Friday, September 28, 2007

Charlie Chaplin- Table Ballet

(The Gold Rush)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rice Bowls

I just couldn't resist these rice bowls and spoons I found at Pearl River. My kids love to eat rice!! I think they are so adorable and versatile. I'm sure they will get lots of use - cereal - soup - as well as rice.

I also picked up some bowls and chopsticks for the adults!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bauer Pottery

I love beautiful pottery!! I've been collecting antique ringware Bauer Pottery for some years now. Many of the pieces I received as gifts. Some I found on eBay, and a few pieces I just happened upon (but this is a rarity). I love the vibrant colors and texture.

The new Bauer Pottery Company makes pieces based on the old styles. I think they do a wonderful job and I'm sure these will become collectibles - just as the originals have.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is the MSC?

Marine Stewardship Council

The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent, global, non profit organization set up to find solutions to overfishing. Look for this label (above) or go to the following website and click on - where buy - to find a list of stores and brands that have the "MSC Blue Label". You'll be surprised to know that not only does Whole Foods stock these products but so does Safeway, Target, and others.

We all need to support fishing practices that ensure the ecological health of the ocean and the abundance of marine life. By simply buying seafood with this label you are sending a big message and it's one step towards helping our oceans survive.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Kitchen Hearth

I know women must have been terribly overburdened laboring over a fire cooking for their families each and every day but I have always been so drawn to these old kitchens with the wonderful hearths.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

WGHB Classical Performance

I don't know how would survive without my daily dose of Classical Performance. I found it years ago on iTunes Podcasts. Aside from the fact that playing the podcast using iTunes is absolutely free - all of the podcasts as free as well. Amazing!! You can keep or delete selections as you choose and transfer them to your iPod (free) if you own one. I subscribe to various podcasts - Book Review - Relaxation for Sleep and Epicurious - but my favorite by far are the classical selections offered by WGHB. I open a new classical arrangement each morning - already delivered and waiting - and I'm in music heaven.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

French Soap

This is the absolute best soap on the planet - Pre de Provence - my personal favorite is Linden but I was given Peach as a gift a few months back and I loved it. So did my 18 years old son, apparently, as it quickly disappeared even though I was trying to keep it out of sight.

The product description reads as follows:
Pre de Provence is the finest line of soaps made in the world today. Manufactured to exacting old-world standards by skilled craftsmen with the heritage of centuries to guide them, these soaps use only the purest ingredients, including genuine herbal poultices and the finest essential oils. Made in France with scents formulated by perfumers in Grasse, Provence. Each luxury soap bar is stamped with the Pre de Provence brand name and the name of the scent. They generate rich, bubbly lather, and are extremely long-lasting, gentle on the skin and fragranced beautifully.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Little Women trailer (Winona Ryder)

Little Women (The Movie)

I've seen three movie versions of Little Women. The one with Katharine Hepburn as Joe (1933), June Allyson as Joe (1949), and the third with Wynonna Rider as Joe (1994). Although I love to watch Katharine Hepburn - my favorite is the 1994 attempt. Susan Sarandon plays the part of Marmy, Claire Danes is Beth, and the list of well known actors goes on - even if that is a little too Hollywood. Overall it does a great job with a story about family, love, and the struggle of young women to find their voice. Joe's character is also captured pretty well and the whole movie really hinges on that. It's just one of my favorite feel good movies. Definitely a chick flick, I'd say. I thought that this year my 9 year old daughter might be able to appreciate it as well - so I put it in my Netflix queue -and it arrived today. Tonight we will watch it together with a big bowl of popcorn. I hope it inspires her to want great things for herself in this world. Anyhow, that's my plan.

Little Women - By: Louisa May Alcott

Monday, September 17, 2007

Audubon's Birds of America

When my two oldest boys were young I had a beautiful small hardback book called Audubon's Birds of America that I kept on a little table next to the bathtub. The book was filled with wonderful images of birds living in their natural habitat. Today - as I was watching a show about the life and history of John James Audubon - both of my teenage boys wandered through the living room, noticed those pictures, and remembered that book. They both asked what ever happened to it, and I told them that after years of sitting safely next to the tub, one day - sadly - it had fallen into the water and was ruined. That got me thinking. I need to find and purchase that same little book and put it that same spot so that someday my 3 younger kids will recall and possibly appreciate those prints as a distant but fond childhood memory... just like my boys. If it meets with the same end - c'est la vie! The pictures are wonderful - filled with amazing detail - and considered one of a kind works of art. I found it on some vacation we took many years ago, fell in love with it, and spent many long baths relaxing and looking at those lovely prints.
Links -

Friday, September 14, 2007

Understanding the Color Wheel, and Design

____________________________________________________ __ (Photo Courtesy of Jupiter Images)
OK, I know the basics about color and design and I try to follow them but websites like Benjamin Moore and Valspar/Lowes help so much. You can sit and experiment with new color combinations for hours. The possibilities seem endless. My favorite home design shows are Room Service and Design Inc. with host and designer Sarah Richardson. I've found a lot of inspiration watching her go from house to house and room to room transforming something ordinary into something beautiful. I know what style I like - classic with a cottage feel and a romantic touch. I know what colors I'm drawn to - whites and creams, pale blues and pale yellow/greens, and warm orange/yellows, but selecting a scheme and bringing it all together is the trick. I also live in a 1950's ranch style home so I have to work within the limits of that original design. I do believe that your home also should reflect the people who live there - so it's going to have a mix of eclectic but loved items collected or gifted through the years. I try to follow the 60, 30, 10, rule -60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color, 10% of an accent color. Translated to a room setting, it typically means: 60% of the room's color is the walls, 30% of the room's color is the upholstery, 10% of the room's color is an accent piece or a floral arrangement. The dining room is the 1st project on my list and it is a tiny space that must seat lots of people. I've been collecting lots of ideas over the years but now it's time to get to work.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


(Courtesy of Country Home)
As far as I'm concerned all the other seasons take a back seat to autumn. As the hot weather of summer lingers into the beginning of September I begin to go a bit insane. Where is autumn? I look for all the signs and then suddenly it appears. The cool night air returns and we are all scrabbling for our blankets. The wind picks up and the smell of the first fireplaces being lit loft through the air. I can hardly wait for the leaves to change color and begin to fall - rustling in the breeze - and of course pumpkins and Halloween are everywhere. This is also the time of year sends me into a cooking frenzy. Something I normally regard as a chore becomes my favorite thing to do. I begin to search for new recipes and preparing the old favorites. One being Pumpkin Pancakes - yum... As the kids begin to circle the kitchen like a hungry pack of wolves waiting for what comes next - I am filled with the feeling of possibility - and all is right with the world.
Favorite Pumpkin Pancakes
Whisk 1 and 1/4 cups of all purpose flour; 2 tablespoons sugar; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; and a pinch of ground cloves. In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup milk, 6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 egg; fold mixture into dry ingredients. Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat; pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side. Makes 8 to 10.
Of course I have to double this recipe for our family.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Not Disney's Alice

Yesterday my 9 year old daughter brought home the book - Through The Looking Glass - from her grade school library. I took one look at it and I was in heaven. The book had all the original illustrations by John Tenniel that were published with the book in 1871. I love these pictures so much. Apparently the original engravings were done on a wooden block and then transferred to metal plates for printing. Over the years these metal plates deteriorated losing much of the fine details of the drawings and the wooden blocks were thought to be lost. In 1985 the original blocks were discovered in a London bank vault. This allowed the books to be printed exactly as the originals had been. There is just something about these drawings as well as the ones in - Alice In Wonderland - that make the story come to life in a un-Disney like way that I appreciate. Not that I'm knocking the Disney version. I grew up with that and it has its nostalgic value but it can't compare with the original text or the original illustrations - in my opinion.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So Far So Good

We've been trying our best to follow this idea -
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic. If not ORGANIC, then Family farm. If not FAMILY FARM, then local business. If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.
So far so good.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tasha Tudor

I discovered Tasha Tudor in a 1992 Victoria magazine article - which I still have. I was mesmerized by the pictures of her and her life and I was hooked. I'm sure many women out there had the same reaction as I did - I wish I had that life. She is a beloved illustrator and lives as if it were 1830 on her Vermont farm. You really have to see the pictures of how she lives to appreciate it. Her garden, her clothing, her daily life - she seems to have found some magic way to live in this modern world. She even makes her own candles to light her home. Her illustrations are wonderful and go perfectly with her lifestyle and are reminiscent of a bygone era. She turned 91 in 2006 and I've heard there is going to be an auction in November 2007 of some of the antique clothing she has collected and worn through the years. She is truly one of a kind.

Friday, September 7, 2007

English Lavender

I have always had a thing for Lavender. There is nothing more beautiful to me than a field filled with Lavender. My favorite variety is English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolias). I began to study all the varieties several years ago along with lots of other herbs. I experimented with growing, and drying, and cooking with different types. Where I live all the varieties grow pretty heartily. I finally settled on English as my personal favorite. This variety is definitely great for culinary purposes as is Provence Lavender (Lavandula x intermedia) my second choice. Of course there are many others used for decoration and soaps, potpourri, etc. There are also many places on the Internet to buy organic lavender products and get information. One I have used is Mountain Valley Growers . I am currently designing a new herb garden for the spring but I dream of the space to plant endless rows of lavender.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Seafood Choices

I watched a show on PBS last night called - Farming the Seas - it was so well done. It examined the decline of marine fisheries worldwide and efforts being made to restore them. Here is link offered as a best and worst seafood choices. There is also a link on that page for a pocket version as well ( The show was done by Habitat Media and was the sequel to Empty Oceans, Empty Nets. Both of these films are excellent. I'm am slowing beginning to learn about the effects globalization has had on the world and the big picture.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Results

P.S. The cupcakes peeled right out of the "Sili Cups" with absolutely no sticking or mess. I put them directly into a muffin tin but the instructions said you can set them directly onto a cookie sheet since they are free standing.

Lost Produce

I've been very interested in the support of local farmers for some time now but I began to think about it once more after watching a documentary called Broken Limbs: Apples, Agriculture and the New American Farmer.

The plot is as follows - BROKEN LIMBS explores hopeful stirrings within agriculture, and outlines ways in which any individual can play a role in saving America’s farmers. The film presents the stories of farmers attempting to create this new model for agriculture and emerging, more sustainable solutions to the crises of recent years – solutions applicable not just to apples and not just to farming, but to nearly any sector of the American economy troubled by the effects of consolidation and globalization.

Then the other the day the subject came up again when I read an article in our local paper about one of our own historic farms -Imwalle Gardens - established in 1886 by the Imwalle brothers. They were German immigrants who came to Santa Rosa and found the fertile fields along the Santa Rosa Creek a profitable place to grow vegetables. We have shopped there many times but more as a lark than as regular customers. I now realize the need to support this farm with our regular business. It is not only important for us to know exactly where our food comes from but as the documentary suggested - we have our own Dr. and Dentist and we can also have our own Farmer. I love this idea!! Another great thing is that the Imwalles buy from other small local farmers to supplement their own supplies which makes it even better. I'm going to continue to look for ways to support these and other local businesses . While progress is important and necessary - community and continuity also have importance. I can't imagine what would it be like to drive down W 3rd st. and not come across that small oasis of land growing lots of yummy things amidst the houses and I don't want to.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


With the first meeting of Girl Scout Troop 318 fast approaching - I thought I would begin getting things together to make welcome cupcakes. I found these cool reusable silicone baking cups at Sur La Table and some mixes by none other than my fav Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa. I also found some colorful sprinkles. I like may others am currently into the cupcake craze!! One blog I frenquent disscusses nothing but cupcakes.

reading, relaxing and planning

Sept. 4, 2007

Monday, September 3, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007

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