes, usually in black, red and white, is great fun, and loves her glass of 
wine, just like me!

in her gorgeous Koos coat

photo by Shams

We also like distinctive glasses (both wine- and eye-)
photo by Shams

The Paris Tilton trip involves LOTS of walking, which is perfect, as Paris
is a fantastic walking city. Luckily, my foot injury was beaten into submission
and I was able to walk 5 or 6 miles a day.

"Les Copains" photo by Marcy Tilton

photo by Shams

photo by Shams

I foolishly thought I could cover the whole trip in one post...it's not gonna happen! Too much fun stuff left to share. For anyone wanting instant gratification, go to Shams' blog; she is much more prolific than I am, both in 
photos and blog posts. I'll be back soon to finish my tale!

Meanwhile...Thanksgiving happened, and we had a small gathering. Maggie, David and my nephew Dan, the glass artist

Here we are, this morning, having a good time at breakfast...

David and Dan 


and moi, laughing!

You can find me over at Patti's Visible Monday this afternoon...and also at Judith's (The Style Crone)
December "Hat Attack"


Sunday, October 23, 2016


Last blog post before I leave for Paris! I am getting SOOOO excited! I managed to make one last pair of pants to go in my travel wardrobe...

I used my 

"Trifecta"pants pattern and a gorgeous cotton/silk blend cross-dyed fabric

I am pleased and highly relieved that my foot is much better and will not slow me down in Paris. I went twice a week for three weeks to my chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries, and he performed the magic!

Teddy has continued to dominate our lives...he is growing so tall, and he 
LEAPS at the counters in the kitchen in the hopes of getting up there. Luckily, when we built the house, we added several inches to the height of the counters.
We'll be safe for a little while...

Here he is, flying back from a run on the (covered) pool.He seems to like it equally, with or without water...

Even though we haven't gotten lower temperatures in our area, the trees and vineyards are turning colors and my thoughts turn to heartier fall dishes.
I made "Drunken Beans" from a recipe from Rancho Gordo and they were wonderful!

This morning, I started a new-to-me recipe;Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with
Caramelized Onions and Apple Confit. I chose not to use my Instant Pot, but to do it in a Dutch oven on stove-top and then in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Here are the onions, caramelizing...

and here is the pot coming out of the oven. I'll serve it with wide noodles and roasted delicata squash. YUMMMMMMMY!

No, he didn't get any, and yes, it was a fantastic 5-star meal!

I've done my travel wardrobe planning a little differently this year...here are the "finalists" from which I will choose:

Let me know what you think of this way. Now the hard part comes, deciding which items stay, and which have to go.

I will be joining up with Patti's Visible Monday, so come on over and say hi!

I probably will not blog from Paris; I'll have only my iPad and very little free time. I think I'll 
follow Shams' example and post pictures on Instagram instead. I'm mhoutz4 if you want to
follow me.


Sunday, October 9, 2016


It's been 3 weeks since I've blogged...busy with puppy, daughters visiting, foot problems, sewing...the usual!

 Here is the travel tote I've been working on...it's the Professional Tote by Creative Thimble, and I've made it once before; it was for my very first blog post, 5 years ago! I've had this marvelous black and white sashiko fabric for a while...I bought it on Etsy. I added some faux leather from Emma One Sock,

 a marvelous stretch cotton dragon print from Marcy Tilton for the inner pockets

 and a wine-colored nylon Taslan for the lining...

I'm planning to take this to Paris, as my plane carry-on; it has pockets galore, (I added several more to the inner pocket for my iPad), places for passport and boarding pass, water bottle, etc. It also has a strap to anchor it to my suitcase handle.

It closes on top with a chunky zipper...

 Maggie and David came up for the weekend a few weeks ago...more swimming with Teddy, Sunday Brunch. Always fun!

The next weekend, daughter Janet flew out from Salt Lake City for a few days...
and, you guessed it, swam with Teddy. That seems to be #1 on the activity list chez Houtz...

With so much time spent in the studio, I've listened to several good books: Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, Nutshell, by Ian McEwan and just finishing up The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens.
My favorite was A Gentleman in Moscow; Nutshell is beautifully written, but weird!

I bought a glass flask (borosilicate) to cook my beloved Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans, a la Romana...

They were delicious, of course, and so much fun to see them simmering away on the stove!
Here is where I got the flask.
Teddy is growing, losing his baby teeth (finally!), finding new ways to get in
trouble...we have a fountain in one of the gardens and the combination of water and mud is irresistable!

Supremely happy muddy dog...

and equally muddy kitchen floor! We had to drop out of Puppy Class; my injured
foot is very painful, and the surface of the class space, a rough dirt ring, was not good for the foot. I think we'll try again in 4 or 5 months. I'm seeing a chiropractor for my foot several times a week and am hoping for a miracle in the next few weeks. I leave for Paris on October 28.

I made a pair of pajama pants in a pretty knit from Girl Charlee and paired it with a tee from Uniqlo...

I used my TNT B5572 for the pants...for those innocent people who think a lifetime of sewing precludes foolish errors, my first attempt at pajama pants
(which are ridiculously easy to make) came out like this... (super high rise, super short legs)

and of course, by this time, I'd not only sewn the seams, I had serged them.
Live and Learn...NOT.

I think I'm almost done with Paris Wardrobe sewing...I have a pair of pants to make with a yummy cross-woven silk blend from Marcy Tilton called "Ruby Begonia"...and then the decision making/culling begins! I waterproofed my boots yesterday, so I am ready for whatever weather Paris has to offer!

That's it for catching you up...I will be joining Patti's Visible Women later this afternoon...providing she has power. She's in the path of Hurricane Matthew and 
my hopes are for safety for her and all the people in Florida.