Birthday Celebration

Technohubby's birthday was celebrated recently.  He wanted to keep it simple...family, food, cake, presents.  The skies look threatening.


But nothing but sprinkles fell, which was good because barbecued steaks were on the menu.  Max did most of the grilling, but had a bit of help.


And then there was Colette's chocolate cake...ahhh.  She has hit upon the most delicious recipe!  The secret ingredient is coffee, which cannot be tasted, but punches up the chocolate flavor a notch or two.  Amazing!


Family, food, cake and candles, ice cream, presents.  He said it was "a good birthday!"

New Bags in the Shop

I’ve been busy sewing shopping bags for the shop.

My favorite is the Tasty Tomato Bag.


The Strawberry Bag


The Salad Dressing Bag


And the Mixed Berries Bag.


The first two are in the shop tonight, and the next two should go in tomorrow.

Triple-Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

For Easter I made Triple-Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.  Delicious!  You can read the recipe here.  One of the aspects of this recipe that I liked the most was the beautiful yellow and blue that delighted the eyes at every step.





A full cup of blueberries in each of the three layers!  Be still my heart!  And the frosting is ooohhhh so light and fluffy!  Amazing!

Antique Store Find

After returning the tiller to the rental shop a couple of weekends ago, we stopped at an antique store.  I bought a jadite bowl for the start of what will be a collection of Colette's, and The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac written by Mary Mason Campbell and illustrated by Tasha Tudor...a first edition!...for a ridiculously low price.


I love the sweet poetry within, dedicted to each month.  Here's a sample from April:

In the budding woods the April days,
Faint with fragrance from the life begun,
Where the early fluttering sunbeam plays
Like a prisoned creature of the sun,
With sweet trill or plaintive note,
Quick pulsation of a throat,
With the light and life of Spring
There the birds of April sing.

--Dora Read Goodale

Easter

Egg dyeing.


Baby cuddling.


Target practice shooting in the woods.  Part of every Easter celebration, right?  Uh...yeah.


Freshly sauteed leeks spread on the Potato Leek Gratin.  Recipe can be found here.  You'll want it!  it's delicious!


The table was set for springtime and feasting.


I hope those you love were gathered about your table, and that joy for the debt paid by Him on your behalf filled your heart this Eastertide.

Easter Menu

Planning and forethought have gone into Easter food...no actual work yet, other than grocery shopping.  Work will come later, but this is the plan.

Breakfast:

Quiche with farm fresh eggs, asparagus, and Vermont cheddar
fresh strawberries
croissants with butter and homemade jams
orange juice
coffee

Dinner

honey glazed ham
roasted red potatoes with chives (from last summer's garden), sea salt, and pepper
leek gratin
hard-boiled eggs
fresh fruit salad
homemade dinner rolls
Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake

The Beauty of Laundry


I love doing laundry!  Really.  I love the smell of clean laundry.  I love little piles of neatly folded, freshly laundered clothing.  I love toting the laundry basket from upstairs to down and back again.  I didn’t always feel that way, especially about ironing, but God worked away at my begrudging heart and now I can honestly say that I love doing laundry.  I see so much beauty in it.









Photos from: Old Sturbridge Village (MA) and the Robert Frost Farm (NH).

Been Busy Sewing...

…travel sachets.  Made from an antique grain sack and from luxurious green fabric.  Stuffed as tightly as humanly possible with lavender.  (Also available is a pair with brown fabric.)


…and another gardening smock.  This one has a toile pocket featuring gardening tools, among other beauties.  All items are in the shop.


Don’t you just love that saucy look?  She’s our dramatic child.  Can you tell?  Love that girl!

Italian Chef Salads

Take slices (1 per person) of some sort of crusty Italian bread.  Brush with olive oil and rub with a clove of garlic.


Put on a baking sheet and bake until slightly crispy, turning once.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

In a large bowl, toss together: fresh salad greens, chopped ham, chopped pepperoni, shredded mozarella cheese, chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, pine nuts, and olives.  (You’ll have to imagine those last two ingredients were in our salad, because they would’ve been good additions.)  Cut garlic toast into large “croutons” and add to salad.


Drizzle all with a moderate amount of balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing.  Serve immediately with a fork!  Delicious!

New & Improved Laundry/Sewing Room

For Christmas last year, Technohubby's gift to me was the promise of shelves installed in the laundry/sewing room.  And this week they went up!  This process involved moving everything out of the room, so there was room to work, and then putting everything back in (that was the fun part!). I could not possibly be more thrilled!  They look so much better than I ever even thought they would…and I thought they’d look great!  They have all that lovely, useful, domestic, period look that I adore!  Actually, they’re quite historically acurate because the design for them was taken from shelves in the kitchen of the Peyton Randolph House in Colonial Williamsburg.  (Peyton Randolph was Thomas Jefferson’s cousin.)  So here’s a tour of the new and improved sewing/laundry room!


Here's a closer look at the shelves.  All those baskets and boxes contain sewing notions, ribbons, patterns, and more.


All my antique canning jars full of thread have found a home.


I actually have space to work at my sewing table now!


All my sewing essentials are within arm's reach now.  Well...maybe it needs a little box full of a chocolate stash.  Must add that!


Looking back at the shelves from the sewing table:


And on another wall, I have Shaker peg railing that holds all our cleaning items: brooms, feather dusters, dust pan, fly swatter, and bucket.  I can see why the Shakers loved this peg railing so much!  Functions beautifully!  Incidently, that little silver bucket is a "leakproof" paint bucket from Home Depot (cost less than $5), and is so handy.  Perfect for mixing up a bucket of warm, soapy water for scrubbing something dirty.  Highly recommend!


I love my new space!  Makes me want to sew even more!



Jefferson and the Civics Club


Today is Thomas Jefferson's birthday.  Max's civics group holding their meeting at our house today was completely coincidental, but the patriotic civic involvement of young people was a nice way to celebrate the occassion.

There were debates on the proper and improper role of government.


And there was the all-important snack time.  We had these, shall we say "novel" cups for beverages.


What would Jefferson say?

Chocolate Therapy

We've been having a week of sad days here, related to our much loved dog.  We're getting past the tears, slowly but surely.  Chocolate makes everything better though.  Colette made this amazing chocolate cake with chocolate chips and slathered with generous amounts of homemade chocolate frosting.


And these tempting, fancy jars of gelato were calling my name too.  It used to be full of gelato.  It didn't last long.



Sweeping

When one dresses to sweep the front step, it’s such a lovely sight for everyone else in the home!



On My Plate

I feel myself pulling out of my winter cocoon.   I even tried on some of last summer’s clothes this morning just for fun.  Too cold to wear any of them, but it was fun to feel a swishy skirt instead of long johns and jeans.  Time to liven things up a bit…lighten things up a bit…shake out the cobwebs…start fresh.  This is what’s on my plate in the coming weeks:

–fruit smoothies for breakfast!

–power walks (I took a 2.5 mile one with Max today.  I told him I was taking him along as bear bait, since a bear was seen not too far away this week.  He was mildly amused.)

–cleaning out closets

–switching my spring/summer tops and pants to the top closet rack and moving the fall/winter ones down

–SPRING CLEANING!!!!

–window washing Saturday (coming this weekend)

–continuing maintaining and starting seeds

–buying more cut tulips for the dining room table (one bunch lasts a week!)

What’s on your plate?

Signs of Spring

Today it rained.  The temperature was a balmy 59 degrees, briefly.  The breeze was warmer than I’ve felt in months and carried with it the aroma of warming earth and awakening plants.  Tonight I can hear the creek rushing in the woods.


Pussy-Willow Time

 That every footprint’s now a pool,
And every rut a river cool,
Are things light vernal hearts make nought of;
For mud time’s pussy-willow time
When tender-hearted bluebirds chime,
And unborn violets first are thought of.

–Robert Frost

Seed Starting Day

The seed packets have been sitting there on my desk for quite a few weeks, just waiting for me to find time for them.


Today, Colette and I went down to the basement and got the first batch of seeds started.  Growing in their labeled rows (thus far) are: two types of tomatoes (one for eating, one for processing), three types of pumpkins (one for carving, one for processing, and mini for decorating), sunflowers, jalapeno peppers, sugar snap peas, and green beans.  These were the crops that have moderate to long maturity dates, so we got them started first.


The strart of summer's goodness.

Birthday Celebration

A birthday celebration for Felicity today!  The menu for the celebratory dinner was: pasta with grilled chicken in a garlic-cheese-cream sauce, ceasar salads, baguette, and Chianti.


Presents were wrapped in pretty, gentle, springtime colors.


God provided a lovely blue-pink sunset.


Chocolate cake with a filling of fresh raspberries and chocolate ganache, made with much love by Colette for her sister.  Zippy, striped candles added the finishing touch.


And the last candle goes out.

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