Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Quote Worthy of Remark

"I felt myself very unwell and directed a little chocolate which Mr. McClellan gave us prepared of which I drank about a pint and found great relief."
-William Clark, excerpt from his journal on September 13, 1806

I always did like history.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Carrot Filling

1 cup finally grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
A couple pepper grains and a few drops of Soy Sauce

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and serve in sandwiches on whole wheat bread.

You can substitue walnuts for the pecans and use lemon juice instead of the vinegar. I have always used lemon juice but for want of that ingredient I substituted vinegar the other day to very good effect.

I found a variation of this recipe awhile ago in an old cookbook and have made it several times since. I'm so glad I tried it in the first place in one of my more experimental moods. Even if you don't like carrots, I suggest you try it, at least once. I served it at a tea at my grandmothers once and a lady less than fond of carrots found it quite enjoyable. That time I also used lightly toasted white bread and then prepared as usual for tea sandwiches.

I think it would be very vintage served as a late night snack with hot chocolate. I have not tried this last one yet, but I shall have to remember it. Of course in order for it to sound like it might come straight out of a vintage novel, I suggest that all parties partaking first live a very exciting and harrowing existance (which of course includes spies) culminating in the capture of the bad guys and then have servants serve these sandwiches on silver platters while everyone listens to the hero explaining what exactly happened while a hot fire crackles, chasing away the chills of the stormy night. He also must occassionally turn to smile at his beautiful girl, which of course after a stormy relationship, they have just come to an understanding when he rescued her a few hours earlier from the perilous perfidy of one of the spies.

Well, sandwiches and hot chocolate I might be able to manage. The perils and stormy night would come readily enough.....'s the servants and silver platter that might be difficult to arrange.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our House Guest

Introducing Eeyore, which he is rarely called around here. Among others, the more prefered names being Puncher Pug, Franklin and my personal favorite, Mugs McGuinness. Really, I don't suppose it's every house guest that you address by the name that you happen to think suits them best, but he's a good sport. I think all the nicknames are a sign of distant affection. He really is very well behaved and is lots of fun to have around. I’m going to miss him when his mother returns home to claim him. He likes to sit up like this and beg. Homemade bread seems to make him very excited.

Isn't he cute?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Brother's Wedding

The last week in March, my sisters and I traveled to Oregon to help with our brother’s wedding. The last few days were rather hectic, by we managed to squeeze some non wedding events into the first part of the week.

Early on the morning of the 22nd just as the sun was breaking through the morning fog, we set out to meet one of our brothers on a hike at Silver Falls State Park. It was lovely to hike the wet trails, enjoying the lovely twists of the paths as we followed the creek and wound through the woods. Spring was evident everywhere, parading forth in fresh greenery and wild flowers.

Early in the week, we met a good friend for coffee at Starbucks. Over various and assorted beverages, we caught up on the happenings in our lives, debated on just which language the guys at the other table were really speaking, wondered who the guy was that two police officers met for coffee, tasted the coffee cake they were giving away because they couldn’t sell it - no surprise, I thought it had too much flour. And finally went our separate ways, knowing we would see each other again later that week sometime over the wedding festivities.

Then it was wedding preparation time!

We had a bachelorette tea rather than a wild party. We couldn’t help getting our sister-in-law to be this ring that lit up. We’ve long teased our brother in emergency personal about his love for lights and joked that he was going to get his bride a flashing ring. Well, it didn’t flash, but it did light up. Can you see her real engagement ring in the photograph? It is a beautiful vintage ring and I absolutely love it.

And here is the wedding cake. My sister-in-law and I combined efforts for this confectionary masterpiece. At least we thought it was a masterpiece. It wasn't perfect (thanks to me) and I'm a perfectionist, but for a first attempt, it turned out relatively well. Everyone seemed dually impressed with the results. I rather was too, and very relieved. It was a chocolate cake with a chocolate filling and a mint frosting. I baked the cake, and did the basic frosting. My sister-in-law did the decorative frosting. She did an amazing job- though rather tired being several months pregnant!

And another first – I put together all the bouquets! The bride was there to approve the bridesmaid’s bouquets but then she took off before I started on her bouquet. It had to be done that night, and fortunately she had mentioned what she wanted, so I put it together and hoped she liked it. I did. I actually even wanted to catch it! After I made up example boutonnieres and corsages, my sisters helped do the rest of those. Thank goodness!

I don’t have any of the professional photographs, but here is a back view of the bridesmaid’s dresses. The bride wanted a vintage themed wedding. She chose a very basic style for the dresses, and with the right hats, shoes and gloves, the look came together beautifully. All the gloves were authentic vintage, borrowed from my sister’s collection and my grandmother brought some in from Colorado.
And the lovely little vintage inspired caps. I thought up the design, my sister CheeringOn made the design work and then it was team effort to put them together at the last minute. We weren’t sure the bride was going to approve the hats, so we hadn’t made them yet. Yikes! We did get them done at the last minute.

It was a very busy time for me as maid-of- honor, wedding coordinator, as well as heading up almost all of the decorating! It was a lot of places to be at once. I did enjoy the challenge and it was a good experience. Oh, but lots of sleep was needed afterwards!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Retro Gown and Robe Set

It was lace, it was lavender and we had admired it before at another fabric store when we were together. I knew I had to get the material and make something for my sister-in-law to be.

For the robe I took inspiration from Vogue 8196. I used the basic pattern, but altered the sleeves and of course lengthened the bottom tier into a long skirt. I thought three buttons quite enough for the purpose as well.
The back of the gown.
After months of procrastination, when I arrived home after a trip, my sister had added to her vintage pattern collection and I knew the gown was perfect. It was a good pattern because it was feminine without my having to fit it to her specifically.

The back of the gown.

A close up of the bow that gathers the fullness in the back.

My sisters all admired it, and I think I should make a similar version for myself. I would feel very sweet waking up in a gown in a similar pattern made out of a pretty cotton material.

Thank you to my little sister for modeling the gown. With two inch heels she was just about the same height as the bride.