Recent Posts

Book Report – Vera, The Art and Life of an Icon, by Susan Seid

Book Report – Vera, The Art and Life of an Icon, by Susan Seid

A Celebration of Vera Neumann’s Art & Design The Vera brand might not be quite as recognizable today as Marimekko, but if you grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s you probably had something of hers around the house. Maybe it was a tablecloth, […]

Renting a Booth in an Antique Mall

Renting a Booth in an Antique Mall

Having a Booth in an Antique Mall About eight years ago I rented a space in an Antique Mall. The one I was in allowed vintage and contemporary crafts, but it’s hard to fit that on a sign, so ‘Antique Mall’ is what these sorts […]

Summer Sangria Recipe

Summer Sangria Recipe

Summer Sangria! 

It’s almost summer – hot days, warm nights, chilled Summer Sangria.

Sangria is celebration in a pitcher. The colors, the scent, the (often times) effervescence of bubbles meeting wine and fruit, all add up to a festive drink.

pitcher and glass of sangria

Sangria is super easy to make, and though I include a recipe for Summer Sangria, you can really come up with your own combination depending on what you have on hand and your personal taste preference.

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Customizing mugs, plates, candles with Waterslide Decals

Customizing mugs, plates, candles with Waterslide Decals

Customizing a mug with Waterslide Decals If you wanted to customize a mug with your design, there are two issues – first, the cost to have one of anything printed could be pretty high and/or you might have to wait for it to be shipped […]

Homemade olive oil soap

Homemade olive oil soap

My own Savon de Marseilles aka olive oil soap I’ve always loved the look of Savon de Marseilles soap – especially the classic green olive oil Soap version. Maybe like me, you thought Savon de Marseilles was a brand. It is not. But it does […]

House and Garden Gifts, Memory Cards

House and Garden Gifts, Memory Cards

Decorative Memory Card Game

I’ve always loved the Memory Card game, also known as Concentration. When I was growing up, we played it with a regular deck of cards. Basically the card game involves having two cards of the same design, shuffling the deck, flipping them over and trying to turn over matched pairs.

Memory Card Set

It’s called the Memory Game because you have to try and remember where the pairs are.

Anyway, about six years ago I decided to make my own set and sell them on Etsy. Being a total DIY-er, I illustrated, designed, printed and had the cards cut. Then I sealed them with a lacquer. If this sounds labor intensive, you’re right. It was also bad for my lung health what with all the spray-finishing going on.

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Paris Can Wait

Paris Can Wait

Paris Can Wait…a road trip to relax by Paris Can Wait is a film starring Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, and Alec Baldwin, though Baldwin is  visually in it for just the first 15 minutes. After that his role is restricted to phone calls. Though the […]

Lilac Simple Syrup Recipe

Lilac Simple Syrup Recipe

Lovely Lilac Syrup A number of years ago we had three lilac bushes planted in our backyard. And then we waited for them to bloom. And they didn’t. Nor did they the following two years. They’re planted at the back of our yard, so it’s […]

Learning Calligraphy Online, Faux Calligraphy

Learning Calligraphy Online, Faux Calligraphy

Taking an Online Calligraphy Course

Perhaps like you, I’ve tried to learn calligraphy before. In my case, five or six times. But I always lost interest due to the fact that I never quite got the hang of it…in other words, it was just too hard.  My attempts were woeful. I could never get the ink to run correctly and would have to re-dip with every other line. The fact that I have awful penmanship in the first place was another hurdle. Then I found Lindsay Bugbee’s course, and the first lesson was Faux Calligraphy.

faux calligraphy

Let me digress for just a minute to explain how this happened.
Last week I was searching for information on decorative envelopes and the mailing of such items.

For this blog, I want to write about handcrafted design and art. I’m really partial to what I call ‘old world’ arts – crafts that have been around for years and years, and sometime centuries. Paper making, ink making, bookbinding, screen printing, block printing, marbling etc. Sometimes the actual product isn’t so old, but the fact that it’s made by hand encompasses the spirit of artisans past.

So the other day I decided to make envelopes with both decorative paper that I bought and paper with patterns I designed. I loved how they turned out! But…would they actually go through the post?

This is the question that brought me to Lindsey Bugbee’s site, The Postman Knocks. She has these AMAZING envelopes, mini pieces of art, that are both decorative and functional with her calligraphic writing and designs. I’ll put the link to her site at the bottom of the post. But please visit AFTER you read my post and view my images, because if you look at her designs first, it will make my beginning efforts look like what they are…beginning efforts!

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Green Goddess Dressing, back from the 70s

Green Goddess Dressing, back from the 70s

The Original Green Goddess Salad Recipe In 1923 William Archer’s play The Green Goddess was touring the States and England. When it landed in San Francisco, the chef of the Palace hotel, Philip Roemer created something special in honor of the star, George Arliss. He was staying at […]

Lemon Rosemary Shrub Recipe

Lemon Rosemary Shrub Recipe

Lemon Rosemary Shrub An herbalicious summer drink with or without alcohol…making this Lemon Rosemary shrub is simple and will last you year round. This is a refreshing and versatile sipping vinegar and just the thing to make your mocktail sing or tart up a glass […]

Whites, a tasty series now on Acorn TV

Whites, a tasty series now on Acorn TV

A busy kitchen, a country hotel…Whites

Whites centers around the bustling kitchen of a grand country estate turned boutique hotel in the English countryside.

The hotel’s star chef, Roland White, a once driven and brilliant man about kitchen, now spends most of his time dreaming up ideas to promote his image rather than cooking (though flashes of his culinary mastery appear now and then).

The everyday workload he leaves to his sous chef, Bib, a very tall man with a responsible demeanor who is constantly being un-rewarded for his actions.

Not only is Bib underappreciated by Roland, but from the first episode we are introduced to a new hire, Skoose, who five minutes in makes it known h’s after Bib’s job.
Skoose does everything to undermine him, despite the fact that Bib is his immediate supervisor, and he has a lack of experience.

Like many a British comedy, there is an amusing cast of misfits. The tone and the interactions of the characters remind me a little of the original (British) The Office series. But of course, Whites is set in a kitchen, with good food, and in a lovely mansion rather than a non-descript office building with reams of paper.

Whites is a dramedy, tilting more towards comedy, and I enjoyed every episode of season 1. However, this being an original BBC production that came out in 2010 (and was just made available in the US via Acorn) I am sad to say that it was not renewed, and so one season is all we get.

Whites is available to view on Acorn TV. You must be a subscriber to the channel, however you can check it out with a free trail at the link below:

Acorn TV series

If you like this series, you’ll probably like another ‘foodie’ series, also set in a beautiful, boutique hotel, also on Acorn (I love this channel btw):
Delicious

 

Revisiting the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC

Revisiting the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC

Biltmore House The largest privately owned home in the United States is the Biltmore. Originally built in 1889, the ‘house’ is a fabulous mansion in the French Renaissance Chateau style with much gothic detailing…spires, gargoyles, steep pitched roofs, and gardens that go on and on. […]

Delicious, a British television series for Foodies

Delicious, a British television series for Foodies

Delicious, a show for food lovers (sort of)… If you’re a British television lover as I am, you may also be a subscriber to Acorn TV. If you’re not and you’ve never heard of Acorn, then most likely you’ve missed Delicious, a British television series […]

The National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook, a Review

The National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook, a Review

National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook Review, along with a recipe for Devon Scones

From historic houses to castles, forests, mills, pubs, parks and ancient monuments, the National Trust works to preserves Great Britain’s heritage. As it happens they also put out cookbooks, quite a few of them judging from the list I found on Amazon. However, I was doing a search for English country cooking, and I came across their book entitled, The National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook.

The National Trust's Victorian historical house, Knightshayes, in Devon
The National Trust’s Knightshayes, Devon. ©National Trust Images/William Shaw

It’s not a recent publication, but it is still available, and I would encourage you to seek it out. Especially those interested in both British dishes and the history behind them.

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All Time Favorites

Afternoon Tea with The Allis

Afternoon Tea with The Allis

Afternoon Tea at The Allis in Chicago You know I love Afternoon Tea…or maybe you don’t. Well, I do, and I am well on my way to sampling all that Chicago has to offer in the way of this pleasing between-meal repast. Let’s see…I’ve enjoyed […]

Three Very Stylish Picture Books

Three Very Stylish Picture Books

Wonderful, colorful, creative picture books adults and children alike will love. I have two dogs, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a miniature Long-Haired Dachshund, so you can bet I love children’s picture books featuring adorable canines. And as a writer and illustrator, you might also […]