Dutch Apple Pie

Making Apple Pie

Usually for Eric’s birthday, he requests the special cake I make for him (which I need to share). This year, he decided he wanted something different and requested an apple pie. This would be only the second apple pie I’ve ever made. Of course, it’s only been a few years ago that I first even had apple pie (I know, shocking).

My first apple pie was made in my beautiful Emile Henry pie dish (in red, of course). Anyway, that apple pie was made with both a top and bottom pastry crust. I even cut little stars out of the top crust because I was making it for Memorial Day. (Pardon the bad photo)

Apple Pie

Well, for this adventure in pie making, Eric requested a Dutch Apple Pie with the streusel on top rather than a top pastry crust. Also, the recipe he wanted called for a graham cracker pie crust. I admit I was leery. But, I moved ahead with my pie and cut up apples then added sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix.

I couldn’t use my pretty pie dish due to the graham cracker crust of it all, but when it came out of the oven it looked and smelled heavenly.

Dutch Apple Pie

It smelled so heavenly in fact, that I was tempted to cut right into that bad boy while Eric was out. I refrained and instead settled for this…

Hard Cider

Hmm, apparently I should have taken photos before cracking this open. Yummy, nonetheless.

And, on Eric’s birthday, we cut into that lovely pie and I have to say, the graham cracker crust was surprisingly good. I think I prefer the pastry crust, but the streusel topping is a definite yes.

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Week’s Photos

10/18/09 – 10/24/09

We celebrated Eric’s birthday over at my ILs.

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He got his standard birthday cake which is a yellow cake with a layer of strawberries and whipped cream icing. His mom and sister really make the best cakes. But the irony that strawberries are one of the few foods I am allergic to doesn’t go unnoticed. I just eat around them.

Birthday Cake for Eric

And for his actual birthday, I made him something special too. Dutch Apple Pie photos here.

And this is Othello sitting with me on the couch.

Othello

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The Art of the Chair

 

I know I’ve mentioned before that I attend a book club at one of the local art museums. What I love about the program is that the books often are selected based on having some tie to art and particularly to the current exhibition. A couple of years ago, we read the book One Vacant Chair, and Joe Coomer himself came to talk at our discussion. The book was so good, and the discussion was one of my favorites. Ever since reading that book I have been struck by images of chairs. I loved the idea in this book of the artist that drew your attention to something so simple, but also so varied and complex, as the chair. This book was one of those that stayed with me, you know the kind I mean.

Recently, through a recent post on Mojito Maven’s blog, I was introduced to the beautiful work of Kimberly Applegate. What I love most about her paintings are not just the vibrant colors and that they are of chairs, but the amazing characterizations she makes of the chairs. Her chairs take on the personality of the art hanging above them. They are fun and whimsical, while also showing a deep love and respect for the pieces she is reproducing. With permission to do so, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites (although it’s so hard to choose!).

 

I have such a love of Georgia O’Keefe, especially her gorgeous poppy. She, like Frida Kahlo, had such a way with color. And look at the gorgeous chair. Georgia once said (I’m paraphrasing), that she painted big because she wanted people to pay attention to her work. I think that confidence is reflected in this chair, the bold print, the shape, even the legs. This is a chair you pay attention to.

 

Ingres’s Grand Odalisque is one of my favorite paintings. The rich and sumptuous detail of his work just sucks me in. That turban of hers, and the peacock fan. When I was in college, working on my art history degree, I wanted to have a collection of odalisque (reclining nude) paintings. There was something about them that I found so sensual and feminine. Another favorite is Modigliani’s Reclining Nude. And what I love most about this particular painting is not just the pairing of a chair with a gorgeous, intricate back, but the position of the chair itself. The chair itself repeats that coy, over the shoulder glance. Love it.

 

The last one I’ve chosen to share (although I could go on and on and on – there was a beautiful Japanese chair, two lovely chairs that were paired with Vermeers, etc.), showcases a very sleek black chair paired with Sargent’s Madame X. Can I just tell you, that this painting is probably my favorite painting ever. There is something about Sargent’s work that is exquisite. I once wrote a poem comparing Madame X to Countess Olenska in The Age of Innocence. Anyway, I recently got to see the Sargent in person, and it literally stopped me dead in my tracks. While I would never have chosen this chair to pair with it – the choice is perfect! That chair is all about sleek curves. Such an amazing piece. I think too that Madame X is all mystery and apparent indifference to the audience, while the chair itself is also turned slightly away from the viewer, giving nothing.

Art, to me, is like breathing. So, when I stumble across something amazing and beautiful – especially when it touches on something that I already love, it is magical. I hope you take a moment today to pay attention to the ordinary objects around you, and perhaps take a moment to appreciate its beauty. What kind of chair represents you?

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Bluebird of Happiness

Bluebird of Happiness

So much has been on my mind lately, and part of what has been on my mind is whether or not to share it publicly? My intention with this blog was to put myself out there, and share my thoughts, my journey, and my passion for all things beautiful and stylish – including design, fashion, art, travel, etc. My blog falls far short of some of the amazing design and fashion blogs out there, but in the end – this blog is all me. I don’t get a lot of traffic on this blog, which is perfectly fine with me. Yes, I would love to occasionally know that someone is reading and that what I had to say was worth putting out there publicly, but it’s not the reason I do this.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is not feeling like I measure up. Part of this is because I’m struggling with losing weight. I am making progress, but it is slow. I’ve touched on the topic before, I think, that I love fashion and really want to dress and present myself well but I run into a couple of obstacles with that. One being that since I am changing sizes, and won’t be in a certain size very long (hopefully), I don’t want to invest much in a transitional wardrobe. Second issue is that I don’t have the kind of budget I’d love to have for clothes and accessories that a lot of other people do. Granted, I have some nice pieces, but the majority of my wardrobe isn’t high quality. So, when presented with an obstacle like this, I tend to go into the mode of doing nothing. Which bothers me. I had gotten to a point in my life where my motto was “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Thus, the reason I started posting my “wardrobe picks” posts. But then I quit doing it for a variety of reasons explored here. I have contemplated even deleting the posts from my blog completely. But, then there’s a part of me that feels like once I reach my goal weight, those posts are probably going to be important to me as part of my journey. So, for now they stay. But, God, I hate seeing myself in photos sometimes. Guess it’s all the more reason to really put 110% into getting where I want to go.

I love love love reading other blogs that are witty and smart and where the blogger makes self-disclosures about their own journey. And when all that is paired with photos of their beautiful home/wardrobe/life I love it even more. Part of why I love it is because it gives me something to aim for, a little piece of “hey I want that in my life”. And there are a lot of people that hear or see things about my life and think that it’s perfect or that I have everything and am so lucky. But, although I am so grateful for almost every single part of my life right now, I still want to strive to make those parts that I am not so happy about better.

This past week has been filled with ups and downs. The ups being that I completed another 5K. And my completion time was six minutes faster than my last 5K. I am so proud of myself for that. A couple of the ladies on my team are planning on continuing our Saturday morning walking and we’ll see where that takes us. We walk 3 miles every Saturday, which is very rewarding and when I go to my weigh in afterwards I feel so light and full of energy, regardless of what the scale says. This past Saturday, the scale read a 3.4 pound loss, which I am ecstatic about! I hope that means that I am past my plateau and can move forward with more losses now. And, my walking partner is also a part of Weight Watchers and is a size or two smaller than me. She is going to bring me her clothes that she can no longer fit into because they will fit me. She didn’t get to wear them very long, so it’s like I’m getting new stuff for my closet! And it solves my temporary problem of not wanting to invest in transitional clothing.

So, anyway, it’s been a little rough the past few weeks and I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with stuff going on in my little head plus feeling bad about the weight. But, I think things are turning around. So, I’m going to work on encouraging myself, celebrating my victories and “feeling the fear but doing it anyway”. And I’m going to continue to take my inspiration from here, here and here.

P.S. – sorry if this post was a little all over the place. But, hey, that’s how I roll.

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Fair Day

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I remember when I was in elementary school and every fall, we got one Monday off for Fair Day to go to the State Fair. I think we were even given a ticket too. It’s been awhile since the Fair Day’s of my youth, and I don’t know if they even still do that anymore. Since Eric and I have been together, going to the Fair has been an annual outing. Eric has introduced me to so many fun traditions, that we have now taken on as our own. So, last weekend we decided to brave the overcast skies that were threatening more rain and go to the Fair.

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I always love all the light and bright colors at the fair, especially against the drabness of the fall weather.

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The Fair usually showcases vendors demonstrating the latest gizmos and gadgets. I’m not ever interested in that, but I loved watching this pumpkin-carver at work. Look at the size of that pumpkin!

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And every year one of the main thing people talk about in relation to the Fair is the food. There is of course, a new fried something every year. This year, they were offering fried butter and chicken fried bacon too. Fried Coke is kind of old hat. But, I’m more of a traditionalist.

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Eric and I split the goodies that we get, so that we can have a couple of different things throughout the day. And I never miss an opportunity to split a pretzel with him, he’s a man after my own heart.

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No cotton candy for us, but I did think it was pretty all lined up.

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And of all the rides at the Fair, I again lean toward the traditional. The carousel is always one of my favorite things to watch. I just love the colors and the lights, and all the pretty horses.

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This was my favorite photo of the day…I caught Aladdin in the mirror of the carousel.

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The past couple of year’s I’ve dragged Eric into the Creative Arts building to see all the quilts and cross-stitch pieces, hooked rugs and other crafty items. And there’s always that huge display case of all the food winners.

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It started getting dark and chilly, so we decided it was time to head home.

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See y’all next year!

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The Last of Summer

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Although my thoughts, and the weather, have already turned to fall I thought I should probably wrap up my Miami posts (since I am a total slacker and still telling you about the trip we took in JULY). So, here are our last two days. On Saturday, which was also 4th of July, we went to West Palm Beach to visit Eric’s grandma. We haven’t seen her in awhile, so it was nice to get to visit with her while we were there. We went to her community’s hot dog cookout and ate with Grandma and her friends, and then played several rousing games of bingo, one of which I won. Afterwards, we had cake to celebrate her birthday and then drove over to Palm Beach to The Breakers.

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It’s a beautiful hotel, but we spent most of our time in the bar.

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I had what they call a “Tri-Colada” which is made with three kinds of rum and has rum drizzled on top. Heaven. And the bar is actually an aquarium, so you can watch little fish swim around under your drink. This is where Eric’s cousin proposed to his (now) wife.

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After drinks at The Breakers, we headed out for dinner and then fireworks. Grandma really hated to see us go, but I think we all had a good visit.

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The next morning we headed out for Bal Harbour Beach and took off our shoes and walked along the shore.

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It was such a nice morning, so relaxing. And I just enjoyed being with Eric and the two of us having just such a wonderful time alone and away from it all.

After lunch we headed out to the Fairchild Botanic Garden to visit the Chihulys.

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Isn’t is beautiful? Eric and I have now seen his work in so many places like Nassau, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and now in Florida. So fun.

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This is one of his ikebana pieces, I believe. I love how they are tucked into the plants, and just become another organic part of the whole.

Well, after that it was time to go home. I’m so glad that we were able to take a trip this year. I really didn’t think we were going to be able to, but Eric surprised me with this trip. So there you have it, the last of the recap of our trip. And now we can officially move on to fall. I have State Fair photos to share next time!

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A Week in Photos

9/27/09 – 10/03/09

Day two of the workshop. I think my class piece is turning out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

Timmers Workshop Day 2

And I ordered one of these boxes. I think it will be a great addition to my 4th of July decorating. Plus Americana is just cool. They actually had boxes for each state, but I liked the USA one.

America Box

On my way home, there was a storm rolling in.

Storm Coming In

And within minutes it was coming down.

Rain Puddle

I spent some time working on finishing up my class pieces on Saturday. I wanted to get them done while the finishing was fresh on my mind. The only thing I’m missing is some silk ribbon for the ties for my little bags.

Madeira Tin Almost Finished Set

And my Limited Edition threads came for a Halloween piece I’m going to start. Love the names of these – Dried Blood, Sarcophagus, Burial Ground, Coffin Lid, Witch’s Wart, Nightmare, Zombie Flesh.

Jenny Bean Ltd Edition Threads

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