Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Incredibly Awesome, Sarah Ollei

Some of you who read my blog know this lovely woman. I myself have only met her once, but got to know her through Jessica, who worked at camp, with the guy she would marry. His claim to fame was that he could vomit at will...I wonder if that is a talent he still possesses? Sarah now lives in England, with Eddie, and their three children, and they travel around Europe whenever given the chance. What does this have to do with me? Well, I regularly receive endearing, handwritten letters, smashed pennies, and ephemera, (which is like gold to me,) from Sarah. She tells me of the sights they've seen, food they've eaten and adventures they've had. Not being able to experience these things myself, it is food for my soul. These pennies are from Italy.



Yes, her letter is written on a chocolate bar wrapper.

Sarah and her adorable offspring.


Monday, November 17, 2014

While I Was Gone.

Megan and Oliver have been sick, then Brewier got sick the day after we visited Ray and Jessica. Actually, by the end of our hike with them, he was feeling pretty bad, and he's still sick. Megan has been working her business, and I've been trying to work on embroidered pillows from my Etsy shop. I say trying, because keeping up with Oliver, cooking, laundry and cleaning, means I don't get the chunk of time I need to work on things.
I awoke today, to rain, grey skies, and lots of wind; so, pretty much a perfectly cozy Monday in my book. I made Martha Stewart's recipe for granola cookies, for breakfast. Elizabeth made, and posted a picture of them on her blog a couple of weeks ago, and since then, I've made them four times. Really, really good.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup packed light-brown sugar, I cut this back to 1/2 cup
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, I use King Arthurs gluten free flour.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds, I use chia seeds. No grinding needed.
1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
3/4 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries, I've used dried blueberries too.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat oil and brown sugar in a bowl on medium speed until well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; beat until combined. Stir in remaining ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.
Drop heaping tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden, rotating sheets halfway through, 13 to 14 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a wire rack before removing from sheets. Cookies can be stored at room temperature up to 2 days.

Coffee and crafting this morning.


Ahhhh, I love my grey wall. I also love living in the woods. It means I can go outside and cut down branches and vines to make arrangements with. Bittersweet, the perfect autumn plant. Everything looks so much better against a color that has a bit of grey in it.


That's the arrangement against a creamy yellow wall, and here it is against my grey wall.


I've admired this pillow from Pottery Barn for a couple of years now, and today, tried to replicate it...with the assistance of Oliver.



I think I'll give it another try, next time I have some alone time.

The saga of my dresser.
I ordered the terribly expensive knobs from Anthropologie; they were to be my birthday present, since I returned the handbag. The knobs arrived quickly, and were returned just as fast. They were beat up, with chipped mother of pearl, and looked awful. I wrote Anthopologie, explained why I was returning them, and that I felt I shouldn't be charged for shipping since they were damaged. Eleven emails later, I'm hoping they got it straight. Customer service is really lacking.
I found some knobs at World Market, that I thought would work, but along with being a bit too shiny, they have a center, metal medallion, that is really sharp, and has snagged my clothing as well as my fingers. You guessed it, they are going back too.



I put the original, unpainted knobs back on, and think I will stick with them. I like the contrast between the paint and the wood.


This boy. He loves watching the coffee brew. More accurately, he enjoys figuring the mechanics of the coffee pot.




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Am the Luckiest.

Monday, I got a call from Jessica, asking what we were doing on Tuesday. "Well, you know, I have such a busy schedule," I lied. I forgot She and the family were in TN, this week, visiting Rays grandfather. Jessica said they were planning on going hiking at Fall Creek Falls, and would we want to make the four hour drive to see them. Are you kidding? I could hardly sleep Monday night, I was so excited about getting to spend the day with them. Oliver and Megan were under the weather, and stayed home. It was kind of nice, just Brewier and I going; I haven't spent time with Jessicas kids, without Oliver, since he's been born.
The park is breathtaking, and the weather was perfect.




A real swinging, and very bouncy, bridge.


















(photo by Kate)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stuff From Last Week.

Mostly photos.

Let's just have a moment of silence for this beauty.


Brussel sprouts with garlic and bacon.


Have you ever noticed how a brussel sprout stalk looks like a spine?


Downtown on Lexington.



Hipster boy, with his cell phone...like poppie.


Wicked Weed.


This guy walking by Farm Burger, stopped and spent at least a minute looking in the mirror, running his fingers through his hair and shaking it, then admiring himself. His hair looked no different than when he started.



This womans haircut. She wore it well, and I was wondering if I could do something like that...you know, if I ever found a hair product that didn't knock me dead. Yes? No?


Fire pit fun.


I'm still baffled that the Food Network magazine thought this was a good photo. Um...it looks like a...well, you know.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

It's Like I'm on Vacation...

all the time! when Jessica and Megan were young, all of our vacations were spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We'd hike trails, visit historic sites, then return to whatever cabin we were staying in, and eat yummy things. Frozen goodies for the girls,(this was a big treat for them because I never bought frozen food,) cheese and wine for Brewier and I, (which we are currently enjoying.) Now, that's the life I lead, nearly everyday; I'm making up for the years of life lost, living in Florida. Don't get me wrong, there are some people who love and thrive in the subtropical climate, I am just not one of them.
Today we drove to Cherokee, and visited Clingmans Dome.


My brother Greg, hiked the Appalachian trail twice. Once hiking about half of the trail, another time doing the entire, Georgia to Maine, hike. I always think of him when we come across one of these signs.


Yesterday we drove the Blue Ridge Pkwy, and I got this photo of the Biltmore.


I can't believe I get to live here.



Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Raising of the Christmas Tree.

It's a pretty big deal at the Biltmore. Every year the cart in a 35 foot tree to erect in the banquet hall. People and the media show up in droves, which is why Brewier and I kept our distance. The fragrance level was double the size of the crowd. We watched the tree go by, then turned around and went back to our car. As we were getting ready to exit the parking lot, we were asked to wait so the horses and empty wagon could go by. Later in the afternoon, we all went back to the Biltmore to watch the staff decorate the tree. This is the one one time during the year that you are allowed to take photos, and only in the banquet hall. I pushed my luck and snapped a few other photos in the lower level of the house. There so much fantastic srt at the estate, and the home and its rooms were designed, not for function, but to house specific pieces of art.
Of course after seeing the BIltmore all decked out for Christmas, Oliver is begging to put our tree up. He wants to decorate it by himself. Last year I let him help decorate, thinking I could place the ornaments where I wanted them, after he went to bed. No such luck. He noticed every single change I made to the tree.










We ended our day with dinner at the Stable Cafe. The booths are the actual stables!


As we were walking to our car, I passed this tree, with which I had an instant conection. Doesn't it look like my ankle tumor?