Thursday, September 26, 2013


L'autunno is Italian for Fall or autumn. A huge nostalgia comes over me in Fall. I am tempted to say it is the most beautiful of seasons but I can't because I think they're all beautiful in different ways. Fall is like the last "hurrah" to me. Of things that are about to go dormant, lose all their leaves, go to sleep. It's like they're saying to me, "I'm going out in a blaze of glory - but - I'll be back to give you joy again.............."

I'm planning to take a trip to the the Naples Grape Festival this weekend and I'll take my camera. I understand that the grapes that grow on all those Finger Lakes hills are not at their sweetest until they have been kissed by the frost. Then they're ready for harvest and wine making. I'm looking forward to this trip because I know the colors will be breathtaking. There has been no frost yet, as far as I know. But the grape pies will be what I lust after.

Here is my house's nod to Fall. Pumpkins on the front porch and a basket of orange posies on the door.

I was reminded by one of our castteam bloggers of the wonderful qualities of Mason jars. Here's her blog post about them.

They are like buried treasure to me too. I use them prolifically all around my house. On my kitchen counter to hold seeds, sweetener, tea bags, etc.

And in Studio A, to store a collection of vintage wooden spools of thread. (Studio A is where I spend most of my time during the day). It's where the desktop computer is. I have 2 worktables in there. One a weighing, packaging and mail spot and the other is multi-purpose. I stamp, make jewelry, glue, etc. on that table.

Studio B is a basement studio. I sew there and cut fabric on the pool table. This space spent many years as the "Rec Room" but now has been transformed to the sewing room.

                              Our houses go through "seasons" too, don't they?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

If the Walls Could Talk

Today I was fishing around in my brain for something to talk about here. I hope you're not bored to death with yet another visit to my shabby chic, eclectic, country chic, cozy little house. We are going to visit a couple walls.

The first one is the BABY WALL. This tiny little slit of a wall has a hat rack affixed at eye level and upon it are hung some antique baby items.

The dress I wore when I was christened back in the dark ages is hanging on the far left. Here's a close up.

All of the other items in this collection were estate sale "finds" Most are handmade. I want to point out the tiny dress on the right, just below the little bonnet. I will show you a close-up of it. These dresses are what babies were brought home from the hospital in, whether it was a boy or a girl. I know that's hard to believe nowadays because infant clothing is so gender specific of late. But in the dark ages, babies were babies. A baby boy did not usually get his first haircut until he was about 2 years old. They all wore white leather shoes. Sometimes a boot type, other times a maryjane type with a leather strap across the instep. There was no such thing as a baby wearing sneakers, or jeans. Of course, neither were there any throw away diapers. All diapers were cloth, laundered in the washer and hung out to dry.

When babies went outdoors, they always wore hats. The baby police would come and arrest you if you took your baby out in the sun without a hat on his/her wee head. And in winter, it was unthinkable.

This is what a baby might wear out in the back yard to play in the sandbox. A tiny pinafore, embroidered by her grammy or mama.

Wall #2 on our house tour today is what I call the "ancestor wall". My DH put up this wonderful ledge for me in a long hallway. The hallway is the perfect photo gallery. For the most part, the photos are framed in vintage frames. None of the photos are attached to the wall. They all rest upon the ledge. There are pictures of our ancestors dating back to the very early 1900's and up to about 1940. I just love passing by the gallery and seeing the amazing resemblances to people I see today.

Right now, if you could hum "Memories" from the musical CATS, that would be a cool way to land this aircraft.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


All year long, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, my town has a public farmers market 3 times a week. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays are pretty sparse, both people-wise and product-wise. Thursday is the day I like to go because I can actually walk through the market without getting my toes run over by someone's shopping cart and there are plenty of vendors. Saturdays are pure chaos, with vendors hawking everything under the sun (it seems). 

There's a vendor that has a huge stall and sells hundreds of one dollar items (your traveling dollar store). People sell clothing, plants, fresh fish, fresh meat, handmade designer ravioli, perogis, knock-off purses, oils, vinegars, honey, eggs, cheese, baked goods, in addition to fruits and vegetables (some exotic). 

You can get ready to eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, and wonderful coffee. Some ready-to-eat stands are outdoorsy, some are brick and mortar. There's a B/M Spanish bakery where I always treat myself to a pastry called a casita ( I don't know if I'm spelling this correctly). It's a long cylinder of puff pastry, filled with a sweet cheese filling and dusted with powdered sugar. They are always warm when I get one. They cost $1.00♥

It's fondly called "the market". Everyone will know what you're talking about even though there are many seasonal  farmers markets spread all over the metroplex.   This one has been in the same location since 1905. Most of it is covered against the weather. But often (on Saturdays) it spills over. In winter, many vendors bring heaters. 

This was my latest haul. There was even more but I had put some things in the fridge already  when I snapped this picture. I actually went to the market for lemons for my iced tea. They never made the picture nor did the head of escarole.

From the fruit and vegetables in the basket, I've been feasting for a week. With the tomatoes, I always make Caprese salad, slicing up the tomatoes in a bowl, adding as much fresh mozzarella as tomatoes, a bit of very thinly sliced red onion, and a chiffonade of basil leaves. Salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I eat that with a mini baguette, dunking it in the awesome juices.

I did add avocado (from the basket) to that Caprese salad one time. Another time, I smashed the avocado in my BLT. 

I stuffed the peppers. I'll share that recipe with you. From the eggplant, I made caponatina. This is an Italian ante pasta. You eat it room temperature, spread on bread or crackers. 

STUFFED PEPPERS: This is for 2 peppers. Wash the peppers, cut off the stem end. Remove all the veins and seeds from inside. Set aside. For the filling: ( I measure with my eyes, therefore, all amounts are approximate) I used 1 cup of cleaned and cut coleslaw from the supermarket salad section (contains just cabbage and carrots), 3/4 cup of unseasoned breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup of grated Romano cheese, 2 Tbs. of fresh or dried parsley, salt and pepper. Mix this all together and add 1 beaten egg and a drizzle of olive oil. If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit of white wine or chicken broth to it. Fill the pepper cavities with this mixture, press it down so you can get optimum filling into peppers. Put the stuffed peppers into a covered casserole with a bit of white wine or chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. Liberally sprinkle olive oil onto tops of stuffed peppers. Bake in 350 for 1.5 hours. To serve, drizzle with pan drippings.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Weddings are always great fun, no matter how elaborate or simple, how small or grand, how casual or rehearsed. That the celebration involves two people who are making a lifetime commitment to love unconditionally and cherish one another is reason enough for great  celebration. 

Nowadays, there’s such a thing as a “wedding industry”.  There are hundreds of wedding blogs, many, many wedding magazines. Even TV shows like “say yes to the dress”. There are Bridal Fairs in the cold winter months,  (before the wedding season begins) where a prospective bride can shop through a host of vendors who are all too willing to make her wedding an event to remember.  Bridal dress stores, photographers, disc jockeys, flower vendors, stationery vendors, videographers, wedding consultants, wedding jewelers, caterers and venue managers, etc.

This morning I read about a summer camp wedding on the etsy blog. It sounded like so much fun, I wish I was invited.

When I got married, a wedding was an all day affair. Beginning with a morning wedding mass and communion which required fasting. Therefore,  a wedding breakfast was served to the hungry guests. Mid afternoon, a sit down dinner was held in a local restaurant and the evening reception was all about greeting people, handing out “cordials” and cigars and dancing, dancing, dancing to a live band. There was no meal involved at the reception, but huge sheets of Italian made sliced pizza was served along with the traditional Italian “cookie cake”. This was a huge mountain of Italian sweets including fig filled cookies, crème puffs, babas, macaroons, candy covered almonds, other varieties of cookies. Because no dinner was involved, this reception was “kid friendly”. In fact, parents brought their small children, all dressed up in their wedding finery, girls with ribboned heads full of curls and boys with hair slicked down. These children then proceeded to interact with their cousins by chasing them around the huge dance floor until they were all sweaty and curls mussed up, ribbons flying and dresses untied. But they had a ball and, as adults, they would remember this wedding with warm memories.

The FARM WEDDING is one of the new style weddings, held at a venue which stages all inclusive weddings. In this case:   A FARM WEDDING. By necessity the venue is usually “out in the boonies” where they usually keep farms. A very close-by Holiday Inn provided hospitality for practically all wedding guests. A shuttle bus ran every half hour between the hotel and the farm. The rehearsal dinner was held at the hotel. While I was a guest there, I noted two other weddings taking place the same weekend as ours. Therefore this seems a perfect partnership between hotel and wedding venue. Wedding guests have to stay at the hotel because no one actually lives near the farm as it’s out in the middle of nowhere.

Because I am the Auntie of this bride, I went to the farm venue way before the wedding, to help her and the bridesmaids get dressed. We arrived at a gated property with gates wide open and a sandwich board sign announcing that the S……… and T……….. wedding is This Way. There were many farm buildings, gravel pathways, ponds, barns, chicken coops, gardens, flowered paths. Two aisles of white chairs were set up on a lawn to view the ceremony.

Upon arrival, we went directly to the Bride’s Cottage where the bride and bridesmaids would apply their makeup and get into their dresses. It was air conditioned and totally charming inside.

During that always awkward time span between the ceremony and reception during which tons and tons of professional photography takes place and guests usually twiddle their thumbs, this venue had the air conditioned barn all ready to receive guests for appetizers and beverages and the signing of the guestbook, which involved a Polaroid pic of each guest to go beside their name in the guestbook.  They have enchanting formal gardens to be explored with garden tables and chairs so you could take your refreshments outdoors if you wanted. A horse and carriage ride was available to any guests who desired to have a drive around the farm. All the while chickens and roosters are also in attendance. In fact the rooster made himself known during the ceremony in competition with the minister.

Inside the barn/reception, the huge trusses which went from floor to soaring ceiling were covered with tiny white lights. Dining tables were dressed in white linens with a burlap tied canning jar of field flowers as the centerpiece. Dinner was lovely and the DJ/master of ceremonies did a wonderful job of keeping the party moving,  interesting and fun. All of this is part of the package. I’m sure the bride and groom and parents made choices regarding the meal and the evening’s entertainment.
At the end of the evening, the MC ushered all the wedding guests outside of the big barn doors, to stand in two columns on either side of the door with various colored glow sticks. Very festive. The bride and groom passed through this crowd of well wishers and into a 1946 Ford with a “Just Married” flag on it to be driven back to the hotel.    

I totally enjoyed this experience. I do hope that one day soon you, too, will be able to attend a FARM WEDDING.