"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What a nice surprise!

Today was a good day. My son did quite a bit of organizing in the garage. It still has a long way to go, but we are making progress. The sun was out, and it was not so humid (a.k.a. not a big hair day for Cathy.) After dinner I made some chocolate dipped strawberries (yum!) which my daughter Laura was eating as fast as I could dip them. I sliced up some juicy watermelon and sat for a few minutes to read the Beatrix Potter article in my beloved Victoria magazine's July/August issue. Even Skittles was in uber-relax mode taking a cat nap; probably because he is, well, a cat. I turned on the computer and oooohhhh! The new Harry Potter movie trailer! Can't wait for November 21st. Laura and I are always among the other crazy fans who have to go to the first midnight show. If you are dressed in a Hogwarts robe or arrive with a lightening bolt scar on your forehead; you are in good company. Hey, what can I say. Those are my peeps. :) Oh yes, back to the surprise....

In my email was a little note from Susan over at the T-Cozy. I met Susan when visiting her awesome T-Party Antiques and Tea shop in Connecticut. If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting T-Party, then you can understand how sentimentally sad so many of us were that it closed. Susan's creativity and lovely personality just filled each and every room. You can see many photos of the shop on her blog. Luckily for us in blogland, Susan has created a presence that is as warm and lovely and fun and kitschy as the original T-Party. Luckily for me, she will still be selling her wonderful teas, pretty creations and fantastic finds. If you like herbal tea, you will have to try Susan's blend. Just trust me on this one :) Susan's email was to let me know that she gave me an award! I'm thrilled and honored that she thought of me. Thank you, Susan! And now about the award, the "Arte y Pico" award; which is meant to be shared.
Dana at the Stone Rabbit passed it on to Susan, and
I am passing on the award to these creative and inspiring bloggers:

#1) Sara at The Winemaker's Wife. You've got to love a girl who has a Hello Kitty toaster :) She is always cooking up something delightful and presents everything so beautifully. Her little dog Remy is just too cute. She's the go-to gal for everything wine! If you have not had a chance to get away this Summer, do lose yourself in her photos from her recent trip to France. Ooooh la la!

#2) Ivy at The Senakams: Corgi + 2. Ivy's not only got awesome Corgis, but she's got creativity to spare. She is a paper and print artist and you can find handmade greetings and more in her Paper Elixer shop, which you can find on her blog. Did I mention she has awesome Corgis? ^..^ ??

#3) Liz at Mabel's House. I just love her blog. She has a fresh and creative outlook, takes awesome photos, and I find her writing style to be warm, honest, fun and inviting. If you want to find out who Mabel is, well, you'll just have to visit her blog!

#5) Suzanne at Blueberry Cottage. Suzanne is my kindred spirit friend. Reading her blog is like sitting down and having a chat with her. She will inspire you and when you finish your morning tea or coffee having read her blog, you will know that home is truly where the heart is. She is a crafter, a knitter and a sewer among her many talents.

#5) LaVonne at Serenity Sheep Farm. LaVonne is my hero! She is another kindred spirit friend. She lives in Montana and raises sheep and chickens and pigs among the other animals on the farm. She carried suitcases full of her wool for us on the airplane to meet us in Vermont to visit Tasha Tudor's garden last year. I wish she lived closer. If you are looking for wool for knitting or a felting project, LaVonne is your go-to gal for sure!

and, I know I was only supposed to choose 5, but I just had to include one more....

#6) Jenna at Corgipants. For those of you who may not have a Corgi (what? horrors!) the long fur hanging below a Corgis little bunny butt is referred to as their 'pants.' Hence, Jenna's clever blog name. Jenna is a crafter and a sewer. I always enjoy reading her blog, especially her detailed accounts of her entries at the county fair.

As Susan did, I now invite these lovely ladies to pick 5 blogs that they feel deserve this award based on creativity, design, interesting material and contribution to the blogging community. The rules are simple: include the name of all five winners and a link to their blogs. Show the award and the name and link of the blog that has given you the award. And lastly, include these rules and link to the origin of this award which is the "Arte y Pico" blog.

I encourage you to visit these lovely bloggers and be inspired! Thanks again, Susan! -CS ^..^

Farmers' Market

On Sunday, John and I stopped at the local 'Farmers Market' at the little antique shop in Scotts Corners, Pound Ridge, NY. We certainly could not resist all of the tempting homemade goodies and incredibly fresh local produce. Delicious blueberry and cranberry orange scones, thin dark buttery chocolate chip cookies, eggs from local chickens (mine haven't laid one egg yet!) perfect tomatoes, the sweetest corn, cukes, melon, basil, zucchini and juicy peaches all came home with us. I think one of my favorite sandwiches is a plain old tomato sandwich with mayo, salt and pepper on good toasted bread...only in Summer though when the tomatoes are fantastic. What's yours? -CS ^..^

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter!

Sit your little ones around the computer today and click to play some delightful games in her honor. When you are done, brew a good cup of tea and spend a little time poking around the site and get to know the real Beatrix Potter. Need a good Summer movie? Do buy a copy of the 2006 Miss Potter movie starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor (It is listed in my ever-changing favorite things list on the left side of this blog.) It is, well, magic!

*Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter, copyright Frederick Warne
*photo of Beatrix: Judy Taylor, 1986. Beatrix Potter: Artist, storyteller and countrywoman. Frederick Warne, Penguin Group, London.

I thought I'd add a link to a wonderful archived post from Clarice's lovely Storybook Woods blog for you to read to further celebrate the day. It is by guest blogger Susan Wittig Albert. Enjoy! -CS ^..^

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Bridget!

She will celebrate with a brand new toy, some roast beef, a new pink zoom groom for her spa days (she ran off and hid the old one!) and cookies made especially for her. Happy Birthday my special girl! I love you with all my heart. -CS ^..^

A day at Caramoor...

First, we had a house tour of the amazing home that is Caramoor. The size and the antique treasures within are awesome. Do visit their website to see more on the inside of the house and the special current exhibits and concerts. During part of our house tour, a pianist and a violinist were practicing outside for this evening's concert. Photography is not allowed inside the house at Caramoor, or you know I would have been snapping away! After our house tour, we enjoyed our tea and then the tour of the gardens. Here are just a few things that caught my eye. Clicking on any photo will enlarge it.

This is Cliff, our garden tour guide. We were so lucky to have him give us our tour as he is a master gardener and horticultural designer at Caramoor. He was so nice and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with us all. He is standing next to an amazing guitar made entirely of flowering plants! And guess what? He has a Corgi! How cool is that? If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend a visit to Caramoor. It is a very special place. CS ^..^

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hello hello!

Just popping in from a busy week to say hello. I've been spending the past week trying to re-organize a few things around here. You know those things that you can spend hours doing that no one but you will notice? Those things. Inside drawers, kitchen cupboards, *starting* to clean out the garage (yikes is all I have to say about that!) cleaning out the fridge, organizing some photos in my computer, doing a little inventory of art supplies, yada yada yada. I will have a little respite from it all though. I'll be having tea this week with friends at Caramoor which is right in the next town over. I'm really looking forward to that. Do check out the 'virtual tours' on their website, very dreamy...especially the gardens! So, while going through some pics, I found this little froggie. I'd forgotten about this guy that was rescued by our friend Teddy from a high hanging plant at April's 4th of July bash. Isn't he cute? CS ^..^

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is it a sign? Should I sell it on eBay?

When John walks in the door from work, he usually kisses a Corgi, then me (in that order) and ravenously heads straight to the fridge. I've seen him eat anything from half of a jar of peanut butter to whatever is left over from the night before's dinner to a sleeve of frozen thin mint Girl Scout cookies. If it is too early for dinner I *try* and have a little something *healthy* to nosh on to head him off at the pass. Sometimes it is simply some veggies and a dip of ranch dressing. Imagine my surprise when opening a bag of baby carrots to find one that was Corgi shaped! Yes, its true I tell you! See for yourself:

I know, based on my computer mouse line drawing, my art career is over. Either that or I need some serious sleep! Back to watching the All-Stars game. Have a good night everyone! xo -CS ^..^

Oh deer....

Why most of my potted plants have lost their flowers.

This quartet of mama and 3 fawns think we have provided a buffet.
Big sigh. -CS ^..^

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's a good day for a Mojito....

Our dear friends Roseann and Pat took us out to brunch at the Greenwich, CT Hyatt to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Sunday brunch at the Hyatt is really, really, really good. We had reservations for the 11:30 seating. Well, sitting, eating, drinking many Mimosas, chatting and laughing quickly turned 11:30 into the next seating time and we decided rather than leave we would sashay over to the bar area in the atrium and have *a* drink. After getting comfy in the big cushie armchairs, we asked the bartender what he recommended. "It's a good day for a Mojito" he said. After a few minutes he came back with the most delicious drinks, apologizing for the 'delay' (as if we would have noticed!) because he needed to get fresher mint! Well, they were y-u-m-m-y! Here's a pic of our drinks, and a shot of part of the atrium where we had brunch. It really is so light and airy and pretty in there. Oh...yeah...bonus? They have a chocolate fountain. Whooo hooo! Roseann makes fantastic Mojitos with this recipe from Bacardi:

For 1 serving:
1.5 oz Bacardi Rum (light)
12 fresh spearmint leaves
1/2 lime - squeeze
7 oz club soda
2 tbsp simple syrup (Ro uses 2 T water and 2 T sugar and boil until dissolved
(or 4 tsp sugar)

2 qt pitcher
9 oz rum
72 mint leaves
12 T or 3/4 cup of fresh lime juice
49 oz of club soda - (Ro uses cold seltzer)
12 T or 3/4 cup of simple syrup

Gently crush mint leaves in a glass or pitcher. Ro uses a wooden spoon to crush but you can use one of those mortar and pestle type thingies. Add lime juice. Pour in sweet syrup and fill glass or pitcher with ice. Add rum and seltzer.

Garnish with line wedges and sprigs of mint.


Thanks for the recipe and the fantastic brunch, Ro! xo xo -CS ^..^

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let's make an easy potato salad...

Fill a large stock pot with cold water, add a good pinch of sea salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Covering the pot will make the water boil faster. Grab about 5 lbs. of your favorite potatoes. Wash, peel, then rinse them thoroughly.

Try and cut your potatoes approximately the same size so they will all cook uniformly. When your water is boiling, add the potatoes and set your timer for 10 minutes. Test them at about 10 minutes and every minute after to see if they are done. Your fork should go through, but not too easily. You do not want overcooked or undercooked potatoes. Just like Goldilocks, you want them just right :) When they are done, drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water until they are cool. Drain well.

Ignore the begging Corgi who amazingly appears whenever the cutting board comes out.

Meanwhile, chop about 4 ribs of celery, (get them from the inside of the stalk, include some of the light tender leaves!) 1 medium sized sweet onion (or 1/2 a Vidalia onion)

No, seriously, ignore the obnoxious barking Corgi...

Take your cool, well-drained cooked-just-right-potatoes and put them into a large bowl with your chopped celery, onion and a little parsley (fresh, finely chopped flat parsley is best, but dried will do in a pinch.) Add about 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Any vinegar will do, but I really like the white balsamic for this salad. Add about a cup and a half of your favorite mayo. You can add more later if you need to. I've been using Hellman's Canola oil mayo lately. I also bought their new olive oil mayo but haven't tried it yet. (Is Hellman's still called Best Foods west of the Rockies?) Toss in a couple of good pinches of sea salt and a few cranks of cracked black pepper. Toss the salad gently so the potatoes don't fall apart. You can add a chopped hard boiled egg or two if you like. Store in a tightly covered container and refrigerate for a few hours. So simple, but a yummy classic Summer salad.

There's plenty for leftovers and for hubby to take some to work if he likes. You can always cut the recipe in half or double for a large party. -CS ^..^