Monday, March 31, 2008

historic house tour: evergreen

It was a glorious spring day for the first of this year's historic house tours. We kicked off the season with Evergreen, a magnificent Victorian Greek-revival mansion now situated on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Home to two generations of the prominent Garrett family, the house is a treasure trove of fine and decorative arts ~ with pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany (including the iron and glass canopy below), Raoul Dufy watercolors, and a magnificent theater decorated by Léon Bakst. There is also an extraordinary rare book library. As is so often the case, photographs were not allowed inside, but you can take a little peek at the interior here.

Oh what fun to be touring again ~ plus I was thrilled to have the wonderful Meg join us for this adventure! We have several more excursions planned in the next few months, so stay tuned. Also, I promise a few more details from Evergreen tomorrow...and then I am off for a little bit of a vacation. Cheers!

Friday, March 28, 2008

trouvée: temple shrubland

This is a stereoview card of the gardens at Shrubland Park (click to view larger). It is inscribed simply "Temple Shrubland." No date, but I suspect it was taken in the mid 19th century. If you look at modern views of the gardens, it is clear that very little has changed.

I rarely say it (it's cliché, I know), but thank goodness it's friday ~ what a busy week! I am so looking forward to the weekend, and am thrilled to tell you that the first of the spring historic house tours is tomorrow! You are in for a treat, but I'll keep it a surprise for now. However, I thought that this image of a formal landscape would be a perfect segue...

So, until monday, when I'll be back with a report on the tour and some great links. Have a great weekend...cheers!

cherry blossoms

Okay...I couldn't resist. Aren't they beautiful? Nature's gift to Washington. I just love this time of the year.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

twigs and branches

A late post this has been a busy week! A few of my favorite pages from Forcing, etc. ~ a lovely book about bringing little bits of nature inside. Oh spring! Oh joy! See you tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

inside + outside

Just a quick post today ~ with a couple photo links:

* inside: Still by D.W. Mellor
* outside: In the Garden by Beth Dow (via gardenhistorygirl)

Cheers! See you tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


All of those divine looking radishes at the farmers' market on sunday reminded me of a recipe for radish butter that I pulled out of a magazine several years ago. So simple and good. Enjoy!

Radish Butter

8 medium radishes (one bunch) cleaned and trimmed
6 tbls of unsalted butter, room temperature
coarse salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette

Grate radishes on large holes of grater, place on paper towels, and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine radishes and butter in a bowl and mix well. Spread radish mixture on a baguette slice and season with salt and pepper (note: radishes can be soaked in cold water for several hours to add crispness if desired.)

(from Martha Stewart Living, April 2002)

P.S. Here is another version of the recipe (from Orangette).

Monday, March 24, 2008

peach blossoms

In spite of the weatherman's dismal forecast, the weekend turned out to be quite glorious! Bright blue sky ~ chilly, but sunny. I got up early Sunday morning and headed to the farmers' market (hoping to snag some crabcakes before they were all gone). It was a riot of color ~ pink peach blossoms, soft grey pussy willow branches, and golden yellow daffodils. And baskets full of radishes, turnips, and cabbages. What a joy to have local produce again!

Thank you all for your sweet Easter wishes ~ I hope it was happy for you too. And for those of you who wanted to see the pink eggs...

Friday, March 21, 2008

trouvée: the hat

Another anonymous image, circa 1910. I just loved her hat!

And a few friday links:

* (I particularly love the "Wild Youth" series)
* At Home in Brooklyn
* and some eggs!

Anyway, just a quick post today to wish you a happy Easter...and a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Hello Spring! A glorious day ~ the sun is shining in Washington, the birds are chirping, and those little pink blossoms are quietly beginning to make an appearance. The earth is coming alive! Hurrah! And last night I made hard-boiled eggs ~ I am going to dye them all pink for Easter! Different shades of pink (partly because I only have red food coloring on hand). Of course, if I wanted to get really fancy, I would try this.

On another subject, a couple of you have wondered when I was going to get those historic house tours going again. Well, plans are in the works and you can expect one soon. In the meantime, help save The Mount! Every little bit helps.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

bits and pieces

Just a few bits and pieces for a dreary wednesday:

* Blue at the Textile Museum
* these letters from Brighton
* yummy cheese scones
* and additions to the online paper patterns collection at the University of Washington Libraries

(image: courtesy University of Washington Libraries, vintage 18th-century paste paper)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Have you ever underestimated a color? For me, it is yellow. I don't know why, but I have never paid much attention to it. Well, lately it has piqued my interest. It started with a gorgeous yellow linen jacket I saw recently (alas, not in my size), followed by the above image. And then yesterday I received the Nocturne 01 print I ordered from Ah-yi (so lovely!), and there it was again, that yellow. I was smitten.

(image: from Small Worlds: The Art of the Invisible, specimen id 3505)

Monday, March 17, 2008

lost gardens

A bird's-eye view of my coffee table. Spring is such a tease at this time of the year, so I felt the need to bring it indoors. I also found myself obsessively googling for gardens this weekend. Here's a great online exhibition at Historic New England ~ Lost Gardens of New England. Oh, the things we so carelessly abandon...

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Be safe and drink well. xo.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

oh, eva!

A friend of mine sent me the link to this interview with Eva Zeisel and I just had to share. How fabulous is she? And her apartment? Enjoy...hope you are having a lovely, lazy sunday. xo.

(photos: Jeffrey Hirsch, New York Social Diary)

Friday, March 14, 2008

trouvée: the farm

An old farm, an unidenitfied and undated photograph, found in Maine. I am not exactly sure why it caught my eye, but I do love the softness of it. It has an ethereal quality.

So, to end the week on a beautiful note, a few links:

* Laura Letinsky
* É by Masao Yamamoto
* an amazing discovery
* and this great interview with Uta Barth

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ~ I'll be drinking a little champagne and making a few dozen pink cupcakes. Hmmm...and we'll see what other trouble I can get up to. Cheers!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

wild fennel and dandelion seeds

I don't know why, but I am taking delight in little bits of nature right now. Maybe it's spring fever. If the rain drives you inside this weekend, spend some time here (where you can see the above photograph).

I'll be back tomorrow with a few more links and a round up of photo inspiration week. Until then, be well. Oh, and cherry blossom fever is spreading in Washington ~ here's the bloom prediction.

(images courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Henry Fox Talbot, Wild Fennel, 1841-1842, salted paper print, 2005.100.260; and Dandelion Seeds, 1858 or later, photogravure, 2004.111)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

untitled, undated

I have been fascinated by the work of Miroslav Tichý since his photographs were first discovered and exhibited in Zürich in 2005. His haunting, almost voyeuristic images, all captured on a homemade camera, reveal just how beautiful and eternally vulnerable women are (for more, see here). A new book about his life and work is due to be published any day.

(image courtesy Kunsthaus Zürich and Tichý oceán foundation)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

nature studies

Several years ago The Drawing Center had an exhibition titled Ocean Flowers: Impressions from Nature, which examined the connection between botany and early photography ~ all in all a gorgeous show (for more see here). I have been searching for a copy of the catalogue for a while, but since it was a small run and sold out quickly, used copies generally run into the hundreds of dollars! eeek! Well, last week I (finally!) found an affordable copy on eBay ~ I'll try to share some of it when it arrives. In the meantime, here is a little nature inspiration:

* Anna Atkin's British Algae
* Shari's Red (and her beautiful blog)
* Small Worlds (click on the image gallery)

Happy tuesday all...enjoy!

(images via The Drawing Center)

Monday, March 10, 2008

black and white

A little bit more of the Lanvin book for you, which I meant to post last week. I have so many exciting things to share...where to begin? Well, first, I had the most amazing brunch on sunday with a group of Baltimore-Washington area bloggers, hosted by the lovely Julie of Kitchenography. Many thanks to Julie and Meg for organizing ~ it was so much fun! I would say more, but Meg has already done a great job of summarizing. And second, I have been saving all sorts of gorgeous photography links for you which I will share throughout the week. Here are some monday favorites:

* Gaylen Morgan (these make me yearn for soft summer breezes)
* Nanna Büchert (the "Ironscapes" series caught my eye)

Enjoy these longer evenings!

Friday, March 7, 2008

trouvée: alfresco

I couldn't resist ending food week with this photograph (click to view larger). It is probably one of the funniest snapshots I have found in a long time ~ I can't believe that NO ONE bid against me for it on eBay! Three women dining alfresco in the 1930s. It is hard to see in this scan, but there is a jar of pickles, some rolls, a plate of sliced bananas, and a can of walnuts. And, well, there's that cake!

Oh, and here's a great new publication for you found photo devotées ~ Now is Then: Snapshots from the Maresca Collection. I have lots more photo inspiration to share with you next week. Until then, enjoy your weekend ~ cheers and happy eating.

P.S. This is my kind of grocery list.

grab a spoon

Last night I went out to dinner and so I have no inspired cooking to show you (sorry!). But, how could I leave you without dessert? A friend made this layer cake recipe a couple summers ago, and I thought it was one of the prettiest, yummiest desserts I have ever tried. It is labor intensive, but worth the effort I think!

And the spoons? Well, last week Nicole posted some of her gorgeous flatware and asked the rest of us about our own collections. So, here is a little bit of mine. I love the simple patterns and lovely old monograms. My favorite spoon ~ the one I always seem to grab when I have my tea ~ is on the far left. It is so old that the handle is paper thin and the engraving is almost worn off, but if you look closely it reads "T.J. 1844."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

tomato soup

One of the things I miss most at this time of the year is fresh tomatoes. Yes, I know, there are hydroponics ~ but let's face it, they are just not the same. So when I tasted this tomato soup recipe at a friend's party recently I was inspired ~ it's a little different and packed full of tomato flavor. And because it uses rice as a thickener rather than flour, it is gluten-free. Enjoy!

Curried Tomato Soup

1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup rice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder (to taste, sweet or hot)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 – 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in rice and spices, cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Cool and puree in blender in small batches (note: I used a hand-held blender ~ much easier!).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

oh honey...

I don't think I have ever met a cheese I didn't like. And living in DC, I am pretty lucky to have a good selection ~ in fact, I have a "cheese history" at Cheesetique. And there's Cowgirl Creamery. And of course Blue Ridge Dairy at the farmers' market. Their mozzarella and feta is divine (I am even a convert to their smoked mozzarella). So, on sunday I picked up a chunk of the feta with the intention of trying this recipe. Now, before you think I have lost my mind, I must say it is one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. The honey cuts the saltiness of the feta, and gives it sort of a crispy crust. I dispensed with the pita bread and decided to have it as a meal with fresh greens (sort of like a warm goat cheese salad). Wow! I kept imagining my friend Christine making her yummy noises, and saying "holy mother, this is good!"

P.S. A word on the don't have to use fancy Greek thyme honey. Mine is from some good friends in Connecticut who keep bees.

Yummmm...happy wednesday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

wild mushrooms

When I was in Munich several weeks ago, I was so amazed by the produce at the town market. Beautiful cheeses, sausages, simple winter root vegetables ~ and of course those wild mushrooms and truffles. I wish I could have bottled up the smell of all that goodness. I admit that I am a little timid about cooking with things like mushrooms and truffles (though certainly not about eating them!). But this risotto recipe looks divine ~ and how can you go wrong with this pasta dish? My farmers' market does have a rather amazing selection of things, including mushrooms, so I have no excuses. I resolve to back away from the portabella, and be more adventurous when it comes to fungi.

More late winter cooking inspiration tomorrow. Until then, cheers!

Monday, March 3, 2008

welcome march! was a gorgeous weekend in Washington. And the farmers' market was in full swing. There still isn't too much in the way of produce, but a few spring greens are beginning to make an appearance. And there were the fresh Maryland crab cakes, and the Blue Ridge Dairy feta cheese. It was enough to inspire me to cook again. I don't know about you, but I get into a rut after the holidays ~ I think partly because most of the produce is rather tasteless and unappealing. So, starting tomorrow I thought I would share a receipe a day for the next week. Something to get those creative culinary juices flowing. For today, a few links inspiring me for spring:

* Orie Ichihasi (found via ah-yi)
* this photograph by Yann Orhan
* Orla Kiely spring/summer 2008

And ~ I just got the new J. Crew catalogue and was thrilled to see the Kaufmann House featured! Wishing you all a good beginning to the week...

collective project

As promised on friday...the rest of my goodies from Michelle. In addition to the fabulous photographs, Michelle sent some note cards by Julianna Swaney, and the most delightful book by Lilli Carré, a Chicago artist. She also sent a wonderful CD, which is not pictured because it has been playing on repeat since it arrived! Such a fun, clever package ~ I loved it! You can see what I sent her here.