Saturday, September 30, 2006

Recipe: Ditalini Rigati

Ditalini, meaning little thimbles, are basically 1/4" long, ridged macaroni.

Ditalini Rigati
8 ounces Ditali
An eggplant
2 zucchini, diced
1/2 an onion, minced
2 ounces slivered almonds
1 quart simmering broth
2 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
A walnut-sized chunk of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly ground coriander to taste

  • Peel and dice the eggplant, salt the pieces, and put them in a colander in the sink for an hour, during which time the salt will draw out the bitter juices; rinse the pieces, pat them dry, and blend them briefly.
  • Sauté the minced onion in the olive oil and butter, and when it begins to turn golden add the eggplant, zucchini, and almonds; cook for a few minutes, then add the hot broth and the potatoes.
  • Continue simmering, checking the seasoning after a few minutes, until the vegetables are just about done, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally lest the pieces stick to the bottom.
  • When the pasta is cooked check seasoning again, stir in a pinch of coriander, and serve.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Thimble Maker

"Fingerhűter" (Thimble Maker)
Artist: Jost Amman, 1568, in his Stände und Handwerter mit Versen von Hans Sachs (Frankfurt a/M 1568, Reprint München).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Not a thimble, part one.

Dhamekh Stupa at Sarnath is one of the principal Buddhist pilgrimmage sites in India. It was constructed by the great Mauryan king, Ashoka. It is believed that the Buddha rested and meditated here, and delivered his first sermon at the Dhamekha Stupa. Buddhist pilgrims the world over come to Saranath to walk around this sacred Stupa and to offer worship to Buddha.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

(Insert your own puck pun here.)

This pewter souvenir of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto is available through Spirit of Hockey, the Official Hockey Hall of Fame Cyberstore, for only CAN$14.95 (US$12.71). They also have spoons and bells and the other usual memorabilia, plus other stuff specific to hockey. You can get customized team jersey with your favorite team, name, and number. You can get DVDs. You can get golf accessories. I think I'd like to see a round of golf played with a little hockey attitude.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

La Casa Grande

These two thimbles are available through Hearst Castle Gift & Museum Shop (type thimble in Search box and press enter) for $13.99 (La Casa Grande and Hearst Castle sign)and $12.99 (La Casa Grande in gold), plus S/H.
Hearst Castle has been one of my favorite tourist attractions since I was a little kid and my Mommy brought me book on it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Orient Express

This little thimble is from the Orient-Express.com Gift Boutique as part of the site's Ladies' Gifts selection. It is £10.00 (US$18.93), plus S/H. They also offer a similar one for the Northern Belle Train. To an American ear, Northern and Belle don't quite go together, but I digress.
I have some concern that while the side shown (at left) is perfectly acceptable, the rear view might be absolutely ghastly. Not such a horrible thing though. It happens with the best of us.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gooder Thinking Through Thimble Collecting

FingerThinkers™ are little leather thimbles with magnets attached to be used to help children learn. It's supposed to work on the same principle as tying a string around one's finger. The magnet is very important to the design because it is smooth and cool and pleasant to touch, which can be easily accomplished in a "rhythmic motion that tends to be comforting and relaxing in nature," thoughfully illustrated on the website (shown at left).
FingerThinkers™ may be purchased as part of a kit; there are 26 Fingerthinkers, 1 storage container (plastic bucket), and 2 classroom banners ("Are you using your FingerThinkers™ today? Remember to use it when doing homework too!" and "I become a better thinker when I use my FingerThinker™") per kit. The kits are $258.70, but there is a 50% discount when purchased directly by schools or school districts. One can purchase the FingerThinkers™ separately (without storage container or banners) for $4.00 each, minimum order of 26.
The website has several comments from teachers who'd participated in a study about the FingerThinkers™. My favorite: "It certainly couldn’t hurt."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Some quality reproductions

This thimble is a reproduction thimble available though a company called Old English Crackers. They have four different styles available in either sterling silver ($27.95 each) or antiqued pewter ($9.95 each), manufactured by Albion Reproductions.
Generally thimble collectors are wary of reproductions. A lot of what one finds in antique stores sold as originals are reproductions. As long as they state that they are reproductions, then fine. OK. But it's not so good when dealers, usually unknowingly but sometimes not, pass off repros as the real deal at the real deal price.
After you collect for a while, you can distinguish original thimbles from repros, They have a finer, more finished quality. The insides are almost completely smooth, whereas in repros its lumpy and there is usually a rough, uneven part where the mold was attached to its handle. Also, the hallmarks are either missing or very roughly stamped.

In any case, these are very nice repros, if you want something lovely to look at for an affordable price.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Make Your Own Thimble!

Threads magazine, #87, pp. 54-55, had instructions, available online, for making the perfect leather thimble. The article and thimble design are by Samantha Brenneman. There is even a pattern. Yay!

I don't always use a thimble when I sew, mostly because the same protection against pain and puncture that thimbles provide alters the sensitivity in the fingertip one sometimes needs in maneuvering the needle quickly and precisely through certain fabrics/materials. I am going to try out this leather design to see it it helps.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shiny, Pretty, New...

These beautiful sterling silver thimbles are available through a website called One at a Time (Uno Alla Volta), which features a lot of things made by artisans one piece at a time. There are seven different thimbles available. The thimble shown to the left is called Fleur-De-Lys and is $82.00; the one to the right is called Black Onyx and is $78.00. The others on the site run between $42.00 and $82.00. Plus S/H.


The blurbs accompanying each thimble state that they are "made of British sterling silver," but I have seen nearly identical ones referenced as being Israeli. I don't know which is correct.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth (9 April 1806), the British Royal Mint has issued the Brunel Thimble Collection: six sterling silver thimbles featuring five of Brunel’s most famous achievements and Brunel himself. The set is £129.00 (US$240.00).
For those short of such pocket change, Cottage Thimbles has a four piece porcelain set available for £8.95 (US$16.00).

Monday, September 18, 2006

There isn't any Three-l lllama.

This little pewter thimble is available through Nose-n-Toes, a gift store devoted to all things Llama, for $10.00. plus S/H. They have all the usual stuff--pens, sweatshirts, spoons (grrrr. . .)--plus a section called "Useful Llama Art." Among the items therein is the Llama Garden Peeker ™, which is an 18-inch-high by 7½-inches-wide sculpted llama-head that one mounts on a rebar post then sticks in one's garden, peeking up from amid the shrubs.
I don't know how useful that is. Maybe it'll keep the neighbor's goat off the lawn.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

George Washington Slept Here--First!

This thimble is available for 6.95 (plus S/H) from the fine folks at George Washington Birthplace Gift Shop and Bookstore, accessible online as part of the Northern Neck Heritage website. The also have a pewter thimble for $9.95 (plus S/H, of course).
The address given for the actual gift shop and bookstore is:
George Washington Birthplace Gift Shop and Bookstore
1730 Popes Creek Road
Washington Birthplace, Virginia 22443
(804) 224-7895
I guess the town is called Washington Birthplace. Hmm.
You can become a member of the George Washington Birthplace Association for $25.00 (or $35.00 for a Family membership), which gets you a 10% discount on items purchased either the online or on-site store.
Oh, I didn't think up "George Washington Slept Here--First!"
It's on a coffee mug.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Monk-crafted?

This thimble is a souvenir of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit Church, Conyers, Georgia. It is a standard silvertone-metal thimble with an oval medallion attached, available for $7.95 plus S/H. In addition to the thimble they have a gift shop that carries a lot of Roman Catholic books and devotional items. They also have "monk-crafted" fudge and fruitcake.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Crochet Your Own Thimble Pouches!

Thimble pouches are little thimble-sized bags in which one totes around one's thimble so one doesn't lose either one's thimble or one's mind while crawling around one's floor looking for where the hell one's thimble rolled to when one dropped it. Of course, you can buy a thimble pouch...at, say, a thimble pouch store, but that is for the faint-of-heart. I have found some directions for making them. To wit:
Julia Camilleri's The Victorian Thimble Pouch: This pattern, published at CQ Magazine Online, is for a lacy little pouch using a few traditional crochet stitches. Ms. Camilleri has a lovely blog about Victorian stitchery stuff (including instructions for a beaded teaball like one my dearest auntie had), and a website where some of her handiwork is sold.

Carol Ventura's Tapestry Crochet Necklace Pouch/Amulet Bag: This can be used as a thimble pouch though it us a little bit bigger (1 3/4” x 2 1/4”) than a thimble. I like the versatility of the pattern: you can easily chart out different motifs and use different colors. It uses a tapestry crochet stitch that I have never used before, so it'll be interesting to figure it out. Ms. Ventura has written several books on tapestry crochet

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Knitting Thimbles

I have never heard of Knitting Thimbles before and now I find that there are two different kinds of them! I think--from the pictures I've seen--that they're meant to assist one in knitting with multiple strands of yarn. The one pictured to the left is the Inox Norwegian Knitting Thimble, with two thread guides (it looks like one long piece of wire wrapped to form a ring, with the ends looped to make the yarn guides), and is $3.20 plus S/H; the one to the right is the Inox 4 Yarn Knitting Thimble and is $5.00 plus S/H, and looks my thimbly to me. Both are available through Sealed With a Kiss Yarn Shop and a few other places. I imagine local knitting shops would have them, too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Seamstress and Her Thimble

OK, I know this is on the internet in a gazillion different places. But I have this thimble blog and would be remiss in my Thimbatorial duties if I left it out.

The Seamstress and Her Thimble
One day, when a seamstress was sewing while sitting close to a river, her thimble fell into the river. When she cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, “My dear child, why are you crying?” The seamstress replied that her thimble had fallen into the water and that she needed it to help her husband in making a living for their family.
The Lord dipped His hand into the water and pulled up a golden thimble ringed with pearls. “Is this your thimble?” the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, “No.” The Lord again dipped into the river. He held out a silver thimble ringed with sapphires. “Is this your thimble?” the Lord asked. Again, the seamstress replied, “No.” The Lord reached down again and came up with a leather thimble. “Is this your thimble?” the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, “Yes.”
The Lord was pleased with the woman’s honesty and gave her all three thimbles to keep, and the seamstress went home happy.
Some years later, the seamstress was walking with her husband along the riverbank, and her husband fell into the river and disappeared under the water. When she cried out, the Lord again appeared and asked, “Why are you crying?” Oh Lord, my husband has fallen into the river!”
The Lord went down into the water and came up with Mel Gibson. “Is this your husband?” the Lord asked. Yes,” cried the seamstress.
The Lord was furious. “You lied! That is an untruth!”
The seamstress replied, “Oh, forgive me, my Lord. It is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said ‘No’ to Mel Gibson, you would have come up with Tom Cruise. Then if I said ‘No’ to him, you would have come up with my husband.
Had I then said ‘Yes,’ you would have given me all three. Lord, I’m not in the best of health and would not be able to take care of all three husbands, so THAT’S why I said ‘Yes’ to Mel Gibson.”
The moral of this story is: Whenever a woman lies, it’s for a good and honourable reason, and in the best interest of others.

Maybe she had some insight into Tom and Mel. Johnny and Orlando, anyone?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quimper Thimbles


These lovely Quimper thimbles are available at Faience-de-Quimper.com. They're €12.00 (abt. US$15.23*) each, or €60.00 (abt. US$76.17*) for the set. They also have a 2005 annual thimble (the page states that they'll have a new one every year, but no 2006 so far) for €25.oo (abt. US$31.74*) .

*As of today; see xe.com The Universal Currency Converter ®.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thimble Catchers and String(ing) Theory

The beading books Thimble Catchers, vols. 1 and 2, are available for $24.95 each, plus S/H, through i-bead.com. The books include instructions and patterns for making the thimble catchers, which can also "catch" other stuff, like little cotton balls doused with Chanel No. 5, or snuff, or whatever one chooses.
There are kits available, with all the stuff you'll need, for some of the designs, but some of the designs say "Delicas Only," which the webpage says means "for main amulet only, NO pattern, or fringe, necklace or accent beads." OK. I have never heard of the word before.
There are instances when I really prefer patronizing local businesses. Regular folks, my neighbors--whether I know them or not--work there. Support the home team, so to speak. In this particular case, I say: I'm going with these i-bead folks. The employees at my local bead shop are a bunch of snots. I'm not a beader, but sometimes I need little jewelry findings. God help me if I don't know some arcane term for something. It's not as if they are brain surgeons or rocket scientists or whatever. I mean, THEY SELL BEADS. No life saving or higher mathematics involved. Jeez, Louise!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Do Not Buy These Thimbles

These thimbles are sold on eBay. They are not original political thimbles, but are really cheaply-made reproductions. I bought a set, though I was pretty dubious about their authenticity at the time. They were cheap enough then so I really didn't care, but now they're going for a BuyItNow! price of $22.00, plus $3.50 S/H.
Real plastic political thimbles are made of much thicker plastic, even the more recent ones. I don't know how Jesse Jackson's name is spelled on the original, but this set's thimble has it as Jessie. The man who sells these has loads of other political souvenirs up for auction . Knowing these are cheap repros, I would not trust anything else he sells.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ya Ain't Been Pucked...

This thimble is available for $1.99! (plus S/H) from the Fudpucker Trading Company. They have tons of the usual souvenir stuff--spoons, shotglasses, drink huggers, etc.--PLUS merchandise featuring their very own tongue-twister, "If a Fudpucker could puck Fud..."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Endorsed by Heidi Fleiss


What Ms. Fleiss actually said was, "Made me feel it's time for a real man."
The publisher's blurb: "Lust, love, money and fear are the basic emotions that three boyhood friends dealt with so differently. A deliciously romantic bittersweet story about relationships, will take you on a wild ride. "
So this is called The Silver Thimble?
I have tried BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and eBay.com, and Googled the darn thing to try to find an actual review of the book beyond the aforementioned but have gotten nothing. It's a mass market original--never in hardcover or trade paper--by Sarbo Press, which has published...uh...nothing else. Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Space Camp

These two thimbles are made of pewter and are available from spacecamp.com for $4.95 each, plus S/H. The one to the left is for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) and the one to the right is for NASA (If you can't tell left from right, it's the one with NASA on it).
Space Camp is, well, a camp about space (outer, not personal). There a several different programs, including the Space, Aviation, and Robotics Tracks for 9 to 11 year-olds and 12 to 14 year olds, parent-child programs, Adult programs, and Corporate programs, which seems way cooler than having the local cheerleading coach come to your workplace breakroom and teach everyone group handclapping for thirty minutes, which is what happened at my work. Teambuilding, my Aunt Fannie!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sadly we cannot get this here.

This is something called a Far Infrared Thimble.
The little blurb accompanying the picture states:
"As the main materials of this far infrared thimble are high energy mineral and herbs from nature, the inside energy of this thimble can help to promote blood circulation for the tips of the nerve of the fingers. Meanwhile, it also can help the Qi Gone lovers to eliminate the foul Qi (or bad energy) inside the body by this far infrared thimble when they practice Qi Gone. Therefore, this is a very good product for multiple purposes." Well, that's good. Right?

The company that sells these wondrous thimbles, Qi Pao Enterprise Co., Ltd., also has teapots, eggcups, incense burners, and something called Gua Sha Boards that serve the same purpose. Great!

Monday, September 04, 2006

This isn't a thimble, it's Turkish nipple armor.*


This is a nine feet tall sculpture in Toronto, Canada, called Uniform Measure/Stack, essentially a large bronze thimble on a neat stack of six colored buttons. Created in 1997 by artist Stephan Cruise as part of the Spadina Avenue LRT Public Art Program, it is in the city's fashion district at the northwest corner of Spadina Avenue and Richmond Street, as "a reflection on the contributions of the workers & on the presence of touch in the making of garments...." It received significant funding from The City of Toronto Fashion Industry Liaison Committee. There are two large button benches adjacent to the work and a bas relief measuring tape in the pavement bordering the area. There has been some criticism of the sculpture. No, it is not Michelangelo's David. News flash: Toronto isn't Florence.

*Dick Solomon, Third Rock from the Sun.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Little Treasures from Poland




These sweet little thimbles are made at a pottery in Boleslawiec, Poland and are available from PolandbyMail.com for $4.95 each, plus S/H. They are handpainted and lead free.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Recipe: Little Thimbles Sciue Sciue

This is from Giada De Laurentiis's show on the Food Network and from her book, Giada's Family Dinners. She came to my workplace and was incredibly nice. She said the "Sciue Sciue" part means "improvisation," so I'm thinking there's a little leeway. My family had something similar that we didn't have an official recipe for. We used regular macaroni, but now I will force them to use the ditalini (little thimbles).

Little Thimbles Sciue Sciue
1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) ditalini pasta (thimble-shaped pasta) or other small tube-shaped pastas such as elbow macaroni or pennette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), chopped
8 ounces cold fresh mozzarella, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, about 8 minutes. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in a heavy large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and saute just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cheese and basil, and toss to coat. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt. Spoon the pasta into small serving bowls and serve immediately.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Thimbleberry Jam Lady

Having been referred to on various occasions as the Thimble Lady--mostly by "antique" dealers trying to sell me 99-cent, year-old steel thimbles from Taiwan for $10.00--I was intrigued by the sobriquet, "The Thimbleberry Jam Lady." Alas, I still don't know if there is an actual Thimbleberry Jam Lady or if it's just a fictional person, like Betty Crocker, fronting a company. There is definitely a company, and website, out of Michigan, which sells all kinds of jams, jellies, syrups, ice cream toppings, and chow chow*, their specialty being jam and jelly made from the Thimbleberry (sort of like a raspberry). The ingredients for, as an example, the Wild Thimbleberry Jam are listed as thimbleberries and sugar. No artificial crap. Hooray.

*I have no idea what the heck Chow Chow is. My Grandma would have known.

Update 9/5/06: There is an informative article on the use of the term Thimbleberry in the 10/7/04 archive for The Muskokan.