Friday, December 30, 2011

Bonne Année ~ Bonne Fête!

Ici à Beaune, nous avons commencé la Fête.  Avec chaque rencontre, des amis, des marchands, même Monsieur le Boulanger, on souhaite bonne anneé et bonne fête a tous….

Je vais au marché le matin, très tôt pour prendre des photos, puis dresser la table, preparer un caneton avec sauce orange pour diner.  Coup de fil a Jacqueline et Guy pour échanger les nouvelles…

thursday in beaune 151Bonne année a tous! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Neuf Heure


Please click on Google Translate at right for translation to your language~

À cause de la décalage horaire, je n’arrivais pas à dormir plus que quelques heures hier soir.  A quatre heure du matin alors, j’ai fait de la menage, poli mes cuivres, fait du lavage et rangé la maison.  Juste avant neuf heure, je me suis promenée; personne sur le troittoir sauf les Bonnes Soeurs  sur leur chemin à la Collegiale pour la messe.  

Ici a Beaune, il fait froid, il fait calme, et il semble que le temps ne bouge pas a cette heure de la matin.  Toute arretée, comme le cheval blanc qui saute les cheminees… 

first day 008Debrancheé de ma vie, je commence a respirer, de me declencher.  Ce matin R et moi allons chercher des colis à La Poste et aussi un sapin de Noel, si possible.  Mes yeux sont deja pleins des petits joies de la France. 

Et oui, je suis bien arrivée; vous allez trouver mon blog en Français pendant ce voyage; j’ai deja pleine choses a vous montrer.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

A Happy Shiny Christmas

We surely enjoyed our Christmas meal and our evening together.  Lots of shiny bright personalities, lots of laughter, enjoyment at the thought of being all together once again~

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The table was set simply yet with much finery; no excess; it all counted~christmas eve 2011 059

My goal is to find these French curtain rings for all of those who want them….looking….please be patient….

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For appertif, we had Kir Royal, California Sparkling with Crème de Cassis; watch for more on this later this week~

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for appetizer, baked brie which you will also see this week~delicious molten lava of brie which was all eaten~

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My local family was all there, and we all brought our dogs; here is Isabella the Italian Greyhound doing her best Max of the Grinch fame impersonation~

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I cooked a 17+ pound turkey with all the trimmings~

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Afterward, there were presents under the tree and time to relax, have chocolates and pears belle Helene for dessert, again more later this week~

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It was a great Christmas but stay tuned this week for explanations, recipes, and explanations…..

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Proper English Dinner

After the Thanksgiving meal, I usually prefer to go “light” for Christmas, with seafood.  This year, my nieces & nephews requested “comfort food” of either beef or turkey, as they all missed the Thanksgiving meal.  As soon as they were all in town, I hosted a prime rib dinner, which I billed as a “proper” English meal before our Christmas dinner; Yorkshire Pudding, anyone?~


The setting was our Guest House, with high beamed ceilings, English pub chairs and an English oak oval table~

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The firebox is perfectly round, and the mantel is made of stone and ships’ timbers, including the keel; I borrowed the flowers from our Christmas table in the dining room for this evening; it was already cozy before the food arrived~

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While the beef cooked, we prepared the Yorkshire pudding.  Do not be intimidated by this fine accompaniment to roast beef; I use a classic recipe that’s hard to mess up: crack four eggs into a measuring cup and look at the volume; add an equal volume of milk and then an equal volume of flour (sifting gets rid of the lumps).  Whisk all in a bowl, then let stand for at least 20 minutes~

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In a muffin tin, add a spoonfull of beef fat and drippings to the bottom of each cup~

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Pour the batter into each cup on top of the drippings; using a cup as shown is the neatest way to do this! Fill 2/3 full~

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Bake hot at 425 degrees, and do not ever open the oven to peek! You will be rewarded with this, which you should serve ASAP prior to deflation~

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Add in one British dog~

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and a little tartan (these are actually old draperies I cut up with pinking shears; though they are 40 years old, despite the moth holes I love the Buchanan tartan linen, which Mum brought back from Canada a long time ago)~


the little knights came from London and NYC by me a long time ago and were lovely on the table next to the Buchanan~

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When the food hit the table, the crowd got right to passing it around, and picking a few weights out of the napkins~


Multiple batches of Yorkshire Pudding helped sop up all the gravy; the plates were then inspected by the Norfolk Terrier Association of Dishwashers~


meanwhile the fireplace crackled and the conversation was just as lively~

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Dessert was apple crumble, recipe to follow later~

IMG_9780 - Copywith home made cinnamon ice cream~

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My flight leaves in 11 hours for Paris, and I am packing while posting….wishing you all a lovely Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joyeux Noel

On the heels of a big family dinner here on Thursday and two hours of sleep last night,  I’m dragging just a little.  But nothing that can’t be fixed by a good cup of coffee, and later a Kir Royal, and now a dose of Christmas sparkle~


I look forward to the arrival of my family this evening, and have been thoroughly enjoying many holiday wishes I have received from so many friends near and far.  My wish is that there would be room for all of us at one table!


Tomorrow I will clean up, and pack for France.  Today, an 18 pound turkey is in the oven and I just want to enjoy the moment; I wish everyone a lovely Christmas eve, in your own little corner of the world~


A Happy Christmas to all~

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Wraps

I got a little ahead of myself this year.  I had not even started to consider what to do for Christmas gift wrap when I began to think of how to decorate for New Year’s eve in France.  I have long been a fan of the best quality double face satin you can buy, which is called “Swiss Satin” as it is made in Switzerland.  I used to buy this at Bon Marche in Paris, but you can find all shades of the rainbow at Michael Levine’s in downtown Los Angeles ($50 minimum for shipping), surely at MJ’s in NYC and other stores. The best brand is Morex; if you buy it by the yard at retail, it’s $1.50 for this 1 1/2 inch ribbon; if you buy a spool of 27 yards it is less than $1 per yard.  I bought a spool of red which is already gone, as well as a spool of this color, which is called Lilac; I love it so much and especially how well it goes with creamy 19thC French linens.  Many thanks to Sande Chase of A Gift Wrapped Life for the mention on this; surely everyone knows Sande but if not, you will find wonderful gift inspiration through her…


There are other colors which compliment, don’t you love this fuchsia satin on the Point a la Ligne tapers from Paris~


I tucked in a trio of bouquet garni…surely the scent of thyme will welcome the recipient, Sande, in this case~


the entire set was enveloped in fuchsia tulle….in lieu of paper, for reuse, for re-gift, for whatever….my sniff test is, would I love to receive this gift, you bet I would!


I am getting ready for our English dinner tomorrow eve; apple crisp in the oven, table being set…the Holidays are upon us, hooray!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Really Rad

My Grandmother Helen was from Cincinnati, and had a touch of Southern accent.  She pronounced the word “Red” more like “Rad,” and so it’s a private joke in my family when I look at the fresh carnation wreath I made for the front door and say, “that’s really Rad”~


In large or small doses, can’t have enough Red for Christmas~


The Toyon berries from the recent hike went into a pair of wreaths on the gates~


I’m now getting ready for Thursday’s English-style meal in front of the fire~


Hope you have a really Rad week with lots of Red~

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Cramming

I feel like I am in finals week of the School of Christmas.  There is too much goodness, too much to do, to see, to share, to gift.  To absorb. Too much to bake, too much to decorate.   And definitely too many images to share on this blog.  Later this week there will be a prime rib and traditional English dinner for the family at my house; Christmas Eve, a fantastic turkey and all the trimmings also here.  Today I picked up said prime rib and turkey from Ashley of DaLe Ranch at our Rancho Santa Fe market.  In the Chic & Christmas file, I give you my friend Anne Marie; her boots, Italian handbag and French linens bought from me today; the mistletoe was free in these bundles from one of our farmers~


I had intended to sew these monogrammed burlap pieces into lavender-filled pillows, but guess what, I didn’t make it.  I also wanted to enter a “Holiday Decorating Contest” last night by midnight and had dozens of pics of the table, but ended up falling asleep on the sofa watching The Wizard of Oz and woke up at 1am.  Oops.  Maybe next year….


Dang it, the monogrammer obviously can not read my handwriting as this is misspelled (there is no “a” it is joyeux)… free to anyone who wants this who does not care about orthographe…email me….


This was shown in the Romantic Homes shoot; the pieces of burlap are really large and can be made into pillows but most people bought them today for runners.


And speaking of goodness, a shout-out to dear Barbara, here with her new tote from me, which I dug out of my Prius but is perfectly sized for her tiny frame. Holding my poochey-bellied Honey Dog.  Barbara, I want to be as cool and as energetic as you~


I will try to poste every day this week as I have so many images and ideas to show you.  Enjoy the images, enjoy the run-up to Christmas, however fast it comes upon us!

Christmas Gift

I went for a hike this morning, early, armed with a pair of shears, a large basket and my pair of trusty dogs.  The goal was to gather as many wild toyon or California Holly berry bunches as possible, which you will see soon.  Along the way, in the midst of a thorny bramble bush now denuded of foliage, I found a perfectly intact bird’s nest.  Unfortunately, the egg had been pilfered, in the middle of the large and carefully created nest, and subsequently abandoned by Mommy Bird.  Shears in hand, I snipped the nest free and reversed the egg~


A precious egg…in the soft center of the nest…


…there among the careful construction of thorny bramble branches~


In addition to all the holly berries, greens and other goodies from the garden, this nest is a magnificent Christmas Gift, from Nature, to Me.  Thank you, Mother Nature!  The nest now has a prime corner location in my dining room~


The nest has become a sort of a metaphor for me this season, with its harsh exterior protecting the delicate interior.


As I played around with various ornaments in lieu of the egg, I thought of several friends and family, going through a tough time for various reasons this holiday season.


Can we find that sweet spot, in the center of all the bramble of trouble?


How I wish that I could give the gift of good health, could erase grief, eliminate pain, rewind the clock, and clear troubled minds.


I will instead be offering consolation, friendship, kind words, small acts and good food….


I am hoping that everyone can find joy in this season, in the midst of the chaos!