So I decorated for Halloween today. Got an extra string of lights but the little tree is so big, I think I need another. And I got this great spiderweb with purple lights and a big spider in the middle. Love the little pumpkins over the door.- stole the idea from a house I passed on the way home last week.
So Urban Outfitters shot their most recent catalog in Sweden or some Baltic country. Love the house. The hat on the model, however, looks like the Russian fur hat (with fur of undetermined origin- wolf maybe?) that my sister-in- law gave me around 10 years ago .
I have been looking for a fall handbag that I really liked that wouldn't bankrupt me and today I found this Kate Spade bag (retail $245, but I didn't pay anything even close to that) in TJ Maxx. It is a pebbled chocolate brown... But my favorite feature is the rich violet lining - it is much darker than the picture, but without the flash the interior looks black.
Threads e-letter had this lovely vintage dress last week. I love the lace insert - reminds me of some handmade lace my grandmother left me. They say it is 40's but the lace insert, the sleeves and the color remind me of what Nana is wearing in 30's photos. Plus they didn't wear long dresses at all during the war due to the fabric shortage. Post war 40's fashion was very different- much more bold colors and tailoring. Totally love the cording in the back.
Now that cooler weather is really here, I am in the mood for making apple pies. Over the weekend I bought some sweet/tart mackintosh Amish apples and threw together this tart Monday after dinner. I made Nana's one crust pie crust, rolled it out freeform and put it on a cookie sheet. Mixed the apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and dumped them into the pie crust, dotted it with butter, folded in the sides. Baked for 15 min at 450 and 30 min at 350. Mmmmmm. Made it again tonight :)
I don't know how I got into this but tonight I found myself infatuated with a collection of antique buttons from a lady who was selling her aunt's estate on Ebay. Like this lovely large one with a mother of pearl inset. And this graceful art nouveau button..
And this whimsical set of bakelite buttons...
And these sparkly ones
I bid on some and won one because I managed to jump into the bidding 34 seconds before it was over, but I don't think my luck will hold. After all how much are you willing to pay for a button no matter how lovely it is. And most of these are phased all night and I can't see myself staying up until 3AM to bid on an especially appealing button. Apparently their are a lot of avid button collectors because the bidding is torrid.
Tonight I am pureeing my plum tomatoes. I haven't done this for a while and it took about half an hour for me to figure out how to fit the cylindar with the spring and the fins that scrape the seeds and skins off. Lovely cool weather for canning. The past two days have been in the mid to upper 70's - feels positively frigid after four days of upper 90's early last week. And I couldn't resist trying a recipie for roasted pumpkin ravoli last night and found the perfect little pumpkin in the Amish farmer's market Saturday.
Roasted the pumpkin with garlic, sage and thyme.
...... and about an hour later, here is the finished product. Much bigger effort than I thought it would be. Every surface in the kitchen was covered with pots, pans and bowls. It didn't help that I put the food processor together wrong and a lot of cream leaked out when I was pureeing it.
And HB is not a big fan of meals like this so I didn't even get much of a fanfare. It was really scrumptious and I kept thinking that ABJ and SJ would really have appreciated it - and been a big help in making all those little raviolis.
ABJ has been bugging me to take a picture of my new J Crew tweed jacket, so here it is, paired with a denim Gant shirt I have have had for about 20 years. The sleeves are actually long enough for me and the shoulders are just right. Note the bottom finishing - sort of like a vest - gives it a distinctive look. And here are my shoes.
This shot gives an idea of the texture, which is somewhere in between suede and slightly worn leather. :)
So here is my current obsession...... Yes I realize that taken out of context it looks a little obscene, but I can't help that. The shape is perfect and the lovely little brass hinges and screws that allow it to fold up are so appealing :)
It all started with an article in Threads that referred to the wonders of the June Tailor pressing board in achieving that sharp tailored look through effective pressing of seams during garment construction. They mentioned that it had been discontinued and could now only be bought used, so naturally I turned to EBay to see if they had one listed. One, without the pad was selling for $45 which I thought was a bit rich, but I found one that was listed for $10- with a lovely pad in pristine condition. Put a bid of 10.26 on it and added it to my watch list on Sunday. Yesterday (this is three days later) I received a notice that someone had bid it up to 11.56, so I decided to keep watching until the last minute. Tonight I took a casual look and nearly fell off my chair when I saw it had 17 bids and was up to $66!!!!!!! .... with 2 more days to go. Yikes!
Now I am obsessed. I have been looking everywhere on the internet for a June Tailor Pressing Board and I can't find zip. Found a crude imitation on a quilting supply site for $34, but it doesn't have the lovely little brass hinges and smooth finish of the real thing. It certainly isn't exactly practical - I have managed to live without one for my whole 55 year sewing career - but I can't get it out of my head.
This is probably where ABJ gets her tendency towards ADD - first a herringbone tweed jacket and now a June Tailor Pressing board :)
The plum tomatos are coming in fast and furious, so every weekend I roast at least one pan because the tomato sauce is sensational with the intensified flavor. I roast them for 2 hours at about 325 degrees, and then slide off the skins.
Fry up some onions and stir in the tomatos, home grown garlic, basil and a bit of red wine and simmer for about 15 minutes. This weekend I fried up some garden eggplant
and made a delicious eggplant parmigana, accompanied by a salad of home grown cukes, onions, yoghurt and cumin.
Yummm. Now off to the airport to Rhode Island again and my midnight schedule :(
So first I got this DSW ad for these lovely boots - can't locate them on their website though!?#! But Harper's Bazaar arrived today and even though I was momentarially distracted by the pages of soft camel coats, I completely lost it when I got to this page of lovely loden, olive jackets and coats. Now I am really torn.
But then there is also this herring bone coat with the subtly herringbone vest - which was sort of the direction that I was originally going this fall. Well, sort of . I returned the LL Bean jacket - too scratchy and the pink lining was really a shock. Almost ordered a new J. Crew herringbone jacket but have been deterred by the free shipping having ended - and then the sight of all the other color choices I have. I figure I can wait for a bit for a new J Crew shipping offer. People aren't going to snap up 298 jackets in one weekend.
Today it was rainy and didn't get above 75 degrees, which is a cold wave here in August. The dishwasher had died on Saturday, so we got a nice new Kitchen Aid one at Lowes that should be delivered and installed this week.
I also took all my good plum tomatoes, peppers - sweet and jalapenos, and home grown garlic and made 5 pints of lovely salsa to enjoy in the cold winter ahead. The salsa has now joined its cousins on the staging trolley until I get time to label it.
Then, still having a lot of tomatoes, I drizzled toasted French bread slices with olive oil and piled them with a lovely assortment of chopped tomatoes, more garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar, and sweet onions. Served it with crusted rainbow trout and chopped pecans. mmmmmmmm.
You might remember that I planted garlic last fall. I was extremely discouraged that during the weeks before I was supposed to harvest them, the temperature soared into the high 90's and we didn't get any rain for a month. By the time I decided to dig them up, I had to hack them out of dried concrete blocks of dirt and they looked sadly small. I put them all in the basement where it is cool to let them dry out and have started using about a week ago. This is what they looked like when I dug them up. And this is what they look like when they are cleaned up. Rather smaller than what I expected, but the little cloves are very good and intense. Not sure I would try this again though. Too much effort for the cost ($28) and work.
Shopped at the Amish market today and found beautiful white peaches (my grandfather's favorites) and luscious yellow plums - all local. It's not a hardship to eat local in the summer here. Now I have to can some of the plum tomatoes - I have already roasted a batch for pasta sauce.
This morning I had my coffee in my lovely new liberty mug, compliments of ABJ :). Somehow the flowers are suggestive of the fruit in the basket. And admired a selection of the goodies that she has given me - past and present.
Two weeks ago I started making a summer blouse with one of my prints and found that ABJ had replenished a meter of one of my favorites when I opened my birthday goodie box. It looks much better on me than on the dressform, but my attempts to take a picture of myself were too weird to post.
One of my favorite meter gifts was perfect for the lining of the collar.
I have hoarded all my prints for years, but have decided that is really time to use them. Let's see what else I can think of. I have heard that this obsession is genetic :)
Last weekend was very hot - around 100 again. One of my favorite smells is the scent of laundry that has been dried in the sun, so I hung mine out on my little drying rack to bake. Of course, this is shortcake weather. I made a mistake and started following the recipe for pancakes so I added an egg to my shortcake biscuit dough and it turned very moist and tender. Have to try it again soon.
And the bounty of tons of zucchini to deal with. Zucchini bread- gave one to Adam and Margot.
And the ever-popular zucchini pancakes for dinner.