Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Jackson Treats

Just got back from a nice dinner of pan fried Halibut, roasted red potatoes with grilled asparagus. A nice meal out with a little wine is necessary every now and then. I tend to forget this - along with long hot showers and a shopping bag filled with nice pretty things to wear, someone filling my water cup and bringing me warm food- when what I do best right now is be a Mom who wipes noses, settles disputes and listens to detailed descriptions (often times nonsensical) of a dream or something funny they heard on the tube. (Ohhh, that tube!) I do cherish those silly dreams though.
So glad to have a space of my own here. Even in the dark or in the break of day or a bit before or after lunch is made. I sneak it when I can.
This post is a continuation of my last one on Jackson Mall in La Grange, IL and all it's goodies. Enjoy and thanks for looking. Happy Friday!
The desk and chair set below are in my friend Heidi's booth. She always has such wonderful and unusual items. Her blog Dreams Intertwined is also full of her lovely creations and finds.

These puppets are too cute - and so is Humpty below!

On the lower level of the store there is an amazing collection of vintage glasses.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pony Gets a Haircut

Today Coralie brought me her My Little Pony (a hand-me-down from Emma, my friend Jeanette's daughter) with its hair mussed, and looking, well, a little worse for wear. 

"Notice anything, Mama?"

"Well, she looks kind of bad. Her hair looks messy."

And then I noticed her normally abundant purple mane looked a bit thinner. 

"Did you cut her hair?"

"Yes!" she cried, as if I was immensely clever and had just won a prize.

Ha ha, I said, and told her I used to cut my Barbie's hair when I was a girl. Her eyes lit up. I had mentioned the "B" word--something distant and glimmering and so far only in the purview of "big girls." (I'm not quite ready to go there. )

Well, that was all it took--as good as a green light to her. Above are some pictures of Pony's new 'do, looking a bit punky I think, and rather good. Weirdly, younger and...fresher.

There is nothing like a little creative risk to enliven one's day. Recently, we created a little writing nook for me and every time I pass it--looking for the wipes, say-- I feel drawn to sit down. Now that Iona is too wriggly for the Stokke changing table we had opportunity to turn it into a desk. I love the airy space between the slats and how my chair looks with it. (I wrestled for that chair at Omega Salvage in Berkeley about 9 years ago. It had no seat when I bought it. Although I was living in a yoga ashram at the time and had little money, I managed to get an upholsterer in the Mission to fix it up for me.)

Finally, I wanted to acknowledge the end of another great magazine. Ascent, a lovely yoga publication that was published out of Montreal, has decided to let go of their incarnation as a print magazine. What a wise and mature publication they were: unflashy, calm and beautiful layout and design, intelligent writing. They can still be found (for now) at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lemon Blossoms and Ginger

The air is filled with the scent of jasmine and lemon blossoms. The latter are the little white flowers that grow on lemon trees. I had never noticed that they come out around the time most of the lemons on the tree fall off. Or at least that is how our tree is cycling. Still, we managed to find a few errant lemons this morning and Coralie thought the leaves would make the picture prettier. I think she's right.

Last week's unseasonal heat has gone and now we are back to wearing our sweaters and down vests in the mornings. We've picked up colds somehow along the way so we are drinking miso soup with spring vegetables and making ginger tea with honey and our hand-picked lemons. I discovered a delicious brand of miso called South River Miso from our community- supported kitchen Three Stone Hearth. This miso is made in Conway, Massachusetts and is called inaka miso because it is made by hand in an artisinal tradition. You can see (and eat!) the delicious little beans and the flavor is sweeter and cleaner than I have ever had. I had forgotten how satisfying (and easy! and quick!) a broth miso makes. And I was surprised to find even my eldest daughter--who sometimes shirks my broth proferrances--(imagine!) supping it up and asking for seconds and thirds!

Another cold-banishing product I've discovered is called GingerGizer. The name is a little hard to pronounce but it is a pretty strong--and still, delicious-- ginger drink available at the grocery store that my preschooler will drink. It is perfect for when I am wheeling around the place trying to remember everything I'm supposed to get before good moods are exhausted. In other words, it goes perfectly with all the olives we filch and cheese sticks we partly imbibe on a typical shopping trip. 

Ginger is a miracle medicine in my family. My mom swears by it, not just in her savory food but made into a sweetener with rock sugar for her Earl Grey tea, and in her hot oatmeal with fresh soymilk. It is particularly recommended for us ladies who have children, as it is believed in Chinese medicine that we have to be on the watch for "coldness" in the body after we give birth. I've tried to train my girls' palates to accomodate a lot of ginger in our cooking. Even little Iona pinched a slice when I was making my--er, let us say medicinal tasting-- ginger tea today, and stuck it in her mouth and started chewing it with her three and a half teeth. Since the poor bug is suffering the most of all of us with her first cold right now, I do hope it will work its ginger magic on her. 

Miso Soup with Spring Vegetables 

1 quart filtered water
1 carrot sliced thinly
1 leek sliced thinly
1 cup fresh spinach (or leave this out if you want a thinner soup, or add more water)
Some medium to soft tofu cut in tiny cubes
4-5T sweet tasting brown rice miso

Bring the water, carrot and leek to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the greens and tofu if you want a heartier soup. In a separate cup add the miso and a ladleful of the hot water. Mix and add to the pot. Turn off the heat, being careful not to boil the miso as this will kill its wonderful little enzymes and such.

Small Piece of Heaven in La Grange

I have been dying to take some photos of the goods at the antique store where I share a booth with my friend Heidi. I told the manager it would be free advertising for the store and the individual booths. So, periodically I think I'll go through the mall and see what is fun, adorable and unusual. I love this place and am so glad to be sharing it with you. Jackson Square Mall is located at 112 East Burlington, La Grange, IL. You can reach them by phone at 708-352-4120. The intro photo is of lovely pots and vases currently in a gorgeous window display. There are lots of garden items out now hoping to entice gardeners and sun worshippers to find something for the corner of a garden bed or on a screened-in porch. Here are some other items I love!

The bird painting above is on the lower level of the store. Isn't it sweet? Below is a shot from my booth. I still need practice with display etc but I'm hoping I'm slowly getting better. So much depends on display and appeal and I've found on not clumping too many things on a shelf or tabletop. The image below is from a seller on the lower level and the tag reads this piece is a chicken coop. What great texture!

I think if I collected one thing consistently it would be tins. The color, shape, prints and variety of tins are fascinating. Did the previous owner use them to store candies, cookies, sewing needles and thread, coins or beeswax candles? Isn't the orange tin amazing? I think this one was initially used for candy.
Hope you had a delightful tour of the store. We'll continue tomorrow with some more treasures.
Have a great evening!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tea Time!

There is a store in the next town over called Y&Z Kids and it has the most wonderful collection of children's clothing. This was where I was first introduced to Tea Collection. The pieces are cotton and very playful yet stunningly sophisticated. The designers use colors and pattern on children's clothing matching a child's innate ability to create original and daring works of art. Other pieces are more subtle and mostly just simple. Simple shape, simple color combination equals timeless quality pieces. Here are some little Orange Sugar girls modeling two dresses from the Spring line. Franny is wearing the Ginkgo Leaf Dress and Lenore is wearing the Daily Tee Stripe Flutter Sleeve Dress.
The photo above of the Catedral Dress is taken from the Tea Collection site They also have a blog you can visit at
I am partial to their dresses which can be layered and worn over pants but all of their clothes are of exceptional quality. The photo above is of the Junsui Floral Dress. I wish they made clothing for adults! The picture below is of the glorious Gloria Dress. Now it's time to make some tea. Happy Monday!!

The adorable blue dress is called the Liberdade Plaid Dress.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paraments and Sunday Beans

Fill the soul as well as the belly. I wanted to begin this post about paraments. Lovely word. They are textiles placed on altars, pillars or pulpits that offer praise and celebration of the church seasons and aid us in centering and finding peace in worship. In church this morning we dedicated new paraments (or altar cloths) that were handmade by some of the women in church. They are examples of extraordinary craftsmanship and community. I will take photos of them when they are officially on display but until then I wanted to share some I found elsewhere. The image directly below is a liturgical textile from a quilting site. . Others I found were done with needlepoint, embroidery, applique etc. They are gorgeous and truly help to creat sacred space. The photo above is taken from the site Ok, the next image below is not a parament but it is meant for worship as a miter and is a work of art. I found this needlework at

Now, about the belly and the beans. I have mostly taught myself how to cook (thank goodness for cookbooks and Every Day Food magazine by Martha Stewart) and there is nothing better than chili on a rainy Sunday. I love making a very simple chili I found in Every Day with Rachael Ray (her magazine). The name of the chili is Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili and it is delish!! I use beef but if you are a talented foodie you could likely use another meat or even create a vegetarian version. I set chips out as an optional addition but the chili is perfect without it. You can find the easy easy recipe at My copy of the recipe is now torn and tattered but clearly well loved. bon appetit! Happy Sunday!