Tuesday, January 27, 2015

GARDENING WITH BEATRIX POTTER



It was a cold day last Tuesday and rather overcast.  I was at my shop by myself and bored so I wandered over and picked up a copy of "Beatrix Potters Gardening Life" by Marta McDowell.  I began to read this book written by a lady who is very knowledgeable about gardening.





As I began to read I was soon taken away to England and learned more about Beatrix Potter and her childhood.  If you have seen the movie "Miss Potter" you would love the photos and drawing in this book too.  Many of these were new to me. I choose a teapot today that I thought Beatrix would love - my friendship teapot with the two little girls on it.






We all know that anytime a movie is made some things are always adjusted for the sake of production.  Of course this book presented some time table adjustments to my memory of the movie.  I also loved reading more details about Beatrix Potter's friendship with Millie Warne.  I particularly loved the photo of Beatrix in her garden paradise in 1913.  Color photos weren't out yet so black and white was the norm.


A point of interest I noted in this book is that Beatrix actually did something that Tasha Tudor later did in that she was motivated to write more books to help finance her gardening passion.  I was interested to see that that Beatrix and her husband, William Heelis actually lived across the street from her Hilltop Farm at the farm called "Castle Cottage". It was there that she became an avid canner of fruits and jams, marmalades and jellies.  I love this!
She loved making jams for the larder and I think that's charming.


What about special friends?  Of course there was Millie but Beatrix also hired a woman to assist her in the garden and they became life long friends.  Her name was Louie Choyce and she and Beatrix shared together in a great passion for gardening for the rest of their lives.



Are you a lover of gardening?  If so, I know you would enjoy this book as much as I did.  I finished reading the book on Wednesday while 8" of snow fell.  Are you ready to dream of your garden?  This is the perfect book to read as your winter snow flies.


Monday, January 12, 2015

TAKING TEA IN COMFORT

Winter has presented itself clear and cold in Colorado
 Springs and we have 8" of fresh snow. 
 There is a natural embracing of indoor
 activities and fireside positioning.








Winter window views reflect pretty snow today so I decided to embellish the view with treasured books, teapots, favorite things and warmth! 




 Perhaps you feel the same and have your own special spot for tea and comfort.


I hope you can pour yourself a cup of tea
 and sit and enjoy the view.  I am so fond of vintage linens and all the time that was spent by others making them.




Some of you probably have this Victoria magazine
 book from the past:  





A few years ago I saw a bird house like this one in an antique mall but I put it back.  You can see inside the the photo below there is a  back pew in the doorway.  Actually it has 3 rows of pews and a platform at the back of the church.  (or the front) Would you believe I found this one 2 years later made by someone else I think.  In my mind, I imagine an older gentleman making it in his garage.


I am so glad to have my Christmas things put safely away in the basement and I must say I DO understand why some people don't like to decorate for the holidays - lots of work, right?  A pair of these birds came to my bird
feeder below:




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

LOVELY LEMON POUND CAKE


This week it is time for me to put away the holiday decorations and enjoy some of my tea things.  I decided to do share some of my pink cups and saucers today for "Friends Sharing Tea".  I hope you can sit a moment and have a slice of my cake and a cup of tea.







I am also sharing this wonderful Ellgreave teapot that I found a few months back.





  It is the one with the white rose and I love the shape.  I see these type of teapots all the time on Facebook sites from England and Australia but this was the first time I found one myself and at a good price too.




Some of my cups and saucers here (3 of them) are English Roslyn's as well as the teapot on the right.  These Roslyn's I have found always seem to feature the same color scheme.  Others I am sharing are Rosina's and a Queen Anne and a Royal Albert.


  I have a little stack of saucers (above) which were made in France for a department store in Philadelphia "back in the day".



This is about the 6th time that I baked a lovely Lemon Pound Cake which you could make yourself so I am sharing the recipe.  I got the recipe out of an old magazine and hopefully I am finally getting it figured out.  Initially it called for putting the cake in a cold oven but after numerous times - that doesn't seem to work as the cake gets to brown on the outside.  Don't do that!  Mine still came out browner than I would like

You will need these ingredients which you probably already have on hand:  2 sticks of butter at room temperature, 3 cups of sugar, 5 eggs, 3 cups sifted flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 cup of milk, 3 Tb lemon extract (yes this is correct) 

 For the icing you will need 1 cup powdered sugar, 5 Tb lemon juice and the zest of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease with butter and flour a bundt caking pan! 
#1 In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar with a mixer adding the eggs and continuing to beat and now adding the milk
#2 In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and lemon extract
#3 Combine the second ingredients to the first mixing well
#4 Pour the batters in the prepared bundt pan
#5 Put in the middle of your preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  You will cover the top with loose foil the last 15 minutes to protect the cake from over browning! Remove from pan after a few minutes of cooling.

A LOVELY GLAZE:  Combine the powdered sugar and the
lemon juice stirring together and heat on the stove in a saucepan over medium high until the lumps are gone and icing is smooth. If the mix is too thick, add a little more lemon juice.   Add  1/2 of the zest to this icing and pour over the cake.  Sprinkle the rest of the lemon zest on top of the cake.