Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Double Double Toil and Trouble

William Shakespeare

from Macbeth

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches. _

1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.

3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!

1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go; In the poison'd entrails throw.— Toad, that under cold stone, Days and nights has thirty-one; Swelter'd venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i' the charmed pot! _

ALL. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. _

2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,— For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. _

ALL. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. _

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Great Idea

(Courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Pumpkin Shake

A can of filling often yields more than what's required for a pie. That extra puree, however, is just enough to blend into a delicious milk shake. Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin puree with 1 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup milk, and a pinch of cinnamon. Pumpkin fans will deem this creamy treat reason enough to open a can.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Nice Long Bath

(Photos Courtesy of Jupiter Images)
_Never underestimate the value of a nice long bath. Of course it's all the better with bubbles and scents added. Don't forget the candles and bring a cup of tea or some other refreshing drink. There are so many options for tubbing these days - organic herbal bath teas, body scrubs, sea mineral soaks, even body polish. I like to shop Organic Bath Co. for online purchases. I especially love the Lavender/Vanilla Bubble Bath Petals. I have really sensitive skin so I have to be careful about what I use and these products make my skin feel wonderful and soft. I actually found it via Real Simple Magazine. Of course another great reason I buy these products is because they are organic - since most of what you apply on your body is absorbed through the skin into your blood - and it's also another way to support sustainable agriculture while getting some great new things for your bathtub time.
Definition of aquadextrous :.
1. (adj.) Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fill In The Blanks

I love the smell of - rain.

I love the sound of - geese calling as they fly overhead.

I love the taste of - a Cafe' Mocha from the Flying Goat with extra whipped cream.

I love the sight of - my kids smiling back at me when I smile at them.

I love the feel of - a cozy bed after a long day.

(Photos Courtesy Of Jupiter Images)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Randy Paush's Last Lecture

This is a wonderful inspirational lecture given by Randy Paush a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University— he is dying. He is suffering from pancreatic cancer, which he says has returned after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Doctors say he has only a few months to live.

Watch Randy's "Last Lecture" - Courtesy of the Oprah show.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Candy Corn

Whether you like candy corn or not it really would not be Halloween without it. Remember the old trick - "Mom...I lost my tooth", or kids would put them under their upper lip and... instant vampire teeth. I see candy corn mania everywhere. As costumes, earrings, mugs, t-shirts, well...you get the picture and everyone has an opinion about them. I recently saw a clip on Noggin called - I Don't Like Candy Corn (scroll down to watch it). By the way - apparently it has been around since 1880 - 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold each year - and October 30th is National Candy Corn Day. So whether your a fan or not I think candy corn is here to stay.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

John William Waterhouse

(The Magic Circle - 1886)___________________________(Boreas - 1903)
(Lady of the Shallot - 1888)
(Ophelia - 1889)

I love the work of John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). There is a magical feminine elegance to them. They are also mysterious and haunting - fitting to the season. My two personal favorites are The Magic Circle and Boreas but it's so hard to choose one over the other. To my eye they are all wonderful!!

To view all of his paintings on-line go to

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cute Project - By Jennifer Murphy

Making the body and head:
1. Cut two orange felt circles 4" and 5.5" in diameter.
2. With heavy waxed thread or dental floss doubled over and knotted at one end, run a gathering stitch around the outside of the smaller circle.Leave open. This will become the head for your pumpkin man.
3. Pack a small ball of Excelsior (wood shavings) in a ball slightly larger than the desired size for the finished head.
4. Place the excelsior ball into the felt circle. Pull thread tight. While holding the felt ball stitch around the opening again and knot closed.You may need to stitch around the opening a third time to pull the opening closed securely. Clip thread.
5. With black floss, sew lines onto the head running the thread from the bottom opening to the center top of the head.
6. Repeat above steps for the larger circle to make the body.Making the Face:While everyone can create their own expression for their Jack-O-Lantern, here are the instructions for making one like mine!
7. Cut 2 small triangles for eyes. Place triangles on head and secure with a drop of glue, and stick small black pins to hold in place and look like eyes.
8. Use another black pin in the middle of head for nose.
9. Cut a strip of felt about 1" long with pinking sheers, cut the bottom off in a crescent shape. Stick in place with a dab of glue. Temperately hold in place with pins.Assembly:
10. Cut a piece of heavy wire about 2" long. Stick one end into the bottom of the head. With a large needle make an opening in the top of the body. Fill the opening in the head with glue and stick the two pieces together.
11. Make another opening in the body with the large needle for the pipe cleaner arms and legs. You may need to "thread" the needle with the pipe cleaner to get them to easily come through the body.12. Cut the arms for desired length. Fold the pipe cleaner legs in half and push the end back into the body. If you are using fluffy pipe cleaners trim the ends be more slim. Bend into place.Final Touches:
13. Trim a small velvet leaf into a bow tie shape. Place a small brad or gold pin in the center and press thisinto the pumpkin at the base of his neck. Dab a little glue onto the back to hold in place.
14. Place the rest of the brads or pins as buttons down the front of the pumpkin. Glue as needed.
15. Cut down another fabric leaf to about 1/2" leaving the long wire end attached. Bend about a 1/4" below the leaf.Make an opening in the top of the head, and with a dab of glue stick the leaf and wire into place. Once dry, spiral the wire around a needle.
16. Create your paper greeting for your pumpkin to hold... glue in place.


I saw this project on Martha yesterday and thought it was so cute. The design is by Jennifer Murphy who also has ready made pieces for sale on her eBay site .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today Is Blog Action Day

Simple Ways To Help The Environment
I try to follow this rule. 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.

I always take a cloth bag or shopping tote everywhere with me for quick errands or small shopping excursions.

I pick up one piece of trash off the ground every day. If everyone did this simple task think of the impact that would have.
I also try to avoid buying products that have a lot of packaging. This can be difficult when buying for kids - especially toys- but I have found when you look around there are lots of options out there.
Recycle - Recycle - Recycle - The energy saved by recycling 1 aluminum pop can is enough for a television to run for three hours.


(Photos Courtesy Of Jupiter Images)

I found this info on the Pottery Barn website helpful. I'm trying to learn more about design these days. This explains decorating with color in a simple and straightforward way.

Color can transform a room. Simply adding a bright pillow or vibrant rug instantly changes the look and feel of a space. By understanding color principles, you can create color combinations for your entire home - with confidence.


The color wheel is to a decorator what the T-square is to an architect: an invaluable tool for making decisions and finding solutions. If you don't have a color wheel, take a quick drive to your local paint store to get one as a reference tool. The circular diagram shows relationships between colors and offers a standard formula for decorating. Colors of the rainbow are organized equidistantly around the wheel so you can see at-a-glance the relationship between different color schemes.


Every color of the rainbow originates from red, yellow or blue, the strongest forms of all colors.


Secondary colors are made up of equal amounts of different primary colors. For example, green is a combination of blue and yellow. Violet, pink and orange are also secondary colors.


The mixture of one primary and its closest secondary color: blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange and yellow-green.


Start playing around with color combinations to see the different effects. Try combining complementary colors - those that reside directly across from one another on the color wheel - to create pleasing, dramatic results. Experiment by layering in a third or fourth color to create an even more dynamic scheme.


When decorating a room, you want a space that's lively without being overwhelming. High-contrast colors create interest and drama. Neutrals and soft colors create harmony and balance. Experiment with mixing and matching different colors on the color wheel. Create harmony by using a backdrop of whites or neutrals, which provide the eye with visual relief and prevent the overall effect of your room from feeling too busy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time For Soup

I found a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup on the Williams Sonoma website and thought I'd give it a try. It's raining today and I'm in the mood to light the fireplace and cook up some soup. I would love to serve it in the cute little harvest bowls (shown above) - unfortunately shopping at Williams-Sonoma isn't in the plans.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Tbs. olive oil
5 oz. pancetta, cut into small dice
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 sprig fresh sage leaves
3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
32 oz. butternut squash puree
1 1/2 Tbs. Marsala wine
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
Lightly whipped cream for garnish
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

In a stockpot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towellined plate; reserve the oil in the pot. Add the onion and sugar to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and slightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sage sprig and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and squash puree and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the sage sprig and discard. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Add the Marsala and season with salt and white pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat. Using an immersion blender (I just use a regular blender), puree the soup until smooth, then whisk in the cream. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Garnish with the pancetta, a dollop of whipped cream and hazelnuts. Serves 6.
Note - I made the Butter Squash Puree from this recipe.

Butternut Squash Puree
2 butternut squash (about 1 pound each) 4 tablespoons softened butter, divided Salt and pepper, to taste 1 orange, zested 3 tablespoons orange blossom honey Pinch ground cinnamon
Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds and strings. Rub the insides with 2 tablespoons softened butter; season with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting pan, skin side down. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until fork tender (this always seems to take more than double the time indicated). Remove the squash from the oven, scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor. Add the orange zest, honey and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Puree until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Pulse a few times to incorporate.
(Of course I have to double the entire recipe for my family)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Halloween Is Almost Here

I love Halloween - it really is my favorite time of year. If you spot a porch with fog rolling across it and scary music playing - that might be my house. We've decided to do a gothic - victorian - vampire thing this year. I've been searching everywhere for inspiration. Martha Stewart is always good for ideas. I also found a few blogs that have helped - one being - At Home With Kim Vallee. I'm still searching around before I hit the stores - local and internet -and head out to my favorite pumpkin patch.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Beautiful Pink Photos

One of my absolute favorite blogs - the one that inspired me to design my own blog -housemartin - recently posted a link to a photographer by the name of Janne Peters. Her photos are so stunningly beautiful that I just stared at them in amazement for the longest time.

In honor of breast cancer awareness month I thought I'd post some of her pink prints. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I could talk for hours about Frida Kahlo - her life and art. I was lucky enough to see a showing of her work some years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and I just found out there is another exhibition coming to the same museum on June 14, 2008 – September 28, 2008. I can hardly wait!! It will be in celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth and there will be approximately 50 paintings on display. In the meantime - I found a wonderful little children's book about Frida (in English). It is titled Frida - by Jonah Winters. The lyrical and inspired text is a wonderful introduction to Frida Kahlo for all young (and not so young) readers.
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