Thursday, September 29, 2016


This year I had an abundance of basil - I dried some, froze some, ate a lot on salads and pastas and kept some in a vase by the kitchen sink just for the fragrance!

Today I made a little batch of pesto:

It's perfect on crusty french bread, mixed with a little mayo on a sandwich, tossed on baked tomatoes or even mixed into salad dressing!

I really don't use a recipe but this is close to what I do:
4 cups basil leaves
2/3 cups of pine nuts (can also mix in some walnuts)
2/3 cups asiago-reggiano cheese (or parmesan)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use Tuscan or Garlic flavored)
1-2 t lemon juice (add a bit more if its dry)
Roasted garlic pepper and Kosher flake salt

Toss it all into a food processor til all mixed.  I refrigerate some, freeze some and eat some right away!!

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Stalking Susan Branch....

I admit it, I can be a stalker at times.

 But let me be clear - I am a friendly stalker, not one of those mean ol' stalkers who can scare the bejeebers out of someone.  I know how to be a respectful stalker, and I know when to back off.

My most recent challenge was in March in Charleston, SC - you might remember me stalking Patricia Altschul's home?  She is in the reality show, Southern Charm (read about that stalking adventure here).

So, the other day I went to Martha's Vineyard to stalk Susan Branch's home. 

 I took the Island Queen to Oak Bluffs....

...and then hopped a bus to Vineyard Haven.

Vineyard Haven is a community in the town of Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard, with about 2100 residents.

I knew where she lived and I practiced my trek on Google Earth.

I found her street quite quickly...

...but first got distracted when I spied MacKenzie-Childs items in a boutique on the corner! 

 That little distraction cost me a few dollars!

I walked up the street and all of a sudden THERE IT WAS:

Susan's lovely home!

 I knew Susan had just sailed the QM2 to England, and I also knew there was a house sitter.

I want to apply for this position!  I would make the perfect house sitter for Susan - I love cats, I love the Island,  I would clean and garden and cook and take walks to the beach- and especially keep my eyes peeled for future stalkers!

Yes, this is MOI, on her front steps - pretty brazen of me, huh?

Off to the side I spied her van.  I leaned over the fence and peered through the bushes for this shot.  Sadly, I was on the Cape this summer, a week before her book signing and missed meeting her by only a few days.

BUT, what I really wanted to see was her kitchen garden.  As I slowly and quietly began to stroll up her driveway, I practiced what I would say to the local policeman if I were to be picked up for trespassing  ("But Officer, I thought this was a public path to the next road") and then what did I hear?
WHAT?  The house sitter has a DOG???   
Those poor, sweet cats have to be terrified daily while Susan is away?!! 
Another reason WHY I should be the house sitter!!

It was enough to make me recede - but first I needed a quick photo!  Isn't this the sweetest garden, protected by a white picket fence?  Who wouldn't want this in their yard? 

I walked around the block to get a view of her back yard, which is LOVELY!  

I could imagine sitting out back with a glass of lemonade with fresh mint from the garden...

...right in this very spot:

...or under this tree: 

Again, I didn't want to walk to close to the house (dogs and I don't tend to get along, especially when trespassing).

As I walked back out to the main road, I also spied this cute little home across the way.  Imagine if I lived there?  Susan and I could be BFFs!

I became a fan of Susan's artwork from the beginning.  I found "Heart of the Home" by accident.  I was in the bookstore, searching for a cookbook for my students, when I saw the "heart" and lost my focus as I flipped through the pages.  I have purchased every one of her books, some for gifts, but mostly for me.

Her art work and handwriting is easily identifiable and her "personal stories" are delightful! 

I often use her books in seasonal kitchen vignettes -  keeping the autumn recipes for cranberry apple crisp, spiced cider and gingerbread cake close by!

So, this was a fun stalking day - an enjoyable adventure, but too bad Susan wasn't home (I probably would have knocked on her door to say hi).

Stalking, if done properly, can be exhausting, so I walked back into town to have lunch at the Black Dog Tavern:

You can't go to MV without stopping here!

It opened in 1971....

...and has a lovely view of Vineyard Haven Harbor.

Sadly, my stalking day had to end so I hopped the ferry back to Falmouth!

When I arrived back in NY, imagine my delight to find this sweet gift in my mailbox from a dear friend:

And just in case you have been living under a rock and you are not familiar with Susan:

This will go down as one of my favorite days ever!!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

I painted 2 more tables today.....

The table I painted the other day sold so quickly, so I painted this one this morning...

...and it has already sold, too!

While I had the paint out, I painted this vintage book table... the same style:

I am hoping that this one sells as quickly!!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An updated demi lune table....

I bought this cute little demi lune table a few months ago with the idea of painting it black and white....

...that was until I found this great paint color....

...and then I decided to paint a harlequin pattern on the top.  Lucky me, this table sold in less than 24 hours!!

Now I need some inspiration for this one:

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Antiquing in Ballston Spa, NY

Ballston Spa is a small village in Saratoga County, New York, north of the capital, Albany.  After working in Albany, I stopped in the village to do a little "antiquing".

Stone Soup Antiques is a 2 story shop, in an old brick building, which was filled with beautiful old furniture, glassware and dishes, jewels, linens, tools and much more:

Around the corner was Front Street Home - a decorating shop with furniture, antiques and textiles:

My favorite shop was Daisy Dry Goods - a thrift shop with a variety of second hand home furnishings, clothing, housewares, jewels and paper goods:

Ballston Spa is a quaint village, easy to park and walk around, and only a short drive to Saratoga Springs, where I found a great little place to have Happy Hour and appetizers:

The Wine Bar offers a wonderful view of Broadway, the main street in town, where there are many shops, restaurants and boutiques !

This one is always a fun shop to visit - they offer samples of lots of teas and honey - My favorite was chocolate honey!

If you are in the area - these are a few unique spots that you might enjoy!!

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