Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

In our house February is a busy month. It is birthday season! About three-quarters of the family celebrates their birthdays in February. So Valentine's Day often gets over looked. This year, my contribution to the day was making cookies!

 I used the Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies Recipe from On Sutton Place. They turned out really good. Right out of the oven warm, they were like eating a warm brownie, once cooled they are more cookie like.
A word of caution; it is really hard to tell when these cookies are done! The recipe says to bake for 6 minutes and that was right on. I just wish I would have set a timer! As the second batch was in a bit too long and ended up very crispy and crunchy.  

I did change the recipe to make it dairy free by substituting canola oil and coconut oil for the butter. I also skipped the dipping in melted chocolate and made a simple chocolate glaze. Just enough to make the sprinkles stick! Aren't the little hearts fun? (It will probably take me years to use them all up!)



It has been a long time since I rolled out my favorite vintage Valentine. For the month of February, his home is on my dressing table mirror.

Happy Valentines Day Friends!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Homesick......

The other days as I traipsed quickly from the porch door to the front door, I had a sudden wave of homesickness......a longing for a place I use to visit......
the Front Porch!

A longing to be able to sit on the front porch and feel the warm breezes, to be able to curl up on the settee with a book, to be able to listen to the chirping of the birds while munching breakfast.

I thought a little tour of the porch was just what I needed! Want to come along?

It started as a blank slate - Sitting Pretty
Finally furnished like I dreamed - The Front Porch
Enjoying the porch more them I imagined - Pinwheels
All decked out for Christmas - I Heard the Bells
A bit of rearranging- A Bit of Yellow
Red, White and Blue - Happy 4th of July
Last spring and summer - A Sure Sign of Spring

(To view all the Front Porch posts, click here!)

It shouldn't be too long before we can Spring Clean the porch and enjoy sitting out there again! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

January

I have enjoyed getting back into the regular routine and getting the house back in order. As much as I enjoy the celebration of December it is nice to be back to normal.
In our after Christmas tidying up, we also decided to do a little rearranging or rather leaving of the chairs. To accommodate the Christmas tree in front of the windows, one of the side chairs is moved to the other end of the sofa. This year we decided to leave the chairs where they were and add a footstool. I was a bit worried people would be prone to trip over the footstool as we are all use to plenty of space in front of the couch, but so far it has been fine and the footstool has been a comfy addition.

With the weather so gray and chilly, it is hard to be motivated to do much of anything. Lots of books have been read!
Mandy and I are taking turns reading aloud to each other, one reads and one knits. At least knitting is being accomplished! Our favorites have been Grace Livingston Hill books. I was fascinated to read the detailed description of Jane's apartment in Exit Betty (copyright 1920). And The Mystery of Mary (copyright 1912) is always a fun read with it's descriptions of the lady's costumes. Right now we are about halfway through The Street of the City(1942) with Duskin(1929) next on the list.
I have been re-reading old favorites; Here Comes the Sun, I Hear Adventure Calling and With This Ring by Emilie Loring; The Corner Shop and The Golden Collar by Elizabeth Cadell. Next on my list is White Orchids and The Strange Proposal by Grace Livingston Hill.

Of course my knitting needles are keep busy in the evenings! Little socks for the niece and nephew and now a sweater for myself. The Georgetown by Hannah Fettig, a comfy cozy cardigan in thick wool.

This is the view, around the frost, from my bedroom window this morning. It is lovely to see blue skies again!

So what has your January looked like?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Perry Como- It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

 These pictures were taken during our first snowfall at the beginning of December. We had just finished putting up the candles. I love how they brighten things up!

Since I took these pictures we have had two more storms that have each brought 6-8" of snow. Winter is here for sure!
But is does make it feel cozy and Christmasy!
I found this fun video of Perry Como singing "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!"

Thankfully Kerri dog loves the snow! No having to coax her outdoors! (She is usually the one coaxing us!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Vintage Inspired Cardboard Village

For a couple of years now I have been ohhing and ahhing over those little vintage looking cardboard glitter houses. Sometimes they are large enough for table top display and sometimes tiny hanging ornaments. But...... I could never bring myself to buy any. The houses are always covered with so much glitter that the minute you touch it, it is everywhere!
 So I have continued to oh and ah from afar and leave them in the store.

 Until this year, when I decided I needed to make my own!
A quick search online brought up a template from Martha Stewart for a Winter Village. (Click on the link for a tutorial and the template.) I basically followed the directions Martha Stewart gives; print out the template, glue it to cardstock, cut out the house (an Exacto knife is a big help here), fold along the lines and glue together. Then the fun begins! It was so much fun painting and decorating them with "snow"!


(Forgive me if there are too many pictures. This has been my favorite Christmas craft this year and I am so excited with how nice they turned out!)

 If I had used primer like was suggested, the bases probably wouldn't have curled as much as they did. But they are still cute!

I was so excited to to discover the perfect product for the snow! A paint called Snow-Tex. It is the perfect texture and color. For just a hint of sparkle without going overboard, I coated the Snow-Tex with a white shimmer paint. 


 Did you know decorating with little Christmas villages is centuries old? It is primarily a German tradition, but many nationalities also celebrate the holiday with something similar. German-American's nicknamed the houses "Putz houses" using the slang word meaning "to putter around". The villages took a long time to get just right!
In the 1930's the little houses gained enormous popularity and everyone from Sears-Roebuck to dime stores sold Japanese cardboard imports. With the advent of electric Christmas lights, the houses were fitted out with yellow cellophane windows and a hole in the back for a light bulb to shine through. 


 I think my favorite little house is the white church with it's tall steeple and many windows. It reminds me of a vintage Christmas card. 





 This little bungalow I modeled after my cottage with a small front dormer and a low slopping roof. Of course I had to paint it pink! A color that was surprising popular for the little houses.


I hope you have enjoyed a stroll through my little village and history. Do you remember putting up villages or do you have a village every year?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas in Connecticut

Looking for a movie recommendation this weekend? Try one of my favorite Christmas movies,  "Christmas in Connecticut" starring Barbra Stanwyck. It has all the classic movie ingredients I love; a zany plot, delightful characters, a beautiful house, gorgeous costumes by Edith Head, wonderful Christmas decorations, and a couple of aprons!
(Don't you love that mammoth tree dripping with tinsel?!)

As the title implies, the plot revolves around a farmhouse in Connecticut.
Even though Elizabeth Lane (Barbra Stanwyck) doesn't own a farmhouse, she portrays herself as living on a Connecticut farm in her homemaking column. The publisher, unaware of Elizabeth's deception, invites himself and a returning war hero to her farmhouse for the holidays. Elizabeth and her editor hatch a plan to continue the charade. And you can imagine the hijinks that ensue.

"Christmas in Connecticut" was released in 1945, a time when everyone was weary of war and ready to return to pre-war homeyness. The movie abounds with old fashioned domesticity!  A cozy snow covered farmhouse, plenty of home cooked meals, a big cheerful kitchen, a crackling fire and a glittering Christmas tree. 
Nora, the housekeeper, is wearing an old fashioned white apron in this breakfast scene. 

There is even a comical flap-jack flipping scene! Don't you love the kitchen?
Even Barbra Stanwyck is wearing a gingham apron-esque dress, giving her a competent homemaker look.

One of my favorite scenes is when Elizabeth Lane and the war hero, Jefferson Jones, give the baby a bath. Isn't she wearing a fabulous apron?
And don't forget the charming bathroom! 


Have you seen "Christmas in Connecticut"? What is your favorite part of this fun holiday classic?