February 10, 2010
September 20, 2009
I love to use my dining room table or sideboard as a “stage” for a seasonal display or vignette. Two of my closest friends (Anne & Jessica) jokingly call me “the vignette lady”. Dictionary.com cites several definitions of the word “vignette”; my favorite being: “any small, pleasing picture or view”. Anne suggested I do a monthly vignette and post it on my blog — great idea, Anne! This is my vignette for September…an apple theme lovingly dedicated to Anne!
The onset of September brings with it Indian Summer here in the Bay Area — the weather is still quite warm and the chill of Autumn won’t arrive for several weeks yet. Regardless, it is in September that my mind starts to wander towards the coming crisp Autumn days when stews and apple pies will be appropriate fare.
My mother-in-law was kind enough to collect these wonderful little crab apples from her backyard tree for my September display . The crisp green color of these apples set against our dark wood table provides wonderful contrast. And I just love the whimiscal little stems that stand straight-up at attention.
Crab apples are reportedley very sour and tart, similar to a lemon, and are not often eaten raw or alone but rather used to add complexity to chutneys and ciders. The juice of the crabapple can be used to make a “crabapple jelly” which is described as “ruby” in color and can be spread on toast or scones. Hmm. That color description alone (I’m a bit color obsessed) is enough to make me want to try making a batch. And making a batch of crabapple jelly would, of course, require me to make a batch of scones to spread the jelly on…and well…you can see where this is leading.
September 2, 2009
Amanda and I made these fun little tea light holders this week. We used baby food jars, painted them with thinned-out white glue and decoupaged colored tissue paper onto the jars. After the glue dried, I finished them with a coat of Mod Podge. Fun! A perfect summer craft project – great for young kids. Mom had a good time too! We think these will be lovely at any impromptu Labor Day BBQs that may happen at our house this weekend!
July 13, 2009
I can’t believe its been a whole month since my last post…didn’t I say this would happen?
So far, this has proven to be more of a food blog than anything else — I guess should have called it Brown Owl Kitchen! Today’s post, however is more of a studio-ish thing, so here goes.
As many of you know, I love a good flea market or “antique” store…its the thrill of the hunt! I bring home my treasure, and most of them hang out in our garage for years until I decide I have time for a little project. That’s exactly what happened with this old wooden display box I picked up several years ago. I found it at a going-out-of-business sale of an antique store in Half Moon Bay.
The inside of the wooden display box had been covered in a 1970’s (?) 1960’s (?) style contact paper. The hinges were loose and the wood was dry. But I figured with just a small amount of love, this rickety old box could be a great way to hold all my “worldly possessions” that currently reside in several different jewelry boxes, or more commonly, strewn across my dresser.
I started out by tightening up the hinges, rubbing down the wood with mineral oil and cleaning out the inside. I bought a piece 1/8-inch foam core board and hunk of fabric and some spray-adhesive. I cut the foam-core to fit snuggly inside the box and covered the board with the fabric, affixing it with the spray adhesive. Then I organized my jewelry in little dishes and stacks – and voila! My dresser is now tidy and I can find what I’m looking for easily.
This little project only took me about half-hour (or 3-years and 30 minutes if you count the time my treasure sat around in my garage collecting dust!).
June 18, 2009
We spent a lovely afternoon at Mike & Betsy’s house on Saturday. The task at hand was to pick berries from Betsy’s Berry Patch. The raspberries, boysenberries and marionberries were in full splendor and it was hard to keep from eating more berries than we placed into our collection bowls.
We also celebrated Angie’s (my sister-in-law’s) birthday. Remaining true to the theme of the day, Betsy made a strawberry birthday cake with white icing. She topped the cake with an amazing berry sauce. Noted below is the Ina Garten recipe that Betsy used as a base for her sauce — she added boysenberries.
Betsy’s Berry Sauce
- 1 half-pint package fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam
- 1 tablespoon Framboise liqueur
Place the package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or use immersion blender) and process until smooth. Chill.
June 13, 2009
Yesterday was Amanda’s last day of school for the year. Amanda and I were in charge of the snack, so we made our very special cut-out cookies. Each child got a cookie in the shape of the first letter of their name. This platter of cookies was given to the teachers as an end-of-the-year gift.
I’ve been asked many times to share this recipe. The last time I did, I completely left out two ingredients. I swear it wasn’t on purpose! Here’s Nonie’s recipe – this time in its entirety.
Nonie’s Cut-Out Cookies1 cup soft butter 1 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg 1/2 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 cups of flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar and egg; Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in at low speed the sour cream and vanilla.
- In another large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add this to the butter mixture until well combined.
- Form the dough into a ball and wrap in foil or saran wrap. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Divide the dough into 4 parts, leaving the parts you aren’t using right away in the refrigerator.
- Roll out dough on a well-floured board, 1/4″ thick. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease cookie sheets (or use a silpat). Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.
Decorate the cookies with colored icing. Nonie always made the icing by mixing powdered sugar, a tiny bit of milk, and food coloring. After decorating the cookies, let the icing dry before stacking the cookies. And if children are helping you make these…make sure you have LOTS of sprinkles on hand. They get a little crazy with the sprinkles, but heck, who can blame them!
June 11, 2009
There’s a first time for everything, right? So this is my FIRST post to my FIRST blog.
Yep, I’m starting a blog. The thought is to note daily (or not so daily) discoveries…share recipes and ideas, chronicle craft and garden projects, share fabulous design finds, etc. Oh..and of course there will be many unsolicited photos of my children.
Why? Well I seem to have found myself with some free time (which is crazy, I know, since I have two young children). The short story is that my part-time job has dwindled to…uh…nothing, yet I still have full-time daycare for the children (can’t give up our spots at Rosemarie’s!) Amanda, Reed and I have certainly been enjoying the additional time together, but I’ve also found that I’m feeling fairly unsettled — am I a working mom? am I a stay-at-home mom? what the heck *am* I anyway? I’m feeling a bit in limbo.
So I decided I needed something to focus me. Like a daily ritual (household chores not withstanding) .
Before I get started – I would like to post the following disclosures:
- I’ve only recently discovered the world of blogs — so I really have no clue what I’m doing.
- I’ve tried starting personal diaries, journals, a daily sketch book, etc. in the past. I never stick to these daily devotions (I have no self-discipline…heck you should see my Weight Watchers log!). I’m usually lucky if I make it a week.
- Have you ever heard the quote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”? I have no idea whose quote that is, but…uh…ya…that’s pretty much my style. I’ll work on it.
- If you are getting a link to this first blog post…you are amongst the inner-Kimmy-circle (like it or not) and I’m hoping you are not thinking I’m totally lame. Actually…if you are on this early list…you won’t think I’m lame. Or at least you won’t hold my lame-ness against me, anyway.
OH WAIT! All my favorite blogs have lovely photos with most of the posts…so here’s a recent favorite photo. I love the tangerine and magenta colors together.
June 11, 2009
Is this thing on?