June 26, 2013

flowers

 
 
Regal cabbage roses and some unidentified weeds peacefully co-exist in this centerpiece. If they could only do the same in my garden! Or.. another wishful option: if the roses could grow as fast as the weeds.. Almost every day I put on my silly garden hat, not-so-glamorous rubber shoes and shocking acid-green gloves in order to begin the endless war against the little green suckers. Just to find out soon that they already went into seeds and quietly multiplying. The eternal battle. Who said that the gardening is boring?
 
 
This is our dog Misha. She is following me to a barn where I like to take my pictures. Misha is growing like a weed. Just take a look at her baby picture below.
 
 
{Photos by 'corsets and TRAINS'}
 


March 30, 2013

celebrate

 
The "abstract" eggs on picture #4 were painted by my 3 years old daughter. I am so proud.
Happy Easter and Welcome Spring to everybody! 
 
 
{Photos by 'corsets and TRAINS'}

March 28, 2013

this is yummy #2

 
The quality of the ingredients we use in cooking is all-important in determining the quality of the end product. What, then, affects the quality of chocolate? First and foremost it is the proportion of high- quality cocoa beans in the blend. Chocolate that is referred to as "fine" is made from a blend containing at least 40 percent high-quality beans. The technical name for the type of chocolate used to make those yummy chocolate products is "couverture". Couverture contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and lecithin, and despite not being considered a healthy food it's still too delicious to avoid [Why, why all the bad stuff tastes so good?]
By the way, white chocolate is not really chocolate at all. It is made from cocoa butter, which lacks the components that give cocoa its color and taste. It contains no other elements of the cocoa bean, and for this reason legally must be called "white confectionery coating."
 
 
My point here is: Know your Chocolate. Plus, knowing just a few good chocolate-based recipes might bring you to a whole new level of Domestic Goddess. My all time favorite is Chocolate Ganache, without which every French patisserie would go broke. It is easy to work with, it's soft but not runny. It gets hard but not rock-hard when refrigerated. You can spread it on a cake and in between. It is so delicious that can dramatically improve any dessert . It is decadent and versatile, everyone loves it. If that is not enough, you may enjoy simply gobbling it with a spoon without feeling guilty [just kidding.]  
 
CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Makes 3 cups
 
1/2 cup milk
3 fl oz cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 1/2 teaspoons glucose syrup (I bought mine at Michael's, every craft store seems to have it)
12 oz couverture, finely choppedor grated  (I use 65% cocoa Doncello brand, but any other will also work fine, just look for high cocoa content on a label)
 
METHOD

 
1. Mix the milk, cream, sugar, water, and glucose syrup in a saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and remove from the heat.
3. Add the finely chopped or grated couverture and stir until it has completely melted.
 
The finished ganache keeps well in the refrigerator. It can be reheated in a microwave (stir every 15 seconds utill soft and workable). The original recipe is from The Chocolate Bible by Christian Teubner 
 
{Photo by 'corsets and TRAINS'}


March 27, 2013

cool ideas

 

 
Lara Rossignol of Piewacket re-created an iconic papermoon image for the new issue of Rue Magazine. Isn't it cool? Sort of "Shake the dust off" of something old to make it completely fresh and captivating. When I saw this photo I thought to myself: Would it be interesting to use the idea for a wedding photo booth or even as a setting for my dresses advertising. I will have to think it over.. 
 
Paper moon photo booths were popular attractions at fairs and carnivals starting back in the early 1900s. More about this shoot and Lara's amazing work here
 
 
{Photo and collage by Lara Rossignol}

March 25, 2013

winter miracle: hellebores

 
 
 Nature always makes sense. That's why this amazing plant with a strange name Hellebores blooms in the winter. Its understated beauty would be lost and not fully appreciated in spring or summer gardens when every plant is screaming: "I am the brightest!". Hellebores, one of the first messengers of spring, is a kind of flower that you want to look closer at, just to become amazed of the color nuances present in a single plant. The one above shows at least a dozen of hues, from pale lime green and yellow to most beautiful dusty pink. I placed this shy beauty on my desk so I can see it closer and enjoy the message: "Hi! I am here to tell you that spring is almost here".
 
{Photo by 'corsets and TRAINS'}
 


March 24, 2013

portfolio

 
 
 Spring has taken a long way coming to Central Pennsylvania. Just as we all became excited here with a handful of first warm days, Mother Nature surprised us with snow. And then even more snow.. (Seriously, one would be enough).
 I got to the point where I desperately need a hint of warmth from the hottest places on Earth [think of a warm sand or exotic fruits] just to cure those Winter blues. Perhaps something that smells and tastes like papayas or figs dipped in chocolate, or almonds, or fragrant tangerines. A warm Margarita [no ice!] also came to my mind. Then I got a better idea. Since shopping is considered one of the best therapies, I found my cure in one of those charming natural beauty e.shops. All in one package. Now my hands smell like figs and chocolate and my lips like almonds. Ironically the shop I bought all the goodies from is named Long Winter Farm.

 
Besides smelling the figs we are also making a few dresses here. This one named Pintucked is a sleeveless, easy breezy, perfect dress for those magical warm days.
 
 
Hand cream and soaps are from Long Winter Farm
{Photos by 'corsets and TRAINS'}