Friday, August 29, 2008

trouvée: wish you were here

Postmarked "Pleasant Point, ME, July 29, 1907" and addressed to "Walter Copeland Bryant, Brockton, Mass." To me this captures the essence of summer in Maine. Tomorrow I am headed to my own pleasant point for a wee vacation ~ I can't wait for the smell of salt air, blue waters, and fields of wild flowers.

Maybe it is ambitious, but this is what I am bringing along:

* The Geographer's Library
* The Binding Chair
* Abandon
* and two needlepoint canvases!

For those of you in the States, I wish you all a happy Labor Day weekend ~ and to all a wonderful end to summer! Type to you in a week. xo.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

an apology

Oh, gosh...this week has slipped away with barely a post! I humbly offer you some dahlias. And as promised, a few last links from England (of the more contemporary sort):

* Claire Morgan
* Edmund de Waal
* Cy Twombly at the Tate
* and 2 Willow Road

I'll be back tomorrow...and then off next week for a little rest. Cheers!

Monday, August 25, 2008

a weekend at home

Yesterday marked a milestone ~ the first home-cooked meal in my kitchen! Oh, it felt good to hit the farmers' market in the morning, and then fire up that stove for the first time. Never mind that I couldn't find the salt and pepper...I had that glorious basil.

Have you seen the September "Paris" issue of Gourmet? Simply divine...the photographs and articles made me drool.

Friday, August 22, 2008

trouvée: manhattan

I discovered this little gem quite a while ago, and it just seemed the appropriate image with which to end a week spent in New York (as always, click to view larger). has been ages since the last found photo friday! And related photo links:

* Hubert's Freaks
* tintypes (something to look forward to!)
* and the Pompidou catalogue on Miroslav Tichy is out at last!

Before I wish you a bon weekend...a huge thank you goes to Style Court for the lovely mention yesterday...and to my friend Anna for her sweet words (more Attingham adventures are to be found on her blog!). Next week ~ a few last goodies from England (of the more contemporary sort), along with some new inspiration. Until then...cheers!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

waking up

I suppose one must eventually wake up from the dream (thanks for reliving it with me these past several weeks!). However, I discovered that a trip to New York is a good distraction. Here is why:

* good friends, good food, and good wine (lots of it) ~ all the perfect ingredients for being just a little bit naughty (yes, Mr. R, just a little)
* it's the only place in the world where you can see someone eating pizza while skateboarding down Seventh Avenue...and a guy reading Huckleberry Finn on the 6 train (I love that!)
* Louise Bourgeois at the Guggenheim
* pattern and design at the Cooper-Hewitt
* the fabulous yarn selection at Purl
* and lots and lots of great shadows in Soho

Was there more? Of course. But, for now...happy thursday!

Friday, August 15, 2008

attingham: one last favorite

One last favorite ~ Tyntesfield ~ and a confession. By the time we got to Tyntesfield late in the third week, I was suffering from complete house fatigue (yes, it can happen). Anyway, during the formal garden tour I escaped from the group (along with a few co-conspirators), ran giddily across a field full of cow patties, and hid out in the greenhouses. Shameless, I know. But, oh what a reward! ~ tables full of drying garlic, potted geraniums and carnations (the old-fashioned kind that smell like your great-grandmother's scented talcum powder), and rows and rows of cutting flowers. All part of the workings behind a great estate ~ and a little bit of refuge from the rest of the world.

So, this weekend go do something just a little bit naughty...! I am off on another adventure ~ I will see you later next week with a few last bits of inspiration from England, and perhaps a few new ones from New York. Be well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

attingham: the details 3

Today, just a couple more details ~ these from Weald and Downland (which reminded me a little of here). All about light and shadow. And a few links:

* House Proud
* Libraries of Light
* and a new Alice in Wonderland

Enjoy and happy thursday. xo.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

attingham: the houses: hardwick

Week 2 favorites ~ Hardwick Hall ~ "more glass than wall!" This house was a place of complete sensory overload for me ~ from climbing up onto the roof to see the magnificent vistas to losing myself in room after room of textiles. I have very few photographs from Hardwick, partly because I was so distracted, and partly because the interior light levels are kept extremely low in order to protect the textiles. But, for more about Hardwick see Anne's guest post from last year, and these two publications:

* The Embroideries at Hardwick Hall (pure eye candy)
* Bess of Hardwick

Also, while I (madly!) lugged home all of the guide books for the houses we visited, you might be interested to know that you can order them through The History Press (they will ship internationally).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

attingham: the houses: calke abbey

Week 2 favorites ~ Calke Abbey ~ speaking of gothic! This house is quite a departure from the others ~ full of decay, obsessive collections of taxidermy, stuffed birds and rusty watercans (etc., etc.), and dark, moody rooms. There were many in the group who found the place rather disturbing, but I loved the brooding, rather theatrical nature of it all. And gosh, it made for some fantastic photographic opportunities.

Monday, August 11, 2008

attingham: a peek inside

A couple of you wanted to see the inside of the conservatory at Flintham...and I am happy to oblige. Influenced by the Crystal Palace, the conservatory is one of the last of its kind left in England ~ a true feat of Victorian engineering. It is just the sort of place I dreamed about as a kid reading gothic Victorian novels ~ but never really imagined existed.

Also, just a quick note to say thank you for all your comments and emails. I am sorry if I haven't gotten back to you all, but I will...slowly but surely. Happy monday!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

attingham: the houses: flintham

Week 2 favorites ~ Flintham Hall ~ as promised. I think there was a collective gasp of awe as we shuffled through the tiny garden gate and caught our first glimpse of this amazing Victorian house with its extraordinary glass conservatory. It is a private home, so it has a wonderfully comfortable feel. It is full of all those things that makes a country house so fabulous ~ needlepoint cushions, piles of books and curiosities, stuffed animals, and generations of walking sticks. And to top it all off, we were treated to a scrumptious tea and encouraged to explore the house and gardens as we pleased. Just magical...

Happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

attingham: a favorite meal

One glorious evening we were invited to Winkburn Hall. And, as the sun set over a perfect English landscape, we were plied with wine and treated to a gourmet supper alfresco...followed by the most divine meringue with cream and berries (oh, and that Stilton!). I was so taken by this dessert that I had to track down the recipe. And it is just too good not to share ~ enjoy:

Meringue with sweet cream and raspberries

For the meringue:
6 organic free-range egg whites
small pinch of salt
360g/12oz caster sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the sweet cream:
180ml/6fl oz double cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g/7oz raspberries

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put the egg whites (at room temperature) in a clean, dry bowl and add salt. Using an electric or balloon whisk beat the egg whites, slowly at first until they break down and begin to froth slightly. Increase the speed and continue until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time and finally beat in the vanilla. Place spoonfuls of the meringue mixture on the baking tray, spacing them evenly apart to allow for them to expand. Place in the oven and immediately turn down to 120C/250F and cook for 45 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool completely before removing (note: they may be kept in an airtight container for up to three days). To make the sweet cream, place the cream in a bowl and whisk until just soft. Add the sugar and vanilla and stir well to combine. Place the raspberries in another bowl and, using the back of a fork, press down on them gently to release the juice and lightly crush them. Stir the crushed raspberries into the cream. Arrange the meringues on a plate and spoon the raspberry cream over them. Serve immediately.

(from: The Independant, 6 July 2008)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

attingham: the details 2

I do love a good conservatory! This particular one at Flintham is set inside the loveliest walled garden, and is full of climbing flowers and grape vines (and behind it, an old steam-heated melon pit!). I wish I could have hidden away there for an hour or two. The house is just as magical...and I promise a glimpse of it later this week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

attingham: the details 1

Before I subject you all to another "week" of houses, I thought I would treat you to some delicious details ~ wood carvings from Uppark, a stack of books in the Old Library at Petworth, and a few links (because I know you miss them!):

* The Dicamillo Companion
* William Blake: Illustrated Books
* and a database of bookbindings

And details. Happy tuesday. xo.

Monday, August 4, 2008

attingham: the houses: petworth

Week 1 favorites ~ Petworth ~ the one time haunt of J.M.W. Turner. Lest you think that all I did was wander through rose gardens...I give you Petworth. Not the most impressive of houses from the exterior...but the interior with its wonderful art collection, carvings by Grinling Gibbons, and classic enfilade of rooms, made my heart beat a little faster. Looking back through my notes, I have pages and pages dedicated to Petworth, almost singularly on Turner. For me, I think one of the greatest thrills was visiting the Old Library, which the artist used as his studio ~ stuffed full of dusty books and generally not open to the public. Must see: Turner at Petworth.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

attingham: the houses: broughton

Week 1 favorites ~ Broughton Castle ~ the home of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele. Someone last night asked me which, of all the houses I visited, would I want to live in, and I immediately replied: Broughton. The house is warm and welcoming, and the gardens completely seductive. Perhaps it was because the day we visited was the first time we had seen sun in ages, but we all wandered around as if drugged by the scent of roses and honeysuckle. Anyway, it is one of those houses that you just have to is not about paintings, or is all about place.

Friday, August 1, 2008

attingham: the houses: arundel

Week 1 favorites ~ Arundel Castle ~ the first of the houses we visited. Pearched high above the River Arun, it is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. Although much of it (including the keep) was rebuilt in the 19th century, the house still retains some of its medieval flair. There was wonderful furniture and some gorgeous needlepoint (more on that later), but for me I think the highlight was a picnic on the tennis courts, surrounded by cascades of roses (see below). Sigh...oh, how I miss those egg and mayonnaise sandwiches (even if they did have butter on them!).

P.S. I am sorry not to post yesterday as promised ~ but I have some fabulous weekend posts put together to make up for it.