It's a Beautiful Drive

I drove to the post office in our little town to ship some orders today, and was so struck by the early autumn beauty. The leaves are mostly still green, but here and there are pops of color that just take your breath away!



"Come,little leaves," said the Wind one day,
"Come to the meadows with me and play.
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
For Summer is past, and the days grow cold."
- George Cooper

New and Classic Favorites in the Shop

I've been sewing my little heart out lately! And then I abruptly stopped and went to Nantucket with Collete for two days! (More on that next.)

But here's a glimpse at the new items in my shop. First is a really elegant colonial girl's gown...perfect for an autumn or Christmastime visit to Colonial Williamsburg, don't you think? Click here to see it in the shop.


And some new classics are back...my best-selling, most popular Christmas stockings ever!

Just in case you have more than a few relatives, there are 90 of these in stock. They sell out every year, and I get requests for them all year long, so this year I really stocked up! Click here to see them in the shop.


There are 30 of these in stock, with many more still to be sewn. Click here to see them in the shop.


Happy shopping!

Welcome Autumn!


Saying "hello" to autumn nights with a simple and cozy dessert! Puff pastry topped with thinly sliced apples mixed with a bit of sugar. Top with bits of butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Brush with melted apple jelly. Enjoy!

Cider Pressing Day

Certain aspects and events herald the changing from summer to autumn here in New England. The appearance of pots of mums on granite doorsteps. Piles of pumpkins at the farmstands. Heaps of just delivered firewood ready to be stacked. And, for our family, attending our friends' cider pressing party...a delicious sign that autumn is just around the corner. And today was the day!

They have a lovely farm high atop a hilltop, and there we all gathered to press heirloom apples from their orchard.




The apples had been picked and delivered by the cartload to the pressing area.


Then they were moved into huge, galvanized tubs and given a fresh bath.


Then they moved on to one of the two presses...a motor-driven press or a hand-crank press.



Liquid gold deliciousness!


Favorite photo of the day! Photo credits to Colette.


So blessed by the generosity of our friends! We came home with four jugs of fresh-pressed cider...one for now, and three for the freezer.

Sunflowers in full bloom by the barn?...just another sign that the seasons are changing!


The Original Boston Cream Pie

I volunteer with our town's historical society. And tonight we're having a speaker on our town's link to the famous Parker House Hotel in Boston. Feeling inspired, all of us lady volunteers decided we should make Boston Cream Pie for the dessert portion of the evening, since the Parker House Hotel created that recipe and is famous for it.

But only I...yep, just me...was crazy enough to attempt the original recipe. It has consumed two days of my life, and involved two trips to the store (have I mentioned that the nearest grocery store is a 30 minute drive?), and learning some new skills. Did you know it's possible to whip egg yolks to peaks? Yes, it is. But the peak of an egg yolk is a smooth ribbon running from your beater, not a stiff peak like an egg white. 

It also involved a lot of folding of ingredients into other ingredients, ever so lightly, so as not to lose it's lightness. And I did it authentically, with a wooden spatula, as the recipe specified.


But in the end, I think I have succeeded! Due to a sweetening of the palette over time, I think people will find it not as sweet as they are used to, but the cake is suitably sponge-y, the custard suitably egg-y (sort of like a creme brulee), and the chocolate topping...well, I substituted ganache for the original recipe's fondant...so it will be sublimely chocolate-y.


If you are feeling ambitious, here's the link to the recipe on the hotel's website.  Or, you can just stop in a the Parker House Hotel next time you're in Boston and sample theirs. It's the best! I tip my hat to the chef who makes those little individual ones every day!

Hikers, Hotel Grandeur, and a Bear

When Max isn't working, he can usually be found hiking some peak in the White Mountains this summer. Last weekend, he and two hiking buddies were feeling ambitious and made plans to hike 10 peaks in the Presidential Range. In case you're wondering, that's approximately 25 miles of hiking...in one day...up hill and down hill. And they did it! They started in the dark and they finished in the dark. The only little glitch in the plan is they couldn't finish where they started, so they needed someone to come and fetch them from their finish spot and return them to their car at the starting spot. So, I was asked if I could do that for them.

Hubby was busy replacing our deck stairs, so Colette and I quickly and eagerly agreed, because we knew we could hang out at the Mount Washington Hotel and wait for the call to come get them. And any chance to linger there is okay with us!

But first, we went to see the charming little town of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. (As an aside, on the way we spotted the headquarters of Garnet Hill! Who knew they were based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire? And they have an outlet! Sadly, we arrived just as they were closing, so I'm putting that on my "must visit" list!) But I digress, on we went to Sugar Hill. This town is most known for it's charming church, cozy bed and breakfast inns, and its lupine festival. The lupine festival is on my "must visit" list too.

We easily found the church and walked all around it admiring the architecture and the hydrangeas in full bloom. My car is parked behind this church...between the church and the woods...remember that.


We returned to our car, drove around that driveway, and back out onto the street, passing the church and the woods on our right. And just then(!)...a bear ran out of those woods and straight across the road in front of our car. "BEAR!" I shouted. Then we realized that we had been very close to that bear. That was a little frightening, but at the same time we were quite thrilled to see a bear, since it was the first time we'd seen one since moving here. 

Then it was on to the Mount Washington Hotel! 


Here's a little bit of its history from their website:
The Mount Washington Hotel was built by New Hampshire native Joseph Stickney, who made his fortune in coal mining and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Stickney spared no expense in building the imposing hotel. The latest design and construction methods were used. Innovative and complicated heating and plumbing systems were installed. To this day, the Bretton Woods Hotel has its own private telephone system and Post Office.

Ground was broken in 1900 and construction was completed in 1902. Two hundred and fifty Italian craftsmen, skilled in masonry and woodworking, were brought to Bretton Woods and housed on the grounds. A new type of power plant served reliably for over 50 years.
Imported china, hand-colored postcards and playing cards and a 1917 travel guide show genteel mementos of an elegant legacy. On July 28, 1902, the front doors of this Grand Hotel opened to the public with a staff of no less than 350.
- See more at: http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/bretton-woods-mount-washington/property-details/history#sthash.wxoyWJjS.dpuf



The hallmark of the Mount Washington Hotel is its enormous wrap around porch. A seat on any one of its wicker chairs affords a sweeping view of the surrounding mountains.  Ahhh...I could sit there forever!



The elegant lobby of the hotel.


I've now discovered my favorite place to eat. I love outdoor seating, but have you ever noticed that finding one where you can't hear traffic noise is almost impossible? And here?...zero traffic noise. None. Just the quiet majesty of the mountains beyond.


The view to the left of our dining spot. Ahhh.


It was a bit chilly after dinner, so we sat by the fire, under the watchful eye of the moose.


At long last, the call from the tired hikers came, and we picked them up from their finish spot. We'd picked up some sandwiches from Subway for them on our way up north, and kept them cold in a cooler. I didn't know foot-long subs could be inhaled that quickly! Hungry, tired, and victorious!



Labor Day Plans

Squam Lakes, New Hampshire
Plans for the long weekend:
-pick tomatoes
-make spaghetti sauce for the freezer
-pull weeds and tidy up the garden and yard
-deadhead perennials
-ship orders
-finish 35 Christmas stockings currently on my sewing table
-go antiquing while hubby is at the gun show; have dinner out together
-farmers' market
-enjoy the blessings of the Sabbath
-watch Colette walk in a Labor Day parade
-host a cookout for about for about 15-20 of us

Happy to report that the first five things on that list were accomplished today!  What are your plans for the long weekend?

Colonial Girl's Costume

Last week's sewing project is finished, photographed, and in the shop! And I must say, an ensemble like this would've made my heart sing as a little girl!...with real silk ribbons!

Click here to see it in the shop!



September


A fresh bouquet of late summer flowers to welcome the first day of September. Autumn is just around the corner!
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