May 6, 2013
Back in January I took a trip down to Virginia and met Ashley Spencer, the owner of this awesome company called Casart Coverings. They make wall coverings in all different designs that you peel right off of the paper and stick it right onto your wall...no mess, no tools needed. And the best part...you can peel it off when you're ready for a change!
I was first connected with Ashley through Houzz where she found my article on Kristin Nicholas's amazing home. Kristin ended up designing her own wall coverings for Casart and then she introduced Ashley and I. After lots of work, connecting people and organizing this shoot, it finally came together out in Long Island at the end of February.
It was such a fun shoot! And not only did I get to style and photograph these sets but there was an extra element that made this all very special...video! Dennis O'Clair, an incredible videographer was able to come along and shoot a neat little video for Casart. Combining stills and video is such a great way to capture two different types of moments of one scene, it was such a fun experience for us all. Click over to Dennis's vimeo account to see the video, and you'll also notice that I was the designated hand model and dance model for the video!
The concept behind this shoot is that you can take these wall coverings through each stage of life from a baby's bedroom up to your grandmother's living room.
Here's a little sneak peek of some of the shots:
Teenage Girl's Room
First Time Renters Romatic Dinner Scene
First Time Renters Breakfast Scene
Grandma's Living room
Apr 6, 2013
The beginnings of a new series involving:
A cup of: Earl Grey, pinch of sugar
Poem: #13 of Edith Sitwell's Fifteen Excerpts from "The Sleeping Beauty"
The day grew water-pale and cool as the long eves. . . .
A lady sang through water-rippling leaves:
'The mauve summer rain
Is falling again-
It soaks through the eaves
And the ladies' sleeves-
It soaks through the leaves
That like silver fish fall
In the fountains, recall
Afternoons when I
Was a child small and shy
In the palace. . . Fish lie
On the grass with lives darkling.
Our laughter falls sparkling
As the mauve raindrops bright
When they fall through the light
With the briefest delight.
The pavilions float
On the lake like a boat. . . .
Mauve rains from trees fall
Like wisteria flowers . . . all
My life is like this
And drifts into nothingness!
The strange ladies sigh
"The autumn is nigh" . . .
The King bows and mutters. . . .
His eyelids seem shutters
Of a palace pavilion
Deserted a million
Echoing years ago.
Oh, but the rain falls slow.'
Apr 1, 2013
I grew up next to this quaint little working farm in the Hudson Valley. I spent many days here as a child making bread and mint jelly, getting my shoes nibbled on by goats and watching baby pigs run around chasing each other.
And many years later, I still try and visit as often as I can. But it has changed and grown quite a bit since those days...they have tons of summer camps and programs now, some new animals and a big beautiful creamery. The cheese maker, Colin, is a wonderful guy who can rock a plastic hair net better than most. He loves cheese more than any other person I've ever met and really, it's amazing. Seeing someone as passionate as him about their job is so refreshing.
Colin let me come in and photograph him make their award winning cheese. How lucky am I?
Cheese making is truly an incredible process that requires so much more than we think. And if there's one thing that I learned from this...it's that in many many ways, more so than one...cheese making is NOT for the weak, you guys. I came home reeking of aging cheese and milk with my pants soaked up to my knees...and I didn't even do any of the cleaning or vigorous work that requires those cheese making muscles. But don't get me wrong, it's all still awesome!
Colin's Mac n Cheese:
Savory Goat Cheesecake:
Mar 20, 2013
For me, these cinnamon buns were a reminder of how things don't always turn out the way you want them to. And sometimes you just have to accept it and say, that's ok (even if it kills you!).
A good, sticky, cinnamon bun smothered in icing is one of my favorite breakfasts or desserts. I was so excited to try making them from scratch. But sadly, to make a long story short, we had some trouble with this recipe... A fun and enjoyable day of leisurely baking in the kitchen quickly turned into a quest to make the perfect cinnamon buns after the first attempt of making the dough failed. So not what I was looking for....
For some odd reason we just couldn't get the dough to come together. It was falling apart all over the place. Then it wouldn't rise. We couldn't figure it out...we followed the recipe exactly so where did we go wrong?
The first batch came out of the oven and they were annoyingly dense- not fluffy and airy like I was hoping for. So, the next day I was determined to make these work. We started all over again from scratch...the same problems happened so we deviated from the recipe and did what we cooks thought would make it better. This time they came out a little bit better but still dense. So not ideal!
At this point I said forget it. I couldn't spend any more time on perfecting these.
Isn't it so frustrating when things don't work out the way you want them to? Especially after you've done everything in your power to try and make them work. But hey, that's just life sometimes right?!
After doing some research on other cinnamon bun recipes I found that the one we were using really didn't seem to follow the same pattern all the other ones did. It called for bread flour (hello density), and the rising time was much shorter than the others. So, even though these did taste good and it was mostly a texture/fluffiness issue that I had with them, I still can't recommend this recipe to you because the dough was such a hassle and I really don't want to put you through that! However, I found one that I definitely can recommend because Alton Brown never fails. Am I right or am I right?! Here is his recipe.
(Throw in some chocolate chips when you're making the filling...that is the one thing I can say I really loved about the recipe I tried! )
Have you ever had some mysterious baking failures?
Feb 23, 2013
This is the time of year I start craving spring. It always seems like it's so close until a crazy snow storm (like the one 2 weeks ago) or cold blustery winds come along to remind us that oh yeah...it's still winter.
I'm ready for open windows, warm breezes and splotches of green...but for now blankets and hot tea will have to suffice. And for some reason when I get antsy for the outdoors I start baking a lot. I love how the description of this cake says how winter, snowbound days are perfect for staying in and baking. It's so true, isn't it?!
If you have some spare time on your hands while you're waiting for spring to arrive or are looking for a little winter-pick-me-up this spicy cake with maple-flavored, cream cheese frosting is just what you need. Even if you're a chocolate lover like me, nothing beats a nice slice of spice cake (try saying that one five times fast!) every now and then. It has the perfect winter-y flavors and components and when garnished with mint and orange zest it gives you the brightness of spring.