#03-18 The Big Finish - Part Two

Hello people! This week on the show we’re showing you all the little details of the renovated apartment. It’s such fun to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. One of the things we discussed this week was training your drapes. It’s easily accomplished and should be done when new drapes are installed.

Begin by cutting strips of scrap fabric about 4" wide, then stack the drapes back as far as they’ll go, and arrange the folds as you’d like them to be. Then wrap the strips around the stacked back drapes and pin the in place. There should be a band about every 3 feet. Leave the bands on the drapes for about 2 weeks. When you remove them the drapes will “remember" their position when ever you open them.

#03-17 The Big Finish - Part One

Hi people, Brini here with another episode for your enjoyment. This week we’re touring the renovated apartment. Don’t miss it!

I have quite exciting news for you this week. My product line has been launched and is available at For the launch we have two lines of pillows. The Felix Populi line features luxury fabrics, leather appliqué and custom tassels, while the FP line features graphic prints with a pop art feel on cotton canvas with colorful backs. You can also find my book there and soon we’ll have more items going up, including items for the kitchen and bath. I hope you’ll come by and have a look!

#03-16 A Soft Touch for the Soft Touches - Carpet and Upholstry

Hi people! We’re coming into the home stretch with the renovation! This week we’re installing the carpeting and doing some upholstery. Don’t miss it!

I’ll have some exciting news for you next week. Be sure and check back!

#03-15 The Uncommon Fireplace - Cure for the Common Flue Pt. 2

Hi people! Brini here with this week’s episode. We’re finishing up the fireplace this week and it looks great. Have a gander!

The insert we used for the fireplace is a log and grate set that uses gel fuel to create a flame that looks and sounds like a wood fire, but doesn't give off any smoke. It's a lovely alternative to an expensive gas fireplace. Some safety precautions must be observed, however. never leave the fire burning unattended, and never add fuel to an already burning gel pot - it can create flash fires. If you use it safely, it can make a lovely glow!

#03-14 The Uncommon Fireplace - Cure for the Common Flue Pt. 1

Hello people, Brini here with this week’s episode. This time around we’re starting on my faux fireplace. It’s such a fun project and I got a fun girl to help me with it. Her name is Rose Wood and she’s one of the restorers at John Cory Studios. Rose built an enormous door that creates the impression of a flue for my fireplace while concealing oodles of storage! You’ll see us install that door, after getting a little sidetracked by some of Pebbles baking.

#03-13 Cork - It's Not Just for Bulletin Boards Anymore

Hello people, this week on the show it’s all about cork. Part of our renovation found us lining the walls of the office and eventually the ceiling in the kitchen with cork. It a wonderful retro 60’s/70’s treatment and it’s practical to boot! It makes a perfect memo board. The process isn’t difficult – just a little messy. Contact cement is the adhesive of choice and it’s a bit like rubber cement – apply it to both surfaces, wait for it to get tacky, then fuse the surfaces together. As with last week’s project, this is essentially a tile job, so plan out your tiles so the seams are centered on the wall for a professional look.

#03-12 Decorate your Desk with Decoupage

Hello people! Brini here again with some more ideas for your home. This week it’s all about decoupage! Yes, it’s not just for Victoriana anymore – decoupage is a technique that can be adapted to all sorts of fascinating projects.

Now I used it as a furniture finish for the surface of my desk and it’s proved to be both durable and decorative for 7 years now. It’s an easy solution for unfinished furniture and can become the focal point of a room.

What makes decoupage interesting is what you choose to apply to your surface. Now we used computer printouts of a wall paper pattern that mimicked tile. We just scanned the paper into the computer, broke out an individual tile from the pattern using a photo editing program and then printed it out 60 times. We laid the job out like a traditional tile job, working out from the center of the surface. We also planned out the job first, so we could just lay the pre-cut, pre-fitted tiles out without cutting as we went.

Now you don’t have to use tiles or even computer printouts. There are so many options for decoupage out there – magazines, newspapers, playbills, virtually any paper product can be decoupaged to a surface. Some things to remember are that edges can catch and peel, so thin paper is best, if you plan to decoupage a table or desk top it’s a good idea to cover the art with glass and plan the project out before you glue it down – the medium is notoriously unforgiving.

#03-11 God is in the Details - Sanding, Spackling and Painting

Hello people, Brini here with some more ideas for freshening up your home. This week we’re finishing the cabinets and desk that we made on the previous episodes.

Finishing is an important step. Here are some tips.

Webbing tape is a must for filling cracks and holes. It gives the spackle something to cling to and makes the whole process a little easier.

If you have large gaps in your wood work fill them with shims. The shims will fill in the space so you don’t need so much spackle.

Don’t forget to sand – Sanding your spackling job will make it blend into the woodwork.

After you sand, run over your work with a tack cloth. Tack cloth is a loosely woven cloth impregnated with a sticky substance that picks up the dust.

Repeat this process twice for a super smooth look. You can even sand between coats of paint if you want a hand rubbed finish.

#03-10 For the Love of Storage - Cabinet Contemplation and Construction

Hello people, and welcome to another episode! This week we continue our renovation series with the cabinets. Greg, John and I built the unit in an afternoon and I can’t recommend it enough. The clutter in your home will disappear if you utilize the space you live in to its fullest.

Now construction isn’t as complicated as it’s usually made out to be. It’s really just common sense. Here are a few tips:

Planning your project is all about knowing your space. For our cabinets we squared off a wall that had a slant to it, which said something about the architecture of the room. Look at your space with an eye to geometry and you’ll be able to make your built in esthetically pleasing as well as functionally viable.

Measure twice, cut once – it’s an old saw, but it still rings true. When starting to work on your project you can save yourself some grief by confirming your measurements, especially if you’re planning on having your lumber yard cut your wood to size for you – which is a great idea for apartment dwellers without access to table saws and the like.

Take advantage of existing furniture. You saw this on our desk episode – we built in an existing dresser. The professional finishing on furniture is something most built-ins will never be able to match. Using existing pieces of furniture is a great way to get that professional look without having to hire an expensive cabinet maker. Find the pieces in thrift shops and vintage stores for a small investment and your built-in will look like a million dollars!

#03-09 The Salad Bar - Easeful Entertaining During Domestic Demolition

Hello people, Brini here with another episode to help you with life’s little problems. This week we’re discussing entertaining in the midst of renovation. The key is to keep it simple! For me that means a salad bar with an easy dressing.

For the basic salad we combined butter lettuce, radicchio and alfalfa sprouts. We then created a “bar" consisting of two kinds of olives, hearts of palm, cold cut pin wheels, artichoke hearts, turkey breast, sliced avocado and sliced hard boiled egg.

I made a simple dressing in the blender. Here’s the recipe:

1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup vinegar
2 marinated roasted peppers

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend on high until completely liquefied. Pour over salad.

This is a simple one dish salad that’s perfect for entertaining while your home is in chaos. With all the gourmet ingredients and that luscious dressing it seems quite posh.

#03-08 Putting It Together - Building a Better Built-in

Hello people, and welcome to another episode of the vidcast. This week we begin construction. Last week we demolished the dining room, this week we’re delving into the desk. It’s a big job but we’re up to it!

Construction can be daunting, but it can be made easier with a few tips:

Soap your screws – Screws will slide in more easily if you soap the threads.

Pre drill your holes – I can’t stress this point enough. Wood has a tendency to split when you drive screws directly into it without pre-drilling.

Consider using MDF – Medium Density Fiberboard is a composite building material that is comparatively inexpensive, sturdy, strong, doesn’t warp and has a beautiful surface for paint. It’s what we used to build the desk and it looks great!

If you don’t have the luxury of a shop you can have your lumber precut by your lumber yard. It makes for simple assembly on site providing that you are accurate in your measurements. Remember, measure twice, cut once.

#03-07 Breaking Up is Hard to Do - The Ins and Outs of Demolition

Hello people, Brini here with the further adventures of my apartment renovation! This week we’re demolishing the dining room. It’s a very simple process of removing screws and taking the built-ins apart, but the larger issue is change and how we deal with it.

Accepting change in our lives can be scary. The key is detachment. If you’re able to remain detached from objects and outcomes then you’re much more likely to be in a position to welcome exciting new experiences into your life. It’s not as easy as it sounds, however. Letting go of our past, whether it’s in the form of material possessions, relationships or situations can be a daunting proposition. The important thing to remember is that, ultimately, we’re not defined by these things. The more we’re able to derive our sense of self from inside the less we’ll be likely to form limiting attachments to our surroundings.

I’ve found that this can be accomplished with reflection. It’s helpful to keep a journal and record your thoughts about the events in your life that are challenging. These journal entries can serve as a map of your psyche which will help you understand your attachments and see that they are unnecessary. If you’d like to explore these concepts more fully I recommend a book: The Marriage of Spirit, by Leslie Temple Thurston. She has some extremely simple exercises that can help you let go of limitations and live more fully in the moment. As Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living?. Explore your possibilities fully!

#03-06 Come Out of the Closet - Or at Least Make it Pretty!

This week on the show we’re beginning our renovation in the closet. We’re making the closet a joy to open and a delight for your clothes. Most people paint their closets white and there is a practical consideration for that – white closets make it easier to find what you’re looking for, but if your home is nice and bright you can indulge in a flight of fancy and make a statement with your closet. I used colorful paint that was left over from other projects so, for me, it was a thrifty project as well. But you can brighten your closets with pretty paper or other paint schemes as well. Make your closet pretty enough and you may never want to leave it!

#03-05 Bovine Blessing - Marvelous Mac and Cheese

Hello people, I’m back with a new episode! This week is the beginning of our renovation series featuring the renovation and redecoration of my apartment. This time around we’re talking about how to fuel that renovation. We’re making a delicious mac and cheese and I have a tip for you! If your house is going to be torn up you won’t be wanting to cook much, but the work you’ll be doing requires good nutrition. Before you begin your renovation, prepare a few casseroles to cook when you’re knee deep in debris. Line your casserole dish in heavy weight plastic wrap, then fill the dish with your casserole and wrap the plastic over the top. Freeze the casserole in the dish, then pop the frozen casserole out of the dish and put it back in the freezer. Your casserole dish is free to use for other purposes and when you’re ready to eat the casserole just unwrap it and pop it back into the dish, let it thaw, then cook it normally. You can prepare several of these uncooked casseroles to tide you over until your home settles down again. Brilliant, no?

Now, what to make? Why not this stunning gourmet mac and cheese recipe? Here’s how:

You’ll need:

1 lb farfalle (bowties)
1 stick of butter
2 shallots, minced
6 Tbs. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne
4 cups buttermilk
3 cups grated extra sharp white cheddar
1 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Fresh seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter (or line with plastic wrap) a 3 quart casserole dish. Cook the pasta until just al dente, drain and set aside in a large bowl. In a heavy sauce pan melt seven tablespoons of the butter and sauté the minced shallots until transparent. Add the flour to make a roux and whisk until well combined and all the lumps are gone. Whisk in the mustard and cayenne, then add the buttermilk in four parts whisking in between. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, whisking occasionally. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add cheddar and one cup of the parmesan and mix well. Fill your casserole dish with the mixture. Combine the breadcrumbs and the rest of the parmesan then sprinkle it on top of the casserole and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown, or freeze to bake and serve later.

#03-04 Afternoons Alfresco - Frolicsome Fun

Hello people, and welcome back to my blog. This week on the show we’re putting that picnic together. Yes, it’s finally time to collect our food and go out into the wilderness – or at least one of New York’s beautiful parks and enjoy alfresco dining.

Successful picnics are all about planning. Here’s what you need to help make your picnic go smoothly:

A hamper to carry your food and supplies

A ground cover

Plates (I like melmac)

Cups (collapsible ones are great for small hampers)

Flatware and napkins (for these I use disposable. Less to wash and carry home)

Handiwipes (for cleaning fingers after eating messy finger foods)

A cold pack (for keeping food cool from kitchen to picnic grounds)

Ant stakes (to anchor your ground cover and repel those hungry little critters)

And of course your food!

When packing your hamper, be sure not to pack the ant stakes with the food – we don’t want to contaminate our meal! Put them in a plastic bag and attach them to the handle with a twist tie. Then they won’t be forgotten but will be kept a safe distance from lunch.

If you’re packing a picnic for a crowd you’ll probably need at least two hampers – one for the food and one for the supplies. This is a wonderful opportunity to flirt! Get one of the big strong men from the party to help you carry everything.

Picnics are wonderful for children. They don’t have to mind their manners so much and spills aren’t such a tragedy. Make it a nature appreciation picnic and explore what the out-of-doors has to offer with your kids. Who knows, you may learn something too! 

Another fun recipe for picnics is my potato salad. You can find it in my book, Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living. It’s available right here on my site!

#03-03 Nuts, Poultry and You - Almond Chicken

Hello people, Brini here with another episode for your enjoyment! This week it’s all about chicken. We’re making one of my favorite recipes for my picnic with Mary Ellen. It’s called almond chicken and here’s how it’s made:

You’ll need:

12 chicken legs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
3 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup butter

Preheat the oven to 350. Then combine the flour, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning in a bag and in a bowl, combine the milk and eggs. Place each leg in the bag alone and shake to coat with the flour mixture. After dredging in the flour dip the legs in the egg the egg mixture and then in the almonds. The surface of the chicken should be coated in almonds. Then place the legs in a well greased baking pan and put a pat of butter on each leg. Bake covered for about 3 hours. This recipe can also be made with two fryers cut into pieces.

#03-02Heavenly Hors D'oeuvres - Develed Eggs

Hello people. This week on the show we begin a 3 part series from an episode about picnics. I've always loved eating alfresco and in this episode we're making my deviled eggs. They're just delicious. Here's how:

You'll need:

1 dozen hard boiled eggs
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Shell the eggs, cut them in half lengthwise, remove the yolks to a large mixing bowl and set the whites aside. Mash the yolks with a fork, and then add the rest of the ingredients except for the chives. Blend well. Fill the whites with the yolk mixture and garnish with the chives.

These nibbles are just delicious for summer parties and brunches. You can find this, and other delightful recipes and ideas in my book. If you haven't already, be sure and pick it up!

#03-01 The Caipirinha - The Brazillian Bomb

Hello people, and welcome to the first episode of our third season! This week I'm featuring segments from the Fire Island episode of the show. It was taped during the summer of 1998 in the idyllic community of the Pines on that little strip of barrier beach on the southern shore of Long Island called Fire Island. I had a delightful guest on that show. His name is Jonathan Stout and he was an international flight attendant who flew the Brazil route. He had some wonderful ideas for a Brazilian themed party. One of them was the caipirinha. It's a delicious cocktail made with Cachaca. Here's the recipe: 

You'll need: 

5 to 6 pieces of cubed lime
2 to 3 teaspoons of instant dissolving sugar

Place the lime in a rocks glass and add the sugar. Crush the lime and sugar with a pestle until you have a pulpy, syrupy mix, then fill with the Cachaca. 
This drink is just delicious at summer parties. When we debuted it back in 1998 it was still rather low on the radar, but now you can find it in most bars.

#17 Butter Fingers

Hello people, time for another episode! This week it's all about keeping your rubber gloves from getting holey, (just put cotton balls in the finger tips), and making sure your butter doesn't burn (add a drop of olive oil to the pan). Be sure and watch!

Next week we'll resume featuring longer episodes, though I'm still on hiatus so you won't see new intro and wrap up segments, I'm afraid. You'll have to wait until fall for that. 

Until next time!

#16 Itching for Summer

Hello people, this week on the show I'm talking about medicine chests.

I sunk mine into a spot to one side of the sink because of a pesky drainage pipe and instead of facing it with a mirror I covered it with a painting. Clever, no? Why not try it yourself. Even if you have the standard medicine cabinet over your sink a second one can be a big boon for storage!

Now that summer is here we're much more prone to little skin irritations. I've found that a small dose of vitamin A helps clear up the itches of summer. Be sure not to take too take more than directed, however, too much over too long a period can cause problems with your liver. Consult your physician before beginning any vitamin regimen.

#15 Pecorino Pointers and Havarti Hints

Hello people, Brini here with some cheesy ideas for you. This week the show's all about smoothing your interactions with the wine of foods - cheese! Be sure and watch! 

Warm knives will go through cheese much more easily than cold ones will. 

Keep your cheese grater fresh and clean by spraying it with cooking spray before grating your cheese on it, and when it comes time to wash it use a tooth brush to clean out all those little holes!

#14 Thighs and Zippers

Hello people, Brini here with another show. This week I have tips for keeping those thighs trim and unsticking those stuck zippers. 

If you've got some downtime in a doctor's waiting room, use the time to your thigh's benefit - slip your purse over your ankle and lift, lift, lift to firmness. With all that we carry these days you may have trouble doing more than 6 to 8 reps to begin with, but keep it up ladies, your physique will thank you! 

Stuck zippers can be such a bore. They can be easily remedied, however with a few passes of pencil lead. The graphite lubricates them beautifully. Voila!

#13 Still More Kitchen Capers

Hello people! Brini here with some more ideas for a commodious kitchen. This week I have tips for avoiding torn slices of bread (butter the end of the loaf before slicing) and keeping your watch dry while doing the dishes (hang it on a cup hook placed conveniently by the sink).

#12 Pool Ponderings

Hello people. It's almost officially summer! This weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for so many people I thought it would be a good idea to talk about opening up your pool on the show this week. 

In addition to the tips discussed in the show be sure and check your pool floats for leaks (they can be fixed with a bicycle repair kit) make sure your liner is intact, and your lounge cushions are free from mildew (a good spray with some bleach will kill any you find).  

Take a look at Episode 111 of my Style network show for some more great summer tips

#11 Grill Maintenance - Cooking Without Calamity

Hello people! It's that time again... time to break out those grills and make some magic to masticate on. Before you do, though, you'll want to watch the show this week. It's all about grill maintenance.  

Basically it's all about keeping the grill clean - or it can blow up. So get out the oven mitts and the "Kiss the Cook" apron! Let's make it a safe summer...

#10 What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

Hello people, and welcome to another blog post! This week it's all about candles.

With summer fast approaching our parties can spill out onto the lanai. I like to dress up outdoor spaces even if it's just the fire escape - with candles. They look lovely if you're among them or even just through the window.

Candle wax sprayed across your tables and counter tops isn't a pretty prospect. I like to extinguish my candles with a few strategically placed drops of water from an eye dropper. Just fill the little well of wax at the base of the wick with water and the candle will go out by itself, no fuss no muss!

#09 The Gentler Arts

Hello people, this week on the show it's about making a few of the gentler arts a little easier and less stressful.  

If you enjoy letter writing you've probably been frustrated by a mistake inscribed in pen once or twice. Eradicate those mistakes with a touch of bleach applied with a cotton swab. It will eliminate most pen strokes and leave you with a perfect note. 

Keeping our nails lovely can be a task. If you get a nick on one and don't have an emery board handy you can clean it up with the striking patch of a box of matches.

#08 More Kitchen Capers

Hello people, This week on the show I have some more kitchen tips for you.  

Have you been stymied my skid marks? It's a problem for linoleum vinyl flooring. There's a simple solution, however - lighter fluid. It lifts those unsightly blemishes like magic. You may have noticed in the comments from last week that a viewer, Donald, suggests citrus room deodorizer for the same task. I haven't tried that, but it's certainly worth a looksee. If you try it let me know how it works! 

Splitting an avocado can be messy business unless you use this little tip: Give it a twist instead of trying to pry the halves apart. It separates as if by magic! I also use a spoon to scoop out the pulp, rather than trying to peel the skin back, and pits can be removed with a good whack with a sharp knife and then a twist once the knife is lodged firmly in the pit. If you want to keep your avocado fresh in the fridge, leave the pit in the half you're saving and cover it with plastic wrap, similarly, place a pit in a bowl of guacamole and cover it with wrap as well and it will stay fresh too.

Sign up for my weekly email for my guacomole recipe!

#07 Kitchen Capers

Hello people, Brini here with some ideas to make your time in the kitchen more pleasant. This week on the show I'm highlighting two tips: 

Do you hate the extra step of sifting your flour for recipes? Try running it through your food processor for a moment or two and you can eliminate that step. 

Tired of your plastic smelling like your last leftover? It can be so unpleasant to eat out of. It's a simple problem to solve, however. Pop the offending plastic in the freezer for a few hours or drop a lemon wedge in it for a while and those odors will be eliminated. 
Now why didn't you think of that?

Come back next week for some more tips and ideas for gracious living!

#06 Socks and Boxes

Hello people! This week it's about socks and boxes on the show. 

Lost socks is a perpetual problem for laundry doers everywhere. You can solve it easily by pinning them together before washing them. They'll stay mated until you remove the pins to fold them and put them away. 

Collapsing boxes can be a chore - especially when they're glued together. Soak them in the sink and they'll easily crumple into a ball. 

I'm happy to tell you that a film I did is premiering at the Philadelphia Film Festival. It's called 2 Minutes Later and is a charming murder mystery with snappy dialog and stylish characters. I play Emily, the owner of an art gallery. I hope you'll look for it!

#05 Putting It Away

Hello people! Another week of tips is upon us and this week it's all about storage. 

Under bed (or in my case, under sofa) storage bins are a great way to utilize otherwise wasted space. You can find them in many home stores, but a more eco-friendly and efficient way to create them is to attach small casters to drawers from an old piece of furniture. The casters can be found at hardware stores for a nominal fee and you may already have an old chest lying around. If not you can find them inexpensively at thrift shops and garage sales. Make sure the drawers fit under your bed, allowing for the added height of the casters first.  

I like to store my soap among my towels. Unwrapped, it makes them smell so fresh and pretty. Give it a try! 

Storage can be quite a problem in smaller homes. I like to take advantage of every space I can by finding the proper storage equipment. Stores like The Container Store and Hold Everything have great products that make organization easy. The first step is to assess what you have to store. Open up that cabinet or closet that you've been dreading looking at and bring out the clutter. Look it over and categorize it, then you'll have a sense of what sort of containers you'll need. Will everything fit in small shoebox sized bins or do you need larger ones? Will you need small trays with compartments in them? Once you've made you decision, buy the pieces right away. Don't put everything back until you've put it all into the new containers. 

Decorative storage can be extremely useful as well. I'm particularly fond of my beautiful leather jewelry boxes. They have a place of honor in my bedroom. Not only do they organize my jewelry beautifully, they serve as a delightful accent in the room. This can apply to all sorts of decorative boxes of many sizes that can be used to store everything from games to remotes to office supplies. Remember, keep your clutter down to a minimum and your home will be a much nicer place to inhabit!

#04 Why Didn't You Think of That?

Hello people! I'm still on hiatus from shooting, but we have some great tips for you on the show this week, regardless.

Do you dislike the smell of smoke at a party? Most people just don't allow smoking in their homes anymore, but for those of you that do just put small vessels of white vinegar around. The vinegar soaks up the smoke smell. If you leave it out over night your upholstery will smell fresh in the morning!

Vinyl records are new collectors items, now that they're obsolete. Protect your investment from dust with a natural bristle paint brush. Just run the brush along the surface from the label to the edge while the disk is spinning. 

There are many more tips here on the site. Be sure and browse through them.

#03 Now, Why Didn't You Think of That?

Hello people, time for tips, tips, tips - well, tips, tips, anyway. This week on the show I'm talking about light bulbs and irons.  

Store your light bulbs in empty cardboard drink containers. They're handy and display what you have on hand so you know when to buy more. 

Make your clothing smell pretty by adding a few drops of your favorite perfume to the steam chamber of your iron. It will infuse the garments with your scent of choice! 
I'm cooking up a new season of podcasts which should go live sometime next month. Thanks for bearing with me while I take a little time off! 
Until next week...

#02 Dealing with Unwanted Phone Callers

Hello people, Brini here with another tip. This week it's all about unwanted phone callers. If you haven't done so already be sure and register your number with the national do not call register at 

#01 Why Didn't You Think of That?

Hello people. I'm taking a little time off shooting new intros and wraps for a while. I'll be back soon with regular length episodes. In the mean time the feed will be featuring some of the tips segments from the original show. This week I'm giving you ideas for storing and dispensing string and keeping your sleeves clean. I hope you enjoy them! 

02-14 Pancakes with a Pedigree

Hello people and welcome to another episode! This week on the show I'm demonstrating Dina Merrill's pancake recipe. It's simple and delicious. I'm sure you'll agree! 
You'll need: 

2 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups Aunt Jemima's
    Complete Pancake Mix
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 strawberries, cut up 

Heat your griddle to 375 degrees and melt the butter in it. Combine the mix and the juice in a bowl until all the large lumps are gone. Don't over mix, however. It can toughen the pancakes. Add the strawberries and blend well. Drop about a quarter cup of batter on the griddle and let cook until you see bubbles form on the top of the pancake. Flip and cook on the other side until you can lift the edge of the pancake with a spatula. Serve with maple syrup and fresh whole strawberries for garnish.

02-13 Avocado Soup - Fabulous Fundamental Fat

Fat is good for you! Well, some fat anyway. The fat in avocados is one of those "good for you" fats and I have a delicious way to serve it on today's show! Avocado soup - here's how: 
You'll need: 
2 avocados
4 potatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Curry powder to taste 

Start by cubing and cooking your potato until it's soft. While it's cooking you can cube your avocado. When the potato is cooked and ready, put about a quarter of it into your blender along with a quarter of your avocado. Blend them up with a bit of your vegetable stock. Continue in this fashion until all the potato and avocado has been blended. Season with the salt, pepper and curry powder. You can heat this soup up or it can be served cold.

02-12 Jeffrey and the Biscuits

Hello all, it's that time again! This week on the show you'll meet my friend Jeffrey. He's from North Carolina, or "Norf Cakalakee" as he likes to call it. He and I went shopping for some things for his home. This would have been absolutely delightful, had it not been for the fact that we have extremely different ideas about what's beautiful. We went to two shops: Nial Smith, an antique store that features beautiful heirloom pieces and The End of History, a shop that has a collection of more colorful stock from the 1950's through the 1970's It's infinitely more fun to watch than it was to experience. Mary Ellen can attest to that. She tagged along. 
In addition to that Jeffrey showed me his biscuits. Well, that is to say, he demonstrated his grandmother's biscuit recipe for us. Here it is: 

You'll need: 
2 cups flour
1Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup milk 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and place in a large bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it's nice and crumbly. Add the milk by degrees, mixing together until you have a sticky, loose ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly a few times, then roll the dough out to approximately 1/2" thick. Using an inverted drinking glass, cut the biscuits out and bake on an ungreased baking sheet for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. 

They're just delicious - light and flakey.

02-11 Give a Little Head for Valentines Day

Hello people! Love is in the air - It's almost St. Valentines Day and I have some ideas for you. This week on the show I'm demonstrating a charming craft project - Topiary Heads! They make delightful gifts for your valentine and are such fun to put together. Here's how:

You'll need:

A paper mache flour pot
Plaster of Paris
An 8" diameter Styrofoam ball
Raffia in black or brown
An 18" wooden dowel
Pink tint floral spray
Craft paint in brown, red or pink and blue or violet
Ribbon in pink and red
Red and white heart shaped paper doilies
Red metallic poster board
Pink poster board
Artificial flowers
Pink or white netting or tulle
Floral wire
Tiny red pompons
A glue gun and glue sticks
Scotch tape
Wire cutters
A paint brush
White glue

Start by setting the dowel in the bottom of the flour pot so it stands upright with the plaster of Paris. Then you can create the head. Give the ball a light dusting of the floral spray, concentrating it a little more where you want the cheeks to be. Paint a face on the Styrofoam ball using the craft paint, then use the raffia to create an attractive hairstyle, pinning it to the ball using the floral wire. Use the ribbon to tie the hair into pony or pig tails, or as an attractive headband. Mount the head on the dowel. Next, create a bow for the neck by gathering up a length of tulle and holding it together with a length of floral wire. Leave the tails of the wire sticking up. Attach an artificial rose to the bow with wire or hot glue. Then insert the tails of wire up into the base of the ball to mount your bow at her neck. Now it's time to create the hat. Cut a large heart out of the metallic paper board. The heart should be larger than either of the doilies. Next create a truncated cone of pink paper board. Cut half inch deep tabs into the top edge of the cone and fold them down to create a surface to glue your heart to. Mount the heart on the cone and, once dry, you can glue your doilies, one on top of the other, down to the red heart. Mount a pouf of tulle with an artificial flower on top of the doilies using floral wire through all layers and leave the tails. Use the tails to mount the hat on the head by inserting them into the Styrofoam.

Trim the dowel by winding ribbon around it spirally from top to bottom. Tape it to the dowel to secure it in place. Your finishing touch is to fill the flower pot with tulle and stud the tulle with the pompons using your hot glue gun. Congratulations! Your Valentines Day gift is complete!

02-10 Spring in February - Cure the Winter Doldrums

This week on the show, banish old man winter with the cheerful trappings of spring! 
Force bulbs for fresh spring blooms. This is easily done by finding bulbs for forcing at your local garden store or nursery. Plant them in pots as directed on the package, then give them a 6 to 8 week winter in a fridge. Bring them out into your warm living room and watch them burst forth with beautiful blooms! 

Welcome the birds with a charming birdfeeder. Here are plans for one we made on my Style network show. You can make a handy funnel for your bird seed out of a gallon milk jug. Just cut the bottom off and use the pouring spout as the bottom of the funnel. 

Home accessories are the perfect way to brighten your home during the depths of winter. You'll notice I've propped perky pillows up on my chaise in the introduction and wrap up of this week's show. These are the spring pillows from my forth coming line of products for Felix Populi. Look for them in stores and online soon!

02-09 Meatloaf - A La Janet Leigh

Hearty fare is the subject of today's show. This week I'm making Janet Leigh's meatloaf. It's just delicious and so simple! 
Here's how it's done: 

You'll need: 

3 lbs. ground veal or very lean beef
1lb. ground pork
½ cup minced onion
4 ground carrots
1Tbs. salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup sour cream. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Pack into your loaf pan or form into a mound and bake for 90 minutes. 

Serves 4 

So tasty and so simple!

02-08 Glorious Gastronomic Gifts

It's all about bread today. On the show I'm making a delicious Italian bread and tasty herbed butter to go with it. These can be combined as a delightful gift from you kitchen. 

For the bread you'll need: 
1 package active dry yeast
1 ½ tsp sugar
½ cup warm water
1/3 cup hot water
3 Tbs. butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour 
Start by combining the yeast, sugar and warm water in a bowl and stirring until smooth. Then combine the hot water with the butter and stir until melted, then add the salt. Put the butter mixture in with the yeast mixture and begin adding your flour. Add it by degrees until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. You're then ready for kneading. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes or until the dough responds to your touch by springing back when you poke it. Now we baked ours in a tubular pan which required us to flatten out the dough and then roll it into a log. You can repeat that technique and then bake it on a cookie sheet or bake it in a loaf pan. Either way you'll want the dough to rise in a warm draft free place until it's doubled in size - about 1 ½  to 2 hours. Bake it in 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 35 minutes. Remove bread to a rack to cool. 
For the butter you'll need: 
One stick of butter, softened
Juice of one lemon
Two tablespoons of chopped chives 
Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine well with a fork. Remove to a sheet of wax paper and form into a log. Twist the ends of the wax paper and place in the fridge to firm up.  

These recipes are just delicious together and, as I said above, make a lovely gift when combined in a basket. 

Be sure and include a card with the recipe, the recipient will undoubtedly want some more!

02-07 The Joy of Bridge

Hello people, it’s all about cards today! On the show I’m showing you how to make delightful card themed sandwiches. I put them together for a bridge luncheon we had on my original cable access show. They’re ever so simple. Here’s how:

You’ll need:

Suit shaped cookie cutters
Thin sliced sandwich bread
Deli meat
Thin sliced cheese
Leaf lettuce
Sliced olives

Start by stacking your sandwich, then place your cookie cutters on top and press down very firmly until you’ve separated the shape from the rest of the sandwich. Open top tin type cookie cutters work best for this because they’re sharp enough to cut through all layers. Remove the sandwich from the cutter and trim off any stragglers with a scissors. The bottom of what you’ve just cut will be the top of the sandwich. Finish by garnishing with a sliced olive speared with a toothpick. These can be made with all different types of cookie cutters for all different occasions. Keep in mind, however, the more elaborate the shape the more difficult it will be to cut the sandwich – the club is the most complicated of the suits to cut.

Hint: If you want to add condiments to your sandwich, do it after they’re cut. The layers slip around too much if you’ve dressed it before you attempt to cut them.

02-06 Caring for the Infirm

Well, it’s time once again to settle in to a post holiday schedule. Many people release the stress of the holidays by getting a cold. My show this week is all about caring for someone in that situation. Here are some tips for making the circumstances easier.

Reading material like magazines and books can be kept in a new wastepaper basket. The corralled publications can be easily pulled up on the bed to be retrieved or put away.

Instead of a tray, use muffin tins for serving meals in bed. The cups are perfect for holding the various courses of the meal and things won’t slide around or spill.

If the flavor the medicine is less than appealing an ice cube on the tongue will numb the taste buds and make medicating less unpleasant.

Standard sized newspapers can be a bit much to handle when stuck in bed. Split them down the middle to make them easier to deal with.

One of the least pleasant aspects to being incapacitated is the difficulty of bathing, and forget about washing your hair. This can be accomplished more easily by putting your subject in a plastic rain poncho. Place it on them backwards so the hood can be used as a pocket for the shampoo and conditioner. Then attach a sprayer to your kitchen or bathroom spigot and you’re all set.

As you saw in the show I let my self get a little carried away with these tips to the expense of Mary Ellen’s sanity. I would advise you to keep your head about you, even though the circumstances of taking care of a cranky sick person can be a bit trying at times…


The Curious Hangover Cure

Here's a little hangover cure for those of you who indulged a little too much last night...

For the cure you'll need lemons, and an open mind.

Happy new year!