To Amuse and Delight

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

a sucker for mushrooms

With the variety of shapes, colors and flavors, I just can't resist mushrooms. They are so clean and easy to cook.

Especially when they are packaged like this! So cute and tasty, I can't say no.

Breakfast is one of my favorite times for mushrooms, with scrambled eggs and basil...

or cabbage and fried egg.

In salad

In soup

Anywhere is right for mushrooms!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beach Holiday

We just came back from our annual beach holiday. We have been visiting the same place for the past 8 years. Not only the same beach, but the same hotel and when we can it, even the same room.

We go on many collecting walks up and down the beach. Each of us looking for what we consider treasures.
My husband is always on the lookout for the smoothest stone he can find. It has to be the best, he will carry it in his jacket pocket all year long.

I always go for the interesting textures and colors. I usually end up trying to figure out ways that I can wear them, like my seaweed scarf. My teen's favorite part of collecting is organizing and categorizing her finds afterwards.

This is so pretty. It could be a soft lacy knitted something.

It's not easy finding healthy snacks at the beach. A lot of fried foods and ice cream. At trip to the local Mart provided fruit, veggies and Larabars in convenient 5 packs. Snob that I am, I brought my own tea. The electric kettle is my friend. 

A friend and I are reading Out of a Silent Planet by C.S Lewis together. After my younger one got super slammed by an ocean wave I offered to take her to the pool. Thinking that she could use some calmer fun and I could get in some reading time. She had a grand time but I did not catch up on my reading! 

About my bag...I picked it up at a thrift store earlier this year and saved it for the beach. Little did I know that everywhere we went this coral motif would be there. Every fancy beach shop was filled with it on towels, blouses, bags, curtains, greeting cards, etc. Our usual hotel room was redecorated this year with this pattern. The lamps were even made to look like coral with lampshades on top! I appeared to be quite fashionably "in the know" with my thrift store treasure.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Punk Nugget

Introducing the latest addition to our pig pen. The breeder called her Cream Pie, my girls dubbed her The Punk Nugget. She is sweet and sassy and, as you can see very cute.

This is what she looks like right side up.

The Nugget was quickly accepted by the other gals and has settled in quite nicely. This is our current pig crew- The Groke (formerly Molly), The Punk Nugget, May and Little. We love them all, but we will always remember our first guinea pigs, the ones who started us out on this pig loving journey.

Gone but not forgotten - Pumpkin, Penny (my 1st and all time favorite) and The Woogie. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Looking Glass Flowers: mAd TeA 2015

'O Tiger-lily,' said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, 'I WISH you could talk!'
'We CAN talk,' said the Tiger-lily: 'when there's anybody worth talking to.'
Alice was so astonished that she could not speak for a minute: 
it quite seemed to take her breath away. 

At length, as the Tiger-lily only went on waving about, she spoke again, in a timid voice--almost in a whisper. 
'And can ALL the flowers talk?'

'As well as YOU can,' said the Tiger-lily. 'And a great deal louder.'

'How is it you can all talk so nicely?' Alice said, hoping to get it into a better temper by a compliment. 'I've been in many gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk.'

Put your hand down, and feel the ground,' said the Tiger-lily. 'Then you'll know why.'
Alice did so. 'It's very hard,' she said, 'but I don't see what that has to do with 'it.'

'In most gardens,' the Tiger-lily said, 'they make the beds too soft--so that the flowers are always asleep.'

This sounded a very good reason, and Alice was quite pleased to know it. 'I never thought of that before!' she said.

The Menu:
"It's my own  invention."
Mushroom Tarts- chickpea shortbread with mushroom and wild arugula topping
5 Layer Cake- orange cake with cranberry cream and blueberries
Flower Sandwiches- pickled beet butter on whole wheat with chopped egg centers
and of course lots and lots of TEA

The Alice Dolls: Little Pullip Alice & 1966 Madame Alexander Alice

My Mad Tea Party 2013 

Monday, June 29, 2015

What is Holy?

I am reading Hallowed Be This  House by Thomas Howard. I am enjoying it so much, I want to share it with you... 

“And as is true of any holy place, this one has for its activity the marking and celebrating of what is true and the keeping alive of the vision of what is true; namely, that is holy. This is done by offering things up in acts of consecration and praise.

This is what lifts those things up from the heap of mere ordinariness and makes them extraordinary (holy). 

They are ordinary things, of course, like eating and drinking and working and playing and bread and wine; but it is the ordinary stuff lifted up which is the holy. Holy things for the Christian and the Jew in any case, aren’t some remote category of things- mumbo jumbos, arcane regalia, or basalt meteorites from the sky. Holy things are ordinary things perceived in their true light, that is, as bearers of the divine mysteries and glory to us.

Looked at this way, eating becomes eucharistic, and working becomes the opus dei, and loving becomes an image of the City of God. It is our task in this shrine to take these ordinary things and, by lifting them up in oblation to God where we are set free to live in the splendor where eating and drinking and working and playing are known for what they really are forms of perpetual worship and therefore bliss.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Taxidermy: her new thing

For a few months now my daughter has been very interested in taxidermy. I'm not really sure how it all started. She read a lot of books, watched youtube tutorials and jumped right in. The first thing people ask is "Where do you get the animals?". 

So, I will get that out of the way first. Pet stores sell frozen rodents  for snake food. My daughter has gotten rabbits, rats, mice and guinea pigs that way. Also from time to time we come across a creature who has met with a tragic demise. 
Some she poses in lifelike positions.

And some in not so lifelike positions! 
This one reminds me of Beatrix Potter's Tailor of Gloucester. My daughter chased a farm cat for this young water rat, she cornered him, and the cat dropped it in front of her and ran off! I do not advise cornering cats, but in this case it worked out with no harm done.

This was the first rabbit she ever taxidermied. It takes a lot of trial and error to get them to look alive. The raccoon was done after a little more experience. That raccoon causes quite a stir when we take him out. 

There is a fervent community of taxidermy enthusiasts online. They share tips, failures, and success stories. My girl now buys, sells, and trades with people all over the world. You'd be surprised at what people are willing to pay for. Even our pet snake's skin sheds are now bartered off or sold. 
I really hope she doesn't sell this mounted mouse head. It's like something from The Borrower's. I want it for our doll house. 

WARNING: If you are squeamish and this is all too much for not proceed!

There she is on the patio working on that Beatrix Potter rat. It amazes me how fearless and driven she is.  This backs up my firm belief that given the freedom and resources to follow their passions kids will do just that. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

slip covered hair clip : a tutorial

If you have girls or are a girl, you know about those painful-rip out your hair metal hair clips. I don't know how many brands I have tried. The packaging always promises that they won't hurt. But they do. 
Having acquired quite a collection of these hair rippers, I had enough. I refuse to buy anymore. Instead I came up with this idea...little slipcovers. Covering anything in cute fabric is great and the fabric also alleviates the hair ripping. 

It works for all sizes and shapes. 

This is how you do it...
Grab those old biting clips.

Trace clip onto the wrong side of your fabric. Make sure that the fabric is folded so you have a front and back to sew together. I happen to be recycling a carrot print boxer short.

Sew it up first, then cut it out close to your stitches. Leave the wide part open at the top (where I have the little mushroom acorn). Make sure you secure the beginning and end of those stitches so they don't open up.

 The trickiest part is probably pulling this thing inside out. Especially if it is real tiny. But, you can do it! I use an assortment of tools (and my teeth), whatever it takes to get the job done. Cut yourself a little slit on the backside. Right where my scissors tip is pointing. If you don't make that slit, it won't work.

Slipcover pulled onto your clip, you can glue it into place or tack it down with a few hand stitches. I ended up gluing this one because I didn't leave enough on the end to sew. Let that be a lesson to you! Leave more fabric on the end, sewing it makes a nicer finished clip. 

And there it is, carrot clip. No longer a menace to our tender heads.
Let me know if you give this a try.