23 April 2010

Birthday season

I hate to over do the cake thing here, but I am having such fun with this icing and my three layer birthday cakes.
March really starts it all with my son's birthday but it is a distant six weeks from my eldest daughter's.
The baby turns one in May (sniffle) and we have three birthdays in June, including mine. So I consider today's cake the official start of birthday season.
The icing is called Creamy Vanilla Frosting, although we call it Granny Steele frosting. I posted the recipe in an earlier post called Tale of Two Cakes. I've been tweaking the flavor bit by bit. First, using half a vanilla bean in the cooked milk and then, both vanilla extract and vanilla bean.

I have garnished with chocolate curls before

and baby loves chocolate.

Today is my big girl's birthday party and I'm already trying to plan my little girl's party.
I don't dare try to make the same thing in chocolate, as it could be a disaster.

I guess I'll ponder it until the next cake in our birthday season.

21 April 2010

Electricity rocks!!

As a microburst rolled through my neighborhood last Friday I was pondering pillows from Ballard Design...

when I heard a terrible noise...

The wind swished and swooshed and worse.

We lost all power, phone, TV, and internet.

People came and chopped and fixed and removed.

And everything is  just fine!!

12 April 2010

Dining room dreams

So, does anyone else wake up in the night afever with the dilema of whether or not to paint a dining room that they do not even own?
After fantasy real estate shopping I do just that, wondering should it be chocolate brown or riding coat red.
I can't be the only one.
Perhaps grasscloth above the chair rail. But then would my gold silk drapes from this living room transfer?

What then would I do in the living room. The ivory silk?

Ok, ivory silk, as long as the result is this.
Then a baby's cry brings me back to my serene blue bedroom that doesn't look like this.

05 April 2010

Virginia is for Lovers!

This weekend involved a trip through several towns in Virginia. This door above is one of a number of places that would be great to call home.
Old Town Fredericksburg is a charmer and we ended up spending much of our morning driving and walking through its neighborhoods.
Without knowing what we would find, we headed towards the historic district. That lead us through the neighborhoods by Mary Washington College.
Instead of cruddy student housing we saw houses like the two above.
And these.
When we arrived in the historic district we decide to walk it. It is chock full of history. Like Kenmore Plantation that was home to George Washington's sister Betty.
George was a very good boy. He built this house for his mother, Mary, so she had a home in her old age and a garden to tend. Ferry Farm, his boyhood home is nearby and perhaps the spot of the legendary cherry tree.
The Washington's were busy here. George's brother built the Rising Sun Tavern.
The house next door happened to be for sale. I said to my husband that I have dreamt of living somewhere like this. I stopped to admire it and he struck up a conversation with the owner who happened to be outside. She is the nice lady in the corner of this photo.
It was built in 1907. Of course, my husband charmed his way into a tour of the house. I felt a bit guilty but was glad I got to see it. I did not photograph the inside. It seemed too rude. The back garden was lovely and smelled of boxwood and magnolia, which was in bloom.
The charm was everywhere.
There was not a tiny sniff of the apathy and decay that I have seen in other places.
The grand houses...
are well kept.
Even this more modest row house is cute as a bug's ear.
If you are still not convinced that Fredericksburg is as charming as it gets, let me tell you that this drugstore actually has an old-fashioned lunch counter. It comes complete with stools that spin and a Coca-cola fountain.