Thursday, October 30, 2014

Talley Ho, Ho, Ho... the perfect Christmas presents !

Many, many years ago we found this charming little company that made all the beautiful satin lingerie bags that our mothers (and we) used. This company, Galante Studios, was located in a little Kentucky town and employed many of the local women to apply their very talented sewing skills to the creation of these bags. As time went by, more items were added to their repertoire, until they had an entire book of cosmetic bags, travel bags, organizers, baby bibs, quilts etc.

Sadly, about 7 years ago, the factory burned to the ground. We were all devastated, not only for the workers who lost their livelihood, but for ourselves at the loss of a time-honored tradition. Happily, a Phoenix rose from the ashes (I know, I'm getting a bit nutty with the comparison) and Talley Ho was born. A new factory opened and hired all the ex-employees of Galante ! Slowly, they have been reintroducing all the products that were offered by Galante for years.

Some of the best items they make (other than the beautiful lingerie bags) are Trinket Trays. These little collapsible and thus packable trays can be vinyl covered to make them virtually impervious to dirt. They are perfect to keep next to your bed for earrings, watch, eyeglasses etc. This is a must when traveling to prevent knocking your pearls on the floor or leaving your gorgeous Van Cleef and Arpel necklace behind in your hotel room because it blended in with the nightstand wood......Not that I would know anything about that.....Sob :(

The best part of ordering from Talley Ho, is that you can create one-of-a-kind fabric combinations for all their items. We have an absolutely fabulous ring of fabric swatches for you to choose from....both for the main fabric and for the trim and monogram.

Well, my goodness, I forgot to mention that all these treats can be monogrammed ! The wait for a custom order is about 5 weeks, so you'll have to plan accordingly if you are thinking of buying for a present.  As a matter of fact, the cut-off date for ordering for Christmas presents is November 11th, so don't delay !

If you are like me and wait until the last minute, please don't despair. We have ordered lots of adorable items (no monogram of course) ready to wrap and roll ! This year we sent some of our own fabrics from China Seas, Sister Parish and Liberty of London and had special travel collections made for you. So cute and so unique !!

Like to see the full collection, but can't make it in to the shop ? Just email Betty ( and she will email you pictures of what is in stock in the Boutique.
She will be happy to gift wrap and ship for you too. 


Saturday, October 18, 2014



Cousin Arlene's Spaghetti Lasagna Photo

This is only as good as the pasta , the tomato sauce, and the cheese you use, so go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or Fresh Market.

Cook a box of good pasta—my favourite is spaghetti (and you could use Del Verde or Cipriani if you really care). 

While it is cooking, put a jar of Paul Newman’s “Sockarooni” in a largish pot and add good extra virgin olive oil—about a quarter of a cup to each jar and one jar to each box of pasta.  Also add about a half cup of water, 1 carrot –young—diced fine, organic grape or cherry tomatoes, and some fresh thyme and black pepper.  I love pepper, so I add a lot.  Because it is good for you to eat each day, add turmeric.  You will not know that you have done this, but eating turmeric and cinnamon and black pepper is very good for you.  It also “deepens” the flavor of the sauce.  Cook over medium while pasta is cooking.

Now slice a nice sized fresh mozzarella into ¼” or so thick slices.

Drain pasta, always saving a little of the water.  Put a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, add a layer of the fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves on top of the cheese, and a layer of the hot pasta on top.  Continue like this until all pasta, cheese, and leaves are in dish, topping with a layer of the sauce.  Grate fresh Parmigiana over the top and put in hot oven til top cheese melts and browns.

Serve with salad and bread.


Twice-Baked Potatoes

Using large baking potatoes, bake them in the oven until totally done.  You already know this, I am sure, but if you put a skewer through the potato, it will not only cook faster, but will be fluffier.  (This is important, if you make your mashed potatoes from riced baked potatoes).  After baking, cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the potato meat, and put the shells in an oiled baking dish—they can touch, and, in fact, this helps keep them upright).

Mash the potatoes, adding (for every two large potatoes) 1/3 container of Chavrie goat cheese—original—you can use a half container and it will be yummier, but a little harder to handle;  if that would be too rich for you, you can substitute ½ of milk and 1/3 container of Chavrie), 2 cups of chopped, washed spinach, 1 cup of corn cut off the cob (you can use frozen corn for this), 1 chopped fine good large tomatoes, salt and pepper.  

Put mixture back in potato shells and bake 10 minutes or so in a hot 350 degree oven
Garnish with more fresh basil and a fresh grape or cherry tomato each.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I have written about Donald Kaufman before in this blog, but this year was the tenth year here in our house up on top of the Whalesback Mountain, and this morning, in moving around planning things to close the house up for the winter, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful, how new-like even while being soft and always-there looking, the paint is.  It’s a combination, of course, between one of the world’s best painters, James Garza of West Palm Beach, Florida, who came up with his team of four people and painted (and camped out in the as of yet undone guest house, cooking their own meals (Big Russ was the cook) and doing their own laundry, and painting, painting, painting.

That was more of a project than you can imagine since the entire house was paneled in pine which was such an ugly shade of brown that I initially thought it was Formica wall-covering.  This is such a wonderful floor plan of a house that there are not so many rooms, but each one is, quite frankly, huge—16 feet to the ceiling in many of them, usually at least 30 feet in one direction, and everywhere, as I said—brown, brown, BROWN.  Also, we replaced 39 small casement windows with large double-hung windows almost to the floor or sets of French doors.  Everywhere was to be light and airy with the sun shining in, even if obliquely, and the air blowing through.  Thank you, James Garza.  They did it in two and a half months.

All of this house was done in two colours, DK45, the softest of soft greens—go to Donald Kaufman’s site and go to the colours and run your mouse (your slider according to the site) over the colours and their identifying numbers will appear on the bottom right hand corner of your screen.  You will see this beautiful soft, soft green.  Now, this is important, very important.  Donald Kaufman paints, as any good paints such as Farrow and Ball, etc., must be used with their own primers.  The colours start in the primer and continue outward, and the primer coat of paint is just as important as the final coat for two reasons: the intensity of the desired colour, the veritas, so to speak, and the coverability which is primo in the prime.  I have never understood people who try to go cheap here—you will not achieve what you want, if you don’t follow the steps correctly.  Well, for that matter, I won’t buy cheap paints—it’s not worth the labour that goes into the final job, and anyway, what are we talking here?  $50 a gallon, and you’re going to use 5 gallons total.  So your savings was $250.  Big Whoop!  A lot of work and a half-way job.  But, of course, I won’t use a cheap painter.

Anyway, here are some very bad pictures taken by me of the bedroom here in the house—the DKC45 juxtaposed against the soft white of a Chelsea Editions embroidered fabric used to upholster the panels on the walls.


The rest of the main rooms were painted in DKC38, the most beautiful white paint.  It is warm and cool at the same time—how I don’t know, but it is.  The Living Room with its soaring ceiling is just as welcoming as one of the smaller rooms such as the entrance hall—it’s simply a wonderful, wonderful colour.

But as I said at the top of this post, what is really wonderful about this paint is its lasting quality.  Here I am, ten years later, and it’s as though I were in a new house.  I admit we are somewhat careful, but this house serves as home to my husband and me and myriad family members with their children and tons of house guests, so it’s not as though it’s a museum.

I have been fortunate enough to work with Donald Kaufman as a colorist on a job, but that is a true luxury.  Although you might not be able to do that, you can use his beautiful paints in your beautiful house.