Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
My father’s Lebanese roots meant he had lots of exposure to Mediterranean cooking growing up, and pomegranates (native to Mediterranean regions) were no strangers to my grandparents’ kitchen. Even my British grandmother on my mother’s side enjoyed pomegranates as a child, recounting how she and her sister used to use their little knitting needles to get the juicy seeds out of their tough casings.
I love the look of pomegranates as much as I love the taste, which is strong and slightly sour. Their robust round shape, large size and pretty crowns – not to mention their lustrous ruby tones – are just so beautiful. I had to photograph them before using them:
Personally, I like to eat the seeds on their own, but they can be used in all kinds of unique ways, from juice to garnish, from desserts and salads to main dishes. Below are some facts about pomegranate preparation and a yummy recipe for cucumber and pomegranate salad, a common blend in the Middle East.
NO MESS METHOD
Cut off the crown then cut the pomegranate into sections. Place the sections in a bowl of water then roll out the arils (juice sacs) discarding the peel and pith, leaving just the arils in the water. The water reduces staining and contains the peeling process. Strain the water through a strainer to catch the arils and proceed to use them as desired.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I intend on treating myself to this soap soon. Being a December baby (the 27th) I feel compelled to bathe with this intriguing December soap, which is described as having the inviting scent of a warm kitchen with hints of vanilla and ginger. As always, it is handmade from the milk of the Beekman goats, who graze freely on the land and drink from the waters that once made Sharon Springs one of the most famous spa destinations in the world. The soap uses the highest percentage of pure goat milk possible in each bar. You may notice a faint layer of ash on the bottom of the soap, which washes away with first use. This ash affirms the bar is made from pure goat milk using non-chemical methods. I've used the soap myself and I love it, but I'm especially eager to try my 'birth' soap.
Speaking of birth, the Beekman store now has a new line of baby goods, including soap for baby as well as these beautiful, heirloom baby swaddling blankets. Usually woven with dark blue wool, Brent, Josh and the crew have adapted an overshot weaving technique for use in this textile, which is 100% cotton. While there are nearly as many methods for swaddling an infant as there are cultures who practice it, the blankets come with a set of instructional diagrams to get you started with your swaddling cloth: perfect for the new mother or those expecting. Patterns include Hollyhock, Dyer's Broom, Pale Indigo and White.A beautiful gift box of 12 soaps. Each 3.25 oz bar is individually wrapped and presented in a 9"X12" red cedar tray, made of sustainably harvested wood. Choose either unscented or one of the seasonal scents.
New letterpress holiday stationery was designed and handmade by Brent and Josh on a 19th Century letterpress at Foxglove Printers in Sharon Springs. Each card was run in a limited edition and is signed & numbered by both of them on the back cover. The first, entitled "Unwrap. Play." is printed in crimson on a heavy cotton rag stock. It features an antique plate illustration of various 19th century toys - just like the ones William Beekman would have carried in his mercantile. The second, entitled "Star." was inspired by a lone pine tree that stands near the Beekman barn. The design, from an antique plate, runs off the edge of the card as if the reader is looking up to find the "star" atop the tree. Both cards come in a wrapped set of 10, with envelopes, and each measures 3.5" X 5." Order these soon to send them out before the holidays.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Pairon creates her unique and warm interiors from a strong interest in colours, light, fabrics and fashion, and combines old and time-worn objets d'art with more recent objects into an inspirational living space that is both traditional and fresh. That's why I love her style so much. It doesn't shun the new but it doesn't compromise on the classical.
Ivo Pauwels, a renowned garden and lifestyle writer who authored Joie De Vivre, perfectly captures the atmosphere of Pairon's interiors in this book as well by giving weight to the importance of soul in interior design. The photographs by Cees Roelofs, one of the foremost lifestyle photographers in Europe, are lush and plentiful. They perfectly illustrate the 'soulfulness' of her rooms. I just want to dive into this book and experience each room in person. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in classical or European design, or to those who want to learn more about working with colour and light in design. I think most fans of Martha's own decorating style will appreciate this book also.
The Dutch painters likely inspired this gorgeous tableau on a dining room table.
A parlour is warmed by dark crimson tones, amber wood, low lamplight and afternoon sun.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Different scrawl from different people from all over the world makes an interesting collage.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
If you have some extra copies of Martha Stewart Living magazine lying around, you may be inspired to use them for crafts. One seller on Etsy.com (BellyBuzz in Houston) has done just that by fashioning gift bows and package filling out of the pages of a past issue.
Each bow is handcrafted from a different page of the magazine - in this case the February, 2008, issue - and is finished with a peel-and-stick adhesive backer. The bows can be continuously reused because of the sturdy brad in the center of each bow. The bag also comes with a hefty filling of shredded packaging using the pages of the magazine.
Each bag has 9 custom bows and the package filler. They are placed in a cellophane bag and topped off with another part of the magazine
I personally think it's a brilliant craft idea! I've used the pages of Martha Stewart Living as wrapping paper and stationery before, but nothing quite so impressive as this. She also works with magazines like Esqurie, Wired, Vanity Fair and Vogue. How perfect for the magazine afficionado on your list.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
I think this contest is a wonderful example of a company giving back by continuing the pioneering legacy of its founder. Martha turned her dreams into a reality and she knows as well as anyone who worked their way to the top that it didn't happen without a lot of help. The fact that MSO is helping these great women further develop their entrepreneurial ventures is inspiring and exciting.
Visitors to marthastewart.com also had their say and could vote on their favourites. I've chosen mine:
*Patricia Fragen of Naperville, IL: Normal Moments Inc.
After watching her 16 year-old daughter fight against and eventually lose her life to cancer, Patricia wanted to help parents going through the same ordeal. Patricia's organization provides supportive services like housecleaning, lawn care and more to parents with critically ill children, giving them the time to spend more 'normal moments' together.
*Tabitha Geary of Richmond, VA: Tabitha Geary LLC
Tabitha was thrilled when her mother took on the overwhelming task of organizing her photographs and momentoes into charming memory books for each of Tabitha's five children. Each one was custom made to suit the child it was given to. Thinking she might not be the only one who needed "memory organization" assistance, Tabitha started her company to help families organize and preserve their most treasured memories in professionally-designed memory books.
*Amy Jaffebarzach of West Hartfort, CT: Boundless Playgrounds
To honor the memory of her son who died of spinal muscular atrophy, Amy started Boundless Playgrounds as the first national nonprofit dedicated to helping communities create playgrounds where children with and without disabilities can play and learn together. There are now more than 130 Boundless Playgrounds in more than 20 states.
Good luck to all 11 finalists. They're all worthy.
UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO AMY JAFFEBARZACH FOR HER BOUNDLESS PLAYGROUNDS PROJECT. AMY WAS NAMED THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER!