Saturday, July 31, 2010

BROWSE LIST ~ Cottage Reads

Okay, so this is more of a preview of what will be featured on the browse list when I return. I made a trip to the library yesterday and I think I'm taking half of it's contents with me! Here are some of the things I've brought to keep me occupied while I'm away. I'm sure I'll have lots to report about upon my return.

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

Martha Stewart's Good Things For Organizing

A Prairie Girl's Guide to Life
(This one is 50 projects including braiding, whipping up a face cream, making rock candy, throw a quilting bee, make lavender linen spray and even a how-to on panning for gold!)

The last couple issues of British Country Living

And of course, many months worth of magazine tear sheets that need to be put into protective covers and filed away in the appropriate inspirational genre. (Somehow, I have a feeling I'm not the only one that does that sort of thing.)
I'll let you know how they are!
Oh and as a side note, I also rented the VHS copies of Pride and Prejudice and am looking forward to spending 6 full hours with Mr. Darcy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

APOTHECARY ~ Aspirestyle Cosmetic Cases

So I know that generally this section would be more for actual beauty items, however, while packing this afternoon, I realized a good travel case or bag is just as essential. These are ones from Aspire Style - a company in the UK. I love each of them and even included a wallet and purse just because I couldn't resist! Check out their website for more great finds or for the pricing on these items.



This will be short since I now have to be up in less than three hours! I really just wanted to get something posted at least for this week.
Anyway, this week's featured item is the old tin. Vintage tins are amazing! They come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, and, with a little imagination, they can be used for anything. Here are three ways that I use mine - they all happen to be a set. At this ridiculous hour, I'm not going to list all the wonderful uses for tins... I'm sure you could come up with a dozen in the next few seconds if you had to.
As an unusual vase for a pretty flower arrangement.
To hold sewing notions.

To hold vintage ephemera or bits of paper such as stamps, business cards or place cards.

A Tiny Cottage

In light of the fact that I'm heading up to the cottage, I decided to post something on one of the most curious cottages I've come across. This was a cottage that was recently featured in the New York Times Home and Garden section by Joyce Wadler. I've posted the link to the actual article which you must read. It's about a woman, Sandra Foster, and her tiny Victorian cottage (formerly a hunting cabin) in the Catskills. She did all the renovations herself and you won't believe how much the renovation actually cost her!

Bon Soir!

So, the plan is to get up around three o'clock in the morning tomorrow, pack our car to it's brim and head out on the 6 hour journey up to the cottage. Currently, it's almost 10 (pm!) and I still have to finish packing my bags full of books I want to read and projects I want to finish, get the pets ready, tidy my house and browse one last time over each of the twenty lists I have made the past few days. Somehow, I doubt I'll have the energy to pull myself out of bed before noon tomorrow let alone the wee hours of the morning. But, then again, when it's getting up for something like the cottage (or a flea market or road trip), the anticipation alone is like a double shot of espresso. I love the drive to the cottage. Well, actually, I love the drive to anywhere exciting! My husband and I were both raised by parents who always took the scenic route and encouraged us to take the earphones out of our ears and enjoy the scenery around us. It stuck with both of us. Tomorrow, when we finally get on the road, we'll take our time and enjoy the ride. We'll stop for an early morning greasy breakfast in some small town and, since it's Saturday tomorrow, we'll get out and stretch our legs with a tour around some local farmers market. Either way, the lake with be there when we get there and we'll have a whole 10 days to make the most of it.
And, on that note, this is it for me for the next 10 days. I think I may just go through withdrawal. But, I do have a few small things to share until later next week. Until then...
PS. How badly do you want to be spending the long weekend (for those of you here in Canada) on this beautiful porch?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fabulous Finds - Dining Room Table

This week I stumbled across an ad for a shabby chic dining room table and four matching chairs. Curious, I followed the link and found the piece that is now sitting in my dining room. Listed was a distressed, cream pedestal stable and four cream, harp-back chairs apholstered in a pretty two-toned striped cream fabric. I contacted the seller immediately, who to my surprise accepted my rather low (well, much lower than I was willing to pay) offer. I picked the table up two days ago and couldn't be more excited about it. I have a large vintage cream armoire in my dining area also that was an old carrier for bolts of fabric in the war. It's a beautiful piece that was my own armoire as a little girl. The back has never been painted so you can see all the old stamps and markings from the war-time. It's really quite neat. Anyway, back to the table. I decided to keep my own four chairs and will distress them myself to match. They're more comfortable for everyday wear and I can use the other chairs for additional seating and keep them in my basement. I might line them up on the one wall in a sort of make shift bench and put some lovely books and various things out on the seats. We'll have to see. But for now, I'm happy with the table. I've been looking all over for a pedestal table to distress and found one that was finished for me at a 1/4 of the price I would have paid for it to be finished that way. It was a good day, a good day indeed!

In The Gardens

These are a few photos from around our gardens. This top one is actually the view into the old English couple's garden next door to us. He's transformed his part of the ravine that runs at the back of our properties into a beautiful little valley of English gardens. It's gorgeous and we are so thankful for the time he spends making our view so picturesque. The rest are around our own place and feature some of my herb pots, lavander, blazing star and even our cat - Hermione, who feels my bird bath is her own little water bowl.

Baking Day

Yesterday was baking day. We're heading up to the lake early this Saturday morning. Before we leave, I like to freeze some baking to enjoy while we're away. I always make my husbands favourite chocolate chip cookies, and butter tarts - which are my favourite. I also like to make some scones and something else sweet, like sticky buns for with coffee on the dock in the early morning. I had apples that needed to be eaten and figured they would make perfect little apple pies. We couldn't resist splitting one already for dessert - they were just too tempting cooling on the counter! There are few things more homey than a warm, apple pie. My mother-in-law always insists that an apple pie warming in the oven at an open house practically sells the house itself. Whatever I end up making, it's aways appreciated with nothing but a few crumbs left for the cottage mice by the time we're ready to head home.

Here is my super easy pie crust recipe for buttery, flaky pie crust.

In a large bowl combine the following:
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Cut in 1 1/2 lbs. (or 12 tbsp.) of very cold butter until the mixture resembles small peas. Next, add 1/2 cup of ice water slowly and combine with a fork. The dough will begin to stick together loosely. When the happens, working quickly, turn loose dough out onto lightly floured surface and kneed just a couple times quickly to bring it to a rough ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour. Once chilled, dough can be rolled out on a floured surface to desired thickness. This recipe generally makes one covered pie or 12 regular butter tart shells (when rolled out to about a 1/4 inch thickness). The most important thing to remember is to use very cold ingredients and to handle the dough as little as possible. This insures a fluffy, flaky dough. When the dough is handled to much, it becomes more tough.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Decorating Inspirations: Outdoor Living

Here are some of the photos that I've collected in my inspiration binders all to do with outdoor living. They're all beautiful and always get me inspired to add a little reading nook in my yard somewhere or to find some old rockers to lazily pass the summer evenings sipping lemonade and watching the people go by. Or perhaps, maybe even to invite friends over and dine al fresco in the wooded area of our property surrounded by twinkling candles under a clear night sky. Any of the above sound wonderful to me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

APOTHECARY ~ fresh Petite Soaps

This week featured in the Apothecary are FRESH mini soaps.

These beautiful little packaged soaps are some of the many products from the line fresh. Founders Alina and Lev began creating these artisnal soaps in 1991. Their goal was to create a product that was as effective as it was indulgent. They were one of the pioneer companies to begin using natural ingredients such as milk, sugar, soy and rice in the time-honoured processes of soap making. I think you'll enjoy these pretty little soaps!

$12 / 150g bar
"PETITE SOAPS are made from a pure vegetable oil base, and is enriched with nourishing shea butter. They are infused with an array of intricate fragrance experiences".
From left to right, top to bottom:
Gardenia Magnolia, Apple Cranberry, Bergamot Citrus, Violet Moss, Currant Marine, Fig Apricot and Coriander Lavander.