Monthly Archives: September 2010

A Kiss Goodbye

Today, as September comes to a close the last little taste of Summer is clinging to it. Even though the sun shone bright this morning, through the mist on the common, it was still so cold. Our breath hung in little icy moisture droplets above us as we waited for our cherry red bus to come.

I love Summer and all it holds, but I love this time, when seasons change from one into the other and as the curtains draw on the final little bit of Summer and we kiss it goodbye, I welcome, with arms open-wide, all the best that Fall has to offer us. And one such thing is a bounty of gorgeous apples. I grew up on a farm and one of our staple crops were apples. There was nothing better than when my Dad, came home with the first of the year’s apple cider in frosty jugs for us to gobble down.

Apples in season, meant ever-ready bushels of sweetness awaiting us. Thin sliced apples with crackers and hoop cheese, fresh frosty cider, my Dad’s applesauce for breakfast and my Mom’s apple butter spread over hot biscuits. Fall holds a sweetness to it all of its own, a beauty of color and taste.

As we truly kiss the last of Summer goodbye and welcome in Fall, I found a recipe that I thought I would share with you, I have had cookies similar to this growing up and this was just something to delicious not to share!

Iced Apple Cookies
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup(s) pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup(s) raisins
  • 1 cup(s) chopped Red Delicious apple
  • 1/2 cup(s) apple cider
  • 2 tablespoon(s) apple cider
  • 3 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar

Directions
  1. Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Cream the sugar and 3/4 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the pecans, raisins, apples, and 1/4 cup apple cider.
  2. Bake the cookies: Drop by heaping tablespoon, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten each mound slightly and bake 18 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, remaining cider, and butter until smooth. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of icing over each cookie. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

(Recipe & Image copyright Country Living)

The Art of Simplicity

I have gone through so many changes with my new blog, In the Art Cupboard. I had so many different ideas of how I wanted it to look. It would be cleaner, simpler, not all the girly flowery things that exist here on Jenny Wren’s.

I mocked-up a “board”, trying a background that looked like a cork board with my designs pinned on it and lived with that for awhile, although something about it never felt right. I tried a stretched canvas background, a solid color in a variety of hues. Like Goldilocks, I just new they were not the right fit.

And, then it hit me! I was trying too hard, too hard to make it look like something it wasn’t, this is a blog about simplicity, about finding one thing a day you want to photograph and putting it up for the world to see and so, the site itself, should be just that. I lost my way for a little bit, but I found it again, simplicity is key.

I Dream of Storage Space

We live in a very tiny cottage behind a racing green door and as I have an important visitor coming this weekend, I am dreaming of more storage space to put everything up in as I tidy. Who is this important visitor? He is my Dad! I have not seen my parents since Christmas and for me that is a long time.

These are the moments where I truly feel like a pioneer woman, leaving all she knew behind to journey for months on end to reach her destination and her dreams.

But, through that journey she either never had the opportunity to see her family again or the visits were so few and far between, it could have been years before they laid eyes on each other. Thank goodness this pioneer woman has Skype. I can see their beautiful faces everyday and that is better than nothing, I am lucky.

My Dad has been in Europe on business this last week and is stopping on his way home to stay with us, as this is the first time he shall see our Lilliputian cottage, I want everything in tip-top shape! If only I could wiggle my nose as Bewitched’s Samantha and everything I don’t need at the moment could magically disappear!

Alas, that is not to be, so as I lay my head down on my pillow tonight, I shall continue to dream of miles and miles of storage space to contain my treasures…

(Image:Anne Taintor)

Round the Buses

We take the bus into school most mornings and pretty much every evening, unless we miss it and then we walk home breathing in all the goodness of fall (tonight I smelt my first fire of the season, the air was crispy and the woody mossy smell of logs crackling, was dancing through the air as we waited at our stop).

As we stand at our stop in the morning, our breath clinging in puffs before us, it is quiet, tranquil. Everyone around us still seems to be asleep just running on auto-pilot.  The bus driver turns up, and as we are stepping on board he has our tickets printed already a few cheery “Good Mornings” and we take our seats.

You see the same people, a little nod and smile to some, others don’t care to be bothered. The bus is quiet, there is no talking, everyone appears to be mentally preparing themselves for the day ahead.

This, however, is not the case on the afternoon bus. Our bus driver is not a happy camper by any means, I greet her with a friendly “Hello!” and get either grunts or no acknowledgement in reply. She usually has a terse word with someone over nothing and she drives like a maniac.

It is like being on a rollercoaster ride, today my stomach was doing flips by the time we got home, from all the twisting and turning and short stopping and almost hitting people, animals, cars. I just hold my breath.

We have been back at school for two weeks now and she has not changed, her attitude seems to be stuck to her like glue, but I refuse to bend! I will continue to be as cheery as always and continue to tell her “Hello!” whether she likes it or not!

As Anne of Green Gables said, “I refuse to be poisoned by your bitterness!” and I think that can also go for being jaded. I refuse to be jaded by someone because they have a sour disposition about the world. I have my own thoughts, beliefs, dreams and I refuse to let them be destroyed by someone who has no imagination. Because to have no imagination must be the most unhappiest of existences I could dream of!

Whew! Ok, hold on…I am stepping down now and putting my soapbox away…

Vacations

It is only Monday and I think I need a vacation! What a crazy hazy day this has been!

I am loving my new job, always something different, always moving here and there and I like that. I have been busy designing a few things for the big Art trip happening in a few weeks, so Photoshop and I have been in full swing creating an interactive type guide for the students to use.

I am also finding more and more goodies to photograph for In the Art Cupboard, the pile is growing bigger and bigger so stay tuned…

(Image: Found in Mom’s Basement)

Crab Apples

Last night we walked home from work and even though I ended up with a blister the size of Texas, I loved our walk.

The sun was just beginning to set, the air was so crisp and clean and as we passed the park, a gorgeous crab-apple tree stood before us.

Its boughs laden with little yellow and red apples. Some had already fallen from their branch and they stood out so cheerily from the dark green of the dewed grass, others had been munched on by woodland creatures. They were little orbs of swirled autumnal colors laying at our feet.

And they made me smile.

Leaves

The weather is changing now, as if Mother Nature knows everyone has gone back to school. Summer is slowly but surely dipping into Fall.  We went on a walk over the weekend and the crunch, crunch, crunch of leaves under our feet made a happy sound before it melted into the sludge of wet ones buried underneath on the wooded path.

The evenings are getting darker sooner, the mornings are taking longer to light and there is a cozyness in that, we are moving into hot chocolate weather! I miss not being home this time of year. I grew up near the prettiest mountains on the face of the earth and I got to watch them evolve with the seasons.

This is the time for hay bales and pumpkins, Indian corn hung on your door in fat bunches, apples dipped in warm ooey gooey melty caramel and harvest moons. The leaves are beginning to crunch under our feet, I feel that it will soon be Fall.

Mid Act

Well, this past week has left me feeling like I have been caught mid-act! I can see the bar I need to grab and I am reaching out for it and going to hold on tight as I swing into week 2.  I have been busy every day tidying, organizing, assisting the department and finding new things to catalogue that I plan to photograph.

One of my faves this week was a something I spied behind the door of a colleagues room. It was a  commissioned piece she created out of an old book for a library. It was beautifully done and the way it was imagined and executed left me feeling like Alice about to tumble down into the “rabbit hole” of this book. This is a work of art that will feature on In the Art Cupboard and she has kindly agreed to let me discuss her work in a blog piece here on Jenny Wren’s, which I plan to do in the near future.

The gentle jazz crooning of Nat King Cole’s “Your Nobody till Somebody Loves You” is beckoning me into the kitchen to dance with Mr. Michie, while we make dinner and enjoy the last lingering drops of sunshine as evening falls…

P.S. I bought my first Fall item this weekend. A little pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket to put on my desk and fill with candy for my cupboard visitors, I can’t wait for October!

(“Breathless” by G. Elvgren)

What’s for Lunch?

In keeping with my Back-to-School theme and the oilcloth lunch bags I wrote about the other day, I thought I would do a post on the ever important lunch box! This was one of the most crucial decisions made at the beginning of the school year! Which one did you choose?

My sister lives near a wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant with sandwiches to die for and it is completely filled with treasures. One of the many is a collection of lunch boxes, one of my favorite being a vintage Mary Poppins tin lunch box, and I know I would have chosen that one if I had it as an option, the pinks and blues in it are so happy.

I used to have a She-Ra lunch box one year, she was just so cool, and I had a plaid tin one with a little matching thermos. Some of my husband’s favorites were his Transformers, Star Wars and the most important of all a He-Man Master of the Universe lunch box, even then we were meant to be together, me with She-Ra & him with He-Man.

I love the old tin boxes they are so much nicer than the plastic ones today, and so much more durable! I think your lunch just tasted better out of the box, especially if it included a smiley face note from your Mom, and an oatmeal cream pie like mine would!

I could have used one of my Mom’s notes today, it has been a long week, but I got something better; a wonderful Back-to-School package from her that was a treasure trove of delights! Did you have a favorite lunch box?

*The image of the 3 women is a Flickr picture found on dlundbech’s Flickr page, the woman in the middle is Ana Grimshaw and this photo was taken around 1900 in Vermont. I have no idea who Ana Grimshaw is, but she was beautiful, vivacious, and has breathtaking Anne of Green Gables Gibson Girl hair. She looks like a hell of a gal to have a picnic with!

(All images found on Flickr)