Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Good Book..."A Fine Romance"

Lemon Butter Cookies from "A Fine Romance" by Susan Branch
1 cup butter, softened
2/3  cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1-1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch
sugar crystals

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and zest, until smooth; add dry ingredients; mix until just
incorporated.  Use waxed paper to shape and roll dough into two 8-inch logs, (about the width of a cookie.)
Wrap in "cling film: (plastic wrap) & refrigerate for an hour or so.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Slice cookies about 1/4 " thick; put on ungreased cookie sheets; sprinkle on sugar crystals
(or roll the logs in sugar before cutting).  Bake 15 min., until slightly golden.
Cool on waxed paper.  Makes about 40 cookies.  Can be rolled out and cut with cutters into
teapot or heart shapes. 

As Susan Branch says, "Just Yummy with a special cornmeal crunch!"

Blueberry Scones
 Don't tell anybody they are from a
mix from King Arthur Flour.  You can't make any better
than these.  Easy and so, so good!

A beautifully illustrated and hand-written book
by Susan Branch which chronicles her journey on the
Queen Mary II and visit to England is a delight to read.

I know two sisters who are from England.  One met her husband
during WWII.  These lovely ladies still have their wonderful accents.
I will be delivering these little "tea time packages" to each of them in just a bit!
It will be a nice surprise for two nice ladies!

As you can baking on this Saturday morning was inspired
by this book!

Monday, May 26, 2014

An Observation of a Neighbors Family Picnic!

There won't be a picture included in this posting.  You must use your imagination of kinder, gentler days gone by. 

My neighbors, who have 5 children, greatly fascinate me.  They are a real family unit.  This little family consists of a Mom and Dad along with 2 sons and 3 daughters.  The children all have the names of great grandparents and grandparents.  Each has a unique name.  You might say old fashioned.  Yes, that's what I'd call them. 

These children play outdoors from morning until dark the way I used to when I was a child.  They are exploring, making believe and discovering nature all the while being barefoot, footloose and fancy free.  We have a pond in our backyard and so their little voices echo and the sounds of games are magnified.  I can hear when they say, "I don't like this game." or "Let's pretend...!"  Computer games aren't in their daily diet of things to do.  Instead, they are being kids.  What a special childhood they are having.  Do they know it?  I don't think so but someday they will look back on days like this, the start of the summer, and smile. 

Parents and friends are sitting at a picnic table with a few umbrellas scattered around the yard.  Dogs are barking, hot dogs are cooking, friends and family members are sitting on lawn chairs listening to conversations, the voices of happy children and an occasional bird or two. 

I go outside to listen to the sounds of summer and a day that will be cherished in the memory of a child for years to come.  If only more families were like my neighbors, I believe the world would be a better place. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hummingbirds...Bring Happiness and Color to Your Garden!

I found this pretty pot up in my garage.  Just by coincidence, it has
hummingbirds on it!  Just the other day, my friend, Tracy and I
were talking about attracting birds and all of the ones that come to our
feeders. She has hummingbird feeders and I used to have them. 
So, after finding the pot and our discussion, I decided to fill the pot
with hummingbird attractors. I went to the local nursery!  There I found a wonderful
assortment of hummingbird attractors. 
Temari Verbena in Cherry Red  - Temari Verbena is an annual that
thrives in hot and is cold hardy temperatures to 14 degrees F.   Plant in full sun, avoid soggy soils
and fertilize once a month.

Cherry Red Verbena on the right. 
On the left some Starcluster Rose Pentas which will provide clusters of flowers
all season long.  They are low maintenance plants and limited deadheading
is required!

"Carnival" Coleus on the left is a vibrantly colored foliage.
It has wonderful shades of red, pink, purple and lime green.
The Coleus really compliments the colors of the pot and
other flowers. 

Do you love Hummingbirds?  In addition to a feeder,
you can stop by your local nursery and pick up flowers that
will bring hummingbirds to your deck or garden all summer long.

A suggestion:  Don't forget to look at the stick labels in each plant. 
They provide a wealth of information about their care. 

Victorian Fineries

Meet Carole Shaw of Victorian Fineries!
If interested in contacting Carole, please email me at and I will put you in touch with her.
I am building a collection of Carole's superb work.

Carole Shaw is a very talented lady from Worcester, Massachusetts.
Carole's specialty is turning vintage fabrics, trims and buttons into
pillows, table runners, pocketbooks and so much more!

Here is a photo of one of my latest Carole Shaw pieces. 
Chickens, sunflowers, daisies complete the color pallet of
yellows, beige and greens. 

This is the first table runner I purchased several years ago. 
Notice the pies, baskets, cherries and flowers...
ALL things I love!

The "Strawberry" motif pillow is one of my favorites. 
Vintage handkerchiefs, buttons and even needlepoint grace
this masterpiece made by Carole!

On Saturday, I bought this pillow from Carole.  I especially love
the linen centerpiece.  Notice the little dog drying dishes and
the one which broke into 3 pieces after having been dropped!
I bought this one because I love to do dishes.  After all...we visit
with our things when we clean them all.
On the back of this piece is a patchwork quilt!

Beautiful buttons can be found on Carole's pieces. Here's a
pretty one on the corner of my latest runner.

Can you see the slices of pie on this runner? 
Everyone loves my pies...time to bake
Strawberry Rhubarb pies!!

Notice the needle work...small evenly spaced stitches, trim and buttons
make this piece so special.

You will be able to find Carole at an event on the
Common in Grafton on Saturday, June 21st!

Once you see her beautiful fineries, you'll be hooked just as I am!

Did I mention her gorgeous heart-shaped pillows and baby pillows
which can be put in the nursery on the rocking chair?  You must see...
You Must, You Must!!