Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Butterscotch Shortbread Cookies [Recipe]

Lee's Butterscotch Shortbread
Recipe adapted from Lee Schiring and an ancient Jane Austen Society of Puget Sound Newsletter
yields: 2-4 dozen, depending on size
keeps: 3 weeks or longer, in an airtight tin

The only slightly tricky bit to these is judging doneness, as the dough is already brown from the sugar. There's quite a time range given, below, as I'm terribly uneven in rolling my dough. A few tips, then, to aid: note the sight and scent cues below to determine doneness. Also, note that the oven temp is unusually low, giving you more wiggle room than most cookies—if in doubt, give them a few more minutes. Finally, these biscuits are best slightly overdone than underdone: the end result should be crisp, not yielding. And if, after cooling, they're still tender in the center, a return to the oven (5-10 minutes) will correct that, spit-spot.

1 cup salted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 300°. Cream butter, both sugars and salt, then add vanilla to combine. Scrape sides, then add flour, mixing just to combine.

Dust a clean surface lightly with flour, and roll dough 1/4" thick. Cut with desired cutters, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 1/2" apart (these cookies spread very little).

Bake 20-30 minutes, until cookies are fragrant, edges and bottoms are slightly darkened, and tops have lost their glossy look and taken on a matte finish. Cool cookies on sheet 15-20 minutes, then remove to rack to finish cooling. Cookies will firm up while cooking, and not be fully crisp until an hour or so after baking.

Recipe found @ remedialeating with lots of photos of children rolling and cutting these delightful cookies.

Hermès Bag may top $80,000 at Dallas Auction

DALLAS – An Hermès Diamond Birkin, with Diamond and White Gold hardware – a beautiful example of one of the most exceptional handbags made – is expected to bring $80,000+ when it comes across the block on Dec. 6, as part of Heritage Auctions’ Handbags and Luxury Accessories Signature® Auction at the auction company’s Design District Annex, 1518 Slocum St. ~ Read more~

Happy Thanksgiving

I scanned this graphic from my antiquarian book of crests and added the type. This is my Thanksgiving card to all of you.

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. ~ Aesop

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.~Erma Bombeck
image #3 here and #2 here

Monday, November 21, 2011

Red Barn in Need of Repair

Red Barn in Wood County Ohio by dbthayer
I hope someone saves it soon.

Webster is Already Down for A Nap

Now this is what I call the end to a perfect morning for any dog. Webster really knows how to relax.

All About Dogs in A Nutshell

They never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation.

~Jerome K. Jerome

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tower Castle of Chatillon-en-Bazois in Burgundy

The garden at Château de Chatillon, Bourgogne
© collection Jean-Baptiste Leroux 
Absolute perfection.

Extraordinary Giraffe Photo

I hope you are having an equally lovely time today enjoying the scenery. via

Durable Outdoor Furniture

I love outdoor furniture like this that you can leave out all year long. It would look great covered with snow. That faux bois table is amazing and would be a great place to sprinkle bird seed for winter bird watching. via

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I have officially finished the fall cleanup in the back. These two pictures were taken when I started this afternoon. It was too dark to show you the finished product. I ran the tractor around after doing all my hand raking. I put all the leaves back in the woods where they came from and Webster supervised. It's supposed to rain on Wednesday and my goal was to get trench cleaned out beforehand. The line of leaves and debris where the wonder dog is walking came out of the trench after the tall grass and weeds were whacked down by the worker yesterday. It looks nice again and I'm so happy.

Deep in a Beautiful Forest

I adore this photo by Ivan Shishkin found here.
Doesn't it look like a painting?

Deserted Cottage in Oregon

This cottage in Madras, Oregon appears to be thriving on neglect. Found here. Photographed with a Hasselblad by colerise.

Have a great weekend...see you later.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Birdbath Reflection

I didn't have any time today to play with my camera. I got my haircut before lunch and when I got home there was a message that my worker would be dropped off to trim weeds with a metal blade. I was glad but not really prepared to work outside until late afternoon. My chin-length bob and I changed into work clothes and bit the bullet. I was excited about cleaning out the area with my trench for the rain water. We worked from 1:00-4:15 without stopping. I was in charge of the rake. It looks so good and I am glad I worked along with the hired hand. I think you always get a better job if you work as hard as they do. And I firmly believe they worker harder if they see you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty.
I took the iPhone photo of the birdbath yesterday. Tomorrow I'll pick up my trail of leaves after I take a picture to show you. Have a great weekend.

1639 German Doll House

Stromer House

One of the oldest known intact doll houses is in the Germanisches National Museum, Nuremberg, Germany. Known as the Stromer House, because it was presented to the museum by Baron von Stromer, its original owner is unknown, but it is dated 1639.

Like other famous doll houses which followed it, the Stromer House offers a fascinating view of upper-class life for the time and place it was made. This doll house has 15 sections, with everything from stables and servants’ quarters, to elegant bedrooms and a reception room and hall with intricately paneled walls. via Monicamo on Flickr...click for more views.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thru My iPhone Lens This Afternoon

Deep blue sky at the end of a winter day.

I learned how to 'lock' the focus and reframe. Love this feature.

The barberry bushes started losing their leaves overnight.

Another shot with the focus 'locked' on the bark to the right.

This tree is losing all of its bark in big sheets. These photos were taken before dinner on the same walk I take every day with the wonder dog. Eventually I'll probably run out of things to photograph. Won't you be glad? Smile.

1664 Engraved Title Page by William Vaughan

A Booke Containing such Beasts as are most Usefull for such as practice Drawing, Graveing, Armes Painting, Chaseing, and for severall other occasions. 'Design'd by F: Barlow' and 'Ingraved by Wm. Vaugha[n] 1664'.
Engraved title page in the collection of the British Museum
Publication details at top: 'Sould by Iohn Overton at ye White Horse Without Newgate. where you may haue Severall Bookes for ye same uses'.

Pied Piper in Training

The Audience: I love this concert for one cat. via

Read and Heed this Dalai Lama Quote

This really gave me pause for thought:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost Time to Say Goodnight

image credit

Nothing makes me sleepier than images of sleeping dogs. Webster has already gone to bed and I'm not far behind. I'm looking forward to watching REVENGE on TV tonight. Goodnight. See you in the morning.

Airplane Inspired Bathroom Fixtures

I love these deco bath fixtures by Lefroy Brooks. I snapped the photo with my iPhone from the February 2008 Architectural Digest.

Natural Bench

I love everything about this photo, especially the bench on which to sit to soak in all this beauty.

Dog Speak Using No Words

I see you left some milk in the bottom of your cereal bowl this morning.

If you're finished, may I have it? Please.

A Fabulous Dining Room

A big trestle table in a beautiful room looking ready for a gathering of hungry guests. At least someone has it all together. I love the ceiling and the columns that define the dining area of a big open space. via

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Late Afternoon iPhone Photos

It was a cloudy day today but we didn't have any rain. Webster and I took a walk before dinner. This photo looks to the rear of my property. I mowed yesterday.

Heading home. Doesn't it look nice with a short haircut?

The distinguished Mr. Webster who is really hard to photograph since he doesn't like to stand still. I love his amber eyes.

An ancient black walnut in the front near the road. I fantasize about the little animals who are living inside this hole.

A Norway spruce I grew from a seedling. I had two men here this morning with a chainsaw cleaning up some fallen limbs and trees that were too big for me to deal with. Now I can finish my fall cleanup.

The end. Time to go inside and cook dinner.

Antique Tile

I picked up this wonderful unmarked antique tile recently.
I love the hand-painted pomegranates.

Seeking Calm

I do this too. Do you? Calmly seeking order.

Tiny Cottage Kitchen

Do you see clutter or do you see charm? I see the latter. via I'm off to an office meeting and open house tours. I'll have my iPhone in my pocket in case I see anything worth sharing. Later . . .

Monday, November 14, 2011

Plaid Rooms | Architectural Digest

A couple with three teenage sons looked to Elissa Cullman to make their new house in Colorado ski country cozy but not clichéd. The “mountainy theme-park look, with antlers everywhere,” as the homeowner puts it, was not going to work. For the main living area of the attached barn, Cullman devised a fresh Western look with a jolt of color provided by red tartan sofas. (June 2010) Photo: David O. Marlow

“I think of my home as my showplace,” says Glasgow art dealer Anthony Ferrie, but, he adds, “comfort can never be secondary.” He outfitted his bedroom in a blue-and-white palette (he finds the two colors very restful); the plaid curtains and regal framed prints lend the space a cosseted atmosphere. (September 2006) Photo: Durston Saylor

See more plaid rooms in the December 2011 edition of Architectural Digest.

Kitchen Table on a Monday Morning

My kitchen looks as if a cyclone when through. Does your kitchen table act as the collection point for things to put away, throw away or deal with like mine does? What a mess!

Bathroom Bike | Fun Interior Design

How much do I love this? Lots!
Someone was thinking outside the box. via

Sunday, November 13, 2011

iPhone Photos for Today

The trees are almost bare but some of the thorny bushes in the woods still have some brilliant color.

I thought you said we were going to work....not play around with the camera phone. So far, we've only pruned seven boxwood around the garage. Let's go load some firewood.

The freak winter storm we had recently broke off a big branch on the Japanese maple tree. Here is a twig against a shag bark hickory.

I just finished a light lunch. Guess Webster wins. Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off back to work we go.

Library Lust

Library in a grand apartment in Naples via Architectural Digest.

Private study off the dressing room.
More photos here.