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May 2007

Corner Of My Home

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I wanted to share my door with you. For a long time it was in my living room, but then I moved it upstairs to my bathroom. It has my favorite child's apron on it. But I see now, that you can not see it well. I will take more pictures soon. The funny thing about this door is it was up in the attic of the farmhouse I use to live in. It was covered in dirt. But when I went to wash it, I did so painstakingly, so none of the chipping paint would come off. My hubby just shook his head and put it the chick file (the chick file, is all the girls things I do that confuse David :-)

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I love this mirror. It was my MIL but it was just ugly brown (I do not like brown much) wood beads. So I painted the whole thing white and wired on all these little do-das. Like old buttons, price tag, little pear, a old rose, ect. The cool thing about wiring them, is I can move each thing to my liking.

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Also look at my new little pale pink compost pail. I love it and it was only $7.00 at TJ Maxx !!!!!


Seacrow Island

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Seacrow Island by Astrid Lindgren is a book we discovered last summer. This is the same author as Pippi Longstocking and Children Of Noisy Village (another favorite). But this book is one of those children's books that is enjoyable to all. I felt it had a different tone and a bit more depth then her other books. Both Chloe and I loved it and it is a perfect summer book to read. Plus any book about a charming old run down cottage on an island, has me hooked.

" The four Melkerson children were a little bit worried the day they arrived on Seacrow Island. After all, their impractical father had rented the cottage for the whole summer without ever setting eyes on it.  And a man on the boat had told Pelle, the youngest Melkerson, that the cottage had a leaky roof. And here they are getting off the steamer and it is pouring rain.

But the needn't have worried. In spite of the cottage leaky roof, there are many pleasant surprises in store on the island. For Pelle, who loves animals, there is Bosun, the most gigantic dog he has ever seen and his irresponsible owner, Tjorven.

For John and Nicolas, there is Teddy and Freddy, who knew all about boats and exploring, even though they were girls. And for 19 year old Malin, the island is the place were she feel in-love for the first time. By the end of the summer, all four children and their father know the Seacrow Island had to remain their home."


Menu Of The Week

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I saw this yummy recipe posted on Posie Gets Cozy for seafood gratin and I am sooooo glad I tried it. We all thought we had died and gone to heaven. I use scallops, cod and mussels (it was on sale). This is a keeper recipe. Thank you Alicia xoxoxox

Since the recipe is a bit involved I wanted to sever it with a meal that I could make ahead. I got sourdough bread. The day before I steamed artichoke. I made a lemon sour cream sauce for the artichockes intead of a lemon ailoi beacuse the seafood gratin is soo rich. I like the tang of the sour cream and lemon.

For dessert I think the espresso ricotta cream with chocolate espresso sauce is a nice ending to such a  rich dinner. Next time I might try adding some chopped toasted hazelnuts. 

Lemon Sour Cream Sauce

1/2 mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 garlic clove finely chopped

zest of one small lemon

juice of half lemon

salt and paper to taste.

Whisk all together

painting by Tod Williams


Yummy Mail

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I was lucky enough to win a Rose-y friendship package from Paula On A Rainy Night. You all know how I love pink and was thrilled to win. Such lovely rose-y things. Chloe is eying the hankie and Aubern'e the rose buttons. I love the journal and mary bear card. Thank you Paula it was very sweet of you. 

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Speaking of lucky, I was lucky to be one of the first ten to purchase wallpaper parcels from Andrea at Everyday Beauty. Ohh my gosh it was soo pretty I did not even want to open it. But of course I had to. Such a lovley assortment. Actually it is soo pretty I am not even sure I want to cut into it. I am just admiring it all right now. Thank you Andrea, I love it.

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Nest Turorial

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I have gotten several e-mail about how I made the nest pictures. I decided to do a tutorial. I a used cereal box and cut off the extra part of the box. You will need soft pastels, damp paper-towel, hairspray and embellishments.

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To make the nest, I shredded a page from an old book. I just drizzled glue in a half circle and set a handful of shredded paper on the glue. DO NOT push it down. Let is dry and shake off what did not stick. Then add dabs of glue to the nest (to fill in) and do the same thing again with the shredded paper. I copied a picture of a bird from an old book and cut that out. I tore paper that looked like old wallpaper and then glue the rest. Ta-da. Very easy and fun.

PS. I am sorry for the misspelled words. I saved the pictures before checking them and do not want to redo them :-)

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Violet Spritzer

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Violet Spritzer

1 TBL. Violet Syrup

1/2 glass dry Gewurztraminer , I love Navarro gewurztraminer

1/2 glass bubble water

This is a wine spritzer with the violet syrup added. I choose a dry Gewurztraminer because of it fruity and floral character. I think it would go well with the violets. I posted a half wine, half bubble water ratio. But I have learned working at a winery that everyone taste things differently, so you need to play with the amounts to find what suits you. Also any fruity (which is different from sweet) white wine would work.

I sadly did not have any more violets to garnish my drink, so I use a pansy. But a floating sugared violet would be the perfect garnish. La-Tea-Da has the most interesting recipe for sugared flowers that does not use egg whites. Check it out.

Thank you La-Tea-Da and thank you again Joanne for sharing with all of us. I will be posting in a couple of weeks a rose syrup recipe and my all time favorite summer cocktail. So stay tuned !!


Violet Syrup

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Joanne was kind enough to let me share her recipe for violet syrup with all of you. She was inspired by a friend of hers who gave her a jar last year. Joanne says it is yummy on pancakes. I have a cocktail using the violet syrup.

Violet Syrup
Gather your violets and rinse well.
Pack them in glass jar and cover with pour boiling water.
Let sit in a dark place for 24 hours
Drain violet' using cheese cloth/sieve into a bowl. Squeeze cloth to extract all the liquids.
Measure the amount of liquid and add same amount of sugar. For instance, if you have one cup liquid, add one cup sugar. You can use less sugar but that will affect the viscosity and you will have a thin syrup.
Pour syrup in a pan and add sugar. Cook on high heat until sugar has melted.
Pour into jars.

Here is a violet tea Joanne shared. Thank you Joanne for being so gracious to share with us and to inspire us xox

 


The aftermath

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Well I have been debating what to write about mothers day after my little sermon. My mothers day weekend did not quite turn out like I dreamed. It was not that my family was not wonderful, it was just one of those weekends were one problems after another, conspires against you. Things break, bumper-to-bumper traffic, closed bridge, no sun, hurt foot, ect.

I will be honest and say I had a little cry. Then counted my lucky stars, loving family and salvaged what I could. I did get a wonderful breakfast on bed. Bagel with cream cheese, capers, chives and lox's. Fresh strawberries with yogurt and T-party tea !!!

Aubern'e made me a beautiful pencil holder and Paris card. Chloe shopped at the Christmas house. She got me lovely hankie and Mary bear ornament. (I miss Mary bear by the way). Hubby bought me this beautiful pressed glass for our bathroom and at Costco a clematis with the cool metal trellis. We are got a horse shoe game and had fun playing.

So the moral of the story is to dream, but hold onto it lightly.


Mother's Day Blessing

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Happy Mother's Day. Here is a little blessing card to save in your pictures. Just print up a small size and put it on your fridge or in your wallet or on your bathroom mirror, just somewhere. So the next time you feel overwhelmed, stretched, empty, remember you are a blessing to your family. xoxoxo


Nests

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I have been so inspired by Jennifer, Charlotte, Teresa, Lauren, Carolyn,

and a lot more of you ladies. I am a bit intimidated to work with paper, the few attempts I have tried I was not happy with. But I decided to forge ahead. I made these bird pictures for my mother, my MIL for mothers day and my sister for her birthday. The top one is mine. She is a diva but she has grace  :) Grace is my special word. I was really happy how these turned out and I plan to play more now. Thank you ladies for the motivation and for letting me share.

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I wanted to say it is so lovely to hear about how you celebrate Mothers day. I am happy to hear you ask for what you need. Hubby was able to move bills around, so I will be able to have mine this weekend. He bought me beautiful roses. I have my chocolate and mags, I would say I am off to a good start. Now what do I want for breakfast ?????? xoxoxox


The Making of a Marchioness

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When I read

"WHEN Miss Fox-Seton descended from the twopenny bus as it drew up, she gathered her trim tailor-made skirt about her with neatness and decorum, being well used to getting in and out of twopenny buses and to making her way across muddy London streets."

at Amazon about The Making Of A Marchioness, it peeked my intrest. Plus it is by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was wondering if anyone has read this? Did you enjoy it? If you have not read it, it is on-line. I love it when that happens !!!


One of my baking secrets

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    As I have said I am on a tight food budget. So I am always looking for way to make my recipes a bit more, without breaking the bank. I do this is by looking for new ways to use inexpensive ingredients. Semolina flour is one of my favorite tricks. It adds a softer texture then cornmeal or polenta but a bit more then white flour. I use it a lot in my baking.

    Pound cake is one of my favorite cakes. I love a dense but moist, fine crumb cake. I am a lazy cook and baking has been good for me because it has made me slow down and not take shortcuts. I have found some rules are really important.

   First soften the butter. I mean really soft. It will in the long run save you a lot of work. You are going to be scraping down the sides of the bowl. The softer the butter, the easier it is to do. You will not be fighting your batter so much.

    Second really let your mixer do your work for you. You want to cream that butter and sugar, so it is all nice and fluffy. This will make a big difference in you crumb. So let the mixer go the full 3 minutes (instead of for a minute on as high and say that is good enough, like I use to do  :)                                                                                     

    Lastly about scraping down the bowl, I know it is a hassle but you really want all that butter well incorporated into your batter. So just do it. You will be glad you did. I promise.

    Pound cake is really easy, just a lot of little steps. Once you have done it, it will not be a big deal. Remember it is better to have a small slice of something amazing, then a whole lot of nothing.

 

Semolina Pound Cake with Dried Cherries

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semolina flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 pound (two sticks) of softened butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

zest of a small lemon

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup yogurt

1/2 cup dried cherries or any dried fruit

 

Pre-heat oven to 325 ◦F

Butter and flour bunt or loaf pan.

Sift together flours, soda and salt and set aside.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium.

Add zest and vanilla.

Add eggs, one at a time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with each egg.

On low speed, mix in one-third of the flour mixture until flour is just incorporated. Mix in half of the yogurt. Repeat, ending with last third of the flour until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the top is light golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

This is perfect for tea, dessert, breakfast or just because.


Mothers Day Plea

 

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    I try not to give sermons on this blog (even though I do it all the time in real life) but I want to write a Mothers day plea. I am hoping this does not apply to any of you ladies but I know to many who do not get the pampering they need on Mothers day. It is usually because they do not ask for it, they do not plan for it. You know if you have a dream, it does not happen without some work and since most hubbies can not read our minds (well I know mine can't) we have to ask for what we want. We have to know what we want, we have to make it a priority.

    I will probably not be having my mothers day this weekend. It will be pushed off util next weekend (I take a whole weekend by the way, not just Sunday!) We do not have the money. Not that I need a lot but we do not have any money until pay-day. I could just suck it up and say "oh it is no problem" but that really would not be true. I would rather wait and  do it right. If I had to wait a month I would.

    I do it not just to be pampered (although I really like that part) but I do for my girls. When they grow up and (hopefully) are mothers, I do NOT want them to suck it up. I want them to feel honored, I want them to feel loved and I want them to get a break. How I live says much more to my girls, then what I say.

    So I have a dream, I have a plan. Before Mothers day I will make sure the fridge has something yummy in it for me, I will have a stack of mags. for me to read in bed, I will have let hubby know what I would like. Which will probably be a picnic somewhere and go look at a few antique stores.

    Why I am telling you all this? If you always put yourself on the back burner on Mothers day, please not do it this year. For your sake, for you hubbies sake, for your children's sake, have a dream, make a plan and ask for what you need. And if you need to wait a couple of weeks until you can do it, please do xox

    By the way this is a picture of me and hubby. David is carrying any goodies I find on the beach. He know I will shop anywhere I can ;-)


Reviews Requested

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I was wondering if any one who bought a copy of my petite magazine, would consider going to my store and writing a review. I also want to thank you, I have sold 24 issues. I have been asked when the next issue will be out. I do not have a lot of extra time and this next issue will require me to go on several photo shoots in different locations. So it will probably be the end of summer beginning of fall. But I will let you know.

You ladies are wonderful, all comments about my fireplace was very helpful. I did want to say that is was given to me to sell or keep. We are free to do what ever we want with it. I am still thinking about it.

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Also thank you Susan and Cynthia at T-Cozy for the wonderful tea. They sent me

Vintage Rose: A step back into the past! This Victorian Earl Grey is a wonderful mixture of Rose Congou, rose petals, lavender, rosemary and natural Bergamot oil. This tea has a sweet, floral taste that is adored by old and young alike.

We loved it (great packging by the way !!!) Thank you soo much xoxoxox


Menu Of The Week

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These are three favorite recipes of my families.

Chloe adores the candied salmon. I call it candied because when you grill the salmon all that sugar caramelizes. You can also bake it but it is not as good. The sugar does not caramelize.

My husband loves the spinach and garlic. We joke I do not need perfume but a little garlic behind my ears !!!

My MIL loves a flourless chocolate cake I make with cherries. I get morello cherries at Trader Joes. They are a dark sour cherry but just slightly sour.I have used several different recipes. This time I altered a recipe from Alpineberry Chocolate Intensity. It was sooo good.

I also wanted to say if you ever do not understand something about my recipe, please feel free to e-mail me.

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Candied Salmon

Salmon fillets or a whole fillet

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. freshly grounded nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Bourbon

To make paste put sugar, mustard, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix and then slowly add enough bourbon to make a thick paste. Coat salmon fillets with paste. Grill salmon or bake uncovered at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

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Garlic Wilted Spinach

3 TBLS. olive oil

3 minced garlic cloves

1 large bag of spinach, 10 oz

salt and paper to taste

juice of half a small lemon

In a pan over medium heat saute garlic for a minute or two, till somewhat tender. Then add spinach handful at a time till all spinach is wilted. Pull off heat add salt, pepper and juice to spinach.

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Cherry Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 cup bittersweet chocolate (preferably 62% cocoa), finely chopped or chips
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup juice from cherries
6 large eggs
1 tsp cherry liquor (you do not have to use the liquor if you od not have it)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup cherries, I use morello from Trader Joes. You can use jarred sour or sweet cherries

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment. (If you're using a pan with a removable bottom like a spring form, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil.)

In a saucepan over medium-high heat stir butter, salt, sugar and cherry juice until the butter is melted and add chocolate. Pull off heat and stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and liquor vigorously until blended, Then very slowly chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly.

Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits) and then pour batter into prepared pan. Randomly set cherries in batter. Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly. Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before before serving.

Painting by Leif Nilsson


Opinions needed

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Well ladies I need your opinion. Please be honest (not polite). I got this fireplace free from my in-laws. It is a plug-in fireplace from the 50s. There is a heater above and two fans (only one works) that blow the heat. Under the fake logs there is a light bulb. It is made from travertine (I think, It is very heavy). The fireplace is 42 1/2" high x 23 1/2" deep x 56" width.  Is it cool, is it tacky, is it saleble?? How much would you be willing to pay for it ?? I am debating if I should keep it or sell it. I really do not have room for it and I can not decide if I like it. I neeeeeeeeed feed back. Thank you xoxoxox

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Vintage Storybook Woods

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Well now that my blog is a year old, I can post vintage posts :-) Thank you Mrs. Cooper for the idea. I have been going through past posts and boy there is a lot. So I will now and then highlight a favorite. I loved these cake plates . I am always looking for new ways to use what I already have.

I also wanted to post about this because I have always used museum wax but started to use the gel. Well I do not like it, it does not hold well. So even though the gel is clear, get the wax instead. It works much better.

Dannielle at Princess Nimble Thimble has tagged me to pick five of my favorite blogs. Well that is just impossible. There are tooo many. I have a 149 blogs on my blog feeder. Plus I could not leave someone out and possible make them sad. So I have picked five blogs I have never mentioned on my blog before. Hopefully there will be one or two you have not seen before. Thank you Dannielle for liking my blog !!

Nicol Sayer

Folded Gingham

Live Lovely

A Number Of Things

Louise Loves Pin-Board


Christmas House !!!!!

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It is Christmas House time again. I live for these sales. I do not know what I will do when she stops having them.

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I got this fun little German cottage thermostate for $6.00. I love the mushroom and blue bird.

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These milk glass bowls I got last weekend on my trip. A $1.00 each. These will be my cereal bowl !!                                                                                 

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I Love this floral picture. It is my favorite shade of pink, blush. Not bad for $16.00.                  


May Day Basket

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We were so inspired by all the May baskets we saw on-line today, chloe and I decide to make our own. Chloe made a small May basket for the fairies and mine is the large, bombastic one. 

Thank you for the inspiration ladies xoxoxox