Friday, October 31, 2008
When the school bus drops off the girls on Halloween afternoon, the hours before dinner and trick-or-treating can seem endless.
A few years ago, I realized I could make some happy mothers if I channeled the girls' energy into baking. I asked them, "Have you ever made an apple pie?" With a nod from their mothers, the girls spent the afternoon in the kitchen with me measuring honey and grating nutmeg. And the rest is history. Every Halloween afternoon we bake and when darkness falls, they run to my house yelling "Trick or Pie!" Then parents and kids take a few minutes out of their route and join me on the driveway to eat a slice of pie.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When the unexpected arises, sometimes the offer of soup can make all the difference. Want my secret to always being ready? Keep these 4 items in your freezer: Mrs. Grass' Hearty Chicken Soup Mix, individually frozen chicken breasts, Raemes frozen home style egg noodles, and a bag of Grands frozen biscuits. Put a pot of water (about 8 cups) on the stove, pour in the soup mix, drop in 4 frozen chicken breasts and bring to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer an hour or so. The last 15 minutes, pour the bag of noodles into the soup, use 2 forks to shred the chicken breasts and bake the biscuits in the oven (per bag instructions). Voila...instant dinner.
And most importantly, she stressed that gifts should be thoughtful. That price, labels and trends should not factor into gift giving. She emphasized that by considering the person - her style, her family, her interests - and finding some sweet object that you think she would love (a vintage ornament wrapped in a Chinese take-out box or a family photo preserved under glass) would be the greatest gift of all. Thank you, Rachel!
Monday, October 27, 2008
This weekend, I baked pumpkin-shaped cookies for the Junior League of Birmingham's community event called Pumpkin Patch. They offer games, face painting, crafts and treats to help celebrate Fall. It ends with a costume parade around the town - so sweet!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
My mom found this darling blue & white piece (I think it is a covered sugar from a child's tea set) for just this purpose. I snipped a rose, salvia (look how it is in focus) and ginger mint from the garden and voila! It looked so pretty with the sun streaming in on it.
Now that Fall is here, I am going to rely on the supermarket for a fresh flower now and then. A girl's gotta have color, right?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Make Pretzel Candy!
In this version, I used full size pretzel rods and kept the toppings all in the same woodland color palette: brown/camel/green. This is a wonderful casual "Fall" dessert.
1 bag Snyder's Pretzel rods
1 (12 oz) bag of Nestle white chocolate morsels
1 (12 oz) bag of Nestle semi sweet mini morsels
1 bag CK Products Toffee Crunch
1 bag CK Products Toasted Coconut Flakes
1 bag CK Products Toasted Almond Crunch
(CK Products are available at many candy & cake decorating supply stores - you can search for a retailer near you here.)
Pour toppings on separate plates. Melt 1/2 bag of white chocolate morsels in the microwave for 30 secs (repeat as necc.) stir until smooth (careful not to burn it), dip 1/2 of each pretzel rod into the white chocolate and then gently roll in one of the toppings. Place each dipped pretzel on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet is full, place it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden. Repeat for all toppings. Double or triple the batch to have a bountiful display - it looks so pretty on a table at a party, your guests won't be able to resist! Enjoy!
Monday, October 20, 2008
What? Oh, the rose is a David Austin English rose called Abraham Darby. Love it!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Fast forward a few years, and (be still my heart) John Derian has a limited edition series at...Target! I went the day it was released and bought all four melamine trays in the series. The "butterfly tray" is shown here in my living room, next to a real sea fan. I must say, this vignette makes me very happy.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I emailed Shay and asked if I could come talk to her (I had suggestions for show segments and I love needlework!). After a great visit, she invited me to watch the taping of her show a few weeks later at PBS. So cool! I sat in the "green room" section just off camera all day, chatted up the guests and had a wonderful time. What you see here is the set for her show - rows and rows of needlepoint thread. I was in heaven. Thank you, Shay!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Such a pretty sight against the bright blue sky. There was a woman on a bench just below the frame and she was concerned that by sitting there she was ruining my picture. "Oh no," I assured her, "I've got just what I need." Gorgeous, right?
So today is all about crab cakes, water taxis and breathing the ocean air.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
As promised, here is a peek inside my Swedish cabinet (shown here). An enormous light blue armoire with glass doors, it has 4 shelves overflowing with things that I love. I constantly pull things out and put things back, so it is an ever-changing work of art. See the stack of floral teacups in the back? I got those from the Easter bunny when I was in college! (Smart bunny) And the pink Fauchon tins that I brought back from Paris, those were full of tuile cigarette cookies and Brittany Kings cakes. You can see how I use them as vases here. My collection of teapots and beeswax, French salt and paper cake toppers live together in a cabinet of delight.
Friday, October 10, 2008
These candles smell heavenly too - like wax comfort. As my husband would say, these candles are the "bees knees."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Jack Frost is a genius.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Hot Cranberry Glogg
6 cups Cranberry/apple juice
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Ladle glogg into mugs (ignoring the cloves & cinnamon sticks) and enjoy.
Try this at your next card party or book club. Your friends will like trying a warm "wintry" drink...plus its fun to say "glogg."
Monday, October 6, 2008
Once I was lucky enough to find a wreath made of Indian corn at the farmer's market. So cute! Until I stored it in the garage and a pint-sized friend ate every kernel over the winter. Alas, some things aren't meant to last.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
In honor of school being in full swing, I wanted to show you a simple wall decoration that literally made me gasp. When I was in Chicago with my neighbor, Phyllis (and her Garden Club girls), her sister Maggie took us to a favorite Sunday morning breakfast spot called Flo's. As we made our way through the crowd to our table, we passed this amazing pencil display on the wall. I stopped in my tracks (paying no mind to the waiters and coat racks and patrons, oh my) and took this photograph. It was so simple, but so interesting I had to capture it.
Once we were settled, I was encouraged to order the egg sandwich (scrambled eggs, roasted red peppers and spinach basil dressing on brioche). When it arrived, it was so delicious I had a hard time keeping up my end of the conversation as I devoured my breakfast. Yum. What's your favorite breakfast spot?
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I love the look of antique quilts hung on the wall as art. This mustard and cream quilt is a beautiful example of the pattern called "Drunkard's Path" (hence the wobbling). One day I realized how neat it would look to have the quilt pattern reflected on the table. Enter a simple square mirror and a sushi bowl full of dahlias. The effect was stunning.