Friday, October 31, 2008

trouvée: two girls

An old tintype found ~ I love the fierce look and the plaid dress (click to view larger). And a couple friday photo links (I must have France on the brain):

* Fermeture de proximité
* and Versailles in transition

Well, just stopping by to say: Boo! Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

inspired: vines

Today I was reading Nicole's post about John Burroughs and studying nature near home. I sighed a little thinking: how true, if only I didn't live in the city. Then at lunch I went for a walk and spied the wisteria vines clinging to the walls of the museum and realized how much joy I take in observing them through the seasons ~ the little buds in the spring and heady purple flowers that follow, the rich green leaves in the summer, and the curling vines that cast dramatic shadows in the fall and winter. Indeed, there is something wonderful to be found near home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

of wine and houses

I have said it before, but I love Flickr! It is wonderful being able to share more images with you there than I can here on the blog ~ especially of the house tours. So over the next month or two, I will try to go through old files and upload images from past tours. A trip down memory lane!

This weekend (in addition to Monticello) we took advantage of the many wineries around Charlottesville, visiting Oakencroft (which, unfortunately closes at the end of the year), Kluge Estate (one of first wineries in Virginia to produce a sparkling wine), and Jefferson (located on the site of Thomas Jefferson's original 1774 vineyards). We were particularly intrigued by Kluge's Cru, a Chardonnay fortified with brandy, and aged in Jack Daniel's barrels. I think it will help get me through the winter!

Monday, October 27, 2008

historic house tour: monticello

There are some houses that just leave you a little breathless. Monitcello is one of those. And yesterday was a glorious day to visit ~ clear, crisp, and autumnal! After a refreshing hike up to the house (we skipped the shuttle bus), we wandered in the gardens and marveled over Jefferson's magnificent "sea view." The house itself is extraordinary ~ full of delightful details that invite one to linger, and send one running afterwards to consult Susan Stein's The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. I was thrilled to be treated to a private tour of the Dome Room, which is generally not open to the public (for a bit more history on it, see here) ~ perfect in its proportions, white trim, green floor, and yellow walls. While photography is not allowed in the house, there is an excellent room-by-room tour available online (thanks to Mr. R for the link!).

I will be back tomorrow with a bit more from the weekend ~ in the mean time, the rest of the Monticello visit is up on flickr. Cheers and happy monday!

Friday, October 24, 2008

trouvée: la mode

This is one of a group of photographs I found recently, from The New York Times fashion department (Paris bureau). The caption on the back reads: "Scarf collar used by J. Suzanne Talbot on popular length jacket in beige broadcloth lined in mixed tweed of the skirt."

Well, I will be wearing my scarf collar this weekend ~ it is cold! More wine is in store, along with a house tour. So, stay tuned! Bon weekend à vous!

P.S. I *heart* $5 snapshots!

october bounty

I love opening my mailbox and finding goodies! Last night ~ the newest issue of the National Trust magazine and my October card society package. Both gorgeous! Plus, there is a great article on the rise of the farm stand in the UK. The bottom photograph was meant for yesterday's post (which never happened), but it pairs perfectly with last night's bounty. Also enjoying:

* Rei Sato's Sun
* and Pompeii

I will check back a little later with a found photograph and some weekend wishes. Cheers for now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

loving fall

And the little bits of color in the city ~ rare, but there.

Another cool fall day in Washington. I slept with the quilt on my bed last night for the first time this season. And had apple cider with breakfast.

I think these are eerily beautiful. Broken trees and crossroads.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

long shadows

Good morning all! A couple of you emailed yesterday about the Virginia Winery Guide. We picked ours up at one of the vineyards, but you can use the online version, or order one here. It really is a super resource.

Oooooh, and last night was deliciously cold here in Washington. I have been nesting ~ making late night cups of tea, and curling up with all the new books I have been ordering. This and this arrived yesterday, both delightful and wonderfully inspiring. I am a little obsessed with food lately, and these two cookbooks by Diana Henry are on my list:

* Roast Figs, Sugar Snow
* Crazy Water Pickled Lemons

Oh, and Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries. Yummy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

day of wine

The main ingredients in getting one's rhythm back ~ a day in the country and a glass (or two) of wine! Yesterday's glorious weather and the promise of colorful foliage lured some of us city folk out to the Shenandoah. Armed with a picnic of smoked cheese, turkey breast, rosemary-olive bread, a bag of Cheetos, and the 2008 Virginia Winery Guide, we descended on Piedmont Vineyards and Vintage Ridge (the latter of which sent us over the moon with their fantastic wine and food pairings!). It is the time of year when Virginia is at her best ~ sunlight streams through the yellow leaves, heat and humidity gives way to clear, crisp air, and the farm stands are full of apples, pears, and tart cider. When you live in the city the seasons seem to have less immediacy, so a day like this is like a gift from nature. We hated to give it up, waiting until the sun cast long, cool shadows over the landscape before we finally piled back in the car, and back to the city. (For more of our outing, see here).

I hope you too had a weekend full of autumnal wonders. xo.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

fall color!

Autumnal tones at the farmers' market ~ yarn from here and crisp Virginia pears. I am dying to knit some mittens!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

some focus

A bit of an unexpected absence. Just so much going on, including a quick trip to New York, where there were lots of lovely things ~ a new baby to coo over, Morandi at the Met (along with some fabulous British prints...the exhibition catalogue for which is gorgeous), and an atumnal walk in Central Park. The fall season serves up so many goodies, and I have lots to share this week. But first, I hope I can ease back into a more balanced rhythm...and find a little focus.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

postcard: a lemon pippin & nonsuch

From the Victoria & Albert ~ apples ~ by Charles Jones. The names are wonderful: Cox's Pomona, Lord Derby, Cellini Pippin, Lemon Pippin, King of the Pippins, Mere de Menage, Peasgood's Nonsuch, Sandringham, Worcester Pearmain. For more by Jones, see here and here.

(image: Charles Jones, Apples, gelatin silver prints, a page from an album, about 1901-1920, Vicoria & Albert Museum, London)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

being at home, part 2

The soup is delicious! And really very easy to make. Too good not to share:

Cauliflower soup with Gorgonzola

1 medium cauliflower
15g unsalted butter (about 1 tbsp)
2 smallish yellow onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 litre chicken stock (32 oz)
250g Gorgonzola (about 1/2 pound)
100ml crème fraîche (2-3 tbsp)

Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and break it into small florets (don’t bother to remove the stalk ~ it only adds to the flavor). Melt the butter gently in a pot (large enough to hold all your ingredients) over a medium heat). Add the onions and sweat gently for 5 minutes or so until translucent.

Add the cauliflower, thyme and bay leaves. Season with a little salt and pepper, to allow the flavors to adjust and find their feet. Pour in the chicken stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Then cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is very soft.

Crumble in the Gorgonzola and stir over a low heat until it has melted into the soup. Add the crème fraîche and stir to combine. Pick out the bay leaves and thyme stalks, then tip the soup into a blender and whiz until really smooth. This will take a good minute or so, as often one or two little florets escape the blade. Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

NOTE: I used a hand blender so that I did not need to transfer the soup. And for those of you in the States, I annotated the ingredients with American measurements (however, it really is a rather inexact science!). Serve with a crisp Riesling!

(From: Skye Gyngell's A Year in My Kitchen)

Monday, October 6, 2008

being at home, part 1

What a delight to be home for a weekend. Nesting ~ painting, cooking, stitching, and watching those long afternoon shadows. I delved into a new cookbook, which I picked up in London ~ Skye Gyngell's A Year in My Kitchen. Fabulous recipes and some seriously stunning photography (by Jason Lowe). The recipes are organized by season, which I love ~ making it easy to take advantage of local produce at market. Her cauliflower gorgonzola soup is on the menu for this evening, and I have already ordered her latest book: My Favourite Ingredients. Gyngell is the chef at Petersham Nurseries, which does indeed look like the perfect destination for "serious foodies" (!!).

And sweet William came into the world at 12:34am on Saturday. I was delighted to be his very first visitor!

Friday, October 3, 2008

leaving london

The one thing I don't like about London is leaving. It truly is one of my favorite cities ~ I always feel so at home there. This photograph was the last one from the trip ~ taken very early in the morning, looking out my window at the towers of the Natural History Museum just as the sun rose. Sigh. On a brighter note, here my the usual list of favorites:

* Rothko at the Tate
* the British Galleries at the V&A (always a delight!)
* Designers Guild on Kings Road
* Rococo chocolates
* Toast (this yummy cardi in "gingersnap" came home with me)
* English Style and Decoration

...oh, and so much more. I will be back next week with just a little bit more...including perhaps a recipe or two. Cheers and happy weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

details: osterley park

Just a short train ride from London is Osterley Park, an Elizabethan house turned neo-Classical masterpiece. It has some of the most complete (and truly magnificent!) Robert Adam interiors I have ever seen. Because the house was used so infrequently over the years ~ and then primarily as a place to entertain ~ it has retained much of its Adam interior decoration. The 18th-century pleasure grounds are still accessible, and dotted with delightful follies. See more here.

(photos: a detail of the portico ceiling, and an unruly dill weed in the Elizabethan garden)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Oh full of taspestry and embroidery. A feast for the eye...this vignette is from Hampton Court Palace. Some of my favorite places for threads:

* V&A (this embroidery from Stoke Edith is so amazing)
* Tapisserie (a Chinoiserie canvas is my newest project!)
* Chelsea Textiles
* and The Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court

And I opened a London 2008 set on Flickr. Enjoy!