Monday, February 28, 2011

Black and White

I love this photo that I turned into black and white with only the pumpkin in color. I'm not the photographer in the family, that is my daughter, Polly. She has a great eye. She has begun a new blog to post her photography, called Some People Dream in French.
I was actually surprised when I saw how well my attempt turned out. It is one of my favorite pictures.
I'm joining Tracy for:

My new toy

I have another birthday present to show off today.

 My youngest daughter gave me a great new cordless electric screwdriver. I was given one 15 years ago by the husband of my dear friend, Pat. I have used it for all these years. It was large and heavy, but I loved it.
Suddenly last month it just quit! I asked my daughter to pick up a new battery when she was going to Home Depot. She came back to tell me that they didn't make them anymore.
Next week she surprised me with this darling new one for my birthday. It is small, lightweight, even has a light! I love it.
The funniest thing - when my friend Mary was visiting on the afternoon of my birthday, we were talking about the best way to hang the new shelf she had just bought. I was bemoaning the fact that my electric screwdriver had just died. Poor Polly was over in the corner trying not to give away the fact that there was a brand new one on the table all wrapped up with a big bow on it. Oh, how we all laughed later.

I have linked this post to Mosaic Monday at the Little Red House

Friday, February 25, 2011

Party Silver

I wanted to share another gift I received on my birthday.

Isn't it gorgeous? I can't wait to have a dinner party to use this newest piece. Thank you, Mary.
I'm joining 
for a blog party. Want to come?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

give away

Cabbages and Roses is giving away a copy of the Romantic Prairie Style  by Fifi O'Neil.
Details of the interview and give away are here on Cabbages and Roses.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Afternoon tea

I surprised my friend, Mary a birthday tea. Her daughter and daughter-in-law were in on the secret. Her sister-in-lad, niece, and long-time dear friend were also invited. Mary is married to a Swede, so I made a Swedish birthday cake to go along with all the more traditional tea time food. There were three sandwiches, cucumber, ham, and egg mayonnaise.  Scones with clotted cream and lemon curd, black current jam tarts, lemon and banana tea bread, and teapot shaped cookies. I had my trusty Mrs. Tea maker going at full speed with several tea pots rotating to keep us all with full cups. I prefer a good English Indian tea, like Darjeeling or blended teas like Taylors Yorkshire Gold, Typhoo, or even good old PGTips.  I particularly like the philosophy behind Dilmah Tea Co. If you follow the link it will take you to their website where it explains their wonderful foundation founded by Merrill J. Fernando, a great humanitarian. As a plus, his tea is really delicious.
I'm not a fan of American tea (beige water). I don't like those nasty bitter herbal tisane types the French and Americans are so fond of, either. If I'm not sick why take medicine? No, give me a nice cup of good English or Irish tea that I can stand a spoon in. BTW if you like Irish tea, Trader Joe's has a killer Irish Breakfast Tea that is less than $3 a box of 80. I start my day with a pot of that every morning.
Swedish Cloudberry Cake

Cloudberry Cake

This is one of the easiest cakes I've ever made. It is a traditional Scandinavian cake using the rare cloudberry jam. Cloudberries only grow north of 78°N.

Makes 16 servings .
     For the cake:
  • 6 large eggs (about 1 1/3 cups), room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, stirred before measuring
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
      For filling and decoration:
  • 2 cups cloudberry preserves(from Ikea)
  • 3 cups heavy cream, whipped (I used Dr. Oetker Whip it -whipped cream stabilizer so I was able to pipe it on the cake for decoration)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two or three 9-inch, round cake pans with parchment paper. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine eggs and sugar, beating on high speed until light and lemon colored, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in vanilla and salt. With a rubber spatula, thoroughly fold in flour.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake until the cake springs back when touched in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool. Loosen edges of cooled cakes and remove from pans. If making 2 layers, use a serrated knife, slice cakes horizontally to make four cake layers in all, or use the 3 layers as they are.
  5. For the filling: Whip the cream, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and the stabilizer until stiff.
  6. To assemble the cake: Place bottom layer on cake plate, brush cake with rum, and pipe one-third of the filling. Top with the second layer, brush with rum, and spread with 1/2 of the preserves. Top with the third layer, brush with rum, and pipe one-third of the filling. Top with the fourth layer, brush with rum, and spread with remaining preserves. Pipe remaining cream  on cake in a decorative pattern. (If you use three pans, as I do, spread a thinner layer of the preserves on each layer with the cream on top)
 I have linked to
Decor to Adore

Monday, February 21, 2011

Deruta Tuscan Jug

Yesterday was my birthday. I was surprised by my friend with a beautiful Deruta Tuscan jug. I've always love the beautiful Italian Ceramics. The colors are so pure and clear. This is a geometric majolica piece,  made by Eugenio Ricciarelli, one of the most gifted and original contemporary artists in Deruta.



signed by the artist, Eugenio Ricciarelli
I'm linking to Blue Monday Smiling Sally
Smiling Sally: Blue Monday - All You Need to Know

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Oregon Capitol, Salem

Oregon's present Capitol has its origins in two fires. On December 30, 1855, fire swept through a newly occupied Statehouse, completely destroying the structure. The Holman Building, in the business section of Salem, served as a temporary Capitol from 1859 until another one was completed in 1876. On April 25, 1935, fire again destroyed the elegant Statehouse patterned after the U.S. Capitol.

Francis Keally with the New York firm of Trowbridge & Livingston designed the current building, which was dedicated October 1, 1938.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lillies and Dandelions is having a contest which includes:

1~ 10" x 12 1/2" bag filled with 3/4 pound of dried organic lavender, which can be used to refill your sachets, 6~ 3"x 4" lavender dryer sachets, and a France Post Large Lumbar Tarp Pillow Cover (measures 16"x 28")
So there you have it...  Total combined value of over $120.00!!

The contest will end 9:00 p.m. (PST) on Friday, February 25thT

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Barbara at Ramblings from an English Garden has some interesting facts concerning numbers this year
1.1.11     1.11.11     11.11.11
if you take the last 2 numbers of your date of birth
add the age you will be this year you will come up with

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The snow is not too common here in Portland. Some years we have several snow events. Some years, nothing. I thought this year when most of the Northern Hemisphere was blanketed with snow, we had almost none. Now today - a beautiful, quiet, lovely snow.

  After the snow, Sunshine                                                                               After the Sunshine, Hail
Now the Weatherman is predicting more snow tonight.

linking to White Wednesday at:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Tidy Mom 
It continues to be one of the coldest winters around the Northern Hemisphere in years. This is a great time for warming up with a nice bowl of soup. Cheryl @ Tidy Mom is having a timely, fun Link-up. Being new to this world, I'm not very sophisticated with my blogging, but nothing like jumping in with both feet! What fun.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Young at Heart Love

A terribly sweet, chic older couple 
Valentine's Day 
Avarnche, France
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Window Love

I was thinking a little valentine love would look nice in my living room. I cut some hearts from some paint chips we picked up the other day. I strung them on lavender thread, added some pearls. I hung them on the door to the porch. I'm thinking they look lovely.
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Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Imaginary Invalid

Love is funny. Love is trickery. Love is…smelly? It’s certainly a merry-go-round of misplaced desires and hidden agendas in Constance Congdon’s fresh and hilarious new take on Molière’s skewering of a health care crisis from an entirely different century. To quell his growing pile of medical bills, Monsieur Argan, a chronic hypochondriac, will go to any length to marry his daughter off to a doctor. Of course, his daughter has other ideas. A narcotic cocktail of romantic triangles, double entendres and mistaken identities ensues, promising to leave you gasping, giggling and possibly…in stitches.
Portland Center Stage
Gerding Theater at the Armory

The Imaginary Invalid Trailer2 from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

It was a grand day. We had lunch with our dear friends from Montana visiting their daughter here in Portland. Other guests were long time mutual friends. After a delicious lunch prepared by Julie, who is a trained chef and restaurant owner, we all headed down town Portland to see this wickedly funny play.  It was a hoot. Afterward Polly and I stayed down town and went to Faneul Restaurant for Happy Hour. Polly had eaten there several times before when the French chef was still there and loved the food. Today, it was less than we expected. It was as if everything we had had just a little something that wasn't quite right. Flavors that just didn't quite work. The place she had wanted to go (50 Plates) was closed for a private party.

My personal rememberance on this Centennial

Ronald W. Reagan

40th President of the United States

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth
February 6th, 1911 – June

In 2008 while teaching Jr. High at a small private school, I accompanied the two 8th grade students to France for their graduation trip. We enjoyed a bit of sightseeing in Paris and visits to my friends and family. The girls enjoyed a visit to the school of my friend's granddaughter. After that we headed north to Rouen for more visiting family, with side trips to all the usual places. Giverny, Les Andeleys to see Richard I's Chateau Gaillard, the Shrine of Jeanne D'Arc, etc.
After leaving Rouen we headed West to tour the D-Day beaches. We were fortunate to stay at the same hotel as the head of all American Cemeteries in Europe. He was a wealth of information and made our visits to several of the sites a more edifying experience.

We especially enjoyed seeing the memorial at Point du Hoc, with the inscription and dedication by President Reagan.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Candlemas Day

To learn about this special day click the link to Woodlands Junior School to learn the fascinating origins of the America's Groundhog Day.


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