Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Pizzelles is an old Italian family recipe. We make these sweets for celebrations like graduation parties, Christmas parties, even weddings. The recipe I'm going to share with you came to me from my Aunt - my father's sister - I always called her Mimi because I couldn't pronounce her name when I was little. The name stuck. Everyone called her Mimi. This is her recipe but there are probably as many pizzelle recipes as there are Italian families.

First thing you need is a pizzelle iron

I rub the paper that wrapped the margarine over the grill so my pizzelles won't stick. They never do. The new pizzelle irons today have non-stick surfaces. I heat mine up before adding a tsp. of batter to each side of the press. Close the press and bake for about 30 seconds then remove them to the parchment or wax papered table surface to cool completely. 

Mimi's recipe written in her own had - no directions - she expected me to know that

If you don't know that already: you beat the softened margerine (I use margarine instead of butter) and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the eggs then orange juice or other flavoring of your choice. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add them to the wet ingredients about a third at a time. You may have to apply elbow grease to the final mixing because batter may be too dense for your beater.
I cool mine completely before stacking - this makes them stay crisp

when cooled they can be stacked for storage
sugared and ready to party

This recipe yields approximately 100 pizzelles.

The orange juice flavors the pizzelles very subtly. You can use vanilla, orange or lemon extracts if you prefer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Visit to the Lilac Festival

 The Lilac Festival has been an annual event in Rochester (NY) for over 100 years. Actually since 1898. It takes place in Highland Park which is home to more than 500 varieties of lilacs and other flowers, flowering trees, and shrubs. Frederick Law Olmstead designed this park and other outdoor spaces in Rochester, NY. He is renowned as the architect/designer of Central Park in New York City.

It is a feast for the eyes, and a hike of colossal proportions, up and down hills. I guess that's why it's called HIGHland Park. 650 acres of hills, garden walkways, stairways, flowering trees, tulip and pansy beds, shrubs, carnival and street-food vendors, live music, children's entertainment, horse and buggy rides, food trucks, etc. On the two weekends of the festival, there is an arts and crafts show. That was really what I was interested to see.

I made my little venture on Saturday last - an overcast day - the best kind for walking around outdoors. After spending an hour looking for a "convenient" parking space, I parked on a residential street that was actually off limits to festival traffic but I sneaked in and found a spot at the end of the street right next to Highland Avenue and the festival.

I enjoyed browsing the vendors at the art show and seeing their wares and getting a view of what's new and trending in the art/craft market at this time.  

Horse and buggy rides
looking up at a cherry tree in flower

streets are closed to all but pedestrian traffic
Art and Craft Show section

two of the more than 500 varieties

I enjoyed my little Saturday afternoon outing and as far as seeing any art or craft that is emerging into the market, I did not. In one booth, I did see a collection of burlap tote bags of all sizes, burlap purses of all sizes and types. All of them bearing interesting, and sharp graphics. They were undoubtedly new burlap and recently stamped with bright colors in the graphics. A riff on something I sell in my etsy shop but I use repurposed/vintage 100# coffee bean bags with faded blue graphics stating the country of origin of the beans. Mine are authentic. The bags - a real conversation piece and a treasure.                              

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Last week there was a Shirley Temple Memorabilia Exhibit at a local museum. I am a HUGE Shirley Temple afficionado. I believe I've seen all her movies. If I had to name a favorite, it would have to be The Little Princess.

I attended the exhibit on Friday last (May 1st). It opened on the day before (Thursday) and would close on Sunday. I didn't want to be at this museum on the weekend because it is the National Museum of Play and would be overrun with kidlets. Friday seemed the best day.

I was totally overcome with emotion when I walked in to that display. It was as if my childhood swooped down on me.  I was just a little girl who had a blond, curly headed Shirley Temple doll, that wore a white with green flowers all over it, dress. I left this sweet doll outside on a table my Mom used to fold laundry on. It rained that night and my doll was ruined. Sad, sad, sad :(

This exhibit more than made up for that trauma. I enjoyed it immensely. There was a large screen TV with her movies playing constantly, there were many, many Shirley Temple dolls as well as some of her very own toys, even her favorite: a stuffed, furry monkey. The most spectacular (to me) show stoppers in the exhibit were the costumes that she wore in her movies.
From "Baby Take A Bow"

From "Stand Up And Cheer"

The fact that these costumes were made by anonymous studio seamstresses just for her role in a particular movie and that she herself saved them all these years is astonishing.

From "Our Little Girl" (one for Shirley and one for the doll)

Military Costume from "Wee Willie Winkie"

Pink PJ's Embroidered Bunnies from "Curley Top"


Riding Outfit and Red Velvet Coat from "Heidi"

Green Ball Gown from "Captain January"

Taken from the programme:  "Unprecedented that the biggest star of the 1930's preserved so much from her most significant years in the public eye...........virtually all costumes, letters, documents, photos and gifts as well as dolls and toys..............for nearly 80 years! Nearly 80 outfits"

The child sized, motorized, custom made car was given her as a gift from her good friend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson which she did, indeed, drive around the studio lot, was the ultimate of the exhibit.

She called him "Uncle Billy" and he called her "Darlin". He is considered by many to be the greatest tap dancer of the 20th century. He took her under his wing as a dancer. She said that "we held hands and I learned to dance from Bill by listening, not looking at his feet. It was kind of magic between us."

This next paragraph again is taken from the programme: "This is history. A celebration of a life that raised the hopes of a nation, made a generation laugh and smile and forget troubles and, who was, above all else, a symbol of purity and goodness that is still evoked today as an example of children."

I just like these shoes and crown and a set for dolly too