A Special Request

One of my sweetest customers ever asked if I'd make her son a King George III costume for Halloween...as in the King George III costume from the musical, "Hamilton". I had no idea what that would look like, but she sent a picture.


Due to time constraints, I don't always (or can't always) say yes to custom order requests, but this time I did. What a delight to make this for her son!


So, if King George III shows up on your doorstep this Halloween, give him some candy...and a copy of the Declaration of Independence! ;-)

Unprepared?

Last weekend, during a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine, we sought out the charming shop Farm + Table (read as though it's a mathematical equation...farm plus table). If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend you pop in for a visit too...everything lovely!


This is the view as you come in the front door.



Jars and jars of jams. Aren't they beautiful? I just stood there staring at them and admiring the beauty and recognizing the industry represented there. And...feeling dreadfully unprepared.

In that one moment, I was just overcome with sadness that we gave our garden a year off this year. Beyond that, I haven't visited a single farm to pick berries or fruit. My pantry shelves can boast no homegrown or homecanned goodness this year. All those Scripture verses about sloth and lack of industry came flooding into my head, even though I know this was a conscious decision for the good of our soil. But it is the first time in nearly a decade that we haven't been able to reap what we sow. Winter is coming and I feel unprepared. 

I think I may go buy a quantity of tomatoes from a local grower and spend Saturday making and freezing Ina Garten's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup, because if I don't have a single other thing put away for the winter, I simply must have that.

Tasha Tudor's Birthday 2018 Give Away

CONGRATULATIONS TO PAULA! She is the winner! Thank you to all of you who entered. Take joy!

In honor of Tasha Tudor's birthday on August 28th, I am having a give away of a very unique item! Tasha Tudor has always been one of my favorite children's authors/illustrators, and I spent many hours of my children's childhood reading her books to them. Her captivating images of a bygone era depicted the natural beauty of New England and echoed the very manner in which Tasha Tudor lived. So to honor her memory, I am giving away a large, never-framed, Tasha Tudor print!



Many years ago (maybe 20 or so?), while on vacation in Indiana, we went to a charming shop that carried some Tasha Tudor merchandise. 


While there, I purchased this print, with the intention of framing it for our daughters' room. But apparently, I never got around to it. And it moved, still in its protective tube, from California to New Hampshire with us.


Recently, in a fit of cleaning out, I discovered the tube and the nearly pristine print still inside. (Please note: it has a small tear near the top, which should be covered when properly matted and framed.)   



Since I have not done anything with this lovely print, I thought it might be best to pass it on to someone who would properly enjoy it!


And what better occasion that Tasha Tudor's birthday! To enter, please leave a comment. Your response MUST link back in some way to your email address. A winner will be announced on August 29, 2018!

Now Accepting...

I am currently accepting a limited number of custom costume orders for Halloween! Message me in my Etsy shop if you want to discuss one...click here. Children's historical costumes in sizes 6-14!



And check the shop for girl's costumes and other items that are already in stock!

Summer Cookbook Recommendation


I spotted this cookbook at an antique store back in the spring and practically swooped in on it. That subtitle!..."the bounty of the garden meets the sizzle of the grill"? That's precisely how we eat all summer. Well, this summer we're not actually gardening, as you might recall, but we're still eating like that...fresh produce and simple meals right from the grill. So, we have been trying out recipe after recipe and have yet to be disappointed in a single one. All fabulous! We have tried...

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears. (Shown here all wrapped and ready to go on the grill.) The cookbook authors had these in the appetizer chapter, but I served them as a side dish. Hold me back! SO good!


Grilled Corn, Tomato and Red Onion Salad, or at least my interpretation of their recipe. Delicious slightly warm off the grill (corn and tomatoes are grilled), or cold the next day.


Chicken Paillard and Baby Green Beans with Mustard Seed Sauce. This was our dinner last night...delicious!


Rainbow Carrots with Cilantro Chili Drizzle. This was the side dish to our grilled chicken and grilled baguette tonight. I could have been entirely content with just a big platter of these carrots...and a fork.


I'm excited to continue grilling into the fall, because the cookbook has recipes like: 

- Skewered Chicken Saltimbocca (which we've actually already tried, but it's onion and sage combination was quite autumnal, and I can't wait to try it again)

- Smoked and Smashed Sweet Potato Soup

- Grilled Turkey Breast with Winter Greens and Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette

- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Fig Skewers

- Acorn Squash and Apple Rings with Cider Jus

- Grilled Pears with Honey-Cinnamon Creme Fraiche.

Super happy to tell you that, even though I found my copy at an antique store, it's available on Amazon. (Not making any money off this. I just want you to be able to find it, click here.) Best summer cookbook ever!

Terrine

This summer, I've been making terrines...of the sorbetto and gelato variety.


Super simple directions:

- Line a loaf pan very neatly with parchment paper.

- Soften one flavor of sorbetto, gelato, or ice cream until spreadable. Spread into the bottom of the loaf pan. Top with a sheet of parchment paper, pressing it to adhere. Freeze until solid.

- Repeat process with two more layers.

- When fully frozen, wrap tightly in plastic wrap until ready to serve.

- Will keep for weeks in the freezer. Slice into single serving slices.



They are super easy! What I love most about them, is that you can do them FAR in advance of guests arriving, or a special occasion, and slice them the day of. All the work is done, giving you more time to enjoy your company.

The one pictured is (from top to bottom): raspberry sorbetto, coconut gelato, and mango sorbetto. It's one of our favorites!

We've also made it substituting lemon sorbetto for the coconut gelato for a completely dairy free version.

And we've tried it with three different flavors of chocolate gelato. Oddly enough, as much as we are chocolate fans around here (which is HUGE!), it definitely wasn't our favorite. We prefer the one pictured...so refreshing on a hot summer day!


Tasha Tudor Give Away Update

Here's another posting where I have to admit with horror YET AGAIN about how I went more than a year without realizing that anyone was leaving comments on my blog, because Blogger changed something and stopped sending up a little flag to tell me I had comments. You remember this, from this posting?

Well, the most horrifying aspect of it all was the 18 sweet comment entries that I had to last year's give away in honor of Tasha Tudor's birthday (this posting). Ack! You all must have thought me terribly rude?...or absent-minded?...or a fraud? Gosh, I hope not the last one! In reality, I just thought no one wanted to enter, and I kind of pouted about that. And then this June, when the full realization of what happened hit me, I pondered what to do about this...should I just carry it over to this year, since her birthday is this month?...should I just choose a winner from last year?...would anyone even care anymore?


I decided to choose a winner tonight for last year's give away, and it is: Grandma Deb! Congratulations! 

If you did not win, stay tuned, because I have something spectacularly unique for this year's give away in honor of Tasha Tudor Day! I will be posting about that in a few days. And I promise I will read every comment promptly!

Sabbath Rest


Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

- Psalm 96:1-6

Thinking of Winter

I spent the day sewing. I guess winter was on my mind, because I finished making 17 Christmas stockings. And I drove northwest a bit, to my favorite wool store, and picked out wool for yet more Christmas stockings AND some wool for bomber hats. The happy news is that bomber hats will be back in the shop this fall!


This year's bomber hats will be in this fabulous fabric! It's almost like the one above, but slightly larger in scale.


I can't wait to get started on these!

How to Make British Cordials


This summer, I set about trying to figure out what all those slightly fizzy, deliciously fruity beverages were that we saw when we were in England last year. After much searching, I discovered that they were what the British call "cordials".

And for a little etymology lesson:

- Yes, cordial does mean "warm and friendly", but that's not what we're talking about here.

- In North America, we define a cordial as a "liqueur" and it's alcoholic.

- In England, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, a cordial is "a sweet drink made from fruit, to which water is usually added." It is NOT alcoholic.

Stated as simply as possible, a British cordial is a homemade fruit syrup to which you add sparkling water.

I searched and searched for recipes, and finally combined the ideas from several and came up with a "basic" recipe which you can use with any fruit.

British Cordial

1 lb. of fruit
3 c. water
2 1/2 c. sugar

Rinse fruit and chop, if necessary. (Berries can be used whole. I did cut strawberries in half. Other fruits, you may want to chop.) Place fruit and water in a medium-sized saucepan.

Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes.

Strain the fruit and liquid through a jelly bag, or through cheesecloth, until it is completely done dripping. Do NOT squeeze the bag or press the fruit, or your cordial will be cloudy. 

Meanwhile, sterilize a jar by washing in hot, soapy water and placing in a 200 degree oven until ready to use, OR by running it through the sanitize setting on your dishwasher. I also sanitized the ring and band for the jar. (I used a canning jar.)

Return just the strained juice to the pan. Add the sugar. Heat gently until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil. Skim the foam off the top, as necessary. Boil for 10 mins. (slightly less if using just strawberries).

Pour into sterilized jar. Allow to cool, seal, and refrigerate. 

Will keep for 3 months.

Makes about 1 pint. 

How to Use:

When ready to serve, add about 1-2 T. to an 8-12 oz. glass, along with several ice cubes.


Top with sparkling water. I use San Pellegrino. Add a bit of fresh fruit, if you'd like.


Additional Tips and Flavor Combos:

- This recipe makes about 1 pint of fruit syrup. But you need very little to add to each glass. To pack along for a picnic, I found these handy small jars at Target (click here, not sponsored...just want you to be able to find them), which can hold quite a bit of cordial, and yet take up minimal space in your picnic cooler. Just don't forget to bring along a tall bottle of San Pellegrino too!



- Our favorite way to pack them along for a picnic, is to use some of Jenny Steffens Hobick's Clear Cups and Lids (click here...also not sponsored...just want you to know where to get them). They hold just the right amount, fit easily into a car cup holder, and allow you to see the pretty cordial!


- All the cute, patriotic, paper straws were found in the dollar bin at Target around the 4th of July. Check back there next year!

- Our favorite flavor combo was a strawberry cordial with lemon-flavored San Pellegrino (see photo above).

- I made a "berries & cherries" combo using cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

- Another tasty combo is "blackberry & vanilla", made by adding a vanilla bean (whole, do NOT split the bean or scrape the seeds out) when you return the juice to the pan and add the sugar. Discard the bean before bottling.

Happy sipping!

It's Blooming


The hydrangea tree is in full bloom. They're blooming all over New England right now. They're at their peak of glory...full heads of white blooms. Time to go pick some before they turn to their 1980's rose-colored hue. That's definitely not my favorite phase, but this white phase is another matter entirely. So gorgeous!

Lavender Sachets

If you need a special gift...birthday, thank you, hostess...there are a few sets of lavender sachets left in the shop. Each is made from vintage and new linens and lace snippets. Fabulous tucked into your luggage for traveling...or as a sweet bon voyage gift for a friend! Click here to see!



Who's Watching This?


Who's watching this tomorrow night? It's happening at our house...with scones with jam and cream and tea. Yum! Can't wait!

Currently Reading


When I was trying to decide which books I should read this year, I determined to read and educate myself in at least one field of which I knew absolutely nothing. Last year I met a man who introduced himself as an economist. My instant thought was...oh gosh! An economist. I know absolutely nothing about this field. What DO I ask him about his job?

That's not good. But, truth be told, I did manage to graduate from college without a single course in economics. I am educated...just not in economics. So, this seemed the book to read. I decided to whiz through it over the course of two weeks, because I thought it would be dull. But the reverse is true, and I'm finding it quite enlightening. 

What are you reading this summer?

Fun with Family After the Wedding

Four days after the wedding, our friends departed from our own personal B&B, and my family moved in. Here's a glimpse at the fun we had with them...

We toured the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum in Boston, which is a fascinating survey of his life and presidency. I loved seeing some of Jacqueline Kennedy's clothing on display!



The following day, while I spent some time with my Mom and Dad, everyone else went to the lake for a day of fun! Felicity and Walter were able to go too. And photo credits to Walter for capturing these great moments.





Then everyone convened back at our house for a cookout in the fire pit that evening. At least that was the plan. But then, about 10 minutes before the spit-roasted pork tenderloin was completely cooked, the rain began.


Monday brought us another day at the lake...paddleboarding, kayaking, and picnicking.



Living in history-rich New England means that there is no shortage of fabulous historical sites to explore when guests come to visit. I always love visiting Plimoth Plantation...New England where it all began! And being descendants of the Allertons makes it just that much more special.





And we stopped at Ziggy's for ice cream on this very hot and humid day. Ice cream makes everything better!


The next two days were spent exploring Boston. SO many fond memories, it's hard to choose just the highlights...bits of the Freedom Trail, lots of chocolate, the Boston Public Library's grandeur, an abundance of art, and just enough craziness to make it super memorable.




Things are getting weird here, and a couple of people are about to burst into song! Nuts!





I hope you are all having a splendid summer too...making happy memories with your family!
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