Monthly Archives: February 2009

Finding Everyday Beauty

beauty essentials

Let’s face it–some mornings it is important to feel pampered! One way to feel pampered is by creating beauty–even in small, ordinary ways.

Finding Beauty in the Early Morning Sun

Finding Beauty in the Early Morning Sun

I notice that by creating a small place of beauty at Rose Cottage helps me to feel a bit pampered. Creating small places of beauty puts a hectic day on “pause” — even if it is just for a minute!

This morning, I take a moment or two to look at something beautiful–a rose in a treasured crystal vase, a precious photo in a vintage frame, a piece of exquisite French lace–my perspectives and feelings about the day change. Do you notice that even your breathing changes when you look at something beautiful?

Reflecting on Beauty at Rose Cottage

Reflecting on Beauty at Rose Cottage

capturing beauty in the ordinary

There is one room at Rose Cottage that creates a feeling of being pampered–the powder room. It is truly a “ladies room!” Guests at Rose Cottage sometimes ask if they could eat their dinner in that room! The Victorian dressing table with a white carrara marble top is the perfect tableau for creating little vignettes…beckoning a moment of reflection in sometimes over-scheduled lives. The dressing table has a “still life” that includes a lovely soft peach feather millinery from Rose Mille. (More about Mi’s feather millinery from Got Magic?…Believe…Bloom! post.)

Soap, Silver and a Feather Millinery Puff

Soap, Silver and a Feather Millinery Puff

The bright morning sunshine and brillant blue sky is nature’s inspiration this morning! I am freshing up Rose Cottage and creating a few places of beauty out of ordinary objects. It is a good day for pampering, and feeling inspired!

How do your surround yourself with beauty?
Welcome friends from The Inspired Room! How do you surround yourself with beauty?

 

 

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Rose Cottage Cooks “A Bowl of Comfort”

winter roars…again…

and it’s the perfect time to make a hearty chicken soup to celebrate the fresh eight-inch snowfall at Rose Cottage! It is either that or hop the next flight to the Sunshine State! Making homemade soup is one of the last things I feel like doing following a three-hour, knuckle-driving commute from the office. But, I convince myself that a “bowl of comfort” will be perfect ending for a day like today.

Love Birds Under Cover at Rose Cottage

Love Birds Under Cover at Rose Cottage

The refrigerator and pantry are a bit bare, but there are enough fresh vegetables to make a simple, hearty chicken soup! Soon, the fragrance of gently sauteing onions, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs fills the kitchen. I feel the stress of the earlier harrowing commute slowly dimish with each rhythmic chop-chop-chop of the vegetables with the chef’s knife. Yes, it is a good thing to make a bowl of comfort today! Do you have days when you need a fabulous bowl of comfort?

Fresh Vegies for Hearty Celebratory Chicken Soup

Fresh Vegies for Hearty Celebratory Chicken Soup

Rose Cottage Celebratory Chicken Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon Italian extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 carrot, finely minced
2 celery stalks, finely minced
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely minced
freshly cracked Madagascar black pepper
sea salt to taste
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked chicken, poached and shredded
2 peeled carrots, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 cup Italian (Romano) green beens, sliced
4 ounces Orecchiette pasta (or other dry pasta)
1. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot on a medium-high flame. Add the minced onions, carrots and celery to the stock pot. Saute for five minutes. Cover the stock pot with the pot’s lid. “Sweat” the vegetables over medium-low heat for twenty minutes. Sweating brings out the natural sweetness of fresh vegetables and the resulting flavor is well-worth the extra time!
Sweating Minced Vegies Three

Sweating Minced Vegies Three

2.  After twenty minutes, add white wine. Cook the wine until it is nearly absorbed. Add thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Saute, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds to one minute–just until fragrant.
3. Add chicken broth. Then add sliced carrots and cooked chicken. Bury 1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind in the middle of the soup. Simmer on very low heat for an hour or so.
4. Cook the Orecchiette pasta until al dente. Drain, but do not rinse. Add drained pasta to the soup.
One of the secrets of Rose Cottage Soup: Orecchiette

One of the Secrets of Rose Cottage Soup: Organic Stone-ground Wheat Orecchiette

5. Steam Romano beans until tender-crisp. Add to soup.
6. Ladel hot soup into warm bowls. Garnish with fresh thyme and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
7. Light the fire in the fireplace. Relax and celebrate the fresh snow that makes everything new again!
Hearty Chicken Soup from Rose Cottage

Hearty Chicken Soup from Rose Cottage

Will you leave a comment about your day, or let me know if you try the Rose Cottage Chicken Soup?

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Filed under Cooking, Home

Rose Cottage Cooks!

a simple supper to save sunday

(read on for a tasty supper dish from Rose Cottage!)

Do you ever have one of those weekends in which the “fast forward button of life” is stuck on–you can’t shut it off, find the pause button or the batteries are dead in the remote? That’s this weekend — I have the most noble (and mildly ambitious!) intentions of finishing an organization project sprawled on the dining room table! The Project: neat stacks of lovely pressed antique linens, vintage fabrics and assorted one-of-a kind French trims waiting to be tucked carefully away in the cupboard. . .

saturday morning

The Very Best Sweetie (TVBS), coming down the stairs and pausing next to the stack of lovely linens on the dining room table says carefully and quite sweetly: “What are you going to do today?”

Me responding cheerfully and confidently from the kitchen: “Don’t you think today is a great day for me to finish up The Project in the dining room? Maybe, we could invite some family over for Sunday dinner? Wouldn’t that be fun? Do you want an espresso?”

The VBS makes a quiet comment, and walks to the kitchen for his espresso.

Me: I decide it has been way too long since I have spoken with my dearest friend and kindred-spirit from nursing school in Chicago. She has been on my mind every day the past several months! Time to pick up the phone. I wonder if her number is the same. It has been how long since I called My Dear Friend? We pick up where we last left off a few years earlier, and get caught up on every detail of our lives!

saturday afternoon

(Where did those extra stacks of linen come from?)

The Best Sweetie (TBS) walking through the dining room (again!): “What are you going to do this afternoon?”

Me (a little less confident, but very cheerful after the long chat with My Dear Friend): “I think I might work on the linens in the dining room. Are you hungry for a little lunch?”

After making lunch, I move-in to tackle The Project–still chattering on about my conversation with My Dear Friend. Oh…I think I have a great idea for some of the embroidered linens! What if ….

saturday evening

The Sweetie (TS) stops in the dining room and stares intensely at the stacks of starched antique linens, lovely vintage fabrics and French trims. TS takes a very deep breath and cautiously asks, “might you work on getting some of the stacks of stuff taken care of later tonight?”

Me: replying rather weakly with something that sounds like: “Maybe…”

We are off to a dinner party across the river.

later saturday evening

(Is it my imagination or are those starched linen stacks a little taller?)

The Husband (TH) deliberately walks into the dining room. Stops. Engages in a stare down with The Project and then asks: “Do you think you will work on this tomorrow?”

ME: I am off to bed.

sunday morning

ME: To surprise TH, I get up early thinking that I will get started on The Project before TH wakes up. I walk into the dining room. I am sure, those stakes of linens and fabrics are looking much taller than last night! I decide to read a book so not to wake TH with all the noise and rauckus that results from organizing linens!

TH: “Good morning! I sure could use an espresso! Do you think you can make me one?” TH walks through the dining room with a slight glance at The Project out of the corner of his eye, but TH does not stop.

ME: “Sure! Do you want two cups this morning?”

TSH gently asks: “What are you going to do today?”

ME casting a sideways glance in the general directon of the dining room: “I would really like to work on The Project.”

The phone rings. It is My Best Girl from the NW. We talk and talk and talk!

sunday afternoon

TBS asks if we should have some family over for dinner. “We could eat in the kitchen. It is so cozy at the pennisula after all, isn’t it?”

ME: “I have just the thing to make for our Sunday supper!”

TVBS is so encouraging, doesn’t mention The Project and says: “That will be perfect!”

(The linen stacks don’t look so very tall after all.)

Here is the recipe that is enjoyed at the Sunday supper:

Pappardelle Pasta with Broccoli Sauce

¾ pound of dried pappardelle or linguine pasta
(seasoned pasta is exceptional – I like to use tomato cracked peper)
 
6 flat anchovy filets, chopped coarsely
½ cup extra-virgin Italian olive oil
½ bunch fresh broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets or aspargus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly cracked black pepper
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup freshly grated Romano

 

1. Steam the broccoli until al dente.

2. Heat olive oil and anchovies in skillet over moderately high heat until anchovies combine with oil; use wooden spoon to

dissolve the anchovies. (I know, anchovies sounds odd-but is the secret ingredient in this pasta dish!)    

  

Broccoli in a Pan

Broccoli in a Pan

3. Add broccoli and black pepper and saute over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Check and adjust salt if necessary.

4. Cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes).

Pasta just added to kettle - be sure to keep the water boiling

Pasta just added to kettle - be sure to keep the water boiling

 5. Drain thoroughly and return to pot cooked in.

6. Add butter and toss lightly. Add the olive oil and broccoli mixture and toss again.

7. Add the cheeses, toss once more and serve immediately along side a salad dressed with a light vinegrette.

(Serve with grilled salmon for a wonderful dinner.)

Pasta with Fresh Vegies

Pasta with Fresh Vegies

I hope you enjoy!

It is still winter at Rose Cottage. Will you leave a comment below to brighten our day?

It is still winter at Rose Cottage. Will you leave a comment below to brighten our day?

 

 

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happy, happy birthday!

Winter is back in the north, but not for two special people living where the sun shines! Today is my dad’s and godmother’s birthdays! If today is your birthday, happy birthday, too!

Happy birthday to you! happy-birthday

Wishing you sunshine and flowers on your birthdays!

Love to you!

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Got Magic?…Believe…Bloom!

everyday magic!

Do you dream big dreams? Do you seek to create “magic” in the world around you? Do you make magic in the everyday things in your home, with your family or in other aspects of your life?

I am inspired to create magic when I see the possibilities of re-thinking “raw’ materials. Suzzanne’s 100 yards of rainbow ribbons (seam binding) in her studio are magical, and provides the opportunity to look at the everyday with a new perspective. Stop by and take a look at Suzzane’s creativity!

Now, look around you–what can you do with something stashed away in that box in your cupboard? How can you use something you already have in a new and fresh way?

rm_magic_0209How do you create magic with ordinary things?

do you believe?

What? You say you can’t create magic in your life and home? The first place to start creating magic and making the ordinary extraordinary–whatever that ordinary is–begins by believing it is possible!

Easier said than done! We all doubt our own ability to create some magic sometimes. Yes, it is true! One of my favorite Christmas movies is Miracle on 34th Street. You know the story line–everything changes by the end of the movie. Why? Because of belief in the improbable!

rm_believe_0209

 Do you believe you can create magic in your life and home?

get inspired

 

Rose Mille is one of my favorite “magic stores” to feel inspired and energized. There are so many beautiful, extra-ordinary materials to help create magic! Mi’s several boxes of vintage hand-dyed osterich millinery are so amazing-the texture, color and the movement of the feathers! The feather millinery is captivating! Box full of Magic

I leave with a very soft, luxurious peach feather. It looks just like a hollywood diva’s powder puff! It will be perfect on the dressing table for a little touch of magical glam each morning!

rm_bloom_02091

bloom…create magic and magical moments in the everyday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Will you leave a line about how you are creating magic in your life?

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romantic millinery magic

a still life with a bouquet of flowers

The skies are gray at Rose Cottage, and winter’s uninvited chill is lingering a bit too long. Snow is once again in the forecast. I am longing for warm sunshine again! Are you feeling this way, too? Wouldn’t you love to walk out to the garden and bring in a huge bouquet of freshly-picked flowers…spicy sweet pink roses, armloads of fragrant peonies and stately blue bird delphinium…into your home?

Maybe, a bouquet that is somewhat reminiscent of famous sumptuous Dutch oil paintings from the 17th century, such as Jan van Huysum’s Still Life with a Bouquet of Roses and Other Flowers? I can almost smell the old rose fragrance of the bourbon roses in that painting!

a reinvented 3-D still life

There aren’t any van Huysum’s and, in the middle of below freezing temps, the gardens are not in bloom at Rose Cottage! (Sigh!) So I envision my own version of a still life using a bouquet of millinery roses and other flowers. My still life will be a curtain tieback on the bedroom raspberry red buffalo check silk curtain. But, I will need to gather a lot of flowers–it needs to have the feel of a van Huysum!

Some of the bouquet’s elements are carefully wrapped in tissue and tucked away in a vintage hatbox. Other elements are currently in service in another small arrangement; time to “re-purpose” that one.

Lovely Vintage Millinery

Lovely Vintage Millinery

Realizing there aren’t quite enough millinery for the voluptuous bouquet of my dreams, I am off to Rose Mille–just up the river, to pick more flowers for the still life. Mi has fabulous millinery to add to the bouquet!

The white silk rose from Dulken and Derrick gathered at Rose Mille is spectacular with the gently rolled petals!

Vintage Millinery Trio

Vintage Millinery Trio

 

 

 

Mi has a gorgeous small vintage piece of  “drapey” black velvet–perfect for the base of the bouquet!

 

 

For a bit of the unexpected, I decide to use a few pieces of vintage spun cotton fruit gently sprinkled with fairy dust–glass glitter.

Some Gathered Millinery and Spun Cotton Fruit

 

 

 

 

Some Gathered Millinery and Spun Cotton Fruit

creating millinery magic

Now, it is time to create some millinery magic! Some of the little beauties need a gentle freshening. Mi glady shares a tip with me: simply hold the flower over a steaming tea kettle, and the petals will unfurl right before your eyes! It takes only a few minutes to liven up more than 50 pieces of millinery.

The black velvet is cut the length and width of the tieback needed for the curtain. I decide to use some pellon as a stabilizer between the front and back of the black velvet. Two six inch pieces of black silk cording are cut to serve as the hooks, and each are looped at each end of the tie back. The black velvet is stitched with the fronts facing, leaving a small opening. The velvet is turned right-side out through the small opening. The tieback is gently steamed, and the opening is whip-stitched closed. Now it is time for more fun!

Romantic Millinery and Great-Grandmother Myrtle's Needlecase

Shades of White: Romantic Millinery and Great-Grandmother Myrtle's Needlecase

The millinery is laid out in a design that balances size, color and texture. The first step is to create a base with the vintage black and green velvet leaves. The leaves are carefully handstitched to the velvet.

Starting at the inside end (opposite of where the tieback hooks to the wall), the roses, apple blossums, flower buds and spun cotton are carefully stitched to the tieback.

After careful stitching, the romantic millinery magic is done! Time to see the results on the raspberry silk curtain.

Romantic Millinery Tieback (2)

 

 

 

 

Romantic Millinery Tieback (2)

 

What do you think about this still life of romatic roses and other flowers?

Can you leave me a comment below about how you have created millinery magic? Or just let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by for a chat!

 

Woman Making Millinery Magic (c.1893)

Woman Making Millinery Magic (c.1910)

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Filed under Family, Home, Sewing, Uncategorized, Vintage

Mailer’s Malady

a postscript note to Valentines

I have to come “clean.” I am afflicted with with a deep-seated disorder–“Mailer’s Malady!” Never heard of it you say? Maybe, you have it too? Mailer’s Malady affects everyone–men, women and children, young and old and rural or urban dwellers. Mailer’s Malady knows no boundaries, and it can lurk anywhere.

Vintage Sealing Wax and a Red Rose

Vintage Sealing Wax and a Red Rose

The symptoms are unmistakeable and emerge throughout the year. Although, there are certain times of year the symptoms are more evident and difficult to conceal, such as Christmas and other celebratory days. 

Inside one of the drawers of my beloved Grandmother’s secretary is additional evidence of the ailment: stacks of the most amazingly beautiful cards and stationary carefully selected and purchased to pen off words to those I love and care about. Some of the pigeon holes in the desks even have addressed cards and notes in sealed envelopes with 21 cent stamps. How long ago was that?! Yes, at one time 21 cent stamps were in vogue and used by some!

There are gentle reminders around Rose Cottage patiently telling me to post a little note to someone dear every time I pass them throughout the day.

Victorian Paper Mache Writer's Desk (c.1880)

Victorian Paper Mache Writer's Desk (c.1880)

 A lovely Victorian paper mache writer’s desk with delicate inlaid mother of pearl encourages me every morning and evening…but I look the other way and the confounding malady afflicts its grip on me once again. 

Tucked inside a well-worn address book are words of wisdom from the past to encourage me to overcome this desperate condition. The words confront some conceivable reasons for not writing…

Time…

“A letter not be long to be welcome.” ~Emily Post

“A line is enough for memory.” ~Old autograph album

Money…

“Good words are worth much, and cost little.” ~Geroge Herbert

Not sure what to say…

“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.” ~William Shakespeare

“Begin at the beinning, go on until you have finished, and then stop.” ~Anonymous

however…

“Love in a letter endures forever in our memories.” ~Emily Post

and

“Blessed be letters–they are the monitors, they are also the comforters, and they are the only true heart-talkers.” ~Donald Grant

Today, I resolve to send a long-overdue note to a friend

who has been on my mind…after I find some stamps!

Will you send me a comment below and let me know what you think?

Will you send me a comment below and let me know what you think?

 

 

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