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Come Sit a Spell! ~ Create a Reading Nook

 

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge where my friend Cindy of County Road 407 sends a photograph to a group of us design influencers to use as inspiration to then recreate and make our own. September’s challenge is all about creating a Reading Nook! Of course, this is one of my most favorite places to be and I always have one wherever we live. Let’s jump right in…

If you are new here to French Ethereal, welcome! If you are just coming over from Michelle at Thistle Key Lane, I am happy to invite you into my home. 🌻 This time, Allison of Proverbs 31 Girl shares her beautifully renovated home with us and this reading nook in her casually cool, drop-cloth-loving, all-white style. Beautiful! 

plank fireplace


This particular post from Allison shows how her home has changed from before the renovation plus several reading areas throughout her home. 

Allison hand-stenciled these drop cloth curtains!

My inspiration takeaway

  • a comfy chair with a drop cloth slipcover set near a window’s bright light for daytime reading
  • soft linen pillows for extra comfort
  • a nice nubby throw to snuggle under while reading
  • an ottoman to prop the feet on
  • a pretty basket with just one moss ball for decor
  • a standing lamp for evening reading

I do love all the textures here from nubby pillow covers and chunky knit throw blankets to creamy whites with touches of black as accents here and there!

Our home

During the summer months in our North Texas home, it is very bright and sunny in this living room now that the trees have been limbed up and some of the branches were taken out. Last year it was very dark in here hence our fall and winter project was to thin out our oak trees front and back. 

It is much lighter inside now ~ perfect for enjoying the interplay of light throughout the day. Here in late summer/early fall a beautiful golden light comes in from these western windows which I love…


Iteration #1: I love to sit here with a cup of tea and while away an afternoon…The one pillow is turned sideways and is just where it needs to be for good back support.


Iteration #2: The first go-round I forgot all about having this knit throw and the pillows had been put away in our armoire. So glad I thought of them and pulled them out! Really love this spot now… You can see last month’s PC sharing a cloche here.


My reading spot and what I’ve done

  • slipcovers I already made dropcloth and matelassé slipcovers about six years ago for our two settees. You can find out how to make some for yourself in this five-part series beginning here.
  • pillows At the beginning of this year I found the nubby cream pillow (L) slipcover at a store going out of business for 75% off. Great buy!
  • a nubby knit throw this creamy knit throw came from the same store’s going out of business sale.
  • a second pillow The more patterned cream pillow with corner tassels is from Magnolia Market.
  • Bringing in color The bee skep pillow is from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
  • basket with decor a round basket sits on our coffee table with its pop of green and pumpkin for fall.
  • a tall standing lamp is positioned behind the library table for evening and early morning reading.
  • nix the ottoman the coffee table takes the ottoman’s place and is ideal for putting one’s feet up to read or to enjoy candles or a gas fire in the fireplace.

I shot these photographs as the sun was rapidly going down so I’ve brightened some of these photos up a bit for you. I left the top one purposely darker to share the view out the back window: A bit of the garden beyond with a new garden trellis Mr. Ethereal just hung for me this past weekend ~ part of our fall house projects. Our tall lady statue is now sitting infront and can just be seen in an upcoming photo.





Past reading nooks…

Of course we have had various reading nooks over the years depending upon where we lived. In our Prairie Home (our big RV) our kitchen window sill was often a reading “library” as was a small plant stand, which was also in the trailer.


This post about creating a library in small spaces can be found
here.


Under the slipcover, this is what that settee looks like.
One of my favorite photographs is of my daughter Amy as we were enjoying an evening of reading with candlelight at our last home in California. It is definitely my favorite reading spot photo! 💝 


She is all grown up now and looking to buy her first house soon which makes me excited to help her decorate when she is ready!


I am last this month so swing on back up to Cindy at County Road 407 to continue our Pinterest Challenge Book Nook tour. I know you will love the reading spot she has created for you… Do check out everyone’s reading nooks and bookmark this post to come back to for future inspiration! 📚



You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter





Happy reading, dear friends,
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Summer Reads: Dead As A Scone

Summertime is  the perfect time to laze-away a quiet afternoon pouring over a new book. This summer I thought I’d get around to sharing some of my favorite books with y’all! Let’s take a look at this mini mystery series by husband and wife writing team, Ron and Janet Benrey…

Of course I enjoy all sorts of books ~ probably just like you do! Mysteries are my particular favorite books for just happy reading and not studying anything in particular.

My mother introduced me to the animal stories (shown here in this mantel vignette) when I was in elementary school. She also introduced me to the Nancy Drew series of books, which at one time I had read them all and saved up my babysitting money to buy 23 for myself. The others I read through our school and local libraries. During the summertime on Hickam AFB, we had a Bookmobile which came around one day a week to check out books to read. THAT was a favorite day of the week!!!

But let’s get back to our book series, shall we? Yes!!! 

Dead As A Scone is the first book in the Royal Tunbridge Wells miniseries created by the Benrey couple. Set in the real town of the same name over in England, Royal Tunbridge Wells, the book begins with Nigel Owen having just come aboard as acting director of the staff of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum. He is rebounding from a job loss in London, his hometown and favorite city, and is now bumbling around in hick-city Tunbridge Wells, or so he thinks.

American Felicity “Flick” Adams from York, Pennsylvania, born of ex-pats from Britain, has flown to her parents’ ancestral home across The Pond and has been newly-hired as the museum’s chief curator. Partly because of her love of tea (and everything there is to know about tea!) and because of her prestigious background in forensics and knowledge of antiquities, Flick is hired by Dame Elspeth Hawker although the eight trustees aren’t sure if this American woman is up-to-snuff.

The pair of Nigel and Flick make a good team and soon put their heads together to try and solve just how the daughter of Commodore Hawker, the founder of RTW Tea Museum, Dame Elspeth Hawker has died. Flick suspects foul play while the attending and revered doctor (and one of the museum’s board of trustees) calls the death a heart attack due to her age…


This short series of three books is very good and the characters are fun! Dame Elspeth ends up leaving her four pets to the museum  ~ Earl, the grey African parrot; Cha-Cha, a small reddish dog “of the Shina Ibu breed;” and two British short-hair cats, Lapsang and Souchong (which nobody knows which is which) ~ along with funds to care for them ~ and funds to help acquire the Hawker antiquities outright which the commodore acquired in the 19th century. More mysterious problems abound but I don’t want to spoil the fun… 😉

I believe the series might have been longer as I believe these two books were selling well, but Ron Benrey passed away in May 2014 and the third book, A Jam of a Different Color, was probably rushed to print in November 2013. 

I read one review which said that “too much was going on in this [third] book,” which leads me to believe that perhaps Mr. Benrey had been ill for sometime and was working on the book up until he couldn’t. Perhaps Janet Benrey had it published, unfinished and really unedited, anyway. 

Nevertheless, the first two books, Dead As A Scone and The Final Crumpet, are really fun who-dun-it mysteries with tea parties, scenes around the village and elsewhere. Enough scenery to fill our Anglophile-loving senses with images of England’s countryside and with fun scenes within this fictional museum where sometimes the pets steal the show! 

My rating? 5/5 💝


Happy reading!

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A Victoria-Worthy Tea in the Library

Evening light is beautiful in “The Library” as the living room is now affectionately called. The bookcases are coming along, the corner hutch is filled, and the mantel is decorated for summer.

But today is all about reading, ethereal light and tea…


Victoria is  my favorite magazine of all times ever since my sister-in-law Linnea left a few issues at my mother and father’s new home then in the early 1990’s. I came to visit and found something I didn’t even know I was looking for ~ ethereal photography in a magazine fresh and light and utterly beautiful.

The Library bathed in sunlight is the best place for reading in the late afternoon with its ethereal lighting. Beautiful light ~ a bit overblown but the light changes rapidly as the sun continues its descent beyond the oaks and fence and neighboring home outside.

Capturing a bit of the essence of Victoria’s now retired photographer Toshi Otsuki was the ideal for me…



Just beyond crickets are beginning their evening song. The robins snack at the birdfeeder just hung beyond the windows and Mr. Squirrel scoots around picking up fallen treats along the ground.


Peaceful and airy and dressed in white ~ the Golden Hour has come and one must capture it as best one can…


“Take a break,” the tea table calls to me. 

“Come read a bit and let your heart be free!”


Pulling up a chair I do sit for a bit thumbing and revisiting 
Old Friends…


Sip by sip the tiredness washes away on the dust particles floating by in the waning light.

To be lost and forgotten in a world of one’s imagination…
😉


Sharing with
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage


Félicité,
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A Step Back in Time ~ DFW Costumers Guild

“I’ve come to issue an invitation…” so said Colonel Brandon in Jane Austen’s classic story of romance and lost love, Sense and Sensibility, and shared beautifully in the movie adaptation thereof starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman as the colonel.

Step-forward 200 years to today…

A few weeks ago I felt like I had gone back in time to the early 1800’s when I was invited to attend a tea put on by a group of re-enactors from the DFW Costumers GuildHeld at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas, the setting for the tea transported those who attended to a gentler time…

Play this while you read this…

My two favorite photos ~ this one and our lead photograph!

Love is not love when it alteration finds

nor bends with the remover to remove…

~ part of Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare

My friend Laura who writes Decor to Adore invited me this day and I am so glad she did!  Everyone visited for the first hour or so and enjoyed seeing each other and their costumes.  A few of the ladies had either just finished making a new bonnet or a new dress and everyone was stopping to admire the new fashion.  For myself, it was fun just taking it all in…



A shot right out of a Merchant-Ivory film!
I love the authenticity of the dresses, the peplum over shirts, the hoop skirts, bustles and petticoats worn underneath to fluff each skirt out in its style, and of course the hairstyles, bonnets and hats!

Meet Jane  

This lady is the first person I met from the guild and her name really is Jane!  She is exactly what I picture the real Jane Austen to have looked like in real life.
We had an impromptu portrait session, too, which was lots of fun!

Mother and daughter ~ Love this!  🙂


Love the family portraits!

I have shared my love for Jane Austen before in
this post and I probably will continue revisiting
Ms. Austen’s genre and books from time to time.
It is definitely one of my favorite periods in history.
🙂




On this day two members of the Victorian Fencing Society came to spar and share a little on the art of fencing and some history.  The children were enthralled and after the demonstration they were invited to come up and try to fence a little themselves.
Such fun!

The trees and sitting pavilion cast a lot of shadow on our fearless
fencers (?) so much had to be tweaked to get these photos right. 😉

Dueling with rapier swords, I believe.
Sharing how one scores a point with a touch.

More discussion on technique and demonstrations with this sabre. These gentlemen explained about their outfits and that their quilted protective vests are actual fencing gear redesigned to look the period. 
Don’t you just love these costumes?

Here Laura visits with these ladies and this sweet little chihuahua held most of the day by its owner.

Colonel Brandon: Miss Dashwood, Miss Marianne – I come to issue an invitation. A picnic on my estate at Delaford if you would care to join us on Thursday next. Mrs. Jennings daughter and her husband are traveling up especially.
Elinor Dashwood: We should be delighted, Colonel.
Colonel Brandon: I will of course be including Mr. Willoughby in the party.
Marianne: I shall be delighted to join you, Colonel.

~ from Sense and Sensibility Quotes

Some sat down to tea straight away as we arrived around 2:00p.m. but the ground was still damp from the week’s rains so later everyone moved to the pavillion and picnic tables spread with scarves and tablecloths in period appropriate styles.

Madame upon arrival ~ loved her costume, which is why I took this!
Then I felt badly because I hadn’t rushed over to help her but was
shooting pictures of her instead… 😉  

Laura served us sandwiches from Panera as it was a super busy week for her (wedding business + blog + family and life) which were wonderful paired with the two teas she brought in traveling thermoses.



Other ladies brought chicken and hummus, cheeses and small petit fours to share with everyone.  I had a few cinnamon chip scones and banana chocolate chip muffins in the freezer so I hurriedly arranged them on a pretty plate and brought those to share.

The tea was a wonderful outing for everyone and I am happy to have been invited to take part!

Here is the whole group in the late afternoon’s setting sunlight… Very ethereal day, Ladies and Gents!!!


Sonnet 116: Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds

Q1

Q2

Q3

C

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
William Shakespeare, published 1609

Here’s the link to Peter Doyle’s song from the film titled Throw the Coins.
Play it while you read this…
Sharing with
Vintage Charm ~ My Thrift Store Addiction
Blessings to you,
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How to Create a Library in Small Spaces

Libraries although perhaps not quite as popular now with
today’s younger generation than with past generations due to
novel reading on tablets, computers and cell phones.
Despite new technology entering into the world of books
I think libraries can still hold a special place in the home.

They are wonderful to have on so many levels…

Libraries are easy and convenient to tuck anywhere and
within a small home this is especially true and a necessity.
Libraries with their books help give a home character ~ 
something that grounds the home and makes people feel
at ease when they come over to visit.

It’s always welcoming to go over to a friend’s home
and pick up a new book to read the jacket cover ~ you
may find a new author you’d like to try out and see if
you like their stories!
🙂

Library vignette

This little library vignette is easy to make with just a few
vintage hardcover books and one or two heavy objects
to help hold them up.
When picking books for small libraries pick books with
similar subjects or perhaps famous authors or even with cloth covers for your theme when you create
your vignette grouping.

Last Christmas I ended up decorating right around this little library of books I have collected over the past couple of years glamping.
Not having built or purchased small shelving for this location
a couple of pliable books became “a shelf” of sorts.
😉

What is it about books?

Part of any library’s enchantment whether large or small is the taking down of a book and holding it in one’s hands ~ it is a
visual and weighty sensory experience.
You can smell them too which might seem odd but I have heard from many friends over the years that they love the smell of the newsprint on which book pages are usually
printed.

Books are invariably of different weights due to the number of pages each contains plus the physical size of each book.
I love coffee table books for their enormous size!

Do you remember in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility
when the youngest sister Margaret is reading her atlas in the library at their father’s house as his estate is being handed off to the new Mr. and Mrs. Dashwood.
(Emma’s character Miss Elinor Dashwood’s half-brother’s and wife) 
Mr. Ferrars (Hugh Grant) has come for a visit while his sister Fanny and John Dashwood are at the country estate.

He walks into the enormous library room with his sister and sees this enormous book on the floor next to a sofa table covered with a rug (of which Miss Margaret has just scurried underneath).
He rightly surmises that the noise he heard upon entering the room is the young person the family is searching for and with a quick push back of his toe he moves the book under the table and
out of Fanny’s view.

Love that scene!

Another good place to create a small library in the home is surrounding a wall mount television.
This shelf above in the Christmas photograph shows the built-in cabinets below the television create a natural area for showcasing anything from books to holiday vignettes.

Here we are blessed with both.
🙂


Create a mini library with an unused garden stand.


Other small libraries


Recently I posted this photograph on my Instagram sharing a
mini library we have in our living room ~ just one little shelf on this wrought iron plant stand is being used to hold some
faith based books at present.
Two of the three legs of this stand hold up this little

grouping and keep these books within arms’ reach.

Having a small table used as an extra library table like this
creates a rotating display of books and other items and
can be changed seasonally ~ an easy way
to refresh one’s home decor.



Of course having a beautiful rack to hold magazines
in one’s small library is lovely to keep out
on display!

The possibilities are endless with mini libraries in
small homes… and in large ones.
I am an advocate of small bookcases in every bedroom especially in children’s rooms to help promote good reading habits and to
help foster the next generation’s
love of reading.
😉

The simple act of reading a favorite book
is a great way to relieve stress and to
take a trip to anywhere a story leads!
I’d love it if you’d share this photograph, thank you!


Sharing with
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondock’s Blog
Dishing It and Digging It ~ Life and Linda
Waste Not Wednesday ~ Faeries and Fauna
Wordless Wednesday ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!




Happy libraries to you!
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Napkin Folding and a Little Book Review

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Napkin folding  is an old art and there are sooo many styles to go with your tablescapes and to go with
whatever meal you are serving.
Today I thought I’d share just a couple of napkin folding
techniques and the book I found with you all
in a little book review.




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I love looking for books and tea and etiquette books are
BIG on my list of “must haves” so when I found a newish
book on folding napkins which could help me
with setting a pretty table
I was all over it.  

The photograph above is from a tea I photographed recently and here I’ve created a cute little floral napkin pocket ~
one of the napkin folding ideas I found in this
exciting little book.
Let’s get to this book review and tutorial
shall we?

🙂



*This is the original printing.  There may be minor differences in the two.
Credited to Liz Belton, et al
Here a napkin style called The Pocket makes an informal tea table fun!

The Art of Napkin Folding
by Liz Belton and the editors of Ryland, Peters and Small
London and New York
rating: 5 stars
(an updated version ~ new cover ~ not credited to Ms. Belton, et al )



*This is the second publishing with some changes.  I purchased the first printing.


I found this book to be charming with full high resolution color photographs throughout showing detailed step-by-step
instructions on creating more than a dozen folded napkin styles.
Each photograph shows how to recreate each napkin style and
is very thorough with the details.

My favorite of all the photographs ~ Love this kitchen prep photo with the Fleur de Lys napkins guarding the silver.
My nemesis has been the above photographed… the
Fleur de Lys.

I have another book written by the late Diana, Princess of Wales’
former butler Paul Burrell and I never could get this napkin
to work so I’m particularly glad that this book

does the job.

When I was trying several years ago to recreate the Fleur de Lys from Mr. Burrell’s book there must have been a step missing.
For this reason only is why I gave it four stars out of five.
Otherwise, for interesting tidbits about royal life and some wonderful stories about the princess and Mr. Burrell’s
time spent in her service ~ this is a lovely book and
I do enjoy reading it!
Both books are wonderful for the
aforementioned reasons.

In the Royal Manner:
Expert Advice on Etiquette and Entertaining
from the Former Butler to Diana, Princess of Wales
Grand Central Publishing, London
rating: 4 stars





I am an Amazon affiliate but any purchases you make here won’t cost you
a cent more.  Please see my full disclosure here.


So, on to the today’s tutorial…
🙂



How to fold a Fleur de Lys napkin

*Starch and iron your 20″ x 20″ or similar
square napkin flat.
Press by folding to lightly create four squares
for future guide.
Open out and iron flat.
{The lines of each square should still be slightly visible.}


*Turn the napkin on the diagonal and fold the top point down
to meet the bottom point creating a large triangle.

*Bring both outer triangle points down to meet the bottom
point ~ as seen above.
Lightly press as you go through each step.

*Now fold each of these top points back towards the top.


*Fold the lower points up to touch the above folds
then fold up again a second time ~ as shown here.

*Fold a third time creating what looks like an old paper hat
many of us created out of newspaper as a kid.
Press again.

*Flip the napkin over and continue with the next step:

*Fold the left side and the right sides in by 1/3 each
and slip the right side into the pocket created
by the rolls of the left side ~ above.

*Pick up the napkin and round out the bottom to
make the napkin stand.

*Turn the napkin around to face you and fluff the
lily’s top “petal” and pull down the side petals.

That’s all there is to it.
Turns out it wasn’t so difficult after all.
🙂




The editors of The Art of Napkin Folding show even
more photographs than I’ve recreated here but I didn’t
want to spoil the book for you!


The Art of Napkin Folding shares tutorials for
napkins for contemporary occasions as well as for
classically vintage stylings.
The editors discuss traditional napkin sizes and the
history of napkins and relates napkin use to what occasions
certain sized napkins are used today.


Funny names for some of the napkin foldings are:
the water lily
the fan
guard of honor
the tuxedo
the rose
and perfect points


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I hope  you’ve enjoyed this little napkin post and
I look forward to creating more napkins in future
tablesettings with you in mind.
🙂


Sharing with
Thursday Favorite Things
Feathered Nest Friday
Wow
Friday at the Fire Station
Sweet Inspiration
Dishing It and Digging It
Sew It Cook It Craft It ~ Sew Historically



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Happy decorating,
Uncategorized

You’ve Got Mail, Bookshops and Great Design in the Movies

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When I was  a little girl in school there were three
favorite things I loved: first was recess
the second was P.E. and the third was going to the library
each week to pick out a few good books to read…


An interesting fluke showing the ending and beginning of two scenes.
These photos I shot with my iPhone off the television, as you can tell. 🙂

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On Easter Sunday  after going to church and
enjoying the Easter egg hunt that happened for the kids there
and while the potroast bubbled and simmered away
in its crockpot set on top of the stove
{which made our little prairie home smell wonderful by the way}
Mr. Ethereal, my hubby bear, and I watched old favorite
movies.

After watching A Dog’s Purpose which if you haven’t seen it
is absolutely wonderful.
Keep tissues near as you will laugh and cry.
;)’
Then I pulled out our next latest $5.00 video bargain and one
of the best love stories out there:
You’ve Got Mail.

Now you might ask yourself what in the world does
You’ve Got Mail
Tom Hanks’ character Joe Fox and Meg Ryan’s
Kathleen Kelly
have to do with design??

In this scene Jean Stapleton’s character has invited the girls over for a farewell to the Shop Around the Corner tea luncheon.
The setting with all its books, the tea table, the garden chairs and plants bringing the outside in is just beautiful, isn’t it?


Well the answer is…. Everything!

I love how the movie was staged.  The furniture
the lighting and the decorations on the walls.
The brownstone row houses set in New York City.
Timeless. Classic.
Like my favorite Waverly linen pattern called
Norfolk Rose on the couch and on some of the pillows.
{This must subliminally be why I ended up buying
two yards of it last year to make my couch’s pillows!}



You get to see our home as it really is… 🙂  Loved and with a small glowing electric fireplace.


And our home when it is clean and shiny beautiful for you!


I crack up each time I watch this movie when Joe talks about
The Godfather as being the I Ching ~ the Nirvana
of everything.
And an explanation of everything according to him and it would seem every other American male out there.
Even my hubby understands the reference and it is
part of his psyche.
Weird.
😉




But really it’s the love that develops over time that I love about You’ve Got Mail ~ the relationships between the coworkers and
Kathleen and Greg Kinnear’s character and how there’s love there
between he and Kathleen.
But eventually there can only be one great love…


And the always romancing songs with notes just the right
pitch winding its melodic way in the background of the story
culminating in the actualization of a love that
will stand the test of time.


Timeless and classic

Then there is Kathleen Kelly’s bed and the scene where Joe
comes over to visit when she’s sick…
 I have noticed this is also why I fell in love at High Point Market with the beds at Eloquence…
sigh!


You Do Know that I gave our old dark cherry bedframe
to our daughter as it was a queen size and we bought
a California king??
We will have to be buying a new bedframe at
some point…
And probably buying a smaller king mattress as in the
houses we are looking at here in Texas…
the Cali isn’t going to fit.
😀


And of course books  and the mom and pop book shop
versus the newfangled idea of the big box store was all new
twenty years ago and feature throughout this movie
and are characters in themselves ~  along with then newbie
America On Line which we all know now
and love as just plain AOL.

Did you ever think that email would just become a
part of the fabric of our daily lives??



They are remaking memories

Whether it is intentional on the part of producers Nora and Delia Ephron or not that although many smaller bookstores would
go by the wayside the memories of loving books and stories
though changing where we would buy and read them
would remain and never die.

Even the movie itself is like a second or third remake
of a good old late 1930’s classic and this is talked about in a
10 year reunion with the Ephrons, Hanks and Ryan!


Kathleen Kelly climbs into bed while Joe Fox brings her tea over and tucks her in.
Love the gilding on this bed!  Although today we would probably change the stripes
out for a solid linen this bed is still a classic design.



They come full circle

So they come full circle with bookshops changing to meet the needs of the times and for me there is also the scene with Kathleen Kelly’s bed…



I love that bed and it looks like some of the beds I saw at Eloquence while touring there this past fall.
And then last year while wandering around Dillards
at one of the malls in Frisco or Plano
I found this bed by Cynthia Rowley.



Whether one of these companies made the bed used in this movie with it’s striped Ralph Lauren 1980’s look or another big design house made them…
I love the curving design of the headboard from You’ve Got Mail
and it’s sweet antique quilt and comfy bed linens
and the bed’s Gustavian-Louie posts.

Timeless, classic and still on trend and chic!


A photograph I took of books while visiting Second Impression Antique shop in South Dakota.


Remember

I do miss a favorite old bookstore that used to be in Temecula
when we first moved to Murrieta, California in the early 1990’s
and it was called The Little Professor.
I took my two kids there for storytime along one painted wall with children’s book characters brought to life there was a hole.
This hole was big enough for even adults to crawl through so that
we could all go inside and back in time to enjoy the best
stories of our childhood.


Somewhere over the rainbow

But eventually there can only be one great love…

Keep the tissue box nearby

And I won’t spoil it for you if you’ve never seen this movie.
But do go rent it or buy it online somewhere
and enjoy the beautiful set designs
the city of New York in the fall and the wonderful romantic comedy that it is.





Sharing with
Wow
Feathered Nest Friday
Sweet Inspiration
Thursday Favorite Things

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Always… where skies are blue,
Uncategorized

A Special Homemade Christmas Marmalade Cake

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Sharing a specialty cake
with our friends and family is one of
the most appreciated gifts we can give of ourselves
any time of the year but especially
during the holiday season…



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Here is a showstopper
of a cake in its original recipe version created by the
Los Angeles Times and shared by Victoria Magazine.
Authoress Jan Karon, who writes some of my most favorite books about a fictional town called Mitford, thought of
this recipe idea for Esther, one of Ms. Karon’s characters, to bake
for friends and family during the holidays and
for special occasions.

Recently I wrote about Jan Karon’s recently published
To Be Where You Are.
It’s fun for me to be able to share one of the recipes
she dreamed up for her Mitford series of books
here with you today!

Esther’s Orange Marmalade Cake

3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
{*I goofed and used salted this time… just cut your salt in half*}
2 cups granulated sugar
3 lg. eggs, room temp., slightly beaten
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
{*if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, make it with:
3 Tbsp. white vinegar and enough milk to equal 1 cup*}
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Orange Syrup

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
{I used a bottled o.j. and it works just as well}
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the filling

1 cup orange marmalade
{or enough to cover the bottom cake half ~ I like to use a more sour marmalade
and mixed the remainder of my sour with a new sweeter version for this cake.}

For the frosting

3/4 cup well chilled heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup well chilled sour cream

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter (2) 9″ round cake pans, line with parchment or waxed paper, butter and flour the paper and shake out the excess.

2. Sift flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Use an electric mixer, beat butter until soft, add sugar a little at a time.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, orange zest and vanilla.  Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the buttermilk.  Add 1/2 of the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk, then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

4. Divide the batter between the 2 pans, smooth surface, rap on the counter to expel air bubbles.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to racks to cool in the pans 20 minutes.

5. To make the orange syrup — Combine the orange juice and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. 

6. With a toothpick, poke holes at 1/2 in. intervals in the cake layers, spoon the syrup over each layer letting it absorb.  Let layers cool completely. 

7. To make the filling — In a small sauce pan, heat the marmalade over moderate heat until just melted.  Cool for 5 minutes.

8. To make the frosting — In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks.  Add the sour cream a little at a time and whisk until of spreading consistency.

9. To assemble the cake — Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate, carefully peel off the waxed or parchment paper, then spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top — smooth it into an even layer.  Invert the remaining cake layer onto the top of the first layer.  Peel off the waxed paper and spoon the remaining marmalade onto the center of it, leave 1 1/4″ border around the edge.  Frost the sides and top of the border with the frosting.  Leave the garnish marmalade visible on top.

Or, frost the entire cake and add the marmalade as a garnish on top.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving…

***There is a second recipe using boxed cakes but I won’t share that one today… Maybe for Valentines!
😉



Just some extra notes:  I cannot for the life of me find my round
cake pans, so… I had to improvise and use my Bundt pan instead.
I think it actually looks more festive!

If you use your Bundt pan, you’ll want to let your cake cool the full
20 minutes and slide a knife around all edges of the pan both along the outside and inner edges of the cake to help
loosen it from the pan.
I did not use any waxed or parchment paper with this cake but
did spray more butter spray inside the cake pan.


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For this Christmas cake version

Just some extra notes:  I cannot for the life of me find my round

cake pans, so… I had to improvise and use my Bundt pan instead.

I think it actually looks more festive!


If you use your Bundt pan, you’ll want to let your cake cool the full

20 minutes and slide a knife around all edges of the pan both along the outside and inner edges of the cake to help

loosen it from the pan.

did not use any waxed or parchment paper with this cake but

did spray more butter spray inside the cake pan.


Also, I don’t measure or heat up my marmalade anymore.
I like to just scoop it out and spread it more like jam
instead of very thinly as the original recipe does.

Last notes: put your unfrosted cake into the refrigerator
for 10 minutes to chill.  This will make frosting it much easier
and keep the cake from “peeling.”
Pull out the frosting from the refrigerator
{you would be putting it in to keep it cool while the cake is cooling, after you make the frosting} 
a little before you’ll be spreading it.
Makes it easier to spread.
;)’

Instead of spreading the frosting “drip” your frosting on
in mounds and spread back up as it falls down inside the hole.
This creates a “snow effect” which is really pretty with the
thickened sour cream frosting.

Add some cranberries around the outside and fill up the
inside hole created by the Bundt pan
to make your cake pretty and festive.

Include some real juniper tucked around it, too, or
other beautiful and non-toxic greenery.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and my full disclosure can be found Here. It doesn’t
cost you any more to purchase through here, but it I may earn a very small commission.
Thank you. 🙂

Sharing with





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Happy Baking!

Uncategorized

Sunday Afternoons and Enjoying a Good Book

One of my absolute favorite things to do
on a quiet weekend is
to sit and read a good book…

Today’s book is by author
Jan Karon
who has written 14-plus books
surrounding the lovely fictional town of
Mitford, North Carolina.

Father Tim Kavanagh is the original main character
and with the past three books
including this one
To Be Where You Are
his adopted son Dooley, DVM
and Dooley’s wife Lace and their
adopted son Jack
have become main characters in good standing.

The series is fun with a warm hometown feeling!
I think you’ll like all of Ms. Karon’s
books, too.
🙂


I have been reading the Mitford series for 20 years now
and I love that the story goes on.
🙂

People, life, family stories, mayoral elections,
births, deaths, a bull named Choo-choo.
Painting and vet life, perspective
the next generation…

To Be Where You Are shares all this and much more.
For anyone who loves a good read, a good cry,
dogs, a little drama but not too much,
and lots of love
all in faith in the One Above.
+
🙂

A link below is provided in case you’d like
to check out this book.

For my affiliate policy, please click Here.

Sharing with
Dishing It and Digging It ~ Rustic and Refined
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create with Joy
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Peonies and Orange Blossoms

Happy fall reading!
Uncategorized

Sunday Sentiments ~ Author Emilie Barnes, If Teacups Could Talk




Recently I learned of the passing
of beloved Christian author
Emilie Barnes
who wrote over 70 books on time management
taking care of one’s home and
about tea time and knowing
and loving God…



Teatime as you know is something I find
very soothing, very comforting
and a perfect way to begin one’s day
while having a little quiet time…


I found Emilie Barnes’ wonderful books
at the little bookstore which used to be open 
in between services and during the week
at our former church in California ~
Calvary Chapel of Murrieta, California.









If Teacups Could Talk was part of
what helped bring me back to a closer
walk with God.
This book was a big part of that and was
a book that all of us in my first
tea groups in the Victorian Tea Society
in the late 1990’s read and discussed
at our luncheons.


One of the stories Emilie wrote about in this book was
about her mother and how as Emilie was growing up
they lived for a time at the back of her 
mother’s seamstress shop.
When it was quiet in the shop, her mother
would often take customers back 
for a cup of tea.
This woman lived out her faith daily
sharing with customers and eventually
with her neighbors in 
her later years.
I loved how Emilie wove her family
her love of Jesus
and poetry and quotes about tea
throughout this book!



In all of Emilie Barnes’ books she shares 
Biblical scriptures and principles
to help us learn about
Jesus and about 
how having faith in our
daily lives is the best comforter
we could ever have.

Sometimes during the late 1990’s
I wrote Ms. Barnes to let her know how
much her books meant to me
and that If Teacups Could Talk
helped renew my faith in God.


She wrote a lovely letter back
which I have with all 
my keepsake letters.







Here is a pin I saved sharing another of
Sandy Lynam Clough’s
gorgeous tea artwork which was
soooo pretty and perfect
paired with Emilie’s books.
Part of my Mother’s Day gift from my husband back around 2002 when I visited
Macy’s in Costa Mesa, California for a china signing with Sarah, the Duchess of York.

If you are thinking of a gift for a friend
do consider giving the gift of tea…
If Teacups Could Talk
or
any of Emilie Barnes’ other books on 
hostessing a tea party.
Emilie’s books are printed through
Harvest House Publishers.
Sharing with
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create with Joy
Saturday Sparks ~ Pieced Pastimes
Dishing It Digging It ~ Rustic and Refined
Share Your Style ~ The Red Painted Cottage

Blessings to you,

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